‘Bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed

An Illinois appeals court recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by the two adult children of Steven A. Milner and Kimberly Garrity, who divorced in 1995. Both children, Steven II and Kathryn, lived with their father, an attorney, in a $1.5 million house. They alleged that their mother caused emotional distress by sending dumb birthday cards or failing to send care packages when they were in college.

In reporting the story the Chicago Tribune portrayed Steven II and Kathryn—represented by their father and two other attorneys—as spoiled brats. Read:

‘Bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed on ChicagoTribune.com.

I was all set to think that the case was a frivolous lawsuit driven by Steven Miner, the father, to harass the mother. But then I looked at the actual court decision. If the allegations in their claim are true, the picture is far muddier. The mother, Kimberly Garrity, may be disordered. Maybe both parents are disordered. Read:

Steven A. Miner II and Kathryn R. Miner v. Kimberly A. Garrity, on State.Il.Us

The moral of the story: It’s very difficult to know the truth about family life based on media accounts, or even court documents.

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34 Comments on "‘Bad mothering’ lawsuit dismissed"

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I think that much of the drama was for his own entertainment. Once I “got it” I realized he was not human. I may have lost my job, money, friends and family, but I still have enough resilience to get up and move on. Wish I would have known about the blog here at LF years ago.
Thank you Ox you know what’s up and you are casting your bread on the water.

I don’t want to excuse possible bad behavior from the mother, but this sounds like classic parental alienation to me. The complaints about the mother are ridiculous. The fact that they would complain about an “inadequate” birthday card is absurd. This shows how much of a stretch it is for them to find things to gripe about. It shows how willing they are to pile on.

Yes, certainly, a giant pile of small incidents can add up to a large trauma. But really, these do not even rise to that level. It is possible that I am reading too much between the lines, but what I see is that every action the mother made was twisted in order to put the worst possible interpretation on it. IMO, this was not a case where the mother intended to hurt her kids or even annoy them. She did her best and every action was scrutinized and found wanting.

Consider how hard it is for an alienated parent to make any effort at all. EVERY attempt to stay in contact or to be nice to the kids is met with ridicule and scorn . No birthday card = My mom doesn’t love me. Funny birthday card = My mom sends me a stupid card. Serious card = My mom didn’t put any money in. Card with money = My mom didn’t put enough money in.

The scorn is at first suggested by the alienating parent (in this case the father). Then when it becomes a learned habit, it is encouraged. Ultimately, it becomes so ingrained that the father can step back and allow it to continue while pretending to be completely innocent. (“Really, I advised them not to file this suit.” Wink.)

Parents who are alienated like this should get a medal for even TRYING to maintain contact or behave like normal parents. The agony of the alienated parent is unimaginable to anyone who has not been there herself/himself.

An additional problem with cases like this is that the targeted parent is held to an IMPOSSIBLY high standard. The alienated parent is not permitted normal human emotions. Do you think there are many people who could be subjected to this treatment and not once raise a voice in anger? Do you think the constant rejection could cause the alienated parent to withdraw or give up trying or to miss a birthday or other occasion, knowing that no matter what she did it would be rejected and criticized?

Do you see any criticism whatsoever of the father here? Do you suppose that his behavior over all these years was totally perfect? Were all of his birthday gifts perfect? What were they? Did he even send a card? The best defense is a good offense. He never raised his voice or made any parenting mistake? It is easy for the alienating parent to sit and throw rocks from his glass house so long as no equal examination is ever made of his behavior.

This is a classic case of alienation. One of the classic signs is that the alienating parent is perfect and can do no wrong, while the targeted parent can do nothing right.

Regarding the kids ”“ IMO, they have been completely brainwashed by the father. They are just as much victims as the mother. It is like the “Stockholm Syndrome.”

If they have been immersed in the father’s constant criticism of the mother, they will have grown to believe it.

(I would not have thought that a formerly nice and decent kid could be made to behave that way if I had not witnessed it myself. I have seen this happen.)

It is a very hard thing for an adult to resist this sort of brainwashing from a hostile stranger (kidnapper). Think how much harder it must be for a child to resist this when it comes from a parent. The kids need professional help so they can see the truth, both good and bad, about both parents, and so their relationship with their mother can be healed.

It needs to be pointed out to these kids that their mother is allowed to have normal human faults and that normal faults don’t make her a bad parent or a bad person. (Yes, abuse makes someone a bad parent. But failure to send the perfect birthday card is not abuse.)

Again, I think the kids are victims here, too.

I think the husband is a psychopath and set the kids up to do this to their mother. A broken arm can happen in child’s play. My GD broke a bone jumping on the bed and falling off while playing with her dad. She fell, ACCIDENT! That does not make him a psychopath. As Skylar said, the psychopath always comes out looking like the good guy…especiall y a lawyer snake in a suit like the one who mentally abuses and hyptomizes my children.

Whaddya mean “Good lawyer”? :0 Many if not most lawyers are personality disordered, they thrive in the power and get their supply at the same time. It is the perfect profession for a psychopath. I was married to one, a psychopath, and only a few of his colleagues that I met were not just like him or worse.

Betsybugs, yep!

As a complete aside, I’ve typed this before, but “Betsybugs” is about the cutest online ID. I get this visual of ladybugs all dancing around, hand-in-hand.

Sorry……..stress often causes me to take my mind elsewhere…..


I was reading through this old thread and saw Panther’s name. Anyone heard from her lately? How about CQueen?


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