…is a psychic injury, not a mental illness.
Legal Abuse Syndrome (LAS), a condition proposed by marriage and family therapist Karin P. Huffer, whose books on the subject of post-traumatic stress stemming from court-mediated violations are: Overcoming the Devastation of Legal Abuse Syndrome (1995) and Legal Abuse Syndrome: 8 Steps for Avoiding the Traumatic Stress Caused by the Justice System (2013)
“Develops in individuals assaulted by ethical violations, legal abuses, betrayals, and fraud” and that’s exacerbated by “abuse of power and authority and a profound lack of accountability in our courts.” ~ Karin P. Huffer
It’s widely accepted that PTSD can result from a single, major, life-threatening event, as defined in DSM-IV. Now there is growing awareness that PTSD can also result from an accumulation of many small, individually non-life-threatening incidents. To differentiate the cause, the term “Complex PTSD” is used. The reason that Complex PTSD is not in DSM-IV is that the definition of PTSD in DSM-IV was derived using only people who had suffered a single major life-threatening incident such as Vietnam veterans and survivors of disasters.
Note: there has recently been a trend amongst some psychiatric professionals to label people suffering Complex PTSD as a exhibiting a personality disorder, especially Borderline Personality Disorder. This is not the case – PTSD, Complex or otherwise, is a psychiatric injury and nothing to do with personality disorders. If there is an overlap, then Borderline Personality Disorder should be regarded as a psychiatric injury, not a personality disorder. If you encounter a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional who wants to label your Complex PTSD as a personality disorder, change to another, more competent professional.
It seems that Complex PTSD can potentially arise from any prolonged period of negative stress in which certain factors are present, which may include any of captivity, lack of means of escape, entrapment, repeated violation of boundaries, betrayal, rejection, bewilderment, confusion, and – crucially – lack of control, loss of control and disempowerment. It is the overwhelming nature of the events and the inability (helplessness, lack of knowledge, lack of support etc) of the person trying to deal with those events that leads to the development of Complex PTSD. Situations which might give rise to Complex PTSD include bullying, harassment, abuse, domestic violence, stalking, long-term caring for a disabled relative, unresolved grief, exam stress over a period of years, mounting debt, contact experience, etc. Those working in regular traumatic situations, eg the emergency services, are also prone to developing Complex PTSD.
A key feature of Complex PTSD is the aspect of captivity. The individual experiencing trauma by degree is unable to escape the situation. Despite some people’s assertions to the contrary, situations of domestic abuse and workplace abuse can be extremely difficult to get out of. In the latter case there are several reasons, including financial vulnerability (especially if you’re a single parent or main breadwinner – the rate of marital breakdown is approaching 50% in the UK), unavailability of jobs, ageism (many people who are bullied are over 40), partner unable to move, and kids settled in school and you are unable or unwilling to move them. The real killer, though, is being unable to get a job reference – the bully will go to great lengths to blacken the person’s name, often for years, and it is this lack of reference more than anything else which prevents people escaping.
Common features of Complex PTSD from bullying
People suffering Complex PTSD as a result of bullying report consistent symptoms which further help to characterize psychiatric injury and differentiate it from mental illness. These include:
- Fatigue with symptoms of or similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (formerly ME)
- An anger of injustice stimulated to an excessive degree (sometimes but improperly attracting the words “manic” instead of motivated, “obsessive” instead of focused, and “angry” instead of “passionate”, especially from those with something to fear)
- An overwhelming desire for acknowledgement, understanding, recognition and validation of their experience
- A simultaneous and paradoxical unwillingness to talk about the bullying (click here to see why) or abuse (click here to see why)
- A lack of desire for revenge, but a strong motivation for justice
- A tendency to oscillate between conciliation (forgiveness) and anger (revenge) with objectivity being the main casualty
- Extreme fragility, where formerly the person was of a strong, stable character
Numbness, both physical (toes, fingertips, and lips) and emotional (inability to feel love and joy)
- Hyper-awareness and an acute sense of time passing, seasons changing, and distances traveled
- An enhanced environmental awareness, often on a planetary scale
- An appreciation of the need to adopt a healthier diet, possibly reducing or eliminating meat – especially red meat
- Willingness to try complementary medicine and alternative, holistic therapies, etc
- A constant feeling that one has to justify everything one says and does
- A constant need to prove oneself, even when surrounded by good, positive people
- An unusually strong sense of vulnerability, victimization or possible victimization, often wrongly diagnosed as “persecution”
- Occasional violent intrusive visualizations
Feelings of worthlessness, rejection, a sense of being unwanted, unlikable and unlovable
- A feeling of being small, insignificant, and invisible
- An overwhelming sense of betrayal, and a consequent inability and unwillingness to trust anyone, even those close to you
- In contrast to the chronic fatigue, depression etc, occasional false dawns with sudden bursts of energy accompanied by a feeling of “I’m better!”, only to be followed by a full resurgence of symptoms a day or two later
- Excessive guilt – when the cause of PTSD is bullying, the guilt expresses itself in forms distinct from “survivor guilt”; it comes out as:an initial reluctance to take action against the bully and report him/her knowing that he/she could lose his/her job later, this reluctance gives way to a strong urge to take action against the bully so that others, especially successors, don’t have to suffer a similar fate
- reluctance to feel happiness and joy because one’s sense of other people’s suffering throughout the world is heightened
- a proneness to identifying with other people’s suffering
- a heightened sense of unworthiness, undeservingness and non-entitlement (some might call this shame)
- a heightened sense of indebtedness, beholdenness and undue obligation
- a reluctance to earn or accept money because one’s sense of poverty and injustice throughout the world is heightened
- an unwillingness to take ill-health retirement because the person doesn’t want to believe they are sufficiently unwell to merit it
- an unwillingness to draw sickness, incapacity or unemployment benefit to which the person is entitled
- an unusually strong desire to educate the employer and help the employer introduce an anti-bullying ethos, usually proportional to the employer’s lack of interest in anti-bullying measures
- a desire to help others, often overwhelming and bordering on obsession, and to be available for others at any time regardless of the cost to oneself
- an unusually high inclination to feel sorry for other people who are under stress, including those in a position of authority, even those who are not fulfilling the duties and obligations of their position (which may include the bully) but who are continuing to enjoy salary for remaining in post [hint: to overcome this tendency, every time you start to feel sorry for someone, say to yourself “sometimes, when you jump in and rescue someone, you deny them the opportunity to learn and grow”]
Never doubt why so may are working so hard to #fixfamilycourts Every parent starts out equal but does not remain that way in the So-called family courts.
Once you enter that court you feel nothing but attacked. Your life and decisions are no longer your own. Your children are stripped from the life you thought you were protected to live. People in the family court process step in between you and your child regardless of whether you are for or not.
Some like Chris are left with no hope of ever recovering. What do you do when the court you thought would protect you and your child from vicious attacks on your fundamental rights fails you? Where do you turn when you cannot afford justice and when there is no hope for it?
Let’s make 2016 the year of #noexcuses and restore justice and protection in every parent and child’s life. Let’s make 2016 the year of no more lost lives and #fizfamilycourts once and for all! #neverfear #neverforget
Bullied to Death:
Chris Mackney’s Kafkaesque Divorce There is no one way or no best way to tell the story of a man driven by others to…Read More
Where is the LOVE? …where on Earth.. ….not in Family Court or the hearts of those within the CPS, CYFS, SS. CAS or any other child…Read More
Gary Treistman explains how the Family Court System separated his daughter from him.
Listen to the TRUTH about Family Courts
“The Smoking Gun” …Read More
Father’s Open Letter To The Family Courts.
Owen Lucas films his open letter to the court admitting that he is in contempt of court for doing so.
He tells us of his grief and impotence in the face of the family court system.
Owen speaks for so many fathers who find themselves in the palm of ex-partners colluding with a system that in many cases, strips fathers of their homes, their children and their dignity – and often their jobs and financial stability too.
Mothers are given legal aid and fathers are not unless there is already proven child abuse.
In cases where abuse is suspected or even confirmed, a father has no clout to impact the family court system in many cases.
NB. If you know a child is being abused, ensure that a. you take photographs b. you film them speaking of the events and c. you inform the police without delay. These three steps may well be the difference between whether you become alienated from, or the main caregiver to your child/children.
Yesterday I gazed out the window watching fireworks and was really missing my angel but I cannot call her because I am scared of her mom’s false allegations and lies, she doesn’t call me and knowing she is…Read More
WLYB……I have tried to educate this board of 4 Florida Judges (Chief Judge Bertila Soto-11th Jud. Cir. FL, Judge Garber-3rd DCA FL,…Read More
While it is true our family courts must do more to move toward shared parenting whenever there is a divorce or separation in a family, an old saying…
Family Courts Deny Fit Parent Visitation – Custody
July 16, 2015 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization This article isn’t new, but…Read More
My opinion on the origin of mental illness is controversial to many in my profession. I maintain that emotional disturbances are…Read More
Letter sent to David Inguanzo on December 24th, 2008. October 5th, 2008 – After spending a “family” day out (Mom, Dad, my son David, and…Read More
Judge Valerie Manno Schurr appointed Mark Meland as a receiver for a company after finding it in “default” for failing to turn over…Read More
“Anyone who has ever worked in a legal aid office or law library has met people whose lives have come unhinged after a bad contact with the…Read More
Across the country women, children, AND MEN are becoming the victims of judges and the court system. It is time that we take a stand, and…Read More
The death of Christopher Mackney and his suicide note: “First Amendment Rights from Beyond the Grave: Defense of a Suicide’s Publication of His Final Words by the Randazza Legal Group.” The circumstances that conduced to Mr. Mackney’s taking his life are chronicled in a forthcoming book by investigative journalist Michael Volpe, which is titled, Bullied to Death: The Chris Mackney Story.
|This is nothing new to a non-custodial parent, but we want people who may not be aware of our struggle(s) relating to seeing our children…to ‘see’ the [scope] of the problem and start enforcing accountability! Presently, there are too many ‘NO’s depicted here.
Your thoughts/solutions for enforcement?
Do her mistakes qualify her for another six years on the bench? Or is it time that Miami-Dade voters look for someone who is more competent…Read More
If you are facing Family Court Abuse and Children Protection Services Agency -CPS-DFYS/ DCP&P/ DCF/ DHHS [whatever name CPS is called in your state] is involved in your case please join us to help defeat their fraud, pain and suffering, emotional, physical, psychological and financial abuse -racket. United we can! This is NOT Fathers Rights groups but FAMILIES fighting together the system. There are woman and men protecting our children’s future that understand that Judges are destroying us all for money.
The first case to recognize a non-custodial parent’s cause of actionbased on the tort of…Read More
This means Family Court discrimination against parents and children who suffer from PTSD legal trauma!
RespectAbility ~~ “It also has a lot to do with self worth and the idea that people can be a part of a productive economy. Go to work, produce something, leave the day feeling proud of what they have done. All people have that right whether they have a disability or not,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never in nothing, great or small, large or petty never give in, except to…Read More
Sign the petition. It is already headed for Congress.
The amount of unquestioned power in the family court system is a breeding ground for corruption and unchecked biases. The matter of a parents and child’s future as a family and legal forced adoption is one that should be taken with extreme consideration. We the undersigned ask that the option to choose a jury trial over the sole discretion of one Judge, be implemented. When the State terminates and adopts out a parents child there is financial incentive for the counties CPS that creates a huge door for corrupt practices and abuse of power in an effort to secure funding.
The act of terminating a parents rights not only strips a child of an entire family and identity, but causes the parent years of grief and uncertainty. To lose one’s child is a loss so terrible in it’s torment of a parents heart. This is a matter that is more then just a ‘civil’ matter which can be handled lightly. We want accountability. We want fair and just trials by a group of our peers.
The amount of unquestioned power in the family court system is a breeding ground for corruption and unchecked biases. The matter of a parents and…
Basically, if you are a parent of one or more natural/biological children, you also were unlawfully victimized by either above-described…Read More
Scheduled for filing during middle March 2016, this federal class action suit seeks two primary goals in court relief: (1) shutdown and…Read More
Over the past few decades, research has shown the importance of fathers to their children’s well-being.…
JOURNALSTAR.COM|BY BY SHAWNA THOMPSON
If You Doubt the Grief Caused by False Accusation, Consider the Whimpers of False Accusers When THEY’RE Exposed
An alternative way of understanding the pains inflicted by false accusation, if you’re among the compassionately challenged, is to consider the complaints of those accused of falsely accusing.
They don’t like it much when the table is turned.