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Tell Lovefraud about your experience with sociopaths, PTSD and court

Judge Lou Olivera, of the Cumberland County, North Carolina, veterans court program, sentenced Sgt. Joseph Serna, a Special Forces soldier who did four combat tours in Afghanistan, to 24 hours in jail for violating probation.

Judge Olivera knew that Sgt. Serna suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So when the judge saw Serna trembling as he turned himself in to serve the sentence, Judge Olivera decided to serve the time with him.

Read:

A compassionate judge sentences a veteran to 24 hours in jail, then joins him behind bars, on WashingtonPost.com.

Yes, what Judge Olivera did to support Sgt. Serna is terrific. But what really impressed me was his effort in establishing the veterans court program, designed to help military personnel who are suffering from PTSD and other issues.

Finally, people are recognizing that PTSD is real. This wasn’t always the case.

Hiding PTSD

In 1975, when psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, met his first veteran, he had no training and no books on trauma. He finally found one book, published in 1941, called The Traumatic Neuroses of War, which described the experience of World War I veterans — exactly what van der Kolk was seeing in Vietnam veterans.

During the early years of World War I, van der Kolk says, the British created the diagnosis of “shell shock.” But dealing with suffering soldiers would have slowed the war effort, so the British General Staff issued an order forbidding the mention of “shell shock.” In 1922, the British government wanted to prevent the diagnosis of shell shock, so soldiers couldn’t claim they suffered a battlefield injury and demand compensation.

Soldiers have been keeping quiet about shell shock —PTSD — ever since.

Society is finally recognizing the seriousness of this stress injury. I was heartened to hear Judge Olivera talking about PTSD in the video, and how his court works to help people suffering from it.

It’s a start.

PTSD caused by sociopaths

Next, I’d like to see widespread recognition of the fact that PTSD can be caused by psychological or emotional war — the type of war declared by sociopaths.

Mental health experts are talking about “complex PTSD,” but the consensus definition still doesn’t cover the experience of many Lovefraud readers who have been targeted by sociopaths.

Here’s what the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) says:

The ISTSS task force definition of Complex PTSD included the core symptoms of PTSD (reexperiencing, avoidance/numbing, and hyper-arousal) in conjunction with a range of disturbances in self-regulatory capacities. The latter were grouped into five broad domains: (a) emotion regulation difficulties, (b) disturbances in relational capacities, (c) alterations in attention and consciousness (e.g., dissociation), (d) adversely affected belief systems, and (e) somatic distress or disorganization. Complex PTSD is typically the result of exposure to repeated or prolonged instances or multiple forms of interpersonal trauma, often occurring under circumstances where escape is not possible due to physical, psychological, maturational, family/environmental, or social constraints (Herman, 1992). Such traumatic stressors include childhood physical and sexual abuse, recruitment into armed conflict as a child, being a victim of domestic violence, sex trafficking or slave trade; experiencing torture, and exposure to genocide campaigns or other forms of organized violence.

I think we can all agree with the cause of PSTD, “exposure to repeated or prolonged instances or multiple forms of interpersonal trauma, often occurring under circumstances where escape is not possible due to physical, psychological, maturational, family/environmental, or social constraints.”

But I wish the examples of stressors included “intentional psychological or emotional manipulation by a personality disordered individual.”

What’s your experience?

Lovefraud would like to collect some information on the topic of PTSD, sociopaths and court. If you’ve experienced this situation, please share what happened. For your own protection do not include any names, locations or other details that may identify you.

Here are some questions to answer in a comment:

  1. Do you feel like, because of your experience with a sociopath, you have symptoms that meet the definition of complex PTSD?
  1. If you had to go to court for any reason because of your experience with the sociopath, how did it go?
  1. Did you become symptomatic in court, or try to explain your symptoms?
  1. What was the response of the judge, court officials or attorneys?

I hope that with this preliminary information, we can design a formal survey to collect reliable data about this situation.

 



9 Comments on "Tell Lovefraud about your experience with sociopaths, PTSD and court"

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  1. 4mydaughter says:

    I am answering this question on behalf of my daughter and granddaughters. Yes—I believe that my daughter and granddaughters both displayed symptoms of PTSD as a result of the sociopathic behavior of her Ex-husband. His behavior included falsely charging her with domestic violence in order to achieve the upper-hand during divorce proceedings. During that time, the children, aged 2 and 11, were denied all access to their mother. Her attorney seemed to initially promise to fight these charges. But later, when her Ex suddenly dropped the charges (knowing that he had no basis.) My daughter’s attorney encouraged her to just let it go, rather than fight it in court. This was a mistake. Plus if her attorney had truly investigated her Ex—he would have easily discovered that he had moved his girlfriend in during this time. All of this information would have undermined her Ex’s credibility in front of a judge. Eventually, my daughter won custody of her girls after a long expensive trial—partly due to the fact that he denied access to their mother. But the Judge never seemed to realize the damage done to my daughter’s and granddaughter’s emotional stability. The older granddaughter actually displayed PHYSICAL problems as a result of her father’s cruel and punishing behavior—which continued during visitation—until she finally bluntly stated that she no longer wanted to go over there anymore. Of course, her father became the martyr at that time, telling her that she “no longer needed to go.” Once she was released from forced visitation with him—her physical problems gradually improved until they disappeared entirely. My daughter never tried to explain her symptoms in court because the process in our state does not seem to allow for any of that kind of testimony. No one seems to care if children and spouses are damaged by sociopath/narcissistic behavior. It is just not recognized—but clearly needs to be. Children and spouses need to be protected from these individuals instead of being forced to adhere to joint custody because it is deemed “fair.” The court system is seeking to somehow paint a broad stroke of justice for the fact that men were previously denied equal rights and access to their children. What has transpired in the past cannot be rectified by forcing children to endure mistreatment by parents who are not emotionally fit to care for them. I fear the court system has a long long road ahead. But I hope my input an help.



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    • 4mydaughter – thank you so much for sharing your family’s experience. This is exactly the type of information I’d like to collect. What is really happening in these cases?



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      • shenik says:

        Donna and 4mydaughter,

        I am collecting information as to why women chose the man who turns out to be a psychopath. I know they are charming in the beginning and seem intelligent (I am just out of toxic psycho relationship myself).

        I believe it is only certain type of women who attract them, and I was one of them!

        These are women who take too much responsibility. That is the key to bad relationship.

        Once man asked me for money that is not for joint household expenses or has not contributed into household expenses he is out of my life.

        Its us, women, who are at fault for letting them treat us the way they do!
        We need to change, become weak in a sense that we can not take on their responsibilities. At least play it as a role in the beginning.
        I was a strong career woman with a big job and stupid enough to portray myself as such.. Big mistake! Not anymore.. I am still successful, but I put myself across as a decent nutritionist with very decent income..

        We need to learn to see through their charm, there are always signs.. I can publish an article called Believe non of what you hear, and half of what you see”.
        I am happy to contribute into your online seminars on a voluntary basis.



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  2. spellbreaker says:

    Here are some questions to answer in a comment:

    Do you feel like, because of your experience with a sociopath, you have symptoms that meet the definition of complex PTSD?

    Absolutely, I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. Not only did I survive a marriage with a sociopath but I also had to survive seven years of post-divorce stalking, harassment, assaults, custody battles, using children to maintain control, etc. While the sociopath did all this damage, he simultaneously vacationed in exotic places, purchased a corvette, went to the bars, had affairs, etc. while his children lived in poverty. People in general have no idea how bad sociopaths are until they’ve had their own run-in with a devil.

    If you had to go to court for any reason because of your experience with the sociopath, how did it go?

    Re-traumatized by the legal system because it’s all about blaming the victim rather than holding perpetrators accountable. The legal system does not seem to recognize people who lie, charm, put on a mask, are extremely irrational and destructive, do not care even about children, etc.

    Did you become symptomatic in court, or try to explain your symptoms?
    What was the response of the judge, court officials or attorneys?

    Over their head…made no difference at all…in fact, all they could think about was ‘she’s vindictive’ rather than being a protective parent or someone who desperately needed protection and healing.



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  3. becomingstrong says:

    Do you feel like, because of your experience with a sociopath, you have symptoms that meet the definition of complex PTSD?

    Yes.

    If you had to go to court for any reason because of your experience with the sociopath, how did it go?
    It is ongoing. It is prolonged, protracted, he pushes the courts boundaries to the outer fringes and only complies when he senses the court’s will is at its end. He is willing to pour money into futile motions to keep from producing simple discovery. Because discover = divorce and I ask for a final hearing.

    Did you become symptomatic in court, or try to explain your symptoms? No, I am basically very stoic. I do however, become symptomatic when my lawyer does or says something which shows me she is unaware/ignorant to his ploys. Ie: when she agrees to a continuance after months and months of delays because his lawyer said he didn’t know about the hearing. His lawyer has said he didn’t know about hearings every single hearing for months. My lawyer believes his lawyer to be stupid. His lawyer isn’t stupid he’s playing my lawyer and the judge.

    What was the response of the judge, court officials or attorneys? Court thinks he’s just your typical arrogant, busy, can’t be bothered to obey court orders doctor. My lawyer thinks the same. His attorney and the spath are like a tag team in court. His lawyer told my lawyer, to get another continuance, that he would have the discovery (it is on its way mountains of it) by the end of day five weeks ago. Never came. I have instructed her in no uncertain terms there we will oppose all continuances, extensions, delays no matter what the reason. During the spaths own hearing where he was asking for custody of my daughter he filed a motion for continuance citing lack of childcare-oh the irony of it. The court has held him in contempt, fined him lots of money and ordered that he sign releases so I could get the financial information directly from the entities. He’s filed an appeal on that order. My lawyer said it was because he didn’t “want to pay”. I told her no he’ll pay the fine he’s fighting getting the discovery, he’s fighting the essence of the court order not the fines. Sure enough we have the check for the fines but no signed releases (four pieces of paper). He’s showing the court through this appeal he’s not just some can’t be bothered doctor. He can be bothered now to file an appeal now. Now let’s see if the court and my lawyer hear the message.



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  4. stronginthecity says:

    1.Do you feel like, because of your experience with a sociopath, you have symptoms that meet the definition of complex PTSD?
    Yes.
    2.If you had to go to court for any reason because of your experience with the sociopath, how did it go?
    Yes, I filed for an emergency order of protection and it went well.
    I was able to work with an attorney at the court house and go before a judge the same day.
    The judge took time and read my 4 page complaint and granted the order without 1 question.
    Had to go back to court and the disordered individual showed up, I had a court liaison with me and the order was granted for 2 years.
    I had to really dig to find the services and made a few phone calls as I was not offered the free services the court provided but once I called it was very helpful.
    3.Did you become symptomatic in court, or try to explain your symptoms?
    Yes. I had heart palpitations and dizziness
    4.What was the response of the judge, court officials or attorneys?
    The attorneys were horrified at the amount of abuse, manipulation and gaslighting by the disordered one.
    The officials and judge were very good, saw right through it all.



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