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Mass Killings, Including Sandy Hook Elementary, Suggest Government And Psychiatric Medications Can Be Deadly

December 16th, 2012 3 comments

In the aftermath of the December 14, 2012, mass murder of 27 presumably innocent victims at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the mass media is predictably filled with discussion about gun control laws. When you consider the full story behind mass killings in schools, this is highly irrational and irresponsible. It is akin to discussing banning cars because of driving fatalities caused by people using prescription drugs.

This comparison is doubly apt because so many school killers were using dangerous antidepressant prescription drugs. Recent media discussion mentions that Adam Lanza, the accused shooter, may have suffered long-term mental health problems including an unspecified personality disorder and possible autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Given how the mental health care system in the US works, it is likely that Adam Lanza was taking one or more psychiatric drugs. While many take these drugs without killing anybody, there are numerous cases in which patients with no history of violence took such drugs for even just a few days and became highly violent and committed suicide or homicide. Given what happened at Sandy Hook, it is important for authorities to investigate and reveal any medications that Adam Lanza may have been using.

Guns Are Not The Problem

Guns are not the only way to maim and kill large numbers of people. Further, they virtually never kill anybody without direct action by a person who has made the gun dangerous by misuse.


Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do

Even in China, where guns are outlawed and the government quickly stomps on anybody opposing its opinions including by military violence against its own citizens, troubled people still harm school children with ease.

On the same day as the Sandy Hook massacre, Min Yingjun is accused of attacking a group of school students walking to school using a knife. Reports claim that 22 kids and one adult were injured.
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What Can We Learn From Narcissist Sam Vaknin?

October 8th, 2012 1 comment

Can we learn something from a narcissist? The answer is a resounding yes. Massive destruction on the level created by narcissists such as Stalin, Hitler, and Mao shows us that narcissists can gain power and that some of them do horrible things with that power. By studying these people, we can see how they used charm, manipulations, and development of cults of personality to gain the power they used to do great evil.

Fortunately the lessons we can learn from narcissists do not always involve evaluating widespread societal destruction caused by them. Author Sam Vaknin is a self-identified narcissist. He was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in 1996 during the course of parole actions related to a conviction for stock fraud in Israel. Since then, he has written extensively about narcissism. His view is that many leaders in politics, finance, and religion are narcissists and that many of these narcissists are also psychopaths. His writings are intended to help others understand and protect themselves from narcissists.

Sam Vaknin is most unusual that he is willing to admit to his behavioral traits, unlike most psychopaths and sociopaths who deny there is anything wrong with them and work hard to hide proof of their behaviors. Indeed many of them project their own behaviors onto others, particularly their victims, and blame everybody but themselves for their problems.

Psychological Terminology Is Confusing

“Psychopath” is not a precise diagnostic term, at least not from the perspective of DSM-IV which is the current version of what is widely regarding as the standard for practice of mental health in the US. DSM-IV does not use “psychopath” as a label for any particular disorder.

Prior to DSM-III was was published in 1980, there was an APA (American Psychological Association) diagnostic label of “psychopath”. DSM-III changed that to Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). The current DSM-IV has continued the use of ASPD as the closest diagnostic label to what was formerly known as psychopathy. DSM-V, due out in the near future, continues to use ASPD.
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What Will Happen To The Children Of Gordon And Tiffany Smith?

September 17th, 2012 No comments

Family law courts habitually fail to recognize that women can be sociopaths that are dangerous to the children. Even when they show strong signs of a sociopathic personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder, the courts and government agencies like CPS often ignore warning signs and fail to act to protect the children when there is clear reason to believe they are in danger from their disturbed mothers. They make orders that indicate a belief the children are somehow better off living with a female sociopath who breaks the law and court orders than with a safe and sane father who is repeatedly falsely accused of things he did not do and is following the law and court orders.

This pattern is exactly what we are seeing play out in the case of Gordon Smith and Tiffany Smith of Delaware. Tiffany Smith has executed a distortion and harassment campaign against Gordon for more than three years. He has been repeatedly arrested based upon false accusations. Reports from late August 2012 were 8 arrests for 14 false allegations.

The exact numbers of the moment, which have changed rapidly in the past few months as many more false allegations were made by Tiffany Smith, is not particularly important. What matters is that the cost to Gordon has been the loss of his time with the children, severe harm to his career, major financial damages, and repeated suffering from false arrests and incarcerations. All this happened despite him having not been convicted of a crime and the police being in possession of solid evidence that many of the accusations were outright lies.

The Smith children suffer from lack of their father and living with a mother for whom two of her foremost goals in life is to prevent them from seeing their father and to put their father in prison using malicious false allegations. Tiffany Smith clearly isn’t thinking of the best interests of the children, but the courts continue to leave the children in the custody of a monster.

Tiffany Smith Finally Arrested

Until recently, Tiffany Marie Smith got away with her abuse of Gordon Smith with zero consequences to herself. On August 31 or September 1, 2012, Dover Police Department finally arrested Tiffany Smith for recent false allegations and reports to police because they had clear cut evidence that she lied to them which had caused them to falsely arrest Gordon Smith. The official police department statement is:
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Mildly Alienating Parents Can Sometimes Be Helped To Stop Abuse, Steps You Can Take To Help Your Kids

August 1st, 2012 2 comments

If you’ve read books or other publications on parental alienation, you may have the impression that divorced parents who are alienators are unlikely to stop this form of abuse for any reason. There are a couple of common misconceptions here. First of all, even though parental alienation is usually discussed in the context of divorce, the fact is that parental alienation often starts long before a divorce or separation as the psychological factors that drive the most severe alienators include life-long personality disorders that were present long before the children were born. Secondly, it turns out that not all alienating parents are incurable. This is particularly true of mildly alienating parents who are angry but are not personality disordered. Often these mild alienators are prone to nasty verbal remarks about the target parent but do not engage in false abuse allegations and extreme interference in contact with the kids. If this is the pattern you see in your situation, there is some reason for hope. With appropriate teaching and enforcement of rules and boundaries, you can help your kids resist alienation. In mild cases of alienation, you may even be able to help your ex stop his or her behaviors. Even if you cannot get the ex to stop, taking appropriate steps early with your kids can often inoculate them sufficiently to prevent their alienation from becoming severe even in the face of a very nasty ex who is constantly badmouthing you.

Douglas Darnall, Ph.D., is a psychologist who works with many children suffering from parental alienation and is the author of Divorce Casualties: Understanding Parental Alienation. His analysis is that there are three types of alienating parents:

  1. Naive alienators
  2. Active alienators
  3. Obsessed alienators

Darnall contends that all parents occasionally are naive alienators who carelessly drop a remark here or there that puts down the other parent. Some may inadvertently slip into using alienating language as they struggle to counteract the badmouthing the children are hearing about them and behaviors the children have engaged in to support the alienating parent. These alienators generally do not cause extensive damage to kids because their alienation behaviors are sporadic and the kids continue to have enough contact with both parents that they can see for themselves what each parent is really like. Some of them, particularly those who are target parents trying to cope with difficult problems who just don’t have the skills and practice needed to stay completely away from judgmental language, they don’t really qualify as alienators in my view. However, Darnall tends to categorize this group more by words than by intent or context.

Active alienators know what they are doing and may know what they are doing is wrong, but do it anyway because of how angry they are. Darnall claims some of them may even feel guilty about it later. The children suffering from an active alienator generally show signs of harm, but it may not be obvious what that harm is at a casual glance. Often these kids miss some of their time with the target parent because of interference by the alienating parent. This makes them more susceptible to the distorting influence of what is an active alienation campaign.

Obsessed alienators are another matter entirely. These parents are focused on destroying the other parent and giving the children no choice but to hate that parent. They don’t care if what they are doing is wrong, and frankly they generally mistakenly believe it is right. Often these obsessed alienators are suffering from a personality disorder that results in them showing behaviors across the board that indicate they believe they are above the rules and the law. The children of obsessed alienators often show marked harm with behavioral problems, insecurities, eating disorders, substance abuse problems, poor performance in school, and other obvious signs. Frequently they echo the alienating parent’s complaints about the target parent and may actually believe what they are saying, in part because they are often denied much of their time with the target parent and therefore are highly influenced by the streams of badmouthing and distortions coming from the alienator.

Mild Alienators May Be Helped By Appealing To Their Self-Interest

I would clump most of the naive and and some of the active alienators into the category of “mild alienators” who are sometimes upset enough to trash the other parent but in general are not engaging in extreme forms of alienation including false child sexual abuse allegations, extensive community-wide distortion campaigns, frequent malicious violations of court orders, and other severe behaviors that you see nearly all of the obsessed alientors use in their alienation campaigns.

Some of these mild alienators can be helped to realize that their behaviors are harmful not only to their children, but to themselves, as well. Children who are subjected to parental alienation often become adults who avoid or turn against the alienating parent. When a angry but mildly alienating parent is confronted with information like this and shown there are better alternatives, many of them are capable of change. The book The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce by psychologists Elizabeth Thayer and Jeffrey Zimmerman has practical advice on how to restructure the relationship between the parents to be business-like contact that is about simple logistics (schedules, school events, medical and therapy appointments, etc.) and what is best for the kids. If you read this book or another title like it and can get your mildly alienating ex to read it, too, there’s a chance that she or he will turn around and start to behave more reasonably.

If your divorce has resulted in nasty words and a mild lack of cooperation that is affecting the kids but has not involved false criminal and abuse allegations, extensive perjury, and systematic harassment against you and your family, this strategy of using a good book to help bridge the communications gap and reduce the conflict may be useful to you.
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Alienated Moms Have It Bad Due to NOW’s Support of Child Abuse

July 17th, 2012 1 comment

Parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse that occurs when one parent teaches the children to fear, disrespect, and/or avoid the other parent. It’s a common problem in divorces, but unknown to many alienation often gets started in marriages well before a divorce.

Studies of parental alienation show that alienators are almost exclusively parents with sole custody of the children. Statistics on child custody arrangements show that around 80% to 85% of children of divorce in the US end up in the sole custody of their mothers and that this has been the case for multiple decades despite changes in family law and society. These two observations combined mean that parental alienators are predominantly mothers and the parents they are teaching the children to hate are primarily fathers.

Alienators are emotional child abusers, often in more ways than just by teaching the kids to hate the other parent. Many alienators suffer personality disorders and also engage in emotional parentification (also known as emotional incest) by inappropriately using their children as emotional crutches for themselves.

To deny the culpability of these mothers who are child abusers, feminists belonging to groups such as the National Organization of Women (NOW) deny the very existence of parental alienation. They usually offer statements that there is “no scientific evidence that parental alienation is real” and “parental alienation is an excuse for why children do not like child abusing fathers.” Richard Gardner, a psychiatrist who was among those early in describing and defining Parental Alienation Syndrome (commonly abbreviated as PAS, it is a severe form of parental alienation in which the child aligns completely with the alienating parent), made it clear that alienation was not at work if the child disliked a parent who was truly being abusive to the child. But the feminists, in their zeal to treat all women as victims and trash all men as abusers, completely overlook that fact.

There are a growing number of alienated moms in which the child abuser in the family is the father. Typically this occurs in families in which the father has a narcissistic personality and has some advantages such as:

  • He is more wealthy.
  • He has more education.
  • He has professional certification such as a doctor, lawyer, judge, or law enforcement officer.
  • He is more politically connected.
  • He is a native operating in his own culture and the mother is an immigrant.

These advantages for a narcissistic man often aid him in reversing the usual anti-father bias in family courts, generally producing an anti-mother bias in these cases. Although anti-father bias is clearly wrong, it is disgustingly ironic that often when the bias becomes anti-mother it is happening in cases in which the fathers actually are behaving abusively.
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Psychopathic Women Dangerous to Men and Children Alike

July 16th, 2012 No comments

There is a significant percentage of people who put their own selfish desires first, lack the capacity to have empathy for others, and have no grasp of basic principles of fairness or justice. Many of these people also refuse to follow laws and rules intended to protect the rights and safety of others. Collectively, these people are often referred to as sociopaths or psychopaths. Although many of the most famous psychopaths are male serial killers, in reality psychopaths come in both genders. But if you have heard the endless droning of radical feminists and “domestic violence advocates” (some of whom are violent women themselves), you may be under the mistaken impression that women are nonviolent and men are always the violent ones. To help correct this misperception, in this article we present a few cases where nonviolent men were murdered by women in their own homes to back up the point that women in fact are entirely capable of very vicious deadly violence and can quality for being psychopaths, too. In some of these cases, these violent women not only murdered their lovers, they also attempted to kill other relatives living in the same home including even their own children.

Ronnie Tatad Allegedly Murdered Her Ex-Husband Via Boiling Water

In one of the most recent of these horrific stories, 39 year old Ronnie Tatad is believed to have boiled hot water and dumped it on her sleeping ex-husband, 36 year old Jesusa Tatad, in the Daly City, California apartment the two shared four years after their 2007 divorce. Two weeks later, Mr. Tatad died from infection contracted as the result of second and third degree burns over about 55 to 60 percent of his body. Apparently pouring boiling water over her ex hadn’t been enough for her. Reports are that she also assaulted him with a baseball bat to the head as he was in agony from the burns.


Woman scalds ex-husband with boiling water

If these allegations are true, Ronnie Tatad is a psychopath who belongs in prison for life. She is just one of what are probably many thousands or more female psychopaths who have committed horrific crimes against defenseless men while they were sleeping.

Teresa Spitz Shot Husband In Head Three Times, Murdered Mother-In-Law

Another stellar example of a crazy female murderer is Teresa Spitz. This psycho woke up in the middle of the night one day in 2004, took her son to a neighbor’s home in their Englewood, Colorado community, and then went back to shoot her sleeping husband Peter Spitz in the head three times after she put a pillow over his head. She then killed his mother who lived with them.

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US Courthouses Are Venues for Sociopathic Harassment Against Targets Without Audio and Video Recording Devices

July 1st, 2012 2 comments

Recently I was listening to an Internet talk show featuring Dr. Tara Palmatier of Shrink4Men and Paul Elam of A Voice for Men. A caller related a story about how his friend showed up for a court hearing to finalize his divorce and was physically assaulted in the court house by his ex and then falsely accused by her and arrested by the police. This story and several others I have heard and read provide ample cause for a revision in US laws to permit private video and audio recording in courthouses to be used for the protection of the people who are forced to appear in courthouses.

Listen to internet radio with AVoiceforMen on Blog Talk Radio

It occurred to me that some people may think being arrested for being a victim of assault in a courthouse sounds far out, but in fact it is not unusual conduct for abusers to go after their target in a court or public setting by staging attacks or simply making up false allegations. For details on this particular incident, listen to the radio program about 64 minutes into the show if you don’t have the time to listen to the whole program.

Another person who has been attacked by his ex in a courthouse is family law reform activist Ben Vonderheide of Pennsylvania. His ex and her new boyfriend conspired to attempt to frame him for assault in a courthouse and made false reports to police to attempt to get him arrested. But because he relentlessly employs audio and video recording devices, even when he is threatened over how they are not allowed and he thereby risks his own false arrest, he was able to prove they assaulted him. This resulted in what is claimed to be the one and only prosecution for perjury in a family law case in the United States.

Ben Vonderheide Exposes Pennsylvania’s Abusive Child Profiteering Racket

Vonderheide’s abusive ex and her latest boyfriend Theodore Yoder were convicted of repeatedly lying to police to try to get Vonderheide arrested on false allegations. The convictions occurred in part because Vonderheide had very convincing evidence. He video and audio records constantly because of his extended experience with pathological liar Flanders, especially if she might be in the area. If he didn’t have those recordings, he might have wound up in prison for a very long time. That’s because in the US, domestic violence and restraining order violation allegations are treated as guilty until proven innocent crimes in violation of the US Constitution. You have to prove your innocence, yet even when you do, you can still be hounded with persecution via a record of criminal accusations that will cost you jobs, income, and your reputation potentially for the rest of your life.

Vonderheide finds himself a frequent target for physical violence and false allegations because he asks questions of backers of the abusive family courts and gender-biased domestic violence laws. These people seek to intimidate and harass him any way they can. When he showed up at the US Senate to ask questions of those backing renewal of the sexist VAWA law, National Organization of Women attorney Lisalyn R. Jacobs physically assaulted him. This abusive physically violent woman is a domestic violence expert for CNN and the New York Times. She espouses the “men are violent, women are victims” drivel that is one the primary reasons behind the total failure of the DV industry to put a stop to violence in families, yet she herself is violent and her actions prove she is a liar when it comes to the DV claims pursued by her gender-biased organization.
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Summers And Holidays Are Seasons of Elevated Child Custody Conflict With A Psycho Ex

June 29th, 2012 No comments

Pop culture would have you believe that summer is a carefree time for kids and the holidays are a wonderful time of the year for family. But many parents suffering from the psychological warfare campaign of a psycho ex dread the summers and holidays because it is often at these times of the year that the psycho ex creates even more conflict than usual. Whether the dreaded ex best fits the label of a psycho, an alienator, a Borderline, a Narcissist, or a sociopath, the behaviors regarding summers and holidays are usually highly disruptive and destructive to both the quality and quantity of time you have with the kids.

School Schedules Help Ensure Child Time Share Consistency

When the kids are in school, there is often consistent structure and predictability to the time you can see your kids. Picking up kids from school and dropping them off there often works very well for several reasons. First and foremost, the other parent has no business being there at those times so the loyalty conflicts and emotional and verbal abuse that go hand-in-hand with the presence of the psycho are often not so severe at school. Secondly, the kids see that school pickups and dropoffs are exactly what all their other classmates are doing, too, even the ones whose families haven’t been destroyed by divorce and child custody battles. This generally means they don’t feel as stigmatized or traumatized about exchanges done at school. Finally, the school schedule tends to be rather consistent. This means the kids know what the expect. The reduced uncertainty takes a bit of their worries away and you don’t have to renegotiate your time with the kids every week.

But when school is out, you are stuck with having to find alternate pickup and dropoff locations. With a psycho ex, you may be best off hiring a professional custody exchange service or using a police station that has extensive video surveillance to help reduce the chances of being falsely accused or stalked.

Childcare Centers and Camps

Childcare centers can be convenient pickup and dropoff locations as they share some features with school exchanges. A childcare center is more likely to be neutral and safe than a private residence. Also only one parent needs to be there at a time regarding child pickups and drop-offs.

Sometimes the summers and holidays result in the whole schedule going up for grabs, even if the court orders are not written that way. Some psycho parents put their kids in childcare virtually all the time, even when the other parent volunteers to provide free childcare for the kids during weekdays and let the psycho ex have the weekends. Then the psycho ex sends the other parent the bill for the needless childcare, demanding the abused parent pay half or all of the childcare expenses. Some of these psycho parents are so mentally ill that they would prefer to have little time with the kids so they can stick it to the ex for childcare expenses.

But sometimes instead of a basic childcare center, the psycho parent instead seeks out camps that have schedules that will interfere with the other parent’s time with the kids. Psycho dumps the kids in all-day camps or even overnight away camps that make it more difficult for you to retrieve the kids. For instance, she or he may sign them up for a camp that buses the kids to some location an hour away or has them on the water or at an amusement park on rides where they cannot be readily retrieved when your time with them is supposed to start. So your regular midweek visit with the kids suddenly gets cut short an hour, two, or more because of this active interference.

Court Order Violations

Dumping the kids into camps that curtail your time with them is often a direct violation of court orders that state that parents are not to schedule activities for the kids during the other parent’s time without prior written agreement. But if you have a psycho ex, you know that these mentally damaged people interpret court orders to constrain your actions while believing court orders have no effect whatsoever on them.
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Treatment of Depression and Anxiety from High Conflict Divorce and Child Custody Battles Using Antidepressants and Benzodiazepines Is Risky

May 19th, 2012 10 comments

NOTE: This collaboratively written article incorporates text by multiple authors including Rob, Alison, and Chris.

Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences most people endure, right up there with a death in the family, job loss and extended unemployment, or a medical catastrophe such as cancer. When you add to the mix a child custody battle with a Personality Disordered Abuser as your adversary, you will likely experience years of false allegations, be kicked out of your home, see your kids and family suffer the abuse of parental alienation, experience frequent misconduct by the courts, see your reputation ruined by defamation, suffer job loss and chronic underemployment or unemployment, and many other damages. During such a hellish experience, it is only natural to be depressed, anxious, and suffer chronic sleep problems. The continual stress results in what may initially appear as psychological problems but which inevitably result in physiological damage to one’s health.

Many suffering from this nightmare will seek medical help from their general practitioner or psychiatrist. At some level they know the stress-related symptoms they are experiencing are not “all in their heads” as some may claim. Sometimes medical practitioners do help, other times they begin another series of upsets to their patient’s health. That’s because the mainstream therapies used by many doctors often include too quickly prescribing common antidepressants and anxiolytic medications that have a plethora of adverse effects on health. Fortunately, there are alternatives that can often help without the need for these medications or can help to reduce the prescription medication dosages required and thereby help avert some of the worst of the side effects.

Psychotherapy Is Not A Cure

When you visit your doctor or psychiatrist and explain how you can’t sleep and are depressed and anxious from the horrors of the family law system, first of all you should realize that most of these medical practitioners don’t really understand you or your situation. Unless one has been through the nightmare of the family law courts or has seen the destruction they inflict upon a close family member or friend, it’s hard to have any real understanding of this miserable reality.

Some medical providers may brush off your request for medication, pointing out that your stress is temporary and will go away in a few months and advise you to see a psychologist or therapist. While good psychologists and therapists can certainly provide some help, what they can do is often not enough as the manifestations of the family law crisis often include physiological illness brought on by chronic stress.

Many psychotherapists simply aren’t much use in such difficult situations. First of all, for a chance of good results you must find one who has some experience with the family law system and forms of child abuse including parental alienation. If you pick a therapist who has never set foot in a family court room and seen how dysfunctional the system is, you are far less likely to get competent treatment or helpful advice.

Many psychotherapists have zero experience in family law battles. They may be experts at substance abuse, marital arguments, or helping people suffering job loss but know nothing about extreme divorce and child custody battles. Even those who do have some experience often lack a full appreciation of how abusive, arbitrary, and destructive the family law courts are to their victims and how it frequently takes nothing but an unproven false allegation to put a good parent who has broken no laws and abused nobody into a no-contact or expensive supervised visitation situation that is itself a form of emotional abuse.

Naive therapists may be operating under the mistaken impression that you can’t be kicked out of your home and have all your property and assets taken from you without a chance to present your side of the story or at least some evidence of wrongdoing. But in today’s family law courts, it is not unusual for that to happen. One lie is all it takes to ruin months or years of the lives of the falsely accused parent and his or her children. A second lie is often all it takes to amplify the damage tenfold. The general public fails to understand this, and so do most therapists.

A really excellent therapist for you should also be expertly familiar with personality disorders and sociopathic abuse patterns. Some therapists run away from personality disorder cases as fast as they can. They know how dangerous these people can be to them personally. Others are totally ignorant of how destructive personality disorders can be to the misfortunate ones who married and/or had children with a person suffering one of the DSM-IV Axis II Cluster B personality disorders including Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic, and Antisocial personality disorders. Ideally, you want a therapist who knows a lot about personality disorders and is brave enough to help you face off with one of these people. “Brave” applies here because it is common for the Personality Disordered Abuser to seek to defame and even file complaints seeking to revoke the license of a therapist who dares to challenge their abusive behaviors or help their victims.

Unfortunately, finding a suitable therapist is often very difficult to do. For many people, joining a high conflict divorce or parental alienation support group or web discussion forum and asking for referrals from the people there may be one of the few realistic means they have to find a therapist who might be of some help.

If you are fortunate enough to find a good therapist familiar with family court abuse, you are likely to get some useful support and advice that may help you weather the long storm. But even when you have found a good therapist and are starting to build some rapport, the odds are strong that by then you will be suffering physiological symptoms of extreme stress that even an excellent therapist cannot resolve. Lots of talk therapy isn’t enough on its own to turn around severe depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders. Realizing this, you’ll probably go back to your doctor again looking for medical help.

Psychiatric Medicines Are Not Panaceas or Candy

After hearing that you’ve got a psychotherapist and are still suffering, even conservative doctors are going to whip out the prescription pad if they haven’t already. They are likely to quickly prescribe an antidepressant, an anxiolytic, and possibly a sleep medication from their list of favorites. Every doctor has favorite meds, ones they have used for years or new ones they want to try because they got a box full of samples or a fancy $100 surf ‘n turf dinner, golf outing, or a week long tropical vacation in the dead of winter from a big pharma rep pushing a lucrative new pill. So what you will be prescribed may often have little or nothing to do with what will actually work.
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How and Why Psycho Parents Manipulate Kids to Resist Custody Exchanges

March 11th, 2012 13 comments

You’ve probably heard the term “Psycho Ex Wife” if you’ve talked with a man who has suffered from the atrocities of the family law courts manipulated by a truly malevolent ex. It was popularized in part by the illegally banned website The Psycho Ex Wife. Malicious moms are deservingly labeled as psychos quite often, hence the widespread recognition of the phrase. The reality is that both men and women can behave horribly and abusively using the children as pawns in a struggle with the other parent. Often this abusiveness starts even before the filing for a divorce.

It’s hard to find a widely accepted term for referring to the kind of maliciously manipulative parents that interfere with their children’s time with the other parent. Some call them “high conflict personalities” (HCPs), others “parental alienators”, still others “sociopaths” or “psychopaths.” Many refer to Borderlines, Narcissists, Histrionics, Antisocials, Paranoids, or other personality disorder diagnoses to explain the behaviors and label the abusers. The problem is huge and really encompasses multiple groups of people with severely messed up behaviors as parents. For this article, I’ll simply be referring to them as “psycho parents” and not try to more precisely label them.

In this article, I’ll be describing some of the tactics that psycho parents use to manipulate kids to participate in resisting child custody exchanges. This is part of the overall problem of parental alienation. The psycho parent is often successful at causing children to resist custody exchanges even in cases in which the children do not actually hate the parent being attacked and still enjoy spending time with that parent.

Anybody faced with a psycho parent is likely to benefit from reading about Borderlines and Narcissists and their interactions with children. However, don’t let this mislead you into trying to diagnose one of these people and use such as a diagnosis in court. Even if you are absolutely correct in your assessment, judges almost uniformly lack the understanding of what it means and will attack you for putting a reasonable label on the bizarre and destructive behaviors because you’re not a licensed psychologist. Unfortunately, many if not most licensed psychologists are not capable of diagnosing these kinds of disorders accurately because they lack the time with the person and also, in some cases, have their own agendas and biases that make them easy targets for a psycho parent to manipulate.

Motivations of the Psycho Parent

If there’s anything truly common to all psycho parents, it’s hard to find. Although many of them were abused by one or both parents as kids, not all were. And not all abused kids grow up to be psycho parents. Many psycho parents are Borderlines or Narcissists, but not all are. Even if they do meet the criteria for BPD, NPD, or some other personality disorder, few are formally diagnosed and fewer still ever voluntarily seek treatment or honestly work on fixing their problems. So the formal name for whatever ails them is somewhat besides the point, although it is sometimes handy as an abbreviation for describing their overall behavior patterns.

What I find to be reasonably frequent features of psycho parents are the following:

  • A history of insecurity during childhood. This often stems from child abuse or neglect in the home, but can also arise from other situations such as severe poverty or living in a unsafe environment such as a neighborhood with frequent violence from crime or war.
  • Pervading sense of insecurity about one’s self as an adult. This flows from the childhood insecurities that were never resolved. Some might say that Narcissists don’t act like this, often touting their own superiority. But when you think about it, they really do have intense insecurities and their Narcissitic behaviors are the means to make themselves feel better or to hide their self-doubts.
  • Extreme focus on self. Inside their adult bodies they are still hurt little insecure children. Consequently, they are usually unable to focus on anybody but themselves because they are so badly damaged they never learned how to do so. This shows up via narcissistic traits such as selfishness, even if the person does not meet the criteria for NPD.
  • Little or no empathy for others. These people are usually unable to put themselves in another’s shoes, or to consider how their words and actions harm others. They probably don’t care. Sometimes you may see them pretend to care, but usually this is a means to manipulate others. Other times, it is simply they are following behavior patterns they have seen other more healthy people follow often without actually having any genuine empathy themselves.
  • Frequent manipulations of others as a means to meet their emotional needs. Often such manipulations involve lying and distorting about the actions of others, particular the ex or the kids, in an attempt to win allies or sympathy or battles in court. But these people also play at being victims in many other venues. In a workplace, for instance, you may see them pretend to be loaded up with unfair amounts of work, that other people are taking credit for their work, or that they are being sexually harassed.

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