"Our hands are tied"

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Whiteheron

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"Our hands are tied"
« on: March 29, 2019, 11:39:50 PM »
Quick backstory from other threads:
A few weeks ago DD used the master bath at stbx's house (with his permission). He had left a bunch of pill bottles out in the open. One was for ED - DD was alarmed and called me right away. She snuck back into his bathroom a few times to see what the other bottles were for. I told my L and DD's T. stbx has been told to keep his pills locked up because two years ago DS was 'in crisis'. He was told by our primary doc and by the psych evaluator.

I found out two nights ago that DD was worried stbx saw her going into and out of his room. Upon further probing, she told me he had cameras inside the house. One in his bedroom and one in the family room - so he can keep an eye on the cleaning people when he's not there. He has a history of spying on us with the CCTV he has all around the exterior of the house, so this raises red flags for me. I send my L an email about it, she tells me the GAL should know and asks if DD has spoken with her T about this. I tell her, no, but that I will call DD's T the next day.

I spoke with DD's T this morning about DD being worried she would be seen on his cameras if he went back and looked. She's afraid he will get into trouble, and then be angry with her.

DD's T told me that the GAL called her yesterday and they were talking about how their hands were really tied in our situation. That since neither child will really open up and say what's going on, and if they do say something they say they don't want their dad to find out. So GAL/T can't say anything to the judge about anything because they don't have permission from the kids. Awesome.

DD's T also told me that DD is probably just worried about being found out and is feeling guilty for "spying" on her dad. She also told me that the things DD complains about in T are leading the T to believe she is harder on her dad than she is on me, and that she is starting to stand up for herself against him, to the point of excess. I reminded the T that there was a history there, the T told me she asks about it, but that DD claims she can't remember anything.

The T also told me that stbx was doing better than she thought he would, and that he isn't being abusive... :blink: Harsh and strict, maybe, but not abusive.
The T also told me that leaving his meds out really wasn't a big deal and that if you go into anyone's bathroom you will see medications and pill bottles. She also told me that the kids are old enough to know better than to take them.  :blink: :blink:

I'm disheartened. I was under the impression they saw what was going on...now I'm worried again that I am appearing like a meddling parent railing against stbx...when all I'm doing is reporting what DD tells me, hoping that someone out there will listen and help.

So the T tells me her (and the GAL's) hands are tied, then it felt like she was minimizing stbx's behaviors. wtf? So he gets a free pass, yet again, and I'm left holding the flaming bag of sh*t? Really? Is this how it's going to go from here on out? He can act however he wants to because according to what the kids describe, it's not as bad as people thought it would be? Really?

I am beside myself.



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Spring Butterfly

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2019, 08:46:36 AM »
How frustrating and I'm sorry you have to deal with all this.
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hhaw

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2019, 01:03:00 PM »
WH:

You might not have the support of the GAL or dd's T about the drugs left out, but there was a recommendation from someone about keeping them out of the children's access... I think that's what you wrote.

The Judge will likely agree with you,  and I'm thinking you need to craft your point for the Judge.... what was your son going through when that recommendation was made, what proof do you have that stbx was instructed to keep drugs out of reach, and how can you document those drugs were out, and dd found them?  The Judge might care very much.... the Judge might not.  It's hard to tell.

You put together everything you have, and you present it....  you watch to see how the Judge is responding, and give more of what seems to connect, and stop giving what the Judge is not "getting."

it seems to me that the T might only be needed to report that the drugs were left out.  I don't think she has the authority to SAY if it's a bad idea, or that the pd went against a recommendation she's not aware of, kwim?

If it helps..... when I was in court, no two people will feel the same about pd infractions.  Everyone has an opinion, and the only opinion that really matters is the Judge, so keep documenting (without expectation, if you can help it.)  Part of what you're getting from dd's T might be her pushing back at your suggestion she's not doing enough, or feeling the right way, or willing to ACT the way you feels she should..... you have to present facts, and let people come to their own conclusions.   I would be told by one attorney that evidence was great, and then another would say it meant nothing... wasn't helpful, etc.  I never had 2 say the same thing, and I found my gut was better at predicting than the attorneys.

About court, and presenting evidence.... you learn to read the room..... if the Judge looks interested, or distressed over an issue, you keep talking about it.  If the Judge is dismissive, or looks frustrated..... you stop talking about it, and move on the next thing. 

I was shocked when our Judge didn't care anything about child restraints in PD vehicles moving at highway speeds.... I think I would have been strung up and hung if I'd done that, honestly.  There are double standards, which I can't explain.

My second divorce attorney did share some of his opinions, however........
One thing he said to me was....
 "You look bitchy when you're frightened and upset, and men don't like looking at bitchy women." 
That was his way of telling me I had to tailor the way I spoke to people about things I was worried about, or concerned about.  It's wrong, and it's not helpful, but I think it's an observation we need to be aware of, bc it's an awful truth, IME.  On suggestion from BIL, I began chugging a beer before meeting with that attorney, and things got much better, btw.  Crazy, but that's the truth. 

We have to share facts, without expectation, which is SO hard to do when our children are concerned, IME.  If we tell people what they must DO, they tend to resist, and even punish us by doing the opposite, IME.  That's not professional, but it's how humans operate.   We have to realize little people in positions of authority can and sometimes DO punish us for how we make them FEEL. 

Keep documenting.  Figure out how to present that evidence to best effect. 

Who told stbx to keep drugs locked up?  Why?

I forget exactly the circumstance.



hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

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Whiteheron

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2019, 07:54:36 PM »
hhaw - it was recommended by our primary care doc, and I'm almost certain it's in the psych eval report. (It's been over a year since I've read it). the evaluator gave a list of 'suggestions' for him, including proper therapy with a prescribing T, and locking up his meds. Neither of which he's doing. He's supposed to do it because DS was 'in crisis' and threatening suicide two years ago. With teens in the house, he's supposed to be doing it anyways. I'm not sure why no one seems to care except me.

I need to go in to the L's office for a few hours to sort through the novel of emails he submitted, I will ask to see the report as well.

I'm not sure if/when I'd have the opportunity to present in front of a judge. All court dates take place in chambers with the judge, L's, GAL.

I'm certain my expectations were just too high, and the T was just giving me a dose of reality. I try to remain neutral, I do offer examples from the past, I do let her know that I've only heard x, y, or z is going on, and I'm relying on her to probe deeper with DD. Problem is most times DD brushes things off as 'no big deal' when a few days before she was inconsolable.

I am documenting as best I can. I don't have direct proof that DD found the pills since she called me about it  - she did admit it to her T, and I do have a text from DS that says "so dad has 'name brand ED drug', huh?" but that's it. There is no other way my DD would know what the names of these drugs are. I didn't even know - I had to look them up.


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Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Whiteheron

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 07:14:38 PM »
I just randomly heard from the GAL today. She wants to have a meeting with DD to see if she'll open up to her.
Double edged sword here - I will have to tell stbx. If he shows up to be "present" when the meeting takes place, there is no way DD will open up.  :no:
I doubt she'll open up anyways.  :-X
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athene1399

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2019, 10:49:22 AM »
WH,

Sometimes silence can speak volumes. Maybe if they can tell DD is afraid to talk, that may show something is really going on. But obviously, I don't really know. IME a lot of stuff we thought was important was not. But we told our L everything instead. He was good at showing us both sides of an argument. Usually it pissed me off, but IMO a good lawyer can see both sides and know what the other side may say in defense or to turn it around. I felt that no one cared. All this crazy shit was going on and legally no one cared. It is so frustrating.

HHaw is right:
Quote
men don't like looking at bitchy women
Sad but true. Men don't like assertive women and they don't like emotional women. To the best of your ability, keep your emotions out of it. Stick to the facts and let them make the connections. If you can prove the pills shouldn't have been left out and that they were, then do so. Let them decide if that's a problem or not. So don't rest your case on just that. Find other things that affect, or could affect, the kids negatively. Keep the focus on how everything affects the kids. We focused on showing that we had a stable environment. And we lucked out because we didn't have to bring up BM's mental health. She talked about all the times she was in the psych ward in the past and all that. She tried to claim she was different now, but in the end proved that she wasn't.

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Whiteheron

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 03:54:25 PM »
DD met with the GAL. DD told me that if her dad took her to the meeting, she would refuse to go. I let the GAL know this. She said she understood, and that was why she was reaching out to me directly. No one but the GAL, DD, myself, and my L knew about the meeting. This was in hopes that DD would actually open up. She did talk a little bit, but said nothing the GAL can really use. The GAL actually apologized to me after the meeting. She said there wasn't anything she could do if the kids weren't opening up and that they told her she wasn't allowed to tell anyone what they did say.

I feel like there are these people who are here to help, and they are actually open minded about it (and not assuming I'm out to get stbx)...but can't do a damn thing even though they know spending 40% of the time with stbx is too much for the kids to handle and not in their best interest. Or is that what they want me to think?? IDK.

The GAL did let me know that DD said the "stand alone day" was too confusing. I didn't know what to say to that - the kids have been on this schedule for over a year. There should be no confusion. When the GAL brought this up, I let her know (right or wrong) that when DS told her in a previous meeting that "stand alone day" was just too much, and refused to say anything more, that his saying that was huge for him. She nodded like she understood. I also let her know that the kids tell me things and I encourage them to tell their T's/GAL about them, that their response is "no, I just told you, you need to do something about it." The GAL just gave me a sympathetic look.

The kids are so afraid of hurting their dad's feeling or that if they say anything too bad, their dad will find out and get angry with them...so they say nothing. I wish I could do more, but my hands are tied as well.  :(
We all know what's going on, but none of us can do a damn thing.
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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athene1399

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 05:08:46 PM »
We always felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It just sucks. Maybe just focus on what you can do. Like being a great parent. Maybe be honest with DD about it. "I'm sorry I can't do more, but I am trying. Tell me anything you need to talk about..." Support her emotionally. It sounds like you are doing all you can. Maybe it doesn't feel like much, but I'm sure DD appreciates the support.  :)

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Whiteheron

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 09:16:34 AM »
At our court conference, the GAL was getting very frustrated she couldn't say anything to support the kids without breaking their confidentiality. The judge actually sent his clerk to go look to see if there was precedent where a parent can waive privilege and the GAL would be allowed to speak. There wasn't. Which is both good and bad - good as in the kids won't be punished by stbx for saying things about him without his approval, and bad because the kids' voices aren't being heard and stbx's behaviors aren't being brought to light. It often feels he gets a free pass to behave however badly he wants to - because no one can/will do anything to stop him. I really hope karma works.

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hhaw

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2019, 03:58:39 PM »
I think karma works.

It's making with peace with that..... letting it go and letting be, that's difficult, IME.

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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athene1399

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2019, 08:43:56 AM »
Quote
It often feels he gets a free pass to behave however badly he wants to - because no one can/will do anything to stop him. I really hope karma works.
I felt that too when we were in court. That and the second BM broke the agreement all we could do was spend more money to take her back to court, which wasn't an option because money doesn't grow on trees. Like the L said, she's not sticking to the agreement so you can spend x dollars since she isn't paying y and end up out more than she owes... It is so frustrating. I felt like the legal system didn't care about what she was doing to manipulate and mentally harm her child. It made me so sick I couldn't eat. It was terrible. I feel like she gets away with everything. If SO and I pulled the same crap BM does, I feel SD would never speak to us again. But with her she can do whatever and get away with it.

But yes. Karma... Our BM can't hold a job because she can hardly function like a normal human being without calling everyone around her stupid if she feels like she doesn't understand something. I call that Karma. But it's a double edged sword because SD gets stressed when BM can't keep a job and can't pay her bills.

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HotCocoa

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2019, 10:44:23 AM »
At our court conference, the GAL was getting very frustrated she couldn't say anything to support the kids without breaking their confidentiality. The judge actually sent his clerk to go look to see if there was precedent where a parent can waive privilege and the GAL would be allowed to speak. There wasn't. Which is both good and bad - good as in the kids won't be punished by stbx for saying things about him without his approval, and bad because the kids' voices aren't being heard and stbx's behaviors aren't being brought to light. It often feels he gets a free pass to behave however badly he wants to - because no one can/will do anything to stop him. I really hope karma works.


Whiteheron, I feel for you. 
I know this is so hard. 
Just a little background on how things went in my situation.  My ex made my children come to court and meet with the judge and just the lawyers in the judge's office.  One of my children came right out and stated, "the problem is not my mom, it's my dad."  Verbatim quote from my attorney as to what that child said.  That child was punished, harshly.  Five years have gone by...ex has seen that child a handful of times.  He stated child needs to sit in front of him and apologize like he's some king.  Ex never had insight into his own behaviors and thought child was wrong for going against him in judge's chambers when that child was just trying to be honest in their own way.  More was said, however, you get the gist.
Punishment from a PD is severe and painful for all involved.  I know this is hard to hear, but maybe it's best what the children said didn't come out, right now.  It will.
I have found out that dealing with a PD, is they can get EVERYTHING they ask for, and then not want it.  They can't keep up the day to day.  Keeping up a farce is too hard.  I agree with hhaw.  Karma will come back, it may take a while.  The best thing you are doing is to honestly, keep doing what you are doing.  Staying calm, poised and strong.  I know the sick feeling inside.  Hang in there, you are a great mom, it will all come out eventually.  It will.  It is hard being the only stable parent, but you are doing a terrific job!  Stability is your ally.
Good luck.
 :bighug:
The smarter you become about narcissistic abuse, the crazier the narcissist will say you are.

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hhaw

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Re: "Our hands are tied"
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2019, 12:54:05 PM »
My, God, please let the children involved have good therapists who can help them make sense of their situations.

Living with punitive PD parents is an ongoing trauma.... it takes residence in their little bones, organs and skin.   My children are dealing with it now.  We all are.   

We couldn't deal with it as it piled up, bc of circumstances involving the PDs..... and it's common for the PD parents to block any T that shines a light on them.

I will say this.... a child's ability to hold and access self compassion is a primary indicator for overcoming trauma, and limit it.   The ability to feel empowered, and able to act during the trauma is another indicator for limiting the trauma.

Feeling trapped, and paralyzed, and unable to act and impact their lives is an indicator of PTSD, as is missing the self compassion piece.

Maybe the PD will refuse to allow therapy, but perhaps therapy that looks like meditation.... Buddhist Psychotherapy actually looks a lot like meditation.... think Tara Brach. 

We have to figure out how to get our children in touch with self compassion, and the feeling they can act to impact their situations somehow.  It's HUGE.

My children learned what I modeled for them.... stoicism..... a lack in self compassion that looked like strength, and IT WAS STRENGTH.... I had to get us through all the court battles, and evaluations, but there was a cost I wasn't aware of. 

I did my best, but if I could do it over again I'd have found a way to get the kids Tara Brach help. 



hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt