As a One Mom’s Battle Administrator I often advocate for the healthy parent who is battling a Cluster B Disordered ex. These parents who write in for help are often victims of abuse, sometimes physical, sometimes sexual, almost always emotional. Emotional or Mental abuse is not always cut and dry. Rarely do the courts care about or choose to believe a victim of emotional abuse. Abuse is abuse, in my eyes, and it is domestic violence. It may not be easy to document, however I know when I see it. Maybe it’s easy for me to spot because I am a survivor of emotional abuse. Perhaps it is because I speak to victims every single day. I consider myself to be educated on Cluster B Personality Disorders. More often than not, they all follow the same script.
The blame game. To an abuser, it is always the healthy parents fault. They will accuse the healthy parent of being unstable, therefore unfit. Projection. The unhealthy parent will project their truth onto their victim. If the abuser was unfaithful, suddenly the victim is accused of being unfaithful. If the Cluster B is a negligent parent, they will now change history and the fit parent will be accused of being the negligent one. To try and explain their obvious bad behavior, the abuser will lie and say that the victim was often violent and abusive. That they stayed hoping it would get better but now realize they must protect the children from the victim. The smear campaign. They will tell stories about the healthy parent, usually these stories have no truth to them whatsoever. They often claim the healthy parent is “alienating” them from their children. Often the Cluster B Disordered parent has estranged themselves from their children due to their own bad behavior. Manipulation. Abusers are very good at hiding their true-selves. Even people closest to the victim often report that the abuser is “A great person” or “well loved in their community”. The PAS card is often used in custody battles by the abuser against the healthy parent.
Many times parents write in asking for help. They write “he/she has manipulated our Judge, GAL, Mediator, PC, Attorneys, and/or Therapist(s). All of the professionals believe my XN is world’s best parent”. Usually with time and very good documentation the cluster b disordered parent’s mask slips and they end up exposing themselves. But what happens when the Court has many of the same traits as the Cluster B Personality Disordered parent? In my opinion, cases like: Tsimhoni vs Tsimhoni happen.
The Tsimhoni case made international headlines in June, 2015, when Judge Gorcyca sent the 3 Tsimhoni children (ages 9, 10, and 14) to juvenile detention at Children’s Village for refusing to have a relationship with their father. She later sent them to summer camp, then forced them into a “reunification therapy” program with their estranged father. They are currently living with him by court order. The mother, Dr. Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, has been allowed no contact with the children other than one supervised visit in mid July (forced “protective” separation). The basis for these actions has been the dubious diagnosis of “parental alienation,” the idea that the mother alienated the children against their father. In fact, the children have said repeatedly their father is abusive and they are afraid of him and there is ample documented evidence to prove abuse. Recently, Plaintiff-Mother’s team of attorneys have filed motions to rescind the protective separation order and return children to the mother, appoint maternal grandmother as Next Friend, to represent the children’s interests in court, and disqualify Judge Lisa Gorcyca as the trier of fact in this case. All four traits above are happening in this battle. The blame game, projection, smear campaign and manipulation.
Media have shied away from this case because they see it as a contentious but private custody matter and not newsworthy. However, the issues in the case are independent of the custody issue and have everything to do with judicial misconduct and the use of evidence in hearings. A couple of the Cluster B Personality Disorder traits that stand out to me are:
Judge Gorcyca continuously sides in open court with father, violating her duty to remain impartial. Nearly all documents from Gorcyca or Keri Middleditch (father’s attorney) excoriate the mother, sometimes calling her [mentally] “ill.” Gorcyca and Middleditch called mother’s attorney a liar in open court but say only positive things about father despite evidence. Court transcripts reveal Gorcyca’s and Middleditch’s inappropriate and malicious comments against mother and the children. In the June 23, 2015 hearing, Gorcyca attacked the oldest son and mother because he didn’t want to interact with his 2 year old half brother during visitation. “There’s something psychologically wrong with that, mom. I want you to hear this, there is something psychologically wrong…” It is “disgusting…. What did that little boy ever do? Mess that little boy up. Good job. Good job, Ma’am.” Gorcyca threatened mother. “A child full of hate will be a despicable adult. And your son did not even acknowledge a cute little two year old brother is a child whose heart is messed up. But, I’ve been saying this to you for years. If this doesn’t improve and if the show cause goes forward you are going to be strip searched, you are going to take off your clothes, squat and be strip searched.”. The next day Gorcyca humiliated and verbally abused the children in open court before sending them to jail (her word) for contempt. The boys were removed from the courtroom in handcuffs [eyewitness report]. All 3 children were sent to Children’s Village, a juvenile detention.
Gorcyca wrongfully incarcerated the children for contempt, for “defying” her order to have a meaningful relationship with father. She incarcerated the mother for “contempt,” for not encouraging children to have a meaningful relationship with father and holding mother personally responsible when children did not interact with father during parenting time. Mother was to spend one day in Oakland County Jail. She was released by the jail halfway through the day due to overcrowding. Gorcyca doubled the amount of time for mother to make up and made her spend two half days cleaning dog cages at the animal shelter.
Father alleges that mother (the custodial parent) has alienated the children from him (innocent victim), citing Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Gorcyca, Middleditch, and GAL agree. PAS is a controversial topic that reputable scholars believe should not be used in a court of law as it does not meet the Frye test. Even proponents of PAS theoretically argue that it can’t be diagnosed if the “alienated” parent is abusive. In this case, there is a history of documented abuse by father and fear on the part of the children that has been repeatedly suppressed. Gorcyca ordered the father and children into intensive “reunification therapy” last month (PAS protocol), in itself a controversial procedure akin to cult “deprogramming.” Where the children underwent this therapy and who conducted it are unknown as this information was sealed. Most mental health professionals agree that PAS shouldn’t be allowed in the courtroom. It is not included in the DSM-5, the newest edition of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the “bible” of psychologists, despite a vocal attempt by supporters to have it included.
Rebecca Davis Merritt had this to say, “Life is very simple when one person or an entire judicial system adopts a confirmation bias. In this instance if an objective is not met, it must be Maya’s fault, no need to examine any other hypothesis. Oakland County Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca, Lansat, Omer’s supporters including Middleditch all adopt the confirmation bias. The judge is supposed to be neutral which means she is suppose to cognitively propose alternative, competing hypotheses, like: What else could explain the children’s behaviors other than Maya engaging in parental alienation and persistently trying to damage the relationship between father and children? Odd how they all draw a blank on that one yet to most of us it is quite simple – perhaps what the children have told the judge about experiencing and witnessing domestic violence is true. Perhaps Omer’s flawed, failed relationship with the children is based on his own behaviors toward them and their resulting fears of him. Perhaps what we are witnessing is estrangement based on his behaviors rather than alienation based on Maya’s. Court records we have seen have never fully addressed these competing hypotheses and thus parties like us prone to one or the other of these confirmation biases jump on the bandwagon to proclaim their beliefs – alienation or estrangement. I try to not do that because I am not a mothers’ or fathers’ rights person; I prefer to focus upon the rights of the children and in this case and this courtroom the rights of these children have been virtually nonexistent and trampled upon. It saddens me that no strong voice or presence with media or judicial influence seems to care about these three children’s rights. It is emblematic of the dangerousness our family court system can pose daily for thousands of defenseless children. This must be changed. Children should not be seen as property to be evenly divided between parents regardless of their parents’ fitness and willingness to parent. A neutral court setting with a better judge is needed and regardless of the final decision (alienation or estrangement) the children and their parents separately need true competent, research based psychological services that do not arise from a money profiteering PAS industry pretending that PAS is a “real” DSM diagnosis and that there are empirically validated treatment protocols for this non-diagnosis. In the Tsimhoni case, these three children were kept in a hotel room with the father they claim to be abusive and a high school graduate PAS “coach”. Coaches do not have to be licensed therapists allowing the practice of “therapy” without a supervisory board to report violations of acceptable practice. Judges need to do due diligence in understanding that PAS should not be accepted as a “diagnosis” in the courtroom and that treatment of either genuine alienation or estrangement needs to be done by licensed, experience bona-fide professionals who care about healing the children rather than padding”. I couldn’t agree more.
It is hard enough for a healthy parent to have to fight a cluster b personality disordered ex. But facing an abusive Judge and GAL on top of the cluster b parent is too much for these children to bear. On Friday Gorcyca filed her response and said she would not step down from this case. Today the fathers evidentiary hearing for sole custody was adjourned because the mother, Dr. Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni has filed an appeal based on Gorcyca’s decision. Some feel that is a positive step. Judge Grant will rule on October 14 and we can only hope she steps in and does the right thing. I am worried about the three children who were punished for speaking out against abuse. These kids have been further abused and traumatized, and tomorrow life goes on for Gorcyca. It’s not that easy for the children who chose jail rather than having a relationship with their father. Gorcyca has set a dangerous precedent. It’s up to us to speak out, to be the children’s voice in this case because their voices and their mother’s voice have been unconstitutionally taken.
How can you help?
Get involved with advocacy for the #Tsimhoni Children: http://tsimhonirevisited.wix.com/tsimhoni
Sign the petition to Remove Judge Lisa Gorcyca from office: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/remove-judge-lisa-o-gorcyca-from-office
GoFundMe account for Maya Tsimhoni:
To get involved with the Tsimhoni in Review Campaign email: TsimhoniRevisited@gmail.com
Be part of the movement on Twitter: @TsimhoniReview
The Lemonade Club, Tina Swithin’s private forum is now live! Seeking a place to share, connect and find help during your custody battle with a narcissist? TLC is the answer and is now accepting applications.
Seeking insight, encouragement and advice while divorcing a narcissist? Tina Swithin’s books, “Divorcing a Narcissist: One Mom’s Battle” and her new book “Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield” are available on Amazon or through Barnes & Noble. Learn how to set boundaries, navigate your way through the divorce and see the narcissist for who he/she really is. You will learn to forgive yourself and you will begin to heal.