Please click on video for the 1st of 3 short updates about what the Alliance is planning for in 2018.
Please click on video for the 1st of 3 short updates about what the Alliance is planning for in 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?"
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
“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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
While Mary tries to get an appointment for the two us with the supervisor at CPS, Eve is preparing for court next Tuesday. Family Court is a trigger because of all of the traumatic events that happen there.
Most of us thought that court is where you go to find truth and protection. We expected to be treated fairly and with respect. As it turns out, we were lambs to the slaughter!
My ex-husband is delusional because he is mentally ill, but I don’t know what excuse family court lawyers, GALs, Commissioners, and Judges can use for getting these cases so completely wrong on every account. Historically, they support the abusive parent, chastise the already traumatized targeted parent, think that the pathological cross-generational coalition between the child and the abusive parent is a “healthy bond” and then abandon our children to the abusive parent. Either by plan or default we were sentenced to a life of crushing sorrow without parole. But we are trying to change that by confronting the courts with scientific information.
Eve is taking care to remind herself that she is the healthy parent, not the victim, and not the abuser. But it is normal that when the stress rises, we are more prone to overreact.
I got this email from her a few days ago and responded with my best advice.
I had a bit of a backslide today in energy. I am interacting with my lawyer's office and they are scheduling a deposition for me and for my ex. I am so full of fear as to what my ex's lawyer is going to pull.... all the old shit comes bubbling up to the surface.
You are afraid of "paper tigers."
A Paper tiger is a literal English translation of the Chinese phrase zhilaohu. This means that something only seems threatening but in reality is not a danger and cannot stand up to being challenged.
Think about what you are feeling frightened about. There was a time and a day, not so long ago, when every narcissistic (borderline) ex-partner was a real threat.
Our abusers plant helpless and frightening thoughts in our heads and cultivate them so we automatically fear them and their invisible manipulation and force field.
Your fear is based on what has happened, not what is going to happen.
Picture your ex as he really is; disturbed, insecure, and desperate. He is only threatening when he surprises you with crazy manipulation and excessive ranting. But there is nothing left to surprise you with. You know him better than he knows himself. In gauging what he will do next, we might even be giving him too much credit.
You need to look at him realistically, now. Listen to him, like you don't him. Don’t respond; just acknowledge to yourself who this person really is.
If you’re still feel frightened then picture him as a potted plant. How do you respond to a potted plant? One day you simply won’t. That is when the healing will come the fastest, but in the meantime, be the broken record of reason.
How do you respond to a potted plant? Well, one day you simply won’t. That is when the healing will come the fastest, but in the meantime, don't try to make sense out of the ridiculous. Be the broken record of reason.
Here's an example:
Lance: blah blah blah blah lie, lie, lie, profanity, profanity... blah, blah , blah.
Eve: What is your point? That is not what we are talking about. You're not making sense. You seem stressed.
(look at your lawyer and his, raise you eyebrows and sigh)
Lance: blah blah blah blah lie, lie, lie, profanity, profanity... blah, blah , blah.
Eve: Can you please get on the same topic as the rest of us? Nothing you say makes sense.
Do you have leaves in your mouth?
Thank you all so much for your comments, contacts, and emails.
And WELCOME to the new parents who join us every day!
We* start our journey
to rescue the first child
from being abandoned to the
narcissistic (borderline) parent
in family court.
*WE are the
National Alliance for Targeted Parents!
Targeted parents have experienced much more trauma than the average person. Nearly every targeted parent that I’ve had the pleasure of talking to wants to help the Alliance in some way. Unfortunately, what we do is not easily delegated and targeted parents struggle with the affects of trauma.
In a recent podcast, Richard Levine, one of the world’s leading experts in trauma, said that trauma is meant to be a good thing. Trauma survivors are more sensitive to being traumatized again, which doesn’t sound like an advantage to me. The advantage is that our hyper vigilance gives us the edge over someone who hasn't been sensitized to life-threatening circumstances before. Unfortunately our hyper vigilance is sensitized to a fault and there are millions of triggers in everyday life.
I know it doesn’t sound like a fair trade but rather than being side swiped from our hit and run ex-partners whenever we are not looking, our hyper vigilance alerts us that the car is coming. If we can keep our emotions from hi-jacking us, we can move out of the way and report the license plate number.
This is exactly what our targeted parents are doing with our intervention model. Rather than waiting until the next court hearing to “see what happens” (and you know that isn’t a good idea) our two targeted parents are trying to get use to being in the driver’s seat and build their agency.
“Agency,” is the ability to change your circumstances for the better and is on the opposite side of the spectrum from our learned helplessness. Both parents seem to be capitalizing on the fact that they know more about their cases than anyone else and they will no longer trust the outcome to lawyers and judges. The FIT Intervention gives them direction, with or without the help of family court! So let me bring you up to speed a little before they start blogging.
Eve has a child support hearing on March 13. She told me that she can't wait for it to be over, but I had to remind her that everything is different now, and March 13 is the beginning.
Eve and her ex-husband Lance, have had 50/50 placement for 8 years. She has never asked for child support before but because Lance is a narcissist (and I think that he leans more to the anti-social side than the borderline side) he has been more interested in raging war against Eve’s career and income than their son (and he was a little too young to be fully manipulated).
Eve’s ex-husband was able to destroy her career and devastate her income to the point where she really needs the child support to take care of her son when he is with her.
Eve filed for child support last summer, but her ex-husband’s lawyer kept pushing the date out until he couldn’t push it any further. FYI: Lance has a lot of money, a lot of money.
What is this child support hearing really going to be about?
A. A Party
B. A Murder
C. Child Support
D. Something completely different
If you picked C - “child support” then you don’t know the narcissistic (borderline) personality disorder well enough yet.
If you picked D and thought “placement” or “false allegations of being “unfit” or “abusive,” then you win this round.
Since we believe that Lance and his lawyer are planning on making some play for full time placement (so he won’t have to pay child support), Eve is going to prepare for the hearing as the jumping off point to assert the need for psychological evaluations.
She is preparing 3 files of evidence. A file on how she is a good mom, a file on how Lance destroyed her income and a file on Lance’s patterns of concerning behaviors that align with narcissistic (borderline) personality disorder.
Eve has a new lawyer, whose first comment to Eve was, "Your ex is a psychopath!" He seems to know this type of personality which means that he should have some ideas on how to deal with him. We will reserve judgment at this time.
In another part of the country, there is Mary.
Hi, my name is Mary. I had the opportunity to meet with Kay a few months ago when I knew I would be driving through the vicinity of the alliance. We had been communicating via e-mails and phone calls prior to our meeting. I have to be honest, when I decided to reach out to her I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. Let me explain….
Kay is very passionate and driven when it comes to saving our children and exposing the truth behind the court system. To put it bluntly, she can be pretty radical and fired up when I start telling her about my case. I am very thankful we met and she has been a very supportive advocate for me!
I am at the other spectrum from Eve. My 15 year old son has been psychologically abused by his Dad to the point where my son has to reject me, this has been going on for two years. We are not divorced yet, however I was given dinner once a week with my son on August 24th during a temporary custody hearing.
A positive note in this case, is that my soon to be ex-husband was diagnosed by a court ordered psychological evaluation to be a narcissistic. But, the GAL will not remove my son from his Dad’s home because he said the clinic told him it would be too traumatic for my son to be with me?
We were scheduled for a temporary custody hearing a few weeks ago after I said this has to stop. All the evidenced show’s my son is being psychologically abused and nobody is doing anything about this abuse. In my heart I knew the temporary custody was going to be a repeat of August 24th. Our final court date is eight weeks away. I spoke to Kay and Eve and they confirmed my feelings. The recommended time the GAL was going to let me have my son confirmed my gut instincts.
I hope and pray the judge will see the truth. It’s not about child custody, it’s about psychological child abuse.
EVERY day I read about more organizations moving towards stopping narcissistic(borderline) parents from psychologically abusing their children. These organizations include; adult children of a narcissistic (borderline) parent, child abuse and neglect organizations, the ACE and trauma informed movement leaders such as; the American Academy of Pediatricians and the National Education Association. Also, the APA's task force on high conflict family court cases, the Child's Bureau, SAMSHA, every major University, and hundreds more. We all seem to be on a converging path to end child abuse and neglect. The Alliance is the expert on child psychological abuse and neglect and is looking forward to offering an efficient and effective trauma informed program, once we work the bugs out of it.
Currently, we are field testing our FIT (Families Interrupting Trauma) program with 2 cases.
We are trying to by-pass family court, but that doesn't mean that we get to by-pass ignorance or obstacles. Our targeted test pilots aren't fishing for problems but they sure are finding them.
Both targeted parents have agreed to share the crazy, weird, stupid, frustrating and traumatizing experiences they encounter with you via this blog. However, in all due respect to me (I’m suppose to be on a sabbatical to finish writing my book), and our 2 test pilots, we don't want to spend a lot of time blogging the blow by blow, unless we know that there are enough people who are interested.
So here’s the deal, if you want to follow the drama of two targeted parents who are forging a path for others to follow, make a comment below this blog. If you are reading this from any place other than the official website blog of the National Alliance for Targeted Parents, please go to our site (www.targetedparent.com) and join us. Then, you will get every blog in your inbox. If we get enough encouragement in the comments below (not on social media), we willkeep the reports coming.
I’ll be in touch, one way or the other.
Out of all of the horrible things that I went through, I think that one of the worst was when I was falsely accused of being an unfit parent. My ex-partner didn’t outright accuse me of abuse or neglect but strongly framed me as unstable and hard to live with.
Targeted parents are empathetic and good-hearted to a fault. We know real love, real affection, and secure attachments. Our love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (ok, well maybe just a few). Our love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4–8a). These are personality traits that the world desperately needs more of, but the only ones who seem to notice our propensity to hold to our positive moral convictions is narcissists.
Narcissistic/borderline parents project and blame the targeted parent for their abusive and neglectful behaviors. They accuse us of the very things that they are doing. They know that false accusations won’t cost them anything, will prolong litigation and they won’t be held responsible for perjury, liable or slander. An interesting side note is that narcissistic/borderline parents and the children they control use the words “abuse” and “force.” They do this because these dramatic words intimate the Judiciary from changing or enforcing placement.
False accusations of abuse or neglect should be as alarming to legal professionals and court authorities as the substantiated claims. A parent who makes false accusations of abuse against the other parent is clearly the one with the problem. They psychologically (emotionally) exploits their a child's vulnerable developing systems and also hurt him/her by continually attacking the attachment with the targeted parent.
In addition, these parents intentionally and repeatedly induce their children to publically and caustically betray their loving and devoted parent and corrupt their developing morality. These children learn that they can break any and all laws, deceive and manipulate authorities and feel justified in doing so.
False accusations of abuse or neglect are not just some little white lies that don’t hurt anyone. These accusations are so traumatic that they impair the targeted parent mentally and physically. They devalue the targeted parent’s sense of parenthood; destroy their integrity and ruin their careers and reputations. Even when these accusations are blatantly unfounded, the suspicions about the targeted parent’s parenting are planted in everyone’s mind.
A false accusation of abuse by one parent against the other parent is a painfully obvious, intentional act to harm both the children and targeted parent. This insidious and coercive type of domestic violence leads to emotional devastation, homelessness, financial insecurity, the loss of family, and even sometimes the loss of freedom.
A false allegation of abuse is a far-reaching interpersonal crime that is indicative of narcissistic/borderline personality disordered parents. It is also; perjury, defamation of character, pure trauma and the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED). Narcissistic/borderline parents intentionally deceive the court and child protective service while wasting precious time and resources. More importantly false accusations of abuse are pathological manipulation and control of a child’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
If you are or have been falsely accused of being unfit for any reason, you need to hit this one out of the park! Tell your lawyer to go to bat for you right away.
What kind of person has such a warped moral compass? What kind of a parent could intentionally inflict so much pain and suffering on his or her own family---and for what reason?
Healthy skepticism encourages us to check our assumptions, recognize the limitations of our methods, and proceed thoughtfully. When skepticism and controversy about a concept or label still remains an obstacle to resolving a national health crisis, after decades of trying to getvalidation from mainstream health and science, then the validity of the theory or assumptions must be examined.
When all efforts to get society, especially the mental health and legal professionals to recognize “parental alienation” as a legitimate crisis have failed, then the problem is not on “them;" it is on us. How can we expect "them" to adopt a concept when we ourselves don't even have a common definition?
Regardless of the inherent controversy with the term “parental alienation”, it is short sighted to think that the mental health and legal professions are going to fully embrace a problem that doesn't have a clear, stable definition. Is it a dynamic? Is it a mental illness? Is it child abuse? No one, outside of our elite little PA community is going to take us seriously until we resolve the confusion about what “parental alienation” is by explaining it simply in language they already know.
A year ago, a member of the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG), proposed a far-reaching position statement to its members for adoption. The position statement strongly supported using more widely accepted and less controversial language. The position statement recognized that the failure with "parental alienation" was more about the words than it was about the actual dysfunctional family.
Adopting this position statement (or an amended version) could have brought this international group of authors and researches in line with the largest, most powerful organizations and agencies in the United States who are working to change the outcomes for families struggling with narcissistic/borderline abuse. PASG could then network with established change agents such as; Adverse Childhood Experiences, trauma informed health and legal workers, Child Protective Services, domestic violence advocates, the National Education Association, the APA, and a plethora of others, all fighting to stop this type of horrific interpersonal trauma by a narcissistic/borderline parent.
The biggest problem with shifting the paradigm of "parental alienation" is is that many of us are so traumatized that we can't differentiate relevant from irrelevant information. We understand and use these words so much that they have become relevant to us-- but only us.
We need to be able to communicate with the rest of our country, but we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater! Simply put, “parental alienation” is not the whole enchilada, but a set of abusive strategies (or a pattern of abusive behaviors) that a narcissistic/borderline parent uses to devalue and discard the other parent from the family.
This is a subtle but significant difference. The abusive acts of a narcissistic/borderline parent abusive cannot be separated from the abuser's personality disorder or their reenactment of childhood trauma. The average parent doesn't all of the sudden become a masterful psychological manipulator and exploiter with no empathy who wants to destroy the other "targeted" parent.
Below is a diagram of the chronology of how attachment trauma impacts the development of narcissistic/borderline personality disorder and how that disorder plays out in family situations. The hallmark of these parents is that they are psychologically abusive to every member of their family and close friends. They also like to escalate conflict. Many of these families breakdown under this unrelenting stress.
Narcissistic/borderline parents internalize separation and/or divorce as acute abandonment. This stress triggers them to reenact their childhood trauma based which is based on their distorted and disorganized memories stored in a part of the brain's attachment system called the internal working model. In this reenactment, the abuser casts the targeted parent in the role of the abuser and he or she takes on the persona of the healthy or protective parent.
Reenactment never ends for the disturbed parent. He or she will always see the targeted parent as the abusive parent and engages in and escalates psychological (emotional and verbal) abusive strategies such as triangulating the child into the a cross-generational coalition against the targeted parent.
The sooner we stop calling post separation domestic violence and child psychological abuse “parental alienation”, the sooner we can engage in meaningful and effective intervention and prevention in a systemic and comprehensive public health plan.
The following are my interpretations of the chronological timeline of a narcissistic/borderline parent. I made this 5 minute video a while ago, but I didn't like it, so I never worked on the additional modules. It is still accurate though so take what you like and leave the rest.
Over time I've tweaked the timeline and separated out adolescence because that is the time a personality disorder becomes fixed, and so many adolescence are involved in these cases.
There are so many opportunities for us in the ACEs, trauma informed, and resilience building movement, that I decided the most efficient and effective way for us to get our powerful scientific based message out to all those who can help us end the nightmare of narcissistic abuse, is to publish a book. So, I am taking a 2-month sabbatical from running the Alliance (including the face book and LinkedIn pages) to write.
But before I do, I wanted to up date you on:
Some targeted parents are still trying to prove “parental alienation” in family court. GRRRRR. Please remember that there aren’t any States with statutes that define “parental alienation” let alone have made it a crime. A lawyer would have to prove “it” by case law- Good Luck with that, Perry Mason.
I’ve had contact with a few lawyers and GALs who know that one parent is using alienation strategies to discard the TP, but that’s as far as they get. Even if they get past the obstacles of trying to prove something that most legal professionals have strongly held misconceptions about, there are no laws or protocols to take it to the next level.
Usually the courts think that the next level is therapy for the child and TP. We know where that goes-- No protective separation---No reunification. Therapy further harms the child and further traumatizes the TP. In addition, children who express strong desires about placement with one parent, intimidate Judges and GALs. They are afraid that the children will be too traumatized if they transfer custody from the abusive parent to the TP and they will be held accountable.
1. Using an advocate. Advocates can be another parent, friend, sibling, spiritual leader, therapist, a coach or anyone who is willing to help you manage the stress of being re-traumatized by Family Court and Child Protective Services. It is very hard for targeted parents to effectively manage their own high conflict cases even with all that we know about the circumstances and people.
2. Designing a plan. Targeted parents do not have the luxury to “wait and see” what will happen in the next court hearing. I can almost guarantee it won’t be good.
The abuser is spending 24/7 planning how to execute the next attack, the next step to devalue you and the final phases of discarding you. He or she has been in the drivers seat since the beginning. And don’t give credit to the lawyers, your ex-partner calls the shots.
Plan to take the offensive. Use your advocate. Your lawyer will not take the lead and fix this. Family law professionals do not understand child development, attachment systems, personality disorders or trauma. We cannot teach them all of this, we must lead them through what needs to be done.
3. File contempt every time your ex violates a court order (including child support). The only way the court will “see” the narcissistic/borderline traits will be if you show them. You want the conflict to be between the abuser and the Judge; not between the two of you. It won’t take long for the court to see that he/she has no respect for authority and will not comply or cooperate with anything that supports your relationships with your children. This is abuse!
4. Convince the GAL or your lawyer to request psychological evaluations for both of you, as soon as possible. Use an independent clinic that is competent is diagnosing personality disorders. These objective mental health professionals are pretty easy to find. Do not use custody evaluators; they work for the court and will not diagnose the personality disorder or work on your behalf once the evaluation is complete.
When the diagnosis comes back with the personality disorder, be prepared to push the court to involve CPS. If they won’t, you will need to file an abuse report on your own. It doesn’t cost anything but your persistence.
5. File Child Psychological Maltreatment (also called psychological abuse and neglect, emotional and/or mental abuse and neglect) with your local Child Protective Service Agency. Child Psychological Maltreatment is the most prevalent and damaging type of child abuse. And although it co-occurs with physical and sexual abuse it is a formidable type of abuse on its own. Narcissistic/borderline personality disordered parents are psychologically abusive to their children and (ex) partners 24/7.
These are not custody cases they are abuse cases.
6. Make your concerns about child abuse and neglect known to anyone and everyone. Otherwise, it looks like you don’t care and you could ultimately be charged with neglect (I’ve seen it happen)!
7. Keep processing your trauma and elevating to new levels of healing. There is a plethora of information available on the best ways to treat trauma, but you can’t do it alone. Work with a trauma informed therapist and do your homework.
8. Become a trauma expert by getting familiar with the ACES, trauma informed and resiliency movements. They are really very easy to understand and the most powerful agency we have.
Our children have ACE scores of 8+. This precisely defines what is at stake. If a psychologically abused child is not removed from a narcissistic/borderline abuser and isn’t allowed to rekindle the attachment with the healthy parent, he or she will be at extreme risk for developing self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, promiscuity and criminal or antisocial lifestyles. These adverse experiences in turn trigger the onset of the most common chronic diseases and a premature death.