Emotional and Psychological abuse is all about Power and Control. It is the misuse of that power and control where the abuse is defined. The Best Interest of the Child statute of Virginia was written to give Judges ‘wide latitude’ in determining the presence of abuse in the family. Parental alienation is the abuse of power and control by the custodial parent and can be prevented. Parental alienation is not a mystery, and understanding domestic violence, abuse, and the dynamics of power and control are all that are required to prevent it. Dr. Samenow understood this and accurately refers to abusers as ‘controllers’.
High Conflict divorce is also not a mystery. All the research into High Conflict divorce shows that they are defined by the extensive litigation. Janet Johnston is the best known researcher of high conflict divorce and parental alienation. Her work dating back to the the 1990′s shows that 80% of divorce cases are settled, either up front, or as the case moves through the process. Studies have found that only 20% of divorcing or separating families take the case to Court. Only 4-5% ultimately go to trial, with most cases settling at some point earlier in the process.’ Janet Johnston also found there to be a ‘severe psychopathology’ in one or both parties, in high conflict divorces where visitation is litigated. My ex-wife has never even attempted to settle. My case has had over 50 hearings and I have been put in jail 4 times, at the request of my ex-wife. Her father was convicted of accomplice to murder, and the Court still has no psychological information about my ex-wife or her head injury.
Domestic Violence is also almost always present in High Conflict Divorce. Peter Jaffe is one of the World’s leading experts on children, domestic violence, and custody. The research used by Jaffe to support the claim that Domestic Violence is present in 75% of that 5% of Couples that actually go to trial. The research into Jaffe’s research is supported by multiple studies and very well documented.
In 1997, The Virginia Commission on Domestic Violence Prevention conducted a study into Custody Cases. The study found that in custody cases where there was also a domestic abuse case in court, only 25% of the custody files referenced the existence of the domestic abuse case. So, of all the cases in Virginia that are high-conflict, about 50% of the domestic violence is not even considered by the Court in making Custody decisions. This is a systemic failure.
In my relationship, I had no power or control. My friends, family and everyone that knows me or my ex-wife and her family, knows that I had no power or control. Dr. Samenow was given the witnesses that would confirm the imbalance of power, control and money in the relationship. Dr. Samenow never contacted my psychiatrist or 5 other witnesses that were provided to verify the abuse of power in the relationship. I even provided Dr. Samenow with a signed release to speak to my psychiatrist who began treating me for depression and abuse, 2 years after my ex-wife’s traumatic brain injury. The head injury was very serious and was also identified as a source of conflict in the relationship, in a deposition for the personal injury lawsuit.
Dr. Samenow was also shown a ripped shirt that I had brought into his office, as evidence of domestic violence. My ex-wife had assaulted me, in front of our children, on January 19, 2008. She attacked me from behind as I tried to escape her anger. She woke me out of bed to help her find her keys, which were in my pants pocket on the floor. Before she woke me up, she had already taken my car keys. She was also already in a state. When I found her the keys the anger did not dissipate. After 8 years, my conditioned response, at this point, was to flee, not to fight. When I attempted to leave and go to the gym, I found my keys missing. She mockingly claimed she had no idea where the keys were and followed me around the house, as I looked. I wanted out of there, so I picked up a tray of her jewelry beads, and explained very calmly, as my children were right there, that if she gives me the keys, I won’t turn over the tray. She didn’t give me my keys to leave, so I overturned the tray and calmly grabbed another tray. I asked her a second time to for my keys and calmly turned over the second tray. My ex-wife flew into a rage and began hitting and scratching me from behind, ripping the shirt, I showed Dr. Samenow, from my body. The police found me behind a locked door with our children. When they were taken out, I broke down. This event is a microcosm of the dynamic of our relationship and this entire divorce and Dr. Samenow completely misrepresented it to the Court. My ex-wife would become irrational, use instrumental aggression and prevent me from escaping, I would then respond with an elevated reactive aggression. I am not proud of my reactions, but they were not the source of conflict. Just like our divorce.
Here is what Dr. Samenow included in his report about the incident:
Ms. Mackney spoke of her husband’s explosive nature in citing a particular incident in which Mr. Mackney became upset and scattered her jewelry materials all over the room. This was after an argument which had eventuated in each taking the other’s keys.
“He took the drawers out and threw the jewelry – thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. There were two trays sorted by size. He dumped both of these. I was trying to stop him. I called the police. He was going to delete my work files on the computer.”
Dr. Samenow failed to include the Domestic Violence of my ex-wife. I was the one to call the police on her, and I threatened to delete her work files because her father took the shirt, I brought in to show him as evidence. My nature is also not explosive, as anyone has known me or dated me would tell you. I have no history of violence or aggression in my relationships. None. Dr. Samenow also withheld my reports of my ex-wife attacking me on our honeymoon, while I was driving our rental car.
Judge Bellows became aware that there was evidence of domestic violence, that Dr. Samenow left all of it from his report, in April 2009. Dr. Samenow was paid by my ex-wife as a witness to testify after Dr. Zuckerman had testified that there was ‘no reason’ why I should not have access to my children. Dr. Samenow got on the stand and I pulled out the shirt and asked him under oath if he had seen the shirt before. He admitted that I brought it into his office to show him, but there is no reference to it in his report.
The legal profession and the psychological profession are failing to protect children from a foreseeable harm, by ignoring the dynamics of power and control and the presence of Domestic Violence. The Courts who are responsible for managing the conflict and are beholden on the Psychological professionals and forensic evaluators to understand the conflict. The law empowers Judges to also obtain information about the conflict through other methods, such as Guardian Ad Litems, Parenting Coordinators, and Court Appointed Special Advocates.
The Law, as written, empowers Judges to protect children from parental alienation. They have the tools at their disposal to determine the presence of abuse. Judge Bellows knew there was domestic violence and that Dr. Samenow failed to report it. Two months later, he held me in contempt of court and took away visitation with my children for not includinga receipt, when I faxed a copy of a lease to my ex-wife’s attorney.
Judge Bellows covered up for the fraud of Dr. Stanton Samenow and failed to protect children from a foreseeable harm, especially when you read all the motions that were filed with the Court that he denied. Judge Bellows chose to protect the professional reputation of Dr. Samenow and Judge Ney over protecting children from abuse. Judge Bellows was the Judge in another case where Dr. Samenow testified as a witness for the Commonwealth and was also accused of not documenting the facts accurately.