Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jason Part II: The Obsession

My critics will say, do you think everyone is a sociopath? You can’t go around saying that about someone! Jason and I are deeply in love; we have a connection we never thought we’d have in life. Surviving a sociopath is an understanding that we share; we know the inevitable scars and what it takes to heal. Originally, I thought of Jo as a narcissist, as I did Peter; but as time passes and the likelihood of Jason’s return to her lessens, her rage and hate worsens and without conscious or any sort of healthy shame. The bottom line is that there is nothing rational; nothing you can start with; no ability to negotiate; it’s impossible to comprehend what they are doing. I believe this is becoming an epidemic and something the courts need help in identifying.

Here are some characteristics of a sociopath: Repeatedly violating the rights of others by the use of intimidation, dishonesty and misrepresentation; Disregard for right and wrong; Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others; Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or for sheer personal pleasure; Intense egocentrism, sense of superiority and exhibitionism; Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others; Irresponsible work behavior; Failure to learn from the negative consequences of behavior. Sociopaths antagonize, threaten and manipulate with callous indifference.

Jason and I have not sent a regrettable email to either Peter or Jo; we have left no drunken messages either, because we have a fear of the consequences. And why would we want to stir up a sociopath? Following are specific ways in which Jo continues to psychologically abuse Jason (The Measure of Psychologically Abusive Behaviors (MPAB), developed by Follingstad in 2011): statements designed to harm his feelings about himself, keep him in an inferior position with her the superior, isolating him from family and friends by making outrageous and fabricated accusations and besmirching his character, attempts to force him into obedience to her by threatening communication and visitation with his sons as a way of establishing authority over him, sadistic intimidation (cruel and frightening actions toward objects/persons of value), controlling personal decisions, creates a hostile/ conflict-filled environment with expressed hatred/contempt, intentionally turns a neutral interaction into an argument or disagreed with him for the purpose of creating conflict, threatens to reveal an embarrassing secret as a way to hurt or manipulate him (real and imagined), tries to forbid him from socializing with family or friends, tries to make him think she is more competent and intelligent than him as a way of making him feel inferior, and treating him as useless or stupid as a way to make him feel inferior (1).

I present quite a lot of examples as a way of showing how overwhelming this is for Jason and me. Jo hasn’t held a job for more than short periods since marrying Jason right out of college so she, as you will see, has a lot more time. Honestly, these emails all surround simple Skype and phone calls, about always trying to shorten upcoming visitation and during visitation. Here is an example of her preventing contact:
Dates                Call Attempts         Calls Answered or Returned
4/7-5/6 2012              16                                            03
3/7-4/6 2012              16                                            02
2/7-3/6 2012              14                                            02
1/7-2/6 2012              15                                            02
12/7-1/6 2012            With Jason
11/7-12/6 2011         22                                            03
10/7-11/6 2011         17                                            03
9/7-10/6 2011            09                                            02
8/7-9/6 2011              23                                            07
7/7-8/6 2011              23                                            07        (6June-7July summer visit)

Total:                      178                                              36

Lastly, who out there (and please comment) who has been abused coerce their abuser into more communication? Her obsessive desire to get the attention of Jason or anyone remotely connected to him runs exactly counter to a victim’s response! DV victims don’t want to talk about their abuse and most definitely to their abuser; in fact it may take years to even identify it as abuse and get away; certainly not talk about it to anyone who will listen.  And, most of us have been re-traumatized in the courtroom so the last thing we want to do is initiate any legal action.  

I have grouped Jo’s emails by type of abuse and not necessarily by date. I have left in spelling and grammatical errors (and note she jumps often from talking to Jason to
talking about him to attorneys, who are often copied) as I think they speak to her manic typing, and/or drunkenness, impulsivity and/or mental state. Where Peter has so much restraint he generally looks sullen, Jo seems to have zero. She has no fear of consequences and even now could face severe consequences for having the boys come onto court ordered Skype to only make this statement: son #1“I have nothing to say to you, son #2“I have nothing to say to you,” (hang up). It has been over 3 months now that Jason has not had contact with his children.
Email 5/12/12
 “Keep in mind, this is for the boys and their happiness is important. If I do not receive a response, I will have to believe that this will be another court matter, as with the issues below. It would be nice if we could work this out, but if it is too difficult, then so be it.”
 “You left out a few details to both attorneys….. First, Jason has still not formally given me his new cell phone number as the court order states. Jason somewhat relayed his new number to the kids, but they are still confused as to how to reach Jason. That is an adult matter and he should not expect the boys to relay that information to me. This makes things quite difficult for both the boys and I to get ahold of Jason. No matter what avenue I or the boys try to contact Jason, whether by phone, text, email, there is never a confirmation as to the message nor a response from Jason. It seems to be a silly game that Jason enjoys playing to make me look bad and intern devaluate the boys schedule when there are changes. As immature as the actions may be, I have come to expect the increasing lack of communication from Jason and the difficulties in the way Jason works. On the other hand, now including the boys in this failure to respond to any type of communication, is a lack of respect and cause for the boys to become increasingly disheartened. So needless to say, the boys and I are still trying to find the most effective way to reach Jason and get a respectful response but are left with almost no avenues…..”
Email 11/7/12
“I have plenty of documentation where you do not respond to my texts or emails.”

“I have texted you once before, saying if there is a problem and they do this to let me know.”

“Now, is this all because you are in Virginia and feel you need to put on a show? You know if there is a problem, I am very receptive and respectful of yours thoughts. I have plenty of full documentation on that. Heck, I followed your "summer guidelines", you know the ones you lied to the judge and said I decided on the ridiculous times. You have every opportunity to text or call or email me if you had a problem. My lines of communication are always open.

Honestly, Jason, I would like nothing more than for us to be able to speak to one another about the boys and for you to be receptive to their feelings. I would love for you to know what the boys are thinking.

Now, I have been overly nice, not saying a whole lot about the shenanigans going on, on that end….or you can tell me kindly what the problem is when it arises via text, email, phone right away and we can work to fix it. I have already told you that several times.”

Email 11/14/12

“Jason, you can text me if there is an issue. I would have not seen your email normally right away… Like I said, I am not sure what exactly has taken place because you chose to not involve me.”

Email 7/5/12
“Unless you have another plan, you are supposed to inform me.... Remember? You need and are court ordered to give me the details.”
Email 9/12/12
“Now, here are few things that I would like to see:
“1. Obviously better communication. If I contact Jason in anyway relating to the boys, a prompt and respectable response would be great. If you need to talk to me or inform me of anything, please text or call me. That's fine. I have no problems with that. If you email, you might not get a quick response as if texting or a phone call. I don't get notified on my phone everytime an email comes through. That would be destracting and therefore, I check it when I can during the day…..Please let ME know if any problems arise for you, and we can work out another time…Once again, your prompt response of acknowledgement would be greatly appreciated instead of acting like you did not receive the text or email. You most certainly see the texts, because you use your cell phone to call.”
Email 12/30/12
“At this point I try to get a hold of Jason via text because this is an extremely important situation….You may contact me via phone, text or email to work this out in an adult fashion.”
Email 12/3/12
“Where will they be staying? If traveling back to your girlfriend's, will the boys be staying there? Where might they be sleeping with all her roommates. Will the boys be expected to room in the closet with her son?....Might I remind you of every past instance where you have not done as court ordered and given the itinerary.”
Email 12/30/12
“Or maybe it's Jason having his girlfriend out this past summer without telling the boys,
They explicitly told you that they did not want to see your girlfriend, period. You dismissed their feelings by telling them that you would talk about it when they arrived Then low and behold she shows up with her son (1 of 3 children, 2 daughters of which are not on speaking terms)….hiding their phones so they couldn't get help. Or maybe it was your girlfriend mentioning vulgar, inappropriate things to the boys in reference to movies, her gay parties…Then I was told at random Samantha’s abuse of her two older children. Then I was made aware of some activity that Samantha told my sister of during a visit to my sister's so the boys could see their cousins. Samantha mentioned things like: her son  sleeping in a closet, her daughters hating her, her gay lifestyle, and so on.....quite alarming….Because I have had quite an interesting experience recently seeing that Samantha is being investigated through social services making you, Jason, apparently under the watchful eye as well. I hope to get to the bottom of this of course. Maybe you both could help with that. I am also quite aware of other multiple offenses.”

Email 11/15/12
“…. Apparently, the boys are asking to only talk to you during Skype or phone conversations and it seems to be a topic that is quite bothersome to them. Once again, to me that sounds reasonable that they just want to spend time with you. Skype time doesn't need to be anymore difficult. Please respect both boys. Try to answer their questions truthfully, don't leave them hanging, and by all means please do your best to make them feel comfortable, meaning no unnecessary surprises. They are 13 and 10 and they like to know what they are getting into. Nobody likes going in blind.They, (1) don't like to be fooled and (2) they don't like to be forced into a situations that they have no choice but to go along with and then become upset afterwards. I am in no way, trying to make you feel bad or angry. In fact, you need to know this information in order for you to understand them and get a feeling for what's going on here. Whether you want to believe it or not, your actions have a lasting effect on both boys. It sets the precedent for how they treat future interactions with you. And trust me, I want things to run smooth with you because then things run smoother here. Please, I am asking you kindly to respect both boys wishes.”

Email 11/7/12
“I will also give documentation to the courts of every time the boys fight me to Skype, or the amount of times they are upset when they end their Skype call and so on.”
Email 12/30/12
“It has occurred to me that the added stress is in relation to Jason's current company staying with him. His girlfriend, Samantha, is a cause for stress, which I will address later.”
“This just fueled the fire even more when Jason relayed that he noticed the boys were scared to talk on Sunday, which was not the case.”
[The boys repeatedly look up over the computer screen with scared expressions]
…And as a parent, a very good parent at that, I exercised that discretion. It was either let the boys breathe and recover for the next Skype session, or let them carry that bitterness to the next time and so on.”
“Addressing your fiance and the boys desire to talk to just you, is a reasonable request under the circumstances. It certainly is appropriate for the limited and most deceptive time that they have been forced or tricked into seeing her. Once again, it comes from a culmination of things that have been presented to them and they have verbally expressed to me on their own.”
Email 12/30/12
“Oh the stories..... I was told nothing good but only of concern; kids being locked up in a hotel room, boys finding wine bottles tucked under tables, Ms. Samantha screaming at her ex-husband during her son's drop off. It's incredible what both boys have been subjected to during their stays with Jason.”
Email 3/20/12
“Also, I would like to know their itinerary of their stay with you. This way, there are no surprises like the other trips they have taken to see you. This will make them more at ease. Hopefully this time you will use discretion when making decisions when involving the children.”
Email 12/13/11
“…They are uncomfortable with you doing this and don't want to share their time with you between another kid and a girlfriend… They asked me to write this note to you. I hope you understand and listen to them and respect how they feel. They just don't want to be pressured into having a relationship with her….”
Email 10/16/11
“Even when a schedule is given to you, you do not respect it. But I do tell them that you call and I tell them to call you back. It is in their right whether they wish to return your phone calls or not, without a fight. And under the circumstances, one might think you need to give them some time and respect their feelings.”
Email 3/20/12
“Jason, we will need to discuss this further. We need to work on these dates together and consider the kids as well. This was the order by the judge to work together. Not including the kids in the planning is not fair to them. They do have feelings, that you choose not to consider. I hope you purchased flexible tickets or you will find yourself with some very hurt young men again. You need to consider their schedule. Being a parent doesn't mean you need the boys to make room to fit in your life, but you need to try to fit into theirs…...
Email 12/30/12
“…or the continued defiance on your part to communicate on itineraries…Of course there is so much more.....Jason being behind in child support, stealing from fidelity accounts, canceling insurance, canceling accounts, not paying medical, not paying dental, not paying the remainder of divorce orders, consistantly hurting the boys feelings. I could also touch on the complete terror that Jason brought upon us in … and before.....all documented.”
Email 6/7/11
“I do, and I would love to be able to come to you as friends /parents of our kids, but when you continue to be dishonest, hiding things, and untrustworthy to myself and even the kids, it is hard not to keep attorneys out of this. I think this time with the kids could be a great opportunity for you to establish some sort of trust with all of us for the future. That is one of the most important things you can do and should be doing. It's not off to the best start. When I ask you a question you should be able to answer it truthfully especially pertaining to the kids. I shouldn't have to ask over and over to get answers…. we were all terrified of you and so hurt. I had worked so hard in the beginning to repair the boys relationship with you, regardless of what was happening between us; you have no idea. And I continue to this day. It's hard work. You want what's best for you, not for all of us or this all would have turned out differently. If you have everyones best interest at heart then please start acting that way.”
Email 10/16/11
“The problem is, is that you have never taken responsibilty for any property we have had and now you are getting "caught up to speed". Would you like some cheese with your wine?”
“Make sure you put that in your notes as I have done, that you will need to repair that upon pool opening. You are the owner now…. Jason, you are the owner and it sounds like a structural engineer is a good place to start…..(you, beginning the owner, given by the judge, meaning that you are now responsible and I have no ties to the property) full payment of deposit….I do things by the book. Jo ”

Email 3/30/12
As you attempted to address each matter, several issues were still left out. I will write under your responses in a different color. Jo”
Email 4/20/12
“I shouldn't have to respond to an email like this but since it concerns the kids and what they are wanting, I will do my best to respond to some of the ridiculousness you have presented…..even though you know by my example that I always place the children first…Afterall, I am fully taking care of them and see to everyone of their needs before mine….. Unfortunately, sometimes the kids do not speak up when it comes to you nor are you possibly willing to listen to them as well… Your so called solution to this plan with throwing a little of the "You always wanted me to spend more time with the boys", is not going to work nor would it be highly looked upon by the courts...this is blatantly a

lack of concern for your kid's education on your part. We all know how you feel about school and how unimportant it is to you…. It is not a wise thing for you to tell 2 outstanding students that grades don't matter, because they and I know otherwise. It is also perposterous for you to encourage them to not care about their grades until it is too late. No judge will appreciate kids missing school. ….will come home before school starts as planned and I suppose I will have to approach my attorney/courts….I try to be an advocate for you or make sure if you said something to offend them, that they know otherwise. It is your actions, words, and example you set, that speak loud and clear to them. I will not advocate for you when you use poor judgement, lie, deceive, hurt, make them feel uncomfortable, etc. I simply redirect them and tell them that you love them. I do not step in the way. I often feel caught in the middle. And if you were more open to hearing what is going on with their thoughts, then maybe things would go much better.”
Email 4/24/12
“…We do different things here. Both kids will need new IDs while they are there.
Hopefully, this will set things straight for you and then you can be flexible.
Email 9/6/12
“Thank goodness they have a mother like me, in which I continue to stress their father's love, aside from the difficulties that continually arise.”
“Plus from a moral and an ethical stand point, I would imagine somethings need to be brought to your awareness. (1) The boys never like traveling on the day they get out of school, which also equals evening travel and usually not the best idea for the boys. (2) I would like you to think about how this trip might make the kids feel. I know on recent trips, they have been tricked and deceived. Once again, the boys will be thrown into a situation they have no control of or were lied/ tricked into. I could give examples, but I'm sure you know very well every visitation has been like that for them. They are expressing a great deal of uneasiness about this trip. Think about them and how they are going to feel, seeing you haven't told them what they are truly in for, and yet again, having no say, forced into a strange environment with strangers no less, automatically wanting them to except as family. Just think about it. Give them time, only forcing them will strain your relationship. They really would just like to be with you, not doing your errand work. And for number (3) and certainly the most alarming is the boys safety…”
Email 12/30/12
“Clearly your inablility to see what has been plainly bothering the boys is troubling. And you feeling that making up stories and spouting lies to cast the blame on someone else is also very troubling.  Mark Twain once said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Unfortunately, that is not the case with you, as your stories get more far fetched and I have to present documentation that states otherwise…This is not the first time I have had to calm him down from this afraid state. This seems to be a constant go around with his dad for quite some time. It is not a great pleasure of mine to have to explain that nothing is going to happen to him and that he is safe….I have heard a mouthful from both boys over the years and even dating back to when we were parenting under the same roof, Jason. You know this, because we have had numerous conversations on this; the kids being scared of you, their bitterness, sadness and so forth. As for you, Jason, questioning the nature of my parenting skills, I have always taken excellent care of both boys. They are amazing boys who are well rounded and well adjusted, even in the midst of your shenanigans. I am constantly providing a positive atmosphere full of love, family and friends. They are thriving, growing young men who would 't be that way if it weren't for myself and the love of my parents….

Or are we confusing our case with your girlfriend's again who clearly in … would have a parent coordinator or a mediator, especially if a lawyer has not been hired. ( I know law, remember) Or are we mistaking your girlfriend as the mediator because I can clearly see you continuing to pull from what I assume is her case when you reference things. And I severely hope that you are not referencing her as a mediator or parent coordinator in this. That could get you in some trouble, as I remind you how cordial I have been.
Once again, let me remind you that your complaints do not even hold a candle to the fire that has already been lit and the continued sincerity I have for working amicably to repair your relationship with our children.”
Email 12/30/12
“Jason, you have to be able to see this.
And I am quite surprised at some of the texts that have occurred and disheartened by the amount of times you have blown them off not just by text, but also by email.
Besides Jason, those are words of a passionate boy who has consistently been dismissed.
All is ready in hopes you will act accordingly… ”
Email 5/26/11
“Lastly, and very important, I would appreciate no surprises for the boys or myself. I expect to be informed as to who will be visiting/ staying in your home… while the boys are there. Please respect the boys and only have family there. This time is for you and the boys to be together. I also expect….to keep me informed before it happens. I am still legally responsible for them. We need to be fully honest when the kids are involved. This is the perfect opportunity for regaining some trust and opening the doors up for better communication between us. I am looking forward to that.”
Email 3/20/12
“Also, I would like to know their itinerary of their stay with you. This way, there are no surprises like the other trips they have taken to see you. This will make them more at ease. Hopefully this time you will use discretion when making decisions when involving the children.”

Email 3/27/12
“Jason, we will need to discuss this further. We need to work on these dates together and consider the kids as well. This was the order by the judge to work together. Not including the kids in the planning is not fair to them. They do have feelings, that you choose not to consider. I hope you purchased flexible tickets or you will find yourself with some very hurt young men again. You need to consider their schedule. Being a parent doesn't mean you need the boys to make room to fit in your life, but you need to try to fit into theirs.”

“I did not plan for the boys to have activities during your visitation, however, they are finishing up school and sports at the end of May. Unfortunately, you have not taken that into consideration in planning their trip nor did you confer with me before booking the flights. You are supposed to be contacting me so we can work out the dates together. The day you become more understanding of the kids and their feelings, the smoother things will work.”
Email 11/25/12
“In the meantime, It would be much appreciated if you could give me a full detailed tentative itinerary of your plans for the trip, including whether you are leaving state lines, daily routine, etc. ; seeing we have had multiple issues with this in the past. The boys have been through enough surprises and stress with travels on your end. I won't hide my concern for the kids safety on issues that have possibly been not brought to your attention. I will certainly try to get to the bottom of some of these issues and if I am unable, I will certainly call upon you for some documentation to insurance these sensitive issues have been cleared.”
Email 12/3/12
“It has been most alarming to see all the shenanigans and the great lengths you and your girlfriend have done to coverup or hide things. I have taken notice and more so I have taken notice to some alarming things the boys have brought to my attention on their own. I will need documentation from you and I'm sure other sources in the assurance of the boys safety.
Now, I will need some proper documentation.. and some signed assurances through the court that the both of you will not be drinking at anytime while the boys are in your care. We can go through the judge if you'd like or we can have our attorneys write something up accordingly, which ever you wish. I am sure this will be done hastily, because we have more pressing issues to take care of after this one.
Email 12/6/12
“For starters, the Saturday 6:30am flight will need to be changed….That's just too early and they won't get a night of sleep. I'll expect your changed flight itinerary soon, as I see that there are more appropriate times the boys should be flying with Delta.

I will also be expecting your documentation on the other matter within the next week so we can proceed. Jo”
1 Follingstad, DR. A measure of severe psychological abuse normed on a nationally representative sample of adults. J Interpers Violence. 2011 Apr;26(6):1194-214. doi: 10.1177/0886260510368157. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

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