My mother, my father, my self

My mother tried very hard to turn my sisters and I against my father ever since she divorced him when I was two years old.  But probably the worst conversation I had with her was nearly 2 years ago, when I planned a trip to go to Colorado to see my father for the first time in 29 years.  I took my three daughters and husband, whom he’s never seen except in photographs and video.

I documented the conversation I had with my mother when I told her we were going on another one of my blogs.  I’m going to re-print it here with some pictures.  I’ve been meaning to write more about my parents as part of my mid-life re-evaulation (no, I wouldn’t call it a crisis) and I’ve been thinking of my dad an awful lot lately.  I mean, out of the blue, actually MISSING my dad.

My parents are part of the reason I am who I am today.  I struggle with sadness.  I struggle to raise my daughters, who are beautiful, charming, and emotionally sensitive, just like I am.  My middle daughter used to be selectively mute, which added a layer of complication to our lives.  She’s now a thriving 8 year old, very energetic, and the most moody of all my daughters.  We clash from time to time because we are so much alike.

I admit this blog seems to be all over the place – writing, artwork, photography.  The whole unifying principle of it is documenting my healing journey.  I hope maybe someone might find something useful here.

My mom and dad, circa mid-1960s.  Probably the ONLY photograph of them together in existence.

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Look at my mother’s eyes.  Don’t they look a tad bit evil?

What follows is a blog post from Februrary 12,2010 (between the stars ***):

***

Last night, after I went to visit my grandmother, I let my mother know we are going to see my biological father and step-mother. I haven’t seen my father’s and step-mother’s faces in 29 years except in pictures.  He’s never seen his granddaughters’ faces except in pictures and video.

The train tickets are bought, the hotel room is reserved.  I’m ecstatic and so is my dad and step-mom.  I’m glad I get to take the girls on another “grand adventure”.  The last one was when we drove to Pennsylvania for my brother’s wedding a few years back.   We are all excited about the train ride we’ll be taking to Colorado this year.

I casually told my mother last night, figuring I’d get a chance to talk some about my childhood and my father some.  I thought after 29 years, she’d soften in her views of him.

Nope.

At first, she said she didn’t care that I was going.   Then she started in on the grilling and bad-mouthing.

Mother: ” Why do you want to go?”

Me: “Because he’s my father and he’s never seen the girls”.

Mother: “Why would you want to do that?  He’s just an asshole”

Me: “Well, I don’t think he’s an asshole.  I know he had a severe problem with alcohol….”

Mother (interrupting): “Ya THINK?”

Me (ignoring the interruption): “…but he’s been sober many years now”.

Mother: “He doesn’t love you”

Me: “Really? We’ve had a pretty decent relationship for the past 10 years over the phone”

Mother: “I hope you don’t talk about me or about what’s going on in the family.”

Me: “I just talk about the girls and J and what goes on in MY life” (and some of it happens to include you)

Mother: “What do you think you are going to get out of seeing him?”

Me: “Oh, I don’t know…the chance to talk to him in person and know him and just show him the girls”

Mother: “All he was was a sperm donor”

Me (ouch): “Uh, yeah, okay.  That’s what you think.  Whatever happened between you and him doesn’t have much to do with me”.

Mother: “Oh, really, you were so young, you have no idea what happened.  What he did to (oldest sister) and (second oldest sister)…”

Me: “Okay, so why don’t you tell me.  What did he do?  Did he abuse me physically?”

Mother: “I’m not going to tell you.”

Me: “Did he abuse me sexually?”

Mother: “I’m not going to tell you.”

Me: “Don’t you think I have a right to know if I’m so f*$#@& up because of something he might have done to me as a child?

Mother: “I’m not saying a word.  You want a relationship with him, you’ll have to deal with him”.

Me (feeling a confidence I NEVER had in my life when I came up against my mother’s bull***t):  “Okay, if you won’t tell me, I suppose I’ll get going on home.  I’ll see you later.”

Mother: “Bye”

Me: “I love you” (but I don’t like you very much).

Mother: (silence).

Hmm…yeah…okay.  I know I’m different…stronger now.  Once upon a time, an exchange like the above would have left me hurt, bewildered, angry and very reactionary.  I’m really none of those things and I was extremely calm.  I’m just aware that my mother is basically still the same old person she ever was. No I do NOT believe my dad ever hurt me.  I have only fond memories of my time with him and my step-mother on visitation (he took us bowling and to the drive-in movies and took us to Shafer Lake one year and to Cripple Creek and to my paternal grandmother’s house in the country).   He’s dealt with the  demons of alcoholism, but he’s a different man now with that.  And he’s still gentle, loving, caring towards me.

When I had a miscarriage 10 years ago, he called me up every day for about 3-4 days just to make sure I was okay. If he really didn’t love me, he would have never done that.

I think my dad and step-mother have more than adequately shown me I was worth their time and attention and love. They never played the withdrawal of love/manipulation/brainwashing game.

And this is what I’m talking about. When you are fed a bunch of lies as a child/teenager/young adult, how the heck do you sort out the truth? I’m telling you, this is part of the reason this journey has been so difficult. Even though I have been out of my home for 16 years, I’m still dealing with the attempts of psychological brainwashing.  It affects my marriage and my mothering a great deal.

***

I have yet to write about actually going to Colorado for my 40th birthday, but it was an amazing trip.  All those pictures in the background are of the sister’s kids, my wedding photo and one of my husband and daughters.

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I think the best part was seeing pictures of me and my sisters and my dad together.  That’s me in the plaid pants on the right.

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My oldest sister, in the middle, actually finally succumbed to Parental Alienation Syndrome.  For the longest time, she hated my dad worse than my mother did.

But it was actually her that told me what my dad’s phone number was, so that I could call him and re-establish contact 12 years ago.  She reunited with him (over the phone anyway) when she was going through her own divorce.

My dad has 9 grandkids, but the only ones he’s seen in real life are my daughters.  My sisters never made the time to go see him.  No, I’m not sure why, though I have tried to encourage them.

It’s sad how one parent can do everything they can to erase your memories of being loved by the other parent and how it impacts them for the rest of their lives.

Why a mother could do that to her own children, I’ll really never understand.

I don’t have a good template of what a good mother feels like or behaves like.  I have to make it up as I go along.  I have to mother myself as well as mother my daughters.  It’s not been easy.  Not by a long shot.

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***
And as crazy at is may seem, doing artwork reminds me that I matter and gives me things I want to work towards in my own life, with my own daughters.

***

Resources:

Longing For Dad: Father Loss and It’s Impact by Beth Erikson

The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed by  Jasmine Cori Lee, MS LPC

Will I Ever Be Good Enough: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, Karyl McBride

Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt by Peg Streep

I’d like to ask my readers:

What is the most special memory that you have had with your mother?

How has your mother impacted your life?

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About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in Art, Art Journaling, Complex-PTSD, Divorce, Father Loss, Fathers, Grief and Loss, Healing Through the Arts, Motherhood, Motherhood and writing, Narcissistic Mothers, Soul wounds, Trauma and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to My mother, my father, my self

  1. Rob says:

    Parental alienation is hugely harmful to children. It raises the rates for many kinds of mental health problems including depression, substance abuse, suicide, anxiety disorders (these include C-PTSD), and personality disorders.

    Among the best of the books I’ve seen on the methods and impact of parental alienation is Dr. Amy Baker’s excellent work Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

    Alienating parents also tend to engage in other forms of child abuse at higher rates such as emotional parentification where the parent trains the child to take emotional care of the parent, essentially teaching a child to be a parent to the actual parent.

    Both of these abuse patterns against children may be related to how many alienators have dysfunctional personalities that include traits of personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, even if they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for these disorders. They are deeply insecure and feel a strong need to control others to relieve their insecurities.

    Another book I would recommend for children abused by alienation or parentification is The Emotionally Abusive Relationship by therapist Beverly Engel. This may help you understand your past as an emotionally abused child and how it has affected your adult relationships and health. Healing from parental alienation often requires deep thinking about childhood traumas and strong effort to reshape your behavior and thought patterns to allow adult relationships to be more successful.

  2. Rob –

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply I do appreciate the information and the resources.

    Yeah, for quite a long period of time, I was the only one trying to do anything at all about the problems. From trying to protect my younger half-brother and sister to intervening in my mother and step-dad’s fights to trying to counsel my mother to understand how her behavior incited my dad’s reactions, and tried to be her support. Also, I acted as a mediator a lot of times between my siblings and my mother. Anytime they got on her “shit list”…I did a lot of negotiations between them.

    The last straw for me was a huge fight with her and me and my sister. The last thing she did before throwing me out of the house was grab me by the throat and push me up against the wall with her other hand poised to hit me. I stared her down and told her to “go ahead and hit me”. She dropped her hand and then kicked me out of the house.

    My mother was horrible to each and every one of us, even after we left home…anytime she felt control slipping away. And, anytime our own relationships with our now-spouses got serious, she’d start a smear campaign against them. I still remember my mother telling my brother about his girlfriend he wanted to live with in Washington “all she’s has to do is spread her legs and you’ll follow her”.

    She almost didn’t attend my wedding, or my sister’s wedding either.

    I didn’t start understanding my mother until I got to my high school history class when I discovered my mother to eerily comparable to a megalomaniac.

    Interestingly enough, I just read this on wikipedia

    “A quotation by Bertrand Russell gives his interpretation of megalomania: “The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.””

    My mother wanted to be powerful rather than charming, wanted to instill fear, not love.

    The most difficult thing of all is that my mother is no longer like that. She finally got my grandfather’s money and stature, now she’s the matriarch of the family and she got treatment for some health issues that might have contributed to her mental health issues.

    She has very little recollection of her former behavior.

    As long as I stay away from talking about my dad or other triggering issues, the relationship is now better.

    I don’t allow my children to spend much time alone with her though.

    I have to agree on your comment about healing. My sisters have personality issues – one’s a narcissist, one’s very similar to a borderline, the other one is a religious fanatic.

    I didn’t escape the damage either. I have been prone to mood swings and like Alice Miller’s work indicates, swung between grandiosity and depression. My relationship with my husband had been affected by my issues as well as his issues (which involved alcohol misuse).

    But I’m working on my stuff every day.

  3. Rob says:

    You are in a position that could be similar to what my kids may face a couple decades from now. I’m a target parent for both an alienation campaign and what you call a smear campaign. The kids are being abused via both alienation and parentification, so they are going to suffer whether I’m around or not. It appears that my being around for them is probably beneficial to them in part because I can offer them a view into how healthy relationships work that are built upon love and mutual respect rather than the relationships built on fear, insecurities, and manipulations they experience with their mother. Their mother, as an adult who was severely abused as a child and did not get the help she needed to heal, never emotionally matured like a healthy child should. She is still like a three year old terrified of losing the people she loves and willing to throw raging tantrums and badly hurt other people in an effort to control others and soothe her own irrational fears.

    The way I look at it, anything I can write about to help you and people like you may be something that will apply to my kids and many other similarly abused children in the future. Sadly even my children’s future children are at a higher risk for this kind of child abuse because my kids are being raised in an abusive environment that makes it more likely they will become abusive themselves or get trapped into abusive relationships.

    You sound like you were both alienated and parentified, too. How you tried to take care of your siblings to protect them from your mother is part of the parentification. But there are other angles, too, that may not be as obvious. Often they play up how they are so miserable without you around to make you feel guilty for seeing your other parent, friends, boyfriend of girlfriend, etc. They may also talk about totally inappropriate topics such as job and money worries, their relationship problems, etc. to even very young children. What is a six year old supposed to do about mommy worrying out loud she is going to lose her job and they will have nowhere to live? The six year old can’t do a thing about it, so to expose a young child to such worries is simply cruelty that causes uncertainty and fear that are damaging to the child. But somehow these sorts of parents take comfort in how they have spread their misery around to their children.

    Often parents with narcissistic traits demand your total love and loyalty and interpret anybody else who you love as a threat to them. They believe that a child’s love is a zero sum game and want to be the center of your universe that you will orbit around so as to capture all your love. And so they are intent on turning you against other people close to you or scaring those people away. I believe this is a big part of why your mother tried to ruin your romantic relationships and those of your siblings, perhaps just as much as it was a “control issue” for her. People like her want love and are so insecure about it that they will try to force everybody around them in the family to love and obey them — or else! The “or else” is often terrifying to a child or an adult in the home. It often involves withdrawal of affection, rages, denigration, and threats that escalate until they think their control has been re-established. My guess is that this repeated sort of emotional abuse and manipulation is one of the primary sources of your C-PTSD condition.

    These kinds of parents or partners will often “draw the line” at mild physical abuse and act like they haven’t done anything wrong because they have not beaten you to a pulp. The reality, however, is that the relentless emotional abuse causes worse damage than many forms of intermittent physical abuse. You can see a fist coming your way and duck and run, but often there is little or no warning that a rage is going to start and these people often can rage for hours or more. The typically physical abuser can’t keep up the physical abuse for more than a few minutes at a time, but the emotional or verbal abuser can often go for half an hour or more of intense abuse and then turn around and do it again and again for days or weeks.

    When they do hit you or otherwise injure you, they will often blame you for it. “You didn’t respect me” or “you didn’t listen to me” may be their excuses for why they punched, pushed, kicked, or otherwise injured you physically. If you try to defend yourself, particularly if you are male and your abuser is a female, then you are risking them calling up the cops and having you falsely arrested by the DARVO (Deny Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender) tactic.

    Smear campaigns are hugely destructive. I’ve been the target of one, as have many people close to me. They are also known by other names such as distortion campaigns, vilification campaigns, or character assassination. I suspect your father was probably a target for one of these executed by your mother, but you may not know much about it as many of the people she manipulated with misinformation probably would never have talked to you about what they were hearing about your father from your mother.

    The “all she’s has to do is spread her legs and you’ll follow her” comment sounds like a projection. It may be a clue this is how she figured she could initially rope in men and control them.

    I’m not sure these people are capable of anything approaching a “selfless” or “sharing” style of love. They often have little empathy for others and view them as no better than pets to be controlled and used for their own purposes.

    If your mother has changed for the better, count yourself as lucky. But I suspect the changes you describe are more like a new coat of paint rather than an overhaul of anything inside of her personality. Personality disorders tend to be very difficult to overcome and only those who recognize they have a problem and work very hard at changing their behaviors can effect substantive change. Nobody else can make them change. The comment about you having to avoid triggering her sounds much like the “walking on eggshells” sort of comments you read in literature on living with somebody with BPD or a similar personality disorder.

    “Not recalling” her previous behavior could be a sign of cognitive dissociation. When they snap into a rage or abuse trip, they often have trouble accurately remembering what happened later. One explanation that applies to some of them is that they learned to hide inside of themselves when they are being abused, and when they become abusive the emotional state they are in is similar to the state they experience from being abused. So they tend to dissociate when either being abused or abusing others. They may make up things about what they remember from this state, often such stories are false memories that they either believe or are manipulation tools that are designed to make you feel sorry for them or to push you to accept blame for their behaviors.

    One of the reasons why fathers “disappear” is because they are subjected to devastating distortion campaigns that destroy their jobs, careers, and standing in the community. It can leave them penniless and heading towards destitution. They may have little option but to leave to escape the distortion campaign because courts do not protect the victims of such campaigns and will often persecute any person who tries to defend themself from the relentless defamation. There are certainly some mothers and women being attacked like this by narcissistic or otherwise personality disordered men, but attacks from personality disordered women are more common. That is due in part to the gender bias in society that treats such abuse as a prosecutable offense when committed by a man but as a emotional quirk when committed by a woman.

    As to your “one’s a narcissist, one’s very similar to a borderline, the other one is a religious fanatic” comment, these can all be traits of the same underlying personality disorder. I have seen all these traits in my ex and some of them in one of her siblings (the oldest child who used to beat my ex when she was a kid), too. Statistically speaking, people with BPD are also very often likely to fit a diagnosis of NPD and vice versa.

    Regarding alcohol and other substance abuse issues, these are more common in people who were abused as kids or adults. They often reflect a biochemical problem involving the brain that the person tries to “medicate” using alcohol, drugs, or something else. If you can get to the root of the biochemical imbalance, you may be able to modify diet, nutrition, and medication to fix the underlying brain chemistry problem and this will help stop substance abuse more successfully than conventional counseling style treatments can accomplish. Give Novel Methods to Cure Drug Addiction a read and see what you think about the ideas presented there.

  4. Rob says:

    I should also mention that my ex alienated me from my own parents and started in teaching our kids to hate me during the marriage. She scared me so much that I refrained from even talking on the phone with my parents. If she can be so abusive to do that to a grown man who had a successful career at the time (which is no longer the case after years of intensive abuse), it is no surprise that she can cause tremendous damage to our kids.

  5. Rob,

    Thank you so much for the wealth of information. Yes, I do anticipate your children having a difficult road ahead of them.

    Here’s one thing that I read that gave me insight to what I did in my own relationships

    http://drkathleenyoung.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/relationships-after-severe-trauma-making-healthy-choices/

    ” How do survivors wind up in unhealthy relationships and what can be done about it?

    Imago relationship theory suggests that we wind up repeating early relationship dynamics because we are drawn to potential partners who are an amalgam of the significant characteristics (positive and negative) of our early caretakers. This explains why children of alcoholics so often wind up partnering with alcoholics themselves as adults, for example. This is not completely bad news: the theory also holds that picking someone who fits this “imago” gives us the unique opportunity to work through our wounding and achieve a different outcome. However, this requires that we are aware enough of our own issues, ready and able to work on them and that our imago choice is not also abusive. Instead of healing this could lead to re-enacting the abuse experiences with resulting additional traumatization.

    Attachment theory addresses the vulnerabilities abuse survivors face when attempting to form later relationships. Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD describes a “vulnerability to traumatic bonding” for those severely abused in childhood:

    People who are exposed early to violence or neglect come to expect it as a way of life. They see the chronic helplessness of their mothers and fathers’ alternating outbursts of affection and violence; they learn that they themselves have no control. As adults they hope to undo the past by love, competency, and exemplary behavior. When they fail they are likely to make sense out of this situation by blaming themselves. When they have little experience with nonviolent resolution of differences, partners in relationships alternate between an expectation of perfect behavior leading to perfect harmony and a state of helplessness, in which all verbal communication seems futile. A return to earlier coping mechanisms, such as self-blame, numbing (by means of emotional withdrawal or drugs or alcohol), and physical violence sets the stage for a repetition of the childhood trauma and “return of the repressed.” [I would add to this another form of “numbing”: dissociation!]”

    I’m sure you’ve seen something in the literature that PAS has parallels to the brainwashing that goes on in cults. After I read your first comment, I looked up PAS and found this:

    http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/102708p26.shtml

    Cult Parallels
    Cults offer a useful heuristic for understanding parental alienation syndrome. Alienating parents appear to use many emotional manipulation and thought reform strategies that cult leaders use. Awareness of this analogy can help individuals who experienced parental alienation syndrome (and their therapists) understand how they came to ally with a parent who was ultimately abusive and damaging. The analogy is also helpful for understanding the recovery and healing process.

    The research and clinical literature on recovery from cults offers useful ideas for therapists working with adult children of parental alienation syndrome. For example, the way in which a person leaves a cult has ramifications for the recovery process. Cult members can walk away from a cult, be cast out of a cult, or be counseled out of a cult. Those who walk away (come to the realization on their own that the cult is not healthy for them) and those who are counseled out (those who are exposed to a deliberate experience designed to instigate the desire to leave) tend to fare better than those who are cast out (those who are rejected from the cult for failing to meet its regulations and strictures) (Langone, 1994).

    Regardless of how the cult is abandoned, leaving represents only the beginning of the recovery process. Considerable time and effort is required (usually in therapy) to process the experience and undo the negative messages from the cult that have become incorporated into the self. The same may be true of adult children of parental alienation syndrome.

    ***
    I’ve read fairly extensively about NPD and BPD and C-PTSD. I’ve also read a lot about bipolar too, mostly because anytime I was excited about something and had been very happy, I was told I was a “spaz”, “hyper”, “manic”. I wanted to know what I was being accused of. Many times my mother and sister threatened me with being put in a mental institution.

    It’s true that my mother didn’t physically abuse much, but my older sister did. I was hit, had my hair pulled, made to feel worthless (fat, ugly, stupid, four-eyes, won’t have any friends), and chased around the house with a large kitchen knife.

    I frequently intervened with my mother and step-father when they fought when I was about. I’d sit and listen at the top of the stairs while my siblings hid in their rooms. I’d wait to see if I’d need to call 911. When I heard smashing glass…I went down in the basement to find them standing over a bunch of smashed bottles of alcohol and a broken washtub. Then my step-dad started pushing my mother and I got in between them. He grabbed my arm and started pushing me out the door. I did my best to stand my ground. And he gave up and left the house. There was another incident where they had a fight while at my mother’s catering business. He wielded a large kitchen knife against her and I got in between and held out my wrists and told him to go ahead and cut me.

    You know, I didn’t think of it till just now, besides being a bizarre thing to risk in general, how strange it is that I would risk physical harm to protect my mother, given the extreme lengths she went to damage me.

    I was told many times how I wouldn’t survive without the family. How I was destined to be destitute if I left on the one hand, yet threatened with being kicked out and written off by the family if I did something wrong. I was afraid to leave, and afraid to stay. It was a double bind, I couldn’t win…until my life was on the line.

    I wasted about 2 years in therapy and we didn’t delve into this stuff very deeply. I felt it was a very nurturing relationship…and for that I am grateful…but it didn’t really get me to process my stuff. I’m very good at intellectualizing the damage done…even cracking jokes about it…but have only processed a small bit of it.

  6. Rob, I’m sorry for your experiences with this with your ex-wife. I truly am.

    I hadn’t seen my father from the time I was 11 til I turned 40…when I went to go bring my husband and children to see him for my birthday. It was an amazing trip we took by train, and since he lives in Colorado, it was a beautiful experience for my girls who’d never seen the mountains in real life.

    I hadn’t been able to contact him up until I attended a self-improvement seminar (I’m pretty embarrassed to say which one), but It gave me the courage to call him when I was 29. I left him a voicemail on Father’s Day.

    My dad DID have a significant drinking problem…but I found out when he called me back he’d been sober for 8 years or so…so the time was right to rebuild a relationship with him. He’s been great and I have a lot of love for him and my step-mother. They’ve helped repair some of the damage.

    I do believe trying to stay in your children’s lives will be challenging…AND will have rewards. I feel really close to my dad and stepmother. In fact, she just called me yesterday.

    I’m going to Colorado again to see them in the fall. I’m really excited.

    Thanks for the conversation, because it does help.

  7. Rob says:

    Dr. Amy Baker has written a number of papers and her most well known book also includes the parallels of parental alienation to cults. I really like her work. It is more investigative and analytical than the work being done by many others.

    I think some of the comments you make about yourself can be explained by the C-PTSD. People who have been abused and traumatized are often fearful of it happening again and again and that they will be helpless to stop it. So they are likely to react quickly to a situation that reminds them of the abuse or makes them fearful of being abused again. Other people who have not been abused (or who are fundamentally abusers and therefore don’t care about how others feel) cannot understand this very well.

    C-PTSD, PTSD, and BPD share a number of features including hypervigilance and being sensitive to anything to reminds one of past abuse or risk for future abuse. But BPD is different in that the coping mechanisms used often include things that you do not see in C-PTSD and PTSD cases. For instance, Borderlines extensively use emotional manipulation, threats of harm to others (or to themselves for the “acting in” type that mutilate themselves and attempt suicide), violations of rules or laws, and pretty much any tactic they can dream up to try to control the people around them. They want to be puppet-masters, and once you are identified as a puppet of theirs they will not let you go even if you run away in fear of them. They will pursue and attack trying to get you back under their control. NPD has many similar behaviors to BPD in this regard.

    With C-PTSD from being abused extensively, what I see is that the response mechanisms are often avoidant rather than manipulative. If the avoidance doesn’t work and the fear and anxiety response increases, sometimes the “dam breaks” and you see an explosive or hyper reaction to a stress trigger.

    I see both avoidant and C-PTSD type behaviors in my kids and myself. Sometimes I worry that one of them in particular may be showing signs of developing BPD as the child behaves much like the mother whose behaviors, even though she has not been formally diagnosed with BPD, read like a long list of BPD or NPD behaviors.

    All these psychological condition labels are really just shorthand tools for trying to quickly refer to a set of symptoms and behaviors. In reality, it is often very hard to tell BPD and NPD apart. From the viewpoint of the people being harmed, the exact diagnosis does not really matter except that the courts pretend that abusers who are not formally diagnosed with a personality disorder somehow are nice people and their victims deserve to be treated badly.

    I think one of the distinctions between C-PTSD and BPD that is useful is that C-PTSD tends to not involve intentionally damaging other people including given them mental illnesses whereas BPD often does. I do not mean that BPD is literally communicable like a virus or bacteria. It’s more like people with BPD tend to abuse the people around them and cause them such pain and suffering that they will develop mental health problems including depression, anxiety disorders (including C-PTSD and PTSD), and even personality disorders. Somewhere I remember reading a comment that Borderlines and Narcissists are like the lifeblood of the mental health profession. Without them, there would be a lot fewer people seeing therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

    Are you familiar with Stockholm Syndrome? Victims of abuse often align with their abusers. It sounds to me like this is part of what happened to you.

    It sounds like you have been affected by your childhood in a many ways but fortunately for you, your husband, and your kids you realize this and are working to cope with it. I read your article about the 10 basic good mother messages. It’s great you are trying to learn what you need to know to be a good parent. Many abused children don’t take this step and as parents repeat many of the mistakes their own parents made. The art journaling work sounds like a good approach. Many kids love art and using it to help them open up emotionally can be very helpful.

    Abused kids can be very insecure about their place in the world. It’s important for them when they become parents to be sure to communicate to their own kids that the kids are loved and care for at the same time that they are allowed to be kids.

    One of the things my ex is doing to our kids is treating them like her little BFFs as part of the emotional parentification abuse. They are made to worry about lots of things about which they can do nothing. For example, they worry about whether they will have a home or be homeless and hungry because their mother, who makes a six figure income, tells them all about her job problems, talks about having to move over money troubles, can’t bother to buy them decent clothes (they wear clothes full of holes, sometimes very big ones), trashes their therapist and tells them they should not see their therapist because the therapist is too expensive, and complains about money all the time. She also has them worried about her all the time because she portrays herself as needing their constant presence and attention or else she cannot cope. These kids can’t be kids because their mother will not let them be children. She works very hard to make them insecure and take care of her, to treat her as if she is the center of their universe and that nobody else matters.

    She also uses phone calls to reach into our home and abuse the kids. It can take her just a minute or so to push a child into tears using the parentification and guilt-tripping she uses against them. It is so very hard to figure out how to combat the abuse, even with help from the children’s therapist and others and all the reading and discussion I have done. The kids deserve and need a haven from their abusive home, but their mother is intent on abusing them even when they are with me and then tries to dupe others into believing I am the problem.

    I am glad for you and your father and step-mom that you are all getting along well now. You may or may not be able to remember well what happened when he was around, but I would guess that there is at least some truth to the idea that his alcohol problems had something to do with living in an abusive home. One of the best things you can give your kids is a good relationship with your father and step-mom. I think they will benefit from knowing how extended families can be a wonderful experience.

  8. Rob –

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful responses…

    I’m sorry about your children…it does hurts.

    Have you read Peter Levine’s Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes?

    http://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Through-Childs-Eyes-Awakening/dp/1556436300

    You can validate their experience. Don’t abandon them.

    Make your home as peaceful and loving as possible. Maybe learn some yoga together. Maybe learn some mindfulness techniques for kids.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Child-Susan-Kaiser-Greenland/dp/1416583009

    here’s a helpful link on why mindfulness for kids would be beneficial

    http://www.mindfuleducation.org/mindfulnessforchildren.pdf and how to do it [without buying a book for it. 🙂 ]

    Yesterday I just read this, from someone who quoted Daniel Siegel’s Parenting from the Inside Out:

    “When children understand what has happened to them and what may be going to happen to them, their distress is usually greatly reduced.

    There may be experiences from your own childhood that you couldn’t make sense of at the time, because no caring adult was available to help you understand your experience.

    From the beginning of life, the mind attempts to make sense of the world and to regulate its internal emotional state through the relationship of the child with the parent. Parents help children regulate their internal states and bring meaning to experience. As children grow, they develop the capacity to create an autobiographical narrative from these experiences. This ability to tell stories reflects the fundamental way that the child has come to make sense of the world and to regulate his or her emotional states.”

    Let them know you recognize their pain and their confusion. There has to be ways of talking to them about what she’s doing without villifying their mother. I think you can safely say you do not think her behavior is okay, without saying their mother is a bad person.

    Do you have to answer the phone when their mother calls? Are the children old enough to have a say whether or not they will talk to her? Are you allowed to screen the calls? What about put her on speaker phone so that you hear what’s being said? If you don’t have a phone with speaker phone capabilities, I would get one.

    How about bake some treats after their mother calls if you can. The phone calls may be crappy, but helping them switch gears to having them help bake might be helpful. Even little ones can learn how to crack an egg and pour water.

    How old are your kids?

    If they are relatively young, I’d do lots of sensory play. Lots of it. Anything to keep the children’s minds on the present moment and their hands and bodies doing fun things. I’d keep a nice selection of both soothing and fun music around. Keep the music going at your house. It’s helpful.

    Get your kids out in nature as much as possible. Nature has incredibly medicinal effects for all kinds of difficulties. It helps ameliorate a lot of stresses.

    Science experiments are fun too.

    I have a blog of easy ideas if you can’t come up with any.

    The Exploration Station

    Science Experiments

    • Rob says:

      Thanks for the suggested links.

      The phone call situation is a big mess. The mother has consistently interfered in all or nearly all phone calls I have had with the kids for more than five years. I was advised to provide a cell phone for the children to use by a therapist treating them. This was of course left in the garage, turned off, and prevented from being used. And then it was “lost” and never returned or explained what happened to it. I personally have had about 30 minutes of phone calls with the kids in the last four and a half years. Nearly all of these consist of phone calls she made the kids place to ask me not to see them or to try to control what we would be doing together. This is of course a violation of court orders and abusive, but she does not care because she believes rules do not apply to her and in fact she is right because the courts reward perjury, violations of court orders, proven false allegations, and more.

      For a time there was no phone contact either way. Then their mother provided a cell phone for them to use to call her. They had trouble getting it to work, could not hear her, etc. And like a good parent, I helped them with all of this. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake. Now they are trained to call every day, even on days they have already spent hours with her. And she uses the phone calls to upset and control them and trash our time together.

      But of course this isn’t the only thing she does to ruin the kids time with me. She files false reports with the police to get them to harass me, too. And the police, being the spineless anti-father scum they are, do nothing about pressing charges against her when I can prove she is lying to them to use them to harass me.

      I’ve been advised to seek a court order to ban the phone calls. But I did not want the kids to get the idea that I am as vicious and unreasonable as their mother, so I moved to put the calls on speaker phone like you suggested as a first step towards trying to push her to behave appropriately on the phone. This of course did not work as she spent so much time complaining about sound quality, telling the kids that I was unreasonable, using a speakerphone is “ridiculous”, etc. The fact is that they were having an easier time on speakerphone hearing her than they were on a regular phone call when they first started using the phone because their mother mumbles and the sounds was set too low.

      So I used a computer to help them make these phone calls better and eliminate any real possibility that the sound quality was poor. The mother has continued with the same complaints. Only I know now the complaints are fabrications because I use the same equipment and software for calls the same way with many other people, sometimes on calls that are an hour or more in length, and nobody else has significant trouble hearing me and I do not have problems hearing them, either.

      The kids play along with their mother’s lies because they are too afraid to challenge her. As an example, the call is on speakerphone and I am 25 feet away and can hear it fine. But she is whining to the kids about how they cannot hear each other and their response is “we can sort of hear you”. Yeah, sure, “sort of” from two feet away when I can hear it crystal clear from 25 feet away.

      Then the mother launched into distorting to the kids to attack me further rather than simply having a normal parent/child telephone call. After she continued this way and was escalating the attacks, I ended the phone call because it is not right for me to be allowing her to abuse the kids over the phone and she is in fact violating a court order by doing this. And of course she calls and leaves a nasty voicemail complaining about how I am the problem as if she has done nothing wrong.

      Now I have a recommendation (from an expert therapist familiar with personality disorders and family law courts that I consult) to record all the phone calls and to share the recordings with the children’s therapist. This hasn’t happened yet, but may soon. But now what is happening is that the kids may be placing phone calls in secret to their mother using the cell phone she provided. I am not sure yet about this, in part because the phone is so cheap and crappy that it even lacks a call history feature and they have made it clear they keep secrets and lie to me for their mother. I am not sure what to do about this yet. I may end up having to seize the cell phone. They are not allowed to use it to communicate with me, nor do they use it to communicate with anybody else, so it is not like this is going to affect anybody else. It is the leash their mother uses to continue to control them and abuse them from afar. And like so many parentified kids, they like being abused like this because it makes them feel important to hear all about mommy’s latest romantic problems, her job problems, her eating disorders caused by them not being with her at all times, her friends dying from terminal diseases, etc.

      The kids are in grade school, but they are treated by their mother like they are her adult romantic partners. There is no question it is emotional parentification and is abusive and harmful to them. But where I live, it is OK for mothers to abuse children and it is generally unacceptable conduct for fathers to try to protect the children from abuse even when a father obeys the law and court orders in the process.

      The baking suggestion is interesting. I agree distracting them from abusive phone calls can be good. However, I have not behaved abusively on the phone with them and when I do get a chance to talk with them (which is next to never) have kept keep the discussion in the moment and about kid topics and do not talk about their mother. Despite my appropriate behavior on the phone, on the few occasions the mother was forced by court order to answer the phone (before more of her lying and manipulation ruined it), she would consistently have them doing other activities at the court ordered time for the telephone call and then tell me they did not want to talk with me because they were busy baking, watching a movie, etc.

      We have projects we do (art, gardening, building things, pets, etc.) that are things they enjoy. Often we will watch a children’s movie they pick out after they have been abused by their mother on the phone and this distracts them pretty well and helps them forget about it.

      But I am sure they are learning very bad parenting behaviors from what their mother is doing and they are too naive and inexperienced to realize the damage she is causing to them. No amount of distraction can undo this damage.

      We are trying to teach them appropriate parenting behaviors with stories and discussions that do not involve their mother. There is very little point in talking about their mother except as pleasantries when they bring her up because they are too young to think independently very well, especially because of the alienation and parentification abuse that muddies the waters more than most kids would experience.

      I strongly believe in gender equality and fairness. But what I see and many other fathers I know also see is that there is no equality, fairness, or respect for the law by the government or courts when it involves an abusive woman hurting her ex and the kids. The courts like to ensure that the conflict and abuse will continue. They make lots of money off of it. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, are politically well connected, or are willing to engage in illegal conduct such as assassinate the people involved or move your children to a safer area away from the abusive parent and the government enablers, there is little you can do to protect your children, your family, or yourself.

      I take no comfort in the observation that this kind of abuse is now happening to a few mothers, too, at the hands of abusive men who are wealthier, better connected, or just “charming” because they are narcissists who can fool most people. These women are often falsely painted as truly horrible parents because virtually everybody knows the system is so corrupt and stacked against fathers than it is easier for them to believe the mothers who are being abused like this are really horrible than to understand that the problem is not the target parents or even gender as much as it is a corrupt government and courts that do not obey the law and regard children as nothing more than easy pawns in a game to make as much money for the divorce industry and its government accomplices as is possible. The handful of judges and government officials who do not behave this way cannot even make a dent in the overall damage being done by those who do.

      • This is going to take more time to comment than I have at the moment (it’s 6:43 am and I have to get to a softball tournament for my oldest soon). I just wanted you to know I appreciate the conversation and I’ll get back to it when I can.

      • I’m so sorry you and your girls are being put through this. I truly am. It’s heartbreaking. 😦

      • Another thing. It’s very simple in principle…

        1. Teach them critical thinking skills and teach them to question authority. This means ALL authority, even yours, even God’s (if you guys are religious at all – God is big enough to handle doubt and questioning). I’m sure there are ways you can teach them to question some rule that you have. Some rules are for safety, other rules are negotiable. Have them have a say in the rules in your household.

        I teach my girls they don’t always have to agree with me or their dad and that they don’t even have to like or love me or their dad (or each other) – but that no matter what we love them. A lot of problems arise when kids are taught that just because we are family, we have to always get along when some days, we just don’t. That’s actually quite liberating to know they are still accepted for their negative feelings. Even though sometimes it makes it more challenging, I want to raise my daughters to be independent thinkers and know it’s okay to object to things they don’t agree with or like (as long as it’s respectful objections and not nasty name-calling or something).

        2. You can use movies and stories to teach them about how adults can bully kids and that it’s okay under some circumstances to fight back. I can think of two good movies they probably could watch right now…if they are in elementary school. Ever After (with Drew Barrymore) and Mathilda and the entire Harry Potters series (I started reading the first book to my daughter when she was out of first grade…then she read the rest of the series and saw the movies – both of which are rich in good v evil…and empowering kids against adult villains). Don’t just watch them and hope they get the message. Talk to them about what’s going on.

        For some other ideas for reading – you can look through topics here:

        http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/featuring_gifted.htm

        gifted kids are notoriously bullied…so a lot of books about gifted kids are empowering them to think and act for themselves. Read to them and you can ask questions along the way.

        even classics like Anne of Green Gables and The Little Princess talks about how kids overcome adversity.

        3. You know, the more i think about it, the more distraction may not be a good solution over the long haul. Pain teaches us who is safe and not safe. You can teach them in generalities…rather than specific to their mother.

        Perhaps after the phone calls, you can ask them how they feel after talking to her…and troubleshoot WITH them how they want to go about feeling better. This teaches them self-soothing…if THEY get to think up ways to feel better. This teaches them to recognize the physical signs of distress (stomach ache, tears, tension in the chest area).

        Eventually, teaching them emotional intelligence and validating their very real feelings rather than rushing to avoid the pain at first might be a better route. No, it’s not going to be easy to see them hurting…but making them forget too soon will be teaching them to dissociate their emotional pain from the real trigger (their mother).

      • Rob says:

        I explain myself and my reasons to the kids when I ask them to do something. The same goes for rules. Rules are for reasons, not just to have rules. If you can’t express the reasons and have them make sense, then maybe the rules are wrong. Of course there can be challenges involving what they are able to comprehend based upon their intellectual development.

        My wife and I are trying to work out how to explain relationship rules to the kids so they will understand how they behave very unfairly. For example, they spend considerable time and resources (including getting us to buy special materials) making art and craft projects for their mother, but often do nothing for us. We saw this happen for my birthday this year and over Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Since most of hate instruction they get is aimed at me, they treat me worse than my wife (their step-mother whom they address by her first name) as they at least made Mother’s Day items for her. One of them made nothing for me for my birthday, another made nothing for Father’s Day. But of course I help them make stuff for their mother when they ask (usually for holidays) and we continue to provide art supplies knowing they are used to make things for their mother every time they come over.

        They get gifts from my family and us, then often take them to their mother’s where they are “lost” never to be seen again. The reverse does not happen. They seldom bring anything from their mother’s, and when they do they either take it back with them or if they leave it then I make sure they get it back.

        They recently saw Matilda (1996) with their mother. We will have to watch it and maybe then it would be possible to discuss it.

        Ever After sounds like a Cinderella variant. I have read a few stories like those to them. I have read to them quite a few books featuring kids being abused by adults and the kids having to stand up for themselves. Probably their favorite was a series of seven books known as the Shadow Children. They really got into that.

        They are into superhero stories. One of them loves detective stories with heroes and criminals.

        I also have made up a lot of stories with sociopathic and abusive characters, including sociopathic kids and abusive government people, to illustrate some of the problems they are living in the middle of without it seeming like I am talking about them directly. But it is not clear to me that they are old enough to generalize and apply such stories to their own lives yet.

        We sometimes have discussions about moral ideas such as lying. One of the kids self-reports lying. This same kid used to comment that “mom lies” when we challenged the lies the child sometimes told. It is true that pretty much everybody lies, as often people engage in little “white lies” to smooth over minor issues. So I have tried to talk about how there are different kinds of lies and some such as “white lies” are not so bad but others (such as false criminal allegations or lies told to get another person into trouble) are very bad.

        I will do some more reading on the mindfulness suggestions you had. Getting them to be able to think about how they are feeling and why might be a good first step. It is hard, however, as they tend to be avoidant and secretive, so much so that appear to be afraid of each other. For example, I used to be able to say “I love you” to them and they would reply with the usual “I love you too” but that no longer happens. The only explanation they have given so far is they are afraid of somebody overhearing them. So far as I know, their mother doesn’t have our home bugged (but she and/or her friends have hacked into email accounts, engaged in identity theft and impersonation, and worse so I wouldn’t put it past her), so it strongly appears they are afraid of each other commenting that one of them said something nice to their father and their mother will make them suffer for it.

      • There’s a couple of ideas I had been thinking about:

        Unconditional love as a parent with abused kids means you will not get a lot of return on your investment in the short term. I think you know that, but I’m letting you know anyway. Whatever you are investing in now, you won’t reap the benefits of until far, far in the future. And maybe never, but hopefully they will take with them the truth that they can return to when they become more developed and aware. But we don’t love our kids with the expectation that they will love us back. In their heart of hearts, they probably DO love you more than they let on. The kids are making things for their mother probably not because they love her so much more…but because they give her things in the hope that she will love THEM. These aren’t gifts ‘just because’…this is currency. They are afraid of her…so they figure gifts will buy them her love and respect. They won’t figure out for QUITE a while, that they will not ever get it. Maybe they might start to understand in adolescence, maybe not until mid-life…

        Perhaps you feel that they don’t love you as much as they love their mother…I say that you could re-frame it as this: they KNOW you love them….so they don’t have to buy your love.

        You really don’t need the proof of your children’s love in the form of gifts. Their laughter and happiness when they are in your presence can be a sign of their feeling safe and secure in your presence. That is a much better gift than ANYTHING they can make for you.

        I just got finished reading this powerpoint presentation

        Trauma and Depression

        http://www.traumaawareness.org/trauma-and-depression/

        One thing that I was reminded of…and that I’ve found in my own healing journey…is that trauma isn’t healed easily through TALKING about it. Because most trauma happens on a non-verbal, limbic system level, anything that utilizes the higher brain might not access that level. But anything that is sensory based, or physical activity -based grounds the body and helps to release the stress and trauma that builds up as tissue memories. Yoga is a great tool. You can learn it as a family. There are dvd’s you can buy and do at home. Hiking out in nature too is a great soother.

        You can’t do much about the mother. And it does make sense that they can’t extrapolate scenarios to their own lives. Fear and shame prevent them from really seeing the mother as the abuser that she is. I think this is why the therapy might not be working. I’m sure you understand the psychology behind the loyalty to the mother. If you don’t, a read of Alice Miller’s: The Drama of the Gifted Child might describe what I’m talking about. Yeah, it’s like the Stockholm syndrome…but this is more deep because it’s involving the child/parent relationship.

        But you can do healthy things with your kids that increase the chances that they will learn to self-soothe and take care of themselves and at least prevent the trauma from taking root in their bodies. Alice Miller’s work The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting is one of the first sources to discuss this mind-body trauma connection.

        You may not be able to stop the abuse…but you can leave them with tools to help themselves. Well…this stuff is good for YOU too. I imagine you must be heartbroken, exhausted, frustrated, feeling pretty powerless. I haven’t tried it myself, but I might – The Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) http://eft.mercola.com/

        or something called TFT (which I think is similar or an extension of EFT).

        http://tfttraumarelief.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/instructions-tft-trauma-relief-technique-051409.pdf

      • Yeah, Ever After is a Cinderella variant. I don’t know if you have girls or boys…and since I have girls…I tend to go for the movies that empower girls. Percy Jackson might be a good one for both boys and girls.

  9. You also said this: “With C-PTSD from being abused extensively, what I see is that the response mechanisms are often avoidant rather than manipulative. If the avoidance doesn’t work and the fear and anxiety response increases, sometimes the “dam breaks” and you see an explosive or hyper reaction to a stress trigger.

    I see both avoidant and C-PTSD type behaviors in my kids and myself. Sometimes I worry that one of them in particular may be showing signs of developing BPD as the child behaves much like the mother whose behaviors, even though she has not been formally diagnosed with BPD, read like a long list of BPD or NPD behaviors.”

    Thanks for the clarification. I do appreciate that.

    I know from reading Surviving the Borderline Parent (which I bought a while back), that children of BPD parents kind of have some behaviors that are similar to their parents. It’s somewhat inevitable because children learn by what’s modeled to them. However, IIRC, they also were clear that having bpd-like symptoms do not mean you have full blown BPD. I think in this case you are right, these explosive behaviors come out when all other means of being avoidant or, in some cases, rationally trying to deal with the irrational behavior of the personality disordered doesn’t work.

    Yeah, my mother made me afraid of being poor all the time too. But she basically said I was the one who was going to wreck my life if I went against the family. That I’d be ‘on my own’ and eventually destitute and don’t bother coming back because I’d be written off.

    What’s worse is that she would frequently threaten to tell my I was killing my grandparents with my “misbehavior”.

    Anyway…maybe you could use some mindfulness training too.

    There are certain things you have control over (ie, when the kids are at your home for the most part) and some things you don’t.

    I like this site for mindfulness training for adults. I know you probably feel pretty powerless against your ex-wife and her tactics, but maybe you can help yourself deal with some of it.

    http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/

    here’s some other books on having to deal with a PD loved one:

    http://bpdfamily.com/book_review/index.htm

    You still have to co-parent…but I think the key is trying to find ways of not making things worse. there’s a list of books you may not have seen yet. I don’t know.

    • Rob says:

      I read Surviving A Borderline Parent years ago along with many other books.

      Probably the best books I read were Divorce Poison, Adult Children of Parental Alienation, and Understanding the Borderline Mother. I really liked the fairy tale model of explaining Borderline behaviors in witch, waif, queen, and hermit behavior patterns in Understanding the Borderline Mother as the comparison is quite telling and insightful.

      I tried using BPD Family discussion forums at one point and got some useful help there, but my ex somehow found out about it. She is a stalker and has helpers who are literally experts in cyberwarfare. They work for the US military, hack email accounts and execute other crimes using computers, and are effectively above the law. And when I dared to write about them even just using initials to refer to them, I was attacked for doing that. Sociopaths believe in freedom of speech so long as the are free to speak and you their victims are free to suffer silently.

      The family law courts are big supporters of sociopaths abusing their victims and help them do so by punishing any victim who dares talks about the abuse, even when it is done anonymously. See an outline of how the courts shut down The Psycho Ex Wife website for an example of this.

      For anybody else reading this, another great place to get help for these kinds of problems is the site Shrink4Men. The psychologist who runs that site is a hero.

  10. Yeah, I’ve been cyber-bullied quite viciously by my younger sister before. It’s awful. I have some nasty, nasty emails. She tried to get me kicked off a message board once (made the mistake of giving her my username).

    That’s why I blog anonymously. I made the mistake of saying I blogged once, and she immediately said, “heh-heh, I’ll google you and find your blog”.

    Maybe you shouldn’t use email at all. Do you have any support people you could write to with pen and paper? I used to have a PO Box for all my correspondence with, because my mother used to intercept my mail.

    Yeah, mythology helps us understand human nature a lot. In the original fairy tales, the wicked stepmother didn’t exist…it was an evil mother. Clarissa Pinkola Estes did a lot of study of cultural myths from across the globe and found the earliest versions with the evil step-mother actually about evil mothers…but culturally that got changed because it was too horrible to think a mother could actually abuse her own kids.

    • Rob says:

      Not using email would be almost impossible. It would be like not using a telephone.

      Nasty emails are the least of what I have had happen. They spread defamation throughout the company where I worked. Internal company email was obtained by them without a subpoena. I suspect social engineering as she had contacts including people she manipulated at the company where I worked. This company has very good security systems, but with the military and networking expertise she and her friends have I suppose the company’s email servers could have been hacked, too. My career there was ended by the harassment they conducted and they destroyed my physical health, too. (C-PTSD often has a wide range of physiological damage associated with it.)

      After seeing multiple email accounts hacked and money stolen from a financial account (so much for PayPal being secure!) using what appears to be the a similar attack pattern involving hacking efforts running through Germany, I have gotten more careful about using email systems that require multiple authentication methods as added protection. I still do not understand how my accounts were hacked as I never wrote down the passwords anywhere, they were complex passwords and all sessions using them should have used SSL encryption, and I am reasonably sure the computers I was using were not infected with any viruses. Then again, rumor has it that the government has keystroke loggers and other malware such as Magic Lantern that can be remotely installed on a target computer and then used to monitor everything typed on it. And since my ex and her criminal friends work for the government, they might have access to malware like that.

      I understand how one of my wife’s accounts was probably hacked and know for sure who hacked it as the person who did it (my ex-wife’s lover who is a co-worker of hers, with whom her affair started while she was married to me and pregnant with one of our kids) then tried to impersonate her to attack me and disrupt communications around when we first came into contact because she knew things about what my ex was doing spreading defamation and about an affair she had while pregnant with one of our kids. I am still really disgusted by that affair, and of course a lot of people have asked me if I even know the kids are mine especially as it turns out there is evidence suggesting multiple other affairs, too. And of course being the projecting liar she is, she falsely accused me of having affairs when in fact she was the one doing it.

      The ex (who at the time was still married to me) and everybody around her knew she was pregnant, yet she had me drop her off and pick her up from the airport for what turned out to be a trip to go meet up with her lover and have sex in a romantic location. She contracted a STD from it, also, and of course being the dishonest liar she is hid all of this from me even though she could have spread it to me, too. The courts of course say it cannot be discussed as a mother who has affairs while pregnant and risks killing her unborn child can’t be criticized for that. I read up on the death rate from herpes contracted during pregnancy — about half the babies die, the other half are usually severely damaged. That’s the kind of mother she is, and it is but one example of how she has repeatedly endangered our children.

      Mothers cannot be criticized in family court for immoral, illegal, and dangerous behaviors, but fathers are assumed to be evil and cannot be proven otherwise as evidence does not matter — especially when it can be tampered with, altered, and suppressed or lied about by the court such as when the court does not like the evidence because the judge already made a decision and the evidence shows that decision does not make sense. It works that way unless the fathers are rich, politically connected, or the mothers are ticking off somebody in the government severely. That is how family court works much of the time, especially after they (the people the ex was lying to and manipulating) tampered with the judge to force a change in courts to one featuring a judge who would do their bidding apparently due to political connections.

      Once you have seen how the “justice system” really works in the US, you realize there is little difference between the US and the former Soviet Union except that the media in the US has the population believing more lies than the media in the Soviet Union ever did.

      • That’s really awful that people would help her use government time and resources against you. You know…come to think of it, my brother in law works for big government and does a lot of computer work to catch people who are pedophiles and who try to entice children through the computer/internet. I could ask him if there is such a thing as you describe.

        I remember my grandfather who was a probate lawyer saying he wanted NOTHING to do with divorce law because the fights got viciously ugly. I have worked with a number of prosecutors and defense attorneys and sometimes, the defense attorneys made me feel like I was the criminal on trial. But only when the DNA testing wasn’t a single profile but a mixture of profiles, then they tried a lot of manipulation just to get their guy off (even when there was enough to go on). Honestly, I think living with my family prepared me for the grilling I’d get in court sometimes.

        I know money and connections are what made my mother feel invincible. Why she used her talents for evil I don’t know.

        My mother supposedly had an affair and contracted an STD too, then blamed it on my dad. She supposedly had a man move in the day the divorce was final…but I don’t know who it was. For all I know…she could have had many men from the time I was 2 to the time I was 5 (when she married my step-dad). I have no idea if they brought any harm to me and my sisters when we were really little, but it would not surprise me if they had.

        We are not sure my oldest sister is really my dad’s because she looks so different from the second oldest sister. The DNA testing I used for the crime lab when I worked there could have given me an indication whether or not she was. I don’t think my dad really wanted to know. When I visited him two years ago, I could have taken a cigarette butt and gotten his profile from it…but then I thought, after 45 years, what good would come of it?

        Maybe they are your kids, maybe they aren’t…but emotionally, does it make a difference? If you took care of them all this time…could you honestly say it would matter? You formed a bond as if they were your own. I don’t think knowing would make things easier for you. You’ve invested a LOT of time, money and energy trying to protect them. Except of course, you wouldn’t have to pay child support.

  11. I got to thinking of it. My mother was very coercive and tried to buy out my dad a few times…argued with the judge, trying to paint my dad as evil. And my grandfather was a lawyer, so she had his help too. My step-mother gave my dad all her life savings to help him win visitation rights with my sisters and I.

    Apparently, in the 70s, that crap my mother pulled in court didn’t work. The judge threatened my mother with contempt of court…he actually told her to sit down and shut up. Obviously, things have changed. I’m sorry for you and other fathers who go through this.

    But even after the visitations were granted…she eventually succeeded in kicking him out of my life. Just wore him down. Plus his drinking was not helping either.

    I was 11 when I last saw my dad until I was 40 (though I started talking to him again when I was 30). PAS worked on my sisters, but not me. I was afraid to contact him for fear of what my mother would do…but I never hated my dad. However, I got my father’s phone number through oldest sister had a period of connection with my dad when she was going through a divorce.

    Okay…time for a break… have to make lunches for the girls….

  12. Rob says:

    Your father was lucky the court was not totally corrupt. Then again, it didn’t do him much good, either, did it? Sounds like they would not enforce the rules on your mother.

    It is common for family courts to wipe out the entire life savings of a family as they rape and pillage the family and help the abuser do the same. And it sounds like this is what happened to your father and step-mother, too.

    My ex is trying the same thing your mother did, and she has a lot of people helping her do it. I don’t have any drinking or drug abuse problems and never have, but she has totally destroyed my health and then has her helpers attack me on the basis of that, too. As it has turned out due to the perverse laws in this country, taxpayers contribute to rewarding her for destroying my health via harassment. She’s busy attacking other people like this, too, at least one of whom (who by the way is of no family relation to me) appears to have developed an alcohol abuse problem as a result of the harassment conducted by my ex-wife as I know this person was under tremendous stress over what my ex was doing.

    I know for a fact that family court abuses are also happening to a few mothers, too. I have met a few of them who I am confident are being abused much like my family is being abused. But it is mostly fathers who are abused by the courts and alienating parents. Sole custody for mothers is still the de facto law of the land as the rate of sole custody awarded to mothers has not budged much from around 85% as it has been for decades despite the laws changing in ways that should make it very hard to justify this pattern if the courts were following the laws.

    What is happening is there is bias and self-interest on the part of the government and courts that drives many of their decisions. When you learn about how Title IV-D funding works, you find out that judges are incentivized to create sole custody situations to maximize child support payments from which the state and local governments (which pay the judges) get reimbursement from the Federal government. The courts therefore want every child possible to be put into a bad situation (minimal contact with one parent and enabling the kids and the abused parent to be further severely abused via parental alienation) by which revenues to their employers will be maximized and conflict will be maximized. What the courts do creates plenty of work for them and the means to pay for it via Federal funding. That it involves being accessories to child abuse and violating the law does not matter to them because there is no realistic way to hold any judge accountable unless they go extremely far overboard such as by running private imprisonment scams against children and making millions of dollars from doing so.

    There are a few cases here and there where a private citizen is able to get a judge prosecuted for criminal conduct. One of the few I’ve heard of is also in Pennsylvania due to a guy known as Daddy Justice who nailed a sitting judge with evidence of document tampering and corruption. The judge is facing nine felony charges. But of course the government there is also routinely harassing this man because he dares to challenge their violations of the law.

    The family courts are hardly the only corrupt ones. Corruption runs throughout most courts in the US. When the occasional hero who tries to fight the corruption steps up to the plate, the courts and government do all they can to ruin these people short of simply killing them. Just read about Richard Fine and you will see how bad this can get. Even the legislature stepped in to provide retroactive immunity from criminal activity by the government and judges after Fine exposed how they were engaging in illegal payment schemes that were biasing judges to decide cases for the counties that were paying them additional salaries in violation of the law that stated the state government was supposed to be the exclusive employer of judges.

  13. After a while, they both moved out of state (him to Colorado, my mother, step-dad and sisters to New Mexico). I imagine that what one midwest court ruled didn’t matter in another state. After the move, we still saw my dad though, but then when my mother moved back to the midwest…my dad didn’t have the money to fly to see us or to prevent my mother from taking us away. At one point, she did ask my sisters and I if we wanted my step-dad to adopt us…but someone said no (either my dad, or my sisters and I…I can’t remember which – but my stepmother would know).

    Yeah, it’s horrible about the court system. I’m on a message board for mothers, and I hear a lot of similar horrible things done to mothers by abusive husbands and exes with money.

    I wonder what’s going to happen when the economy collapses even more. I just was reading about China and I think India being economically precarious, but the focus on Greece’s problems have been diverting the attention from them.

    We will be facing another recession soon, according to the same economists who predicted the real estate bubble burst. But in some regards, maybe global economic collapse might not be a bad thing. Maybe the evil people who had all the money will pay the price of their greed and lose all their money. One can hope, right?

    He’s a question for you…

    Why have you gone to the lengths you have, worked against almost all odds, to fight for your kids?

    What keeps you fighting, knowing that you are on the losing end?

    I think this is why dispute resolution needs to happen before the courts intervene. I just don’t know how.

    If there is no beating narcissists at their own game…then what needs to change? Let’s assume the personality disordered person can’t change (though in some cases, maybe they can).

    I think there needs to be some sort of training available to deal with narcissists. Our culture is breeding MORE narcissism and borderline individuals, not less. We are becoming ever more disconnected. But while we can’t heal the world, we can start with ourselves, the only thing we ultimately have any control over.

    There ARE ways of disarming the narcissist, but it’s not going to be by fighting fire with fire. It has to be more radical than that.

    It’s by becoming unbreakable. I’m becoming more and more convinced its possible to restore health and learning how to bend. No, not give up…just not fight back in the same ways we did before. There has to be a better way.

    Eastern philosophy as well as Jungian psychology indicates there is a place beyond the ego that is untouchable by external circumstances and the people who try to do us harm. It’s the ego and its desires that cause the most problems in life, and interferes with our ability to be ‘unbreakable’. But getting to that point is all counter-intuitive to most Westerners.

    A part of me is saddened by what our world is…slightly worried about what’s to come, but that’s why it’s important to me to figure out how to navigate the tricky relationships I have and make the best of the time I have now. Sometimes, my own sense of injury makes me fight back where fighting only makes things so much worse.

    For me, my main task is to learn how to observe my struggles with compassion, to learn how to be better to myself, and to use my intelligence to make peace with the things that happened and the things that can happen and teach my kids how to be resilient.

    Oh, yeah…and get a job. Unemployment sucks.

  14. Rob says:

    I have been told by experts that typically courts will not act to protect a child from an abusive mother like this until there is a dead child or perhaps a suicide attempt by a child in the home. Short of that, they will keep the kids with their abuser if that abuser is a female. It is bad for the kids, bad for the abused parents, but good for the government and its lawyer and child services friends because they will all have plenty of work to do and money to pay for it by taking everything they can from the abused parent.

  15. Rob says:

    You said: “We will be facing another recession soon, according to the same economists who predicted the real estate bubble burst. But in some regards, maybe global economic collapse might not be a bad thing. Maybe the evil people who had all the money will pay the price of their greed and lose all their money. One can hope, right?”

    I was talking with an American female college student recently and was surprised when she said she expects a war in the United States because of how the US acts belligerently and irresponsibly towards other nations.

    Given how the US acts against its own citizens, a civil war isn’t out of the question, either.

    I do not understand why any American would fight for the US government. Just look at what happens to many soliders. For many of those who survive being used as cannon fodder, they lose their homes, children, and life savings because some vindictive spouse calls them “dangerous murderers” because they are away “defending their county” on behalf of US politicians who want to crush some poor country into the ground.

    The politicians say it is “to save its people” when the real goal is greed or vengeance. American politicians think nothing of sacrificing other people’s childrens’ lives to take some target nation’s oil or to get payback for something somebody in that country did which was bad but doesn’t warrant tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted spending to run a several year war as a response. But do you see them sending their own kids off to fight in these wars? No, of course not.

    If there is another economic collapse, it will be the same as ever unless people revolt against the government. Every recent economic collapse has been accompanied by the government bailing out the people who caused the collapse because they are big political contributors. Often they uses excuses such as “too big to fail” or some such drivel that means corporations and their executives and their political friends can steal from the public to enrich themselves. I don’t expect that to change without a change in government to politicians who are not part of either main US political party.

    You said; “Why have you gone to the lengths you have, worked against almost all odds, to fight for your kids? What keeps you fighting, knowing that you are on the losing end?”

    It is not just a fight for the kids, it is a fight for my entire life or more accurately at this point the shattered remnants of it. To give you a clearer picture, at the outset of this the ex filed for divorce secretly, and sold most of the family investments outside of retirement funds and took the cash (over $33,000) which is a violation of law because in and of itself because of the divorce filing. She left me with nearly nothing left except enough to pay a few immediately due community bills (such as a home loan) and nothing to live on, took all my personal and community financial records, ran away with the kids and disappeared, then filed a DVTRO making five pages of false allegations, none of which were accompanied by any evidence. The court later ruled that she was not telling the truth about those allegations, but of course did nothing to sanction her for making them or for the huge damaged she caused with her lies. She got me kicked out of the house, banned from seeing the kids, and left me homeless and broke based upon no evidence whatsoever. The courts do this to falsely accused people all day long, and all day long they also fail to punish proven liars for such actions.

    That was just the start of the divorce. To give you an idea how premeditated this was, she set up educational savings for the children in her name only and then cashed it out to pay her lawyers to keep the children from seeing their father. Now there are no college savings. But she will not touch her own retirement savings.

    Her attacks started years earlier as she engaged in a distortion campaign to make people hate me and help her by lying to them and by alienating the kids during the marriage. She would pick fights over absolutely ridiculous things (such as claiming she had to get my permission to buy a bottle of sunscreen and I do not care about the kids when neither was true and she had just spent far more money on less necessary things such as a new toaster oven for herself which she of course took with her when she ran off with the kids) and then teach the kids to take her side to fight with me for her.

    Given the abusiveness of the government and the US domination of the whole planet, the only options I have are to fight, disappear, or die. I don’t like any of the options. Fighting is the best of all bad options and the only one that has any chance of protecting the kids from a very bad outcome.

    I recently read about a Canadian man who was ordered to pay nearly all of his after-tax income to his ex-wife, leaving him not enough to live (something like $1500 per month) while his ex-wife lives in a $1 million plus house and doesn’t have to work. This is despite there being a court approved agreement that said otherwise by letting the ex-wife buy out the family house for pennies on the dollar. The courts can simply tear up any agreement one party does not like and make up some new rules to persecute their victims. This man decided to move to the Phillipines and to never, ever return to Canada. As he sees it, this is his only chance for anything resembling a decent life. And you can see the ex-wife looks like she is a child abuser engaging in alienation by the quote from the youngest kid in the family:

    Eight months since he last heard from his dad, Mills’ son Steven was eager to open a package that had just arrived from the Philippines in advance of his 11th birthday. Steven’s face dropped and tears welled up in his eyes when he saw its contents: dried banana chips, cassava chips, caramel popcorn and salted peanuts.

    The birthday card accompanying the dry goods said: “Dear Steve, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Love from Dad.”

    “Why would I want this from my deadbeat dad?” the youngster said. “If he really cared, he’d be here.”

    But of course the newspaper portrays this man as a “deadbeat dad” rather than taking on the abusive family courts and a mother who is being unreasonable and harmful to the children. When you are being abused and try to escape, they will attack you for that, too. And so if I were to run away to escape the abuse, this would of course be used to further alienate the kids against me just like the courts and the mother are doing in that story.

    And remember, she does work for the US government and military and has a TS/SCI security clearance and lots of people (including her co-workers) who help her abuse my family and me, often illegally such as violations of identity theft law, medical privacy laws, computer and telecommunications hacking laws, fraud laws, etc., yet never will the government lift a finger to do a thing about it. For example, I’ve been told by a cop that state law does not prevent people from stealing another person’s medical records and they don’t care about identity theft if there is no money involved. But that is not what the law actually says at all.

    Is there really any way I could reasonably be safe and secure anywhere on the planet from a person like this if I tried to disappear? Moreover, I simply don’t think it is the right thing for me to do for the kids. It is better to show them that a decent person will fight lies and harassment than to run away.

    One of the experts I consult with says that divorce and child custody cases do not belong in the courts. I agree entirely. The courts are not equipped to deal with such open-ended conflicts that are full of lying and harassment. Neither are the police or CPS nor any other government agency. All of these organizations are set up to quickly jump to false conclusions, fail to adequately investigate, and to rush to judgment as fast as possible so as to earn their paychecks from Federal payoffs to behave abusively and irresponsibly. Doing their jobs legally and properly would be more costly and wouldn’t earn them any more Federal dollars, so they will do what the Feds want them to do which is abuse people and claim there is justice in it.

    It is not obvious how to fix this system. However, 40% or more of the litigation in family courts is “high conflict divorce” tied to abusers with personality disorders. So it seems the first thing to do would be to get these cases out of a system that cannot handle them and into one that can.

    High conflict divorce and child custody cases should be instantly pushed into a special program that the government pays for everything to give them incentive to make the parties get along reasonably with a 50/50 custody split and no child support whatsoever unless there is a poverty situation involving one parent that would jeopardize the children. If that can’t happen after much effort (at least a couple years of trying), then the special program should move to deeper investigation of the problem and isolating the abuser from the abused children and parent and any further contact between the abuser and the victims should be conditional on the abuser showing progress in a treatment program and supervised visitation for which the abuser pays.

    The hard part here is how to ensure that there is fairness and reality testing to everything. Almost without exception, not just in family court but in virtually every interaction I have ever had with government, they violate rules, attack people wrongly, lie about evidence, make baseless unreasonable demands that are often at variance with treatment they give others (perhaps because they paid bribes?), stage things to maximize the money they can extort from citizens, and basically act like an organized criminal outfit. (This is why some groups are calling for RICO law suits against family courts.) Clearly there need to be some competing entity that profits from ensuring fairness that polices the system to protect citizens from the system. In the US today, there is no such system in place. Everything is biased towards giving as much power and unaccountability to the government as possible. Politicians and government officials and their accomplices in the media falsely claim that “free and fair elections” (which by the way do not exist in the US, just like they did not exist in the USSR — namely because decent candidates are almost impossible to get onto a ballot because the political parties have way too much power) are somehow going to make government accountable to the people.

    No family law court should be able to deviate from 50/50 custody and zero child support for any reason, except perhaps a very short emergency period such as one or two weeks, absent a jury decision allowing it. The judges today have so much power that they can violate the law and abuse their victims and whole communities will just stand around and watch it happen without doing a thing about it. That is exactly what has happened in courts all over the US and other “democratic” nations.

    Also there need to be incentives to prosecute perjurers and false reporters who cause significant damage to others. There is no realistic way to prosecute all perjurers, but there is some perjury that is so bad that it warrants criminal convictions and prison time. But for the most part, the only people who are prosecuted for perjury are political targets of somebody in government.

    The assumption that the personality disordered cannot change is generally accurate. The few that can change show signs of the capacity by acknowledging what is wrong with them and seeking appropriate help. If they can’t at least do that, they are not going to change except perhaps by force via prison time or being put in a psychiatric hospital.

    The best thing to do with narcissists is to avoid them and publicize them. Simply avoiding them means you just let them victimize somebody else. Unfortunately, the family courts believe that publicizing them is a bad thing to do. The unfortunate person who gets tangled up in an abusive relationship with somebody’s Borderline or Narcissist ex is likely to be chewed up and spit out almost like a re-run of the same abuse. The courts would rather this happen over and over again than to let people try to defend themselves and their community from proven abusers.

    I suppose if you mean “unbreakable” is that you do not care if you live or die or what hellhole you are put into next as nothing matters to you any more, then perhaps there isn’t much a narcissist can do to you any more that will matter. I don’t think it is reasonable that people should have to adapt to being abused like this.

    Public education is totally lacking in basic understanding of important psychological concepts such as personality disorders and the behavioral traits shown by people with them. Perhaps decades ago this was OK, but it is not OK at all today. Healthy people are surrounded by abusive sociopaths and because the sociopaths are willing to do just about anything to get their way (i.e., there are no rules of war for them). More or less healthy nonabusive people outnumber those who behave as anything from low-level sociopaths to full blown psychopaths by a ratio around 4 to 1 (based upon the low end of the estimate that 20% to 30% of the population has a personality disorder). There is no safety in numbers any more.

    You are right that fighting back by alternate means is important. But to get to the point you can do that, you have to be able to discuss your plight with other people in similar situations so you can understand the situation and what the options may be. The courts impede that, too. See what they did to The Psycho Ex Wife website for proof. Sure the writers there were sometimes overly insulting, but there was a real community of people who were trying to help each other with abusers. The courts wanted that to stop, and in the US where the judge is the law and there is no jury or the jury is manipulated by forces acting against the law (the judge, government, criminals, etc.), they get what they want unless people are willing to lose everything.

    I am not an expert on Eastern religions, but have had some exposure to them. Compared to Western religions, they seem to be a lot less focused on torturing and killing people simply because they don’t agree. That’s at least a step in the right direction.

    Some years ago I read an article with a title like “It’s a Borderline World” that promoted the opinion that the entire world is acting more and more like it suffers from a personality disorder. Politicans and leaders behave as narcissists. Political debate is little more than ridiculous histrionics. The law systems are run by criminals. Corporations pursue agendas that are designed to enrich themselves by harming millions of people and they are aided in doing so by the government so long as it can get a cut of the action. In this system, anybody who doesn’t break the law and ruin other people will be nothing more than a slave. The American experiement in democracy failed and this evil system is what we have today.

    If people are not willing to fight this insanity by educating others and pushing for better solutions, there is little hope for humane civilization.

    Regarding your employment, you should try to monetize your websites some. I think you have a lot of insights to offer to other people and are an interesting writer. Except for a small percentage of them, websites don’t make a lot of revenue from what I’ve seen. However, even an extra $100 per month could be useful when you are struggling.

    • There’s a lot I will address here, soon, but I don’t have the time. I did want to get this posted though and let you know I read it.

      I have been thinking about your situation, and the more I know about your particular circumstances, the more saddened I am by it. My empathy doesn’t do you much good, I’m afraid…but I do wish you well in your quest. I hope you make the connections you need to recover your strength, dignity and financial and emotional security.

      I’ll tell you why exactly some people would fight for the U.S. Government. Because they go into the high schools and recruit kids that have few options in life…who want to get out of an abusive home environment…OR they entice them with the GI Bill. Our school actually had a ROTC program…so kids would have an easy transition into officer training.

      http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/high-school-students.html

      Guess what? I knew I couldn’t rely on my mother to provide me with a college education, even though she knew she had access to the money. I was very hungry to go to college. College was my ticket out of the hell I called home. But, I didn’t have the money to pay for it myself. My junior year of H.S., they had representatives from one of the branches come into school. They did their spiel. All I could think about was a couple of things – I wanted to get the hell out from my mother’s control, I wanted the absolute guarantee she couldn’t get me back, I wanted security (because my mother frequently told me I’d be destitute and living on the streets if I didn’t do what the family wanted), I wanted to learn how to shoot guns, and I wanted to learn how to fly a plane (yeah, I was a girl with glasses, both of which meant I would have as much chance of flying a plane as a snowball’s chance in hell).

      I took the ASVAB. I talked to a recruiter. I started reading The Corps series to get an idea of military stuff.

      And, well, I loved my History class. I took an honors class so I was learning to compare and contrast ideologies, learned about the revolutions and the Axis powers and all this stuff that girls don’t normally like, plus I went to Auschwitz when I was 10.

      I wanted to protect democracy.

      It doesn’t take much to convince a kid they are doing something noble by fighting in ANY kind of wars. Oftentimes, kids from dysfunctional families make better soldiers because they can transfer all their impotent rage against their parents on a foreign enemy. Hitler (who was abused as a child) did this and as a result, we had the Holocaust.

      Or they get them real young, before they have any idea what’s going on.

      Ever see the documentary Blood Diamonds?

      http://townipproject.wikispaces.com/Blood+Diamonds

      “Many people who mine for the diamonds have been forcibly taken from their families and their homes by rebel groups who need the diamond revenue to continue their uprisings. They force innocent people to dig or sift through rivers in search of diamonds, and if workers tire or try to rebel, the insurgent soldiers hurt or kill them. It is suspected that more than 4 million people have died mining these diamonds.
      Sierra Leone
      Some of the worst atrocities took place in a small western African country called Sierra Leone. In the 1990s, savage fighting took place between the Sierra Leone government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The RUF was an insurgency militia who tried to take over the country of Sierra Leone. It was started and led by Foday Sankoh. He received help from neighbor dictator Charles Taylor. The rebel group stood for a new type a government, they promised to give the diamond revenues to the people of Sierra Leone. After taking over some major diamond mines, the RUF did not keep their promise. Instead, the RUF supported their revolution by selling Blood Diamonds.

      Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The RUF was an insurgency militia who tried to take over the country of Sierra Leone. It was started and led by Foday Sankoh. He received help from neighbor dictator Charles Taylor. The rebel group stood for a new type a government, they promised to give the diamond revenues to the people of Sierra Leone. After taking over some major diamond mines, the RUF did not keep their promise. Instead, the RUF supported their revolution by selling Blood Diamonds.
      The RUF became notorious for their child soldiers. Almost 23,000 children served for the RUF. The children were, at the youngest 7 and at the oldest 12. To make the kids killers they would force them to kill their parents or other horrific acts.”

      As far as the Borderline Society goes…you can read an excerpt and a discussion from this guy (perhaps this is similar to the article you are thinking of?)

      http://www.systemsthinker.com/writingscreative/reviews/bookreviews/ihateyou.shtml

      In perhaps the most fascinating chapter of all, “The Borderline Society”, I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me details the roots of this pattern of behaviors as reflected in our current social patterns and our era’s culture at large. Kreisman and Straus illuminate the way in which widespread BPD serves as an indicator of some very troubling trends in the way we live. They give striking evidence that these borderline traits are being bred on a wide scale by our fragmented society and crumbling social structures.

      For example, more children than ever grow up in families that are constantly changing location. Thus, many develop a lack of constancy, losing sense of where home really is, and being forced to adapt to a new identity with each move, prefacing the uncertain identity of the borderline. Meanwhile, rampant divorce also leaves children in difficult shifting identity situations, often serving as a pawn between the two parents, without consistent role modeling from both, and often without a father closely involved at all. Parents’ attempts to replace quality closeness with a growing arsenal of toys, television and empty scheduled events further deprives the children of the real identity formation and structure that they need.

      The book also examines the under-appreciated potential role of raising an entire generation of children in day care – a system unheard of in the thousands of years of human history – in weakening identity formation in our children. As the increasing concentration of wealth makes two-parent income a necessity, rather than an option, and women and men explore different family roles, both the parents and children become prone to confusing identity roles that mirror that of the borderline. In the worst of cases, whole families can become borderline-type systems, and this can culminate in the abuse and neglect that are such common precursors to Borderline Personality Disorder.

      The risk factors for such traits manifest on a larger social scale in our culture, as well. In the microcosm, children grow up in a world of common teenage drug and alcohol use, while in the macrocosm, war, crime and terrorism leave a frightening sense of instability. Overspecialization and technology leave many fearing abandonment or expendability in their jobs. Like the borderline, our society is full of contradictions, such as those between our love of peace and our ever-present glorification of violence on television – not to mention by our leaders – or between our admiration for generosity co-existing with one of the most selfishly materialistic societies ever on earth. Our President’s constant, and often shifting, split of the world into heroes and villains – good and evil-doers – combined with the striking contrast between our fabulously wealthy and our desperately impoverished citizens recalls the black-and-white splitting that is a hallmark of BPD.”

      Yes, yes and yes.

      And this is why I am partially frightened for my daughters.

      But I won’t take a nihilistic view.

      I know while all this crap is going on there ARE some people trying to enlighten the world. Not just in any airy fairy way, but in some ways science is starting to catch up with what the Eastern Philosophers have known for centuries.

      http://drdansiegel.com/home/

      There are thinking mothers out there, like me, who are trying to change the world, one post at a time.

      Here’s just one of my posts that generated a lot of discussion.

      http://raisingsmartgirls.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/research-on-attachment-theory-and-anxiety-disorders/

      http://www.phdinparenting.com/category/politics/#.UABwMPUz0_g

      Mommy bloggers, alternative mothering websites certainly won’t make a dramatic impact…but, I’m encouraged that it’s at least generating thoughtful discussion (at times it can get rather heated and personal…but that happens).

      The more people are turned on to healing, to going against mainstream values to do the right thing, the more these values will hopefully be handed down.

      And…as the old saying goes, “knowledge is power”, which is why the radical intellectuals are the first to be shut down or killed….

      As Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiddu_Krishnamurti

      He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.

      Quite simply…change needs to come from within.

      If we don’t end up killing ourselves anytime soon, I’d like to be a part of the small improvements that hopefully will eventually lead to a paradigm shift in consciousness.

      There are people who are willing to study and promote the very things that we need to heal as a world. Whether or not will have this paradigm shift before it’s too late, who knows. But I want to do what I can in the meantime.

  16. Rob says:

    I appreciate the empathy. Getting through this kind of nightmare is so very hard because it just keeps going and going and everybody being attacked (not just me) is so worn down and damaged. It helps to be able to discuss it online with people who have been through similar abuse. When you are not living through a particular case, it is easier to discuss it and provide some additional insights. This is what I have been trying to do to help other people myself.

    Your explanation about why somebody would fight for the US government makes sense. I do have some relatives who were in the military, from what I understand it mostly had to do with college funds such as ROTC and some sense of public duty. But this was before what they have seen the government do to my family and others.

    After reading the explanation from your perspective, it looks to me like another reason the government wants to destroy families is to give them a better ability to get soldiers on the cheap. By making many kids live in abusive broken homes and painting the military as a way out, they can make many of these kids serve the very government that has helped abuse them all their lives. Because they are used to being abused, they will not care as much when the military and politicians abuse them some more.

    Public service should be something that is honorable. Certainly there are still some government officials who view it this way and try to stay honest. But most of them appear to think it is about getting and maintaining power and not about serving the public good. They will do just about anything to serve their own purposes, selling their votes, pushing bad legislation to get campaign contributions, rewarding accomplices with cushy jobs, etc. And this mentality exists everywhere in government, from President all the way down to local politicians and judges.

    Today protecting democracy means opposing the government at every turn. We no longer have a democracy or a republic. Out of the political parties out there, the Libertarians are probably the most attuned to getting government to follow the law again. But they are endlessly marginalized and ridiculed by the Republicans and Democrats who have more or less brainwashed the public into handing over the reigns of everything to what amounts to a single party system like USSR style Communism that is simply masquerading as a dual party system to dupe people into thinking they have choices.

    Dr. Tara Palmatier of Shrink4Men linked to an interesting article on budding sociopathic children that pegs the cost of sociopaths in our society at about $460 billion per year. Interesting stuff. Also it makes me think that many of these kids could probably be helped by therapeutic strategies that go after brain structure and chemistry problems rather than relying solely on psychotherapy that seems to be almost completely ineffective.

    I have heard of the Blood Diamonds troubles in Africa. This kind of thing can be widely publicized to make the public think that we are so much better off. It’s just another part of the nationalistic distortion campaign run by the government to dupe the average voter into thinking the bad people in the world are outside of the US and that American is so much better than other nations.

    Years ago I read the “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me” book on BPD. There are a lot of good books on BPD, but none of them propose a comprehensive solution for the problem. Most of them describe the destructive behaviors and show how childhood abuse turns many of these abused kids into adults who are personality disordered abusers, but they don’t have any solid answers for how to reverse the damage.

    The paragraphs you quoted point out a lot of problems my kids have. Their mother has basically turned their live upside down and keeps doing so on a continuing basis. She is trying to make herself the only important person in their lives. They have been ripped out of their home, shuffled between schools, and discouraged from having friends and from having contact with their family members except for people that their mother can control. The goal seems to be to make them unable to care about or love anybody but their mother because she is so pathologically insecure that she cannot tolerate the “risk” that the children may be able to function OK without her around for a little while. The thought that the kids might love another person seems to terrify her. I fully expect that the kids will have major trouble with adult relationships because of this destructive parenting.

    Healthy parents teach their kids to be independent and self-sufficient as is age appropriate, but Borderline and Narcissist parents often teach their kids to be subservient and insecure and to focus on meeting their parents’ emotional needs [the emotional parentification abuse] and believing whatever they are told rather than to develop critical thinking skills. A lot of radical religious instruction directly parallels this abusive parenting, so the parallels between abusive parents and cults are remarkable.

    Overall I think that there’s a need for a four-pronged approach to these kinds of disorders. The first thing that is needed is to identify those with such abusive traits. Second is to put in protective mechanisms (monitoring, counseling, instructing police and courts that there are likely going to be false allegations coming from the personality disordered, etc.) for those around those people that are designed to reward improvements in their behavior and stop their destructive behaviors quickly before their victims are harmed too badly. Prongs three and four are treatment for those with these disorders. One is psychotherapy such as CBT or DBT, another is integrative medical therapy including nutrition, medication, and maybe eventually surgery when brain biology is understood well enough to allow surgical repair of areas of brain damage that may be contributing to these disorders.

    I have been listening to a number of Internet radio programs on A Voice for Men lately that make it quite clear many of the dominant social philosophies of this age (feminism [the popularized kind that pushes female gender supremacy, not the genuine thing that really was good as it was about equal rights and fair treatment regardless of gender], traditionalism [which is just like popular feminism backwards as it just says that men should be supreme instead of women being supreme], affirmative action [which argues that people should be treated differently based upon race in order to eliminate racial differences and is therefore completely nonsensical], etc.) revolve around behavior strategies that look just like what you see Borderlines and Narcissists do. There is a recent show that promotes the concept of “ethical first principles” that was really good. These people get trashed by mainstream media, but their way of thinking makes a lot more sense. People should be judged upon and have rights based upon how they treat other people rather than based upon gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, nationality, or many other arbitrary characteristics over which they have little or no control.

    Given how outrageous the bias against men in society is and how we got there from outrageous bias against women, there is a very high risk that the pendulum is going to swing back to the traditionalist discrimination against women at some point. I don’t want to see that happen. Our kids deserve a world in which they will not be discriminated against based upon all those factors that most historical social concepts (slavery, apartheid, feminism, masculinism, homophobia, etc.) use to control them. But with sociopathic traits being spread throughout society, it is hard to see how this good outcome can be achieved.

    The two groups I see that are really pushing sensible agendas are the “equal rights” subset of the men’s/father’s rights movement and a group of feminists (Wendy McElroy is the one I know the most about) who advocate “individual feminism” that focuses on equal rights and equal responsibilities with no preset gender roles or prejudices. Even though some might think they would be at odds with each other over gender, that actually does not appear to be the case.

    When I was younger, I thought that one of the most important things needed in the world was “social engineering” to put and end to ridiculous conflicts between people. Unfortunately, the social engineering that has been promulgated has merely reversed the abusers and victims. The former victims relish their new roles as abusers. And the conflict keep going. With advancing technology, it is only a matter of time before small groups of people can lay waste to millions or billions of lives. What Al Qaeda did on 9/11 is nothing compared to what is coming if society does not get off its path of rewarding abusers and persecuting victims and then every so often reversing the roles when the abusers get complacent and the victims become desperate enough to do something really radical such as overthrowing a government.

    The conflict between the Israelis and Arab Muslims is a microcosm of the wider world. The Israelis have become much like the Nazis that killed so many Jews, and the Arab Muslims hope to murder lots of Israelis to get their land back and to get vengeance. These people have created a self-perpetuating severe conflict that cannot be solved without breaking out of the abuse cycle or by them killing everybody. Who started it no longer matters. If it is not stopped, it is only a matter of time before somebody use nuclear or biological weapons and millions will be dead in mere hours or days. And that will lead to even more destruction as the conflict spreads further and hatred becomes even more entrenched.

    Somewhere I once read a scientist or science fiction writer speculating that the reason why space-faring civilizations are not common may be because most of them destroy themselves before they can leave the vicinity of their own star. The path humans are on is heading right for their own destruction. And instead of trying to figure out how to get on a safer path, most of them are busy trying to be the leaders down the path to damnation.

  17. Rob, I’d love to address this latest post. I can’t right now. I have relatively new friend who has been judging me severely for things that don’t even involve him.

    It’s making me lose sleep and feel sick that someone who knows very little about me is so quick to condemn me for mistakes I made a long time ago. Yet, at the same time, the very things that come out of his mouth and in his emails could be quite easily construed as disturbing. I’d almost love to have a post about some of the things he’d said over the email to have a bit of a reality check, but then I would just be perpetuating the problem, not really solving it.

    On some positive news, I’m starting mindfulness training in earnest. For me, its the only thing that really helps deflect the pain of judgmental, controlling and abusive relationships AND which will relieve anxiety and distress over the fate of our world.

    I fear for my girls emotional, physical and psychological safety in the world as it is today…but if I can teach them mindfulness practices, I will have given them a great tool they can use in their own lives. It’s one of the few things that have been proven effective at increasing resilience in the face of distress.

    I will try to get back to this post when I am feeling better. I’m going to write a few posts about happy things in the coming days (I hope)…that always cheers me up.

    Take care and keep your chin up.

    Casey.

  18. 1. You noticed she jumped in with: “I hope you don’t talk about me or about what’s going on in the family.”? You did say she was narcisstic but I wanted to point out that pretty much we all are. (NOT excusing her.) The emotionally healthier among us will try to diffuse this tendency and LOOK at and LISTEN to others and the story behind their behavior. She is not capable of doing that. Indeed she is not likely to change. Acceptance has been a difficult part of relationships for me, but one of the clearest signals of maturing. Her mental boundaries are so tight and tough around her, you can’t move them. And you know what holds those lines in place? Fear.

    2. A) This fear and B) how we experience art and words primarily through the grid of our own experiences I planned to talk about soon. May I or would you like me me to reference you with a link back to the post where you cried under Mary and Jesus, and in passing explain briefly what it is that moved you? If not, no problem at all.

    3. That was VERY sweet of your dad to call you as he did after the miscarriage. The rest of what I’d like to say on that is in here:

    http://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/07/04/bereft-poetry-reborn/

    4. And of course it isn’t crazy for you to find some semblance of healing in your beauitful art. I wish my hands could do what yours can. Keep it up! I’d encourage you to post more of your art, too. Both for yourself and your readers – and to help make your blog look even lovelier, though that’s not necessary. Music therapy, art therapy are highly effective. I almost went into the first but chose to play with words over music in college.

    • Casey says:

      Very quickly, as I have to get going on my day…but I’ll come back later…
      1. There is healthy self-interest, and there is malignant self-love. I don’t consider the former narcissism. I consider the latter to be. I’ve met individuals with healthy self-interest and I’ve met individuals with malignant self-love. There’s a huge difference and I believe how we use words to label experience matters.

      I think there is true sociopathy and if one hasn’t experienced it firsthand, it’s easy to dismiss it. I think that’s naive.

      http://paularenee.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/worried-that-you-might-be-the-sociopath/

      Until one gets out of the emotional and sometimes physical reach of a person with sociopathic tendencies…acceptance and healing is impossible. Retraumatization is likely as well without healing.

      The other psychological tactics my mother employed are too numerous to count, but I was threatened with being committed for “insanity” from time to time.

      I’m not ashamed to say I had a love-and-relationship addiction.

      2. Yes, that would be wonderful.

      3. It took a while to quiet the Inner Critic – the shame response – in order to express myself artistically. As I made art, I realized that art therapy was a fast track to healing wounds and getting in touch with my long neglected Inner Child. I had posted my artwork here until I decided to move it to it’s own site.

      http://theheartfulartist.wordpress.com/

      My first post there actually talks about Anger and Rage and how art helps give form to those feelings.

      At any rate, I am not sure which direction this particular blog will go. I use it to spill out my thoughts, mostly, my stories and some of my poetry, and my photography.

      I’m glad you went into writing, though music would have been a beautiful outlet. I’m glad you were able to study writing. I wanted to be a writer since girlhood, but gave that up for a practical career in the STEM field. I needed financial independence from my mother.

      • 1. Oh, I agree, Casey. I wasn’t backing Mom.
        3. You went ahead and answered a question I will be posing my readers in the coming weeks. =) Would love you to post this comment there or elaborate.

        I studied Latin, Greek, and Linguistics. Never “learned” to write, actually, though I’ve managed to teach how to. You write well, by the way, can pull words easily from your head with good insight. I know you have the poem “bereft” to get to.

        This one is literally right behind the latest post. You can tap the arrow to play and go about other things: multitask. =)

        http://holisticwayfarer.com/2013/12/24/oh-holy-night-2/

        • Casey says:

          Maybe it sounds like I think that you are defending my mother. I don’t think you are. I worry that I’m underexpressing how complex the issues have been for me. Unraveling them without condemning my upbringing is difficult, and sometimes I fail. I have hated my mother, at times, until I discovered that anger eats its own container.

          I was going to come back to share something else, and then I listened to your piece, which is beautiful. I love piano.

          I forgot what I was going to say…but anyway….

          I think it would be grand to learn Latin. It’s been on my list of things I want to learn. I do love language, and used to read the dictionary as a child because I wanted to know more words. I loved English Lit and could write a decent comparative essay for my honors history class. Books have always been my best friends.

          My stepfather once said to me that if I wanted to get along in the world, I had to stop talking over people’s heads. I had to evaluate my purpose for using certain words. Did I want to impress people with my word power, or did I want to connect with people on their level?

          Unfortunately, since the vast majority of adults don’t have an extensive vocabulary, I also can’t really practice speaking or writing with one. Well, I could write with one, but between motherhood and mild depression (which I have struggled with most of my life), I write with a level that’s fairly comfortable without making me check the online dictionary too often to make sure I used it correctly.

          As far as linguistics go…I used to want to learn until I kept getting into arguments with a friend of mine regarding words. And sometimes, the words between us kept getting in the way. The end result was making me feel expressing myself in the way I did was wrong. I began to feel I had a very bad understanding of language.

          I’m beginning to regain hope that I still have the ability to convey what I mean and understand what others say.

          As far as insight goes, I’ve always been interesting in psychology and human development. I wrote pretty extensively about human development on my parenting blog. And selective mutism as my middle daughter was formerly selectively mute. And I wrote about creativity and intensity and gifted individuals (the “g” – word is such a word that incites a great deal of controversy).

          http://raisingsmartgirls.wordpress.com/

          I have neglected that blog though since last August. I should resume at least a monthly posting schedule. Too many irons in the fire.

          And it’s not that I am an expert in anything. I just have been studying humans for a long time. I didn’t understand most of them. I’m just now beginning to understand myself and how my past patterns influenced my present moments.

          I’m started to get a little light-headed. My own intensity is getting the better of me.

          Take care and yes, I will reply/elaborate to it on your blog when you write the post. And the other one I thought you were going to write…about…hmmm…can’t remember…oh, yes, the liver storing anger and grief…

          Something else…have you heard of the work of Reich and Lowen and bioenergetics? I admit I need to read more of your blog to learn more about you…I have been writing poetry lately (a new passion of mine).

          http://www.reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Home/basic_tenets.html

          Okay, housework is calling me…

          • No, no, don’t feel it’s anything about your inability to express your complex past adequately. We’re just volleying paradigms and concepts off each other in this small comment box.

            Just fascinating that you experienced language getting the wAy of relationship.

            “I’m beginning to regain hope that I still have the ability to convey what I mean and understand what others say.” You’re fabulous!

            I’ll chk out the links when time allows. Out of commission for the day.

          • Casey says:

            🙂

            I’m out of commission too. I see the typos I made because my brain is getting tired…time to go make a smoothie….yum!

            It’s very delightful to talk to you. It’s been a while since I have met someone so engaging.

            Have a lovely remainder of the day.

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