Decision Maker Experience?

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pushit

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Decision Maker Experience?
« on: January 17, 2020, 06:39:16 PM »
Has anyone on here had experience with a court appointed decision maker?  Good idea or bad idea?

In my situation, exPDw keeps making trouble for me and the kids by blowing up relationships with teachers, schools, doctors, therapists, etc.  Every time she hears something that doesn't paint her in a 100% glowing and positive light as a mother she lashes out at people, and either they or she will terminate the relationship.  I'm tired of having to fix these problems by continually having to work together to find new service providers or schools for us.

Recently, my son's therapist recommended to me that I might want to get a decision maker involved.  After another issue today, I am wondering if I should go ahead and request this.  I am a logical and rational person, so I don't see much risk for me in this.  If anything, having someone else involved will just keep exposing how irrational and volatile exPDw is.  Ultimately, I'd like to get to the point where exPDw isn't allowed to interact with service providers, but according to my lawyer that's pretty hard to do.


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hhaw

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2020, 04:10:26 PM »
My two cents.....

it's not fair, it's not right, it's counterintuitive, but limiting the PD's rage and chaos, as priority, seems to be the least harmful on the kids, IME.

That means you go way around ever having a meeting with a doctor/T/teacher that calls attention to the PD's disordered behaviors.  You can speak frankly with them IF the PD isn't present.  Agree ahead of any meeting what will be discussed, and try to get the PD on board with a piece of the puzzle that doesn't draw attention to them.

SPending our time fighting in court, even if you have a GAL or mediator calling the shots, still means the PD is going to throw all their rage and relentless energy at sabotaging ANY decision that doesn't flatter them, IME.

I have no idea if this can work for you, but your kids need to learn how to cope and problem solve in a healthy way.  If they're old enough to engage in identifying subjects the PD can be involved in, vs CODE..... don't know.

In a perfect world the kids would have great Ts who help them navigate this and not get punished for speaking their truths, or sabotaged for speaking their truth. 

IME the PDs will destroy themselves in order to destroy/sabotage/undermine anyone who injures their ego.

Can you see any way'round the PD's reactivity?

I suppose the children's ages, the teachers/docs/Ts involved determines your options.

I wish it was easy to find a mediator to make the big decisions, but it's never that easy, IME.  The PDs threaten, manipulate DO ANYTHING to avoid taking ANY responsibility.  It's just too much chaos, IME.

 How can you teach your children to deal with this, for a lifetime... cope... strategize.... without enraging the PD?  These are skills that will serve your children well.

IMHE any solution would have to involve deep abiding compassion and empathy for the PD....  in all you do and say to the kids and all professionals.  It's counterintuitive to make the PD parent the priority when children are struggling,  but...... it might be the best way in a world where we discover we're now mitigating harm, rather than doing our best while co-parenting with a PD.

There are no great choices.  Only less harmful ones, IME.

Good luck,











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."
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pushit

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2020, 06:46:03 PM »
Thanks for the input, hhaw.  I agree it's best to minimize their possible over reactions but in my case there just isn't any way because nobody did anything to provoke it.

The situation:  P/T conference a couple months ago where the teacher brought up some minor behavioral issues (not listening to direction, but not defiant).  exPDw points the finger at D9 and tells me D9 needs more therapy to fix her.  I disagreed with exPDw.  I thought the behavior was worth having a talk with D9 about, which I did, and D9 seemed to take it to heart. 

The next week exPDw goes behind my back to the T's and demands that another T take over for D9's T, in addition to bringing in a clinical child psychologist to help as well.  Everyone is baffled, the T's have told me exPDw's request isn't even how therapy works so they won't go along with it.  I had to bring in my lawyer to tell exPDw to knock it off, as trying to change therapists without my consent violates our parenting plan.  Since then, I've had a conversation with D9's T and she is willing to continue therapy with D9 but wants to have a discussion with exPDw about her requests.  Nothing has happened in 6 weeks, I believe because exPDw doesn't want to actually discuss the non-existent reasoning behind her outburst, so she is avoiding the discussion.  Now exPDw and her lawyer are pushing again to change T's because they claim the lack of communication means the T is stopping her services.

It's just infuriating.  This is all over nothing.  I believe exPDw lashed out at everyone (daughter, me, therapist) because she felt the P/T conference somehow painted her in a bad light.  So, that's what I mean when I say nobody did anything to provoke it.  It was all in exPDw's own head.  But now my daughter is sad because she thinks her T doesn't want to see her anymore, and now she may have to start up again with a new T.  I wonder how long the new T would last until exPDw blows up and we start all over again.....

I guess the upside is I've had numerous conversations with the T's about this, and they are truly confused by her behavior and are starting to see where the problem lies.

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hhaw

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2020, 08:36:20 PM »
I think this whole thing can work to your advantage, IME.

There's nothing like a T, or attorney, or doctor experiencing the PD chaos to explain what you and your children are dealing with,  IME. 

Get dd back into regular T appointments when you can is my advice.

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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Penny Lane

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2020, 09:39:30 PM »
pushit, DH doesn't have a decision maker. But I can tell you that just like going to court, it's very risky, but can have great rewards.

The potential downside is that your ex manipulates and snows the decision-maker. She convinces them that she's right and that they should side with her. And very worst case scenario, although slight, is that your ex presses her advantage and tries to get permanent decision making power or more parenting time.

The potential upside here is pretty great. Basically the opposite. You get a decision maker on board, they see how reasonable you are, they start siding with you and eventually it becomes clear to everyone that the situation is untenable and you have one more ally in a potential court fight. On top of that, you have the ability to keep the kids in T, their school, etc. even as your ex is trying to torch everything.

It will probably be somewhere in the middle. I think the fact that the T is suggesting it is a good sign - that's an unbiased person who can help guide the decision maker, if it's allowed. I also think that pushing forward for this on the T's suggestion means that this would be a better time to do it (for logistical as well as perception issues) than if you decide to move forward with it later.

There are still reasons to be leery. From what I've seen on here, it's likely that at first they'd issue some "split the baby" type decisions. You and I know that there's no real compromising. But this person will be coming in cold. They haven't seen her have an outburst at a therapist or teacher. And they're probably starting with the position that the people they work with just need to learn to compromise with each other.

I think either way you should brainstorm solutions that don't include a third party. Would separate parent teacher conferences help? Taking the kids to T on your own time without involving your ex? If you're going back for a modification of an order anyway, maybe it makes more sense to order them to stay in therapy and at their same school? (Although the benefit of a living person decisions maker vs changing the order is that you can't predict everything the ex will do, so the decision maker can be flexible). Maybe you can mitigate this without going to court.

I would also research the options: GAL, court appointed therapist, other? See what powers they have and ask your lawyer how they've seen them play out. That might help you decide.

I agree that this is very troubling and frustrating. It is not good for the kids to be bounced around from T to T, school to school, doctor to doctor, etc. I hope you can find a way to minimize the damage here.

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hhaw

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2020, 02:22:17 AM »
The thing is.... even if we get everything we're asking for in court, the PDs are so furious, threatened and relentlessly focused on undermining, destroying and sabotaging every gain we make... we really have to weigh the harm and potential gains out carefully. 

PDs very often sabotage their own children and selves rather than "lose" anything to their ex in court.... like their self-image.

There should be a very clear goal if the courts are involved.  Full custody and decision making power comes to mind.  If it's shared custody and unsupervised visitation with the PD parent... if the kids are too young to speak up and defend themselves..... it feels like shaking a jar of yellowjackets then sealing our kids IN with the yellow jackets when we challenge the PD then send our children for unsupervised PD time,  IME.

Placate the PD... work around them WITH the doctors/Ts/teachers.....
 or exercise authority over them through the courts.  PDs are notoriously bad about complying with Orders, IME.  It's almost impossible to hold them accountable over the terrible things they say and do to children behind closed doors.   Kids don't like to snitch bc they know they'll likely NOT be protected from the PD's wrath when the PD finds out what they said. 

  Those are terrible choices, IME, but they're pretty much all we have.  It's easier if you have good advocates.... like good Ts for the children who can testify well and hold their own in the face of the PD's threats, charm and relentless refusal to do what's best for their children.

The children won't be young and vulnerable forever.   That's one good thing to look forward to. 

This too shall pass.



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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pushit

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 02:58:00 AM »
Thank you both for the awesome, insightful responses! 

PL - I like the idea of separate P/T conferences, one problem that came up in our conference was exPDw repeatedly shutting me down and saying "we need to talk" which (we all know) is code for "pushit needs to stop talking and let me control the narrative".  I have to admit that's a hot button for me, in my mind I was only thinking "no, you will not silence me" and tried to speak but not make it a total disaster.  We do already take the kids to therapy without the ex, the T's want us to alternate who brings the kids in to see how they interact with us.

Honestly, I'm not afraid of getting more people involved (aside from $$$).  From what I've seen, I just need to "give her enough rope to hang herself" as they say.  She pretty much proves her craziness anytime she can.  I get frustrated with the fact that her lawyer is just as manipulative as she is, and is willing to spin her misbehavior either into nothing, or into some reason we need to follow her thoughtless demands.

hhaw - What you said about PDs losing their self image really hits home.  Luckily, now, I can see through her behavior and I see her self motivation in everything she does.  It is truly 100% about her and not wanting to lose face in the public eye.  I see the troubled person and why she would choose to treat us this way in order to keep her image.  This is where I got into this jam with the therapists.  When she demanded D9 get more counseling because of the P/T conference I thought "oh no, you're not going to get her diagnosed with something".  My saying no to her demand was an attempt to protect my daughter from exPDw's blame.  So right now, damned if I do or damned if I don't?  I can push for her to make things right with the current T, or agree to a new T.  Either way D9 and I lose.  Awesome future!   :stars:  Or, go on the offensive and get a decision maker involved?  I don't know, but I'll talk to my lawyer this week and he has been great so far.

You are correct in the fact that this too shall pass.  Right now I don't know how to answer when D9 says "D7 and S4 get to see their therapists, why can't I go?"  Do I tell her straight up that Mom ticked the T off?  I know the answer isn't yes, but it's tough to know what to say.  I love my kids to death right now and don't want to miss out on all the fun at these ages, but there is a part of me that longs for the day when we can have a frank conversation about mom.


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Stepping lightly

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2020, 01:36:45 PM »
Hi Pushit,

I haven't read all of the responses, but wanted to give you a quick summary of the experience we had with a Parent Coordinator.  We thought it would be a godsend to have a rational person intervening when the parents couldn't agree.  We strive to do what is best for the kids in all circumstances and felt that this was going to be a win win.  It was ...NOT! 

We have a bit of a unique situation, BM is highly intelligent, highly manipulative.  She is VERY good at convincing all of the professionals that she is just a victim of DH.  She got the PC to believe that DH is abusive and that she has PTSD, so EVERY bad behavior after that was excused.   She convinced the PC that I was also being abused, but basically I was too stupid to know it.  The PC even testified that DH's abuse of BM is ongoing because he doesn't respond to her emails quickly enough.  He would respond to her, but he had to give at least a few hours to a day between otherwise she just continued to escalate. 

What did the PC ignore- rages, rants, clear cut alienation.  All,  very clear cut and noticed....and the PC would become concerned about the behaviors...but then do nothing about it.  Or if she tried, BM pushed back hard and PC gave in.  BM convinced PC that DH was a sociopath, so gray rock only exacerbated this belief.  Even DH's psychologist confirmed he was not mentally ill AT ALL, but the BM/PC was smarter.

I'll be honest- the time period with the PC was the worst period of our lives.  I think the use of a PC is very much dependent on the behaviors/persistence of the PD and how much they will flood them.  For court we received the communication between BM/PC....a years worth of emails was like 9 reems of paper printed out.  Our psychologist said she flooded the PC with so much communication, the PC psychologically had to give in to BM.

I don't mean to be the horror story, but I do want our experience to be a bit of a moment to stop and think through how it will work with a 3rd party.  Everyone's situation is different, and we are a very extreme situation...


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pushit

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 02:00:28 PM »
Stepping Lightly - Yeah, that's part of my concern.  In the past exPDw was able to manipulate a marriage counselor into believing she was the victim, so I've been there.  That was a year of my life I never want to go through again.

It would all depend on how good the decision maker is, and whether or not they're able to see through the manipulation.  My exPDw is very intelligent as well, but since the divorce she doesn't seem to have it together enough to convince anyone to side with her except for her own lawyer.  I've been pretty surprised by how "easy" it's been, compared to what I dealt with prior to the divorce.

We'll see, just taking it day by day right now.  So far she hasn't done too much damage, maybe I need to let her continue to blow up relationships so I can show the pattern to people.  One good thing is we specifically wrote the schools the children would attend into our parenting plan, so she would have a pretty hard time changing that if she tried.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2020, 04:20:03 PM »
If you do decide to involve a 3rd party, definitely make sure it is someone who can stand up to a PD.  I get sick at the though of the money we spent because of BM.  If one part was monopolizing the PC, they were supposed to have to pay, but that never happened.  The PC billed us for the insane number of hours BM burned.  She even had to help BM write emails to DH that weren't all out nasty (BM was UNABLE to write a respectful email), and the PC billed DH for the time). 

I would also clarify any interactions the kids would have with the PC.  BM would drag the kids to the PC and force them to "tell on us" (fabricated stories BM made up), which was just horrible for everyone but BM.  I would recommend having that line pretty clear because if they are meeting with the kids, that should be a GAL IMO.

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pushit

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Re: Decision Maker Experience?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2020, 06:40:50 PM »
Stepping Lightly - Oy, what a nightmare.  That's exactly what I want to avoid and why I'm hesitant to push forward until exPDw really starts creating enough damage so that it's necessary.  I could easily see my exPDw pulling the same stunts if the decision maker wasn't wise enough to see through it all.