Healing Journey: Life Patterns

During the time I have spent in meditation, self-reflection and theta healing sessions- I have started to piece together some amazing   connections and notice patterns in my life that repeatedly play out.  Some say that God gives us lessons and until we learn them, he keeps putting the same thing in our lives.  Others believe that it is just simply that we, ourselves, repeat the only behavior we know over and over again – so we see the same experiences repeat themselves.  Another way of looking at this is from the lens of “self-fulfilling prophecies”, and times when people believe for better or worse that something may happen in their lives, and then it does, and then they point to it and say “look, I told you!”.  Regardless of what perspective that we use to look at it – there seems to be agreement that there are patterns in peoples lives. Read More…

My (Electronic) Vision Board

I believe I previously posted about vision boards and the use of them.  I made one physically just after the changes rolled into my life three years ago.  I have it divided into four sections:  one is my children and our happiness together, the other is focused on our freedom to make our own choices about how we spend our time, and it is filled with pictures of our friends/family and enjoying ourselves with them.  On the other corner is a section of romance and finding the perfect soul mate.  On the other is career.  Oddly – it is empty, because I haven’t figured out exactly what I want to do going forward and what is that perfect fit.  My life reflects that still, as I continue to not know what I want to truly be doing and what my purpose here is.  Oh, and there’s another section on the board about being physically healthy and in shape, which was something that was previously very important to me and seems harder and harder to fit into mylife.

This electronic vision board is something I doodled out on my ipad, which was wonderfully given to me and my kids as a Christmas present last year by my brother.  It’s more simple than the version I did years ago, but has the same basic premises.  One of the reasons why I put career & kiddos together is that what I desire is a career that fits reasonably within my children’s school hours and gives me the flexibility to attend events that are important to them.

Now… that said… what is your vision?  Do you have your desired life crystalized in your head?

My Healing Journey

I’ve been quiet and withdrawn.  It’s been a frustrating road watching visitation be put back into place, have my ex attack my character to whomever he speaks with about the situation, and to see my children’s behavior change so dramatically as they are put back into a stressful situation.

That said, I decided to embark this month on a spiritual healing journey.  There is so much in my life which needs major transformation.  There are many philosophies out there which say that we attract into our lives our experiences, people, etc based on our own thoughts and beliefs.  Often these beliefs are unconscious to us – and may stem from our experiences as children.  If we knew abuse or low self worth as children, this continues to play out into our adult lives unless we address it. Read More…

Narcissists are “reality benders”

My kids and I have watched the series “The  Last Airbender” television cartoon series (different than the recent movie).  In it, there are “benders” who are able to manipulate the four elements of water, air, earth and fire by using their own mental energies.

I have decided that a great analogy is that narcissists are benders of “reality”… they wind up creating so much “crazy making” that you doubt yourself.  You doubt all the really crappy stuff that has been occurring… did that really happen?  The NPD person says it didn’t, or that you misinterpreted it, or you’re making it up.  They screw with your head so much that you doubt your reality and what is really happening around you.  It’s like getting married in the land of Oz with the officiant being the Wicked Witch (or was it the nice witch??).

I’m finding that it doesn’t change when they deal with what happens with their children.  My daughter bounded through the door this weekend after visitation was resumed…. saying that the weekend was awesome and her dad was great.  I looked at her, stunned, with a blank jaw-dropped look on my face.  She said “Why are you looking at me like that?”  I said “I’ve never heard you say anything like that”… , the words stumbling out of my mouth.  I then asked her if her and her Dad have talked about what she has said about being with him.  “Well… ” she pauses… “yes, maybe”.

It seems to me that the last thing that she needs is to have me to have yet another conversation about it.  So, she told me a little and I asked no  more.  I asked her to ‘remember her truth”.  To make sure that she doesn’t allow someone else to change in her mind what really happened for her.  Whatever she experienced, however she felt – remember it and stick with that.  That’s her experience and her truth.

I also asked her to make sure to speak with the social workers and counselors in her life.  I told her to tell them exactly what happened and what was said to her… not to tell them what she was told to say, but what was said to her.  This is telling what happened, and that’s okay. If it’s confusing to her, they can help her work it out.    Given that I’m sure he is saying I am manipulating my children’s opinion of him (because this would be projecting what he’s doing himself onto me – it makes sense that he will do this) – I’m hoping my best move is to so keep my children focused on what they’ve experienced and how it felt to them… keep the information as clean and crisp and clear as possible.

“Validated”… it’s that word that so many of us as adults dealing with pyschopaths use when we realize that our reality was really our reality.  I can’t imagine how tough this might be for small children!

 

Back to Visitation

Yesterday was a whirlwind.  CPS reinstated visitation.  They see it as a sticky case because it has been going on for so many years, and because there are court orders in place.  The county attorneys need very substantive reasons to suspend court ordered visitation (which is a problem itself – because it limits their ability to truly protect the kids).

The CPS social worker wants me and my ex to meet the week after thanksgiving to discuss what’s going on for the kids.  She wants to recommend my ex take parenting classses, and also has told him not to discuss the case or investigation with the kids.  She is also looking for coparenting classes or some way to help improve how we interact to keep the kids out of it.

My daughter’s therapist steps in – but doesn’t say that going back to visitation will be traumatic.  Why?  I don’t understand that.  She calls my ex and discusses with him that our daughter is worried about the time with him.  Of course, he doesn’t understand why….  She also very clearly tells my ex not to discuss anything with our children.

So our children went with him last night for the evening, returning at 8pm without any homework being completed and a test today for our daughter.  Of course.

The first thing my daughter says to me?  “Mom… daddy says that you want him to be arrested.”  Then “And daddy says he wants to get you arrested”.  Then she says “It’s very confusing.”.   I let her answer her own question after sympathizing that she shouldn’t have been told that.  I asked her “what do you think mommy wants, honey?”  She says “for me and my brother to have a better life”.  Yes… that is true… for you to be safe, to enjoy yourselves as children and to be allowed to just be children, to not have to deal with adult stuff, and even so much as enjoy the time with your dad.

I did report my ex’s comments to the CPS social worker.  She is concerned that he would simply disregard the instructions he was given and is considering consequences.  She wants to engage her supervisor and others in what to do about this -and her concern about the anxiety the kids have over the visits, and in being in this situation for so so long without anything changing.  I want so bad to tell herI that it is unlikely to change because my ex is psychopathic and personality disordered, but surely that won’t come off well.  I am just thankful that there are steps in place to continue trying to do something for my kids.

And I pray that they are divinely protected through the weekend, and if there is abuse occurring which has not yet been disclosed- physical or sexual – that this is revealed in a way we can do something about to protect my kiddos.

In the meantime, I am job hunting and looking for a new attorney.  Maybe interview a few to see what I can come up with to see if there are better alternatives.  I am so working very, very hard on my faith and keeping it in tact that everything that is  happening will help us to get to a better place for my babies.

 

Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenges

I have been doing Deepak’s meditation challenges, and really enjoying them.  They are easy – he starts with an introduction each day on what he wants you to consider.  He gives you a mantra to help you refocus, and he only asks you to center you mind for about 10 minutes after he speaks.  I love it.  It’s a great way to start the day, and frankly, it can be done from a smartphone while still half asleep under the covers (what’s better than that??).

I thought I would pass it along.  Maybe you will love it too!

https://www.chopracentermeditation.com/Bestsellers/LandingPage.aspx?BookId=172

Barry Goldstein: Research on Domestic Violence & Child Custody

Sometime back,I reached out to Barry Goldstein to look for ideas on how to handle the issues with my kids.  He and Theresa Mo’Hannah have published a book about domestic violence and child custody.  It’s a wealth of information and even though the price of it is somewhat out of reach for those of us in the trenches with dealing with this, there are helpful portions on their site:  http://www.domesticviolenceabuseandchildcustody.com/

I want to include here the exact words that Barry wrote back to me, as it has power in more and more people being aware of it.  I really wish I had posted this earlier, but unfortunately, it’s hard to stay centered and remember all the various pieces of relevant information.

Here is what he wrote to me:

“You have written at a good time because an important US Dept. of Justice study by Dr. Daniel Saunders has just been released and supports that fact that many of the positions and approaches used by the court professionals in your case are based on inadequate training and bias.  These practices have been shown to lead to decisions as in your case that are harmful to children.  Here is a link for the new study:
Here is a link to two articles I wrote about how to use the Saunders’ study in your case.
    Potentially you could make an application for a modification of visitation based on the harmful effects the visitation has had on your children and the new research which demonstrates it was a mistake to place the burden on you and the children to accommodate the abusive father instead of requiring him to change his behavior if he wants visitation.  The Saunders study found that domestic violence is a specialized area of knowledge and the usual and mandatory dv training given to judges, lawyers and evaluators does not provide them with the expertise they need.  Saunders specifically recommends particular training such as screening for dv, risk assessment and post-separation violence.  The practices used in your case demonstrate the professionals were missing this training.  In fact Saunders found that unqualified professionals tend to believe women frequently make false allegations, mothers’ attempts to limit contact with the father are harmful to the children and domestic violence is unimportant.  These unqualified professionals also tend to believe unscientific theories about alienation.  It appears the professionals in your case had all of these mistaken beliefs.  This led to decisions that place the children at risk.
    You would have good supporting research to modify the order, but the question is whether the court can hear information that challenges their normal practices.  It would require the judge to be open to new information and the integrity to correct mistakes.  You would need to present the information sensitively in a way the judge could hear and there is the danger the court could retaliate.”

The Irony of the Single Parent in a Custody Battle, and the Requirement to be Perfect

As I drove away from the school today, dropping off my kids at the last possible second (think tazmanian devil whirling into the lot and us running into the school),  I am amazed that we made it on time and certain that God’s hand was in it.

I look around me and see other parents who are dropping off at the same time – some a few minutes later – where they will get the tardy.  There is one couple calmly pulling into the circle, which is only possible to do if you’re actually tardy, and happily hopping the kid out of the car.  There is another mom who is wheeling in with the same style as me.  I know her well – she is a single parent who is being tortured with case after case and motion after motion being filed against her from her psychopathic ex whom she never even married.

The irony?  The parents who have it the toughest will have every tardy harshly looked at and held against them… proof that we are unfit parents who can’t get our kids to school on time.  The parents who are in an intact, happy marriage who happen to drop the kids off late… no one is judging them or worrying about them.  Yet they happily share the responsibility of getting the kids homework completed, waking them up for school, meals, lunch packed, doctors appointments and sporting events.  Sometimes, these parents even speak of how hard parenting is (and it is a lot of work… no doubt about it).

Yet why is it that those of us who are doing this on our own are judged even harder?  As my attorney puts it… “welcome to the land of litigation”.  Yeah… well… it sucks.  We’re all human and we’re all doing the best we can!!    Just a little side bar… but I know others know the feeling 🙂

Prayers & CPS

Quick post … I’ve been quiet, I admit.  CPS became involved in our situation a couple Friday’s ago.  I shared with the assigned social worker the drawings that our daughter has been doing.  She immediately suspended visitation, within a few hours of when the weekend visitation would have begun.  My kids were so relieved… it was better than Christmas to see the looks on their faces.

Fast forward… social worker has spoken with my ex.  He says he never raises his voice, never physically disciplines “the children” and that he is unaware of redness on their private parts.  Social worker says that unless my daughter’s therapist says it will be traumatic to return to visitation right now, that visitation will need to resume this week.  I have no idea why, really.  Of course the ex would deny it all.

Now this means that the ex is well aware of our daughter sharing information with others about how mean he is and what is going on.  Then they have to return to him – and he is already threatening that he wants mommy put in jail.   Isn’t that going to scare them into silence?

Also, ex’s family is hiring an attorney to keep me from making allegations against them (our daughter has drawn a naked picture of her grandfather… reason unknown).  My ex and his entire nauseous family believe that I am making all the allegations and there is no founding.

CPS had asked why I didn’t report earlier.  Gee… here’s exactly why.  They listen to his story, believe him, and then the kids return to a now more dangerous place than previously.

I am praying for all children in these situations with abusive, neglectful parents, and for the judges, social workers, therapists and child protective workers who can make a difference in protecting these kids.

Obstacles & Desires

I like this post by David Krueger on Obstacles & Desires we create in our lives.  I think that it is very relevant to everyone – and especially in my situation and other’s like me.  It has to do with the believe that we create our own obstacles in our lives – that for some reason, we are hestitant to actually move forward to what we really desire, and therefore create an obstacle. Read More…

Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself

“‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31 

This verse was included in the Gospel reading at church yesterday.  When in a situation with a toxic, destructive person – it’s easy to focus on the first portion of the sentence: “you shall love your neighbor”.  The first though that comes to mind is “Aaag! How can I do that when this person is tearing apart my life??”  This is an important component to this sentence – as it helps a ton to look at the situation with compassion and understanding about how difficult it must be to deal with Narcissist Personality Disorder personally.  I have had many conversations with my ex when we were together where he couldn’t at all grasp the idea of being internally happy and peaceful.  Sure, we all have this problem from time to time – but a person with NPD has this problem perpetually, and will have it into perpetuity.

The second half of this bible quote is equally, if not more important.  Do you love yourself?  Read More…

A Five Year Old’s Perspective on the Presidential Campaign

  Last evening, my five year old son was chanting “Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney!” 

Then he froze.  He asked me, “Mom, who is it that wants to get rid of Elmo?”

I answered “Mitt Romney”

Then he asked “Who is it that is going against Mitt Romney?”

I answered “Barack Obama”

Then he chanted again.  “”Rock Obama, ‘Rock Obama”

 

Defense vs. Being Assertive – Legal Battles with a Narcissist

Last week, when I met with my daughter’s therapist, I received a litany of items that I need to change or do.  These items aren’t from my daughter’s therapist, they were being passed along from my attorney to my daughter’s therapist to me.  How annoying.

My take is that my attorney has been scarred by the experience of my court case, which defied all laws of logic.  When we went to court three years ago, there was so much that happened through that 3 day custody hearing that should have protected me and my children.  However, it didn’t whatsoever, and in fact, I was penalized and required to pay legal fees for my ex for having tried to protect my kids.

That was then, this is now.  What I find interesting is the different approaches from my attorney & my ex’s attorney: being on the defensive vs. being offensive.  My ex’s attorney is offensive (in every definition of the word).  He will argue for my ex regardless of whether it makes sense for me or my children.  He turns everything around in my ex’s favor…. for e.g. arguing that the issues my son displays must be because he spends so much time with me, and therefore he should have more time with his father.    Gee… maybe it’s the raging and physical hitting that is having an impact?  Oh yeah.. my ex’s attorney behaves that way also, so I’m sure he sees it as acceptable.

Nonetheless, what happens is that my ex’s attorney calls my attorney and will yell about a litany of items which are based on nothing.  They are lies, facades and pure bullcrap.  My ex will say how I am trying to keep him out of his children’s lives (err.. not because there isn’t very substantive reason), and then manufacture all sorts of other stories.  There is no basis to these stories, no proof, etc.  My ex believes there is, but there isn’t.  This is the offense… the strategy is to create the fire and then the opposing side has to spend time defending themselves.

In reality, what needs to happen is my attorney needs to be on the offense.  She needs to attack about how the ex’s behavior is detrimental to our children.  However, she doesn’t – maybe because she doesn’t want to show her cards, or reveal too much such that my ex is further scaring our children into not talking.  Again… regardless of the reason, it isn’t happening.  What does happen is that we fall ploy to their tactics.  My attorney (who I want to advocate ruthlessly for me) calls me, the good parent, and goes through the list of all the complaints, and all the things that I am doing which MAY play into what they are accusing me of doing, and may be perceived as keeping the children from their father.

This is then handed to me at a time when I am most worn out mentally and emotionally in dealing with how my children are impacted by their father’s vile, abusive behavior.  I complain, and my attorney tells me it’s not her job to be my friend.  No… I’m not asking for a friend… I’m looking for a ruthless advocate.  I am looking for an attorney who will take the projective statements made by my ex and his attorney, and hold up a mirror to them so that the negative energy goes right back at them.

My vision…  the truth is revealed and  understood by all:  that my ex/children’s father is abusive and that it is in the “best interest of the children” to do something which protects them such as limited supervised visitation.  This isn’t because I want their father out of their lives… it is because I can never change their father into being a positive influence (or even neutral) as I would wish, and the next best alternative is to protect my kids in an environment where they can still spend some time with their father.

 

When the Going Gets Tough

I find that when I am stressed … really stressed and something is bothering me… I get quiet.  My normally extraverted personality turns inwards.  I still function, smile and “play happy” to others.  Often this helps me to “compartmentalize” the stress and to eventually actually feel happy.  Sometimes that doesn’t work, though, and underneath the happy exterior is a layer of “this sucks”.

The “law of attraction” philosophy actually says that if you are unhappy – to make sure to focus your thoughts on what you want to see in your life, and not the things you don’t.  The principle is that you get in your life what you focus on.  The only thing that I don’t understand about this philosophy is how people can work in helping professions (focused on negative situations) and not attract that into their lives.  The reason why I wonder about that is because I really want to help make a difference in this space of dealing with an abusive ex, and the children’s lives who are disrupted by it.  I worry when I focus on the crappy part of my situation that I am just attracting more of it into my life.  However, the reason I ‘focus’ on it is to share it with others so that it helps others to know they aren’t alone.  Or, I think about it to note where our environment only serves to perpetuate bad situations, and how I may be able to work to fight for a better system.

What had me start this post was to reflect on why I haven’t posted as much lately.  I find myself unable to focus as easily and getting more stressed to share what is going on…. so I get quiet.  I don’t even share with family or friends what is happening because the more I talk about it, the worse it feels. The other reason I thought I’d write this post is because it reflects what is probably a ‘normal’ side of how human nature deals with oppressive situations.  Abuse, fear, etc – they all trigger symptoms like depression, isolation, etc.  So, if you wind up feeling like this sometimes… you’re not alone.

What I will do to get to feeling better is to do my faithful gratitude list, and prayer.  Lots of prayer and lots of faith.  To remember that God will lead us out of this situation, and that I need to carefully be aware of what my thoughts and actions should be to help that happen.  Today, I am focusing on being grateful that others are flowing into our lives and listening to what my children have to say.

Hurricane Sandy – Made it through one storm!

Outside, there is a light drizzle and the winds have subsided.  We have emerged on the other side of the storm.  For us, we have thankfully found it to be just a wonderful long weekend.  My kids and I happily hung out at home doing things we rarely have time to do – like play with toys, re-organize their rooms, and then dissemble other rooms.  We have had moments of giddy laughter, and I have had moments where I watched mesmorized that they could find a mundane task like paper-shredding to be full of glee.  Very cathartic, and very grateful.  Oh – and we have power too!

I hope everyone else out there in this section of the world is well and safe from Hurricane Sandy – and any property damage is minimal and easily reparable.

The Oxymoron of Child Protection & Divorce/Custody Cases

There’s a well known system flaw in the cases of child abuse and ‘disputed’ custody cases:  a protective parent must either risk being viewed as trying to cut the other parent out of their lives, or risk their children being harmed further & being accused of failure to protect.

When a parent is concerned that their ex may be abusing their child and they call for help to any of the child abuse hotlines, the mere mention of a divorced situation immediately discounts their story.  However, if they don’t call for help because they know that either their concern will be dismissed or it will enrage the abuser more, there is a risk of being accused of “failure to protect”.  There’s the oxymoron in a situational sense… a parent trying to protect their child who reports abuse can be accused of trying to eliminate their ex spouse from the children’s lives and alienating the other parent. A parent who doesn’t report the abuse can be accused of failing to protect their children (and potentially seeing the children be more seriously injured).  Which is the worse evil? Read More…

God, Please Give Me Strength

On a personal front, I need strength.   My son was returned from the weekend with redness around his anus.  He has a bruise on his backside.  My daughter told me she has a bruise on her leg.  I asked if there was any hitting this weekend.  They both said no.

The social worker at my daughter’s school said my daughter told her two things from the weekend:

1- That my daughter reports that she has a bruise on her leg from her father hitting her.  She told her Nana about the bruise (their grandparents were visiting), and Nana said “it’ll be okay, as long as Daddy doesn’t keep hitting you.”

2- That her father was raging at her brother, who spilled something on his shirt during dinner time.  She described him as out of control, and said that her brother ran up the stairs to get a towel.  He returned down to the dinner table, sobbing and trying desperately to cling to his sister.

My daughter also wants others to interview her brother, stating that he has some things he needs to share too.

Also, the court motion to get a psychological evaluation for my son was on the docket for this Friday.  However, my ex tells his attorney that he isn’t available Friday, and I was completely aware of this.  He doesn’t communicate whatsoever, so how can I be aware?  I have absolutely no communication from him – about this weekend or otherwise.  Nonetheless, the judge set the hearing for Nov. 2nd, but his attorney said he wasn’t available and it needs to be longer than 30 minutes, so it needs to have designated time.  Why longer than 30 minutes?? Are they actually going to contest that there is a need for the evaluation when it was recommended by our daughter’s psychologist, and problems are noted at school?  Regardless… the hearing is now set for January 2nd.  Another couple months of waiting.

God, if you read my blog (;))… please help me.  Show me the path I need to take to help my children sooner rather than later.  Show me clearly who I can get help from that will actually help, without risk that information can be turned around on me, and my ex’s lies believed.

Explaining Narcissistic Personality Disorder to Children

When parenting with someone who has a personality disorder – borderline, NPD/narcissistic, antisocial (sociopath), it feels at times that we should explain the disorder to our children.  There are pros and cons to it:  The upside is that it would help explain the parent’s actions, and teach your child/children to have compassion for the parent.   Downside is that it would have to be done very carefully – so that isn’t interpreted as being degrading of the other parent and draw the child defensively closer to the disordered parent.  It is also a very “adult” topic – one that many of us don’t understand as adults.  So how do we explain it to children? Read More…

An Update – the School’s Social Worker

God put a blessing in our lives and works in wonderful ways.  I’m not sure yet how this will play out, but I have only to believe that it can help.  As I was leaving school the one day, the school counselor suggested that I speak with the school social worker.  The social worker covers mulitiple schools, so she’s not always on site.  However, she did call me just a day later, and asked when we could talk.  We set up time – and spent several hours going through everything.  She started by telling me about having observed my children in their classrooms, and things that she noted.  It was amazing – she picked up on all sorts of things that were related, but could easily be missed in their obscurity.  Read More…

Validation of the Abusiveness of a Narcissistic Parent

Validation:  A powerful, life moving moment when you’ve been in an unhealthy relationship and realize that all those things that you thought “didn’t feel right”.. were in fact, not right.

Validation: To establish the soundness of; corroborate Read More…