The problem with getting into the cage with a tiger

I am a mother and grandmother. Not very long ago I was a wife.

For nearly three decades I have lived in a sleepy little town at the base of Mt Diablo in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a runner, a dancer and a friend. I own and operate a couple businesses and have been an entrepreneur, to some degree, my entire life beginning with selling Girl Scout cookies at age 8.

Not long ago I was a practicing Catholic, meaning, by the standard definition, I attended weekly, even daily Mass. Like every other human, I am flawed and took full advantage of the redemption afforded me by my Catholic faith. I remain dedicated to my God and His grace.

As well, by the angel Clarence’s account in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I am quite rich. My life is full of family and friends of all types and hearts. They’ve walked along side me, arms locked, through some tough moments, careful not to let me fall and steadying me when my legs wobbled. I am so grateful for every single angel that suddenly appeared just at the moment I needed one.

I am rich, indeed.

My recent plight began in the distant past when I fell in love with a raging narcissist. In the beginning he was self-assured. Relentless. And his over-the-top attention was a perfect distraction from my newly-divorced broken heart. He pursued me as though it was his life’s work. Even while he was very married with 3 kids, one just a few months old. To discount his damage, his pretense was that his wife knew his propensities and they pretty much did their own thing. I enjoyed the company and expected nothing more since a lying leopard never changes his spots.

In the beginning it was a dream. Travel. Fun. No strings.

But it was also a lie. To me. To his wife. To his children. I think he, himself, came to believe the concoction he had so perfectly crafted as his life, make-believe as it was.

Life’s simple truth remains: Nothing good can ever come of lies. Ever. Still he continued to build his house of cards. So when I found myself pregnant, I was resolved to raise my baby, along with her 3 brothers from my first marriage, on my own and determined not to be a victim. To say it was hard is the understatement of the century. It was excruciatingly painful. But I did it, and I did it on my own with no help from the narcisisst.

Years after my daughter was born, I received a call from the narcissist’s brother. No one in the family had heard from him in months. They suspected that he was being evicted from an apartment he had moved into after splitting from his wife of 17 years. He was also unemployed.

While I advised his brother that I hadn’t spoken to the narcissist in some time, he asked if I would check on him.

There are a number of things that caused me to get on a plane and fly from California to Virginia. Mostly I think it was just plain and simple humanity.

I found a him looking all the part of Howard Hughes except without the money: filthy, unshaved, sleeping on a sofa, midday, in a rancit apartment that was right off a “Hoarders” episode. Ashtrays overflowing with spent cigarettes. Dirty dishes in every corner. Stacks and stacks of unopened mail and piles of paper, books and trash.

With my young daughter by my side, I peeled him off the couch and flew him back to California with the intention of rehabilitating him back to a productive life.

It was common knowledge that much of his dysfunction at the time had to do with an extreme addition to porn, specifically child porn, but more about that later.

Fast forward 15 years and we are now, and most thankfully, divorced after a brief 6-year marriage.

My attempts at rehabilitating him away from his porn addiction were without success.

Still the bigger problem is that an extremely-flawed court system has given way to making the narcissist the gatekeeper on my now-teenage daughter.

I have not seen her in 8+ months. She is completely cut off from her brothers and their families. He has moved her to a gated community and we have not heard from her, received any report on her welfare, school or otherwise in as many months.

My attorney recently filed a motion to revise custody in order to facilitate reunification with my daughter and bring her back to her family. His attorney’s response was downright threatening. This response is consistent with every response I have received when attempting to contact my daughter.

I have come to grips with his narcissism, porn addiction and projection onto my daughter. That the state of California has become an accomplice to this treachery is most confounding.

This site is the unfolding story of how my ex and family court made my child a pawn.