Category: divorce

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, education, false allegations, family, foster care, government, healing, system failure
How many more in Collin County Texas? Let us know…

I would like to comment on the article I posted Disgusted with the system: cbs11tv.com – North Texas Man Fighting For Custody Of His Kids

and thank the blogger who originally posted it, Louise, whose blog Disgusted With The System, is one of my favorites.

Collin County, Texas seems to have a trend in their cases with CPS and the social services system. I have on my site, alone, 3 cases from Collin County, and I know there are more.

I’d love to hear from you if you have a case you’d like published on my blog or if you have any questions or comments.

If you want to privately send me email you can do so at itsalmosttuesday@gmail.com

Thank you to everyone who supports our children and families, preserving the parents right to be a parent.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, collin county, cps, custody, divorce, false allegations, family, foster care, government, home, judicial system, kidnapping, law, missing child, sexual offenders, system failure, texas
Collin County Texas – Still taking kids from the innocent..

North Texas Man Fighting For Custody Of His Kids

DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ― A North Texas man has been found not guilty of the aggravated sexual assault of a child. Now, he and his wife are fighting to get their children back.

Douglas Buchar was a successful custom homebuilder when he received a phone call two years ago, almost to the day. Child Protective Services called to inform him that they had taken away his kids. “My secretary got a phone call at the office and said, ‘You need to take this, it’s CPS,'” Buchar recalled. “And I got on the phone and it was just like, what? And they said they took all our kids.”

The children, 4-year-old Megan and 11-year-old Justin, were picked up at school and placed in foster care on January 20, 2006. This all came after the couple’s 12-year-old adopted child accused Buchar of sexual assault.

“I couldn’t,” Buchar started, “the whole thing didn’t make no sense. It wasn’t logical, the charges they had. It just couldn’t have happened.”

Over the next two years, the couple lost their business, their house and their children.

Buchar’s wife, Joy, was arrested as well, but the charges were later dropped. “It’s like someone just took all my guts out,” she said.

The kids lived in foster care for a year and a half. Six months ago, they were given permission to live with Buchar’s sister in New York.

Earlier this week, Buchar faced his accuser during the criminal trial. “Looking at her in court and what not, it was just, she had no clue of the repercussions she has done,” he said. “She doesn’t realize what she has caused, nor do I think she really cares what she has caused. Yes, we do feel sorry for her.”

But most of all, the Buchars said that they miss their biological children.

On Wednesday, a Collin County jury found Buchar not guilty of the crime.

“One thing I learned from all this,” Buchar said, “I was a workaholic and I was working six, seven days a week, 12, 13, 14 hours a day, and I learned now. I promised Justin I’d go fishing with him so many times before. Everytime, it would be like, oh, something’s come up. I got to go. That’s all changed now. I’m going to definitely have weekends off, and definitely spend time with him.”

The Buchars have terminated their parental rights to the adopted girl.

Kelly Davis is Buchar’s lawyer who is trying to get the couple’s biological children back home. She said that she never doubted their innocence. “I think that Doug was able to prove to everybody else that he was innocent by performing all the different types of polygraph and tests that they required, and performing in order to prove his innocence.”

Although Buchar was found not guilty, the nightmare continues. The couple said that they will not stop until they can bring Justin and Megan back home.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, government, healing, missing child, system failure
FLORIDA Child Protection Agency spokesman faces child-porn charges

Article published Feb 5, 2008
DCF to review personnel records
Agency spokesman faces child-porn charges
The head of the Department of Children and Families, “horrified and shocked” by the arrest of his agency spokesman on child-pornography charges, Monday ordered a review of personnel records for all DCF employees.

DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey briefed reporters at DCF headquarters about the arrest of Al Zimmerman on eight counts of soliciting two boys for sexual purposes.

Butterworth, who fired Zimmerman last Friday, said he sent a message to all department employees — urging them to “work with your heads held high” — and said the incident does not reflect on DCF’s work in protecting children in foster care, the elderly and other needy Floridians.

“There are certain things you can’t prepare for. I guarantee you, this is one thing I never expected to occur,” he said. “It is one person who committed, I believe, a horrific act — a horrific act — and therefore not only victimized his victims, but victimized this department, the media and the 13,500 people who work here.”

Butterworth and Bailey said one of the two teenage boys in the Zimmerman case had been in DCF care. Bailey said “there were indications” that Zimmerman might have met a boy through agency services, but both men declined to go into details for fear of giving any information that might identify one of the victims even by inference.

Butterworth said Zimmerman had no access to DCF computer systems.

Bailey, representing Attorney General Bill McCollum at the briefing, said the FBI has seized Zimmerman’s office and home computers, to see if he distributed any child pornography. Bailey said “there are indications that at least one victim was met through his job” but that Zimmerman’s access to DCF records “was limited.”

“I know of two victims at this point. There may be others,” said Bailey. “That’s what the continuing investigation will confirm or deny.”

He credited the Tampa Police Department, FBI and McCollum’s office for working with FDLE in the case. Bailey also said DCF gave “complete and open cooperation.”

Butterworth said the DCF personnel staff will first check records of all employees hired under the new policy to make sure required background checks and fingerprints are on file. Then they will check everyone else.

“After we do all those after 2006, November, we will go backwards and hand-go-through each and every file of the 13,500 employees to make sure that everything there is also there as required by policy,” he said. “I want to make sure that our policies are being followed in all cases. I want to make sure the background check is there in the file.”

Butterworth said DCF policies before November of 2006 did not require fingerprinting of employees. Zimmerman, a former TV newsman in the Tampa Bay area, was hired in 2005 and Butterworth said that although he had “glowing endorsements” from two references — public-information aides for a police agency and a fire department — none of his former employers was contacted.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, education, family
Divorce-iduced malice has become a syndrome… Moms Only…

Malicious Mother Syndrome – I say it is CHILD ABUSE SYNDROME.

While I’ve heard Parental Alienation Syndrome tossed around for years, a new term I’ve not seen before suddenly appeared before me in wikipedia – and I am amazed…

First of all, I want to say, if a couple divorces, using the child as a pawn, tool or means to an end – its not a syndrome, its CHILD ABUSE.

Harmful acts against a child that are done to satisfy the selfish desires of one of the parents is child abuse… even if you are not physically abusing the child.

But, a syndrome? if there was no malice…there’d be no divorce….

However, I do have to say – this “SYNDROME” is… a description of … my mother…

Except I am not her ex-husband and we’re not going through divorce… so how does that work out as far as the male/female thing goes?

(I will highlight in red the article’s descriptions that match those which I have suffered through my mother’s actions… )

JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE,VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, p 253-264, 1995

DIVORCE RELATED MALICIOUS MOTHER SYNDROME

Ira Daniel Turkat, Ph.D.

With the increasing commonality of divorce involving children, a pattern of abnormal behaviour has emerged that has received little attention. The present paper defines the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome. Specific nosologic criteria are provided with abundant clinical examples. Given the lack of scientific data available on the disorder, issues of classification, etiology, treatment, and prevention appear ripe for investigation.

INTRODUCTION

A divorced man gains custody of his children and his ex-wife burns down his home*.(an arson attempt was made on my apartment)

A woman in a custody battle buys a cat for her offspring because her divorcing husband is highly allergic to cats. A mother forces her children to sleep in a car to “prove” their father has bankrupted them. These actions illustrate a pattern of abnormal behavior that has emerged as the divorce rate involving children has grown.

Today, half of all marriages will end in divorce (Beal and Hochman, 1991). The number of children involved in divorce has grown dramatically (e.g., Hetherington and Arastah, 1988) as well. While the majority of such cases are “settled” from a legal perspective, outside the courtroom the battle continues.

The media has spent considerable effort raising public awareness about the problem posed by divorced fathers who do not provide court ordered child support payments. Hedges (1991) has noted that less than 20% of divorced fathers provide child support payments three years after their divorce. Research on the decline of women’s economic status following divorce (e.g., Hernandez, 1988; Laosa, 1988) has contributed to recent legislation to address the “Deadbeat Dad” problem.

While the media correctly portrays the difficulties imposed upon women and children by the “Deadbeat Dad” phenomenon, the cameras have yet to capture the warfare waged by a select group of mothers against child support paying, law abiding fathers. Every day, attorneys and therapists are exposed to horror stories in which vicious behaviors are lodged against innocent fathers and children. Unfortunately, there are no scientific data on the subject. Similarly, the clinical literature has relatively ignored the problem.

A notable exception can be found in the clinical writings of Gardner (1987, 1989) who has provided excellent descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Here, a custodial parent successfully engages in a variety of maneuvers to alienate the child from the non-residential parent. Once successfully manipulated, the child becomes “…preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated” (Gardner, 1989 p. 226).

In the typical case of Parental Alienation Syndrome, both mother and child engage in an array of abnormal actions against the rather. Gardner views “brainwashing” as a concept “too narrow” (Gardner, 1989) to capture the psychological manipulation involved in turning a child against his/her non-residential parent.

While Gardner’s pioneering descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome provide an important contribution to our understanding of divorce related child involved hostilities, the present paper is concerned with a more global abnormality. As noted in the examples provided in the beginning of this manuscript, serious attacks on divorcing husbands take place which are beyond merely manipulating the children. Further, these actions include a willingness by some mothers to violate societal law. Finally, there are mothers who persistently engage in malicious behaviors designed to alienate their offspring from the father, despite being unable to successfully cause alienation. In sum, these cases do not meet the criteria for Parental Alienation Syndrome. Nevertheless, they portray a serious abnormality.

The purpose of the present paper is to define and illustrate this more global abnormality with the hope of generating increased scientific and clinical investigation of this problem.

DEFINITION

The present section provides a beginning definition of the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, which has been derived from clinical and legal cases. As in all initial proposals, it is anticipated that future research will lead to greater refinement in the taxonomic criteria. The proposed definition encompasses four major criteria, as follows:

A mother who unjustifiably punishes her divorcing or divorced husband (or daughter/son – noncustodial parent of their grandchild) by:

The mother specifically attempts to deny her child(ren):

  1. Attempting to alienate their mutual child(ren) from the father.
  2. Involving others in malicious actions against the father.
  3. Engaging in excessive litigation
  4. Not allowing Regular uninterrupted visitation with the father or Uninhibited telephone access to the father
  5. Interrupting paternal participation in the child(ren)’s school life and extra-curricular activities
Tile pattern is pervasive and includes malicious acts towards the husband including:
Lying to the children
Lying to others
Violations of law
The disorder is not specifically due to another mental disorder although a separate mental disorder may co-exist.
CLINICAL ILLUSTRATIONS

      In this section, I will provide clinical illustrations for each criterion using the reference numbers provided above. As criteria 1-3 are behavior specific to the Malicious Mother Syndrome, I will provide a series of clinical examples. The fourth criterion which addresses the relationship of the proposed syndrome to other mental disorders, will be discussed more generally.

      Criterion 1A: Alienating the Children

      The range of actions taken by a mother to attempt to alienate her children from their father is impressive. For example:

      One mother lied to her children that she could no longer buy food because their father had spent all of their money on women at topless bars.

      A doctor’s wife forced her 10 year old son to apply for federally funded free school lunches to delude the boy that his “daddy has made us poor.”

      A woman who for years was very close to the children in a custody battle, was asked by their mother to give up neutrality and join her campaign against the father to “dance on his grave.” When the friend refused to give up her neutrality, the mother falsely informed her children that their father was having an affair with this woman.

      These behaviors, if successful, could lead a child to not only hate the father but perhaps go years without seeing him.

      As Cartwright (1993) has noted:

      “The goal of the alienater is crystalline: to deprive the lost parent, not only of the child’s time, but of the time of childhood” (p. 210).

      Criterion 1B: Involving Others in Malicious Actions

      The second component of the first major criterion where the mother attempts to punish the husband, involves manipulating other individuals to engage in malicious acts against the father.

      Examples of this kind are as follows:

      During a custody battle, a mother lied to a therapist about the father’s behavior. The therapist, having never spoken with the father, appeared as an “expert” witness to inform the Judge that the mother should be the primary residential parent and that the father needed to be in therapy.

      One angry mother manipulated teenagers to leave anonymous threatening notes at the ex-husband’s home.

      A mother who had lost legal custody of her child, manipulated a secretary at the child’s school to assist in kidnapping the child.

      In the above examples, it is important to note that the person manipulated by the angry mother has, in a way, been “alienated” against the divorcing husband. Typically, the individual “duped” takes on a righteous indignation, contributing to a rewarding climate for the mother initiating malicious actions.

      Criterion 1C: Excessive Litigation

      There is little question that either party in a divorce or custody proceeding is entitled to appropriate legal representation and action. Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, however, attempt to punish the divorcing husband by engaging in excessive litigation.

      A belligerent and unreasonable mother verbally attacked her ex-husband whenever she saw him. Over time, his response was to ignore her. She then took him to court, asking the judge to require the ex-husband to talk with her.

      One mother told a judge that her daughter was not really her divorcing husband’s child.

      One woman refused to stop attacking her ex-husband through the courts despite numerous attorneys being fired or voluntarily leaving the case. Over a three year period, seven different attorneys were utilized.

      Data exist which can help in determining the range of excessive litigation. For example, Keel et al. (1988) report on the frequency of post-divorce litigation in a sample of 700 families. Their data indicate that only 12.7% of families file one post-divorce petition to the court, whereas less than 5% file two or more petitions (Keel at al. 1988); less than 1% file four or more petitions.

      Criterion 2A: Denying Regular Visitation

      Experts are in relative agreement that regular and uninterrupted visitation with the non-residential parent is desirable and beneficial for children, except in extreme circumstances (Hedges, 1991). In fact, some states, such as Florida, have laws written to reflect this view (Keane, 1990). Unfortunately, even when the father and children have legal rights to visitation, individuals with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome continue to interfere with it.

      A mother who previously attacked her ex-husband physically during visitation transfers of the children, refused to provide the children when the ex-husband had the police attend to monitor exchanges.

      When one divorced father arrived to pick up his children for visitation, the mother arranged for her and the children to be elsewhere so that the father could not visit with the children.

      One mother had her physically intimidating boyfriend assault her ex-husband when he came to pick up his children for visitation.

      The President of The Council for Children’s Rights (Washington, D.C.) notes that such alienation is considered a form of child abuse (Levy, 1992).

      Unfortunately, the police typically avoid involving themselves in such situations. Furthermore, unless a victimized father is financially capable of returning to court on an ongoing basis, there is little that can be done to prevent such mothers’ behavior.

      Finally, even when such cases are brought to trial, the courts are often inadequate in supporting fathers’ visitation rights (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992).

      Criterion 2B: Denying Uninhibited Telephone Access

      Given the physical absence of one parent, the telephone plays an important role in maintaining the bond between child and non-residential parent.

      Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome engage in an array of actions designed to circumvent telephone access.

      A father called to speak to his children and was told that they were not at home when in bet he could hear their voices in the background.

      When one father called to speak with his children, the mother put him on “hold,” informed no one, and then left him there.

      Knowing that the children’s father was away on vacation, one mother encouraged them to leave several messages on his answering machine to call back immediately only if he would like some additional visitation time with his children.

      Some fathers find the alienation attempts so painful and fruitless that they eventually are extinguished from calling their children; they simply “give up.” Placed in a no-win scenario, the father’s “abandonment” (Hedges, 1991) unfortunately achieves the precise result aimed for by the individual suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      Criterion 2C:Denying Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities

      An integral part of the process of maintaining one’s bond with one’s child is to participate in activities that one did before the parents separated. School plays, team sports, and religious events are just some of the types of activities of importance. Malicious Mothers frequently engage in maneuvers designed to prevent participation in these activities.

      One father was deliberately given the wrong date and time for an important event for the child. The child was asked by the mother, “I wonder why your father didn’t want to come to see you today”?

      One mother refused to provide the father with any information about any extra-curricular activities in which the children were engaged.

      Prior to a child’s soccer game, one mother told many of the team parents disparaging falsehoods about the visiting lather. When he came to watch his son’s soccer game, many of these parents looked at him with angry eyes, refused to talk with him, and walked away when he moved toward them.

      Malicious Mothers who engage in such behaviors rarely have to face penalties for such actions. Judges, attorneys, and policemen cannot involve themselves in every instance of blocked paternal access. Furthermore, most fathers cannot afford the financial requirements involved. As such, the cycle of access interference perpetuates itself.

      Criterion 3A: Malicious Lying to the Children

      Given their developmental status, children in a disputed divorce situation are quite vulnerable. When one parent decides to attack the other by lying to the children, examples of this type of malicious behavior may include some of the following.

      One divorcing mother told her very young daughter that her father was “not really” her father even though he was.

      An eight year old girl was forced by her mother to hand unpaid bills to her lather when he visited because the mother had falsely told the daughter that the father had not provided any economic means of support to the family.

      One mother falsely told her children that their father had repeatedly beat her up in the past.

      These examples of malicious lying can be contrasted with the more subtle maneuvers typically seen in Parental Alienation Syndrome, such as “virtual allegations” (Cartwright, 1993). Here, the mother setting up a Parental Alienation Syndrome may hint that abuse may have occurred, whereas the individual suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome falsely claims that abuse has actually occurred.

      Criterion 3B: Malicious Lying to Others

      Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may engage a wide range of other individuals in their attacks upon the ex-husband. However, with this particular criterion, the individual with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome specifically lies to other individuals in the belligerency against the father. Some examples include the following.

      One furious mother called the president of the (1500 employee) workplace of her divorcing husband, claiming falsely that he was using business property for personal gain and was abusing their mutual children at his work locale.

      One woman falsely told slate officials that her ex-husband was sexually abusing their daughter. The child was immediately taken away from him and his access to her was denied.

      During the course of a custody dispute, one mother falsely informed the guardian, who was investigating the parenting skills of each parent, that the father had physically abused her.

      Snyder (1986) has reported on the difficulty imposed upon legal authorities when confronted with someone who is an excellent liar. Consistent with research on the inability of “specialists” to detect lying (Ekman and O’Sullivan, 1991), a skilled fabricator can be a compelling witness in the courtroom (Snyder, 1986). While sometimes seen in borderline personalities, Snyder (1986) notes that pathological lying (Pseudologia Fantastica) is not restricted to that particular character disorder.

          Criterion 3C: Violating Law to Attack the Husband

      Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome have few if any boundaries in their campaign against the divorcing husband. Violations of law are common in many cases, although the laws broken may be relatively minor. However, in some cases, the violations of law may be quite serious.

      One woman deliberately drove her automobile into the house of her ex-husband where their mutual children resided.

      In the midst of a custody battle, one woman broke into the residence of her divorcing husband and stole important business papers.

      An angry divorcing mother called a Christian evangelical television station and pledged $1000, giving the name, address, and phone number of her divorcing Jewish husband as the pledge.

      The above descriptions may remind the reader of certain personality disorders (e.g., antisocial, borderline, sadistic) but these behaviors may be demonstrated by individuals with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome who do not appear to meet official diagnostic criteria for an Axis II disorder.

      Further, in each of the four examples provided above, none of the Malicious Mothers involved was sentenced for such behavior by a Judge.

      Criterion 4: Not Due to Another Disorder

      In assessing the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, it is important to note that many of the above clinical examples seem to have occurred in individuals who had no prior mental disorder diagnosis or treatment. In fact, one mother who engaged in extreme maliciousness toward her divorcing husband had several mental health professionals testify that she was not suffering from any type of mental disorder.

      Clearly, it would seem that individuals who have Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may or may not have a concomitant mental disorder.

      In the author’s experience, for each mental disorder that might come to mind to account for some of this behavior, an exceptional case presents. For example, in some cases an Adjustment Disorder might seem an appropriate diagnosis, yet one woman still denied her ex-husband visitation 10 years after the divorce. Other cases might suggest a possibility of a personality disorder diagnosis, yet one woman who repeatedly violated the law in attacking her ex-husband, received no personality disorder diagnosis despite being evaluated by masters level and doctoral level examiners. In some instances, Intermittent Explosive Disorder might be considered, yet the anger for many of the mothers does not appear to be intermittent.

      Finally, the reader should appreciate that while diagnostic accuracy for certain psychiatric difficulties is not as good as one would like (e.g., the personality disorders, see Turkat, 1990), the problem is compounded in family law where incompetent mental health examiners sometimes become involved in the judicial process (Turkat, 195)3). Clearly, the relationship between Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome and other mental disorders is a complex one which requires significant investigation.

      DISCUSSION

      The above description of the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome raises a variety of important clinical, legal, and scientific issues.

      From a clinical perspective, families that involve a Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome are subject to serious episodes of stress and distress. Yet, there is no scientific evidence on how to treat this phenomenon. It is particularly compromised by the fact that many of these cases that appear to meet the proposed diagnostic criteria deny that there is anything wrong with them.

      An additional difficulty is that many therapists are unaware of this pattern of malicious behavior (Heinz and Heinz, 1993). As such, there are therapists who are “fooled” by such cases and, as noted earlier, will come to court testifying that there is nothing wrong with the mother involved.

      From a legal perspective, there are some attorneys who may unintentionally encourage this type of behavior (Gardner, 1989). On the other hand, there are some attorneys who deliberately encourage such behavior, as the financial rewards for them are time dependent. In other words, the more involved the litigation process, the greater the profits for the attorney (Grotman and Thomas, 1990). However, even for the subset of attorneys for whom this may be true, there is a point of diminishing returns. Furthermore, independent of economic considerations, many who become involved with family law courtrooms find that these types of cases are not handled well (Greif, 1985; Levy, 1992).

      The woman who is not disturbed “enough” to lose custody of her children in the courtroom will not have money denied to her because she engages in this behavior; nor will she go to jail. Thus, many clients report significant frustration when they and their children are exposed to this type of behavior, and the courts seem to do little if anything about.

      In a review of pertinent law literature on bias against men in family law proceedings, Tillitski (1992) concluded that there is widespread discrimination. This is well illustrated by one family law Judge’s statement that, “I ain’t never seen the calves follow the bulls, they always follow the cow; therefore, I always give custody to the mamas” (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992 p. 742). Similarly, it is noted that visitation rights of fathers are not enforced as rigidly as are child support orders (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Such bias against men in family law proceedings results in a unique group of fathers who unintentionally become relatively helpless victims of the system (Tillitski, 1992). This situation would seem to reinforce much of the vicious behavior displayed by women suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      The issue of sex distribution of the disorder certainly needs to be addressed. The overwhelming majority of custodial parents are female (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Gardner (1989) has noted that Parental Alienation Syndrome appears most commonly in females, although it is possible for a male who has custody of the children to engage in the same type of alienating behaviors.

      The author’s experience with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome is similar to Gardner’s. However, the present writer has yet to see a case of a father engaging in all of the criteria listed. This does not mean that it is not possible for there to be a “Malicious Father” Syndrome. In fact, Shepard (1992) reports that there is significant abuse of some custodial mothers by non-residential fathers. On the other hand, it should be noted that there are females who are required to pay child support, but we have yet to heara about “Deadbeat Moms.” Given at the present time that a case in which the father met all of the criteria for Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syntlrome has yet to be documented, it appears advisable to await scientific evidence to guide issues of nosologic labeling.

      How prevalent is the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome? The answer is unknown. Gardner (1989) reports that approximately 90% of all custody battles involve some aspects of parental alienation. Further, Kressel (1985) reviewed data indicating that up to 40% of maternal custodians denied visitation to the ex-husband in order to punish him.

      Relatedly, Arditti (1992) reported that 50% of a sample of divorced fathers (N = 125) indicated that visitation was interfered with by the mother.

      While aspects of parental alienation may be common, it is highly unlikely that such a percentage of maternal custodians would meet all of the criteria for Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      In regard to incidence, it would appear through the title of this syndrome that the malicious behavior is precipitated by the divorce process.

      However, this is clearly an empirical question. While the malicious actions may first be noted during a divorce process, it is possible that maliciousness may have been present earlier but undetected. Research on pre-divorce parental conflict (Enos and Handal, 1986) supports this speculation. Relatedly, it may also be that there are some cases of pre-existing mental disorder that have not been discovered until the stress of the divorce itself unfolds.

      Finally, it should be noted that research on the nature of post-divorce family functioning is beginning to emerge. Some data exist on the role of parental conflict in children’s postdivorce functioning (e.g., Frost and Pakiz, 1990; Furstenberg et al., 1987; Healy, Malley and Stewart, 1990; Kudek, 1988), but studies have yet to appear on the more extreme cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.

      The Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome represents an important societal phenomenon.

      The disorder affects children, parents, attorneys, judges, guardians, mental health professionals, and others. Until this phenomenon is explored more thoroughly in the scientific and clinical literature, the problems imposed by individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome will continue to plague us. Hopefully, the present manuscript will stimulate research so that clinical and legal management guidelines can be developed.

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      Ira Daniel Turkat, Florida Institute of Psychology and University of Florida College of Medicine,1225 Avenida Del Circo, Venice, Florida 34285.