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UK man asks for help in reclaiming his children

A few months ago Lovefraud wrote about a man in the UK—I called him “Tom”—who said his life was stolen by sociopaths. He said he lost his children, home, career and wealth to his ex-wife and her new partner. Tom was arrested nine times on false allegations and has not seen his children since August of 2004.

Tom recently won in the criminal proceedings against him—all charges were dropped. But he still faces a battle in family court. Tom asks for advice from Lovefraud readers as he fights to regain contact with his children.

Update to Tom’s story

Here is the update that Tom sent about his story:

The outcome of the criminal proceeding that was brought against me by my ex-wife and her boyfriend for trying to see my children was that it was DISMISSED and thrown out!! The barrister/lawyer wiped the floor with both of them, calling her an adulteress and him a home-wrecker.

What was quite interesting to see was that my ex-wife made three attempts to manipulate the court with crocodile tears. Even though I had informed my lawyer that this would predictably take place, he could not believe his eyes when he saw her put on her tears. Another interesting fact of the day was the guy—her boyfriend/partner—attempted to once again provoke me in court, attempting to get me to react to him. He also admitted under oath that he had been having sex with an eight-month-pregnant woman—my wife—and he could not see the problem with that. His words were, “Everybody’s doing it.” You could see the eyes of the jury/magistrates just look at him in disgust at the thought of conducting adultery with another man’s wife, and on top of it whilst she was eight months pregnant!!!

Another important note—although both she and he where witnesses and the opposition attempting to convict me, they had given their witness statements and been questioned and really had no further need to stay in the court. He—the guy—came back and sat at the back of the court for my hanging, “so to speak.” He was bitterly disappointed when the result was “CASE DISSMISSED.” His reaction to this was to run, and on leaving the exit, making signal with his finger to try and intimidate me to attack him. I stayed calm and looked in disgust at his tactics.

The civil proceeding in family courts is still heated—I’m fighting—and although the judge has egg on his face, he is progressing down the route of asking for a medical report on me—for physical/mental health—as I did not attend a couple of hearings due to the stress and consequences of the last three years of hell that I have been living. I am strong—still holding my course—but there are days when I feel worn out. But I can’t stop fighting to see my kids.

Tom’s questions

I have my next hearing in May—she wants “No contact,” alienation of my children from my life, and me from theirs. She wants her boyfriend or partner to act as the replacement for me. She is aiming to airbrush me out of their lives!!

I need to know the following:

1. How do I win the next battles? How do I move forward? How do I outsmart them?

2. Shall I just walk away—or shall I do what is right for my children!! I don’t mind spending my life fighting for justice and defending their human rights—that is something I took responsibility for at their birth.

3. How should I avoid falling into the traps of the sociopaths? What types of traps will they lay? I have managed to outsmart them and get
myself out of the traps lain thus far. Nine arrests—discharged!! One criminal proceeding—dismissed!!! Four attempts at penal order in family courts—dismissed!!

4. Do we still believe that he is the sociopath or is it her leading him? As a child she used to get her little friends into trouble.

5. How best should I show her that I will not waiver—that her battle is already lost (Woman’s Perception Please)!!

6. If I had other children or another relationship? What impact would this have on her or my children? Please bear in mind that I will fight 25 years if necessary for justice—I will never forget them or walk away (Woman’s perception Please)!!

7. What effect will it have on her if she sees that I have turned my life into a success—risen again—like the phoenix!!!

Please post your advice

My experience with a sociopath left me devastated financially and emotionally. However, I did not have children with him, which I consider to be fortunate.

Since launching Lovefraud, I’ve come to believe that the greatest pain of relationships with sociopaths revolve around children. Sociopaths use children as pawns to torment the non-disordered ex. And the children themselves are often abused and damaged.

So although I feel the desperation and pain of parents trying to protect their children, I have no experience in a custody battle. Therefore, if you can answer some of Tom’s questions, please post a comment.



7 Comments on "UK man asks for help in reclaiming his children"

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  1. yesican says:

    Unfortunately, I do not have any advice, I am new here and quite frankly shocked, relieved, scared, etc. I have an ex-husband who I believe to be a sociopath. Up until today I referred to him as narcissistic, now I know it goes so, so much deeper than that. I would like to ask a question and maybe others here with more knowledge of this disorder can help me….

    I have a child who I suspected of using drugs, so I tape recorded her conversations with her friends, found I out was correct, put my child in a treatment program and so far has been drug free for two months now. However, during my process to get my child straight I heard some VERY disturbing conversations with my sociopath ex-husband. I always suspected he was badmouthing me to the children but I had no idea how often and to what extent. I have on tape my ex saying things like:

    I think your mother is bipolar.
    I think your mother is irrational.
    I don’t like the way your mother is raising you.
    I don’t like you being around your mother.
    She wasn’t always this way, I have no idea what happened to her.
    If your mother would have made more money when we got a divorce I wouldn’t have gotten into the financial trouble I’m in now.
    Your mother has put college above everything else and she has lost everything because of it.
    Your mother doesn’t have to go to school she just wants to go to school and it’s going to take years for her to finish and she can get just as good of a job without a degree.
    You don’t need a drug rehab program, you just need a car and a job so you can get away from your mother and your home life because that is what is making you do drugs.
    You don’t need a drug rehab program, rehabs are filled with addicts and you don’t need to be around those kinds of people and it is about time I took your mother back to court to get custody of you so you can be raised in a family environment.
    Your mother would never just give up custody of you because then she would lose her child support and that would make her lose her house and then she would have to quit school and you know that would never happen so you have to tell her that you want to come live with me and tell her it was your decision to move with me to make a fresh start and a fresh start would do you some good and all the money I won’t have to send your mother for your child support, I’ll buy you a car with.
    Deb and Beth are the only two people your mother has left in her life because she has pushed everyone else away….
    When I was growing up my mother was so much more supportive than your mother is, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be raised by a mother like her.

    There is a million more, but you get the gist of it. How can I stop this without telling my child I taped her conversations!!! This kind of verbal abuse on me by him to our child has got to stop!! But how do you stop a sociopath…. You can’t!! I don’t think my child should be subjected to this all the time and my little one will probably hear it one day too. Help!



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  2. Dear Tom,

    Your story demonstrates why I think adultery should be a consideration in child custody disputes. Does it make sense for a partner to be able to replace the other spouse prior to a divorce then get custody of the kids? Then ask for child support? Absurd!

    Please read about parental alienation syndrome
    http://www.parental-alienation-awareness.com/

    If your lwayer says it is OK meet with mental health professionals and tell them in your own words how much you miss your children.

    Sandra Brown, MA, therapist and author of books about traumatic relationships said to me just yesterday, “My money is always on the sociopath to mess up..” The nature of this disorder is that they cannot maintain normalcy for very long. You just have to be patient, and ready to act when that happens. You might consider keeping a diary so that if the opportunity arises you will have it to show the kids later on.

    I don’t believe that how your children might react should be a consideration for you regarding trying to have a normal life from here on out. If they resent what has happened it is the legal system and the other parent who are to blame. The best thing you can do is to be loved and supported in a relationship with a loving partner.

    Don’t give up hope! Thank you for sharing your story.



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  3. 421dmb2 says:

    Dear Yes I Can,
    My ex continually bad mouths me. I have never taped his conversations (although I do have taped messages he left on my answering machine), but when my kids get angry with me, things come out. One time my youngest son was angry at me and said something like, “Well, at least I’m not a lesbian with aunty So and So!” I asked him if he knew what a lesbian was and he said no, but that was what daddy said….imagine telling my son that I was a lesbian with my sister! I’ve heard all kinds of outrageous claims. If I were you, I would save those taped conversations…maybe even have them transcribed. You will not be able to use them as evidence if you ever have to go to court, but you can share them with counselors, lawyers, GALs etc. to show you are telling the truth. If you end up working with professionals who say they don’t need to listen to the tapes and that they’ll ask for them if they need them….well then switch professionals…you need someone who will look at all the pieces. These situations are hard to present to the court, so you need people on your side who truly understand what is going on. I suggest transcribing the tapes because you want to make it as easy as possible for the people reviewing your case to know what is going on. You need to organize your evidence in a logical, clear easy to follow way. Highlight important parts of your evidence….make it as easy as possible for those reviewing the case to see what is going on.
    I also think you might want to read two books: Divorce Poisoning and Divorce Casualties. Both of these books give advice on how to talk to children about harmful comments they hear from the other parent. You could address all the comments you listed in your post without having to tell your daughter that you taped her conversations. The books suggest laying a foundation with your children that they really need to make their own judgments about all people (including you). They shouldn’t be persuaded by others who may have ulterior motives to think badly about someone. I find that many situations come up (situations they tell me about in school or situations we see in movies) that allow me to bring up these points to my children. Hopefully when their dad talks badly about me, they will remember this. The book also says to clear up all misinformation they receive about you. If your ex is calling you bi-polar then show that you are not…explain what it is to be a bi-polar, talk about the symptoms, talk about someone you know who is bi-polar and subtly show that you do not have those symptoms. It is funny that your ex says that you have pushed everyone away because my ex says that about me too. He has told my kids that I have no friends. After reading those books, I started pointing out all the friends I do have, and all the situations where people have said kind comments about me. Now, my kids pick up on it themselves…it is kind of joke between them. When a new person befriends me, they’ll say, “ Hey, look another friend for mom!” My ex also played the card that I only think of myself…going to college. According to him, I am somehow neglecting them and only thinking of myself. I’ve addressed that one head on as well. There are many movies out there (Pursuit of Happyness for one) where the parent sacrifices a lot to make a better life for their children. When I hear of these movies, or when my kids talk about friends whose parents are going to college, I always stress what an awesome thing those parents are doing. They are being good role models for their kids, they are working really hard…keeping things going at home, working full time and somehow making it through school. By talking about others, I think my kids can make the connection that me going to college is also a good thing…not some selfish act. My ex has also told my kids that I only maintain custody to get the child support. I have tried my best to be as financially independent of my ex as possible. I don’t ask for half of the medical bills (which I am entitled to), I have not asked for an increase of the child support ever, and I have never asked that I be able to claim the kids on my taxes…when I first left my ex, his child support was the main income for my kids, so it made sense that he claim them as his deductions, now I contribute much more than he does for their care, but I have never asked to change the deductions. I do not ask him for a cent, because it is not worth it for me, he uses every opportunity to show animosity, so I try to just get by as best I can. When my kids say that I only want them because of the money, I point out that I have never asked him for any money and if the money was important to me, I would. I also make sure to let them know that they are truly special to me. I don’t say it just when they mention the money issue. I say it often, so they know it in their hearts. I want them to feel 100% sure that I love them and money has nothing to do with it.
    My advice is that you address all this with both of your children…you need to talk to them continually. If he is telling one of them bad things, you know he will tell the other. I would also limit their contact with him to the bare minimum of what the agreement calls for. The more contact with him, the more opportunity he will have to poison their feelings for you. Good luck.



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  4. 421dmb2 says:

    I also wanted to comment on Sandra Brown’s comment about the Sociopath eventually messing up. My ex has “messed up” but I didn’t document it appropriately. Official documentation is very important. You need to document it every time with the police. Also in court, be prepared that your ex will blurt out outrageous lies that you (at that point in time) will not be able to prove incorrect. Be prepared to stop the proceedings and give yourself time to gather and present the facts accurately. Prepare your lawyer that your intention is to stop the proceedings if you are not being presented correctly. Even if this seems costly to do, it will probably save money in the long run. I think I have a good lawyer now, but I had two before him that wanted it over nice and clean…they underestimated how manipulative my ex could be. They kept advising me to let things go…that it wasn’t worth the money to set the record straight, that my ex’s behavior would improve over time, when it didn’t improve and I ended up in court again, it looked like the things that he said had been true because I didn’t set them straight initially. You can put your money on the sociopath messing up, but you can’t put your money on what the outcome will be…so document and make sure you set everything straight…don’t let your lawyers push to end the proceedings just because they want it over, chances are you’ll just end up in court again. Be careful.



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  5. db11 says:

    Tom is in a hopeless situation.

    Courts prefer mothers to fathers in determining custody and access issues. If Tom slips just once (and who but a practiced sociopath wouldn’t in the circumstances) the burden of demonstrating evidence to the courts will rise tenfold.

    The children will have been turned against him. Even children with regular access to a caring healthy parent will be challenged to maintain positive feelings for that parent if the custodial parent is a sociopath skilled at reshaping the children’s emotional disposition.

    In Tom’s situation, where he’s been isolated from the children for a considerable period, he will have been painted a pariah in the minds of his children. Anything Tom does to try to connect with his children or assert his legitimate interest in their lives can be countered by a lower emotional blow from the children’s mother. Sociopath’s are skilled manipulators of adult emotions … children are a cakewalk for them to completely brainwash.

    Regardless of how disconnected the children’s feelings are from the actual facts of Tom’s character and actions, the courts will be reluctant to disregard their expressed feelings, especially as the children approach the early teens.

    The children will understand that they cannot disappoint their mother, for to do so triggers memories of pain. They will break Tom’s heart because doing so causes them less pain than disappointing their mother.

    So the advice to Tom is move on.

    Make another family and a positive focus for all of the energy and feeling that would otherwise be misspent trying to do battle with someone whose skill and aptitude for such endeavours is so evidently superior to Tom’s – that is not intended to be a put down of Tom, but an acknowledgement of the imbalance that exists between a sociopath and a normal healthy person in matters of warfare. As much as it is impressive that Tom has beaten nine arrests, he’s still been arrested nine times!!Sociopaths thrive on the cut and thrust of battle, and torturing a well meaning parent like Tom is a relatively effortless exercise for them.

    If Tom is allowed any form of access, be it e-mail or birthday cards or similar, he should let the children know that he loves them and that he is interested in them.

    Be Tom must be very careful in engaging them should they approach, for they may be emotional suicide bombers operating under their mother’s influence … setting Tom up for false accusations of physical or sexual impropriety, for example, if such tactics would serve their mother’s purpose. Engaging a third party counsellor to serve as a re-acquaintance facilitator is one safe way to enable contact to be re-established in a way that is safe for both Tom and the child.

    Some day the children may emerge with the faculties to recognize their maternal home for what it was. They will understand why Tom was not allowed to be a part of their lives, and they will respect Tom for having made a life of his own.

    If they do not emerge because they are caught in the web of maternal control, then sadly, they will not be worth knowing, for they will likely be incapable of behaviour substantially different from their mother’s.

    Heart-breaking as it may be, Tom’s current goals are misguided, and will lead only to more pain for him, and for his children who will be made to suffer more with each small step of success Tom may be able to achieve. Tom would do well to ignore his attention seeking ex, and to remain as invisble as possible to her – if she knows what Tom wants, then she knows how best to hurt him.



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  6. mollie says:

    my abuser answered an advert that i put in the paper, for a guy of simliar taste and styles of my own,and with in 6 weeks i moved in and the abuse started soon after..I was a pretty girl, but not the prettiest he had seen and he wasnt saying anything about my parenting skills but his x wife was the best mother he could want for his children, my breasts were nice but his x wifes were lovely, and why couldnt i be more like her or more like some of the oher women he had known.He mostly slobbed it out in front of the television all day,treating me as the unpaid servant picking up after him..thank god for work in the early days,an escape. Then came the other red flag signs, he told me he had been in prison for GBH and again for marriwana smuggling..but he hadnt hit his x wife, once wen i asked..and she didnt decerve wat he had done to her, infact that is wat he mostly talked about his x wife and his self..and always pulling me down, ,my child from a previos relationship was thick and i like him…my x used to say on one hand he detested and loathed me and the other he adored and loved me, taking photos of me in bed and showing them to his friends to humiliate me,his friends would say that my x lacked confidence and they excepted him the way he was why couldnt i?!(but nothing seemed to be at their expense only mine)on the odd occasion that we actually went out, he would kiss women in front of my face, but if i spoke to another guy, he accused me of affairs..he used to pull down all my friends children, saying hurtfull things so they could hear.i left this guy about 15 times and always went back i felt a failure..it would be nice for a while with little presents and the such like then the abuse would start all over again, so many cruel words, physicall violence, emotional and financial..What they were excepting and i was excepting!! was not the same thing..one day i just packed a few bags and left, and it was hard statring out and over again with nothing, but now 3 years down the line, i feel good about myself, my confidence and self esteem has come back, and i just think about him good riddance!
    And it did help to talk to his x wife, he bullied her to and smashed the house up, wen he didnt get his own way, and yes he had hit her, she was frightened off him to…it actually made me feel less inferior…iv id have known how to have googled him in the early days i would have



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  7. hlbro says:

    I am SHOCKED by the input of db11!!!! To post the following:
    __________

    So the advice to Tom is move on.

    Make another family and a positive focus for all of the energy and feeling that would otherwise be misspent trying to do battle with someone whose skill and aptitude for such endeavours is so evidently superior to Tom – that is not intended to be a put down of Tom, but an acknowledgement of the imbalance that exists between a sociopath and a normal healthy person in matters of warfare. As much as it is impressive that Tom has beaten nine arrests, he’s still been arrested nine times!!Sociopaths thrive on the cut and thrust of battle, and torturing a well meaning parent like Tom is a relatively effortless exercise for them.
    __________

    You are actually suggesting that this man just forget his children, move on and start another family?! I am in the SAME POSITION and there is NO WAY IN HELL I would just forget about them and move on to start a family with another man. Fortunately, unlike Tom, my children spent the vast majority of their time with me until they were 4 and 5 and then I had to separate from them because my ex left me in such a financial mess (in another country – plus he took their passports and left us there!) that I could not take care of the children. In this past year I returned to the states and have gotten myself financially secure. Now I am fighting him for Full Custody, which I have no doubt I will obtain. Last week I received my first “win” in court when my ex was ordered to hand the passports of the children to the court and forbidden to leave the country with them. I requested this of the courts because I was concerned that he was planning to flee to the country that his girlfriend is from. He is a con artist and where he currently is everything is falling apart – so it made sense. I have started my own business and will be relocated back to the country that my children currently are residing. To fight this I need to be physically present.

    Tom my case is similar to yours also in that my ex is trying to put his girlfriend in my place and completely brainwashing the children. And guess what! The girlfriend was his mistress when we were together. So my advice to you is to NOT give up and document EVERYTHING. The only way that I make it mentally through this is that I try very hard not to think about what my children are going through (yes I know that is not easy – but if I think about it I stress out too much and cannot concentrate my efforts where they need to be). I also found a form of exercise that really relieves my stress. Furthermore, my ex is also trying to do what your wife is doing in that he completely alienates the children from me. He will not let me see or speak to them.

    Hang in there. Your children need you. Stay firm and focused. But very importantly still take care of your peace of mind and your health. Stay calm. Another thing that has helped me is that I OBSERVE OBSERVE OBSERVE and say nothing (except for defending myself when he makes outrageous accusations). They always end up digging a hole for themselves. ALWAYS!!

    I wish you the very best and send lot’s of positive thoughts your way!!!



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