Today, I am piggy-backing on Cappuccinoqueen’s post from yesterday regarding Family Court. I was accepted to law school for the Fall 2012 school year. The title contains a sampling of a “first year’s” classes. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to accomplish prior to taking Family Law. Although a remarkable opportunity, I plan to table this option for now. However, I have not completely eliminated the possibility for the future. Justice is something worth fighting for. Whether I do it as an attorney or not, I will continue to do it.
What on earth possessed me to apply to law school?
I cannot credit (or blame) one single person or event. Rather, my desire to make Family Court slightly less stressful and equitable for victims of psychopaths, or individuals with psychopathic features, heavily influenced my decision.
I, too, have done battle in court. I, too, have experienced the chaos and expense that tends to go hand in hand with protracted litigation. I understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of threats, harassment, manipulations, and revenge. Like Cappuccinoqueen, I have also experienced a questionable filing date that may have been meant to trouble or upset me. Naturally, I noticed, but the only thing that troubled me was the notion that anyone could think I’d still care. In all fairness, I must acknowledge the possibility of coincidence, but find it highly unlikely.
Regardless, like everyone else in these situations, the goings on brought about a change in me. Early on, I learned that abusers often wage court battles as mere attempts to continue past control and abuse. Over time, I started advocating and talking to others about their situations. I realized that people’s lives were sometimes truly destroyed (exactly what the abusers wanted) by such occurrences, especially if they were unable to find healthy coping mechanisms. It was then that I decided I had work to do.
First, I chose to recover from the wrongs that had been perpetrated against me for years. Next, I considered taking my fight to a more global level. I figured that people needed access to legal representation, who truly understood the unique challenges associated with psychopathy or individuals with psychopathic traits. So, I applied to law school.
I sandwiched the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) in between a restraining order filing, hearing, grad school, and parenting. I’ll admit, the practice book didn’t see as much action as it deserved and now, looking back, it is all a blur. Nevertheless, the importance gnawed at me, propelling me forward.
There’s a hole in the bucket
The Family Court system can be emotionally charged and frightening, especially without a basic understanding of how the laws and system work. On this site alone, many experience great angst. For every story here, there are also many more that remain untold.
Some feel that we need significant changes to occur in Family Court. Perhaps that is true. Either way, I believe that small scale initiatives are good places to start and can lead to greater change eventually. Legal professionals who “get it” are critical. Why? Because these types of cases are different.
For example, if you have no idea that the opposition’s attorney is going to attempt to hammer, intimidate, and discredit you, (although this happens in most types of law) you are going to become upset. This is especially true if you have truly done nothing wrong, as most of us “rule followers” have not. If you are in only the early stages of learning about personality disorders, you may not be able to comprehend why anyone would do this to you and may become caught up in trying to solve and fix. If we do that, we may allow the opposition to remove the attention from the facts. There’s a lot going on. If you don’t move quickly, you may get left behind.
Thus, the reason we retain attorneys. However, lawyers are busy. Even the most well intended, sometimes, don’t realize that those battling psychopaths, typically have different sets of needs. Few attorneys have first-hand knowledge of the court experience from their clients’ perspectives. While this is not necessary for success, it may help.
Then fix it
That’s where this gets complicated. There is not any one quick fix. It’s not as though one or even a few survivors can go to law school, hang their shingles, and BOOM, all the Family Law problems of the world evaporate. Not at all.
Rather, there may be some complex shifts that need to occur, involving multiple players on multiple fronts. Legislative changes may need to take place. But nothing will happen until we start the dialogue about psychopathy. When we do, we can expect some enlightenment, even if there is initial resistance. Attitudes will begin to change. Law makers will hopefully ponder the research. More judges and law makers will begin to see the connections between the research and the realities. There will be a clearer picture of psychopathy and the damaging effects on others the disorder brings.
With what shall we fix it?
Therefore, we must begin with education. I have to believe that we can do this. If those who came before us with similar issues threw their hands up in the air and gave up, many of us reading this blog would not be able to vote this November. My godchild would be sitting on the back of a bus, simply because of her race.
Thus, we must teach. The rules need to change when dealing with this disorder. Certain aspects of these cases must be handled somewhat differently than cases where pathology or pathological behavior does not exist. There are legal professionals who do, in fact, have grasps on this. More will only improve the cause.
I will work to increase knowledge regardless of my profession. That, I know. I will remain open to any and all options and look for opportunities along the way.
Strength and success to all entering the arena. Let’s not ever stop fighting the good fight!