If you have stumbled on to this website by chance, or found it by design via searching for it, one of the key questions you might want answered is: Why would you spend your time or money listening to me?
It’s a good question to ask yourself and I’m glad you asked it because it allows me to tell you a little about my story and why I do the work that I do.
My story began a long time ago when I was a little boy (in my formative years i.e. between 0-7 years old).
My parents separated and divorced when I was young and I grew up with my mum, three brothers, two of whom were older than me.
As a child and throughout my teenage years and well into adulthood, I always remember feeling different from my brothers, like there was something different about me – something missing in me, that wasn’t missing in them.
But I never understood why?
It was a question that in one way or another would haunt me throughout my life.
If you’ve ever had a big question you can’t answer – an almighty itch that you just can’t scratch, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about!
Anyway, as a young man I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. No burning ambition as such (not that I was aware of anyhow).
But I found myself somehow drawn towards children and I qualified as a social worker.
I specialised in working with children who were abused, neglected, or suffered harm. Which meant that I soon became very used to working as an expert within court proceedings.
Over many years I worked as a Children’s Guardian in court proceedings (representing children’s wishes, feelings and best interests at court) and as an Independent Social Worker (an expert commissioned to assess parents’ capacity or ability to parent their child throughout their childhood).
So…before I realised it I had gained over twenty five year’s experience of working as an expert in the family court.
But, I still didn’t have an answer to the question that had bugged me all of my life. Why was I so different from my brothers…after all we had the same parenting had we not???
The answer did not come to me until after my mother had passed away – a revelation that hit me one day out of the blue.
Was it by chance that I had gravitated to work with children and parents?
I think not!
I realise now with the benefit of hindsight that my choice of work had not occurred by chance, instead in some way I was compelled to do so – a calling, if you like, from my childhood.
You see, I could have lived my entire life failing to piece something hugely significant together.
So…what was it?
Well, one day after my mother died I was talking to a friend of mine who is a Counsellor and our conversation moved on to trauma and how as children and even as adults we sometimes forget things that are too painful for us to cope with.
It’s how we protect ourselves (especially as children) our subconscious protects us by hiding our memory of the trauma from our consciousness.
Like lots of other people, mine had done this for me. It had blocked out my memory of how devastated I had been as a little child when my father had disappeared from my life.
I had only found out that trauma had been active in my childhood when my younger brother could remember us seeing my dad after the separation, when I could not.
This was clearly a major revelation, could it be I was drawn to working with children and families because as a young child I had experienced their same time of pain?
Even if this was true it didn’t account for why I was so different from my brothers. Or perhaps it did?
You see what I learnt from both my social work education and my work with children over many years, is that in my formative years, indeed, my first attachment (or you could say my first love) had been to my dad.
Okay, so why was I so different from my brothers and why did it affect me throughout my life?
The answer, I realise now, is that I was not so different to my brothers. We were all incredibly lucky to have the mother that we had, for as long as we had her.
It was just that my first attachment, unlike my brothers, was to my dad. That’s why I experienced a level of trauma that impacted so strongly on me, throughout my life.
Great! Nice story!
You’re probably thinking, but what has that got to do with you?
Well…I am living proof of the impact of separation on children who are attached to the parent that they no longer see regularly or at all.
You may also note that the impact on me (although I have not gone into the full story) was throughout my life not just as a young child.
And what I didn’t tell you was how my childhood experience negatively affected all the relationships I had with the opposite sex and my own children (as this is another story for another time).
Incidentally, my experience of family court proceedings is not just based solely on my professional work as an expert in the court.
I went through my own family court case with regard to my child and have since helped a number of close friends with theirs.
My experiences have resulted in me having a considerable amount of empathy for children and the real difficulties both parents (mothers and fathers) have in managing how they show their love and responsibility for their children following a separation.
The above is what I consider qualifies me to be extremely well placed to assist you with your family law matter.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.