By September 19, 2012 57 Comments Read More →

The “Unsustainable Pseudo Co-Parenting” Phase of Custody with a Psychopath

In the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize that my Custody War with Luc (my sons sociopathic father) has entered a new phase – I’ll call this phase the “unsustainable pseudo co-parenting” phase.  The initial Custody Trial is over and our Family Law case has been closed.  No matter how bad the judge, lawyers, and supervised exchange professional all want us to go away, none of these people are going to be able to cure Luc of his psychopathy so “going away” is not going to happen.

In my post last week, I noted that my lawyer had suggested me and Luc get “Family Therapy” in order to learn how to communicate with each other.  I have thought a lot about this suggestion, and its clear and unabashed ridiculousness.  Here I thought that my attorney’s had gotten up close and personal, witnessed the crazy, and understood the depth of Luc’s disorder over the past year.  After suggesting that I sit in a room across from my own personal terrorist, however, it became clear that I had been in this fight alone and I was really nothing more than – a client.


Unsustainable “Plan”:

At several points during this Custody War, I remember asking my attorneys to try and make the Custody Order as detailed as possible.  I knew that with any vague language, Luc would go to town and continue to terrorize me and baby boy at every turn.  I ended up being somewhat disappointed with the final order as it left several unanswered questions and had holes big enough for Luc to drive a truck through.  What we ended up with appeared to be a bandaid instead of a real plan.

By giving Luc weekly visitation, the court was asking us to “co-parent” (all be it minimally considering I was granted sole legal custody).  I was asked to share “critical information” with Luc via third party (i.e. attorneys) and we were never to communicate directly with each other.  The court recognized, at least somewhat, that there was a physical threat involved with direct contact and that “co-parenting” in the classic sense was not possible.  The court failed to address, however, how on earth we were supposed to “co-parent” given that communication was too dangerous.  They didn’t cover this issue in the court mandated Co-Parenting class I was forced to attend (that Luc was able to effectively skip without accountability).

The supervisor for the exchanges has expressed that she will not pass messages between us, as Luc has already attempted to use her as his personal secretary on numerous occasions.  His lawyer has dumped him for not paying her and my attorneys are sick of this case and want me to “go to family therapy” vice bother them with important information to pass (such as medical emergency and doctors information).


Pseudo Co-Parenting:

According to wikipedia (which I understand is not always a reliable source), the principle of co-parenting states that a child has always and in any case the right to maintain a stable relationship with both parents, even if they are separated or divorced, unless there is a recognized need to separate him/her from one or both parents.

(Note:  As I am sure many of you who have been through a Custody War with a psychopath will agree, the threshold for a “recognized need” to separate a child from one or both parents is extremely high.)

I take real issue with this concept of co-parenting.  The idea of co-parenting fails to take into account parents who are not capable of sustaining “stable” relationships with anyone – including their own children.

That all being said, I call this phase I am in “pseudo co-parenting” because its not co-parenting in the true sense at all.  It feels as if I am going through all the motions (so to follow the court order), but I am waiting for the next shoe to drop because this is not reality.

What the court failed to realize is that it doesn’t always boil down to the child’s right to maintain a relationship with both parents.  I think my son has the right to have a father who cares about him, is stable, and who capable of maintaining a healthy relationship with him; however, I understand that this is not possible given WHAT Luc is – a psychopath.  I would like for a magical genie to show up at my front door and grant me three wishes too, but will also never happen.


The Waiting Game:

I received some legal advice this week from at attorney who has been practicing for nearly 30 years.  She also specializes in cases involving domestic violence.  I went to her for some advice on how to manage situations that appear unsustainable and how to deal with this new “phase” of the Custody War.  After hearing my story, she said “you need to learn that you cannot ”˜manage’ a person like this.  You are dealing with someone who is dysfunctional at his core; therefore, any time you spend trying to make him functional will be a complete waste of your time.”

This advice seemed so simple and obvious.  I felt a little ridiculous that I needed a lawyer to point this out to me after an entire year of feeling like I am beating my head against a wall to come up with a solution to this madness.  This lawyer was dead on point.  She identified after only a five minute conversation that I was trying to manage Luc, trying to make him less dysfunctional, and trying to make him a better father.

The ugly truth is that this phase of “unsustainable pseudo co-parenting” is maddening.  This phase is difficult because while it appears impossible and unsustainable, and there doesn’t seem to be a playbook on how to fix the situation.  There are a lot of things I won’t have control over.  No matter how much I document and how much I plan for the safety and protection of my baby boy, Luc will continue to lie, deceive, and terrorize.

So, for now, I battle my nerves and practice my “grey rock” of emotions when faced with Luc’s terror and menacing behavior.  There are many things out of my control in this situation, but I can control one thing – I can be the best mother I know how to be.  This is going to be one bumpy ride and the war is far from over.

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57 Comments on "The “Unsustainable Pseudo Co-Parenting” Phase of Custody with a Psychopath"

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CappuccinoQueen, what the domestic violence attorney said were pearls of wisdom that you needed to hear from someone who knows the Law. Throughout this whole course of ugly events, you’ve been expecting (as we ALL do) that the Legal System will recognize the danger that lucifer is and make reasonalbe decisions, and the sad, sorry, and undeniable truth is that the Legal System doesn’t do this, even under the best of circumstances.

Hearing this from an attorney is probably like a slap in the face, but it’s true. We may dislike this truth and want desperately to alter it, but it remains the truth, nonetheless.

I remember how I felt when my own divorce attorney said to me, “He simply never cared.” You know that knife of cold dread that runs through your gut when you find out something awful? Well…..

So, “going through the motions” is all you are required to do, CappuccinoQueen. Trying to manage this monster will not only be a waste of your precious time, but your energies are so important to your own recovery and for raising your beautiful boy. That’s the core of the matter – every action, motion, hearing, appearance, complaint, and legal concern falls upon deaf ears – even with mountains of evidence to “prove” that you’re concers are VALID, the Court is just another venue that reduces your validity to nil. So…..what, now?

You have sole custody. EXCELLENT. “Communication” is third party. EXCELLENT. He has supervised visitation – not so good, but it is still supervised. He has “involvement” – not so good, but it’s Court Ordered. But, what this man will never, ever have again for the rest of your life is you. The Court cannot order you to peel off a piece of yourself and hand it over to this thing. Keep you close to yourself, CappuccinoQueen, and glory in the fact that you got out, you’ve got your beautiful boy, and you’re going to sort this out in very, very good order because you GET IT!!!

Brightest, brightest blessings to you!!!

Dear C’Queen,

pseudo-co-parenting, wonderful term and so true.

I think the lawyer lady is probably right on, you HAVE been trying to “manage” him. I think we all try to manage our psychopaths….NC is a “management” tool, it controls access to us.

What I can’t figure out is why the courts think if the man is a DANGER to the mother of his child, he could/would not ALSO be a danger to the child. DUH????

Gray rock in this case is the best you can do and hopefully he will lose interest in your Prince. I think that many times the ONLY interest they have in a baby is to jerk the chain of the mother. So if you maintain gray rock and don’t give him any feed back, then hopefully he will become BORED.

I think sometimes it is a “terrible” way to think of things, but when they pick or get a new victim, they leave the old ones alone. Always seem to have to have new drama. I hate to wish a psychopath on someone else….but maybe Luc will find a new victim and get bored with you and the prince.

Hi C’Queen,

You are handling this so well under your circumstances. In my state, they passed a law where they are not to order or expect any family or together counseling with a parent when there is documented abuse. I will say the horrible supervisor/interventionist demanded I face him in a counselling situation in her office which was against that law but my attorney told me to abide as she was considered a judicial officer so I did. It was so bad. My little girl was outside the room and had shoved a card under the door saying all she could hear was spath screaming at me and to hold the card so I knew I was loved! Sick Sick.
I had to research my own co-parenting with this man who behaved so badly and I ran across several articles on “parallel parenting”. Please look this up. It is the best help we have in an otherwise hopeless situation. It gives tips and help of what you can control and what you can’t. It helps reassure your loving home and parenting will prevail even though the other parent will never be able to parent with you. The model of parallel parenting was made for those of us who could not co-parent with the other and possibly from the people who write much regarding divorcing difficult people or high conflict people such as spaths, bpds etc.

I hope this helps.


Eralyn, you are spot on, if a human being is a threat to any other human being it should follow that he is a potential danger to all human beings. The logic behind ” a kid needs a relationship with an abusive father” is just a devilish or naive logic.

When u deal with a legal system that tells you this, then you understand that you really are alone in this and nobody cares for you but God if you believe in God.

My son’s father does all he can to engage me at one level or the other. I realize he gets his kicks from stirring up trouble. Most times I just ignore him but when I cannot, I reply him with as much venom as I can muster :). Dunno if it hurts him, but I just try. But most times I simply starve him by not engaging in arguments!

My Spath filed for sole custody this year using baseless lies. He admitted to me during the months of trial that he didn’t want sole custody just 50/50. Prior to this he had visitation every other weekend, every Monday night at dinner, two non-consecutive weeks of vacation and we alternated holidays and school holidays. His motive for changing custody was to cut his child support payments in half. Luckily the judge told him that the child support wouldn’t change but the real downside is that my daughter truly believed that this change in custody would mean that her Spath dad would want to spend more time with her and make her a priority. Sadly, as I knew it would be, he is mad that he didn’t achieve his goal of paying less child support and has spent even less time with our teenage daughter than before the custody fight.
The judge in this case continued to plead with me to try to co-parent with my ex-husband. In five years I have never changed visitation for personal activities. My ex constantly gives up time with his daughter to go on trips with girlfriends, spend time with college buddies he hasn’t cared to see since graduation. I always ask him to rethink his decisions in the best interest of our daughter but of course he always makes the wrong choice. Our daughter takes this rejection personally and despite my support she feels bad.

After showing photos of my daughters swollen face from an allergic reaction to an anti-biotic she was on while in the care of her doctor father (he did nothing to help her and dropped her at my house without a word) to the judge. The judge reprimanded me for not involving my ex-husband when I immediately called the after hours number for the family physician. I told the judge that my ex dropped her off in this condition and did nothing to help. He repeated but you didn’t involve him in the decision for her treatment. This same judge mandated that my ex and I take a co-parenting class.
The family court system is a mess and has no desire to identify sociopaths and deal with them as they need to be dealt with. When not working I dedicate my time to my daughter and do so happily. I enjoy spending time with my daughter and realize that she will leave for college in 3 years and cherish the time. She can’t understand why her dad doesn’t want to spend time with her after dragging her through court for 7 months to change (disrupt the original custody order). My daughter’s law guardian saw the photos of her swollen face and agreed in court that she should spend more time her father. This week my daughter told me that her dad had no food in the house so she couldn’t make her lunch for school. He is a doctor and can afford food but he is just letting her know that she isn’t a priority for him. Sadly, she is mature enough to know not to take this personally because her dad is a sociapath. There should be laws against this type of emotional abuse but sadly the legal system continues to support the underhanded tactics of sociopaths.
I got tired of my ex monkeying around with my child support payments so I contacted the child support office to reroute his payments. He was given 7 weeks to redirect the payments so their would be no lapse. To pay me back he did nothing and now I will probably be out child support payments for the next 5 weeks until the payments are finally rerouted so he wins again. I have resigned myself that every month for the until my daughter leaves for college will be spath challenges. I find that if I just accept that they will happen it is easier to deal with them. I have thousands of dollars in legal debt for a system that failed me when all I was trying to do was protect my daughter.
Until the legal system chooses to recognize sociopathy we will be left to fend for ourselves with these sick individuals. I advise my daughter to speak freely to her father about how he makes her feel, not because this will change his behavior, but because it gives her the power to make her feelings known and not keep them buried inside.

Good luck to those of you who are in this situation. I hope you do find some peace in your lives.

Hi C’Queen,

I have been in litigation for over 7 years ..spaths like court it make them feel important. I am very fortunate in that neither of my children want any contact with the spath, just the money for their education. Last payment for child maintenance is July 2013, thereafter payments for university will go straight to my children ..I am then free.

Newlife62 is spot on when she says there does come a point when you simply resign yourself to the court and their uselessness. You cannot change a spath’s behaviour, but you can learn to not react. Spaths inevitably get bored; and yours will too.

It always surprises me that a spath will happily drag a child to court (February 2012), and then find it ‘shocking’ (spaths words) that the child now 19 does not want it to even know which university she is attending. It is always about them!

When July 2013 ticks round, I am going to explain to the spath why taking me to court was stupid, and why here in the UK he could have avoided his costs and mine and even his child support. I shall enjoy that moment .. as money and winning matters more to the spath than anything else. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Lawyers, barristers and even some judges I have no respect for, you are just another case on the conveyor belt of misery.

Conversely, it now amuses me (took along time) that I am clearly more in his thoughts than it is in mine as it still plays games, late payments, incorrect amount etc.

My thoughts are with all of you who are unfortunate to be in litigation with a spath with regards to children ..but children do grow up!

Divorced from Gaslighter

moveingon — How could your ex have gotten away with avoiding child support?

Gaslighter – he has a limited company and pays a small wage and takes the rest in dividends. When challenged why he told the CSA he earned less than £100/week (child maintenance was set at £2.50/week per child) ..his excuse ‘my accountant told me to do that’ ..this is the UK. The CSA now CMEC are notorious for not enforcing and a good accountant could of well have got him off. So on declared income of £100k he claimed only an income of £8,500 per year, despite giving the court a tax return ..fake of course! It is a disorganised litigant in person ..also very, very narcissistic ..told the judge ‘I have studied the law and know my rights’ ..’you are just a woman, what do you know’ ..that went down well with the female judge!

Also he gave so many different addresses it was difficult to track down ..but a bailiff did ..his then ‘current’ (that is what he called her in court papers) wife got a bit of a shock, she hit the bailiff they called the police ..outcome … divorced again …. she was high in spath traits ..I caught her having my house valued, she sent abusive emails to my children including the line, ‘my husband never wants to see or hear from your ever again, good luck’! Also ‘Mr x is the most principled, honest and honourable man I have ever met’ ..deluded ..downloaded off friends reunited website …spath heaven!

Also telling a Family court judge ‘the children are not a priority’ ..is probably not a good idea when you the spath are the applicant ..dohhh!!! The spath is particularly thick, narcissistic and to round off I have posted this before judge to spath ‘write down and read out to the court where you have been living for the last 3 years’ ..we all wait …. and wait ..after a lot of paper shuffling and huffing and puffing its response ‘I can’t remember’ ..lol ..a few moments passed ..judge to me ‘move on Mrs x’ looking at the idiot with total disbelief.

In those particular proceedings (Dec 2011, Jan 2012) a 2 full days of hearings I probably spoke less than 1 hour even under his cross examination, he spent the time calling me ‘a whore, child abuser blah blah’ .. Dec 2012 so I wrote my Christmas list and totally switched off ..no ‘questions’ just ranting ..give it a spade and a coffin, it digs the grave, climbs in the coffin and nails the lid down, and leaves the spade outside ..love em!

Pit me ploys ..fab ..’I am living in my car’, my fingers are arthirtic, my nephew/cousin has jumped off a bridge, I was assauted at my wedding to Mrs X the sequel by her brother, not a good day …I don’t receive father’s day cards …I could go on .. I did silently pray at one stage when it said ‘I never want to see the whore again’ …thank you Lord.

Something more profound and to those who struggle with children and spaths, my daughter (19) it also took to court in Feb 2012. Afterwards she told me that she has no happy memories of him whatsoever, all the good times were with her brother, my family, friends and me …I do feel sad for my children, but I know they cannot be manipulated by it again, and they have more intellect in one of their finger nails than the spath ..and they know that. The judge told it ‘this court does not want to see you ever again Mr X and you have done irreparable damage to any relationship with either of your children, and you soley are responsible’! It was still moaning to the judge when I left.

For all the trouble he gave me ..child maintenance was varied upwards ..I loved that bit ..even more money ..application dismissed and he caved in when the court saw sight of his 2nd decree absolute …not the story he had told under oath. It appears not to matter if you write down lies, swear affidavits galore ..lie about everything ..if a judge’s intelligence is insulted and very much tried ..you have lost! Nothing it said was believed …even the judge told him ‘bailiffs do not care where you live, it is you they are after’ ..spath ‘what about my human rights’ ..big sigh all round!

There was a much simpler way ..but being a spath ..loving all the attention …and being stupid …well ..it will find out next year when I send him my son’s bank details for his new payments ..and an explanation and web link to what it could have done ..:) ..enforcement with bailiffs could never have happened either ..that only cost me £60 and call me evil the day before his 1st wedding anniversary ..paper I believe ..:)

My children give it no head space ..its an embarrassment ..and living in a rented flat having spent (according to it), £60k marrying the now divorced Mrs X the sequel ..and saving up for a property of his own, having been kicked out!!

I fret ever night about his arthritic fingers and IKEA furniture!!

Peace does come, when you see that light at the end of the tunnel ..just hope it is not a train! Cappi you will get there, and you will feel very different from how you now feel ..it changes ..every stage you will go through ..I know you will come out smiling and happy ..why ..because you know what you are dealing with ..hugs from the UK

The light at the end of my tunnel was his orchestrated train wreck for me. I raised 2 beautiful children in spite of him and then he love bombed them away from me. Now he shows them off and takes credit for how wonderful they are and he has alienated them against me. I am battle worn and exhausted from the battle and “There is no joy in Muddville, mighty Casey has struck out.”

Betsybugs, I am truly sorry to hear that your children have been alienated from you. My heart goes out to you. Time (that old cliche) changes some things, I hope in your case you are together with your beautiful children one day, the children you raised. Your children will remember and appreciate what you did for them, not next week, but they will, I know that from experience. Hugs.

I have been in an ongoing custody war for the past 8 years. I have 7 more to go. I feel fortunate that I had some good advice from the first wife, to document everything! My ex S lost custody two years into the war due to abuse. The children didn’t want to see him and they were only 3 and 6. After many hearings which he initiated, I was awarded sole legal and sole physical custody. It was hard to support the children on my own with no family support, but it was worth it! We had no contact for a couple of years.

My ex S got remarried, then came his request for visitation rights. He failed to do what was requested of him, ( not a single supervised visit in the couple of years, therapy, etc) so the judge ordered we both do a psych evaluation (730) and reunification therapy, coparenting therapy, etc. All of that was done. The 730 evaluation noted his psychopathic and narcissistic trains and also called him out on being aggressive. Two days before his interview with his then “current” wife, he was arrested for physically abusing her and her daughter. This was withheld from the evaluator.

Long story short, that wife was allowed by the courts to be his “visitation monitor” until I looked up his name in the criminal court system and learned of his charge. She filed for divorce, so there went his health coverage to pay for the reunification therapy. Again, he has rights to PAY for a supervision monitor to see the kids, but chose not to. (btw thru this I was accused of Parental Alienation by him) fast forward two more years and he files for visitation again. The follow up 730 was ordered, my atty requested the same evaluator so he would learn of the abuse withheld from him on the third ex wife. Granted. My ex said he couldn’t afford the veal, as he lost his job. (he worked for best friend of 35 years’ company. Uh-huh) So the judge gave him 5 months to comeup with his share of the $ and complete the Eval. Thru this all he had a phone schedule (court ordered) when he could talk to the children twice a week. He would call, twice a week, and repeatedly ask the boys what grade they were in, etc…like he never listened the call before. They resented the calls and had to be forced to speak to him. Finally, the oldest told him, ” I don’t want to talk to you dad, ok bye”. This happened twice in a row and he hasn’t called since June. Our follow up hearing on the 730 Eval is next week. My atty fees are at $2200.00 just to fight this hearing, to fight him on not getting any custody rights before the follow up is done.

O yes, after abusing wife # 3, he beat up someone outside of a bar. Spent 3 months in jail. That helped my case too. The guy has threatened that I “will not survive this…” and I am terrified every time I go to court. I get the deputies to escort me out every time. On FB he posts that he got his black belt and teaches self defense classes…

Seven more years….

Point of my sharing was to tell anyone in a custody war to request a psychological evaluation on both parties, also called a “custody evaluation” it worked to my advantage!

Desert flower, do document everything, I would record even phone calls, whether it is legal or not. Your spath is a boomerang one, back and forth at his leisure. Your son however, sounds very smart, clearly takes after his mother 🙂 Like you I always start out on the premise that if spath tells/promises the court anything (especially voluntarily) it is a lie. To date the spath has never let me down, everything is a lie, as I am sure in your case its FB profile is. For what its worth, I was told courts let it run and run, allow blatant lying, misconduct etc to avoid any chance of an appeal (in case they have cocked up) …and it keeps them in work .. Stay strong!

Thank u, moveingon…it’s quite comical, the lies. He told another court re: child support, that he is “unemployable” due to being on probation and needing back surgery. I said, then how do you teach karate, ( as stated on FB, if u currently need back surgery and cannot work?”

I used to believe everything this man told me, because I, myself, am an honest person and believe people are mostly of good conscience.

Desert Flower, yes you and me both ‘believed’ ..but when you finally see them for what they are (and many people have/do and will), there is no going back …a to**er it is and always will be. Needing back surgery and teaching karate …no problem for a spath ..he is so sought after due to his ‘amazing skills’ he teaches it all through telepathy ..ya de da. Whilst spewing out their lies they actually think they are getting one over on people …most people are not going to challenge them to their face. As my mother once told the spath ‘to be a good liar you have to have a very good memory, you are neither a good liar and your appear to have lost your memory up your backside’ ..my mum (god rest her soul) ..was blunt, and completely saw right through him!

Hello Cappuccino Queen,

In my state we did a 730 (psychological) evaluation, complete with personality testing all done via computer. Then interviews were conducted with the children and without. We were interviewed together. The courts adapted the recommendation of the evaluator, which he based the recommendations on the scores of the psychological tests. My recommendation is to not allow the evaluator or therapist of any kind to be of the opposite sex of the Ex S., as I know how the professionals also fall to their charms and manipulations. I saw my ex do it with his pretty female attorney. Funny thing, though, once he was called out on the assault charge of his third wife, who his attorney was friends with, the atty dropped him like a hot potato.

Karma is a *itch…

Cappuccino Queen, your story intrigues me. I pray that you can keep sweet baby boy safe.

C’Queen, thanks so much for sharing your story. It is vital for those of us who have been exposed to these people get the word out.

I know what you’re going through. I’ve been here. I have a son with a man whom I believe is a psychopath. Our son is now 10 years old. We have been through two ‘custody war’. It was a blood- bath. He ended up with custody (that he didn’t really want). After trying for peace for 9 years, it was clear that having a peaceful and effective co-patenting relationship with this man was a hopeless dream.

I found out that the legal system is not a place to go for justice. I also knew, that I was/am in serious danger. He knows that I know ‘what’ he is and have been writing about him for over 8 years on my website. I tried to explain to the court how truly dangerous he is to my son and I. My ex is a criminal and civil lawyer, a former police officer, an ex-marine, and holds a Phd in sociology. (So he claims)

After the court made it’s decision, I did the only thing left. I survive. You have a long and treacherous road ahead. And no, it’s not over. Far from it.

Take care of yourself. Stay strong.

Here’s the link to my blog: http://www.sexwriter.typepad.com

Unfortunately, this is not going to get any better…and will in all likelihood get worse. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings.I am glad there is this website for moral support though.I am IN the system in may ways. Not only is my ex a sociopath, not only do I have a child with him, but I became a family court attorney to try to protect my child–to no avail. The false allegations continue,he uses the Judge like a fine artisan uses his tools, the mental health ‘professionals’ are just yet another tool prosteletizing about their own out-of-touch with reality beliefs. It’s nice that an attorney recognized who your ex really is–BUT THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT.

The Family Courts are full of people who think they know best. There is an inherent disrespect for anyone who walks through the door of a family court. As if “Gee, these people just need to act like adults and put their own animosities behind ‘for the best interests of the child'”. Trust me, I hear it all the time. There are very few people with whom I work who know I am not only an attorney in family court…but also a litigant. It’s odd how I am respected for my opinions as an attorney,but I’m just crazy when I’m the mother.

My socio-ex is still bringing me back to court with false allegations of PAS (does everyone know that the man who developed PAS commited suicide by stabbing himself in the neck and chest??? Me thinks he had a few screws loose). Our child is 16 years old and he still accuses me of PAS and it works…the Judge buys it. Even though I’ve proven he had lied to this court multiple times, I am an officer of this court with my law license on the line, and he has existent fraud judgments out there. I have never had a case where the Judge has so blatantly ignored the wishes of a 16 yr old. What does that tell her?

But still I, apparently, am evil. Good thing someone told me.

The only way to “win” in family court…is to stay OUT.

I now can no longer work in a system that is so fundamentally abusive to healthy people, as family court is. If anyone knows of a job for an exhausted ex-attorney…let me know.


Welcome to Love Fraud….

I understand professional burn out but I also know that people like you are NEEDED in the system, in the courts, ON THE BENCH! So please think about staying and doing the best you can do under the circumstances.

God bless, and welcome to LF…this is a great site and some great support!

Divorced from Gaslighter

Logger: I’m a fellow attorney burn out. My advice to you at this point would be to hire an attorney for the sixteen-year-old, and stay out of the fight. Let your ex fight your daughter directly for whatever it is that he wants at this point.

Moveingon: When your younger child reaches his majority, I would NOT say or write anything at all to your ex. If he feels that you have “gotten the last word” he will spend the rest of his life trying to screw you over in some way or another. Let God handle him. Cut him off completely, and emphasize to your children that they are NOT to discuss any aspect of YOUR life with him.

You really can’t “win” against a person who doesn’t play by the rules. If you make him feel humiliated, he may cut the brake lines on your car. When your younger child reaches adulthood, you will be truly FREE, but only IF you can let go of the past yourself. Easier said than done, I know!

Ugh! Catching my breath here in this conference room, and really need some support!!!

The ex is dragging me into mediation (ordered by the court in this bullshit 50/50 patenting plan I’m forced to deal with). He wants a whole bunch of changes, like “right of first refusal”, access to my caregivers and roommates, details on my living situation. I guess he was getting bored with his new wife, and needed a little action.

The mediator admitted she couldn’t address these issues (meaning motions will surely follow), but she was concerned about ME and why I have so little contact with the father and “shouldn’t you get some counseling to help you? You seem very fragile”). I calmly explained that through my extensive DV counseling, it was recommended that I have NC (I didnt want to get into the spath conversation at the risk of sounding “crazy”), but she still thinks we should be “at a place” where we can be on “friendlier” terms. WTF?! I’m trying to protect myself, and she’s basically telling me (as I’m sure HE’S saying) that I’m hurting my ds by not “co-parenting” with the spath?! I’m beyond furious. She has no idea what I’ve been through.

Also he wants to take DS out of school for 2 weeks next month. I don’t want it. Principal doesn’t want it. She said I had to right to refuse, but I am *terrified* of the retaliation that would come if I did that. Letting him do it. Is that awful? I’m more scared of him than I am worried about my son’s education. It’s just not worth it to me to open myself up to the wrath that would follow, but I feel guilty about that. Ugh ugh ugh. Today just sucked!!!!

Cappuccino queen – we were ordered in our parenting plan to practice “parallel parenting”. Sounds better on paper (or Wikipedia), but still damn impossible with a spath trying to control every aspect of your life.

The mediator reccomended I wrote an e-mail saying I object to spath taking him out of school for vacation, but I will allow it. Nor sure how to put that. Here I am in a situation where I could actually say no and he’d have no time to get permission by the court and I would totally ruin his vacation plans, and I’m not going to do it. I could come across as an agreeable person who is willing to compromise to “keep the peace”, or I could come across as a person who doesn’t care about her ds. I could write that I’m scared of the retaliation, and that could either reinforce the “crazy, paranoid person” he says I am OR reinforce my valid fear of him. I don’t know what to do here. Advice, please??? Pretty please? I don’t trust my own judgment in the legal arena. I’ve played into spath’s hands too many times to my very horrible detriment. It just never ends, does it?!

Divorced from Gaslighter

Freemama: Write a non-emotional business-like letter to your ex telling him that both you and the principal think that it is a bad idea to take your son out of school for two weeks.

If there are any “neutral” details that you can add to the letter, do so. Ex.: Timmy has already missed 11 school days this year due to asthma; Timmy is already struggling to keep up with his classmates, etc. and possibly add a generic statement to the effect that it will be difficult to insist that Timmy attend school every day when he is in high school, and his grades and attendance matter for college admission if he has memories of a time when he was allowed to take weeks off at a stretch for non-essential reasons.

Keep a copy for your files, and send a copy to the principal of the school, and send the dated & signed original to your ex. For a couple of dollars, the post office will give you a “proof of mailing” certificate. If you do NOT do this, your ex will later say in court that it was a “mutual decision” to have Timmy miss two weeks of school, and that you had a lot of errands, etc., to take care of, and that he was helping YOU out at YOUR request by taking Timmy on a two-week trip.

If you have already agreed to allow Timmy to miss, FINE, everybody on this website understands the ugly reality of having to choose which battles to fight when you are up against somebody with satanic energy levels, but create a paper trail that makes it crystal clear that the decision was your ex’s, and NOT yours.

Lots of men ask for huge blocks of custody time, and then immediately begin to weasel out of the obligations associated with having a lot of custody time. When a woman gets a note from the school saying that everybody with a name from A to L is to bring a salad, and the M to Zs are to bring a dessert, she groans but gets it done. A lot of men, including my ex, would just throw the note away.

My ex did NOT do school runs. Either I did it, or Wife #2 did it. He was a busy executive who couldn’t be locked into a rigid schedule, although HE WAS THE ONE who insisted on enrolling the kids in a school half an hour from where we lived. It could be that if your ex actually is cornered into a situation where he can only take vacations that coincide with the school schedule, he will agree to a reduced custody schedule that doesn’t cramp his style as much.

CQueen: Pray that your ex loses interest in your son before your son develops verbal fluency. If he doesn’t, there will be several years during which your son will be a complete “loose cannon.” My parents never divorced, but both of them worked full time and were very harsh and critical, and my older siblings were always very quick to ridicule me for my childish errors. I know that by the time I was five and a half and started kindergarten I was very secretive, and my ability to keep secrets was so well developed at that point, that I must have been secretive even before then.

Your son will know by the time he is able to talk that you and your ex hate each other, and if your ex is continually trying to pry information out of him, then one of your son’s first full sentences will be, “I don’t remember.” Don’t ask your son anything about what goes on at his father’s house (this will be tough!) and if he reveals something about what goes on at your house and you find out about it, just gently tell him that it is better if he does NOT discuss what goes on at your house with his father, as you and he do not get along.

Make phone calls that you want to be private when your son is not around, and when he gets to be old enough to read, start locking up ALL of your papers. When your son is old enough to have his own house key, you are going to need to sanitize your home of all important papers, etc., if your son still has any contact with his father. If your son has a key to your house, your ex will almost certainly have a copy made of it, and use it freely when you are out of town on vacation.

I have been, more or less, where you are now. Each day is endless, but the weeks and months pass by quickly. As much as it is humanly possible, try to give your ex the impression that you aren’t too worked up about any of this. If you are taking him to court, or sobbing at the mediator’s. or throwing a big fit an the school Open House, he will stick around just for the fun of wrecking your life.

I sometimes get people’s stories mixed up, but I think that you said that Luc is unemployed and broke? If so, he may lose interest when the baby gets older and more expensive to entertain. Is Luc currently using the baby as a “prop” to show prospective female victims what a great dad he is? My ex used to use my kids that way. He also liked to take the kids to the beach so that he could approach teenage girls and ask them if they did any babysitting, then chat with them for as long as they would put up with him. As soon as he had a new wife, he went out by himself and left the kids with Wife #2 if it was his custody time.

If you can fake a non-chalant attitude, Luc may drop out of your child’s life as soon as he has a new girlfriend. Otherwise, if he is continually pumping your son for information, your son will grow to dislike him, just as everybody ends up disliking the busybodies in their lives.

Thank you!!! And I agree for cappuccino queen – don’t let him know that you’re bothered by any of this. They crave the excitement of causing pain like a heat-seeking missile. Don’t take the bait (easier said than done!) and pray that he loses interest and moves on to the next forest fire. I didn’t do that, and look where I am!!!

Divorced from Gaslighter

Freemama, just for the record, I wrote my entry while you were writing yours, but it doesn’t change my advice. If you agreed to let him take the child on vacation during the school year, then stand by your agreement, because otherwise you are going to look like a spiteful, vindictive person who says “yes” before the non-refundable tickets are purchased, and then says “no” after they are purchased.

But put your version of events in writing, etc., and make sure that a copy goes in your son’s school file. This year’s principal may not be principal two or three years from now, or the principal may not remember the incident at all.

Good luck with it all.

I never agreed to it. He bought the tickets and told me after the fact. Here’s my draft:

After speaking with the principal, I must tell you that I think it’s a very bad idea to go through with your plans of taking ds out of school for two weeks on your vacation. She informed me that he was already struggling with Spanish. He has has missed two weeks already, and since this is not an “educational trip”, it will be inexcused, regardless of of making up the homework. It will also be very difficult to enforce that he attend school in the future, since he will always have the memory of you pulling him out for 2 weeks for no good reason. 

I understand now that I have the absolute right to refuse per the parenting plan, but since you have already purchased the tickets with no input from me prior to doing so, and since you will not have time to get permission to do so through a motion, I am allowing it with my strong objections and plea to reconsider your action with regards to how it will affect ds in the long run. This is not in any way a “joint” decision. I hope you will show me the same consideration in any future conflict.

C-Q- if it’s any comfort, you are not in the same room with him during mediation. Nothing is binding. In your statement, just focus on YOUR positives. The sad truth is that the more you focus in him, the more likely it will be that you are perceived as the “vindictive ex”. Just state what you have to offer clearly and concisely with as little emotion as possible. It’s cruel because of course we are emotionally attached to the outcome, but as someone said earlier, the fact that you are walking into that room suggests that you are somehow being “petty” and unable to put your anger aside in the interest of the child. You e gotta prove them wrong!

the above advice is very very good. I also want to say that giving in to him will NOT buy you peace. On the contrary, your allowing him to win will only make you seem “weak” and predators salivate when they see weakness.

On the other hand, they also love rivalry, so opposing him will also make him want to up the ante. The answer is not to play the game. CapQ’s advice to let the principal decide may be the best solution. But be careful that the principal doesn’t end up being his best friend. Spaths can be very charming and they will brown-nose authorities if it will help them win a game.

I opposed a spath this week. I brought in the cops and the spath was so charming to them. They saw right through him.
Later, one of them said, “he becomes very submissive in the face of authority.” They all do.

Lastly, I would recommend that you buy the book, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry men.” by Lundy Bancroft. Mr. Bancroft has got this down. He doesn’t call all of these creatures spaths, but he details how they behave.

After you’ve absorbed the book, you should give it to the supervisor who doesn’t get it. Tell her you cannot coparent because your ex is extremely abusive and you fear him. Give her the book. Unless she is a spath, she will understand. IF she IS a spath, she will become worse. Either way, at least you will know what you are dealing with. In the second situation, it’s called “giving them rope.” If she takes the rope and becomes spathier, then she hangs herself because you’ll see through her.

That book was recommended by my DV counselor years ago. It helped me sooooo much. I reccomend it to everyone!

The principal is amazing, and one of the very few people who didn’t fall for his charms. I suspect she’s been through the experience herself. This woman today did NOT get it. Of course he laid it on thick with her. He did in his letter to her (which of course he had to send to me, too. I did not share mine with him.) If the legal system folks (or anyone!) could just understand that the reason they do this is so the victim will not be believed when the doors close and we get the full wrath of Mr. Hyde, maybe the charm-act would show more proof of their sociopathy than denial. Instead, the same tired myth of a sociopath looking and acting like a deranged serial killer persists, and we continue to suffer the consequences.

I gotta pick my battles. The ds is really excited about going. The last thing I need is for this to become a wedge in my so-far wonderful relationship with him. It’s not worth it. There will be other battles. That’s the only guarantee I get with this messed-up parenting plan.

Divorced from Gaslighter


(1) I would change “for no good reason” to something like, “for a vacation which could have been scheduled during a school vacation.” Just focus on the objective facts, and don’t get involved in a discussion about the proper justification for missing school.

(2) Leave off the last sentence about hoping that he will show the same consideration in any future conflict. (a) This sentence makes you appear combative, and makes it seem as though you expect your relationship with your ex to continue to be difficult. It also makes you appear to be operating on a tit-for-tat point collecting level. “I’ll let you screw up Timmy’s education with a two-week vacation today, but in return I expect a Get Out of Jail Free card for my next act of irresponsibility.

(3) If he DOES go ahead and take the child out of school for two weeks, I would THEN ask the principal to write him a letter explaining why unexcused absences of that length are highly inappropriate. Suck up to the principal — tell her that Ex just doesn’t listen to you, but might be more willing to accept advice from Timmy’s teacher or principal. Don’t harangue the principal with information about all of the ex’s past failures. Discuss the school attendance issue only. Remember that all teachers and principals are “mandated reporters.” If you are sobbing in her office, or ranting and raving about your ex, she may call Child Protective Services on BOTH of you.

(4) After the trip is over, try to keep track of whether your ex does ANYTHING to help Timmy catch up with his missed lessons, or if he dumps the job on you. If he doesn’t have Timmy do at least part of the work during the trip, and doesn’t help him to finish the missed work when the trip is over, then try to get the teacher to document that for you in case your ex wants to take additional trips during the school year in the future. By the way, if this had gone to court on a motion, I would figure that your ex would lose unless the trip is to see terminally ill Grampa for the last time, etc. Assuming that you live in America, a judge is going to wonder why the kid needs a major vacation in October, when the summer ended not too long ago, and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be rolling around not too long after the trip ends.

(5) I hate to say it, but don’t assume that the principal is actually on your side. You have no real idea what her interactions with your ex are like, and as someone posted here recently in regard to the court system, the principal and teachers may see all divorced couples as Damaged Goods. My children ended up changing schools multiple times, and my ex caused endless problems. A couple of the principals told me that they backed me up 100%, but the reality was very different. Partly fecklessness; partly incompetence.

CQueen: Ask your attorney, or call the courthouse to find out how mediation works in your jurisdiction. Don’t assume that you won’t have to be in the same room with Luc, etc. The bottom line is that because spaths are very comfortable lying through their teeth while under oath, they are quite formidable in the courthouse. Luc, who is unemployed, is not missing work for all of these courtdates and psych appointments, but presumably you ARE. IMHO, every time you go to the courthouse you are likely to walk out with less than what you have right now.

Thanks. I wrote the last sentence for the remote possibility that I might need to take him out of school, if only for a day or two. The last thing I need is to put any ultimatums down that can be used against me. He wouldn’t hesitate anyway. If I was doing this, he’d probably already be getting his amber alert call ready. I’m not kidding with that. He threatened that before we even had a parenting plan or agreement. Unless he had something better to do, he’d insist on saying no to my requests.

Oh and he’s going to his cousin’s wedding in Arizona. I don’t see that as a good reason, but maybe I shouldn’t put it like that.

I’m hesitant to drag the principal in too much. I don’t want to annoy her. She knows I’m the one taking him to school and picking him up every day and taking him to events. The spath wanted to go to the open house tonight (he never has done that), so I’m assuming he’s buttering her up. Him going precludes me from going, which sucks but I just can’t be in a room with him. I haven’t been in a room with him outside a court room or lawyer’s office in almost three years. It works for me. I certainly didn’t get much understanding from that mediator today, but thank the maker I can always come here for support. You guys rawk!!!

DfG, You are wise beyond words…

Divorced from Gaslighter


My ex was a real Tit for Tat kind of a guy, but he always wanted something “up front” in exchange for something for me “down the road.” Everything had to be in writing, or I got cheated every single time. When I stopped taking his phone calls, he went crazy.

TWO WEEKS to attend a wedding??? They must be tagging along on the honeymoon!

My advice: Go to every open house and back-to-school night. Force yourself to ignore your ex. If he realizes that he can prevent you from visiting the school by attending himself, he will go to every single function just out of spite. And he will be DOCUMENTING the fact that he “always” goes and that you “never” attend. So you drive your child to and from school every day, but he gets all the SuperDaddy Brownie points for never missing an Open House or Science Fair.

He may also play games with you by saying that he is definitely going, and then not going at all. Your child will be hurt if you don’t go to look at his art projects and science experiments, etc. Just hold your nose and do it. Get there early, sit on the far edge of the seating area, and let him sit elsewhere. Don’t look around to see if he is there — talk to some of the other parents while you wait. If he deliberately sits next to you, he is trying to provoke a scene — say nothing and ignore him.

As has been mentioned on this site time and again, the more upset you appear to be in his presence, the more he will want to be in your presence.

A lot of schools only schedule ONE parent-teacher conference each semester, and refuse to hold separate conferences for divorced parents. They schedule the conference, and whoever shows up, shows up. Whatever you do, do NOT think that because you chit chat with the teacher or a regular basis that you can blow off the scheduled conference because you don’t want to have to sit next to your Ex, or be in the same room with the Ex’s new girlfriend, who used to be your Best Friend or co-worker, etc. If your Ex convinces the judge that you are not interested in your child’s academic progress, you could end up losing custody.

Attend everything, be polite to everyone at the school, and grit your teeth and force yourself to be polite or at least civil to your Ex while you are forced to be together for a brief period of time in public.

The most common allegation that ex-wives make about ex-husbands is that the ex-husband has a substance abuse problem. The most common allegation that ex-husbands make about ex-wives is that the wife is mentally ill. If he is his typical charming sociopathic self each time the two of you are thrown together in a public setting, and you are a snarling b****, he is going to succeed in convincing people that YOU were the one who “caused” the divorce, and that it must be horrible for little Sammy to have to spend so much time with such a disturbed woman.

Believe me, I went through a lot of what you are now going through, and I handled it very badly. I was just so angry about being cheated out of everything, and my anger was made so much worse by knowing that he was just playing games with the court system, the court-ordered mediator, the school personnel, etc.

If he comes up to you at the school and wants to “discuss” the custody schedule, etc., just say that you are at the school to attend the Open House or whatever, and that he can call you over the weekend — you don’t have your Daytimer with you, and you can’t agree to any scheduling adjustments without consulting it first. Do NOT let him create a drama in public. He may be tape-recording you or even videotaping you.

There used to be a T-shirt that said, “I’d rather be 40 than pregnant.” Well, I’d rather be in my mid-50s than go back to my early 30s and be embroiled in a never-ending custody dispute.

My heart breaks when I read some of the stories on this website.

God bless you all!

You’re awesome, DfG!

My ds is in 2nd grade now. Yesterday was literally the first time he’s gone to any school function. It was just to butter up to principal. I doubt I’ll have to worry much about more appearances. He’s got his band and secret girlfriends and such that’s always been more entertaining to him. He’s married now (big surprise – he’s never lived on his own, and he’s 38!) to a woman he met online. I’ve never met her, though I see her in her car (which he took from her when his broke down – he did the same to me.). I feel bad for her, but it’s her journey now.

We got our parenting plan over 2 years ago. It’d be nice if he kept to it, but he’s always trying to change it, and currently he’s focused on this “right of first refusal”. Things would have to change drastically for them to actually change it in this state. I haven’t done anything wrong. He just demands to meet my roommates who help me with childcare, and it’s not his business.

Just more hassles at this very busy time.

Ack – time to get off work. Thanks again!!!!


I would keep on acting like I wanted to give him a make up visit, like I was cooperating, but pick dates that are inconvenient for the supervisor, or for Luc…and be inconvenienced by their dates, just delay, delay delay….but with APPARENT motive of cooperation.

Keep in mind too, that as an infant, The prince is not going to be very much “fun” for Luc to visit with EXCEPT that he enjoys pulling your chain, so with you not being upset with his visits, what is he going to gain? My guess is that Luc will become eventually BORED with visiting junior when he could be out scamming someone. Unless you have the ability to bond and connect, babies are not much fun.

CappQ ~

Don’t you get tired of “looking good” just in case you get back into court? I know I did. How good does Luc look and does anyone seem to notice?

I certainly don’t want to give advice, especially when it doesn’t match what your attorney says, but if you are not required to give makeup visits why would you offer? In our custody order, it spells out, in great detail, making up missed visits (when, where etc.). If this is not in your order, Oh Well, sorry about your luck Luc. Also, as your attorney told you previously, it is a good chance he doesn’t even have an attorney, so chances of him taking you back to court for being uncooperative are pretty slim. I would think that if there were a number of times that you cancelled and refused make up visits, that may be different, but one missed visit is not enough to make anything out of. IMHO only!

I think under your circumstances, with the baby having been so sick and the chance that he could begin running a fever again, within the time frame of the illness, a court would not feel you are being uncooperative.

I know it has been mentioned before, but have you looked into Our Family Wizard to communicate with. It may be better than to try to get your supervisor to pass on information.

I hope the baby is feeling much better.

Wow. Wish I would’ve read this thread before my morning rant on another. Such good advice and spot on! Really hindsight is 20/20 and everyone who has experienced this knows and it doesn’t even matter what continent you are on?! Those who have already experienced this and made mistakes, reflect back and see how you shoulda woulda coulda handled it better and sharing those words of wisdom and experiences suggesting the better way are lessons you can never get from a book.

CappQ, I think one of the most tiring things in my case was all the people who offensively injected themselves into our lives, being ordered to me jump at their whims. It was a horrible experience. I did have over a decade of raising my daughter (I raised her alone and was taught to say “the” child) well and was stunned at how I no longer felt like her parent. I was stripped of my rights and freedoms to parent as I had. Anything I did or said became an issue. I had proof the way we had been operating was successful but it didn’t matter one bit. One of the success stories I heard about from an advocate in my state was about a child who started having some medical issues. When they laid out the responsiblities tied to the serious ailment, spath bowed out quickly. Miraculous recovery after he went away. 🙂

I wanted to suggest you send a copy of information to the supervisor of your case of any communications she tries to avoid via cc: her at the bottom so if ever there is a question if she was aware, you have proof. Pay close attention to what the drama feeder avoids as this can be a “tell” of exactly what needs to happen somehow. Medical conditions could be something she’s required to handle a certain way or she may know lawsuits have been paid in that area so make sure she gets a copy…..for her file of course.

The parallel parenting doesn’t ‘work’ but it is an option that I felt took the failing co-parenting off of my back as I sounded willing to attempt ‘this’ when ‘that’ isn’t working. It put a stick in their spokes attempting to say I was unwilling. I would even go so far as printing something out to the supervisor to discuss her thoughts about it! The only parenting that works with “it” and “Luc” and “spath” is single parenting/no contact.

Laughing at these fools is when healing is happening. Being able to roll your eyes and walk on is when you’ve mastered the grey rock, you’re no longer freaking as a protective parent worrying about your kids, you’ve accepted the courts as the mess that they are. I have noted the ones who are at that point seem to be 7+ years into their courtcase. Ugh.

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