Hi, I’m Kay.
I recently moved back to my hometown, Madison WI., after an extended stay in hell. Not exactly the most popular place to find yourself, even in the winter. I suspect many of you have been there. Hell is a place where the very things that give life meaning slowly melt away. In less time than it takes to roast a hot dog, I looked around and all I saw was my ex-partner, holding a lighter under our family.
It started one night when my husband at the time, was in a particularly hostile mood, and I finally called the police. I didn’t know that the deputies would restrain him and take him to jail. But, when I realized that someone was stepping in to protect me, I also realized that this was my opportunity to get out of the marriage.
Calling the police that night changed my life, but not in the way most people would think. It did lead to a divorce, but the retaliation from my ex-spouse has been the most agonizing nightmare that a parent can experience. From that moment on, his vision of me changed from a woman and a mother to his “target.” I became the target for everything he could do to hurt me-- from a distance. It didn’t take him long to figure out that the key to destroying me was to use our children as the weapons of destruction and eliminate me from their lives.
I didn’t really think that he could turn my children against me. I certainly didn’t think that the mental health or legal systems would let him get away with it, if he actually tried.
I was wrong on both accounts. Aided by apathy and/or mistaken assumptions by the mental health and legal professionals, my ex-spouse destroyed the relationships I had with my children and drove me out of their lives.
We spent almost 4 years in family court and 3 in criminal court. The custody evaluator and CPS found that my children were severely psychologically abused, but CPS wouldn’t open a case, the local police wouldn’t enforce my placement orders and family court told me, basically, that it was my problem. I had over 100 people involved in my case and only 2 people, the DA and the Criminal Court Judge did NOT say, “There is nothing we can do!”
I was tortured by what was happening to my children. They were innocent children and their father caused irreparable psychological damage by forcing them to choose to love only him, when he did not have the capacity to love them back. We lost most of our years that we could have been together, most of the years I could have given them what they needed and wanted; security, safety and love.
Ten years after I made my first phone call to the police, my children are grown and still not a part of my life. I grieve deeply for my losses and theirs. There is nothing more that I can do to try and get my children back. But maybe I can help you.
I will never quit fighting for the rights of healthy, reasonable parents to be an active and ongoing part of their children’s lives. I’ve fought the good fight for too long to let it end here. This is why I started the National Alliance for Targeted Parents.
We are fresh out of the blocks, so we are running a little rough, but we are up and running running!
Kay A. Johnson