Dr. Robin Stern: Welcome to The Gaslight Effect podcast. I'm Robin Stern, co-founder and associate director of the Yale Center For Emotional Intelligence and author of the best selling book, The Gaslight Effect. I'm an educator and a psychoanalyst, but first and foremost, I'm a wife, a mother, a sister, aunt, and healer. And just like many of you, I was a victim of gaslighting. Please join me for each episode as I interview fascinating guests and explore the concept of gaslighting. You'll learn what it truly means to be gaslighted, how it feels, how to recognize it, and how to understand it, and ultimately how to get out of it.
Dr. Robin Stern: Before we begin, I want you to know that talking about gaslighting can bring up challenging and painful emotions. Give yourself permission to feel them. Some of you may wanna go more deeply with your emotions. While some of you may hold them more lightly, no matter what you're feeling, know that your emotions are a guide to your inner life. Your emotions are sacred and uniquely you respect and embrace them for they have information to give you. If you want to listen to other episodes of The Gaslight Effect podcast, you can find them at robinstern.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you for being here with me. Welcome everyone. Thrilled to have you with us today, and delighted to introduce my guest, Evan Schein. Evan is a matrimonial attorney, a litigator, in fact, he's head of litigation at his firm. And Evan, I'm gonna ask you to please introduce yourself and thank you for joining me, Evan.
Evan Schein: Robin, it's great to be with you and, and all your listeners. Thank you for the invitation. As Robin mentioned, I'm a partner. I'm the head of litigation at my firm, Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein. My entire career has been devoted to the practice of matrimonial and family law.
Dr. Robin Stern: So I had such a good time on your podcast, Evan, we had such a great conversation. I, I was really looking forward to this morning, and I'm gonna ask you to tell our listeners why, why you said yes to talking about gaslighting for an hour.
Evan Schein: I, I, Robin, I have to tell you when I can go on for even more than an hour because I, I, as you know, with your book, the podcast, your work, everything that you do, this is such an area of focus for people. This is such an issue. I see it in the matrimonial context, the divorce context, which look, people going through separation, people going through a divorce, they're at their absolute worst. And people come into my office, they sit across from me, They're on the other end of the phone, you know, line. And they're telling you their life, their background, their history, and some of the things that people hear and some of the things that people say, and some of the incidents that people describe a lot of times, rather, people are in abusive relationships. And I'm not talking about the physical abuse.
Evan Schein: And that happens a lot. And I see it in my practice. I'm talking about the non-physical forms of domestic violence, coercive control, gaslighting, psychological manipulation. You see it play out not only during the marriage, but you see it really carry through during the divorce act. And so a lot of these divorce cases, especially coming off the pandemic and COVID these cases two years, three years. And so you see people's personalities and how people were during the marriage. People look to control psychologically, their spouse, during the divorce process to wear someone down, to use certain psychological manipulation, to really put someone through an already difficult process to make things much worse. So I can talk all day on it,
Dr. Robin Stern:
Evan Schein: Robin, it's such a good question and you make such a wonderful point, which is people don't act better during the divorce process. People in fact, whether it's the same behavior or they intensify their behavior. And you mentioned the pandemic, you mentioned COVID. During that time, people were stuck. People did not have outlets, people were stressed, and understandably so. So if you found yourself in an abusive relationship, in a gaslighting relationship, in a relationship where there was coercive control, psychological manipulation, those outlets that are so incredibly important for people, whether it's getting together with friends, going to the gym, going for walks, doing social fun activities, those things did not exist. So you had the confines of people's homes, people's apartments, and this behavior was taking place in a very toxic way. It was an absolute recipe for disaster in terms of how do I spot it on the legal side from an attorney perspective, you know, a lot of times it's not that easy.
Evan Schein: And I've been doing this for over 15 years and I've had a lot of cases both in court out of court where gaslighting has been a major focus of the case with children when children are not involved. So I see it, one of the things that I always do and always recommend is for my clients to work with outside professionals, whether it's a psychotherapist, a coach, someone who can work with my client on the therapeutic side to assist not only my client, but to assist me. It makes, it really helps me and puts me in a position to identify these issues, to identify these incidents, to identify the examples. So when, from a legal perspective, I can put together a timeline, I can go into court and again, remember what the court process really looks like. So many judges, when we hear domestic violence, we're thinking of the physical abuse.
Evan Schein: And courts have done a wonderful job in recent years to really educate themselves, judges, to really learn as much as they can about the non-physical forms of domestic violence. But we're still not there. And so, so much of that job, so much of the responsibility falls on the attorney to be able to lay out for the court, lay out for the judge, look at this relationship, look at all these issues, look at the concerns about parenting, look at the red flags, look at the lack of parental judgment. Look at the abuse that took place during the marriage. How is this going to translate when you're living in under one roof to then when you're separating and the children are transitioning and going back and forth between homes. So for me, there's certain things that I see and I hear from my clients that causes my antennas, you know, to go up. I'm a big believer in due diligence. I wanna make sure that you have the proof, I wanna make sure that my client is protected both on the legal side and also on the therapeutic side.
Dr. Robin Stern: Uh, I am so glad you're, you're bringing up such important things, Evan. Um, the first that I wanna address is that the, it's very easy, as, as I'm sure is so clear to, to you, to anyone working in the legal system, that when someone comes to them with black and blue marks, they can say, Okay, so this, my husband did this, and here's the proof, but where's the proof that can be shown when, what come, when your client walks in and said, I'm destroyed. I have no self-esteem left. I've been gaslighted for years. My husband's trying to drive me crazy. He tells me I'm not good enough. He tells me I'm worthless a million times a day. I second guess myself. I can't hold a job. I'm so anxious to please that. I can't, I just can't move forward. And he did this to me. That doesn't look like anything that is actionable. Okay? You know, it's your fault, right? And most of the time women come in when they're being gaslighted saying, It is their fault. I must be doing something wrong. There is something wrong with me.
Evan Schein: No, you're a hundred percent right. And to the first point, look, as a litigator, the classic cross examination questions years ago were, did you call the police? Did you see police intervention? Did you go to a doctor? Did you go to a hospital? Do you have any pictures of the physical or alleged physical abuse? What we're talking about is entirely different because it is an accumulation of often years of whether it's the control. I see it a lot on the financial side. People who are given allowances, people who, and these are a multimillion dollar families where someone is made to feel so small, so little, so controlled by their spouse. And it could be on the financial side, it could be with respect to their social circle, which is another area that I see. And then when you're right, when someone comes in to me, and by that point, unfortunately they don't come in the next day, They don't come in six months after it first started.
Evan Schein: This is years until someone has enough courage, someone has enough strength, someone can find, finally muster up enough self confidence to sit across from me and tell me everything they've been through. And when you hear it, it's sort of like building a house. It's brick by brick, layer by layer and what many people have been through. And so, and a control and the manipulation, it's started very early in the relationship and they did not have the ability or were not able to recognize it. See it, a lot of times people, you know, believed it was their fault in the relationship
Dr. Robin Stern: Or if they didn't believe, sorry to step on your word, but just, um, really want to, to share this at this point that, um, if they didn't believe it at the beginning, we know that gaslighting and many forms of psychological abuse just take, um, get traction over time, right? And so there are stages of gaslighting and at the very beginning of a gaslighting relationship. And so somebody putting you down or telling you don't know how to manage money or controlling to control your social life, you may say to your husband, cuz it's often the, the man in the relationship being the gaslighter, even though it can be either sex. The pairing that I've seen most often in my practice is the woman being the gas, the gaslight, and the man being the gaslight. It's often the woman, uh, saying to the man, Well, don't be silly and saying to herself, He's crazy. But then when he insists again over time and again, over time you don't know how to manage money, remember what you did last week or they really don't wanna see you, or why are you going out with those people? You know, only somebody who has totally superficial needs would go out with those people. Like, just stay home, it being with me. That should be enough for you. What's wrong with you? Then you begin to think maybe he's right,
Evan Schein: A hundred percent right. It's, it's such a great point. It reminds me of a client that I worked with probably early spring of 2022. She felt, and again, we had the text messages. So when you talk about proof, it's not in the form of black and blues and pictures, but you see the text messages. And in many ways technology has been a way to capture this, right? Because everybody's so quick to, you know, text and, and communicate and social media. But my client was made to feel that she could not ha spend time with her friends. Or how dare she actually look, you know, or get dressed or look attractive to, to, to go out and spend time with her friends. And what the more I listen to her story, years by year, you know, year by year her friendships and her circles became smaller and smaller and smaller.
Evan Schein: And then the comments in the conversation with, with her husband was, Well, you know, you never look like this for me. Or, you know, you, you only spend time with your friends and that it was trying to control when she can see her friends or go to the country club and have lunch with her friends. And so you saw her, so social circle, which was something she identified with so dearly and so closely, you saw that social circle just be totally whittled away where she ended up being absent in a friend or two and she didn't work outside the home. So there was no professional network of people. For her, it really ended up being just her husband and maybe one or two other people. And she initially had a very large social circle that by the time she came into my office was basically nonexistent,
Dr. Robin Stern: Right? And so it, it works like listening to one channel of information, right? So he's, he's gotten rid of all the other channels of reality that she had access to. Like listening to a radio, an old fashioned radio, you turn it on and, and um, you have one, uh, one announcer who's talking to you and you then you turn to another station, there's somebody else, there's music, there's some. Now just to make the analogy, um, her husband is the only announcer and he's the only speaker. He's the only music that, um, many women are listening to at that point. And so of course they're starting to think maybe he's right. And I remember somebody coming to my office, uh, similar to, to what you're talking about, maybe even worse because she did spend her time with her husband and enjoyed it, except that she had to let go of all of her friends to do it.
Dr. Robin Stern: And not only did she have to let go with her friends of her friends, but when she was walking on the street with her husband, he asked her to please look down at the pavement so she wouldn't be distracted by connecting with other people as they said hello to her on the street. And when they sat in a restaurant, she had to sit in the restaurant facing the wall so nobody would come over and say hello to her. Because for him, every time she would do something like that, he would consider it neglecting, not paying attention to him, neglecting him in favor of someone else, or flirting with somebody else, or simply not giving him the attention that he wanted and needed. So she came to me and said, you know, he's right, He's right, Dr. Stern, because if I wasn't talking to that person, I would be paying more attention to him. If I didn't say hello to people on the street, I would've given him that. So I don't know what to do. I have to get out of this marriage because I'm sick, I'm physically sick, but I know he's right.
Evan Schein: It's interesting. And, and, and, and from the legal perspective, because something I wanna mention, which I think is incredibly important in my story, in your great example, a lot of times the gaslight will say, So go get divorced, right? Or go get divorced. And, and they make the person feel they're gonna financially control the process. They're gonna wipe them out, they're going to get nothing. They're gonna lose their money, lose their kids. So because of that, you see the gaslighting behavior, you see many people feel they have two equally terrible options. Stay in this abusive gaslighting relationship or go through a divorce process, which unless the person's educated about what it really looks like, unless they've had the benefit of speaking with an attorney, they're made to feel that they can't get divorced. They can't separate, they can't be without this person because financially they're gonna be destroyed.
Evan Schein: Their children are gonna be taken away from them. And even though none of that is true, you see the same personality traits or I see it from the legal context. Cause people come in and say, My husband said, you know, I'm not gonna get anything. My husband said I'm gonna be left, you know, on the street, you know, without any money. I'm not gonna get child support, then in fact, I'm gonna have to pay him all sorts of money. And so when I hear those things that are so out of context that are so simply not true, that's, you see the gaslighting personality and the behavior continue from what started during the marriage really to how someone uses the divorce process, how they'll act as a weapon. And it's a problem. People feel stuck and they end up staying in relationships as you know, far, far too long. For that reason.
Dr. Robin Stern: It takes seven tries to leave. When I was researching for my first book, um, you may not see them seven times before they act, hopefully
Evan Schein: When I first started practicing that number or hearing, that definitely would've surprised me by this point in handling as many divorces as I have, seeing as many people in these types of relationships, abusive relationships, I could believe it. I, you can absolutely believe it. And you see examples of it, you see and people recognize it. It just takes far too long. I find at least in the legal context where someone says, you know, I should have realized it then, or, you know, only if I wasn't blinded by, you know, the trips or the vacations or only if I had a better support system or a network of people. I saw it. You know, very few people I find at least as they describe it to me, and again, I see it so many years later when someone has made the conscious decision to be in my office, to reach out for a consult and to separate and get divorced. But people usually have in angle of it that this is an unhealthy relationship. But then there's that feeling, at least as it's described to me in the divorce process, that they just feel powerless and hopeless as to what they can actually do about
Dr. Robin Stern: It. Yes. And often it shows up very early on in the relationship. And so early on in the relationship, when you're still saying, as we were talking about a few minutes ago, Oh, you're being ridiculous, or, No, that can't be true, or that's not me. Um, they're not looking at the part of the picture where they're feeling bad or weird or this is strange, or he's, that's crazy. They're looking at the whole picture or the other part of the picture. I'm so attracted to him. Or he's the, he's going to be the father of my child, or, um, I want to have children with him. Or if it's that early on in the relationship or my mom's gonna love him, or, um, I need a partner. I want a partner. And, um, I'm really connected to him. So you stop paying attention to your own feelings.
Dr. Robin Stern: And the other thing that happens early on in the relationship is that you explain it away or you get stuck in the empathy trap. So you go put yourself in, in your, um, partner's shoes, which is not necessarily real empathy cuz you never come back to your own. And you think, you know what? His mom was so controlling, that's why he needs to be controlling in this relationship. I understand his behavior and I'm just gonna, I'm gonna sit with it for a while. And so for what happens very often then is you get stuck in that position or women get stuck in that position and they forget about their own feelings and they're busy paying attention to why is he doing this to me? What's matter with him? And come up with a story about it. And the story may even be real, but it doesn't matter because they're neglecting who they are on the inside and how uncomfortable and how, um, defeated they're beginning to feel each time in the gaslighting, they're suffering more and feeling a little bit more of their self-esteem, their self regard, their integrity chipped away.
Dr. Robin Stern: And imagine in, in your field, somebody gets the courage to say, I want a divorce. Help me get divorced, and goes home then. And presents their husband with, I spoke to a lawyer, I want a divorce. And the husband says, Who's gonna ever marry you? Where do you think you're going? Nobody's gonna ever love you with the way I love you. And, and what are you doing? You're ridiculous. You're gonna get a divorce, Go to your point, go for it. And you can just imagine the woman then shrinking from that position and saying, Maybe he's right. You know, I'm not gonna, where am I going? Like, who's gonna, who's gonna want me?
Evan Schein: You know? And, and, and I see so much of what you said play out where people finally have the courage to say, I'm ready to get divorced. I realize, right, it's healthier for myself, it's healthier for my children, I realize that. But then you're right, they go home, they have a conversation, and then I'll get a call, or I won't hear from a client for six months a year, then she'll tell me they reconciled. Right? Cause the pattern as, you know, the pa the pattern repeats itself. But I think from the legal perspective, one of the things I think is so important is knowing your own client as a divorce attorney, knowing your client's spouse, the personality. If I can anticipate that exact scenario where my client's ready, she's made the decision to file for divorce, I would avoid that exact situation where she goes home in the marital residence, has the conversation, I would put a different process in place to avoid that exact situation.
Evan Schein: Perhaps maybe I encourage them to go to a couple's counselor or couple's therapist where there's a third party where she feels more safe to make the, the announcement or to discuss. She's given it a lot of thought. She's decided, you know, to move forward in a different direction. She had a good conversation with an attorney. At least let there be a third party there to diffuse whatever the reaction is going to be from let's say her husband. But if she's just gonna go home to the marital residence place, she probably does not feel all that comfortable with the place that has been the place of so much frustration, so much, you know, manipulation, so much concern for her. She's not gonna feel comfortable. So recognizing who your client is, knowing your client, appreciating that, knowing the other spouse or that personality. And again, it's early on. So you, you have to make a judgment call, which is not easy. I look for any and all ways to, to minimize that exact situation from taking place.
Dr. Robin Stern: I think that's wonderful. I love hearing that. I think it's so important and I hope our, our listeners are really taking it in for themselves or for people they may know who are at that point where they're thinking about ending a relationship. Because even having a third party there and being out of the marital residence, even if it's not a counselor, can be so helpful to feel that kind of support on your side, to feel like there's someone else to validate your reality and not being home where you kind of have felt you might have felt stuck all these years.
Evan Schein: Yeah. Have the conversation at Starbucks, you know, to have the conversation, you know, in a public place, have the conversation, you know, in a place where there's might be other people in the vicinity. And I also tell people, and again, every situation's different Yes. But perhaps make other accommodations so you don't have to sleep necessarily in the marital home that night. Yeah, right. I tell people don't have certain conversations before the weekend. Don't have them on a Friday, Right? Because then you're stuck for a whole weekend together where someone might not be going to an office might not be going to work. So I think the strategy of it from the legal perspective is really important. But one of the things that, I know we've talked about it, there's so much interplay and overlap on the therapeutic side and the legal side. They, they go hand in hand. You know, as much as I like wearing the legal hat, it often you're wearing multiple hats, whether it's the therapeutic hat, the legal hat, you know, depending on the financial, you know, uh, issues.
Dr. Robin Stern: Tell me about that. That's so fascinating. Do, do you feel like people will cast you into that role? You know, well, what should I do? And, and then you're being a coach rather than the lawyer or both at the same time.
Evan Schein: Love this question. So I'm very careful, and again, it's, it's come with years of experience where I'm very careful on the, on the distinction and the line. This is, you know, my role, this is why you hire an attorney. There are many more people who are much more qualified than me on the mental health side, the therapeutic side, who I can work with as part of the team. And so one of my, I don't wanna call it a requirement, but one of my very, very, very strong suggestions is that if someone is not in therapy or if someone needs a certain therapist who specializes in a particular area, that you go out and you work with someone on that. Because I think it is so crucial. I think divorce is hard, right? Even if the issues that we're talking about gaslighting, domestic violence, even if those issues are not present.
Evan Schein: I think let's start from the premise that anytime you're going through a divorce and you're going from living under one roof to two, when it's an adjustment for the parents, it's an adjustment for the kids. There's going to be some adjustment. Having an outlet separate from your attorney is crucial. One, it's a lot less expensive. And two, you want your attorney to really focus on transitioning you from a financial standpoint, parenting, custody, whatever those issues are. You want your attorney focused on those issues. And of course, as an attorney, you demonstrate empathy, you demonstrate in understanding of those real therapeutic issues. But I'm not the mental health expert. I'm not, my qualifications, you know, are not what someone else's are. And I think clients can benefit from having a team of people or even just one person separate from their attorney where they can speak to work with to help them. I've seen it time and time again where people follow my advice and work with professionals, their ability to process the divorce process, the issues transition, their level of happiness, their ability to understand the divorce process is so, so much better.
Dr. Robin Stern: You know, you may not be a therapist. Um, I'll give you that however your humanity comes through. And when you talk about, um, the, that there is always a transition. You're also talking about the fact that when you give up a marriage or you give up, um, your relationship, there's a loss. And often in abusive relationships, there is a big loss because you can't get away, You can't get around the fact that there's abuse. So you need to leave ultimately is what is when you see people. But there may be an entire life you've had together, a life you've built that includes friends and, and place and children and, and you're giving up something. And, um, your understanding of that and your ability to see people and to hear that that's going on for them makes you the lawyer that I would wanna go to. I'm very married, so I'm, I'm not doing that
Evan Schein: Yeah, that's exactly right. Look, and, and I appreciate that, but I think you're right. Look, whether it's compassion, I think it's empathy. I think listening, most attorneys don't listen. I mean, most attorneys love talking, love the focus on them. But if you can practice as an attorney, and when I lecture and when I speak to young attorneys, try to, to, to really put yourself in your client's position, you know, And, and it's hard, right? If you have not experienced a breakup, if you have not been divorced yourself. So for me, I always think about if I had a family member, if a brother, you know, a sister, whoever cousin, how would I want my family member treated? What would I recommend to them? I wouldn't represent them, but what would I recommend? What's the process that I would recommend for them? And I can absolutely say, without a doubt, it would include some therapeutic component.
Evan Schein: Whether all the issues that we're talking about are present, or even if it's just the transition because it is a loss. And I think so much, and maybe it's social media, maybe it's, you know, the way divorce is talked about, there's so much focus on life after divorce. There's so much focus on dating after divorce. There's so much focus on all the wonderful benefits of being divorced and all that's true. It just takes a little bit of time to get there because the divorce process in and of itself, look, it could be two years, three years. I have cases that are going on because of the backup in the court system longer than that. And I don't necessarily think without the right therapeutic process, there's enough healing, there's enough processing, because you're right, it's a loss, it's a devastation. I mean, this is, you know, and again, this is not something when people first get married, they ever believe could happen to them, right? They ever contemplate. Nobody gets married and thinks to themselves, one day I'm going to be sitting in the office of a divorce attorney.
Dr. Robin Stern: Well, so interesting that you brought that up because I was gonna ask if we could just pivot to prenups for a minute, um, on that. So subject, but before, before we do, just a another word about devor, about loss, um, in divorce, the, um, the loss is not just of the relationship as you well know, but of the future that you plan together. And so, um, I'm, I know that there are wonderful articles about reinventing yourself and moving forward and, and I'm, I very deeply believe that people are more resilient than they know. And there's a lot of psych psychological research to back that up. Um, but, uh, but it, even if you are going to move forward and find a much better life for yourself, you're still gonna go through a process of grieving and mourning and, and, uh, and need to be compassionate to yourself.
Dr. Robin Stern: But I do wanna pivot to that moment where that you were talking about where you're about to get married and you think I'm never gonna get divorced, and then you then, um, your, uh, boyfriend or your girlfriend says, uh, yes, and we need to sign a prenup just in case we get divorced, but we're never gonna get divorced. And then, um, in that situation, I've seen a lot of gaslighting, not only from, um, either side, but from the, um, but from the families calling the, uh, person with the lesser resources, uh, greedy, um, uh, gold digger, um, all kinds of names ungrateful. And to the point
Evan Schein: I've heard it all, you can keep going
Dr. Robin Stern: To the point where, um, the reluctant signer is saying, Okay, I, maybe, maybe they're right. Like, I don't think of myself that way, but I am asking for more. I don't think of myself. And, and then there's kind of this head spinning moment. No, no, no, I'm not that way. It's you, you are the problem. You are the person who is being, um, being tight, being withholding, being unloving, being uncaring, and so many, um, I'm right. And I need you to see my reality. My reality is the truth happen. So many of those conversations happen that, um, it sometimes amazes me that people move past their conversations. Prenup,
Evan Schein: It's a fascinating topic, and again, I another topic I could talk about for hours. And, and here's the thing about prenups. I am a big believer in the substance of prenups, the benefits to entering into a prenuptial agreement. I think what you're talking about is the process. The way people go about the prenuptial conversation. 98% of the people do it the wrong way, and they do it in a way that makes someone feel very small, makes someone feel that if they just don't sign what's presented, that they're greedy, right? That they're, if they're not gonna wave their rights to receive a division of assets or alimony or spouse support, like how dare you actually ask for something other than what's in this first draft of the contract? So much of it is on the attorneys. So much of it is on the clients. The number one thing I see, it's the presentation and the communication around it makes a relationship or breaks it.
Evan Schein: And it doesn't break it in the moment. And of course, I've had people who have not seen it, you know, who have not seen wedding day. I've had a handful of situations where people, you know, broke up. The prenup did not get signed. There was so much hostility, uh, so much controversy involved. Grandparents, parents, fa, you know, individual attorneys, family lawyers, corporate attorneys. In a few instances they never got married. But for the most part, people will still get married. But the resentment that people feel at the time, based on the conversation, based on the prenup, based on the presentation that carries through, they're made to feel very often that their contribution or their future contribution is not good enough, will never be good enough. So while I'm a huge believer in prenups and what it could protect, the benefits if you separate and get divorced, the amount of money and time it can save you if you have a business.
Evan Schein: All these reasons may make sense to have one. But it's important to find attorneys who understand, one, you're not getting divorced, your goal is to get married. These are two people who obviously love each other or think they're in love. Your job is to get them to wedding day. Your job is to also understand and correct any misconceptions about a prenup and what it is, present it in a different way when people have in initial conversation, it's often done in, in the wrong way. It often comes from one size family. This is what we're looking to protect. It's often made in, in an offhanded comment, if people could understand that it's a process, and that really the idea of having a contract around love, a contract around marriage just might feel uncomfortable. Mm-hmm.
Evan Schein: But for some people it's uncomfortable. And if the presentation, if the communication, if the process, if the attorneys involved, could understand that and recognize it, and by, by the way, start this months in advance, too many times people come to me two weeks out, you wanna see a wedding fall apart if you present your future spouse with a prenup weeks before a wedding, not gonna work. I had someone come in after the second dress fitting hysterical crime because the, the, the dress didn't fit. And then she was asked to review a prenup. I didn't think that's gonna work out. So I think in so much of it is the presentation and how you communicate it,
Dr. Robin Stern: Uh, you're so right. And, and I think, um, for the attorneys to be as alert as you are to the communication and the framing and the, and the potential gaslighting or the actual gaslighting is so important because people tend to forget what they're doing there to begin with. And it becomes, um, a, uh, predictor of later communication patterns in a way that is pretty awful. I hear it very often in the first year of marriage when people come in because they're disappointed about something and then uncover the resentment that happened over negotiating the prenup.
Evan Schein: You're exactly right. And, and one of the hardest things too is if people are going through a divorce, they may not be living together. And so when you're not physically living together as you're in the process of separating, you don't have to go home and see the person share a bed with the, with that person who has put you through hell. And back when you're about to get married, for the most part, you might live with your fiancé. So when you go home to that, to the marital home, or the soon to be marital home, and you see your fiance and you're sleeping in the same bed, you're having conversations, you're right there putting yourself back into an uncomfortable situation because you don't have the separate residence, you don't have the outlet. And when we look at the pandemic and the lack of outlets overall, and having those conversations from where they take place and how they take place, it's hard for a lot of people. And so much of what I do, I think is, again, you have a legal component, but then there's the, this is how you should approach it with your fiance. This is how you should explain it to him or her. This is what you can discuss. And by the way, if you're not financially educated or sophisticated and you're uncomfortable, don't get into that type of conversation because that's where he's gonna use his financial strength to make you feel badly about something. Yeah. So it depends on the client.
Dr. Robin Stern: I do wanna pick up on this really important point you made about when you're negotiating a prenup and you're going home and you're going to bed with the person who just told you that, um, there's something wrong with you if you don't know how cheap you are, right? Or there's something wrong with you. If you don't know how greedy you are, you have a choice. You can either take it on, um, and say, you know what? He's right and stay connected or she's right. And stay connected to that person who you're about to marry in three weeks or two weeks or that weekend. Or you can create a fight. You can fight with them and say, No, that's not who I am. It's not who I am. And more than, um, the choice that I always see people coming around to is, uh, maybe he's right.
Dr. Robin Stern: Maybe, maybe I'm asking too much of him, or maybe she's right, you know, maybe I'm not being generous enough after all, I do have all this money, but it's usually the former, it's usually the person say like, No. So I'm noticing our, our time, and you are right. We could go on and I could go on with you for hours about either one of these things. And, and I, you know, I'm thinking about my good, my goodness. The listeners are listening to us really talking about the, the dark side of, um, the person you married and, and fell in love with. Um, and, um, and it's, it's sad. It's sad that people are not just committed to being their best selves. Whether, um, in love that lasts forever or in separation, don't have to go to dark places and take someone apart, um, or lose yourself, um, because you're getting divorced.
Dr. Robin Stern: And, and I certainly don't want to be blaming the victim and saying, lose yourself. I think that, uh, it's hard not to to lose yourself when somebody's beating on you for, for many, many years. Um, but, uh, but I do hope that hearing you talk about this and hearing that you see red flags and, and hearing us toss it around together is, um, helps people to feel less alone and, um, helps people contemplating a divorce to call you or some other attorney who is equally compassionate and knowledgeable and, and, um, and human. Um, so I thank you so much for saying yes to being here with me. I look forward to writing an article with you, um, that, uh, will help more people. Um, and I look forward to having you back on this podcast
Evan Schein: Now. This was fantastic. I can't thank you enough for the invitation to come on, be part of this conversation and really discuss such an incredibly important topic. So thank you.
Dr. Robin Stern: Thank you, Evan, and thank you to everyone listening. I know it was meaningful, and I hope it was helpful to each and every one of you. Thank you for joining me for today's episode. I hope you found today's podcast helpful and meaningful. If you want to listen to other episodes of The Gaslight Effect podcast, you can find them at robinstern.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the handle at Dr. Robin Stern. The Gaslight Effect podcast is brought to you by the Gaslight Effect Production Company. This podcast is produced by Ryan Changcoco, Mike Lens, and me. The podcast is supported by Mel Yellen, Gabby Caoagas and Omaginarium Marketing.