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