It’s day 22 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month for men and boys, the invisible victims of domestic violence. Today’s In His Own Words shines a spotlight on what has become a national disgrace — restraining order abuse by women, lawyers, the courts and law enforcement.
Anthony knows firsthand how the system works and took every precaution available to him and still got screwed with the help of a crooked cop and his lying, abusive, personality disordered ex-wife. In the end, he was unable to undo his ex’s parental alienation campaign, but only after extreme personal and financial loss.
Restraining Order Abuse
You cannot escape the black hole of family court, even when you take preventative measures. I am sharing my story to let the readers know that even though I took preventative measures before a disastrous divorce, it didn’t matter. I will explain how a false restraining order, law enforcement corruption and judicial incompetence changed my life forever and facilitated the severe emotional and psychological abuse (parental alienation) of my kids.
I will also explain how I was abused both emotionally and, to a minor extent, physically. I am by no means a passive or “wimpy” individual. Nevertheless, I stayed in a toxic marriage in order to shield and protect the most important thing in my life; my kids.
I was married for 22 years. About a decade before everything turned to horse manure, I noticed some strange behaviors on the part of my wife. Thing started to get contentious and became progressively worse approximately four years before the split. Virtually everything I said was argued to the nth degree by my ex and she escalated most discussions into arguments.
Whenever I could I took part in my kid’s school, sports and extra-curricular activities, despite working long hours, long commutes, and little sleep. This became another contentious issue, as my wife seemed perturbed that I was such an active Dad in our kids’ lives. Many times was angered by my mere attendance and participation in their activities. She told me repeatedly, “You don’t need to be there.” It was becoming ever more clear that she just did not want me, the father of our kids, to be a part of their lives, with the exceptions of bringing home a paycheck and doing chores and repairs around the home.
Roughly three years before we divorced, her behavior and anger became a daily occurrence. Discussions were one-sided, as she would usually interrupt me after the first syllable of the first word of anything I had to say. Over time, communication of any kind became impossible.
It got to the point where I gingerly tiptoed around very delicate eggshells in an effort not to set her off. She berated me for everything I did — the way I opened the refrigerator, the way I chewed my food at dinner, the way I opened a door. On one occasion, she accused me of being violent when I pressed a sticky garage door opener several times to get the door to open.
Anything and everything I did was subject to criticism. Everything and anything I did was wrong. I literally became frozen. Her delusions became worse and worse. The very few times I was able to get a word in edgewise, her response was entirely different from the question I asked. I explained it this way, “I say the word blue, and you hear the word green.” Communication was impossible.
I tried to get help from immediate family members without success. I could see divorce on the horizon. While I felt relief about the prospect of ending the marriage, I was concerned about how much damage she would cause, which later turned out to be a level five hurricane.
A couple of years before the split, she repeatedly said, “I never pay attention to anything you say or do, and you are nothing more around here but a piece of furniture.” She often did this when the kids were present or within earshot.
A little over a year before the split, her psychological condition worsened and her episodes of anger and rage escalated. On one occasion, I was the recipient of a flying coffee cup or plate and the occasional slap. I took it. I sucked it up, and never hit back.
By this time, I was paralyzed with fear — not so much fear for myself, but fear for my kids. I thought about walking out, but that would mean leaving the kids in the primary care of a raging, flaming psycho. In due course, she began making threats of false allegations of domestic violence stating, “All I have to do is go down to the police station and tell them you hit me.” I asked why she would do such a thing and lie in such a manner. Her response was, “To make your life miserable.”
I began writing letters to her personal physician and to the county mental health department describing her behavior, anger, rage, and her threats of false allegations of domestic violence. The letters were certified with follow-up certified letters of phone conversations, including cell phone records verifying the calls.
This process started over a year before she obtained a restraining order. I described my wife’s pattern of immediate interruption followed by instantaneous intense anger to the doctor and the mental health department. Neither her doctor nor the county mental health department did anything. Even though I begged and pleaded for help and intervention, their response was that they could do nothing.
About the same time, she had a few medical procedures, which she kept quiet from me. When I asked her about it, the anger and rage flew faster than the speed of light. I later discovered that she depleted more than 50K from a special savings account for the kids’ college education expenses to get two breast lifts and a tummy tuck.
That was my own fault for not watching the finances better, but there were only so many hours in the day. By that time, sex had stopped a couple of years prior to her cosmetic surgeries, so she wasn’t improving her appearance for me. In all honesty, by that time I no longer cared that we weren’t being intimate. I had become repulsed at the thought of having sex with that whacko.
About the same time she had her boobs done, she secretly filed for divorce. I did not find out until more than six months later when I discovered a letter from her attorney that she hid from me.
I was in a Catch-22 situation. I was being abused, I knew it, I hated it, but what choice did I have? Do I walk out and leave the kids in the sole custody of a loon, or do I try to endure her lunacy to protect the kids? I made a conscious decision to stick it out to protect the kids.
By this time, they only had about nine months to go before they graduated high school and left for college. I figured I could take it another nine months. We even talked about divorce at one point. I suggested we wait until the kids graduate and begin divorce proceedings nice and quiet.
She was opposed to this and got angrier by the day. Almost daily, she would open all of the doors to the house and garage door, walk out to the driveway and, in full view of all of the neighbors, would shout and make a scene about how I was abusing her. Her allegations were absurd. By this time, I had barely spoken to her in a year, other than the usual stuff about the kids. I didn’t dare utter a sentence in my defense.
One day, she had a complete breakdown. She flew into a rage because I left a dirty skillet in the sink after cooking the kid’s breakfast before they went to school. She left for work, burning rubber in the driveway, and came within a few feet of running over a four-year old girl who lived next door, which was witnessed by the girl’s mother and me. I apologized to the woman for my wife’s behavior. Her unbridled rage and anger reached a point where I sent a fax to the local police department’s domestic violence unit asking for help.
To make a long story short, a neighbor and wife of another police officer of the same department (I am retired law enforcement) called my ex to warn her that I was planning to get her committed to a mental institution. On a school night when the kids and I were at a football game, she called the kids and told them to meet her at a local hotel after the game. I came home at 11pm to find everyone gone and called the police. Several hours later, I was told they were at an undisclosed hotel and my kids were okay.
Over the next six days, I had a few conversations with your typical angry, man-hating female domestic violence investigator. She ignored everything I had to say, ignored more than a year’s worth of my attempts to get help and intervention, and I subsequently complained to her supervisor for her incompetence, lack of objectivity and professionalism.
In an obvious act of retaliation, she encouraged and facilitated the issuance of a temporary restraining order and committed perjury in court. I later found out the cop told my wife that the restraining order can be used as a “De-facto eviction notice that you can use to kick your husband out of the house.”
My ex bragged about this to over a dozen co-workers, some of who were my friends, including the neighbor cop. Eventually it got back to me.
My wife was now empowered beyond belief. The temporary restraining order was her license to take everything she could get her hands on. She then went full throttle in alienating the kids. I was powerless to do anything about it. I went through three different attorneys. The first two basically took my money and accomplished nothing. The third attorney was more detailed. His primary concern was documenting his billable hours instead of documenting what I was telling him. All three of these “respected law professionals” were useless and I ended up spending over 100K to walk away with nothing.
More catastrophic than anything else was the parental alienation. Having our kids tell me they hated me and wished I were dead was worse than being held captive by the Taliban. I would have rather been held captive by terrorists; at least I could have fought back.
I bounced from dirty motel to dirty motel, stayed on friends’ couches and, for a couple of months, lived in my car for the year and a half plus that the divorce dragged on. I subsisted on gas station hot dogs — 2 for 99-cents — while she stayed in the 800K house.
The parental alienation paralyzed me with pain; I couldn’t function. Ninety percent of our mutual friends and neighbors didn’t want to have anything to do with me. In their minds, they believed I’d done something wrong in order for my wife to be able to get a restraining order against me. I was automatically assumed guilty.
In the end, I walked away with nothing.
Everything I had ever saved or earned in my life was gone. I did achieve some success. First of all, I have since reversed the effects of parental alienation and now enjoy a healthy and loving relationship with our kids who are now young adults. I also learned how to write and submit my own court declarations and petitions. After disproving the lies on my ex’s restraining order and proving the man-hating female cop’s perjury, I was able to obtain a court order to seal all records of my temporary restraining order, which is a first in my state and a precedent.
I reversed the parental alienation on my own, without any help from counselors or programs. I now live in peace, free from a psycho, and free to enjoy my life with the kids.
In the end, it cost me everything. My story is an example that even when you do things to protect yourself, it often doesn’t work in our anti-male family law system. Did I allow myself to be abused? Yes, I did, but it was for a good reason. I stayed to protect the kids.
A good friend later commented that I should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Fatherhood. I don’t know about that. I just know that I love my kids without conditions and I believed it necessary to put myself in harm’s way to protect them.
For my psycho ex-wife who may read this someday, I say, FUCK YOU!
In His Own Words is an effort to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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