Courage To Change The Things You Can

In the past few weeks, I have gotten several emails from women who are going through scary custody situations.  Many of them reach out to ask me what they should do.  They tell me how scared they are because Luc reminds them of their ex, and they fear that something terrible will happen to their children.  I have written on this topic before, but this is a topic that I think anyone who is going through a rough time can benefit from.

Let me first say this:  People have asked me how I am able to still continue to live after my son was brutally murdered.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but one thing I can assure you of is that I am NOT the strongest woman who has ever lived.  Every person has the capacity to make the best of their lives despite their circumstances.  I made the choice to keep living, but that is not to say that I didn’t have days where I wondered how I would survive.  I lived through many of those traumatic days while Prince was still living.

If you find yourself enduring legal abuse in the middle of a Custody War (or if you are living through another form of terrible trauma like the loss of a loved one), here are some tips that could help.  While these are things I wished I had heard, there is no rule book for this sort of trauma.  You have to do what works for you, and it might take a few tries at different things to get it right.

Find Your People:  When something devastating happens in your life, it helps to surround yourself by people who love you and have your best interest at heart.  For me this was family and a few close friends.  For some people, family might not be the first group of people you turn to.  Be wary of people who crawl out of their troll villas to make your pain worse.  There are many unhappy people out there who enjoy feeding off of the pain of others.  If you sense that you are connected to one of these people, remove yourself from their presence quickly and don’t look back.

Find Your Spirit:  For me, this involved going to church, and talking to my priest.  If church isn’t your thing, find a place where you can tap into your spirit and find some peace.  Praying helped me to remember that there were things that were out of my hands and that I was doing the best I could.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health:  If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  Most parents who are in the midst of custody hell, try and focus on the children all the time.  They don’t realize that by not taking care of themselves, they are not doing the best they can for their children.  Children are like emotional sponges.  When you are anxious, your baby is anxious.  A terrible custody case can drive even the most sane individual mad.  Everyone who has traveled on a commercial airline has heard that if the air pressure in the plane changes, you are to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you attempt to put one on your child.  This is clearly so that you don’t pass out before you have the chance to help your child.  The same concept applies to mental health.  You cannot emotionally support your children through a stressful situation if you are an emotional wreck.

Enjoy Every Second With Your Child As If It’s Your Last:  What happened to my son was the worst case scenario.  I would never tell parents to expect the worst.  That said, don’t take the time you have with your child for granted.  When your children are around, enjoy the time you spend with them and try not to focus on worrying about the time when they will be with the other parent.  I distinctly remember spending hours on the phone with lawyers when I should have been spending that time with my son.  I cannot get those hours back now.

Lawyers Will Take All Of Your Money If You Let Them:  When I was going through the custody war, I always thought that if I could just make a little more money maybe I could protect my son.  There was a time when I was feeling guilty for spending money on food when I could be paying my attorneys.  One night, my attorney called and told me that if I didn’t pay them 5k by the end of the week, they would stop working on my case.  I cried on the phone telling them that I didn’t have anymore money, and his reply was that maybe I should ask friends or “rob a bank”.  I racked up credit card debt and drained my bank account because I believed this would save my son.  At the end of the day, it clearly didn’t save my son.  Lawyers will continue to take your money if you let them.  Try to find advocacy groups to help suggest pro bono help, and think about ways you can cut down on some of the unnecessary litigation.  Money doesn’t fix a broken system.  Don’t let your custody battle drive you to a financial place that negatively impacts the quality of your child’s life.

Finally, on my worst days, I read this prayer over and over:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

I know these words make many of us think of an AA meeting, but there are not many truer prayers you can say.  Unfortunately, shit happens – bad shit happens – and when bad shit happens…it sometimes gets worse.  Many times, there are a lot of things that are out of your control.  Handle the things you can handle, and let go of the things you cannot.

For months after my son died, I went over and over in my head about what I could have done to save him.  What I had to realize is that I couldn’t save him.  I also had to realize that no matter how much I obsessed about what happened, it wasn’t going to bring him back to life.  I could, however, change the way I lived my future.  I could choose happiness, and put one foot in front of the other.  Do I have days when I cry and don’t want to get out of bed?  Absolutely.

There are many things in my life that I regret, but I am so thankful that I was able to enjoy many moments with my son despite the terror that my entire family was living through when he was alive.  During these dark moments, hang onto the joy.  There is always joy – you just might need to dig a bit to find it.

 

 

Child Soldiers

On March 24, 2013,  a Washington Post Editorial shed light on the ugly realities of Child Abuse in our country.  According to the Washington Post, experts estimate that more than 2,000 children die from abuse and neglect each year, with nearly 82 percent of victims being under the age of 4.  The Post then goes on to disclose a possibly even more disturbing comparison when it mentions that between 2001 and 2010 15,510 children were reported to have died from child abuse and neglect.  This number is 2 1/2 times the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When I read the Post editorial, I stared at my computer in shock – completely hung up on these statistics.  Ironically, while I was reading the editorial, the national news was playing in the background.  The newscaster was discussing how careful we must be when we send our troops to war, and the tragedies that occur on the home front when a soldier doesn’t return.  My son was sent to war too, but it was a different war.  It was a domestic war that children are fighting every day.  Healthy mothers and fathers are forced to send their children to the battle lines of a disordered/crazy/abusive “co-parent” –  armed with nothing more than the hope that they will return unharmed.

The War:

I have spoken with many parents about Family Court, my beliefs when it comes to the system, and tips I learned the hard way.  When I describe Child Custody as a Custody War, I am not trying to be dramatic.  That is exactly what it is.  If you are faced with going to court for custody of your child, with someone whom you believe to have a personality disorder, it will not just be a battle it will be a full on war.  These individuals need to feel as if they win no matter what happens and they will continue the battles until the war is won to their satisfaction.  The reality is – this war could very well last 18 years.  It will be ugly, your child will likely suffer as a result, and the court will inevitably not put the child’s needs first – ever.

Difficult Questions:

Not every custody situation needs to turn into a war.  While I understand first hand how emotions can run high when it comes to your child, it is in the best interest of your child to step back and try to look at the situation with the most objective eye possible.  Before entering into a war, I suggest asking yourself the most important question every parent should ask themselves in a situation like this:  ”Will my child’s parent physically harm my child – intentionally or by neglecting the child’s immediate needs?”

 

Honest Answers:  

If the answer to the above question is “yes”, you need to find the most intelligent/aggressive attorney you can afford, dig your heels in, and prepare for an all out Custody War.  Your child deserves to be protected and deserves the healthiest life you can possibly provide them.  If the unthinkable happens to you, as it did to me, you will need to know that you did everything in your power to save your child or else you will blame yourself forever.

If, however, the honest answer is “no” then you need to think hard about what is making you uncomfortable about the other parent.  The hard reality is that the world is full of terribly immoral jerks.  Your child’s father or mother might just be one of them.  Your child will run into a lot of jerks in his/her life and you will not be able to shield them from these deplorable people forever.  Trust me when I tell you that if the other parent is a scumbag, your child will probably realize this before you need to even utter a word.

One of my readers told me about something her young daughter recently said after coming home from a visit with her father.  (Note: the child is about four years old)  The child wisely said, “Mama, I don’t think Daddy is a very good person.  He lies a lot.”  The woman was shocked (and a bit worried) as she had worked very hard to make sure her daughter never heard her speak negatively about the father.  While the father would without a doubt blame parental alienation for his daughter’s statements, the reality of the situation is that this child is just perceptive.  Children can spot bad sometimes sooner than adults can.  Prince hated evil.  He was always able to spot it and it didn’t take me having to tell him.  In fact, he wouldn’t have understood me even if I had tried.

Little Soldiers:

Possibly the most painful part of any Custody War is the days when you will have to send your child to someone you wouldn’t even hire to be your daycare provider.  Even worse, the constant reminder that you had a child with this person and will be battling this monster for 18 years.  No matter how awful it feels to constantly drag yourself into court day after day, turn most or all of your salary over to attorneys, and face legal abuse every single day – your child is the real soldier.  Your child will be on the front lines of this war and you will not always be there to protect him/her.

I wish there were something I could say – some advice that I could give on how you could prepare your child with some sort of weapon for protection.  The only weapons there are in this fight are the weapons of love and hope.  I will never forget the last time I saw my son.  As I placed him in the supervisor’s car, I kissed him on the face, hugged him tight, and told him how much I loved him.  I armed him with love that day.  It was all I had to give him.  There are days when I am angry at myself – wishing that I could have armed him with more.  In the end, however, I know that at least my son knew real love in his 15 months of life.  My son knew that day how much his Mommy loved him.  That is what I hold onto when I am so angry and full of rage at the outcome of my Custody War.

I had hoped and prayed that I would be able to give Prince more, but that is all I had – love and hope.  I now fight every day to make sure that your children are armed with more than mine was.  In order to make children safe, we need to stop making them soldiers and stop sending them to the front lines of battle.  We need to change the minds of those who feel the need to send them – the courts.

Prince was a brave soldier.  I am a proud Mama knowing that even after he is gone, he will fight to protect those who will stand on the front lines after him.  I will fight to make sure of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unrealistic Expectations

I couldn’t stop shaking.  I knew that every word coming out of my mouth would likely not make any sense.  This was the last time I would testify in an attempt to save my son’s life.  As I walked to the stand, I felt as if my legs would buckle beneath me.  Judge Algeo watched me closely and I knew this was going to have to be the show of my life.  Sadly, no matter how much I tried to “keep my emotions in check” as I had been coached many times by my attorneys – this was my son I was fighting for and I couldn’t shut off my maternal instincts.  I hadn’t eaten in a week, hadn’t slept in days, and probably should have been on some sort of anti-depressant medication (if, in fact, there are meds that can help a mother not feel as terrified as I felt in that moment).

My testimony went by in a blur.  Everything I had planned to say didn’t come out right.  I begged Judge Algeo to wait until Prince was old enough to speak before he would consider unsupervised  visits.  As I sat there terrified and shaking, Luc sat back and smirked.  He knew he had checked all of the boxes (or at least lied his way through the court’s tests) and he appeared to enjoy my very visible pain.  Prudence Upton, Luc’s very aggressive attorney, seemed to also enjoy my suffering.  She spent a considerable amount of time chastising me for not making plans for Luc to spend time with Prince at chuck -e- cheese on his first birthday.  I remember thinking to myself, ‘seriously woman?  You are worried about chuck-e-cheese and I am worried about my son living to see his second birthday.’

Unfortunately it appeared as though Chuck-e-cheese was a bigger deal than I thought it was.  Judge Algeo and Prudence seemed to expect that it was my job that week to make sure that Luc didn’t have to lift a finger in order to spend time with his son.  I was supposed to contact the supervisor and request more time, plan for a party that Luc would enjoy, and make sure everything was rolled out on a red carpet.  Luc never lifted a finger nor requested extra time outside of court.  That day, however, Luc was the calm and collected father who could shed a controlled tear on the stand and I was the mother who had been painted as a basket case – a scorned woman – and over dramatic.

 

A reflection of myself:

 

A couple of nights ago, I received a frantic phone call from a mother who is going through a terrifying custody case with an abusive (soon to be ex) husband.  She has a two year old son whom she is fighting for.  As I spoke to her on the phone, I thought to myself, ‘this woman sounds like a basket case.’  After our conversation was over,  however, I realized that I may as well have just been speaking to myself  about seven months ago.  This woman had a right to be frantic – act crazy – be terrified – or whatever emotion her body allowed her to have.  She was in the fight of her life struggling through a thankless and helpless system that fully intended on harming her son for the sake of “parental rights”.

 

To give you some background, the father in this case had assaulted this two year old boy and this abuse was documented by Child Protective Services.  In fact, the CPS worker came into court to testify in the hearing when this mother tried to get a protective order against the father for her son.  After hearing the testimony of the abuse, the judge denied the protective order calling the bruises found on the boy “merely negligence” vice abuse.  The judge admitted that he called it “negligence” because he did not want to end all visitation.  This judge chose to  protect the father over this two year old little boy.

 

Upon hearing that the protective order for her son was denied, and visits with the abusive father would begin, this mother broke down crying in the courtroom.  The judge reportedly called her out publicly and told her to “put on [her] game face.”  He continued to tell her that he was watching her every move and that this sort of “behavior” would be used against her in his future rulings.

 

Unrealistic expectations:

Ever since I have gone through my own Custody War, I have learned many tough lessons.  One of the toughest lessons that I have learned is that the courts have turned into a war zone.  In this war zone, women are expected to stop being mothers who worry about their children.  In fact, showing fear in the courtroom could be one of the very things that will label you as a “parental alienator”.  We are supposed to forget about having been abused, turn our children over to men we know have abused and will abuse again, and we are supposed to do all of this enthusiastically and with a smile on our faces.

 

To expect a woman who has lived through the chaos created by a psychopath to “remain calm” in family court as the abuse continues, and while she is trying to protect her innocent child, is asking her to leave her humanity at the door.  Any woman who could walk into family court when the stakes are that high and remain calm – I would question her mental state.  I have heard that the family court used to be slanted toward women.  I sure wish I had been going through the system at that time. When I went through, I experienced what seemed like a war on motherhood.  I was told I wasn’t allowed to be a mother to my son, but that I was required to make sure that Luc could be his father despite what he had done that proved he was not capable of being a real father.

 

As absurd as it sounds, I am still waiting for the day when I get a call from my family attorneys telling me that Judge Algeo has requested that I provide Luc with some time to visit Prince’s grave.  I can also imagine that in this same phone call I would be asked to provide Luc with a car, since he doesn’t have one, and a packed lunch for the long trip.  Some of you might be thinking that sounds absurd, but not as absurd as the moment when I stood over my son’s dying body listening to nurses discuss how they wanted to create a hospital “visitation schedule” for the man who had just murdered my son.

While nurses were discussing allowing this man to visit, I was told that if I said a word to Luc that I would be taken to a psychiatric ward and kept away from my son in his final hours.  That – ladies and gentlemen – is the state of our society.

V-Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  Many people will be celebrating with their loved ones, giving and receiving candy and flowers, and feeling generally warm and fuzzy.  While part of me would love to join in on the love fest, I have decided to write about the other date that falls on February 14th - V-Day.  For those of you who have never heard of this, V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls inspired by Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues.

Critics of V-Day are angry that there are people who want to talk about Domestic Violence on a day that is supposed to be about relationships and love.  To them I say – until domestic violence is no longer tied to “relationships” and “love”, I will continue to talk about it.  I think Valentines Day is the perfect day to talk about this issue.  It is a time when women and men should examine love and relationships and either cherish having found a man who isn’t abusive, plan on how to escape an abusive relationship, or try and help someone who is being abused.

So for my V-Day blog post, I am going to tell one woman’s story of abuse as a tribute to this day.
(Note:  The man in this story is NOT Luc)
“Mr. GQ” and the loss of innocence:

I remember the first time I saw him, he looked like he had walked right out of a GQ magazine.  He was tall, dark, handsome, and very well dressed.  I had arrived at the party early and the only person I knew hadn’t arrived yet.  Though I was super confident, I was also shy around guys.  I was 22, had just graduated from college, and only recently moved away from my entire family.  While I had dated in college, I was still a virgin.  I was waiting for “Mr. Right” or “Prince Charming”.  I still believed in fairytale romance and hoped to one day be swept off of my feet.
Mr. GQ flashed me a smile from across the room.  Initially I looked behind me because I thought he most certainly couldn’t have been looking at me.  A few minutes later, he was standing in front of me asking me for my number.  Over the course of a couple weeks, we went out on several dates and things seemed to be going pretty well.  I told him I wasn’t interested in sex before marriage and to my surprise he seemed cool with that.  One day, he invited me over to his place to watch a movie to which I accepted without a second thought.
Upon arrival, he led me into his bedroom.  I remember asking him why we couldn’t just watch the movie in the den like normal people.  He made up some excuse about the main television being broken and having an annoying housemate.   A couple of minutes after the movie started, he handed me a drink.  Things went south quickly as he moved to taking off my clothes.  I protested and reminded him that I didn’t want to have sex with him.  He told me to be quiet and that it would be over quickly.
I remember feeling confused and scared.  Why didn’t I feel normal?  I felt like I was fighting to remain conscious and I kept blacking out.  Was there something in the drink?  As he forced himself on top of me, he didn’t care that I was pushing him off trying to make it stop nor did he care that I continued to say no.  I felt like a rag doll and he looked like a robot on auto pilot.  After it was over, I was in shock.  I felt dizzy and wondered if this was really happening or if I was going to wake up from this nightmare.
I never called him again.  I went through the next several months wondering if I was still a virgin or whether I could even call that rape since I had agreed to go into his bedroom.  I chose not to report it, because I knew that it would come down to my word against his and I had gone to his room willingly.
The Aftermath:
The woman in the story was 22 year old Cappuccino Queen.  I was raped the first time I had sex.  I don’t talk about my first time, nor do I look upon it with the same fondness that I imagine some women who planned it might.  Until recently, I didn’t even want to consider what happened to me as rape.
Ever since my son died, many people have told me how strong I am.  I wasn’t strong as a 22 year old woman.  I was scared and I let a rapist go free to rape others because I was too afraid to report it.
Almost ten years later, I met Luc (a different guy that Mr. GQ and clearly even worse).  After having lived through such a terrible experience in my 20′s with Mr. GQ, I believed that maybe I had just met someone nice and charming who was actually Prince Charming.  Right after I had Prince, this man I had believed was my Prince Charming (Luc) raped my 19 year old sister.  After learning what he did to her, I wanted my sister to report it.  I didn’t want her to feel the shame that I feel now – ten years from now.  After my sister reported the rape, however, I learned a very scary and painful lesson.  Unless a man jumps out of the bushes with a ski mask on, beats you to a pulp, and its all caught on a retail surveillance camera, you will be lucky if the rapist sees any jail time – you will be lucky if it isn’t turned on you.
Having been a victim myself of this violent crime, I am here to tell you that women don’t report rape for the hell of it – out of anger – or for revenge.  Rape is not a black and white issue and not all rapists jump out of bushes with ski masks.  It takes a very strong woman to admit that she has been raped and EVERY report needs to be taken seriously.  In our country, criminals receive the benefit of innocence until they are proven guilty.  When it comes to rape, that often means the victim is seen as guilty until proven innocent.
Recently, the Washington Post reported about what happened to me and my sister after my sister tried to remove the man who raped her from the streets.  I am certain that instead of being appalled at what occurred, at least one person commented on the article about how awful it is when women report rape falsely.  I am willing to bet that people who jump to the conclusion that the report was false have been in situations themselves where they have committed acts of violence against women.  These people fight fervently to make it seem as if women run around the streets crying rape at the drop of a hat.  This just doesn’t happen.
The man who raped my sister was not an innocent man.  Having potentially escaped the law in several murders, and then after raping a woman not even half his age, he became emboldened.  He felt above the law because he had been.  Then, he went on to kill an innocent child for money.  I can almost guarantee that the police officers who didn’t want to believe this man could possibly be a rapist have still not learned their lessons.  I am willing to bet that these same officers will continue to charge victims and allow criminals who commit acts of sexual violence to walk free.  They will do this because our system allows it and  encourages it.  When  a victim is further victimized by the system – authorities are never punished for getting it wrong.  In fact, the officer who arrested my sister after my sister had been raped was promoted soon after.
This week – I encourage you to celebrate love and cherish healthy relationships.  While you’re receiving flowers and chocolates, however, please also think about the work that still needs to be done in this country before women are truly equal and before we are all truly free.

Surrounded by people – but still alone

It’s Christmas Eve tonight.  One year ago, this very moment, I was tucking my son into bed and preparing to wrap his presents for his first Christmas.  Looking back, I am glad that I was unaware of how bad things would get.  I was able to celebrate my son’s first Christmas like he would have so many more.  It was my son’s first Christmas, but it was also his last.

I didn’t go shopping this year and I haven’t been able to listen to Christmas music.  Nothing seems to matter without Prince.  I have been smiling to make others happy and going through the motions, but truth be told – I wish this holiday would just pass this year. It’s just another day that I have to wake up without my baby boy.

I woke up this morning and my first thought was how I needed to go get Prince.  Then, I remembered  that he was gone.  Even though its been nine weeks since he passed away, I still wake up sometimes and its like he is dying all over again.

My belief in God might be what’s keeping me from completely falling apart.  While so many people have tried to comfort me by saying that Prince is in a better place, this doesn’t seem to give me peace.  A better place for Prince would be here on earth where he would be allowed to live out his life.  Instead, he was never given that chance that he deserved.  So while he is not here suffering along side his grieving Mama, I am not so sure that he is in a better situation than he would be had he been allowed to live.

 

So right now as the police, the judge, the lawyers, the prosecutors, and the medical examiner all sit down with their families and prepare to spend the holiday full of joy and happiness, I remember the one Christmas my son was allowed to have.  I think about how this Christmas I will be visiting his grave instead of watching his face light up with joy while opening presents.  It’s this time of year when people take a vacation from things like death, duty, and “solving murders”.  Instead, they hug their children extra tight and thank God they aren’t me tonight.

 

I am surrounded by what feels like thousands of people, but tonight – I am completely all alone.  I am left with the thoughts of my dead son.  The child I was not allowed (by law) to protect.  I was a mother interrupted and my son was living on borrowed time.

 

Though my son was a shining star in my life, these past three years have been full of pain.  I grieve my son, but I have been grieving the loss of happiness, innocence, and justice since the day I left the devil.  I took my newborn son out of what I knew to be a life threatening situation and the courts send him right back.  I was not allowed to be his mother.

 

I sit here tonight remembering my son and thinking about all the things I wish he could have done – the places he could have seen – and the milestones he should have met.  I wonder when it will be that I am aloud to live my life and leave this monster in the shadows where he belongs.

 

So tonight, I don’t feel thankful for much in the face of this terrible loss.  I do, however, thank God for the fire burning rage I have inside of me.  It is this rage that keeps me fighting for Justice.  While I know that all of those who had a hand in killing my son will one day have to answer to God for their sins, I am certain that God left me behind to make sure that these same people don’t get away with these same sins here on earth.  Bottom line – there is nothing scarier to a public servant who has done wrong than a mother scorned.  There is nothing scarier to a psychopath than a woman who is not afraid to shine a light on what he really is.

Karma is an Angry, Scorned Woman – Watch out Psychopath

Tonight I received a letter from a woman who reads my blog.  She told me that she has been in a Custody War with her psychopath ex for eight years.  She has been through countless hearings and has suffered from both physical abuse at the hands of the psychopath and legal abuse from the courts.  Though her children haven’t been in contact with the psychopath since 2006, he continues to drag her to court for the sheer “enjoyment” of it.  It continues to amaze me how a person can actually ENJOY being in court.  Personally, court makes me feel terrible.  I could be winning and everything could be going my way, yet leaving court often makes me feel terrible because its always an abusive incident when dealing with a psychopath.

The Psychopath Blood Sucking Monster

Many people would read this woman’s story and say, “hey lady, what is wrong with you?  You should be happy your kids don’t have to deal with him and blessed to have left that abusive situation!”  I, however, understand how terrible she feels being dragged through the coals of court over and over again.  It doesn’t matter if the psychopath is clearly a dysfunctional mess.  The courts don’t care about the fact that this process allows a psychopath continued access and a constant chance to feed off of the emotions of their victim like a blood sucking predator sucking the life out of its prey.  This poor woman has been dragged back to court every six weeks for the past eight years.  In the psychopath’s feable brain, he believes this is a perfect scenario.  He doesn’t actually have to BE a father, but he gets to pretend he cares while causing maximum pain and suffering to the person he believed scorned him.

My Advice

Let’s be honest – I have only been in this hell for a year and a half; therefore, I completely understand that I am just chipping the top of the iceberg on information about psychopaths and how to recover.  That being said, sometimes I feel as if my story mirrors so many others.  There are so many women (and sometimes men too) who have suffered at the hands of these monsters.  When I read this letter, my first reaction was near panic as I realized how possible it is that I could be fighting this same war eight years from now – even 17 years from now.

So in moments of panic and despair, what do I do?

1)  I look at my son and realize he is worth it.  He is worth every minute of the fight.  I have said this before and I will say it again.  I would go to the end of the earth, jump off, feel the pain of the impact, and do it all over again for my son – every single day of my life.  I can have the worst day and feel completely helpless, but coming home to his smiles and hugs keeps me fighting this war.

2)  I try to put things into perspective.  Luc chose me for a reason.  I had my life together.  I was successful and I had an amazing life ahead of me.  No matter how long this war takes, I will still be me and he will still be him.  He is a parasite who lives to feed off of people whom he wishes he could be.  I have the power to NOT react to his terror; therefore, I had the power to take away his supply.

3)  Finally, God works in mysterious ways and Karma is an angry, scorned woman who gets her revenge on people like Luc – psychopaths.  I believe that God and Karma work as a good team.  Luc will have to answer to God someday.  He will be standing at the gates of heaven and likely receive a heavy kick in the butt on his way down to hell.  Karma, on the other hand, works her magic here on earth.  Psychopaths aren’t happy people because no matter how much they get away with – bad things always happen to them eventually.

There have been many moments over the past year when I have been reduced to tears – crying and shaking in a corner like an infant.  I am sure I will have more of these moments before my son turns 18 and the courts finally allow me to remove Luc’s vampire fangs from my neck.  In the meantime, however, I will always be baby boy’s mom.  At some point, we are more important than all this.  So allow yourself to cry, but don’t forget to also allow yourself to have some joy in the midst of the madness.  Let Karma’s rage and fury take care of the psychopath.

Society Blames the Victim Instead of the Psychopath

I am not sure why I am still shocked when people choose to blame the psychopath’s victim.  I have heard that this is normal from others who have suffered from an encounter with psychopath, but I still get a shock each time it happens to me.  From friends, to family, to the courts, to complete strangers – people seem to want to find something wrong with me to somehow better explain to themselves how this happened to me.  It has been happening so long that sometimes I find myself wondering there is something wrong with me that made me ignore the red flags and believe the completely fantastic story he was telling me.

The Judgements:

This week alone, I have experienced both friends and family trying to psycho analyze me and question how I ended up with such a monster as the father of my son.  I am not sure how to respond to people when they ask me absurd questions or decide that it was somehow my fault that I ended up being conned by Luc.  Here are some of the things I have heard over the past year (the first two were said just this week):

1)   “CQ, really…how did this happen?  What were you thinking?  I mean, please don’t feel as if I am blaming you…but how did you not see this coming?”  -  An old friend

2)  ”I know what happened….I think CQ must like to be controlled by an abusive man.”  -  A family member (behind my back)

3)  ”Let’s be honest…you wanted a bad boy…so you are now getting what you asked for and deserve.  My daughter, who is your age, would never be in this situation because she doesn’t like bad boys.  She is marrying a man who wears suits and collared shirts.”  -  My Lawyer

4)  ”You are not without fault here CQ, what you saw in this man…well, it must have been fairy dust…and now the fairy dust has disappeared and you are going to have to deal with him for at least the next 18 years.”  -  The Judge

5)  ”You didn’t have a problem with him touching you, so you shouldn’t be so bothered that he is now touching your son.”  -  Family member

My Reality:

The hardest thing for people to understand, it seems, is how a person can be conned by someone who is so clearly dysfunctional.  My response to that is, “when a person’s full time job is to learn everything about you – your hopes, dreams, weaknesses – in order to exploit and con you – you will likely end up conned.”  I have used the analogy before of the frog and the boiling water and in this case I can’t think of another analogy that would prove my point any better.  Psychopaths control the boiling water.  They know that if they threw their victims into a pot of boiling water, most people would jump right out screaming and cursing at them.  Instead, they slowly bring the water to boil with the intension of burning their victims alive.

Every time I walk into court, I feel like I am holding my heart inside of my chest with my bear hands.  This process, this war, with Luc has torn me apart from the inside out.  Luc’s boiling water effectively ripped me apart, but sometimes I feel as if the judgement and misunderstanding I receive from those I love and society at large is worse.  I went from being a beautiful, self confident, intelligent, and successful woman – to a victim of a completely misunderstood abuse.  Luc burned me alive, but society will always blame me as if I willingly jumped into a burning fire along side satan.

The Future:

I want my son to know his mama as the woman I was – but wiser.  I dread the day when my son might join society and make judgements about what happened with his father.  Will he understand how his father used my kindness against me?  Will he understand why I tried to hold the relationship together even when it seemed clear to the rest of the world that it was a hopeless situation?  Will he understand why I fought so hard to protect him from a man I once trusted?

It’s easy to think about all the horrible things Luc is and ignore the things that attracted me to this man.  While many of the things that attracted me to Luc were not real (most of them were completely fake actually), there are good qualities in Luc.  (Yes, you read that correctly)  Despite the fact that my family refuses to see anything of Luc in baby boy, this is not the stance I will take as baby boy’s mother.  Luc wasn’t born evil – he made choices.  He took his talents and used them for evil.  For example, being charming is not a bad thing if you don’t use it to manipulate and control others.  Being a good actor isn’t a bad thing as long as you use it on stage to entertain instead of to lie and cheat.

I love baby boy for everything that he is and that means that I accept the fact that he is the product of what now feels like a violent emotional rape.  I refuse to make my son feel bad for carrying half of the psychopath’s genes and I also refuse to lie to him.  So while I kick myself every day for not paying attention to the now obvious red flags of Luc’s psychopathy, and I suffer through the constant judgements I receive from others, I would do it all over again for baby boy.  I didn’t choose what Luc really is – but I will choose baby boy every day for the rest of my life.