The Tactics and Ploys of Psychopath Aggressors in the Family Law System

In the twenty years I have been advising parents, children, and their legal advisers in several hundred cases in Family Law matters, I have often been asked, “Why is it that children are so often ordered to have contact with, and even into the custody of, parents who have abused them and have perpetrated violence against their partners.”

The answer to this question is not simple and involves an examination of the requirements of Family Laws which stress the importance of children having both parents in their lives after parental separation, the dynamics of legal processes, and the often very clear gender biases of the principals involved in judicial processes.

But one of the most outstanding and consistent features of proceedings involving the care of children post-separation are the conduct and behaviours which can be identified as clearly fitting the definitions of psychopathy/sociopathy.

The major personality traits of the psychopath are supremacy and narcissism. The afflicted individual must be in complete control of their environment and all persons who are a part of that environment or can serve the psychopath’s purposes in maintaining control.

The psychopath is capable of using both aggressive anger and passive anger with cunning and guile, to achieve their goals of exerting control. Examples of such contrary behaviours are the aggressive violence against intimate partners, with the frequent inherent abuse of children, designed to groom friends, relatives, and professionals into believing they are harmless and indeed very stable and friendly. If thwarted in attaining these goals, however, the passive can quickly turn into the aggressive.

In furtherance of these traits, the major tactics and ploys of the psychopath are:

  1. denial of wrongdoings in the face of clear evidence;
  2. refusal to take responsibility for behaviours and actions;
  3. minimisation of the incident and consequences;
  4. blame being placed on others;
  5. misrepresentation, fabrication, embellishment and distortion of information and evidence;
  6. minimisation of all information and evidence regarding wrongdoing;
  7. claims of victim status, alleging the victim was the aggressor;
  8. projection of their own actions and behaviour onto the victim; e.g. she abuses/neglects the children/ she is an alcoholic or drug abuser. This is based on the belief by the psychopath that attack is the best form of defence.

The grooming of friends, relatives, and professionals is very clear in many cases, and in particular some psychiatrists, psychologists and family evaluators/reporters have been hoodwinked by such tactics and ploys by the psychopathic individual. Their reports, of course favouring the psychopath, have very considerable influence on the Courts and their determinations. Very often clear evidence of intimate partner violence such as convictions, Domestic Violence Orders, Apprehended Violence Orders and Restraining Orders against the psychopathic aggressor and medical evidence of injuries suffered by the adult and child victims are ignored or dismissed as irrelevant by such professionals.

Such professionals now refer to such cases as `high conflict’ cases, when it is clear that they are situations of a violent aggressor/tormentor/persecutor and their victims. It is easy to see how the cases in Austria and America where young girls were imprisoned for many years by controlling individuals and regularly abused in several ways were undetected, when the aggressors/persecutors/tormentors were able to convince their family members, relatives and associates that they were reasonable, normal people. The same often occurs in other cases of violence and murder where neighbours report that the accused murderer is a nice and friendly neighbour. They do not recognise the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of the psychopath’s ploys and tactics and of those they have effectively groomed in their beliefs.

The high conflict which usually occurs in such cases is most commonly engendered by the respective lawyers, conditioned by operating in an adversarial process and arena, whose own major goal is to ‘win’, whatever may be the justness and fairness of the result.

It is not difficult to see, therefore, how the psychopath is able to readily gain the sympathy and support of some of the professionals engaged in the Family Law system and for them to abandon and forfeit their professional objectivity and impartiality in such circumstances. In blaming others the psychopath will allege the former partner is mentally ill and in some cases the former partner may be suffering a Complex Post Traumatic Disorder after suffering years of physical, mental, and sexual abuse and violence. This is often misinterpreted and misdiagnosed as a Borderline Personality Disorder or similar psychiatric term. In effect it is a classic ‘blame the victim’ scenario.

The groomed professionals then enable the psychopath to achieve their primary objective, which is to maintain power and control over their victims, their former partner and children. It is an act of vengeance and spite but mostly it is to maintain the power and control and feelings of supremacism and narcissism. “I am faultless and flawless and in control of my whole environment” are the unvoiced cravings of the psychopath, and “I can continue to inflict my tortures on my victims with impunity” are the psychopath’s continuing behaviours.

The Family Law and their shared parenting provisions and its administration by the Family Courts have become ready enablers for the psychopath.

Charles Pragnell is an Independent Advocate for Children and Families.

61 thoughts on “The Tactics and Ploys of Psychopath Aggressors in the Family Law System”

  1. You’re missing a piece of the puzzle: lawyers as a group tend toward narcissism anyway; another narcissist/abuser would appear more “normal” to them. I theorize that judges, having once been lawyers, may be made up of the most narcissisitic members of the legal commun (and I’ve detected a degree of pompous arrogance/narcissism in court-appointed psych types, too). Family law judges are the ones with the greatest freedom to exercise that narcissism, unrestrained by the annoying presence of witnesses, juries, and defense attorneys who are capable and motivated to file appeals if a ruling from the bench is unlawful or appears biased against their client.

  2. We know that this is happening and yet we still don’t do anything about it. 20 yrs ago I had a chance almost in tears tell me that I had to give visitation of my 3 mo old because – “there was no clear evidence that someone who abuses an adult will abuse a child” – we know that this is false and this article explains why – when they can’t control the crying baby they will find a way to control it. Thankfully my daughter was not physically harmed but sufers emotional issues she will deal with all of her life. Emotional wounds don’t heal like physical ones and leave a deeper, more permanent scar than any physical ever could.

  3. My Ex has done all of the above. I live in fear every day that he will want to take my son and the court will let him. I went to see a lawyer and was told that because I was the one that was abused, they could not assume that he would abuse my son. The last straw that made me leave him was when he pushed me into the coffee table and onto the floor while I was holding our two week old son! How can the court not see a connection? What can a person such as myself do to protect my child? I find it unbelievable that the court believes it is in the best interest of the child to have a relationship with a psychopath abuser. My advise to anyone that is in my same position is to do what I am now doing- be as evasive as you can be (within the law) and hope that your abuser loses interest, because it IS in the childs best interest NOT to be subjected to forced visitation with a psychopath. How can the court not see this?

  4. I left and the abuse continued, all my friends and family thought it would stop. but I knew that it wouldn’t.
    6 years on, he did what he said he was going to do.
    I no longer have my children.
    What Charles has wrote happened and happens. I thought I was going to get help, instead the court used it against me.
    I lost all my self esteem, they say that I am mad and not safe to be around the children.
    I am stronger now than I have ever been. I see through the glass darkly.
    His true colours have really shone through and even though the courts , cafcass do not see this. I can see that they are all in cahoots with him.
    When I question things they have said, they say something different.
    My eldest child told the cafcass officer that the father had been kicking and hitting them. The cafcass worker brought the father into the room and then he challenged the child, turned it around and said that the child was hitting and kicking him (this was never mentioned before). The child later said that it was made up.

    one of the children as thye had to go, said to me, don’t stop fighting for us.

    When will the courts learn, when will the courts hear, when will we get real help.

    People who read Charles article, please be aware that it is real and it does happen. Do not think, like I did, that because you are telling the truth you will be believed. I could not believe the amount of lies the father told and was believed.

    Be vigilant.

  5. This article describes exactly what has been happening to me for the last three years. I was told ‘don’t attack’ your wife, you will look angry and it will be used against you. That did not stop me from being ‘attacked’ legally by my ex-wife. The Court believed all of my ex-wife’s lies. She even asked for ‘no visitation’ with no allegations of physical, sexual or drug abuse. When I pointed out evidence of domestic violence, emotional abuse of my children, the traumatic brain injury of my ex-wife and my treatment for depression were left out of a ‘custody evaluation’ by Dr. Stanton Samenow, the Court simply ignored it. I have sent this article to the doctors and lawyers involved in my case, even the Bar Association telling them how evidence of a severe psychopathology is being ignored against the best interest of the children. No one will tell me I am wrong or offer to help. There is a ‘conspiracy of silence’ when it comes to psychopathy.

  6. Reenee – I would find it extremely difficult to disagree with you that some of the legal and judicial community have a high degree of narcissism and some may in fact be psychopaths themselves, making a lethal combination. Family Court judges have almost total discrettion in what they admit as evidence and how they evaluate such evidence. Serious biases and prejudices are very evident in many cases as well as a considerable lack of knowledge about the needs and rights of children. It then becomes a `Tragedy of Errors’ of judgment.

    Psychiatrists evade psychopaths. Mainly because they know their condition is an untreatable neurological disorder (brain malfunction from birth probably from a defective gene) and secondly because they fear psychopaths and the harm they can cause. Note for example the threats made by Father’s Rights groups made to CAFCASS workers, throwing flour bombs at the Prime Minister in Parliament, threatening to kidnap the Prime Minister’s son, killing a judge and another judge’s wife in Australia, and their many other antics such as climbing the walls of Buckingham Palace and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Note also the number of Revenge Killings of their children by psychopathic parents, such as with Darcey Freeman, the Farquharson children, Yazmin Acar and many others following Family Court decisions which did not meet those parents’ wants and demands.

    My best description of events in Family Courts are that they are Moral and Ethical Insanity.

    Each “player struts and frets their hour upon the stage”, collects their pieces of gold, and departs without a thought for the suffering and pain they have caused.

  7. I can honestly not believe how true this information above is my
    life. Enmeo….I too share a very similiar story to you…….I lost my only daughter to a Narcissistic Pychopath…..everything written in this article is my life…..even down to being diagnosed with “BORDER LINE PERSONALITY DISORDER”…..I even completed a 12 month Therapy course to ‘get better.’
    Charles knows of me and the attrocity that has taken place in my life over the last 2 years……..I cant believe whats happened to my daughter and I and so many other Mums and their kids!

  8. Charles, you write so eloquently and with precise expertise. I totally agree with the comments about the magistrates and judges displaying their own high degrees of narcissism and psychopathy. The end result is that many empathize with the “white, heterosexual, employed, male”. Try as they might, and I think some do not try very hard, they simply cannot identify with the abused, protective mother who is now likely to be a single mother, and consider her a deviant other who is responsible for destroying the “fabric of society” (the family which is supposed to keep society functional). After my very first Family Court hearing, I walked out of there with the realization they had to find something wrong with me or else their system would fail to work. Although it was the other parent diagnosed with depression, mood disorder and high anxiety, this was dismissed and they had an unhealthy obsession to find something pathologically wrong with me. Thank goodness there was nothing to dig up. But the entire system is flawed and entrenchly biased. I doubt it cN ever be fixed.

  9. Muriel ~ I am much more optimistic that change is in progress. There is an increasing protest by the victims of the Family Law system and the current case of the 4 Queensland girls has highlighted many of the defects and deficiencies which researchers, academics, child advocates and parents have been testifying to for years. There is immense public and political concern about the workings of the Family Courts now that those workings have been exposed in the media, after being hidden by the veils of secrecy provided by the law. In particular the manipulations of the law and the legal process have been shown as morally defective and a complete absence of emotional intelligence which is necessary to be applied to decisions concerning the care, welfare, and safety of children.
    I do believe that change is possible, the speed direction, and nature of that change is however, very difficult to predict as there are very considerable vested interests which will be opposed to such change and will strenuously resist change and seek to retain the status quo.

    • I am going through hell married 10 years been in streets and strange apartments 2 years my 8 year old was taken from me and I went from visitation anytime to 56 hours last week the evaluator recommended no contact with my daughter except 2 hours week my wife moved in 500ib Guamanian who as open cps cases domestic violence my wife accused me of. Being drug addict all court tests negative
      Daughter as told police I haven’t touched her unfounded and my wife as brainwashed evaluator who threw my proof that 90% of evaluation is wrong defused to look at my evidence
      I was told by doctor green .com she’s. Ring groomed
      Judge said I’m getting what’s recommended and that’s it
      What I did is looked under Tentative Ruling and told the higher administrators there lying and my civil rights were broken and my daughters in danger now what

  10. A friend of mine finds herself in the same nightmare as those described above – negligent, biased social workers and betrayal from every direction. Her children have been placed elsewhere pending psychological testing and s37 report. She is accused of being ‘unstable’. Charles, she really needs your expertise. How can she contact you for your advice? Or, is there someone in the UK you can recommend?

  11. The psychopath in my life went to law school after we married and became much worse. Law school grooms psychopaths and the legal system is full of them. The power over their clients as well as their families makes them feel invincible.

  12. I just find out I was married with a psychopath for over 20 years, everything that I have read for the past 7 days its me, my life, the system, the court, the police I need help please advise what to do, he molested my 7 yr. daughter and got away it, now he has primary custody, I dont know what to do? I dont have the money to fight back, How can I stop him, or make him go nuts and loose control?

  13. I have just read this article and can’t quite believe how it fits my experience over the last 6 years, I have been dragged through the courts over contact for my 4 yr old, when contact is taking place, and has since my son was days old, I’ve been arrested and accused of assault, He tried to have me sectioned while i was pregnant, he has lied to me and about me to our friends and for a while they believed him! He has conned me out of thousands of pounds and has denied borrowing money, I’ve had an absolute nightmare and can’t even begin to express the depths of my distress at the hands of this person.
    I have been in the court process for 4 years, he is happily keeping us there representing himself, I am now in the process of a second cafcass report, the first officer appeared to be taken in and presumed I was attempting to alienate the father. she suggested I had a psychological assessment done, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to the relationship and the court eventually did an assessment on him, he was so evasive with his reply to questions they have been unable to confirm him a psychopath only that his personality ranges outside of the normal range for narcissism and ego… he is now grooming my son on visits and has a court order that he’s prepared to enforce with the police condoning it. I have had treatment for PTSD he has had none! He is constantly playing games using money, friends and our son,he’s told my son to tell my new husband he not a daddy and our home is not his, my daughter who’s older from a prev relationship is not his sister, its unbelievable this beautiful child is being turned against my husband and no one is stopping it. If I ask for an early night he keeps him up, I’m praying the next assessment will out this man for what he is and someone will do something to stop this. Any advice would be welcome.

  14. @ LisaKossoff – Your friend should provide to the social workers copies of articles on psychopaths and particularly articles on ‘Institutional Grooming” and other articles by Barry Goldstein, Michael Flood, and Evan Whitton. Inform and educate them.
    I can be contacted through the National Council for Children Post-Separation website –
    They will pass on any correspondence to me. Also I know people in the UK who can help.
    @ Betsy – I totally agree.
    @ Yazmin – he has sought custody for two reasons – to continue to torture and torment you, knowing what your daughter is enduring (and of course the pain and suffering he is inflicting on her), and to evade Child Support.
    Were there incidents of physical violence and did you suffer injury which can be verified by police reports and medical reports?. Were there incidents of psychological damage, where you suffered psychological harm which can be verified by a psychologist/psychiatrist?.
    If so, you may wish to consider bringing a civil action for aggravated assault and personal damages. If you have no money you may have to act pro se’ and self-litigate (there is lots of information on the Internet about self-litigating – its not difficult if you have the confidence and can research the legal precedents). Such legal action should have no effect on any custody/contact proceedings.
    He wont lose control, he’s in control at the moment – over you and your daughter. To make him pay (monetarily) for the harm he has caused, will begin to regain the control you have lost.
    If your daughter suffers any physical/sexual harm, then seek an examination by a forensic paediatricians (with photographs of any such harm), and an examination by a forensic psychologist for any emotional/behavioural problems arising from abuse. Obtain the Sworn Statements of any direct witnesses and/or anyone who your daughter has disclosed/complained to about the abuse. Then, and only then, should you report the matter to the police and Child Protection Services. Child sex abusers usually have child porn on their computers or printed material if you gain knowledge that your ex has such pornography, then report it to the AFP (Australia), the Special Branch(U.K.) of the F.B.I. (U.S.A.) as they are the bodies which are responsible for applying the laws relating to such offences, and not the local police.

  15. Hello All,

    I have been divorced 15 years now. I have been emotionally abused threw e-mails, threats harrassments. My children are 18 16 and 15. My ex has been brainwashing my girls for years to live with him. My 18 year old moved in with him last december and she got a car and lots of shopping. My 16 year old left in August to live with her father without even telling me. She also got a car and shopping. I am due in court tomorrow for the 4th time this year. Custody, parenting time. His motion is a lot of lies exaggerations. He owes a large amount in back child support and is always trying to get out of paying. Is in contempt at this time and is still inconsistent in paying all these years. It’s a game that has been played for as long as I can remember. I cannot believe he is able to take me to court so much over the same issues. He uses the kids in his game, which is what really hurts me. He never honors aggreements. I no longer have an attourney because I have spent thousands of dollars and nothing changes. The same threats and motions are filed several times a years. Not much changes except he pays less child support credit for back. We had a guardian come in a year and half ago and had a schedule. I followed it it was him that did not. He is claiming I am the one that is controling. My youngest does not want to live with him she wants the schedule we are folllowing for 15 years, he says she want 50/50. I worry about my girls and what they are learning from their father as he lies malnipulates and scams other on a daily basis. I pray everyday the what I taught them over the 15 years of fulltime with me will stick and not his actions of decite. I hope the court orders he can not bring me to court again for any custody or parenting time. And order that is in the best interest of the kids. They are close to 18. I am disgusted in how a person can try to distroy their mother threw his own children. He has even distanced 2 of my girls from my side of the family. His vengance and spite against me is auful way to live. I have continued to fight in the best interest of my children. But really need this to stop. Well that is it in a nut shell. th

  16. And It is really hard to trust the court system after being in court so many times. I see this as harrassment. I have voicemails and hundreds of emails documentations but that does not seem to matter. And the petty things in the motions. When does it end??????

  17. Court was auful worse than I even thought it would be. So we will see. I wanted to present the list because it’s perfect for what I have been dealing with for sooo long…

  18. Reenee, i just shared these thoughts with a friend in Australia who suggested i google “psychopaths and Family Law” God bless her, because i was sharing with my friend here that there have to be hundreds of victims so abused by the courts. As someone commented on another blog “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” When i realized the Judge was in collusion with the x-files lawyer. I caught them both playing me with slippery phrases. In Ontario Judges have absolute power to decide whether the beneficiary has to claim support as income or not and whether the payor can claim it as a deduction. Check the CRA guidelines. They are artists at acting out charades, making you think they are considerate of your arguments and rights or needs. I know of a case (examples are used in guidelines) where the payor moved in with his parents. His support was so high, he could not even afford his vehicle payment. he caved in and self murdered. A year later the son did the same to the day. There were published examples where they stated “the payor is living with his parents, he can afford higher support payments” I hold the court responsible, their blood is on their hands. The spouse must be so proud of her victory. imagine the loss for the parents/grandparents. Where is the justice when the parents/grandparents have to accept the financial burden and host weekend visitation because the court has left their son in poverty.

  19. I would like to take my family to court, to make them accountable. They have destroyed my life and others. They are sociopathic, psycopathic, narrsisistic, opportunistic, premeditated predators. No one is safe, not even animals or children, the birds or bees, anything and anyone is game.. They are cruel to the core, heartless and cutting, no soul and will do anything to get what they want or think that they deserve.Use people and spit them out.

    Does anyone know if it is possible to hold them accountable for their actions, has there been any presidences set in the courts for this. They need to pay for the cornage they have cause and the many victims they leave behind picking up the pieces. Even there own children and grandchildren. They ahave tortured me for years and i didn`t know what was happening, i didn`t understand it. They are soo sly and sneaky how are you suppose to prove what they have done and continue to do on a daily basis. They have ruined my life and my sons intentionally for their ill gotten gainsof abuse and manipulation. Maybe if a law was introduced it would keep these silent criminals at bay and provide some help for their brutally victimized subjects, some sort of recourse as they have no remorse for anything. Please if anyone knows of a court case, in litigation, let me know, something has to give. Something needs to be done. They need to be stopped and they won`t do it on their own. Thankyou for any suggestions or legal information. I hope for Peace, love and justice for everyone suffering.
    Stay strong. Hugzz…..L

    • Yes take the state to court hold them accountable and begin the take back power they should not be in family life period – it is patriarchy orchestrated to be revived as a form of contol – and yes power abuse – the state has a duty to protect take a case yourself just keep speaking out do nor be afraid

  20. I forgot to post this poem. It has really helped me and I hope it will comfort you all as well. I recite it daily.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  21. This is exactly what is happening to me. Reading that list makes me feel sick and incredibly fearful of the road that lies ahead. He has managed to get full custody of his daughter from the last relationship by making the mother out to be crazy – just like he is now doing to me. He is trying to get custody of our son and also my daughter from a previous relationship. I think he has been grooming her for sexual abuse. Help! I have my first court appearance on March 26th and need to get people to see what is happening! He has even seen all solicitors in the town I live in and so I am having difficulty getting legal representation due to conflict of interests. OMG what do I do???

  22. I love that; it’s exactly what I need right now. I am targeted by a very evil one right now…
    We need to come together and find away to legally scare them away..

  23. @ Sandra

    Same thing for me also. 10 years fighting in court. 2 lawyers quit on me. Huge debt, now I represent myself. Judges laugh at me in court. Ex’s lawyer bullies me in courthouse and in emails. Ex expects me to jump through hoops all the time. Ex manipulated 3 eldest children so badly they are messed up. Youngest is 10. I had to move for a job, and after youngest living with me for 9 years, courts decide she lives with NPD father full time. She is not happy. OCL decided he should have full custody. Are you kidding me??? So many things have happened, and no one at the courthouse will listen to the truth. Only hope now is when she turns 12, she will decide to live with me, and I will go get her…

  24. It’s heartbreaking that this is such an epidemic. I’ve been going through this since August 2012 and I feel now that my lawyer wants to be done with me because of the ordeal it has been. The courts have overlooked my spouse’s abusive behavior that caused me PTSD and they think that he is no danger at all to my son. I recently learned he got a DUI but is fighting that charge in court, another example of his disorder. He thinks he is above the law. And apparently his alcohol abuse and documented physical and emotional abuse towards me doesn’t matter. His attorney went so far as to say that I deserved it or provoked it. I can’t imagine how my ex with handle my child when he crosses him some day, especially if my ex has had any alcohol. I wish that I didn’t have the fears I have, but I live with them every day because I know the wolf under the sheep’s clothing. How can we overcome this horror of our society? What can be done? I’m a fixer by nature, but this is just something that seems insurmountable. I pray for my child that he comes out of this as a better person than his father. And I am faced with guilt that I could not afford to battle it out in court and that I was too afraid of my attorney’s warnings that “you never know what a judge will do” and the threats from our 2nd hearing where the female judge threatened that if we didn’t “grow up” and “step up to the plate” she would take our child and put him into foster care. In a sense, I feel I was forced into agreeing to let a psychopath/sociopath beat me down into submitting to him/ letting him get away with everything. Our system is broken, it is failing us and our children and everyone will suffer for it in the end because it creates a damaged society (mentally, emotionally, financially, etc.). God help us…

  25. My daughter had the exact scenario happen to her, she was 20 when her three sons were taken from her from both fathers as she was labeled immature with unsatisfactory appearance and moved without telling her abuser or the ICL ASAP so she was labelled transient as well, we were told the children were getting hurt and sick a lot which was only allegation even to this day we were the only party to pull medical records a 18months later for trial.
    My daughters ex who kidnapped the children is all of the above and I told the court reporter that he was very cunning and will try and pull the wool over her eyes in which he did and looks like father if the year.
    He hasn’t taken one drug test or complied with any orders he has kept the kids away from most visits and still got the kids so because we haven’t seen them much we are deemed unfamiliar with the kids,my daughter gets supervised visits once a month.
    The other father who was charged with drugs on two seperate accounts drug driving ,guns in the house of were one of the boys were living he gets to take the boy home fri-mon twice during the week.
    This has to stop

  26. I am living with a psychopath is for 22 years now I realised his illness about a year ago never had life with him . We have two damaged kids together which are improving after left the house . I want to know how can force him legally to go for MRI brain scanning which can prove the brain disorder in psychopaths .

  27. Is there a trusted advocate anyone can recommend near melb vic? My ex is destroying me and kids via sociopathic vendetta and is now going back to court again ( has off n on for 8 years everytime i recover from prior bout) again smearing me to try to get full custody. I am american have been forced to live here in poverty w full responsilities cant even take kids to visit states. He abused me is a deadbeat and refuses to do more than bare minimum. Help me. The kids are my life and i am their only full support. I just want to live in peace with my kids. So sickened by how been treated just for giving birth by a sociopathic australian.

  28. We should be allowed to ask for fmri scan test in family court to assess the disruption of the emotional / empathy circuit (paralimbic system of the brain) of these psychopaths.
    At least an awareness campaign on this front should be started, now that the research is ongoing and bringing new evidence on this subject, some parameters are to be set for child custody cases. The research for now is focusing on serial killers which are the more severe cases, but the pain and exposure to danger due to carelessness of psychopaths is the same no matter the severity of the disruption of their paralimbic system. If it is true that there is more awareness in the court system in the US, then the “victims of psychopath” associations should ask for compulsory fmri test in high conflict cases that are going on for more than two years in courts. This should give sufficient material for researchers to set some parameters on the possibility for psychopaths to have the custody of their child. These individuals can fool judges, lawers, psychologists and psychiatrist and even other family members who act in good faith, but they cannot fool FMRI test on their faulty paralimbic system.
    The superior interest of the child as in International Conventions should allow the judges to enforce tests such as FMRI on psychopaths, before they can be allowed to exert their parental rights, because before beeing parents, the psychopaths are sick people who are not able to care of others, let alone children.

  29. I’m dealing with a vindictive psychopath. It’s driving me crazy. He only became interested in my daughter when she was almost 3, she is six now. So far we go to court at least one or twice a year.hes a liar and the sad part is that he has an entourage of family (he’s mormon) and his mom pays his way through life. I am a single mother and have to pay my own lawyer fees which is really hard. He starts fights all the time with me this time over a necklace my daughter forgot to leave at his grandmother’s house. He is emotionally detached from my daughter and is set to hurt me through her. He’s never shown her love, left her alone in a hotel room, she got burned trying to make herself food because his lazy butt wouldn’t get up, she broke his arm at her house, she always gets sick after she visits him and when he drives her home to me doesn’t even engage in conversation with my daughter on an almost three hour trip. I tried making piece with him but he’s still set on taking her away from me. It’s affecting my child a lot at six years old she even started losing clumps of hair! It’s a shame the court system doesn’t look further into this.

  30. my ex already took both my kids,one isnt were convinced im an alcoholic because he keeps telling them lies i didnt understand what was happening to me until the social made him and myself have psychyatrist report done,he is 93% narcissistic,i was told i have an emotional personality desorder.the social ignored his results and covered it up.i got my kids back over 2years later they are emotional wrecks.he used to hit my son thats not his and my son told me so i told social,he minimised it and my son was left in his care more afraid than ever.he is now trying to take my youngest away again which is our son together.he has money and i do not.i have to represent myself and am so afraid of him.he has people spying on me so i cant have guests so family have tried to help but no one beleives son is terrified he will have to live with him again and im afraid no one will listen to what he wants as my ex is so convincing and is saying im a drunk wen im not.he has friends lying for him cos he grooms them.i have no one.hes even quickly getting married to show he is settled to help him get my son.i cant get legal help and dont know where to turn

  31. i forgot to say,this all happened as i didnt want him only my kids,he quickly started a smear campaign against me and its been awful,i dont come out of my shell i keep my head down as i dont trust anyone anymore,so its easy for him to do these things to me.why dont the authorities see this narcissism as a real problem as no one will listen to me.

  32. I am so happy to have come across your article, I feel so hopeless my daughter’s father has been given shared custody due to Cafcass and the family courts being biased and corrupt. I have raised her by myself and all of a sudden he wants to be in her life. I have never denied him access even though he was really abusive towards me and was violent infront of my daughter
    He has managed to manipulate everyone and all of the evidence I have showed the courts has been ignored. not a day goes by were i do not cry as I do not know who to turn to i feel that no one wants to listen when it comes to Family Law. The
    courts and cafcass have now given this man the power to carry on being controlling and I can no longer carry on like this.

    Please if there is any one who can help I would really appreciate it, I now feel like taking my life so the courts can see how much they are ruining people’s live and also to protect our children who are being forced to have relationships with people who were abusive towards us.
    I know taking my life will hurt my daughter and also destroy her future but i dont think i can take anymore of this pain I have suffered for 6 years and it doesnt seem to get any better.

  33. I have lived with a narcissist for 21 years and have 3 daughters. And my advice to anyone out there is don’t fight fire with fire. I know they’re repulsive and the worst forms of life but if you want to win you have to be clever. You see, narcissists will make you believe you’re stupid, but you’re not, they are. Their weakness is their constant need for worship and control, so play the game to get what you want. As hard as it is to stroke their ego because you hate them, its the ultimate revenge and the only way to keep them at a distance. Make then believe they really are special and they do have control. Remember that behind the violence and manipulation is a very weak and frightened individual. They are mentally ill and easy to manipulate. Do your research, know what you’re up against and have faith in yourself. You are the sane one, you are the strong one, not them. Remember that narcissistic supply is a drug they cannot live without, so give it to them, but do it within safe boundries. Set limits and stick to them. Never show fear or weakness as they will use it against you. If you use this tactic they are more likely to get bored and seek a new victim. DON’T give up, be clever.

  34. Hi Charles,

    So many horrifying similar stories to mine.

    Could you please tell me the contacts you have in the UK who may be able to help me?

    Had our final court hearing & child arrangement plan made last May 2014, and still the issues go on. He has still not completed the parenting classes ordered, and is still not taking our daughters safety seriously. He tells me I should “take a chance” on giving him unsupervised and that I “worry too much about things”. It was ordered that after the contact centre we discuss future contact as parents. I’ve been supervising since August 14 and I can’t bear to be around him due to his continual emotional abuse/denial/minimisation of past events. He was previously cautioned for beating me back in Oct 13. He is now threatening to apply for joint custody, even though our plan states that our daughter lives with me. This latest threat as I’ve said I will move away if the abuse continues.

    Thanks x

  35. All these comments bring back so many horrible memories. My ex husband is a psychopath aggressor I left my husband due to his controlling and threatening behaviour . On leaving for 18 months I endured stalking and verbal abuse he was all over the shop one day ok then the next explosive and violent. It was his plan to get me emotionally unstable so that he could ruin me via the courts. we divorced 13 years ago when my daughter was 9 years old, he applied for full custody of my daughter even though he had very little to do with her when we were married and hardly any contact immediately following our separation. He continued with his emotional barrage on me day and night and was intimidating each and every time we went to cout laughing at me having large groups of support even brushing past me on the steps of the court and knocking me to the ground. at the same time he went out of his way to be the nicest gentleman to my family and friends and professional colleagues. I coined it the charming man syndrome. I went through an horrific 12 months through the WA family court system. He had the most ruthless Lawyers and they turned every thing around and on me in the court trial, every conversation every medical appointment and assistance I had sought to make sure I did not go crazy with his abuse was referenced and used in court to show cause of me being medically and mentally unstable he lied in affidavits lied to his lawyers and councillor s groomed my daughter on her responses the whole box and dice In the end he was awarded full custody of my beautiful daughter and I could only see her under supervised visitation 5 hours every fortnight. It nearly killed me. Honestly I no longer wanted to live. I could not be there at all for my daughter When we had never been separated before the divorce. Still the intimidation did not stop I sought counselling and assistance for the visitation and access toy daughter through anglicare. They saved my life. They listened too me advised that they had seen this before and just believed me and offered so much support. eventually his plan and lies were unravelled he slipped up and lost it with Anglicare threatening the welfare workers and councillors, they reported this back through the courts. The supervised visitation order was cancelled and although my daughter was still in my ex’s custody I could spend more time with my Daughter. Now 13 years on my daughter is grown up a mother herself. Our relationship is good although strained not at all free flowing and how I had always thought it may be as she still thinks I must have done something so wrong to have her taken away from me. My ex husband being significant and well positioned in the Australian defence force had continued to condition my daughter for all the years since the divorce and probably still to this day tries to influence her on how she should feel about me. I remember my daughter telling me when she was about 13. Dad said never get in a car with Mum. As she will drive you away and kill you or crash the car and kill both of you.
    She was afraid of me because of the lies she was being told. In the end after the divorce and custody hearing all contact with my immediate family was broken between my ex by my ex. My parents and siblings never had contact with my daughter growing up. Only for the very short periods of time when I was allowed a visit with her.

    My life is good now. But I nearly did not make it.
    My life has been so different from how I had thought it could be all due to the vindictive hurtful horrible man I unfortunately married.
    But I have a lovely calm life now, a decent and honourable partner a farm where I grow veg can stand outside in our paddocks and breath in the beautiful peaceful world. I also have my grandson who adores his grandma and my daughter now that she is a mum. Calls me often to catch up and talk about life. She doesn’t chew the fat with her dad she doesn’t trust his advise.
    So hang in there everyone. If you are going through any court system at the moment and children are involved. Don’t think “he/she wouldn’t do that to me they are not that mean” it is so difficult to know who is and who is not a psychopath aggressor unfortunately it is not tatoo’d on their forehead

    • Bernadette, bless you Darling. I pray that your adult daughter one day “wakes up” just as I woke up 50 years after my father had spent decades alienating me from my Mom. He lost the battle, but not before devastating my life. Today, at 51, I am facing the biggest court battle of my life to regain custody of my own daughter, who although 20 years old, is so terrified of her father, that she won’t speak up to say she wants to live with me. A horrible judge ordered that she live with him when she was 9 years old. That was the day my mind was shattered, when I had to let her go into his custody. I have lived in hell ever since, but I am almost finished writing my book, naming names and as long as I have breath in my body, I will go to court and take that mysogynist bastard on and I will win. My greatest wish is for you and your daughter to share that beautiful bond that was stolen from you. And if not in this lifetime, in the next…it cannot be broken.

  36. You can add me to the stats of lives being ruined by our broken family court system in Australia. My ex remarried into money and manipulated the system for all it was worth, including false allegations to get her way. The result has been my only child having had to abandon one entire side of her family for the last 4 years and counting – just to cope. Perhaps however there are signs of change to come with the great work of Karen Goodall, Dr Craig Childress and others targeting these tragedy of society.

  37. I temporarily lost custody of my 4 yr old daughter due to an emotional breakdown,somewhat caused by a 5 yr relationship I had with her father,in which he mentally abused me to the point where I didn’t think there was any way out other then death and I attempted suicide.Well as he constantly told me,if we ever split you will not get our daughter.And I went to the hospital and right to court he went for temporary custody.It’s going on a yr. He still has her although I get to see her twice a week for over night visits.She was so thrilled and happy in the beginning coming to my house but now she is changing.Now no sooner she is dropped off she wants to go home.She won’t shower here,she said daddy said wait til I get home.She says he is her favorite.She asks me why can’t you and daddy be friends,I said we are,she says daddy says you’re not.She said she has a secret”daddy don’t want me at your house” but you can’t tell.So. looks to me like he is emotionally abusing her,what can I do? I don’t want to put her in the middle.But I don’t want him screwing her up either.

  38. It’s gotten so bad that I am considering giving up my child to get away from my psychopath husband. My child’s life will be over and he could potentially die in my husband’s care but the law allows him to abuse me while I have my child so I do not have a choice. If the wife was the abuser, no court in the world would allow her access to her children. Funny what men can get the system to help them get away with

  39. My ex has been attacking me for my son (now 3) since he was 3 months old, the moment he found he would have to pay child support. For the first few years, he manipulated me to not fight him even though he was fighting me! I don’t know how I kept feeling sorry for him, I don’t know why I wasn’t stronger, and I know he is a mentally disordered person, but I struggle so much now because as he continues to attack me and allege “neglect”, my gains control of my son and hopefully doesn’t cause irreparable harm.
    Luckily for me, my father has money and has helped me to fight him, but even so, he still has been able to gain temporary custody twice, and one of those times is now. He has had it for TWO MONTHS while we wait for a hearing which thank Christ is Tuesday. Whenever I am able to see my son, supervised of course, he hugs me, closes his eyes, and says “I miss you, Mom.” I miss him too. So much. I’ve written to our senators, have a good attorney, have complied and spent every cent I have to fight this monster. It has to work. The judge has to see the truth.

  40. Is there any way to introduce new diagnostic tools like fmri and dti scan along with the conventional ones such as Mmpi (and other less reliable tests) for psicological and psichiatric evaluation of such individuals in child custody evaluation? As we all know, standard test cannot assess psychopathy or “personality disorders” in general, even less when it comes to antisocial personality.
    Some kind of lobbiyng should be made on this front for the prevention part for all mental health evaluators – since, sooner or later they will deal with hilghly conflictual cases – to avoid “secondary victimisation” of targets, because through evaluators and tribunals decisions, psychopaths get extra tools, to victimize even more their targets. The issue is partly tackled by the Istanbul Convention of 2011. Psychologist don’t want to enter into this subject because it destroys all the theories invented to culpibilize mainly women (as with the cause of autism, it was mother’s fault according to the ’70 theories, autism was attribuited to cold and distant mothers). Plus the subject of personality disorder and related evaluation of the brains of disordered individuals is a very recent discovery (we are still in a phase where many psychiatrist and psicologist still don’t acknowledge the fact that it’s a mental health issue-involving the structure and network connection of the brain and this is why they call it still “personality disorder”. By denying the fact that it’s a physical problem of the brain, they attribute the cause to the personality, think there is an external cause -being abused as kids,ecc… probably made up by the psychopath to draw empathy- make up theories and think that a therapy can cure these individuals. We must be clear: no theory can justify the damage these sick people inflict to others, especially closest family members .
    An evaluation with fmri or dti scan is more for neuropsichiatrists, but we cannot continue to accept their mantra that these tools are only for research. We need these new tools to be used in real life, to see, especially in highly conflictual cases who is distorting the reality, in this context, see If the brain is altered in tne same way as psychopaths/antisocial/ecc.
    The same way as when we have a broken leg : we do X rays to see if a bone is broken. The assessement is not made by some vodoo interpretation of the sound of our voice that day or dreams/nightmares we would have the day before …
    A good start would be to tackle the issue of diagnosis by accepting these new tecnologies in a prevention optic for the best interest of the child or the safety of the other part targeted.
    It is true that it would involve more accademic preparation and would require that mental health professional be well trained and up to date.
    At least we would save a lot of energy, money and time and no longer give any credit to all the vultures that profit from the fact that psichiatric community does not want to acknoledge that these “personality disorders” are real mental handicaps and deseases.

  41. I too am currently going through the same situation. However, I feel very fortunate to have a judge who seems keen on these issues. My ex-psychopath is also starting to show his true colors which has made this fight for me a little easier. I do still have to hear from my ex over our family wizard only but I don’t respond unless it’s necessary. This man has accused me of being a drug addict, he was ordered to take 3 drug tests and failed all 3 for meth and other drugs. He has called CPS and law enforcement 5 times on me alone in 2015. He has recent DUI’s and drug charges but is still aloud supervised contact with my 18 month old. My daughter does not know him so I am trying to avoid any contact as she will be scared being left in an unfamiliar environment with all unfamiliar people. It simply is not fair to my daughter and I will continue to fight for her. I have been to court 6 times alone this year but will never give up for my daughters sake. She deserves better.

    Ladies, never give up and stand your ground. See the crazy making for what it is… Trying to make us the victims crazy. They eventually will drive themselves crazy if you don’t allow them to drive you crazy first. Take away their control, call them out (with facts of their own behavior) and they will lose it!

    Once I get through this battle I intend to start a non profit to help single mothers like myself. I am very lucky to be able to so far come out on top and I want to share my knowledge/resources with others.

  42. I am going through this as we speak! I have just sent the No Contact letter to my mother via registered mail. I am waiting for the next bomb to drop! At 58 years old, I never realized what was going on until she started attacking my father who at 82 years of age, does not believe what she is doing as she has always lied to him. 4 times in hospital and he gets better, after 2 weeks of being home, all his symptoms improve.
    Now that I am trying to help my Dad, she is attacking me with threats from her lawyer. She never does the dirty work on her own, always through someone else and that someone use to be me. No more! Now because Dad has been diagnosed with mild dementia, she put him in a Retirement home, and has control over the finances. My way of explaining this is using the medical system to get a divorce but instead of just getting half, she gets it all! I have called the police as she was messing with his meds (she admitted that to me, and nothing was done). Now I am also thinking that she gave him pills that were given to her by her Doctor, in his coffee and thus the reason he was sleeping literally all day before the last time she called the police on him. I feel like I am the one going crazy and cannot get anyone to listen as “the Professionals” claim she has caregiver burnout. She has always played the victim and really exaggerating and playing on it now. All I keep hearing is, oh your Dad is safe in the home, but beginning to give up and severely depressed.

  43. So my experience has been a mixed bag. On the whole, I cannot praise the police, social services and court services and judges highly enough. My ex has been recognised very quickly as an abuser and a bully, and the contact he has with our children is limited.

    However, he is a barrister, and I’ve been cross-examined by him three times now. Which was something else. He has been allowed to take me back to court countless times now, for trivialities such as having our son on his birthday (he asked for 4hrs, I offered him 3, the court gave him 2), right up to him alleging that I abuse and neglect our children. That one was dismissed just last week.

    My ex has employed all of the listed tactics for years, but must be a bit crap at it because he’s consistently come a cropper. What puzzles me is that despite everyone in the room knowing that he is damaging and abusive, he is still granted contact with the kids. When I have gone to social services about it, they have given me tips and help on mitigating the damage he does to them, but no one will make efforts to prevent it.

    However, I know my experience of the system has been overwhelmingly positive and is not typical. I have met mothers who have been through exactly the same processes as I have, but somehow mistakes were made. It frightens me that at any point it could have gone so terribly wrong, and for so many others it does. I want to believe that my experience is that the system is catching up to the reality, but I’m not convinced when I hear other stories.

  44. I am suffering the same problem and reading this has confirmed what the conclusions I have come to about my ex partner, my 4 yr old son’s mother.

    I was constantly belittled by her and constantly told that I have some kind of mental problem, which at a time I started to believe her, so went to get help and did tests and realised I was actually completely mentally stable. we have on going court battles when if she wants something from me that I don’t want to give her, she reports me tot he police claiming I am controlling her and metally abusing her and every time she finds lawyers and such that sympathise with her and every thing she claims I do to her, she has being doing to me since early on in our relationship. She has court orders against me and is determined to control me totally whilst always playing the victim. I am British and have to live in the country she is from to be near oyur son, who she definitely physically and metally abuses and manipulates and although she knows she is doing it, she couldn’t care less what she does but ony what people think of her, so constantly plays the victim and damaged soul all with the intent of creating this false image of herself to continue getting what she wants.
    it is horrible and I am suffering greatly with no end in site as the courts always believe this poor little sob story from their little compatriot rather than me, the foreigner living in a completely racist part fo Spain.

    I am at my wits end as she beats me at every turn. I always try to the best for our son and go forward with this hope that if I do the right thing, the morally correct thing, and be the good forgiving person that I am then all will turn out ok, but I truly believ I am dealing with a psychopath and don’t know where to turn.

    any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  45. This is all appalling, to say the least…
    …I really do believe psychos can more easily manipulate other psychos…
    …just look at how salespeople tend to be more easily suckered by other salespeoples’ sales pitches…
    …Nuff said.

  46. This article and the comments are very helpful. I am going through this now with a high conflict spouse, who I now believe has a serious personality disorder. She always had to be right and try to control everything, and would never allow herself to be challenged on her completely irrational parenting decisions. She showed non-stop disrespect for me for years, and eventually my children picked up on this and became completely out of control (truancy, physical aggression to me, general lack of respect for societal norms).

    My wife blamed me as all of their behaviors became more and more severe, eventually calling the police every time I tried to deal with a tough discipline issue. Imagine being punched square in the face by your child, having the police called on you, and then being interrogated about your behavior. To some extent I internalized the view of myself as mentally ill. I tried desperately to cope with the situation and improve myself through therapy, medications, meditation classes, etc. Nothing worked, and she never made reciprocal efforts.

    I started to mentally breakdown and eventually my wife kicked me out with a trumped up PFA after I confronted her and said I couldn’t take it anymore (never did anything more than yelled and cried). She included my kids on the order, just to make sure it bit even harder. On the advice of my lawyer, I agreed to an extended temporary order which admits no fault and can be expunged someday.To control the situation she “generously” allows me to see the kids if it is supervised by my out-of-town mother. She even formally complained to my lawyer when she learned that my child slept in my hotel room rather than in my mother’s on a visit.

    I filed a custody case, just for reasonable visitation, which she is fighting by claiming “concerns about my mental health”. In the first hearing the judge told her she has to give me unsupervised visits, which should become longer after each successful one. When scheduling the visits with the lawyers, she threatened to send the whole case to a full trial if I didn’t agree to keep the visits very short for a while. I agreed because I didn’t want to completely lose visits while waiting a trial. I am heartbroken and couldn’t fathom not seeing the kids for several weeks. Then she opened a CPS case on one of my daughters so that a county worker will start supervising many of these short visits.

    There will be another hearing in month or so, and I’ve decided to take start taking a firmer stand and fight for my children. By contacting teachers and therapists, I am finding out that things having been getting much worse for my kids since I have been gone. I am documenting everything. I am now even considering challenging her primary custody, particularly concerning the one child with the CPS case, who at this point is so messed up that she probably needs therapeutic residential schooling.

    Despite the pain of the separation from my children and the draconian PFA, this all might help me and my children in the long run. I’ve stopped enabling my wife’s irrationality and now I’m opposing it by simply documenting the truth. By her usurping all of this control, I don’t think she realizes how much scrutiny of herself she is actually inviting. I am seeing cracks in the facade. I hope our judge does too, and sooner rather than later. I am becoming terrified of what is happening to my children.

  47. I came to this page looking for some insights into how to deal with the “sheep in wolf’s clothing” who is still in life – but only for a little while longer.

    One of the things that immediately comes to mind is getting ourselves healthy and strong physically and mentally so that we can fight back – not in the same way because that’s dangerous. There’s a part of the Bible – which is the only reason I am still here – that says “How can you run with wild horses if you have run against men and they have beaten you?” It gets me up every day; I will not quit – in fact I now say, I don’t quit. Its more powerful self talk. I take one day at a time and each day sees me more successful and more hopeful.

    So don’t give up and hang onto your hopes. Watch really inspiring movies like Secretariat, Shawshank Redemption, anything by Tom Hanks who is a really great man and always plays the character we wish we all had – a decent, vulnerable human being determined to win and does win, and Will Smith, Denzel Washington movies – they all remind me that I can come from behind and still do great things. (Not bad eye candy either!)

    Your greatest enemy is your fear and you must fight it back into the tiniest corner of your mind so you can think clearly and plan for the good life you are going to have in the future.

    Surround yourself with people who believe you and who will stand by you – even in Court to testify to the things that your nemesis did in their presence and how that affected you and yours, and them. Build up your circle of real friends and supporters – I’ve been amazed at how much people at my Church have silently been there for me even when friends of 30 years weren’t because they couldn’t stand to deal with the carnage my life had become.

    You can outsmart your “sheep in wolf’s clothing” because he / she thinks they are smarter than you – and that ego trip will bring them down if you can get them to outsmart themselves in front of a Judge. Your best defence is how you collect evidence and present it in court. The Judge is usually pretty cluey and hates liars – so let the wolf trap themselves in their web of their lies and deceit. But be careful, remember the wolf’s goal is for them to win and they could care less about you – or the Judge. The Court is a stage for the wolf to show off, so don’t be surprised if they happily take the stand. They ache for it.

    They hate being uncovered for what they really are, so be very careful as they might retaliate. I have this thing on my wall that says : “Don’t let fear make my decisions for me – but be sensible.”

    While you’re battling away, plan to build a new you, a new life, a safe life, and prosperous life. On another wall, I have written – “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself” – but because I’ve been through so much and God was my last resort, it also says “knowing that God works through me and that He loves me more than anyone and that He always has and always will.” Knowing that I am actually lovable has changed my life. This awful time does not define me as a person, and certainly not what my life stands for, or takes away from any good that I have ever done. I encourage you to let it make you stronger than you could ever imagine. I know there is a steeliness in me now that wasn’t there before, yet I am more kind, gentle, loving, patient, faithful, self controlled than ever before too. There is no room for garbage in my heart. I have learned that bitterness and anger is like taking poison and wishing the other person would die. So get over that as quick as you can. As for me, there is a part of me that is more like the father in the “Taken” series than the mother that I am.

    Lastly, stand with others who are going through what you are, so they know they are not the crazy one. No one can go through this alone because we don’t understand how the dark side thinks – that’s how we got exploited in the first place. So learn what you can about the wolf, so you can take evasive action. Banks must expect robbers, like chickens must expect hawks, so don’t dream on that your wolf will ever change for the better in any way. He/she are what they are – and they can’t learn. But you can.

    I really hope this helps …. My prayers are with you all.

  48. I discovered this page after googling “family court case made me ill”. It’s three years since ours ended and I’m still suffering from complex PTSD. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever recover. My psychopathic ex used his rich, powerful family and their influence to ruin me personally, and professionally. They hired the most savage lawyer to seek custody and utterly destroyed me in the process. Their M.O was to make me out to be the bad person, the terrible mother, and everything that is listed in this article happened to me also. I fought back tooth and nail, but they did almost break me. There were times where i was terrified and genuinely believed that he had convinced all the professionals, the solicitors and judge, that I was the issue. In the end, the father was sensing defeat and was not going to be awarded ANY contact whatsoever, and so he withdrew his application on the morning of the final hearing, citing that due to my behaviour and me “being so difficult” he couldn’t take the stress of it any more and dropped the case.
    Something in the system needs to change and these people should be recognised for what they are and treated accordingly. Nobody should ever have to be dragged through that.

  49. This is not my experience. Family courts ruin the lives of good people, who without the abuse and interference of certain personality disordered people, could raise normal, relatively happy and productive people. Instead, children and truly caring parents are being forced into abusive situations that give the punishing parent the most punitive tools to rip and tear apart the lives of others for their own revenge and satisfaction. We need signs and we need to protest. That is all that there is. Alert the media and go in with a strong message.

  50. Whole topic to me is filled with cowards on the bench and lawyers in the court. NONE of them care about justice. They care about winning as lawyers and popularity as judges or being over-turned in an appeal. The truth is nowhere on the important list. I’m a man who’s been attacked physically, emotionally, financially, and tormented with having kids I love kept from me by a liar with a vagina. The truth is being a woman willing to lie in order for the sexist state and coward court officers to grant you control, custody and money is all you need. Be a woman, even the most selfish controlling pathetic variety willing to lie and emotionally wound your own kids and you will win. And no one will care about the man who eventually blew his brains out – no one will even notice that this rampaging violent man never actually laid a hand on the woman, had the police called, left a bruise, or was accused of any of the above BEFORE it became valuable in court to make the false claims. And no one will care. When I die no one will care. They’ll all say what a shame it was or how the court got it right to take his kids away because clearly I must have been unstable. Can’t be stealing my kids from me, breaking me financially, using being behind on child support as an extortion tool to make me agree to anything caused it. No. The woman will be surrounded by church idiots, and legal professional soulless cowards who watch this happen everyday but do nothing in terms of standing up for the truth beyond any retainer you paid and just greedily watch a corrupt family law system keep churning out rewarded shameful narcissistic victim claiming women and chew up good men who want nothing more than to keep being good fathers to the kids they love. Contempt of court? I have nothing but contempt for family court – and anyone making a living in that farce of right and wrong should be filled with so much self loathing hatred for themselves for what they help cause or sit back and allow that no blood money amount filling a thousand bank accounts could soothe. I’m a good man. I was a good father. I lost my kids for no reason other than a woman cried and lied and that was all she needed to do to get paid and almost ruin me. And the judge and lawyers made it too easy for someone without a soul to resist. Shame on all of you.

  51. So many people have gone through what I am going through anyone have any ideas or learened how to get through it my ex brainwashed kids to be scared of me and call me buy my name. There not scared of me and if I could get to them they would tell me everything. She lied to get RO then put me in jail for stalking used kids acting scared of me to do that
    Who can I get to get to kids so they can tell them what’s going on I called cps and no help courts listen to her and lawyer says I have to start at bottom why the mom is doing wrong not me she cheated and moved him in but can’t admit to cheating when my family went to visit kids she moved this is crazy

  52. My mother is a psychopath. She abused me as a child and when I became an adult, she has no power over me. How could she break me more? Take my children. Convinced the court and everyone else I was unstable. The courts gave my mother custody. My children are getting mentally abused. All have issues. My son (the only boy out of 3 girls) gets it the worst. She calls him names I wouldn’t call my worst enemy. I have to keep this evil witch in my life and watch her form my children with low self esteem. It’s all behind closed doors. She puts on a show for the public. She’s a grandma raising her grandchildren. Everyone gives her credit. It’s sick. My mother is a very very sick person. I hate that woman. She took my innocent kids and screwed them up for life. Thanks to the courts.

  53. Is it ok for a toddler to say the ex wishes you dead? Is it ok for a toddler (4) to be taught to threaten you with jail? Is it ok for the toddler to be taught secrets? Is it ok for the toddler to say the police are going to shoot me?
    You get told not to upset an ICL but that person is influencing judgements. I am beside myself that these people lie and then use the child as a weapon. I will not say silent any longer.

  54. Excellent article. I barely survived over 20 years of “Family” Court torture, every bit as the author describes. The process cost me good jobs and relationships. 1993-present, I suffer from extreme panic attacks and chronic insomnia due to noncustodial abuser, frequent kidnappings, and harassment using the legal system. Most people cannot understand the mental and physical toll – they think it’s over once the kids grow up.

  55. My children have been taken from me on an ex parte court order filled with lies. I am having supervised visitation (only after the court order became more rigid expressing exactly which days) and he has denied me access every other time because the order says the parties must agree to anything else. He is trying to prove I have Borderline Personality Disorder and even when the first court report from a psychiatrist said something else and that I should be fine with the children, they have pushed for another report stating in court that the first didn’t say Borderline Personality Disorder and they want it to. Even the magistrate wanted to know if she had two reports saying totally different things, how would she know which was accurate then?

    My children are being neglected and abused. I have had Child Protective Services and the police out and while no criminal activity has taken place and the children have not been physically or sexually abused, there will never be justice in this case as the children have been removed from a loving mother and the family court is so slow – 6 months will have gone by before I have any hope of getting proper access back.

    He continues to abuse all of us. I have had psychologists scream at me after having spoken to him – accepting everything he says as the truth and not asking me but stating what I have apparently done. He projects before I have a chance telling psychologists that I do not take responsibility when I have told the truth in everything. I am fighting the battle of my life. Fortunately I did attend something that helped me detach before this separation happened and helped me build self esteem, but I have lost everything – he left me destitute and homeless with no possessions, no finances, no job (they found out about the court order and cancelled my shifts) and no access to my children. He is pure evil. I am in the battle of my life right now – trying to prove my mental health in a situation where I should be suffering severe PTSD following what he has done to me.

    Mental health is the ability to function and contribute to society under normal circumstances. My counsellors say that my circumstances are far from normal – I have another job, I have raised money for lawyers, I have found a place to stay and furnished it, I work with children (I may not be near my own children unsupervised but I can be with other peoples), I spend sufficient time alone, I look after my dietary and medical needs, I attend appointments and am never late, I clean the park when I am there, I recycle, I attend social groups when I am able, I attend and organise all visitation with my children, I pay my debts even though I have barely any money. I am mentally healthy. How after this abuse I do not know… it is a mothers cry for her children that has enabled me to get up each day and keep living through this and keep fighting and I hope and pray he will show his true character in court and that I can file for perjury one day… because it all started with multiple lies on his part.

  56. All your stories resonate with me as mine is another tragic tail that “stars” a psychopath. With a judge and two attorneys in the back pocket, the stage was set and i was navigated through the system. Too bad my child, whom I’d raised alone from age 2 through 5 was along for the ride. From what i have researched and experienced, the system will not be fixed. It will continue to do what it does. I have no faith left that good shall prevail in our lifetime if ever. My advice is do not get married and do not procreate married or not as people are too deceitful and no one can be trusted, it’s that simple (the sad truth).

  57. Much of my time, I ponder how a to fix the sick joke called family court. “Gender bias” is a big topic which IS a problem but looking deeper, is it masking something? Is it merely a diversionary ploy? I would be interested to learn of ideas on ways to keep gender OUT of the courtroom. If one was analyzed by their merit alone, it’s be much simpler, fair, and effective for raising a healthy child. I believe the focus of both sexes on gender bias is taking away from what should be the primary focus and that is unethical law “professionals.” In truth they are lower than a leech on a snakes belly. They are adults yet they cherry pick and create “facts” like a child who makes up rules to a game suiting their own interests! Theres no “parent” present to tell them “now play fair, Johnny.” The burden of the dysfunction in the system is on their shoulders NOT ours. IF they did their job RIGHT, we wouldnt have the perpetuation of dysfunction that we have today. They are spoiled, weak, greedy, and lazy. Worst of all, they do not care PERIOD. Can you believe decisions about your children’s future are made by people that don’t care? It happens everyday and when it happens to you, THEN your eyes open to what it is: a tragedy beyond words.

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