Saturday, May 31, 2008

Deal to Return Children to Sect Breaks Down

SAN ANGELO, Tex. — Negotiations for the state’s release of more than 460 children who were removed from a polygamist sect in April broke down Friday in a scene of chaos and bitterness in a courtroom in this West Texas city.

Lawyers for the families said the judge overseeing the release lacked authority to impose restrictions on it, and the judge, in disagreement, ended the proceedings and walked out of the courtroom.

The lawyers jumped to their feet, uncertain whether the proceedings had actually been adjourned, and some later vowed to bypass the judge, Barbara Walther of State District Court, and carry this new turn in the case directly to an appeals court.

“This is crazy,” said Gary Peak, a lawyer who represents two boys from the sect, the
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mr. Peak said the next step would be for families’ lawyers to each file individual motions over the weekend to vacate the orders, issued by Judge Walther last month, that authorized state custody of the children.

“No one knows what’s going to happen,” Mr. Peak said.

Reuniting of the children with their parents early next week had been expected after the
Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state’s seizure had been overly broad and was not supported by evidence of sexual abuse.

In fact, an agreement to release the children Monday had seemed within reach earlier Friday. But the hearing before Judge Walther, which was convened precisely to arrange for the release, snagged over the ground rules.

The hearing was partly overshadowed, meanwhile, by a new development in the continuing criminal investigation of the sect.

Investigators said family marriage records seized in the April raid of the group’s compound, the
Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado, Tex., suggested that the sect’s leader, Warren S. Jeffs, had “spiritually” wed at least four under-age girls, two of them 14 at the time, the other two 12.

Mr. Jeffs, 52, is serving 10 years to life as an accomplice to rape for forcing a 14-year-old girl in Utah to marry and have sex with an older man against her will.

Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office, said a warrant to obtain DNA samples from Mr. Jeffs was signed on Thursday by a judge in Arizona, where Mr. Jeffs is in jail awaiting trial on other charges related to under-age marriage. The children taken in the raid in Texas have already given DNA samples.

The day’s developments underlined a tangle of questions that remain unresolved in one of the largest child custody cases in American history.

State child protection officials, in justifying the seizure of the children from the group, said a pervasive culture of abusive sex with under-age youths had endangered girls and boys alike — girls groomed as victims, boys as predators. But the State Supreme Court, in upholding the ruling of a lower appeals court, said the claim was too sweeping. The state could not prove that every child was endangered, the Supreme Court said in a divided opinion, adding that this was the prerequisite needed to take all the children as a group.

One question remaining in the criminal case is whether the state’s justification for the raid may yet be at least partly substantiated after the children’s return, which, lawyers and state officials have said, is inevitable given the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Mr. Strickland, the spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbott, emphasized that the criminal inquiry was proceeding on its own track.

“The criminal investigation is separate from the custody case,” he said. “Our office is handling the criminal side of things, and Child Protective Services is handling the other portions of this case.”

The attorney general was named special prosecutor in the criminal case last month by Judge Walther, who is overseeing the custody case as well. Mr. Strickland and a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Lisa Block, both said evidence that was still being collected would dictate what charges, if any, were brought against members of the group.

“It is a multifaceted investigation, involving a lot of evidence,” Ms. Block said.

At the hearing on Friday to work out the release agreement, Judge Walther said she wanted the children, who are spread out all across Texas, mostly in group foster care, to be returned in an orderly fashion. She specifically rejected an appeal by the parents to allow the release this weekend.

“I don’t want to issue an order that would create more chaos than has already happened for these children,” Judge Walther said. “It’s going to take a little bit of logistics to organize.”

Still, plans for the release had seemed to be moving toward resolution in her courtroom. Then came the snag over conditions.

Under one provision, the parents would have had to stay in close touch with state child protection officials and could have been subjected to visits by inspectors and state caseworkers at any time.

Further, in the absence of results from recently administered DNA tests, families were asked to sign affidavits agreeing to take from the state only their own children. They would also have had to take parenting classes.

Finally, after several hours of discussion, one group of lawyers representing families said that the court lacked authority to impose any restrictions and that Judge Walther’s only choice was simply to vacate her April order granting custody to the state.

Judge Walther then read parts of the Supreme Court’s decision that she said did give her authority to place restrictions to provide for the safety of the children. The impasse could not be resolved, and she left the courtroom shortly afterward.

Members of the sect, which split off decades ago from the main branch of Mormonism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after the Mormons disavowed polygamy, have historically been based in Utah and Arizona, and arrived in Texas only five years ago, when the Yearning for Zion ranch was founded.

Now there are questions about what will be left of the self-contained ranch community even if the events surrounding the state’s intervention are resolved.

One member of the church, Willie Jessop, a contractor and rancher in Utah who came to Texas after his sister’s children were taken into custody, said hope and anxiety were both running high among the families in about equal measure.

“The parents have been on this roller coaster ride now for so long,” Mr. Jessop said. “They’ve been told so many times that they could get their children back: if they go to the shelters they could get their children back, if they submit DNA they could get their children back.

“There have been so many conditions already, and still they do not have their children back.”

Gretel C. Kovach reported from San Angelo, and Kirk Johnson from Denver.

Original Article-

Deal to Return Children to Sect Breaks Down -

Justice Denied a Report From VOW

REFRESH - Go to Home-Page

Justice Denied:

How Family Courts in NYC Endanger
Battered Women and Children

Executive Summary

“Each time that I appeared in court, the system reinforced his dominance over me by preserving his parental “rights” without regard to my safety. I felt totally undermined by the court.” P.W.

Each year thousands of women are abused in New York City by an intimate partner. In 2007, the NYPD responded to 229,354 domestic violence incidents and the domestic violence hotline responded to 123,409 calls. To address alarming reports by survivors of domestic violence about family court decisions that endangered them and their children and that failed to hold their abusers accountable, the Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW) launched the Battered Mothers’ Justice Campaign.

VOW is a grassroots advocacy organization of survivors of domestic violence who are working to improve the many systems battered women and their children rely on for safety and justice. VOW members represent the diversity of NYC and include African American, Caribbean, Latina, white, Asian, immigrant, lesbian and disabled women. Since 2000, VOW members have documented system failures and developed recommendations for change, and they have educated policy makers, elected officials, the public and each other through trainings, meetings, testimony and, most recently, with this report.

Domestic violence takes many forms: emotional/psychological, financial, sexual or physical. Batterers isolate their victims and control their activities; humiliate them and damage their self-esteem; and undermine their relationships with their children. The abuse can escalate to severe physical and/or sexual abuse.

When abused women attempt to separate from their tormentor, they are often threatened with the loss of their children. Many abusive men are able to make good on this threat by making false and malicious child abuse reports against their partners or by fighting for custody and winning. Nationally, abusive fathers are estimated to be more likely to seek sole custody than non-violent fathers and are successful about 70% of the time. Another tactic used by batterers is to bankrupt their partner through excessive litigation or denial of child support. Victims of domestic violence can suffer from depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and therefore present poorly in court and to custody evaluators or law guardians.

Women are re-victimized by the Family Courts when allegations of domestic violence and child abuse are minimized or ignored and when the abuser is either not held accountable or judged to be more credible. Studies show that 25-50% of disputed custody cases involve domestic violence, and there is a significant overlap between domestic violence and child abuse. Yet, family court judges, lawyers and law guardians (court-appointed lawyers for the child) operate on the pervasive myth that mothers lie about domestic violence and child abuse, especially child sexual abuse. In fact, fathers are far more likely than mothers to make intentionally false accusations (21% compared to 1.3%). And, while child sexual abuse allegations are infrequent (approximately 6%), two-thirds of the allegations are substantiated.

The courts are overburdened. In 2006, only 47 judges handled more than 210,000 filings and depositions in family courts in New York City. The majority of the cases involved support (55%), custody/visitation (26.5%), family offenses, i.e., domestic violence (7.5%) and child protective proceedings (6.5%). Kings County Family Court, the busiest family court in New York State, handles approximately 16,000 custody and visitation cases and 4,000 child protective cases annually.

Battered Mothers’ Justice Campaign

VOW launched our Battered Mothers’ Justice Campaign in 2003. Working closely with the Urban Justice Center’s Human Rights Project, VOW developed a comprehensive human rights documentation project to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the experiences of battered women in New York City family courts. From May to December of 2006, VOW trained its members to become human rights documenters who captured the experiences of over 75 domestic violence survivors of New York City family courts. Two focus groups were conducted with members of VOW, who were battered women, and with teens removed to foster care. Meetings were conducted with researchers at several local universities and with experts in the field. Safety evaluations of each borough’s family court were conducted between August 2007 and January 2008. VOW members met with court personnel, including Chief Administrative Judge Joseph Lauria, testified before the Matrimonial Commission hearings, and reviewed hearing findings.

The survey interviews, focus groups and court safety assessments reveal a family court system that is badly in need of oversight and repair. Much of what we found should come as no surprise to court administrators: testimony at the Matrimonial Commission hearings revealed many of these problems. In addition, several books, reports and Speak-Outs dating from 1981 to the present have documented custody decisions and other cases of gender and racial bias, corruption and incompetence that endanger children.

This report is also one of many recent studies that have documented the human rights violations of family courts across the country. In 2003, the Battered Mothers Testimony Project in Massachusetts and a subsequent report on the Arizona family court system revealed that those states too were endangering battered mothers and children. The similarities between the findings point to a system that is laced with gender bias and flawed cultural norms and whose principals – the family court judges, lawyers and law guardians – neglect their obligation to protect mothers and children.

The Battered Mothers’ Justice Campaign aims to build a case for a large-scale investigation into the family court’s failure to protect battered mothers and children and to call for more transparency and oversight of the family court system. This report is just one attempt to give credibility and voice to the women who have to navigate a system that is often stacked against them and has the ultimate power over them – the ability to take their children from them.
Summary of Findings

1. A court system that doesn’t follow the law or its own policies and procedures.
Women reported court procedures and rulings that are often in violation of due process.
Ex-parte communication between one party and the judge is a frequent occurrence. 32% of interviewees said their ex-partner’s attorney or the law guardian spoke to the judge without her or her lawyer being present.

Witness testimony is not always allowed. Less than 20% of those interviewed said their witness was allowed to testify. Many others did not know they could bring witnesses.

Transcripts may not accurately reflect what happens in the courtroom. 15% of those surveyed said the transcripts were not accurate. 67% could not afford to buy copies of the transcript so did not know if they were accurate. Several reported that transcripts were missing. 15% said the judge told the stenographer to stop recording or turned off the tape recorder during proceedings.

Law guardians do not always represent their clients’ wishes. Several interviewees said law guardians made a recommendation that resulted in their children being removed from their custody without meeting them or seeing them interact with their children. Law guardians frequently don’t meet with their client more than once if at all. 42% of those interviewed felt the law guardian did not advocate for the safety of their child or take the history of domestic violence seriously.

Although many interviewees were satisfied with their attorney, 42% said their attorney did not understand domestic violence issues.

Unsubstantiated allegations against mothers led to removal of custody. 53% of those surveyed were prevented from seeing forensic evaluations that resulted in their children being removed from their custody. More than a third of mothers surveyed were accused of “alienating” their children, or were given a psychiatric label, often with slim or unsubstantiated evidence for these allegations.

2. Decisions that put children in danger.

“I feel angry and betrayed that after all the intense scrutiny of my life and parenting skills, the microscopic examinations of the law guardian, forensic, lawyers, etc. over two years – the court ordered my abusive ex-partner supervised visitation, to be supervised by my girlfriend. It was over in seconds! Now it’s up to my girlfriend and me with no safety precautions, no guidelines or direction or even past histories to draw upon, to manage visitation with a convicted abuser. No follow up. No reports. No nothing. And if he should pull something, if his anger should rise, how would the two of us protect my daughter, Olivia?” R.P.

Abusers threaten to take custody of children and sometimes win. 80% of women said their abuser threatened to take away their children and used the court to follow through with that threat. 10% of women said they stopped reporting abuse for fear of losing contact with their children.

Mothers were told by their lawyer, the law guardian or the judge not to oppose visitation, even when they felt it was unsafe or when their children protested. Several mothers were threatened by the judge with jail time if they did not force their children to comply with ordered visitation. 56% of the interviewees felt unsupervised visitation would be unsafe for them or their children.
The City’s child welfare agency can perpetuate the abuse. 7% of the mothers said their child was abused while in foster care. Almost half of those interviewed felt the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) did not protect their children, despite allegations of child abuse. 54% said they were given no help by ACS to reunite with their children.

Adequate child support was often not granted, and the request could mean a custody fight. 58% of the women interviewed stated that asking for child support triggered retaliation by their ex-partner – often a battle for custody. Child support was ordered in only 50% of the cases when it was requested. Even when child support was ordered, less than half of those women and children actually received the support, and the fathers were almost never held accountable. Often the ex-partners hid assets to keep payments low. 65% of the women found the amount ordered to be inadequate.

3. A system that minimizes domestic violence and neither provides protection to victims, nor holds abusers accountable.

There was an overall feeling from most of the women we interviewed that they were not heard and that their experience of abuse was minimized, disregarded or used against them.
Reports of domestic violence were viewed skeptically. While all the women interviewed self-identified as survivors of abuse, only 52% were recognized by the court as such. 25% of the women surveyed were told not to mention domestic violence in the court proceeding. 50% were told by their own attorney, who felt it would hurt their case, and the other 50% were advised to ignore their experience by court personnel, including mediators. Many of the women interviewed complained that they told their lawyers, the judge and the law guardian about prior domestic violence incidents and yet this important information played no role in the case or, worse, was used against them.

Reports of child abuse were viewed skeptically or used against mothers. 57% of women interviewed said that reports of child abuse or child sexual abuse against their ex-partner were not taken seriously in court proceedings. Often these reports triggered accusations of “parental alienation” against the mother trying to protect her child.

Victims of abuse did not feel safe in court settings. 30% of interviewees didn’t feel safe in the courtroom itself, and 40% felt unsafe in waiting areas. Settlement conferences held in cramped rooms were especially intimidating to victims, and long lines to get through metal detectors outside the courthouse posed a real danger. 57% of the women interviewed were unaware of Safe Horizon as an option for a safe place in the court to wait. Of those who used Safe Horizon, most found it helpful.

Confidential information was not safe in court settings. 43% of the interviewees had their confidential address revealed in court via court papers. Many said it was the judge, reading aloud from court papers, who revealed the confidential address of the victim, putting them in danger or forcing them to move.

All the women interviewed described their experiences in courts as extremely stressful and often re-traumatizing to them and their children. The financial toll was sometimes catastrophic, including loss of job due to excessive court appearances and the costs of attorneys, forensics, filings and experts.

4. A system rife with gender bias against women and preferential treatment towards the party who is wealthier or has a higher status.

“As of December, 2007, my children are owed over $190,000 in child support and arrears. My ex-husband has a lucrative comic book business, which we started together during our 14-year marriage. Yet, for the last six years my children and I have been surviving on $800 a month, which is what he has chosen to pay. Many times he has stated to me that he would rather close down the business and go on welfare than to pay me child support. The courts have not done anything about it and refuse to see the connection between domestic violence and a defiance to pay child support. This is what domestic violence looks like – and we are a family still suffering its effects six years later.” E.A.

Examples of ex-parte communication and bias in favor of fathers were cited, including fathers not being held accountable when they were late, missed appointments or did not comply with court orders.

Under current New York State law, access to Family Court – and the civil orders of protection obtainable there – is limited to victims of domestic violence who are related by blood, marriage or have a child in common with their abuser. This requirement has the effect of denying important protections to large classes of people who do not fit this limited definition and who are affected by intimate partner violence. Examples include teen and adult victims of dating violence, intimate partners who choose to live together, seniors who live with an abusive intimate partner and same-sex couples who have not adopted a child together. Other states provide broader access to civil orders of protection, and the majority of states protect teen victims of dating violence.

Survivors who need court interpreters have their cases delayed and may have interpreters that are unable to appropriately translate their testimony. Interpreters are frequently unlicensed, untrained, unevaluated and unaccountable for their actions. No clear mechanism for complaints exists.

When their status or position or income was less than their ex-partners, it was a factor in decisions against them. 23% of women surveyed said they were not represented by an attorney, when their ex-partner was, for some or all proceedings. Of those represented by an attorney, 90% had a court appointed attorney.

Fit mothers who were at a disadvantage lost custody. Mothers lost custody in cases where: the mother didn’t speak English and the father did; the mother was an immigrant and the father a citizen; the mother had no status and the father worked in law enforcement (police, D.A.’s office, probation), child welfare or had other connections; the mother was of color and the father was white; or the father worked and the mother had been the full time caregiver. 37% of women surveyed lost custody of their children in spite of being the primary caregiver. 41% of interviewees said they had given up assets in order to keep custody of their children.

“My ex-husband was held accountable by the court – he was held responsible every time he came late, every time he didn’t show up, every time he didn’t want to show up. They started forcing him to share childcare expenses. Only when he realized that he couldn’t manipulate the situation, did he finally stop fighting me in court. This is the way the court should work for every battered woman – making sure that batterers cannot use the courts to continue to abuse and control the family.” R.L.

1. Enforce all laws and procedures and ensure that court proceedings are fair and just.
Allow all legally admissible evidence of abuse in hearings, without exception.
Hold judges responsible for allowing ex-parte hearings, which are unethical, and void and remedy any order or decision made at a hearing in which a party was not present or given notice. Set up a process for informing litigants of their rights.

Chief Judge Kaye should issue a memo advising judges that there is no empirical data to support “Parental Alienation” as a syndrome and that it does not meet the legal standard of evidence.
Only allow findings of psychiatric illness or parental unfitness with the submission of credible evidence.

Judges should routinely meet with the child, unless there is a strong reason not to and that reason is documented, as per the memorandum from Judge Joseph M. Lauria urging Judges to have children over 10 appear in court at least once every 12 months (dated February 2004).
Ensure that cases are heard and resolved in a timely manner and that litigants do not have to spend inordinate time in court without moving the case forward by: beginning a calendar call and scheduling times for cases to be heard (“time certain”); allocating sufficient time for each case to be fully heard; adhering to check-in time, unless a good reason is documented; establishing time limits for how long cases can run; and limiting adjournments, especially when children are removed to foster care.

Schedule evening and weekend calendars in each borough’s family court to accommodate the schedule of working parents and teens in foster care who want to attend scheduled hearings on their case.

The NYS legislature and the Governor must increase the number of family court judges, in order to allow judges to give cases the thoughtful time and attention they deserve.
Open the court to outside scrutiny by funding a court watch project by an independent group.
Litigants should be informed of their right to apply for a waiver of court costs, including costs of transcripts and filing fees, and to appeal costs if they have limited income (in forma pauperis).
Ensure fair access to family court for all people seeking orders of protection from an intimate partner, including teens and unmarried couples, regardless of sexual orientation or whether they have a child in common. The state legislature should pass, and Governor Paterson should sign, Senate bill 6783, which would amend the Family Court Act and the Criminal Procedure Law in New York State by expanding the eligibility definitions for the victims of domestic violence so they are uniform with those covered by the Domestic Violence Prevention and Services Act.

Provide trained and monitored sign language and language interpreters to battered women who need them and put in place a grievance procedure for complaints and a system for accountability.

Hold judges accountable for gender bias, racism and favoritism and do not reappoint to the bench judges with a pattern of bias, discrimination or favoritism.

Enforce the newly created right to counsel in cases of financial need for custody and Orders of Protection in matrimonial cases. Expand this right to include counsel for all related matrimonial matters.

2. Hold judges, law guardians, lawyers and other court personnel to the highest standards of their profession.

Mandate comprehensive, on-going training on the dynamics of domestic violence for all court personnel, including judges, court officers, lawyers, mediators, etc. Require all family court judges to attend the three-day National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence’s seminar. Require all attorneys practicing in family court to take domestic violence training as part of their CLE credits.

Appoint family court judges to terms of five years (instead of the current 10-year term), and sit domestic violence experts and survivors on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary (which reviews candidates for appointments as Judges).

Schedule evaluations of each judge’s performance every two or three years against predetermined benchmarks by an independent committee that consists of lawyers and non-lawyers, including domestic violence experts and survivors. Results should be published and made available to the public.

A recusal request should be heard by a different judge than the one who is being asked to be recused.

Allow children over seven to fire their attorney if they feel they are not being represented adequately. Make sure that children are advised of their rights and the obligations of their attorney.

Create an independent review panel to review complaints about law guardians and watch for patterns of bias or ineptitude.

Hold law guardians accountable to a code of conduct, such as the NYS Bar Association Law Guardian Representation Standards (currently being revised). Ensure that they advocate for their client’s wishes as outlined in Chief Judge Kaye’s directive (dated October 2007). Violations of the code should lead to removal as a law guardian.

Mandate law guardians to attend comprehensive and on-going training on child development and understanding children’s responses to domestic violence, child abuse and incest as well as on cultural competency.

Determine standards for law guardians that will guarantee: they spend an appropriate minimum amount of time with the child client and the quality of the interaction is assured; a limit is placed on the number of cases that law guardians can carry; they meet with each parent and observe them with the children; they document their investigation of allegations of abuse (calls to teachers, interviews, etc.); and they bring allegations of abuse to the judge’s attention.

Rotate law guardian assignments through a published list, to ensure that assignments are fair and impartial.

When the parties are responsible for paying the law guardian, base fees on a sliding scale and pay them into a blind fund to which the law guardian submits bills. This would ensure that law guardians do not side with the party that pays the greater part of their fee.

3. Take seriously all allegations of domestic violence and ensure the safety of victims, including while they are in the courthouse.

Chief Judge Kaye should issue an advisory to all family court judges that allegations of abuse must be investigated, even if they first surface during custody disputes and there is no evidence of physical abuse. Recognize that domestic violence includes controlling behavior and intimidation.

Create an advisory board of domestic violence survivors who can identify problems and help the family court develop policies that address domestic violence and the safety of victims and children.

Include a domestic violence resource coordinator on court staff who can provide information to court personnel and victims and help identify domestic violence cases. Train staff to understand the dynamics of domestic violence.

Inform domestic violence victims that they can wait in Safe Horizon’s office if they are afraid or uncomfortable – by posting signs in waiting rooms and women’s restrooms and distributing brochures.

Ensure battered women’s safety while in court by ensuring that elevators are working, that bathrooms have working locks, and that guards are stationed in waiting rooms and outside the courthouse to patrol the line waiting to go through security.

Increase funding to allow court personnel to escort victims to safety so that Integrated Domestic Violence courts do not have to limit the use of Safe Horizon’s space to those with current Orders of Protection.

Do not place both parties in the same room while they wait for the completed Orders of Protection. Do not force victims of abuse to have settlement conferences in tiny rooms, but provide appropriate space for these meetings. Arrest abusers who violate Orders of Protection on court premises.

Create mechanisms for survivors of domestic violence to tell their story without being intimidated (possible examples: allow them to approach the bench, testify via TV hookup from another room, or have a court officer stand nearby, etc.).

Judges should always ask both parties if their address, contact information or other identifying information such as social security number is confidential and ensure that it is not revealed in court papers or read into the record.

4. Hold abusers accountable for their actions and do not allow the courts to be used to further abuse and control victims and their children.
Prohibit and void stipulations and agreements made under coercion and intimidation, such as threats of losing custody.

Stop bullying mothers to make them comply with visitation orders with unwilling children and investigate why children are afraid or reluctant to visit a parent.
Create a presumption against giving full or joint custody to parents with a history of domestic violence. Establish a presumption that custody should go to the parent who was the primary caretaker during the relationship and who has the closer, positive bond to the child.
Create more supervised visitation programs, order supervised visitation for parents with a history of domestic violence until they can establish that unsupervised visits will not pose a danger to the ex-partner or child.

The practice of rewarding the “friendly” parent should be replaced with an understanding that many times a seemingly “uncooperative” parent is actually trying to protect herself and/or her children.

When children are placed in foster care, provide parents with the support they need to successfully reunite with their children wherever possible.

Monitor the well-being of children after custody transfer or foster care placement. If they show signs of abuse or depression (failing in school, running away, acting out, excessive illness), investigate whether the new arrangement is appropriate.

Advise parents of the consequences of pleading guilty to neglect or abuse and fund non-profit legal services to ensure that parents have adequate representation.

Give all children and parents an easy-to-read description in several languages of their rights and the grievance procedures available to them. Post complaint numbers prominently in waiting rooms.

Allow videotaping of cases so that body language and tone of voice by court actors and abusers can be seen and problems with interpreters can be reviewed.

All proceedings should be tape recorded and copies of tapes made available for minimal costs.
Divert funds from the 18B panel to institutional providers of legal services with expertise in domestic violence (such as inMotion, Sanctuary for Families, and specialized Legal Services programs). Ensure that lawyers with expertise in domestic violence are included on the 18B panel.
For more information, copies of the full report or to work with VOW to demand justice for battered women and children, please contact:

The Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW)
Battered Women’s Resource Center
328 Flatbush Avenue, Suite 342
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Phone: 212-696-1481

Related article-

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My two cents -

I personally do not agree or disagree with everything found in this report nor do I agree or disagree with all or some of the recomodations.

I agree 100 % with some of it yet I strongly disagree with other parts..

So on that note..

I am a survivor of Domestic Violence, and I am 1000% positive that parent alienation is in fact VERY REAL. I think there needs to be a serious discussion on this topic and the gender war that is keeping it from being accepted into the DSM and some courts.

This is one of my goals to bring awareness to every person on the planet, that we need to save our children from the emotional abuse of being alienated.

I'm sure there is an answer that will keep everyone happy healthy and safe.


Something new ...

Anyone that follows this blog knows that my passion
is the exposing truth, and debunking the lies!
It should also be obvious that I have no allies...
lies are lies no matter who tells them...
man, woman, politician, whomever.

I have worked with both men's and women's groups in the past..
and no matter what I see or hear..
I stand firm on what I believe!
Which is- Personality disorders
are the base of false allegations in
abusive relationships..
parent alienation and so on.
Contrary to many beliefs that these issues are gender specific..
I do and always will stand firm that they are NOT.

So, why am I sharing this with you, my readers?

A dear friend of mine Karlene Gorden who is another mother like myself, a survivor of domestic violence, still being emotionally abused by her ADA husband and is political connections, alienated from her precious child and falsely labeled a child abuser by child services.
Karlene is an awesome writer and shares the same passion as I do for justice within the court system, she has offered to write for this blog on a weekly basis.

I will continue to bring the readers the same content that I have always shared..

However, once a week there will be a twist..

Karlene is part of Voices of Women, and recently shared "Justice Denied" below with me.

Due to the fact that I am aware that many of my readers are from the fathers/family rights groups, I want to say a few things.
(1) Neither Karlene nor I dispute that domestic violence gender neutral.
(2) Neither Karlene nor I dispute that false allegations of either domestic violence and child abuse needs to be stopped and those that use the system as a tool must be held accountable.
(3) Both Karlene and I KNOW that children can be and are
ALIENATED from one parent or the other, or sometimes both.

Karlene also came up with an awesome idea to follow the "Justice Denied" story below.

A weekly follow up, each week a new story on another victim who's story we know personally proving that JUSTICE IS DENIED in our courts and talking about things from a first hand knowledge of the entire story.

Check back to read personal stories from New York courts where Justice has been denied.

Justice Denied


Mother’s Day is the most traumatic day of the year for many mothers. For these mothers who unjustly lost custody of their children and who did not spend Mother’s Day with their children, Mother’s Day was anything but happy. Karlene Gordon, Director of CAPE and member of Voices of Women (VOW) spoke at a press conference at City Hall calling for Family Court reform and announcing the completion of VOW’s report which clearly recorded the flaws in Family Court that re-victimized survivors of domestic violence.

Voices of Women was joined by several elected official, including Council member Liu, Deputy Borough Presidents of Brooklyn & Manhattan, Yvonne Graham and Rose Pierre Louis, staff of Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

According to Ms. Gordon, “There is a misconception that mothers almost always win custody of their children in custody battles, however, studies show that batterers file for and win custody of their children in 70% of the cases.”

In a poignant address, Ms. Gordon, spoke of the abuse of power by her ex-husband who is an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County. She noted the power dynamics that exited in her case, in that, the Queens District Attorney’s Office provided a lawyer for her ex-husband for the past 11 years and therefore has aided and abetted the continued abuse of power and DA’s privileges. The conspiracy to transfer custody of her son to his father was carried out by Administration for Children’s services, Family Court and Paul Siminovsky. Paul Siminovsky, who was also her son’s lawyer, was later arrested, convicted and jailed for selling custody of children to the highest bidder or to the more politically connected parent. The corruption and bribery which Paul Siminovsky and Judge Gerald Garson were convicted of in Supreme Court was and still is prevalent in Family Court. Ms. Gordon, individually and with the Voices of Women, petitioned Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines for justice for herself and the hundreds of victims of illegal kidnapping of children in custody battles. Charles Hines contended that his office had no jurisdiction over Family Court.

As a teacher, Ms. Gordon was legally obligated to report abuse to the authorities. As a mother, when she reported the abuse inflicted on her son, she lost custody. Her son’s school, independent of Ms. Gordon, also filed the same report which was validated. For doing her job as a teacher and as a mother she was accused of Neglect by her ex-husband and that charge was validated by Paul Siminovsky, ACS and Family Court. The charge of Neglect was enough to transfer custody, it wasn’t necessary to prove it. The judge, Paul Siminovsky and ACS individually and collectively offered to drop the charge if, and only if, she relinquished custody of her son to his father. She refused and was force to see her son only by supervised visits. She has seen her son only 6 hours in the past 5 years, for which she was required to pay $65 per hour.

Although the charge was later dismissed, Ms. Gordon has never regained custody of her son, nor received any visitation schedule. She was never vindicated, nor did she regain her status as a ‘fit mother’. Ms Gordon is only one of hundreds of Mother’s who has fallen prey to the injustices of Family Court which removes children from the lives of their mothers, indefinitely.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Man accused of raping girl, 13

PORT CHESTER - A 29-year-old village man is accused of raping a 13-year-old relative, an allegation that came to light when the girl's middle school counselor contacted authorities, police said.

Armando Bautista, of 18 S. Regent St., was in Port Chester Village Court yesterday, a day after he was arrested at an Eastchester pizza place where he works.

Arraigned on a charge of first-degree rape, a felony, Bautista was taken to the Westchester County jail in Valhalla where he is being held on $25,000 bail, pending another court hearing Monday, Port Chester police Lt. James Ladeairous said.

Bautista, a native of Mexico, is accused of engaging in sexual activity with the girl for about a year.

"We only know of one time of actual intercourse, but there were other things going on, touchy-feely kinds of things," Ladeairous said.

A school counselor learned of the alleged sexual activity from the girl or another student she had told, and then alerted state Child Protective Services, police said. Police then interviewed the girl and made the arrest.


Reach Shawn Cohen at
or 914-694-5046.

Original Article-

Man accused of raping girl, 13 The Journal News

Antipsychotic Drugs for "ADHD"? Florida Panel to review Medicaid guidelines

MessageEveryone can listen in on this meeting.

The review group's meeting will be 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

June 25 via teleconference.

Those interested can call 888-808-6959 and enter conference code 8509227702.

A panel named this month to discuss changing state guidelines on paying for antipsychotic drugs for children will meet for the first time June 25.

At stake is the future treatment of more than 18,000 children in Florida currently receiving atypical antipsychotics medication for conditions ranging from ADHD to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The number of children in the Florida Medicaid program prescribed the powerful drugs has nearly doubled from 9,364 kids in 2000 to 18,137 in 2006, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported in January.

Among those children, the most common primary diagnosis was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- an ailment not approved for treatment with antipsychotics by the Food and Drug Administration or by experts on the disease.

Medicaid will pay for a drug only if it is "medically necessary and prescribed for medically accepted indications," according to current state guidelines.

Former Florida Agency for Health Care Secretary Dr. Andrew Agwunobi created the review group in January. The panel's 11 members were announced this month, and officials said their recommendations will be presented to the agency's Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Committee after the June 25 meeting.

Dr. Lisa Cosgrove, a Merritt Island pediatrician who is a member of the review group and committee, said she will rely on a state-funded study by the Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program for Behavioral Health at the University of South Florida when making recommendations. "It's a good baseline model to follow," she said.

During that 2005 study, a panel of experts recommended that antipsychotics (some of these drugs include: Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprex, Abilify and Geodon) should not be used primarily to target ADHD, nor should antipsychotics be given to children younger than age 6 except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

The review group's meeting will be 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. June 25 via teleconference. Those interested can call 888-808-6959 and enter conference code 8509227702.

Original Article-

Torture Trial Airs Family Horror Stories

MURRIETA, Calif. (May 30) - For weeks, the three wives of Mansa Musa Muhummed and most of their 19 children have been telling a jury countless stories of torture and starvation that they kept to themselves for years.

Muhummed sat in a desert courthouse with a hand over his face, shaking his head in denial as family members described being beaten, strung up by their feet and forced to eat vomit and feces.

"It is the worst case we've ever heard of," prosecutor Julie Baldwin said last week.

The alleged atrocities went undetected by social service agencies, and police now have Muhummed, 55, facing up to seven life sentences if convicted of a raft of abuse charges.

Muhummed, whose given name was Richard Boddie, is on trial at Riverside County Superior Court after more than nine years of legal wrangling in which he changed lawyers four times and represented himself for more than two years.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of torturing seven of the children, abusing 12 of them and falsely imprisoning two wives.

The trial delays may have hurt his case because his children - once reluctant to talk to authorities - are now telling strangers of extreme deprivation, physical abuse and starvation.

Standing just 4-foot-6 and weighing about 98 pounds, Sharon Boddie, 27, told jurors last week that she had grown and gained weight since her father was arrested nine years ago and the children were sent to foster or group homes.

But she still has scars from beatings and burns. She said she was taken out of school in second grade because she kept running away and teachers no longer wanted her there because she stole other children's lunches.

"I'd go like a week without eating, not even water," she said in a flat, unemotional voice. She said she would be beaten when she tried to steal food from the refrigerator.

One son caught sneaking food testified that he was forced to eat what he took until he regurgitated. Then he was forced to eat his vomit. Another daughter said she was ordered to hand feed her father while she was denied food.

Doctors said the children were extremely malnourished. A 19-year-old daughter was 4-foot-1 and weighed 56 pounds.

After moving to rural Riverside County, they lived for about three years in a van at a Muslim campground, Sharon Boddie testified. The van had no running water or gas for cooking. Baldwin said Muhummed had no known occupation.

The now-adult children have testified that Muhummed forced them to beat each other when he wasn't doing the hitting.

His lawyer has suggested some of the children abused each other and he is challenging testimony as exaggerations. Baldwin said she expects the defense to accuse the wives of being responsible for abuse.

Muhummed has told authorities he believed his Muslim religion allowed him to have multiple wives.

Marva Lewis Barfield, 53, the first of Muhummed's three wives and mother of 14 of his children, testified that she beat some of her children with a boat oar at his instructions because she feared he would kill her if she disobeyed.

Barfield said she married Boddie when she was 18 and that she was repeatedly beaten and threatened with death during 26 years of marriage.

Barfield was jailed for 17 months in the case and pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment as part of a plea bargain to testify against Muhummed.

Another wife, Laura Cowan, said that he took control of her bank accounts and finances. She and other members of the family also collected public assistance.

It was Cowan who finally got the attention of authorities when Muhummed took her with him to a post office and she slipped a 13-page letter about the abuse to a postal clerk.

The letter was sent to the county social services agency and to sheriff's deputies, who found the family living in a filthy garage in a gated community. Cowan presented authorities with tapes she secretly recorded of some beatings.

Sharon Boddie said social workers had checked on their welfare before, but her father put food boxes in cupboards before they arrived and the children were taught to lie.

"I told them everything was OK because my dad had coached us what to say," she recalled. "I'd say my dad treated us really good - that he was the best parent in the world."

When they were removed from his Muhummed's home, most of the children said they could not read or write and had not been to school.

The brothers and sisters have said they were denied use of a bathroom and could not bathe for weeks at a time or wash their clothes. Sometimes, Boddie took them in the yard and hosed them down.

Sharon Boddie said she was strung upside down by her feet and left in a dark basement for hours at a time.

Baldwin said many of the children were unwilling to talk to authorities when their father was first arrested in 1999.

Even when her father was handcuffed to a car outside their home, Sharon Boddie wouldn't speak because she feared he wouldn't go to jail. She said he once waved a gun around and said, "I can kill all of you and nobody will ever know."

She said she decided to tell her story when her father was behind bars and she realized she was "finally going to have a life."

Torture Trial Airs Family Horror Stories - AOL News

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See older posts for more on this story

Texas Supreme Court Denies Mandamus

No. 08-0391
In re Texas Department of
Family and Protective Services, Relator
On Petition for Mandamus

Justice O’Neill filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Johnson and Justice Willett joined.

The Yearning for Zion Ranch is a 1,700-acre complex near Eldorado, Texas, that is home to a large community associated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On March 29, 2008, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services received a telephone call reporting that a sixteen-year-old girl named Sarah was being physically and sexually abused at the Ranch. On April 3, about 9:00 p.m., Department investigators and law enforcement officials entered the Ranch, and throughout the night they interviewed adults and children and searched for documents. Concerned that the community had a culture of polygamy and of directing girls younger than eighteen to enter spiritual unions with older men and have children, the Department took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order .[1] The Department calls this “the largest child protection case documented in the history of the United States.” It never located the girl Sarah who was the subject of the March 29 call.
The Department then filed several suits affecting the parent-child relationship (“SAPCRs”)[2] requesting emergency orders removing the children from their parents and limiting the parents’ access to the children. The Department also requested appointment as temporary sole managing conservator of the children, genetic testing, and permanent relief. On April 17-18, the district court conducted the adversary hearing required by section 262.201(a) of the Texas Family Code.[3] Subsections (b) and (c) state in relevant part:
(b) At the conclusion of the full adversary hearing, the court shall order the return of the child to the parent . . . entitled to possession unless the court finds sufficient evidence to satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that:

(1) there was a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child;

(2) the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child's removal; and

(3) reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home, but there is a substantial risk of a continuing danger if the child is returned home.

(c) If the court finds sufficient evidence to satisfy a person of ordinary prudence and caution that there is a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child, the court shall issue an appropriate temporary order under Chapter 105.

The hearing was attended by scores of attorneys for the parties, attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem, Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and many others. The hearing was conducted in the courtroom in San Angelo with overflow participants in the city auditorium. At the conclusion of the hearing, the district court issued temporary orders continuing the Department’s custody of the children and allowing for visitation by the parents only with the Department’s agreement.
Thirty-eight mothers petitioned the court of appeals for review by mandamus, seeking return of their 126 children. The record reflects that at least 117 of the children are under 13 and that two boys are 13 and 17. The ages of the other seven, at least two of whom are boys, are not shown. Concluding that the Department had failed to meet its burden of proof under section 262.201(b)(1), the court of appeals directed the district to vacate its temporary orders granting the Department custody. In re Steed, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. App.–Austin 2008).
The Department petitioned this Court for review by mandamus. Having carefully examined the testimony at the adversary hearing and the other evidence before us, we are not inclined to disturb the court of appeals’ decision. On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted. The Department argues without explanation that the court of appeals’ decision leaves the Department unable to protect the children’s safety, but the Family Code gives the district court broad authority to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care. The court may make and modify temporary orders “for the safety and welfare of the child”,[4] including an order “restraining a party from removing the child beyond a geographical area identified by the court”.[5] The court may also order the removal of an alleged perpetrator from the child’s home[6] and may issue orders to assist the Department in its investigation.[7] The Code prohibits interference with an investigation,[8] and a person who relocates a residence or conceals a child with the intent to interfere with an investigation commits an offense.[9]
While the district court must vacate the current temporary custody orders as directed by the court of appeals, it need not do so without granting other appropriate relief to protect the children, as the mothers involved in this proceeding concede in response to the Department’s motion for emergency relief. The court of appeals’ decision does not conclude the SAPCR proceedings.
Although the SAPCRs involve important, fundamental issues concerning parental rights and the State’s interest in protecting children, it is premature for us to address those issues. The Department’s petition for mandamus is denied.

Opinion issued: May 29, 2008

[1] See Tex. Fam. Code § 262.104
(a) (“If there is no time to obtain a temporary restraining order or attachment before taking possession of a child consistent with the health and safety of that child, an authorized representative of the Department of Family and Protective Services . . . may take possession of a child without a court order under the following conditions, only:
(1) on personal knowledge of facts that would lead a person of ordinary prudence and caution to believe that there is an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child;
(2) on information furnished by another that has been corroborated by personal knowledge of facts and all of which taken together would lead a person of ordinary prudence and caution to believe that there is an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child;
(3) on personal knowledge of facts that would lead a person of ordinary prudence and caution to believe that the child has been the victim of sexual abuse;
(4) on information furnished by another that has been corroborated by personal knowledge of facts and all of which taken together would lead a person of ordinary prudence and caution to believe that the child has been the victim of sexual abuse . . . .”)

[2] See Tex. Fam. Code § 262.105
(a) (“When a child is taken into possession without a court order, the person taking the child into possession, without unnecessary delay, shall:
(1) file a suit affecting the parent-child relationship;
(2) request the court to appoint an attorney ad litem for the child; and
(3) request an initial hearing to be held by no later than the first working day after the date the child is taken into possession.”).

[3] Section 262.201
(a) provides: “Unless the child has already been returned to the parent, managing conservator, possessory conservator, guardian, caretaker, or custodian entitled to possession and the temporary order, if any, has been dissolved, a full adversary hearing shall be held not later than the 14th day after the date the child was taken into possession by the governmental entity.”
[4] Tex. Fam. Code § 105.001(a); see id. § 262.205.

[5] Id. § 105.001(a)(4).

[6] Id. § 262.1015.

[7] Id. § 261.303(b)-(c).

[8] Id. § 261.303(a).

[9] Id. § 261.3032.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Texas court upholds polygamist removals ruling

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court decision that said the state had overstepped its authority when it removed some 460 children from a polygamist ranch last month.

"On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted," the opinion read.

The state's Family Code gives the district court "broad authority to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care," it said.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services declined immediate comment.

The ruling should pave the way for the children to be reunited with their parents. One of the legal options left for child welfare authorities is having court-imposed restrictions on reunifications where there is cause for concern.

These restrictions could include orders not to take the children beyond a certain area while investigations continue.

The saga has captivated America with lurid allegations of adolescent brides, teenage pregnancies and a secretive sect following its faith in a massive white temple in a remote area of west Texas.

The children were removed in early April after the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received a telephone call reporting that a 16-year-old girl named Sarah was being physically and sexually abused at the compound. "Sarah" was never identified.

The compound is run by followers of jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. They belong to a renegade Mormon sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).

The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy over a century ago and is at pains to distance itself from splinter groups such as the FLDS that continue to practice plural marriage.

Original Article -

Texas court upholds polygamist removals ruling - Yahoo! News

They never cease to amaze me

I opened up my google alert for "child Protective Services" this morning and read these two stories one after the other.. for some reason I think they belong in ONE blog so here goes..

In part This article - Bureaucrats running down the clock against parents -
states ...

When Congress passed the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act, it allowed states to terminate parental rights after a child has been in foster care longer than 15 months.

But the law, intended to keep children from truly abusive homes from languishing in foster care for years, had unintended consequences. States receive a $4,000 cash bonus from the federal government for each child adopted, multiplied by the percentage that the state exceeds its adoption goal.

The system gives child protective agencies a powerful financial incentive to terminate parental rights, something that they did more than 79,000 times nationwide in 2006, according to the federal Administration for Children and Families.

Continue reading ...Bureaucrats running down the clock against parents -

Then I read this article- SisterWoman

Which in part states "Family of five being torn apart, I need help to..."

Then this woman reminded me of me in the first sentance "To Whom It May Concern: I am really having a hard time believing that there is not one person that wants to help my family, I have four wonderful children..."

Then in another paragraph, she goes on to say ... "I have sent over 150 letters to Senators, attorneys, CASA, DHS, Child Protective services, news papers, new crews and many more people. I have received 4 letters in return stating they are unable to help or have a list of websites that have gone to, which were very helpful for other letters to go out, but not one person is willing or able to help me get my boys back to keep our family together.I could have aborted my children but I did not, I could have given them up for adoption but I did not, I have raised them with my heart and soul, I have given myself full time with unconditional love and I feel as if my heart is being ripped out, if I could just get my children back..."

So here it is...

Continue reading...SisterWoman

The Jail Interview Steven Morales Gave to Columbia Grads

An Update to A Short Life Ends on Rikers Island, in a Place Where Suicide Isn't Supposed to Happen Below.

This update is thanks to the comment left by Mr.Angry.

In November, two Columbia graduate journalism students, Molly Messick and Sarah Morgan, interviewed Steven Morales for a story on his experience in foster care. Morales killed himself at Rikers five months later. (See Graham Rayman's "A Short Life Ends on Rikers Island, in a Place Where Suicide Isn't Supposed to Happen," also in this week's Voice .) The Voice asked Messick and Morgan for a write-up of their conversation.

On a day a few weeks after his 18th birthday, Steven Morales sat in a pew in the Rikers Island chapel. Next to him was Javier Solano, the court-appointed defense attorney who would try to prove that Morales was innocent of second-degree murder.

Morales was there because his infant daughter died of suffocation one October night while in his care. The police report described bruises and fingerprints on her scalp, as if she'd been pressed against her mattress.

We were there to talk to Morales about the life he'd had before, the path that had landed him in jail—by his own description, abandoned and alone. It was the day before Thanksgiving. In the six weeks that Morales had been at Rikers, Solano and his co-counsel had been his only visitors.

"Everybody abandoned me, you know?" Morales told us in his only interview following his arrest. "Now I know who is there for me—and it is nobody."

Morales was a slim young man, not tall, swimming in his gray Department of Corrections jumpsuit and shuffling in his standard-issue orange slip-on shoes. His hair was freshly cut. Solano teased him about how short it was, and Morales rubbed his head, bashful.

Then he began telling us his version of his life story, without hesitation or strong emotion. It was a story of neglect and abuse, of a life that moved him from place to place but ultimately gave him few options.

"So, I guess it started out when I was born," Morales said. He described his mother as a crack-addicted prostitute he remembered meeting only once, when he was about 10. He was raised in the Bronx by his father, a Vietnam veteran who owned his own business repairing commercial kitchen appliances. In Morales's words, his father "had a very strong disciplining system."

"He taught me hard lessons," Morales said, "such as not to play with fire." Morales said that once, his father had thrown a burning plastic shower curtain on him, leaving him with third-degree burns. Morales thought he was about four or five when that happened.

"My father, he was never really comprehensive on how to take care of children," Morales said. The city's Administration for Children's Services took Morales away from his father when he was in the first grade, after he arrived at school crying because he'd been beaten.

Much More ---

Children's abuse evident, doctor testifies, during trial of Mansa Musa Muhummed

Some of seven children and teenagers who were removed from their father's Aguanga home were so deprived of food and nurturing that they looked half their age, a pediatrician testified Wednesday.

In 1999, Marlon Boddie was almost 20. He was 4 ½ feet tall and weighed 78 pounds when Dr. Clare Sheridan-Matney examined him and six of his siblings after they were removed from defendant Mansa Musa Muhummed's home.

"He didn't look like a 20-year-old. He looks like a kid," said Sheridan-Matney, who is the head of forensic pediatrics at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Boddie's weight and height would have been normal for a 10- or 11-year-old, the doctor said.

Sheridan-Matney was the final prosecution witness in Muhummed's trial on child abuse and torture by starvation charges at the Southwest Justice Center.

Muhummed, 55, pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the treatment of several of the 19 children who lived with him and his three wives at the home southeast of Temecula. The charges against Muhummed include child abuse of 12 children; torturing seven children by depriving them of food; spousal abuse and false imprisonment of two wives.

He could be sentenced to seven life terms in prison if convicted.

Muhummed, a Muslim, was arrested in April 1999 after one of his wives sent a letter to authorities. Two women and three children were found living in the home's garage without regular access to bathrooms.

Nine years after the doctor examined him, Boddie stands 5 feet 5 inches and weighs 167 pounds, according to prosecutor Julie Baldwin.

Sheridan-Matney testified that seven children suffered from psychosocial deprivation, the result of not getting those things necessary to develop. Children need to be physically and emotionally nourished to thrive, she said.

"If a child is very stressed, they won't grow," Sheridan-Matney said. "It has to be a very severe and chronic stress. ... Children need to be nurtured and feel safe to grow and develop properly."

Defense attorney Pete Morreale questioned the doctor about the number of documented cases of psychosocial deprivation syndrome.

Sheridan-Matney said she found about 10 case studies on it in the medical literature.

He asked whether the studies were important in reaching her diagnosis.

Yes, she said.

Authorities told Sheridan-Matney they suspected abuse and food deprivation before she ever evaluated the children. This is normal, she said, since all of her cases come to her because someone suspects abuse.

Baldwin later asked Sheridan-Matney whether there could be any organic cause of the children's low weight and short stature.

"I believe that my diagnosis is correct," the doctor said. "The way they have grown without treatment confirms it."

Muhummed's trial in French Valley will resume today. He remains in county jail where he has been held since 1999.

Reach Tammy J. McCoy at 951-375-3729 or
Original Article-

Children's abuse evident, doctor testifies, during trial of Mansa Musa Muhummed Inland News Southern California ...

A Short Life Ends on Rikers Island, in a Place Where Suicide Isn't Supposed to Happen

This story is SO SO SO SAD!

A must read- all the way through.

On the day that he arrived at Rikers Island last October, Steven Morales was a major suicide risk.

He was just 17 years old, charged with murder, accused of suffocating his infant daughter. He was a product of the city's foster-care system, his mother having abandoned him at birth. He had no money, little or no ties to family, and few friends. His only solid relationship—with his girlfriend, the mother of the dead infant—was collapsing.

Morales's lawyer considered the suicide risk so great that he recommended to a judge that the teen be housed in protective custody—where, the lawyer presumed, someone would keep a closer eye on him.

Protective custody, where inmates are locked in their cells up to 23 hours a day, was introduced to Rikers by jails boss Martin Horn in 2005 to house dangerous or vulnerable inmates, who would be safer there than in the general population.

But on April 27, something went terribly wrong when Horn's supervision system broke down.

That afternoon, Morales spoke to his girlfriend on the telephone and learned that she was breaking up with him, severing his last tie to the outside world. Devastated, he returned to his cell, secured a towel to the top of his cell door, wrapped the other end around his neck, and ended his life.

The officers assigned to the unit didn't notice until one of their bosses visited the floor and found him. By then, of course, it was too late.

"Someone needs to be held accountable," says Morales's lawyer, Javier Solano, a former Brooklyn prosecutor. "Based on his history and the fact that this kid, at age 17, was accused of a horrific crime, there certainly should have been much more supervision. I don't understand how he was able to do it in that setting."

The suicide in the Robert N. Davoren Center— occurring in the very place where inmate safety is supposed to be the highest priority—raises new questions about security issues at the jails under Horn's supervision, which the Voice has been reporting on for several months.

While conditions in the jails are certainly better than they were at the height of the crack epidemic, documents and interviews have revealed that violence is still a problem in the system. A series of Voice stories, for example, disclosed a spate of cases of correction officers using inmates as enforcers.

Correction Department spokesman Steve Morello declined to comment on the suicide, pending the results of several investigations.

The city Health Department, which is supposed to oversee the jails' for-profit medical and mental-health contractor, Prison Health Services, also declined to comment, citing federal and state patient-confidentiality laws.

MUCH More -Pages 2+ +

village voice > news > A Short Life Ends on Rikers Island, in a Place Where Suicide Isn't Supposed to Happen by Graham Rayman

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Surviving the Narcissist

As most of my readers know, personality disorders interest me to no end.

I can't quite get enough information, the more I read the clearer things become.

I'd like to share this story below.

Check out the highlighted part where the author speaks about the invasion of the body snatchers.

Later in the article the author speaks about Stockholm syndrome. Before I reached the Stockholm Syndrome part I couldn't help but think..

I HAVE TO BLOG THIS- It so CLEARLY explains the how and why of alienated children's behaviour.

So without further delay...

Surviving the Narcissist


Is there a point in waiting for the narcissist to heal? Can it ever be better?


Rescue Fantasies

"It is true that he is a chauvinistic narcissist with repulsive behaviours. But all he needs is a little love and he will be straightened out. I will rescue him from his misery and misfortune. I will give him the love that he lacked as a kid. Then his narcissism will vanish and we will live happily ever after."

Loving a Narcissist

I believe in the possibility of loving narcissists if one accepts them unconditionally, in a disillusioned and expectation-free manner.

Narcissists are narcissists. Take them or leave them. Some of them are lovable. Most of them are highly charming and intelligent. The source of the misery of the victims of the narcissist is their disappointment, their disillusionment, their abrupt and tearing and tearful realisation that they fell in love with an ideal of their own making, a phantasm, an illusion, a fata morgana. This "waking up" is traumatic. The narcissist is always the same. It is the victim who changes.

It is true that narcissists present a facade in order to generate Sources of Narcissistic Supply. But this facade is easy to penetrate because it is inconsistent and too perfect. The cracks are evident from day one but often ignored. And what about all those who KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY commit their wings to the burning narcissistic candle?

This is the catch-22. To react emotionally to a narcissist is like talking atheism to an Afghan fundamentalist. Narcissists have emotions, very strong ones, so terrifyingly strong and negative that they hide them, repress, block and transmute them. They employ a myriad of defence mechanisms: projective identification, splitting, projection, intellectualisation, rationalisation. Any effort to emotionally relate to a narcissist is doomed to failure, alienation and rage. Any attempt to "understand" (in retrospect or prospectively) narcissistic behaviour patterns, reactions, his inner world in emotional terms – is equally hopeless. Narcissists should be regarded as a force of nature or an accident.

There is no master-plot or mega-plan to deprive anyone of happiness. Being born to narcissistic parents, for instance, is not the result of a conspiracy. It is a tragic event, for sure. But it cannot be dealt with emotionally, without professional help, or haphazardly. Stay away from narcissists, or face them aided by your own self-discovery through therapy. It can be done. As opposed to narcissists, the prognosis for the victims of narcissists is fairly bright.

Narcissists have no interest in emotional or even intellectual stimulation by significant others. Such stimulation is perceived as a threat. Significant others in the narcissist's life have very clear roles: accumulation and dispensation of past Primary Narcissistic Supply in order to regulate current Narcissistic Supply. Nothing less but definitely nothing more. Proximity and intimacy breed contempt for reasons that I mentioned earlier. A process of devaluation is in full operation throughout the life of the relationship.

A passive witness to the narcissist's past accomplishments, a dispenser of accumulated Narcissistic Supply, a punching bag for his rages, a co-dependent, a possession (though not prized but taken for granted) and nothing much more. This is the ungrateful, FULL TIME, draining job of being the narcissist's significant other.

But humans are not instruments. To regard them as such is to devalue them, to reduce them, to restrict them, to prevent them from realising their potential. Inevitably, narcissists lose interest in their instruments, these truncated versions of full-fledged humans, once they cease to serve them in their pursuit of glory and fame.

Consider "friendship" with a narcissist as an example of such thwarted relationships. One cannot really get to know a narcissist "friend". One cannot be friends with a narcissist and ESPECIALLY – one cannot love a narcissist. Narcissists are addicts. They are no different to drug addicts. They are in pursuit of gratification through the drug known as Narcissistic Supply. Everything and EVERYONE around them is an object, a potential source (to be idealised) or not (and, then to be cruelly discarded).

Narcissists home in on potential suppliers like cruise missiles. They are excellent at imitating emotions, exhibiting the right timely behaviours and at manipulating.

All generalisations are false, of course, and there are bound to be some happy relationships with narcissists. I discuss the narcissistic couple in
one of my FAQs. One example of a happy marriage is when the narcissist teams up with another narcissist of a different kind (somatic with cerebral or the reverse). Narcissists can be happily married to submissive, subservient, self-deprecating, echoing, mirroring and indiscriminately supportive spouses. They also do well with masochists. But it is difficult to imagine that a healthy, normal person would be happy in such a folies-a-deux ("madness in twosome").

It is also difficult to imagine a benign and sustained influence on the narcissist of a stable, healthy mate/spouse/partner. One of my FAQs is dedicated to this issue (
"The Narcissist's Spouse / Mate / Partner").

BUT many a spouse/friend/mate/partner like to BELIEVE that Рgiven sufficient time and patience Рthey will be the ones to release the narcissist from his wrenching bondage. They think that they can "rescue" the narcissist, shield him from his (distorted) self, as it were. The narcissist makes use of this naivet̩ and exploits it to his benefit. The natural protective mechanisms, which are provoked in normal people by love Рare cold bloodedly used by the narcissist to extract yet more Narcissistic Supply from his writhing victim.

The narcissist affects his victims by infiltrating their psyche, by penetrating their defences. Like a virus, it establishes a new genetic strain within his/her victims. It echoes through them, it talks through them, it walks through them. It is like the invasion of the body snatchers.

You should be careful to separate your self from the narcissist inside you, this alien growth, this spiritual cancer that is the result of living with a narcissist. You should be able to tell apart your real you and the YOU assigned to you by the narcissist. To cope with him/her, the narcissist forces you to "walk on eggshells" and develop a False Self of your own. It is nothing as elaborate as his False Self – but it is there, in you, as a result of the trauma and abuse inflicted upon you by the narcissist.

Thus, perhaps we should invent VoNPD, another mental health category – Victims of NPD. They experience shame and anger for their past helplessness and submissiveness. They are hurt and sensitised by the harrowing experience of sharing a simulated existence with a simulated person, the narcissist. They are scarred and often suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Some of them lash out at others, offsetting their frustration with bitter aggression (a classic mechanism).

Like his disorder, the narcissist is all-pervasive. Being the victim of a narcissist is a condition no less pernicious than being a narcissist. Great efforts are required to abandon a narcissist and physical separation is only the first (and less consequential) step. One can abandon a narcissist – but the narcissist is slow to abandon its victims. It is there, lurking, rendering existence unreal, twisting and distorting with no respite, an inner, remorseless voice, lacking in compassion and empathy for its victim. The narcissist is there in spirit long after it has vanished in the flesh. This is the real danger that the victims of the narcissist face: that they become like him, bitter, self-centred, lacking in empathy. This is the last bow of the narcissist, his curtain call, by proxy as it were.

Narcissistic Tactics

The narcissist tends to surround himself with his inferiors (in some respect: intellectually, financially, physically). He limits his interactions with them to the plane of his superiority. This is the safest and fastest way to sustain his grandiose fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience, brilliance, ideal traits, perfection and so on.

Humans are interchangeable and the narcissist anyhow does not distinguish one individual from another. To him they are all inanimate elements of "his audience" whose job is to reflect his False Self. This generates a perpetual and permanent cognitive dissonance:

The narcissist despises the very people who sustain his Ego boundaries and functions. He cannot respect people so expressly and clearly inferior to him – yet he can never associate with people evidently on his level or superior to him, the risk of narcissistic injury in such associations being too great. Equipped with a fragile Ego, precariously teetering on the brink of narcissistic injury – the narcissist prefers the safe route. But he feels contempt for himself and for others for having preferred it.

Some NPDs are ALSO Antisocial PDs (AsPDs) and/or sadists. Antisocials don't really ENJOY hurting others – they simply don't care one way or the other. But sadists do enjoy it.

"Pure" NPDs do not enjoy hurting others – but they do enjoy the sensation of unlimited power and the validation of their grandiose fantasies when they hurt others or are in the position to do so. It is more the POTENTIAL to hurt others than the actual act that turns them on.

The Neverending Story

Even the official termination of a relationship with a narcissist is not the end of the affair. The Ex "belongs" to the narcissist. She is an inseparable part of his Pathological Narcissistic Space. This possessive streak is not terminated with the physical separation. Thus, the narcissist is likely to respond with rage, seething envy, a sense of humiliation and invasion and violent-aggressive urges to an ex's new boyfriend, or new job (to her new life without him). Especially since it implies a "failure" on his part and, thus negates his grandiosity.

But there is a second scenario:

If the narcissist were to firmly believe (which is very rare) that the ex does not and will never represent any amount, however marginal and residual, of any kind (primary or secondary) of Narcissistic Supply – he would remain utterly unmoved by anything she does and anyone she may choose to be with.

Narcissists do feel bad about hurting others and about the unsavoury course their lives tend to assume. Their ego-dystony (=feeling bad about themselves) was only recently discovered and described. But my suspicion is that a narcissist feels bad only when his Supply Sources are threatened because of his behaviour or following a narcissistic injury (such as a major life crisis: divorce, bankruptcy, etc.).

The narcissist equates emotions with weakness. He regards the sentimental and the emotional with contempt. He looks down on the sensitive and the vulnerable. He derides and despises the dependent and the loving. He mocks expressions of compassion and passion. He is devoid of empathy. He is so afraid of his True Self that he would rather disparage it than admit to his own faults and "soft spots".

He likes to talk about himself in mechanical terms ("machine", "efficient", "punctual", "output", "computer").

He suppresses his human side diligently and with a dedication derived from his drive to survive. To him it is impossible to be both human and to survive. He must choose and his choice is clear. The narcissist never looks back, unless and until forced to by life circumstances.

ALL narcissists fear intimacy. But the cerebral narcissist deploys strong defences against it: "scientific detachment" (the narcissist as the eternal observer), intellectualising and rationalising his emotions away, intellectual cruelty (see my
FAQ regarding inappropriate affect), intellectual "annexation" (regarding the other person as the narcissist's extension or territory), objectifying the other and so on. Even emotions that are expressed (pathological envy, neurotic or other rage, etc.) have the not totally unintended effect of alienating rather than creating intimacy.
Abandoning the Narcissist.

The narcissist INITIATES his own abandonment BECAUSE of his fear of it. He is so afraid of losing his sources (and of unconsciously being emotionally hurt) – that he would rather "control", "master", or "direct" the potentially destabilising situation – than confront its effects if initiated by the significant other. Remember: the personality of the narcissist has a low level of organization. It is precariously balanced.

Being abandoned could cause a narcissistic injury so grave that the whole edifice can come crumbling down. Narcissists usually entertain suicidal ideation in such cases. BUT, if the narcissist initiated and directed his abandonment, if the abandonment is perceived by him to be a goal HE set to himself to achieve – he can and does avoid all these untoward consequences. (See the section about Emotional Involvement Prevention Mechanisms in the

The Dynamics of the Relationship

The narcissist lives in a fantasised world of ideal beauty, incomparable (imaginary) achievements, wealth, brilliance and unmitigated success. The narcissist denies his reality constantly. This is what I call the Grandiosity Gap – the abyss between his sense of entitlement and his inflated grandiose fantasies – and his incommensurate reality and achievements.

The narcissist's partner is perceived by him to be a Source of Narcissistic Supply, an instrument, an extension of himself. It is inconceivable that – blessed by the constant presence of the narcissist – such a tool would malfunction. The needs and grievances of the partner are perceived by the narcissist as THREATS and INSULTS. He considers his very existence in the relationship as sufficiently nourishing and sustaining. He feels entitled to the best others can offer without investing in maintaining relationships or in catering to the well-being of his "suppliers". To rid himself of deep-set feelings of (rather justified) guilt and shame – he pathologises the partner. He projects sickness unto her. Through the intricate mechanism of projective identification he forces her to play an emergent role of "the sick" or "the weak" or "the naive" or "the dumb" or "the no good". What he denies in himself, what he is terrified of facing in his own personality – he attributes to others and moulds them to conform to his prejudices against himself.

The narcissist MUST have THE best, the MOST glamorous, stunning, talented, head turning, mind-boggling spouse in the WORLD. Nothing short of this fantasy will do. To compensate for the shortcomings of his real life spouse – he invents an idealised figure and relates to it instead. Then, when reality conflicts too often and too evidently with the ideal figure – he reverts to devaluation. His behaviour turns on a dime and becomes threatening, demeaning, contemptuous, berating, reprimanding, destructively critical and sadistic – or cold, unloving, detached, and "clinical". He punishes his real life spouse for not living up to his standards as personified in his Galathea, in his Pygmalion, in his ideal creation. The narcissist plays a wrathful and demanding God.

Moving On

To preserve one's mental health – one must abandon the narcissist. One must move on.

Moving on is a process, not a decision or an event. First, one has to acknowledge and accept reality. It is a volcanic, shattering, agonising series of little, nibbling, thoughts and strong resistances. Once the battle is won, and harsh and painful realities are assimilated, one can move on to the learning phase.

We label. We assemble material. We gather knowledge. We compare experiences. We digest. We have insights.

Then we decide and we act. This is "to move on". Having gathered sufficient emotional sustenance, support and confidence – we face the battlefields of our relationships, fortified and nurtured. This stage characterises those who do not mourn – but fight; do not grieve – but replenish their self-esteem; do not hide – but seek; do not freeze – but move on.


After being betrayed and abused – we grieve. We grieve for the image we had of the traitor and abuser – the image that was so fleeting and so wrong. We mourn the damage he did to us. We experience the fear of never being able to love or to trust again – and we grieve this loss. In one stroke, we lost someone we trusted and even loved, we lost our trusting and loving selves and we lost the trust and love that we felt. Can anything be worse?

The emotional process of grieving is multiphased. At first, we are dumbfounded, shocked, inert, immobile. We play dead to avoid our inner monsters. We are ossified in our pain, cast in the mould of our reticence and fears. Then we feel enraged, indignant, rebellious and hateful. Then we accept. Then we cry. And then – some of us – learn to forgive and to pity. And this is called healing.

ALL stages are absolutely necessary and good. It is bad NOT to rage back, not to shame those who shamed us, to deny, to pretend, to evade. But it is equally bad to get fixated on our rage like this forever. Permanent grieving is the perpetuation of our abuse by other means. By endlessly recreating our harrowing experiences, we unwillingly collaborate with our abuser to perpetuate his or her evil deeds. It is by moving on that we defeat our abuser, minimising him and his importance in our lives. It is by loving and by trusting anew that we annul that which was done to us. To forgive is never to forget. But to remember is not necessarily to re-live.

Forgiving and Forgetting

Forgiving is an important capability. It does more for the forgiver than for the forgiven. But, to my mind, it should not be a universal, indiscriminate behaviour. I think it is legitimate not to forgive sometimes. It depends, of course, on the severity or duration of what was done to you. In general, it is unwise and counter-productive, in my view, to establish "universal" and "immutable" principles in life. Life is too chaotic to succumb to rigid principles. Sentences, which start with "I never" are either not very credible or, worse, they lead to self-defeating, self-restricting and self-destructive behaviours.

Conflicts are an important and integral part of life. One should never seek them out willingly – but when confronted with a conflict, one should not avoid it. It is through conflicts and adversity as much as through care and love that we grow.

Human relationships are dynamic. We must assess our friendships, partnerships, even marriages periodically. The past is insufficient in itself to sustain a healthy, nourishing, supportive, caring and compassionate relationship. It is a pre-condition, perhaps a necessary one – but not a sufficient one. We must gain and regain our friendships on a daily basis. Human relationships are a constant test of allegiance and empathy.

Remaining Friends with the Narcissist

But can't we act civilised and remain on friendly terms with our narcissist ex? Never forget that narcissists (full fledged ones) are nice to others when:

They want something – Narcissistic Supply, help, support, votes, money… They prepare the ground, manipulate you and then come out with the "small favour" they need or ask you blatantly or surreptitiously for Narcissistic Supply ("What did you think about my performance…", "Do you think that I really deserve the Nobel Prize?").

They feel threatened and they want to neuter the threat by smothering it with oozing pleasantries.

They have just been infused with an overdose of Narcissistic Supply and they feel magnanimous and magnificent and ideal and perfect. To show magnanimity is a way of flaunting one's impeccable divine credentials. It is an act of grandiosity. You are an irrelevant prop in this spectacle, a mere receptacle of the narcissist's overflowing, self-contented infatuation with his False Self.

This beneficence is transient. Perpetual victims often tend to "thank God for little graces" (God being the narcissist). This is the Stockholm syndrome: hostages tend to emotionally identify with their captors rather than with the police. We are grateful to our abusers and tormentors for ceasing their hideous activities and letting us breathe for a while.

Some people say that they prefer to live with narcissists, to cater to their needs and to succumb to their whims because this is the way they have been conditioned in early childhood. It is only with narcissists that they feel alive, stimulated and excited. The world glows in Technicolor in the presence of a narcissist and decays to sepia colours in his absence.

I see nothing inherently "wrong" with that. The test is this: if a person were to constantly humiliate and abuse you verbally using Archaic Chinese – would you have felt humiliated and abused? Probably not. Some people have been conditioned by the narcissistic Primary Objects in their lives (parents or caregivers) to treat narcissistic abuse as Archaic Chinese, to turn a deaf ear. This technique is effective in that it allows the inverted narcissist (the narcissist's willing mate) to experience only the good aspects of living with a narcissist: his sparkling intelligence, the constant drama and excitement, the lack of intimacy and emotional attachment (some people prefer this). Every now and then the narcissist breaks into abuse in Archaic Chinese, so what, who understands Archaic Chinese anyway?

I have only one nagging doubt, though:

If the relationship with a narcissist is so rewarding, why are inverted narcissists so unhappy, so ego-dystonic, so in need of help (professional or otherwise)? Aren't they victims who simply experience the Stockholm syndrome (=identifying with the kidnapper rather than with the Police)?

Narcissists and Abandonment

Narcissists are terrified of being abandoned exactly as codependents and borderlines are.


Their solution is different.

Codependents cling. Borderlines are emotionally labile and react disastrously to the faintest hint of being abandoned.

Narcissists FACILITATE the abandonment. They MAKE SURE that they are abandoned.

This way they achieve two goals:

Getting it over with – The narcissist has a very low threshold of tolerance to uncertainty and inconvenience, emotional or material. Narcissists are very impatient and "spoiled". They cannot delay gratification OR impending doom. They must have it all NOW, good or bad.

By bringing the feared abandonment about, the narcissist can lie to himself persuasively. "She didn't abandon me, it is I who abandoned her. I controlled the situation. It was all my doing, so I was really not abandoned, was I now?" In time, the narcissist adopts this "official version" as the truth. He might say: "I deserted her emotionally and sexually long before she left."

This is one of the important Emotional Involvement Prevention Mechanisms (EIPM) that I write about extensively in the

Why the Failing Relationships?

Narcissists HATE happiness and joy and ebullience and vivaciousness – in short, they hate life itself.

The roots of this bizarre propensity can be traced to a few psychological dynamics, which operate concurrently (it is very confusing to be a narcissist).

First, there is pathological envy.

The narcissist is constantly envious of other people: their successes, their property, their character, their education, their children, their ideas, the fact that they can feel, their good mood, their past, their future, their present, their spouses, their mistresses or lovers, their location…

Almost ANYTHING can be the trigger of a bout of biting, acidulous envy. But there is nothing, which reminds the narcissist more of the totality of his envious experiences than happiness. Narcissists lash out at happy people out of their own deprivation.

Then there is narcissistic hurt.

The narcissist regards himself as the centre of the world and of the lives of people around him. He is the source of all emotions, responsible for all developments, positive and negative alike, the axis, the prime cause, the only cause, the mover, the shaker, the broker, the pillar, forever indispensable. It is therefore a bitter and sharp rebuke to this grandiose fantasy to see someone else happy. It confronts the narcissist with a reality outside the realm of his fantasies. It painfully serves to illustrate to him that he is but one of many causes, phenomena, triggers and catalysts. That there are things happening outside the orbit of his control or initiative.

The narcissist uses projective identification. He feels bad through other people, his proxies. He induces unhappiness and gloom in others to enable him to experience his own misery. Inevitably, he attributes the source of such sadness either to himself, as its cause – or to the "pathology" of the sad person.

"You are constantly depressed, you should really see a therapist" is a common sentence.

The narcissist – in an effort to maintain the depressive state until it serves some cathartic purposes – strives to perpetuate it by sowing constant reminders of its existence. "You look sad/bad/pale today. Is anything wrong? Can I help you? Things haven't been going so well lately?"

Last but not least is the exaggerated fear of losing control.

The narcissist feels that he controls his human environment mostly by manipulation and mainly by emotional extortion and distortion. This is not far from reality. He suppresses any sign of emotional autonomy. He feels threatened and belittled by an emotion not fostered by him or by his actions directly or indirectly. Counteracting someone else's happiness is the narcissist's way of reminding everyone: I am here, I am omnipotent, you are at my mercy and you will feel happy only when I tell you to.

Living with a Narcissist

You cannot change people, not in the real, profound, deep sense. You can only adapt to them and adapt them to you. If you do find your narcissist rewarding at times – you should do two things, in my opinion:

Determine your limits and boundaries. How much and in which ways can you adapt to him (i.e., accept him AS HE IS) AND to which extent and in which ways would you like him to adapt to you (i.e., accept you as you are). Act accordingly. Accept what you have decided to accept and reject the rest.
Change in you what you are willing and able to change – and ignore the rest.
It is sort of an unwritten contract of co-existence (could be written if you are more formally inclined).

Try to maximise the number of times that "…his walls are down", that you "…find him totally fascinating and everything I desire". What makes him be and behave this way? Is it something that YOU say or do? Is it preceded by events of a specific nature? Is there anything you can do to make him behave this way more often?

Remember, though:

Sometimes we mistake guilt and self-assumed blame for love.

Committing suicide for someone else's sake is not love.

Sacrificing yourself for someone else is not love.

It is domination.

You control your narcissist by giving, as much as he controls you through his pathology.

Your generosity prevents him from facing his True Self and thus healing.

But this you must remember as well:

It is impossible to have a relationship with a narcissist that is meaningful to the narcissist.

It is, of course, possible to have a relationship with a narcissist that is meaningful to you
FAQ 66).

You modify your behaviour in order to secure the narcissist's continuing love, not in order to be abandoned.

This is the root of the perniciousness of this phenomenon:

The narcissist IS a meaningful, crucially significant figure ("object") in the inverted narcissist's life.

This is the narcissist's leverage over the inverted narcissist. And since the inverted narcissist is usually very young when making the adaptation to the narcissist – it all boils down to fear of abandonment and death in the absence of care and sustenance.

I don't think that the inverted narcissist's accommodation of the narcissist is as much a wish to gratify one's narcissist (parent) – as the sheer terror of forever withholding gratification from one's self.

The Need to be Hopeful

I understand the need to be hopeful.

There are gradations of narcissism. In all my writings, I am referring to the extreme and ultimate form of narcissism, the NPD. People with narcissistic traits or a narcissistic style have hope.

We often confuse shame with guilt.

Narcissists feel shameful when confronted with a failure. They feel (narcissistically) injured. Their omnipotence is threatened, their sense of perfection and uniqueness is questioned. They are enraged, engulfed by self-reprimand, self-loathing and internalised violent urges.

The narcissist punishes himself for failing to be God – not for the maltreatment of others.

The narcissist makes an effort to communicate his pain and shame in order to elicit the Narcissistic Supply needed to restore and regulate his failing sense of self-worth. In doing so, the narcissist resorts to the human vocabulary of empathy. The narcissist will say anything to obtain Narcissistic Supply. It is a manipulative ploy – not a confession of real emotions or an authentic description of internal dynamics.

Yes, the narcissist is a child – but a very precocious and young one.

Yes, he can tell right from wrong – but is indifferent to both.

Yes, it is a process of "re-parenting" (what Kohut called a "self-object") that is required, of growth, of maturation. In the best of cases, it takes years and the prognosis is dismal.

Yes, some narcissists make it. And their mates or spouses or children or colleagues or lovers rejoice.

But is the fact that people survive tornadoes – a reason to go out and seek one?

The narcissist is very much attracted to vulnerability, to unstable or disordered personalities or to his inferiors. Such people constitute secure Sources of Narcissistic Supply. The inferior offer adulation. The mentally disturbed, the traumatised, the abused become dependent and addicted to him. The vulnerable can be easily and economically manipulated without fear of repercussions.

I think that "a healing narcissist" is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron (though NOT in all cases, of course).

Still, healing (not only of narcissists) is dependent upon and derived from a sense of security in a relationship.

The narcissist is not particularly interested in healing. He tries to optimise his returns, taking into consideration the scarcity and finiteness of his resources. Healing, to him, is simply a bad business proposition.

In the narcissist's world being accepted or cared for (not to mention loved) is a foreign language.

That is: meaningless.

One might recite the most delicate haiku in Japanese and it would still remain meaningless to a non-Japanese.

That non-Japanese are not adept at Japanese does not diminish the value of the haiku OR of the Japanese language, needless to say.

Narcissists damage and hurt but they do so off-handedly and naturally, as an after-thought and reflexively.

They are aware of what they are doing to others – but they do not care.

Sometimes, they sadistically taunt and torment people – but they do not perceive this to be evil – merely amusing.

They feel that they are entitled to their pleasure and gratification (Narcissistic Supply is often obtained by subjugating and subsuming others).

They feel that others are less than human, mere extensions of the narcissist, or instruments to fulfil the narcissist's wishes and obey his often capricious commands.

The narcissist feels that no evil can be inflicted on machines, instruments, or extensions.

Original Article-

Surviving the Narcissist, Does The Narcissist Get Better?