I want to walk off into the sunset…without the Psycopath

Tomorrow my son will have to endure another full day with Luc (the ex spath).  I wish I could say it gets easier, but it really doesn’t.  I don’t think it will ever be easy turning my innocent little baby boy over to a man who I know is such a terrible monster.  Every day baby boy spends with him, he is more at risk of enduring physical and/or emotional damage.  It isn’t a matter of IF, its a matter of WHEN.  I want more out of life for baby boy than lies, criminal behavior, and failure.  (Basically all that surrounds Luc)  I would argue that anyone who has ever come into contact with Luc is worse off somehow for having had contact.  My lawyers described Luc as the runaway train on the tracks killing and/or generally harming anyone who comes into contact with him.

Yesterday, Drew Peterson was finally convicted of killing one of his ex-wives.  The murder happened in 2004 and it took another one of his wives disappearing before the police had the bright idea that it could have been Peterson.  I wonder how many others will have to be victimized by Luc before the police finally get him for what he has done.

The most intriguing part of the Drew Peterson case was that the Illinois courts actually created a new law they dubbed “The Drew Law” because it allowed victims to “speak from the grave” through friends and family.  This is brilliant!  While murderers who like to silence victims would hate this law, I imagine it would bring people like Luc to justice a lot quicker.  True psychopaths don’t leave evidence.  Everyone knows they did it because of the victims own words and spoken fear before their death – they count on this never entering into evidence because they know about hearsay laws.

Today I was told by someone in the police department to “be patient” and let justice take its course.  That is easy to say for someone who can go home to a quiet and safe evening with their family.  For my family, we have to get our toddler ready for bed knowing that tomorrow we will need to turn him over to a murderer.  If this was their child – they would work day in and day out to make sure they arrested this man.

I can’t choose to walk off into the sunset and pretend that Luc doesn’t exist.  Anyone who has a child with a psychopath (especially one as vindictive and money starved as Luc), cannot just “move on”.  While other victims move on and are thankful when the psychopath finds his new target, we are forced to stick in the fight for our children.  I can’t afford to be patient and “wait for justice” so I choose to continue to fight.

In the Drew Peterson case, it was the family who never gave up – this is what ended up convicting this man.

 

 

 

Family Court Theatre Presents: The Psychopath as “The Man Who Never Was”

Since the last round of my “Custody War” with Luc (my ex psychopath), I have thought a lot about the flaws in our legal system.  I run the events of the trials (“battles”) over and over in my head. I still can’t understand how such a disordered man like my ex can be allowed to have unsupervised access to a child.  I know it is not healthy to think about it so much, but I can’t help it when the thoughts creep into my head.  I keep trying to put my finger on why this process left me so incredibly disturbed.

Even after hearing disturbing testimony from several of Luc’s previous victims (who graciously agreed to testify against Luc during my Custody War), I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was looking at an empty human-like shell that slightly resembled the man I thought I loved.

The Analogy

During the opening and closing statements of my Custody War with Luc, my attorney described Luc as “The Man Who Never Was”.  As I am a child of the 80’s, I didn’t understand the reference my lawyer was making at first.  He explained to me that he had taken this phrase from the title of a 1956 film that was based on World War II.  In summary, the film was about “Operation Mincemeat”, which was a 1943 British Intelligence plan to deceive the Axis powers into thinking Operation Husky, the Allied Invasion of Sicily, would take place elsewhere.

(Stick with me here, I promise that this has relevance for even those non-history buffs.)

As part of this attempt to deceive the Axis powers, the operation involved dressing up a human cadaver and creating a fictitious story around a man who didn’t really exist.  This whole thing was an attempt to manipulate the opposition.  Unfortunately for me (and my son), I believe this analogy may have gone completely over the judge’s head. In the past few weeks, however, I have thought more and more about this analogy and I think it may resonate with many who have been in similar situations with psychopaths.

The Plot:

Though Luc is most certainly “the evil” in this scenario, his deception against me was like his very own version of “Operation Mincemeat”.  His objective was money.  He had run through his previous victims and needed a new income source.  He would find his target, listen to her hopes and dreams, and create the story for his “cadaver” based on her version of Prince Charming.

My Conclusions:

Family Court can be incredibly intrusive.  Many people (who aren’t dealing with psychopath ex’s) likely decide to settle out of court so that they can save themselves the expense and the relentless exposure of their personal lives.  That being said, this “exposure” only really applies if you are playing by the rules.  For example, I provided the court copies of my taxes, bank statements, pay stubs, property information, and a complete history of my education and family background.

Luc, on the other hand, remained “The Man who Never Was” throughout the entire trial.  His lies seemed to evolve and morph as time went on to further prove that not only was he “The Man who Never Was” to the court, I wasn’t even sure if HE knew who he was by the end.  He presented clearly fake tax statement and pay stubs for a job he has never held.  The court, however, accepted these documents as truth and never questioned how a man got to be middle aged without ever having a legitimate job.

The reality of Family Court is ugly.  It takes a special person to be able to see through the smoke and clouds that psychopaths create in the courtroom.  From what I have seen, most judges do not appear equipped (nor do they care enough) to filter through the lies and deceit in order to protect these innocent children.  Why then do we waste the time and money to go through the court system if these psychopaths are not going to be held to the law and forced to present proven and factual information?

A Media Example:

Just as I was pondering the above analogy, one of my friends posted the following link to her Facebook site.

Two American Kids Shipped to France in One of the Worst Custody Decisions. Ever.

While the term “psychopath” was never used in this article, the point that stuck out for me was how Actress Kelly Rutherford explained that she STILL did not know who her ex husband was.  After his U.S. visa was revoked, a judge ordered Kelly Rutherford’s children (American citizens who had been born and raised in the US) to live in France with her ex because he was unable to travel to the US to see them.

Family Courts in America are in crisis.

 

 


 

 

 

Starbucks Father: The Way Court Ordered Visitation Should Look?

The other day, my mother told me a story about a wonderful scene she saw while buying a drink at a local Starbucks.  She said there was this man with his eight year old son playing chess.  They each had their specialty drinks and the man was patiently teaching his young son about the game of chess (and life lessons along the way).  My mom told me that the barista had confirmed for her that this man came in each weekend with the child.  He  had told the barista that he only saw his son on the weekends; therefore, he was determined to pack the most quality time he could into the time he saw him.  (This was a visitation scenario)  My mother also mentioned that before she spoke to the barista she judged the man because he had scraggly looking dread locks and appeared very “non conventional”. (Note:  That feeling had also been one of her initial reactions to Luc as he also has strange hair)

My mother didn’t draw many conclusions from this scene other than her surprise at what was actually happening with this man (from the barista who had seen them each week) compared to her initial reaction.  After this discussion, I thought about fatherhood in the context of court ordered visitation.  This man appeared to be doing it right.  He recognizes that he only has a finite (and short) amount of time with his son and he chose to spend it in a way that the son clearly enjoyed and doing something that would positively impact that child’s life forever.

I distinctly remember being about six months pregnant and having a discussion with Luc in the car while going through a carwash.  Luc was going through one of his typical rants about how terrible it was when women kept their children away from the father.  I remember being confused as he appeared to have personal experience with this.  It also appeared as if he was trying to threaten me at the same time.  At the time, I couldn’t understand ever being in a situation where I would be concerned about the time that my child spent with their father.  Looking back on this conversation, I believe Luc was both ranting about the other woman who had run away from him AND threatening me.

Before Luc, I wouldn’t have thought much about Starbucks father.  I am not sure I would have even noticed him.  Now, however, I have become painfully aware of good fathers because my son doesn’t have one.  Here are some of the crazy things I thought of in response to Starbucks father:

1)  Wow, I wish baby boy’s father wasn’t a criminal who chose to be a parasite and live off of women instead of get a job.

2)  Even if Luc knew how to play chess (which he probably doesn’t), he couldn’t afford to buy that specialty drink from Starbucks because he refuses to get a job.

3)  Instead of showing baby boy how to play chess, Luc would show baby boy how to exploit women.

4)  Would Luc chose to spend his visitation time doing something for baby boy or would he chose to do something for himself?  (I think you can all guess my answer for this one)

In the weeks that followed the night I left Luc, I would break into tears when I saw fathers in public with their children. Before I realized who Luc really was, I remember imagining my son following his father around and looking up to him.  I imagined my sons father being the respectable man I believed he was.

Part of my journey recovering from this psychopath is accepting that Luc will never be Starbucks father.  He will never put baby boy before his own selfish needs.  He will never stop being a criminal.  He will always be a psychopath.  Instead of mourning who Luc will never be, I need to focus on showing my son what a good male role model looks like.  If I am stuck having this parasite in my son’s life, I will have to make sure that someday my son is able to see him for who he really is – a sick parasite.  I don’t want to have to tell my son this.  I want him to see it in comparison to the good men in his life.

 

More Advice for those in a Custody War…

A woman sent me an email today asking for advice in her custody case. I won’t mention her name as I don’t want to blow her identity; however, she had some great questions.  She has been fighting her psycho ex for two years and they are just getting to their custody trial (in a couple of months).  Luckily, she learned he was dangerous just before her daughter was born.  Based on her questions, here is some additional advice for those of you who are waring with one of these monsters:

1.  Do NOT allow him/her to change the schedule:  People like this are really terrible about making everything all about them.  They will use anything they can as a means to manipulate and control.  This is why its worth the money spent in court to get a detailed custody order.  If he decides he needs to cancel his visit, then he doesn’t have a visit. Period.  Otherwise, he will be holding you hostage to HIS schedule.  Don’t start allowing this because its a slippery slope.

2.  If there is no order, you don’t need to give him access:  That’s right – I said it.  No order = no access.  If you believe (as I believe about Luc) that your ex is violent and would abuse your child either verbally or physically, you don’t need to hand the child over unless there is a legal document.  If you are called out for blocking access, just simply state your reasons (and make sure to attempt to take your personal hatred for that person out of it).  This has nothing to do with how much you hate him for being pond scum.  You are trying to protect your child and without an order he will have access to you (which could be dangerous) and you will have no legal grounds if he takes the child and doesn’t bring them back.

3.  Document everything:  Keep a journal of any contact he tries to have with you and a visit log for all the times he sees your child.  Track the cancelled visits (there will be some) and make sure you get in writing that any visit cancellation (or attempt to change the schedule) was HIM and not you.  (Luc tried to cancel and blame me as if we didn’t have a record of this)  No matter how old your child is, make sure you record their behavior when they return.  If they are verbal, keep a record of their comments.

4.  Hold professionals accountable:  If the visits are supervised, make sure the supervisor is honest.  If she is telling you he is abusive or expressing her concerns about him (that are relevant to his child rearing), try and get her to write them.  In my experience, people might tell you one thing and then in court turn around and say that they have no concerns.  Don’t rely on your lawyers to prep this person.  Do it yourself.

5.  Lawyers manage expectations:  Don’t just rely on what your lawyers are telling you.  This is YOUR child and you are JUST their client.  Lawyers are good at giving you worst case scenarios so that if the outcome is less than desirable you won’t hate them (and not pay them).  If you feel strongly about something, push for it.  For example, don’t let them talk you into asking for what you want from the court.  If you think an all day visit is unreasonable, make them suggest something different.

6.  Court evaluations:  Bless their hearts….many court evaluators try and make sure they clearly document the crazy that they see after meeting with a psychopath.  While some judges take their comments and report into consideration – some don’t.  These people are not doctors so their “diagnosis” will not be treated as such.  If this evaluator suggests that someone who knows the psychopath supervise the visit – push back because this is not acceptable.

7.  Psychological evaluations:  If the court orders him to get a psych eval based on the court evaluators concerns, try and push the court to order a specific independent psychologist.  If this doesn’t happen, he will inevitably find someone who is not experienced (mine went and hired a child evaluator who I am sure had never seen someone so disordered).  He will also find someone who will end up being his mouthpiece in court.  Most psychologists have never seen someone like this because psychopaths don’t seek therapy. They think they are perfect.

Finally, try and stay sane.  A custody war is very emotionally taxing.  Possibly even more taxing than the chaotic relationship itself.  Your child needs you.  You are the only healthy parent they have.  If you go to court and appear crazy yourself (because he has driven you nuts), the judge will be looking at two crazy people and be forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

Psychopaths are good at hiding their crazy.  Luc hid it from me just like your ex likely hid it from you.  They are amazing actors and will come to court with their new victim or some other people they have fooled into thinking they are not parasites.  They will get on the stand and cry on demand.  They will remain calm as they explain how the court should pity them because they are the victim.  My ex actually sat on the stand and described his rape of a woman as an event that traumatized HIM and made him feel like the victim.  After several of Luc’s victims came to court to testify against him, the numerous accounts of child abuse and arrests (I had a police officer come to court in a different state to testify against him), and his own ridiculously strange testimony, he was still awarded unsupervised visitation.

Our justice system is broken; however, in order to fix it we must all end the silence.