When my ex-wife filed for custody, I had been parenting my child every day for the previous seven years. I was with her every day since birth and we had lived together as a whole family.
Up to that point I was never alleged to be a threat of harm to my daughter by anyone, and to the contrary, my daughter and I were inseparable and happy being with each other, and everyone who knew us lauded me as an involved, conscientious father.
My daughter was a happy, well adjusted and healthy child.
Prior to this filing, during a separation time, my ex and I were still amicable with each other, and we continued to share joint physical and legal custody of our daughter as we had before our split.
This went on for about a year, but my ex eventually got ever so more impatient at actually having to share co-parenting decisions with me in our daughter’s upbringing, health care and education. As if I was encroaching on a realm of her control that was not mine to opine.
She had become increasingly indignant that I actually had a right to equal decision making authority with her concerning our daughter; she actually believed that I had no such right, that she essentially owned our daughter outright, and she eventually found my involvement in our daughter’s upbringing to be insufferable.
At that point, having read much feminist literature on how to seize custody by stealth, and unbeknownst to me until it was a fait accompli, she filed for sole custody in the family court; there she alleged vague and inflammatory sounding allegations, said she was afraid of me, that I shouted at her, said I was a risk of harm, and was immediately granted full temporary custody and a restraining order against me from her, my daughter and my dog.
Whereas before, I had been always with my daughter daily, where we went to all kinds of events and outings, played chess together, watched cartoons, she regularly slept over my place since our adjacent apartments were always open to each other – in a heartbeat, on that day all contact with my daughter ceased immediately.
No contact, no communication. No nothing. It was immediate, sudden and drastic, like an iron curtain suddenly drawn between me and my daughter – and even worse without any explanation to my daughter as to why.
My daughter cried to see me, wondered why I wasn’t there anymore. I could hear her through the doors between our apartments, she screamed “Daddy, daddy I love you, I know you’re there, why won’t you answer me? What did I do wrong?” All the while her mother screamed at her to stop, that she would be punished, and that my daughter would make me go to jail if she continued. This just made her cry harder.
I was constrained by a court order, under penalty of imprisonment, if I even answered her through the door. I bit my tongue and kept mum, against all my instincts. Nothing would have made my ex happier than to see me arrested by police in front of our daughter, just to prove how bad I was, and how her warnings should be obeyed or else.
And yet, night after night, I could hear, my daughter cried herself to sleep, chanting “daddy I love you,” and thinking I had abandoned her, and that I didn’t love her anymore. The trauma was deep, and soul rending.
At some point, we actually communicated by music, where I would play my harmonica to her, and she would play her ukelele back to me through the closed door. This seemed to go under the radar for a time, seen as idle playing, until her mother caught on, and then more screaming and more vitriol, and punishment was visited upon my child for disobeying.
Throughout this time, it was obviously traumatic for my daughter, and everyone who saw her knew of her angst and pain, yet they just ignored it and her suffering. Rationalizing that the mother must have had a good reason for this, the courts knew best, and that this was somehow best for my daughter, despite the torture she suffered – she was just a child, and didn’t know any better about these adult matters, and really shouldn’t anyway.
But as time went by, the crying turned into rebellion and anarchy. Her behavior changed into something she was never like before. She had temper tantrums and fought physically with her mom, biting kicking, spitting, and screaming curses.
She had problems in school, and fought with the teachers. Security police at malls, and 911 were called repeatedly by her mother, teachers and other caretakers, and she was repeatedly brought to the emergency room by ambulance for being uncontrollably violent, and she became unmanageable unlike ever before.
As this escalated, at the suggestion of the school social worker, she was taken to a therapist to ease the pain of losing her dad, and how to deal with her angst about it. When she insisted that she just wanted her daddy back, and that her mom punished her when she would say that, the therapist recommended her to be seen by a child psychiatrist for drug therapy.
In short order, she was put on a regimen of psychiatric drugs to further properly erase that angst and pain.
Initially, after feeling the horrible effects of the first few doses, she refused to take the drugs, and fought and screamed that these people, including her mother, were trying to poison her, and that her heart would explode. It took several people to hold her down, and put the drugs into her mouth, and force her to swallow. She begged and pleaded for them to stop.
Alone there, with no one to turn to, she screamed to the air, hoping against hope, “Daddy, daddy, help me, save me, make them stop”. But I was not there, the system rigged to keep me far away and unaware of this torture.
Not able to physically resist, she was coerced into taking the drugs.
After several petit mal seizures, horrific dreams and insomnia, and a doubling of her weight to morbid obesity, she acclimated to the drugs, and finally this seven and a half year old child lost all will to fight the people forcing them into her.
Eventually, over months, properly numbed up and now psychically restrained, this seemed to “help”, according to the therapists and her mother, and she learned to stop asking for her daddy, and to stop resisting the medications.
During this time, my ex seeing how much my daughter wanted to be with me, and knowing I was just next door, resolved to take my daughter away from the building where we had lived with and next to each other for the prior two years.
Seeing the preparations of their moving, I filed for an emergency restraining injunction to keep her in the home she was used to living in. The court denied it, and my daughter was then taken by her mother to another location, further alienating and estranging her from me, this time completely, without even me being nearby for solace.
Later, not satisfied with having exerted full control over our child’s mind, body and legal control, and having removed her from my presence, my ex doubled down on that control, and sought to have CPS attack me, and to undermine the normal due process of our custody case, by inciting them to launch an abuse proceeding against me.
My daughter was now exposed to me being pat-down searched by armed police before being allowed to see her, also while armed police with clipboards observed our every move together. CPS workers further confirmed the message to my daughter that her mother had been telling her, now in an official capacity that could not escape my daughter’s notice, explicitly by telling her that they were there to protect her from me, that I was a bad man who couldn’t take care of her, and that if she said the wrong thing at our visits, I would go to jail.
Eventually I was able to crawl out of the snakepit of CPS hell, and prove my innocence against the false charges. I thought at this point having been thoroughly vetted even more so than the average person as to being no danger, that no one would stand between me and my daughter, that we could normalize our relationship and regain what we had lost for all that lost time. Little did I realize, I was now marked with an unofficial scarlet letter, labeling me dangerous to my daughter. Although nothing formal or stated, the system conspired even more so to keep us apart at all costs.
Not knowing any better about hidden agendas, I tried in good faith to reconnect and be a dad again to her. I was for all intents and purposes legally entitled to equal access to my child, on par with the mother. However the court steadfastly refused to provide for any formal visitation order, and instead I was funneled into a puzzling labyrinth of family therapists, and counselors.
I learned that now I would not in fact be reunited with my daughter, but rather we would become mired in session after session with psychologists and therapists. Each session costing me more than I could afford, but denying me any access to my child unless I paid up. I was told that before I could see my child unsupervised, they had to make sure she expressed absolutely no distress about seeing or being with me alone.
I was told that they wanted to reintegrate myself and my daughter in a careful, methodical fashion, and would not risk even the slightest anxiety in her.
Of course they ignored the continuing messages and threats to my daughter coming from the mother, whom which she lived with exclusively at this point. A barrage of invectives fed to her of how dangerous it was for her to be alone with me, and how bad a man I am, of how the courts had to take me away from her.
That element was assiduously avoided as a point of concern, and not a part of their assessment of how or why my daughter might express any anxiety being with me. It would be obvious to anyone that without including that as a diagnostic factor, there was no way that my daughter would ever initially be able to be with me without expressing some initial anxiety. But it is not so obvious to highly paid professional health workers.
Somehow, I think that oversight was not purely accidental.
Of course, all this time, her mother continued to have complete and total control and access to our daughter, and no one questioned that arrangement. They avoided any therapeutic concerns or questions as to how the denial of a father would affect a child detrimentally. These things were considered unremarkable, and not worthy of comment or attention, despite my inquiring the point several times.
Consistent with this therapeutic modality, little attention was paid to all the stress, turmoil and shock that was involved in taking away her dad. The correlation between the child’s history of removal from her home, and the denigration of a parent she loved and trusted and her resultant emotional turmoil, tantrums, hospitalizations and drugging was not looked into – all that got swept under the rug, ignored, considered non or insignificant to the current therapy.
Nor was the repeated re-opening of psychic wounds that would otherwise naturally heal, via the mother’s manic messages to the child as to her father’s dangerousness.
Getting her dad back into her life somehow now was optional, maybe an unrealistic goal, and required careful reintegration, step-by-step monitoring, and attendant entourage of mental health workers.
Summation and Overview
Although the surface logic of the system seems appealing and reasonable, in regard to how children must be treated with kid gloves in these situations, this logic is only a tool for misdirection and plausible deniability.
There is a subtle lie embedded in their importune and cry for protection of the child’s mental and emotional health well being.
The lie is, that drastic and violent removal of their father, and/or removal from their home to places they don’t know, and a continuing denigration, is acceptable stress, and not relevant.
Whereas the very mild natural anxiety, that would come from healing and the fast paced curatives of direct, unchaperoned re-connecting with the father, is unacceptable and to be done at a glacial pace if at all, and stopped immediately if anyone thinks there is some “distress”.
The simple fact is, the child weathered the horrible life insult of being ripped from a loving life-long parent, and survived that, yet reintegration is considered too stressful to do at the same pace.
And that is self-serving political, professional hypocritical bullshit, designed to extract as much money out of the familial situation as possible.
What is ignored, because there are judges and police, and guns and quasi-criminal enforcement taking place, is any angst and distress put upon the child stemming from all that. And no therapist will even question that, or address it equitably, or even diagnostically.
The simple fact is, that reintegration of a loving fit father into his child’s life doesn’t need to be attended by an entourage of therapists and legal guardians. All it takes is simple direct being with each other, as they had before, and once again experiencing life together as they had done before.
The truth is that if these professionals actually resolved the problem they purported to be tasked with healing, their money stream would dry up. Such professed concern is false and driven by money, and with the ever present extortionate threat of stopping it at any moment. Even good intentions, if they were really there, have a way of becoming distorted and corrupted when money incentivizes pathological caution, caution that will guarantee a continuing flow of money into their pockets.
As Upton Sinclair observed, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
The disconnect in the mental health guild’s advice, is in treating children like brittle snowflakes, but only when it comes to reintegrating the fathers back into their lives. They have a whole calculus, a service plan, and an approach to doing this. But they make no analysis, concern or criticism, or comment or anything when it is done in the opposite direction. The removal — not their business or concern.
Just try, during reintegration therapy – ask a therapist about the radical ripping of the child from their father. They will not address it, saying it is not within their purview. No comment. A necessary evil. Sausage making too distasteful to even talk about. Oh, but they have so much to say about “correcting” that problem, and will be more than eager to slow it down, and to interject themselves into that process.
By now I understand their surface logic. I can talk their talk, and I am fully conversant with their peculiar vernacular and child psychodynamic theories. But it rings hollow and sophist, like so much psychobabble, and insincere when it is put in context of the whole situation. A situation they will conveniently compartmentalize, so as to not address the full situation, not their job to address it. There is no outrage, or visceral reaction as to what had happened in the first place, and thus no moral animus to correct it.
And an innocent child suffers for other people’s sins.