"Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman." – Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, from his essay "Other People's Money"
A recent article by investigative reporter, Michael Volpe, examines the targeting and harassment Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald has experienced after challenging corruption within the legal system while representing client Sandra Grazzini-Rucki. MacDonald, an attorney, has drawn attention after representing Sandra Grazzini-Rucki,fighting her case all the way up to the Supreme Court in order to demand justice. MacDonald has also included in her platform as Supreme Court Candidate that the rights of litigants need to be protected in the legal system and that systemic problems have denied justice for many.
“A Message from OMB’s President (Rebecca Davis Merritt) and Vice President (Jennifer) about Domestic Violence by Proxy: You have probably seen OMB’s informational poster about why we advocate not using the term or “theory” of Parental Alienation. We post it once a month encouraging our readers to understand that the controlling behaviors of Cluster B parents in trying to place a wedge between the children and healthy parent is Domestic Violence by Proxy. The emotional abuse of a Cluster B is domestic Violence (DV). When a Cluster B personality disordered individual enters the family court system they wage war upon the healthy parent.
They may have been absent parents never attending school, medical or dental appointments but suddenly they attend everything, preening as the doting father or mother and may push for custody. Custody is seen as a prize. The goal is to hurt the healthy primary parent and save money via child support calculations.
As part of that push they groom children to see their healthy parent as untrustworthy and self-centered (projection), with divorce or separation their fault while portraying the Cluster B parent as wounded and needing the children to shower him or her with love and affection. Children often respond to this gaslighting by siding with the abusive parent. The Cluster B parent often blames the healthy parent for his or her own actions, claiming parental alienation (PA). If the children distrust Cluster B parent based upon a history of abusive behaviors, this estrangement is labeled as PA. The healthy parent, unfortunately, is at serious risk of losing custody in family court.
Men who physically batter their former partner are much more likely to gain custody than the healthy parent. Courts have been taught that women claiming DV in family court are usually lying and using this false claim to secure custody. Even when DV claims are accepted, courts falsely believe DV only affects direct victim and that abusers can be good parents to their children. Once Cluster Bs have the children away from the healthy parent, they use manipulation and other forms of abuse to convince the children that their other parent never loved them and are untrustworthy. Alina Patterson (2003) first defined Domestic Violence by Proxy or DV Proxy. DV Proxy is a pattern of behavior where a parent with a history of using domestic violence, or intimidation uses the child (as a substitute) when s/he does not have access to the former partner. Continuing the cycle of domestic violence, the cycle of Domestic Violence by Proxy starts when the victim leaves the abuser and the abuser learns the easiest way to continue to harm and control the former partner is through controlling access to the children.
Once the abuser has control of the children they are able to continue stalking, harassing and abusing the former partner even when the abuser has no direct access. DV can manifest in ways such as threats to the children if they display a close relationship with the former partner, destroying the children’s favorite possessions given by the former partner and emotional abuse. Children are often coached to make false allegations about the parent.DV by proxy is very deliberate and planned. The abusers know what they are doing and chose their controlling, coercive, and illegal behaviors. The behaviors are usually surrounded by threats and fears and often include “battery, destruction of property, locking children in rooms to prevent them from calling parents, falsifying documents, along with other similar overt behaviors.”
As the leadership council suggests, “Calling this behavior “parental alienation” is not strong enough to convey the criminal pattern of terroristic behaviors employed by batterers.” Unlike Gardner’s discredited PAS theory, the behaviors associated with DV by proxy are visible. Gardner stated the behaviors by the “alienating parent” were unconscious or unseen. This is one of the scarier components in Gardner’s theory because you cannot defend yourself against unseen things. Many healthy parents have found themselves trying to defend themselves against these unseen behaviors.
Family court professionals often fail to understand the presence and implications of both domestic violence and Cluster B psychopathology. Thus family court usually encourages unfettered access of the children to abusers. Family court judges and lawyers often work to punish healthy parents reporting bona fide abuse. Yet, they often seem to believe the victim stories told by abusers. Court officials often seem slow to recognize how family court itself can be abusive, particularly protracted, repeated, unnecessary court hearings used by the abuser to drain the financial and emotional resources of the healthy parent. Children may be placed with the abuser while the healthy parent is discredited through accusations of mental illness or PA. Other professionals involved including GALs, evaluators, therapists, etc. often take on responsibilities that are beyond their skill level. Antisocial and or Narcissistic personality disordered parents with good impression management skills are adept at “conning people, or gaining sympathy, and can win the trust and support of a family court professional while turning that same person against their ex-partner.”
###One Mom’s Battle: Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), Custody Evaluators, therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2009, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother, (Tina Swithin), navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth. Tina’s battle spanned from 2009 – 2014 during which time she acted as her own attorney. Ultimately, Tina was successful in protecting her daughters and her family has enjoyed complete peace since October 2014 when a Family Court commissioner called her ex-husband a “sociopath” and revoked his parenting time in a final custody order.Tina Swithin: Tina Swithin’s books are available online at Amazon (print, Kindle or audio format). Each year, Tina offers life-changing weekends of camaraderie and healing at the Lemonade Power Retreat. Tina also offers one-on-one coaching services and a private, secure forum called, The Lemonade Club, for those enduring high-conflict custody battles.”https://www.onemomsbattle.com/blog/domestic-violence-by-proxy
I keep uncovering more of my ex-husband’s fraud and lies. Just when you think a person couldn’t possibly lie this much, you find more. It’s truly astounding. I can’t wrap my head around someone lying so much, committing so much blatant felony fraud – doing it all so effortlessly – to so many people.
I recently paid for a subscription to PACER, the online federal court records system. I looked up my ex’s bankruptcy, and sure enough he lied in that too. Case #: 1:15-bk-22226 He committed felony fraud with the lies that he filed in these court papers. He falsely claimed that his nearly $100k debt with divorce lawyer Meg Jackson was due to me trying to take away his visitation. He’s so good at the pity play – the poor victim act, but in fact, his debt was due to HIM aggressively re-litigating custody over and over again after it had been decided in my favor – in all he filed EIGHT petitions for Sole Custody. And it was HIM that took away completely any contact with my child.
I’m not sad that Meg Jackson (Now Mary Elizabeth) never got paid for all of her vicious legal abuse, bullying and harassment. She seemed more suited to a bar-room brawl, than a so-called dignified court of law. She lied so much for my ex-both in court and in the sleazy, schlocky crap she would file on his behalf. She clearly never verified any of his horrific, and ridiculous lies before she filed them.
Perhaps there is some justice in seeing the woman who bullied me mercilessly get stiffed. Jackson was the thug who sent me a cruel email immediately after my father’s death trying to keep me from his funeral. Perhaps she and my ex deserved each other.
He falsely claimed in his bankruptcy filing that he had been forced to pay my attorney’s fees of $22k. At no time did he ever pay my attorney’s fees-there was never such a court order entered! I WISH Judge Levinson would have followed the equal playing field laws and ordered him to pay my legal fees, then I wouldn’t have run out of money for a lawyer, and been thrown to the rabid wolves while trying to represent myself!
He also fraudulently concealed from the bankruptcy trustee his home purchase-the home where he currently resides in Hoffman Estates – by having someone else buy in his name, then as soon as the bankruptcy discharged, placing it in his own name.
It was impossible to stay ahead of his years-long, aggressive legal abuse and court stalking for three reasons:
1.) He was making over $100k per year at the time. (Of course he lied about his salary in the family court documents)
3.) He’s a lawyer kiter! He kept stiffing his lawyers – he went through six lawyers this way! Just like a check kiter, he scammed his own lawyers by kiting them, one after the other. Too bad in a place as big as Chicago, they never had the chance to meet each other to compare notes. He would hire one, pay a retainer, they would do work for him, he would stop paying, they would continue filing stuff against me while he made false promises to pay, until they got tired of working for free and withdrew, while he already had a new lawyer lined up to cycle through the same way. The biggest debt he refused to pay was his last lawyer, Meg Jackson-who now goes by “Mary Elizabeth”, and moved her law practice to Lake County. They fought each other in federal court when he illegally discharged her bill in his fraudulent bankruptcy.
I’ll never forget the day in family court when Meg Jackson filed her appearance, with his old attorney present representing the office of Jeffrey Leving, arguing to get paid. Meg Jackson was crying and whining on behalf of her new client to get the deranged, imbalanced and perpetually intoxicated Judge Alfred Levinson to sign an order forcing Jeffrey Leving’s office to release his case files they were holding – their attempt to make him pay. The easily-manipulated Judge Levinson signed the order, because corrupt Child Rep Natalie Koga wanted more $$$-making litigation, and my ex with his seemingly never-ending supply of $$$ was out for blood. This paved the way for the most vicious legal abuse of all – a fraudulent custody switch to my ex, and complete loss of contact with my son, not even allowed to send a Christmas or Birthday card, or even have supervised visitation.
The lies he told in family court were the most sleazy imaginable, to the point where my highly-respected attorney Karen Conti stated “after a day in court on theMehdipour divorce I feel like I need to go home and take a shower.” The most disturbing, was the day my ex took the witness stand under oath, actually claiming I tried to abort my son. Can you imagine how traumatic this was to hear, and to then feel like I had no choice but to contact my obstetrician, requesting a doctor’s letter stating the truth? What kind of a sick person even thinks something like that up in the first place???!!!
The fraud on the court in the family law case was so egregious, that most of the major players, including Judge Levinson, Child Rep Natalie Koga, and my ex’s lawyer Elliott Heidelberger all abruptly “retired” early, simultaneously, to avoid investigation. Meg Jackson changed her name to “Mary Elizabeth”, and moved her practice to Lake County.
My ex-husband told countless vicious, life-altering lies about me, causing my family and me immeasurable hurt and pain. And they were told with such apparent charm and ease.
I’ve also uncovered secret Post Office Boxes he kept while we were married. Everything truly was a big lie.
Welcoming immigrants is a value we Americans uphold. Especially immigrants that are honest, hard-working, and do whatever they can to give back to their welcoming host country, and try to make this a better place. But taking advantage of everyone’s kindness and small town naivete, through fraud and exploitation, are my ex-husband’s best and most prolific contributions to this country, his adopted homeland. How sad. And pathetic. My beautiful father-in-law would be so ashamed if he were alive today, to see the results of his hard work in sending his son to this country. So this begs the obvious question: What DIDN’T my ex-husband lie about?
Here is a copy of Ms. Hadzi-Tanovic’s Federal Complaint against ex-husband Slabodan Pavlovich, Associate Judge Robert W. Johnson, and former powerful attorney David Pasulka, who acted as the Guardian ad Litem on the Case. Pasulka also formerly headed a secret list of lawyers chosen for the highly lucrative appointments as GAL’s & Child Reps in Cook County Chicago. Recently, the IL ARDC finally acted to disbar Pasulka, after many years of ignored complaints. True to the pattern of bad judges and lawyers protecting one another through the IL ARDC, Judicial Inquiry Board, and the head judge offices, they only acted after significant publicity. Sadly, bad judges and lawyers continue causing serious harm to children and families on a routine basis, only facing consequences once the negative publicity finally becomes too great to ignore. In this case, the IL ARDC finally acted against Pasulka only after attorney Lawrence Thompson’s open letter calling for the resignations of Cook County’s head judges Tim Evans and Grace Dickler, for allowing Paulka to remain in power, was aired on CBS Channel 2 News. https://songsunsilenced.wordpress.com/2021/03/23/attorney-claims-top-chicago-judges-enabled-embattled-lawyer-david-pasulka-to-have-unchecked-power-in-selecting-family-lawyers/
“Aneta Hadzi-Tanovic, leader of the local Illinois Women’s Coalition, has filed an $8 million federal lawsuit against Family Court judge Robert Wade Johnson, the GAL, and her ex for conspiring to deprive her under the color of law of her right to due process and equal protection, as well as for the intentional torts “abuse of process” and “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.
Aneta’s custody nightmare mirrors women’s cases all over the country and world in which Family Court judges disregard substantial negative evidence about the father, and fabricate negative evidence about the mother, in order to justify switching custody to the father.” Mom Sues Judge, GAL and Ex For $8M In U.S. Federal Court
LAWSUIT COUNTS 1. Conspiracy to deprive of due process [42 U.S.C. §1983] 2. Conspiracy to deprive of equal protection under the law [42 U.S.C. §1983] 3. Abuse of process [intentional tort] 4. Intentional infliction of emotional distress [intentional tort]
Mr. Lanre Amu should be given a Medal of Valor for his endless fight in exposing corruption at the ARDC. Illinois attorneys are fed up with the lawlessness of the ARDC and hot it operates to cover up judicial crimes and crimes of the lawyers involve. Lawyer Ken Ditkowsky has just uncovered the criminal activity (once again) of Charles Golbert and the Cook County OPG (Office of Public Guardian) and how they are terrorizing an 84 year old man, Dean Sallas and plotting and scheming to file a false foreclosure action against him to make Byline Bank and others rich from elder abuse and financial exploitation.
Mr. Lanre Amu exposed the criminal schemes of Judge Lynn Egan and her brothers criminal law firm to make money from a suburban hospital by “handling” their malpractices cases in their favor and to the detriment of untold number of litigants.
“If you can wait & not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating…” from “If” by Rudyard Kipling
It’s devastating to become someone’s scapegoat; to basically be used against your will as a toxic waste dump for the sins, shame, and “secrets” of others, a soul crushing, life-altering role nobody would ever sign up for.
It’s heartbreak I wouldn’t wish on anyone, to be viciously lied about, disparaged, ostracized, publicly shunned and humiliated by people who are supposed to love you, and to be loyal to you. It’s mind-bending to see people who should love you to the end of time, turn on you like a pack of wild animals, gleefully throw you under the bus, and back over several times – you know – justto be sure.
It’s being shunned and humiliated in public by the entire mob. It’s receiving emotionally abusive letters from snotty teenagers while you’re in a domestic violence shelter. It’s being excluded from Christmas Card lists, graduations, weddings, and birthday parties. It’s having the family bully scrawl return to sender on the birthday card for a beloved niece or nephew.
It’s being thrown to the wolves in the corrupt, vicious, abusive world of criminals in suits, that is the Chicago family court system. It’s also naive, sheltered relatives from your tiny town with no clue whatsoever what goes on in the outside world, or what psychopaths can do to an innocent person in a corrupt court system, copping a superior attitude as they tell you off for daring to stick up for yourself.
It’s being stripped of your most basic, fundamental human rights, relegated to the role of a commodity – a Cash Cow – where the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and even the laws can’t protect you from the liars, con artists and thieves that run a corrupt Chicago family court. It’s being forced down the rabbit hole, to the dirty, slimey underbelly of court corruption, where down means up, white means black, wrong means right, where you’re regularly bullied and threatened, completely impoverished, stripped of your humanity, and court ordered to fail.
It’s opening emails trying to get you to hang yourself. And telling you which method would be better because of your weight problem. It’s living in fear. All the time.
It’s sitting alone at funerals and visitations, left to grieve your parent alone. It’s showing up anyway, to pay your respects, even though nobody will show any respect to you. It’s seeing the huge, gawdy flowers from your ex-husband’s vicious, bottom-feeder divorce lawyer at your father’s funeral. And when you see it, it’s the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, confirming what you knew all along – that these crooked lawyers were getting huge sums of money out of your ill father to torture and abuse you in the corrupt Chicago courts. It’s seeing those big, ugly orange flowers in your mind every time you remember your father’s funeral, and wishing you had been poor, so there would never have been a target on yours and your child’s backs.
It’s sitting alone in the funeral parlor or church hall choking back tears, while people who should know better, snub, ridicule, and gossip about you. It’s achingly lonely, deeply traumatizing, excruciating, soul-searing pain. It’s murder of your soul.
It’s going happy into a restaurant in your hometown, only to go home alone to be sick, vomit and wretch, along with nightmares for three days, after a relative who’s been fed lies about you purposely sits with their back to you for your entire lunch.
It’s PTSD, nightmares, flashbacks, migraines, and nausea. It’s day in, day out heartbreak and grief. It’s the feeling of terror and dread every time you go to the mailbox or open an email. It’s being afraid to go home alone. Every day.
It’s carrying heavy grief and trauma alone, that most people will never experience, and therefore can never understand. It’s forcing yourself to smile and act happy, because other people can’t handle the never-ending, living nightmare your life has become.
It’s career opportunities lost, and precious life-long dreams left unfulfilled. It’s also lost wages, a lowered standard of living, and an impoverished retirement.
It’s solitary holidays, being excluded from every niece or nephew’s milestone, wondering what people look like, if they have children of their own, all the while suspended in deep grief, as you remember caring for them as babies, and young children.
It’s remembering the love and attention you showered on them all, the years of favors you gave, the gifts, the free babysitting, the expensive trips you took kids on, who have now been taught to hate you and snub you for the world to see, for what they don’t really even know. Or it’s the niece who just can’t stop chatting your ear off when nobody’s around, but suddenly won’t even acknowledge you the second her parents show up.
It’s having your heart ripped out of your chest and thrown into boiling, hot oil when your own child shuns and humiliates you in public for the entire family to see. It’s wondering if that horrible behavior has become acceptable to them, or if they’re just doing it to survive because their father and the other money-hungry bullies that married into the family are looking.
It’s wondering what your own child looks like, what their voice sounds like, what size clothes they wear. Wondering if they’re okay. It’s the inconsolable ache of missing every single milestone in your child’s life for years and years. It’s wondering if your child even remembers you, or how hard you worked to take care of them, the sleepless nights, the endless round of parenting obligations, all the time spent together, the love and laughter you shared for years, before somebody decided to destroy you, and take away the only thing that really matters-your child.
It’s being left alone to wonder if you even matter to your child at all, after all you sacrificed to give them life, and nurture them. It’s spending every holiday without your child – in bed, doubled over in pain, praying to God to end your life because it’s meaningless without your child.
It’s thinking that if I could only get cancer and die like those emails said, then I wouldn’t have to be on this earth without my child anymore. It’s a completely devastating, searing pain, and forever life-altering betrayal, unlike any other.
It’s the horror of seeing your own Mother who is nearly 80 years old, terrorized and harassed on Mother’s Day by one of the bullies that married into the family, all because she stuck up for you.
It’s people who’ve never experienced the devastating loss of a precious, only child telling you your grieving time is up, you should just get over it already. As if there were ever getting over your only, irreplaceable child.
Yet, this is precisely how the Scapegoaters & Gaslighters want their target to feel. Initially, you fall into the traps they set with their ugly smear campaigns, and question your own self worth and sanity. It shakes your identity to the core, as you think to yourself “what’s wrong with me that they all turned on me like this?“
It’s being confronted with the worst possible violations of social norms, morals, and ethical behavior from the criminals in a corrupt court, and then the people you thought you knew and held so dear glomming onto their money-making lies. It’s looking that horrible behavior straight in the eye, and vowing never to treat anyone else that way. To never, ever become like them. They teach ushow not to be.
When we can finally step back and look – really look– at the people we’re being ostracized from, we begin to reflect on how thankful we are to be set free from such a toxic, dishonest, dysfunctional, delusional group of people, and their “way” of dealing with life. Because they’ve been corrupted by Gaslighters and bullies.
To be set free from their shady relationship with the truth. Their lack of integrity or kindness without ulterior motive. Their shallow relationships with themselves and others.
To be set free from their anger issues. Their tendency towards arguments, criticism, and gossip. Their lack of empathy and compassion. Their weird need to feel “superior” to others, and their twisted piety. Their “winner takes all” approach to conflict.
To be free from their oddness and paranoia. From their ridiculous, exhausting, never-ending power and control games. To finally live FREE.
After enormous suffering, you finally realize that they’ve done you a big favor by kicking you out of their warped, soul-sucking, Gaslighting world, where black is white, up is down, wrong is right, facts are meaningless, and the truth is whatever the bully needs it to be.
And then it slowly dawns on you that out in the “real world”, everyone else has seen through their crazy, shared delusions all along! That to everyone else, these people really “aren’t all that” like they think they are. Otherwise, why would they have to work so hard to convince you in the first place?
You slowly emerge from their darkness, your eyes blinking in the sunlight, looking cautiously around, finally noticing the big, wide beautiful world before you, with endless opportunity for personal growth, true friendship, and joyful fellowship with emotionally balanced, honest, positive people.
You build relationships where you never have to worry about when the other shoe will drop, and you can feel anchored and secure. You form friendships with those who would never think of bullying you or playing mind games, because they don’t need to. People who enjoy lifting you up, who give and receive love with no hidden agenda. After that, you never care to go back into the dark cave with the angry controllers ever again!
It’s also being forged by fire into someone who survived losing everything, along with most of your family. It’s becoming someone who survived a holocaust you weren’t meant to survive. The perpetrators certainly didn’t expect you to, but somehow you did.
And with that knowledge – that you really can survive anything – even people trying to bully you to death through family court – you realize you’ve become someone who’s not afraid of any challenge life can throw your way, because deep inside you know you’ve already survived the very worst abuse anyone could possibly dole out
And then you finally see that this is The Gift you’ve been given – the knowledge of your own personal power in the face of sheer, unadulterated evil – andyou’re grateful for it.
“Although the strengths of the narcissist family scapegoat make her a target, they are also her salvation. Her ability to see and question along with her desire for justice enable her to escape the family tyranny while others cannot. And her capacity for empathy, so unlike that of the grandiose and compassionless narcissist, gives her the ability to form healthy and fulfilling relationships beyond her family of origin. The scapegoat’s redemption is breaking free.”https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-strength-of-the-scapegoat-in-the-narcissist-family_b_58b27448e4b0658fc20f9678
Protective parents: Terms matter in the legal arena.
ABUSER, not NARCISSIST. Child abuse and domestic violence are crimes; the result of choice, not caused by mental illness or personality disorder. An abuser may also have a personality disorder, but this isn’t what causes the abuse. Calling abusive people “narcissists” reinforces legal excuses to ignore crime. Those suffering from personality disorder deserve respect, help, and support. Perpetrators of inter-family abuse suffering from personality disorder first need to encounter meaningful legal restriction before a violation of social boundary is established, the first step in their treatment.
Those suffering due to perpetrated inter-family abuse should not be subjected to mediation/ADR/psychological tests that register trauma as pathology/court-ordered co-parenting classes/referred to as a High Conflict litigant.
Domestic Violence by PROXY, not ALIENATION. Using the term Alienation-saying that a coercively controlling abusive parent is Alienating the children reinforces the myth that this behavior is more common and less serious than it actually is in contested custody cases, which adds fuel to the training organization’s fire that training in this legal tactic is justified.
Instead of adding the multitude of domestic violence cases to reinforce the legal excuse that allows abuse to be ignored by using this mild term, which doesn’t adequately represent a potentially fatal pattern of coercive control, the use of terms like Domestic Violence by Proxy child abuse or inter-family coercive control establishes advocacy for child protection and child safety in our courts.