I had an interesting experience in Mediation yesterday that was interesting, relevant to my last blog and kind of an eye-opener. In my law practice, I deal with a scenario quite often where I represent a woman who has a child or children with a narcissistic, controlling man. Sometimes they were married and other times not. Inevitably, there is something about the woman that allows the man to consider her “damaged”. Side note, I don’t consider anyone “damaged” or “damaged goods” except for maybe myself after that election fiasco. So while the people are married, the man is free to be his controlling self because he is trying to “fix” her or “help” her.
When they divorced, he then loses the day to day management of her affairs so to make up for his loss of power, the child becomes the focal point for his attention. I call this “the cone of control”. When negotiating the parenting agreement, he will want to put in all kinds of safeguards under the auspices of child safety. There will be proposed conditions like she has to notify him if she takes the child out of the county (like to go to Disney World, two hours away from where I am typing) , the names of any men that she dates so he can vet them for criminal activity and excessive daily contact when he is not with the child. When they actually come to an agreement and get divorced (or a final judgment on the Paternity case is entered), he will continue to act like they are still litigating. He will over communicate when the child is with her, but on his days, the mom will not be able to talk to the child because it is “his” time. He may even start filing spurious (legalese for bullshit) emergency motions to try and wear her out financially and emotionally. He will do everything he can to trigger her. I spend a lot of time dealing with this. I literally become my client’s life coach. I ghost write texts for her. It’s amazing how hard it is to convince my clients to not be afraid of his anger. I do everything I can to set that son of a bitch up for a big fall when we go to court. I send out financial discovery so I can get attorney fees for her from him (these guys calm way down when they have to pay both sides of the case). I set all day depositions where I peel him like an onion. In the legal sense, I do everything I can to out bully the bully.
Then yesterday, I encountered the female version. My client is a late 20’s male with a history of presctiption drug abuse who has been clean for 4 years and currently works for the facility that helped him. He is drug tested monthly. He has an 8 year old with a former girlfriend who has full custody including decision making. He has a new wife and two small children by her. He is doing well. The ex can’t stand it. She is insisting on meeting the new wife as a condition for allowing unsupervised visits. She calls and texts at all hours under the pretext of parenting even though he only sees the child 4 hours a week. She had lots of little conditions yesterday to the point where about an hour in, I was like “fuck it, lets go to court”. While you can be flexible in mediation and agree to things that a court would never order, there comes a point where it’s easier and better to go to court. The Judge can make a decision in an hour or two with less brain damage. In the middle of the mediation it hit me that the Ex liked it when he was going through his struggles because that validated her control. Now he’s ok and she can’t deal with it. She wants him back under her thumb. We settled, mostly. My client still has a ways to go both in life and in this case but he has more time with his son today then he had yesterday. And his wife agreed to meet, briefly, with the Ex.