Santa Monica Observer September 11, 2003


As seen in The Santa Monica Observer Weekly


When Control Meets “Out-of-Control”

You've probably been in a relationship with someone who said that he or she loved you and yet the behavior looked decidedly un-LOVE-ly.

For example, a husband asked his wife for a sailboat; a million dollar Beneteau. When she said she couldn't afford it, he began an affair in a confused attempt to protect himself from his feelings of rejection. A wife announced that if a third child wasn't in the picture, she would begin looking for another dad right away! Another husband loved his wife's long hair. Feeling angry at him, she cut it; he felt hurt and found a girlfriend with the missing mane. One boyfriend wanted to marry his already married girlfriend and when she wouldn't divorce, he organized discovery by the very big, very scary husband! Does any of that look like love to you? Did you notice that each partner's response was to defend against their feelings of vulnerability? Frank Zizzo, Ph.D. says , “In the service of trying to protect yourself you become the aggressor in a situation that is fundamentally neutral.”

Dear Divorce Coach,

I got married three months ago. Before marriage, we had been dating on phone for short time. He is dentist and has citizenship in USA ; I don't. I've been overseas so I can't speak English. Before marriage, I think he is soft, gentle, kind person. But after marriage he deceived me many things. I don't know about applying for green card. I felt he's liar. I think truth is so important between couple. I want compensation and alimony. Can I?

Sincerely yours,

Ms. Universe-al

Dear Ms. Universe-al,

After a three month marriage, there is little financial benefit that we have seen awarded. In addition the court may believe that you married for a green card, for “compensation or alimony”. This is not encouraged by our court system.

Sincerely yours,

Ask The Divorce Coach, Susan Allan


CLIENT: “I want to thank you for your invaluable and timely advice. I appreciate all your wisdom. “JB Carpinteria , CA

Dear Divorce Coach,

I'm married to a man who has no time for his wife or family. In 22 years, we've never been on a family vacation. I've never gotten a piece of jewelry (since my wedding band) and very few gifts. He went from alcoholic to workaholic. I've suspected an affair and have caught him in serious lies. We don't go out, he does nothing with our 3 children, his money is his, and I am left to be mother, home-maker, bill-payer. Is it wrong for me to feel frustrated, unwanted, unloved? I want out!

Sincerely yours,

Always Sad or Mad

Dear Always,

I can understand your feelings of grief and rage. Have you considered the relationship from his perspective? Do you understand why you have each stayed in the marriage in addition to concern for the children? When I read that “his money is his”, I urge you to purchase for $5.95 our e-book, 101 Divorce Secrets, A Survival Guide at because your description makes me feel concerned that the divorce may not be easy. However, if you prefer to learn reconciliation skills that will also be helpful in negotiating if you divorce, I offer a free phone consultation.

Sincerely yours,

Ask the Divorce Coach, Susan Allan


“The problem is that each of the participants feels that their situations look like love or at least abandonment of their love. It would be helpful to differentiate love from attachment. Love carries with it a sense of trust that is not matched in attachment.” Frank Zizzo, Ph.D., consultant to

Have you ever watched a child cry itself to sleep and be “fine” the next day? Have you ever felt hopeless and cried and cried and suddenly you felt “fine”? What is that shift that occurs; it is letting go.

Have you ever screamed at a spouse or child and felt absolutely “fine” minutes later? Did you notice how your emotional energy was transferred to the other person? If both of you want control, there will be war; if one of you wants control and the other accesses true power and loving compassion, there can be peace. Are you ready to feel your power instead of your need to control?

For 101 Divorce Survival Secrets, and free E-zine, visit, with Collaborative Divorce information. For one hour of free, private telephone coaching, contact



Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™