The ACE Cluster in High Conflict Family Court

What Oprah said on 60 minutes that will help end family court trauma.

Adverse Childhood Experience (ACES) cluster around the underlying pathology of the parent who displays abusive patterns of behavior such as a lack of empathy, and someone who exploits others for personal gain. 

1. Living with a mentally impaired parent

2. Witnessing domestic violence in the form of coercive control.

3. Psychological/emotional abuse

4. Psychological/emotional neglect

5. High-conflict family court

6. Loss of a parent from estrangement.

Please comment below and be sure to join the National Alliance for Targeted Parents www.targetedparent.com.

 

Don't Call It Parent Alienation, Call It Trauma

click the arrow for video

There is only one way to reform family courts and that is for the federal government to expect them to

be trauma-informed. 

High-conflict family court is more than one parent brainwashing a child to reject the targeted parent.  High-conflict family court is a cesspool of deadly trauma.  It is the synergy of the top sources of trauma in this country; parental mental illness, domestic violence and child psychological/emotional abuse. 

1. Parental Mental Illness - one parent abuses and neglects his or her family due to their narcissistic and/or borderline personality disorder traits. 

2. Domestic Violence - the mentally impaired parent uses coercive control  to terrify the targeted parent into not exposing his or her abusive behaviors.

3. Child Psychological/emotional abuse and neglect is also called psychological maltreatment.  This along with living with a mentally impaired parent, witnessing domestic violence, high-conflict divorce (that goes on for years), and losing a parent due to alienation, adds up to an ACE score of 6+ out of the top 10 Adverse Childhood Experience. 

On top of this, our children's only chance of recovery from trauma is through the loving safety of the targeted parent, who has been distanced, if not all together erased from the child's life by the erroneous decisions and judgments by those "professionals" in high-conflict family court.

The bottom line is that excessive trauma is prolonged and escalated by high-conflict family court and becomes deadly to our children. 

Children of high-conflict family court disputes develop mental and physical health problems that include, but are not limited to:

depression, anxiety, relational problems, including transmitting the trauma to the next generation (trauma reenactment), self-destructive behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse, and are at a 5000% increased risk for suicide, and educational and occupational problems. They also are at a high risk for developing cancer, heart and lung disease and dying 20 years earlier than without family court trauma.

Call To Action

January 2018: Call to Action

Please watch this video.

 

Here are three easy things that YOU can do right NOW

to help end family court trauma!

1. Sign Dr. Childress’ petition to the American Psychological Association (APA). 

The Petition to the APA is on Change.org.

2. Support Ginger Gentile’s Documentary Erasing Family.

Tomorrow, January 10th,  add the frame #erased to your profile picture on facebook--it's easy.

  1. Go to Erased Family Facebook and “like” their page.
  2. Go to your facebook and click on “update profile picture,” and frames will come up.
  3. Select the frame #erased.

3. Support House Resolution 443. 

Here is a summary of the bill:

HR 443 recognizes the importance, effectiveness, and need for trauma-informed care among existing federal programs and agencies. (Trauma-informed care takes into account a patient's history of trauma in the design of the patient's treatment.) Encourages the use of trauma-informed care within the federal government.

Expresses support for the designation of National Trauma Awareness Month and National Trauma-Informed Awareness Day.

Here is what to do:

Call, write, email or visit your state representative in Congress (your opinion will probably be taken by an aid who will relay whatever you tell him or her).  They are paid to listen and relay you message.  Tell them how law enforcement, child protective services and/or family court has ripped apart the bonds between you and your children because they are not trauma informed. 

Believe me, they will listen!   The aid that I talked to has a degree in psychology and worked at a psychiatric hospital!  She was very empathetic and understanding.  

If family court and/or child protective services become trauma-informed, it would end the nightmare!

OR

Contact Congressman Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin and Congressman Danny Davis from Illinois at 202-224-3121.  Thank them for co-sponsoring the bill.  Be sure to tell them where you are from.

Currently 14 Representatives from 9 states have signed on as co-sponsors for this bill.  If you are from on of these states please call the representative and thank them for co-sponsoring this bill.  If you are from another state, please call your representative and urge them to sponsor this bill.

  • Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7]*,
  • Rep. Duffy, Sean P. [R-WI-7]
  • Rep. Napolitano, Grace F. [D-CA-32]
  • Rep. Kind, Ron [D-WI-3]
  • Rep. Grothman, Glenn [R-WI-6]
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [R-WI-5]
  • Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]
  • Rep. Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4]
  • Rep. Bacon, Don [R-NE-2]
  • Rep. Kelly, Trent [R-MS-1]
  • Rep. Comstock, Barbara [R-VA-10]
  • Rep. Hanabusa, Colleen [D-HI-1]
  • Rep. Love, Mia B. [R-UT-4]
  • Rep. Delaney, John K. [D-MD-6]

Boom! Your Done!

I thank you, we thank you, our children thank you!

Our Family Wizard

Our Family Wizard

by Guest Blogger

I first heard about Our Family Wizard in 2015 when I was studying for my Divorce Coaching Certification.  I remember thinking that it sounded like a useful tool for my clients and that was all.  I guess I thought that my divorce proceedings were over so why would I use OFW?  It was not until 2017, when I had to file for (yet another) Order of Protection from my ex-husband, that I truly understood the benefits of Our Family Wizard (OFW). 

I went through a High Conflict Divorce myself in 2008 and I am still harassed and targeted for blame and abuse by my ex-husband. He is a true blue High Conflict Person who can’t manage his emotions, think rationally, or focus on the well-being of our son.  As Bill Eddy states in his books,

“High Conflict People aren’t just difficult people,

they are the MOST difficult people.”

As I mentioned, this summer I had to file another OOP against my ex-husband and, this time, I asked the judge to order that he and I only be allowed to communicate on Our Family Wizard.  I am tired of the never- ending barrage of texts and emails and phone calls from my ex.  Our Judge ordered us to sign up for OFW at $99 each per year.  For $8.25 per month, I have more peace in my life.  My ex’s texts and emails are all filed where the court or any professional that I choose can see at any time.

Over the years, I have learned not to respond to his desperate attempts to harass and control me except for in a BIFF manner. 

BIFF stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm another tool that I have learned from Bill Eddy’s teachings.   However, I still had to keep track and file all of his messages in case the court wanted to see evidence of the abuse and try to sort out all of the “he said, she said” that typically ensued.  This used to take hours organizing, filing and copying them to my lawyer. It added so much stress that it affected my quality of life. 

Now, all of our correspondence is saved automatically.  Everything is stamped with the date and time and I can even see when he views my messages to him.  According to our court order, my ex cannot contact me by phone unless it is a medical or school emergency with our son.  OFW allows me to set up notification alerts so I know every time he does send me a message, I can receive notification alerts via email and text. 

The more I use OFW the more benefits I find.  Recently, I gave my lawyer permission to access my OFW files by simply giving OFW her name and email and then OFW sent her a request.  She then was able to access OFW for free and see my files and review them. 

A few other benefits of OFW are:   

·       A calendar to track parenting time, family activities and events for the children, holiday schedules, and more. Parents can even make simple requests for trades in parenting time right on the calendar. That way, all information about the schedule stays on the calendar without having to be written out elsewhere.

·       An expense log where parents document shared parenting expenses, reimbursement requests, and can even make payments between each other for things like unreimbursed medical expenses or child support. 

·       An information bank (“My Files”) for parents to store important family data such as insurance details, medical information, emergency contacts, emails, and much more. Parents can also upload shared files like report cards, field trip permission slips, homework, photos, and other important documents.

·       Messaging on OFW will always document the date and time that a message is sent and first viewed by a parent. Also, OFW offers Tonemeter for messages, which helps parents to be more aware of their tone when communicating. This is at an added cost.

·       I can also upload screenshots of texts from my ex and save them in the My Files area with descriptions and dates.

More than facilitating clear and documented communication, OFW helps parents to be more conscious about protecting their children from conflict. The “private zone” that OFW creates for parent communication is not easily accessible for children, unlike overhearing a phone call or seeing a text message flash across their parent's smartphone. This helps to shield children from difficult conversations that they don't need to be a part of and lets them focus on just being kids. In my case, this was of paramount importance as my son was seeing and hearing a lot of conflict between us at his father’s house, and he began to internalize the stress and he became anxious and depressed.

OFW is one of the tools that I am now using to help bring more peace and decrease stress in my life.  As someone who was married to an HCP and has to co-parent with one, I recommend OFW wholeheartedly.  I am a better mother to my son and less consumed with keeping track of and documenting every interaction with my ex husband.

 

 

Active Duty

Active Duty

The first thing that I remembered was crawling on my hands and knees into the backseat of the police car and being surprised that it was so hard and cold.  Never the less, I felt safe and I laid down and closed my eyes. I didn’t think about my little dog Mo who had been in the car with me, where I was, where I was going, or why.

The next clear image I had was a day or two later, when I was standing in my sister’s kitchen with my bags packed and Mo by my side.  Patti looked up calmly and asked,  “Where do you think you are going?”  I mumbled something about having to get home, but she really didn’t care what I had said.  She just told me to turn around and go back upstairs to bed and I did.

A couple of days later Patti and I talked about what had happened to me as we read the police and the hospital report together.  She told me that the police found me driving slowly down some unfamiliar street, my car repeatedly bumping up against curb. They said that I was crying hysterically about losing my children.  The police took me to the nearest hospital where Patti and her husband, Patrick were waiting.  The emergency personnel were baffled about my condition because they couldn’t find any indications of physical injury, drugs or alcohol.  Eventually, Patti and Patrick took Mo and I to their home and cared of us until I was feeling good enough to make the 2 hour drive back home.

In an emergency appointment, my psychiatrist quite unconcerned about my temporary lapse of consciousness, began to explain what had happened to me.  Dr. Strong said that he had seen “this type of thing” all the time as a medic in the Sand wars.  “People call it combat shock or battle fatigue,” Dr. Strong said.  “It was fairly common to find soldiers wondering around the battlefield, oblivious to the fact that they were in a war zone.  The treatment for battle fatigue or combat shock was simply, care.  We would guide the soldiers back behind the fighting lines, give then some warm food and stay with them until they felt safe and secure.  Sometimes, we would play soothing music.   In a few days their consciousness would return and we would send then back to the fighting.”

I listened to Dr. Strong’s explanation and it actually made sense to me because I was a targeted parent.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had been on a psychological battlefield for years as my narcissistic ex-husband persistently but subtly assaulted my mind and spirit.  All I knew was that I was getting to the end of my rope emotionally and I was helpless to escape from whatever it was that continued to chip away at the person I used to be only a short time ago.  I was in a constant state of terror that I was losing my mind, my home, and my children. Apparently, like soldiers who had experienced too much atrocity, terror and helplessness, I let go of the end of my rope and took a break from the stark raving madness of my reality.

Whether you are a soldier trying to protect yourself and your unit, or a parent trying to protect your children; trauma is a matter of life and death.  Even the bravest and strongest combat soldiers can be psychologically overwhelmed by immersion in an environment that threatens their life or the lives of those who they love.  Psychological trauma is not something that can be muscled through or that anyone can just get over.  

When we consider that trained soldiers and seasoned parents can become completely disabled by the toxic stress of psychological trauma, it gives us a horribly clear picture of what trauma can do to children.  The truth is that abusive and neglectful narcissistic (borderline) parents are more harmful to their children than combat is to soldiers.  And while our country boasts of nationwide campaigns to help combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, America ignores millions of her abused and neglected children who never feel the safety or security of getting away from the enemy lines. Even worse is that parents, who children love and trust to protect them are their enemies on the developmental battlefield.

 

 

High Conflict Court and Therapy

Narcissistic (borderline) parents manipulate family courts to keep their focus on the child’s rejection of the targeted parent.  As long as the courts think that the “problem” in high conflict cases lies in a damaged relationship between the child and targeted parent, they are likely to order therapy.   Even when one parent has been diagnosed with narcissistic (borderline) personality disorder, the courts don't order the untreated, seriously mentally ill and abusive parent to therapy.  The narcissist/borderline is again, left completely unaccountable. 

Family courts order the targeted parent and the psychologically abused child to therapy

to “fix” the problem;

but that never happens.

Even targeted parents want the court to order therapy.  They know that the "problem" is the manipulation and control of the narcissistic (borderline) parent but targeted parents are so grief stricken that they will do anything that might relieve some of the pain from being emotionally and physically separated from their children. 

Targeted parents believe that therapists will recognize the impact that narcissistic personality disorder has on the family and report it to the court so they will stop it;

but that never happens.

Therapy cannot “fix” the problem because the problem is the only member of the family who is NOT meeting with the therapist.  Neither the child nor the targeted parent “has” a mental illness or any other identifiable issue.   They both suffer from the traumatic effects of chronic psychological manipulation and abuse by the narcissistic (borderline) parent.  In addition to the suppressed attachment and the inverted hierarchy where the child believes that he or she is above the targeted parent, other symptoms of trauma may appear as depression, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, withdrawal, ADHD type concentration problems and lack of communication skills. 

As long as the court continues to allow parents with NBPD to psychologically control their children and traumatize the targeted parents, nothing will change until the children “awaken” once they are old enough to get out from under the control of the narcissistic (borderline) parent on their own. 

Sadly, family courts continue to order therapy while the manipulating parent still has unsupervised placement.   Children cannot recover their authentic selves or their secure attachment to the targeted parent while they are still accountable to the controlling parent.  Therefore, not only will therapy be unsuccessful and a waste of time and money, it actually further entrenches the psychopathology.  As Dr. Childress so eloquently puts it, the child becomes the psychological battlefield between the therapist’s goal, which is to restore the relationship between the child and the targeted parent and the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s goal, which is to keep the relationship disrupted.

In summary, ordering therapy while the child is still enmeshed with the abusive parent further harms the child in 3 ways.

1. Therapy is a distraction from the real problem, which is the child’s exposure to the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s psychological abuse.  This abuse will continue to negatively impact the child’s developmental tasks.

2. The narcissistic (borderline) parent will use the child to sabotage therapy while giving the child another audience to project the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s delusions about the targeted parent.

3. The narcissistic (borderline) parent will escalate his or her control over the child as the child’s mind becomes the psychological “battleground” between the therapist’s treatment goal of “reunification” and the abuser’s goal to continue to use the child to devalue and discard the targeted parent.

 

 

 

What Courts Don't Know That They Don't Know

About High Conflict Divorce/Custody

High conflict family court (both divorce, and post judgment placement and custody) can be differentiated from other cases because of the extreme lack of trust between parties, high levels of anger, allegations of abuse or poor parenting, and protracted litigation.  In addition, one parent will engage in sabotaging the other parent–child relationship, and thus these cases may sometimes be called “parental alienation.”  

The relationships within the family are marked by fear, projection of blame, deceit, betrayal and the refusal to cooperate or communicate.   These dynamics existed within the family long before they ever entered into family court.  High conflict families develop dysfunctional coping mechanisms over time, because at least one parent has a cluster of relationally destructive personality disordered traits.

 “While there are other personality disorders, BPD (borderline personality disorder) and NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) are the most common in high-conflict divorces (definitions added ).  And, “… high-conflict divorces have increased over the past decade, a trend that may be tied to the growing number of people with BPD and NPD” (Eddy, Kreger, 2014 ).

High conflict cases jam up family court dockets because they are opened, but never closed.   Family courts do not have the relevant, scientific information to be able to resolve these cases safely and efficiently.  

The key to solving high conflict cases is recognizing and intervening in the traumatic and dysfunctional relational dynamics driven by one parent who has narcissistic (borderline) personality disorder (NBPD).  This parent affects every step in the legal process by distorting the court’s perceptions of the family, the other parent, and the children.

Research documents that family courts and the mental health professionals have strongly held mistaken assumption about families in high conflict cases. These misconceptions compromise the accuracy and integrity of their practice, decisions, and judgments (Warshak, 2015).

The following are 5mistaken assumptions that are present in nearly all high conflict family courtrooms.

1.  Families in high conflict court are normal. (wow- not by a long shot)

85% of divorcing parents work out a change in home structure without harming the children.  Healthy, normal parents do this without family court.  In fact, healthy, normal parents with empathy would never consider going to family court and putting the fate and future of their children into the hands of a perfect stranger.   The rest of us (15%) are jamming into family courts across the country.  If our families were normal we wouldn’t be in family court.  We put the "D" in dysfunctional.  One parent has a serious mental illness and our children and us have been traumatized/abused for years by that parent.  Of course we are going to be high conflict.

2. Both parents contribute to the conflict.

The controlling parent has one of the most dangerous mental illnesses and uses toxic coercion and exploitation to traumatize the rest of the family.  While he or she may pretend (false persona) to be calm, rational, and caring; it is an act to fool the court and mental health professionals.  Narcissistic (borderline) parents (NBPD) do not enter family court to resolve ANYTHING, but to escalate conflict aimed at blaming and punishing the already traumatized targeted parent for the divorce.  Most targeted parents have complex PTSD from living with a partner who has NBPD.  In family court, targeted parents spend most of their time trying to defend themselves against being constantly attacked.

3. The parent with NBPD has a healthy relationship with the child.

As soon as the couple separated and the disturbed parent could isolate the child from the other parent, the NBPD parent began pressuring the child into the middle of the conflict.  Parents with NBPD coerce their children to align with them against the other parent.  They begin to treat the child as a confident and “buddy,” which raises the child’s status in the family hierarchy to that of the abuser and above that of the other parent.   Teenagers are especially vulnerable to conforming to this cross-generational coalition. Cross-generational coalitions are a profound breach in generational boundaries and a well documented form of pathology NOT a healthy bond!

4. Children, especially adolescents are credible witnesses and should have a voice in placement.

In high conflict family court, the child’s viewpoint never reflects a mature judgment, independent of the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s manipulation and pressure. 

Scientific research in adolescent development and neuro-psychology has found that adolescence is stage of tremendous physical, cognitive, and emotional development.   This means that adolescence is also the time when children are the most vulnerable to the emotional pressures and exploitation from their parent with narcissistic (borderline) personality disorder (NBPD).   Unfortunately, children trapped with the parent who has NBPD do not have the emotional, cognitive, or even physical capacity to contradict and/or defy a parent who holds all the power over their lives.

While professionals may believe that children act mature and are honest, objective, and authentic, children in high conflict court will only express what the controlling narcissistic (borderline) parent demands that they say and do.

5. Removing a child from placement with a narcissistic (borderline) parent would be traumatizing.

There are two mistaken assumptions here.  The first is that family court is trauma informed or at least they know what trauma is.   My experience is that family court is unaware of the profound impact of trauma on the family.  The second assumption is that a child will be traumatized if they are separated from the narcissistic (borderline) parent. 

The most comprehensive way to measure childhood trauma is through Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scores.  Our children experience 7+ out of the 10abusive and neglectful environments identified by the landmark ACE Study in the mid 1990's.   There is very little room left in our children's lives for any more trauma.  The only ACEs that are missing are physical abuse and neglect and sexual abuse.  Our children are some of the most traumatized children in America and need immediate intervention.  Removing them from their mentally ill parent and placing them with the targeted parent will reduce their ACE Score by 75% within a few weeks.

 

 

 

 

Fighter

My daughter recently graduated from college in psychology.  She has been accepted into the top trauma focused graduate programs in the country.  She has been through hell growing up in a home with a narcissistic father. 

When she was in 8th grade, she came to me and told me that this song reminded her of me. 

It has been my fight song ever since.

Fighter

 

 

Who's On First

Hey there sports fans.  This is Kay Johnson with an update from the major leagues.

The easiest way for me to keep you posted on any developments is just for me to share some of the documents and emails that go back and forth between Mary, Eve and me. 

Mary’s new lawyer is doing his job.  He calls Mary to make sure that she is doing what she is suppose to do, while he is keeping the ball rolling.  From a spectators viewpoint, I have lost track of the game plan.   Most of the time, I don't even understand the game plan that family lawyers follow because it so often diverges from reality.   Anyway, the following is an email I sent to Mary to get some clarification about "Who's On First?"

To: Mary

First, the GAL needs to be replaced.  If this is done quickly, you can save yourself the trouble of having to subpoena him for the psychological evaluations and parenting assessments.  You don’t need to prove that the GAL is not doing his job, you just need to send a letter to the Judge requesting a new one.  Still, I’d love to help you write the letter because there is so much damning evidence such as:

1. The GAL has withheld the psych report and parenting assessments since last November.

Your new lawyer should have gotten a copy by now, but I’d wager that he hasn’t.    I think the GAL doesn’t want anyone to see it because he placed your son with his father before getting the results and the recommendations. 

Besides the fact that the psychological evaluation probably identifies domestic abuse and physical and psychological (pathological) alienation, I know that it includes some strong recommendations for the court to IMMEDIATELY STOP your husband and get help for you and your son.   It’s almost June and he STILL hasn’t done anything.

2. The GAL recommended taking away all of your contact with your son without due process; even after your parenting assessments all came back so good.  If we had the psych evaluation we would also have evidence of your husband's pathogenic or dysfunctional parenting.

3. The transcription from your old lawyer’s voice mail indicates that the GAL was unhappy with me (or Eve) for hounding him for the psych evaluations and that now “it might not go well for you.”   

4. The GAL hasn’t assessed for domestic abuse, doesn’t understand how damaging narcissistic (borderline) parents are, can’t recognize trauma, has been discriminating against you and biased for your husband, empowered your son to think that he gets to decide where to live; even though the Judge said that “no 16 year old boy is going to be calling the shots", and he thinks that the cross-generational coalition against you is a “good enough” relationship.

5. The GAL has not acted in the best interest of your son—ever!  Every thing he has done is contrary to what the established child development sciences tells us needs to be done.   If he would just follow the state laws that mandate him to use the factors for placement, it would have come out right.  But, I’ve not seen a GAL in WI use them yet.

The list goes on and on---this guy has driven this high conflict case and seriously hurt you and your son in the process.   He will always be a problem.  Your son deserves balanced, objective advocacy from the GAL.

Second, in case I didn’t make it clear enough above; we need the psych report.

We need it so that we can write the interrogatory questions for the deposition and the final hearing.  S pecific, targeted questions are vital to prove how much damage your husband is doing to his son and you AND why he will not stop.

Third, brings us to therapy.  OMG.

There are very few therapists who are going to have a third of what they need to know to bring closure to this case and resolution for the family or give you more placement.  But even more fundamental is that there doesn't seem to be very clear directives concerning WHO is supposed to be in therapy OR WHY!

 

Who is supposed to be going to therapy?

Your son?

Any therapy for your son will be harmful if he does not have protective separation from his father.  In addition, you should be taking him to and from therapy, because your husband will sabotage any progress the therapist might make.  As Dr. Childress says, therapy without protective separation turns your son into a “psychological battleground” between the therapist’s outcomes and what the abuser wants. 

Your husband?   

Well, this goes without saying, because of his abusive parenting (which is probably described in the psych evaluation).  Narcissistic (borderline) patients are few and far between and very difficult to treat.  There have so many problems;  paranoid and persecutory delusions,  anger management,  serious mental illness called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, child psychological maltreatment, and how he encourages your son to emotionally abuse you—need I go on?

You and your husband?

I read the recommendation "to co-parent" somewhere.  Really? Umm —NPD parents cannot co-parent, end of story.  They may be able to parallel parent (maybe), but primary placement of your son must still be with you while he is in treatment.

You? 

Having a trauma informed therapist to help you process the prolonged, repeated psychological trauma is essential for your recovery, but this won’t do anything to move your case along.

When you find out, let me know! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Mother's Day

This will be the 8th mother's day that I don't get to have any time with my son. For the past three years, it has been his choice, not his fathers.  If you’re like me, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year.   Even after all this time, I keep thinking that there is something that I can say or something that I can do that will touch his heart again and release his enduring attachment. But his recovery must come from the inside just like mine. 

I can’t change what has happened,

I can’t change him or this day.

 I can only change how I respond to the day. 

 

Today I stand up and take responsibility to enjoy this day, like every other.

 It’s up to me.

I have gone through enough pain, I don’t have to add this day to my trauma.

 

I sent my son a text message and a card with the following sentiments: 

“No matter what, no matter why;

I will always love you as much as I did the first moment that I felt your life in me—

it is beyond words.”

 

Happy Mother's Day To Me and To You!

When Things Go Sideways.

I was really optimistic about Mary's case in court last Thursday.  What could go wrong?  A new date for the contested hearing and the contempt issue against her (not soon enough to be ex) husband.

I must have had the wrong case, because this is the

 email I got from Mary.

 

Hi Kay,

Today in court the 3 lawyers met for about 45 minutes. My (not soon enough to be ex) husband stood the entire time while my friend and I sat in the back and talked. When my lawyer came out he told me that I have to get tested for MRSA.  FYI- MRSA is s a staph type bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body.  It is difficult to treat because it has become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. - But that's not important.

What is important is that this is just another paranoid delusion.  The “MRSA” threat has been going on for weeks now.  My (not soon enough to be ex) husband has been escalating the idea that my son is going to contract MRSA from me if he comes to my house once a week to have dinner.  It’s a long, stupid story, but in a nutshell I have refused.  I am a nurse and I understand all about MRSA and its transmission.  I won’t reinforce my son’s “by in” to my (not soon enough to be ex) husband’s latest psychotic episode to keep my son and I apart.  I am certainly not a threat to my son anymore than anyone he has contact with.  BUT it is the only thing that my  (not soon enough to be ex) husband has to try to blame me for.  

My new lawyer told me that if my (not soon enough to be ex) husband insists that I am a MRSA threat to my son and that I have to get tested, then we are going to demand that my (not soon enough to be ex) husband get tested because he might be a threat for AIDs.  Ha Ha. 

He gets it!

 

Still, the judge talked about MRSA and I have to get tested.  GRRRRRR.   This is so stupid it just burns me that I’ve got to jump through another of my (not soon enough to be ex) husband’s hoops.  But you can’t fight family court, so, I went to get tested for MRSA.  Not surprisingly,  the clinic coordinator said she couldn’t authorize the test because there was no reason.

WOW, the medical profession doesn’t just do tests because someone’s (not soon enough to be ex) husband demands it.  Another famous example of how family court is practicing medicine without a license.

The Judge apologized that this case has been dragged on.  I wonder at what point “dragged on” is determined?    I also wonder why the Court Commissioner who has presided over this case now for 2 years, never thought that it was “dragging on?”


The new court date is 9/26/17 –here is one reason this case gets dragged on!.  I was shocked how long out it is.  We need to have our expert witness secured by 6/9/17.

The judge also said that a 16 year old will not call the shots.  Which is so great! This takes my son out of the middle!  My (not soon enough to be ex) husband can’t use "our son's wishes"  to keep him away from me.  But this is still family court.  The wind direction can change at any moment.

Then the judge did a little lecture about getting along as parents--all this told me is that the judge doesn't understand narcissism.

Oh, and remember my old lawyer?  She never served the contempt order to my (not soon enough to be ex) husband. That was her grand finale of complete and utter incompetence and lack of ethics.

There was a stenographer recording the court conversation.

The financial thing got put on hold.

Where do I go from here???

I wish i could have a trauma informed judge hear the case.

Mary

In Our Last Episode...

In our last episode of Mary’s case…

Mary’s lawyer withdrew as her counsel after Mary began challenging her for not protecting her parental rights or her son.  Over the past two years, Mary’s lawyer allowed the guardian ad litem (GAL) to take away virtually all of her custody and placement.  Nothing changed even though the psychological evaluation clearly showed that her soon to be ex-husband was a danger to their son and she was a wonderful, healthy parent.   Mary was on the conveyor belt headed for the meat grinder and her lawyer stood by and watched.

Nothing that had happened in her case made any sense EXCEPT for the fact that Mary had done everything her lawyer and the GAL asked.  This is consistent across the country.  While everyone else is playing dirty, targeted parents stick by their morals and integrity. 

Mary hired a family court lawyer (who was a mother of 4) to protect her rights to parent her son and she was also paying ½ for the guardian ad litem, who was supposed to be protecting the best interest of their son.  Mary didn’t expect that these professionals would not do their jobs.  Bill Eddy, author of Splitting and Don’t Alienate the Kids believes that it is the family court lawyers are the real instigators of prolonged, high conflict cases. They do whatever they want, regardless of the statutes or the moral responsibility to their profession or society.

In high conflict cases, the emotionally impaired parent (narcissistic (borderline) feels entitled to full custody and placement and bullies his/her lawyer and the GAL into frustration and exhaustion.  The targeted parent is reasonable and responsive but erroneously believes that his/her lawyer will protect their parental rights and the Gal will diligently stand guard over the child’s best interests.  This is probably the most harmful misconception that targeted parents have. 

Family court is not a level playing field.  We are already traumatized by all the abuse we suffered before we got to court.  Then our entire world collapses when we are confronted with the reality that our law enforcement, child protective services and family courts are not built on truth, justice and the safety of our children. 

Know this… no one, especially no family court lawyer has the same moral convictions and passion for our children that we do.  Their agenda is to get paid.  High conflict cases are a pain in their butts and they won’t put in the effort to understand the dire consequences of placing the child with the mentally ill parent.  They often choose the path of least resistance.

In Mary’s case,  both lawyers and the GAL had been talking among themselves.  They concluded that the only way that this case would ever end would be to give the rigid, confrontational bully his way.  The targeted parent doesn’t know the legal system or her rights.  She is naïve and will do whatever her lawyer “implies” is the right thing.  In Mary’s case she signed a temporary order that reduced her contact with her son to one meal a week—she didn’t know that she could say no.   Her lawyer told her that this is a victory because they got the psychological evaluation. 

Unfortunately the psychological evaluation revealed exactly what they didn’t want to hear; the narcissist is dangerous and abusive and should not have primary custody or placement.  So they ignore the psychological evaluation and kept to their path of least resistance.

We get this. 

How many times did we let our irrational narc exes

have their way, just to try and keep the peace?

 

 

The light bulb went on for Mary at the 11th hour.  She knew she was going to lose her son because no one in that court was going to fight for her or him.   So she started to fight back.

First she cancelled the temporary hearing, which would have solidified the loss of her son.  This threw everybody.  To her credit, Mary waited until the day before the hearing, to minimize the retaliation from her husband.  

Second, Mary began HOUNDING her lawyer to file contempt against her husband for interference.  Her lawyer told Mary that she couldn’t file contempt; she lied straight to Mary and Mary knew it.  This was when Mary started seeing her lawyer through reality glasses and being exposed for who she was, her lawyer withdrew.

Third, the final hearing was only 2 weeks away and Mary didn't have counsel. So, she sent the Judge a letter asking to move the date of the final hearing because her lawyer quit and she needed time to find a new one.   The Judge called Mary back that very same day and totally agreed.  He also said that he wanted to keep the date set, so that he could address the contempt against Mary’s husband.  This court hearing is tomorrow, May 4th.

Fourth, Mary hired a new lawyer who is rearranging his schedule to be in court with her tomorrow.  He wants to be involved in her case right from the beginning.   He knows narcissists, expresses his opinions freely, takes his responsibilities seriously and is assertive.  He also has a sense of humor, which is a real plus in these cases!

Fifth, remember that Mary filed a child abuse referral with child protective services the day her lawyer quit?

She meets with two social workers today, who are investigating her case.

 

 

 

 

Eve's Case

OK, I only have Eve's Top 5, but that is because Eve's off in family court doing things that I don't know much about.  We'll get more info from her after today.

TOP FIVE

5. Her ex's lawyer made her sit through a 3-4 hour deposition, going line by line through their finances.
4. Her ex's new wife was finally subpoenaed after Eve told them where they could find her.

3. Eve got another bill from her lawyer and she is doing all the work.

2. In preparing for her own hearing, Eve took time to call Mary and make sure she was alright with her lawyer jumping ship so close to the contested hearing.  Both Eve and I felt somewhat responsible because we were pushing the envelope.  But Mary was grateful and very calm about it!!!!!

1. As we speak, Eve is in court.  Something she has been dreading for a long time.  By the time you read this, she may be done with one of the hardest things she has ever done in her life--stood up to the abuser.  No matter what happens, she wins!

Mary's Case

10. I went to where Mary lives to make some connections and learned that I can’t do that.  Ever since I got back (and most of the time I was there) I was a wreck.  I COULDN'T stop thinking about my kids or feeling sorry for myself.    I can read and write about this stuff from my computer,  but face to face with the reality is too intense for me.  Anyway….

9. Mary’s lawyer was all gun ho about the intervention with CPS. She talked to the GAL.

8. The GAL was really interested in talking about it too.

7. I prepared a lengthy document for the court and CPS.  The names were changed but no one is protecting the innocent.  I'll post it under family court here on the website.

6. Mary’s ex-husband decompensated again and now he and their son are on a new delusional bent about Mary infecting her ex-husband through their son with MRSA. –go figure.   Before this it was hepatitis.  But because of this Mary isn't even getting to see her son for dinner once a week.

5. Mary demanded her lawyer file contempt, which her lawyer resisted.

4. Mary’s lawyer met with Child Protective Services.  (I knew that was a mistake).

3.  Mary's contested hearing is May 4.  Yesterday Mary's lawyer sent her a letter withdrawing as her counsel.  

2. BUT, sheprovided a great deal of information in her withdrawal letter,  including the most comprehensive contempt motion I've ever heard, a copy of the psych eval that came back in Mary's favor (which we have been trying to get for over 5 weeks now), and a couple of comments suggesting that the GAL doesn't like being questioned and because we have questioned him,  it may not go favorably for Mary.

1. We filed a 50 page child abuse referral to CPS!!!

This was the right thing to do.  A protective parent cannot just sit back and put his/her children’s life in the hands of someone who does NOT know that this isn’t even a custody case.  Besides family court is so all –or – nothing.  At least if CPS is willing to do the intervention, then everyone wins. 

Somedays I think that we are just about 3 years ahead of our time.

The Brink of Enlightenment

I only knew one thing when I started the National Alliance For Targeted Parents, and that was that we needed to stop talking about our problems and start doing something about them.  The trauma informed movement that began making headlines in 2016, set the stage for a radical consciousness raising and now we are beginning the process of saving every child in every family within our borders and beyond.   

Mary and Eve are our marines.  They were willing to step out and take the bullets, but they found that the only one who was shooting at them was their mentally ill ex-partners who no longer had a “target” to aim at.

Targeted parents have been the warriors against the ignorance and injustice of those who steal the hearts and souls of innocent, vulnerable children.  We’ve been tattered, tired, fragmented and ill-equipped.  Our trauma debilitating us even further in the court system.  Still, our persistence and determination has landed us on the beachfront and we are taking back our invaded homeland.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the broken system, corrupt lawyers and Judges, incompetent social workers, lack of legislation or money that stopped us before.  It was our trauma; planted and cultivated in our minds by our mentally ill ex-partners.

Mary and Eve are leading us.  Two mavericks who are breaking every barrier that separates them from their rightful healthy and loving relationships with their children.   Their confident and bold ACTIONS are exceeding all expectations.  These targeted parents are empowered with truth, knowledge and the unstoppable love of protective parents.  

Two years ago these parents were being beaten up and re-traumatized by their ex-partners who seemed to be fully supported by the court systems, law enforcement, mental health, money, and child protective services.   Neither of them knew anything about narcissistic (borderline) pathology, child psychological abuse, trauma, attachment, or family law.

Today, they are Teslas, according to a well-educated and powerful law firm in a major metropolitan area.  What he meant was that they are disrupting the status quo by fitting together innovative pieces to bring about tremendous advantages.

The unquestionable sciences and the passion of parenthood are being validated and admired, not ignored.  Mary and Eve have overcome the trauma of paper tigers and learned helplessness and are forces to be reckoned with!  I can hardly keep up!

My job is to document the processes they are using to bring their children home as they wage war in the face of the narcissistic borderline personality disorder  and make these available to EVERY targeted parent.

You can rest assure, that we will never return to the horrific medieval ages in which many of us were unjustly tortured and sentenced to life without our children.  This is because there is no longer an enemy to fight against.

I am in tears; tears of promise and gratitude.  Our losses are becoming our legacies.

“They tried to bury us; they didn’t know that we were seeds.”  Greek saying.