Bewildered by this Screwed Up System: Today’s Experience with Law Enforcement

Bewildered by this Screwed Up System: Today’s Experience with Law Enforcement

todayThe girls haven’t seen their father since the last incident which ended at the local police station.  We hadn’t really talked about this week’s visitation until last night at dinner.  My oldest daughter, Piper stated that she did not want to go to her father’s house this weekend.  She was more firm than she’s ever been.  She said that she is afraid of her father and does not feel safe.

After dinner, I promptly called and notified Seth of my plans by voice mail and by email- while I am required by law to be at the pick up location, I refuse to make my children get out of the car and leave with someone who makes them feel unsafe.

I notified the local police department at 10:15am and asked them to meet me at the drop-off location at 11:00am to keep the peace.  I explained to the girls that they could talk to the police officer and explain their fears or concerns about their dad.  Because we have friends in law enforcement, this is not scary to them and they both stated that they wanted to speak to the police.  If a police officer could listen to these little girls and still insist that we follow orders than it was out of my hands at that point.  My hands are tied by several aspects of this broken system.

We arrived and parked in the parking lot and quickly saw Seth enter.  The police followed shortly behind him.  I saw him driving towards us and motioned for him to park further away but he parked right in front of my car.  The girls had asked before-hand if they would have to speak to their father and while I hoped the police would protect them from that, I couldn’t make any promises.  He was pacing at the front of my car and I was extremely intimidated even with the police present.

I explained to the first female officer that we had a court order for visitation but that my daughters were afraid of their father due to recent incidents that were currently under investigation with child protective services and the DA’s office.  The officer opened the door to my car and began talking to the girls.  I moved away from the car as she requested.  While that was going on, Seth was ranting under his breath- loud enough for me to hear but quiet enough that the officer couldn’t hear him.  His rants involved parental alienation syndrome and accusations that I am severely damaging our children.  He was videotaping me during this exchange so I looked right into his camera and reminded him that HE was the one damaging our children by hurting them constantly.  He promptly turned the camera off.

Another officer arrived and she was less than pleasant- she was horrific. I have never in my life been treated that way.  I was ordered to stand by the patrol car while the two officers interviewed our daughters.  I was told not to even look at my daughters. Meanwhile Seth was videotaping me and the officers.  At one point he pointed the camera straight at me and said, “This is what parental alienation syndrome looks like”.  He went into several diatribes about PAS to the officers and made them watch videos of he and the girls playing together at a recent visit.  I would be ecstatic if a video camera were on him during visitations- sadly, he turns the camera on for staged moments.

After about 15 minutes, I watched as one officer escorted Seth to the car where my oldest daughter promptly began to cry.  According to my daughters, Seth said that he promised that he wouldn’t hit them or squeeze them anymore (?!?!).  He also lured them by saying they would have a playdate with a family friend who doesn’t even interact with him anymore– but Seth knows that the girls would be excited to play with their friends.  It’s sick and disgusting.  Meanwhile, I was ordered to remain standing behind the patrol car during this entire process and couldn’t see what was happening.  After a while the first officer came back over and explained that she can tell he is a Type A personality and that some people consider hitting as a parenting style.  Speechless.

She then went onto say that the girls would stay with me for today but agreed to go with him tomorrow– and that she would be at our drop-off location at 11am to oversee the transfer.  She then instructed me to go home and be happy about the transfer and encouraging about their visit with their father.  I looked right at her and said, “Do you have advice on how to be encouraging and positive if forced to send your children into an unsafe environment?” and her reply, “You had children together and he is their father”.  Speechless.

Normally, I am positive and encouraging about visits.  Sometimes it takes everything in me to do so but I do it regardless.  When my daughters are asking me to protect them from someone who is dangerous, how does one act positive and encouraging?  I walked back to my car and climbed in.  As I started my car and pulled out of the parking lot my oldest daughter began to cry and said, “Mom, I said I would go tomorrow but I don’t want to.  I am scared of him.”

Today was one of the worst days that I’ve had in this entire battle.  Does this system really expect me to discount my daughter’s feelings about being afraid and act gleeful?  That sounds incredibly damaging and harmful to me.  I don’t understand what this system wants from me 🙁

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18 Responses

  1. I would tell her that if her dad does anything that makes her afraid during her time with him, she should call 911. This is absurd.

  2. Tina,
    Unfortunately it seems you will now be faced with what most of us were faced with from the start. I hope your brave daughters will realize a system that’s meant to protect them, can’t or won’t until we all shovel through the red tape and orders (oh and money) and are actually able to show a crime has been committed. I am so sorry for you all. I watched my daughter become fearful of all she trusted, police included and God due to the continual exceptions they made for an abusive father and him using both the law and God.

    They really may continue abusing your daughters until something happens unless that evaluation comes back in your favor. The bar is very low to stop parent visitations and children don’t have a voice until age 18. In California at least they passed the law about the children being 14 able to state their wishes and a judge must state why he goes against the children.

    I wish you all the luck and try to remind your daughter they have had fun with him and since people are watching for his bad behavior you believe he will act better with them tomorrow. That’s the best I can come up with.

    Good luck and best wishes!

    Dene’

  3. oh, law enforcement. what a joke. these people collect paychecks from the tax dollars of the citizens they are obligated to protect, and then go to incredible lengths not to protect anyone. the idea that “he is their father” is more important than “he is abusing his children” permeates police culture to a disgusting extent. had he hit someone else’s children, he’d be in jail, but since they’re his, no big deal. how can one expect to raise strong, independent girls when they are told from such a young age that they are basically property?

  4. Stacey- those used to be my words of wisdom for her. Sadly, he takes her phone so that safety net no longer makes her feel secure 🙁

  5. I have been in that exact same position. I refused to make my children go and the “n” has filed contempt charges against me about every 2 years. The rest of the time he is a very disinterested father. He has NEVER attended a parent teacher conference, couldn’t begin to tell you the name of our youngest sons specialist (medically handicapped). Most recently he was convicted of felony DV and I requested supervised visitation. The magistrate actually said my children were old enough to get away should there be an incident. By the way, there have been 96 “incidents” where the local sheriffs department has been dispatched to the home in the last 5 years. Seriously, I can’t make this up. STILL I am forced to send them to this environment. Another hearing scheduled for March on this matter. So yes Tina it is the most difficult battle of our lives. I admire your perseverance. Stay strong….

  6. When the parent coordinator was informed that my ex was screaming and banging on the table when “helping” our 9 year old daughter with homework and she was so scared of him that she begged me to have her homework done at home only (a challenge due to frequent visitation but I manage), the PC told me to have her do the homework with her father anyway. Instead of addressing the screaming and the bullying. And she’s a mental health professional…

    Question for the police officer – since when is type A personality a euphemism for an abuser? Oh, and the camera thing makes him sound like a freak.

    Hang in there, Tina. He’s being watched closely so that should keep him in check. It’s good the girls have each other when they are over at his place.

  7. I am so sorry. This is truly the worst pain. My children were much older so I worked out a plan of “grounding” with each of their therapists. If they chose not to go to dad’s for the weekend, they had to be grounded, and it SUCKED. We had many weekends of teenagers who choose to stay in their rooms with no TV, computer, cell phones or friends. They would choose to be grounded for not wanting to go into a house where there were bombarded by messages of how bad their mother was, along with my family whom they loved, they were physically restrained, locked in his basement, hit….and all I got from the police was “it is your job as their mother to make them go or you will be in violation of the court order.” I came home one day after a frantic phone call from my 14 year old, there were 3 police cars in my driveway and my ex was in the driveway laughing, I ran into the house and found my son surrounded by 3 officers and they were trying to convince him to go out to his dad’s car….he wouldn’t despite their threats. I am so sorry for your girls and for you as I know the helplessness and fear.

    Next time anyone tells you that you chose to have children with him and that he is their father, tell them it takes more than a sperm donation to make a father and a father would NEVER put his children through this. He would calm their fears, not antagonize their mother while a police officer tries to convince them they need to go.

  8. This is so sad and so familiar. The words of the police officers sounds like they took a page from the judges training manual. “Hitting is a parenting sytle” or “you had children together…he is there father.” Give me a break. I have heard these same phrases in court from a judge, from an evaluator and from a cop. This makes me sick. I am sorry you are going through this. It is a no win situation. If you don’t send them you face losing custody. If you do send them you face them being hurt or not trusting of you for not protecting them. I have no advise. This is horrible. I am sorry you are going through this.

  9. How horrible.

    Have to wonder how many of those police officers have been required by law to be gleeful while their child goes into danger?

    What a crock!

  10. Omggggg…. This is exactly what I am soon to face … He has been video recording and secretively leaving voice recorders around for 7 of our 9 years… The only problem is he narrates and only show him in what he thinks is a positive light…. I just want to be DONE!…. I pray for us every day and night.

  11. The cop saying you had chldren with him is exactly why people in our situation have such an uphill battle and have such a struggle trying to protect innocent children. When will people stop blaming the victim and put the blame on the abuser?

    That type of statement is the same category as “she should have know what he’s like” or, “why didn’t she leave him before now”.

    I just don’t understand why a parent is given a free pass to abuse their kids. If your daughter was at school and came home saying she had been squeezed on the arm and yelled at there would be a major investigation and probably charges filed. My head spins from this type of crazy!

    Good luck to you tomorrow, hope you get a more understanding cop.

  12. Tina —

    What the FEMALE officer said is so unfortunate, and infuriating.

    You exN’s reaction of filming everything is not surprising. This is a time of high danger, so soon after your custody evaluation, please know that maybe your daughters are sensing this.

    Attached is a link to an article that Bill Eddy posted. Please don’t let it scare you — but rather make you aware of the pattern you have seen.

    Best of luck today with the kids visit. At least they will be with other people who will hopefully make them feel safe.

    http://www.highconflictinstitute.com/blog/possible-hcp-kills-former-boss-injures-lawyer-after-mediation

  13. I watched this happen with friends. One social worker spent time coaching a teen on how to be safe. She now has a spare cell phone and batter hidden in the abuser’s house. She has $ in the lining of her coats and shoes if she needs to escape. She has been shown how to break a window with a chair and set off a neighbor’s car alarm. The school counselors are highly involved – their calls hold more weight than mom’s. They also know to follow up if she isn’t in school. A few of the abuser’s neighbors have been asked to keep an eye on her and her friends check up on her frequently. They will go to the abuser’s door and insist on seeing that she is alive – there is a code word she can use if he is holding a weapon on her or something similar. In another family, the mom brought her priest to witness the hand-offs and he had a video camera. We gathered notarized letters to the judge from people who have witnesses various incidents. All the letters were compiled and copies were sent to the judge’s supervisor, social service supervisors, the sheriff and the FBI. They have some ability to “encourage” local cops to do their job correctly. Document everything seven ways from Sunday and make sure copies are in several locations in several states. You can make a private web site the whole saga is posted. Just getting the names and ranks of every officer puts them on notice that you expect them to be on good behavior. Find other local parents who have received shoddy treatment and have a calm friend approach a reporter to do a story. Just a ton of random ideas. Maybe one of them will help. Good luck!

  14. One big problem is we didn’t choose to have children or marry and have children with a narcicist or sociopath who’s very good at hiding it but when we found out it was a bit late in the process. When they say this it is blaming the victim. If a man who physically abuses women walked up and socked you in the face then asked you for your phone number, you surely wouldn’t give it to them. It’s a secret we are not let in on. A police officer came to my house after a horrible incident because he saw my address show up yet again and he came to tell me, “this guy is good. I see right through him. He’s a pretty boy from (a good side of town)and you’re the best thing that will ever cross his path. I don’t want to come here and see you or your baby hurt and I was worried today. I don’t care how much he reads his bible. Don’t fall for it. He will stop at nothing.” It was obviously too late as I had his baby. Even the police officer knew he was good at hiding what I couldn’t see. No victim of these types should be blamed.

    I also feel badly for your children. You are punishing them for legitimate feelings and you are stuck in a position of having to. I just couldn’t ground my daughter for refusing if her reasons were justified. It puts more resentment into the situation and the children become confused about the parent who is handing out a punishment for legitimate feelings. UGH! Catch 22….

  15. Interesting– I was just talking to my fiance this evening about getting our local underground newspaper to start investigating– possibly following five local cases. I would like to start a court-watch group as well.

  16. I’m divorcing an extreme narcissist with borderline personality disorder (classified as cluster B personality disorder). He was ordered to have a court ordered forensic psychiatric evaluation to unravel all of the complexities of his twisted, vengeful personality. He’s such a good liar and manipulator that he could fool a lot of people. He had said so many terrible things to my daughter about me during their weekends together and then threatened to kill my attorney in an email (several actually). As horrible as it was, I was lucky that he exposed himself. The evaluation confirmed what I knew to be true (narcissistic, bipolar) but revealed something I didn’t know to be true of him which was his borderline personality disorder. I’ve been trying to divorce this man for six years as he has the resources to file motion after motion and appeal after appeal. One really good thing for me is that I was awarded sole custody and he lost all parenting rights. He can’t even see her at this point with supervised visitation and even that has to be approved by the judge and her psychologist. From extremely (extremely) successful executive to losing all parental rights is unbelievable really. I’m convinced that the narcissism is what contributes to their incredible success and since they’re used to charming boards and other executives, women are easy prey for them. Mine was soooo charming when I met and dated him and became a monster after I gave up my lucrative career and married him. He has spent the last the last six years fulfilling his promise to litigate this case until there is nothing left. It’s exhausting. I’m glad I found this site. I don’t feel so alone. I really thought I had the only horrible monster on earth. At least in my city I do but I’m glad to know that there are more of us out there.