Lovefraud received the following email from a man whom we’ll call “Brad.” He has two children with a woman who was diagnosed as a psychopath. Brad is concerned about the kids spending more time with their mother. After the email, I’ll make a few comments. But many of you have personal experience attempting to co-parent with personality disordered individuals, so if you have suggestions, please post them.
I have custody of my two children. My son is 12, and my daughter is 10. I’m remarried too. I have had custody since 12/2007. The kids are doing great. There grades are A’s and B’s. We have a happy home.
Ok, now the question. She was diagnosed as a psychopath, by a very professional psychologist. This is one of many reasons I got my children out of that poisoned atmosphere at her house. She also lost custody to another child.
I have been in court countless times, and have had the kids counsel with a very good lady that has helped them deal with her mind games. The other day the kids had to speak to the judge, and my daughter stated she wanted to live with her mother, and my son wants more time with her. She was on supervised visitation, but that only lasted about a year. It was found out that the mother has been pressuring the kids to “help mommy win this case.” How sad! As a dad that loves his kids more than anything, it is hard to have them say these things. I guess I understand to a point that a child wants to have two loving parents. With me, it is a game of survival to protect the kids. She is beyond good at mental manipulation of the kids’ minds.
I know the local judges just don’t understand how hard it is to live this kind of life. Always on guard, always cautious as to what to say in front of the kids, so they don’t slip, and say something that will in the end put them in more turmoil. The kids are now going through another evaluation with someone that concerns me. He has several ethical issues against him through the state licensing agency. He was granted to do this evaluation since she pushed the issue that I chose the last psychologist. I did recommend her, but only through references. The psychologist nailed her to the wall with who she is! Anyhow, how do you get the judges to see this? My attorney is very good, and I understand his tactics going in to this and showing how good the kids are doing, but he doesn’t want to get down in the “mud” much. My concern is how can a judge write a court order to deal with someone like this? It never ends—her violating the court order, but the court won’t put any teeth into keeping her in line, so the game continues!
I’m just nervous about custody and my children. They are my world! The advice I could use deals with the power she has on them to still be “loyal, defending her, and wanting more time.” The control she has on them is beyond my understanding. Even if we go shopping, they want things that are the “greatest” since the mother bought them. So, hard to get this ungodly loyalty.
By the way, we have a good home, and the kids are very happy, just so you don’t get the wrong impression.
I read some of the stories, and can within seconds relate to what this was like for me in the past. You heal, but boy does it make you see things in a much more guarded light!
A safe, loving home
First of all, Brad, I want to commend you for creating a home environment that enables your kids to thrive. This is really important. The best thing you can do is create a safe, loving and supportive home for them, where they feel welcome and cherished.
It is impossible for your ex to do this, because all psychopaths are only concerned about themselves and only want to win. Your ex wants the kids not because she loves them, but because she wants to win over you.
She can’t offer the kids real love, because she isn’t really concerned about their wellbeing. But right now, as you said, the game is on, so she probably engages in love bombing. This is showering them with attention and telling them how much she loves them, even though her words mean nothing. Many psychopathic parents also buy the kids’ affection by spending money on them and letting them do whatever they want— is she is doing this as well?
Then, of course, there’s the direct pressure: “Help mommy win this case.” This creates tremendous feelings of guilt in the children. They are made to feel responsible for her happiness.
You are right in that most judges don’t really understand what happens in these family situations. So what do you do?
First of all, document everything: Missed visitations. Lateness picking up or returning children. Failure to give medicine appropriately. Inappropriate child care. Subtle threats to you, the children, or others. Keep a good, organized journal of anything she does that is detrimental to the children’s growth and development. That way, when you need to explain what is really going on to a judge, you can do it with dates, times and references.
Secondly, you need to be careful not to openly denigrate her to the children. It sounds like you’re already doing this, but you don’t want to give her an excuse to claim “parental alienation.”
Finally, any communications with your ex should be “strictly business.” Just the bare exchange of relevant information regarding the children.
Here are some links that may help you:
Unfortunately, you may end up walking a real tightrope in court—especially if the new psychologist recommends that the children spend more time with the mother. Research shows that often, the person who is paying the psychologist gets the report that they want. If your wife is paying this person, then the psychologist may produce a report that is favorable to her.
More time with mom
It’s quite possible that between a clueless judge and an unethical psychologist, mom may win more time. Once that happens, she’ll probably stop the charade. She’ll start breaking promises, criticizing the kids and making them feel unwanted and insignificant. She may actually become abusive.
You, in the meantime, will continue to offer a rock steady, safe environment for them. Kids are smart. They’ll know the difference.
Eventually, they’ll get tired of their mother’s lies. If you’ve given them a solid foundation and are consistently loving, the time may come when they’d rather be with you than her.
So, readers, what do you think? Do you have more suggestions for Brad?