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Liz Headley
 

Narcissistic Ex-Partners

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For many who have managed to escape from an abusive relationship there is initially a huge sense of relief, finally life can become more ‘normal’ again and they can begin to rebuild their self -confidence and self-worth. Whilst this is true, the...

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 - Family Breakdowns

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Monday 10th May 2021 marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, looking after our mental health should always be a priority, but this year, having experienced a pandemic which, for most of us, has invited significant changes and increased stresses, it...

Living with Abuse

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British broadcaster, journalist and weather presenter, Ruth Dodsworth has recently featured in the media after her ex husband was jailed for 3 years for coercive and controlling behaviour. I watched an interview with her earlier on daytime tv where she...

Relationship Breakdown During the Pandemic

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This week on the BBC 1 programme Morning Live the recent increase in people contacting law firms about separation and divorce was discussed. A lawyer was interviewed online and asked what she felt individuals should be looking for in a lawyer when they were...

Children's Mental Health Week

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Monday 1st February was the first day of Children’s Mental Health Week and it would seem that in these extraordinary times we should all be more vigilant about children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. Recent figures suggest that...

How to deal with January blues

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Well, this week kicked off with what is known as ‘Blue Monday’. January is notorious for being a difficult month with people recovering from the excesses of Christmas, trying to keep to their new year resolutions, attempting to stabilise their...

Call "ANI" - Assistance for those Experiencing Domestic Abuse

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Sadly, domestic abuse continues to affect many individual’s lives in a manner of different ways. In these troubled times as we search for a way to reduce and contain the sometimes awful consequences of Coronavirus, we have yet to find a cure for...

Self-care in the new year and beyond

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I was listening to a GP who was being interviewed on a television programme talking about burn out and what he was saying appeared to make a lot of sense and for me was food for thought. Lockdown and the consequences of it has proved challenging for most of...

Coronavirus & Domestic Abuse

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I know it’s a very different start to the year and I am sure we will all remember it as such. This time last year no-one could have predicted that 2021 would begin in this way, but let’s all try and remember that positives can sometimes come out...

A Different Christmas

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Most families will be wondering how Christmas will be for them this year as we head towards, what is usually for most of us, a time of festivity with family and friends. Of course, the changes that COVID-19 has already brought to Yuletide 2020 are much in...

Life Under a Microscope..Making Difficult Decisions

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The pandemic has invited us all to put our lives under the microscope and think about our choices. Things that we would normally take for granted have no longer been available to us and many of us have had to make some major adjustments to our lifestyle,...

Summer Holidays

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To most of us, the word ‘holiday’ conjures up thoughts of time off, leave, or a break, suggesting a bit of respite from the humdrum of everyday life and some of those parental duties that dominate the daily grind. This year however, for some,...

Making Relationship Decisions During Lockdown

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Whilst there are benefits to spending more couple and family time together, this prolonged period of isolating ourselves from family, friends and the outside world has potentially put a strain on the happiest of relationships. I have recently read about or...

Children Living With Adult Conflict

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As mooted in a previous blog, lots of children and young people have returned to school with mixed feelings; glad to see some of their friends but a little resistant to a more structured day with some pressure on them to demonstrate learning. For some...

Supermarkets who are supporting domestic abuse victims

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Spending a bit more time at home has allowed me the indulgence of watching the odd bit of daytime television, some of it being quite interesting and helpful. I have just watched part of a programme that has informed me that supermarkets have turned their...

Rising anxiety in children and how to help

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In the last few weeks I have received an influx of referrals requesting I offer work to children and young people who are experiencing raised anxiety levels. This probably isn’t surprising as the Covid-19 crisis has potentially invited all of us to...

Grandparent's Gloom - being a Grandparent during COVID-19

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As a grandparent myself, I enjoy reading contributions to Gransnet daily. Today I was drawn to a piece written by one grandmother regarding her low mood and how she was struggling to manage isolation under Covid-19 restrictions. I am sure you will be...

Safe Space for Those Experiencing Domestic Abuse

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For those who are living with an abusive partner, lockdown has provided greater opportunity for their abuser to exert even more control. As I said in a previous blog, we can’t blame lockdown as being the cause of any sort of abuse but it has provided...

Domestic Abuse Helpline

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I have just been watching BBC News on BBC 1 where part of the programme was dedicated to Domestic Abuse and how calls to the National Helpline run by Refuge have increased in this period of lockdown. I think it’s a good thing for society in general to...

Isolation Stories: Family Breakdowns during COVID-19

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I enjoyed all four of the Isolation Stories in the series shown recently on ITV1, a couple particularly resonating with the work that I do. I have already offered my thoughts on one of the stories and would just like to consider the final episode. It told...

Self-Care is Important - Especially Now

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We are all managing these difficult circumstances in our own way and hopefully seeking whatever support is available to us in whatever way we can. For those who are fortunate enough to have a partner they can share their worries and emotions with, hopefully...

What can we do if we are concerned about family or friends living with domestic abuse?

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I have continued to consider the plight of those living with domestic abuse in these difficult times and I remain extremely concerned for the risks that they might be facing whilst self- isolating. I guess we all have a responsibility to try to be aware of...

Relationships Under Pressure

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I don’t think any of us are in any doubt that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all of us, it has certainly made me reflect on the things that I have taken for granted, from the freedom to go out whenever and wherever I want, to seeing those who I love...

How to Manage Rising Anxiety

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I have just been listening to the news and it mentioned that Mental Health Helplines have had an unprecedented increase in calls from people talking about their raised anxiety levels. I guess this is nothing to be surprised about, for most of us this is an...

Bereavement during COVID-19

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I have just read the Gov.uk latest advice for safe funerals and whilst I can completely concur with the safety aspects, my heart goes out to all those who can’t say goodbye to their loved one in the way that they would wish. Anyone who has been...

Contact with Both Parents

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Hopefully many separated parents will feel reassured by the information offered in the blog from Melanie Tubbs , lawyer at Brethertons LLP. It very clearly outlined guidelines on how separated parents can manage contact with their children during...

Men in Controlling Coercive Relationships

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After commending the programme I Am Nicola, aired by Channel 4, I was thinking how useful it would be if we were able to watch a programme where a male suffered abuse at the hands of a female perpetrator. Unfortunately, in my experience it is not uncommon to...

Emotional Abuse and Control - 'I am Nicola'

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Did you watch the Channel 4 programme “ I Am Nicola ” aired on 23 rd July 2019 starring Vicky McClure and Perry Fitzpatrick? It was extremely powerful viewing offering great insights into the insidious nature of emotional abuse. Nicola and...

Stress of Summer School Holidays

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It would be nice to think that the idea of having your children home for six long and sun filled weeks would bring a certain amount of pleasure to parents and I am sure that it can. However, the other side of that is the worry about childcare, if parents...

Valentine's Day

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Well it’s that time of year again and for those more optimistic than me it can be a time of anticipation and excitement. What could be better than waiting for a huge romantic gesture from either your partner or your potential new partner? I do wonder...

Changes in Domestic Abuse Laws

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It was good to see and hear in the media last week that there are going to be potential changes in Domestic Abuse Laws in the future. It feels at last that some of the ‘mysteries’ around domestic abuse are being addressed. Not so long ago when...

Emotional Abuse - Crystal's story

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The idea of domestic abuse usually conjures images of physical suffering however, a great number of individuals suffer from emotional abuse which is just as damaging but often suffered for longer due to the lack of visible evidence. Crystal is a fictional...

Domestic Abuse - Hidden Effects on Children

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Sometimes it can be hard for parents to accept that even though they believe they have done their very best to protect their children from the conflict between them, children can be really good at picking up on tension and there will be an emotional and/or...

Abusive Relationships: Part II

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Emotional Abuse It’s a sad fact that some people remain in very unhealthy relationships and become completely diminished by them. Emotional abuse is often insidious and can be extremely difficult to recognise if it has always been...

Abusive Relationships: Part I

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What is an Abusive Relationship? If someone mentions the word abuse a whole range of mental images appear in people’s minds usually depicting physical maltreatment of some description, where victims are bruised, battered and left...

Valentine's Fallout

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Well it’s the morning of February 15th and you might be basking in the afterglow of a very romantic, loving evening where you were showered with compliments, good food and other gifts. You might be in a right old ‘strop’ because your...

The Christmas You Want

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If this has been the year where a significant relationship has ended for you, you are probably approaching Christmas and New Year with some ambivalence. These mixed feelings are very normal and natural as you are probably facing circumstances that feel...

Teacher's Bias

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Well it’s that time of year again when a lot of young people will be embarking on the next stage of their journey through the education system. Depending on their exam results, either GCSEs or A Levels, they will now have a better idea of what the near...

Making the most of your time

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Two very diverse events recently have prompted me to think about writing this blog, the first was something that my son showed me that had been shared on Facebook. It concerned a Professor lecturing a group of students in America, I’m not sure...

Permanently excluded from primary school

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I watched a documentary last Wenesday evening about the rising number of primary school aged children who are being permanently excluded from mainstream education. This means that pupils as young as 5 years old are behaving in such an extreme way –...

Keeping Your Children Occupied

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Are you a single parent with children? How are you feeling about the next six - seven weeks? The long summer school holidays are stretching ahead of you and in all probability your kids will be really looking forward to the break and not having to go...

A Different Sort Of Holiday

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You’ve sorted out the holiday wardrobe, you’ve bought a generous supply of sun creams, checked the passports and got your money supply sorted. The holiday reading is in the case sandwiched in between those exotic, glamorous garments that you...

Separated Family Holidays

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As the long school summer holiday approaches I find myself having more and more frequent conversations with children and young people regarding their holidays with separated parents . Getting two holidays instead of one could be construed as one of the...

Can Anyone Measure Unhappiness?

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How sad it was to read last week of a woman not being allowed to escape an unhappy relationship because the judge decreed her reasons for wanting to end the 39 year marriage didn’t fit with his idea of what would make someone feel miserable and unloved...

Above All Else Keep Talking

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Before the New Year I read an article in Business Insider UK that describes the results of a survey undertaken by the University of Virginia over a period of 6 years. It looked at the frequency of divorce among a total of 3597 couple who were asked two...

An Alternative Christmas Tale

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Leading up to the festive period, I have taken the time to reflect on many workshops which I have run looking at the issues of separation around Christmas and domestic abuse. In doing so I have written a short story which if you are going through a...

Lonely This Christmas

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It’s the time of year when you turn on the radio and within minutes you will probably be hearing one of the classic Christmas songs. It could be Mariah singing, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ or Slade with good old Noddy screaming out...

Is there such a thing as a 'Good Divorce'?

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This week 28 November to 2 December is ‘Good Divorce Week’, a national awareness campaign spearheaded by Resolution and I am fascinated by what is meant by a ‘good divorce’. Some may say that divorce can never be ‘good’...

Creating Christmas Memories

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At this time of year we are surrounded by Christmas adverts on television and in magazines. Whatever version you see, there is usually some reference to happy family times with presents, fun, food and laughter. Generations of families are often seen enjoying...

Managing Your Child's Wedding Day as a Separated Parent

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This topic is one very close to my heart as my youngest daughter is due to get married very soon. Her Dad and I separated over 17 years ago so we have had plenty of time to ‘let go of the past’ to use a cliché, however it is exactly this...

Could 'Facebragging' Influence the End of your Relationship?

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I always knew this day would come, the day I would have to come out of the closet and officially announce that I am a Grumpy Old Woman and that in some ways I fervently dislike social media! There, it’s out now for all to see and in some cases no...

Obsession and Possession

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After recently writing a blog about parental alienation (link here ) and wondering whether this was more likely if the parental relationship was abusive, I was drawn to think more about how often I have to say to clients that they are the victim of...

Parental Alienation

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I was saddened to read in an article in The Guardian that Parental Alienation Syndrome in children was on the increase – saddened but not necessarily surprised. In my role as a consultant counsellor speaking to parents who are going through...

Exam Results - Am I Good Enough?

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Well today is the day that A Level students will find out whether they have attained the required grades to progress on their chosen path, next Thursday GCSE students will face the same situation. There will no doubt be tears, tantrums and celebrations and...

The Torment of Not Being Part of Your Child's Holiday

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I have just been reading an article in the Guardian on how to survive your ex taking your children on holiday and it has brought home to me how many of the people that I speak to struggle with a myriad of emotions when they have to face this. It would be...

Reasons for separation and divorce

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I was interested to read some research by Co-op Legal Services around the reasons why couples choose to divorce in the UK. I wasn’t unduly surprised that top of the list was “An inappropriate relationship with someone else” but quite what...

Should separated parents be friends for the sake of their kids?

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If separated parents try to maintain an overly friendly relationship with each other it can be very confusing for the children, especially the younger ones. If the kids have been given a clear, firm message that Mummy and Daddy no longer love...

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday...

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If you’re as ancient as me you will remember Cliff Richard extolling the joys of a Summer holiday – “fun and laughter for a week or two” - well, for some couples the very idea of spending two long weeks together with their children...

Maintaining Strong Family Links after Divorce

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One of the sad repercussions of family breakdown is the potential dismantling of the extended family. If children predominantly live with one parent it can sometimes be difficult for the non resident parent to find the time and opportunity to make sure a...

The Hidden Wounds of Domestic Abuse

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Recently, Linda Jones brought our attention to Operation Encompass; a scheme whereby schools are informed if there has been an incident of domestic abuse in a child’s home to which the child has been witness. This feels like a big step...

Helping children through their parents' separation

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Some interesting news has recently appeared on the BBC website about how “a leading public health expert” has expressed a view that UK parents should receive government funded lessons on parenting children. Divorce through the eyes of a...

A relationship is not just for Valentine's Day!

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When I was young, a long, long time ago, Valentine's Day was just about letting someone know via a card that you were interested in them (aka fancied the pants off them!). Oh the excitement when you heard the rattle of the letterbox on February 14th, the...

Cheryl Fernandez Versini divorces JB!

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Well speaking of January divorces none would appear to be quite as public as Cheryl Fernandez Versini’s! The decision to divorce from short term husband Jean-Bernard has obviously grabbed the attention of the tableaux newspapers and social media, all...

A January tale

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Well, it’s all over now, the sparkle and gloss have disappeared, any manufactured energy and enthusiasm have visibly waned and the inevitable recognition that it’s finally finished has been accepted. No I’m not talking about...

The darker side of Christmas

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The media announced today that reports of ‘Domestic Violence and Anti Social behaviour’ (DVA) have risen by over 30% in the last 12 months in the UK. This could be perceived as encouraging, with possibly victims finding the courage to disclose...

Should I stay or should I go?

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As divorce rates rise in the Britain to make them some of the highest in Europe, individuals ask themselves this question more and more frequently. There is no easy answer, no set of tick box questions that will come up with the ‘right’ decision...

Peace and goodwill to all men... and women

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Christmas, a time of peace and goodwill to all men (and women), or is it? For some separating or separated parents it can be a time that invites animosity and negative feelings toward each other, leaving their children in the middle of their conflict. There...

Divorce after retirement: Too late to separate?

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As the number of people reaching post-retirement age increases hopefully we can all look forward to a longer retirement. Will it be a happier time though? Can we look forward to making some of our dreams a reality with a partner we love? For some there will...

Maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents

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In an ideal world, families would stay together and children would experience a healthy, balanced, loving relationship with both their parents whilst living in the same home. In reality this isn’t always possible and sometimes it is in everyone’s...

Flying the nest

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September is the time of year when parents can suddenly be faced with an ‘empty nest’. It may be that the youngest child is off to university, going travelling or just wanting to live independently, leaving Mum and Dad on their own, having to...

Is yours a healthy relationship?

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It’s a sad fact that some people remain in very unhealthy relationships and become completely diminished by them. Emotional abuse is often insidious and can be extremely difficult to recognise if it has always been part of a long term relationship....

How will my children react to news of my divorce?

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In my last blog post I looked at the ideal way in which parents should break the news of their divorce to their children. In this post I consider how children might react. There could be a whole range of reactions to the news of the split and if parents...

How do I break the news of our divorce to my children?

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Every year no fewer than 240,000 children in the UK experience the separation of their parents - more than one in three of them before their sixteenth birthday. An often overlooked factor of any divorce is the physical and emotional impact the breakdown of a...

New beginnings: the next chapter

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Guilt, anger, grief… Whether you’ve been married for two years or twenty, the emotions experienced after the break up of a relationship can be intense. We all know it’s good to talk, but to whom? Your family are caught in the middle, you...