Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

A gunman in Newtown, Connecticut began his murderous rampage on December 14, 2012 by shooting his mother and then going to the Sandy Hook Elementary school and opened fire, killing the principal, teachers and 20 2nd graders.  When he heard the police arriving, he turned the gun on himself.  At this time, the motive is not known, nor is a psychological diagnosis of the gunman.  It has been reported that the gunman had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a disorder linked to autism, but medical experts have stressed it does not explain his violence.  Logically, it makes sense as his car was filled with an arsenal of weapons indicating a well-planned attack.

The breaking of the news story was chilling, and sparked pangs of remembering a similar incident documented in my book, “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise when the narcissistic sociopath manipulates his 2nd wife’s aunt to write alarming notes, alleging they were from his ex-wife and mother of his children.  One note read, “If I don’t see my children, everyone will die”.  Another threatened to "go into a school, killing children & myself".  When the aunt’s handwriting was found to be a match to the notes, the Newton, Massachusetts police drove to the house to confront the aunt.  They were met at the door by the narcissistic sociopath, who exuded false empathy, and stated, “She confessed to me and is very upset.  Can you return tomorrow”?  An hour later, the aunt was being rushed by ambulance to the hospital suffering from an overdose of pills.  What is wrong with this story? 

      1.      The aunt never met the ex-wife, yet goes along with the plan to “frame” her? Why?
      2.      The narcissistic sociopath successfully stopped police intervention.  Why?
      3.      The aunt takes an overdose, which halts any further police interrogation. Why?

The parallels between the man in Newtown and the man in Newton are frighteningly similar.  The only difference is that the Newtown man appeared to have some psychological issues and fear when dealing with people, and the man in Newton, clearly a narcissistic sociopath, reveled in attention, as it fed his narcissistic supply.  

  •  Both men had thoughts of going into a school and killing children. 
  •  The Newtown gunman turned the weapon on himself. 
  •  The narcissistic sociopath, in effect, turned the weapon on his ex-wife. 
  •  The Newtown gunman planned his act autonomously.
  •  The narcissistic sociopath convinced someone else follow his directions.
  • The Newtown gunman carried an assault rifle and gun.
  •  The narcissistic sociopath’s weapon was an unethical attorney

To society, the Newtown gunman did not appear to be a danger, as he flew beneath the radar.  His illness was undetectable due to his introverted behavior.  The narcissist sociopath had met with judges, guardian ad litem and court workers. His psychological illness was flaunted behind the mask of narcissistic charm, a disguise so convincing, it was able to hide the sociopath’s mind and murderous plans. 
We pray for the children in Newtown and the loved ones left behind.  How do we pray for the children who have been victims of ignorant judges, guardian ad litem and court workers?   President Obama plans on taking measures so tragedies like what occurred in Newtown, Connecticut will not happen again.  Who is going to take measures to halt the tragedies happening in our family courts daily when decisions are made that rip children away from loving homes just as savagely as the children in Newtown?  Tonight there are so many parents who share the grief with the families of Newtown, but the sorrow they feel are also from the scabs being ripped off from the never healing painful scars of losing their child in a way that was unfair as well.    

The victims (feel free to add the names of other children victimized by our courts:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Memories Stolen

As my youngest daughter reaches a significant milestone, her questions regarding my experience in “becoming a woman” were met with limited memories.  I remember the year, the season and my best friend’s envy, but most details are vague.  I don’t have my old diaries or pictures as any point of reference.  My daughter is petite with subtle curves, her face still childlike, yet the hint of gorgeous cheekbones, large eyes and full lips are signs of the beautiful woman she will become.  These changes have been well documented and photographed, with her milestones charted to be shared someday with her daughter.    

I kept the same careful records when my first son was born in 1988.  I assembled a detailed chronological photo album.  My ex husband angrily protested my dedication, as he had no interest in maintaining or reminiscing a pictorial diary.  However, eight years later when filed for divorce he confiscated my photo albums of our three children, pictures of my ancestors and relatives, my childhood diary, yearbooks, letters, mementoes, artwork, and my modeling portfolio.  He also stole record albums, and expensive inheritance items from my great uncle. Although the loss of everything was hurtful, I realized “it’s only stuff”, as true memories are etched into my brain, most creating fissures so deep that I will never forget.  I can only attribute his behavior as his desire to punish me for divorcing him. 

Erasing my children’s memories of a loving mother was much more difficult, yet it was a deed he felt had to be done.  He filed false criminal charges and I was denied access to our three children, despite the false accusation had nothing to do with my ability to care for them.  It left me with more than four empty years of not knowing what was going on in their lives.  The void of sadness and unfairness was only quelled by my memories.     

After being exonerated from the fabricated charges, I still had to fight to see my children.  Eventually, I was reunited with three strangers, who had become teenagers during the lost years.  Parts of their memories were unblemished, yet their father had created doubts when he cruelly showed them court documents with the false criminal charges, and told them, “Your mother did something very bad.”  Despite the loving thoughts that may have sustained them during those vacant years, reservations were thrown into their young minds creating confusion of what they really remembered. 

To digress to the thought process of the narcissistic sociopath:  Each positivity in my life was a dagger of defeat for my ex-husband.  Well documented in “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise is his pattern of egregious acts punctuating a happy event for me.  Therefore, when I remarried in 2007, it was the trigger he needed to build upon the series of maternal negativity he had been creating for years.  And this time it had to be final.

I will never forget, as my memories are based on truth I experienced myself, not horror stories fed to me since childhood.  Although I have three adult children, I am still learning about raising a teenager, as that opportunity was taken from me.  All I can do is share with her anything I can remember myself, or by talking to old friends.  We will learn along the way, and create our own set of memories from the reality we share.   

Friday, November 30, 2012


I read this today on facebook.  “Forgiveness Friday.  Forgive someone today.”   Well, it is Friday, and the thought is lovely.  However, where do you draw the line to forgiveness and to never forgive?  The synonyms for forgiveness are excuse, pardon, exonerate and let off.  The first three sound like legalize.  The latter term really means “let off the hook”.  It sounds like the person who was caught speeding, “I was stopped for speeding but he let me off the hook with a warning.”  It’s a minor crime that is overlooked.  It’s a one time event was made in error or with bad judgment.  So, with forgiveness, there is moving forward from the incident and having a fresh start.  The person won’t speed again, or won’t reveal a secret, or won’t ignore a friend at a party.  For they have been let off the hook…they have been forgiven.

Never forgiving doesn’t have to mean keeping an anger burning inside.  Never forgiving doesn’t mean hating that person either.  Hate is an active feeling.  It drains energy.  It churns the poison in your own being, and that’s self destructive. Never forgiving is disregarding someone, or labeling them as insignificant and not worth your while, which is far healthier to yourself, as far more upsetting to the one who’s done you an injustice.

We often hear about the death of a young person, and how the parent’s forgive their child’s killer.  We’ve seen the interaction on many television talk shows.  The perpetrator appears humble in requesting forgiveness.  They show remorse for their deed, as well as tremendous guilt.     Everyone involved still bears the pain in their heart, but they are able to move past the pain. 

But what about the narcissistic sociopath who cannot show pain, remorse, empathy or guilt.  What about the individual who continues to perpetrate the crime?  Can the children they damage ever be fixed?  They were purposefully hurt many times, for many years – it was no accident.  How can forgiveness be given to that individual, regardless of the fact that today is “Forgiveness Friday”?

Therefore, in lieu of “Forgiveness Friday”, I live by my own “Good Deed Day”, every day of the week.  I try to do something nice for a stranger everyday.  It may be as insignificant as letting someone cut into the traffic in front of your car, or getting a bottle of the top shelf in a market they were unable to reach.  Today, there was a young man sitting on the cold ground outside of the supermarket.  He was asking for spare change and I gave him a dollar.  I will continue with my daily good deeds.  I will continue to forgive people any day of the week.  But I will never forgive the narcissistic sociopath for the damage he’s done to my children, nor will I give him the energy of hatred….as his own self hatred has created an insignificant creature….and I have better things to do with my time.   

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Double Jeopardy?

It was just announced that an internet search was conducted by Casey Anthony on “foolproof suffocation” on the day her daughter Caylee was allegedly kidnapped by her nanny.  But little Caylee was never kidnapped.  Her body was found six months later in a swamp; duct tape haphazardly placed over her nose and mouth, wrapped around her little head entangling in her hair, according to forensics.  All evidence pointed toward a premeditated murder by her mother. 

Surprisingly the internet search for “foolproof suffocation” was never revealed at the trial.  Somehow, the ball was dropped, allowing Casey Anthony to walk away free of punishment, free of maternal responsibility, and free to live the “beautiful life” she craved so desperately, even tattooing those words in beautifully scripted Italian, on her shoulder during the time her beautiful toddler was wrapped in a garbage bag in a swamp.  Nevertheless, Casey Anthony gained her freedom with a finding of “not guilty”, as well as the right to live her “beautiful life” instead of a lifetime in prison for premeditated murder.  Regardless of this new evidence, Casey Anthony cannot be retried for the murder of her daughter Caylee.  Even if she confessed, she would remain free, as the law states that an individual cannot be tried fro the same crime twice.  It’s called “double jeopardy”.  

It makes me wonder why probate courts are far more lenient in their judgments.  Why would judges accept a motion (a request) that had previously been denied, and “retry” it more than once?  Doesn’t this go against the law of double jeopardy?  And if a judge already ruled on a motion, why would another judge go against that ruling?  Aren’t all judges required to follow the same rules?  Why are judges making decisions that supersede previous judge’s decisions?  These are men and women who call themselves “family judges” yet can be swayed, convinced, bought, or freely show apathy in custody cases, and possibly destroy the family unit. 

Casey Anthony has been exonerated of murder and does not have to worry about another trial.  Yet mothers who have started a new life with their children after leaving their abuser have been dragged back into court on a repeated motion and then lose custody.  Baffling! Why aren’t the same rules applicable in probate court?  Is it because there are too many individuals seeking help so it’s difficult to keep accurate records?  Perhaps a judge may not have the desire to wade through huge piles of documents, or check if the motion has been already presented.  Another reason for repeated motions can be blamed on unethical attorneys who go “judge shopping.”  She files the same motion numerous times in the hopes of getting in front of a new judge in order to get a different answer to her motion.  Attorneys who utilize this tactics are usually hired by batterers, contrary to men who would rather maintain stability in the lives of their children despite a divorce.  To note**Abusive men attempt to get custody more than non-abusers.  It’s a way to maintain control and to punish.  The success rates of the abusers are astonishing – sometimes reaching 90% of the cases.  And these legal victories are without merit.    

Little Caylee Anthony remains an innocent murder victim who will never get justice.  In comparison, the innocent children of acrimonious divorces never experience justice either.  They may be alive, but they are robbed of maternal love.  (This can also be applicable in cases where fathers are victims and denied their children). Why should a mother who murdered her two year old be allowed to walk free?  Why should a mother, victimized by an abusive ex, the judges and an unethical attorney, never walk free, always carrying the weight of  a heart heavy with loss?  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day was always one of my favorite holidays as it was time to get together with family, no pressure for presents or religious connotations - just a day devoted to feasting. 

But in 1996 Thanksgiving Day became paradoxical when I was unable to celebrate with my three oldest children, as “punishment” for divorcing their abusive father.  Although I did have  later opportunities to share the holiday with them, it was as if they were merely visiting for dinner.  And regardless of the fun they had with me during the holiday, their father would always mock our celebrations.        

I am still an avid participant in the holiday tradition and am thankful for the gifts in my life: my beautiful teenage daughter, an adoring husband, my cute cat and dog, good friends, my cozy house, a running car, my abilities as a writer and pianist, my optimism, and my good health, despite a few minor glitches this year.  Thanksgiving meals have transitioned since my childhood.  The past few years, we have been enjoying the holiday with friends.  We are now the “older” generation, and our attending offspring are young teenagers.  It’s practically perfect. 

However, as we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, it was the American judicial system that took my three oldest children and gave them to my abusive ex, who neglected them, and didn’t provide them with the love of family, and alienated them from any maternal ties.  I find it somewhat contradictory to celebrate a family-based holiday that originated in a country that has destroyed the familial bonds.  Yet, I persevere, as the message I want to provide my youngest daughter is in keeping with tradition and being thankful of what we do have, rather than what is missing.   

I cannot mourn the loss of the company of my three oldest children, as I am still able to enjoy the holiday, and what it means.  I can only find empathy in my heart for what has been taken from them.  Instead of creating a strong loving bond within their father’s circle, the meaning of the day have been fraught with hate and retaliation over many years.  How awful to be forced to celebrate the loss, and unrelenting vengeance on a day that is supposed to be dedicated to love and family! 

Although this has been a difficult year with the loss of my mother, my job, and some unexpected minor medical problems, I can only anticipate a day filled with happiness, great food and wonderful people.  And I will give thanks for that, and say a silent prayer for all children who have been robbed of the joyful message of Thanksgiving.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012


2 years ago, my bi-yearly dental appointment was timely as my entire mouth was hurting.  I was positive something had infiltrated my teeth, certain I was fraught with cavities or some horrific gum disease despite the fact I am meticulous when it comes to dental care.  The hygienist told me my worries were in vain; and it sounded as if I were grinding my teeth at night, suggesting perhaps I was experiencing stress.

That seemed impossible, as I was a rock.  I was touted for my steadfast positive attitude and ability to persevere despite the years of continued abuse by my ex husband.  True, there were underlying post traumatic stresses, but in general, I was a survivor.  Expressing anxiety with nocturnal grinding seemed impossible.  However, I had recently learned my oldest son was going to be an unwed father.  It was shocking because my son would relate how his father publicly called him, “my gay son”.  Unlike his father, my son focused on school, sports and band, uninterested in mirroring his father who still needed an abundance of sexual conquests to enhance his reputation.  My close relationship with my son had been severed by his father’s pattern of spiteful retribution at each happy milestone in my life, after my son escorted me down the aisle at my 2007 wedding.

So, in theory I was going to be a grandmother, but realistically, I was not going to enjoy the relationship that went along with that privilege.  Indeed, that was the root of my symptoms.  I had therapy to deal with the trauma of my former abusive marriage.  I was in the process of the final editing of my book, “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise, which proved to be a cathartic documentation of the road to survival.  I was a high functioning woman, wife and mother.  So why did I have to endure pain that was expressed in my sleep?  It didn’t seem fair. 

So, for several days, I was experiencing intense pain in my mouth.  Certain that this time, it was definitely medical, I was examined and tested and learned it was TMJ or TMD:  TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DISORDERS occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles caused by grinding or clenching your teeth during sleep. 

I am not one who likes to be viewed as vulnerable.  I don’t like to show pain, sadness or discomfort.  I keep my emotions hidden.  Perhaps my desire to be strong and viewed as such is manifested by uncontrolled physical ailment.  It was almost eerie that my stress was being felt through my teeth, as my ex had an abnormal fear of the dentist.  During our marriage, he expressed his disappointment when he learned I did not need root canal by commenting, “Too bad.  You should know what that pain is like.” 

So, with a combination of pain killers, relaxers, warm compresses, a mouth guard and a lot of wine, I am starting to feel much better.  I will use the remainder of my wine in my cooking.  I will end the medications shortly as well.  I will probably use my mouth guard as a precaution.  My stress will always be present, lying dormant until something serves as its trigger; a memory of my children, their picture or perhaps an upcoming holiday. 

Although I know I can only wait until my children can face the truth and return to me on their own, they are always in my thoughts.  The unfairness and cruelty of the situation is excruciating when brought to the surface of consciousness, especially since I’ve learned I can be blindsided by that pain.  But now I am equipped recognize the pain, face it and conquer it.  This is just another symptomatic battle…and I am still winning for I am still a survivor.      

Friday, November 9, 2012

Death vs. Loss

My mother passed away this summer.  She was one month shy of her 83rd birthday.  Her demise began two years prior after breaking her hip in a fall.  During her lengthy recovery, she began kidney dialysis three times a week. The downward spiral had started.  A few months later, she had another fall and another fracture.  With each incident, she grew more and more frail.  Her insistence on remaining in her home exacerbated the inevitable, as the independence she craved was not conducive to her healing, rather a detriment to her safety. Her third fall was her final fall, as the amount of damage was irreparable and a week later she was gone.  It was a loss many experience when they lose a parent or grandparent as death is the culmination of the natural cycle of life.         

My cousin’s son passed away shortly after his third birthday from undetectable influenza complications.  His death was sudden, tragic and unfair.  It’s been four years and the sharp agony of that pain has faded.  My cousin keeps memories of him in her new house.  She keeps his spirit alive with stories and pictures shared with the sister he left behind.  She gave birth to another son.  She is traveling the road toward healing, which only has one direction.

My 16 year old daughter attended that funeral with me.  Our relationship at that time had been strained after she meekly accepted her father’s demands not to invite me to her Sweet Sixteen party in his unending quest for vengeance after divorcing him over 10 years ago.  As we drove to the grave site of this little boy, my daughter asked me, “How would you feel it I died?”  Reflecting on my daughter’s question, I answered her candidly.  “I feel as if I've already experienced the death of you and your brothers every time your father takes you away from me.”

Obviously, losing a child is the worse thing someone can experience.  I lost three children when their father waged a horrific and fraudulent custody battle, utilizing his money and his connections.  He utilized the help of a woman willing to do anything to have him in her life.   I remembered this woman from high school as a strange, friendless, and volatile person.  I later learned she was fraught with psychological instabilities that carried into her adulthood. Her behavior lent credibility to my fears as she was indeed the worse person to step parent to my children.  Her presence intensified the loss, and amplified the painful unfairness. 

Gradually the pain faded as I was still able to parent.  My children and I found a way to accept the situation, still maintaining loving parental bonds.  However, my ex-husband resented any positivity in my personal life. Each joyful event was met with retaliatory punishment in the form of withholding my children, hostile aggressive parenting and increasing their alienation.  Time and time again, I experienced the keen, unmerited pain of loss.  It felt like a death, yet it was surreal as they were alive.  The cycle of life and death seemed endless.  The possibility of their return was always on the horizon.  There was always that agonizing hope contrasting with the inability to move forward and heal. 

The loss of my mother is less acute than it was last summer.  The loss of my cousin’s little boy leaves an ache, but there is closure.  I am ready for that ending as well.  I don’t want to hope anymore.  The scab has been ripped from the wound so many times, I don’t know if it can completely heal.  I find happiness in my youngest child, from my second (now deceased) husband.  She knows how much she is loved and she is fortunate to experience a strong maternal bond.  I will never do anything to compromise that, including bringing three angry young adults into her life.  

I feel that a physical death of my three oldest children would have been easier.  At least there would have been the journey of healing, and the pain would have faded instead of remaining almost as fresh as the first day there were lost.  I don’t want that elation of having them return to me, until they can severe the ties with their father and stepmother.  They have made a pact with the grim reaper.  And the two they now call "parents", are leading them to the death of their souls.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Damaged Child

Parental Alienation was a term coined by the late Richard Gardner.  By claiming the custodial parent was poisoning the minds of the child(ren) against the other parent, the ridiculous Guardian ad Litem (GAL) was implemented in probate court.  The GAL system is far from flawless; it merely gives an obviously power-hungry individual the right to unilaterally determine parenting responsibilities, thus handing over the reins to the parent they deemed “fit”.  Unfortunately, GALs were uneducated about the effects of domestic abuse, and had no knowledge of personality disorders.  Therefore, it was easy for a narcissistic sociopath to charm a GAL in order to get awarded custody.  And with that custody, the parent was able to continue his abuse by alienating the children from the non-custodial parent.  Richard Gardner was a mentally unstable man who eventually committed suicide.  Those who understand the damage he created balk from using the term, Parental Alienation.  Some anti-Gardner groups are using the phrase, Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HOP), and defining it as “one parent mentally abuses the children causing them to reject the other parent”. 

One GAL in Massachusetts has earned a reputation of “liking men”.  Her meeting with the husband, a true narcissistic sociopath and abuser had her heart all a-flutter, charming her to the point of writing a blatantly slanted and contradictory report; actually kind of embarrassing for a woman with her credentials.  But, she was so enamored, she ignored the job she was hired to do, instead complying with the husband's wishes.  She gave him the opportunity to use the power she held in court to “punish” his ex for divorcing him by using the children as innocent pawns, as a Hostile Aggressive parent.  Synonyms for HOP are unsympathetic and insistently destructive…and this is frightening.  As a narcissistic sociopath, this man had no empathy, and his vengeance was unrelentingly vicious.  His need for retaliation reeked from his pores, and his entire being was consumed with spreading the word about his purportedly horrible ex-wife for years, including his children, as well as their young friends.  This fixation never waivered and profoundly damaged the children who were constantly taunted by their peers about their mother. 

This is particularly heartbreaking on several accounts.  During their marriage, the father had demanded his former wife abort all three children.  He had never been home to help care or nurture them as he considered it “work”.  He admitted being physically abusive to his young sons, and had a history of criminal behavior.  The wife had a loving relationship with the children and was an avid participant in their lives.  But one by one, the hostile aggressive parent destroyed the relationships by handing the children monetary gifts with one hand and feeding them lies about their mother with the other hand. 

The children were hardened into cruel robots created by a sociopath driven by what he perceived as “intolerable rejection” from his former wife.  Even with his spiteful severing of maternal love, one last try was attempted to soften the children.  They received a message that their maternal grandmother had passed away, with information about her funeral.  Since their father had been adopted, she was their only biological grandparent.  The sons ignored their mother, but the daughter answered with malice dredged from a place so dark, it’s almost incomprehensible.         

These are the words of a once sweet and beautiful daughter, whose intense attachment to her mother was murdered by her father’s lies. (Directly from her text) 

  • I don't feel like she was involved in my life and the part that she was was not a good one.

·        I do not feel obligated to go to my grandmothers funeral who was never there for me or my brothers..not to mention when she was around it wasn't pleasant for me

·        You don't even know anything about my life anymore. I do hope you are not truthfully planning on me changing my mind on anything because I can assure you that will not be an occurance. If you decided to agree to disagree then that is the best I can do. Sorry you feel so sympathetic for me, I think it is kind of humerous considering I couldn't be living a better life thanks to my father.

This is what our courts are allowing.  This is an example of the products emerging from our probate courts.  I dread to think what our courts will be like when these children begin to wage their own legal battles, as the stage has been set for failed relationships.  For more information on exactly how this can occur, please order my book, “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise online at or  Feel free to contact me for speaking engagements or book signings.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Politics and Probate

I am disappointed with Gloria Allred.  I have the utmost respect for Ms. Allred for the years of tremendous advocacy for women.  However, I feel that she has come to Boston with an agenda that is misdirected.
She is an Obama supporter and has traveled to Norfolk Country Probate Court in Canton, Massachusetts, specifically to look at Mitt Romney’s testimony in support of his business associate Tom Stemberg, co-founder of Staples.  In his testimony, Romney allegedly underestimated the value of the company, offering misinformation regarding the value of business to the detriment of the ex-wife, Maureen Stemberg. 
Ms. Allred is trying to reopen a probate issue and, at the same time, ride the political coattails.  It’s a questionable ploy because she is challenging the injustices that have been allowed in Norfolk probate court for years.  Because of the amount of the money involved, this was a high-profile case.  However, why should this case get more notoriety than other cases that were unjustly tried in Norfolk County probate?
I would think that Ms. Allred would have more dignity than to utilize her status of legal advocate for a woman victimized by injustices in our courts, as an opportunity to smear a political candidate as well.  Ms. Allred’s credentials and reputation with the public is more flattering than Donald Trump, who is attempting the same, which makes me all the more disappointed. 
I hope the public would also find difficulty in believing that perjury is not Ms. Allred’s primary agenda.  As a long-time attorney for woman going through high profile, big money divorce cases, Ms. Allred has certainly seen her share of perjury committed in the name of the almighty dollar. 
If Mitt Romney is going to be “punished” for the crime of perjury, will this open the door for other victims?  Will Norfolk County probate now be faced with an onslaught of perjury charges for not challenging fraudulent testimony given by other business owners, claiming their company has no value, just because they are going through a divorce? 
25 years ago, Mitt Romney was called in to testify for a business associate.  Did he blatantly lie, or was he merely parroting what he was told by his colleague?  And why should he be the sole criminal and not Tom Stemberg as well? 
I am all too familiar with the Norfolk Probate court, both personally and through my research as a writer.  This court is known for notoriously unjust decisions, denying due process, and not protecting the victim of abuse.  My book, “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise is a true story which documents the Norfolk County judges’ acceptance of the testimony of a narcissistic sociopath stating they have no documentation as to the value of their business because their computer mysteriously crashed the day before trial.  Credibility is given to the man who took meticulous care of his boat, cars and motorcycles yet neglected to back up information regarding his livelihood.  How can a judge not question a man claiming to sell his competition ski boat for $1.00, with the stipulation from the new owner allowing free usage?  Is it because it takes less effort for the judge to simply believe the testimony of a charming sociopath than to challenge the ludicrous claims? 
Any man who goes into court with the specific agenda to withhold monetary information with the clear intent to create hardship for their former wife and mother of their child(ren) is simply despicable, and clearly, not a real man.  Did Mitt Romney commit perjury for Tom Stemberg?  Honestly, I don’t care because the villain in that case is Mr. Stemberg, and Maureen Stemberg is the victim.
Ironically, several years ago, Mrs. Stemberg was complaining of her lack of support as she sat in her $5200.00 a month apartment in Back Bay.  I would like to tell Maureen, “Honey, my ex is living quite comfortably as well, and I really don’t care.  I am happy to live in a modest home, and driving an old car.  My marriage was intolerably abusive and that is why I filed for divorce.  Happiness cannot be measured in money.  I never received anything from my ex, both during and after the marriage.  The best revenge is living well, and living well is not determined by a bank account.”  I feel badly for Maureen because she was never able to let go and find her own happiness.  Did Gloria Allred really fly 3000 miles to Massachusetts just for Maureen Stemberg?  This latest event of reopening her divorce case is not making Maureen look as a woman treated unfairly; it’s turning her into a political pawn. 
And to Ms Allred, I would like to say, “Shame on you, Gloria, for wasting your time, and marring your stellar reputation.  Since you’re in Massachusetts, why not take a look at these other cases where women left their abusers, and ended up losing everything, including their children?” 
Sadly, this won’t happen.  So, I will conclude this blog that touches upon politics, mingling with court injustices by encouraging all victims of our probate courts, those unable to leave their abusers, and those who have found the courage to leave, even though you may have lost everything, to let your voices be heard.  Someday, we won’t need a Gloria Allred to fight our fights, and our judicial battles will be accepted on their own merit and not as a way to promote or smear some political candidate. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kitty Love

I adopted my third cat in 2005.  Having once owned Marty, then Jade – both of who I had to relinquish due to circumstances beyond my control, I was in a place to offer a kitten a forever home. 

After a careful search to find the best match for my seven year daughter, we found an eight week old, adorable fluff of white with a haphazardly placed orange splotch on head.  We changed his name to Zach and left with a tiny mewing baby in a box. 

After a bit of adjustment, Zach became the favored toy of my daughter, who’d tuck him under her arm and take him from place to place, his little legs dangling.  Sometimes, he’d go for rides in her little carriage or wagon covered with a blanket. His demeanor appeared to be, “Well, I guess this is what I’m supposed to do.”  No one told him that acting aloof was part of his feline birthright. 

Zach’s un-catlike behavior was endearing, and affections were well reciprocated.  When he was 10 months old, we moved to a larger apartment on the third floor of an older Victorian house.  We were settled just in time for spring, enjoying the cool evening breezes that wafted through the apartment.  Zach would usually sleep with my daughter, at the foot of her bed.  My nightly ritual was kissing her sleeping cheek and giving Zach a pat before I retired.

One evening, Zach was not at the foot of her bed.  I assumed he was in my room, but he wasn’t there either.  That was odd because Zach liked being with people.  I searched the large apartment and didn’t find him.  Going back into my room, I noticed my drapes were positioned strangely.  Were they hanging out of my window?  If so, where was the screen?  I rushed to the empty window.  Oh no!  I looked out and saw the screen, three floors down on the grass.  With mind shattering clarity, I knew how it got there.   

I raced downstairs and opened the door.  I called out tentatively, “Zach?  Zachy?  Zach?”  I listened carefully...until I heard a tiny “meow.”  Part of Zach’s adorableness was the way he’d respond to his name, even through the dark night.  I was afraid I’d find him lying in a pile of broken bones and blood, so I asked the girl who lived on the first floor for help. An Asian college student with a no fuss attitude, she marched outside, found Zach and brought him inside.  He was unscathed.  Jubilantly, we proclaimed his adventure to be both a miracle and probably a donation of one of his 9 lives.

Later that evening, Zach and I finally rested easily.  The following day the window was fixed just in case Zach became over zealous by something flying by again.  My daughter enjoyed the way I related Zach’s reaction to his evening flight, as I’d tell her, “Zach was looking out my window, saw an insect whizzing by and tried to grab it and pushed the screen out.  He went flying, and started screaming….. “Wait!  I really didn’t want that bug!”  Or, “I don’t think I’m supposed to fly!”  Or maybe, “Stop!  Put me back inside!”  Can you imagine people going by and seeing a little white cat flying through the air?”   She’d laugh as she imagined the comical spin I put on what could have been a tragic outcome. 

Zach is now seven, and my daughter is fourteen.  They fiercely love each other.  Zach hasn’t had another escapade that equaled his night of flight.  He is settling into his middle aged years, now in a house and with a dog who shares his space, yet Zach has made it clear who rules the roost.

I reflect on the lessons I’ve been able to teach my daughter through the acquisition of her first pet.  She’s learned unconditional love, tolerance, caring, and the ability to find the humor in difficult situations instead of dwelling on a less positive outcome. 

I can’t help but compare this to the lessons my other children received from my ex.  He destroyed their maternal love as retaliation for the divorce.  Tolerance was unacceptable if it interfered with his needs.  Caring was not bestowed on anyone else, as compassion was solely for his benefit.  Humor was utilized as a way to mock someone, or at someone else’s expense.  His lacking of parenting skills did not warrant the liability for a pet.

Taking on the responsibility of parenting is similar to the accountability of owning a pet.  As children become independent, the lessons taught guide them and gives them the tools to face the world as kind and considerate adults.  Children reap what they sow.  Demonstrating self-serving behavior and displaced anger, can only garner acerbic attitudes and poisonous characters.  Owning a pet is a huge responsibility as they never become independent and never understand reason.  But they love unconditionally, and for most people, that is enough. 

To digress for a moment:  Years ago, my ex owned two cats, one black and one white, who behaved as the proverbial good and evil.  With my continued efforts, the black cat became as docile as the white cat, even bestowing affection, only to me.  Without provocation, my ex made them outdoor cats.  The gentle white cat disappeared immediately.  My ex watched me put up posters, and make calls in an attempt to find him, cruelly encouraging hopes of his return, instead of sharing the fact the cat had been fatally struck by a car.  Unconcerned, he allowed the black cat to remain outside, until he too was hit by a car.  If one can place defenseless animals in potentially dangerous situations, how can that person be trusted to make the right decisions for his children?

My daughter talks about going to college in four years and insists she will be taking Zach with her.  If that happens, I will not have to worry about either of them.  She already understands his needs, and shares that responsibility readily.  He will be there to give her the love she’s earned, by implementing the lessons she’s learned from me.  Her younger years with Zach have already provided her with tolerance, caring and humor.  Those attributes will take her fearlessly into the future, with her fluffy white friend at her side. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

And She’s A Yoga Teacher?

I am a novice when it comes to yoga.  It is not my preferred exercise, as I enjoy classes that give me an adrenaline rush and release of endorphins.  Occasionally, I will attend a yoga class, for stretching, and relaxation.  The mood is a striking contrast to heart pumping classes and energetic instructors, to the quiet nurturing of the yoga instructor.    

Yoga instructors appear to be gentle souls who bring tranquility and peace to their classes.  I would assume their personal lives mirror their demeanor of quiet calmness.   My due diligence for this blog finds one instructor who says Yoga is an artistic expression of divine beauty that reconnects you to your self and invites more love, joy, and fun into your life.  Yoga is defined as a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline which originated in ancient India. This lovely woman appeared to be the epitome of what anyone would seek in a yoga instructor. 

When I recently learned of a local yoga instructor training facility who certified a woman named M as a yoga instructor, my former admiration for the controlled placidity of the practice was profoundly questioned.

M is a bold adulterer who has brazenly flaunted her affairs.  Perhaps her need to “feel important” is the reason for the undignified behavior – even attending her lover’s divorce proceeding, caressing his thighs in view of the judge.  Presently, M still chases self-worth as she touts her minimal yoga credentials as “graduate school”, despite the lack of any undergraduate education.  

M is volatile and explodes into unwarranted displays of temper. Her fuse is short, and without restraint.  Digging her nails into the neck of a child is within her realm of discipline.  Her verbal cruelty emitted from the depths of offensiveness as she informed her six year old stepdaughter that her mother’s new baby would be born blind and deaf.  

M lacks the selflessness of a mother, disregarding her daughters by moving her married boyfriend into her home the day after she told their father to leave.  She further severed her maternal bond by dropping the last name they shared, preferring the name of her new husband, livid that his ex- wife still shared that surname with her children.   

M complied with gusto, with dishonesty and without conscience to her new husband’s ploys for punishing his ex-wife for divorcing him, never reflecting his sole focus was on harming his ex-wife’s relationship with her children, instead of on M, his new wife.    

M’s marriage ended as soon as her step-children were independent.  Her husband’s new girlfriend replaced her in every aspect of her former life.  Lacking humility M proclaims, “We are still man and wife, although we live in different places,” and loyally complies with his obsessive harassment of his first wife, utilizing their children as destructive pawns…to this day. 

This is the woman who is now teaching yoga.  Although she’s earned the qualifications of the physicality of yoga, my concerns are what lies beneath the surface of a woman who is supposed to be teaching spiritual discipline, when her own soul has been contaminated by her degrading life choices.  How can she serve as a role model and contribute a positive and motivating influence to others seeking peace, when the root of her being is corroded?

We are all taught from a very young age, not to judge a book by its cover.  We are taught to assume that there is goodness beneath the surface.  But what happens when the surface is shrouded in the appearance of kindness?  One would then implement another lesson learned in childhood of not talking to strangers…or maybe not taking their yoga class either….

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Business Run By A Narcissist

As I was perusing the internet, looking for contemporary furniture stores for our living and dining area, I came across an advertisement for contemporary decorative hardware, which is my ex’s line of work.  It was linked to a site called YELP – which provides reviews of local businesses.   Curiously, I clicked on the link that brought up reviews of his business.  Listed were five remarks from former customers alleging the employees were rude, and patronizingly suggested a customer’s inability to afford the merchandise.      
·        “Each question we asked was met with a smirk and sarcasm”
·        “I remember the owner being unreliable and unprofessional”
·        “(The products are from) kitchens starting at $60,000 - that's a six and four zeros - are you sure you want me to talk to you about those?”
·        “It is pretty bad”
·        “Unhelpful and condescending”
·        “I visited today for the first and last time”

I found these comments were such an accurate reflection of my narcissistic ex, with his pompous attitudes, and I wasn’t too surprised.  But the one contrary and complimentary review included an odd final line:
·        “I personally think the other reviews are bogus & (the customers) were created to just slam this one business.”  

If this site merely featured a few negative reviews, it could probably be chalked up to dissatisfaction, not worth blogging about, recognizing bad experiences are discussed more often than good ones.  However, the posting strangely accused other patrons of fabricating their experience, suggesting conspiracy and personal vendettas; that made no sense.   .    

I have no doubt the negative reviews are genuine, due to one narcissistic component of a narcissist looking down at others.  This is itself lends some credibility to the legitimacy of the negative reviews.

However, the remaining pieces fall into place as a perfect puzzle to the narcissist: 
1.      A narcissist refuses responsibility:  These reviews aren’t his fault – it has to be the reviewers making up these critiques
2.      A narcissist lies:  Enough said
3.      A narcissist is charming:  Some people can see through them and some can’t.  Therefore, how much credibility does the one positive review possess?
4.      A narcissist is vindictive;  The have a burning need to retaliate against anyone who exposes them as anything less than wonderful
5.      A narcissist projects:  They project their psychological illness to others, i.e., “I’m not crazy; she is the crazy one”.

In due diligence, I researched the reviews for a variety of service related/retail businesses.  Many offered mixed reviews…but none suggested the probability of a smear campaign against the company.  Therefore, I would conclude that Mr. Defensive Reviewer is probably a personal friend of my ex who is smitten by his narcissistic charm and is following the suggestive rebuttal. 

I’ve worked a variety of jobs and believe in the motto, “The customer is always right,” (even when they’re not).  Every complaint is a learning opportunity, utilized to improve customer relations.  But the narcissist is always looking to replenish his narcissistic supply.  The customer who drains this supply by leaving a bad comment is someone to be dealt with in ways that suggest their incompetence.  The narcissist will never take the blame and never seek help, because they do not believe there is anything wrong with them.  To seek counseling would force them to look at their reflection, and see the empty shell of a person.  To the narcissist, it’s so much safer and easier to sit beside the cool water like Narcissus, and stare at what only he believe is mirrored back

Friday, September 28, 2012

Reading the face behind the mask

I was looking for appropriate internet sites to advertise my book, “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise.  Set in Massachusetts, I was looking at facebook pages from some of the towns I mentioned in my book.  Readers usually enjoy books set in familiar locations as it paints a distinct visual picture in conjunction with the text.  As I looked at a page from one town, I noticed several photographs.  Upon closer examination, I surprisingly came across a recent photograph of my abusive ex at a high school reunion.  My first reaction was an automatic gag reflex; an honest, physical response to the individual who has launched a vengeful campaign since I filed for divorce in 1996.  Due to deeds so vicious, I always avoid looking at his face, and avert my eyes, so he appears as a mere silhouette.  Our marriage is now a vague shadow, overpowered by nauseating memories of years of abuse and harassment that still follows me.

Although repulsed, I forced myself to study the revealing photograph.  His left hand rested on a chair for support, and held a glass of red wine in his right hand.  His posture is arrogant and stiffly posed.  Instead of leaning forward to speak to a seated classmate, his head upright and his eyes cast downward.  His mouth displays a closed smile that doesn’t touch the rest of his face.  His eyes are cast downward and expressionless disinterest. Narcissist expert, Sam Vaknin offers an insightful explanation on the “haughty” body language of a narcissist, when he says, “a narcissist often refrains from physical proximity (he maintains his personal territory)."  The “name tag” on his shirt is hand written because he never graduated.  In a true narcissist fashion, he balked at authority when they suggested earning enough graduation credits the following year. 

Despite that, he became a successful business man, bragging of his accomplishments by displaying his variety of purchases.  The rewards of his efforts were signs of self devotion.  He failed in both his marriages, and had a superficial attachment to his children.  Stability of owning a home was unappealing because he rebuked the financial responsibly of owning anything that did not benefit him solely, such as his numerous cars, boats and motorcycles.     

As a survivor able to have the opportunity to look at my former batterer without his knowledge was empowering.  Knowing the charade of successful contentment from this recent photograph was the mask he always wears.  I only can pray my children will see it as well, and realize that masks are for Halloween, recognize the lies it conceals, flee for safety, and seek the truth. 

I know if he hasn’t removed his mask yet, perhaps what hides behind it is even more frightening.     

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Female Friends

Women cherish their female friendships.  This unique bond is sometimes even closer than a sister. I say that because, in a sense, siblings are forced into a relationship called a family.  They compete for attention.  They experience moments of jealousy, and arguments from the never ending presence of their sibling.  Later on, they become allies and then friends, eventually going their separate way although still tethered by the invisible, unbreakable, and pointless words, “blood is thicker than water”.  

Blood may be thicker than water, but is it thicker than a chocolate frappe shared with your best friend from middle school?  Those are the memories that create the bonds formed in childhood that are somehow stronger and less prone to breakage.  It makes sense.  There is no vying for parental attention or jealousy that someone else is the favored child.  Bedrooms, clothing, and toys don’t have to be shared.  Conversely, time spent with a friend is precious and wonderful.  There is no drama lingering from prior family incidents, just the warm memories that have been solidified over years. Heartfelt hugs are shared and they each go their separate ways until the next time.             

When a friendship ends, the familial guilt is not there to second guess or regret that decision.  Perhaps there is an irreparable argument.   Perhaps it’s more severe; even involving philandering.  Or perhaps one friend becomes lost in her own world and cannot return to reality….the saddest loss of all because there is no concrete answer.   

I have experienced the two former scenarios years ago.  There was the friend I met in middle school who lost herself to the control of her narcissistic husband so she could no longer think for herself.  I haven’t seen her since 1997.  There was the friend who swore eternal support during my acrimonious divorce, while fueling her own lack of self esteem by an extramarital affair with my husband.  She attempted contact recently, which I didn’t acknowledge.  More recently, there is the friend who has lost touch with reality.  Tragic and heartbreaking, but I am not qualified to deal with her demons; and she is too possessed by confusion, fantasies and paranoia to accept help.

With all three women, there were nagging signals that something was not quite right.  Like drinking that chocolate frappe which starts to weigh heavily in your stomach, but you keep drinking because it tastes so good.  Yet eventually you need to do what is in your best interest.  It’s easy to push a glass away, but much more difficult to push away a friendship.  The ties that bind female friends are firmly knotted from sharing the laughter and tears, the escapades and adventures, and thousands of memories over the years.  Therefore escape is almost impossible, unless you sharply sever the ties. 

So, while those sibling bonds may fray, and break, there is usually a way to mend them; often utilizing a joint effort to repair the connection, sometimes even with additional help from the family.  But once a friendship becomes more poison than pleasant, an attempt to become re-tethered is like agreeing to be dragged down into the sea of her helplessness, malevolence, or insanity. 

Sometimes, the best decision is to walk away and never look back.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Woman's Son

 My labor began on a Sunday and three days later, on September 7, 1988, I had my first son.  To backtrack 9 months….My pregnancy symptoms began around Christmas 1987.  With optimism, I suggested the possibility to my husband, who was incredulous to that probability.  His skepticism was all the more preposterous as he was fully aware that our equation of M + W – C = Baby.  The positive pregnancy results were met with my husband’s responding, “It’s too soon and I don’t think you should have it.”  

We were approaching 30 years old and had been together for three years.  Categorically, we were not statistically unsuitable of becoming parents. Begrudgingly, passive acceptance of the pregnancy bordering on disdain greeted me for those 9 months.  My husband didn’t attend a single obstetrician visit.  He was uninterested in feeling the baby kick.  He mocked the prenatal classes.  He was abusive.  He was insulting.  He was selfish.  He was unsupportive during labor, eventually leaving for several hours to “get a good meal and smoke a big, fat doobie”.  When he returned to the hospital, he was so high that the labor nurses kept him from the room during my emergency c-section until my son was born.  In recovery, my husband’s first words to me were, “It’s good that you had a c-section; now you won’t be all stretched out.” 

In the years that followed my son’s birth, the abuse escalated in a cyclical manner, and two other babies were conceived.  One pregnancy was blandly accepted but the final pregnancy was met with furious insistence of an abortion, which I flatly refused and fiercely protected.  Despite three gorgeous children, my husband’s behavior consistently became crueler until I knew if I stayed with him, I would die.  However, filing for divorce was a huge blow to my husband’s narcissistic ego.  If his own wife didn’t want him, what was he worth?  The only way he could remedy that was to punish.  He had the money, the means and the burning vengeance to take everything from me.  Unsatisfied, his sociopathic need for retaliation bled into our children.  Our oldest son was devoted to me and cognizant of his father’s malice, but not savvy enough to eventually be sucked into his father’s illness, coerced by monetary devices, and cut off communication with me.  When his father mocked him, accused him and announced, “My son is gay!” because he did not need to follow his father’s philandering footsteps, my son was unable to face the vicious ridicule, met a girl and got her pregnant.

Discovering the pregnancy through gossip, my attempts to reach out to my son were in vain as he was so fully enmeshed by his father’s control.  As abuse is cyclical, I could only see a future for my son and his soon-to-be-born son mirroring his father’s destiny…a future of pain and retaliation and hurt. 

On September 4, 2010, two days before my grandson’s birth, and three day’s before my son’s 22nd birthday, I wrote this poem.  It was recently selected as a third prize recipient in an internet poetry competition.  So, I felt it should be shared in this forum.

A woman knew a baby, growing within her, destined to be cherished.
A woman felt her baby moving, hoping to share the signs of life with his father who remained distant, cold, uninterested.

A woman knew a newborn, with eyes of melting chocolate and pink cherubic cheeks,
A woman felt her baby boy take hold of her heart, learning how deeply she could love.

A woman knew a little boy, all dimples, tight hugs and laughter.
A woman felt the pain as her son’s father turned away to pursue interests elsewhere.

A woman knew a boy, wise beyond his years, who began to see and speak the truth.
A woman felt the love whispered by her son sharing his thoughts that it was only his mom he knew he could depend upon.

A woman knew a young man, but now, only from photographs and memories.
A woman felt the severed bonds committed by the man she left, bent on revenge despite the damage inflicted on the child they created.

A woman knew a teenaged boy, nostalgic for his mother’s love, yet tainted by his father’s false words and deeds.
A woman felt the joy of reunion, mingling with the pain of the years lost through no fault of her own.

A woman knew her son, once sweet and kind and giving and embracing life’s lessons.
A woman felt the despair on the day her son revealed he had become his father.

A woman knew a father-to-be, and hoped his son would be like the little boy she once knew. 
A woman felt an ache in her heart as she prayed the baby would not follow in his father’s footsteps.

A woman knew of a young father, molded from his own father’s anger, who would someday lose his son and feel the agony of unfounded loss.
A woman felt the anguish of losing a son who remained very much alive, just without her.