Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Failure of Law Enforcement to Protect Victims of Sociopaths





Like many survivors of sociopaths, I believed that I was taking control of my life when I began to hold "him" accountable for his behavior. Boy was I wrong. What I learned instead was that the system doesn’t help victims. In fact, it frequently hurts them.

The problem begins with local law enforcement. Now, I live in a very small town and for the most part the officers have always struck me as being kind and friendly. Then again, I had never needed them for anything before. To say that I was dismayed by their response is an understatement.

This all began with me filing for an ex-parte order of protection against him. Everything in my order was the absolute truth. I had a psychological evaluation, pictures, and witnesses to back up the events. I was sure that my son and I would be protected. Instead, here is what happened:

1. The Sherriff’s Department took a week to serve him. During this time, the sociopath continues to drive by my house slowing down and watching me. I call dispatch and am told that there is nothing they can do since he hasn’t been served yet.

2. He is finally served with the order of protection, but they failed to confiscate his weapons. He had known they were coming and given his guns to his friend in order to prevent the sheriff's deputy from taking them.

3. The sociopath is spotted by a neighbor’s daughter sitting at the corner of my road watching my son and me. He was approximately 20 feet from my property. I call dispatch and ask them to send an officer. The deputy arrives, listens to my complaint and refuses to speak to the witness. He tells me that there is nothing he can do, as it is a public road and my ex can sit and watch me all he wants. This is not a violation of the protection order. The deputy also refuses to write an incident report, giving me a line of crap about how he will be in trouble with the district attorney if he does.

4. The sociopath stops my son and me while we are walking in the road. There are other children present. He doesn’t threaten us, he just gives my son a hug and leaves. I do not call the Sherriff’s Department, but I log the incident and report it to my attorney. She sees this as an example to the judge that I am a reasonable person, but nothing is ever done with it.

5. My order of Protection is vacated at the December custody hearing. I am told to move forward, not backwards and see what happens.

6. The sociopath continues driving by my house two to four times daily. There are witnesses. Sometimes he flips me off and sometimes he stops in the road to get a better look.

7. At a custody exchange, the sociopath blocks my vehicle in the parking spot, refusing to let me get in my car. He tells me I am his enemy and promises me war. I drive to the Sherrif’s Department and speak with a deputy. He again refuses to make an incident report and tells me that the threats are not illegal because the sociopath doesn’t say specifically what he is going to do to me.

8. I complain to my appellate attorney, who sends a letter to the Sheriff. In it, he advises them that it is not within their power to deny me an incident report and asks him to direct his deputies to do so in the future.

9. My four year old son comes home from his sociopath father’s house telling me his father said if I “do it one more time, he is going to stab me in the stomach with a pocketknife and throw me into the river“. He also said his father told him he would send a stranger to kill his aunt. I audio record the statements. Once again, I visit the Sherriff’s Department. This time, I get an incident report and the deputy speaks with a witness by phone. I also give them a log of the drive by’s, photos, and video showing my ex accelerating his vehicle past my house.

Oh, and I did one more thing: I audio taped my conversation with the deputy. Still nothing is done and I remain unprotected.

Have you ever experienced this type of frustration from local law enforcement? If so, how did you handle it?

 

 

 

 

 



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guide to Orders of Protection Against Sociopaths - Part 1

Note: I want to be clear that everyone understands that I am not an attorney and I can’t tell you how to handle your case. Everyone’s situation is different. For me, everything went the wrong way; unexpectedly and against the evidence presented in court. My case is on appeal and the verdict is still pending. Certainly, not much has improved with the sociopath I am battling. I fell into a common trap among abusers, and spent hours researching how I could have done things differently. What I am sharing is the results of this research. Take the knowledge that you gain here and get a second opinion before you take action.








 

If you and your children need protection from a sociopath, then you are in for a fight. Antisocial Personality Disorder is hard to get diagnosed and even if you do, people are vastly uneducated about this condition. This is especially true in rural court systems. If you go into court and call your ex a sociopath, they will think you are nuts.

My ex was diagnosed and I had to pay the expert to testify. The judge still didn't understand what antisocial personality is. The focus became the father not conforming to our society’s social norms, as opposed to violating social norms in a ways that are grounds for arrest. So, if you have a diagnosis, that’s great. If you don’t, you must focus on the behavior itself and forget the label.

If it is at all possible, begin collecting evidence of each behavior BEFORE you leave. Whether the abuse is verbal, emotional, or physical… document it. Assume right off the bat that no one is going to believe your story. Take photographs of damaged property, injuries, and any weapons the sociopath may own. Invest in a digital recorder and learn how to use it. Keep your evidence in a secure location and NEVER let on that you have it.

Get as much on file with the police department as you can. Once you have begun building your case, it’s time to go. Take your children with you. Domestic violence shelters have a lot of information on how to leave your abusive partner. Listen to them. Be prepared to take legal action as soon as you are safe. Don’t wait for your abuser to file legal action against you. The person who files first has a small legal advantage.

Asking family court for an ex-parte order of protection is easy, but it is a dangerous trap. Once you do this, you surely open the door to purgatory. Why? Because in family court, it is you against the sociopath. He can, and definitely will, make up any and every exaggeration about you that he can. Read this carefully: PERJURY IS NOT PROSECUTED IN FAMILY COURT. The sociopath will lie, and he will lie big. He will frequently get away with it.

 

Criminal Justice System vs. Family Court


If you have good evidence, consult with a domestic violence advocate or attorney about pursuing a criminal order of protection. Find out if your abuser’s actions violate any state law. If you can build a good criminal case, you will be in a much stronger position in family court. Here’s why:

1. Criminal court pits the sociopath abuser against the state (as opposed to you).

2. The state carries the burden of proving the case.

3. It won’t cost you anything- the state carries the financial burden of prosecution.

4. A criminal order of protection always trumps a family court order, no matter what.

5. Your abuser will have a harder time launching an attack against you, since you are the state’s witness.

 

 
Read : Beware of Family Court
 

 

 


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Pitfalls to Getting a Domestic Restraining Order When Child Custody is Involved





The Castillo Children

Here is the message that I hope every mother facing child custody litigation will hear:

DO NOT walk into family court expecting to be granted a domestic restraining order if child custody is involved.

Family Court will not protect you. It will not protect your children. In fact, it is very likely to deliver all of you into the hands of your abuser, whether he be a sociopath, narcissist, or something else entirely.

Does that seem harsh? Unbelievable? Nah, that can’t possibly be true. Just ask Dr. Amy Castillo.

Her ex, Mark Castillo, was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (a kissing cousin of Antisocial Personality Disorder). She endured a lengthy two year custody fight, during which time she repeatedly asked the family court for help in protecting her children. His “friends” , AKA the disciples and the followers, came to court and testified as to what a “loving” and doting father he was.

Her request for a domestic restraining order, because he had threatened to harm the children, was denied. The judge felt that there wasn't clear and convincing evidence that abuse had occurred.Mark Castillo celebrated by taking the children, two, four, and six years of age, into the bathroom and drowning them.
He recounted how he held each of them under the water for a full ten minutes, using his stopwatch to make sure the timing was just right. Once they were gone, he laid the children out on the bed and then botched his own suicide attempt. Apparently, swallowing 100 Motrin isn’t fatal for a narcissist (insert an eye roll).

This mother wasn’t believed because family courts stereotype women unfairly and without evidence. The courts assume that both parties are just bickering and the mother is exaggerating. However, even when the evidence is good, domestic restraining orders are denied. In my situation, I had eyewitness testimony and photographs to back it up. My ex didn’t even try to deny it.

The result? The judge said,” There is no way to make an order of protection work with the custody arrangement. I want to move forwards, not backwards. So, if he does this again, you are welcome to come back and file again.” Oh yeah, he also ordered me to attend couple’s counseling with the sociopath.

The only thing more frightening than asking for a domestic restraining order against a sociopath is being denied the right to protection. Now he can terrorize you and your child with the judge’s blessing.

“When you’re in fear of your life and for your children, and you make that move to step out and do something about it, and then you go to get a protective order, and you don’t get it, it’s just really devastating. . . . It’s like a discouragement to make a change in your life that needs to be made.” - Amy Castillo

So, no matter how bad things are and no matter how afraid you are NEVER go to family court for a domestic restraining order unless there is absolutely no other option. The next couple of blogs will talk about better choices, and how to make your case as strong as you possibly can BEFORE you step in front of a judge.

You can read about the Castillo case here Court Records Document Turmulous Relationship

and also here Why this Mother wasn't believed

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Your Vote for District Attorney is So Important, and How It Especially Matters for Women





Every day scores of crime reports from the local police agencies in your county are sent up to the District Attorney’s office for review. Once there, the DA makes a decision on each case; which crimes and whom to prosecute, to which degree, and which crimes and whom to ignore.

These DA decisions are made behind closed doors, without public input. They aren’t tempered by the vote of any other official. There’s no governmental check on the decisions, nor any mechanism of appeal. Once in office, the District Attorney answers to no one.

Individually, a DA’s decisions can cast the lives of families and neighborhoods into upheaval or peace, danger or safety, justice or impunity, and at times, life or death. But taken in the sum of the many thousands of such charging decisions a DA makes in a year, nothing less than the social and legal landscape of entire communities are reshaped by the solitary whims and will of the individual DA.

As a society we take enormous pains to assure public input at every step of writing the laws we live by. But when it comes to enforcing these same laws, we put full power to prosecute or not in the hand’s of one person. This untouchable island of DA power, nearly unique to the U.S., is called the power of ‘absolute prosecutorial discretion’.

Aggravating the imbalance even more, and always mystifying to legal reformers, is a general public that is mostly unruffled by the outsized powers of American prosecutors. Come election time, many don't take the race for DA seriously, thus abdicating the single occasion a DA can be held to account by anyone for the next four years.

 

Malicious non-Prosecution; Sealing the Fate of Women

Not surprisingly, social justice and legal reformers are increasingly taking aim at the expanding powers of American prosecutors. The reformers argue that these unchecked powers lead to widespread abuses which in sum cement race and class inequities in society. But they are barely grazing the target.

What the reformers keep missing are the even more untouchable abuses of prosecutorial power that
condemn women throughout whole communities to living under violence without remedy or redress.


“The prosecutor has more power over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America”

-Supreme Court Justice and chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, Robert Jackson

When a DA charges an individual with a crime, that decision is final. But at least defendants then have the defense bar as some check on abuses on the road toward conviction, however weak that system may be.

But when a DA rejects a case for prosecution, that’s the end of it. The road stops there. A key fact many people don’t understand is that no matter how much evidence there is that a crime occurred, the DA has no obligation to prosecute. And the victim has no where to turn.

Women come to the justice system most urgently as victims of violence against women. Add to that the fact that rape and domestic violence are most every DA’s least favorite cases, (for multiple reasons all boiling down to sexism). So it’s violence against women cases that are most often systematically rejected by DA’s. They don’t want to do it; they know they have to do it; and they know nobody can make them do it!

The result is disastrous for women across the country. All the monumental labor of constructing modern violenceagainst- women law is for naught and annihilated in the hands of a sexist DA.
Until there are checks on DA powers, the public has one critical card to play. Vet your candidates for District Attorney as if your daughter’s, your sister’s, and your mother’s lives depend on it. Because they do!

Reprinted from: Justice for Women


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Me, Interrupted







By nature, I am not a confrontational person. I simply don’t have the emotional energy to engage in drama. It exhausts me; therefore, I avoid it. This makes living with a sociopath especially hard. They feed on conflict. When I don’t react, he escalates the hostility until he gets an effect he is satisfied with. Over time, the methods that he uses get worse.

I gave my sociopath the boot in July of 2011. It took until February of 2012 for him to leave. During this time, he pulled every trick in the book to get me to let him stay. His primary weapons were denial, pity, depression, anger, intimidation, and bullying. I fell for it repeatedly. I tiptoed around my own house, afraid of setting him off. My son and I slept behind a locked door, with my keys and cell phone within reach.

During this time, his violence against me also escalated. The sociopath went from verbally abusing my son and me to brutally beating my dog. Repeatedly. He tried to kill my pet bird with a butcher knife. When he couldn’t get me to react to his hurtful words, he began threatening me. He bragged about being involved with a motorcycle gang that would kill someone for $10,000. He said women who “take a man’s children from him were worthless bitches who deserve to die.” He promised me that he would destroy me, make me pay, and take my son from me.

I would find him sitting in the dark in strange places throughout my home- hiding behind the curtains, on the bathroom floor, sitting on the couch cocking and un-cocking his gun. Then he began using his body to knock me out of the way. It began as shoulder bump and then escalated to shoving me with his arm when he wanted to walk by. All the while he kept proclaiming that I was a fat, worthless whore and that I had better not even think about getting another man to replace him.

He said, “One thing I can assure you of- there will never be another man in my son’s life- period”. When the sociopath moved out in February, I had no sense of relief. He rented a house one street over from mine because he had to be “where he could see my house. “ We had an open agreement that he could visit our son under supervision anytime he wished to. The only rules that I imposed was that he call beforehand and that he not stay more than two hours.

What does a sociopath do when you try to erect boundaries? He stomps all over them, of course. He never called; he came by my house all hours of the day and night. If one of my friends stopped over, he would stop too. If I didn’t answer the door, he would beat on the windows. If a light was on at night, he stopped. If an unknown vehicle was in my driveway, he stopped. He would call and say, “I know you are home because I can see the television on in the living room.”

I ran to the store and, for the first time in 20 years, installed blinds over all of my windows. I changed my alarm system and put together an emergency escape kit. I revised the visitation schedule giving him supervised visitation 6 - 10 hours a week. The sociopath began attending Prevent Child Abuse Nurturing Parenting classes at my request and agreed to the mental evaluation. I thought I was getting control of my fear, and maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then the evaluation came back. Although neither one of us had read it, he telephoned to get the results. He was diagnosed as antisocial, with a recommendation that his visitation remain supervised. The psychologist thought he needed to see a psychotherapist, who could help him develop appropriate parenting skills, resolve conflict without the use of violence, and provide recommendations for visitations.

The sociopath responded by having me served with custody paperwork giving me seven days to respond to his petition. He didn’t just want visitation… he wanted custody.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Are you the Wolf or the Sheep?






Sociopaths have a very narrow view of the world. People fall into two distinct categories: wolves and sheep. There is no grey area. You are either an apex predator or you are their prey. I’m not talking about a theological point of view- I am speaking in the literal sense. Of course, you realize that in the end, the sheep are eaten.

Everyone has heard the adage, “its dog eat dog”, or “survival of the fittest.” Those concepts serve to remind us that we must look out for ourselves, because someone may come along and take advantage of us. I had heard my sociopath say numerous times that people are sheep (weak, vulnerable) and he was a wolf, “at the top of the food chain.” I just sorta blew that off, thinking he surely didn’t mean that literally.

The day I realized he was telling the absolute truth, I almost fell out of the bed. He said, “No, you don’t understand what I am telling you. I am different inside. Most people (the sheep) get angry and only talk about killing someone. But they never will do it, because in the end they are too afraid of what the other sheep will think of them.

They grow up in a herd- thinking and acting just alike. But me? I am the wolf. I can kill someone easy and never feel a thing. It wouldn’t bother me.”

This brings me to what I refer to as the sociopath’s code. The code is an unwritten set of rules that the sociopath forces upon himself. From what I have gathered, the code varies from sociopath to sociopath. It looks something like this:

1. If you are rich or you have an important job AND you like me, AND you don’t mind hurting other people, then you are a fellow wolf. I will treat you with respect. And I will not eat you.

2. If you are not rich, BUT you give me what I want, then you are a sheep. You can be my follower or my disciple and I will not eat you until I tire of you.

3. If you like me and defend me, you are still a sheep. I will not eat you; BUT I will tell everyone else how weak you are (behind your back) in hopes that some other wolf will eat you. That way I can revel in your pain.

4. If you are my enemy, you are not only a sheep but you will be tortured before I eat you.

So what does a child look like to an apex predator such as the sociopath? Well, there are only two possibilities. They are either baby wolves or they are sheep. Baby wolves can be corrupted and twisted into the sociopath’s mirror image.

Baby sheep, on the other hand, are useful tools. Since they are warm and fuzzy, a sociopath might be able to leach love and comfort out of them for a little while. They are most useful for carrying out the sociopath’s code, number four (If you are my enemy, you are not only a sheep but you will be tortured before I eat you.). This is especially good for punishing and controlling mommy sheep.


I once read a very good description of the mind of a sociopath. I have adapted it somewhat, but here is a snap shot:

I am a wolf. I am faster, stronger, and smarter than the sheep, therefore it is okay for me to eat them. They are just stupid sheep. They shouldn’t have been born so fat, weak, and stupid. Of course, I eat them, it’s my right. I know that the farmer gets upset when I eat them, but really…. It’s his own fault. He put all these juicy sheep here, knowing that I would have to eat them. He makes me eat them. I keep from being caught by pretending that I am a sheep too. Look like a sheep and act like a sheep, the wolf will stay hidden until I have gained their trust. Then I will devour them. No one will ever catch me because I’m not just pretending to be a sheep; I owned the experience of becoming a sheep. No one will catch me in a lie because if they do, then I will tell them that they are the wolf and I was afraid of being eaten.

Well, you get the idea. The sociopath will never accept responsibility for his own behavior. He will lie and deceive, feeling justified that people deserve such treatment. Sociopaths can appear harmless or offbeat. If you doubt the ability of the sociopath to disguise his true self, let me point out one example to give you a mental image: John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown, entertaining children at parties.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Do Sociopaths Love Their Children?







 


One of the most confusing aspects of my custody battle was figuring out if the sociopath really loved my child. He said he did. In fact, he took every opportunity to tell the world how much it hurt him to be away from his son. The psychologist who performed his mental evaluation (and diagnosed him as antisocial) even stated that he had no doubt that the father loved the child deeply.

I wasn’t so sure. From the very beginning, it was clear to me that this father never wanted my child. He said that he wished he had forced me to have an abortion. He argued against my pregnancy by saying that things were going to change and he wouldn’t be number one in my life anymore. He refused to take any part in caring for my infant son, even to hold him, because the child “couldn’t talk and interact with him.”

 

Oh, Those Pesky Red Flags


Early on, there were instances of neglect and endangerment that I believe was intentionally crafted in order to keep anyone from asking him to help care for the baby. During this time, I worked full time and the father didn’t work at all. My infant son would be left in his crib all day, left in filthy diapers all day and left alone in the house while the father ran errands. Of course, I stopped holding him responsible and my sister picked up the slack for the next two years. She babysat even when the father was home and could have cared for my son.

Eventually, this progressed to sadistic behavior. The sociopath father began hurting my son when he thought no one was watching. It began as pinching him just softly enough to make him cry, then hard enough to leave a bruise. Since my son wasn’t old enough to talk, I wasn’t sure that this was happening; until I caught the father red handed and he admitted it, but claimed he was doing it for discipline.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the behavior progressed to him hitting my son across the back with a leather cord. The blow was severe enough to leave lash marks about two inches above the top of the diaper. I photographed the injury and told the father that if he didn’t seek professional help that he had to move out.

Defining How Sociopaths Love Their Children


That is when I discovered how sociopaths love their children. Faced with the threat of being forced to leave (we were not married and I owned my home), he became obsessed with my son. All of a sudden, he wanted to start taking him places and sleeping with him at night. He professed his love for his son to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. The problem was that my son wanted nothing to do with him. From abusive and detached to an overwhelming need to “be with” his son, almost overnight.

 
I know beyond any doubt that sociopaths do love their children. It isn’t a healthy or normal type of love; instead, it is self-serving and all possessing. It is a scary and sick type of love that closely resembles narcissistic supply. Of course, all sociopaths are narcissistic- but more on that later. He uses my son to gain sympathy and support from whomever he can, as a vessel to try to fill up the empty void inside of him.

The best description I have ever read was written by another sociopath who runs a blog called Sociopath World. He says,

"The closest analog to a sociopath's love is probably the love of a child: intense, accepting, selfish. And finally, like a child, the sociopath will be extremely loyal. A sociopath will never put you above himself, but he will readily put you above all others.

Love Fraud also has some very wise words pertaining to how sociopaths love their children: they may take such an interest because their real agenda is to turn the child into a “mini me“, or do as much damage as they possibly can. They can:

"Deliberately try to corrupt a child through inappropriate or dangerous activities, such as pornography. When sociopaths are involved with children, always be on guard.”

With the sociopath, everything is about him. His feelings, his needs, and his wants are the only reality. In the process, he takes all that he can in an effort to validate his existence. This is why they are so often called emotional vampires. They take and take and take until they finally suck you dry. No child should be forced to endure this.

Read Part 2: Sociopath Love Isn't Love