Tolucan Times August 31, 2004
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Most cries for “Justice!” are desperate attempts to meet other needs. Frank Zizzo, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and consultant to , says, “someone who has suffered under violence may project imagined violence onto others later in life. If we are frightened as children we armor ourselves to survive, but this armor may encourage others to view us as dangerous, too. In the environment of traumatic bonding, drama is validity; pain is love…u nderneath traumatic bonding is always fear; and fear of fear. ”

When your partner shifts from “Just Us” to “Justice!!!” can you encourage a peaceful solution? During divorce, does your spouse leave frantic messages about money, the children, or health issues? Do you call back immediately, drawn into the drama? Didn't this habit cause of the divorce? Zizzo urges, with partners using “ traumatic bonding, you may choose to “underdo”; hold back the natural flow of emotion and forward motion, creating space for your even more frightened partner.” While only you can assess if there may be real danger, and decide on appropriate action, in the past have you seen that your partner's strategy was to “cry wolf”? Using this peaceful tactic is not because you do not care and are not concerned; it is simply that the effect of hysteria begets more of the same. Have you friends who have spent $10,000, $100,000, or even a million dollars on a divorce?


Dear Divorce Coach,

I have forced my husband to sleep in the guest room and I want a divorce but I'm scared he will punish me and the children by withholding money and ignoring them. What are my rights?

Sincerely yours,

Preparation Anxiety

Dear Preparation,

Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., founder of Nonviolent Communication (SM) says, “You may make someone do what he doesn't want to do but he will make you wish you hadn't!” 1. Consult your “Professional Support Module” including a divorce financial expert and acquire a “Divorce Education” with coaching. 2. Time to develop skills in thinking, listening, speaking to: Motivate your husband to mediate; Prepare yourself for your new life, Prepare your children for the divorce. While most couples wait months or even years in this holding pattern, my research shows little evidence to benefits of waiting unless you work to develop new skills. To motivate your husband to mediate, offer him empathy so that he does not see you as the enemy. To do this, you must learn to connect compassionately with his fears, anger and sadness so that you do not have an Enemy Image of him.

Ask The Divorce Coach,

Susan Allan


Dear Divorce Coach,

This is my 2nd email to you within the last 6 months. Your first advice was very helpful.  I discussed community assets & separate properties at length.  My husband & I agreed to have my attorney draw up an agreement, and if he didn't agree, he would then obtain his attorney. A draft agreement was emailed to my husband & me. I found a 6 figure error in favor of my husband! The attorney assured me it was only a draft. I resent him the original division of assets last Thursday. He has not returned the messages I left. I am ANXIOUS. Is this normal? My husband has not responded to the email. How are the corrections going to be viewed? PLEASE HELP

Sincerely yours,

Docu(ment) Drama


Dear Docu,

I understand your worry that the attorney has made a large error/ typo and you cannot reach him.

  1. Have you confirmed if the attorney is in court; on vacation or non-responsive? Ask his secretary; assistant; partner to confirm what is (not) happening.
  2. Your husband may feel delighted by the error and not request corrections.
  3. Speak Nonviolently with your husband if this triggers his concern about financial issues.

Ask The Divorce Coach,

Susan Allan

During divorce and other traumatic situations, your partner may use PROJECTION: in which he or she will project onto you either the image of savior/angel, or devil. With coaching, either of you may learn new skills in communicating in order to create a mediated or a collaborative divorce instead of the arduous and expensive process of litigation. Coaching creates training in thinking, listening, and speaking which will lead to new behaviors. You may use these newly enhanced abilities to reconcile, to create a peaceful divorce or to move forward into more satisfying relationships with friends and family. What may we learn from The Olympics? Do medalists behave calmly before winning? Do they focus on the contest without drama? Watching American Olympic medalists pledge allegiance to the flag, let us consider the last few words, “and justice for all” which each individual, in marriage or divorce may create for yourself. When you marry someone who lives for “Just Us”, not Justice, one day a ransom may be demanded unless you learn to promote peace.


Susan Allan is America's leading Divorce Coach and is the creator of Marital Mediation, available through and For answers to your questions and for a one hour free, private telephone coaching session, contact Allan's “How to Avoid Divorce” is featured in The LA Daily News' BookTalk™. Allan appears on Fox Morning News Nationwide and on Comedy Central's Crossballs, The Debate Show, this summer.




Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™