Leaving a pathological is never easy–they aren’t wired to allow for easy separation and disengagement. What they value most is drama, trauma, and the perpetuation of misery at any cost. High on their entertainment list is any legal activity–especially divorces, separations, and custody battles. Pathologicals get bored easily and have a high need for entertainment. They are high excitement seekers and have low impulse control. This all equals great legal combativeness coupled with great enjoyment of the process.
Pathologicals are highly litigious, meaning they LOVE to sue and go to court. They are entertained by the drama of the court scene and love anything associated with being the victim in a legal process. Therefore, they are different than normal people in that they will keep this process going as long as necessary. They will even spend more money than they will ever recover JUST to be in court, JUST to be heard, and JUST so you won’t win.
There is no rationale when it comes to why they find court so enthralling. It’s almost like “Legal Malingering.” Malingering is a psychological disorder that means a person remains symptomatic because they get something out of it that we refer to as a “secondary gain.” So it is true with the pathological in court–67 times to court for one case is not unheard of.
But the bottom line for you is that court is often traumatizing. Facing him can bring on flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares and anxiety. The faces he makes, his posturing and his stares often leave women highly ineffective on the witness stand. Or she is unable to think in the courtroom in order to give her attorney correct input.
Some women are followed by the pathological after court. He may stalk her in his car or call her cell phone, belittling her about the court proceedings. Taunting her before the court date can bring a woman’s functioning level to an all time low. She may miss work and as a result loses pay. She may have to pay and repay court fees as he switches dates around just to make a show of power.
Women who already have PTSD, other chronic stress conditions, or autoimmune disorders like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Lupus can end up bed-bound from the stress of the court drama and him. Since pathologicals love your debilitation, they are likely to stretch out the process by asking for more depositions, postponing court dates, adding more needed appearances, or even refusing a settled offer that is everything they asked for–anything to create more stress and havoc for you. Women will often do ANYTHING to avoid this kind of exposure to further abuse.
Since the pathological is rarely acknowledged for what he is, the court is not likely to identify his manipulative behaviors and so his requests are granted. You are tormented with more and more unproductive court appearances as he acts like the perpetual victim.
Women can ‘get’ PTSD-like symptoms just from how she is treated in court or depositions. The ‘criminal court’ is known for it’s favoring of criminals so anyone who is not criminal often finds the process abusive and traumatizing. Women often give away their rights, property, and money just to avoid him and court all together. She and her children are then exposed to poverty, marginal employment and a reduced quality of life ALL because she wants to avoid being traumatized by him and an unbalanced court system.
I have said for many years that the universe is strangely tilted to the benefit of the pathological. They get away with more dirty deeds, especially in court, than any normal person would ever get away with. For this reason, women come to know that their chances in court with a pathological who is so dramatic, convincing, and unnerved by the process is NIL.
Women have had very ineffective means for balancing the scales of Her-vs-The Psychopath in family court. That’s because few women know about one VERY effective strategy that helps her regain her court composure–using a PTSD diagnosis to receive special accommodations during court proceedings.
As we have constantly mentioned, many of the women who come through our program have PTSD that was acquired during the pathological relationship OR was made worse by the relationship. PTSD is a trauma disorder–meaning your were ‘traumatized’ in some way which is how you acquired it.
PTSD symptoms can last for short or long periods of time and are almost always increased by stress–such as stress by being in court or stress by his behavior while in court. These types of reoccurring symptoms can negatively impact your effectiveness in court and can require ‘special accommodations’ so you are able to function during court. Some of these special accommodations have included:
- Having the woman speak over a speaker phone in another room so she doesn’t have to face him
- Not having him in the courtroom
- Having him detained so she can leave early from the courtroom
- Call in to the courtroom from home so not to have to attend the hearing in person
- If she has to attend–to have a disability advocate present with her
- Having him not be allowed to speak directly to her when walking past him from the courtroom
All of these special accommodations can greatly ease the stress normally associated with court, but not granted unless a special ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accommodation is granted.
Accommodations can also be made for:
- Emotional triggering caused by discussing the situation
- Flexibility with deadlines because of amnesic symptoms or reoccurring trauma when having to testify in front of him
- Emergency hearing to enforce court orders
- Rehabilitative alimony for treatment of PTSD for you or your children
PTSD is the disorder most associated with pathological love relationships. A diagnosis of this can help women acquire accommodations that are associated with the ADA accommodations offered. You simply have to have a diagnosis that requires special accommodations in order for you to function. (Next week, we will discuss the difference between mental illnesses versus emotional, trauma-based disorders such as PTSD. In case you are concerned you will be labeled mentally ill with a PTSD diagnosis–don’t worry, you won’t be!)The Institute offers assistance in this regard–the ability to write your PTSD Accommodations Request Report for the court. THIS IS A HUGE breakthrough for women because once you have received ADA Accommodations, the judges and attorneys MUST adhere to protocols developed for ADA which are federally-based and help accommodate your needs in order to function in court. Protocols not followed are prosecutable, making the courts highly attentive to meeting federal protocols. This could also apply to your children if they have PTSD, and could hopefully impact how they are to be treated in court and how their needs must be met.
Before we get a FLOOD of letters about this, here is what you need to know:
* You must legitimately have PTSD. If you have already been diagnosed withPTSD, you have already jumped one hurdle.
- If you need to be diagnosed, you must be evaluated by a licensed professional–
such as a mental health professional or a psychiatrist. If you would like to be evaluated by one of our staff, you can contact us. (**All of our providers are in private practice which means they charge for their services. We are NOT non-profit.)
* Once you are diagnosed, one of our professionals can draft your PTSD
Accommodations Report. This is a time consuming and lengthy report of
Approximately 10-15 pages. It is a highly specialized report. It is unlikely that
your doctor or health professional will construct something of this nature as it addresses specific areas to meet the criteria for ADA. (**The professionals, of course, charge for this report. However, we believe that what the report renders to you is highly worth the investment.)
- This is NOT the same thing as being declared ‘disabled’, and has nothing to do
with physical or mental disability or acquiring disability payments.
- PTSD, if diagnosed, does become part of one’s medical and/or psychological
We believe that these Accommodations Reports are the beginning of leveling the playing field when it comes to being in court with pathologicals. We also believe that children who are diagnosed with PTSD and who have acquired it from the pathological, may have a far more arguable case about custody when courts try to mandate visitation with the very one who caused PTSD.Email us if you would like an evaluation and if applicable, the PTSD Accommodations Report (and/or Child PTSD Report) on our website.