Part Two of Family Court Lessons with Catherine Bleish Bonandin and Angel J Storm Ph.D.

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Here’s the transcript for this second part:


Angel J Storm
Welcome back to part two of my interview with Cat. If you haven’t checked out part one, be sure to do that first. You can find the link to that in the description of this video. Otherwise, let’s get back to the interview. 


Caterina Bonandin
And so he looked at the filing and said, this was done all wrong. You’re screwed. I mean, he knew from the beginning that this was not going to go well in court. And that is what he told me this lawyer did not take the right steps. This is not going to go well for you, but I’m going to do what I can to help you. And so I was given that expectation going in. 


Caterina Bonandin
And in the end, we finally saw the judge. And the judge said, look, mom should have appealed the last court decision. I didn’t follow proper procedure. Again, I should not have gone to try and change it with the modification. I needed to have appealed it. Now, there’s something really important that we haven’T mentioned in all of this. 


Caterina Bonandin
I have injunctions placed on my speech. I am not allowed to post on social media about our court case. I am not allowed to talk to my children about my ex’s educational decisions. Even though my children were being enrolled in the wrong grade, legally, I wasn’t allowed, and still am not to talk to my children about that. And this judge, I could have gone to jail at this last court hearing for speaking, for using my voice. And this is when this judge said, this should have been overturned in appeal. I cannot make a ruling on this, but the First Amendment to the Constitution is an excellent defense for mom if you ever try to hold her in contempt of court. 


Caterina Bonandin
So once again, the first Amendment to the Constitution, thank God I was born in the United States of America, it’s rotecting my speech and keeping me out of jail. And this time, it wasn’t because I was standing up for a stranger against police. It’s because I was standing up for my children against teachers, schools, and their father. And I risked going to jail again for using my voice and when the judge brought down that, I guess it wasn’t a verdict, that statement, that opinion, that the constitution protects my speech, that is when I knew it is time for me to use my voice again. And that is why I’m here today. 


Angel J Storm
And I think that this is such an important part. So it’s very common that there are injunctions. I think, you know that happened to me. They told me that I had to stop sharing my story and stop posting on social media. The thing is that to me, as a human, my conscience does not allow me to just give up the ability to advocate for what I know is correct. And so I really just didn’t care about that. About the ruling from a judge saying that you can be held in contempt for sharing your story. I’ll never stop sharing my story. I will never stop using my voice. It’s God. Given. The fact that the constitution happens to align with that is great. But again, I just believe that there’s a higher place of where authority comes from. 


Angel J Storm
So one of the things, again, fear is always an opportunity to enter into freedom. And what were during this time, I think that it’s really also important to share that as were working together, there was a lot of internal things that you were overcoming to the point of being able to show up to court unattached to what is going to be the decision and still knowing I’m going to keep living my life. And I always had the ability to keep living my life, but the realization of that, right. The conscious awareness of, like, oh, yeah, like, nothing can actually hold me or keep me in a small cage unless I agree to it. Right. 


Angel J Storm
I think that’s super important because if you don’t come to that realization, you’re still outsourcing what is going to be the outcome of your life, of your children’s life, of their future, and so forth, into the hands of a stranger, who knows but a small snippet of what has been going on. And not only that, again, I state this is a legal issue, so they only can see what is happening from a legal standpoint, not from a moral or justice standpoint. 


Caterina Bonandin


Angel J Storm
And all of the injustices that have happened along the course of the journey to even come to the place of being in court. So I think it’s really important that people understand the real turnaround will happen when you do the inner work and you free your own self. 


Caterina Bonandin
Absolutely. And I think some of the blessings that have come out of this situation for me is that I’ve taught my children how to use their voice.
My daughter was able to go to the principal of the school and get herself put in the correct grade. She did that for herself. I realized that the more I tried to be involved and the more I tried to intervene, the worse things got for me legally. So what is the next best thing? Well, it’s to empower the children to handle these things on their own, because they’re going to be adults one day and they’re not going to have me there mothering them. And they need to be able to do this and now, I can see that while it was very stressful and very difficult, my daughter has a voice that is strong and is powerful. And a big part of that is because she watched her mother overcome not having one and learn how to speak up for herself. 


Caterina Bonandin
I decided to speak.
I decided to tell my story, not only to the world, but what’s appropriate to my children, so that they understood what was going on and didn’t think that I was just consenting to this plan, because my children, all summer, last summer, thought that they were dumb, and they thought that homeschool failed them, and they thought it was my fault because that’s what they were being told. And so I spent all summer telling them, you are brilliant.
You don’t deserve to be held back. This is not the right grade for you. And in the end, my son was held back a grade and after one semester, he started public school.
Let me tell you this success story about my son. So, after we got the positive diagnosis in January of last year, my ex would not consent to a dyslexia tutor. We were homeschooling. He would not consent to a dyslexia tutor. He would not consent to send him to a dyslexia school, any sort of intervention.
So I decided, I don’t care what a judge says.
I’m going to get trained, and I’m going to teach my son to read. So over spring break in 2023, I sat down with my son. I said, you want to learn to read? And he said, yep.
I said, okay.
I don’t want you to fight with me. We got to do it together. And he said, all right, I’m all in. We sat down, and we did a homeschool dyslexia curriculum, and within ten days he was reading okay. My son started reading at ten years old in spring break of 2023. He entered into public school as a fourth grader, repeating fourth grade and because I also signed up and got dyslexia certification through Ross and Saunders. I’m still working on my program there. But I took the whole first year of schoolwork with them, and they made it very clear dyslexic children should not be held back. That is not the solution. The solution is intervention, dyslexia intervention. And so my son, he was held back because he really believed that he was dumb, because the standardized test that came in at the beginning of the year said he was reading at a kindergarten first grade reading level. Well, my son had the highest, most rapid, dramatic growth on the standardized test of any kid in the school, and he was acknowledged for it because he has now mastered fourth grade on all of his standardized tests. And at the last meeting we had for his academics, they said he could move up when he wants academically, but that socially, he seems really happy where he is, which his homeschool best friend is in class with him now, so he is socially happy there. And they said here are three ways for him to graduate on time. As an 18 year old, he could move up now, which socially no one thinks he really wants to, but maybe he does. And I think it should be his choice. 


Caterina Bonandin
He could do an accelerated three year high school program, or he could take algebra in 8th grade and start high school on time. I used my voice. I advocated in all the teacher meetings, even though I lost my rights to make decisions. I told them all I thought it was the wrong choice.
And in the end, I was right.
I was absolutely right. I used my voice. I spoke up for my child. And now he knows because I told him. The result of that meeting was that when he’s ready, he can move up into the right grade. So not only is he reading, but he feels good about himself.
And all of that has happened in part because I spoke up and I risked getting in trouble. And I appealed to the higher authority of God, of my motherhood, to do what was right by my children. And that’s what I’m going to do forever. I’m going to do the right thing as a mom. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah, absolutely. You know, Kat, one of the things that your children are seeing is, number one, the power of somebody believing in you. Right. Because a lot of times when we go through these cases, they’re extremely isolating. It’s hard to get people who have not ever experienced family court to understand truly what is happening when you’re inside family court. So the fact that judges are ruling against you, the outside world, is like, well, you did something wrong. You must have. What did you do? What are you not telling us? How could that be right? And I don’t know if you experienced that, but that’s a very standard for people to, you know, come. Come to the conclusion of like, no, that’s not just not possible, right? Because we all have this idea that justice and legal systems go together. 


Angel J Storm
And that’s the number one myth I want to dispel, is that you’re not in a justice system. You better get your justice somewhere else. You’re in a legal system. And if you don’t understand that, you’re going to be fighting the wrong battle in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and then so your kids understanding what it is, what is happening when somebody believes in you, that there isn’t anything wrong with you, that you’re in the wrong system. Right. We’re just in the wrong place and that you’re not. The way you were created is not being honored in this way doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. You were made that way on purpose. 


Angel J Storm
And so the trickle down effect is that the less you resist what is going on in the outer world and you deal with the stuff that comes up for you during this time in your inner world is when the shift starts to happen. I think that’s so important. What do you have to say for people? If you could give somebody recommendation or advice on what you experience, who are going through family court right now, what would be one piece of advice that you’d give? 


Caterina Bonandin
I would say work on yourself. Really, truly work on yourself because a lot of us enter the family court system traumatized and that actually doesn’t present very well in the court system. Yeah. So if you can do the healing that allows you to walk in, as you said earlier, unattached to the outcomes, which is not easy.
It’s, you know, I had built an identity around being a homeschool mom and that was really important to me. But what I’m realizing in the big picture is that God has paved a path for my family, that is teaching my children invaluable lessons. And whether we end up homeschooling again or not, I don’t really know. I think that’s really going to depend on what my kids want. I think they’re at the age now where I’m not here to impose anything upon them the older two kids that I share with my ex, and I’m going to honor what it is they want and I’m going to support them and I’m going to advocate for them. But in the end, they’re learning how to advocate for themselves. And that is the most powerful thing that I have ever done as a mother. And I thought this whole time that homeschooling was that. And I’m realizing now that I can instill my children with values and with skill sets, no matter what our lifestyle design looks like, I can be the type of mother that ensures my children can leave the nest, able to fly able to stand on their own 2 feet. 


Angel J Storm
And it’s so important, especially in today’s day and time, where this type of abuse. This type of gaslighting to the extreme is just going to continue as a society. We are seeing it more and more from higher and higher levels, outright, you know, in your face gaslighting. So that’s amazing. And number two, is that what the court thought that they were going to take away? What your ex thought that he was gonna take away, which is silencing you, getting rid of your influence into your children, removing any validity that you may have had, whether it was in court or in your children’s lives at all, really actually did the opposite. Right. 


Angel J Storm
It more empowered you to take a stand as who you are as a mom and what it means to be a mom, not just what society has said, this is what you should need to do, or what the court system said, this is what you need to do. Stop talking to your children about these types of things. Which, again, I just want to point out the fact that there’s all of these types of dualistic standards in family court. Number one, you’re not able to say anything about any type of school decision at all, and yet that same standard did not apply to your ex. He was able to say whatever he wanted to the children and also educators or anybody else involved in education at all, and you were allowed to say nothing. That type of dualistic thing is often found in family court. 


Angel J Storm
And again, I think people who have not been in family court don’t understand. How could that be? Because you think it’s a justice system and you don’t understand a legal system. And so what I love for you is that it perpetuated what you actually thought was being a mom was, like this big, and now you understand it’s like this big, and it’s this impactful as well. 


Caterina Bonandin
Yes. And what’s really interesting is that I actually find myself thanking my ex regularly because as I’m a member of an intentional community. Intentional communities. There’s conflict, there’s things that happen. There’s situations, right? It requires somebody who is able to stand grounded and centered, no matter what is happening emotionally around them. And I think what happened is I was refined through the process, and I feel very strong. I feel very confident and capable. And now there’s situations that would have made me crumble five years ago that would have made me just wallow in a mess of stress and grief that now don’t faze me in the same way. I’m able to handle so much more. More. And if my ex hadn’t trained me, given me the opportunity to step into my higher self, I wouldn’t be able to function at the level I function. 


Caterina Bonandin
It’s benefited my career, it’s benefited my current marriage. It’s benefited my community and my relationships with my friends. I mean, I’ve learned so much through this process, and I am never going to be that person again. I’m never going to live in fear. I’m never going to shove it down. And I was making my sick. Not only did I gain weight, but I was physically. My stomach hurt all the time. I mean, I was just a mess. And I get to reclaim my life now. I get to live my way now. I get to be who I want now, and I get to have authority over the way I feel.
That is not something I think would have happened for me if I hadn’t gone through this situation. So for that, I will be eternally grateful. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah, I love hearing that. I very much share those same sentiments. It’s the things. The things that the narcissist thought was going to happen were not only did not happen, the exact opposite. With that same amount of energy happened right now, thousands and thousands of people know about narcissistic abuse, and they understand it holistically, how this manifests in your body, how this shows up in the way that you’re making decisions, how it shows up in the way that you communicate, how it shows up in the way that you emotionally react to things or respond to things. All of that stuff. It would have gone in me unchecked, in you unchecked, unless there was a situation where it was forced to be confronted head on and time again. Because I, like you, have gone to family court, was in my family court multiple times. 


Angel J Storm
And that’s. That’s one of the things where it’s like we did it multiple times, every time learning a little more right and getting a little bit better at understanding the system and the narcissist, and also, most importantly, yourself and the way that you’re reacting to things, responding to things, and how that is either doing things in a positive manner or getting you further away from what your goal was. One of the things that you talk about is predators hiding in plain sight, which is so important for people to understand that they look like normal people. They blend in. And some warning signs that this is happening, do you have some that you want to share with the audience of, like, what are some of these warning signs that this person that you think is, you know, standing for something and what they actually believe? 


Angel J Storm
What’s actually in their heart? How can you tell? What are some things that you took away from this. 


Caterina Bonandin
Well, one thing is, I wish I had listened to my community and my friends and my family, because almost everybody in my life knew that something was off with this person years before I did very early on. And so, learning to trust the feedback you’re getting if you’re entering into a relationship, whether it’s with an employer or a lover, and you’re getting feedback from people like, hey, something’s not right, this isn’t right. Something’s off. It’s probably off. There’s probably something not right, and there might be a reason that you’re unable to see it. And so that was the number one thing in hindsight, is, I wish I had listened to my community.
Also, in my gut, when you find yourself on a rollercoaster of highs and lows with somebody and you feel in your body, something’s not right, but then, oh, it’s so wonderful, and then something’s not right, and, oh, it’s so wonderful. That’s a red flag. I have a very healthy, stable marriage, and I have never gone on a rollercoaster with him. 


Caterina Bonandin
You know, like, sure, we have conflict. Sure, we have moments where things aren’t great, but it’s not these super peaks and these super valleys like it used to be with my ex.
I didn’t know that was a red flag, and I wish I did. And I think ultimately, if something is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. So if you’re following a leader in your community, and the way they present is flawless and perfect, there’s probably something that they’re hiding. And I just I think authentic people, they make you aware of the good, the bad, the ugly, just in their authenticity. Right?
They’re not presenting, they’re not performative. And I think that’s. That’s a really important word. I think when it comes to dealing with these types of personalities, they are performative, they are putting on a show.
And if you are able to really pay attention to who they are in different environments, for example, you can see that they act differently with one crowd than they do with another. And that is a huge warning sign. My husband told me one of the things he loves about me the most is that I am the same person no matter where I am, whether it’s with my kids, my parents, my community, my friends, the general public, I act the same because I am authentic to who I am. If I don’t feel good, I don’t pretend that I do. I say I don’t feel good today.
But I’m here, I’m showing up. I’m doing what I need to do. And I really think the performative aspect is a big warning sign. And it’s hard to tell sometimes if you’re just following someone on social media but a lot of the people who have started to hear my story because I had a lot of shame because it was a public relationship and we are in the libertarian community. I was quiet for a long time.
And a lot of people who hear my story now say, I had a feeling. I just knew I knew they felt in their gut and they kept distance for a reason.
And I wasn’t in tune with my body. And so I didn’t understand what was going on when those warning signs were presenting. So really listen to your community, your friends, your family. If they’re giving you feedback that something’s not right, something’s probably not right. Get in tune with your body, because your body keeps the score and your body tells the truth. When someone is lying to your body knows, your body can feel it. And if you are not in alignment with yourself, you won’t know like I didn’t know.
And watch out for the signs of performativism.
If someone is putting on a show, that’s probably not their genuine self. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah, those are really good points. I love what you’re talking about with getting back to who you truly are, before the abuse, before your dysregulated nervous system, before you were taught to question your sanity, your reality. You know, what? What is real, what isn’t? All of those things. When you get back to who you truly are, you have all of the tools to not only tell if somebody is lying to you, manipulating, but you also have the power to get out of that situation and to create a different reality, which is the most important part of this entire process for me as a coach. The thing I love to see is people breaking out of this construct that they’ve built themselves and not recognizing that paradigm is constructed by you. And anytime you want to leave it, you’re, you are so powerful. 


Angel J Storm
You have the opportunity to leave any moment that you want and break your family away from it, you know? And so I love that was the case for you and that you’ve really empowered your children to do that. The fact that you empowered your daughter to do the thing that you were legally not allowed to do, right? You’re not allowed to legally advocate for her with the school system. And instead, you stopped resisting this outer world narrative of, like, I’m gonna go in there and be the savior, and I’m gonna tell them what my children need. And instead, we stopped resisting that outer world, you know, nonsense that will always be there just to test, to see, like, hey, do you learn the lesson or not? 


Angel J Storm
And instead just went straight to what actually matters, which is that you equip your children with the skill sets necessary to navigate this life. So that’s amazing. I love hearing that. Do you have any other, like, final things that you’d like to share with the audience before we log off? Any kind of wisdom or advice or just any another piece of your story that you want to share? 


Caterina Bonandin
Well, I would like to say I think it’s really important people know that they are not trapped.
They are not stuck. I believed for so many years that I was stuck, whether it was during
my first marriage, I felt trapped. I felt stuck.
I mean, you have to understand, I didn’t have a car. I didn’t have a driver’s license. I didn’t have a bank account. I didn’t have a cell phone. I was so isolated. 

I was living in a half converted school bus.
We didn’t have air conditioning. It would get up to 106 degrees in here. And I was so afraid to ask for help because I was ashamed of what was going on that I convinced myself I was trapped. I convinced myself I was stuck. I convinced myself I had no other choice. And it actually took some of my friends. 

I had two interventions about this relationship and one was about our home. It was about the converted school bus. And I had friends show up and say, we’re going to fix this for you. Raise the money. We will do the labor. And I rose the money, and they did the labor, and they put in hardwood floors and put in an air conditioner and wired it and painted it. And it’s my husband’s office now, but I ended up living in it for seven and a half years. And the court did come inside of it and did approve me to keep living here. And the judge said, I don’t want to hear anything else about her house. 

Because it was cute and it was functional, and it was amazing. But I thought I was trapped. And my friends had to come in and tell me, you’re not trapped. We will help you.
And this is a big lesson that I have learned. I started speaking about this publicly for the first time last fall at an event in Mexico, and then again at an event in Mexico in February. And what happened is people came up to me and said, if we had known we would have helped six years ago. If we had known, we would have helped. There’s people who knew my ex before they knew me, who came up and said, I’m a lawyer. 

If I had known what was going on, I would have helped you.
And I’m realizing now that the only reason I was trapped is because I thought I was trapped. If I had spoke up, if I had asked for help, if I had found my voice sooner, I could have got help sooner. You are not stuck. Even if it feels that way, even if it looks that way, even if it’s scary, even if you’re suffering, even if it hurts, you’re not stuck.
You’re not trapped.
I was always free. I didn’t know it. I was making a choice, and I made the choice to stay in a very toxic situation and to suffer. I made the choice to suffer and I made that choice over and over and over again every time one of my so called boundaries were violated.
And I chose to not do anything about it. 


Caterina Bonandin
And I say so called boundaries because I think real boundaries are enforced, right? Offense is a boundary.
You can’t walk through a fence, right?
If someone’s walking past a line that you think you’re drawing, you didn’t set a boundary. A real boundary is enforceable and is enforced. And I didn’t develop boundaries until very recently. So this idea that any of us are stuck, that any of us are trapped, this is a construct in our mind. That is what it is. And if you start to use your voice and you start to ask for help and you start to tell people.
What’s going on, that help will come and I not only saw it in my situation, but now that I’m speaking up, I am seeing it in situation after situation.
People are saying, hey, a friend of a friend of mine is going through this thing. Will you talk to them? Hey, I’m going through this thing. What can I do? People are coming to me asking for help, just like you said they would. Angel, you told me this would happen. People are showing up and they’re asking for help. 


Caterina Bonandin
And really, all I can do is help them to see that they’re not stuck.
They never were. And it’s their choice. They can leave.
It’s action creates the boundary. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah, for sure. I always tell people, you had a suggestion, you know, that’s a suggestion, not a boundary. Because a boundary we’re very connected to what is a boundary? It’s. It feels very authentic to us, and we are ready to make a decision. If that boundary is crossed. Right. And without true consequences, you have to know what the consequences are. If they’re just, like, made up on this spot, that’s also not a boundary. So you have to know what make these predetermined choices of what. What is going to happen if that boundary is crossed. So that’s really what differentiates a boundary from a suggestion, is that you have predetermined consequences for that. And these are things that you do not. The narcissist. Oh, they kept walking through my boundary. Well, you didn’t have a boundary. 


Angel J Storm
You had a suggestion, and I think the next thing is using your voice. That vulnerability is part of being authentic. And people who try to make their lives look like everything is amazing and everything is perfect, and, you know, don’t look over here or like, oh, sure, there’s some problems, but it’s not that bad, are gaslighting themselves, and you’re doing the narcissist job for them, which is ultimately what the narcissist wants. The narcissist wants you to abuse yourself when they’re not around so that they can keep getting more victims like this, and they absolutely will do that. And so it’s really important that. That when we talk about being authentic, it doesn’t mean, like, showing up ready to talk to whoever. That’s not, because that’s also not authentic. It’s understanding when it’s safe to do that. 


Angel J Storm
And being ready to show up vulnerable with people who have earned your trust, who have been there for you, have given you no reason to question where they stand, and also being unattached from that outcome as well, of, I’m sharing my story for me, not based on what this person could give me or do for me or whatever, if I share this story with them, right. It’s being unattached from the outcome, from that person, but showing up because that’s the authentic thing for you to do in that moment. Does that all make sense? Did I explain that in a good way? 


Caterina Bonandin
Yeah, it makes absolute sense. I mean, if you are communicating because you’re forcing yourself to communicate, that’s also inauthentic, you know, and that’s why I had to wait. I had to wait until it felt natural for me to speak about it. And I knew if I spoke too soon, publicly, I was going to be coming off in a way that I didn’t want to present myself in a way I didn’t want my story presented. And I feel like I’m at a point now where I can talk about what happened. I’m not ashamed. 


Caterina Bonandin
I’m not embarrassed.
I’m not afraid. These are things that kept me quiet for a really long time. And I think, you know, one of the boundaries that I’m setting is that people who do me wrong don’t get my silence anymore. Like, that’s just not what’s going to happen anymore. I’m not going to be quiet. I’m not going to lay down and take it. And I do believe in homeschooling, and I do want to get back to it. And I do want people to know that if they are buying homeschool workshops from my ex, they are funding legal oppression. 


Caterina Bonandin
People need to know that there are innocent people who are giving him money, who are trusting him, who are going to his conferences, that are going to his events, that are buying his programs. He’s got programs on bitcoin, how to live free, how to live off the grid. He has programs on everything. He’s attacked in court. 


Caterina Bonandin
So if he will do that to the mother of his children, don’t think he won’t do it to you. So this is a warning, right, for everybody. And I wish I had spoke up sooner because I don’t know how many people have been harmed in the process. I just don’t. I know that when I was with that person, there was a lot of financial misappropriation, and I’m certain it’s still going on now.
So, you know, I’m going to speak, I’m going to do my part, and I hope that in speaking, accountability comes. And behavior changes because it wasn’t going to change if I stayed silent, that’s for sure. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah. That’s so good, Kat, I definitely agree with you. I think that predators abusers need to be exposed enough speaking in, like, generalities and kind of, that’s just another form of cloaking the issue. So I’m very much on the same page, as you call a spade. Say it for what it is and let people make their own decisions when they have all of the information. Right. Because if we say, like, hey, you should do your own research and look at into that. Yes, it’s true. People should go do their own research and look into that. But give them specifics about, like, just like, how you’re doing. Like, hey, if you think you’re buying this stuff from someone who believes in this is not what happens in court. 


Angel J Storm
And if he will treat the mother of his children like this, how do you think he’s going to treat you? You’re nothing but another number for sure. And so I totally agree with that. I think that more people need to have that line of saying that this will continue to go on and you’ll be complicit in it if you don’t use your voice to share the truth and share the information that you wish somebody would have shared with you know, before this all happened. So I definitely agree with that. You know, I just want to say one more thing about your case, too, here really quick, is that. And for that, for the audience to understand that one of the things that was happening in your case was if something happened, like there’s an accident, there’s just a mishap that happens. 


Angel J Storm
You had a situation where a mattress had exploded that you weren’t around for. That mattress exploded, and I didn’t know this. You actually were the one who shared this with me. What are those types of mattresses called? 


Caterina Bonandin
They’re foam mattresses, but they have a fiberglass liner on them, and the fiberglass can go all over your house. This is, like, a huge thing apparently, I learned the hard way. 


Angel J Storm
And so I also had no idea about these mattresses having the ability to explode like this. But this is just but one incident, and obviously, we don’t have time to share every single detail about what happened in your case. There’s a lot of stuff that we’re leaving out, but I just want to share this so that people understand what kind of extremes narcissists go to. So you had one of these mattresses explode in your house. Obviously, this is not intentional. How would that even make sense? And there’s these shards of, like, micro fiber things everywhere. 


Caterina Bonandin


Angel J Storm
And so you’re doing cleanup on your house, and what happens? 


Caterina Bonandin
So we essentially had to build another bedroom while this, our master bedroom, was contaminated and we had to remove every single item, every piece of clothing, everything, the curtains, everything. There was fiberglass on the walls. I mean, it didn’t matter if it was a deck of cards in a drawer, it was contaminated.  Like, fiberglass got everywhere in every nook and cranny in this bedroom, and we had to take literally everything out. 


Caterina Bonandin
We ended up building a bedroom where a screened in porch was, and we had, you know, piles of stuff for the dumpster outside. We had remodel stuff outside.
And my ex and his new wife decided to show up knowing that this was going on while were out of town in Italy, while contractors were there working, doing construction. And they decided to threaten cps on us because of what they saw in the front of our house, you know, which was stuff, furniture that my parents gave us waiting to move into the house after we finished the remodel and the cleanup, it was stuff outside waiting for the dumpster. And then it was actual construction stuff, and they showed up and tried to threaten CPS on us. They had never been to my house before. The only time they ever came is while were in Italy. And here we are, nobody’s home. You know, like, we’re not even there, and our house is literally turned upside down inside out. 


Caterina Bonandin
I mean, I lost everything. We lost every stuffed doll for my daughter. We lost the king size mattress because it was my. It was my daughter’s small mattress that was in our room. Our toddler, you know, she was a baby at the time, and we had a mattress in our room.
It was that mattress.
So, I mean, it was like, we literally lost everything and instead offering to help or see if we needed anything, they threatened cps on us. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah. And the reason I wanted to share this specific story is because it’s such a clear snapshot of how narcissists work. So, number one, trespassing laws just don’t apply to them. Number two, coming through and videoing a misrepresentation, a very extreme misrepresentation of what is happening at your house and while you’re gone in Italy. Like, all of these things are very strategic, and for somebody to think, oh, they just happened to show up. They just happened to do. It’s nonsense, but they will absolutely use all of these things, even mishaps like this. Obviously, you didn’t. There’s no way that you would have known. You know, I had honestly no idea even that was a thing until you told me that. But all of these things to. 


Angel J Storm
To use it unto their benefit and to try to twist and manipulate you to do something that they want you to do, and if you don’t, then the consequences. Having CPS called while you’re in the middle of trying to, like, clean up this mess and exactly what you’re saying, like, a normal person would react by saying, how can I help? But, oh, my gosh, I’m sorry. Like, what could I do to make your life easier while you’re, you know, decontaminating your home? None of that is pro. Is present. And instead, it’s like, these threats. I think it’s such a good snapshot of, like, what it is really like dealing with a narcissist, whether you’re in court or out of court, that’s exactly it. You have. 


Angel J Storm
You have a one negative thing that could happen to you just by accident, and it’s to the max negative because of a narcissist present being present in that moment. 


Caterina Bonandin
And even positive things like, I was going to school for dyslexia intervention, and my children, who’ve been in public school for a semester and a half now, they get out early on Wednesdays. Okay. My class was 8 hours on Wednesdays. I asked him, hey, can we shift our schedule maybe a 5522 so that the kids don’t have to go to afterschool care?
Nope. Won’t adjust the schedule.
Then he goes into court and says he wants full custody of the kids because I’m leaving them in after school care on Wednesdays. Here I am going to get training to help our dyslexic child, and he’s trying to take the kids away from me for it. And he says in our depositions, he says, well, she should just wait until the kids are older and out of the house before she goes back to school.
Like, here I am trying to help our son, and you want to take the kids away from me. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah. And during this time, when you were getting trained in the dyslexia stuff, you were actually not. The court had said you’re not allowed to teach your kids, but you were like, no, I’m still. I’m gonna go get. I’m going to get trained for my son. Which you had been right about him being dyslexic for years, which the court didn’t intervene in, and your ex had obviously denied and prevented testing and so forth. And so you’re finally at this place where, like, I’ll just do it myself. I’ll be trained myself, and I’ll help my child myself. And instead of supporting this or any kind of other thing, it’s trying to be used against you with the eight hour class, you know, on. On Wednesday, and putting the kids in after school care when you didn’t want them in the school in the first place. 


Caterina Bonandin
Exactly. And I was willing to adjust our schedule to make it so the kids didn’t have to go to afterschool care. And what’s fascinating is that now, when we have these dyslexia meetings at the school, my ex doesn’t talk.
I run the meetings.
Everybody knows who’s involved with his education. Everybody knows who’s actually paying attention, who’s actually involved. I audit. Why didn’t he get enough minutes in this week? And why doesn’t he have enough minutes here. And when are these going to get caught up? And. And like, because I’m trained in dyslexia intervention now, I can sit in those meetings and I can see when they’re not doing it right or when they are doing it right. And I’m actually able to advocate for our child in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to if I hadn’t been going through this. My ex wouldn’t even know that my son did not get all of his dyslexia minutes last semester if I hadn’t sat down and audited the dyslexia teachers work. Right? And so it’s just fascinating.
No matter what you do, whether you make a mistake or you do something positive, you’re going to be attacked by this person. 


Caterina Bonandin
They are going to come after you and they are going to try and cause you harm. And this is where I’ve just learned to laugh about it. Like, oh, here we go again. You know, it’s like you have to laugh because if not, you end up living in fear and you end up miserable. And I’ve realized now that I’ve been through this three times, courts aren’t going to put me in jail. I’m not doing anything wrong.
I’m a good mom. You know, like, I’m a good mom.
I’m doing the right thing. A judge made a bad decision based on a really unfortunate situation where I was self represented, and I didn’t do a good job of that. I will never let that happen again.
Also, I’m not going to let my son slip through the cracks. No matter who has educational decision making.
He will not slip through the cracks. That’s not going to happen. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah, that’s really good. I’m going to put the link in the description to your attorney’s instagram page. He has written a book, which is also great. That is a great resource for people who are dealing with a narcissist in court. And especially if you’re wanting to do homeschooling, it’s a really great resource that you should check out whether you hire him or not. I think that what you just mentioned is so important, though, is that you need to go live your life. Like, stop waiting for people to give you permission or, you know, applaud you or whatever before you start living your life. You need to start living your life now. 


Angel J Storm
And you can only do that when you’re in touch with who you are truly, like, your true self, not the self that has taken on the identity of all of these things, like the abuse and the name calling and all the things that people have tried to put on you, but the real you have to start tapping into that and acting from that place first. And from there, you’re going to see your outer world shift. Do you want to share with everybody about what your ex ended up texting you later on after all of this was done? Let’s hear it. 


Caterina Bonandin
So I was actually shocked by my ex a little while ago. After court, before I tell about his apology, I want to say the third court case changed everything. Nothing changed legally, but everything changed energetically. I think I made it very clear where my boundaries are and that I will advocate for my children. And it was made very clear by the courts that I’m not going to get in trouble for doing that because I’m not doing anything wrong.
So everything shifted energetically and my ex actually ended up apologizing to me.
He tried to withhold their new birth certificates, and I said, I’m showing up. I’m going to pick them up. You legally cannot withhold these from me.
And if you do, you will speak with my lawyer moving forward. And he’s like, oh, we don’t want the courts involved again.
And I said, then give me their birth certificates. And I showed up, and I was sitting there ordering some food on my phone, waiting in his parking lot, not really sure if he was going to come bring me the birth certificates or not. It was raining.
And then all of a sudden, I hear someone try to open the car door.
And I turn, and he got in the car, and he sat in the front seat.
Keep in mind, this is somebody who doesn’t make eye contact with me ever. 


Caterina Bonandin
He can’t look me in the face because I know that he knows deep inside what he’s doing is wrong, right? He cannot make eye contact with me. He does not speak to me except through text messages.
He got in the car and he sits down and he apologizes, and he tells me he doesn’t want conflict anymore. And I said, if you don’t want conflict, why are you sending these messages to schools and to teachers saying things about me like this? And he says, this isn’t going to happen anymore. I’m sorry. And he gave me the birth certificates, and he got out of the car. And my two year old, who was in the car seat behind us, she was like, we can be friends with him now. Like, she understood what happened. She heard him apologize to me. 


Caterina Bonandin
It was incredible. Now, do I believe he will not act in that way.
He owes me $1,400 right now for my daughter’s braces. It’s always the same thing of, oh, I’ll pay you next week. I’ll pay you. It’s like these behaviors, they’ve gone on for over a decade. I’ll never be surprised by them.
But this was the first time that he has apologized to me since I was leaving him when I didn’t want to be abused anymore. And he acknowledged his abuse. This is the first time in any way, shape, or form that he has acknowledged what he has been doing.
And for that, I’m super grateful.
I’m not convinced that the behavior will change forever, but it’s been six months and I will tell you what. He’s pretty much left me alone.
I think I made my point in court.
The legal stuff didn’t change, but everything else did. Literally, everything else did.  It’s incredible. 


Angel J Storm
Yeah. And the legal stuff hasn’t changed yet. I will just say that we are not done with this story. I very much feel that for your children, but most people don’t get this type of closure ever from a narcissist or an abuser of any kind. And I think for you, that you were validated. You validated yourself first. You continue to do the steps necessary in order to show that this is really what you believe, and you’re going to follow through on that belief, and you’re going to continue to advocate for your children and advocate for yourself and advocate for the kind of life that you want to live. And the fact that was all happening kind of pulled this. This recognition from him, you know, to you. And I think that’s a really beautiful way to end this interview, knowing that, you know, you. 


Angel J Storm
You found ultimately what you were looking for. And again, the legal situation hasn’t changed yet, but everything really has shifted for you. 


Caterina Bonandin


Caterina Bonandin
Everything. It’s awesome. I’m so grateful. Thank you. I mean, my husband and my dad both have said over and over since I did the coaching with you, I’m a completely different person.
Just night to day, everything changed. 


Angel J Storm
I love hearing that, really, the whole reason that I do coaching is for that reason, and moreover, to see generations changed, the things that you’ve learned impacting your children and your children impacting other children and even their children someday. 


Angel J Storm
Again, the whole reason that I still do coaching is because I love it. I, you know, I can’t get enough of the stories like that. And. And thank you so much for being bold enough to share your story and to share your truth and what’s happened. I, again, I know that this can be really, like, I just want to forget about it or I want to move on. But if we don’t integrate what has happened and we try to, like, ignore years of our lives, number one, we do ourselves a disservice by denying ourselves that part of our story which deserves just as much attention as, like, the high points in our life. And number two, we don’t. 


Angel J Storm
We don’t use our lessons to help turn those into wisdoms for other people so that other people can get free, too, because there’s a ton of people still out there living in denial, living in a situation that is really toxic, really terrible for them because they feel like this is what God wants for them or that there’s no way out or that they’ve already tried everything that they could possibly try and that there’s just no other option for them. 


Caterina Bonandin


Angel J Storm
And I think it’s so important that people share their stories and let people know, no, I’ve gotten out. You can get out, too. It’s. It’s not what you think it is. 


Caterina Bonandin


Caterina Bonandin
And it was hearing your story and other people’s stories about getting out that really inspired me. And, you know, the reality is I was surrounded by women in similar situations. You know, we attract similar company. And because I’ve gone through this transformation, I feel like I’ve been able to help some of my friends start that process for themselves. And it feels really good to be able to be an advocate in that way. 


Caterina Bonandin


Angel J Storm
I always knew that would happen for you because of the power in your voice and the more you embraced the fullness of your story and the fullness of who you actually are and incorporated that it will obviously attract people who resonate with that, who want to also experience that type of power for themselves and want to tap into that for themselves, because the truth is, we all have it. It’s all within us. And I love that you’re able to reach people now and not only just share a feel good message, but really give a map, like a map of the way out. That’s such a beautiful way to use the lessons that you’ve learned, and I really appreciate that you’re doing that. 


Caterina Bonandin


Caterina Bonandin
I’m super grateful. My life has changed, and you were a big part of it. 


Angel J Storm
Thank you so much, Kat. And if anybody here wants to get in touch with Kat, all of her links are in the description of this video so that you can check out her website. You can check out and learn more. More about Kat and again, her attorneys Instagram is also in the description of this video. Feel free to reach out to her. Reach out to me if you have any questions. And just remember that, you know, freedom really is a state of being for you and it’s available right this second if now is the right time for you to step into that freedom. Kat, thank you so much for being here with me today. 


Caterina Bonandin
Thank you. 


Angel J Storm
All right. We’ll see you next time. 

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