Abuse, domestic violence and visitation

Last week I defined four types of love fraud that constitute points on a continuum from predatory love fraud to adultery. In all these relationships, one member of the couple inflicts physical, mental and/or financial injury on the other. Unfortunately, the presence of children does not necessarily deter violence in relationships. The fact that children can be caught in the middle in violent relationships is illustrated by the following news story reported this week.

According to the, the police were called to a domestic dispute in Narberth, Pennsylvania, Tuesday night. Upon arriving at the scene, they found a 34-year-old woman in critical condition. They discovered that the assailant was likely Glenn Minsk, the victim’s live-in boyfriend and the father of her child. The child, an 18-month-old girl, was missing. An Amber Alert was issued and the child was recovered in good condition at the home of Minsk’s parents. Minsk apparently brought the child there after he allegedly assaulted the child’s mother and stole her car.

Keep in mind that we do not have all the details involved in this particular case. However, this story highlights the problem violent relationships pose for involved children. Children are traumatized when exposed to physical and emotional violence. Children may also have attachments to the perpetrators and victims of such violence.

Other problems faced by the children

I have received many letters from parents asking me if children should have visitation with a parent who has demonstrated himself/herself to be physically or emotionally abusive to the child’s other parent. In discussing this issue, I find there are a number of people who hold a belief exemplified by the following, “Just because he treated the mother this way, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his child.” In fact, some might interpret the kidnapping of a child as an act of love. The courts also take this attitude and commonly grant visitation to the perpetrators of domestic violence.

The granting of visitation and custodial rights in cases of domestic violence/abuse is even more common when the perpetrator has not been found guilty of physical assault. The courts seem to take the stance that marital deception, psychological and financial predation, have “nothing to do with the child.”

What the courts and the public fail to understand about many perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse is that they are predators who are not capable of loving anyone, child or adult. These predators seek out social relationships purely for the sake of obtaining power, control and in some cases sadistic pleasure. We think that people who seek out social relationships do so out of a love motive. There is a general ignorance of the power motive and the manner in which this motive determines the behavior of many perpetrators of domestic violence. For more on power and control in domestic violence see The Duluth Model.

Anger management may not help

Those who teach anger management to the perpetrators of domestic violence can attest to the fact that not all perpetrators are sociopaths. Some have ability to love, but have very poor impulse control. These perpetrators do benefit from training to improve impulse control. Sociopaths and those motivated only by power motives are not capable of effective parenting even with training. A parent’s most important job is to teach a child to love, have impulse control and moral values (the Inner Triangle again). A parent who lacks these himself cannot impart them to a child. What purpose does it serve, then, for a child to have any relationship with such a parent?

Another issue that is discussed in older textbooks of child psychiatry is the impact that court-ordered visitation, in some cases, has on the custodial parent or guardian. How is a victim or a victim’s family supposed to feel about a child visiting a violent or abusive person? These are people we warn our children to stay away from! Furthermore, when those who have custody and responsibility for the child are stressed by a visitation arrangement, that is not good for the child. Caregiver stress has been shown to have a direct, negative effect on parenting and child wellbeing.

The true nature of human social relationships is just now being understood by science. If the perpetrator of domestic abuse/violence is a sociopath, he/she is unable to love. Furthermore, all of the sociopath’s intimate relationships are about dominance, power and control. Ultimately, our laws must be amended to reflect a more scientific understanding of our human relationships. Only then will our children be protected.

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50 Comments on "Abuse, domestic violence and visitation"

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To answer your last question:.. A SPATH!!
They are everywhere.

Welcome to LF. Soon you will know enough about them that you will be able to spot them for who they are. This is the blessing. You will see them everywhere, that’s the curse.

Not everyone can see them easily, but you’ll learn the red flags and you will be able to “suss” them out.

I’m glad you found a safe place here on LF.

Wow….I thought I was reading a copy of my story.
Strangling the son, the family, your parents turning against you, jr getting it way before mom, turning abuse on jr…….
I GET IT! I’ve been there!
That hourglass in your room……..make it work for YOU. Each time you turn it, remember that was another hour you got to CHOOSE how you spent your life that hour!

They get ‘theirs’……..they are the ones who live in misery, always running, always conning and NEVER having substance!

My spath (ex) hasn’t stayed in ONE state longer than 2 months since our divorce over 2 years ago. He is STILL having trouble keeping a long term con going.

Trust in the process……and take care of YOU and your kids.

Welcome to LF, you have found a good source of information and support!



to quote one of your statements…” A leopard doesn’t change his spots…but he can sure camoflauge them…”

My experience also since leaving my spath 4 years ago, is that this is definately true!

Every new victim he has I want to save…I want to tell them the truth about what he is…I want him exposed to the world so that not only will no one every be his victim again…I hope for the satisfaction of saying to everyone…SEE! I TOLD YOU SO! But I never get satisfaction when his victim leaves…I only feel sorrow for them…and worry about the cycle that affects my and my son. …they approach me after they have left and say…”I wish I woulld have listened..I cant believe he had me believing all his lies and what he said about you”…

Sometimes I feel obsessed with wanting to expose him to the world…it is not healthy…it consumes me….being right isnt going to make anything better.

My ex just picked up our son for his weekend visitation. My heart is breaking. I watched through the front window as my 5 year old ran to has Daddys car..looking to be greeted with enthusiasm and at least a hug and some acknowledgement. But since my ex didnt bring along his new victim to try and impress…I watched as he talked on his cell phone the entire time…not speaking to my son (who he hasnt seen or spoken to in 2 weeks)..opened the door without even looking at my son, still not talking to him, no hello, no hug, nothing. The look on my sons face was pure disappointment and sadness that his father continued to talk on his cell phone as he got into the car, put on his own seatbelt and his father shutting the door without one word to him. The tears have begun…and my heart is breaking. My son deserves so much more.
I am helpless, watching my son look at his father, wondering why he doesnt seem happy to see him.
Only when he brings along his new victim does he show any enthusiasm about seeing his son. I feel physically ill…I cant stop crying for my boy…as I feel so sorry for him, and guitly becasue I havent been able to protect him from this neglect and apathetic attitude. I dont know why he fights me in court to see him, since he seems not to care if he does or not unless he is trying to impress a new victim.
This depresses me to no end..I feel like a horrible mother having to let him leave with this man every time! I do not want my son to have to wonder why daddy doesnt pay attention to him, when he only sees him 4 days a month. He is so innocent and pure, this breaks my heart so much I cant even put it into words.


Sniff, sniff…that is soooo sad. That poor little boy is only a possession to your ex. Sigh. It makes me upset just thinking about it. I am so sorry 🙁

Dear Jorja,

I’m sorry as well, because your son DOES deserve a father that loves him, but you know, in a way, it may in the end be better for your son that the father doesn’t show any enthusiasm for him and hopefully as much as it hurts now, your son won’t be so “blinded” by the FAKE “love” etc and he will “catch on” that your X really doesn’t care about him, and as he grows he will realize that your X is not worth caring about. Just give your son lots of loving and positive strokes when you are with him and tell him how wonderful he is to counter the lack of positive strokes from your X.

Go to dr. Leedom’s site “parenting the at-risk child” and get some support etc from her group. Also read read READ and help your son to realize his potential and to develop a moral compass and empathy! One good parent is all it takes! (((hugs)))) and God bless you and your son.

Louise & Ox,

Yes, I have been for years reading whatever I could concerning parenting the ast risk child, and coparenting (if you can even call it that) with an spath. They seem to have different opinions concerning the genetic factor and environmental factors….but I am learning everthing I can.

I have thought of that…that eventually my son will see his father for who he is. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing. him believing all these years that his Dad was a great guy, only for it to come crashing down on him when he gets old enough to feel and see the truth. I know it is inevitable and as much as a mother wants to ptotect her son from this type of emotional crisis, I know I really cant avoid it and can only be ther to support him when he is going through things and trying to figure it all out. I want to be honest with him when he asks me questions (partly becasue I wasnt him to see him for who he really is, so that he doesnt go through the feelings that I did being angry at yourself for believing he was something else), but I also do not want him thinking I am bad mouthing his father. Its a fine line.

I am guilty of showing my feelings that I have towards his father in front of him before, and I saw that it was upsetting for him to hear what I had said, so I try very hard not to let him overhear any negative remarks from me or anyone else…it is difficult as anyone who is talking about his father, never has anything good to say about him, so we just never even say his name aorund him unless my son brings up the subject.

I hope I dont screw things up with my son and hope I am able to bring him up to be a great person, without emotional problems that stunt his growth emotionally. I am trying my hardest.

I found this rather interesting as a program coordinator of a Partner Abuse Intervention Program. I have wondered for a while if there was a slight correlation between domestic violence and sociopaths behavior. Both crave power and control over their victims. Would be an interesting study.

Vsmom, it is estimated that 75% of Domestic abusers ARE psychopaths, so yes, there is a correlation.

OxD, and I think that’s a pretty conservative estimate. Out of all of the hundreds of victims of domestic violence that I’ve met over the decades, I’d say three abusers actually acknowledged their behaviors and took drastic steps to break the cycle.

Brightest blessings

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