WHAT A DIFFERENCE 7 MONTHS MAKES from September 2013 – Today, re: parental alienation, languishing in limbo in Family Court Nightmares:
Everybody’s Children, Nobody’s Children, My Children (September 9, 2013): Since the summer of 2010, the beginning of what became this most recent of court battles, I have sought to get help for my family, my four children, especially my two youngest children, now ages 15 and 13. For eight lone years we were forced to live our lives according to the whims of an angry man who manipulated the legal system and our own equally dsyfunctional extended families to further isolate and victimize me and my children. Utilizing chaos and conflict perpetuated the cycle of violence we live in. My children and I have had no choice but to make the best of a no-win situation and have tread new ground in unfamiliar territory, alone and afraid, bound by simple instrinct and basic human love. We have far exceeded all expectations and are no longer just a story of simple survival but of success. We successfully maintained bonds, loving bonds, albeit fragile and still smarting, and we are the epitome of “love knows no bounds”.
Eight years is a very long time to live adjusting to what is clearly an obvious pattern of legal abuse marked by the repeated court appearances and custody hearings that began in July 2005. We have had no choice but to answer to at least one, and sometimes two and three a year. In July 2005 my ex-husband filed his first emergency legal action for a legal separation and for emergency custody of our three minor children, ages ages 14, 7, and 4, who had been in my care and custody since birth. He filed this first emergency action immediately after he closed our mutual checking and savings accounts and abandoned me and the three minor children and filed it in a jurisdiction 200 miles away from where we resided. In his emergency petition he claimed that I kidnapped our the three (3) minor children against their will, holding them in an unknown location. It would be careless to omit the date that the very first hearing was set, August 29, 2005, and the impact this too would have on our future. The very morning set aside to hear and address these claims was August 29, 2005, the day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. At the exact time that Hurricane Katrina came ashore near our Long Beach home I was 200 miles away standing on some courthouse steps waiting for a hearing that would be reset due to bad weather. This was a pivotal and defining moment in my life and in my childrens lives in more ways than one. Although the blatant and outrageous lies and accusations made by my ex-husband were not given any credence and I was able to maintain the custody and care of our three children, the “inaction” by the court that day gave my ex-husband some perceived empowerment, a feeling of exemption free from accountibility, which is nothing short of a green-light to an abuser. We were intact and walked away that day but this first filed motion spoke volumes and would sit like a stone at the top of our new family book, our “file”. This prejudicial motion, full of deceit, anger, and reckless disregard opened a new chapter in our lives foretelling tragedy and disaster to come and leads us to where we are today. I didn’t know it then but a new pattern had emerged in the form “legal abuse” and my ex-husband began using money and the ill-equipped court system as his weapons of choice with which to punish me since he was no longer legally able to so as my spouse.
I can state that although I knew what was happening to us and that I was fully cognizant, horribly aware, that what we were going through was abusive, I did not fully understand how much damage this abuse could and would inflict upon me and my children nor did I have any idea that this would ever be allowed to continue as it has for so many years. I have to live with that ignorance and what it has cost us. We lost basic freedoms and rights yet we have managed not only to survive but to somehow thrive despite the impossible circumstances. I am proud of them and proud of the example I have set for them.
Not only do all of my children have years of emotional damage in which to cope with and heal from, they have only very recently been allowed the chance in which to try begin the painful process. They also carry the added pain and scars from years of suffering in plain sight. The entire community around them failed them because it has not yet recognized, identified, or even acknowledged what exactly “It” is. This has only intensified their pain and sense of worthlessness, further isolating and violating them. They have had to cope with the constant rejection and abandonment by the similarly dysfunctional extended families of origin of both of their parents … how could they possibly avoid feeling worthless and unimportant? No one will ever really know how much damage all of this rejection and perceived apathy has done to them. It is certainly understandable that most communitiy leaders, neighbors, and friends assume extended families, if there are any, will step up and in to help if there are valid emergencies. Sadly, that is not always the case. These days that is a very dangerous assumption to make. There are no villages anymore.
My children have been completely “invisible” in plain sight and as their mother I can’t rest until they are noticed. Because I myself failed to comprehend, accept, and define what was happening to us there was no possible way to explain it to others, let alone ask for help. I carry the full weight of knowing I have been the biggest failure of all to my children and I carry this with me like the weight of the world on my shoulders every day. There are so many caring people who have looked on helplessly, uncertain how to help. My children have completely lost their childhoods and I have completely lost these years in which to mother and nurture them. I wish very much to make this the time for change, the beginning of the end of this destruction. Maybe, in the process, we can shed some light and knowledge on this terrible human atrocity. Families are being destroyed in similar fashion every day in every community in our civilized society. If left unchecked it will undoubtedly catch up to each and every family in one way or another. Maybe we can avoid further unnecessary and senseless suffering and loss. Maybe we can help other “invisible” children and parents before they become so tested and broken. This is a senseless shame invading our homes, tearing families apart and dividing communities. It steals childhoods, and robs memories, and leaves everlasting scars.
Would you please help me with this, for my family and for yours?
Bobbie Hardin Giurintano