In his play “No Exit,” Jean-Paul Sartre famously observes that “Hell is other people.” There's no question that other people's choices and behavior can be maddening. Yet, no matter how crazy someone else makes you feel, if you're subject to the terms of a restraining order that protects them from your presence and influence, you need to be extremely thoughtful about how you process the stress they cause you.
All too often, when someone is inspiring profound anger, sadness, frustration, or anxiety in another, human instinct yells at us to regain control over the situation. At times, this need to regain control takes on an “any way will do” vibe. If someone who has a restraining order against you is driving you crazy, giving into the instinct to regain control by any means necessary – even if you have zero intention of harming them personally – can lead you to violate the terms of your restraining order and land yourself in jail.
One Man's Unusual Attempt to Exert Control
There's a common misconception that all restraining order violations are violent in nature. This isn't true. In New Jersey and elsewhere, threats, stalking, and even contact with someone who's protected by a restraining order may violate the terms of that order. This makes the instinct to regain control when emotions are heightened particularly consequential for those bound by the terms of a restraining order.
For example, a York County, Pennsylvania woman's former boyfriend broke into her house and kidnapped her calico cat Yukki. The man, who is subject to the terms of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, proceeded to persistently harass and threaten the cat's owner. He told others that he was going to harm or kill her cat. Although the cat was later found and returned, the woman was undeniably traumatized — as was, presumably, the cat. The consequences for this man of violating the terms of his restraining order – and engaging in other acts of criminal wrongdoing – will impact his life significantly as well.
Focusing Your Power
Allowing the way another makes you feel to inspire you to do something that will violate the terms of your restraining order is not regaining control. You're surrendering your power to the instincts governing the heat of the moment. When another's behavior is driving you to distraction, the most powerful thing you can do is pay them no notice whatsoever. Ignoring their behavior means that you're not allowing it to drain you of your power and mastery over your emotions.
If their behavior cannot be ignored – say, they are violating the terms of a child custody agreement and your parental rights are being compromised – your best course of action is to maintain the high ground. Instead of lashing out in an attempt to gain control – and likely losing all of it in the process – maintain as much control over the situation as possible by speaking with an attorney who can help to resolve the situation in ways that highlight the reasonableness of your approach and the unreasonableness of theirs.
Personalized Assistance with Restraining Order Concerns Is Available
If you have questions about whether certain approaches will violate the terms of a restraining order, know that Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced Criminal Defense Law Team at the Lento Law Firm are here to help you make informed decisions that safeguard your interests.
To learn more about your rights and options under the law, reach out today by calling 888-535-3686 or contacting us online. You do not need to navigate the stress of your current circumstances alone. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm are here to help.