I tried for years to protect our children from their father, and the legal system did little to help

Spath TalesEditor’s Note: Lovefraud received the following story from a reader whom we’ll call “Rhoda.”

My ex is an attorney and used his position to financially ruin me by targeting our children.

I spent over $250,000 on legal fees, while he was legally allowed to represent himself, and even question me on the witness stand as both my ex and his own attorney. The legal system allowed him to continue to drag me to court for 7 years.

I was awarded sole custody twice and he waited for the judge to retire, filed again, and this time was awarded joint custody and I had not done anything different or wrong.

Our children have suffered the most. Our now 21-year-old daughter wants nothing to do with her father, but our now 15-year-old son must endure court ordered visits.

My ex convinced the judge I was a bad parent, when in fact, the courts suspended his visitation with our son for two years due to his abusive relationship.

Our son, whom I took to therapy to deal with his emotions and a product of being subjected to his father, was diagnosed with PTSD and had thoughts of harming himself. His psychiatrist and long-term mental health providers both testified in court, but the judge either did not believe them, or could not legally help him.

The courts continued to victimize both our son and myself, ordering me to attend court ordered co-parenting for a year with my abusive ex. Our son was forced to go to “reunification therapy” for a solid year with his abusive father. The therapist, picked by the judge, told our son if he didn’t cooperate the judge would send him to juvenile detention!!!

Who’s word would the judge believe? Our son had to just endure it! More abuse from powerful people.

I tried for years to protect our children from their father, and the legal system did little to help. The legal system is not equipped to recognize or deal with sociopaths. It becomes a battle of “he said, she said.”

Except, I did everything right, in the best interest of our children ”¦ allowing the lies and badmouthing by the father while I kept my mouth shut, not wanting to confuse our kids.

It was pure hell for years watching our son bite himself, kick walls, scream after returning from visits with his father, bang his head, try to strangle our family pet, and draw a picture of himself dead, with a gun, with the words, “Yes, I want to go to Heaven.”

The court assigned a GAL who was an attorney, not a mental health provider. She told the judge in court, “He looks like a normal 14 year old boy.”

Where was she when he was having his meltdowns? Why doesn’t the court restructure how they handle “high conflict” cases? Why don’t they have trained mental health providers, paid for by the courts, to investigate ”¦ speak with any long standing therapists, interview teachers, family members, neighbors, doctors, who know the children and find the truth.

My son is now just given up, his spirit broken. He endures his visits with his father because the court says he must, but when he’s 18, I have no doubt, he, just like his sister, with have nothing to do with his father.

Parents like myself should do something rather than complaining, but what? I knew in my case I couldn’t fight a well-known psychologist, appointed by a judge, who never bothered to read the 6 years of court testimony.

It was hell and I wish others would not have to endure it, especially innocent children.


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15 Comments on "I tried for years to protect our children from their father, and the legal system did little to help"

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Whether we stay or leave our s-paths, our children have the unfortunate experience of an s-path parent. No matter how much we try to shelter them from the horrors of an s-path parent, they don’t learn how to model healthy relationships since they don’t get the opportunity to observe one.

For the past two and half years, I have been in an incredibly healthy relationship. My ex, on the other hand, has a relationship with his fiance that resembles the one he had with me almost to a T. Our son, who is fifteen, one day told me that my boyfriend is my “bitch.” I was shocked to hear such a thing and asked him why he said that. He answered that my boyfriend is led around by me and will do whatever I tell him. Of course that is not at all true. Quickly, he mentioned how his dad pushes his fiance, they fight in restaurants and make scenes in public when one of them gets mad at the other. He even said that sometimes when she leaves his father’s house or they drop her off at her house, his dad will comment to our son that his fiance gets on his nerves, is obnoxious, embarrassing and she makes him so mad, etc.

After listening to my son, it dawned on me that my son’s normal perception of adult “loving” relationships is that of his father and fiance’s and not of mine and my boyfriend’s. Because my boyfriend and I don’t fight, speak respectfully to one another and when we disagree we do it lovingly and respectfully, my son perceives that as my boyfriend being a pushover.

What I know, and with great pain in my heart, is that my son WILL treat women the way my ex treats his fiance and the way he treated me. That is all he knows and what feels comfortable to him, even if he knows it is wrong.

This is just one way an s-path poisons our children.

As for the courts, we have to tell our children that the s-path loves them, is a good parent, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, love means telling the vet to put the “f%$g cat to sleep” because it had a kidney infection and s-path did not want to pay the $35 dollars for antibiotics but all the while was an Executive Board member of the local chapter of the Human Society and always wrote out big checks to support the organization.

Reunification therapy, in my very humbled opinion, is a farce. It rolls back to the telling the kids that the s-path loves them while the children receive behavior from the s-path that speaks to any thing but love.

That’s why I am so utterly relieved that this all happened when the kids were that bit older. Thankfully during our marriage they saw/heard very little of the bad behaviour. As they got a bit older and in the latter couple of years they heard a few rows and saw their father ignoring me for several weeks but he also tended to do it to them and numerous friends, neighbours, relatives, etc. Because of this, they grew tired of his behaviour. Whenever he did this either to me or them I would talk to them about it and say look, it’s your dad’s way but it’s not my way and its not the right way and I don’t condone it in anyway – he just doesn’t know any better. I’ve persevered with this message throughout their lives.

When things got really bad and I made the realisation that what I had always thought of as his ‘issues’ and ‘demons’ were in fact symptoms of a serious mental condition, I gradually drip-fed that to the kids.

It started by me allowing them to overhear conversations about what I’d read about lists of symptoms of a sociopath and of course one would pipe up and say – that’s describing dad! Then off their own backs – they both started to do some reading themselves and after several conversations they had come to their own conclusion that he is indeed a sociopath.

Anyone who’s parent has deserted them would be grateful for an explanation and they have found that in their own discoveries. So rather than being the bitter ex wife and mother who despises their father (although let’s face it, I’d be happy if I never set eyes on him again) – I try and teach them to pity him. Be wary of him, keep away from him – which is easy as he has nothing to do with them but to find it in their hearts to pity him. He’s mentally ill at the end of the day and will grow to be a sad lonely, empty old man.

I am also in a fantastic and loving relationship now (for 2+ years) and they seem very happy with the way that we behave and treat each other. Perhaps its because they’re a little older.

But don’t give up on your son growing into a fine young man. Its absolutely true that children learn from the adults around them but if one parent is bad then the other has to work twice as hard to mould them and bend them learn the right way. Try and expose your son not just to your healthy relationship but to other extended family or friends around him.

Keep showing your son the right way and don’t underestimate him because he’s half you as well as half your ex.

I’m happy for you and your new relationship, and that your kids accept it and see that it is pleasant and normal, rather than pathologic and nasty. That is what I wanted and expected if I got into another relationship. Now that I have been for over a year, they do not see such nice, normal behavior as a plus, and they do not accept it. It is too bad, because I wanted them to learn to model a normal, loving, caring, calm relationship where differences are discussed nicely and some conclusion is decided, rather than endless screaming fights with no resolution on issues that became circular. It does not always work out to such a fairy tale ending, even if they get that the sociopath is one.

I know that I am lucky. I sometimes have to stop and pinch myself because I can’t believe how happy I feel. Like the majority of people on this site, I’ve had some very difficult times because of my relationship not just with one sociopath but with two. I am quite convinced my step mother also suffers from the same condition – she may even be worse than my ex but like many of these people she hides behind a mask of decency. A ‘sweet’ little old lady now – who goes to church and involves herself in charity but behind the mask is a cruel, controlling, highly strung and sometimes violent, pathological liar.

I ‘escaped’ her clutches in my early twenties and feel straight into the arms of a wonderfully charming, kind, gentlemanly sociopath!!

So I feel utterly blessed now to have come through the fog and to be in a loving, balanced relationship. Thankfully the kids also seem to see it that way. Its probably a lot to do with the fact they don’t see their father – he has nothing to do with them.


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