Life coach Schuelke shares lessons that she learned from planning her exit from an emotionally abusive marriage in this debut how-to guide.
In the late 1980s, the author, then 15, started dating the man who would become her husband. Early on, she sensed problems, she writes: he had a difficult family history, including mental illness and suicide, and was argumentative and controlling. It took the birth of her second son in the late 1990s and embarrassing incidents in front of family members in the early 2000s before Schuelke finally decided to leave. In this guide, she draws from that experience, outlining what she terms a “FREEDOM Framework,” consisting of seven steps: “Free Your Mind…And the Rest Will Follow,” “Research and Documentation,” “Evaluate Your Current Situation,” “Exercise Your Rights,” “Design Your Exit, “Prepare For Opposition,” and “Make Your Move.” She discusses “pre-work” to be “done in a subtle and secret manner,” including assessing and setting up finances in order to make one’s transition as smooth as possible. Schuelke points readers to checklists for each step, available on her website, and also conveys the happy news that she advanced in her career and found a better relationship with her second husband. Overall, the author’s personal story lends credence and power to the practical advice that she offers in this guide. Although her detailing of how to determine one’s current assets, benefits, and rights occupies a large part of her commentary here, it serves as a useful reminder of the importance of due diligence so that one may be best informed before moving on to divorce: “Being prepared worked in my favor when it came to the financial split of assets and the payout I was awarded at the final divorce hearing,” she writes. She also tempers her guidance with admissions of her own challenges and setbacks in making her exit.
An insightful, empathetic strategy for separation.