When my children were stolen from me

I have never been able to write this part of my story before, because losing my children was, by far, the worst experience of my life.

My missing grandson is on the right, my great grandson on the left.
My missing grandson is on the right, my great-grandson on the left.

— — —

My daughter does not know where her severely disabled and utterly dependent teenage son is right now. She has not seem him in, I believe, at least a month.

The back story is long and complicated. To put it in a nutshell, this is about a bitter, angry, controlling, and utterly self-centered man — my daughter’s former husband — who has done everything in his power to make my daughter’s life a living hell for the past twelve years, as punishment for her having the audacity to leave him. (I’ve written more about that HERE.)

Although I am, of course, prejudiced on her behalf, my daughter is truly an awesome, super loving, super caring, very smart and super giving mom. I have often been amazed by her fantastic mothering skills. She far surpasses my mothering abilities and those of any other mother I have ever known.

So this truly isn’t about a concerned father trying to protect his child from an abusive or neglectful mom. This is malignant narcissistic behavior. This is about lying, projecting, scapegoating, and gaslighting. This is about a miserable man trying to destroy the woman who got away because, in his warped view, she had no right and no valid reason to leave him.

Sadly, without good, healing intervention, a dysfunctional childhood sets the foundation for equally dysfunctional adult relationships. The similarities between my daughter’s former husband and my daughter’s father are uncanny. My ex son-in-law even works in the same trade that my daughter’s father did.

In March of 1977, when my daughter was two years old, her dad, whom I was married to but separated from at the time, took her and my five-year-old son for a visit while I was sick with pneumonia. He told me he was taking them to Arizona to see his elderly father and that he would bring them back within two weeks. But he took my children out of the country instead, after telling them that I was dead. I did not get my children back until November 18, 1979.

Several months prior to absconding with my children, in an amphetamine fueled rage, my then-husband had tried with all his considerable strength to break my neck with his bare hands. He probably would have succeeded, if someone hadn’t walked in and caught him in the act at the last moment.

I had come home thirty minutes later than expected from my real estate job that day, and in his paranoid projection of what I later learned was his cheating habits — he was the one screwing around on me — my husband physically attacked me, swearing that I was late because I was seeing another man.

It was not true, I had never cheated on him… not yet, that is. But a few months after he almost broke my neck, I did have a brief affair with someone who told me, in an unguarded moment, that he admired me more than anyone else he had ever known. As starved for love as I was, I thought I was justified in having that affair…. but I was dead wrong. Sin is always sin, regardless of what anyone else is doing.

The injury my ex-husband caused when he physically attacked me left me with all but the top two discs in my neck severely herniated. Today, forty years later, I still have crippling nerve pain in my neck every day. As I’m writing this, I am experiencing stabbing pains in my neck. It never completely goes away. That’s how badly my former husband hurt me. So — whether anyone believes me or not — I know that my ex did not take my children out of love and concern for their well-being. He never cared about them. It was all about hurting me.

In fact, prior to taking the children, he had told me many times that I was the best mother he had ever seen. And after I got my children back almost three years later, he flat-out told me: “I was planning to kill you for cheating on me. But then I realized that taking the kids would hurt you far worse than killing you.”

WHY, you may wonder, didn’t I have him arrested for hurting me so badly? That’s exactly what I would do today! But forty years ago, when I was twenty-three, I had ZERO self-esteem, thanks to my extremely traumatic childhood. Also, the attitude of the police toward battered women was very different in those days.

During my unbearable grief when my children were missing, a few people further demolished my self-esteem by telling me that, in their opinion, no man would saddle himself with two small children unless he really loved them and needed to protect them from a horribly unfit mother.

This is what I was told, in so many words, when I went to the police, to the district attorney, and to the FBI to report my children missing. I was told that it was a domestic matter, not a law enforcement matter. I was told that my husband had the same rights to my children as I had. I was told this, despite the fact that my son was from my first abusive marriage and my second husband was only his stepfather!

Upon hearing that I had been married and divorced once before, one police officer promptly ended our interview with the opinion that my second husband must be a very loving father and stepfather with a damn good reason for taking away my children, especially considering that one of them wasn’t even his!

Today there are people who do not know my daughter, who have surmised the same thing about her situation. “What a wonderful father he must be! Most men would run in the opposite direction from a child with such severe handicaps!”

What these people fail to understand is the insane intensity of a scorned malignant narcissist’s HATRED, and the great lengths to which he or she will go to retaliate against the person who has dared to leave them.

Also, these “wonderful fathers” who steal children away from their loving mothers do very little hands-on childcare. My daughter’s father left her and my son in the dubious “care” of the hard-drinking wife he had bigamously married in another country, while he was still legally married to me. Her idea of “care,” according to what my children later told me, was to send them outside to play all day, every day, in every kind of inclement weather, locking the doors behind them.

Meanwhile, my estranged husband was traveling all over the world working on oil rigs in such far-flung places as the arctic circle and Saudi Arabia, making buckets of money — money that came in very handy for keeping my children hidden far out of my reach. He rarely saw the children during those two years and seven and one-half months that he kept them away from me!

My daughter’s toxic ex-husband is in a similar situation. But instead of a bigamous wife, he has his mommy dearest, from whom he apparently inherited his narcissistic personality, and plenty of minimum wage babysitters to do the hard, hands on work when my disabled grandson is in his “care.”

With the exception of those few mothers who are so severely personality disordered that they do not even know how to love their own flesh and blood children — is there any love as deep as a mother’s love for her precious child, or any pain as devastating as a mother losing her beloved son or daughter?

Now that my daughter is going through this horror that only a loving mother can fully understand, my heart is breaking for her, my heart is breaking for my grandson, my heart is breaking for my 23-year-old granddaughter, who has always been caught in the middle — and my heart is breaking all over again as I remember what it was like when I did not know where my children were, how they were, or if I would ever see them again.

The agony I experienced from early March of 1977 until November 18, 1979, was truly unbearable. The pain almost drove me to suicide. The pain did drive me to my knees and back to the Lord Jesus, where I learned that the greatest peace and joy could somehow coexist with the worst turmoil and sorrow. (And so it was, until I temporarily lost my faith again, for the second time, several years later, due to religious abuse. But that is a whole other story.)

Some Christians think it shows a lack of faith to weep and grieve. But Jesus wept with the mourners at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11:35). On the night before His crucifixion, His anguish was so great that his sweat fell like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). And contrary to the notion that grieving reveals a lack of faith, the Bible tells us to weep with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).

Today I am grieving along with my wonderful daughter, just two weeks after hiking and laughing with her during our “Best Visit Ever” in the lava field badlands of New Mexico.

I am grateful for the continued prayers of those who care. Please pray for the safe return to my daughter’s arms of my precious grandson. Please pray, most of all, for God’s perfect will to be done.

Amen.

My daughter and me, February 22, 2016.
My daughter and me, February 22, 2016.

— — —

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41 thoughts on “When my children were stolen from me

  1. Maya March 7, 2016 / 7:41 pm

    Oh Sweetheart…I care. I cannot imagine the anguish you and your daughter are going through. I am praying fervently for you all, that your grandson is ok and will come home soon. Thank you for sharing your experiences; that takes tremendous courage. You are a very special person. I look forward to meeting you in Heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 7, 2016 / 8:06 pm

      Maya.. how precious you are. Tears. Thank you! Yes, meeting in heaven is something so wonderful to look forward to!

      Like

  2. katiesdream2004 March 7, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    Thank you for this deeply touching, profound post and your breathtaking honesty. I’m glad you are writing about it and admire the vulnerability and courage it takes to do so. You are in my prayers.

    Having been around Narc men that have no affection for their children except to use them as pawns to stick it to their victim spouse I never assume the father absconded with them out of love. I never assume the police and especially the courts will get it right when it comes to domestic violence and a narcissist. If they do get it right I’m astonished because it is rare and things are still bad today about what happens to battered women both in court, in divorce outcomes and in religious abuse. You’d expect people of faith to have some discernment.
    Yet, some of the worst, most inhumane, depraved, and malignant “help” I ever received came from clergy or religious folks when I was drowning in ocean of abuse from a cheating, lying, narcissistic husband. Jesus is 100 percent of the reason I take one breath, get up in the morning or bother to live and I failed him too, looking for a man to build up my destroyed self. I found instead a narc worse than the others and learned some real valuable lessons.

    He takes us back fortunately without beating us up for our sin and lavishes forgiveness and mercy. I have life long health issues from the abuse including a traumatic brain injury from lots and lots of serious blows to the head, several husband caused concussions and some damage from surgery.

    Today I was wondering about the cost to taxpayers of narcissists. The lifelong health impacts on their victims, lost wages, disability incomes the government has to dole out because some Narc so destroyed their victims health they can’t work. I bet, it is in the billions what society ultimately pays for the demonically inspired evil that narcs inflict. We pay daily too with shame, degradation humiliation. I’m trying to get over the shame of being so broken physically that I can’t work.

    But as you said you learned peace and joy can coexist with pain, I believe that. In a way we can say “bring your worst Narc, because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”.
    Joy is sometimes an act of resistance. I become more convinced that the last thing any Narc wants is for their victims to have joy. Every joyful thought or song is resistance to those that wanted to rob us of an abundant life. Their sin sick life can’t take my joy although I didn’t know that for a long, long time.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 7, 2016 / 10:29 pm

      Katie… thank you so much. Your words are a healing balm, like rain in the desert. I love your beautiful heart.

      How horrible, the abuses you have endured. And yet, you still know joy! The joy of the Lord is indeed our strength.

      Since 2004 I have been married to a good man, a Christian man who truly loves me. He said to me recently that there is a light radiating from my soul. Of course, I know the light comes from the Lord. Then my husband said, “Other people can see that light, too, and they are either drawn to it or they are jealous of it. That’s why so many people have hurt you and tried to destroy you. They wanted to destroy that light.”

      I was stunned when he told me that. But then I thought, if what my husband said is true, that would explain a lot.

      My daughter also has a beautiful inner light. And you do too, Katie. It shines through in your heartfelt words.

      If God be for us, who can stand against us? As horrible as it was, perhaps I needed to go through my many trials, for they ultimately brought me to the Lord.

      Liked by 4 people

      • katiesdream2004 March 8, 2016 / 5:50 pm

        Thank you so much! Tears are welling up reading your post to me. God makes good out of what the enemy intended to destroy us with. There is real hope in that and I think the time He is most working to bring comfort to others out of our stories and lives we are least aware of it. In other words its this supernatural math “suffering + comforted by God = comforting others” I read the passage this morning 2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
        When we don’t understand the why of suffering. we can at least know the “how” He uses it. I read the Velveteen Rabbit to my granddaughter the other day and thought about how we become real to others, particularly those that are in pain. Isn’t it a great thing that evil can’t take away the voice of praise? It can only refine it so that it glows brighter and more intense. Suffering can do that as we lay our broken selves down at God’s feet, trusting in His healing touch.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. lynettedavis March 7, 2016 / 10:50 pm

    I’m convinced that a lot of what appears to be lack of discernment is really covert narcissism.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. lynettedavis March 7, 2016 / 10:58 pm

    Linda, Thank you for sharing this. I can only imagine how difficult this time must be for you and your daughter. My prayers are with you both. Trying to get help from our narcissists abusers is like walking a booby-trapped field–we don’t know who is a narcissist or an enabler, but if God be for you, who can be against you?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. survivednarc March 8, 2016 / 8:08 am

    I very much hope that your grandson will return shortly, safe and sound. It sounds very rough for your daughter, and also what you went through… I am sorry and hope you and your daughter can find strength in one another. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erica Herd March 8, 2016 / 9:54 am

    I am hoping and praying for the safe return of your grandson. I am sorry for all the pain you have experienced. You are a very strong woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 8, 2016 / 10:18 am

      Thank you so much. I don’t know how strong I am, though. Right now I am sick in bed with acute bronchitis. Normally I am very healthy, but not in times of stress.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 8, 2016 / 10:47 am

          Thanks, I hope so too, especially for my poor little dog who isn’t getting his walks. He has been staying faithfully by my side, so he deserves to have some fun. Maybe I can take him for a short walk around the block later today.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. survivednarc March 8, 2016 / 10:46 am

    Hello again Linda!
    Because I really like your blog, I have nominated you for “The Versatile blogger award”! You can read all about it in my latest blog post: https://survivednarc.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/the-versatile-blogger-award/

    There is no pressure to participate, it’s just fun if you do (on your own time schedule). It simply entails writing a blog post just like mine (but changing your “facts” and “nominations”, of course). Congratulations on being a great blogger! Hugs /SurvivedNarc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 8, 2016 / 10:51 am

      I really appreciate this, thank you. I have decided not to do blog awards because… uhm… I’m kinda lazy about some things. But thanks so much for thinking of me! I like your blog, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • survivednarc March 8, 2016 / 11:14 am

        I see. Well, you know, there are quite a few bloggers who say that, so it is quite alright. 🙂 Anyway, I am glad you appreciated my thought. Be well, friend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 8, 2016 / 12:53 pm

          I’m glad you understand. I need to put up one of those Award Free Blog notices. So much of my time and energy is taken up by the memoir I am writing, I can’t seem to squeeze in one thing more. I am only able to spend so much time reading and commenting on blogs right now, because I am sick in bed with acute bronchitis. Too sick to work on my memoir, but not too sick for comments. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • survivednarc March 8, 2016 / 1:55 pm

            Ah, I see, I am so sorry you are sick and in bed! I hope you recover soon. i will tell you, that even if you do put up one of those Award Free Blog notices, it is not certain that everyone will notice… 😉 I just say that, because I myself read a lot from the “Reader”, in WordPress, ie from the stream of posts flowing at me… so, it is a bit more rare for me to actually visit the blog websites directly.. so people may not notice. But, of course, it can not do any harm to put it up there on your page. Better that than nothing, I guess 🙂

            I understand, a memoir must be work that takes a lot of energy. Comments less so… 🙂 Get well soon!

            Liked by 1 person

  8. sandrasweetsiesta March 8, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Linda, I read this the other day, and then came back to read it again to better absorb it. I am sorry that this is happening to your family. This is a time of great tension that didn’t have to happen, but, it’s got to be part of God’s greater plan and I’m praying for a good outcome for you and your daughter. I liked what katiesdream2004 had to say, she is very, very wise. I see two things here in your blogpost. One, the way history seems to repeat itself with what happened to you and now your daughter. Two, how when terrible things happen, the victim often gets blamed. And I think it’s because the people in the position to help, which could be the authorities, don’t want to believe it because then that means it could happen to them as well. They would lose sleep over it because it’s downright scary. But with that kind of ignorance, this kind of stuff just keeps happening. You need to find the right kind of person to help, power AND wisdom. Christianity, but not naive Christianity. You want wise Christianity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 8, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      “Christianity, but not naive Christianity. You want wise Christianity.” — well said.

      My daughter sent me a long email today after reading this post. I wish I could share it here, but I am sure she would not want me to do that. But her email… wow. Like I told her in my reply, she is one awesome woman. And I don’t take credit for any of that, it is all her.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. atimetoshare.me March 10, 2016 / 5:10 am

    Linda, I am so deeply sorry and moved by what you’re going through. Your life has been one bad thing after another. It seems sometimes that there are those who suffer more than others and we wonder why. There really is no answer for that either, because this isn’t our eternal home. It’s so good that your faith is keeping you grounded, but like Job, you’ve had so much taken from you. Still your faith is what’s keeping you going and keeping all of this in perspective. I cannot imagine what you must be going through and all that you have gone through, but your story is going to help someone else in this world and it is making you stronger with every punch you have to endure. I will keep you in prayer as well as your daughter and grandson. Living in such fear and anxiety just doesn’t see fair, but there is a plan in all of God’s creation. His love and grace endure forever and He will help you and your family. I’m sure of it. Love you, Linda!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 10, 2016 / 7:45 am

      Thank you for your gentle and very kind words. And I am glad you found my new blog. My old WordPress account developed some issues that couldn’t seem to be fixed, so I decided to start a new account.

      As you know only too well, every life has sorrow. I used to think that my life had more than its fair share of misery, but I no longer think that. If anything, I now believe that my life has been more blessed than most. Truly. I plan to share more about that in future posts.

      One of my many extraordinary blessings is the great gift of my awesome daughter. She sent me a long email after she read this post. I wish I could share the contents of that email here, but I can’t. Suffice it to say that her attitude and resilience through this super tough time is inspiring. Oh yes, I am greatly blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. bluebird of bitterness March 20, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    This is really heartbreaking.

    I have another friend who is going through much the same thing — her pathological narcissist ex-boyfriend, who unfortunately is the biological father of her four-year-old daughter, has been trying to get the little girl away from her by claiming she is an unfit mother. Of course she is nothing of the sort; she is a very good mother and loves her little girl devotedly, while the ex-boyfriend couldn’t care less about his daughter — he just wants to hurt the mother. He is making her life hell.

    I pray that God will protect your grandson and return him to his mother. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 20, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Thank you. My daughter has a court hearing coming up this week, on March 23, to determine guardianship of her son. She doesn’t know if her former husband is even going to show up at the hearing. I pray he does and that the judge will see through his lying schemes.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary Cathleen Clark March 22, 2016 / 9:13 am

    My thoughts are with you and your daughter. I’m so sorry.

    Like

  12. Anna Waldherr March 30, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    Truly heartbreaking. You, your daughter, and grandson are in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ananonymousoutsider May 28, 2016 / 5:21 am

    This was so much like reading about my own extended (and nuclear) family. I openly wept. Thank you for touching on something so important and so often unspoken of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee May 28, 2016 / 10:32 am

      Oh… I am so, so sorry that you can relate to this. I have tears in my eyes now, too.

      Like

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