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Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, and Lawyering Skills

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!

 



15 Comments on "Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, and Lawyering Skills"

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  1. Linda Hartoonian Almas says:

    bluejay, I wholeheartedly agree. Of course the family is aware – at least on some level. If they are not, they either have their heads buried deeper than deep, are also victims, or are also disordered. There are genetic links to psychopathy. There is a possibility that there may be others in the crowd.

    Yes, there are some mental health professionals who truly have this wrong. At the same time, there are many who do have it right. But I’m with you on the need for awareness campaigns initiated by that group. I do see movement in that direction, just based some of the work I know is being done among colleagues. We do need more to join the cause. Agreed.

    Truth, I understand completely. I am familiar with all that you describe about security. There are no insurance policies to protect from the madness. But that’s a great idea!! Our success can come, but we will need to re-define it. It may never be how we once envisioned it. That’s true. And sometimes, we do need to wait for the sign posts. I still feel like life can take me in 100 different directions. That is probably true for everyone, at least to some degree. But there is no question, we have some challenges.

    As far as the attorneys in the courtroom. I don’t know. Honestly, for many, it is just a job. I’m not saying that’s right. That’s why lawyers who “get it” are critical. Also, there are ways in which they are taught to behave and must conduct themselves in courts of law. I can’t say that I would be much different in court in that respect. It would not do a client any good for their attorney to become emotional in court. To me, the importance lies in what the understanding of psychopathy can bring to the entire picture; from personal interactions, support, information, to proper questioning, etc. Each of which can make a difference. You are correct. It is complicated.

    Must run. Blessings to you too!



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  2. 20years says:

    Truthspeak,

    Please keep up your ranting. 🙂

    What you wrote hit me hard. I could not agree with you more about calling this a condition rather than a disorder, and yeah, who cares about parsing the differences between malignant narcissism and sociopathy (among others).

    This is probably indicative of the stage I’m at right now. I’ve gone through so many. The “raw” one. You know, quivering on the floor. And the one where I am learning just a little, enough to be dangerous (to myself). Wanting to “out” him. But there is way more to this condition than that. The more I learn, the clearer it gets, and the more sure I am about what I’m dealing with.

    Well, at the very least I am glad that more and more people are speaking up in various ways about this “condition.” Whether it’s psychopaths in relationships, workplace, families, the court system, government agencies, etc. I believe it is all the very same thing.

    We cannot continue to pathologize the targets of these predators.

    Yes, yes, yes — as you say so very well — this can happen to ANYBODY. Anybody.

    And it is a horrifying thing to have the rug of stability (home, work, standing in community, family, financial resources) pulled out so completely from under you.

    The missing thing which does not sink in to most people is that it can happen to ANYBODY. There is nothing special about them which makes them immune to it. Nothing wrong with us that made us susceptible to it.

    Setting that aside…. of course we had *something* the sociopath wanted or we would not have been an attractive target.

    The biggest lie told to us (the one it’s time to set aside and begin telling the truth about) is that they don’t exist or, if we say that they do, then it is implied that they can be fixed or rehabilitated or at least understood (that they are just like us, but maybe deeply wounded creatures) and also that you can do business with the devil and come out unscathed.



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  3. Truthspeak says:

    20years, I can get on a rant, oh-boy-and-how. Sometimes, it’s a good thing for me to incise that wound and let the infection drain!

    “Disorder.” Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft!!! My a** is a disorder! The exspath is a condition – either conditioned through genetics (quite likely) or through environment (quite probable). Disorders are those situations that are not made by choice – schizophrenia, for instance. Nobody wakes up, one day, and makes the choice to become a schizophrenic. Multiple Sclerosis is a “disorder.” HIV is a disorder. Sociopathy is a series of behavioral choices, whether its roots are genetic or environmental. Plain and simple.

    If sociopathic behavior was treated as it should be – criminal behaviors of intent and purpose – then, people would be far less likely to engage in damaging behaviors. It’s just that farking simple. It is. Now, “bad behavior” is rewarded with fame, fortune, and celebrity. It’s time to replace “Bad Girls Club” shows with “Little House On The Prarie,” again….stop rewarding sociopathic behaviors, for criminy sake!

    Okie dokie….rant over.



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  4. Eralyn says:

    I agree with all that has been said here.

    There are predators in every area of living. (bugs, plants, animals, water and land, and so on)

    Why would there not be a human predator by nature?

    Does this seem so elementary to others as it does to me? I would like anyone to tell me what they think about this. I can’t come up with any knowledge that discounts this simple thinking of mine.

    It’s a disturbing thought but maybe it would shake up the ability to deny and enable.

    Eralyn



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  5. hope52 says:

    Truthspeak – I am with you on the psychiatric part, but my belief is that a large group of these “professionals” are psychopathic themselves. In fact, one of the largest groups. I sought the counseling of at least 10 different therapists over the course of the last 30 years and NOT ONE of them even mentioned personality disorder. depression, etc. NOT ONE.

    Sadly, as survivors that want to make a difference, we have many battle fronts to approach with our message. The legal system, the judicial system, the psychiatric system, and the general public at large.

    I gave a lecture this past March to a group of 150 young women age 18 -23 years old. When I told them I had been married to a psychopath for 16 years – about a dozen of them laughed.

    Until we can erase the image of the movie “Psycho” from the general public about sociopathy and psychopathy – we will not truly begin to make the difference in our culture.



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  6. Linda Hartoonian Almas says:

    hope, I totally agree with you. However, keep talking. Keep explaining the behaviors and defining. With that, over time, it will change. When I speak on the subject, I usually qualify with something like, “We are not name calling here. It’s not what you may think or the image you may have from the movies, etc. Rather, it is a real disorder, with real symptoms, behaviors, and problems/challenges, etc.” I have found that usually helps. We know it is misunderstood. We know that is a hurdle we will have to jump. Glad to see you are lecturing. Awesome!!



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