Friday, December 26, 2014

Feels so Good in this Fortress

  1. Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits.

    Holidays are warm and wonderful but can also make dysfunctional dynamics shine brighter and hotter.

    I am thankful we have found our boundaries, really we've built a fortress. It feels so good. We have willfully removed anyone causing stress in our lives from our castle and locked it down. Sure it can be uncomfortable and upsetting; nothing compared to taking control of our lives like this.

    Jo has 100% responsibility for her children; they have not been bonded to Jason since he announced he'd had enough and Jo started a war, forcing her children to bear the biggest scares. They are beyond the point of no return...Jason did everything possible and is at peace saying goodbye. 

    With no more Jo, Peter has no way of knowing anything. Good bye Peter.

    Good bye to anyone with ill intentions.

    It did get worse before it got better. Who knew Jo would wrap herself in evil and execute a plan which could only be derived from the depths of hell. 

    Behind the safety and security of these clearly defined stone walls my mind and soul are free again.

    Warren is in the back seat of our very manly truck laying on two of our three dogs. We have to get back home so father and son can go on an overnight camping/hunting trip....The temperature is dropping..... We'll need to get some groceries before we go home....I love the way Jason is rubbing my leg right now....we keep smiling at each other....wonder what I'll do while the boys are gone....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's been a while....

Hands down, this past year was the worst and the best of times for both Jason and me. This summer was the worst in either of our lives....and that's why I've had to put pen and paper down for a while. I need to have a semi-peaceful life in order to open the painful doors to write my story. 

Jason's sons have become so violent he had to abate parental contact to protect Warren and me. Their acute violent behaviors are beyond our abilities and facilities. Peter of course sides with Jo stating, in writing, that I am targeting a teenage boy that is hurting his own son. Unbelievable once again. Police detectives would disagree and have. So much has happened I am breaking my book into two parts: "The Cobra (Sociopath): Part I" and "The Pit bull (Borderline): Part II." After this summer Jo has earned herself a book. I can't put everything in this blog, but every detail will be in the books. And as my cousin said after our literal knock down drag out, "nothing is my fault." And "my 'stories' are not believable." Oh no, I was, at times, a horrible person. I was pushed to the edge of sanity once again and triggered to nearly the point of no return. It was not pretty. I was not pretty. It was that bad. I will be writing all the raw and dark parts. I could not make up what happened this past summer. It was simply a nightmare. I'm so glad I'm awake now. Jason and I are breathing deeply once again and Warren...what a lovely young man. We love him so much.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Criteria IV: Intense Fear Reaction by Children

Criteria IV: Intense Fear Reaction by Children
The fourth criteria necessary for the detection of PAS is admittedly more psychological than the first three. It refers to an obvious fear reaction on the part of the children, of displeasing or disagreeing with the potentially alienating parent in regard to the absent or potential target parent. Simply put, an alienating parent operates by the adage, "My way or the highway." If the children disobey this directive, especially in expressing positive approval of the absent parent, the consequences can be very serious. It is not uncommon for an alienating parent to reject the child(ren), often telling him or her that they should go live with the target parent. When this does occur one often sees that this threat is not carried out, yet it operates more as a message of constant warning. The child, in effect, is put into a position of being the alienating parent's "agent'' and is continually being put through various loyalty tests. The important issue here is that the alienating patent thus forces the child to choose parents. This, of course, is in direct opposition to a child's emotional well being.
In order to fully appreciate this scenario, one must realize that the PAS process operates in a "fear based" environment. It is the installation of fear by the alienating parent to the minor children that is the fuel by which this pattern is driven; this fear taps into what psychoanalysis tell us is the most basic emotion inherent in human nature--the fear of abandonment. Children under these conditions live in a state of chronic upset and threat of reprisal. When the child does dare to defy the alienating parent, they quickly learn that there is a serious price to pay. Consequently, children who live such lives develop an acute sense of vigilance over displeasing the alienating parent. The sensitized observer can see this in visitation plans that suddenly change for no apparent reason. For example, when the appointed time approaches, the child suddenly changes his or her tune and begins to loudly protest a visit that was not previously complained about. It is in these instances that a court, once suspecting PAS must enforce in strict terms the visitation schedule which otherwise would not have occurred or would have been ignored.
The alienating parent can most often be found posturing bewilderment regarding the sudden change in their child's feelings about the visit. In fact, the alienating parent often will appear to be the one supporting visitation. This scenario is a very common one in PAS families. It is standard because it encapsulates and exposes, if only for an instant, the fear-based core of the alienation process. Another way to express this concept would be that whenever the child is given any significant choice in the visitation, he or she is put in the position to act out a loyalty to the alienating parent's wishes by refusing to have the visitation at all with the absent parent. Failure to do so opens the door for that child's being abandoned by the parent with whom the child lives the vast majority of the time. Children, under these circumstances, will simply not opt on their own far a free choice. The court must thus act expeditiously to protect them and employ a host of specific and available remedies.(6)
As a consequence of the foregoing, these children learn to manipulate. Children often play one parent against the other in an effort to gain some advantage. In the case of PAS, the same dynamic operates at more desperate level. No longer manipulating to gain advantage, these children learn to manipulate just to survive. They become expert beyond their years at reading the emotional environment, telling partial truths, and then telling out-and-out lies. One must, however, remember that these are survival strategies that they were forced to learn in order to keep peace at home and avoid emotional attack by the residential parent. Given this understanding, it is perhaps easier to see why children, in an effort to cope with this situation, often find it easier if they begin to internalize the alienating parent's perceptions of the absent parent and begin to echo these feelings. This is one of the most compelling and dramatic effects of PAS, that is, hearing a child vilifying the absent parent and joining the alienating parent in such attacks. If one is not sensitive to the "fear-based" core at the heart of this, it is difficult not to take the child's protests at face value. This, of course, is compounded when the expert is also not sensitive to this powerful fear component, and believes that the child is voicing his or her own inner feelings in endorsing the "no visitation" plan.

Criteria III: Deterioration in Relationship Since Separation

Criteria III: Deterioration in Relationship Since Separation
The third of the criteria necessary for the detection of PAS is probably the least described or identified, but critically is one of the most important. It has to do with the existence of a positive relationship between the minor children and the now absent or nonresidential parent, prior to the marital separation; and a substantial deterioration, of it since then. Such a recognized decline does not occur on its own. It is, therefore, one of the most important indicators of the presence of alienation as well. as a full measure of its relative "success." By way of example, if a father had a good and involved relationship with the children prior to the separation, and a very distant one since, then one can only assume without explicit proof to the contrary that something caused it to change. If this father is clearly trying to maintain a positive relationship with the children through observance of visitation and other activities and the children do not want to see him or have him involved in their lives, then one can only speculate that an alienation process may have been in operation. Children do not naturally lose interest in and become distant from their nonresidential parent simply by virtue of the absence of that parent. Also, healthy and established parental relationships do not erode naturally of their own accord. They must be attacked. Therefore, any dramatic change in this area is virtually always an indicator of an alienation process that has had some success in the past.
Most notably, if a careful evaluation of the pre-separation parental relationship is not made, its omission creates an impression that the troubled or even alienated status that exists since is more or lees an accurate summary of what existed previously. Note that nothing could be further from the truth! An alienated or even partially or intermittently alienated relationship with the nonresidential parent and the children after the separation is more accurately a distortion of the real parental relationship in question. Its follow-through is often overlooked in the hysterical atmosphere that is often present in these cases. A careful practitioner well knows that a close examination is warranted and that it must be conducted with the utmost detail and scrutiny.
If this piece of the puzzle is left out, the consequences can be quite devastating for the survival of this relationship. Also, without this component, the court can be easily swayed into premature closure or fooled into thinking that the turmoil of the separation environment is representative of the true parent-child relationship. Once this ruling is made by the court, it is an exacting challenge to correct its perception.
In a separate but related issue, a word should be said about the use of experts. First, it must be understood that all mental health professionals are not aware of nor know how to treat the PAS phenomenon. In fact, when a mental health professional unfamiliar with PAS is called upon to make a recommendation about custody, access, or related issues, he or she potentially can do more harm than good. For example, if the psychologist fails to investigate the pre-separation relationship of the nonresidential parent and the children, he or she may very easily mistake the current acrimony in that relationship to be representative of it, and recommend that the children should have less visitation with that parent, obviously supporting the undiagnosed PAS that is still in progress. If that expert also fails to evaluate critically the abuse claims or the agenda of the claimant, they may be taken at face value and again potentially support the undiagnosed PAS. If that professional is not also sensitive to the subtleties of access and contact blocking as its motivator, he or she may potentially support it, thereby contributing to the PAS process. When these things occur, the mental health professional expert has actually become part of the PAS, albeit unwittingly. Alarmingly, this happens often. Suffice it to say, if PAS is suspected, the attorney should closely and carefully evaluate the mental health professional's investigation and conclusion. Failure to do so can cause irreparable harm to the case, and, ultimately to the children.

Criteria II: Unfounded Abuse Allegations

Criteria II: Unfounded Abuse Allegations
The second criteria is related to false or unfounded accusations of abuse against the absent parent. The most strident expression of this is the false accusation of sexual abuse.(4) It has been well studied that the incident of false allegations of sexual abuse account for over half of those reported, when the parents are divorcing or are in conflict over some post dissolution issue.(5) This is especially the situation with small children who are more vulnerable to the manipulations implied by such false allegations. When the record shows that even one report of such abuse is ruled as unfounded, the interviewer is well advised to look for other expressions of false accusations.
Other examples of this might be found in allegations of physical abuse that investigators later rule as being unfounded. Interestingly our experience has been that there are fewer false allegations of physical abuse than of other forms of abuse, presumably because physical abuse leaves visible evidence. It is, of course, much easier to falsely accuse someone of something that leaves no physical sign and has no third party witnesses.
A much more common expression of this pattern would be that of what would be termed emotional abuse. When false allegations of emotional abuse are leveled, one often finds that what is present is actually differing parental judgment that is being framed as "abusive" by the absent parent. For example, one parent may let a child stay up later at night than the other parent would, and this scheduling might be termed as being "abusive" or "detrimental" to the child. Or one parent might introduce a new "significant other" to the child before the other parent believes that they should and this might also be called "abusive" to the child. Alternatively one parent might enroll a child in an activity with which the other parent disagrees and this activity is, in actuality, a difference of parental opinion that is now described as being abusive in nature. These examples, as trivial as they seem individually, may be suggestive of a theme of treating parental difference in inappropriately subjective judgmental terms. If this theme is present, all manner of things can be described in ways that convey the message of abuse, either directly or indirectly. When this phenomenon occurs in literally thousands of different ways and times, each of which seems insignificant on its own, the emotional atmosphere that it creates carries a clearly alienating effect on the child.
Obviously, this type of acrimony is very common in dissolution actions but such conflict should not necessarily be mistaken or be taken as illustrative of the PAS syndrome; however, the criteria is clearly present and identifiable when the parent is eager to hurl abuse allegations, rather than being cautious, careful. and even reluctant to do so. This latter stance is more in keeping with the parent's responsibility to encourage and affirmatively support a relationship with the other parent. The responsible parent will only allege abuse after he or she has tried and failed to rationalize why the issue at hand is not abusive. Simply put, the responsible parent will give the other parent the benefit of the doubt when such allegations arise. He or she will, if anything, err on the side of denial, whereas the alienating parent will not miss an opportunity to accuse the other parent. When this theme is present in a clear and consistent way, this criteria for PAS is met.

Criteria I: Access and Contact Blocking

The criteria described below are fairly easy to identify separate and apart from the court file. When there is uncertainty about any of them, these criteria can be used to guide the attorney in the deposing of witnesses as well as in their examination in court.
Criteria I: Access and Contact Blocking
Criteria I involves the active blocking of access or contact between the child and the absent parent. The rationale used to justify it may well take many different forms. One of the most common is that of protection. It may be argued that the absent parent's parental judgment is inferior and, therefore, the child is much worse off from the visit. In extreme cases, this will take the form of allegations of child abuse, quite often sexual abuse. This will be addressed in more detail in Criteria II, but suffice it to say that often this is heard as a reason for visitation to be suspended or even terminated. On a more subtle and common level, an argument heard for the blocking of visitation is that seeing the absent parent is "unsettling" to the child, and that they need time "to adjust." The message here is that the absent parent is treated less like a key family member and more like an annoying acquaintance that the child must see at times. Over time, this pattern can have a seriously erosive effect on the child's relationship with the absent parent. An even more subtle expression of this is that the visitation is "inconvenient," thereby relegating it to the status of an errand or chore. Again the result is the erosion of the relationship between the child and the absent or "target" parent. One phenomenon often seen in this context is that any deviation from the schedule is used as a reason to cancel visitation entirely.
The common thread to all of these tactics is that one parent is superior and the other is not and, therefore, should be peripheral to the child's life. The alienating parent in these circumstances is acting inappropriately as a gatekeeper for the child to see the absent parent. When this occurs for periods of substantial time, the child is given the unspoken but clear message that one parent is senior to the other. Younger children are more vulnerable to this message and tend to take it uncritically; however, one can always detect elements of it echoed even into the teenage years. The important concept here is that each parent is given the responsibility to promote a positive relationship with the other parent. When this principle is violated in the context of blocking access on a consistent basis, one can assume that Criteria I has been, unmistakably identified.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Here's what we are up against...hint.... and what actions are available....

I recently learned that Peter and Jo have been very active in their false allegations. This is an extremely important post in that those of you up against a sociopath need to be prepared for false allegations of child abuse and domestic violence. It WILL be prepared. They have no conscience so gloves are off and without consequence to children.

Intentional Tort & Emotional Distress

Posted August 10, 2011.

Over 86% of separated mothers fight for custody and control in court by falsely alleging abuse of herself, or more commonly the children, by the father. After 30 years of parental alienation, some fathers have decidedly taking legal action to combat these false allegations of abuse against their children and the emotional and financial distresses incurred by the father.
Studies have shown that extended exposure to alienation leads children susceptible to criminal and drug activity in their teens, with low degraded self-esteems, and eventually loathe themselves and suffer from depression and anxiety as adults. After more then 30 years of social studies on this problem, our legislature in the State of Florida have recently (in 2008) enacted laws to protect children and parents from parental alienation. They have enacted laws that pronounce both parents as equals and encourage our courts to encourage the parents to amicable parenting plans that include equal-time sharing of the children.
THE FLORIDA BAR JOURNAL, VOL. 73, No. 3, MARCH 1999, p 44-48
Parental Alienation Syndrome:

How to Detect It and What to Do About It

 by J. Michael Bone and Michael R. Walsh

Maryland Dad Gets $852K Judgment for Ex-Wife's False Allegations

"As is so often the case with emotionally-charged claims of child sexual abuse, mere findings of innocence were insufficient to shield Darryl Ginyard from its many adverse effects. For example, for months at a time after each new allegation, he lost custody of his children."A jury awarded a Maryland man $852,000 due to the ex-wife's false allegations of child sexual abuse.

There are many forms of conduct that may be considered evidence of alienating behavior toward the other parent. Some examples of conduct that may be considered evidence of an attempt at parental alienation toward the other parent include:

[Jo, and her mother, meet all of the following]:

  • Disparaging and derogatory comments
  • Refusing to comply with court orders regarding custody and parenting time
  • Using the child to communicate hostile or negative messages to the other parent
  • i.e.  "I have nothing to say to you..." hang up
  • Making the child feel guilty for spending time with the other parent
  • Interrogating the child about what happened during time with the other parent
  • i.e."Yes, No, No that's not her (stepmother), No, Yes..." Jason says she uses real military interrogation techniques; asking the same question over and over again and for months.
  • Alleging false allegations of child abuse or neglect
  • i.e. Recently learned..."Many allegations..."
  • Providing false evidence of domestic violence

Phone Conversations with Jo

It actually felt quite normal to be talking with Jo. Her children are in my home for months; why wouldn't we talk? Civilized, polite, cordial...talking about care of the children to ensure they know they are loved by all and no one is engaging in war-like activities. That would be the mature, professional, adult thing to do. It should not feel normal for Jason to speak with Jo (or me with Peter), being verbally and psychologically abused and slandered since day one with Jo. Just her actions and words since he asked for a divorce have made it impossible for her to freely dialogue with Jason. Over 20% of Americans divorce; he was well within his human rights to simply divorce amicably. She gave up free dialogue or any type of interaction with Jason after her first threat and the seriousness of her false allegations. She chooses this obsession, illogical to me, abuses the system and forces her children to perpetuate her "bunny in the boiling pot" obsession with Jason, me and indirectly my son.

I know no mother, personally, that would abuse her own children in this way. Children want to love and feel loved. When a mother teaches hate, her love for her children and their best interest comes second. I simply do not understand as I would relish never having contact with Peter again and would not give one thought to anyone he chose to be in relationship with. 
Jo cannot stop calling Jason's phone "her abuser"; he has asked and litigated so many times. Jason not wanting to even hear the sound of her voice on a message deletes without listening or passes the phone to me. 
In our less than 6 minutes of phone contact Jo hung up on me three times, stated after the first call that "she was not going to do this," threatened to "call the police," stated she has already "started a law suit about my blog," threatened to "start a new one," stated that "I was harassing her (though she was calling repeatedly)," called me "honey" in a condescending belittling tone over and over, demanded that "I put Jason on the phone," and lastly, "stop touching my children." I asked her to repeat that last one. That one came from Peter. 

Jo yelled, Jo was hyperventilating the entire time, Jo sounded angry, emotional and, most disturbingly, desperate to talk to Jason. I explained several times that she was not married to Jason anymore and he did not want to talk to her, that she was calling us and she was free to call police or sue me. I observed her and did not react equally, instead I strangely felt compassion. 

I am not afraid, I am not threatened, I am not scolded or belittled. Thank you Jo for teaching me to be strong, to become fearless, to see where the hate in your son's eyes originated and to return it with only love for them. Love is stronger than hate. I have only the best wishes for you Jo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Hero!!!

Oh my gosh!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!! This is exactly why I've done what I've's all about exposing and thereby EMPOWERING others to get out. Of course my DV was horribly psychological and verbal; the physical escalating as I detached from the relationship..basically control me subtly until brute force necessary. This woman is amazing and so strong, where I'm lucky to have crawled out with scraps of sanity and dignity. Let's all of us use social media to break down doors and expose the secrets and darkness. Let's stop being victims!

News link here:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Entitlement to Love

: the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something
: the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)
: a type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group (1)

I will never understand the depths of entitlement of Jo and Peter. They feel not only entitled to anything Jason and I have ever earned, whether it be monetary or professionally, but their perpetual, persistent and obsessive drive to control and disrupt our lives in any way makes me physically ill at times. It has been years now and though their attacks ebb and flow, when the flows come, they come with even greater strength now. My logical mind cannot understand this increasing intensity. Isn't time supposed to heal something or other? Why will these death grips not release? Have they not taken beyond their share yet? Will their hands ever tire of reaching and grabbing at us; their mouths from wagging and lying? Will they ever stop hurting their children to hurt us? We are adults and have the tools and resources to confront attacks, but the children suffer...they suffer so much. They cannot even process who to trust, what to say, how to act. Jason and I have come to realize one of the worst things you can do to a child, in a divorce, is to say anything negative about their other parent. It takes their sense of safety and security. When Jason picked up his boys for summer break, they slept for most of the first 36 hours. Jason says they appeared to be exhausted, likely from the months of alienation from him and seemed to be content to just be with him. They obviously have been told everything about his case and mine, without filter, and filled with untruth, which they are somehow compelled to perpetuate. As Peter did and does with my daughters. 

Unjust, unfair, overwhelming, why won't this stop?.....

It doesn't help to try and figure things out, talk about it, think about it, think about what's coming next. Around and around in my mind....I need to step back and take note of what's happening, realize I am still learning how to handle all of this with grace, living in the moment each day. All we have is this moment.

Jason encourages the boys to simply find their own truth. He has taken them to our camp. We believe this the perfect place to heal their broken hearts, feel the love of our family, understand the logic of their father and without interruption or electronic distraction. The couple we are purchasing the land from will be there at times and they will be a fantastic influence on these boys. They are grounded, loving, understanding of our difficult situation and have unending grace and kindness....Christ-like. Their correspondences with Jason and I often bring tears to our eyes.

I took Warren to the beach over the weekend. I had forgotten my sun screen so I asked the people closest if I could borrow theirs and we struck up a conversation. As often happens, discussions turned toward my blog/book. The lovely woman was surprisingly in the middle of a nearly identical situation as mine; even worse. She has a 7 year old son she's been fighting for for years. Her and her best friend bookmarked this blog and intended to read everything. She expressed gratefulness that I had been open in our conversation...."She didn't feel so alone anymore." By choosing to be in the moment I experienced a connection with strangers, which was a source of encouragement both ways. I am grateful for all the comments, conversations and emails over the years. My heart goes out to those who have shared their stories. From all of these connections, I continue to find the courage to share my truth, with vulnerability, and stop acting like a victim by turning to the greater community with my story. After sharing some recent events, her friend turned to me and said, "this sounds like a movie." It feels like one sometimes.

Jason and I continue to love each other with a deep and unconditional love, keep our hearts open to all of our children, focused squarely on our callings. I will continue to strive for finding love and grace in these most difficult times, though I stumble into anger at times, it feels so much better this way.....I have so much to be thankful for....


Monday, June 2, 2014

Living Fearless: A Brief Update

Jason and I hope that both Peter and Jo will find someone new and wish them the best. Finding joy and creating homes with happiness and laughter would only help all children involved. We have no concern about who they might choose and zero interest. The reason I started to blog about Jo is that she became more abusive and obsessed over the years than even Peter (or at least more histrionic).  I'm not diminishing the slightest the worst abuse I experienced in my life at his hands and mind. It just seems Jo is having a harder time with me than even Peter so she becomes a very important aspect of my story.

This morning I had already taken a few work related calls and was checking a voice mail from a friend when I received a call from an unknown number. It's not unusual for me to receive work related calls like that so the second time the number appeared I answered. There was someone on the other line and the line stayed open for several minutes, but nothing was spoken. I continued to listen and then an answering machine started to play......It was Jo's stepfather; I listened to the message and then hung up.  We also just learned that Jo is attempting to triangulate Jason's stepmother against me at this time.

Jason has had a lot of medical appointments preparing for his retirement. On several occasions medical personnel simply shake their heads, one even just put his notebook down when hearing what he and I are up against. It is bazaar and interesting to so many we speak with.

I continue preparing this into book format and would like to focus on filling in many blanks I've left hanging in posts, but it's amazing that the material keeps coming in to the present.

All of this brings Jason and I closer together. We literally hold each other tighter knowing we have the tools, intelligence, support and a strong spiritual life to help guide us around the volcanoes that keep erupting.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happily Ever After

A friend and colleague of mine teaches graduate level statistics. She has earned teacher of the year awards and is extremely popular with not only students, but faculty and staff as well. She has a gift of explaining statistics to anyone. She is kind, helpful and a talented researcher as well. She tells me she's good at teaching this difficult subject because it didn't come easy to her; she had to work at it...hard. 

Looking back at Jason and my first year together, we've had to work at it...hard. We were up against seemingly impossible odds at many points and though we simply wanted to divorce amicably and without courts, we will defend ourselves for another 7.5 years. That's not going to change, but now we choose to look at our stories as a passage to a place where we can give back. What we have endured will make us better guides as we travel through the best half of our lives.

Next year at this time Jason will have his first camp at our new farm. It's a camp for middle school boys. Some camps will be for special needs children, others for fatherless boys, other for boys whose Special Operation Forces fathers have died or been injured and other camps for boy scouts. He will use his training to teach and mentor these young men in survival/primitive living, land navigation (with compass and maps), the use and care of modern camping/backpacking equipment and outdoor clothing systems. Active duty and retired Special Operation Forces will be the instructors. Jason has had nothing short of an outpouring of support for the Camp. Five years from now we will launch my camp for adults suffering from addiction as a result of PTSD. I look forward to writing more and becoming a professional blogger. I'll continue at the University and will pursue another degree that will help with camp administration. We have been guided through these plans divinely, everything falling into place as if we were here exactly for this. This is how God intended for us to use our experiences.

I can't wait to spend every day with Jason; a team working side by side. In this past year, he has been loving, patient, kind. He looks at me as if he's seeing me for the first time every lovingly. When I walk in the room, no matter what I really look like, he comments that here comes his gorgeous wife. He tells me constantly I am smart and beautiful; the most beautiful woman he's ever laid eyes on. He tells me I am his soul mate and life partner. He validates me, encourages me, helps me, is proud of the littlest things, and forgives me without reserve or reminder. He loves Warren easily and gives without request. I know unconditional love now. I never thought this even existed. And of course his sentiments are reciprocated with the same intensity and sincerity. We have a mutual and unbreakable bond. We've gone through the worst; it's time for us to embrace our experiences and our callings, enjoy each moment and each other. I believe in happily ever after.....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Life on the Otherside: Becoming Fearless

Jason and my experiences during our divorces left us with amplified fear. Here he is a highly decorated warrior and he feared opening his email for dread of what Jo would do next. We have hid from confrontation, sometimes betraying ourselves and each other, so as to not upset the balance and mistakenly thinking “we couldn’t handle anything else.” Our divorces were by far the most difficult years in each of our lives and our darkest days. Jason and I are stronger every day; we pray to become fearless. Two weeks ago I would not have dreamed of posting the following, but I am no longer afraid of consequences. I have to communicate the most destructive parts of our stories to express how we climbed out no matter how uncomfortable we or others feel; to help others journey through similar tragedy with more grace. We are called to tell our stories so we can be interconnected with one another. If we don’t how can we find and comfort each other in this vast sometimes overwhelming world?

After Peter had filed that first horrific motion leaving me utterly exposed and humiliated, I reached out to my family. As you know, I had been estranged for four years prior so not the best daughter or sister. But it was like my family put hand in hand, surrounding me as if walls of a mighty fortress. It did not take convincing of any sort, I told my story and what I was up against. They were there with absolutely no energy turned toward Peter. This was a war and I needed to find refuge somewhere. My support went out to even my extended family and David and Susan, longtime friends of the Walton family. 
Peter mentioned during a parent coordination meeting that he couldn’t believe my brothers wouldn’t talk to him; he had been friends with them nearly his whole life (Peter and my youngest brothers were both 9 when we met). The parent coordinator said that in cases like this it is completely normal for each family to take care of their own. I had that luxury; Jason did not.

When they learned of Jason, he was the only one. They were thrilled that I had something good finally, that there was hope of a happy ending. My family adores Jason and has a great deal of respect for him. Both nieces and nephews love their Uncle Jason; he is their hero.

Betsy and Jo were sisters-in-law for 12 years; Jason has only one brother. They never lived near each other so communication was generally by phone, email and Facebook. Jo had nothing good to say about anyone behind their back, especially her husband. She escalated to fever pitched disparagement after Jason filed for divorce. Betsy listened; Jason’s brother listened and both believed Jo; they thought the worst of Jason. I know this because I was with Jason when he received a two page hostile email from Betsy chastising him and defending Jo. Jason agonized over his response, hoping she could hear his story and asked that Betsy not communicate with Jo as he had recently litigated one of Jo’s motions with information that had come from Betsy and Jason’s brother. They had been quoted by Jo within the motion as a way of backing her allegations against Jason. “Even Jason’s family…..” Betsy and Jo continued to communicate by phone, texting and publically, and very actively, on Facebook.

I was introduced to Betsy in May of 2011; Jason and Jo were officially divorced and had been legally separated since 2009, Jason trying desperately that whole time to get divorced. Between that meeting in May and the Christmas from “The Family that Stole Christmas,” Betsy had done nothing less than campaigned against me. The flow of information went from Peter to Jo, Jo to Betsy and Betsy to the women in Jason’s family (I’m not saying that anyone accepted, just given the information). This information was from that first horrific motion that left me utterly exposed and humiliated. It was happening all over again……I had to endure the initial abuse, litigated it for a year, litigate it again in Jason’s case and now hear it was all over…re-victimized again. I had already disputed everything that was untrue, legally and formally, I thought it was done. In hostile divorces parties disclose the worst things about each other, Peter being so diabolical; our case had to be sealed. So my soon to be family was hearing about my worst mistakes, embellished stories and absolutely malicious lies….because Betsy would not allow me to represent myself or Jason himself and chose to communicate information originating from Peter and she gave credence to an embittered and jealous ex-wife. Jo, in her obsession, was using Betsy and the attention and energy Betsy gave was fueling Jo’s legal firestorm. Jo was able to keep her white knuckled hold on Jason and now me. I tolerated this as to not upset Jason’s family dynamic. I nearly left Jason on many occasions because of it.

After the NCIS investigation and Betsy continuing to give heed to Jo’s assertions and thereby hurt me and Jason, Jason trying to protect me and himself, implored his Judge to order Jo to stop disparaging him and me to not only the children but to his own family. The Judge granted his motion and ordered all harassment and disparagement to stop; she would be in contempt of court if she continued to contact Betsy engaging in this destructive talk.

As Jason continued to deteriorate in the aftermath of the investigation, I’d had enough of playing family politics; I harshly confronted Betsy, the last portal where information about Jason flowed freely to Jo and information from Jo flowed freely back to my soon to be family. In that conversation Betsy relayed to me in a dismissive, minimizing and teaching sort of way “that divorces are hard and  Jo and Jason would figure things out” that “the boys do talk” [it has been ruled in Jason’s case that Jo questioning the boys so intensely has been more psychologically damaging than the issues she raises] and she knew things “were not going well” yet she was “neutral,” “she wanted to stay in contact with her nephews” [by liking and commenting on Jo’s Facebook page], and when I attempted to talk about Jason’s side of the story I was met with, “I don’t want to be involved. I don’t want to hear anything.” And a few times, “I feel sorry for her.” As one example, she went on to say that she “accepted my lifestyle as a lesbian. Her living in a liberal state, she was good at accepting people for who they were.” She did not ask one question, ask if I was indeed a lesbian, ask about how Jason was, ask how I was…she only defended her ongoing and public friendship with Jo.

Jason and I have struggled with Betsy all along, being so blatantly against us, but we decided to forgive and forget and focus on moving forward. With Jason retiring we looked-for a new found relationship with Betsy and his brother and planned to visit with regularity. At our wedding, a family member thought it odd that when she spoke to Betsy and Jason’s brother about how much they all loved, respected and were thankful for Jason she noticed that they were silent and looked oddly uncomfortable with her opinion. This was an innocent interaction as I had shared nothing with her about Betsy’s predilections toward Jo.

A few weeks ago I learned Betsy and Jo are still communicating. I tried to shake it, but I became depressed and couldn’t settle an uncomfortable feeling. So I thought I would ask Betsy if she was able to cut off from Jo. Even the slightest energy keeps the fire lit.  I received a voicemail the next day from Jason’s brother scolding me as if I had misbehaved like a child. Jason took a call from Betsy and she again spent the entire conversation defending her communication, asking no questions, stating passionately that she “was only being neutral,” and speaking as though she was a victim of mine as I had interrupted a date night. She repeated herself until Jason agreed. I had asked a question, wondering how vulnerable I could continue to be with her; I had been delighted to engage with her for a short time.

I realized the depression was about me betraying myself and continuing to act like a victim. I was afraid of Betsy and was paralyzed. Jason and I were walking on eggshells not speaking our thoughts and feelings for fear of the consequence, within his family. As an additional blow, Jason had just dropped another 6 thousand in litigating Jo’s attempts to “Abate all Parental Contact.” Jason, also concerned about continued communication, the fact that he was still litigating timeshare, and being alienated from his children for three months, shared his concern and also asked for an apology. Her response mocked that he had not spoken to his boys in over three months, a claim that she had done everything she could to support Jason then a request to delete her contact information. Just like that. This is a clear sign that we have accurately hit a deep seeded nerve that is about Betsy and Jason’s brother and not us.

From a fearless perspective, it’s simple. We can see plainly that we need to let Betsy behave as she will, communicate with whom she likes and it was incorrect for us to have asked anything of her. What would have been a healthier approach would have been to observe Betsy’s stance in that first email and to disengage. And then accept the pressure of a shift in the family dynamic until it resolved. It really could’ve been that simple. No more depression. Jason and I are stronger because of this.  A few days later Jason and I listened to a voice mail where his brother says that they need to work together to make sure “Betsy doesn’t receive any more crazy texts from me.” My fault, with Betsy and Jason’s brother, is that I love Jason with all my heart……

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The NCIS Investigation: Jason's Story

Jo about a year into the divorce returned to the city where she and Jason had lived for nine years of their marriage. She was good friends with several neighbors and had continued to disparage Jason (and later me) with any who would listen. With Jason on deployments and Jo left to represent the family, people were left with no choice but to believe her. It’s difficult for rational minds to think someone is lying, not so much a problem to believe embellishments, but not outright intentional lying. That’s why when Jo had her parents call Jason’s 93 year old grandfather and 89 year old grandmother to tell them stories of Jason’s “dishonorable discharge” from the military and having to “be escorted onto to base,” they were devastated. Of course they believed them; it’s unfathomable that adults would be so malicious? Jason’s career was exactly opposite of what Jo continually portrayed to his family throughout the years. Jason has been honored with a silver star and three bronze stars, in fact, when he wore his metals at our wedding his jacket was weighed down with so many honors. He had been the first picked Warrant Officer this past year, but decided to turn it down as we are not interested in parting for a deployment. When Jason called and explained all this they were relieved and filled with righteous anger. 

Jo returned, almost a year into her divorce from Jason, under the guise of reuniting with dear friends, to attempt to destroy Jason’s career and his reputation. We don’t to this day know the whole story; the Naval Criminal Investigation Services investigator wouldn’t tell Jason everything, just that his ex-wife had claimed Jason had secret information on a home computer; her allegations were so serious it initiated an NCIS investigation and could’ve led to being dishonorably discharged. She would’ve had to have plotted for years and downloaded information secretly from his work lap top. This is simply sinister. It was untrue and of course it came out in the end that this was a vindictive and jealous ex-wife and this was completely out of his character. When I spoke with the investigator, as a personal character witness, he said that everyone he had interviewed provided the same accolades about Jason; all information was consistent and if it had not, Jo just might have gotten what she sought. I now live in the house Jo lived in with Jason and have learned that Jo had openly discussed her wicked scheme to destroy Jason in this way. During this visit she claimed she “knew” Jason had a private detective following her and had stalked her. This was so obviously detached from reality and her intentions so cruel that friends encouraged her to move on and leave Jason alone. Most have long since refused to respond to any communication from her.  

After over a year of a full blown NCIS investigation (tax dollars in action), Jason was interviewed. Imagine how unsettling it was for him to realize his superiors were being questioned without his knowledge, he was so dangerously close to losing his career and honor, and realizing the depths of breathtaking intentional maliciousness he was up against. Jason was deeply affected; he was so overwhelmed he found it difficult to maintain normal daily activities. He was thousands of miles from me, his children and any support system. His world was falling apart. My heart was breaking for him.