Sunday, August 27, 2006

How to destroy a man.

In today's Observer (Manchester Guardian's Sunday edition), coverage of "the only family court in Britain dealing exclusively with children and their families". It's not all bad news and worth a read, but of course the usual claim of no bias against fathers followed by woe-is-me hand-wringing over those mothers who "are frequently guilty of implacable and unscrupulous hostility towards former partners."

But this case particularly struck me:

The case involved a mother who abandoned her husband and two young boys. The father gave up his career to care for his sons only for her to reappear two years later and demand custody. Reluctantly the father agreed, only for her to stop all contact between him and the children a few months later. 'The arguments between them in court raged for days when, suddenly, the mother looked straight at her former partner and told him the youngest boy wasn't his,' says Crichton. DNA tests proved this was correct. Back in court, however, the father insisted that he still loved the younger boy and wanted contact with him.

'Then the mother leaned forward a second time and revealed that the oldest son wasn't his either. I had never seen a man collapse from the inside-out before, but that's what happened: it was like he had been hollowed out. He was a husk of the man he had been just seconds before.'

I can't think of a word to describe the mother that I'd feel happy repeating in good company.

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