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Why Zen Divorce Coaching?

I’m often asked why I do the work I do. Well, it all started for me in the late 80’s.

Divorce Coach - Margaret YatesI was married with three children aged 9, 3 and 2, and the marriage was failing.

My husband was abusive - not all the time - which actually made it worse because there were occasions when everything went well and we were very happy. The problem was, once he’d had a drink, he completely changed character. It was like Jekyll and Hyde. He’d become bullying and aggressive, drink and drive, disappear for 2 or 3 days at a time without me having any idea where he was (no mobile phones in those days) I’d be worried he’d had an accident - and then he turn up again. He couldn’t remember what had happened or where he had been half the time.

Because his behaviour was sporadic, I’d get complacent during the good times and think that everything was going to be ok, but then it would happen all over again. I couldn’t have parties and invite friends round where there was alcohol involved as he would become totally obnoxious and piss people off. Then there’d be flowers and apologies. This worked for the first couple of times, but then I realised it was becoming a habit. It was always my fault, my problem, my personality that was the issue, not his.

In the late ‘80s he got a job in New Zealand. We were all going to emigrate. I was super excited to start with, but then I began to wonder how this would work. What if he continued his bullying and aggression over there? I knew no one, I wouldn’t be able to leave without his permission because in those days we had a family passport not our own individual passports. I suddenly felt very trapped and vulnerable.

I was working at a chest hospital in Somerset at the time as a medical secretary for a consultant specialising in lung disease. After each examination, he’d come in and dictate the diagnosis and I’d get the notes typed up. I used to smoke in those days. Many’s the time I nipped out for a quick cigarette after typing up the notes of someone who was dying of lung cancer. What was I like?!

He was a lovely man to work for and had given me a superb reference to give to a hospital in New Zealand. I ended up talking through my dilemma with him - should I go to New Zealand or should I stay behind? He was very thoughtful for a moment and then said to me “Margaret, when the time comes, you’ll know what to do”.

About a fortnight later, my husband came home drunk yet again and it was at that point I made my decision. The next morning I told him I wasn’t going to go to New Zealand with him and I wanted a divorce.

I knew this wouldn’t go down very well and it took a lot of courage to tell him. I was really scared what he’d do. I was also very sad, because I knew how much he had wanted to go to New Zealand. But deep inside I knew it was the right thing for me to do no matter what and so I found a solicitor and got the process started. Then the nightmare began.

We were still living in the same house and he did everything to demoralise me and my legal team. He threatened me when I refused to put the house up for sale and told me that I wouldn’t get a penny from him. I was an emotional wreck. I had 3 young children and no real means of supporting them.

I had no idea how I was going to keep a roof over my head, let alone in food and clothes. My solicitor didn’t want to know all the emotional stuff. All she was interested in were the legal aspects. How I was feeling didn’t much get on her radar. She kept telling me that most women she worked with soon found another partner once their divorce was over! At that point, it was the last thing I wanted to hear! But I kept going. I knew that I had to let this man go out of my life.

Eventually the divorce was finalised, and in the aftermath, I became extremely ill with a serious throat infection. I was unable to get out of bed for a week and had to rely on neighbours for help. I soon realised though that if I didn’t get better soon, who would look after my children? I had to get up. I could not see those three dear little souls being taken into care. I’ve still got some of the pictures they drew for me, wanting me to get well.

That decision started the ball rolling and by taking little steps each day I got through it, got over it and got on with making a new life for myself.

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