Refutations Part III

I swear y’all, I’m only on of this response that goes all the way to X, and some of those have i –iv. The conclusion is also 3 pages. And this is only ONE response he has given to the courts. I think he needs a diary of his own honestly. There’s a place to spew your hatred and there’s a place not to. The courts don’t want to hear this. I could easily write all of his wrongdoings as perceived by me and send them off to the courts, but that would make me look bad and vindictive. I’d rather not, thanks. That’s why I have this blog! And the only reason this blog is in existence is because I’m fed up of the lies that I read.

Again, if you haven’t read the prior parts, please head backwards starting here.

In his point “r”, it states, “The Maltese court took responsibility to inform the mother of the filed action in accordance to due process and the law.” Not to be rude toward the Maltese legal system, as it worked very well for me when I was involved, but for me personally, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of “due process”. He can go ahead and try his best to place all the blame on the Maltese courts, but in the end, he could have let me know. As the courts pointed out….he sent me multiple emails and deliberately withheld that info while trying to trick me into signing papers to allow Zander to remain in Malta for a year. He criticized me for not agreeing to his suggestion after he had already filed for SOLE CUSTODY. He gets mad at me for not being stupid I guess. I find this quote from the Hague Order of Return interesting, “The Court notes that the decree issued by another section of the Family Court was pendente lite (provisional until the proceedings before the Court are concluded) handed during a mediation process; when the minor’s mother was not even aware that the father had initiated proceedings before the Maltese Courts; when the deputy curators appointed by the Courts to represent the mother, who was absent from these islands, had not only not communicated with the mother but had not even themselves been notified of the father’s application requesting provisional care and custody; when a chronological examination of the facts results that the father had not even informed the mother that he did not intend to send the minor back to the United States.” I don’t know, but it sure seems like to me that the Judge, who would know more about the legal system, is quite upset over the fact that You-Know-Who had multiple opportunities to inform me of his intentions to have a fair chance in the Maltese Courts. Lots of tricks and deceit to get that provisional court decree granting him temporary residential custody. Even the Director of the Maltese Central Authority called it a “banana show”. It was an order that according to Maltese Law, never should have been given a decree. And of course, let’s not forget, by July 13th, 2017, that court application was “definitively rejected” once my lawyer sent them information on what was really going on. I suppose, looking back, I could have easily involved myself in the family court section he had applied with and won, but I wasn’t going to do that. 

That’s one of the #1 pieces of advice that my advocacy job has taught me to inform other left-behind parents. Do NOT submit yourself to a foreign jurisdiction if the Hague is an option!

This next part is painful, but I think that for the sake of IPCA and parental alienation, in how both of these issues are SYNONYMOUS, I need to be transparent. In section “s”, You-Know-Who uses the child advocate report as evidence. The report is horrible, but it’s a prime example of the very epitome of parental alienation.

Once you read this report, you’d think to yourself – wow, this kid really hates his mother. She’s a horrible person. I never saw this report until recently. There were parts of it quoted in the Hague Order of Return – “The things that the minor told the Children’s Advocate contrast sharply with what results from these proceedings. During the course of these proceedings the mother obtained court authorization to hold regular Skype calls with the minor…The Director exhibited in the Acts of these proceedings the recordings and also the transcripts of telephone conversations between the minor Zander and his mother and his half-brother Killian that took place in April and May of this year. The Court listened to the playbacks of these conversations and finds that there is absolutely nothing in common between these conversations and what the minor said to the Children’s Advocate. In one of these conversations, Zander says ‘I want you to know I’ll be coming there soon. Because the year’s almost over, it’s already been like 100 something days. So, I’ll be there in like 200 something days, okay?’ The content of the conversations between Zander, his mother and brother makes it very clear that there is a very good relationship between and it certainly cannot be said that there is some resistance on the minor’s part to return to the United States. On the contrary, the minor expresses the desire to return soon. The Court does not want to speculate why it is that in January 2017 the minor spoke to the Children’s Advocate so  negatively against his mother while in May 2017 he tells his mother that he wants to go back.” I remember my Maltese attorney stated to me that the Court was implying here that the Children’s Advocate was “paid off” to report such things or simply lied to. Most professionals are easily fooled when it comes to the games of parental alienation. I say it’s safe to assume this woman was easily swayed by a seemingly charming personality and wasn’t educated in recognizing the signs of a schooled and pressured child.

The things Zander said? “she lies to me”, “she tries to trick me”, “she never lets me communicate with dad”. First and foremost, Zander doesn’t even call You-Know-Who “dad”. He was out of the picture during Zander’s formative years and that’s no one’s fault except his own. I can’t control his lack of travel when he was more than capable of doing so, in fact he did quite often to places like Australia for bike marathons. Priorities I guess…The only time that Zander had been with You-Know-Who was during the visitation, which equaled a whopping 18 weeks prior to this abduction. 18 weeks, 5 months from the years 2014 to 2016. How could, as was supposedly said in Zander’s own words, he be “so much closer to his father than his mother”? Everything in that report is a lie. I don’t talk to Zander about my “issues” with You-Know-Who. I never did. In fact, I have multiple emails I sent to You-Know-Who telling him he needed to STOP talking to Zander about these grown-up discussions. On Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 5:22 PM, before I ever knew what You-Know-Who was up to, I tried to talk to him. It reads as follows: “You are probably expecting this. But we have to discuss what’s been going on and spoken about over there. It is NOT okay to talk about adult issues with children. NOT OKAY…He was not old enough to experience typical changes between divorcing parents…I have never ever even used the word ‘divorce’ to him….We weren’t married and you weren’t even there when he was born, yet you think you can just fling the word ‘divorce’ around to suite your goals. You are harming Zander… Zander enjoyed time with you even though he didn’t understand why he had to be with you. Zander handled your impromptu visits very well. Until you started airing our dirty laundry to him. Kids ask questions; I get that. Especially Zander. But here’s the thing. As adults, we can choose how we approach something. As a parent, you can look at him and say he doesn’t have to think about these issues just yet. You can tell him to forget about it until he’s older. You don’t do that. When Zander is with me, I refuse to talk about it. I refuse to mess with his mind. After every single visit with you, he comes home messed up. He’s depressed. He’s sad. He’s confused. He’s withdrawn. Every single time…I know what you are doing. I knew the moment Zander asked me, ‘Why did you divorce him?’ Hmmm. Pretty obvious what you’re doing.” 

Here is his response to that email: “I was sorry to see that the tone of your correspondence was once again less than amicable. Zander has been asking me certain questions for 2-3 years now and have always been sensitive to his age, as I am aware of the process of informing children in a safe way. However, rest assured he has known about the concept of ‘divorce’ for a while, rest assured that whatever he has learned about it from me has been without malice or misinformation, and was done with full awareness of his age… However, when he comes here, he is able to get a considerably fuller picture of the situation. As a parent, you have a choice. You can either keep insulating Zander from the reality around him, or you can accept that he is an inquisitive, intelligent, and insightful child with a growing mind and awareness, and with natural and inevitable questions. The questions will come…So I will not apologise for explaining this to Zander…I don’t think that avoiding the need to address his concerns, questions, and fears out of hand simply by dismissing him as ‘too young’ or ‘a child’ is contributing to his healthy emotional and psychological management of the situation. However, I find your remark that you refuse to ‘explain yourself to your child’ over a decision that affected his daily life in the most profound of ways quite indicative.”

As you can see, his mentality is very concerning. Keep in mind that Zander was only EIGHT YEARS OLD, with special needs no less. Honestly, I have a really hard time with his thought process. I struggle so hard not to be consumed by anger because that’s not healthy. And in true narcissism form, he twists it around to sound like me choosing not to have these adult discussions with my CHILD are somehow “indicative” of my negative character (I wish my blog allowed emojis lol).

These are just some thoughts without the final addition to this equation. As I said earlier, I have only recently read the full report. When I did, although I knew none of it was true, I was still curious. I read parts of the report back to Zander. For just a moment, let’s go back to March 15, 2018. On that date, his birthday, Zander told me that You-Know-Who said all kinds of horrible things about me then told him to tell the psychologist every “bad thing mommy ever did to you”. So, I already knew that Zander was schooled by Zander’s own explanation. But I still asked him. I told him that I’m not mad at him at all, but if he truly does feel like any of that is true, I need to know. I told him that I can’t be the best Mommy that I can be without input from those around me. 

I don’t believe in parenting that resembles dictatorship. It’s like the recent trend floating around on social media that recognizes we should no longer force children to hug people or accept hugs they don’t want. 

Zander, of course, was quick to remind me that he already explained that he didn’t mean any of those things. I know that he feels responsible and ashamed for the things he said. I reminded him that he is not to blame. I do not blame him. This wasn’t him. A few things that I mentioned in the report, Zander became very indignant and said he never said those things. He said they were outright lies and “add-ons”. He then decided to share with me that the whole time he was alone with the “children’s advocate”, he was scared that You-Know-Who was listening and could hear him outside of the room. He was scared that he would get in trouble if he didn’t say the things that others wanted him to say. He told me that before he went into the room, You-Know-Who was telling him all these things, and Zander was like “Why would I want to say these things?” You-Know-Who got angry (in Zander’s eyes) and claimed he was only giving advice on what to say because all these things were true and they happened. Then Zander was scared that You-Know-Who would find out somehow or other what he talked about. This is why you should never accept any evidence derived from such a situation. If at any time I had taken Zander to a psychologist to talk about how he felt about You-Know-Who, I would have been accused of setting the whole thing up. 

You see, You-Know-Who has always perceived this entire ocean-divided-parenting thing the way that he wants. Which is that I’ve done everything I could to alienate him from Zander. Which isn’t true. HE believes all those things that were told to Zander. All those quotes in that report did not come from Zander. They were You-Know-Who’s explicit beliefs. I’ve heard them for years. I  never talked about any of that with Zander. We didn’t talk about You-Know-Who in our house. Zander never brought him up, why would I? He talked to him nearly every weekend. After his Maltese visits during the summer, he would sometimes talk about You-Know-Who. I just nodded my head and listened. I never offered anything back. I personally do not want to talk about that man. Never did. I didn’t like the way he treated me. If someone doesn’t like the way they are treated and spoke to, then that’s that. I’m not a bad person for avoiding a subject that caused me stress and anxiety and panic attacks. 

No one ever talked to Zander about the Skype issue. Even when my Mom took him to her job on weekends to Skype, we just said, “You’re going to speak to [You-Know-Who].” Yet he’s able to know the whole issue, by You-Know-Who’s perceptions, enough to discuss this openly with someone in Malta? No one can convince me this wasn’t schooling. Zander himself openly admits this. 

I can only pray that one day Zander realizes that he is not to blame for everything that happened. 

In a 2016 scientific paper, DSM authors Dr. Narrow and Dr. Wamboldt say that parental alienation may be diagnosed as Child Affected by Parental Alienation Distress (V61.29) if one is talking about the child. Parental alienation may be diagnosed as Child Psychological Abuse (V995.51) if one is talking about a parent alienating their child. This confirms that parental alienation is indeed in DSM-5. 

I researched these papers and examined them. Parental alienation tactics are clearly defined in those papers. I recognize those tactics in our case. Do I want to take Zander to a psychologist just to have this all diagnosed as Parental alienation? No I do not. Zander has been put through enough. Me knowing the results and conclusions based on research is enough for me. I also minored in Psychology for my brief period of time at University. I’m not a professional by any means of the word, but I have always had an inherent understanding of the subject.

This is the link to the clinical papers.

Just a few examples: Empowering the Child to Reject a Parent by emphasizing “child should decide on visitation”, “listen to the child”, and “advocating for child testimony”. My lawyer and I advocated to NOT involve Zander in the trial because we felt he was too young. The opposing side insisted and based their entire defense on Zander’s testimony. They insisted on making Zander talk about choice and who he wanted to live with. This is the very definition of parental alienation.

Instituting something known as “The Unforgivable Event” is another tactic of parental alienation. The one used in our case was You-Know-Who’s distorted and false claims that I kidnapped Zander when he was a baby.

When a child claims that the other parent is a “liar”, this is also an evident sign of parental alienation. How would this child know the other parent is a liar unless someone is telling them so? Just as You-Know-Who admitted in his email, he had been telling Zander “his reality” for the last 2-3 years. This is parental alienation. There is no reason for you to tell Zander any such things unless your goal is to alienate this child from his own mother.

Another clinical check off for parental alienation is Role Reversal Use of the Child, “It’s not me, it’s the child who…”. This is absolutely exactly what You-Know-Who claimed to everyone who would listen. “It’s not me who brought this up, it was Zander…”. “It wasn’t my idea, it was Zander’s…”.

My Maltese attorney stated based on what he witnessed during the trial, that You-Know-Who had his own interpretations of the parental agreement that were not true, legal interpretations. Just because someone perceives something a certain way, does not make it legally factual. I did not alienate. I lived my life avoiding this man, and I am not sorry for that. My family has been more than accommodating taking that role from me to save me from anxiety. My Mom finally knew what I went through. She finally saw You-Know-Who for what he really was in 2010, and she did all in her power to deal with You-Know-Who. To encourage communication between Zander and You-Know-Who. Just because I did not involve myself with those calls or talk to him on the phone myself or meet up with him in person for a sundae as he wanted, does not mean that I alienated Zander from him. 

I alienated him from myself. 

 

 

 

 

Refutations Part II

Continuing this never-ending saga. If you didn’t read Part I, you can find it here.

Next part of his response is as follows:Quoted, “Following the second summer visit in 2015 with the father…..the mother planned to unilaterally have the minor withdrawn from Union Local School, and home schooled by herself with the argument that the school was not catering for the minor’s needs and furthermore was not benefiting his overall wellbeing.” In our custody agreement, it states Section 7(c), “The parties agree that decisions on the minor’s education, including the choice of educational establishments are to be taken jointly between the parties. The choice is to be made with the best interest of the child in mind and at later stages taking the child’s opinion and inclinations into consideration.” By 2015, I had had 6 years of experience knowing that You-Know-Who did not negotiate. He demanded. He expected nothing less than complete obedience. There was never any mature discussion with him, no matter how much I tried. This school failed my son repeatedly. His Kindergarten teacher would call me on a near weekly basis encouraging me to be Zander’s advocate because they weren’t listening to her about the fact Zander needed more time outside of the classroom. The main reason we moved an hour away to that school district was for their new sensory room for children exactly like Zander. He rarely ever saw that room. The ABA therapist literally never showed up to do her job. I demanded she do  her job. I was that parent who was in their face, calling them, showing up, just to advocate for my special needs child. Here’s an email excerpt that You-Know-Who likes to use as his evidence:

Please keep in mind that this woman was fired by the end of the year, but not before she set up Skyping in school without involving me, the residential parent. I had repeatedly requested of this woman to send me weekly updates about Zander in her care. She never did. Zander’s teacher stated there was no time with her. Rumor has it, Kara was claiming all these special needs children did not require her services and classrooms were more than enough so that she could skip work for half the day. Most days she never even showed up for work. Pissed off parents with doctor’s notes showed up with their lawyers demanding help for their children. Hence, the ending of her employment. The reason You-Know-Who likes to praise this woman is because she gave him an ear. She told him what he wanted to hear, not what he needed to hear. That school, besides that hot mess of a woman, was not catering to Zander’s needs. That school was not in his best interests. That school was not for Zander’s well being. I was told by not only Kara that Zander did not need outpatient services outside of school. When I told Zander’s therapists what was said, they told me the woman was obviously not that educated on autism and sensory issues. Again, I am not going to listen to anyone who wants me to ignore Zander’s needs and medically neglect him. You-Know-Who states that I only chose to homeschool in retaliation to my finding out about the Skyping that had occurred behind my back the previous school year. Although that was the icing on the cake and the final straw with that school, it was by far not the reason. I had been discussing homeschooling Zander on multiple occasions starting in 2013. I discussed my thoughts openly on social media. Here’s one of those screenshots:

They punished me for legally removing Zander from school during days he required therapy services. I was repeatedly threatened with truancy action. For those who can’t see the SS, it reads, “Well, they’ll be hearing from Zander’s behavioral therapist soon and she’s taking it all the way to the Board of Education for allowing my special needs child to sit in his poop all day yesterday!” Just one example. There was another time when I warned them that Zander was not always aware of his surroundings and would wander. Sure enough, they LOST HIM. He ended up on a bus and in an entirely different city from us over 30 minutes away. That school was incompetent to say the least! I had very good reason to pull him from that school. I had tried complaining to You-Know-Who…you know, one of those let’s be adults and co-parent about our child and his needs. Never worked out…

I knew that we were planning on moving at that point in time. We had plans to buy the family farmhouse in the next county over, in a completely different school district. My husband had grown up there, and I [rightly] assumed that these people who Josh knew would listen to me about my concerns with Zander’s educational needs. Zander was denied an aide at the last school. He has his own aide at this new school. I have zero issues with this current school. We had hopes to move by the end of the school year so I knew that homeschooling would be temporary. I informed You-Know-Who this was temporary. These are my reasons. He refused to discuss it, as I knew he wouldn’t which is why I already started the process. The school denied my right to pull him out of school as Ohio law claimed I could, citing that parental agreement clause. The parental agreement did not state that You-Know-Who had final say. Usually the custodial parent is the one who deals with the day to day, ins and outs of life caring for the child. I was living our life while You-Know-Who did not. He was hearing false reports from a woman who didn’t do her job. What the school should have done was allow me my legal right to remove Zander from school despite our joint custody agreement. If the parties cannot jointly decide on something, that’s why there are courts and judges to help decide! The school had no right to act like a family law judge. They repeatedly violated my parental rights in favor of You-Know-Who. They interpreted our parental agreement wrongly. I had asked Zander if he wanted me to pull him out of school and teach him myself. He said yes! He even told You-Know-Who over the phone that he wanted me to! But I guess Zander’s opinions don’t matter if it wasn’t You-Know-Who’s idea forcing it down his throat.

Again, I did not homeschool in retaliation to their violating my parental rights. It was something that had been long overdue. I even told You-Know-Who, if you feel that you must take me to court over this, then do so. By the time we have a hearing, he’ll be back in public school again. Again, this was always meant to be temporary! I had to do some basic maneuvering with the legal system, but I did successfully pull him out of that school. After that, You-Know-Who seemed to calm down and accept it. In fact, by January 2016, in the middle of my homeschooling, he seemed to accept the idea so much so that he requested I homeschool again in order that he could have visitation the following Christmas! We all know how that went. 

He never accepted it. He just got even.

Next one:

I explain the lies of this statement regarding YouTube in this blog. His quote, “the father enquired time and time again on the academic progression of the child, yet was given little to no satisfaction.” You can say that again. He enquired weekly. He was never satisfied with what I told him. It was like talking to a wall. He wasn’t happy with the situation so he refused to make the process of homeschooling easy on me. I explained to him that public schools only give you progression reports every 6 to 9 weeks! I was giving him at least 1 month update to the best of my ability. I sent him examples of his work. As my mom regularly says about him, “You give him an inch, he expects a mile.”

In point “q”, You-Know-Who states, “However, when the father followed with simple literacy and mathematical exercises, he grew concerned with what seemed like regression.” First of all, you can’t use terms like “regression” in the same breath claiming your child absolutely does not have autism. Zander rarely is capable of much for the first month after international travel. I had repeatedly explained this to him as it repeatedly fell on deaf ears. He was simply looking forward to see me fail. He never once supported my efforts to homeschool. Wouldn’t that be the mature thing to do with co-parenting? I had also freely and openly admitted that he was behind in Math, but it was not from lack of trying. He had made progress, but he was still behind. He learned Math differently than how they taught in school. Even after one whole year in 3rd grade after his return, he still  has issues with Math facts. Zander has special needs. Zander has learning difficulties. This is reality. You-Know-Who had a game plan. Find someone to say Zander did not have autism so he could blame his special needs, regression, learning difficulties, and lack of socialization on me. Let’s also not forget that Zander was placed an entire grade ahead of where he actually was while in Malta…

You-Know-Who also quotes in point “q”, “The child also expressed on his own account; emotional hardship and distress to spend so little time with the father.” This is not what Zander claims. Zander was perfectly content visiting Malta, and he’d be okay staying a little longer, but not forever. You-Know-Who is the one who repeatedly and obsessively brought up Zander staying longer in Malta. He brought it up on their way to the airport before ever leaving America. It was not okay to place that kind of an adult decision or choice on an 8 year old special needs child, who was later found to have the mental age of a 6 year old. That would be like me asking Zander before a scheduled visitation, “Do you want to stay here with me and do all this fun stuff rather than go to Malta? All you have to do is tell me yes and I’ll fight for your rights.” Then I don’t send him. Guess what? I’m in trouble because this isn’t something you have your children be part of. Parenting 101. Another quote, “The child asked to stay for a long period with the father which the father raised with the mother to be turned down flatly with no room for discussion.” Well besides me already stating this was not brought up by Zander by Zander’s own words, let’s see what the Hague Judge had to say about this. Quoting from my Hague Order of Return“On the 18th of December 2016 at 11:21 A.M., nine days after the defendant had initiated judicial proceedings here in Malta, the defendant sent an email to Barbara Hise reading as follows:” and this is where he asked if Zander could stay in Malta for one year, a lie which he tried to trick me with and did in fact trick Zander with. The judge continues, “He fails to mention in  his email of the 18th December 2016 that a few days before he had instituted judicial proceedings in Malta in order to retain the minor here in Malta.” And actually, in my reply, I mentioned this besides just a flat no, “We might be able to discuss this when Zander is a teenager but at 8. No.” Sure sounded like “room for discussion” to me. Much more than he was ever willing to reciprocate to me. Nice try there though. 

Again, the point of these refutations is to  prove to you that he is a strategic mastermind when it comes to word play designed to make me look bad. 

This next part is still part “q”. You-Know-Who has repeatedly brought up this psychologist report that states Zander does not have autism. He tried to fight me in this new school by pushing the ADHD factor rather than his autism. I of course, never received any conclusions to any reports that were ever done on Zander in Malta, quite unlike how I did things, which was at the very least, provide documentation after the fact. It wasn’t until his recent response in regards to the appeal he’s working on that I finally saw the report for myself. He insisted to the courts, to my family, to the school, and even to Zander that he did not have autism. He had ADHD. I remember when Zander came home, he sounded like a parrot, “I don’t have autism. I have ADHD.” Literally…like a parrot. 

Without further ado, I report that his interpretation of that “report” is false. The psychologist said no such thing.

It was a basic assessment. Quoting in that, “perceived by his father”. It also quotes, “no prima facie signs or symptoms associated with a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder were observed to be present, nor were they reported to be present in the home environment by [You-Know-Who]. In addition, it is my opinion that at this stage, formal assessment for the presence of this disorder would not yield reliable results, due to the major upheavals going on in this child’s life, as well as the fact that very little reliable developmental history is available at this stage. However, it is my recommendation that Zander be formally assessed in nine months’ time after having given the child a fair amount of time to settle down in his new life in Malta.” As I stated in a previous blog, YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED A DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY TO PROPERLY DIAGNOSE AUTISM. You-Know-Who does not have access to this pertinent information. She never formally diagnosed Zander has having ADHD or as not being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Not like I myself had had Zander formally diagnosed. Not like You-Know-Who had once had Zander formally diagnosed as having Aspergers, which is a form of autism. Yet he holds onto this paper like a lifeline. Like a crutch. Holding it in front of him like the Holy Bible as he preaches and points his hysterical little finger in my direction, “That evil mother deprives this child of his inherent potential and any chance at a normal childhood by falsely claiming he has autism!” No…you are denying a part of your son and refusing to accept your son for who he is by not seeing the truth. 

Let’s also analyze a part of that quote. You-Know-Who attempts to use this documentation to paint me in a bad picture. He also claims again in point “q”, quote, “The father bearing in mind following arguments:- ….Given an account of emotional stress and hardship by the minor….Raised the matter with the Maltese court on the matters at hand and requesting whether it was pertinent to have the child remain legally in Malta on account of his psychological wellbeing.” Now back to the psychologist’s words. “In addition, it is my opinion….would not yield reliable results, due to the major upheavals going on in this child’s life”. I wasn’t the one who caused these major upheavals. And it is proven psychologically that international parental child abduction is so detrimental to a child’s emotional wellbeing, that it is considered child abuse! I would also take a gander that a psychologist would back me when I state, it’s not in Zander’s well being to be with a parent who absolutely refuses to accept their son has autism.

Until the next Part! To be continued…

Refutations Part I

I like to view this blog as a means to defend myself. It’s my voice. It’s part of my right to Freedom of Speech. When it comes to You-Know-Who, he likes to exercise his right to free speech by slandering my name, painting this picture that I’m some horrible person and mother. For years I have remained silent and let the barrage of insults slide off me. I knew it wasn’t true so why engage with him? However, he likes to paint these images of me in court, with lawyers, with government officials, with both our families, and finally, our son. I can’t abide by this anymore.

Refuting everything he says will take time, organization, and lots of words, so there may be several “Parts” to my Refutations.

Admittedly, You-Know-Who is skilled in word subterfuge. He’s good at looking at parts of the issue and making a big deal rather than looking at the whole picture, because that small part suits him.

What I plan on refuting is the first response to my motion for modification that You-Know-Who filed January 31, 2018. I briefly touched on some of his fallacies in this blog.

I think it’s interesting how he thinks. I had my 2nd son October 2010. At the end of that year, my then fiancé and I, with Zander and Killian, moved into our own rental home. We couldn’t afford that house in Pennsylvania, but we were promised by an in-law that we would be financially helped. That proved to be false. The house used to be a crack-house, something which was not disclosed to us by said in-law (who happened to be into real estate and worked closely with the landlord). The basement would flood easily. The gas pipes were leaking, unbeknownst to us so our bills were $400+ a month. Financially, we were at our lowest. The house was only heated by propane, and we couldn’t pay the bill. I remember heating the downstairs with the oven by opening the door. I saved money by exclusively nursing my infant son and cloth diapering. I literally could not afford to buy formula or diapers anyway.

It was during this time that I took advantage of my perfect credit and opened up tons of credit cards just to get by. Peebles to buy clothes for the kids. Target to get a wider variety of needs. JCPenney for when I needed more clothes for the kids but Peebles was maxed out. 

Before I knew it, I was thousands of dollars in debt and had nothing to show for it. Even though I did not have to and had no obligation to share, I shared with You-Know-Who my “difficulties” as he puts it. For years he belittled me that all he wants to be is friends. He continues to mock me during Skype calls with Zander that “if only mommy can be nice, we can be friends”, yet that is exactly what I have always struggled to be, especially in those early years.

I shared with him things you only share with friends. I shared with him very personal and revealing family situations. I gave him exact monetary figures on WHY we were struggling. He didn’t care. He wanted what he wanted. So in his own words, “Following years of limited access due to reported ‘difficulties’ by the mother to allow things like; video conferencing, skype and limited photos”. I could not afford a decent computer. I could not afford a decent phone. I had an old used blackberry phone that had seen better days and was nowhere near the technology smartphones have today. I couldn’t afford internet. Heck, I couldn’t even afford my cell phone bill, but I was locked in a contract. You-Know-Who showed very little understanding and harassed me on a monthly basis. I received emails like this: “If you really want to make me happy do the following; a) Send at least 10-15 new pictures a month, b) Any smartphone on the market as far as I know allows sending e-mails not just replying so at least one update a week would be good, c) I know you have expenses and what not and sorry you are struggling but you need to get a phone or internet, this is unacceptable. If you do these 3 things THEN I will be VERY happy and not just happy. Apart from that your sympathy of the situation and apologies, do very little to make me happy. You wanted the cake now eat it. You got your divorce, now respect my right to my son, actively.”

Let me requote something: “You wanted the cake now eat it. You got your divorce”

It always ended up right back to that point. Anger over me divorcing him. It didn’t matter that he lived on a different continent and couldn’t see Zander. It was my fault. It didn’t matter that Zander was only 2 and 3 and couldn’t talk, let alone reciprocate on the phone, it was my fault. He spoke to my mother every week, which she openly shared all the updates I gave her to give to him. We frequently visited my mom, and she would talk to him and he was happy with hearing Zander in the background. Zander had autism and didn’t interact to us, let alone him. That was just the way of it. I did not deny access. Our parental agreement stated that I was to encourage communication between father and son. Not once did it say I was required to have webcam, which I couldn’t afford at the time anyway, but I facilitated all that I could with what I had. Which is more than most mothers are willing to do in that situation. I did my best. Yet to this day, nearly a decade after our separation and subsequent divorce, he is still bringing up every single fault that he feels I committed!

Next quote: “The mother withheld the minor child in breach of the signed agreement, effectively denying and rejecting visitation for the minor with his father in Malta for the years 2012 and 2013. The argument was on the basis of diagnoses for ‘autism’, which the father was excluded from until the evaluations and reports were prepared.”

Okay, I’ll be honest. This is partly true. However, in 2012, I was not legally obligated to send Zander that summer. We had a verbal agreement between us where I stated if he visited his son frequently in the United States then I would feel comfortable sending Zander to Malta a summer early. I did not do this because he did not visit Zander more than 3 days in a 3 year period. I was not legally in the wrong for this. He filed for access with the Hague accusing me of denying him any access to Zander. Then when they did nothing (because I wasn’t in the wrong), he filed contempt of court charges against me. During the course of getting served, I had hired an attorney who advised me not to send Zander to Malta for the summer of 2013 based on his autism diagnosis. Because I had professionals telling me this could harm Zander. His diagnosis was fairly new, and I was still learning how to help him. His psychologist, Mrs. Hatcher, felt he should not be removed from my care for more than 6 weeks. We went to court. The psychologist was involved. She gave her recommendations. You-Know-Who and his attorney objected to the 6 week offer at an attempt to mediate for the first summer. This is why mediation with You-Know-Who is pointless; it’s his way or no way. Always has been; always will be. Although court proceedings occurred so we could work everything out, You-Know-Who had to hire psychologists in Malta to help him, I did send him. Now the statement, “which the father was excluded from until the evaluations and reports were prepared.”

I told him exactly what I was doing. He told me not to. What did he expect me to do? Pay for his airline ticket and go together in person? How was I supposed to include a man on a different continent!? I informed this man of everything I did. I believe what he expected from me was his permission, which I did not have. I proceeded to have Zander diagnosed with autism despite his wishes. I then sent him the forms once I received them. That’s really all I’m legally obligated to do. I wasn’t going to medically neglect my child simply because the father didn’t want me to have him evaluated for something he didn’t agree with. #SorryNotSorry

And I just want to add, eventually You-Know-Who bought a laptop for the sole purpose of Skyping with webcam. The explicit rule was that I was not allowed to be involved or touch the laptop or have it in my possession. So this left my mom, who is technologically illiterate (not to say this to be disrespectful; I love my mom) to deal with setting these calls up so he could see Zander. It was very stressful on my mom. Zander wouldn’t hold still, but once successful, those moments would last 45+minutes. We tried to do them twice a month. Less than 6 months after purchasing the laptop and having long calls with Zander, You-Know-Who stopped requesting them. That was when he went behind my back and started Skyping with teachers at Zander’s school. And he wants to talk about exclusion? I guess it only counts if he thinks I’m violating the court agreement because he’s immune.

Next excerpt:

In here, he basically talks about what I talked about above. He filed again for “Denial of Access”, which really at that time, just equated to him throwing a hissy fit because I put my foot down. Notice how he puts condition in quotations. He’s mocking it. I just want to point out how he likes to talk about me being “rebuked” by the courts, but I didn’t get a contempt charge. Judge Hicks had his hands tied. He understood where I was coming from, but being a small town judge, he didn’t understand international law. He felt that because we had concurrently entered a child custody agreement with both the United States and Malta, he couldn’t modify the existing order to validate the sudden changes in circumstances – that being the autism diagnosis. What You-Know-Who fails to specify in his response to the court when he points out something the judge wrote, “any filing in modification would also  need to be filed in Malta, if not primarily Malta.” is the fact that the judge ordered You-Know-Who to take my attempts at modification and ask the courts in Malta if they wanted to hear the case. February 5, 2015, the result came back and ultimately, the Malta Court declined to accept jurisdiction of the matter and further ruled that jurisdiction lies with the American Courts. This is because the Courts in Malta understood how jurisdiction worked. I could have filed for modification if only Judge Hicks had allowed me. But in the beginning, my fear was because of Zander’s autism. I had very real founded worries, not including the fear that my child would not be returned. In this excerpt, he word plays to make himself look good. And me bad. I’m used to it. It’s funny that he brings up Dr. Elena Tanti Burlo, who assisted in Zander’s transition, because he had Zander “retested” for autism. They ruled that Zander did not have “autism”, he had “Aspergers”. Which is autism….The only reason it was called something different in America is because they changed their DSM. The psychologist who diagnosed Zander said if it weren’t for the fact they were changing everything around, she would have diagnosed him as Aspergers. I don’t see how me claiming repeatedly that Zander had high functioning autism was “inflating the condition of the minor”. The only thing I can gather is in their culture, calling anyone with “autism” is calling them mentally handicapped or disabled. Also for whatever prejudiced reason, You-Know-Who had a cousin who was included and allowed in that report to speak on his opinions. All my perceived “wrongdoings” were blasted in front of all professionals to paint me in a negative picture. On my end, I never spoke badly about You-Know-Who; I simply informed all parties that he was European and didn’t live in America. That was it.

Then in point “m” You-Know-Who states “Following the Summer visit in 2014, in Malta, with the father, the minor was lauded of his improvement in school and overall ability. The mother following some time further sought action to attempt a modification order and in addition further taxed and restrained communication between the minor and the father in retaliation of the improved father and son relationship the minor and father share.”

Okay, what exactly are you saying that I’m doing? Because this isn’t clear at all. This makes no sense to me. (I also want to add that I paid my attorney at that time to file for modification. This happened right before Zander left. He did not file an emergency hearing as I asked…then I heard nothing more from said attorney. I didn’t even know he had filed. No clue. Had no clue until I received an email from You-Know-Who. I couldn’t do anything because I had just given birth. I didn’t even realize anything had come of those hearings. Not until Zander’s abduction and I had to file for all transcripts from that time.)

Zander’s last school he went to, I had no idea that You-Know-Who had been communicating with certain people. I’m sure you all can take a gander on what exactly was talked about besides Zander. How horrible of a person I was and how I never let him talk to his son….yep. This is the time period that You-Know-Who purchased a laptop. My mom wrote down all the dates that they talked and the length of time. For half the school year, we worked out times for them to Skype. He sent me a rather nasty email during this period which states, “Stop being a pain in the ass!! I bought a laptop for your mother so i could see Zander every 2 weeks on skype and have some form of communication.” This is just a small piece of that email. During this time, I had a newborn. I had complications during my 3rd C-section which resulted in me walking around with a foley catheter for 10 weeks. I was unable to drive during this time period. During that time, I only managed one visit to my mom’s house in order for them to Skype. By October, we were able to coordinate more times. He continues to berate me, “By right it should be YOU to do this, but we have both agreed that you are incapable and immature to carry out this responsibility, so leave it to the adults. When i said BOTH i meant you and me. As far as i am concerned you confirm and admit to be irresponsible and immature by the way you act and behave . Myself i say you are that because i have yet to see a genuine act of where you meet me HALF way on anything to make this easier for me and Zander.” Remember, above I mentioned that when he purchased the laptop, I was forbidden from having any access to it. Despite the fact that he had 1-2 Skype calls with Zander for 45+minutes at a time, You-Know-Who went behind my back and began Skyping in school. This went on for months. The only reason I even knew was because Zander was coming home on certain days complaining he was hungry or didn’t get to play recess. I would ask him why and the response I got back was “Because I had to Skype with [You-Know-Who].” Yes, I was upset. Yes, I called the school and tried to stop it. I even explained, this is something that is to be done between us both. We were facilitating contact outside of school whenever he asked. My mom was getting the hang of it. I told the principal to please stop because it was affecting Zander’s routine, and he was coming home stressed on those days. If Zander didn’t have autism, I doubt I ever would have found out. I told the principal that he bought my mom a computer for just those reasons. My mother and I discussed amongst ourselves, why in the world would he choose 5-10 minute Skype sessions in school as opposed to nearly hour long sessions with my mom? We debated the issue. Finally, we both realized…he wanted to make me look bad. Poor him, deprived of his only child because his evil ex wife refuses to allow him the most meager of access.

He had been systematically destroying my image for years. This was no different. It was all for one end-game. Complete ownership and control over Zander. “The mother had issues with this access being granted to the father and felt it did not help her on-going agenda to further limit and alienate the minor from his father.” That’s not how I felt. It’s amazing how he just “gets” my feelings so readily. No, not really. When I read this stuff, the only thing I can really do is just laugh. He sounds like a broken record on my alienating tactics. This is his favorite example. My mom wrote an affidavit for the Maltese Hague trial describing in great detail how often You-Know-Who had access to Zander, whether it was phone calls every weekend or Skype calls when my mom was able to do so. When it came to the laptop and Skyping, I had forcibly been removed from that equation. He can’t hold me responsible for that.

I wish that You-Know-Who could have a real sit-down conversation with any one of the left-behind fathers that I know and have deep love and affectionate friendships with. Let them explain to him what real alienation and lack of contact is with your child and children.

Because he has no flippin’ clue!

To be continued….

 

Autism & Abductor Mentality

On top of dealing with a narcissist for years -this makes co-parenting literally impossible- I also had to deal with abductor tactics revolving around my son’s Autism Spectrum Disorder. My son was abducted. All of my son’s developmental/social/mental issues stemming from his ASD diagnosis were suddenly blamed on me.

Like, just WOW.

I know all you autism Mom’s out there will back me on this post because you all get me. I did everything that I could humanly do for Zander. When he was 2 and a half, a well meaning family member pointed out he was exactly like another autistic child they knew. I denied it. Finally, my own mother pointed out the obvious, and it was apparent I could no longer ignore what was right in front of my eyes. He was my first child, and I didn’t know what was up and what was down. But my mom did. It’s not normal for a child to sit for 9 hours doing one task over and over again, without any concern over soiled diapers or hunger. You could not break his concentration no matter how many times you called his name. He could line up cars FOR HOURS. 

Not normal.

He would bang his head on everything for long periods of time. He wasn’t being silly or cute. He would bruise & knot his head.

Not normal.

Finally, at 3 and a half years of age, I placed him in an early intervention school. That’s when the blame game started. You-Know-Who called the school psychologist and blamed all of his developmental struggles on instability of early childhood because of me. The psychologist informed me what he had said and reassured me she did not agree with him.

Then You-Know-Who decided to show up for 3 days to see Zander after not seeing him for a few years. After 3 days, he declared stubbornly that he saw nothing wrong with Zander. In his mind, all was perfect, and Zander’s issues were the result of being “smothered” and “spoiled”.

I was understandably upset that this man who was NEVER a primary caretaker could brush all my real concerns as the primary caretaker to the side like nothing. In my mind, this was not a caring or loving parent at all. I made an appointment despite this man arguing with me not to.

April 25, 2013 I took Zander, not to any of the local programs, but to a highly qualified professional at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. My mom and I were Zander’s primary caretakers, so we went together and filled out the extensive questionnaires.

Zander was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What a relief! Now we could finally receive referrals for therapies and real help. Now, I want to talk to you about those questionnaires. Not just anyone can fill them out. It has to be someone who has been there since Day 1. You-Know-Who was NOT. These forms go up to age 48 months, because the formative years are super important for a proper diagnosis.

Some Examples:

Does your child name at least three items from a common category? For example, if you say to your child, “Tell me some things that you can eat,” does your child answer with something like “cookies, eggs, and cereal”? Or if you say, “Tell me the names of some animals,” does your child answer with something like “cow, dog, and elephant”?

Without your giving help by pointing or repeating, does your child follow three directions that are unrelated to one another? Give all three directions before your child starts. For example, you may ask your child, “Clap your hands, walk to the door, and sit down,” or “Give me the pen, open the book, and stand up.”

Does your child catch a large ball with both hands? (You should stand about 5 feet away and give your child two or three tries before you mark the answer.)

Does your child dress or undress himself without help (except for snaps, buttons, and zippers)?

Zander didn’t score well on any of those questions. I knew when he started talking. I knew how he acted around us as compared to other kids. Even when I was married to You-Know-Who, he wasn’t in the picture. He wasn’t there for the first words. He didn’t see him not responding to anyone around him. He didn’t see how withdrawn he was on a daily basis. You-Know-Who likes to blame me for that. He once told Zander that he didn’t start sucking his thumb until we moved back to America. Yet, it’s easy to find pictures of Zander sucking his thumb at 6 months, 9 months, etc. My mom had concerns about Zander’s lack of responses as early as 2 months old.

Here are directions on another form:

” This Checklist is designed to identify different aspects of development in infants and toddlers. Many behaviors that develop before children talk may indicate whether or not a child will have difficulty learning to talk. This Checklist should be completed by a caregiver when the child is between 6 and 24 months of age to determine whether a referral for an evaluation is needed. The caregiver may be either a parent or another person who nurtures the child daily.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

You-Know-Who wasn’t there when Zander didn’t notice his surroundings during play. Zander didn’t care if we watched him or not. He didn’t notice us. He didn’t look up at us and laugh or smile. He never communicated with us that he needed help. He never actively engaged with us –to make us laugh, to get our attention, to make us watch him play, to show us his play, etc.

Now I’ve had two more children. Zander was 2 and a half when Killian was born. It didn’t take me long to see the differences. The coos, the engaging smiles, the clapping. Killian was more interested in us and our reactions, not TV. Killian reached milestones before Zander.

Yet You-Know-Who thinks he can just go to a psychologist and have him tested when a huge part of the diagnosis is those formative years. Zander does not have ADHD; he has ASD. No amount of Maltese psychologists can convince me, especially knowing the misleading and false information that You-Know-Who would undoubtedly provide.

So why am I bringing all this up, you may ask.

Because You-Know-Who has thrown Zander’s issues in my face one too many times. He recently informed my Mom, “Zander didn’t even know what a hug was when he was here.”

Like, I cannot even comprehend how someone can be so cruel.

Completely ignoring the hundreds and hundreds of cruel sh** similar to that since the very moment I informed him that Zander had “concerns”. Goodness, that would take far too many words quoting all the horrible things he has said to me during the path we went down because of Zander’s spectrum issues. Besides the fact that he was always just an overbearing controlling A-hole, his behavior and accusations during a very difficult period for me, Zander, and my family will forever be the main reason behind the breakdown of our communications. You-Know-Who forever lost my trust in him as a parent because of his behavior and cruelty.

7 years later and here we are. Nothing has changed.

Do people honestly believe that we don’t want to hug our children?? I know that all autism parents get this so much, but we hurt so bad, we die a little inside every single time our spectrum child recoils from our touch. Most children on the spectrum also suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder.

Zander had SPD severely. His autism itself was mild, but the SPD was severe. After his diagnosis, I hired a pediatrician nationally recognized for her work in autism. Received therapies to a Pediatric Rehabilitation Center. He had 3 therapies every single week.  I was making 2-3 trips weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and every other Friday for his psychologist appointments. I did all of this by myself. I had another young child. I was pulling him in and out of school for these therapies. Not all of them were covered by my husband’s insurance. I was paying anywhere from $86-$162 WEEKLY. In one ear, I had this man (You-Know-Who) verbally lashing me at every opportunity, trying to make me feel like a bad mom despite the fact he was on another continent. Telling me I couldn’t spend Child Support on gas/car maintenance or any bills. Telling me I was too negative. Causing stress at every opportunity. Then in the other ear, I had all these professionals and therapists telling me how intuitive I was with my child. They were amazed how I just got him.

And on top of all this, You-Know-Who was either threatening legal action or taking me to court. He and only he knew all about Zander and his issues. He was a self-proclaimed expert and could tell the courts that his autism was mild and of no concern, and I was just making it all up to stop Zander going on his first overseas visit. Regardless of the fact that after a year of services, Zander was hardly making real progress. His SPD was just so out of control.

Despite what You-Know-Who claimed after his 3 day then 3 week visit, Zander wasn’t just sensitive, he was overloaded. They weren’t tantrums 25x a day, they were meltdowns. He wasn’t sniffing everything, like our skin, just because. He wasn’t being difficult on purpose about his clothes, “just wanting to get his way”. He wasn’t being naughty when he had a screaming fit because plans were changed. He wasn’t being defiant about refusing to let me clip his nails, and I wasn’t being a neglectful mom because he had long fingernails.

It was Sensory Processing OVERLOAD.

Zander was all over the Sensory Processing realm. He had Tactile Defensiveness and Tactile Hyposensitivity. 

Both of which can make it difficult to focus in class. I was told to buy the Out-of-Sync Child. So I did. I learned so much about Zander and with the help of his therapists, we worked on a sensory diet that was tailored for his needs. 

Because Zander was either:

OVERRESPONSIVE

  1. difficulty wearing rough clothing (like jeans or anything with buttons)
  2. Instantly goes into “fight or flight” response with non-threatening touches (like hugs)
  3. Does not like messy activities – like finger painting and mud.
  4. Unexpected hugs, kisses or touches are usually unwanted
  5. very ticklish

UNDERRESPONSIVE

  1.  May not notice extreme temperatures resulting in dressing inappropriately for the weather (he wears coats in 80 degrees)
  2. Touching people constantly
  3. tends to invade personal bubbles
  4. poor body awareness

To accuse me of being the reason Zander didn’t like hugs is a statement born out of willful cruelty and willful ignorance. I wanted to hug my child. He didn’t like being held as a baby. He didn’t like being touched. I remember picking him up from one of his car-lining activities, the ones that lasted hours, and sat him on my lap to hug. He screamed, kicked, and clawed at me. That hurt. In the beginning, I thought I was a bad mom. In those beginning years, Zander was unmanageable. He was so difficult. It was so hard to be patient. Some days I yelled, some days I cried, some days I was mentally done, some days I felt like a crap mom. But as I learned, as I studied, as I actively put all of my needs to the side and focused on my special needs son, I grew as a person and as a mother and as an autism advocate.

I fought for my son against his own father. I fought for my son against untrained educational figures. I fought for my son in court. No one knows the utter exhaustion that I went through. The countless sleepless nights. The fears and anxieties Zander and I both went through in public. The dirty looks. The judgements. The financial  hardships. To this day, I don’t know how I managed to pay for Zander’s therapies, the books for my own education, his weighted blanket, or anything else he needed while paying for a lawyer for 2 years, especially when Child Support stopped for months at a time.

Through it all, I have all the documentation proving that the first 5-6 years of Zander’s life were full of hardships that absolutely required professional help. Everyone who knew me personally -my friends, my family, therapists, psychologists- nobody could deny that I worked my exhausted, determined, strong ass off to get Zander where he is today. I advocated for him on the daily. Relentlessly fought for him and his needs. I sacrificed my own health for that child. 

And I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

That year and a half that I homeschooled Zander, where he wasn’t traveling internationally, where he didn’t have to be stressed and full of anxiety from public school and bullies, he grew so much emotionally and physiologically. 

He no longer flinched at being touched. Sometimes, even to this day, if you touch him unexpectedly, he will shout defensively “Don’t hit me!” Not because he’s being dramatic, but because touch sets off his “fight or flight” response. Touch is a huge issue and always has been as scientists have discovered.  Finally, we could sit side by side on the couch, touching. Zander would play with my hair, with his arm around me. Sometimes he would let me put my arm around him. It was like beautiful music to my soul. There was a lightness on my heart that after all those years of craving physical interaction with my child, he was reciprocating. I never forced him. I still remembered the screaming, kicking, and clawing. 

After all of this, my battles, Zander’s battles, where I’m only skimming the surface of information I could share, to have that thrown in my face!?

They took Zander to psychologist after psychologist until one was found that tried to remove his autism diagnosis. No, uh uh, that’s not how that works! You don’t take an 8-9 year old boy, after his mother has relentlessly fought and paid for YEARS worth of brutal therapies and professional help and say he doesn’t have “this problem” that I literally worked my ass off to help Zander function more normally in society. He is always going to have social issues. That’s part of his diagnosis, but those huge problems for the first 6 years of his life are either gone or not huge anymore. Zander appears mostly “typical” now. 

Go ahead, pat me on the back.

That’s something that gets me the most. Not once did that man ever THANK ME. Not once. Ever. He belittled me, accused me, argued with a condescending tone and attitude for years while I fought to help our son. And he wonders why I can’t stand him? Even through all that, I attempted to be friendly. To educate him. To include him.

Don’t blame me for problems that I did not cause. I’m over it, and no more will I sit back quietly and accept the abuse. Not for me and not for my son.

And I have enough Autism Moms who can collaborate exactly what I’ve been through with the lack of hugs with our children. 

I know all too well about sensory processing disorder (SPD). My son Adrian is 10 years old now but when he was younger his SPD was so bad he couldn’t be touched. He would head bang, scream, he even got to the point where he wouldn’t eat. Although some kids with SPD aren’t as severe, I had to puree foods for Adrian for almost two years just to keep him alive. Touching him would make him extremely uncomfortable. He would scream or bite you. SPD is very real and on the rise and more people need to be aware of its correlation with Autism.  ~Amanda

Nothing Left to Lose

Today’s blog is not as easy as I thought it would be to type out. That is because I am looking at this new issue at an angle, not from my own personal feelings and opinions, but from the perspective of Zander.

How must he be feeling? What must he be thinking?

As the basis of this blog implies, this is all about my son’s international abduction from his habitual residence. He’s been back home since September, 8 months total. When I first picked Zander up, completely unprompted, he apologized to me. Before I arrived in Malta to pick him up, Zander had lost the excitement of being in Malta, because he had finally been told toward the end that he may never come home again, which is absolutely not what Zander had wanted when he initially said he wanted to remain in Malta for a year.

So yes, there was most definitely resentment against You-Know-Who because of that. Zander knew he had been lied to. After a few months of being back, it began to disappear from the forefront of his mind. He was able to be what he wanted, do what he wanted, without the “issue” thrown in his face at every opportunity. He started warming back up to You-Know-Who, although it was sporadic at best. I could tell it was improving at the very least.

Then January came around, and my attorney filed for sole custody and modification. You-Know-Who, as he is wont to do, became obsessed. He was all about repeating the lies and accusations directed at me. The responses that he wrote were quite a doozy. During the hearing on April 12, my attorney asked the Judge if she had read the Defendant’s responses. She rolled her eyes and said, “Yep”, clearly realizing how ridiculous it all was.

The point of this is, You-Know-Who began changing the direction of how he talked to Zander. It was very covert at first. He began talking more about Zander going to Malta. About all the fun things they had done in Malta. All with the expectation of a desired response from Zander. If Zander gave that response, all was good. If he did not, then the whining, the exaggerated sighs, the “what about me” responses started.

Then came the final decision. The courts granted me everything.

It has only been TWO conversations. I’m honestly floored. Whip-lashing shocked. The first one was my last blog, There’s a Difference . You-Know-Who went on and on about Mother’s Day. Despite the false assumptions on my parenting, and the threats against me from You-Know-Who’s very own mother, I absolutely wanted Zander to speak to his grandmother on Mother’s Day.

You-Know-Who did not have his mother speak to Zander.

I made Zander sit in front of the computer. He typed on Skype, “do not call me”, “From Zander”. I reprimanded Zander. You-Know-Who called and immediately whined, “What do you mean, don’t call you?”

He continued, “Zander you realize I only get these phone calls twice a week right? I only get to talk to you. I don’t get to see you, I don’t get pictures. All I get is to hear your voice twice a week. That’s all I get. You realize that?”

(He does get pictures.)

Z: “No *whining*”

A: Well try to think a bit on how I feel. I can only hear your voice twice a week.

Z: Leave me alone. I want to play my game and I’m tired and grumpy.

A: How can you be tired already? It’s only 5pm there. *pause*

Or basically do you not want to hear from me ever again? Should I disappear from your life? Is that what you want? Hmm?

(Zander didn’t say anything. I didn’t even come in the room and look at what Zander had done until You-Know-Who’s response, which I didn’t understand at the time. Zander sent applauding emoji.)

Oh….you’re sarcastically applauding. That’s nice. Am I that boring?

Z: Yeah.

I’m not going to go into the entire conversation, but Zander also told You-Know-Who, “You’re always in my business.”

I’ll be frank. I’m worried. Zander is being super rude. I’m not saying this man, after all he has done, does not deserve it. However, from Zander’s perspective, I’m worried. Zander has not wanted much to do with You-Know-Who for a couple of months now. I suspect Zander is psychologically being pulled back to the time of his abduction and that negativity, and he does not wish to be there.

You-Know-Who is being belittling, condescending, and rude to Zander, who has begun to fight back. I haven’t talked to Zander about it. I’ll let him know I’m here if he does want to talk, but the counselor needs to be brought in pronto.

She needs to hear these talks.

  1. They are absolutely inappropriate
  2. This is clearly emotional abuse
  3. Despite everything, this has to hurt Zander, being talked to like that by
    someone he cared about

Emotional Manipulation

It’s a common phenomenon with narcissistic personalities. “Why don’t you want to talk to me?”, they whine. “Don’t you love me?” An emotionally manipulative narc’s language is all about me, me, me, it’s all about me and my feelings. It’s all about what I get. It’s all about what I want.

And when they don’t get what they want, they express the narc rage.

This “narc rage” can be loud and violent, it can be covert and manipulative, but it still remains obvious. They slip. It manifests in passive-aggressive sighs, withdrawals, threats, and “all I do for you” rants.

You-Know-Who is clearly there. It was more covert before, but now it’s obvious. It’s clear. It’s a slap in the face, not to me, but to Zander. “I only get this. I only get that. Do you want me to disappear?”

To me and my Mom, this is not the first time You-Know-Who has threatened to disappear. He had a life and wanted to move on. We still have that handwritten letter. But…to say that to your child??

REALLY?

That is clearly emotionally abusive and unfair to Zander. Be an adult, swallow the bitter pill of your own unlawful actions, and simply talk to him. Try to bond with him as best you can. I know it’s hard. I only had difficulties with Zander during the court hearings in Malta I was unaware of. After that, I didn’t have difficulties with Zander. We had conversations of upwards of 3 hours. Zander was happy the entire time. He whined when he was told to get off. Yeah, not all conversations were like that, but the majority were. I’m not telling Zander to get off. I’m not dragging him all over the State every single-loving day like he was in Malta. There’s no stress on him. There’s no pressure.

Narcissistic parents command an unreasonable worshipful behavior from their children. You-Know-Who does not have that. He does not receive that. Zander refuses to give him that which he wants.

You-Know-Who does not like that, and he will whine and belittle him all the way because of it. These children, like Zander, are punished for showing they are their own person. They have their own emotional needs that do not fall in line with the narc parent.

I can’t help but realize that Zander is being punished. Punished for showing emotional self-sufficiency. For having his own mind and thoughts and desires. For not being upset over You-Know-Who’s loss.

I find myself replaying the conversations over and over in my mind. Why is he doing this to Zander? Why is he saying these things? What is he doing?

It’s clear by anyone who reads the transcript that

  1. He doesn’t care about Zander. He cares about hurting me
  2. Zander is not interested in You-Know-Who
  3. You-Know-Who is self-centered

It finally hit me.

You-Know-Who has nothing left to lose.

In his mind, he lost everything. There’s nothing left. Narcs want control. From day one, it has always been about control. He no longer has that. Not even an ounce. From these talks, he has shown that he no longer has any interest in coming to America to visit Zander. He’s more content placing the lack of in-person visitation on me than actually spending money on something other than winning in court.

He is now threatening to “disappear”. The severity of what he is talking to Zander about is so concerning that I’ve already left a message with the NCMEC referred therapist.

Without control, without power, You-Know-Who is not seeing that he does have something to lose. And that is Zander’s love.

Zander is not an object to emotionally manipulate. He is a person.

He may be developmentally behind, but he’s still a 10 year old boy who can hear what he is being said to him. He is fighting back. He is rebelling.

I’m here to pick up the potential broken pieces. I have to make sure he handles this situation. This child should not be made to feel like he is responsible for any of this.

And this is why Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse!

There’s A Difference

Lately, I’ve been exercising a self-imposed silence for the sake of my domestic custody battle. I didn’t want to risk slipping something  or hinting at the direction the courts were taking that You-Know-Who was not aware of. Plus, he liked to accuse me of making defamatory accusations, which he declared such in his response to the courts here because of my Facebook Page, Bring Z Back to Me

The domestic courts in Monroe County, Ohio have officially decided after examining all the evidence, that I should have sole custody of Zander based off the Defendants conduct in violation of the Hague convention. 

As of May 8, 2018, I have sole custody of my son, and my son will not leave the United States anymore. No more risking he will not return.

But I’ll get into that at a later time.

Right now, I want to share with you all the first conversation between You-Know-Who and Zander after he found out that I had won. He found out on a Tuesday, and the first court ordered conversation was Wednesday.

Also keep in mind that his mother, in Malta, called my Mom Tuesday to scream at her and blame me and call me a liar and accuse me of neglect and threaten to call child services on me (details later).

The conversation is long, but I really wanted to show the entire talk. I have a plethora of conversations I can transcribe and share, but this one I think is really important.

Zander starts the phone call off with his field trip he had had that very day. Keep in mind that Zander voluntarily sharing anything is unusual for him. Zander should have been allowed to continue talking while he was in a sharing mood.

Zander is Z and You-Know-Who is A.

A: So going forward with things, it’s Wednesdays & Saturdays.

Z: Mmhmm (sound of yes or ok)

A: Today is a Wednesday, Sunday is in a few days. *pause* It will be a while before you come to Malta. *pause* You  know that?

Z: Nn-nn (sound of no)

A: Well, you won’t be allowed to come for a number of years, not my decision. Will you be okay with that?

Z: Mmhmm.

A: You sure? *pause* Zander! This is really important.

Z: What is important?

A: Well you know, you know how it used to be when you were here for the summer for 2-3 months?

At this point, I could see Zander was uncomfortable so I muted the call and told Zander he didn’t have to answer anything that he didn’t want to.

A: Zander?

Z: What?

A: Remember how it used to be in the summer?

Z: What? I didn’t hear the question.

A: You remember how it used to be in the summer?

Z:…yeah…

A: Well, that’s not gonna happen anymore. Okay?

Z: Mmhmm.

A: You can only come again when mommy says it’s okay for you to come.

Zander changes the subject and wants You-Know-Who to watch a video.

Z: Watch it for 5 minutes.

A: *makes impatient sound* Have you … what I said?

Z: Mmhmm.

A: Well don’t you have any thoughts, questions?

Z: Nn-nn

Long pause.

Z: Are you watching the video?

A: Oh, I’ll watch it in a sec…..Oh! So another thing, if you ever want to call us,  you can …… I’ll always have Skype ……. <unintelligible = …..

Z: I know you’re phone number. Says the number.

A: Good. *opens the video* Oh not this again. You do realize cats don’t do … parties and they can’t DJ right? *no response* Zander?

Z: Hmm?

A: You know that right? Cats …….

Z: And here’s my number *he sends “meow” through messenger*

You-Know-Who relays a message from his mother asking if Zander wants anything.

Z: I want a WarJack book.

A: ….WarJack book. I will look into it, and if I ….

Z: Remember when I was 8 or 7, and you gave me this WarJack like your dwarves, and it came with a book? I want that book because it’s gone.

A: Where did mommy put it?

Notice how he immediately puts the blame on me. Btw, that book was destroyed by Zander in the last house we lived in 3 years ago. Zander was too young and irresponsible to have an adult hobby book.

Z: I don’t know. All I know is I was playing with it and I left to Malta.

A: Okay and how come it wasn’t in your room?

Zander doesn’t realize it, but You-Know-Who is still insinuating that I maliciously threw it away, which is what he told Zander I do with his stuff.

Z: Because I took it out and played with it.

A: Hmmm, alright. Well I’ll see if it’s ….. and I’ll send it to you.

A: Connections really bad today.

You-Know-Who proceeds to discuss building a bunny hutch.

A: Are you bored?

Z: yeah!

Zander mutes the call and talks to me.

A: Hello? Hello? Zander?

Z: What?

A: Do you want to talk…hmm?

Z: Nn-nn.

A: You don’t want to talk?

Z: No, because I’m breaking up. *Zander makes noises by the microphone while clicking mute off and on, off and on. I’m breaking up.

A: What? Yes, it’s not coming from my side. Maybe it’s the internet on your side. *Pause* Do you know what Sunday is? Do you know what Sunday is Zander?

Z: Yah!

A: What is it?

Z: Idk

A: You know what Mother’s Day is right?

Z: Mmhmm

A: Are you getting something for your mother?

Z: What?

A: I’m asking you!

Z: I’m getting you a ring. *He got me a ring*

A: What? You’re getting me a ring?

Z: yeah

A: I’m not your mommy. Do I look like your mommy?

Z: Yeah. [YKW] can become anything. He can become a ladybug.

A: Ok, that’s interesting. Didn’t know I had that power.

Z: And that’s why I squish every one I see.

I just want to point out that this is not the only time Zander has said something rude like this. But what I find most interesting is the ability that You-Know-Who exhibits to twist it around to make himself look good. Zander loses interest afterwards and simply says “yeah” to it all.

A: …oh…because you don’t want it to be me?

Z: …yea…

A: Is it because I’m too strong?

Z: …yea…

Long, awkward pause.

A: Next time we meet, you’re going to be as tall as me, maybe even taller. You might be a teenager the next time I see you.

No Response from Zander.

A: Anyway *frustrated tone* Sunday is Mother’s Day 

Z: Zander overlaps the last part of his above sentence with, Meow Meow Meow.

A: Ok enough with the ….zone. Sunday. ….to your mother. I think he said “thanks to your mother” but not sure. I’m going to call you and I want you to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to Grandma [B], and if you would like, I would like you to talk to [You-Know-Who’s wife]. Remember [wife’s name]?

Zander ignores You-Know-Who and talks to me. He put a Zinc pill in his water and was fascinated at it fizzing and asked me what Zinc was for.

A: Do you miss her hugs?

Zander continues to talk to me even though I’m pointing toward the computer. Then he unmutes the call.

Z: I’m so bored, and Stephanie is right next to you.

A: Yeah, you want to talk to her?

Z: No, I just want to hang up. I’m so bored.

A: You’re so bored, you sound like a drama queen.

Z: I’m the King of Dama!

 

The conversation ended a moment after this. I do still remain in the room with Zander when they talk, but I stay way back. Zander can’t see me, although he’s constantly looking back at me trying to include me (when he mutes You-Know-Who). I usually sit and read a book, but I will intervene when Zander becomes uncomfortable. I’m teaching him that he is his own person, and he doesn’t have to respond to anything he doesn’t want to.

I have always respected that Zander is his own person. 

For example, You-Know-Who wants Zander to go into drama class and become an actor. Zander doesn’t want to. Zander revealed to me that he hated drama class when You-Know-Who made him attend that summer in Malta while we were fighting at trial.

Zander doesn’t like to be in front of people. He’s so shy that he would rather wear a coat on warm days than show his bare arms to his classmates. 

Zander wants to be a YouTuber; this has been an unprompted wish of Zander’s for years. Yet You-Know-Who belittled that idea. Belittled that dream. Belittled Zander.

I nurture it.

That is the DIFFERENCE.

I personally feel this conversation speaks volumes. Read between the lines. I had not talked to Zander about what was happening in court. Zander doesn’t need to be brought into it. What did he think shoving it in Zander’s face would accomplish? You-Know-Who was very belligerent and petulant every time Zander failed to respond the way he wanted. 

It’s all about Control.

He wants control, and even 5000 miles away on a different continent, after losing his custody rights because of HIS actions, You-Know-Who still tries to alienate Zander and I. Parental alienation has many faces.

 

 

Maltese Hague Order of Return

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and that’s mainly because I needed to not only focus on my advocacy for other parents who are desperately trying to protect their children from IPCA, but also on my family and my own case.

I have my first hearing back on home-ground on April 12, 2018. Since just because you get an enforced Hague Order of Return, that in no way means that the battle is over.

I’ve put my own case on the back burner, and it’s time that I work on that. I have a lot of lies to refute and rebuttal. It’s repeated, unnecessary deceptions that were heard in our trial in Malta, but as usual, You-Know-Who is grasping at straws.

He confidently boasted to my Mom that I would lose; that my son would go back to Malta when he asked for him.

When I get worried as time passes on that he may still retain his joint custody rights, I simply read the Hague Order of Return where You-Know-Who was lambasted on at least 3 occasions. 

iStand Parent Network Inc. publicized the Order of Return several months ago, but I personally understand that this Order is lengthy and difficult to read in one go, especially for busy folks.

This is why I’m going to take my favorite parts and share them with you all.

“On the 18th of December 2016 at 11:21 A.M, nine days after the defendant had initiated judicial proceedings here in Malta, the defendant sent an email to Barbara Hise reading as follows: – *This email basically is You-Know-Who asking me to sign papers to allow Zander to live in Malta for one year despite the fact he filed for sole physical and legal custody of Zander in Malta* – He fails to mention in his email of the 18th December 2016 that a few days before he had instituted judicial proceedings in Malta in order to retain the minor here in Malta.”

So at least the Court recognized his devious tactics here.

“It transpires from the proceedings that on the 30th of January 2017 the defendant [*You-Know-Who*] had sent the following email to the mother of the minor advising her that he was unilaterally extending the minor’s visit here in Malta til the 3rd of March 2017 – For another time, the defendant does not make any mention to the mother as regards the judicial proceedings he had instituted here in Malta in order to stop the minor from returning back to the United States. On the contrary, the date of the return ticket was changed to the 3rd of March 2017 and he sent a copy of such amendment to the mother.”

Again, the Court recognizes his tactics for what they are.

“It was only on the 19th of February 2017, meaning that only a bit less than two weeks before the minor had to return to his mother in the United States that the defendant informed the mother of his intention to request the Maltese Courts to detain the minor here in Malta on a permanent basis.”

Let’s pay attention to the “permanent basis”. He felt that he had every right to revoke my primary joint custody rights based off a disagreement he had with me, yet he feels that his nefarious actions fail to meet the need to revoke his overseas parenting rights.

“The Court has examined all the evidence presented and it finds that it has been satisfactorily proven that the father had already planned well before the minor’s visit to Malta between November 2016 and January 2017 that he would institute proceedings before the Maltese Courts to try to prevent the minor from returning to the United States. With this thought in mind, before the minor arrived in Malta, the father instructed a psychologist to examine the minor upon his arrival in Malta.”

It has been proven by means of a trial that my son’s international kidnapping was PREMEDITATED.

“The Court notes that the decree issued by another section of the Family Court was pendente lite (provisional until the proceedings before the Courts are concluded) handed during a mediation process; when the minor’s mother was not even aware that the father had initiated proceedings before the Maltese Courts; when the deputy curators appointed by the Courts to represent the mother, who was absent from these islands, had not only not communicated with the mother but had not even themselves been notified of the father’s application requesting provisional care and custody; when a chronological examination of the facts results that the father had not even informed the mother that he did not intend to send the minor back to the United States.”

Again, this is very clearly explained how manipulative this man is…

“The respondent argues that he cannot be found guilty of wrongful retention for not returning the minor after the expiry of the period agreed with the mother, because in the meantime he had obtained a decree issued by another section of the Family Court that authorized the minor to reside in Malta with his father. This Court, however, considers this reasoning as legally unfounded.”

“The decree that the defendant succeeded to obtain during the mediation process cannot be considered as exonerating the defendant from his premeditated conduct not to return the child minor back to his mother in the United States.”

Again…premeditated…the Court’s language, not mine.

“The Court examined the defendants plea [*of psychological harm*] thoroughly but finds that the defendant has failed to substantiate his claims. The defendant has practically embarked on a crusade because the minor undertook home schooling for a year instead of a traditional school. In the opinion of the Court, “physical or psychological harm’ in terms of the Convention does not extend to issues whether a minor attend a traditional school or else is enrolled in supervised ‘home schooling’ education, structured according to the rules of the Educational authorities in the United States. The defendant has presented no evidence that the mother is unable to raise the minor or that she is cruel towards him or otherwise will subject him to physical or psychological harm, if the minor is returned.”

Yet…he is still claiming the same accusations in the American court systems to defend that what he did was in the “best interests of Zander”. Honestly, it shouldn’t fly with this judge. She’s a no-nonsense type of Judge.

“On the contrary, this Court feels that the minor suffered a truly unjust action at the hands of his father because he was denied from being with his siblings who reside with their mother in the United States for a period longer than agreed originally between the parties for the minor to spend time with his father.”

I would gander a thought that what this “father” did was straight up psychological harm. 

“It is also noted that ‘home schooling’ was a temporary measure that ran for one academic year and it was only because the father decided to bring the minor to Malta at the beginning of the academic year 2016-2017 that the minor did not return to school in the United States. It is evident that if the minor did come to Malta in November 2016 he would have been admitted to the school. This did not take place only because of his visit to Malta. It must also be said that according to correspondence exchanged between the two parents, the father had agreed that for the duration that the minor is in Malta he will continue with his education so that eventually the work performed by the minor would be recorded and reported so that upon his return he would be able to return to school.”

I’m glad that this was obvious. It means that his continued home schooling arguments should be thrown out the window.

“The father would have been far more responsible if instead of acting in the manner which led to the wrongful retention, he informed the Courts of the United States of his concerns, as he has successfully done in the past.”

Yes, and honestly, he had a better chance if he had complained to the courts in America. He had lied so much to them while I was advised not to defend it, that the Judge in WV didn’t like me a whole lot. But now You-Know-Who is bringing up issues all the way back from 2009, and finally giving me an opportunity to rectify his false accusations and continuous slandering.

“The things that the minor told the Children’s Advocate contrast sharply with what results from these proceedings. During the course of these proceedings the mother obtained court authorization to hold regular Skype calls with the minor. The Director exhibited in the Acts of these proceedings the recordings and also the transcripts of telephone conversations between the minor Zander and his mother and his half brother Killian that took place in April and May of this year. The Court listened to the playbacks of these conversations and finds that there is absolutely nothing in common between these conversations and what the minor said to the Children’s Advocate. In one of these conversations Zander says “I want you to know I’ll be coming there soon. Because the year’s almost over, it’s already been like 100 something days. So, I’ll be there in like 200 something days. Okay?””

Yes, let us never forget the fact that not only did You-Know-Who lie and deceive me and the Courts, he also lied and deceived Zander.

“The content of the conversations between Zander, his mother and brother makes it very clear that there is a very good relationship between and it certainly cannot be said that there is some resistance on the minor’s part to return to the United States. On the contrary, the minor expresses the desire to return soon.”

“The Court does not want to speculate about the divergence between what the child said to the Children’s Advocate a few weeks after he arrived in Malta, and the content of the conversation between the minor and his mother after he had already been in Malta for several months.”

Despite the fact that this Judge clearly called out the lies that Zander was pushed into speaking to these individuals, You-Know-Who is still pushing these already called out lies onto the American court system. On Zander’s 10th birthday, this past March 15, he revealed to me that You-Know-Who encouraged Zander to tell these people everything that I have ever done wrong. And this, also, after a week of him telling Zander horrible things about me as well, only for Zander, who is and always has been a mocker, to tell the psychologist and CA.

“The Court will not speculate why it is that in January 2017 the minor spoke to the Children’s Advocate so negatively against his mother while in May 2017 he tells his mother that he wants to go back. There is no doubt that the minor Zander is missing his mother’s absence as well as that of his brothers, and it is evident that as time goes by, the minor is feeling their absence even more.”

When in doubt, simply read this beautiful, strongly written Order of Return.

Thank you Honorable Judge Robert Mangion.

Projection & Deflection

Today’s post is in regards to You-Know-Who’s Response to my petition for full custody. When I first read his response, I simply sat in shock. My stomach was in knots, and I felt near ready to vomit. Literally 10 pages of nonsense and finger pointing. It doesn’t matter who he talks to, it’s the same spiel. When he petitioned to the courts in 2012, when he responded to the reporter’s questions, during The Hague trial, and even now, he brings up every imagined wrong starting in 2009. 

You-Know-Who is a perpetrator of international kidnapping, but in his mind, none of that matters because of everything else except for that key detail.

I don’t want to go into too many details for the simple reason that this issue hasn’t been litigated yet, and my refuting evidence has yet to see a day in the American court systems. I just wanted to take this opportunity to bring up more interesting pointers on narcissists. 

I want to point out a couple of discrepancies in his response. I’ve noticed that it’s getting easier to handle the accusations and blaming. In the beginning, I simply ignored it, wrongly assuming that my life would remain the same. But ever since the blatant kidnapping of my son, I’ve found the strength to meet these accusations head on. It’s getting easier.

FIRST DISCREPANCY

#6 states “I do not agree to any references to a violation of the PKPA as stated in Petitioner’s page 3 part (g)”

Here is page 3 part (g):

My lawyer breaks down the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and further explains that my son’s home state is and has been Ohio, except for the time in which the minor child was being held in violation of the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (“PKPA”), 28 U.S.C. 1738.

: a Federal law enacted in 1980 in an attempt to reduce interstate conflicts over jurisdiction and discourage “forum shopping” by parents who are dissatisfied with an existing or pending custody order made pursuant to the laws of their child’s “home state”. 

Not only did You-Know-Who violate the PKPA, he also violated the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act 1993 (IPKCA).

: a United States federal law. This law makes it a federal crime to remove a child from the United States or retain a child outside of the United States with the intent to obstruct a parent’s custodial rights, or attempt to do so (18 U.S.C. 1204).

SECOND DISCREPANCY

This is a small sample of the word play that You-Know-Who uses to paint me in a negative light and continue to victimize himself. Most of what was said in the Response floored me, but this one really tops the cake. Or maybe it’s simply because I’m used to the other same old arguments…

I am being accused that because of my decision to homeschool, my son was “self-learning through YouTube”.  And that I apparently told You-Know-Who this as well. I knew this was false immediately, but I have to cover my tracks. Therefore, I searched in my gmail account to see if any such conversation took place. My first search results came up like this….

Okay, so maybe the word “self-learning” wasn’t used. So I then searched using the word “YouTube”. There have been so many emails between the two of us that even I lose count of what exact conversations we’ve had.

But this one was GOLDEN.You-Know-Who is the one who introduced Zander to YouTube. I already knew this, and I do remember being quite irritated with that fact. Once Zander is exposed to something he enjoys, he becomes obsessed. But by his own words, You-Know-Who is the one who used YouTube for “educational things”.

Why would I spend $900 on a Sonlight Curriculum just to go to YouTube? Click on Sonlight Curriculum to view the package that I purchased. It’s currently far cheaper now than then. I will admit that I recently resorted to YouTube to teach myself how to help Zander do his Common Core math homework because I was personally lost. In fact, one of my friends who happens to be an elementary school teacher recommended I view videos on YouTube if I  need homework help.

Pointing out these TWO discrepancies leads me to what I wanted to discuss.

PROJECTION

DEFLECTION

FALSE ATTRIBUTION

PROJECTION:  the act or thought of accusing someone else of misbehavior similar to that of which you are guilty or are (perhaps subconsciously) contemplating. 

DEFLECTION: the act of referring to the similar, prior factual or imputed misdeeds of others as a defense of your own misdeeds.

FALSE ATTRIBUTION:  designating someone else as the perpetrator of an actual misdeed of which you are guilty.

It’s so obvious that it’s frightening. This is exactly what I am up against. The narcissist is in self denial that they themselves exhibit the behavior they’re blaming on someone else, so the behavior is said to be projected onto the other person.

All I can do is pray and have faith that this new judge will see right through it. I’m doing my best to legally point out the fallacies in You-Know-Who’s argument.

That’s all I can do.

Narcissism: A Common Denominator

As a Left-Behind Parent myself, I have spoken to dozens of other Left-Behind Parents. Although our stories can be vastly different, spun off in hundreds of different directions like the cracks in a windshield, there are always similarities. One of them, I’ve discovered, is that the abductor is narcissistic

LBP to LBP, we tell our stories, desperately wanting to be heard and understood – how can you blame us when our own government and legal system refuses to hear our cries? – and as we listen and share, it becomes obvious that the ones who have taken our children from us are eerily similar.

Similar in the way they speak to us, threaten us, belittle us.

Similar in how they are charismatic before the court system yet reveal their true faces to us.

It’s almost like listening to our own stories. We are all linked by our experiences, stuck in a web of deceit that we unknowingly stepped right into.

I have personally read multiple articles and psychology articles on the subject. Articles on being in relationships with narcissists, articles on co-parenting with narcissists. I’ve bought books written by professionals, one being Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People. I’m in Facebook groups for survivors of Narcissistic relationships. 

To be honest with myself, and to stop blaming myself, even if I had known all that I do now, I doubt it would have saved me from my own narcissistic relationship. They are that good. You don’t see it until it’s too late.

So, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault. You didn’t ask for this. You don’t deserve it.

I’ve had this blog in my draft for a week now because I don’t even know where to start. This subject is so vast there is no easy place to start or even one pool of information to choose from. 

I used to think that You-Know-Who was a simple narcissist. He fits all the behaviors. However, he fits better in the category of Narcissistic Sociopath.

As if a simple narcissist weren’t bad enough.

You-Know-Who played the victim role very well, crying to anyone who would listen to him, hashing up old arguments until he felt everyone was on his side…only for him to turn around and throw it in my face. Here’s one of many [nicer] excerpts from him:

I am not a fool I know that half the time your mother disagrees with what i say and think, Amber sympathizes but she is your sister, so anything short of you killing her will result in her backing you up. Even though you are as cuddly as a cactus on fire”

He messaged friends that I hadn’t spoken to myself for over a year. He did a very good job at turning my entire family against me. When it comes to friends & family, be prepared for the reality that they will fall for a narcissists manipulations. I fell for it. They fell for it. I was of the mentality that I wanted it all to be over. I wanted the nightmare to be gone, thinking that distance and divorce would solve that. Little did I know that the abuse doesn’t stop because of that. My relationship with my immediate family members and some of my closest friends was destroyed because of his smear campaign. That destruction of loyalty and trust is still there to this day. One by one, they all saw the truth for themselves, but the damage was done.

When it comes to Narcissists, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Keep a diary and notate everything very clearly, “February 3, 20XX – I told xxxx to call between X-X. xxxx failed to call.” No matter how small, notate it. Keeping everything and organizing our emails helped me prove the lies in the Hague trial. Anytime he called, it was notated. Anytime my Mom set up Skype webcam, she notated it. So when it came time for him to accuse me of never letting him communicate with Zander, I was able to prove these accusations were lies.

Eliminate or LIMIT communication: Keep it short and unemotional. They are experts at wheedling their way into your emotions to elicit fiery reactions, only to turn around and make you look like the crazy one for getting worked up. Narcissists feed off of control, intimidation and eliciting emotions that they themselves are incapable of experiencing. Do not satisfy their twisted and selfish hunger by giving them what they are requesting. I’ve lost count of all the emails where he’s being a “typical narc” and I would get worked up, only for him to tell me to “Relax.” A Narc Sociopath will insult, belittle, and criticize you (sometimes in a teasing/joking way), pushing your boundaries until you finally speak up. Then they use your reactions to make you seem crazy. Within weeks, they can turn an easy-going person into a hot mess of insecurities and self-doubt.

ACCEPT that you will never win in the mind of a narcissist. You will not be able to change their distorted thought process regardless of how many times you remind them of the real version of the story at hand. You need to accept that you are not dealing with a rational, healthy person because acceptance is the key to moving forward. I recall back when I was getting Zander evaluated for early intervention at 3 1/2 years of age because we had concerns he had autism. During the psychologist meeting (in school), she informed me that You-Know-Who declared that Zander’s delays were due to instability of early childhood, thanks to me. I had several emails of him refusing to believe Zander had any delays, any issues, and simply blamed me. Then when Zander was diagnosed, he turned around and declared [he]always knew Zander had some issues, he simply said they weren’t that bad. When I then forwarded him all the emails and quoted him, he still was unable to ADMIT the things he had said despite throwing the proof in his face. You CANNOT win; ACCEPT this.

Do not expect a narcissist to follow the law, rules or protocol of any kind. Expect lies, vicious attacks, bizarre behavior and the unexpected. In Court, they thrive off the element of surprise to make you look bad.

Unfortunately, I’m not dealing with just a narcissist. Here are the traits of a narcissistic sociopath:

A driven quest for power: this could be control. You-Know-Who felt out of control because I had taken it from him as I healed over the years. I became strong enough to take that from him. Kidnapping Zander was a quest for the power of control. For example, he had me convinced that I had to inform him of every dollar spent of HIS money [child support]. It took me FOUR YEARS to heal from that mindset to stand up to him.

No apologies, no guilt, no remorse under any circumstance. His calculated, cruel actions are always justified. In his mind, I am the cruel one, so it is “justified”. He is not sorry one iota for doing what he did to me, to my family, to Zander, etc. Just like he has done since 2009, the blame gets placed on everyone but himself (screenshots to follow).

Invincibility. He believes he is indomitable. Even prison and punishment can’t stop him. When my lawyer threatened him with the FBI and prison time, citing the legalities of it, he was not scared at all and boasted to my mother that they couldn’t touch him.

Wholly self-serving. The needs and wants of others are insignificant and undeserving of consideration. He only listens to the wants of another IF it suits his desires.

And so much more…

Here’s an example (I feel these screenshots truly capture the sociopathic traits of his narcissism):

Another example, September 14, 2017, the judge ordered Zander’s return. September 15, 2017, You-Know-Who handed Zander over. THAT SAME DAY he was messaging the President of iStand attempting to smear my name, my success, and the legal facts “in the best utmost interest of my son.” The war was over; it was done. How is setting the record straight with an organization that helped me be in the best interest of Zander? The simple fact is that narcissists cannot stand to be the “bad guy”. They cannot stand being wrong, so they have to say and do whatever it takes to one up the other party, to turn anyone and everyone against the other party. Luckily, iStand was aware of all the facts, and they were already quite used to these tactics from previous abductors. Same old tactics. 

There are legal and psychiatry journals stating these same facts. Inside this journal states “Lewis (1978) believes ‘the true motive for child snatching is spite or revenge’“.

In this Scholarly article, this quote drives my point home: “Most custody violators do not consider their actions illegal or morally wrong, even after the involvement of the district attorney’s office.”

These abductors require psychiatric care, however getting the legal system to see and enforce this is another war in itself.

Facing off against a narcissist can be a very lonely road. Education is empowering. The more that you know and learn, the more you can handle these individuals until they fail to hold any control over you or your reactions.

 

 

Anniversary Reminders

Today is an anniversary. There are a lot of them, days that sucker punch my emotions and bring me to my knees.

November 28: Zander was handed over.

January 29: I was informed Zander was not coming home for another month.

February 1: Zander should have been home.

February 19: The day You-Know-Who decided to let me in on his shenanigans. 

March 3: The second date of what should have been Zander’s arrival.

There are so many other dates, but these ones are the ones that deliver the impact. I know time will heal these wounds, and one day these dates will come to pass without bringing me down.

I am a strong woman not to be reckoned with; I have already proven this. Reminder dates are easy compared to the HELL I lived through. I don’t want these dates to hold any power over me.

This email was in response to an email I sent him about my concerns with what Zander was telling me over the phone. You-Know-Who consistently refused to work with me during the winter months…if I was an hour late, oh well. I missed my chance. I rarely spoke to Zander in December and January, but when I did, he was repeating horrible things he was being told. So, yes, after 2 months of dealing with it, I couldn’t take it anymore. 

I wonder if I had never sent this email, would he have been motivated to inform me that Zander wasn’t coming home at the agreed upon time of February 1? I wouldn’t put it past him to have us waiting at the airport. I know that he was hoping to have a court decision by then, so he had to delay (aka lie).

I called the U.S. State Department, Office of Children’s Issues…again (I had also called right after Christmas with my concerns). They brushed me off…refused to help…showed no concern or empathy. I called the local law enforcement and they too brushed me off and refused to help. 

However, I also called National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for help. They were full of concern and empathy. At the time that I called, there was still “hope” that Zander would come home, albeit later. I received a Case Manager and given a number. 1287576.

They would repeatedly call me to check up on me, to see if he had made it home. When they found out he wasn’t coming home, they encouraged me to file with the Hague. Of course, they encourage you to work with the country officers you are assigned with the State Dept…who do nothing.

If a parent calls the “proper authorities” with the belief that their child will not come home, they need to be taken seriously. Afterall, we were once married/in a relationship with these people, and we know them.

I mean, look at how clearly and easily he lies…

He KNEW as he was typing this that he NO INTENTION of returning my son. He KNEW that I did NOT KNOW that he had filed for sole custody of Zander without MY KNOWLEDGE. He wanted me UNAWARE of his dubious actions until he had physical proof to parade around in my face.

I wanted so much to get along. He had stopped harassing me for the first time in years. He had stopped making demands. He had essentially disappeared during that large gap between visits. In fact, I lived with my Mom between May and June because we had sold our first home, yet had not purchased our second home. You-Know-Who knew where we were, and knew he was allowed to call anytime. He called about 3 times. Little did I know that his “disappearance” was him planning and premeditating Zander’s abduction. 

He tends to go quiet when he’s planning.

I’m not going to stop pointing out the real story. People need to know…other parents need to know how these abductors think.

Today, I will be fine. I’m alright. These are just reminders. But the biggest reminder that lifts me up is my son. He’ll be walking through the front door any moment now, and my heart will cease being sad.