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Learn About Coercive Control and Psychological Abuse

Language women should use in the Family Court

– Posted in: Child custody Children's exposure to abuse Social Institutions & Abuse

Speakoutloud.net mother child protection Clare Murphy PhDMany women feel like failures because they have not stopped the man they love from psychologically abusing and controlling them

Most women who attend counselling – to come to terms with their partner’s psychologically abusive and controlling behaviours – often beat up on themselves saying: “I let it happen” and “I feel like I’ve failed”.

Women talk about the effects and impact of abuse and control

Women describe feeling emotionally beaten down, shame, guilt, anger, sadness, depression, lack of confidence, insecure, discouraged, defeated, desperate, fearful, anxious and full of dread. They talk about being codependent, having self-doubt, a low belief in their abilities, confused, a feeling of going insane and an inability to concentrate. This brief list can lead Family Court Judges, lawyers, psychologists and other supporters of female victims to interpret the effects and impacts of abuse as equivalent to passivity, incompetence, and poor mental health. So what can women and their supporters do to combat this social problem?

It is necessary to uncover ways women actively resist abuse

Women continually use multiple strategies to resist being controlled and psychologically abused by male partners.

Women seek advice and help from others, they strategically subordinate or silence themselves, purposefully choose not to state their beliefs and opinions, consciously choose when to stay quiet and when to assert themselves – all to avoid further abuse.

If a man who persistently attempts to control his partner pressures her not to work, and she defies this by going to work, regardless of abusive repercussions, this act of resistance shows that the woman does not “let abuse happen”.

Women may do things to please their partner that they might not ordinarily do, they may ignore his behaviour, or they may cry as a way of showing they refuse to be content with being verbally abused and emotionally manipulated. Yet other women refuse to cry with the aim of not giving the abusive man the pleasure.

These acts of resistance prove women do not have low self-esteem, rather women resist abuse because they do esteem themselves. Women who defiantly talk to a male colleague at a party, despite their partner badgering them to stay away from all men, and women who refuse to obey their partner’s rigid rule that dinner should be on the table at 5 o’clock sharp every night, are refusing to be dictated to. These acts of resistance do not entail letting abuse happen. The abuse happens because, the man who is hell bent on controlling his partner, is violating her needs and boundaries.

Many women resist being controlled by lying about where they’re going, by sneaking out, by not telling their husband where they are going, or who they are having coffee with. These are acts aimed at preserving autonomy, independence and freedom.

Canadian Family Therapist, Dr Allan Wade, along with his colleagues, have researched and written some splendid articles that give an empowering spin to the language women use to describe the impact of being abused . . .

“Despair” is usually considered to be a negative effect of abuse. However, Wade and colleagues suggest that “despair” actually suggests that the victim of abuse is hoping for, or calling for, change.

“Sleeplessness” is generally labelled the problem to be solved. However, lying awake at night worrying about the crazy-making mind-games her partner is playing, is actually a strategy of resistance. In other words this kind of “wakefulness” is refusing to be content with being emotionally abused and controlled.

Using the “language of resistance” in the Family Court

When women write affidavits aimed at helping them win custody of their children, it is common to write the negative effects, or impacts, resulting from the man’s psychologically abusive and controlling behaviours. However, Allan Wade and his colleagues’s research shows that, by women saying they have low-self esteem, depression, anxiety, stress, etc., this language can feed into stereotypes that women victims of abuse are not capable of resisting abuse, or of maintaining custody of their children.

Allan Wade PhD, and his colleagues, strongly suggest that women and their supporters include information in written court documents about all the ways the woman has resisted, and continues to resist, each and every form of abuse by their partner. Rather than asking the woman how the abuse impacted, or effected her, instead ask how she responded when her partner did xyz. Ask her what she did when he said, or did, xyz. The woman’s answers to this will represent her as active and competent.

How women resist abuse depends on the context

Women do not use the same strategy of resistance in response to abuse and control every time. Rather women decide which situation best suits which kind of resistance – always with the aim of keeping herself safe and sane, and with the aim of reducing or stopping the abuse and control.

Any small act of resistance is a sign of success

Just because a woman has not been able to stop the man’s abusive and controlling behaviours does not mean she has “let the abuse happen”. The fact that she has engaged in hours, months and years of subtle, and not-so-subtle, strategies of resistance, means she has successfully mustered up chunks of control over her own life – no matter how tiny that sense of control may feel. It means she has succeeded at not allowing her partner to have 100% control over her decisions, her actions, her secret thoughts, hopes and dreams. It means she has grabbed some form of self-preservation that she has refused to allow him to steal from her. What women do to resist abuse is a sign that they are capable of maintaining custody of their children.


  • Campbell, Jacquelyn C., Rose, Linda E., Kub, Joan, & Nedd, Daphne. (1998). Voices of strength and resistance: A contextual and longitudinal analysis of women’s responses to battering. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13, 743-762.
  • Coates, Linda, & Ridley, Penny. (2009). Representing victims of sexualized assault. In E. Faulkner & G. MacDonald (Eds.), Victim no more: Women’s resistance to law, culture and power. Halifax & Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.
  • Coates, Linda, & Wade, Allan. (2004). Telling it like it isn’t: Obscuring perpetrator responsibility for violent crime. Discourse & Society, 15, 499-526.
  • Coates, Linda, & Wade, Allan. (2007). Language and violence: Analysis of four discursive operations. Journal of Family Violence, 22, 511-522.
  • Renoux, Martine, & Wade, Allan. (2008). Resistance to violence: A key symptom of chronic mental wellness. Context, June, 2-4.
  • Todd, Nick, Wade, Allan, & Renoux, Martine. (2007). Coming to terms with violence and resistance.

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  • Raechel 1 March 2016, 1:49 am

    Hi Everyone,
    I’ve been going through hell like you all since 2004 when my divorce was final. My Ex was awarded full custody in Colorado. I had temporary custody in California until the allotted time to file for divorce in California. He had visitation while living in Arizonia. Long story short he took our son and state jumped for several months, just about a year past without being able to find them when I received papers from Colorado.

    Had no idea once I stepped foot in Colorado Courts it negated anything California had to say. Showed them all of the California papers, his warrants, how he left our son and me homeless to be with his mistress, everything, Judge through it all out. Judge said our son has been in the state for 6 months according to my ex that he didn’t need to be moved again. I don’t know how it all happened in a blink of an eye I was awarded 6 weeks with my son in the summer and every other xmas. And there is no joint custody in Colorado for parents who live out of state!

    Keep in mind I do not have a record of any sort. The man doesn’t even have a driver’s licence because he owed child support to his first wife! After Judge signed the papers 4 weeks later my ex moved out of Colorado. Anyways my ex has never played by the court’s rules I’ve gotten him only twice for Christmas and two summers for the 6 weeks. otherwise its between 2 and 4 wks maybe. His new wife makes all the rules and early on planted the seed of answering the phone when I would call for my son and instead of saying your mom is on the phone she would say N…n it’s Raechel.

    So at 4 years of age my son started calling me by my first name and her mom. Now my son is 15 and wanting to move in with me and they have ground him from talking to me, won’t answer the phone when I call. My ex was always supposed to let be involve in any major decision in his life, my son has had surgeries that I did not know about until the day of and then told by text I did not need to be there because his mother was already there.

    His new wife has told me several times I’m not his Mother, she is. One recent call I received he screamed at me saying I was putting the idea in my son’s head to have him move in with me and his wife screaming in the background I should just hurry up and just die already. All the while my son is in the next room hearing the whole thing.

    I’m not ordered to pay child support due to the fact that how much I’m supposed to have him going and getting him and taking him back would come out to be the same amount that I would have to pay. I have looked into going backed to court but every time I do they keep telling me I have to have a lawyer to transfer from Colorado to Montana. I don’t have money for a lawyer. I also have an autistic daughter that takes a lot of money to raise. I’m trying to figure it out. Going to court on my own again scares the crap out of me.

    I believe my ex and his wife are mentally abusing the role of parenting and have for years and our son is struggling. Trust me I’ve called and done the welfare checks twice but they made it look like I was the crazy one and my son is too scared of his dad to tell the cops. Then I get a call saying if I ever have the cops out there again I will never see my son again and they will block my number from his phone which I’m afraid they did since I can’t get a hold of him because the last thing my son text me was he was so sick of it and wanted to be with me and when he told his dad, his dad blew up at him and then all of a sudden I got a text saying his step mom was taking his phone, bye. Haven’t been able to get a hold of him since and his dad not answering his phone either. I don’t know what I’m suppose to do. Anyone know anyone I could get real advice from they have been in Montana for several years now. Thank You

  • Marisol 26 February 2016, 2:37 am

    new_single_mom wow, I am going through the same thing, I however kept a log of all his texts and will sue him, my baby is 6 months already, I will make sure he pays for all the pain he caused me for 2 years especially during my pregnancy. And I have it all in paper. Good luck. And keep a log of everything, and never communicate with him unless it’s through email or text.

  • New_Single_Mom 19 February 2016, 1:51 pm

    My baby’s father — who has been alternately absent, verbally abusive and just generally a nightmare — has filed for joint custody of my 5 month old baby.

    I have done everything for this baby alone. I have not received any money, help or even a thank you. While pregnant I almost miscarried due to the verbal abuse by the “father”. He refused to even recognize the baby when it/ he was born so was not on the birth certificate. Now he filed saying he “just wants to make sure his son is safe.” What BS.

    So now I am supposed to be further tormented by this man via my son, the only joy in my life? My infant son does not know this man and would be terrified if he was to ever be left alone with him. I would be terrified for my son as well. His father is a sex addict and was even almost beaten to death on the day after our son was “made” by another woman’s angry husband. All this and more makes me feel like I really shouldn’t have to explain why I should keep my own child. Is there no sense in CA at all? Am I worrying too much?

  • Lauren 18 February 2016, 12:12 pm

    I pretty much have a similar case, but her dad thinks since he pays for her daycare and health insurance and has his own house, that he should be domiciliary parent when I have been the one who has been taking care of all her appointments and she’s with me 90 percent of the time cause he has shift work. It’s a really bitter situation.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 14 February 2016, 12:29 pm

    Fantastic Mona Lisa, You have accurately articulated the truth of the matter.

  • Mona Lisa 14 February 2016, 2:39 am

    I agree Shelley. Class action it should be! Enough is enough. There are too many of us going through the same thing, it’s criminal.

  • Mona Lisa 14 February 2016, 2:37 am

    Lilith brings up a good point. Do we fight fire with fire or do we not put down our ex husbands in court and not say a bad word against them?

    I was originally told that if I tried to defame him in court, it would back fire on me. Well he was not defamed in court, instead my character was defamed with lies, and it backfired on me.

    So having had time to think about this, I am of a different opinion now. We must be extremely careful when fighting back with fire, but I’d rather fight with fire than sit there like a stunnned mullet taking more abuse in the court room.

    We must have evidence of neglect, abuse, negligence, hard evidence, not hearsay and we must make certain it is presented to the judge in court. He can choose to ignore it and he probably will, but you’ve presented it and it will go on file – that part is the most important.

    Our ex’s are often sociopaths. I think in order to fight a sociopath, we must expose them. I think that if we are quiet, it gives his voice more clout and gives him the power to continue the control. I think taking the stance of ‘I want full custody and I don’t want the kids to see their father’ will only work against us. BUT I think that pointing out all of his wrongdoings, his negligence, his lack of interest with his children, his lies, and backing it all up with hard evidence can give us the voice we need.

    Too often, we, as mothers are told “don’t say a bad word against him”, well, then we are sitting ducks in court. He uses our fear of losing our children to control our silence. Letting the court know (with evidence) that we are afraid of this man, that they have tried to hurt us, they’ve been abusive physically or emotionally, that they have hurt the children physically or emotionally and show the proof of what we are claiming to be true — I think is the better route. I can’t point out enough that you do need hard evidence. If you are just wanting to tell the judge your story, forget about it. You will be brushed under the rug.

    Involving third parties, such as therapists, counselors, even the police if the situation is dire, is a good idea. Your word alone won’t stand in court, remember, we are to be ignored. If you have confirmation of your evidence via a third party (not just a family member), that can give you a strong leg to stand on.

    Remember, our word will be ignored but the hard evidence we hand over to the judge cannot be. If we lose that day in court, we can come back with a better lawyer, or a more prepared fight, or even go to the Supreme Court, but the only leg we’ll have to stand on is the hard evidence we put forth on that court day.

    I went as far as the Supreme Court. I was unable to get anywhere because my useless treacherous family lawyer had not handed the evidence I had given her to the judge as she should have. The Supreme Court came back with “Lack of evidence”….do I need say more?

    I would not have been prepared for the character assassination nor the aggression of his lawyer. If I could replay that today now, it would be a very different transcript! Document everything, keep copies of everything, even texts, try not to communicate with your ex via telephone, this can’t be recorded legally, instead, use email, text, everything must be in writing.

    You must not lose your cool, you must be as calculated as your ex husband will be. If you lose your cool, they will turn it against you and make you out to be the crazy one. They prey on our emotions, they know we will get emotional in regards to our children’s wellbeing and they will try and use that against us. Do not give them any ammunition to use against you and emotion is ammunition for them.

  • Mona Lisa 14 February 2016, 2:02 am

    What Craig is saying is sadly very very true. You’re a good guy Craig. We must stand up to the wrongdoing happening in the legal system. I wish there were lawyers saying what you are saying. Lawyers who have not lost their morality in order to advance in status and make more money at the cost of our children and their mothers. You are extremely brave to speak up about it. I know why we don’t have lawyers discussing this blog: I am sure that lawyers and judges protect those who don’t expose them and shun those who do.

    What happened to Mothers’ rights? What happened to the children’s right to be with the one who carried them for 9 months and gave birth to them, their mother, with whom they have an undeniable bond.

    As you say Craig, children are suffering and the courts are doing them an injustice while preaching ‘child’s best interest’. Mothers are losing their babies because of a crooked court system hellbent on destroying the family. Most of these parents have toxic relationships which is why they end up in court. Most of these custody issues should and could be solved in mediation but are encouraged, by the father’s lawyer, to go to court where the father has a better chance of winning and the lawyers know they’ll make more money.

    I have another issue about courts forcing parents in toxic relationships to ‘get along’ for the children’s sake. Most of these mothers have finally summoned up the courage to leave what is usually a controlling and abusive spouse for their children’s sake and well being! Then, are forced to share custody with the toxic influence they tried to get away from in the first place. This controlling spouse takes advantage of his new found power granted by the court and continues to control the mother by using the children as pawns.

    Then there are the mothers, too many of them, who lose custody and never should have. There is usually no evidence she is a bad mother, what they do instead is taint her character. In fact. The court will focus on slamming her character with lies and insults rather than pointing out the fact that she is indeed the more responsible, loving, caring and nurturing parent. Gone are the times you had to be a drug addict or insane to have your children taken from you. Now, you just have to be a good mother… I literally felt like I was in a witch hunt in a medieval court. Just like medieval history, it had all been decided well before I even stepped foot in that court room. It felt like it was a sin for me to be a good mother. My child had no voice. My child, then old enough to have a voice of her own would have told the court the truth, and they knew this, so they kept her silent. When the court separates those they should not, the children suffer horrendously with separation anxiety and so do the mothers.

    In my case, he was advised to avoid mediation (which should have been court ordered and was not) and go directly to court where he had a better chance of winning and win he did. It was all pre-orchestrated.

    We lost $80k and that was just our side, my ex must have spent a large amount also. The family lawyers did nothing but prolong and encourage legal proceedings rather than ‘put the children’s best interest first’ which is what they preach in court. They don’t walk the talk and I was defenseless in court due to having naïvely hired a family lawyer who did not have my back.

    I am not sure however if you can get anywhere even defending yourself, but I would have preferred having felt I had done my all to fight for my child rather than to sit there, told to be silent, while my lawyer did not defend me and allowed the opposition to destroy my character with lies. My experience was such that it would not have mattered what evidence I showed, what I said, I was not heard and I was ignored, worse, I was insulted and defamed with lies and false accusations. I would rather have gone down with a fight, as Craig says, I would rather have had the chance to fight for my child.

    I eventually hired a Super Lawyer. He turned a 3 year battle around in 3 weeks. The judge had no option other than to listen to him because this lawyer had clout. I can’t vouch for all Super Lawyers however but in my case, ironically enough, he was cheaper than the family lawyers by putting an end to the bleeding. 10k vs 80k — you do the math.

    I had the court sessions taped once I realized how crook the court system was and what they were allowed to get away with. In my case, even the transcription was tampered with, edited. To suit the opposition.

    So unless you are prepared to be treated extremely unfairly and poorly and prepare for your defense by calculating all the dirt they will throw your way, and all the lies they will concoct, I suggest you hire a Super Lawyer. If you represent yourself, you must have EVIDENCE of everything! Evidence, in writing, presented in court to the judge, will be documented and can then be used to dispute in the Supreme Court. Without hard evidence, it’s just hearsay and you have no leg to stand on. Your word won’t count: you will be ignored, your ex will hire an aggressive lawyer and the judge will have that lawyer’s back, not yours. They will distort the truth and will do their best to intimidate you. They will make you feel worthless, be prepared for this and you have a chance. Your ex will use the ‘martyr card’ and play it so very well if he’s smart. He’ll claim you are trying to take the children away from him. He will claim to be the better parent by showing how much time he spends with the kids. He will bring in witnesses (usually his new girlfriend of 6months) who will have more clout than your witnesses (the children’s grandmother). I pray your lawyer’s morals are as good as the one I eventually hired. Find a lawyer who WILL stand up for you. If you have any doubts, listen to your gut.

    If you feel your current lawyer is not prepared, if you’re questioning whether they have your back or not: GET RID OF THEM. Find another or defend yourself. You should have NO DOUBT your lawyer has your back. You should feel as though they are prepared, that you will be safe in court with them, well defended and protected against wrongful defamation of character. Any lawyer who tells you ‘not to say a bad thing against your ex’ does not have your back. Listen to your gut. In my case, it was the day before court and I did not feel my lawyer was ready, I didn’t feel she had my back, I am the one who requested to meet with her the day prior (she should have). I thought it was too late to do anything, I had a gut feeling I was going into a lion’s den defenseless, I was right. I would have been better off defending myself! Pay heed. Listen to your gut ladies. Our instincts are so well developed, we just need to listen to them.

    My heart goes out to all you mothers and your children. My daughter and I are back together now thanks to an endangered species: a lawyer with morals who actually does put the child’s well being first. But, the three years of damage will be a scar my child will endure forever.

  • George 7 February 2016, 6:28 am

    Sounds familiar. Autism has no known cause and the symptoms are very similar to attachment trauma, which can be the result of PDA parents. I suggest you check out the “Coventry Grid” for a paper on this topic and Dr. Craig Childress for how a PDA parent responds to a divorce.

  • Nicole 21 January 2016, 1:42 pm

    Hi Craig,
    I’m a mother of 5 children, the 3 youngest now stuck in the middle of a nasty custody battle. I suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse for almost all of my 10 year relationship and I just didn’t know where to turn. I finally left and as promised by my ex he is making my life hell.

    The youngest of my children stuck in all this is my 4 year old autisic little girl. As of now all funding has been pulled from me and I’m stuck with little to no options for my up coming two day trial. I’m so afraid of representing myself because once my ex and his lawyer find out about this they will be gloating at my inevitable demise. I don’t have long until trial and with all my normal day life being filled with 4 growing boys and appointment for my little girl it just feels all too overwhelming. I just have no idea where to start. If you could give me any pointers as to what I should be doing that would just be so kind. Thank you.

  • Janet 19 January 2016, 9:09 am

    Craig, I found your post very interesting. I live in the US and after my Attorney completely messed up my case, I attempted to represent myself. It was a horrible experience! The judge treated me like dirt and completely ignored me. After making his judgement, my ex-husband’s attorney wrote up the agreement and changed several items and adding things that were not supposed to be in the agreement, but the Judge signed it without allowing me to see it to review it before doing so, which I believe was a blatant breach of rights, but again I was dismissed and he completely ignored the fact the agreement was incorrect. I would like to discuss with you further…I’m sure I will be back in court again in the future and I have a very bad taste in my mouth.

  • eliane 2 January 2016, 5:02 am

    Please, he doesn’t love you. He already left you. It’s hard to believe. Look at your words “he forces on me”. It’s really sad. Be strong. Your kids will be happy to see a strong mom. I was there once. My daughter today is 17.

  • craig 21 December 2015, 6:49 am

    You MUST represent yourself at all costs for a multitude of reasons starting with the best interests of your children. Do not go broke and become helpless by hiring an attorney that is most likely the friend of your ex husband’s attorney and is just looking to drag it out as long as possible so that both attorneys have to do minimal work while charging you a king’s ransom.

    I have actually found this to be the case on a scary amount of trials and parents need to wake up to the fact that most family law attorneys in the same jurisdiction actually work together very closely to either reduce their work time while charging the average rate or they work together to file motions, responses, and an infinite list of other crap to drag the case out for as long as legally possible. And believe me they know exactly what to do and when to file to make a simple hearing or order take years.

    This is the sickest thing I have ever seen but the prevalence of it is far beyond what I have ever even heard anyone or website discuss. I have discovered this also in cases where the parents actually co-parent for the children’s sake and end up victims of a lengthy multi-year trial because the opposing attorneys are secretly dragging it out together, making them thousands of dollars while the kids suffer massively and the parents go broke and cannot adequately provide for their children.

    I work independently and free of charge for innocent victims and have personally caught attorneys doing this with hard evidence and was still not able to get another attorney to file malpractice (they all protect each other) but have actually once been able to get a state to take disciplinary action against an attorney yet they are doing the same thing as I write this.

    Do not hire an attorney in a family law case. Self representation is by far the safest, cheapest, and only way to guarantee the highest level of justice.

    I know it sounds scary and you have no idea what to do or where to start but remember who it is for. It’s for your children and taking the time to read the laws, find the forms, file the paper work by yourself, and go through all the steps knowing the courts or attorneys cannot do anything without informing you first is the most empowering thing you’ll ever do. Only you have the power and willingness to defend your innocent children to the very end. Remember, that even the best, most caring, and compassionate attorney in the whole country is not willing to go as far as you in defending your children.

    Family Law is simple, uniform across states (USA), and often includes special provisions providing for the needs of self represented people within the law. There is a multitude of help out there and family law is suited for self rep. even for the uneducated, and only gets complicated when opposing attorneys use civil procedure law to abuse the system (like trying to get a default ruling) and only a self representing person can fully protect themselves from these abuses as there are not only special laws protecting you but nothing gets said, filed, or discussed without your full knowledge.

    By representing yourself, you also gain access to all documents and transcripts of your case that you would otherwise have to ask your attorney to get for you. I had one friend I was helping that could not get her attorney to request the transcripts from a certain hearing because he didn’t want them to see that he had not done what she had asked and was plainly just agreeing with everything from the opposing side in order to drag the case out and make more money.

    Representing yourself also allows you to communicate with all parties including state administrations as well as their attorneys. Because of this one simple power one of my first cases of an abused mother of two soon found herself in close contact with the head attorney for the states department of health and human services. Within a matter of weeks this state attorney was filing motions on behalf of her case and continued to do so until true justice was finally served. The benefits are endless and will open doors of support you never imagined.

    By doing this you will become empowered by your involvement, you will no longer feel helpless as you have for years, you will come to see how simple family law is, you will soon be doing in a couple hours what an attorney will charge you around US$800 for, and most of all you will be doing what is likely in the best interests of your children. I was able to convince an abusive man that was leaving the wife, trying to take the kids just to abuse the wife, and was acting very disgusting in all matters, completely reverse his attitude and demands after self representing. It truly has remarkable powers that result in much better situations for the children in most cases.

    After seeing two children be completely destroyed by their own father I could not just stand by and I developed an entire system that had every step along with rough drafts of almost every possible motion, pleading, injunction, and every other possible civil obstacles I could find and included an electronic timeline interface showing the whole case from the start. I began marketing it, reaching out to states (USA) and groups, and offering it for cost but I soon found myself in a nightmare of litigation as lawyers do not take such things lightly and have massive lobbying money for politics as well as power with the local and state judges and they make sure things like this don’t make it very far.

    I’m just a simple guy that works road construction but could not just stand by after first hand witnessing the disgusting and permanent abuse of two innocent children and their mother at the hands of their own father.

    Although almost every time the father is the abuser with the money and power to ruin life, I have had one case where it was the mother who was sick and sadistic, lied at an unthinkable level, and seriously messed her children up just to hurt the father. It can go both ways and is so obvious I can’t believe that judges don’t see right through the lies as it is so obvious and the tactics are all so similar. It’s pathetic how often an “intelligent” and experienced judge or adult can be so easily manipulated but it happens a lot.

    I still help people secretly when I can but often find the most difficult part is convincing a woman who has been abused for years and is scared shitless of her ex that she should represent herself. Many of the women I come across rightfully fear for their very lives and my heart truly breaks for them. However, I promise you that you can do it and do it better than almost any family law attorney no matter what your education due to the structure and simplicity of family law and its procedures.

    Please just take the first step and file the self representation form with the clerk of court and that first simple step, although the most difficult, will instantly start to remove the wall of pain, fear, and helplessness that you undoubtedly feel.

    This is the only way to guarantee the highest level of justice for you and your children and is the only proven way to increase your odds in a legal system that is corrupt, expensive, full of colluding, and does not care about you or the other victims. All attempts to inform people of this truth are heavily suppressed by lawyers, lobbyists, unions and their organizations and that is why I try and tell everyone that I possibly can.

    If you cannot bring yourself to do this because of your lack of confidence or fear, at the very least consult an attorney that does family law on a Limited Scope basis. Limited Scope representation is often only done in family law as the simplicity of the law and procedures makes it very safe for attorneys to represent you in a limited scope fashion where you still represent yourself. These attorneys are rare and hard to find and my experience has shown that they are actually the most ethical and honest attorneys you can find in the field. So even if you are going to hire an attorney to fully represent you I would only hire an attorney that also offers to represent people in family law on a limited scope basis.

    You can do this I promise you and you are the only one with the ability to truly defend your innocent children. File the self representation form, send a certified copy to your ex’s attorney, and watch them both start shitting their pants!

  • LimT 20 December 2015, 5:54 pm

    Please I really need some advice. The father of my kids is very controlling mentally and maniputlative. He claims that he wants to help take care of the kids but when he comes down to see them he forces himself on me and then leaves and goes back to his girlfriend. Please I need your help. He claims that he wants to build a relationship with me, and be a family again, but goes back to his girlfriend. But me being stupid, I even help him pay for his child support from a previous case just so he can see his kids more. I even let him take my car to pick up all the kids to be with them. I need help!!! Crying

  • Ranota 2 December 2015, 10:35 am

    I really need some advice please. I am a mother of triplets and I was in an abusive relationship with their father for almost 6 years. When I left we had an agreement that he would bring them to my new place because he needed to see where they would be. Me being the person I am I said OK. I didn’t walk out on my children or abandon them I just couldn’t take the mental and physical abuse any longer. Now that I have left, the father is refusing to let me see them. He won’t meet me at a public place or anything other than telling me I can come to where he is if I want to see them. Everytime I talk to them on the phone he always proceeds to cus me out and I have to hang up from talking to my children because I refuse to take the abuse and cussing at me anymore. I don’t know what to do please help me I’m in Maryland.

  • Zenia 1 December 2015, 11:12 am

    My ex-husband is remarried less than 6 months. I have been re-married several years and the 3 of us have gotten along great, never an issue, we share all expenses with the children and equal custody.

    Since the new wife has been in the picture, he has changed like never before. The worse is that our eldest child 12 yrs old states this new wife is verbally abusing him. I met with his dad I explained the situation and he chose not to believe our child.

    As a mother I know my child was not lying, he was so specific in the words, language and expression and tone of voice the step-mother used. I have filed for full custody, since I don’t see this situation getting better. Since we have rotating weekends, my children were with him last weekend and he told my 12 yr old he could not contact me for any reason, I did not speak to them for 4 days, this was heart breaking. At this point my 12yr old, wrote a letter of how he feels. He told me, mom I love my dad but I would like to spend more days with you.

    Please help, how can I attain evidence to support my case without putting my children through the trauma of the court system, they have been through enough with the verbal abuse. I will also add, another adult who is not aware of the situation approached me and stated they witnessed the step mother’s verbal abuse towards my 12 yr old.
    Thank you.

  • Carrie 28 November 2015, 9:22 am

    I’ve been reading the blogs and can’t believe how so many of us women are in the same boat. We fight for our children’s rights and we get punished!

    I just signed papers on my divorce that my husband kept going for six years.
    He was fine to sign now that he still has a hold on me through a contempt action against me because he refused to talk to me this summer, but let his girlfriend harass me numerous times and so he lied to the judge stating I refused to let him have contact. Unbelievable.

    So now he gets to have a jail sentence holding over me and another contempt would be to take kids from me. This man tried killing me in 2009 in front of our children, He was an abusive alcholic who physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually abused me. Found out a couple of months ago he sexually abused our son while we were separated and he was drunk so much.

    But in six years I have never been able to go in front of a judge and tell my story. The only time was last week for the contempt and before I even walked into the courtroom the judge hated me. He even stated that his blood is boiling and he has high blood pressure and he hates when fathers don’t get to see their kids. I never was able to state my case or present documentation that my ex was the one who wouldn’t talk to me. I’m so lost as to what to do anymore. All I truly want is justice. But when I read how the women lose their kids or end up in jail I’m totally lost as to …maybe I should just allow him to keep torturing me. I’m scared to death as to what will happen. Even with all my documentation through the years.

  • shelley 22 November 2015, 10:10 pm

    I agree everyone needs to rally for children’s rights and truth.

  • shelley 22 November 2015, 10:01 pm

    I agree. Women should take out a class action against the family court for not listening to the children’s views and accounts of what has happened and the mothers’ cries for help, and putting the best interests of the children second, and suggesting that both parents have rights of the children first no matter how or what the parent has done to the children. Like the children are objects — it is not right.

  • Shelley 22 November 2015, 9:45 pm

    I have lost my children to a person the children say abused them and I have seen the father abuse the children. I have heard so many lies by the father of our children, but the judge listened to the fathers’ lies and gave the children to him. I suggest perjury for the father. Make the father accountable for making the court of law a laughing stock and show the court you mean business. You’re not going to let this man tell lies about you and you are going to set a good example for your children. Do the courts want children to grow up lying and you still focus on your children. Once you provided evidence to the court, the court is less likely to listen to the father because the court doesn’t like nasty parents but you do have to show the court you’re not the person the father has made you out to be. They are lies. Good parents do not lie about the other parent. Good parents show each other respect and cooperate with each other because it shows you care about the children and you will put the children first. Good luck the truth is important and your children are important. Without honesty there is nothing.

  • lilith 22 November 2015, 9:51 am

    Please can someone advise me. I have been through physical and mental hell fighting my ex psychopathic husband for two years.

    My case is about to go to trial.
    I have to file one last affidavit, my closing argument so to speak.
    Throughout my case I have avoided all slander and defamation of my ex by only focusing on the children. I have not discredited him or been nasty. I have been civil and focussed only on recovery and moving forward-away from him.

    In his affidavits he has lied, contradicts himself and has attacked myself and my family, our culture, ethnicity, even my appearence. He has falsely accused me of horrible things. I have shown my lawyer evidence he is lying and she has stood by me and supported me.

    My question is, I am worried that because I have not fought fire with fire that I will appear weak.

    Should I attempt in this last affidavit to prove every single line of lies to be lies or continue to just focus on the positive?

    If I don’t rebuke the lies will it make me look guilty?

    I don’t want to fight, I’m so tired of defending his lies. Some of the lies are enbarassing and stupid and irrelevant just put in there to make me look awful.

    Anytime I prove he is lying he just comes back with more.

    Do judges want to see everything proved or can I just ignore the crazy stuff and put forward my own positive proposal and plea to the courts and leave his nastiness hanging unanswered?

  • Xander 24 October 2015, 9:01 pm

    I am a man who has been through the cycle of abuse and am currently in treatment for PDAR (Personality Disordered Abuse Recovery). This means my ex wife had a PDA. In court she repeadetly thumbed her nose at the judge, moved the child from the agreed school district, denied the child any discipline at home, and denied our daughter Autism support programs after or during school hours.

  • lenka 22 October 2015, 3:15 pm

    Hi Bobbi, I’m very sorry to hear that.. hope you will find the way. It’s so unfair .. I will be in the same situation soon, I am so scared of that. My husband physically abused his non biological sons and he wants to take away our son. Me, I have nothing and I can’t leave US without my baby. We love him so much. My husband has house and money. I wish I can go back to my family in Europe where all my love and support is.

  • TreadingWater 19 October 2015, 10:58 pm

    RUN! Do not walk. You need legal representation. Ask for LegalAid in your County. The YWCA is an excellent resource and a strong first step towards taking your life back safely and on your terms. BOUNDARIES!!!

  • Dee 18 October 2015, 6:47 am

    I live in NJ. I think this is an important step to trying to stop these abusive patterns.

  • Dee 18 October 2015, 6:46 am

    I found myself in a very similar situation. I even fell into a deep depression for 2 years because of the constant drama and harassment from him and his girlfriend…although I never entertained it, it still caused me a lot of grief. Now he is with another woman who was in a drug rehabilitation program with him and was bringing her around my son and then told my son to lie to me about it. I am stressed out again and I don’t know what to do.

  • Ale 5 October 2015, 2:32 am

    What state are you?? I think all the women who are going through this need to come together and do something about it. Because this isn’t right how these fathers are doing these things to their children and the mother of their child. I don’t agree at all especially when the kids are really young and can’t talk. This is very heartbreaking

  • Diane M 22 September 2015, 5:47 am

    But her case is different because she has a child or children with him. They try to take the children from the women to get back at them. The more you fight that, the more unreasonable you look. I am so glad you got away from the abuser, but women with children have a much more complicated time.

  • Angelina 14 September 2015, 11:32 pm

    Hey Amanda. I’m in Melbourne and currently experiencing a similar story to many of these. I’m in early stages of court battles and it’s getting ugly already. I would be interested in being a part of this group.

  • Rosa 14 September 2015, 10:17 pm

    My ex husband has been in this unstable relationship with this woman for 6 years now. His girlfriend/ex girlfriend are always breaking up getting back together and it’s not healthy when he is bringing her around my daughter. They have constantly lived together and either they have moved out on each other or she’s moved out or they just decided not to re-sign the lease together. There even was a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) from her against my ex, although it was eventually dropped. And then she moved out because they were fighting and recently she moved in again.

    This is all very stressful for my daughter. I see a difference in her when she comes home from him, but she doesn’t say anything because she loves her father. I do not know what else to do. He doesn’t care what I say because of course he always threatens to take me for 50/50 custody so he doesn’t have to pay support. It’s very stressful on me.

  • florida 12 September 2015, 7:24 am

    Please email me. I am really need of your advise. I am already in that point where I spent money on a family law lawyer and did not get any results.

    God bless. you.

  • Jessica 6 September 2015, 11:47 am

    I have read your entire entry. It’s like you’re in my head. If you happen to receive this comment, please contact me. I would love to share my story. I know for a fact you can help me cope with what I’m going through. Be well and God Bless. Jess

  • Terri 31 August 2015, 11:50 am

    I so want to help. I just won sole custody of my daughter who is 20 months I will fight with everything I have and everyone I know to not allow overnights till she can talk. My daughter’s father is a narcissist. He moved in with a woman off the internet after only a couple of months. Disappeared never saw our daughter certainly doesn’t pay. Courts don’t seem to care to listen anymore. I think social media needs to be leveraged in a way it never has before. We need people to actually rally for children’s rights again. I wish you all the best and can offer you moral and some legal insight if you want.

  • bobbi 29 August 2015, 2:54 am

    My ex husband abused me for five years. We have two young beautiful children together and are recently divorced. One day I woke up and finally put him in jail and fled to my mother’s. He got out and filed in court to have me bring the children back to the State. I did and because I had nowhere to go except out of State I had no choice but to leave the kids with him until I got on my feet back in State.

    I did so and he threatened my job and my roommate. He terrorized me just living in the same city. He holds the kids over my head only letting me see them if I see him as well. I am a great mother and he admits it but says I ruined the family by leaving him and this was my punishment.

    I left everything to be safe and now I’m on my feet but I’m asking how to go about getting them back in the best way.

    They are in Kansas and I’m in Indianapolis. He has money and a good lawyer. I am still looking for one to fit my price range. I have recently been informed by mutual friends that he is back on a drug problem he had before we met and might even be dealing narcotics. I’m looking for the best quickest way to get my children out of the situation.

  • Lisa 27 August 2015, 4:01 am

    Hi Terese, I’d like to thank you for your inspiring words. After six years of divorce my ex-husband and I are still at battle. Before we met I was a very strong independent career oriented woman. For years he showered me with gifts, took me on trips and told me the things I wanted to hear. Not knowing that our relationship was slowly declining in his deep dark twisted mind. He started drinking heavily, isolating himself, then I found out about his online pornography. Our relationship started to rapidly disassemble. He would say that I was beautiful, perfect in every way. But in his next breath I was ugly and disgusting! He drank more and more and started using drugs behind my back. What’s this new person appeared from him? That’s when the abuse came. It would be nothing for him to pin me up look me in the eyes with nothing but evil in them. Just to intimidate me on a daily basis. Between the bruises, black eyes and rape. I felt extremely empty inside, didn’t know where to go who I could talk to or what to do.

    It was only one afternoon that he took his anger out on our child, which was 3 at the time. All she wanted was her daddy to hold her. He took it as nagging, what in the hell does she want he says. So before I knew it he put her up in a very stern way, and shook her to make her stop crying. Then threw her down abruptly on the couch, all I could see was her head bobbing. (I was crushed) not only did my mother witness this incident but I could not believe he would do this to his own child.

    About a year later of taking many more incidents of abuse mentally physically and traumatically. I decided to leave him with her daughter. It was not easy and believe me I have paid for it ever since. He terrorized me, stalked me and even tried to drive me off the road after a long chase. These are just a few examples of what my life was at that time. After the first year of our divorce my daughter experienced many different tragedies under his care. She would come home back to me with black eyes, bruises on different parts of her body. And 2 different separate 2nd° burns on her leg and arm. Also he posted her naked on Facebook in the tub while sleeping. (it was morbid)

    But I can’t point the finger only at him it took me many years to get back to where I once was. Still not totally there but at least I don’t fear him anymore. Now granted this is just a brief idea of what our 15 years together were. But what I’d like to get to you is. It came to the point where I had to forgive him. The anxiety and anger I kept inside for so long was eating me away. I knew I couldn’t live this way any longer for myself and my daughter. Thankfully I have been seeing the same therapist for 12 years now. She has helped me in so many ways like getting me off 15 different medications, teaching me how to cope and REM therapy. As for my daughter she has been in therapy for most of the six years. She is now on her third therapist, reason being because my ex fights me on her having therapy. But I am starting to see that she has some anger issues. As I’m sure many know it’s heartbreaking to see a child suffer and you know you can only do so much. Knowing that she is struggling and not understanding why she is feeling the things she does. I try to show her in examples the right thing. I give her as much love as I know how. With happiness and support. And try to teach her what it means to have responsibility, of what you do say and feel, for your actions. This can be a challenge, because of the manipulative, narcissistic father that she has.

    So I’d like to ask if there’s any guidance in literature and videos that I might share with my daughter. In hopes that it can lessen the frustrations that she’s experiencing. I thank you in advance for listening and understanding. Lisa

  • Clare Murphy PhD 20 August 2015, 7:11 pm

    Julie, this type of tactic is very common. I recommend only responding to email content that is absolutely necessary. – Clare

  • Clare Murphy PhD 20 August 2015, 7:09 pm

    Ann, your fears are justified on many levels. Do you have a domestic violence advocate who can assist you? The lawyer most obviously has no training in the dangers of domestic violence. I would seek support from your local domestic violence organisation – Clare

  • Julie 19 August 2015, 10:29 pm

    I am living the exact same nightmare. The judge has ordered us to mediate, which will take place in two weeks and I am worried he is going to manipulate to get everything he wants. He will only communicate with me via email and they are very long and he sends them frequently demanding me to respond. I am trying to work, study and raise my special needs child and the emails are being written by his wife as he can’t type. I am at wits end, I just want it to stop. I am wondering if people power can start a precedent.

  • Terese P 16 August 2015, 12:18 pm

    And by the way dear, you may think that he has everyone against you and has everyone fooled, but believe me, that is not the case! More people know what is going on than you think. And you know?, A lot more people have experienced similar troubles, and find it easier to not get involved. You are most definitely not alone. I will pray for you and request that you pray for me also, God bless, and thank you!

  • Terese 16 August 2015, 12:13 pm

    I am in the same situation as you, but have no small children, but have another thing my Mr X uses and threatens with which is that I am an immigrant. Narcissists are horrors to deal with. My advice: #1 Get away from him. There is always a way to manage even if you cannot see it now, you will be okay :) #2 Read as much as you can about Narcissists. Watch as many videos on youtube that you can, and look for advice on how to think ahead of your Narcissist. You already know that there will be silence before a storm; remember that and that will help you to not get completely rumpled when he brings on the next load of lies to make you look bad. Stay calm, as much as you possibly can, in the court room and out. Talk about it! Do not hide it! But talk about it in a calm way. Tell your family, tell your friends, read forums and tell others what you are experiencing. And never ever doubt yourself, or doubt that you won’t be believed. I believe you, and so do hundreds of others who have been/are going through the same. It makes one feel stronger and less alone and safer when one is out in the open about it. Try to think ahead of your Narcissist. If you think about it, you have a load of experience with how he functions and therefore you can work at learning to think ahead of him, and if not, strike so to speak, before he does, at least be prepared.
    Turn your back on him and everyone who does not support you, because they are of no use to you. Remind your self that a Narcissist is actually a very pathetic and weak human being, and though you are terrified of him, learn not to show it. If you know you are not crazy, go to a psychiatrist and get a mental evaluation in writing. Narcissists can do nothing against facts, so it will not help him to continue harassing you on that subject. Whatever you choose to do, do NOT tell him about it, just do it. My Narcissist is trying to get me thrown out of the US by discrediting me, and I always expect the worse from him. I am going through my divorce without a Lawyer as I have no money for such. He wants to get out of supporting me because he signed an affidavit of support with Immigrations. I stick to facts and the truth in everything I do, and remain as calm as I can, and you know what? Tell your self again and again, that you are a good honest woman and a good mother and that you deserve far better. Hold your head high and remember that God sees all. You will get stronger in time. and at some point you will pass your Narcissist, not in being evil but in smarts. And always remember that whatever the outcome, when you divorce him YOU will be the winner because you get his sorry pathetic ass out of your life and can move on in time, to happier things, while he is tied to his miserable low life self for the rest of his life and can never get away! Yes indeed Ma’am, you and I are the lucky ones ;)

  • Ann 12 August 2015, 12:02 pm

    My daughter is in the beginning of a fight with her X who who is a Grade A Narcissist who walked out on her on May 7. He was abusive to her and threatened suicide while holding a gun in front of the kids. We have struggled with hiring a lawyer for her but finally paid one 1200.00 so far to get her started and as of today we feel something bad has happened. Her lawyer contacted my daughter today pushing her to commit to a temporary visitation agreement for the next 5 weeks til the court date on Sept 13. My daughter is willing to allow overnght visits once an agreement is in place but only Fri-Sun every other weekend. She has always been the primary caregiver and is a stay at home mom. Her lawyer is pushing for Thurs-Sun, pickup on Mon and every other Thursday when it’s not his week.

    This is unacceptable and my daughter has told her lawyer this over and over. They have mediation scheduled for this Thurs and the lawyer wants her to come in tomorrow morning to draft up a visitation consent and her X’s attorney is going to apparently be there as well, which makes no sense. It’s as if her lawyer is suddenly on her X’s side and working for him instead of her. We may have to fire her tomorrow but are worried we won’t be able to get any of our retainer back and don’t have any more money to hire another attorney. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also her X’s family is VERY wealthy and uses their money to their advantage. I’ve had people tell me that my daughter’s lawyer may have been paid off by her X and his family.. Is this a possibility? We’re terrified!

  • Samantha 3 August 2015, 12:36 am

    I have seen the exact same thing before, the girlfriend was duped by the lies about you but then she learnt the truth. In this case the teenage daughter did go to live with her dad because her mum was so strict and critical of her (mum was 16 and pregnant like you and trying to protect her daughter like you).

    I really think your daughter would be better off if you let her have a boyfriend and trusted her because then she won’t be hiding things from you and you can guide her so she won’t be taken advantage of. Give her a chance to date but still set boundaries and as she gets older and proves herself let her have more freedom.

    My Mum always said I couldn’t have a boyfriend too and told me about all the bad stuff and I made really poor decisions in my choice of guys without her guidance. I never could talk to her. If your daughter does rebel and go to dad she will realise her mistake as dad will not know how to be a full time parent, it won’t be fun like the weekends. The dad’s girlfriend will be unhappy too as she will see what a lazy incompetent father he is. If she goes to stay with him please don’t turn your back on her, let her come home. Even if it takes 6 or 12 months or more let her come home, support her with any issues she may be dealing with.

    Or to stop her going to her dad’s full time let her have a bit more time with him but she still has a home base with you. Talk to her about what she wants and why and compromise. Really listen. You can’t stop the dad from telling his ridiculous lies because he believes his own bullshit, don’t make your kids take sides now, when they are older they will see through his lies – though they will still love him as he is their dad.

    Concentrate on your kids and not on things and people you can’t control. Your daughter is a teenager. You can’t control teenagers or watch them every minute. Give her chances to prove herself that’s how she will learn to make good decisions on her own. Concentrate on instilling positive values and happiness and on being a good role model when your kids are with you and trust this will be enough.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 29 July 2015, 9:57 pm

    It is common for men to drift out of the picture. Often they do not want to be a father, instead it is common for them to go through custody battles to maintain power and control over the mother.

  • Dana 29 July 2015, 3:35 am

    I got out of a domestic violent situation. He was a bad drunk, I had to put a restraining order on him. I called the police 3 different times. He tried harming our son several times. He sued me. The court is awarding him for me to pay all his legal fees. I showed the court audio, and video of him punching me while holding our 3 month old. Years of verbal abuse via text by him threatening to kill me. The court punishes me for getting out of the situation and taking our son and I to a safe home. How is this justice? I am broke now I have to pay him $10,000. I have to file bankruptcy. He never had charges pressed against him, no fines, no jail, nothing. He is allowed to still harass me and verbally abuse me. If I try to get another restraining order I am told he can sue me for restraining order harassment. How do I make it stop?

  • Meg 26 July 2015, 2:25 pm

    I just read so many stories that sound just like mine. Sadly I cannot afford a lawyer. I started a ‘go fund me’ page but he found out and had people posting lies about me on there all day long. Anybody in PA that could offer me some advice we have court very soon! I filed for primary custody then he turned around and filed for sole!

  • barb a 20 July 2015, 2:25 pm

    Mona lisa your post inspired me. I would love to talk to you privately if this post isn`t too old for your reply. Your story sounds so much like mine and I’m going back to court here very soon and trying to find the strength I need to get through it. My email is barbaustin35 [at] yahoo.com. I`m sure this is a long shot but I pray I get to know you and talk to you. Take care

  • veronica 18 July 2015, 12:54 am

    Help. I am divorcing a malignant narcissist. A very smart one. He has set me up to look crazy, has turned the courts against me, has lied about every single thing there is to lie about. He has turned the principal at my son’s school against me. He is torturing me with fear of taking my boys from me based on the lies he has told.

    The court totally believes him and sides with him every single time. I am an educated person who loves her boys more than anything. He is a lying scumbag who is using my boys to continue to punish me for everything that HE has done to ME. He is bankrupting me while he is rolling in money. I am now suffering from medical problems that make it impossible to work right now and he is using that against me too. He has damaged my credibility and my reputation. He is a Johnny-come-lately to parenting after having left everything to me throughout the marriage.

    He has another family that are grown now–kids are 32 and 26 years old. He had 4 kids in that marriage–I never knew any of them due to triangulation etc. He left them and never returned but his previous wife had money and back then he was the broke one. Now he makes great money and I am the broke one, so he is beating up on me in ways that I never knew a person could.

    He has everyone convinced that I am mentally unstable and erratic…. But I am totally stable and only struggling because of what he is putting me through. He has turned the whole things around on me and really made it impossible for anyone to believe me. The judge is eating out of his hands. I am so scared that he is going to rush the life out of me. Due to my illness, I am having to do sales from home. Had a real career prior to marriage and have a Master’s Degree which is worthless because I cannot work outside the home. Bad credit now so can’t get a house, not yet employed so look like a bad risk…. Prior to this A-1 credit.

    He has me in a bind in every single way and he is torturing my children mentally so badly. Nobody in the court system cares and they don’t believe me either. He has created this system where he can do anything to torture us by simply explaining it away as me being crazy. It is like the lottery for him. He continues to mentally and emotionally and psychologically abuse me–but now it is sanctioned by the courts!
    Please help. Please advise.

  • Monica 14 July 2015, 3:46 am

    I wonder if anyone has advice. I have been fighting my ex husband regarding our divorce and visitation for the past 2 years. We kept having hearings which were pointless. He offered to sign an agreement that he would visit our son (almost 4) in our town for the next 2 years, and in two years I would move to be closer to him (my ex). We currently live 500 miles apart.

    My lawyer advised me not to do this because my ex is controlling and manipulative and just wants me near him to harass him. I decided not to agree to his deal and to go to court to see the final outcome. At court I was pushed into agreeing that my ex would have 1 weekend per month at his residence. We have to meet halfway. I was really upset by this but it is not a huge amount of time. He gets 1 week in the summer next year and 2 weeks in the summer beginning 2017.

    I am afraid that he is not competent to watch our son, will leave him alone, will expose him to pornography and other unhealthy things, etc. However no one in the court seemed to care that he had been abusive toward me and had exposed our son to an unhealthy environment. I am hoping that he will not actually take the monthly visits, because they do require him to drive about 8 hours total to pick our son up, and drive through 3 metropolitan traffic areas.

    He also does not want extended time with our son. Up until now the most he has ever spent with him is 4 days. I am worried that I should do something to prevent his upcoming visit (Thursday-Monday)… on the other hand I am wondering if I should be happy he only got 13% parenting time and maybe I should just wait for him to drift out of the picture. I do think it’s unfair that the court is forcing my son to go to his home (where he rents a room in a house and has no family or support network) instead of having him just come to where we live.

  • natasha 10 July 2015, 5:30 pm

    Ana you are not alone. Unfortunately there are too many of us, but so many are unspoken voices just starting to open up. We understand and we have been there and hurt like hell, and surprisingly made it. We are strong even though we never think we can make it. If you have a faith, I encourage you to pray for comfort, if you do not believe, then believe that we, others like you, are here for you in spirit.

    We have felt your pain as our own. The best thing that helped me when I was in your dilemma, was searching all over the internet like you’re doing now, of experiences of other woman, families and children who have made it through this hell. As long as you try your best. That’s all anyone can ask of you and I KNOW your children will see it, and love you for it. They are YOURS! and they see you, know you, and deep down know you want to keep them safe.

    It is always hard since we are all human and all making mistakes for a close family member (parent) to be a cause of pain, but the children will learn better from this experience and maybe be a little wiser when they grow. I know I can’t give you the answer to fix things, since I don’t think they can be fixed, but all we can do is focus on our own actions. AND THAT IS POWER in itself. You’ve got this. You’ll do great! And God bless your children with your sweet love and heavenly safety!!!!
    -sincerely sister in hear :)

  • Clare P 7 July 2015, 11:29 pm

    Hi Mona Lisa, I am in a similar situation, are you able to help me?
    Regards, Clare P

  • Nana 3 July 2015, 6:52 am

    I could not agree more…..My daughter is going through hell – three counts of molestation against his own daughter. RCMP still won’t arrest him. The child told her story to two counsellors. The Dr wrote and contacted RCMP after his visit this past weekend and the child is red raw down below. The child told the Dr of the attack on her. The child is age 5. The Judge has pulled all say and rights from the mother accusing the mother and grandmother of making up lies. Three family court lawyers quit and ran after the molestation report. CPS did a witch hunt and sided with the father even after admitting they are aware of his violent past and him sleeping with under age girls. They see no threat to his child. I have tried every organisation to get them to step up writing to government officials. I can’t believe this is happening. The child is a mess.

  • ana 1 July 2015, 3:01 pm

    I have an ex husband that is just now coming back into my kids life after almost 9 years of being in and out of our kids lives. For most of this time he has not followed the court papers at all never came to pick up the kids unless it suits him. Now that he has a new girlfriend that he is soon to marry, his girlfriend is really putting herself in the middle of our co-parenting.

    The reason why I left him was because he was very mentally abusive, and honestly I have been through both mental abuse and physical abuse and I would much rather a physical abuser any day. Now that he can’t abuse me mentally he is taking it out on our kids, especially my eldest daughter who is around the same age I was when I got with him. When I first got with him I was 14 and he was 22. A lot of the things he is doing now is telling our kids that I am crazy and that I kept him from them when I did no such thing. He was the one that chose to not follow the court order he always had a number to contact me on yet he chose not to. He is mentally abusing our kids and I just want him to stop.

    It seems as though his girlfriend is helping him every step of the way and is telling our kids that I am crazy and a good for nothing mother and is letting my eldest daughter do things and dress half way naked all the time, which I don’t allow here. Now he is telling my daughter if she comes and lives with him he will let her do anything she wants to do including having a boyfriend, which I do not allow because she is only 13 years old.

    I feel as though he is trying to take our daughter and turn her against me because I have rules and guidelines because I don’t want her to end up being like I was at 14 – a runaway with a baby at 16. I just want our kids to have a happy healthy life and think about their future and not try to be a grown up when they are still a child. I don’t want our children to continue to go through the mental abuse that he and his girlfriend is putting them through. He has told my daughter it was all my fault that him and I where not together anymore. He pulls her to the side and tells her I’m crazy and how I broke up our family and it’s all my fault she doesn’t have a happy family life.

    This is just so hard. I don’t want to take our kids away from him, because when he isn’t filling their heads with his BS he is a really good father, but it seems as though he has not moved on with his life like I have. I have been in a happy healthy relationship for over 8 years.

    The reason why I am here is that I need support. I need help and maybe some suggestions on what I should do next! Has anyone out there been through what I’m going through, and if there is, should I take him back to court? I have tried everything. I have talked to him about it I have asked him to stop talking about our relationship with our children. It even says in our child custody papers not to diminish the love that the child has for each parent and I feel as though that is what he is doing. He is also questioning our children of where they want to live and in our child custody papers it says not to do that.

    When my ex husband was in and out of our kids’ life for that 9 years my eldest daughter did not want to see or go with him at all during that time. I was trying to get them to talk it out maybe start slow and work their way into a better relationship because he tried to take them out of school here in my town and tried to put them in a different school in a different town. Thank God the school called me first. But that is the reason why my eldest daughter was scared to go with him for so long. I have Facebook messages and I have saved text messages of me trying to get him to talk to her and to get her to go spend time with him but he never did anything to earn back her trust, instead he brought the cops to my door on my weekend. He told the cops it was his weekend and the cops told me I had to let them go because I was in violation of court orders.

    I was scared because the cops told me I was going to lose my children. I told them they had to go with him. My daughters were crying and my son was really angry they went with him. I don’t know what to do I need help. Is protecting my kids’ feelings, and trying to make sure they know I will always have their back, the wrong thing to do? What do I do?

    I’ve tried lawyers and when I did they told me there was nothing they could do because I didn’t have enough on him and his record is clean. What do I do? Should I just let this go on, or can I make him sit down and read the papers with me so he has a better understanding of what he is doing is wrong? Please help!

  • heather 26 June 2015, 4:25 am

    I read your post a couple of days ago, I could really use your advice. My ex husband is putting our child in harm’s way. He picks fights with people when our son is in his care, including with me and my current husband. He is very manipulative, controlling, etc. It got worse when I divorced him. I have tried everything, I think. I am at a dead end road and don’t know where to turn. My son is terrified to go to his house, but there’s nothing I can do, please help, any advice I will take. Thank you.

  • heather 25 June 2015, 1:19 pm

    I am going through the same things just a little different. My ex husband is being verbally abusive towards our son and I. I don’t know what I can do from here. I had full custody when he was in prison for running me off the road while I was in my vehicle. When he was released from prison three years later, he took me back to court and got visitation two days a month during school and four days a month during summer vacation.

  • Candice 20 June 2015, 1:32 pm

    Hi, I just read your post … I am in need of advice. My ex, who I currently had arrested for assaulting me, is now taking me to court for custody of our 5 month old daughter. He has money and leverage. He has been emotionally abusive also …. Please any advice you could give me.

  • karen 20 June 2015, 1:11 am

    I feel so traumatised by the court system..the NZ family court judge called me a compulsive manipulative liar and praised my ex husband’s honesty …and gave him sympathy for his ordeal that my so-called false allegations caused him. He also reversed a previous ruling. I have to return my property and land leaving me with nothing…this is called justice….

  • Sofia 15 June 2015, 8:56 am

    Mona Lisa – to ensure your safety and privacy, rather than provide your email address on this website, we can both contact — Clare Murphy — via her contact page: https://speakoutloud.net/contact-me and She will put you in touch with each other

  • Clare Murphy PhD 14 June 2015, 2:07 pm

    Laura – to ensure your safety and privacy, rather than provide your email address on this website, you can both contact me — Clare Murphy — via my contact page: https://speakoutloud.net/contact-me and I will put you in touch with each other. Clare

  • Laura"2" 7 June 2015, 9:41 am

    Can we talk?? I’m located in Montreal, Canada and deaf too. I have court coming up soon and your story is soooo similar to mine and the irony? I’m Laura too!!!!! Make sure to have a VERY good INTERPRETER as well as a VERY good lawyer. We stay strong.

  • Mona Lisa 7 June 2015, 4:05 am

    Amy, I really feel for you, this is a terrible situation to go through. You must hire yourself a good attorney, I repeat this over and over as it’s the difference between losing custody and being able to see your children or winning custody. You are in an even worse situation as you are relocating. This is what I went through – I was granted mere visitation after being a full time mother for years…and just because I needed to relocate. The courts do not support mothers relocating for any reason so be very very careful! Even many attorneys don’t support mothers relocating and won’t represent you. This is a ridiculous standpoint in our modern society. In my case, my new husband lost his job and in order to continue to put food on the table we needed to relocate for his new job! The court decided that even though I was married, I should remain behind in the original State, and not join my husband in his new location. How ridiculous is that!

    If your attorney is a good one, he/she will explain to you that the court will not consider minor children as witnesses. You also need to understand that the court doesn’t want to listen to what us mothers have to say. They certainly will not consider you a witness even though you were there, they will be happier to believe you are not telling the truth. The only way you can prove he is an abuser is with EVIDENCE. This is the only thing the court will take into consideration – and only through a good attorney – not through you. I hate to say this as it should not be so, but we as mothers, have very little stance in a court room in this day and age. So hiring a top notch attorney is our only hope. When he abuses, you must document everything and by that I mean: contact the police, take the child to a doctor to document the incident, take the child to a therapist, whatever you need to do to put the incident down on record with a professional. See a therapist yourself to document the mental abuse. If your husband is physically abusive towards you, go to a doctor.

    Always have a friend, or family member (friend is better as it’s a 3rd less biased party) accompany you and be with you at all times when you are in contact with him if you need to do so. It also sounds to me like you need to keep your distance from him unless you have absolutely no choice. You are in a very precarious time where things can go very well or really badly for you. He sounds like he will put up a fight, so be very very careful of your decisions and definitely get legal advice before even relocating. You might be better off filing for divorce first but I am not sure, so ask for advice on this issue. What I can see however is that you must document all interactions he has with the children and with yourself. Keep a diary – for legal purposes.

  • Mona Lisa 7 June 2015, 3:31 am

    Hi again Sofia, I have contacted the website owner and asked her how we can get each other’s contact details without posting them on the public site. I am more than happy to offer you support, I know that when I was going through hell, I had no one and sure would have appreciated being able to talk to someone who understood what I was going through. Hang in there, we’ll find a way to get a hold of each other. By the way, where are you based? I’m in VA.

  • Mona Lisa 7 June 2015, 1:56 am

    I was and am dealing with the same kind of man. They don’t quit. I can offer you some really good advice on how to deal with your situation, contact me if you would like to talk. I feel for you as I was where you are. First and foremost, remember to take care of yourself, I know it’s so hard to do but your well being is critical with what you are going through.

  • Mona Lisa 7 June 2015, 1:52 am

    Hi Sofia, I’d love to contact you but not sure how. I don’t want to leave my contact details on a public site. Have any ideas?

  • Sofia 6 June 2015, 4:20 pm

    Thank you. Please contact me.

  • R 4 June 2015, 9:32 am

    Gina- I just saw your post. I’m in Los Angeles. Can we speak?

  • Mona Lisa 4 June 2015, 12:34 am

    Unfortunately the more we try and protect our children from these men, the more ammunition he will have against you by claiming parental alienation. You must follow the parenting plan to a tea and never withhold the children from him if he has visitation rights, this will be used against you in court and the results could be devastating. Never put him down towards your children, this can be used against you. Always keep emotion out of any interaction you have with him, keep communication at a minimum, always in writing and pretend you are dealing with a business partner. Let less you say, the better. If you loose your cool, this will be used against you. Always have a friend with you if you have to be anywhere near him, you will need a witness as he will lie as I’m sure he already has. Always talk in court for the best interest of the children, claiming you follow visitation through. You must come across as a stable mother who is doing all she can to support her children’s relationship with their father, not a defensive mother who comes across as not wanting her children to have anything to do with their father, the courts will see this in a very negative light and you’ll ‘shoot yourself in the foot’. Do not accuse him, leave that part to your lawyer. Just document all of his lies and document proof they are lies. For example, keep a record of the Birthday cards you ask your children to give him, the calls you ask them to make with him. Document every contact you encourage between him and your children. I know that your instinct is to fight and keep your children away from him and in a normal world, this is the best thing you can do but you are dealing with a corrupt system and fathers have more rights than mothers in this day and age -remember this. Every time you put him down or prevent him from seeing his children or talking to them, this will only give him the ammunition he needs to use against you. Fight smart, not with emotion.

  • Mona Lisa 3 June 2015, 11:50 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I feel for you with all my heart. I was in the same boat, the court turned a deaf ear towards me and had selective hearing. I know only too well how these men abuse mentally, they are very clever at hiding their abusive personalities as everyone else thinks they are ‘great guys’ They are also very good at turning it around on us mothers and making us look like the ‘crazy one’ or ‘unstable’.

    First of all, your lawyer should defend you, if he/she is not, find another right away, they MUST have the children’s best interest at heart and they must fight for you. You must do your very best to get emotion out of any contact with him. You will also have to simply ignore his efforts to manipulate your children. The kids will see through him as they get older. So don’t fret. Children are extremely astute, much more than we give them credit for. The best thing you can do is keep your chin up, be positive and think of everything he does like ‘water off a ducks back’. Certainly don’t let it get you and definitely don’t react! Because a reaction is what he wants! Document all of what he does to alienate your children. Document any interactions with him. Never face him alone, have a friend with you as a witness. Keep a diary as documentation is your only defense in court if you even have to go to court.
    He will not stop, but, if you no longer react to his behavior, he won’t get the reward he wants anymore and eventually will find another victim. You are only the victim as long as you continue to play it. Harder said than done, trust me I know, but you will get better and better at it, not responding to him unless you absolutely must, never over the phone, always in writing so that you can document. Always stay very calm and calculated. Never say anything bad about him towards your children, they’ve already figured him out. But if you say anything against him towards your children, this will be used against you in court.
    Your children know you aren’t crazy so don’t worry. You must take care of yourself and not allow him to control how you feel everyday.
    I hope this helps, keep your chin up knowing you are not crazy and are a great mother :)

  • Mona Lisa 3 June 2015, 11:37 pm

    Hire yourself an aggressive lawyer. Your going to need one. You must do all you can to prevent him having the upper hand in court and only a good lawyer can do this.

  • Mona Lisa 3 June 2015, 11:36 pm

    Do you have full custody or does he still have visitation rights? If you have full custody: move, live elsewhere and preferably far away, do not tell him where you are going.

    Another option is to make sure you document, everything that happens with him. If he kicked your car, did you write down the time and place of the incident? Keep an agenda. If you can record what happens with your cell phone, even better. You must treat any contact with him as documentation for court. You must also do your very best to never be alone while anywhere near him, have a friend with you at all times if you must have contact with him. A friend is a witness and priceless in court.

    Once you have enough evidence against him, talk to an aggressive lawyer, make sure you have enough evidence. Go to court and file for a restraining order and or full custody. I do not know what your situation is exactly, but you definitely need to minimize contact with him as much as possible and when you do, make sure you have a friend with you as a witness. The court will never take our word for it against theirs unfortunately, that’s what I experienced.

  • Michelle 2 June 2015, 4:12 am

    OMG Jill!!! 17 yrs together, 15.5 married. He cut me off financially, I had to get emergency food stamps to feed me and the three children. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 16 years. He’s painting me to be “mentally ill”. He cut off my cell phone, quit paying some bills and is holding every little thing he does over my head. There ARE attorneys out there that will take cases based on getting paid by the defendant in the end. That’s what I had to do. We go to court June 2. I’m scared. He’s accusing me of brainwashing the children and alienation. I just want to protect them from his manipulation and abuse!

  • Michelle 2 June 2015, 4:02 am

    How do you block them from accusing us? This is exactly what he’s doing.. accusing me of alienation. It’s truly sick!

  • Michelle 2 June 2015, 4:00 am

    Mona~ I am currently in a battle for my 3 children. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 16 years and I feel like my world is crumbling in around me! I have so much proof of his abuse, but it seems like the courts don’t even want to hear it! My children are terrified of him! He’s never physically hurt us, but the emotional, mental and verbal abuse toward me has been done in front of them. He also loves to tell them that mom is crazy. I’m at a loss.

  • Vicky 24 May 2015, 2:10 pm

    I struggled with a manipulative, controlling, abusive and alcoholic for 18 years. Many times I tried to leave him, he never left me. Using my children, telling me that I could never find a decent job, to win enough money to keep my children because I was not capable of anything without it. He used to say that I was a parasite and that he was the perfect partner, even saying these things in front of my children, friends, relatives etc.

    He threatened to beat me if I did not shut up, in front of friends and told me to shut up in front of my children.
    He sent me to clean and taught my children that I was the one who had to clean and they did not have to do anything, that’s why I was there.
    He demanded to have sex, “was required” even though I did not want to.
    He hit me when I was pregnant with my son. When I finally managed to separate, this began the worst hell I ever imagined . . . calls, texts, harassment, threats, watching me, coercion, playing psychological games constantly using my children, not giving money to the children. I hope, and I pray to God, this will end soon. e.g. he kicked my car in a public place, with me in the car, and my children watching.

  • Anita 21 May 2015, 5:24 am

    Hi, I need some opinions. I recently was arrested for assaulting my boyfriend of 11 years. We have a 9 year old son. While I was in jail he got a restraining order against me and got temporary custody of our son. I filed a petition to speak to the judge to have my son back. We both had to appear. The judge allowed him to keep my son till we go back to court on June 3 for full custody. Please help what can I do to get my child back.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 28 April 2015, 9:55 pm

    Amanda, I would welcome this suggestion. Clare

  • annonymous 28 April 2015, 6:25 am

    Study this please, parental alienation. Your ex will claim that your attempts at freeing yourself from his abuse are a means of distancing him from his children. Thanks to the fathers’ rights movement, wonderful mothers are losing custody to abusers. Many men who win contested cases are abusers. Block him from being able to accuse you! Please trust me!

  • Amanda 28 April 2015, 1:10 am

    If anyone who is going through this in Melbourne, perhaps we can start a support group because no one understands.
    I can’t imagine ever having the police or judge or anyone listen and support me. I don’t think I will ever recover from the last few months.

    I don’t have the answers, but perhaps if we start a support group we can fund Dr Clare Murphy to attend for a talk.

  • Ann 7 April 2015, 1:16 pm

    File a bar complaint against the attorney that claimed you were incompetent because of being deaf. Put on it: EMERGENCY SITUATION. CC the attorney and any organization associated with ADA (disability association). This attorney broke a federal law. Attach a copy of the bar complaint to a motion for whatever you want – a continuance maybe? BE SURE the judge sees it. Your state bar website should have information on bar complaints. But if not, just google bar complaint and the name of your state. You might want to also cc opposing counsel to let them know; I am back in the game and I mean business so stop messing with me. You are always free to file a bar complaint against opposing counsel also – the object is to expose corrupt acts, if the Bar acts, fine. If not, so what. You need to be heard and a bar complaint is a voice that scares attorneys and others into ethical action a lot of the time. Good luck. Cut to the chase, no drama, use facts. But a fact could be: “Damage to our family from attorney incompetence and failure to properly represent me and ignoring the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is the basis of this complaint.”

  • Gemma 7 April 2015, 8:00 am

    I’m going to court tomorrow, my ex is a sex offender, has a daughter with one of the victims who is not allowed to see. Over the past 4 years I have been through due to my relationship with him my two daughters from a previous relationship do not live with me. My ex and I have a son together he is 2yrs old. My ex has been violent to me and emotionally abusive at times in front of our son.

    In February this year we had an argument, my ex took our son to his parents, he came back and was still argumentative, going through my phone, telling me no one likes me, that I should kill myself. He said this several times. He kept saying it so in a stupid moment I got a razor and cut myself, it was like I was someone else. He then left shouting I should carry on and that he was going to keep our son.

    He had left and within half an hour police turned up shouting I had a knife which was not true and then an ambulance turned up. I went into hospital as I had high blood pressure, my wounds where superficial. Anyway he refused for me to see my son, we went to court on the 9th February where the judge ordered my ex temporary custody of my son ignoring he was on the sex offenders’ register.

    He ordered that I have supervised visits at our local children’s centre, which my son knows as we go there regularly. It took my ex 3 weeks to organise contact. When I eventually got contact it was an hour on a Monday and 2 hours on a Friday. He told the ladies at the children’s centre in a very hostile way that my mum and his sisters are not allowed to attend otherwise he would not bring our son. Contact with my son went well. All written reports are positive stating he obviously misses me and we are very close. Social services, were disorganised and at the last minute have done a section 7 report. Not happy about it she states I need a mental assessment and my son stays with my ex and I still have supervised contact, even though she has seen reports of positive contact from children’s centre and my health visitor wrote a letter of how often I’ve seen her. My GP and my contact with parklands who have put me at high risk, MARAC are involved. We are finally at court tomorrow (7th April).

    It’s been an emotional long many weeks. I am so nervous and anxious as to what is going to happen. I do have a solicitor so at least I may not have to speak, we have a different judge as the judge we had back in February was one of the judges that got sacked for watching porn at work. I’m hoping for a decent understanding judge tomorrow. Does anyone know how much the judge will take into account what the section 7 report says as I feel it’s very unfair? …. Gemma x

  • Yvonne 1 April 2015, 5:47 am

    I know your pain. What state/country are you in??

  • Mona Lisa 26 March 2015, 1:14 am

    To all you mothers who’ve suffered, are suffering or battling for the right to keep your children, there are things you can do to better your chances. I am one of you, I re-read my post from 3 years ago and the pain, tears, still are felt to this day. I remember how extremely depressed I was, how I felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel, how I wanted to die.

    After an almost 3 year court battle, I finally won. My daughter is now living with me. I had to sacrifice many things in order to win, there are strings attached via a totally one sided -geared towards my ex’s whims -Joint Stipulation I had to sign and agree to. Anything to save my child who had become a mere shell of herself being denied her mother’s every day care.

    Firstly: Do not do anything rash. Do not kidnap your kids or you’ll never see them again. Do not try to commit suicide, your children love you, miss you and will come back to you one day, they need you, even if you cannot be a part of their life for now, they need to know you are there for when they can be with you again. The separation my ex caused between my child and I only strengthened the bond between us. The alienation he was desperately working at, wasn’t successful, quite the opposite happened, unwittingly, he managed to make sure our daughter/mother bond was so much stronger.

    Do not give up, do not stop believing you are a good mother, do not stop believing your children love you, even if he is manipulating them against you. Here is a very useful link for you to go to in order to understand what you are dealing with: http://www.lovefraud.com
    There is only one type of man who takes babies away from mothers.
    Know what you are dealing with.

    Do not stop fighting for your children. I wasted years and thousands of dollars on dangerously useless lawyers. Lawyers who didn’t fight for my child. Find yourself THE BEST lawyer you can. Make sure they have an excellent reputation. This lawyer will be more expensive than your average lawyer. What I found in the end however was that I spent more over 2/12 years on the average lawyers (80k) than I did on the Super Lawyer (10k). He ended up costing his retainer amount. He turned things around in a matter of weeks and in the end saved my child’s life. He insisted on meeting with my child and wanted to talk to her directly to get a feel for what she wanted. He understood right away she needed and wanted to be with her mother. That I was not manipulating her to want to be with me as my ex was claiming.

    Borrow the money if you have to. Put your house up for sale if you have to. Your child is worth it. Your children would rather be with you living in a tent than not be with you. Your ex will fight and win in court with lies against you unless you find yourself the best possible lawyer. A lawyer who deals in criminal cases I believe is best, one who deals with heavy handed, notorious cases, life or death sentences.

    My first two lawyers were family lawyers and what a waste of time and money! They just took all my money and gave nothing in return. They didn’t care about my child. They certainly didn’t care about me, my ex’s lies had probably brainwashed them into believing I was not deserving of my child. I am a wonderful mother, I did nothing wrong. My ex painted me in court as a horrible person, using email communication between us post divorce. This was enough to convince the court I didn’t deserve to keep my child, why? Because they decided they didn’t like the person my ex was painting me out to be. Of course, he was never able to prove I was a bad mother, but that didn’t matter to the court.

    My mistake was even taking his bait. You need to stop all communication with him until you read the link on LoveFraud.com. Do not give him anything to use against you. Leave all emotion out of your communications with him. You need an AGGRESSIVE competent lawyer. I went and googled and found the BEST in the area. Some wouldn’t even take my case because of the fact that I’d relocated! If I’d found this lawyer to begin with, my child and I never would have been separated. You want a lawyer who is not afraid of the system and not afraid to stand up aggressively against the opposing lawyer and even the Judge if need be in order to protect your children. Your ex will hire an extremely aggressive lawyer who will fight for his poor father rights. You will find yourself not being able to say anything against him. You have to be so very careful how you portray and represent yourself in court. You have to fight smart and keep emotion out of it.

    Even once you’ve won. If your children are minors, he will be keeping record of any missteps you make. You must continue to live as though he is getting ready to take you back to court. If an ex can do it once, he’ll do it again if he believes he can. In my case, it’s his reason for living, he needs revenge against me at all cost and my child is the pawn he uses.

    Whether you are struggling with deep depression or battling for your children, I’d be happy to help any mother who wishes to reach out to me. My heart goes out to you, I’ve been there.

    The courts are corrupt and criminally not placing the best interest of the children first as they are supposed to be. Fathers (who work full time) are winning against full time mothers because they have the finances and know how to manipulate the system. They play martyr, while we display emotion. We are then punished for trying to get away from these abusive, manipulating men. We are punished by taking our children away from us. What the courts do not realize is that by doing so, they are punishing our children also. Criminal!

  • Tonia 23 March 2015, 10:20 am

    Sure do wish I could give you some advice. I am trying to get out of an abusive (mental, emotional, manipulative) 20 year marriage. When I read your story, it shocked me because our stories are soooo much a like! I have tried to leave him several times within those 21 years and now I am finally trying to get rid of him and find myself again. He has manipulated my 20 year old son so that he has nothing to do with me now. The last text I got from him said “WTF ever”. Sure does hurt and make you feel very alone, isolated and broken. I already told him he could have the house and everything but he is following me around with a camera to try and “catch” me messing around so now he is TRYING to get money!! I’m afraid of court also and what he will try to do. The only thing I have figured out so far is that u have to Pray and stay strong and focused. Please be safe and get you some mace my friend.

  • Amy 17 March 2015, 3:40 am

    I am in a battle for custody and relocation. My husband of a little over 4 years has been controlling, verbally/emotionally abusive and has become physically abusive toward myself and 2/3 children. His lies and way of manipulation have carried him through life, which is also how he got me to marry him. He did all of this to his first wife and her kids too. He denies that any of this happened. CYS has investigated him biting our 3 year old and it was “unfounded” because there was no physical proof; however, there are 4 witnesses (me, my 2 older children and his daughter.) Any advice on how to ensure his lies aren’t believed and my truth is seen? I can’t lose my son to an abuser.

  • ginacares85 16 March 2015, 4:26 pm

    My name is Gina. I hear you clearly and feel your pain ..if you are in Los Angeles California I will be more than glad to make a difference or suggest a couple of things to you that might help, or maybe don’t know is there. It was a touching story and the dates are so recent…so sad for you I just want to see how I can help. Does the judge make careless decisions? Does your attorney keep you informed? Do you read your court papers? or understand them? If not, highlight words you don’t understand. And learn them. Your child depends on you!! Don’t give up. It is not in your vocabulary!! Positive thinking! My son is my prize!! Only you love him the way no one can.

  • Laura 6 March 2015, 4:27 pm

    I’ve been dealing with abuse for years, in one form or another, from the same man. 13 years ago, I met, then got pregnant, then stupidly married the man, we were only married for a year, while I was pregnant, he beat me severely, and continued to do so after I gave birth. After I gave birth he included our baby in it, by trying to push me down the stairs while I held our baby, slammed my face first into walls while our baby was in our arms, he once grabbed our baby and held him by his feet and shook him until I complied with his wishes.

    One day, when we were at my parents’ house, (and I had secretly been planning my escape with our baby, this was unexpected) he flipped out, and almost went at me while my Dad was in the house. He up and drove off, abandoning both me and our baby at my parents’ house.

    After that, I saw a chance and took it, and filed for divorce. While I did not really want the divorce, I knew for my life, it needed to happen, (plus my lawyer told me that my best chance at getting custody was to seriously advocate that I did not want the divorce, so I did) after almost two years in court, I was finally not only granted the divorce, but custody, however, it was joint custody. I got domiciliary custody, and he got visitation. It worked, for 8 years. For 8 years he had almost nothing to do with both my son and I. His parents picked up our child for visitation, and brought him back. His parents called, to talk to our child, his parents paid child support. (Which at that point, the state decided to claim it was not considered child support, especially since his parents adamantly claimed they DID NOT PAY child support, even though they sent me the check once a month).

    Then, after 8 years of him not being in my life, 8 years of peace, not living in fear, of a feeling of freedom, and relief. My fiancé got a DUI, and all of a sudden I find myself back in court fighting for custody of my child, the same child that this man had nothing to do with pretty much for 8 years. The attorney I hired was incompetent, and decided that because I am deaf, I am not fit to be a mother. Once I found out about that I fired her, but at that point it was too late, I had one week to be in court, and there was NO WAY I could find an attorney in time, and the Judge would not allow a continuance, since thanks to my ex, one had been granted twice already (requested by his side, not mine). So I was forced to sign a settlement, which gave him custody of our child, gave me supervised visitation (his wishes, luckily my parents were the ones granted to supervise my visitations with my child) along with two phone calls a week to our child, and visitation, every other holiday, except Spring Break, which I have our child every year.

    The court order also granted, that for visitation, I don’t have to consult with my ex on it, I can just get the tickets, and then I have to let him know the travel arrangements at least 30 days in advance.

    However, my ex doesn’t follow any of the court order, I’m extremely lucky if I get to talk to our child 3 or 4 times a MONTH, IF that. I am too kind, I always contact my ex and find out if certain days are good for traveling for visitation, and he always, always makes it difficult. For almost 3 years, he absolutely REFUSED to talk to ME about ANYTHING having to do with our child, and would only talk to my Mom, and when I say talk, I mean yell, scream, cuss and threaten. (We have all those phone calls recorded.)

    He tells our child (who is 11 now, and has ALWAYS been very, very close to me) all kinds of lies, and horrible things about me. He tells me, and my Mom that he’ll make sure I’ll have nothing to ever do with our child ever again, and that if he wanted to, he could just up and disappear with our child so I would never see him again. Then the most recent, my Mom and I contacted him about Spring Break Visitation which is coming up, he then said he wanted our child for Spring Break, seeing as how I barely get to see our child now, I said no, I would like my Spring Break Visitation, then, my Mom and I tried contacting him for a month and a half trying to set up travel arrangements for that visitation, to no avail, so we finally went ahead and got the tickets, after we did, he contacted us and said that there was absolutely NO ONE who could take our child to the airport. That someone would have to come to his DOOR to pick him up. So my Dad said he would. He then told my Dad he could not, unless I went with him. So then, we had to change all the travel arrangements, then purchase two EXTRA plane tickets, one for me, and one for my Dad.

    Then, two weeks ago, on the same day my Mom found out she has Ovarian cancer, he called her up, and screamed, yelled and cussed her out about the fact that I want our child for my Spring Break Visitation. Today, I had to not only break the news to our child that his MawMaw has cancer, and just had major surgery to remove the tumors, and now has to go through several months of Chemo, but that it looks like he may not be able to come out for Spring Break because his Dad refuses to take him to the airport.

    I am stuck, I cannot afford an attorney, Legal Aid does not do Family Law, and have now hesitantly decided, to go to court, and represent myself, in spite of the fact that I know that in doing this, my ex can, and WILL come after me, not only psychologically, but physically as well, and not having money, I have no way to hide, or defend myself. I have no idea where to go for help, how to defend myself, or my child. I am terrified. I am fed up. I need help.

  • vicky 17 February 2015, 11:27 pm

    It looks like the same guy. I’ve been married for 18 years, and it’s all the same. Now I am taking him to the court, and he keeps on saying , “You will do things my way or you will lose”. Calling me when he is with my kids, insulting me, and the kids have to listen to all those insults, like “you are a good for nothing”, “you will never find a job”, “no one is gonna help you”. As he realized he is losing the control over me, he started saying “if you keep going with the court, I will take the kids away from you I have two real good lawyers, and they will destroy you in court”. For him all this is “good and normal”, but i will not give up, I won’t let my kids close to him, he is hurting our feelings so badly.

  • Paula 14 February 2015, 1:51 pm

    A movement is arising….it may help some of us….it’s awareness of PA Parental Alienation. Unfortunately they have added Syndrome to it in some cases and we are supposed to recognize that the abuser is disabled. I guess for some it is a reaction to pain….but for others it is a well placed manipulation of children’s minds to get back at the other parent. I think we need to spread awareness that this is child abuse, as well as the long arm of an abuser. Courts are starting to recognize it I think. Every case is different but there are so many of us out there, I bet a lot of them resemble our stories.

  • Miriam 4 February 2015, 11:23 am

    Don’t pay attention to what he says (I’ll win or we’ll both lose). He’s continuing his mental abuse over you, don’t even bother in engaging in an adult conversation with him, at least not alone, but with witnesses. Him abusing you means you’re stronger than him and he’s been trying to break you down. Remember, you did set yourself free, so don’t let his empty threats affect you, it’s just hopelessness speaking out to him.

  • Holly 28 January 2015, 2:27 am

    I too am going through this with a sociopath ex boyfriend that took our two boys. He filed a false restraining order and has managed to bully me into agreeing to HIS terms on a temp parenting plan… I wouldn’t have been able to see my children if I didn’t agree to his ridiculous terms… One term being that he can have my chilren stay the night at his new girlfriend’s house (which I vehemently disagreed with). He has found a new girlfriend and wants to “set up house” with her… While getting rid of me! His parents are beyond wealthy and he can continue to slam me with court papers to bury me in confusion knowing I don’t have money for a lawyer. He is taking me to court next week to try to get $1000.00 a month in child support… My veteran disability check is only $1880.00 a month!!! Having his whole sleazy family lie for him. He sets up situations where he will leave work to take care of the kids without telling me, or have his family pick them up without letting me know, then use it against me saying I have “grown distant” from the boys and that he does everything for them and I don’t take care of them when they’re sick blah blah blah. He does this manipulation technique frequently with other situations. Manipulating the situation to make me look like a don’t care and don’t want to be apart of my children’s life! A dead beat mom… Using past mental problems (1 1/2 year ago!) to paint me as unstable…most of which was due to him cheating, lying and not being apart of my pregnancy and first 6 months of our first child’s life! And he went through depression a couple yesrs ago too! I know this sounds rambling but I’m so upset and feel hopeless. His family knows the judges and commissioners as well. He is trying to push me out of my children’s lives by alienating me! I also feel he is trying to financially/mentally break me to make it impossible for me to fight back. Why does life favor the evil… I don’t even know how to fight an evil fight, and I’m at a complete disadvantage because of this.

  • stella 21 January 2015, 9:08 am

    Sorry this is old but I felt compelled to answer. My ex of 10 years, never married, we have a 2.5 year old beautiful daughter. He did the same thing with the money the car the phone all of it. Called me a loser everyday. When you hear these things on an ongoing basis you believe it. It took me almost a year to pull myself up. I find him texting me saying “it hurts because I see what I could of had.” Well I couldn’t be who I am, not unless I left him. He gave me no room to be myself. These men need to get real and see we are not property, are not low-lifes. Being a mother is a 24/7 job, harder then what they do. All they do is complain about us and nothing I did was good enough. I wasn’t who I thought I’d be March 2014 when I left a day after our anniversary he kicked me out of our home at 12am only to drop off our daughter the next day to “a drug addicted incompetent loser with no job no money no phone nothing”. All lies if I’m all these things why would you leave our child with me? I used to lock myself in our room while he would be loudly telling our daughter I love you and laugh and play trying to make me jealous of my own daughter and his relationship. I am nowhere near perfect, but I know I’m a good mom. He severly depressed me. He had parties in our home and we never had one while I was there. His lease was up Feb 28th and 6 days later kicked me out and kept my car that I paid 20,000 on and had 6,000 left. You’re not alone. We need to support each other. I don’t know why these men think they’re so much better then us we are going to court because he filed for custody because he owes me almost a year in back child support he just doesn’t want to pay. It’s always been about money, that’s all he’s cared about … He’s trying to “get to know each other again” but he makes my stomach turn. There are good men out there. For some reason alot of us like the ass holes. We gave them these children, they act like they were pregnant and had them. It’s weird. I’d like to meet one man who knows what child birth feels like or grew a healthy happy baby!

  • C 17 January 2015, 8:33 am

    This is a couple of weeks old but I felt the need to respond to you to share tips. After going through ten years of all forms of abuse and my children being exposed to it all I left and spent two years fighting for my children. My ex was charged with everything from criminal harassment, forcible confinement, sexual assault, death threats, assault 14 charges. I have death threats on video and 200 pages of text messages. We are still in criminal court but just wrapped up family court. Sadly none of the charges really had an impact on his parenting because they viewed me as a trigger and he would be fine with the kids if I wasn’t around. He does have supervised visitation until he completes a program but his visitation is done by his family and never actually supervised.

    I believed the threats, he threatened to destroy my life, my relationships, my everything so it took me two years to take it to court to file custody papers. He promised if I opened up about abuse he would make sure neither of us had the kids and he would take me down with him and I would be in jail too. He told me he would prove me mentally unfit, he would do the whole game of your typical control to get things his way. We had a separation agreement with me having custody, but it wasn’t a formal one. After he was charged, it was crazy for my kids and that’s when I filed for custody. Learn from my mistakes, mind you I have custody but I think had I had my ducks in a row I could of had a better outcome.

    Firstly be careful in lawyer selection. Ask around use someone who won’t back down. My ex had a great lawyer and my lawyer was very visibly intimidated by him.

    Secondly don’t hide anything. Talk to a counsellor if needed about your feelings. I had fears that they would see me as weak and child protection would take my kids. They don’t see you that way. If they see you presenting your feelings while trying to promote a safe environment for your kids at both homes it is great to have that on paper. If the courts know you are doing what is needed for you and your kids it is a positive thing not negative. Say you are afraid, he is a ticking time bomb and all your concerns. It is such a big help to be able to prove you’ve seen outside help about your feelings of safety because they are real fears and not just ammo for custody.

    DOCUMENT everything. If you have them, give exact details and dates it’s much more believable in court than just one weekend in July this happened.

    My best advice came from the police I was afraid to contact for years. Call them. Those little notes they add to your file about it creates the big picture. Like police said to me once don’t be afraid to call and look stupid when I said I felt stupid he said this is your kids and you’ll do what you have to do to keep them safe who cares what anybody says and thinks.

    Don’t be afraid if you are so oberwhelmed and think you are losing your mind he could use that against you. Maintain an open line of communication and support from people around you. It’s very hard to prove anyone being unfit under circumstances of abuse when they have multiple people they can reach out to for help if they need it. Courts always look at people with strong support systems as people who will be strong and protect kids.

    Use the authorities, local shelters, child protection workers, the police that’s what ultimately saved me in my case. The reports of the craziness, having the support of a woman’s shelter and help for my children if they needed it strongly impacted my case.

    Finally as hard as it is. Don’t paint him out to be bad as it looks like you are trying to alienate him from your kids. All you need to argue is you want your children to have a safe relationship with their father and their safety and wellbeing is your primary concern. It boiled down to my ex doing a lot of trash talking about me and I sat back and let him and it looked like he was just an angry person and it played in my favour. Stress that the kids need to be safe. Give examples but leave the small and petty stuff out. Judges feel like sadly children are better off with both parents whether it is supervised access or not but very rarely will they keep visitation suspended. So I can’t stress this point enough, stress that you want a relationship for your children with their father but it needs to be safe and he needs to prove himself that he can provide that. If a judge feels for any reason you are trying to push the dad away from the kids it will backfire huge in your face.

    Keep those tips in mind, always be calm to police and in court. Be open and honest and you will be fine and keep custody.

    Just please remember stay calm, if you get worked up he will use the idea that you are crazy and easily worked up, and of that’s what they see, is you worked up, it’s going to play out bad. Stay calm instead of getting worked up and crazy.

    It’s a stressful road, I spent thousands and cried many tears but I have full custody of my kids.

  • jill 14 January 2015, 1:50 pm

    Jennifer, this is almost identical to what I am currently going through! Exactly! I got blindsided by a vindictive abusive smart manipulative sociopath who is trying to make out I have mental health issues. I don’t! He cut me off financially. Canceled my phone, stopped me from using the landline, threatened to cancel the health insurance, tried to sell my van in an attempt to ‘starve’ me out of the home. He threatened to get sole custody of my son. Why would any parent want to take a loving mother away from a child?
    He took the only money we had. I can’t afford legal advice.

  • christine 6 January 2015, 2:04 pm

    I’ve been through hell and back with my ex for the past five years and it’s never going to end. He’s trashed my reputation in the courts I’ve had 8 different attorneys for my case. I’ve come to the conclusion that he will always get his way. My best advice to you is to watch your body language when you go before the judge, and keep the emotions out of the court room. Treat your case as a business transaction. No emotion that’s what fuels the abuser/ manipulator. Concentrate on the state statues, that’s what the judges rule on. I wish I could help you more, but I’m at a loss and still fighting for my rights and beliefs. You have to find a way to beat him at the manipulation game, because once they trash you in the courts you’ll never get your way. I refuse to give up. I’m tired of the psychological abuse, and my ex controlling me through the system. His famous statement is follow the court order, which was forced filed by the court when I was in between attorneys. I’m tired of all the litigation, but I refuse to let him control me. I truly believe money buys everything even the judicial system. I wish you the best, and remember knowledge is power.

  • Lioness1213 3 January 2015, 5:54 pm

    Wow, are we all dealing with the same guy here?? Too many of these posts are describing my ex fiancé (never married, thank God!) and the hell I have gone through… And continue to go through, now, in court.
    With help from family, I woke up enough to leave my emotionally/verbally/mentally (sometimes sexually) abusive manipulator… Looking back at the past 4 years of my life, I feel completely baffled and humiliated for ever staying with him. We created 2 amazing children, 1.5 and 2.5, and they are my life.
    I will spare the gritty detail of the ridiculous counts of abuse, but ultimately he showed up drunk at my house to take my kids (with no car seats), was arrested and has an order for protection against him…. He is contesting that. I am worried it will be lifted because of mistakes that were made by law enforcement. None of his charges stuck and they failed to give him a dwi! IF it is lifted, he is going for full custody!!!! And has promised/threatened me several times that “he will win or we both will lose”! He is a ticking time bomb and I am afraid for our safety and our lives.

    Anyone who has MAINTAINED custody of their children, please share your tips!!
    I believe I have more than enough on him to keep the OFP in place, but reading some of these stories discourages me a bit…
    I am a great, protective, nurturing and loving mom.. He is unstable. I could not handle having my sweet children taken away!!! They are too young..

  • Misty 31 December 2014, 2:42 am

    Can you provide more info on this? I am going through a court battle right now with my ex and he is, and has before, thrown the statement “If you do not stop being unreasonable in this, I will have no choice but to take you to court and win physical custody and only provide you with visitation.” in my face. He constantly tells me that I am an unstable parent and he is the only one that provides stability for the kids. I am preparing for court and am trying everything I can to be prepared as he has a lawyer and I do not.

  • Mom77 16 December 2014, 4:47 pm

    As I read all the posts it is comforting to know I am not alone.
    My husband of 16 years is an emotional, mental, sexual and spiritual abuser. I am frustrated because all the warning signs were there right from the beginning but I stayed. Not only did I stay I have 4 children!!! Beautiful amazing gifts from God.
    I kept thinking it will get better, or I will stay until the kids are grown.
    What made me snap and say no more? His abuse was making me hurt myself. I began drinking secretly at night to numb my sadness and anger towards him. I told him I am unhappy so much so that I have begun to drink.
    Right there first and worst mistake I have ever made in my timeline with him.
    At first, therapy through the church, this did not go well. When I asked the pastor ‘so should a woman stay with her husband even of she is being abused?’ and his first response was NOT No. I immediately knew I could not see this man for counseling.
    Next, husband contacts social services. Then the police. Refuses to let me drive the children, be alone with them and today we had mediation. He wants the children and I can visit them.
    I have given my life to my children and been put down controlled manipulated and degraded for years. I have literally saved my children from their father’s temper. I know this will go to court.
    I know I am a great mother. I know God is with me. And yet I am terrified. I have three girls and one boy. My son sides with his dad, but I know he is brainwashed from his father.
    I again am grateful for this site. I will keep resisting him. I will remember to not listen to his voice inside my head. I once was strong. I will be again for my children.

  • Jennifer 4 December 2014, 1:12 am

    I am so glad to have found this site. I am going through the same with my ex and I have also thought I was alone and he was the most manipulative abusive but extremely smart and believable sociopath on earth. I am so scared I am going to lose my baby boy. I know a lot of these posts are old but if anyone is reading this and has any advice for me. He is making me look like I am crazy and he is doing a pretty good job at it. I can’t figure out how he manipulates so well! I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to give up but going through daily torment and what feels like torture is exhausting and I am not getting anywhere with my case but more depressed. I at least have to continue to try so my son knows I didn’t abandon him. If anyone has anything at all to say that could help or inspire or even relate. Nobody I know really truly understands what he is doing or why I am “letting” him. And I am not letting him they just don’t understand.

  • fran 1 December 2014, 7:08 am

    I’m so glad to have found this site. My ex got granted custody of my 2 boys after all the lies he said about me. He doesn’t care for them he just doesn’t want to pay child support and wants power. I can’t get a hold of my boys because his phone is off, or unless he blocked me. I am fighting for them and keeping records of how many times I do try and call though. It’s so hard to be home without them. Everything reminds me of them. I feel like half my soul got ripped out. My mind is going in all kinds of directions. I’m so scared I don’t know what’s going to happen next. The system is messed up in so many ways. I hope I get the courage to stand up and be stronger. We have court next year in February. I don’t want to wait that long to see my kids. I need advice anyone please. Thanks.

  • Carol 26 October 2014, 2:10 am

    Thank you for your enlightening perspective. My daughter lost custody of her child this year to her creepy, abusive ex husband. A stripper is now my Granddaughter’s major caretaker! How messed up is that? I have forwarded a copy of this to my daughter in order to help her better prepare for her upcoming child custody battle to get her daughter back!
    My daughter is a survivor, and her daughter needs to be home with her loving, caring mom!

  • PS 11 January 2014, 9:05 pm

    Dear Michelle,

    I am also in Australia and just about to go through a major custody battle with my ex-partner. I’m completely lost already, and have started to shut down (feel slightly numb and helpless reading all the laws I’m up against). I have no income and my ex is very wealthy and connected. I know that I need to be stronger seeing as this is just the beginning but it’s hard!! If I could talk to you (email) or get any advice from you I would be forever grateful.
    Thank you for your story!

  • Marlene 6 October 2013, 5:58 pm

    Hi everyone,
    I left my 20 year marriage from my verbal/emotional abuser. I lived ten years walking on eggshells and afraid of his reactions to every little thing I did for 10 years. I had a wonderful business the first ten years and things were ok. The business started to fail due to changing industry and from then on things deteriorated. Suddenly it was “his” money. “His” time at work that paid the bills, even though I tried hard to make extra and take care of our sons. It was a never ending battle of me being worthless or stupid or not making best use of my time.
    One day I woke up and realized that I had lost all my drive and all my dreams. Friends stopped wanting to come over because he was such a grump and I couldn’t fix anything. I always wanted to fix things. Wanted peace and I wanted my sons to feel loved. Things turned physical on a few occasions and I blamed myself once again. It was an awful life. Next thing I knew I started lying to him all the time to keep peace. I was afraid of my husband. And I missed myself because she was now gone. Omg.

    I left that hell 6 months ago. He lost his cool and intimidated me so much I couldn’t go home. I went to the ATM to get money and he caught me and flipped a lid and screamed, “Where is the money bitch? You are nothing. You have nothing. You don’t have a car. You don’t have a phone. NOTHING WITHOUT ME”. I had a massive panic attack and I was rescued by my best friend who is a male. (That I have had an affair with).

    Now he has hacked into my phone and kept my teenage sons from me. He had told the kids all kinds of lies and told them about the affair. Needless to say my sons hate me. I was a wonderful mother to them until I had to leave that day and not go home. I read about how women deal with all the stresses make people like me lie over and over. I felt like I was a survivor by lying and by being with my childhood best friend.

    I am so afraid of court and what he will do now. Please, advice anyone?

  • RCFWOOD 11 May 2013, 4:11 am

    To Marie, I understand.
    It is called domestic abuse by proxy, and more and more men are doing it against women. All the years the court systems gave custody to the mothers, is changing and many men have learned to manipulate the court systems and the mother’s emotions (which make her look in court like she is an unfit mother).

    Here is what you can do and it is hard choices for you, not easy or you just stay in the same pattern, hoping they will change something, or the legal system will help you and they will learn their lesson. This is unlikely to happen. Read “The Art of War”. There is a time to fight and a time not to fight. Men are versed at the art of war, grow up mock fighting with their friends, women are totally naïve, ignorant and stupid in this area; thinking that nurturing, more love, enabling will change things.

    Let go of all interaction with him, no texting, no e-mailing. Do it through a third person if necessary who will concise and relay the messages.
    They will push your buttons through texting, calls or e-mail. You reward them by becoming upset, talking about it to anyone in the community or family. They can never see you react in any emotional way and never say anything–it will be fodder for future harm.

    Smile, only, point instead of talking. Do not even mention the name of the father when you have the children. Perhaps move, your kids may come back one day, let go of the visitations if the children are old enough. The best thing you can be for your children is not to act out and set the best example—by refusing to react on his level. You have become his negative power puppet. He knows exactly how he is hurting you, which string to pull to create which pain, wake up and see the pattern.

    Spirituality of some form helps. Meditation, volunteering, getting involved with other people, positive types. They cannot be your world anymore, otherwise you are walking down the road of self-pity and destruction. The legal system will only drain you and there are plenty of incompetants and predators who will suck you of all life when you are most injured and hurt; telling you they will help you and be your “savior”. Things can get worse, you are hurt and injured and vulnerable. Time to heal, protect your wounds.

    Get on with your life, this is all you get! Your life is not an unlimited resource of time. Do you want to waste it, engaging with such people,
    and then feeling bad after engaging with such people? The best thing is No contact with the father, only through a third party. An effective means would be that they have to text or call the lawyer, who will then relay the message to you. This will stop the manipulation.

    Sometimes retreating, the rule of retreat, sometimes advancing is retreating in the opposite direction. Ask yourself questions, why you got involved with someone like this, childhood patterns, for his money? Give yourself a limit, persistence is not always the right thing, but starting over is. You are still here and alive and have value as a human being. You will never have value or respect from them. Depending on the age of the children, it might be best to relinquish visitation. This is the only way they keep you engaged, using the children as tools. You will not win, the outcome is not certain, but your only chance is to strategize your own actions to your health and life.

    Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over — F. Scott Fitzgerald

    . . . Might be time to start over perhaps?? At least, time to ask yourself questions . . .

  • Dani 10 May 2013, 4:21 pm

    I left my abusive ex-husband nearly six years ago. From the beginning he set out on a multi tiered campaign to try to break me, emotionally and financially, and the rest. I managed to get residency of our one child back in 2009, but only because my ex has to travel abroad a lot. He then spent the next five years dragging me to court, attempting to take our son off me, making false allegations of all sorts, even though I’ve been a doting, loving mum to our son, now aged 9. It wasn’t just the courts, who by the way refused to hear about his behaviour. He manipulated everyone. School heads, staff, my own solicitor at the time, neighbours, parents of our son’s friends, police, and anyone else he needed to manipulate. I became isolated. Nobody talked to me. He had people thinking I was mental. It was me, trying to raise our son, best I could, being frozen out by everyone else. Then, my ex, with his new partner, who helped him continue to harass and pester, and abuse me, managed to axe our son’s child maintenance, which is what was keeping us afloat. (I had jobs, but every time, he’d sabotage it.) He axed our son’s maintenance by having his partner rent out her own home, and move in with him, to claim for her daughter even though she only lived with them half time and even though my ex doesn’t look after her. I finally got a Circuit Judge to issue him with an ex parte Non Molestation Order last December after he escalated his pestering of me. We went to court just last week. I was literally gutted by both his barrister, and all 3 magistrates, and the absolute c**t of a female court clerk, who didn’t believe me in spite of pages and pages of evidence including police reports, emails written by my ex, and witness statements. They not only discharged the order, but they told me I needed ‘no’ protection at all, and said that all of my ex’s behaviour, which was stalking and harassing in nature, was nothing but normal.
    The day after, I dropped my son off at school, and then went to Heathrow, and flew home to California. I could take no more. I told my son what was happening although for some time he’s known that I was struggling with his father and things were getting worse. Told him that we were going to lose our rented home because of the cut in maintenance, told him that it couldn’t go on the way it was, with him being caught in the middle of this nightmare with constant harassment off his father. How can you fight someone who makes 70k a year with a PHD, who is a master at manipulation and a sociopath who fools everyone into thinking he’s nothing but reasonable? He got away with it ALL.

    I want to die. I could leave, and I finally did, to avoid homelessness and to try to stop the cycle. But I want my son with me — desperately. But I have no money. No power. Nothing. I couldn’t save my son. He is now stuck with someone he never even wanted much contact with. Had I taken him with me to the States, my ex would have had me done for ‘abduction.’

    I need a friend. I need support. Please help me. My email is barbawhiskey at yahoo dot com

    Thank you anyone who tries to help me. I cannot believe my fate with this monster.

  • Lilvin 30 January 2013, 6:00 am

    2012 my son’s father and I broke up because I couldn’t live the way we were living. He wasn’t motivated to get a job, he was aggressive, verbally and physically abusive and once drove off (without having a license, and highly intoxicated) with our son. He took him for 5 days and I went from police stations, family court and on the 5th day I got appointed a lawyer. The mobile phone he was using was in my name so I could access the records. To my horror he had taken my baby to Brisbane. The next day (day 6) I got a court date in August. After countless times he tried to assure me he was still in Sydney, his mum confirmed to my lawyer that he had taken my son to Brisbane. On my 28th birthday my ex requested, through my lawyer, to let me see my son on a skype call. He had grown from a baby to a little boy so quickly. Heartbreaking to have to see my baby on a video call, not to mention a white sheet behind him to hide where the call was being made from.

    Court day came and, because I had no family in Brisbane, it was ordered that my son return to live in Sydney. My ex tried to convince me that he still loved me and wanted to make another go and tried to convince me to spend the night in a hotel to talk. I didn’t. Since then we barely spoke, we bickered and fought. He was the first person I ever held a grudge against because of what he did to me.

    Then a death in his family happened and my anger quickly turned to sadness for him. As quickly my love returned and we started spending time together. He explained that his reason for doing what he did was because he was fearful I’d not let him see our son. He even tried to get me to transfer my parenting payment over to him to give him time to get a job. I didn’t.

    The court date has been adjourned twice and the orders were that he spend Saturday 5pm till Tuesday 10am. But I don’t get a weekend to spend with my son. I had suggested it because I wanted our son to spend time with our [other] son. However, my new lawyer thinks the orders are ridiculous and they shouldn’t have been ruled for what they have been for 7 months. She will be seeking to do a rotating “roster”.

    I’m a good person with a good heart, I just don’t know how to do this, how to be firm in what I want. My son is 17 months and I found out he just puts our son watching tv, movies while he sits and plays games on his phone. He gives my son take-outs, doesn’t take him out or to the park…

    My ex is still not working, doesn’t have to pay child support because it’s shared custody. Even if I did get child support I’d just save it for my boy. I have yet to start a group next month for women suffering from domestic violence. I am fearful of the judge – he once took a boy away from his mother because she took off his shoes in a busy shopping centre and cut his toenails. Please tell me your opinions, or advice, I’d really love to hear it please. Sorry for it being so long!

  • Elaine 14 January 2013, 1:51 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear your pain. Just know that you are not alone. There are many good mothers like you and children who have had to deal with the family court’s dysfunctional system. Find peace and know that you and your daughter will be ok.

  • Mona Lisa 21 December 2012, 6:00 pm

    I’m in shock, depression has filled my life. I was a full time mom, involved in everyway in my little girl’s life. I was told ‘there’s no way they can take your child away your such a great mom’. I sought to relocate, to live with my new husband. My ex tried to prevent this from happening, wanting to keep me within his control. What I was not prepared for, was that a judge, a male judge, would support my ex in court. My vindictive, vengeful ex-husband fought and won. They claim to put the interests of the children first and foremost. They don’t. Separating children from mothers is one of the most terrible crimes someone can commit on little ones, our children will suffer so. We as mothers suffer also, we feel as though our hearts have been ripped out. I lost my baby 1 year ago and am struggling to survive. I’m at a loss. I see her during the holidays. My appeal was denied of course, and the language prevented me from going to the Supreme Court. How do I get my baby back? She misses her mother so and wants to live with me, no one will listen to her :( She’s only 12, and legally has no voice apparently. No matter what the ex does wrong, they ignore it. He neglected to take her to a Dr after 5 days of a high fever. He threatened not to put her on a plane to see her mother 5 times…he once didn’t. Yet, no matter how delinquent he is, it seems fine according to the court. It’s simply unthinkable that our children are growing up without their mothers for no good reason.

  • Louise 11 September 2012, 9:27 am

    Michelle & Elaine. I am sorry to have read about the troubles you are facing. I am about to go to court in the next couple of weeks. My ex has managed to successfully lie and turn family members against me. All my material possessions except my clothes are all I had left from that relationship. My childhood photographs, my degree and even my teddy from when I was a baby he has destroyed. This is a continuation of the emotional abuse and controllung nature I had to put up with. The only person I can thank for support and helping me through this dreadful period of my life is the Almighty. I have felt his love and support and he has lead me to a church full of genuine kind hearted people and so I have managed to make new friends. Michelle please do not despair. Easier said then done I know. I believe in Christ, and although I do question why do evil men seem to ‘turn anything into gold’ I strongly believe that these people will not benefit later on. What goes around comes around. You may not believe in going to Church. You may not believe in a God but I do and this and the smile of my little girl keeps me going. I pray every day for my sanity. It looks like I’m Bible bashing someone’s got to do it!. I’m trying to say. Have faith, have hope. Get on your knees and pray. I’m in the LDS church now. I have converted and I don’t regret it. I feel I can face my ex in court and look him in the eye and I just hope and pray that God gives my strength on the day.
    You are strong. You made the decision to leave. Well done! Your emotionally abusing ex will push away your children and you must stay strong to welcome them with open arms. Write a journal. Write them letters, photo copy them and send them to your children. So in years to come when they come back to you, you will have proof that you didn’t turn your back on them because no doubt letters will get intercepted and not delivered to the addressee.
    Stay strong Sisters. You have fought a big battle and won. That was the battle with yourself in weighing up the options on leaving him. You can overcome this. It may take weeks, months, years but do not give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 10 September 2012, 9:06 am

    Hi Elaine. Sharon cannot contact you directly as your email address provided to the SpeakOutLoud comment box is not made public. Sharon has already provided her email address in her comment for people to respond. It is peacebabies[at]yahoo.com – just substitute @ for [at]. Clare

  • Elaine 9 September 2012, 11:02 pm

    Michelle I feel your pain and am living it now myself fighting for my two beautiful boys.

  • Elaine 9 September 2012, 10:59 pm

    Sharon, I need help. I am afraid the same thing will happen to me. I have been fighting with family court to see my ex husband’s emotional abuse now and it is a losing battle. I feel alone and your post is the first time I am responding to anything I have read on line. Would you be willing to email me or speak to me?

  • KidsNoVoice 16 August 2012, 1:01 am

    I was lucky that my abusive ex gave me custody of my children 20 years ago, so now they are adults. During their access time they displayed fear of going to their Dad’s. So, in Australia, I followed correct procedure and notified the school, doctors and police, and showed their bruises. And the children told their story. I was told nothing could be done and as per court ordered I had to send the children. Dissatisfied with the response I stopped access and next a letter came in the mail for breaching the Family Law Act. If I didn’t agree to continue access I would lose custody and it would be given to him. We went to a Contact Centre for 6 months, then things were a lot better. They are adults now and have a strained relationship with their dad. I encourage it because he is sick and may only have a few years to go.

    Now I am trying to rescue my 4 year old grandson from his abusive mother. She has custody despite being charged at different times for unlicenced driving, unregistered vehicle, drugs, abusive to medical staff, stealing, history of violence and verbal abuse known to police, arrested for court evasion, her witnesses caught lying in court, no permanent home. Plus, as she is a single parent and has free lawyers, legal aid closed her case twice due to her being difficult to deal with.

    It’s over 8 months since the orders and she has stopped access as she is now claiming we are pedophiles. And as I am not entitled to free lawyers, like her, it costs me a minimum $1000 each time I turn up at court and it gets adjourned because she doesn’t show. She did not show up 14 times during parenting agreement – and only finally after she was arrested.

    My grandson’s lips quivering whilst he tells me his mum tells him he is a c___. He doesn’t understand the word but he knows it’s a bad word and he said he feels sad.

    With the lack of Law, the best thing I can do is not give up and show my grandson that not everyone lives in a cruel environment.

    It happens both ways … kids need a voice … but not from the mouths of CRUEL parents.

  • MichelleL 3 July 2012, 12:57 am

    It’s the greatest joy in life to have a child and the greatest tragedy to have them taken from you.
    I’m so glad I found this website too. My heart goes out to all of you.
    I know the pain well and the feeling that you are going to die from a broken heart, while your health is deteriorating from the stress and trauma and heartbreak. I live in Australia. I am experiencing this hell. Hell on earth!
    The other day I went to the movies by myself (never done that) to see Snow White and Huntsman to give my head a rest from the constant thoughts – thinking, thinking, thinking, and feeling so alone. When I arrived at the theatre I purchased my ticket and some lollies. As I was waiting in the line to go in, I read on the lolly container that it had traces of nuts in it. I thought to myself god I wish I had a nut allergy and I could eat these lollies and just die and go to heaven. I don’t want to die. The pain has been unbearable. I want to open up and write more but I have trained my brain to shut off in some way from talking about it. Hopefully, if I start blogging it can help me do that. I thought I was the only one. Before this happened to me I thought only junkies had their kids taken from them.

  • Jennifer 14 June 2012, 3:41 pm

    I have been going through all of these same stories for the last decade too! Each day I learn more and more and I pray for the wisdom and God’s guidance to get my daughter home. We’ve just got to rise above it all and never give up. It’s very very hard but i know I’m not going to let the ex/abuser keep me from doing what’s right. I’ve learned to stay a lot calmer and I have more patience. I still remain focused on my daughter regardless of the outcome of our 10 th time in court and I believe she will see it for what it is very soon. My advice to anyone who is living in this type of hell is to seek support either through a domestic violence center or some type of women’s advocacy program. Don’t get caught up in the ‘ex bashing’ and negative energy. Just try to start doing things that make you feel better. Volunteer at a womens’ shelter and learn as much as possible about this violence against women. And by the way, it doesn’t have to be physical in order for it to be domestic violence. It can be legal, emotional, financial or physical. I’m tired of being a victim in my ex’s games and I’m fighting for my daughter’s future! I think ‘awareness’ is key in order to stop the cycle of abuse and if anyone has more input please let me know on here.

  • michelle 28 April 2012, 6:04 pm

    I am so glad that I have come across this website. I thought that I was the only one in this whole world going through my own personal hell. I am the mother of 4 children who were taken from me by my ex husband through an emergency ex parts order after I left him and rented a home. While I drove 3 hours to go pick up the kids from his house I was served with this order and all hell has broke out since. He has lied in court documents..destroyed my credit..and continues to reek havac because I wanted a divorce. I’m paying 1202 dollars a month in child support..bringing home 255 dollars now every two weeks. I can’t afford an attorney and legal aide says I make too much money. I have no visitation and every court motion costs 150. I am so discouraged..desperate and taunted with contempt of court if my payments of support are not made. I wish I had someone to be my voice.. Every day my children suffer thinking I left them and don’t love them. I’m praying for help and asking God to help me before too much damage is done. My email is mlmmccrackin [at] yahoo.com if you have any suggestions. I live in SC.

  • Barbara Roberts 6 March 2012, 1:17 am

    Dear hurting ones. I did not lose my child to the abuser, but I know of women who have. There is a group called the Protective Mothers Alliance, they can provide support if nothing else. You can find them on the web.
    The sheer fact that almost every comment on this post is from a survivor of domestic abuse is illustrative of how many of us are out there, and how much we yearn for empathy and kindness from others who GET IT.
    If any of you are Christians dealing with domestic abuse, you may find some useful stuff on my website and also my blog and Facebook page.

  • marie 26 December 2011, 10:59 am

    Dear muted by agony.
    Please keep up your courage. I am not in a similar situation, however I am being emotionally tormented by a husband of 31 years, who has a son who sexually abused my daughter over ten years.
    My husband will not discuss it with me and expects me to “forget about it because it happened twenty years ago”.
    The family dynamics you talk about are always there for me as well because I feel my daughter has no rights nor do I.
    I think you have to keep believing in yourself by getting help from a women’s group who know about abuse you will find support.
    I have gained personal strength by reading about abusive men and how they keep control over you even if you have or have lost custody or left.
    I am in the process of leaving I am 67 years old and have had many long sleepless nights wondering why.
    I hope you keep looking at your own worth and keep strong because there could come a time that it will help you.
    I would keep a copy of his text messages and any from his wife especially if there is a pattern of abuse and you keep your responses very objective.
    I think he is still controlling you just as he did when you were together and this is a deliberate ploy to weaken you.
    Please keep reading about these type of ploys.
    The woman I see has warned me about this controlling even after I leave because there will be tactics to keep me in his loop of control. He has threatened to sue for money because we had payouts and he had more so he wants that money back when we sell the house.
    She said that if this dispute goes to court it take years to resolve. She said it is his way of keeping his control over me.
    So I hope you see this as a total lack of empathy on your ex’s part and he’s out to totally suck up your emotional strength so you do not see the obvious he is out to destroy your mind. I wonder what will happen if you decide to ignore his text messages and only operate on the level of having contact with your children when you can and start separating yourself from powerful controlling ways by ignoring him and his little helper the wife. And I think some day his wife will find herself in your shoes because she has not woken up to the fact that he is the problem not you.
    I wish luck and sanity on the side of the hell you have gone through.
    Please keep researching how these men manage to play such mind games.
    Marie xxx

  • Alison 28 October 2011, 12:55 am

    Muted by agony…I want to become an advocate as well … I feel drained … the endless txts … I have to turn my phone off sometimes … I haven’t lost her yet but I might next month … me against him and his holier than thou family … the fact that I have another daughter who is nearly 18 and both girls are healthy, happy and loved by everyone who meets them won’t matter … the fact that they are my reason for living won’t matter … I’m so afraid they won’t be the happy children they are today, if I get to the point where I can’t stand upright anymore and be positive for them … because they love me as much as I love them … I just need to make it happen … never give up.

  • muted by agony 23 August 2011, 5:48 pm

    I have completed all of my classes to become a paralegal. I am about to start my internship. I want to become an attorney. I want to fight this. I want to bring attention to this problem in my small town. I don’t have custody of my children. My ex husband’s parents are wealthy. My ex husband has a top secret clearance. I am scared but I feel God calling me to do this. I feel like my ex husband is powerful and I am a strong woman but I don’t know where to begin. I can’t talk to anyone because he always finds out. My ex husband is highly intelligent and finds better ways to manipulate things as we go along. I start to reveal him in new ways and he just learns a new trick. What do I do? If I stand up and fight I could lose the small amount of visitation I have. I actually feel as though my mind is going to shatter from the pain yet I have made it this far. Who can I trust? Do I trust? I feel mute from the agony. There are times that I am in conversation with people and I cannot respond to them. My mouth just shuts because I have no answer to their whys. I don’t know why. I can’t explain how I could look and seem normal and not have my kids. Does it seem to anyone else out there that mothers who have lost their children are treated like they belong with the lowest of human life? Like we are the abusers, like we are infected, judged so harshly by anyone who knows, doors closed at the mention of your name… and all the while I am trying to pick myself back up he still abuses me through texts and phone calls and now his wife is joining him. The insults and endless fighting in text messages between us not only takes up my time but my mental strength. My children are starting to feel the effects of all of this. Does anyone know anything at all that could help me?

  • Sharon 25 April 2011, 6:17 am

    Lisa, my kids were taken from me ten years ago. They have finally, in the past month, turned 18 and have moved back with me. They were telling me they won’t be talking to their father anymore, and refuse to have any further relationship with him. I know very well the hell you are going through. When it happened to me in 2001 I thought I was totally alone, and that this didn’t happen to anyone but me.

    Please give me your email. I don’t have international calling. My email is peacebabies [at] yahoo.com. Anyone else who wants to talk about custody is welcome to email me as well.

  • Lisa 29 March 2011, 11:56 pm

    I would love to hear from other women that have or are going through hell in relation to their ex and the fact that the court system in this country is not good. I have had my children taken from me through my ex and am getting beyond desperate. Some of you may call me if you feel the need. My name is Lisa +44-1568 611483

  • Autism Custody Battles 26 July 2010, 4:04 am

    Men who threaten to take away the kids are engaging in post separation violence. It is common for batterers to threaten to take children away from the battered woman by proving her to be an unfit mother. For this reason, some lawyers advise women not to tell courts or mediators about child abuse or domestic abuse because, by doing so, they risk losing custody to the alleged abuser!

  • Marlene 20 May 2010, 3:39 pm

    I have had a significant amount of experience writing and teaching community members about domestic violence and continually encounter a difficulty getting people to understand the dynamics and impact of psychological abuse. One way I am dealing with that is giving out a book of poetry I wrote on psychological abuse. It is available free (I have a grant) on my website. You can get to my website by clicking on my name above. If you’d like a hard copy you can contact me through my website.