2005-05-23 - 8:37 a.m.
ONe other update of significance:
Through this whole legal battle thus far, my attorney advised me that if Westely would be involved then the court could see who he REALLY is and couldn't demonize him by only exaggerating his very real issues and ignoring all his strengths.
He had refused to be involved for two key reasons in his mind :
1. He said from the get go "They don't have jurisdiction! I refuse to acknowledge they have the right to this case in any way."
AS I realize that since WESTLEY himself has expressly refused involvement he ironically may have heled me MORE THAN ANY OTHER WAY as that refusal means THE COURT CAN NOT CALL A KEY WITNESS and therefore if I INSIST I believe jurisdication would HAVE TO BE MOVED so that he could indeed be called to testify!!
He was TOTALLY comfortable with scrutiny in the LOUDOUN COURTS ! /he said "They also know VA law and will apply it as oppossed to this crap of thining they are above the law."
HE's right! Although if the kids WANT to be with their Dad the outcome in the LOUDOUN court could end up awarding that, they certainly would not be basing custody on IMAGINED things that are not reality, or on EVENTS of FIVE YEARS AGO.... or based on FEAR of not knowing what the fact are and what happened AS THEY HAVE ALL THE FACTS! The whole pompus attitude of the NY court and everyone involved seems to me also to be that they don't WANT to give up jurisdiction as they feel like they are so much more enlightened than VA and they assume that in VA there is that draconian common law code that just ALLOWS spousal and child abuse! WHile I acknowledge there are indeed significant differences is laws.... believe me, the VA folk are NO LESS SERIOUS about NOT TOLERATING ABUSE.
Laws aside... they know how to hold people accoutable! Believe me they do!
Westley has indeed been held accountable for his actions. He indeed has gotten a clear message. And indeed he is an adult, which moreso than anything else is the part the NY court fails to acknowledge. They really have been acting like he is my child I should be able to will to do what I want! (YEt at the same time they have trouble with controlling authoritarian parenting!) ITs so amazingly contradictory! Because he asserts he is an individual who is not party to the case and who refuses to acknowledge their right to even assess facts of events in VA: They look at me like I AM AN UNFIT PARENT because I CAN't FORCE WESTLEY TO SHOW UP FOR FULL PSYCOLOGICAL TESTING???
That really amazes me.
What also is weird is that in the PSycologist's eval of me she attributed some of WESTLEY's character flaws to me! AMAZINGLY--- it is SO CLEAR TO ME THAT THIS WAS OUT OF LINE AS there is no way my questions or interactions about ME reflected some of the things she attributed to ME (LIKE INFLEXIBLE, RIGID, PERFECTIONIST WHO IS DEMANDING OF OTHERS AND NOT ACCEPTING OF OTHER'S FLAWS)
Then there is the part where my attorney (who can't share the report with me but only summary regarding me only) said there was a transcript of the session of KAterina and I. In that session Katerina told me FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, that WESTLEY once slapped her in the face after she lied about something.
I got very upset about this and it made me cry to hear her tell of this. I asked "WHY DIDN't you TELL ME?"
and when I asked when it happened, and where was I KAterina could only confusedly say "I DOn't know. I don't want to talk about it anymore." SHe said she was angry at the time, and I told her I would have been too - I empathized with her, I said I was sorry that had happened and I hugged her and I affirmed NO ONE SHOULD EVER hit you for any reason. THAT IS ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR."
When my attorney read that to me I was just livid!!
I told her maybe I said "I never saw signs" but I didn't recall saying that and I wondered WHERE THE HELL THAT CAME FROM ( I WOULD HAVE NEVER UTTERED A COMMENT SUCH AS " I NEVER SAW SIGNS" TO KATERINA implying a lack of trust at what she was telling me! I WOULD NEVER ACT LIKE I DON"T TRUST WHAT SHE TELLS ME! EVEN IF THAT WERE THE CASE-- I WILL NEVER ACCUSE HER OF LYING UNLESS I HAVE EVIDENCE AND KNOW OTHERWISE FEW THINGS ARE AS HURTFUL AS WHEN SOMEONE DOESN"T TRUST YOU AND YOU ARE BEING HONEST!!)
MYBE THAT'S WHERE HERE OUT OF CONTEXT NOTE CAME IN MAYBE SHE INCORPORTATED SOMETHING I DID SAY OUT OF THE EXACT CONTEXT AND IN RELATION TO THE WRONG REFERENT!
I suppose that could have been a mistake on her part, and not manipuation or some error of her hearing what she EXPECTED to hear...
Anyway in writing I realize I DID indicate I saw signs of Westley reverting to the behaviour of his parents. obviously his refusal to go back to counseling or anger management as I askedlast July) as I wanted him to do was what I see as a factor in him then going overboard with discipline.WAIT THATS INCORRECTLY STATED its not like him NOT getting the help in the manner I ASKED was a FACTOR RATHER A FACTOR WAS THAT HE HAS INDEED A PROBLEM WITH ANGER and HE didn't deal with it in SOME effective manner, and indeed he may not even realize it but HE SURE DID TAKE OUT HIS ANGER ON ALL THE KIDS AND ON ME AT TIMES! I also then think that I indeed responded appropriately and proactively when I WAS AWARE of this probem and choose to SEEK HELP, BE VOCAL TO EVERYONE: WESTLEY HIMSELF, FRIENDS, FAMILY, NEIGHBORS, THE COMMUNNITY HECK EVEN THOSE WHO COULD BE VIEWED IN SOME WAY AS ANTAGONISTIC AND NOT MY FRIENDS! (LIKE THE KIDS DAD AND GRANDMOM!!)
NOW IF THERE WAS A 2nd incident that just came to my attention YES THAT IS A CONCERN but the fact I DID SEEK HELP in the strongest manner possible at the SAME TIME FRAME that and the other incident I WAS AWARE OF seems to me to be missed in all this.
There is this assumption that the strongest and ONLY way to seek help in such situations is to leave. That's the bottom line for the NY COURT.
THey punish me because although the only people I AM IN CONTROL OF are myself and yes MY CHILDREN- THEY DISAGREE with the actions I TOOK and think they have the ONLY answer. THEY THINK THE ONLY WAY TO EVER DEAL WITH ABUSE IS TO LEAVE.
I THINK THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE when there is NO EVIDENCE otherwise. IN this case however there is indeed alot of evidence contrary to that being the only possible viable solution to a problem.
IN SHORT I think the court REFUSES to accept and acknowledge that marriage and family systems counseling has any validity.
They see the resources we used like IMAGO therapy as a method of AVOIDING the real issue of violence. THEY SEE it as a DISTRACTION they don't UNDERSTAND it. NO one in Buffalo practices IMAGO and all they really cared about was whether WESTELY attended the more traditional court ordered anger management programs. They fail to acknowledge that those are COURT ORDERED most often for those with CRIMINAL CASES and HE HASN't A CRIMINAL CASE! REGARDLESS Westley happens to have gone to anger management anyway AND ALTHOUGH he has attested to me that he thought it would be worthless he in fact has made behaviour changes after attending!
BUT I ALSO GET THE BIGGER PICTURE
THAT YOU ARE TREATED THE WAY YOU ALLOW SOMEONE TO TREAT YOU
That's not to say I HAVE THE POWER TO CONTROL OR CHANGE WESTELY OF ANYONE ELSE That's not it... but I HAVE THE POWER TO DEMAND VIOLENCE NOT BE ACCEPTED IN MY HOME OR RELATIONSHIPS
AND I HAVE THE POWER AND WISDOM TO MAKE SOUND CHOICES
I USED THE POWER TO CALL THE POLICE
AND I BELIEVE ALSO IN THE POWER OF LOVE AND FORGIVENESS AND THE ABILITY TO GROW AND CHANGE
BECAUSE ONE WANTS TO THEMSELF.
AND YES I HAVE THE POWER TO LEAVE
I DID THAT BEFORE, and I WILL DO IT AGAIN if all other avenues have not proven to be effective! BUT I HAVE OTHER CHOICES NOT ALL WOMEN HAVE AVAILABLE TO THEM NOT ALL WOMEN HAVE THE SUPPORT TO SAFELY STAY NOT ALL WOMEN FEEL THEY HAVE THE SUPPORT TO SAFELY LEAVE
SOME WOMEN LIVE IN FEAR
I DON'T IF I WERE IN A STATE OF FEAR I WOULDN'T CHOOSE TO STAY
BUT AS THE ONE SOCIAL WORKER SAID "WHAT FAMILY ISN'T"
I really think in the end maybe I AM JUST MORE HONEST THAN MOST PEOPLE
ANd that is something that makes people VERY uncomfortable as they find it REALLY hard to swallow.
I JUST VERY RATIONALLY, AND SOUNDLY HAVE MADE THE CHOICE TO STAY
AND because of the fact MOST PEOPLE LIE in these proceedings, there is an assumption that I have OBVISCATED such horrible, dangerous abuse and that my decisions are neither RATIONAL or SOUND.
It seems odd to me though, and maybe this IS A KIND OF ARROGANCE, but I said in response to the list of negatives about me to my attorney "WOW- THE PSYCOLOGIST, ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE just REALLY HAS A HARD TIME WITH GENUINE Positive self esteem and OPTIMISM!!"
CAn one REALLY Be a POSITVE HAPPY WELL ADJUSTED HONEST PERSON TO A FAULT??
I WOULD HAVE SAID A RESOUNDING NOO!!! A YEAR AGO. NOW I SAY YESS!!! BECAUSE WHEN YOU ARE THOSE THINGS THERE IS A CERTAIN NAIVITY ABOUT THE ACTUAL NEGATIVITY OF THE WORLD. THERE IS A NAIVITY IN THINKING NO ONE WOULD EVERY DOUBT YOUR CRDIBILITY. THERE IS A NAIVITY IN ACTUAL INNOCENCE.
AND I GUESS AT SOME LEVELS I have to admit I have been naive.
BUT STILL overall, I think this a better way to be than shrewd and guarded and JADED.
So in the end, no matter what happens- I am glad that admist it all, I STILL WILL WAKE UP HAPPY !! YES HAPPY And HOPEFUL and OPTIMISTIC and feeling like I and the world and those around me -- even in their imperfection, even in all their flaws, are truly WORTHY of love! Worthy of investing myself in! There are things to be EXCITED about every day! THere are things wonderous and magical and I am glad I awake and at least once a day think of something that gives me a sense of AWE and WONDER.
And through it all- even if it is considered arrogance, I have the sureness of knowing who I am, comfort in my place in his world, and happiness in my choices. Yet I will also have to deal with thea saddness of not only accepting the flaws of Westley and the horrible issue of violence we have had to face- the horrible affect of ANGER that has so adversely affected our lives, but now I TOO feel anger like never before. I think the one thing that provokes the greatest anger is when someone is wrongly accused of something! That really is the thing that I think is damaging: when someone attacks a person's integrity and sense of self worth. I think it sad that the act of attempting to protect my children has been taken in the attitude that I have blinders on and am ignoring problems and in sohrt that I am not an effective parent. This is an insult to my core of who I am! So I now understand anger like never before. When my children were taken from me I understood what it felt like to be victimized like never before. For me, it is so clear even when someone gets violent with me, that it is THERE issue, that they are not really ATTACKING ME but their STUFF from their past is surfacing as some button was pushed and they don't know how to appropriately handle THEIR anger and issues so its been inappropriately lashed out at me. THat is at one level MUCH EASIER to understand and forgive and work with as its clear some things can be done by me to change some things and that those things that can't be changed by me are not MY ISSUE. So its relatively easy to deal with and move forward. BUT THIS is harder to swallow. EVEN when I UNDERSTAND the issues of the kids and their DAD, even when I understand their desires, their fears, their motivation, and even when I understand the policy and the perspective of the court who HAVE to in a sense ASSUME I fall into the typical mokd and who look at abuse cycles and repetition of abusive behaviour over and over and they SEE the worst outcoome-- even though I can INTELLECTUALIZE all these factors and understand them, FOR ME- IF I LOSE PARENTAL RIGHTS OF MY CHILDREN, it REALLY WILL be hard to justify and understand in the end HOW the PROFESSIONALS who DID their assessments could have that outcome WITHOUT TAKING IT PERSONALLY! IT really would be hard to NOT BE ANGRY because I FEEL LIKE IT IS UNJUST! This is the anger I have felt more intense than before.I've been angry before. I have gone through a lot of SHIT from my EX I have felt betrayal, I have felt anger of others at me, I have been scapegoated, I have been let down, I have been hurt, I have felt SAD Thorough all that. I felt angry about some of it. BUT THIS ANGER REALLY IS DIFFERENT I have had to argue with the City of Buffalo Schools to get a report card from my kids. They now sent flyers about school crap AFTER the fact. I now carry a different anger, one that I dob't want to become bitterness, one that I don't want to allow to cultivate and grow, Its the anger of injustice.Its that feeling of being victimized That feeling of someone attacking your worth. That feeling they ASSUME is a result of my husband which I have felt more strongly from the whole court process! That feeling that THIS PROCEEDING in and of itself is abusive to me! I used to have a bumper sticker "Si quieres pax justica" quoting a latin american bishops group- "If you want peace fight for justice" So I try to find the good in all this. I try to channel my anger into my fight with the school. I try to make the anger a productive good force that perhaps can affect change. I try not to lose energy and keep thinking that if I have standing I should uae that to push that issue for the benefit of all the other non-custodial parents that are being shut out of kids lives. But I still have that feeling that this is so blatantly unjust. And thankfully I still have balance in my life. While I try to deal with this anger in writing and in acting in productive ways, I still feel that sense of joy and am engaged in life more often than feeling attacked by it. And I know that no matter what happens, that will remain the case, that I still AM STRONG and proud and healthy, and no matter what anyone else thinks: A DAMN GOOD WIFE AND MOTHER AND PARENT WHO LOOKS OUT FOR EVERYONE'S INTERESTS IN A HEALTHY WAY and all these are worthwhile , regardless of the flaws of my family!