As a young child, my parents always called me the “party police”. I was the good girl who never liked to see people breaking the rules. I never smoked, never drank underage, never did drugs, and never stole anything. I grew up believing in justice and always believed that the courts and the police would protect me if and when I needed them. That belief ended when I entered a custody war with Luc (my psychopath ex).
Going through a custody war with a sociopath will change the way you view the justice system. In fact, most of my time in court with Luc felt more like an “injustice” system than anything that resembled justice. The painful lessons I learned about how our system works rocked me to my core.
As a parent who is madly in love with her baby boy (which most parents are), my maternal instincts were telling me to fight this man with everything I had. That being said, the very nature of our courts and what was happening throughout the trial felt like it was taking my stress to new levels. As I became weaker emotionally, Luc became stronger. He would file ridiculous motions to drive up my bills, sling as much mud at the walls of the court hoping that something would stick, and always find lawyers willing to represent him for free (or believing he would someday pay them back) and psychologists to make excuses for his immoral and criminal behavior.
Legal Abuse Syndrome and PTSD
Shortly after I fled Luc’s house with my son, my therapist diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He then explained to me that he believed I had something called “Legal Abuse Syndrome”. I had never heard this term so I looked it up on Wikipedia and learned that Legal abuse refers to abuses associated with both civil and criminal legal action. This abuse can originate from all parts of the legal system to include frivolous and vexatious litigants, abuses by law enforcement, incompetent, careless or corrupt attorneys and misconduct from the judiciary itself. Legal abuse is a personal injury that develops in individuals assaulted by ethical violations, legal abuses, betrayals, and fraud. Abuse of power and authority and a profound lack of accountability in our courts have become rampant.
Sociopaths and legal abuse
From what I have learned through both my independent research and my experiences, sociopaths enjoy chaos. They like to inflict pain on their victims in a way that appears sadistic. These individuals seem to flourish in Family Courts because its legally sanctioned abuse. I fled Luc’s house with my newborn son just weeks after baby boy was born. Even though I filed for custody a few days after leaving, Luc waited three months before he responded to my motion for custody. During those three months I didn’t hear anything from Luc about my son – not a text, a phone call, an email – nothing. So why did he wait so long? He wanted to wait until the day when he believed he would inflict as much pain as possible. He officially filed a response to the motion on my birthday.
Luc came into my life and completely destroyed my belief in law and order. One of the most painful lessons that I had to learn throughout my court battle with Luc was that psychopaths don’t play by normal rules. This is true in their lives and it is certainly the case in the courtroom. The most disturbing part about this was that Luc would get away with many of his lies because it would come down to my word against his. He knew how to play the game and what he could get away with. It was hard for me, at first, to anticipate his next move and prepare myself for the chaos. Laws are not always enforced and true criminals are experts at figuring out which laws they can break and which are so hard to prove that no prosecutor will bother taking the case. Psychopaths have a reckless disregard for the law and this allows them to play the system against us.
Overcoming Legal Abuse Syndrome and “The Death of Justice”
I still struggle with panic attacks when I think of all the things Luc has been able to do to me through the legal system and what he is capable of doing next. Sometimes it feels like Luc has stabbed me right outside of a Police Station. Instead of arresting Luc, the police rush to put me in handcuffs and arrest me for bleeding on Luc’s boots. (While apologizing to him and letting him know that they will make me buy him a new pair of shoes)
Justice as I knew it is dead and along with it went my youth and the naive version of myself. The small piece of little girl cappuccino queen I have left inside of me is storming around and throwing a huge fit. She is screaming and crying and stomping her feet. Grown up cappuccino queen, however, is constantly thinking of ways to protect her son while trying to quiet the little girl inside who is throwing a royal tantrum over the death of justice.
In my darkest moments of despair, however, I keep fighting. I fight because I have to and because I have no other choice. I am baby boy’s mom, I am his only healthy parent, and I love him.
In the brave words of Martin Luther King Jr.,
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”