You may recall that last year, I posted this on Facebook:
This morning, I was informed that my little brother (the father of the nephew I posted about last year) has also taken his own life. Here is a truncated version of the email members of my family got this morning:
“…a representative of the corners office just left after informing me, as his next of kin, that Rob took his life sometime last evening between 10:00 and 1:00. No signs of alcohol or any abusive substance. In bed with a pistol in his hand and pillow next to his head. ”
The image in the header of this post was taken when my brother was around twenty years old, which is how I like to remember him. Young, a life full of possibilities, and the mischievous grin that masked a huge heart and sensitive temperament. He was an extraordinarily good person who overcame so much adversity in his life, but not parental alienation.
I know where my brother was mentally and emotionally, because I’ve been there. I’m an alienated parent, the target of false allegations of abuse made during my divorce proceeding, ignored custody orders, family court apathy and gaslighting, and the thoroughly viscous weaponization of my own two daughters against me by both their mother and agents of the family court. I have never in my life experienced anything more brutal, more ruthless, and more painful than family court legal abuse and parental alienation. Part of that pain was for the general losses I experienced, and an even bigger part of it was for the suffering to which my two little girls were subjected.
After years of being treated this way, I too was on the precipice of a tragic decision, and I was in sort of zombie-mode as I found myself walking to the hospital. For years thereafter, I believed the gas lighting. I turned all the shame and anger that rightly belonged to others inward and upon myself. I barely existed. I lived in homeless shelters, cheap hotels, run down trailers, I would even camp out in the desert for weeks at a time; just being alone and immersing myself in the pain I felt I deserved. No drugs, not a drop of alcohol, no medications for depression or anything like that. Just me punishing myself.
Now days? I’m tired.
I’m tired of selfish, self-absorbed, destructive behavior that gets enabled, empowered, and rewarded.
I’m tired of people lying, cheating, and stealing to get what they want and being allowed to get away with it.
I’m tired of hypocrisy that holds others to standards that many refuse to hold themselves to.
I’m tired of people mistreating, abusing, and hurting others and not losing a bit of sleep over it.
I’m tired of seeing the absolute ugliest aspects of human nature drawn out, exploited, and weaponized by political and religious operatives.
And I’m tired of people suffering so that others can harvest political and economic profit from it.
I’m just worn out. Perhaps you understand.
All that being said, a reasonable person might question that given my own experiences and my work and my mission here at the Love and Iron Project; how did my own brother fall through the cracks? How was I not able to help him?
When I originally wrote this post, my answer to the above questions was “I don’t know.” But then, after settling into my grief and allowing myself to experience it, and after thinking on things for a bit, I knew that I understood.
Non-custodial parents (and men in particular) tend to be admonished for standing-up for themselves and their children in family court. They are told that parental alienation abuse is not a real thing; that they need to suck it up and get over it. They’re accused of wanting substantive time with their children only because what they really want is to lower their child support obligations. They are told they should be ashamed because their personal suffering is selfish. And when they lose everything in a system that has been engineered to extract as much money as possible from them as they inch toward the inevitable and predetermined outcome of being marginalized and alienated? They are told it’s their fault, that the guilt, the shame, and the failure lies with them. And you know what? Most of us come out of family court erroneously believing that lie is true.
My little brother didn’t take his own life because he didn’t have access to help. He did so because because he believed the lie: that he wasn’t worthy of it. Just to make as strong point here and clear up some common misinformation, most people don’t commit suicide because they’re selfish or self-centered; I know for an absolute fact that my little brother was none of those things. They do so because their suffering has become overwhelming and they believe they deserve it. Anyone who has been in a truly suicidal state will tell you that a certain point in all that, one becomes coldly detached from the pain and extremely rational in formulating a solution to the problem: (1) I cannot handle the constant pain – it is too much, (2) This pain is my fault, and (3) There is a logical solution to this problem that will benefit everyone.
For family court victims, hidden within this chain of thought is a deception advanced by agents of family court industrial interests that includes politicians, government bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, family investigators, and other family court industry lobbies who are all benefiting themselves by weaponizing children for manipulative purposes. Society at large also ends up adopting it, either because it serves the interests of those who are gaining from it, or because they do not think or care to question the pathology they are being fed.
One of the reasons I have worked so hard to build a better support system for targeted parents here at the Love and Iron Project, and in particular, why I created a Member Handbook is that I want to help targeted parents and family members create a family court response plan that works to turn family court pathology into positive outcomes. Still and for me, the agonizing loss of my brother is a stark reminder that while we need make our help readily and more easily available to those being targeted with parental alienation, we also need to do a much better job of publicizing the truth and ensuring that targeted parents are identified much earlier so they can be properly informed and receive the love and support they rightfully deserve.
I’m tired, that’s true. But I won’t give up on my crusade against ending parental alienation. In fact, I’m going to change a few things about our Legacy Lifetime Members Event work better for targeted parents and those who want to help them.
I’ll be in touch soon.