Single Dad, Shitty Mom

Or: How I Learned that Parental Alienation is REAL


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Father’s Day 2013

 

It’s been almost a year since these two have seen each other. Kids change and grow so quickly; it’s sad to miss those things with your kids. It feels horrible to miss those things as a parent. I missed my daughter’s first steps. I missed her first word. I missed her first pee-pee on the potty. However, I gave Maya her first bottle. I changed her first diaper. I bought her first popcorn for her first movie theater experience. And I gave my little girl her first car trip in the front passenger seat when I drove her back home on Father’s Day.

If you read the previous post, I wasn’t really 100% sure that I was going to see Maya for Father’s Day this year. I saw her last year at this time, and four months later would be the last I’d see her again for MONTHS.

This Father’s Day was the first time Maya’s been in our home in 8 months. Thankfully Ravi is too young and won’t really remember what’s transpired over the last several months, but for Maya it’s different. She’s 7 years old, and a slave to her mother’s whims. “Crazy” does not put her daughter first– “Crazy” puts “Crazy” first; that’s a fact. It shows.

Now, the thing that you have to realize about this situation is the reason why Maya has not come to my home in nearly a year. She didn’t come because she was “afraid.” Of what, you may ask? Don’t know– that’s what her mother tells everyone. “Maya does NOT what to go to his house! I don’t know why!” Now, ask her what she has been doing to help rectify this issue. Hear those crickets? That’s right– “Crazy” has done NOTHING. Not only has she allowed this to go on– with NO valid or truthful explanation…she has perpetuated the issue beyond what any SANE asshole would deem necessary. She has invented a fantasy world, where I am this tyrannical, angry, miserly monster that abandoned her and her daughter, and continues to harass and threaten her…!!!…but with the help of (INSERT DUDE HERE), she will soon have the life she always wanted…! Hence the name “Crazy.”

According to “Crazy,” up until Sunday morning, Maya would cry at the mere MENTION of going home with me. For 8 MONTHS STRAIGHT, getting into Daddy’s car was tantamount to taking a cattle car to Auschwitz. But on this Sunday morning…NOTHING. She got right into the car happily! No argument, no crying, no screaming, NONE OF THAT. It was like it had NEVER been an issue.

To be honest, I was expecting the worse. I expected it, because THAT WAS THE PATTERN. Eleven months ago is when all this lunacy started. I would go to pick up Maya, then OUT OF NOWHERE she just started crying and screaming and acting as if she didn’t want to go with me. This continued for THREE MONTHS, with “Crazy” doing absolutely nothing about it, except telling Maya “Well, if you don’t want to go, then that’s it. I won’t force you to go.” When questioned about the behavior, “Crazy” made every claim in the book: “She’s just rebelling,” to “She’s just unusually attached to me,” to “Maybe it’s something YOU did!”

 

My mom drove me to “Crazy’s” parents house to pick up Maya; that was a neutral place where I KNEW things would run smoothly. The thing is, “Crazy’s” parents love Maya…but they don’t like their daughter too much; it’s a sad shame. They are very supportive, and were very excited when Maya was willing to get in the car with us. The thing is, I have a horrible feeling that I know why Maya was “suddenly” interested in going.

Through little bits of information, provided my Maya and her grandmother, I think what happened was this: “Crazy’s” back is up against the wall– she’s in trouble…and she panicked. Faced with the VERY REAL prospect of losing custody of Maya, she screamed and yelled at Maya to…(wait for it)…FORCE her to come to Nyack. When I first saw Maya, she jumped into my arms, I picked her up, gave her a kiss– all the usual stuff. And, you know,  you just LOOK at your kids. Even if you seen them EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY, you LOOK at them– look at their faces, their hands, their feet…when I looked at Maya’s face, I saw that she had what looked like a small rash below the corner of her right eye. I asked her where she got that from. She said that it was because she was rubbing her eye really hard the night before, because she was crying. I asked her what she was crying about, she said her mommy was yelling and kept using the F-word…”about you, about everything,” she said.

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Nothing but bitterness and anger. For someone who has made mention of “healing” the relationship between Maya and myself, she sure doesn’t seem all that supportive. Because…SHE’S NOT. I had to send a letter written by my attorney, which outlined the beginnings of challenging her custody if ANYTHING went wrong this weekend– it took THAT for her to FORCE the right thing to happen.

Basically, she created a monster that she DID NOT want to control…until it got her into trouble. Now that she was (and, as far as I’m concerned, still is…) facing the prospect of losing custody of Maya, NOW she wants to break a habit that she enabled in my daughter! NOW, she wants to tell her– after MONTHS of saying the EXACT OPPOSITE– now, you HAVE to go to see your dad! Forget EVERYTHING I’ve been saying to you– NOW YOU HAVE TO GO!!!! And “Crazy” yelled, and she cursed. It’s so easy to bully a kid when you’re a sniveling coward.

The thing that I feel shitty about is the fact that Maya is still there, with that woman. When Maya is with us, she is calm and relaxed. She has a GREAT time with us because, among many other reasons, we are the most STABLE people in her life. “Crazy” is not good for Maya– not by a inch, not by a mile.  She is emotionally incapable of being a good custodial parent. Having Maya with us on Father’s Day showed me, once again, that I have to get my little girl away from her mother.

When I pulled up to Maya’s grandparent’s house at the end of our day, I reminded her about the time we went to breakfast a couple of months ago, when I told her that I would take care of this situation. I told her that this would not happen again– I did not want this much time to go by without seeing her. I told her that soon enough, things will not be what they used to be– they will be BETTER. I told her that we will be spending a lot more time together.

“More weekends?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Three weekends?” she asked.

“Yes, three weekends…or more,”

“Every weekend?”

“Yes, honey,” I said. “That’s what I want.”

“Okay, good.” she said.

I don’t have to disparage “Crazy” in front of Maya. I don’t have to, and I won’t. “Crazy” is doing MORE than enough to show what kind of person she is. They say that actions speak louder than words. To know “Crazy’s” words are to know the true definition of rambling, mindless, angry, bitter, vitriolic babble. Her words mean NOTHING. Her actions…well, there’s enough to write a couple of books. I think the first one should be: “How NOT to Be a Good Mother.”

For the previous week, in the back of my mind, I was expecting the absolute worse situation possible this weekend. It’s what I have always been used to thinking in these situations. And even though I was extremely pessimistic…I am always, almost annoyingly, optimistic. After all the bullshit, I STILL try. I haven’t given up, and I REFUSE to give up. There is no FUCKING WAY that I’m going to let that person pull my daughter away from me. No matter what she does, no matter what roadblocks “Crazy” wants to put in my way, I will plow right through them. It’s been 5 years since I brought her to court for a previous alienation issue. It’s taken me 2 years to get a lawyer to deal with it. “Crazy” acts as if this has all come out of nowhere. And that is one of her biggest problems.

In the end, after a pretty depressing and someone anxious week…I had a great Father’s Day. The kids where happy. Mom was happy. Christina was WONDERFUL. And Maya’s grandparents where supportive and good.

The first step in a journey for redemption, peace, and love…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…


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Pre-Father’s Day

 

I have to admit– I’m not a fan of Father’s Day.

Sure, it may sound a bit weird for me to say so, especially being the father of two kids. And I feel really shitty about not being all that into it. But it’s now been four years that I have not been able to appreciate or enjoy Father’s Day- not one bit. And this year, it’s even more painful, stressful, and uncomfortable for me.

In 2009, Father’s Day fell on June 20th. On June 19th, my father died after a 5 year struggle with colorectal cancer. I wasn’t there; I was in New York shooting a final day of interviews for a documentary. My mom had called early in the evening to tell me that they were taking Pops to the hospital; it was bad. I planned on going home the following day, as early as possible. He died at 2:17am the following day. I could write a book about how shitty I feel about not being there. It’s a frustrating pain that will NEVER going away. Sure, many people have told me that “it’s okay,” but it’s not to me. It will never be okay to me.

In the four months leading up to his death, I tried to get my daughter Maya to see him. Easter of 2009 was the most memorable of these attempts. Pops wanted to see her, and he could not. The reason? “Crazy” was the reason. Maya’s mother refused to let me take her to see him. The “why” of it, simply enough, is that she’s a fucking asshole.

“Crazy” is an inherently horrible, disgusting, despicable, toxic, emotionally damaged excuse for a human being– that’s as kind as I can be about her. See, you have to understand that in Maya’s 7.5 years of life, I have NEVER spent a holiday with her: No Christmas eve/day, no Thanksgiving, no Easter; ONLY the day or two afterwards. Never spent a summer vacation, or ANY kind of vacation, with her– never been on a plane with her. I have never spent more than two nights with her. Never. And on that Easter in 2009, when my dad desperately wanted to see her, I practically begged “crazy” to let me take Maya to see my father; she refused…because it was Easter. Mom told me that Pops cried; Pops never cried.

As I type this out now, I am being flooded with every emotion in the fucking book– I am beyond angry, beyond sad, beyond FURIOUS. After Pops died, the ONLY way I could get Maya to the funeral was for “Crazy” to be there. Do you have any idea how HORRIBLE that was for my family to have that…fucking person there?! And she’s so oblivious that she didn’t even realize how vehemently she is hated and loathed in my family– not just for keeping Maya away from my dad in those last few months, but for all the alienating bullshit that she’s put my family through. I HATED “Crazy” being there, and it was that moment when I began to get comfortable with what will be my life-long hatred for that woman.  When I tell you that I will NEVER forgive her for that…I mean, it’s just not possible for me to NOT hate her– deeply, meaningfully, and comfortably hate her. It’s a hatred that I have managed to mask from Maya. It’s a hatred that I am so comfortable with that it doesn’t manifest in any way, shape or form. There is nothing redeeming about that woman, and that is the way it will always be.

Flash forward to Father’s Day 2013. For those of you following the saga of the Single Dad, Shitty Mom blog, you know that for nearly a year now I have only seen my daughter twice, and have spoken to her on the phone three times. No contact over Thanksgiving, Halloween, her birthday, and Christmas of last year, or Easter of this year. And now we are coming up on Father’s Day. The one thing that is different this time around is that I now have a lawyer. It was hiring this lawyer that has angered and frustrated “Crazy” even more than usual, because deep down– underneath her lunacy and emotionally stunted behavior– she knows that the end is near for her. Using a letter crafted by my lawyer (which I will examine in a future post), she was informed that if she did not make Maya available to me on Father’s Day, she WILL lose custody of Maya. Personally, I think she she lose custody anyway– she is a sorry excuse for a custodial parent.

The issue at this point, chronicled here, is that she claims that Maya is “afraid” to come to my home– where I, my fiancé, and her 2 year old brother live. This is the home, mind you, that she has been visiting for the last 3 years. The home in the small village town that she LOVES…”Crazy” is telling me that Maya is afraid of that. “Crazy” won’t, however, discuss the fact that she has spent years trying to poison the well, so to speak. This is what alienators do; they brainwash the child to embrace what are seemingly irrational fears and issues. My fiancé is convinced that “Crazy” is doing this so that she can push me out of the picture, and replace me with her latest boyfriend (this is number 5 in the last 7 years). But I digress– all of this business is for a future post.

Leading up to this Father’s Day, the shit has been hitting the fan. Ever since Maya and my VERY successful brunch date from 2 months ago, “Crazy” has been crazier than usual. She tried to snub me and my mother from Maya’s communion. I’ve tried to arrange phone calls, and with the only TWO I was able to get…”Crazy” eavesdropped on one 30 minute call (prompting Maya at certain points), and the other she hung up on me. Both of these calls I have recorded, and presented to my lawyer. That’s an important side note, if you are NOT recording ALL interactions– audio and/or video– you NEED TO START!

As of today, Wednesday June 12th, I have no idea how Father’s Day will work out. I’ve contacted “Crazy’s” parents to let them know the situation; I made arrangements for my mother and I to pick Maya up from “Crazy’s” parents house. They have promised me that they will make sure that “Crazy” is long gone before we get there, which is entirely the point. As I’ve mentioned previously, “Crazy’s” parents are completely onboard with facilitating a positive relationship between Maya and I, in spite of their own daughter. On one hand, they totally understand what is going on and strongly disagree– and are disgusted– with “Crazy’s” behavior. On the other hand, they live in fear of the FACT that if they confront “Crazy,” she will alienate Maya from THEM as well. They are treading lightly, and part of me does not blame them. It’s really up to me to play hardball, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

This is what Parental Alienation is all about. I have been living with a pit in my stomach, and a cloud of anger floating above me, for over 7 years. After the death of my father, that cloud has darkened. I don’t wear these emotions for all to see, quite frankly because these problems are mine and mine alone. They have nothing to do with my kids, or my fiancé, or family or friends– this is “My Own Private Idaho”, as it were. In the coming weeks and months, I will FINALLY have “Crazy” in a court room to answer to all of this. That moment cannot come soon enough. I do feel as if this is the very beginning of the end of this piss-poor situation.

Father’s Day will never be the same as it used to be pre-2009. Nothing will change that. The only thing that I can hope for is to have some peace with my kids and my family. That’s all that matters anyway, right?

TO BE CONTINUED*

*PS…I want to apologize for the over-all tone of this post. I know it reads as angry and bitter, but it’s honest. Please forgive the excessive profanity; I won’t make that a habit, I promise.


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The Here and Now #7: With Prejudice

After MONTHS of waiting, the first round of court cases has FINALLY been settled! And the results were just as I suspected: JUSTICE has been served, and it is good!

As of today, both of the matters that had be brought against me, regarding a money-grab AND a bogus Order of Protection, have been settled and resolved without a trial. I signed the agreement last week, which I then delivered to “the plaintiff’s” lawyer, for her to sign; reluctantly…for her. Both cases were bogus from the start.

Granted, I DO owe her a little bit of money– that is the truth. It wasn’t for a lack of desire to pay it. My biggest issue was the fact that I did not trust her math, and wanted documentation to back up her demands– which she flat out refused to provide…until I was served with a petition to go to court.

The thing is, 70% of what she was asking for she was not entitled to, and was IMMEDIATELY shot down by the judge. We had a previous financial agreement, but for SOME reason she chose to ignore the simple facts expressed in it: that I was ONLY responsible for child care and medical costs.

Not only did not confer with me on these issues, she was hell bent on overspending on things that she (or I, for that matter) could NOT afford! It was HER decision to send Maya to a private school– not mine…because WE CAN’T AFFORD IT! On top of that, the judge made it clear that “private school is not ‘child care'”…therefore, I am not responsible.

I wanted to get my daughter music lessons– she has a true proclivity for music, particularly the drums. “Crazy”, instead, wanted things like dance class and other extra curriculars that, for one did NOT speak to her talents…AND cut into my visitation time– she flat out refused skipping these things, and threatened to keep Maya from visiting me if I refused to take her.

She also claimed that I owed her for 6 years of child care, even though 5.5 of those years was under her grandparent’s care. When the judge asked her if she had documentation to prove this, she lied to him IN COURT telling him that she DID! When it turned out that she could not prove her claim (lies usually do that), her claim was rendered moot.

Finally, she claimed that I owed nearly $10,000 for two years worth of summer camp. She naturally found the most expensive camps in her area, and hadn’t told me that she was doing this. Keep in mind that “Crazy” has NEVER allowed my daughter to stay with me for longer than 2 nights; in 7 years, I have NEVER had more time with my daughter than that. Because her recent alienation behavior began last summer, and because “crazy” has NEVER allowed Maya to spend summers with me…I was not responsible for last year’s $5,000 camp costs. As for this year, “crazy’s” lawyer asked me to find another camp that was cheaper that the current camp…which my fiancé was able to find after 3 minutes on the internet…$3,000 cheaper. So I am only responsible for paying 65% of $2,000, which “crazy” has to pay the remaining balance.

So, I owe for this year’s summer camp (which I paid for when I signed the new agreement),  and the previous 1.5 years of child care I can pay in monthly installments over the next 12 months. That’s fair; to me. “Crazy,” on the other hand, is NOT happy. She was expecting a HUGE payday. But that’s her– building up a fantasy world in her own head that, when reality crashes down, she blames EVERYONE ELSE for her failures. But these financial issues were of no concern to me. The thing that I was REALLY interesting in dealing with was this RIDICULOUS Order of Protection that she wanted to have enforced. But that didn’t happen.

As part of the deal, she had to agree to withdraw the Order of Protection with prejudice:

“…dismissal with prejudice, in which the plaintiff is barred from filing another case on the same claim. Dismissal with prejudice is a final judgment and the case becomes res judicataon the claims that were or could have been brought in it…”

In other words, once this Order is withdrawn, she can NO LONGER make this an issue in any court case at any other time:

“This signifies that the court has made an adjudication on the merits of the case and a final disposition, barring the plaintiff from bringing a new lawsuit based on the same subject. If a new lawsuit is brought, a defendant can properly invoke res judicata as a defense, because a court will not relitigate a matter that has been fully heard before. Often a court will enter a judgment with prejudice if the plaintiff has shown bad faith, misled the court, or persisted in filing frivolous lawsuits.”

According to my lawyer, this was the issue that she was the MOST resistant to comply with. And I can understand that– it’s something that, if she was successful in enforcing, could have jeopardized my visitation with Maya. That was her goal, after all– to corner me and make it so she could legally have TOTAL CONTROL over access to my daughter, via “supervised visitation”, for example. The thing is, not only was I TOTALLY prepared to go to trial on this bogus claim, but I had plenty of written (texts) and video evidence to debunk her claims. Not only did she file this order, but she had a social worker AND Maya’s lawyer buying into her narrative– which I didn’t fully understand, because neither had MY SIDE of the story, OR the evidence that disproved it; granted, that would have been presented during a trial. She told these people that Maya was HORRIFIED of me…which, of course, was a lie.

Bottom line is, her lawyer had to convince her that she really had no case. If she had decided to go through with it, she would have had to go on the stand and endure questioning from my lawyer. She had NO CHANCE of being successful. On top of that, she is not in any position to afford a long trial. I had to pull miracles and call in favors to get my lawyer. “Crazy” was running out of options and support. So…she conceded, and signed the agreement.

All this bullshit. ALL THIS BULLSHIT. For what!? I still don’t know. I’m not a shrink, and can’t really analyze the reasons why “crazy” is so…crazy. And frankly, I don’t care. The ONLY thing I care about is my daughter. PERIOD. On top of that, this is by NO MEANS the end of it. I am working on the NEXT court case right now– the nitty-gritty of this horrible situation; the issue of Parental Alienation. THAT is where my energy and attention are focused on. Over the next few months, we will be moving into that phase.

I’ve been telling “crazy” for YEARS that she would not get away with her behavior– that she would, eventually, be accountable for her actions; for ONCE. She doesn’t believe me. That’s no surprise– her parents have told me that they regret NOT raising her to be accountable for her horrible behavior. And to this day, even after settling these current legal issues, even after TWO POSITIVE visits with my daughter…she has NOT budged. I’m willing to bet you that when she gets the alienation deposition in the mail, she’s going to try to alter her behavior. Too little, too late.

 

TO BE CONTINUED….


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The Here and Now #6: Holy Communion

 

The first time I spoke to my daughter Maya in 2013 was on my birthday. Her mother was put into a position where she HAD to have Maya call me, which she did. We spoke for nearly 30 minutes, had a WONDERFUL conversation– so far removed from the BS narrative that her mother “crazy” is constantly spinning (about how Maya is SCARED of me and such). One of things Maya had mentioned to me was her Communion, which she explained would be on the 27th of April…and she asked me HERSELF if I could come. The answer, simply enough, was OF COURSE I could! The problem with that…”crazy” had NO INTENTION of inviting me.

“… Interference with the non-custodial parent and child’s relationship is an act so inconsistent with the best interests of a child, as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the offending party is unfit to act as a custodial parent.”

That is an excerpt from an article I read last week, involving a ruling by a judge condemning the actions of a woman who was purposefully alienating her children from their father. That one line speaks VOLUMES to the thousands of alienation cases worldwide. It’s also a line that is THOROUGHLY relatable to my situation.

“Crazy” is FURIOUS with me right now– more so than at ANY other time. Her problem is that she has suffered a sizable blow in Family Court recently. For the last several months, in spite of everything going on with Maya, she has decided to try to fleece me for money, IN ADDITION to filing a bogus Order of Protection charge against me. Both cases have not gone according to her plan; which was not surprising for everyone else, but her. The OP has been withdrawn, and over 80% of the moneys that she requested (I’d say demanded) were stricken. The fact that I hired a lawyer to handle this (and the following custody hearings– more on that in a moment), the fact that my mother, my fiancé, and “CRAZY’S” FAMILY AND FRIENDS are in concert for believing that “crazy’s” behavior is the problem…the WORLD IS AGAINST HER. That’s where her mindset is right now. It’s not the fact that her behavior, her emotional instability, her piss-poor custodial parenting skills, her fiscal irresponsibility– it’s NONE OF THESE THINGS that are to blame. According to “crazy”, EVERYONE (except Maya) is OUT TO PUNISH HER. The ironic thing is, though…she’s kinda right. But not in the way SHE thinks.

“Parental alienation” is the practice of mentally manipulating or bullying your own children with the express goal of damaging their relationship with their other parent. Both parental alienation and its related practice, “hostile aggressive parenting,” deprive children of the stable and loving relationships they need when coping with divorce (and life in general).

The communion itself was very nice– I’m not a religious person, and if I had my way I wouldn’t bother with this stuff…but it’s what Maya’s mother decided, and “crazy” has absolutely no interest in entertaining my point of view. Which has led to one of her financial issues– she was determined to send Maya to Catholic school…but had no answer with regards to how she had thought we would be paying for that. “Crazy” didn’t care. And I told her that I was in no way, shape, or form paying for private school– there were PLENTY of good public schools that she could go to. This is one of the issues the judge threw out– immediately. He said that I was in no way, shape, or form responsible for paying for private school. “Crazy,” and her lawyer, were NOT pleased. But I digress…

The communion was nice– Maya was BEAUTIFUL, as always…! The picture at the top of this post was afterwards; that was the ONLY time I had with her. And not because Maya’s family and friends didn’t want me, and my mother, there (Mom came with me– my lawyer recommended NOT going alone). All of the ire, the stress, the anxiety was ALL because of “crazy”.

My mom and I had a brief conversation with “crazy’s” mom before we left. That’s when she told us that “crazy” had not only not intended to invite me to the communion, we WERE NOT invited back to the house afterwards. But it wasn’t said like that– “crazy’s” mother said the following: “I tried to get her to change the guest list– this was a month ago, and…she just wouldn’t listen.” Yeah, no shit.

I felt REALLY BAD for my mother, though. See, we’re not used to this passive-aggressive, dysfunctional garbage. And mom, to her credit, tried to keep it together– up until we got to the church. It was when she read the church program that she went nuts. On the back of the program, they listed all the kids that were participating in the ceremony. About 40 kids. Among them was Maya. The problem was that Maya’s name is typically hyphenated with my last name and “crazy’s” last name. On the program, only “crazy’s” last name showed up. Now, this did NOT bother me– I just figured that they didn’t have enough room to fit her full name. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t buy that. Look, “crazy” is as petty as they come, but I know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t have gone out of her way to try to force the committee that put the program together to drop Maya’s paternal last name. Besides that, Maya’s full name is on the records throughout that school, so I wasn’t worried. Mom was so furious that she confronted “crazy” about it before we left. Now mind you…”crazy” had GONE OUT OF HER WAY to avoid getting ANYWHERE NEAR my mother OR me.

She steered FAR AWAY from us for almost the ENTIRE TIME. Which was fine, because it gave EVERYONE even more opportunity to see how “crazy” works. Believe me, her behavior DID NOT go unnoticed by family, friends, and friends of friends. No one wanted to really “get into it”, which was fine– the mantra of that communion was “This is Maya’s day.” That’s what everyone kept saying. In reality, though…it wasn’t Maya’s day…it was “The ‘Crazy’ Show!” because EVERYONE was acting in a way to NOT draw “crazy’s” ire!

Oh, the egg-shelll walking and the pins-and-needles, the stress and anxiety was SO BLOODY PRESENT outside of that church you’d think Jesus HIMSELF was about to get his dad to bear judgement on that group! ALL that energy, all that angst…for WHAT?! That’s right…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Maya was very happy to see me and mom. She gave me a big hug, and we gave her some presents, and took some pictures and video and stuff. We even posed for what could be the most AWKWARD family photo EVER! It was the grandmothers, Maya, me…AND “crazy” herself! I’ll tell you– I’d just LOVE to have a copy of that picture JUST for the story alone!

Signs of Parental Alienation
  • Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems for the other parent.

  • Children have knowledge of the divorce details or legal procedures.

  • Children show a sudden hostile, negative change in attitude toward target parent.

  • Children are not delivered for court-ordered visitation and/or are not allowed to “choose” to visit the target parent.

  • False allegations of abuse are made against the target parent.

  • Children are asked to choose one parent over the other.

  • Anger and negativity toward target parent is reinforced.

  • Children are given the impression that if they have a good time with the target parent during a visit, it will hurt them.

  • Children are asked about the target parent’s personal life.

  • Children are “rescued” from the target parent when there is no danger.

That’s the list right there. Go down that list, check off as many as you can. I can attest to all but  one of them– namely discussions of legal matters with the child. It puts a knot in my stomach to see my daughter in this situation. She’s just a little girl– and her mother in putting her in such a difficult spot! The bright side of this situation is yet another affirmation of allies behind enemy lines, so to speak. It’s knowing that the people in Maya’s life understand that “crazy” is a BIG PROBLEM in keeping Maya from having a relationship with me. So many of them were saying “I am SO GLAD you’re here!!” As if they had NO IDEA that I would be. But hey– when your Minister of Information is insane, you’d be surprised by new information as well! That’s one thing to take away from all of this– NOT EVERYONE is convinced by the alienator. Let me repeat that– NOT EVERYONE IS CONVINCED BY THE ALIENATOR. Sure, they have an EASY time lying to a child…but it’s not as easy to convince adults!

And, of course, I recorded all the interactions. Basically, I used my iPhone’s voice recorder app, and put the phone in my shirt pocket with the mic side sticking up. Great thing about that app is that it runs while the phone is in standby mode, so you don’t have to worry about the app switching off or another app opening…you can have the screen be blank without drawing any suspicions. Again, I know this cloak-and-dagger crap seems a bit shitty and ridiculous…but it’s REALLY NOT. I had to get into a habit of making this happen, EVEN WHEN I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE IT. Having to sneak recordings seems a bit immoral…but you know what’s even worse? PARENTAL ALIENATION. You DON’T LET that woman (or man) LIE to your kids and everyone else, misrepresenting and slandering you, because THEY’VE got the problems/issues/disorder! Who the hell gave them the right to keep YOUR CHILDREN away from them!? NO ONE did– THEY took that right! That makes them criminals. PERIOD.

Judge Ross found Lauren Lippe in civil contempt of court and ordered her to spend every other weekend in the Nassau County Correctional Facility during June, July and August.

See? There IS hope! There ARE people in the legal system that FROWN UPON alienators! Know that, YOUR JOB is to PROVE THIS. The mindset of the alienator dictates that they will try to fight against these allegations– as is their right to do so. And they may even try to exploit gender stereotypes to make a convincing counter-argument. That’s why you need FACTS. You need to HYPERACTIVE in collecting those facts. And listen, there will come a time when your alienator discovers that you are recording them OR keeping records of interactions. GOOD. “Crazy” knows that I record phone calls– hell, I told her that 5 years ago! That knowledge has caused SOME alterations in her behavior…but like I’ve said in previous blog entries…crazy is SLOPPY. People who act this way mess up. It’s INEVITABLE. YOUR JOB is to be there when it happens, AND DOCUMENT IT. Pretend you’re filming your own reality show– CAPTURE EVERYTHING. Have friends or family accompany you, and have THEM record things!  Record interactions with your children– video mostly, if you can. You see, “crazy” can tell ANYONE IN THE WORLD that I have “anger issues”….but she forgets that a lot of the people in her life ALSO know me…! And they KNOW that I don’t have anger issues, and THEY KNOW that I love my daughter, AND THEY KNOW THAT MY DAUGHTER LOVES ME!!!!

So, the bubble is getting smaller. And “crazy” is getting sloppier. She showed her true colors at that communion. She thought that simply avoiding/snubbing my mother and I would be the best thing to do. And all that did was draw attention to her poor behavior. The people in her life noticed. Maya noticed. And therefore, “crazy” has been PUT ON NOTICE.

Before we left, “crazy’s” mother told my  mother and I that “…maybe she’ll [‘crazy’] change.” She knew DAMN WELL when she said that that “crazy” will NEVER change. That’s exactly what I said, followed by “…regardless, I’m taking care of it. Once-and-for-all.” She replied, “I hope so, for Maya’s sake.” I’m sorry, but when YOUR OWN MOTHER can’t support you…you’ve got PROBLEMS.

TO BE CONTINUED….

PS.

This is the article I referenced in this blog post: http://www.momlogic.com/2010/06/new_york_dad_and_parental_alienation.php


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The Here and Now #5: Reunited All Over Again…with Unexpected Allies

 

It finally happened– after 6 months of unnecessary idiocy, emotional immaturity, and counterproductive behavior, I FINALLY got to see my daughter Maya yesterday morning!

This is the second time in 2013 that I have had ANY interaction with my daughter– the first time being on my birthday (March 21st). We didn’t have too much time together– I had enough time to take her out for breakfast and help her plant some vegetables at her grandparent’s house…but we had a WONDERFUL time! It was a GREAT time– as it ALWAYS IS/WAS/HAS BEEN/WILL ALWAYS BE! For those who are seeing this post out of context, I’ll explain briefly:

Six months ago, Maya’s mother (known on this blog by her nickname “crazy“) created a situation that so disrupted my visitation time that I had NO TIME at all. For reasons YET to be determined, Maya– after visiting me for weekend visits for the last 5 years– started acting out whenever I picked her up. This went on for 3 months, with “crazy” only instigating Maya’s issues as opposed to working to fix them– primarily because Maya’s issues were not her own…they were her MOTHERS’. “Crazy” decided that she not only  wouldn’t help with fixing the situation, she’s decided to abdicate her custodial parental duties in favor of fostering her toxic and dysfunctional behavior.

“Crazy” told EVERYONE that would listen that Maya was “afraid” of me, that I had “anger issues”, and was threatening and harassing her and Maya– NONE of which, of course, is true…but that is her narrative. This is what alienators do– we ALL know this. They make things up. They’ll take 15-20% of the facts, then spin that into a full story/history! Ever have a cup of coffee filtered with only 3 coffee beans? That is how WEAK her narrative is– which is evident in my interactions with my daughter.

This visit would have probably never happened if it weren’t for a few circumstances in place. First off, I had my lawyer request the visit via HER lawyer. Now, I hate to say this, but it’s true…going through lawyers instead of dealing with “crazy” directly has resulted in the MOST PRODUCTIVE INTERACTIONS I’VE EVER HAD WITH “CRAZY”– in the 10 years I’ve known her! I say things to my lawyer, he passes the info on to “crazy’s” lawyer, “crazy” argues with her lawyer, her lawyer talks sense into her, her lawyer contacts my lawyer, my lawyer contacts me– BOOM. No arguing with stupidity and unchecked emotional and psychological issues— DIRECT RESULTS!

Basically, “crazy” wanted me to sign and notarize a consent form, allowing her to get a passport for Maya. She sent this to me a few weeks ago– STILL not allowing me to see my daughter (the nerve, right?!). So I suggested that I would drop off the form, then take Maya out to breakfast. “Crazy” agreed.

She happened to be out of town, or on a date, or something– so I would meet up with Maya at her grandparents– “crazy’s” parents– house. Now, for those of you in a similar situation, this is where things get tricky. These are the parents of the woman/man who has made it their mission in life to make YOUR LIFE miserable. It’s their family– how the HELL is THIS going to pan out? What do THEY think of you? What will they SAY to you? How will they react to the fact that you haven’t seen your kid– and moreover, the fact that your ex more-than-likely LIED to them about the reasons why you haven’t seen your kids…!

A female friend of mine told me once that women like “crazy” are not as crafty and convincing as they THINK they are. People like “crazy” work HARD at maintaining the bubble that houses their narrative! The problem for people like “crazy” is that this bubble is TRANSPARENT. My friend told me that EVERYONE in “crazy’s” life– friends and family alike– KNOW HER well enough to know when she is full of shit. She maybe telling them a bunch of things…but her friends and family don’t believe her, and CONSTANTLY question her behavior and motives.

Long story-short (too late..!), I got to the house a few minutes early– they were to return from church shortly. When the car pulled up, and the back car door opened, and Maya jumped out…she saw my car, then saw me get out, and yelled “DADDY!!!” She ran to me and jumped into my arms. Then “crazy’s” parents greeted me…and they were very pleasant. They were, in fact, THRILLED that I was there to take Maya out! They took pictures, and were VERY supportive– which was QUITE a relief for me, I can assure you!

It goes without saying that my 90 minute with my daughter were as well spent as they could have been. The bulk of the visit was spent alone in a booth at a diner- just the two of us- enjoying a big breakfast.  We talked about school, her toys, her new hobbies, her friends, and stuff…we also talked about what had transpired the last time we had seen each other. She did not want to talk about it at first, but I insisted that I just wanted to say a few things, and that we could totally drop it and move on to other things. As I explained the situation, I made it a point to tell her that this was NOT HER FAULT. I told Maya as straight as I could, and without totally disparaging “crazy”, that her mother is doing things that are getting in the way of our relationship. I told Maya that I didn’t know why her mother was doing these things, but that I was doing everything I could to fix things. That was when Maya started to pull her self out of the booth. For a moment, I thought that she was going to run away or something– I didn’t know what she was going to do. She came over to my side of the booth, jumped into my lap, and started sobbing. It’s enough to break your heart– and it broke mine…but I was SO RELIEVED, because SHE GOT IT. She understood what was going on, and she HATED it! I was heart broken because my little girl only wants to love and be loved…she doesn’t want to have to “pick” and “decide” between one parent or another– which is EXACTLY what “crazy” is damn-near FORCING her to do! And that made me angrier than I had been previously.

One of the MANY things that I despise about “crazy” as a person is what she is willing to do to HER OWN CHILD’S emotional well-being…ONLY to satiate her OWN ego and issues…it’s fucking sick. It’s disgusting. It’s needless and UNNECESSARY. How many of us have to watch our children struggle because our ex’s are addicted to being assholes? It’s not right. IT’S NOT FAIR.

Keeping in line with everything I’ve discussed here, I recorded the breakfast chat between my and my daughter. I HATED doing it– hated having to take out my phone, start up the voice recorder app, then set the phone face-down on the table, so as to not draw attention to it. I KNOW I don’t need to prove how great my relationship is with my daughter…but lawyers, social workers, and judges DO need that proof. However, I wish that I had kept the recorder running the entire time I was there, not to capture what my daughter was saying…but what her GRAND PARENTS were saying.

The “unexpected allies” I mention in the title of this post are the grand parents– not your parents, but your ex’s parents. In my case, I have had a rather complicated relationship with “crazy’s” parents. Through it all, however, we had always come to a general understanding: “crazy” is the problem. Talk about getting it– “crazy’s” parents KNOW her better than I do. They can see right through “crazy’s”…well, craziness. It’s her parents that had originally told me that 80% of what comes out of “crazy’s” mouth is a lie. They KNOW that their daughter is problematic– they’ve even acknowledged their responsibility in their not doing enough to deal with these issues when “crazy” was younger. Now she is nearly 40, and trapped in the dysfunctional and emotionally crippled mindset of a 16 year old.

Before I left their house, “crazy’s” mother confided in me her concerns. Now, I won’t go into too much detail, but here is the bottom line in what she explained to me: She and her husband are concerned, first and foremost, with Maya’s well-being; Maya needs both her daddy AND her mommy. It is clear that “crazy” is interfering with that– for whatever reasons she has…which are reasons that are NOT in Maya’s best interests. “Crazy’s” behavior, being antithetical to Maya’s best interests, have put them in a position where they cannot defend “crazy”. And if they cannot defend her…they will not vouch for her when “shit” goes down. In other words…when it comes to their grand daughter, IF they had to choose, they may have to “sell out” their OWN daughter due to the situation she has created. THAT is a conversation that I WISHED I had recorded…but I did not, because I wasn’t prepared. Learn from my mistakes– BE PREPARED!

So there you have it! Six months of bullshit later, and I get to spend 90 minutes alone with my little girl. And “crazy” is angry and bitter because Maya and I had such a great time together. And that’s a good thing, believe it or not! The more she reacts negatively, the MORE she will have to EXPLAIN THAT TO A JUDGE! Remember– all you have is the truth…and that’s ALL you need. The behavior of the alienator speaks for itself! But it doesn’t hurt to have evidence, AND allies. Remember, these people are more wrapped up in spinning and managing their lies and false narratives– so you HAVE TO put yourself in a position to be 10 steps ahead of her. Don’t focus on temporary victories– your goals should be long-term. Ignore the alienator, focus on your kids.

TO BE CONTINUED….


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The Here And Now #3: First Court Date of 2013

Court days can be a very anxious, stressful, emotionally and physically draining time. There is always a grand build up to the actual day. There is strong tension, with frustration and aggravation that is built up over weeks, months, and/or YEARS. Sometimes you just never know what “justice” will throw your way. In my case, “justice” was predicted, and expected.

Yesterday I was in court for two petitions filed by “crazy”; one for Child Support Violation, and the other was an Order of Protection. Let me explain:

She filed a Child Support Violation because when I got a new job last September (after being laid off for 3 months, and STILL paying child support through my unemployment), there was a lapse in the support schedule. As most know, when you get a new job, there is an adjustment period so that HR and/or the payroll company of your employer can align with the State to coordinate payment (I have child support taken out of my paycheck automatically– it’s easier that way). The lapse usually lasts a couple of weeks to a month. During this lapse, she had bounced a check (one of many, I discovered) to the private school (that she cannot afford, nor I agreed to send her to…because WE CANNOT AFFORD IT!).  She wanted me to front her money so that the check wouldn’t bounce. I could not, because a week prior I had to get a back tooth pulled– my insurance with my new company didn’t kick in, so I had to pay out of pocket (over $800). So, the check bounced…and a week later, I got a petition in the mail. Not only did she complain about the lapse, she also decided that I owed her money for a bunch of things that she bought and paid for that not only did I not agree to, or were discussed with me…they were also things that were not covered in the previous Support agreement.

The Order of Protection is the most ridiculous accusation of all. This is a LONG story that I will discuss in a later post (and it WILL BE A LONG ONE), but basically this involved the event that has inspired me to start this blog in the first place. To make this long story short, during the summer Maya started exhibiting very unusual behavior. I would go to pick her up, like I have been doing for over 5 years, but this time, all of a sudden, she started crying and freaking out about going back to my home. This literally went on for 6 of my visits (2 weekend visits a month = 3 months), with “crazy” doing or saying NOTHING to help figure out what was going on (obviously). Out of those 6 visits, Maya came home with me twice (the 2nd and 5th incident). Each time, “crazy” made excuses and wouldn’t offer any help. The 6th incident, I finally lost my patience, and my temper. I yelled at “crazy”, and I raised my voice at Maya; I told both of them to “go to hell.” I was hurt by Maya’s disregard for discussions that we had after the 5th incident– LONG discussion with me and Christina, about this behavior. It marked the 2nd time in Maya’s 7 years that I raised me voice at her…and the first time I swore at her. Again, I will present more details in a later post, but this situation concluded with “crazy” calling 911, then filing an Order of Protection against me, siting that I can no longer “harass, yell, hit, punch, strangle….” (yes, they say “strangle”) Maya or “crazy”.

Insanity.

There are many problems with this claims and accusations, aside from the fact that they are not true. It’s the fact that “crazy” and her lawyer have to PROVE that all of these things are true. Yesterday, that had an opportunity to do so. It did not go well for them.

First off, the Order of Protection hearing was pushed back to May, because I was NEVER properly served a summons. The first time I received a summons, “crazy” sent it to me as a snapshot in a text message, two days before the original hearing date (back in November). I obviously did not have to go to that, and she was chastised in court at that time that for doing that. The whole thing about the summons is that it has to be served IN PERSON– has to be put into that person’s hands. The second time she tried to serve me, it was allegedly given to someone in the mail room of my employer; I got a call from someone who claimed that I had been served this way. When I checked with the mail room, they hadn’t received anything from anyone for me. If they did, I would have had to sign in for it– they have a system here similar to how you would receive a package from UPS or FedEx– with a digital scanner. To this day, I have not been properly served.

As for the Child Support claim, her demands were immediately shot down by the judge, including the private school. The original agreement stipulated that I was responsible for paying 65% of the child’s care costs (medical, babysitters). Private school, as the judge and my lawyer both pointed out, is NOT “child care”. I was also not responsible for paying for a 2-week summer camp that she sent Maya too– this was as opposed to having Maya spend 2-weeks with her father. As for after school care, Maya had been staying with her grandmother for over 4 years (they live in neighboring towns). “Crazy” had just started using a day care service in September, which I didn’t know about until December due to the massive breakdown in communication since all of this lunacy started. When the judge asked “crazy” to explain the child care situation…she fell apart. She didn’t cry or anything…she just couldn’t explain herself AT ALL. She had SO MUCH MOUTH outside the judge’s chamber…but when she was asked direct questions…she had nothing. The judge was extremely frustrated. “Crazy’s” lawyer had his head buried in one of his hands, saying things like “Just say yes.” “JUST SAY YES!” “Just say NO.” “Answer him!” “Don’t ask me, ANSWER HIM!” The judge had to ask her lawyer at least TWICE to answer his questions. It did NOT go well for her.

I think my lawyer had MAYBE suspected that I was being a bit hyperbolic about my descriptions of “crazy”. I think most people might think that I am exaggerating just a little bit. But anyone in a similar situation knows. We ALL KNOW that we can ONLY be honest. You can’t make up this kind of behavior AT ALL. And when he saw it first hand…he was a bit stunned. The first time he saw “crazy” in court was after she checked in. He and I were standing and having a conversation. If you were going to pass by us, you’d either go around my lawyer, or go around me. As we talked, we both watched her out of the corner of our eyes. She walked in our direction, deliberately walked passed me, body-checked me, and kept walking. My lawyer watched this, turned to me and said “did she just do what I think she did?” I nodded. However, I was told that I needed to control myself a bit. I was so outraged by her lies, that I dropped an F-Bomb or two or three– not in court, but in conference. I wasn’t angry, just shocked…but it didn’t matter. “Don’t give her an excuse!” my lawyer said. And, he’s right.

Afterwards, my lawyer sat down with my mother and I (my mom came to support me), to put everything into perspective. And he said it best: “She [‘crazy’] is her own worst enemy.” He’s right. You see, these people canNOT help themselves. They act out in such ways that they can’t help but be sloppy. They have nothing but misrepresentation, lies, anger, and spite. Those things do not mix well. She walked into that court yesterday believing that she would be victorious. She told her lawyer JUST ENOUGH to make HIM believe that they would be victorious. But when you have the truth on your side…bullshit does not stand.

Don’t be afraid of these people! All of their actions and their words WILL BETRAY THEM. You have to be vigilant. You have to be smart. You have to document EVERYTHING. Keep a record of EVERYTHING! She/he may be an asshole, but you HAVE TO KEEP YOUR COOL. I know it’s difficult and damn-near impossible to maintain your composure with someone that is using your child to attack and malign  you. Face it– that’s ALL they have! That is the ONLY THING that they have over you.  Yes, it’s a pretty BIG thing…but in the end, it will backfire, and you will get your life back. But you HAVE TO FIGHT! You can’t be intimidated by their behavior. And if you don’t nip it in the bud in the most SUBSTANTIAL way possible…they will continue to treat you and your child this way.

Don’t let them.

TO BE CONTINUED.


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The Here And Now #2: Lawyer’d Up

Moving into battle. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once made an off-color remark about going to war with the army you want, versus going to war with the army you HAVE. My politics aside, I think the sentiment is that IF you have to go to war, you better make DAMN SURE you are armed with what you need to fight it, and WIN.

When it comes to having to go to war with the unruly, toxic pain-in-the-ass that is keeping you from your children, that is a fight that you HAVE to win. If you don’t win, you’ll face bigger and greater problems, which will compound over time, and make your situation worse. And to do that, you need an advocate. You need someone that  understands your situation, is experienced and knowledgable enough to see the signs, and someone that can articulate THROUGH THE LAW the violation of your parental rights, and help to move towards a solution that can rectify and resolved the situation. In other words, you need a GOOD LAWYER.

Through my employer, as of September of last year (my initial hire), my benefits package includes Hyatt Legal Services. This plan enables me to consult with any of the attorneys in their network FOR FREE, as a part of my membership benefits package ($8/month). I can get free consultation and document review, either over the phone or in-office, as many times as necessary. It’s basically like having lawyers on retainer to handle MANY different legal matters, including– in my case– family law.

Through this service, I was able to find a lawyer. He’s smart, has years of experience, he TOOK NOTES while we spoke. My initial communications with him were via email. Over the months, after speaking to other lawyers, I was able to craft a 5-page deposition which summed up my entire situation. We met today for about 90 minutes, where I laid EVERYTHING out.

Your time is limited with these people, so you have to work ahead of time to make as concise a case as you can. I know whenever you tell the story to your friends, for example, you could ramble on for DAYS about the crazy shit she/he has done and said.  However, when you are talking to someone who gets paid BY THE HOUR, or someone who is only giving you 30 minutes to an hour of counsoltation time…you want to be able to tell a concise summary of your story in less than 10 minutes. You want to have court documents, any paper work, photos or videos that ADD TO THE NARRATIVE. It’s one thing to make claims or accusations…it’s another thing to PROVE it. I know in my case, ‘crazy’ will say what she thinks people need to hear to be on her side. She needs people to not only hear what she is saying, but to not ask any follow-up questions. If you question her any further…you’re “harassing” her.

The first step in the long war for our kids is getting the law on your side. The obvious part is taken care of– YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT. YOU are trying to do what is best FOR YOUR CHILD. When the other party’s interest far exceed those of the child, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to set things straight. Do yoru homework, FIND THE RIGHT LAWYER. Talk to them– TELL THEM EVERYTHING. LEAVE NOTHING OUT– no matter if you think it’s embarrassing, or whatever– the more you are your lawyer with the truth…the better off you AND YOUR CHILD will be in the future.

Much more to share, much more to talk about. I will have more information on web resources, books, and other things as time goes on. I’m trying to write and post as often as possible. There’s a lot going on right now…and I think things will only get more productive and produce the best results for my little girl.

TO BE CONTINUED…