Through my journey with Landry I have had learned several things I never intended to know about mainly: PTSD, parental alienation, domestic violence by proxy and Cluster B personality disorders and a horrible court system. We have navigated these uncertain waters. These waters that were once filled with hope only to be filled with doubt and helplessness. Thinking that a system that was built to protect would help us. Was I foolish, naive? Some may think so, but I refuse to give up and believe that this is the best for Landry.
Parental alienation is a new buzz word that is being thrown all around, but what it really means is domestic violence by proxy. Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS is often a term that many don’t understand. It is not recognized by the American Psychological Association, but often used by psychologists who are doing court ordered evaluations. Often these court ordered evaluations often side with the abuser, because the abused is too weak to stand up or the abuser has a personality disorder namely Cluster B or anti-social. In my life, the parental evaluator sided with my ex and to this day I am not sure why.
I did learn through the process that the evaluator lied, he violated many ethics and even the law. I also learned that often cluster B parents are favored because it will be “easier in the long run.” I will be launching a formal complaint, but in the process I have learned so much about a broken system. I have learned that if a person truly has cluster B, as in the case of my ex, that his or her true colors will show. Patience, as hard as it may be, is our option right now. I have learned if I launched a complaint immediately then the likelihood that it would have been dismissed would have been higher. Now, I truly have “evidence” as the courts call it and I can proceed.
I often ask myself when the evaluators knowingly side with the abuser, who it will be easier for. Easier for them, the courts or the child? The child who will grow up in a house with at the very minimum psychological, emotional and verbal abuse? The child that will begin to lose his or her voice or the child that has stated their desires and they are dismissed because shared parenting is always best?
During this time, my ex “got himself together” and by that I mean, he sobered up for a month during his daily testing and put on his narcissistic charm that woos so many people. He even tried to accuse me of hurting Landry. The one who has hurt Landry. In his case all it did was buy him time and take my focus off of trying to show his true colors to trying to defend myself. I have never hurt Landry, except I did not leave soon enough. I will take responsibility for that and that is a guilt I will always carry with me.
I wanted out so bad that money wasn’t even a concern. I would rather be a single mom in school working her way out of a failed system than get anything from him. I was advised by the Guardian Ad Litem, not to file a restraining order because it would look like parental alienation syndrome. Really? I want to protect my child and myself and you are court ordered to protect my child, but you won’t either? Ironic, how he causes a public seen roughly every three months and now Landry has been referred to trauma therapy for domestic violence. Landry is now talking about what Daddy did to Mommy, but you thought it best for Landry and that I not be accused of something that doesn’t exist?
I have learned through my journey that what Landry’s dad does is impose domestic violence by proxy on Landry and myself. He tries to use Landry as a scapegoat or pit Mommy vs Daddy. He abuses Landry and me through Landry by withholding telephone contact, not telling me about events that he signs Landry up for, expecting me to do all of Landry’s homework with Landry and the list goes on. I have learned to show support through Landry and continue to be the loving parent. I continue not to lower myself to his standards and will not talk bad about Landry’s father in front of Landry.
I have also learned that PAS is a term that was first coined by someone who associated it with pedophilia so if you have been a victim of domestic violence by proxy then I urge you to do your own research and make sure you are not hopping on a false bandwagon and instead encourage court reform and awareness of this very issue. At the very minimum, please look at the basic definition of alienation. According to Merriam-Webster.com, Alienation is “a withdrawing or separation of a person or a person’s affections from an object or position of former attachment.” From what I have learned on my journey, I have never tried to detach or withdraw my affections from Landry nor did I ask his father to do this. His choices are what have led to detachments by Landry. It is not something that I cannot control nor do I chose to control. I don’t want that burden.
What I can do is help Landry. I can make my shared parenting time with Landry extra special and I can fight for what is in Landry’s best interests. I can help Landry understand Landry’s feelings through psychologists that are trained and have a child’s best interest at heart. Not my best interest or my ex’s best interest, but truly Landry’s best interest.
For more information on DV by Proxy, I have compiled a list of websites for more research and there are plenty more websites out there.
The Domestic Violence Variant