Dear GPS Readers,
As many of you know I started www.gracepowerstrength.com in 2012 originally under the website name gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com. I started with about twenty readers eventually growing to well over a million. It was an adventure starting a blog and dipping my toe into writing about my personal life experiences... and as I gained readers and received so many messages from you that yes, you too could (unfortunately) relate... I not only soon found more confidence in my writing abilities and a stronger voice but also my niche in the world of divorce, personality disorders, parental alienation, the family court system, and most importantly recovery and healing from emotional narcissistic abuse. However, hands down the most eye opening discovery for me was that there are so many other kind souls out there that have lived similar; brilliant, beautiful folks who have been targets of the abusive personality disordered. From the men and women I have connected with worldwide online through comments and private messages, who I’ve chatted with on the phone, met locally in person over drinks at Starbucks and surprisingly ran into at my local Target and Aldi... to you... thank you for sharing your stories... for sharing your heartaches, losses, and yes, even triumphs. For many of you I've been there every step of the way in your journey; from the gut wrenching reality of the day you realized your marriage was over to losing your children due to alienation or the courts... alternatively witnessing the joy of some of you reuniting with your children... to all of you who have reached healing, who have found true love and even re-married (!) and those of you who are still recovering... to each and every one of you... YOU ARE BRAVE. YOU ARE SEEN, HEARD AND YOU ARE LOVED.
THANK YOU for your words of encouragement you've given me, your words of kindness and most of all your prayers. My dark days have been uplifted by many of you in this journey and I hope my writing and sharing have done the same for you... I’m hopeful reading about my journey has made you realize you’re not alone in this fight... whether it’s fighting for your children or reclaiming yourself... or both... you need to know others have been suffering as well and together we are united, stronger in numbers, voices, prayers and stories shared.
As a few of you already know but most don’t the last post I wrote titled ‘A Sociopath’s Mindset: “I Am Winning At Life” ‘ dated July 1, 2018 is and was my final post here at www.gracepowerstrength.com. It’s time for me to move on to new adventures... living life and writing my book to be published based off the blog gracepowerstrength that will also include parts of my journey that were not written in my posts here and also how this journey ends. When the book is published which is some time off I will announce it here at www.gracepowerstrength.com and on my Instagram account. I’m hopeful at that time you’ll purchase it and find it worth sharing with others who are beginning their journey to leaving and healing from a psychologically abusive relationship.
I know this news may come as a shock or even disappointment to some of you... but with healing and recovery comes the eventual need and desire to fully throw ourselves into living the life we are meant to live... to attempt to make up for lost time living under someone else’s thumb and embrace every new day as we are meant to. You can still keep up with bits of my personal life, narc quotes, relationship advice and inspiration on divorce, narc abuse, alienation, the court system and recovery via my Instagram account. I won’t post any new blogs here however the over three hundred and fifty posts published thus far will remain here on the site to be read, shared on Facebook and pinned on Pinterest. Night or day you can reach out with any worries, prayer needs or just needing a listening ear... I'm just a message away.
I want to publicly thank all my readers for their readership, support and prayers. Thank you especially to my mother for her continued encouragement of my writing over the past six years since I filed for divorce, her unwavering support and who has been my best friend. Thank you to my closet girl friends who have been a sounding board over meals during this journey. I want to thank those of you who are public figures who take personal risks everyday speaking out about the atrocities and corruption of the family court system and shining truth on the courts and child protective services... with your bravery; some even risking losing their children entirely or serving jail time for speaking out, you are all a beacon of hope for eventual change in this horror filled system that ruins families. I want to thank one in particular Instagram friend who helped me navigate filing court documents and gave me reassurance I could go pro se... his encouragement was inspiring. And last but certainly not least thank you to JD who has been a steady, solid, consistent presence in my life the past two years and always been there no matter what... you brought laughter back in my life and sparkle back in my eyes. I am blessed to know a man of your character and wisdom, to have your friendship, as you are the epitome of what is still good in this world.
Remember that no matter what you’ve faced, what horrors you’ve dealt with... you are more than a victim, you are more than a survivor, you are an overcomer and thriver. You are worth more than the words they used against you. You are worth more than the hurtful things they did. You are worth more than all the bruises they left. You deserve to escape the abuse you’ve suffered and begin a path of peace, freedom and healing. You deserve to be loved as love is supposed to be and to find your happiness after heartbreak. Never stop pursuing the life you want to live... make every moment count... you’re brave and an inspiration to those just beginning their journey post divorce.
To each and every one of you... peace, love and light.
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As children some of us begin our life on the straight and narrow path; innately following the rules expected of us and operating from obedience. Others do not. From an early age the adults we have in our lives whether morally sound or immoral... whether intelligent or cunning... whether kind or apathetic... will likely be who we model after. We have choices. At some point there will be a fork in the road where we must choose... we make conscious choices of whether to choose good or bad. There will be a further test of our soul-state when if we chose bad whether we feel riddled with guilt...or if we brag and boast of how choosing bad was good for us because we got what we wanted; and therefore we are "acing at life"; the mindset of the winners will be that the losers who chose good are failing miserably and having to work that much harder.
Picture an entire third grade class having to do a science fair project. If you remember those projects you likely had a week or ten days or so to complete it. Imagine everyone in the class going home after school each day, eating dinner and diligently putting in the many hours needed on their individual projects.... sadly skipping their favorite television program, cancelling kick ball with the neighborhood kids, and nixing video games with their siblings. All in the name of learning personal responsibility and completing their assignment. They have their parents take them to the store to purchase the necessary supplies and research how to make volcanoes, homemade slime, and solar systems, etc. There is a menagerie of ideas and fun perspectives and an outlook of doing their best and having the coolest project.
Except for one child.
This one child sits back and bides their time... enjoying the leisure of each afternoon after school... relaxing, doing what he pleases. The final night before the project is due he (or she in some cases) has his father take him to the store. Once there he purchases two of the same plant. One small plant. One large plant. He sketches out a quick poster and Ta Da(!)... he has his science fair project. The next day he presents his project and explains how plant food made it possible for one plant to grow so large... and the lack of food was the reason the other plant remained so small. He makes an A+ and then he boasts and brags... "Those other kids are so stupid. Look how smart I am. I cheated the system, barely did anything, got an A+ and those other poor saps worked their tails off every night for a measly B or C+. What losers they are. It doesn't pay to 'do the right thing'... if you want to ace at life you do what I did. That's how you win." What does this story show? That a sociopath never believes in doing the right thing... they do what suits them... what benefits them.... what they can get away with.... ultimately what makes them win.
I paced the floor in the dimly lit den... the news and weather played on the flat screen television against one large wall on near mute; it's background sound almost indistinguishable. Dressed in charcoal slacks and a button down shirt tucked in I likewise tucked my long dark hair behind my right ear as I walked. The lamp on the table beside the long oversized taupe couch emitted a warm glow of light in the room. Plantation shutters from floor to ceiling on the far wall concealed the early rising sun outside. Beyond our home people made their way to their cars to begin their early morning commutes with coffee in hand in order to begin their work day. It was proving to be a long day already, I noted to myself; this was the second call I'd had with the person on the other end and was long winded. I listened carefully with the call on speakerphone, the voice on the other end amplified with my sound on it's highest setting and my mother sat by perched on the edge of the couch listening.
"Your ex got phantom income on the K1 so the tax returns read one hundred fifty thousand higher than actual money earned. He submitted paper money and then he was given money to pay the taxes. He told people he made four hundred thousand dollars a year but one hundred fifty thousand of it was fictitious. That's why he's able to get a lot of credit. He withheld money. He told people the company was worth two million dollars when it's really worth fifteen million dollars. He and his boss signed an agreement that the company was worth five times what it was claimed to be worth. You are protected under the innocent spouse relief but he owes you that money and should pay it to you and the taxes he owes on it. He bought twice as many shares later after your divorce. He's had multiple letters of reprimand. Two of those letters I will tell you of... one of them involve the administrative assistant.... they were all meeting with her one day with these guys on speaker phone and your ex goes ‘She can go down and suck his dick to get what we need on him.’ He has destroyed her marriage and makes her life miserable every day of the week... He doesn't want to go to jail so maybe he can pay you what he owes and on top of that he can give us the company website... it's in his name. He always said he wasn't gonna lose his house over this. Cause I'm not gonna lie... He also got drunk at a company dinner party and removed an employee's top revealing her breasts to everyone. He's mean, he's petty and he's vindictive. They can't fire me because I have too much on them. He hid money from you during the divorce... and now he owes in excess of a hundred thousand dollars in debt.... he's broke, he had to sell his range rover to pay for his attorney on the latest child custody motion he filed. He hasn't paid any taxes on the income or on the stock. He's been lying to his new wife about how much money he makes. I'm sick of these people and my wife doesn't get it. I'm just sick of them. I hate your ex more than any other person on this earth... I just want him to pay for all the lives he's destroyed... I just want him to pay for what he's done. I threatened him and his boss that I would tell you and they said ‘Then look both ways before you step outside your house.’ He's already been in a physical altercation with a past employee and then later after he was gone they sent him a letter saying ‘you're screwed.’ The thing is your ex was putting twenty thousand dollars a month for the guys at the office on his American Express to get points but when the music stopped he kept charging on it. I tried to be his friend, I used to pull him aside and tell him 'Don't do this. Because when you hurt yourself you're indirectly hurting me.' His new wife comes into the office dressed in barely nothing... the other ladies are all obese... how do you think that makes them feel? I just want to be done with them. I want that fucker to pay!" the voice on the other end of the line exclaimed.
Exchanging our goodbyes, the iPhone dropped from my hand making it's way to a soft landing on the couch cushion. My mother sat staring up at me in shock by what she'd heard. My mouth finally found it's words, "Oh, my God... what he's done is so much worse than I ever thought." I whispered.
Remember that whether it's a mere plant from the store for a science fair project or something bigger at stake than an A+ grade.... like committing fraud and being a criminal to evade whatever amount of child support necessary.... to evade monies paid out to an ex in a divorce settlement... narcs, sociopaths... they will do whatever is necessary to win at life. They do not care about what is right. They do not give a second thought to doing the right thing... they choose wrong and then not only take great personal delight in it they have the audacity to brag about their criminal ways... boasting at how they are so much smarter than their peers. These are the people who refuse to pay out in alimony, home equity and support... and instead kill their spouse. These are the animals and monsters on Dateline and 48 Hours. These are the people you may naively believe only exist in movies. These are the people who would make your skin crawl if you knew what they are truly capable of. These are the people who are the inspiration of thrillers and suspense in books. These are the people who are capable of destruction and heartbreak.
These are the people who go after their own grandmother's life insurance policy and try to get her to change her will right before she dies from cancer. These are the people who were scheduled to work one night in retail decades ago yet mysteriously suddenly couldn't work and an innocent woman worked instead who had two young children and a husband... ultimately being murdered by the store security officer who schemed to rob it after hours... and we wonder if the one who couldn't make their shift truly had clean hands or was a party to something much more sinister. These are the people whose dad turns up dead and now we question whether it was really suicide... because all these terrible things seem to happen and this one single person is the common denominator.
We wonder the true facts of situations in a sociopaths lives because we know they are pathological liars and that leads us to question anything and everything that spews from their mouths. Unfortunately concrete answers are not what we will get but we do know that at the end of the day this to be true: So many people's lives are negatively affected and yes, even destroyed by sociopaths... by people who are not out to just win at life but to win at any cost... even at the expense of other people's peace, joy, happiness, future and lives.
Thursday, May 24th, 2018
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this post contains language
They say the human body can withstand going without water for three days. They say it can withstand going without food for at least a week. The thing about humans is we usually do whatever is necessary to survive even taking drastic measures and risks if need be. In extreme negative life circumstances not everyone may make it out of the darkness and that's a horrible shame... whether it's war, disease, personal battles of demons and long term depression, financial debts and ruin, job loss or the death and loss of a child. Some human beings either out of long term dire situations or poor choices made in how to survive those situations end up meeting their death. But even in the worst possible of times life is NOT meant to be lived in survival mode forever... only an interim to get through point A to point B. Eventually escaping exhaustion and long term stress; functioning on adrenaline for so long we will eventually reach the destination of burnout. The question is how long do we have before that happens? And how long can a human being survive after heartbreak? How long can a mother or father fight for custody of their children and or go without them? These are all questions I'm sorry for anyone to have to grapple with and ask themselves... man or woman.
Survival it seems they say is only for the fittest... but at what point do we say I'm just not going to accept only surviving anymore? At what point do we say enough to the insanity? At what point do we know that a sip of water, a stale cracker or mercy from the person we procreated with or the family court system is never going to give us what we need to survive... so our only choice is to toss our empty cup at them.... scream from our parched lips and kick at the dust that was once our lives and turn to walk away... at what point do we say "I cannot continue living like this" and "my heart cannot take another heartbreak" because I'm going to have a breakdown or blow my brains out? At what point do we stand on the edge of a cliff... dying a little more each day or walking away to thriving? Out of self preservation? To save our sanity? At what point do we say "I didn't become a parent so I could be abused every day the rest of my life.... " So we stand there on the edge... wavering in the wind between prison and freedom.... dust circling our feet and hair whipping in the outer expanse.... our stomach feeling like it was kicked in, our body and mind numb and eyes no longer able to produce tears.... emotions just out of grasp.... except for maybe white rage.... our heart feeling like a drinking glass busted into a million jagged pieces... let me tell you... it's no way to live. And on that note... no ex spouse, ex relationship or yes, even child is worth taking your life. Let me be clear: There is so much good to be found in life beyond this mess... as parents we may wrap our whole identity into being a mom or dad... but there is YOU. There is you that is a whole and worthy human being on their own.... worthy of so much more than what you're living... and if you're going through this hell that is also known as co-parenting with a sociopath and enduring aggressive child custody litigation through the family court system.... not one of them is worth a hill of beans.... they can all jump on the express train to hell.... because they are the devil and one day when it's hot they will be the one gasping for water... parched and without a fountain of freedom in sight.
"Could I jump in with some stuff from last time?" The reunification therapist asked me and my son as we all three sat circling the long glossy conference table.
I nodded "That's fine. I have some stuff I need to clarify too." I replied.
"Your son said the conversation may be more open if it's just the two of you... so dad is waiting in the waiting room today. Is that a fair statement? I think that takes a lot of insight on his part." She informed me. I nodded and she continued, "So I think part of why what were doing here is difficult is because there's been so much time pass. The thing with the recording was something he remembered that was troublesome to him. So talk about what that was like for you." She said.
I spoke "I didn't record the phone conversations the kids had with their dad. I recorded the conversations I was having with them when they'd come back over to my house from their dads. They were telling me things about dad. At the loft apartment he had during the divorce process he had a druggie he picked up at a bar on 7th street that he took back to the apartment. He had her around the children. Incidents like that. Later after the divorce was final and he moved back into the marital home he was having women into the house at all hours of the day and night and he was letting them in through the garage. So there were a lot of things going on over there at the house that I was concerned about and as a mom I had a right to know about them. So when the kids would come back over to my house and they'd tell me about these incidents I recorded them. With a hand held recorder. So yes, I did." I relayed to the therapist. I didn't feel one bit of guilt for doing it either. If a parent isn't going to do the right thing you do what you have to document their poor parenting and morally ill ways.
"Okay... " The therapist nodded, "So she's acknowledging recording." She told my son. He failed to understand I was the parent and I could record anything I wanted to. For some reason he thought he was in charge.... kind of like his father. I didn't need his reprimanding.
"So why didn't you mention the recording at the appointment last week?' He asked me.
"I didn't feel comfortable at the time. It was too adversarial with your dad in the room." I replied.
"And I think that's understandable..." The therapist nodded "and challenging too." She affirmed. "And I'm going to accept responsibility for having dad in the room last time."
"I feel like when you were recording us you were using us like little birds to know what was going on. I get it's normal to ask what's going on but to ask about every single event and person in the house I think it ridiculous." My son informed me.
"So let's sit with that for a moment... "The therapist nodded "What term would you use for how you felt?" She asked him.
"A messenger." He replied.
"I don't know if that was your intent or not." She asked me.
"That wasn't my intent at all. My daughter was coming to me and telling me that their dad was pulling her brother into the upstairs master bedroom and having 'private talks' with him and how he was slowly turning him against me. So I'm over there of the thinking I've got to fight this somehow, find out what is going on over there." I told her.
"Like you weren't trying to tell us what to believe!" He yelled at me, slamming his hand down on the conference table.
"Okay... I need you to use a calm tone of voice please." The therapist advised him after jumping in her seat.
"Basically what we have ... this is the situation in a nutshell... Dad was alienating and I was doing what I could to fight it." I replied, "Maybe my tactics weren't wise but I was doing what I was trying to do to fight it. And it obviously didn't work as you can see because we now have this situation we have today and we're here." I told her and she nodded. I continued, "I mean, any mom... or dad for that matter if that was the situation... if they are seeing that they're slowly losing their child emotionally and I guess that connection... their going to do what they can to fight it." I added.
"So let me ask you this... then why is it you kicked me out? You clearly didn't care." He retorted at me.
"Let's come to back to that...." She replied, addressing my son, "You said something I think is the root of a lot of difficulty for you. It's that you believed mom was telling negative things about dad." She told him yet then turned to me, "What I'm hearing is that you were desperately trying..." She trailed off.
"I was desperate. I felt like I was losing my child." I admitted.
"Well, good." My son told me with a hateful tone. He acted so nasty. It's amazing to me how people can easily dish it out but never accept any responsibility for their horrible actions and ugly words.
"Well, hang on a second because I think the other part of it is hearing your mom's tactics were wrong." She said.
"Yeah. She's a stupid idiot!" He snapped, glaring at me.
"I don't need to be called names." I told him sternly glaring right back.
"That is pretty rude..." The therapist told him seemingly aghast at his behavior. His behavior was a reflection of his father. This "therapy session" was merely a continuation of his father's verbal and emotional abuse toward me.
"I don't care what you have to say!!!!" He screamed at me suddenly.
"Then why are you here?" I demanded.
"I'm forced to be here because of YOU!!!" He screamed back at me, slamming his hand down on the table once again. "But YOU chose to do this!!!" He yelled, "I told her I didn't want to!"
"Well, you can choose to sign off and pull out..." I told him.
"I tried!!!" He yelled.
"Slow down, slow down!" The therapist scolded him softly trying to regain control of the therapy session.
"Some of the things I said to him is I want him to have the opportunity to see things differently." She told me, "And for him to talk about what it's been like to be in his shoes. He's said very clearly that he doesn't want to be here. He's doing it because he kinda has to." She said.
"I don't get a choice!" He snapped.
Dear God I sure didn't get a choice when I got sucked into this hell by your father, I thought to myself.
"I was pulled into this because of YOU!!!!" He screamed at me with hatred In his eyes. I would have no idea until almost a month from this appointment date that he'd been asssesed for homicidal ideation toward me and my mother. There was seemingly no fixing this mother son relationship and quite frankly as abusive as he was I was seeing less and less ability for it to happen.
"No, you were pulled into this because of your father!" I replied right back.
"Hang on...." The therapist tried to interject but she was steamrolled by my son who spoke over her.
"No, the judge and Gina Galloway (his personal therapist) told me and so did she, " He replied pointing to the therapist sitting between us, "It was your choice to do this. So don't bullshit me!" He yelled at me again.
"The judge said 'I expect you to do this...' " I told him, "I think the papers said.... "I trailed off referring to the final order signed by the judge.
" 'I think??!!" 'I think??!!' " He exploded at me, "Are you going to bullshit us?!" He asked.
She spoke, "I do think this is your choice.... and yes, you were following a court order but you also wanted to try with your son." She affirmed with me.
"I wanted to reach out and at least make an attempt, yes." I replied.
"Well, why didn't you do that several years ago?" He asked me.
"Because I didn't know that this was an option. I didn't know about reunification therapy. No one told me." I admitted.
"And I will say... when parents are really stuck, their desperate, they are helpless to make things better because they just don't know.... we expect our parents to know better. And they can't always know everything. So it was a suggestion that mom participate and I don't have the rest of the order but the suggestion was that you try." She nodded.
"I wanted to at least make an attempt;" I affirmed... "The following week when we were to exchange the kids again after I had his grandmother Mimi pick him up that last day he lived with me... back then we were doing fifty fifty and exchanging every Friday. I told him," I said, referring to my son, "If you can behave yourself you can come over here if you won't hit or hurt anyone. And I talked to his dad as well about it. And obviously he chose not to come. I wanted him to come over but I wasn't going to put up with the behaviors." I informed her... "Each time... I think it was the next following week I was able to reach out asking him if he wanted to do this or that, I was calling him on his cell phone, we were chatting and I have photos of text messages that we had on his phone for awhile. But as the months went by I couldn't reach him anymore and finally I found out he'd blocked me. So then I called his dad and he'd put him on the phone but he didn't want to talk or interact. I'd ask him about homework, how his day was and he'd just be like 'yeah, yeah, yeah... okay, bye....' click. And so those were the types of interactions we were having at that point. I wasn't making any progress. It wasn't productive." I explained in detail.
"Nor were you going to!" My son snapped at me.
"So does that sound like an accurate picture of what was happening?" She asked him.
"Yeah, I'd definitely agree with that." My son admitted. I was glad I had this recorded.
"Okay." She affirmed pointedly, "So really your mom WAS making an effort."
I spoke, turning to him, "So what exactly is your problem with me? Why do you hate me so much? Why do you have so much anger toward me?" I asked him, "When you were little, when Daddy and I were still married we were buddies, we were close. If you want to take your fits aside we had a good relationship." I told him.
"So I think your mom's frustration is reasonable. Why are you so angry?" She asked him.
“I've told you. I feel like I'm not cared about. I feel mistreated. And I'm not wanted. And I was kicked out." He told me angrily.
"Sometimes we care a whole lot but we mentally, our capacity is just filled and we can't manage. I didn't know what to do. I'm not a bouncer. No one gives you a guidebook. I was at a loss and while were on the subject my calling the police on your fits... I was told to do that by Mark Rhodes who was his therapist through Cook Children's up in Cityview." I informed her.
"Oh, wow.... " She gasped.
"I told him, 'I don't know what to do about this'." I added.
"If I'm in mom's shoes I don't know what to do or try for help. And you didn't come with a manual." She pointed out to him.
"It started derailing the very first night of the divorce." I spoke. "When his dad was served papers for infidelities he started twisting the truth to get their allegiance. At that point our son was coming to me saying 'there's all this stuff going on at dad's that shouldn't be going on...' He knew because he's a smart kid so he was telling me. But later it became a thing where I was asking and he did not want to share anything with me. That was later... it was a process." I shared with her. My ex had initially tried to alienate our daughter but when he wasn't successful with turning her, he'd turned to our son and began working on him.
"She kicked my dad out that first night." My son lied. Oh, how the truth was twisted. Yes, his dad was to leave the martial home that first night; that's how divorce papers via the court worked... you were served and expected to leave the house. Don't cheat. Don't lie. Don't be a loser. Then you won't get kicked out.
"The court stated for him to leave the marital home due to the suit of divorce." I stated again. For some reason this was rocket science for some folks. If you cheat and screw up your family you shouldn't get anything. Throw them out on their ass without their stuff and their kids... maybe less people would commit infidelity. I was so done with assholes that thought they could do whatever they wanted and not have any consequences when it came to marriage. I had no patience for them... I should have been a judge... good God we needed some new ones.
"Yeah to this day I'm glad I'm not living with you." He glared at me.
"You know... you grow up and you have the right and insight to say this person is a cheater and a liar and you get to choose to surround yourself with the type of people you want to be around. You get to choose the character of those you want to be around." I told them.
"He's having trouble seeing the good in you." She told me.
"There is no good." He sneered at me.
"If that's the way he feels that's the way he feels." I shrugged sadly but matter of fact.
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