An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing. - Lundy Bancroft
The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. - Lundy Bancroft
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. - Albert Schweitzer
I have a question that perhaps you can help me with.
This is not a #1206 fiction blog that many of you have come to enjoy.
This is not, as my son describes, one of my parables.
This is not one of my skewers of some misguided politician.
And sorry to disappoint you, but I have no opinion on Brexit.
Here is my question.
A woman in small town Alberta has been chased from her property by an abusive son who was the son of a physically and emotionally abusive father. The father died when the child was young and the child grew up to be an abusive son, coercing and manipulating his mother emotionally and financially.
He threatened her physically and drained her of tens of thousands of dollars in cash over a period of more than a decade. She has been informed by the RCMP that she cannot return to her property until a way is found to remove him from the property (something that is caught up in “due process”), even though this property is her primary residence and her sole source of income.
An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) was requested but denied. According to due process, a person with a documented anger issue, a drug abuse issue and firearms cannot be considered a threat to a person's health if they merely threaten the person's Life - they must take action first and then the EPO can be issued (hopefully with the idea that the person hasn't been killed already). A judge said this week that due process in such cases is ridiculous and that she should just claim her property with him being automatically removed but due process continues to grind anyway.
He has four unsecured firearms on the premises and has been identified by a number of legal and enforcement officials as having a serious but as yet unidentified mental health condition.
He has admitted to the RCMP of addiction to a number of substances with cocaine being his preferred drug of choice. People have called him and left him messages looking for fentanyl.
The property that his mother has been chased from has outbuildings which he has added new locks to to keep prying eyes from seeing “something”. These outbuildings are used to generate an income for the owner but that income is in jeopardy since the equipment needed to generate that income is locked inside buildings that the owner cannot access because she is not allowed to return to the property.
He lives in a farmhouse that, once beautiful, has now been documented by RCMP as filled with garbage, feces and cocaine residue and is basically uninhabitable. He stole a property marker from someone else's residence and put it on the property that he is located on with the hopes of hiding his address from police.
He has expressed on Facebook that he hates Life, Life (and the world) make him angry and that he has dodged being arrested in the past.
His self-esteem is at zero, adding a Facebook "Like" when people call him a "c**ksniffer", "homosexual douche bag", "loser", etc., making him a candidate for displaced aggression as he absorbs abuse from people and then redirects the negative energy he has absorbed to other people.
And yet despite all of this, after a court-mandated 24-hour health assessment was executed by RCMP yesterday, he was released within an hour.
Here are some notable quotes from one of the doctors who performed the assessment when interrogated by the mother.
Psychiatrist: I don’t know why he is here. Why is he here? We have no reason to keep him.
Mother: You are releasing him? Did you read the affidavit that caused him to be taken in (the affidavit describes 8 pages of propensity towards violent behavior mixed with possible drug addiction and possession of firearms)?
Psychiatrist response: I read some document about a messy house or something.
My observation: Attention to detail makes all the difference.
Mother: He has threatened me repeatedly, including making references to bullets and telling me that if I return to my own house, that something bad will happen to me. He has posted videos on Facebook showing women being beaten viciously by men and he thinks it is funny. He has fits of uncontrollable anger where he throws things at people. These and other things are in the affidavit.
Psychiatrist response: People get angry, you know.
My observation: There is a significant difference between anger, which is not uncommon, and threatening to hurt someone, potentially by shooting them.
Mother: In addition to the threats he has issued, he was, in his own words and by my observation, abused by his father. He has also told people that he hates the world and that the world makes him angry.
Psychiatrist response: That is not relevant
My observation: According to psychiatry texts, there is an established correlation between being abused and growing up with mental health issues as a result (including becoming an abuser).
Mother: He lives in squalor, living in his own garbage and feces.
Psychiatrist response: Maybe the toilets are not working.
My observation: The toilets work fine. It is not normal to live in one's own feces and garbage.
Mother: The court ordered a 24-hour health assessment, which means he can be held against his will while a battery of tests are conducted to determine what the concerns are.
Psychiatrist response: I can’t hold him against his will. If he has issues, we will provide him with material so that he can explore programs available to him.
My observation: People who have specific illness often do not have sufficient capability to understand that they need help or how to obtain it even if they decide they need it.
Psychiatrist response: Does he hear voices or does he talk to God?
Mother: I don't know. How would I know that? Why don't you ask him that?
Psychiatrist response: Well, if he doesn't do those things, there is likely nothing wrong with him.
My observation: People of faith talk to God on a regular basis - it is called prayer and last I checked, wasn't considered a reason to be considered mentally ill.
Mother: What kind of questions did you ask him?
Psychiatrist response: I can't tell you - client privilege.
My observation: I wonder if the standard assessment tests were ordered and if so, how they could have been conducted so quickly (in less than an hour). While the answers might be privileged, it is likely the case that the questions shouldn't be (if any were asked at all).
Two hours later when the RCMP found out he had been released, the constable on duty called the hospital and, on the record, tore a couple of layers off the doctor. He also told the mother that he had half a mind to drag the doctor to the house to show the doctor what condition the individual was living in.
And now a person with an identified serious anger issue, hatred against women issues, drug addiction and firearm’s possession is back on the streets. Hopefully he is not thinking revenge after the embarrassment of being brought to a hospital by police.
Here is my question that I am hoping you can help me with.
If this individual had attacked a member of the LGBTQ community, a Syrian refugee or an animal, there would be hell to pay (and rightfully so).
And yet, the individual’s mother has to wonder, as the system grinds its way through wondering how to deal with this, if she is even safe. She is not permitted to return to her primary residence and her sole source of income is being threatened.
It sounds and looks like she is living in a third-world country where women's rights to safety don't matter.
The Bottom Line
The last time I checked, Alberta was supposed to be a modern province in the modern nation of Canada.
But if the system is going to allow women to be treated like this, protecting a predator while victims are left to scramble for their own safety and sanity, then it appears that we have more respect for the cattle that roam the prairies than the women who live there.
Maybe there’s the answer.
While we’re branding the cattle, we can just brand the women also and tell them to forget that they have rights or that there is never a sense of urgency when their emotional, physical or financial security is at stake.
I think we MUST do much better.
While the system pontificates over due process and the rights of everyone, this woman and women like her fear for their safety. At the same time, people who need help as is the case with the person with the issue are left to languish. Providing them with self-service offerings to help themselves, when they are not in a position to make lucid decisions that would enable them to avail of such services, leaves people without the help they need. Hopefully, neither person becomes a statistic as due process takes whatever time it needs or wants.
I don’t think this is right or acceptable.
What do you think?
What can we do about it?
What are we waiting for?
In service and servanthood,
A police officer observed that even when they dropped off people who attempted suicide by slitting their wrists, they are often released within two hours. Does this honor people who are in trouble? I don't think so.
What do you think?
Addendum - Irony - June 30, 2016
In a twist of irony (and somewhat of an insult), the mother described in this story had a message left on HER voicemail today. It was the Canadian Mental Health Association - they wanted to know how the son was doing. Given the complexities that the mother and son are embroiled in within the legal system, given how the mother is the one who had her physical safety threatened and given the son's involvement with drugs (possibly dealing as well as using) it is an odd call that likely will not generate a reply.
Addendum - Warning - July 3, 2016
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