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Doc@DrIrene.com

What's A Judge To Do?

What's A Judge To Do?

See Counselor's first letter to Dr. Irene

 Sent: Thursday, October 21, 1999 3:19 PM
Subject: Sorry about Happy worm! Delaney?

        This is a terrific site! I read so many repeats of stories I hear on a daily basis as a divorce attorney. I have both abusers and abused. Your advice is savvy and helpful.  What happened to Delaney? Her matter is so unfortunate, yet it highlights the difficulties of many judges' Solomon-like dilemmas: Keep kids with the more stable, yet abusive parent, or turn them over to an individual who is in such pain themselves that the kids' needs may come second, just at a time when the kids are having to cope with the separation of parents.  I recall Anna Freud's "Beyond the Best Interests of the Child...". If one parent will feed the little ones, get them to bed and to school on time, and the other parent is incapable of performing these daily duties, due to coping with and overcoming their co-dependence (or abusiveness), it will be difficult for any court to place the kids with the recovering parent, rather than the "one who will keep things the same for the kids".  And time is no friend. "They've always lived in that house, in that neighborhood, gone to that school, change is hard on everybody, why put the kids through that now?" when the co-dependent eventually gets on his or her feet. (Or abuser, indeed, I have seen some sincerely try to change, usually very young males learning new skills. Mom's old fears may no longer be valid, but try to get that fellow visitation!) 
         What's a judge to do? How do I help my clients in either end of the situation? And how do I help clients who want to jump right back into an abuse/ co-dependent relationship situation, rather than do the hard work of changing inside? I've seen helpless women go from one abusing step-dad to the next, and I've seen abusive dads go through wife after wife who attempts to solve everybody's problems, becoming the "new Mom", only to cause even more heartache and loss for the kids when she finally has had enough and hits the trail. Is there a crystal ball to predict the future, or some magic wand I can wave at my clients? Sure wish there was. Life's just not fair, but it's the children who must be protected and nurtured. But how? Your thoughts?
 
Dear Counselor,
 
I like your phrasing: "Solomon-like dilemma." You are apparently very well aware of the risks: keep the kid with the more stable, yet abusive parent or the parent in pain, etc... I am glad to hear that since I did not realize that legal experts saw through much of the posturing and maneuvering - and had a real awareness of abuse phenomena - especially when so many psychotherapists do not! Forgive my naiveté, but is your knowledge level of abuse phenomena common in the Courts?
 
How to protect the child? Hmmm. As long as I thought the legal system needed education, I had a place to go. Apart from recommending treatment, which often means little unless the individual is motivated to receive it, I am humbly out of fresh ideas. If other legal professionals are as savvy as you are, you are already doing what you can in negotiating between a rock and a hard place. 
 
Delaney is doing great. Better than ever! Her kid wants to come live with her. One day that will probably happen. How about this suggestion: In cases where there is a question about where the child's needs are best met, what about awarding a three to five year judgment pending re-determination. Yeah, yeah, I know I don't realize how clogged the Courts are...
 
And now Counselor, why did you send the Happy worm? Was it because I bad-mouthed you guys? 
 
Many regards,
 
Dr. Irene
 
Ps. I can't help but recall my Rorschach instructor, the esteemed Dr. John Exner, talk to us about anger indications on the blots. He used attorneys as an example of a profession whose members consistently scored high on a particular anger index!   

----- Original Message -----
To: Dr. Irene
Sent: Friday, October 22, 1999 1:10 PM
Subject: Really Very Sorry about Happy worm!

     Heavens to Elizabeth, I would NEVER purposefully send a worm to anyone, and especially not to you, when I enjoy your site so. Mom sent it to me last Spring, and I thought it had been purged- but I have no anti-virus in this computer! After your note, I downloaded an Anti-virus, which unfortunately deleted my entire internet access, reinstalled to the tune of $60. Took me a while to get back, but your site was one of the first I revisited. But indeed, the bunch of attorneys I work with are well informed about psychological needs, oppression, submissiveness, the whole shebang, but we may be hostile because there's not much we really can do about the suffering, perhaps just move it around, or lessen it somewhat. Life's not fair and people aren't perfect. That's the hardest lesson I have to tell my clients...Again, I'm grateful for your responses. I'm not still Worming, am I? Do tell.
 

Dear Counselor,

 
I am so sorry. Please forgive me, snide remark and all. I just didn't know what to think after I got an email from you with no message and the Happy.exe attached! I deleted it so there are no worms here. Yet, at least. Sorry about your mini-catastrophe, and I'm glad you are back on-line.
So I am too isolated in my little psychological vacuum. I don't hear the ins and outs of cases. I only hear my client's account, and I don't suppose a Judge is going to tell them something like, "Well, I really know you are the good guy, but you are too much of a mess right now..." Etc., etc.
While I ordinarily would not publish this email, I will for two reasons:
1. I would like my clients and others to see that you guys do know what's going on out there in terms of abuse. You and your group are well-versed in these issues indeed. I hope others are as well.
2. I am demonstrating what I preach: Nobody's perfect, we all mess up. Best thing to do is own it, learn from it, and get on.
 
Thank you very much for your kind words.
 
Irene

 

See Counselor's first letter to Dr. Irene

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