Thanksgiving Blog – What is Peace of Mind!

What Is Peace of Mind?

Peace of mind is a state of mental and emotional calmness, with no worries, fears or stress. In this state, the mind is quiet, and you experience a sense of happiness and freedom.

I was talking with some people recently about having peace of mind and “good mental health” due to moving up to Big Bear Lake, California. Now I have always had an affinity with the woods, lakes, and mountains my entire life so it was not surprising that I purchased a home in the mountains, with woods and lake close by.

Every morning when I wake up I thank God for giving me the amazing opportunity to live where I do. And when stress from my job becomes a factor that needs to be dealt with – I retreat to my home, walk the trails in the woods or by the lake, meditate and revive my soul needs.

When one of the individuals I was telling this to heard this, they said to me, “So what is peace of mind? Don’t you think it is different for each person?” To the latter question my answer was a resounding “yes”. To the first question I attempt to answer in this blog.

Peaceful moments are not so rare. All have probably experienced them in the past, at times when you were engaged in some kind of an absorbing or interesting activity. Here are a few examples:

  • Watching an entertaining mindless movie or TV program.
  • Being in the company of someone you love and having “quiet” communication with each other.
  • Being absorbed in reading a book.
  • Lying on the sand at the beach or rowing on a peaceful lake/river.
  • On vacation, when you experience some sort of mental numbness, forgetting your work and day-to-day-life.
  • In deep asleep, when you are not aware of anything, and not dreaming of anything.Here are a few things you can do to enjoy more peace in your life.Tips and Advice for Peace of Mind
  • Such activities, and similar ones, take away the mind from its usual thoughts and worries, replacing them with an experience of inner peace.
  • Minimize the time you spend on reading newspapers or watching the news on TV. Since most of the news in written form or on television is negative news, and you cannot do anything about that, why should you think about it and feel stressed and anxious?
  • Stay away from negative conversations and from negative people. Their thoughts and words sink into your subconscious mind and affect your moods and state of mind. Your brain will believe what they say if you don’t stop the influence.
  • Don’t hold grudges. Learn to forget and forgive. Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past. Nurturing ill feelings and grievances hurts you and causes lack of sleep.
  • Don’t be jealous of others. Jealousy means that you have low self-esteem, and consider yourself inferior to others and may lead to lack of peace of mind.
  • Accept what cannot be changed. This saves a lot of time, energy and worries.
  • Don’t dwell on the past. The past is not here anymore. Live in the present
  • Learn to be more patient and tolerant with family, friends, co-workers, employees, and everyone else.
  • Don’t take everything too personally. A certain degree of emotional and mental detachment is good and are you so important that everything is about you personally?
  • Learn to focus your mind on positive affirmations and thoughts and refuse to think negative thoughts, and reduce the constant negative chatter of your mind, cancel it out and replace it with positive thoughts
  • If you have the time, try meditation or just finding quiet time for self, and you will make a difference in your life. You will become more peaceful, relaxed and happy.

Inner peace eventually leads to external peace in your life.. By creating peace in your life and soul, you bring it into your external world, and into other people’s lives.

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.” ~Brian Tracy

I’ve realized that peace is always available, and like any desirable state of mind it requires effort, even if that effort entails consciously choosing to be still.

If you’d also like to develop a greater sense of peace, you may find these suggestions helpful:

1. Meditation

5 to 10 minutes a day

2. Communication

Write down everything that’s weighing you down mentally and then work on overcoming them and ritualize getting rid of them by burning the paper or tearing it up

Write down everything you’ve learned from a difficult experience so you can see it as something useful and empowering instead of something to stress you out.

Call someone you’ve denied forgiveness and tell them you forgive them.

Apologize for a mistake instead of rehashing it, and then choose to forgive yourself.

Talk and live honesty so there is not reason for feeling guilty

3. Creativity

Engage in a little art therapy or music therapy; grab some crayons, markers, or paint and put all your feelings on the page. Music is healing and therapeutic so dance, cry, or relax to music.

Create a peace collage. Include images that make you feel relaxed and at ease.

Meditate and say affirmations. Then on your favorite peace quote write it in calligraphy for framing.

Take a walk with the sole intention of photographing beautiful things that make you feel at peace, like a tree with colorful autumn leaves.

Write a blog post about what gives you peace of mind so others will benefit from your experience.

4. Activity

Get up and dance to your favorite song, focusing solely on the music and the movement. Get into your body and get out of your head!

Take a long walk in the park, in the mountains or on the beach, focusing on the feel of the sand/land between your toes and the sound of the forest, lake or ocean waves. Cliché, but highly effective!

Go for a bike ride in a scenic part of town, and immerse yourself in the calm of your environment.

Take 5−10 minutes for stretching and deep breathing, syncing your breath with the movements (or if you have an hour, visit a local studio for a yoga class).

De-clutter a cluttered part of your home, office, life, creating a more peaceful space.

5. Accepance

Compassion instead of wallowing in bitterness is an addition to your life which will make it easier to forgive others and set yourself free.

Set aside some time to actively enjoy the good things about the present instead of scheming to create a better future.

Create a list of things you love about yourself instead of dwelling on how you wish you were different.

Focus on what you appreciate about the people in your life instead of wishing they would change (assuming you’re in healthy relationships).

Recognize if you’re judging yourself in your head. Replace negative judgement thoughts with, “I do the best I can, my best is good enough, and I’m learning and growing every day.”

6. Solitude

Start reading that book you bought about dealing with the challenge you’ve been facing.

Schedule a date with yourself—a time when you don’t need to meet anyone else’s requests—and do something that feeds your mind and spirit. Go to a museum or take yourself to your favorite restaurant and simply enjoy your own company. Scary for some people but worthwhile if you can enjoy who you are when no one else is around.

Sit in nature—under a tree, on a mountain—and let yourself simply be.

Be your own best friend. Tell yourself what’s on your mind, and then give yourself the advice you’d give a good friend who had the same issue.

Positive affirmation help you feel present, peaceful, and empowered.

7. Connection

Tell the truth in your relationships. When we hold in our true feelings, we create stress for ourselves. Be kind but honest and share truth kindly.

Catch critical, self-victimizing thoughts. Instead of ruminating on what someone else did wrong, express yourself and ask yourself what you can do to create the change you’re seeking.

Have fun with someone you love. Forget about everything that feels like a problem and do something silly and childlike.

Connect with someone online who can relate to what you’re going through and create a mutually supportive relationship by sharing and listening.

8. Contribution

Volunteer – help a charity you believe in. Put all your energy into helping someone else, and you will inadvertently help yourself or at an animal shelter or hospital.

Do something kind for someone else without expecting anything in return. Pay it forward as they say because someone has done something nice for you at one time or another.

Leverage your passion to help someone else or start your own business (i.e.: if you’re an aspiring designer, design a logo for a friend). A win/win!

Leverage your purpose to serve someone else, not for money—just because. That might mean helping them pursue their passion, or motivating them to reach their fitness goals. Whatever gives your life meaning, give it to someone freely.

As is often the case with these types of list, this can seem a little long and overwhelming. The important thing is that we do at least one tiny thing every day to create mental stillness.

I hope that this blog helps you to look at yourself more closely and focus on what can bring you inner peace, so that each day you choose to apply a technique or take the time to clear up the clutter of your life that stops the peace you so much deserve.




Some of this article is copied from Saul McLeod who published it in 2008, updated 2014

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.

This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc.

For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition).

Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).

Attitudes may change because of factors within the person. An important factor here is the principle of cognitive consistency, the focus of Festinger’s (1957) theory of cognitive dissonance. This theory starts from the idea that we seek consistency in our beliefs and attitudes in any situation where two cognitions are inconsistent.

Leon Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior.

According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement).

Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen.

While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and to “put it down to experience”, committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members).

How Attitude Change Takes Place

According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance.

Dissonance can be reduced in one of three ways:

First, individuals can change one or more of the attitudes, behavior, beliefs etc. so as to make the relationship between the two elements a consonant one. When one of the dissonant elements is a behavior, the individual can change or eliminate the behavior. However, this mode of dissonance reduction frequently presents problems for people, as it is often difficult for people to change well-learned behavioral responses (e.g. giving up smoking).

A second (cognitive) method of reducing dissonance is to acquire new information that outweighs the dissonant beliefs. For example, thinking smoking causes lung cancer will cause dissonance if a person smokes. However, new information such as “research has not proved definitely that smoking causes lung cancer” may reduce the dissonance.

A third way to reduce dissonance is to reduce the importance of the cognitions (i.e. beliefs, attitudes). A person could convince themself that it is better to “live for today” than to “save for tomorrow.” In other words, he could tell himself that a short life filled with smoking and sensual pleasures is better than a long life devoid of such joys. In this way, he would be decreasing the importance of the dissonant cognition (smoking is bad of ones health).

Notice that dissonance theory does not state that these modes of dissonance reduction will actually work, only that individuals who are in a state of cognitive dissonance will take steps to reduce the extent of their dissonance. One of the points that dissonance theorists are fond of making is that people will go to all sorts of lengths to reduce dissonance.

The theory of cognitive dissonance has been widely researched in a number of situations to develop the basic idea in more detail, and various factors that been identified which may be important in attitude change.

This research can be divided into three main areas:

  1. forced compliance behavior,
  2. decision-making,
  3. and effort.

We will look at the main findings to have emerged from each area.

Forced Compliance Behavior

When someone is forced to do (publicly) something they (privately) really don’t want to do, dissonance is created between their cognition (I didn’t want to do this) and their behavior (I did it).

Forced compliance occurs when an individual performs an action that is inconsistent with his or her beliefs. The behavior can’t be changed, since it is already in the past, so dissonance will need to be reduced by re-evaluating their attitude to what they have done. This prediction has been tested experimentally:

In an intriguing experiment, Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) asked participants to perform a series of dull tasks (such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour). As you can imagine, participant’s attitudes toward this task were highly negative. They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a waiting participant (relay a confederate) that the tasks were really interesting. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the subject accomplice that the boring experiment would be fun.


Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) investigated if making people perform a dull task would create cognitive dissonance through forced compliance behavior.



In their laboratory experiment, they used 71 male students as participants to perform a series of dull tasks (such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour).

They were then paid either $1 or $20 to tell a waiting participant (a confederate) that the tasks were really interesting. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun.


When the participants were asked to evaluate the experiment, the participants who were paid only $1 rated the tedious task as more fun and enjoyable than the participants who were paid $20 to lie.



Being paid only $1 is not sufficient incentive for lying and so those who were paid $1 experienced dissonance. They could only overcome that dissonance by coming to believe that the tasks really were interesting and enjoyable. Being paid $20 provides a reason for turning pegs and there is therefore no dissonance.


Decision Making

Life is filled with decisions, and decisions (as a general rule) arouse dissonance.

For example, suppose you had to decide whether to accept a job in an absolutely beautiful area of the country, or turn down the job so you could be near your friends and family. Either way, you would experience dissonance. If you took the job you would miss your loved ones; if you turned the job down, you would pine for the beautiful streams, mountains, and valleys.

Both alternatives have their good points and bad points. The rub is that making a decision cuts off the possibility that you can enjoy the advantages of the unchosen alternative, yet it assures you that you must accept the disadvantages of the chosen alternative.

People have several ways to reduce dissonance that is aroused by making a decision (Festinger, 1964). One thing they can do is to change the behavior. As noted earlier, this is often very difficult, so people frequently employ a variety of mental maneuvers. A common way to reduce dissonance is to increase the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and to decrease the attractiveness of the rejected alternative. This is referred to as “spreading apart the alternatives.”

Brehm (1956) was the first to investigate the relationship between dissonance and decision-making. Female participants were informed they would be helping out in a study funded by several manufacturers.

Participants were also told that they would receive one of the products at the end of the experiment to compensate for their time and effort. The women then rated the desirability of eight household products that ranged in price from $15 to $30. The products included an automatic coffee maker, an electric sandwich grill, an automatic toaster, and a portable radio.

Participants in the control group were simply given one of the products. Because these participants did not make a decision, they did not have any dissonance to reduce. Individuals in the low-dissonance group chose between a desirable product and one rated 3 points lower on an 8-point scale. Participants in the high-dissonance condition chose between a highly desirable product and one rated just 1 point lower on the 8-point scale. After reading the reports about the various products, individuals rated the products again.

Participants in the high-dissonance condition spread apart the alternatives significantly more than did the participants in the other two conditions. In other words, they were more likely than participants in the other two conditions to increase the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and to decrease the attractiveness of the unchosen alternative.


It also seems to be the case that we value most highly those goals or items which have required considerable effort to achieve.

This is probably because dissonance would be caused if we spent great effort to achieve something and then evaluated it negatively. We could, of course, spend years of effort achieving something which turns out to be a load of rubbish and then, in order to avoid the dissonance that produces, try to convince ourselves that we didn’t really spend years of effort, or that the effort was really quite enjoyable, or that it wasn’t really a lot of effort.

In fact, though, it seems we find it easier to persuade ourselves that what we have achieved is worthwhile and that’s what most of us do, evaluating highly something whose achievement has cost us dear – whether other people think it’s much cop or not! This method of reducing dissonance is known as ‘effort justification’.

If we put effort into a task which we have chosen to carry out, and the task turns out badly, we experience dissonance. To reduce this dissonance, we are motivated to try to think that the task turned out well. A classic dissonance experiment by Aronson and Mills (1959) demonstrates the basic idea.


To investigate the relationship between dissonance and effort.



Female students volunteered to take part in a discussion on the psychology of sex. In the ‘mild embarrassment’ condition, participants read aloud to a male experimenter a list of sex-related words like ‘virgin’ and ‘prostitute’.

In the ‘severe embarrassment’ condition, they had to read aloud obscene words and a very explicit sexual passage. In the control condition, they went straight into the main study. In all conditions they then heard a very boring discussion about sex in lower animals. They were asked to rate how interesting they had found the discussion, and how interesting they had found the people involved in it.


Participants in the ‘severe embarrassment’ condition gave the most positive rating.



If a voluntary experience which has cost a lot of effort turns out badly, dissonance is reduced by redefining the experience as interesting. This justifies the effort made.


Critical Evaluation

There has been a great deal of research into cognitive dissonance, providing some interesting and sometimes unexpected findings. It is a theory with very broad applications, showing that we aim for a consistency between attitudes and behaviors, and may not use very rational methods to achieve it. It has the advantage of being testable by scientific means (i.e. experiments).

However, there is a problem from a scientific point of view, because we cannot physically observe cognitive dissonance, and therefore we cannot objectively measure it (re: behaviorism). Consequently, the term cognitive dissonance is somewhat subjective.

There is also some ambiguity (i.e. vagueness) about the term ‘dissonance’ itself. Is it a perception (as ‘cognitive’ suggests), or a feeling, or a feeling about a perception? Aronson’s revision of the idea of dissonance as inconsistency between a person s self-concept and a cognition about their behavior makes it seem likely that dissonance is really nothing more than guilt.

There are also individual differences in whether or not people act as this theory predicts. Highly anxious people are more likely to do so. Many people seem able to cope with considerable dissonance and not experience the tensions the theory predicts.

Finally, many of the studies supporting the theory of cognitive dissonance have low ecological validity. For example, turning pegs (as in Festinger’s experiment) is an artificial task that doesn’t happen in everyday life. Also, the majority of experiments used students as participants which raise issues of a biased sample. Could we generalize the results from such experiments?


Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59(2), 177.

Brehm, J. W. (1956). Postdecision changes in the desirability of alternatives. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 52(3), 384.

Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Festinger, L. (1959). Some attitudinal consequences of forced decisions. Acta Psychologica, 15, 389-390.

Festinger, L. (Ed.). (1964). Conflict, decision, and dissonance (Vol. 3). Stanford University Press.

Festinger, L., & Carlsmith, J. M. (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58(2), 203.

When things scare us – don’t over react!

When things scare us

There are loads of things that scared us as kids that seem to be timeless childhood fears, things that generations past and future have been and will be afraid of too. Some of these are just childhood fears that we all grow out of, while other fears may stay with us into adulthood.

What’s really more likely to get us, Ebola or the flue? Max Fisher has an article at Vox that simply points out some facts, such as the fact that the flue kills thousands of Americans every year. In 2004, a particularly bad year, 48,000 Americans died of the flu. We’ve had one only a couple of deaths from Ebola and the nation is freaking out, but how many of those freaking out about Ebola have bothered with a flu shot?

In fact, at the moment we are in greater danger of being crushed to death by our own furniture than dying of Ebola. About 30 Americans die every year when a bookcase or other heavy furniture tips over on them, Fisher states. About 40,000 people suffer serious injuries from their own furniture every year. This is not to say Ebola should be ignored, but it shouldn’t be that hard to contain here in the U.S.A given the quality of hospital management. But we know it is spreading and people are scared for good reason.

So how do we handle fear when it concerns Ebola, cancer, or other deadly things that can end life as we know it?

David Kaplan of the American Counseling Association said last week, “People are feeling out of control. They had no control about whether Ebola comes to the United States.” Kaplan said, there’s a cultural imperative to gain and maintain control over one’s own health and safety – an imperative that something like Ebola confounds. “We always like to feel in control of what we do, he said. “That’s why people are often much more afraid of flying than of driving, even though it is much safer.”

Humans have a long history of overreacting like this, often to threats that turn out to be false. When the brain comes into contact with a perceived threat, there are generally one of three outcomes. If the threat is real, the person reacts to the threat properly. It’s called a “hit.” If it is a genuine fear and a person doesn’t react to it, it’s a miss. If a person acts and it’s not, it’s a false alarm,” said Shmuel Lissek, founder of the Angst Lab at the University of Minnesota, where he studies the human brain’s responses to fear.

As it turns out, our brains may have evolved to avoid “misses.” Lissek said, “In early human history the cost of a miss…of not taking it seriously, could potentially be lethal.” But the cost of a false alarm is much lower. The simple version of this idea? It is better to be safe than sorry.

Some people have trouble inhibiting this fear response, even when the logic part of the brain tells them that the threat isn’t real. ”Somebody might rationally be 95 percent sure that they aren’t going to get Ebola, but there is a 5 percent chance they could, so Lissek said “they focus on the 5 percent and say “what if?”

Being over-trained with things helps in the face of stress and having concrete things that one can do also helps them face stress. An example of this is military drills in soldiers emergency responses. It removes mystery and increases solutions to problems.

Ebola will end someday, just as smallpox and other diseases have. But there will always be another “something” and there will always be our fear.  The important thing is to not over react and to maintain calm while solutions are being sought and implemented.

Advocacy tips for Domestic Violence Advocates, Counselors and Therapists

 October is domestic violence awareness month. Here are some activities you can get involved in on the national level and in California.

It is our efforts that will help educate and end domestic violence in the United States!!!

October 1 – 2, 2014 Events in Washington DC 


October 1:


From 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Mothers of Lost Children March. We will provide white Mothers of Lost Children t shirts. Bring your sunscreen and a hat, and wear white clothing. We will have a speak out, then march around the White House. After a short break we will march to the Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave NW to demand action on family courts that engage in illegal activity We are asking them to investigate the 286 cases Mary Seguin submitted on January 15, 2014.


That night from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, there will be a presentation on sex trafficking of children at George Washington University Law School,  Faculty Conference Center B505, 5th floor, 716 20th St NW, Washington DC. We have invited speaker and author Gypsy Marie Roberts to speak on sex trafficking and we will discuss judicial trafficking in the family court.


October 2:


We will go to Congress to continue educating members and requesting action on the family court crisis. Please plan to wear your white Mothers of Lost Children t shirts over business attire and meet in front of the Cannon Building on Independence Ave, SE and First Street SE at 9:00 am. The Safe Child Coalition is now part of Mothers of Lost Children.



“You cannot have a conversation about human rights and human dignity without talking about the right of every woman on this planet to be free from violence and free from fear.” – Vice President Joseph Biden


Vice President Biden  announced a Summit gathering about civil rights and protection “This past week, I announced that we’ll bring together legal experts, scholars and advocates to convene a White House Summit on Civil Rights and Equal Protection for Women because we know bias against victims of rape and sexual assault still exist in our criminal justice system – and we must make clear every victim has a basic civil right to equal protection under the law.” This is a good time to remind him that mothers and children are still prevented from protecting their child when seeking refuge.  It is human right to be free from violence and fear. Mothers and children are free from neither in the family court.


You can write to Vice President Joe Biden or call 202-456-1111 or email and copy Bea Hansen, Principal Deputy Director, Office of Violence Against Women, 145 N Street NE, Suite 10W.121, Washington DC  20530 and call 202-307-6026



The Honorable Joseph Biden

Vice President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington DC 20500


RE: Abused Children of Divorce are court ordered to live with their sexually abusive fathers


Dear Vice President Biden,


You have done so much to help women. Please help women in the crisis in family courts. Abused children of divorce are being taken away from their safe mothers and given to their sexually and physically abusive fathers. The situation is getting worse, despite our efforts.


You said, “You cannot have a conversation about human rights and human dignity without talking about the right of every woman on this planet to be free from violence and free from fear.”  We do not live in fear. We live in terror. Our children do not live in fear. They live in terror. Many live in ongoing court-ordered rape and sexual assault.


We have been demonstrating to the White House since 2010 seeking remedies for abused children of divorce. 58,000 of them are placed in the unsupervised contact or full custody of their abusers.  Their suffering  is horrendous and completely preventable.


No investigation of these cases has occurred, despite our pleas. The Department of Justice has not investigated the 286 cases submitted in January 2014 by Mary Seguin, who has subsequently disappeared.


Nothing has helped our children who live in rape camps disguised as their paternal “homes”.   Please come to their aid.  We ask for you to order an investigation into cases in which divorce courts seem to operate like criminal cartels, deliberately placing children at risk.






cc:  Bea Hansen, Principal Deputy Director

Office of Violence Against Women

145 N Street NE, Suite 10W.121,

Washington DC  20530




You can also contact the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities to ask them to look into child fatalities where family (divorce) courts fail to protect the children by taking them from safe mothers and giving them to violent and abusive fathers.  or call202-818-9596


This commission was created by the federal Protect Our Kids Act of 2012. It appears to focus mostly on CPS cases, but most of the time, CPS fails abused children of divorce by not protecting them so we need to tell them about this special group of abused children of divorce. We need to let them know about fatalities and near fatalities cause by terrible family court decisions.






Opinion: The Quincy Solution: targeting domestic violence, deficit


SEPTEMBER 8, 2014, 5:14 PM    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014, 5:14 PM



Barry Goldstein is the author of books about domestic violence and custody. His 5th book, “The Quincy Solution: Stop Domestic Violence and Save $500 Billion,” will be published in October.



Time and time again, Judges in our country, the U.S.A., are part of abducting children by using the court system to help felons, batterers, molester’s and narcissists, get custody of children when any “normal” American would not give these individuals custody, much less, rights to unmonitored visitation with children.

I was outraged to hear just one more story of how this recently happened in the state of Nebraska. A little 9 year old girl named Sonya Hodgins, adopted for 9 years, was given back to her convicted criminal biological father, whom she never met and did not know.  John McCall petitioned the court to get his daughter back once he was out of prison due to his violent criminal past – and got custody.  This is a nightmare for all children when this can happen.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is another “junk science” tool used by courts to take children away from their protective and loving parent, and given to a abusive and/or sexually abusing parent, and no one does anything about it.

It makes no sense that court judges, attorneys and others are part of child abuse under the umbrella of “legal” manipulations and not held accountable when laws are not followed.  I have been a part of more legal cases then I care to mention, due to corruption by judges, attorneys, child custody evaluators, DCFS, and others who take money and “bought” off to rule a certain way in the court room. I continue to be outraged every day as I continue to hear about more cases where judges are corrupt and giving children to abusers.  One can’t sue a judge and the only way a judge is held liable for misconduct is if the state Judicial Council is informed, follows up, and sanctions the judge by removing them from the bench or have them take “early retirement.”  But if that happens (which is rare), the entire case load of that judge, is now opened up and reviewed which takes time, money and effort – which most Judicial Council’s don’t want to have happen. So in many cases, the case is called “unfounded” and nothing is done, while children are abducted by so called parents with criminal and/or abusive histories are given custody through Judicial Abduction. Here is the story on 9 year old Sarah.

newspaper article:

EXCLUSIVE: ‘They have no blood link. They have no right’: Biological family of 9-year-old girl ripped from foster parents and given to convict dad say they will never give her back

  • Sonya McCaul has been ‘returned’ to an ex-con father she did not know
  • Nine-year-old had been living with Kim and David Hodgin since 2006
  • They were given two hours notice before she was removed from their care
  • She now lives with her father, jailed for transporting arms, in Nebraska
  • Sonya has been calling her adoptive parents, pleading to return home


PUBLISHED: 19:51 EST, 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 11:47 EST, 17 May 2014
The biological family of a little girl taken from her foster parents and returned to her jailbird father have branded her adoptive mom and dad, ‘selfish’ for fighting to get her back and vowed never to give her up again.

Sonya, aged nine, had been in the care of Kim and David Hodgin, from Dickson, Tennessee for more than seven years, but she was recently handed over to ex-con John McCaul in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Hodgin family have released a heart-breaking phone conversation, revealing Sonya’s desperate pleas, begging to be reunited with them.

Heartbreaking: David and Kim Hodgin had been caring for Sonya, now nine, since before she was two years old, but were forced to see her forcibly returned to her biological father in January

And they have claimed the school girl, “cried her eyes out”, screaming, “Please don’t let them do this, Daddy, please, Mama, don’t let ’em take me,” when she was forcibly removed from them.

But a female relative of McCaul – a convicted felon who served time for transporting firearms – has hit back at the Hodgins, branding them “selfish” and accusing them of not have the little girl’s best interests at heart.

Speaking from Omaha, Nebraska, the woman, who asked not to be named, said: ‘This is not the way to do things. If you don’t get what you want you shouldn’t behave like they are.

‘They are spreading all kinds of dirt about John, but they don’t know him. Sonya should never have been with them in the first place. She wasn’t treated badly. She’s the most important person in John’s life.

‘His mother, Sonya’s grandmother, never gave up on her and has been fighting to get her back all this time. Her real family love her.+6

Tragedy: Mrs Hodgin and her husband were just given three hours notice before their adoptive daughter was taken from their home in Dickson County, Tennessee and moved to Omaha, Nebraska

‘John has had to take Sonya into hiding because he is being targeted by people. Some people stole his trash and tried to steal his truck.

‘I feel sorry for the Hodgin’s because they have a relationship with Sonya and if it was up to us, they would continue to see her, but they are making that impossible, because they want to take her back permanently.

‘We are never going to let that happen. She is family and families don’t just give up on each other. They have no blood link to her. They have no right to her and if you ask me, their lawyer needs to tell them to shut their mouths.’

The family member also revealed McCaul has been in prison for an armed robbery as well as transporting a gun across state lines. But she defended him saying: ‘John got into trouble when he was a kid, I’m not going to deny that.

‘But the robbery was not his fault. He told some guys how to do a robbery, but he wasn’t with them when they did it.

‘It was the same with the gun charge. He was running a security firm and he wasn’t allowed to have a gun. A woman was in his car and she had one, but it wasn’t in a holster, so as it was in her car, he was charged.

‘But he has served his time and has straightened up. He just wants to start a new life with his daughter.’

McCaul was in court in Tennessee on Friday after the Hodgins petitioned to have her returned to them on Sonya’s best interest.

The family adopted her in 2008, but a Tennessee appeals court overturned that after McCaul was released from prison.

In a recording of a phone call made on January 30 this year, a day after Sonya was moved from Dickson County to Omaha, she can be heard asking for her adoptive parents to take her back.
‘What did you say, baby doll?’ Mrs Hodgin can be heard asking in a recording of the phone call obtained by CNN.

‘I want to you to come and get me’, the young girl responds.

During the phone call, the last time the Hodgins spoke to her, Sonya also describes her biological father’s home as ‘dirty, with mold and cigarettes everywhere,’ and although the man is ‘nice’ to her, the home lacks clean water.

Convicted felon: Sonya has no memory of her father Josh McCaul, left, but a court still ruled she should live with him

The Hodgins say they were given just three hours’ notice before the young girl was taken from them.
‘Sonya’s crying her eyes out. Screaming bloody murder, “Please don’t let them do this, Daddy, please, Mama, don’t let ’em take me,”,’ Mr Hodgin told CNN.

‘They took her bags, and that’s the last that I’ve seen her,’ Mrs Hodgin adds.

McCaul had been awarded custody of his infant daughter in 2004 after Sonya’s mother gave up her rights.

However, she has been living with the Hodgins since 2006 and they were able to adopt Sonya after McCaul pleaded guilty to transporting firearms and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

This automatically terminated his parental rights as Tennessee state law does not allow anyone incarcerated for more than ten years to have rights to a child under the age of eight.

But his sentence was shortened to just eight years and he was able to retain it upon his release from prison after claiming his parental rights were illegally terminated.



I hope you are outraged by Judicial Abduction and become advocates to help end this atrocity.  California Protective Parents Association, Center for Judicial Excellence, California Cognitive Behavioral Institute’s Center for Judicial Integrity, NOW, Justice for Children and other organizations are working tirelessly to end Judicial Abductions across the country.

Are you in a relationship with a narcissistic personality?

Are you in a relationship with a psychopath or a sociopath and/or narcissist? All can be extremely charming and come across like Prince/Princess Charming at first. So unless you know the signs, you’d probably get “groomed” into the life of a socio/psychopath and not know who he/she really was until you are completely drawn into their web of deceit with soul trauma being the result if you stay too long in the relationship.

Here are 10 signs you should look out for to quickly identify this type of relationship.

1. Flattery like you’ve never heard before. They move extremely quickly. On the first date, he’ll probably tell you that you are stunningly beautiful, unbelievably intelligent, and are not like any other woman he has been with to date. He will play into every fantasy and insecurity you have. If you think you’re fat, he will tell you how much he loves your body. If you think you’re shy, he will laugh at every lame attempt at a joke and tell you that you have the talent to be a comedian. This is called “love bombing.” It’s the idealization phase or the “grooming phase” where he gets you hooked on, and it’s the phase you will spend the next however-many months or years trying to get back from once he abruptly shuts it off. If it is “she” then she will tell you that you are the most handsome, sexy, intelligent and powerful man she has met – not like the other men who never lived up to what being a “man” really meant.

2. He/she is just like you. They will try to convince you that you are soul mates, just alike. He/she loves all the things you love and you have all of the same interests. If you had a tough childhood, he/she will say something like, “We both had it rough. That’s why we understand each other; or our families sound so familiar and we have so much in common.” If there’s an obscure book/movie you love, he/she will make sure they love it too. What he’s doing is called “mirroring or regurgitation.” He/she has no real identity, so they suck yours up and mirror/regurgitate it back to you.

3. Pity/victim plays. Pay careful attention to what one says on the first few dates about their exes and other people in their life. Is his/her ex girlfriend/boyfriend crazy and stalking him/her? Did another “ex” rob him/her blind? Is his/her mother controlling and horrible? Does this person seem like they have had a tough time with people, who always use and abandon them? Whatever they say about the other people in their life, it is pretty much exactly what they will be saying about you at some point, so listen carefully. They are always a victim to someone.

4. Illnesses and injuries. They absolutely love pity, so pay attention to how many illnesses and injuries they have had. Did he/she miraculously beat cancer but it could come back at any minute? Does she/he break a foot on your second date and have to cancel? (But strangely is okay for the third date?) Did he/she lose his first wife or her first husband in a car accident that left him/her with brain trauma (yet he talks fine and seems fine)? Try to check out their stories and don’t be surprised if they have an excuse for why you can’t find any record of any of their traumas.

5. Great sex. Everyone wants great sex, but those who have been with a psychopath/sociopath often say it’s the best thing they’ve ever experienced. They will go out of his way to please you. It’s just another way of getting you hooked. Once they have you hooked, you’ll find yourself begging for sex because they suddenly won’t want it anymore. Or they will give it to you as a “reward” after an argument.

6. Cracks in the mask. They sometimes blurt out something odd about themselves, apropos of nothing. Like you might be cooking dinner and suddenly she/he states out of nowhere, “I’m crazy you know.” Or “I’m cheating on you.”  Then they either deny they said it or play it off as a joke. A form of keeping you off balance — but also possibly a slip of who they are and what they are actually doing but a gaslighting technique that works.

7. Silent treatment. Once they have you hooked after the “love bombing” and “grooming” phase, they then begin to devalue you. The first step in that is usually to give you the silent treatment over something. They are also known to disappear for days at a time and lie to you as to where they have been or tell you it is none of your business as they are not “owned” by you. Be sure, the silent treatment and disappearing act will be laid squarely at your feet. In reality, they are probably sizing up his next target somewhere.

8. Triangulation. Sociopaths/Psychopaths love to work you up into a state of obsessive frenzy, so to do that, they idealize you, give you fabulous sex, and then begin pulling away and “triangulating.” This is when they introduce other people into the mix to make you jealous. It could be an ex-wife/husband or ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, a friend of the same sex, or even a celebrity. In their mind, everyone else wants them, so you better be on your best behavior, or they will move on to one of their adoring victims.

9. Discard/conclusion phase. The final phase is the “discard or conclusion” phase. After they suck you in with idealization, then begins the process to devalue you, they will suddenly discard you as if you never had a relationship. You are suddenly completely worthless and left void of the relationship you thought you had.  In this phase they will usually move on to another target at this point. You are left wondering what happened and what did you do to deserve the loss of the relationship (they will make sure it is your fault and that you know it).

10. “Hoovering.” Although they will discard you, they don’t quite want you moving on either. If they sense you are moving on and/or have the ability to find another relationship, they will “hover” around because they “own” you and you are their possession and you aren’t allowed to move on unless they say so or have no use for you anymore.
1. Narcissists are defensive. Think about this. Defense is a natural response to thwart off an attack right? So the more ‘defensive’ a person is the more shallow and hollow they are. Narcissists wear a mask that seemingly says they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They tell you that but mostly they tell themselves. If your partner has to remind you how great they are, needing adulation or adoration, chances are they need to feel like they are those things. More times than not, a narcissist flashes a confident smile but they are really empty and void inside. If they become defensive, they can thwart the attack by lashing out. It’s always all about them. If you bring up a problem you’ve discovered with your partner and they immediately become defensive you have to ask yourself why. If they do not apologize or listen to your side, they are probably not that concerned with how you feel. They feel pretty bad all of the time because they are so empty, so it doesn’t really matter to them if you feel like that every now and then.

2. The crisis. Whatever is going on in your life is not important to them. You care about your partner and you expect the same treatment from them. But the only person who is important is them. If you are in a mutually giving relationship this is natural but these relationships with narcissists are not about mutuality. If you want to have a ‘serious’ talk with your partner and they bolt, they can’t handle the emotions you are throwing at them. To them it is like nails on a chalkboard. They have to run. A narcissist can only keep the act up long enough to get to what they want. They have no idea how to handle your emotions because they don’t have any unless it is something that affects them personally. If they show remorse or tears it is because it serves a purpose for them.

3. The rages. They have paper thin skin. If you are often on the receiving end of behavior that goes from 0 to 60 in no time flat you are in a relationship that cannot stand criticism without a knock down drag out fight. It could be the smallest of criticism that sets them off. If you are feeling rage directed at you when you bring up a point of question or the other party feeling inadequate, you need to run as fast as you can from the other person.

4. Crazy making. Does your partner make you constantly crazy by sending you mixed signals? Why do they do this? Number one, to keep you unstable and make you feel unstable. Another term is “gaslighting” taken from an old movie in which a man tried to keep his victim off guard by sending mixed messages/signals. Why would someone who says they love you want to do this? Because it gives them control and power and when you are constantly second guessing yourself, you can’t very well criticize them or point things out to them. Promises are made that don’t get followed up on, things said then you are told they were never said at all, events/special occasions all gets pushed to the back burner in light of their own needs.

5. Exclusivity. Narcissists need so much adoration and adulation that getting it from one source is hardly enough. The narcissist starts every day as an empty cup. It is your job to fill it up and make sure it can stay filled. The only problem is they never get filled up. Do you see how exhausting it is to fill up the cup every day? When it comes to complimenting you or listening to you, they won’t deliver it with equal thought. Can you see how exhausting it is to just keep them filled? They will want you to be exclusive though, giving you the pouty face when you start hinting around at the possibility of dating or going out with someone that isn’t them.

6. Actions won’t match words. This is a telling sign for any relationship. When you realize that the actions do not match the words you are probably in too deep with this person. You’re probably in it exclusively and have spent so much time with them that you feel like you have to stay. I have heard so many in this type of relationship say, “But I have given so much of myself and my time and I don’t want to give up now. No one is perfect and maybe it will get better.” My best advice to anyone in a relationship regardless of narcissism is if the actions do not match the words, run. Your inner sense knows. Deep down you know you won’t ever change them. YOU MUST RESPECT YOURSELF AND MAKE THE CHOICE TO LEAVE and move forward in your life with self respect still in tact

6 Things You Can Do When Building a Relationship with Yourself!!!

There’s an assortment of articles about helping us build healthy relationships with our partners and loved ones. But the most important relationship in our lives is the one with ourselves.

Suzanne Conway said, “Your relationship with yourself is the foundation of everything.”

Having a good relationship with yourself gives you important insights into your life. John Duffy, a clinical psychologist,said, “I had to look within to determine who I was and what I wanted. Were I not eager to get to know myself well, I would not have made the career change that allowed for so much possibility and happiness in my life.”

Having a good relationship with yourself improves your relationships with others. What you want and bring into your life in this relationship will also be what you look for in others that you want in your life. In other words, manifest for yourself the relationship you want, and those who are “that” will come into your life as well.

I have learned, through experiences in and out of the counseling room, that if we are not connected and emotionally available to ourselves, we cannot be connected and emotionally available for others either. If you want a good partner, good friends, good people, in your life – that will happen ONLY when you have a good relationship with yourself first.

So what does a healthy relationship with yourself look like?

A healthy self-relationship is the ability to value yourself as a person. Also you embrace your strengths and weaknesses and work on making the weaknesses into strengths. Weaknesses are only “weak” when we don’ work on them and improve them.

It means considering yourself, every day and consideration includes self-care, self-respect, goodwill and self-love.

A healthy relationship looks like kindness. Conway said, “We have unconditional love for our family and loved ones — we need to extend that to ourselves, too.” Unconditional love is limitless good and when you add that to “regard,” or how we see ourselves, then we have limitless good in how we view ourselves.

Regardless of whether you’re used to extending love and kindness your way, you can build and bolster that healthy bond. These are six ideas on cultivating a good relationship with yourself.

  1. Self care means meeting your needs.


Question for you. Do you know what feeds you in mind, body and spirit? If not, then you should be taking inventory of what needs you have and ways to meet those needs.

According to Hanks, “A great place to start cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself is by caring for your basic physical needs.” That includes getting enough sleep and rest, eating.


  1. Joy is important.

“Prioritize the activities that bring you joy and fill your emotional reserves,” Hanks said. I suggest that you find, every day, the big and little things that are right in front of you that make you smile, chuckle, feel good, and give you a positive emotional reaction when you see it, taste it, feel it, etc.

  1. Focus on your inner world.

Tune into your inner life. What am I feeling?  What am I thinking? Are my thoughts negative and I need to cancel them out and turn them into positive thoughts? According to Hanks, a healthy relationship with yourself also includes being aware of your internal processes.

Also, consider the why behind your behavior, thoughts and feelings.

Journaling, positive affirmations, relaxation visualization, yoga, meditation and therapy are other vehicles for becoming more self-aware.

  1. Regularly make time for yourself.

For instance, in the morning when you wake, sit quietly for 10 minutes in the morning with your first cup of coffee, tea, milk, juice and think about how your day is going to be. Focus on positive things and thoughts. Don’t rush yourself. Find books that speak to your soul and steal moments to dig into them every day, or music that brightens the mood, emotions or calms the soul and inspires the mind.

  1. Meditate/Pray.

“I find the most useful method to be the gift, to oneself, of a daily meditation,” Duffy said. “In those moments between the thoughts, we allow ourselves peace of mind that can carry us through even the most stressful days.” Prayer is another form of meditation where you can take time to focus on gifts, blessings, thankfulness and spiritual enlightenment.

  1. Be your own best friend.

“Any time you hear the negative put-downs swirling around your head, think about what you’d say to your best friend or sister or daughter, and then rewrite the script with love,” Conway said.

Again, cultivating a positive relationship with yourself is the building block for your whole world. It is most important to have a great relationship with yourself because it is the ONLY relationship you are guaranteed to have every day of your life. When no one is there – you always are!!!

For personal help with your life and relationship, contact Dr. Kathie Mathis, Psy.D, at or