The October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council in Austin, Texas (TBHEC)
I am a daughter of immigrant parents from Poland. Both sides of my family came to the United States after the war as refugees from the Soviet gulags in Siberia. As an immigrant’s child, I strived hard to excel in school and was the first to achieve a doctorate in my family. In 1983, I married another immigrant from Havana Cuba. We shared a commonality not only in family history, but we also were students at the Marquette University of Dentistry were I received a degree in Dentistry. In addition, to having one of the top practices in the country, we published, lectured nationally and internationally in dentistry and business.
My marriage lasted 20 years. I had never truly understood it until it was over. I had been mentally and physically abused… dragged down 12 steps on my back, by my ankles. The word was control. I had married a narcissist and never knew it until he took the minds of my four beautiful children from me during the divorce. It was parental alienation at its worse and I found myself at the mercy of the legal system with no resolve in sight. My attorney, the guardian ad-litem, the court appointed psychologist and the judge all saw the horrific injustice and yet did nothing. Could they do anything? I collapsed from internal agony.
It was at that point that I had to make the most momentous decision of my life. Because I live in a 50-50% state, both parents have custodial rights unless one parent is totally unfit because of criminal record or such. I soon saw that because of his extraordinary behavior and need of total control, he would make it impossible to co-parent and my children’s lives would be havoc. We had joint custody, but I decided to give him physical custody of the children. I felt if I took away the battle, he would stop the war, but he didn’t.