How to get a first in family law

Disclaimer: it goes without saying that this is not an exhaustive list and my only qualification to write about this is getting a first in family law. I am also going to try and avoid too much generalised advice and just let you know what I wish I knew before taking the module.  So let’s get started. 

  1. You need to consider the wider context – policy considerations, likely effect on the child, the political climate etc. Really consider this in essay questions and if you’re planning on thinking out of the box, problem questions too!
  2. Take a psycho-social approach to the law – You will likely have a lot of studies thrown at you in lectures or put on your reading list about things like the importance of contact with both parents, the impact and prevalence of domestic violence, the reaction of the criminal justice system to domestic violence and various other areas you will  cover throughout the course. It can be difficult to know how to utilise these and what the purpose of them is at the beginning because these are things that are not featured in many other law modules. But use them! Use them to back up a point, use them to help explain why the law is the way it is and if you have coursework critique them.
  3. The Welfare of the child is paramount – The welfare principle comes up time and time again in family law. Know S1 Children Act 1989 off by heart. Just do it. Even if you can use statute books in the exam. In revision notes make note of when it applies and which parts apply to help avoid confusion.
  4. Feminism – Feminist perspectives to the law are prevalent and easily applicable to the entirety of family law. If you have coursework spend some time discussing this where relevant and think about it for exam essays.
  5. Utilise a variety of resources – It can get confusing, but fortunately family law is well resourced. If you need to use a website meant for parents going through disputes just to get the bare bones then that’s okay. You can build up from that to get the knowledge base necessary for a first. Understanding is however key. You can know all the statute and case law but if you don’t know the reasoning behind it or implications of it you won’t get a first.
  6. Human rights – More specifically consider A8 ECHR and the implications that has on the law in that topic – could one argue A8 implications as a reason for reform?
  7. Case facts  – Okay I guess this is a more general one. They can be useful for essays to analyse whether the decision was a just one or to outright say how unjust the decision was but don’t get too bogged down with them. In problems remember that in many areas of family law each case is decided on it’s own facts. So don’t justify your conclusion based on a similar case. Stick to principles from the cases and apply them.

If you keep these in mind, they will definitely help you succeed in this module. Family law can get very overwhelming but it is certainly doable and it was probably my favourite module in final year.

If anyone wants advice relating to other modules you may take in law school leave a comment! And if anyone has more family law advice please feel free to comment!

The one where I discuss loneliness and always feeling like an outcast

Essentially more of Han moaning about her fam to get the point across, also I’ve been watching friends, which explains the title.

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I’ve been noticing it more as I’ve got older and since I’ve matured into an adult in my family. That not being included in anything, not being listened to and not being heard. I’ve also noticed it in committee meetings, in friendship groups. When it comes to it no one ever hears what I say and I feel invisible.

And that’s it. That’s my life.

And then one wonders why I have mental health issues the way I do. Why I feel like no one cares. Why I struggle to make friends and talk to people.

Why I just feel so incredibly alone…

Especially now I’m seeing my brothers be listened to and included.

I wonder…. I wonder what it is that wrong with me.

I was inspired to talk about this because I ended up going to my nans this morning and now deeply regretting it. Thinking it would only be a couple of hours and now realising it’s taken up the entire day. At least all the energy I have to do useful things due to my ME/CFS. I had plans. But I went because… well I felt like I had to.

To go to not feel rewarded or valued and be intentionally left out. To not be included in any conversation. To now realise we’re staying for lunch and there’s nothing I can eat because I have to be plant based due to health issues.

I ate dairy yesterday and still regret it today because it genuinely feels like it just stays in my stomach forever.

To not know when we can go home so I can work on my interview prep that I have planned and after having been dragged on a dog walk I doubt I’ll have the energy to read, process information and write.

I can’t be the only one to feel this way. The only one to just not fit in…

The only one who just does not get on with there family full stop but until a job comes it’s way in a formal manner cannot do anything but live with them.

The one who desperately tries to please everyone but it’s never enough….

And I need someone to talk to. I think everyone needs someone to talk to if there in this situation. They need to feel loved, accepted, cared for. And society needs to help facilitate this. Going back to my previous post this may be a situation where social media is a force for good. But we also need real people in the real world to talk to.

I think this is why many people who report similar situation end up in abusive relationships… because it’s so easy to get sucked in and give the benefit of the doubt if you’ve never felt loved accepted or listened to.

Us more than ever, need safe spaces. Need an out, need options.

Need unconditional love. And at the very least – like minded people to talk to. To lessen the feelings of loneliness.

We need hope and faith that there is always and out and it will get better. At some point it will. Maybe not now and maybe not forever.

We need to see the light. To understand it’s not because it’s something wrong with us. And it’s also not our fault.

I find because of my experience I put a lot of blame on myself.

But anyway. I’m aware this post had no structure. I just want everyone to think. To think about what they could do to those of us in society who don’t look lonely but are. I want everyone to remember that they can’t see what happens behind closed doors and to look for warning signs.

Is someone quieter than usual, on the contrary are they being more needy than usual, are they acting out at school, grades dropping, self harming. Are they placing blame on themselves a lot, or making any other concerning statements? Less active on social media?

Keep an eye out on things and take action. It doesn’t have to be huge. It can be as little as just reaching out. But I do hope those in power to change things take action. Build awareness and programmes in the community to help us feel included.

Those of us left out. Left behind. Misunderstood. We deserve more.

Dealing with family

Family. You either love them or hate them, or maybe it’s a bit of both.

This blog post will be about dealing with family and the difficulties there, especially if, like me you are unfortunately graced with family whom you aren’t all that close to be that for any reason.

Speaking for myself it stems from an emotional neglect and medical neglect with I keep on blaming myself for.

So many years went by with my parents not knowing me at all. Where they didn’t have the time for me, didn’t support me the way I needed them to and didn’t accept me for me. And now – living with them again. Well I can’t say it’s easy.

Now, my current position means I am definitely not one for giving advice in negotiating and managing relationships with family. But I do hope the rest of this post may help give anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation some solace.

You are not alone. I know I feels like it. I do. I know emotional abuse, neglect, or any other negative family member can cause you to feel incredibly alone. It harms your development and the harm will never leave. But you are not alone. There will always be someone you can talk to – there are phone lines, there’s 7 cups of tea. So even if there is no one in the real world – you are not alone.

I know it sounds corny but it will all work out in the end and everything happens for a reason. Yes the harm is long lasting and there will be nights you spend in tears, having flashbacks. If you have younger siblings, yes this will hurt when they are being treated better than you are.

But I promise you. It will work out.

And if anyone ever needs to vent you can always DM be on insta @Spoonielivingfree. 6595526295_7fa79fd6e7_z

Growing up with emotional abuse

Some people may ask why I’m writing this blog post. It’s a very difficult, painful topic to write about. Some people may even accuse me of lying. Trying to get attention. Trying to get my mum into trouble. Trying to tear my family apart. Some people may say it is less emotional abuse and more emotional neglect. But I want to tell my story. Share my experience. In the hopes that other people may be able to identify themselves in this awful position and do something about it before the damage is too great.

Emotional abuse covers a wide variety of behaviours. It involves the abuser making out that they are the victim in any situation where you try and stand up for yourself or get help for the abuse you have faced and the impact of that abuse on your emotional wellbeing.

This is something I have experienced a lot of in the past. Through secondary school I had a lot of CAMHS referrals and being a catholic school, a lot of chaplaincy meetings. Ya know, as if god was going to cure me. And my mum, manipulative as she is convinced everyone that she was a lovely woman. That I was a problem that needed to be fixed and I was the one abusing her. Which as you can imagine was great for my already low self esteem.

There’s the outright, making someone feel bad about themselves element of emotional abuse. I have vivid memories of my parents going on about how I’m borderline autistic but they didn’t want to get me officially diagnosed for my benefit and that it was somehow my fault.

It was something they used against me, something that was used in a way to make me feel bad about being me. If I had a meltdown and broke something in the house they would be all. “If we got you diagnosed we could get money back from that but we love you too much to do that.” Only now as an adult, and as someone with chronic and mental health conditions, some diagnosed, some not, do I realise how stupid that it. With a diagnosis I could access support to help me. Access the support needed to become a more functional human being. Accomodations could be made at uni and in future, the work place.  To make my life that little bit easier. To allow me to succeed and thrive. Now it weighs on me so much. I’m scared people can see my autism. Even though I’m not necessarily autistic.

Life shouldn’t be this hard ya know. No one should have to lack compassion from the people who should love them most. No one should have to have never really felt secure in a friendship. No one should have to feel the need to hide and put up with a chronic health condition that causes severe pain for 9 years of their life, all throughout adolescence because no one belives you and everyone thinks your a burden. And a whole life of other crap that makes my life more difficult than it should be.

There’s the severe lack of compassion. Lack of caring. This can manifest in different ways. The disproving statements, or looks. When you do something that your abuser is not okay with. That trying to control your life. For me, that was with youtube. Even as an adult my mum wouldn’t allow me to film youtube videos. Even in the comfort of my own room. And if she caught at. I would be yelled at, given a whole lecture. And this is one of the main reasons why I havn’t been able to grow a channel. Because I’ve never come across natural, It’s always come across awkward because I was worried about my mum finding out. I’ve never invested in decant camera’s etc because although there have been times in my life where I could have invested in such things, or atleast saved up to do so but I havn’t because what would my parents think?

It can also translate into your parents not liking your friends, and trying to control who you can spend your time with. Either in a way that makes you feel like you need to cut ties or in an outright ban in seeing x,y or z. It seemed every friend I had as a teenager. My mum always had something bad to say. It’s trying to control your outfit choices, trying to control where you go to university and what you study at university.

It’s never having the time for you or your needs but the second your abuser needs you, you need to be there and provide full attention. Countless things I’ve needed my mum for in my life she’s never been there.

From things as simple as never being taught how to shave, but being made aware that it’s something you need to do or never being really supported in the world of periods. To bigger things. When I’ve needed my mum to help me with something, she’s never been there. When I could have done with her to book me a dr’s appointment or come to a big appointment with me. She never would. I’d ask when I was younger and I reached 16 and she was like “your too old, they won’t let me.” Which I have since learnt is an outright lie, seeing as my dad booked a GP appointment for me at 18.

Never being able to talk to her about my illness because although she’ll be like “I’m your mum I want to know.” She never had the time for it. She never cares and she’s never compassionate. It’s feeling like I have to go along with her plans exactly. When I ask her to walk slower because her pace is too fatiguing and causes too much pain and I literally can’t keep up. She’ll tell me I can. Making me feel small. Like I’m just being weak and pathetic and not trying hard enough.

Actually any time I try and explain my health issues to her. It’s a lot of making me feel weak and pathetic, making me feel selfish, lazy. Or making me feel guilty for not pushing to extreme lengths by telling me “I just have to do it.” Which great sentiment until your in severe pain every day of your life. Next time you have a thumb dislocate at the end of an exam, fingers so painful that you can barely hold your pen I’ll tell you the same and see how you feel.

It’s never remembering the last time your abuser hugged you. Really, properly, lovingly hugged you.

And every time you try to bring that issue up. That you just need to feel loved it’s “We buy you birthday and Christmas presents, we feed you etc.” That’s not making me feel loved. That’s what you need to do to look like a good parent to the outside world. Then being made to feel guilty, because your clearly just selfish.

It’s treating your siblings differently, treating them with compassion. Hugging them, listening to their problems, having proper conversations with them. But you never get that same treatment. You get none of that. It’s when it gets to such an extent that unknowingly your siblings tap into this abuse and start calling you a selfish brat for making totally reasonable demands. They start calling you mean, horrible, lazy. And although you know that deep down they love you. They don’t know how to show it because their whole life my mum especially has done a terrible job of providing me with what I need.

It’s shouting at you even if you’ve done nothing wrong, leaving you out things, generally saying things or behaving in a way that makes you feel bad about yourself.

And the worst part, other than how difficult it is to identify. It’s that it keeps on causing you to question yourself question the situation. It’s like a vicious cycle. You get to a point where you convince yourself it’s not abuse. That it’s getting better. And then it hits you again like a ton of bricks. The cycle continues like that. Which makes it nearly impossible to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship.

And long term emotional abuse has a really damaging effect on your mental health, and your ability to function as a normal adult. For me, it’s caused an inability to advocate for myself. Which means if I have a job and I don’t get paid I really struggle to do anything about it, because I feel like it’s my fault. Even if I know it’s not. It means I cannot deal with doctors and receptionists and pharmacists for the life of me. I’m getting better but it’s still such a struggle and causes a huge amount of anxiety. This means I’m now possible going to the other side of the world without pain medication which even with, I’m still in severe daily pain. It means I cancelled my wheelchair assistance at the airport because although I know I need it. I don’t feel validated in it and in person I wouldn’t be able to advocate for myself when needed to ensure I get on the right plane, can buy water before etc.

It causes difficulty’s both personally and professionally. You struggle to keep and maintain friendships because you feel so worthless as a person. You can’t approach your lecturers to send past paper answers because you feel like your being annoying, or wasting their time. It’s an experience that can become hugely impactful in every aspect of your life.

That’s why as soon as you identify yourself in such a situation you need the courage to get out of it. So it doesn’t manifest into such a hugely impactful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear of failure. Where it stemmed from.

Recantly I have come to realise that I have a huge fear of failure. Probably explaining why up until now I have always been such a high achiver. 

Even more recantly I realised where this fear came from. As a child making mistakes was never ok. I have never been pressured to get perfect grades. I have also however never been taught that it is ok to make mistakes. I guess in some respect it lead to my eating disorder and ideals of perfection. 

Each mistake I make; I am ridiculed, blamed for when things don’t go according to plan. They blame it on me and my mistake. I guess over time this lead to the great hostility which now stands between myself and my family. Feelings of loneliness. Anxiety due to fears of doing something wrong.

These experiances, in part are what has caused me to feel so awful for “not doing as much work as I should.” The way my parents have treated me, peers riduculed me and teachers pushed me have lead to feelings of inadiquacy. Never being good enough.

 

Between Fiction and Reality.

I’ve noticed something. I’m happier when I’m out of reality. Obsessing over TV shows. Fictional characters. Fanfictions, roleplays. I guess the reason I’m writing about it is because I recognise it is a problem. I’m actually in tears right now. I can’t handle real life anymore. I’m such a skank it’s not even funny. I can’t keep my room tidy and I have such severe anxiety around my family that I struggle to shower or have a bath when there in. I havn’t washed my hair in over a week because I feel I’m being judged for turning the shower on. I feel I’m getting in someones way, being a burdan. The only way I can wash is by turning taps on in the sink and using some shower gel or whatever. It’s like unless I’m told I just physically can’t bring myself to shower. I’m too scared, which is why I try to wash in a way people won’t know… I’m scared of being judged for everything I do because that’s what my parents do. They are the most judgemental people ever.

Thing is. I was happy. Happy when I was lost in the world of brothers and sisters. Ok I still havw that ever impeding feeling of how I’m going to fail my GCSE’s because I ever seem to revise enough and none of it ever goes in but atleast I was happy. This has been happening for years now. More noticably when I started to roleplay. It provided an escape. I don’t know what from, but something. I cannot remember a time when I have been happier in the last 2 years than when I was roleplaying. A time I felt so free from reality. 

I recognise this is not healthy and honestly I am fully aware of how much of a pathetic, weak failure I am and how I will get nowhere in life. It’s not even like my life is that bad. I don’t have a relationship with my mum atall anymore and my brothers always take top priority in the family but that’s nothing compared to people who are paralysed, have cancer, living in extreme poverty. It’s nothing.

I guess this is why I feel so guilty. So Self-centered. Like I’m the only important one. In part I’m jelous. I envy everyone around me. Everyone who can shower, everyone who meets up with there friends and makes something of their spare time, instead of just sitting around getting lost in fiction. Another reason I can attribute to this fictional obsession is longing. The desperation for someone to help me, save me from myself and the need for a mother. And yes I have a mum, I have a dad. Were the classic nuclear family. But what I mean but I want a mother has nothing to do with genetics or the Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies, Marriage and Family Life topic.

What I mean when I say I want a mother is this.

  • Someone I can talk to when I just need someone to talk to.
  • Someone who will hug me and tell me it will all be ok.
  • Someone to help when I need it.
  • Someone who tells me she loves me, Shows me she loves me.
  •  Someone who pays attention to me. Seems happy to be around me. 
  • Someone who shows intrest in my day.
  • Someone who will pick me after school when I have to stay back late (Walking when it’s getting dark is not fun)
  • Someone who listens to and respects me.
  • Someone Honest who doesn’t bitch about me behind my back.
  • Someone who doens’t make an argument out of everything I say and do. 

I guess many of my problems are associated with my lack of mother. I have the genetic figure but her actions are far from mother like towards me. My brothers well that’s a different story. I guess my obsession with fiction really does filter down to this though. My need for someone who is there for me, loves me unconditionaly and shows it.