The third post in a series by a father in a shared parenting situation, complicated by hundreds of miles and a hostile ex and new partner.
He gives a valuable insight into another form of alienation, the use of “divide and conquer” tactics to manipulate siblings into abusing the target parent.
The impact on the children is disturbing and the father’s frustrations are not uncommon. But they are a difficult read:
If you have seen my previous 2 posts you will know that I have experienced persistent acrimony, sometimes even violent abuse but, regardless, have been fighting to stop alienation activities when my children go to their mum’s.
My 14 year old has unfortunately found the situation untenable so has been finding reasons to not go to her mum’s.
I managed to get her therapy last year to help process her feelings.
That has helped her a lot. I think she has definitely demonstrated characteristics of someone who has been subject to the effects of someone undermining her core relationships, one of the key features of parental alienation.
The thing is, I sincerely don’t believe I am in the wrong and am not trying to sever her relationships with her absent mother. But the behaviour of the adults in the other household has had the result of making everything at her mum’s seem as terrible to her. And that isn’t healthy.
Yesterday after seeing her therapist she said she wouldn’t be going to her mum’s very much any more. If I was the parent and person her mum claims I am then I would be really pleased. If I am absolutely honest a little part of me is actually relieved. I really want her to have a relationship with her mum. But if she is making that impossible at least I feel like the therapist has given her the tools to cope to an extent and whilst she can still be hurt she is protected, to an extent.
But at a deeper level I feel a little numb inside.
Now, our 2 eldest children hate one of their parents. Different parents, granted, but they now claim to hate them. Its sad and it means as parents we have got something very wrong, we have failed them and I, for one, feel really guilty.
I will admit after the last visit, such was the mess and turmoil, I wanted to go back to court to sort it out. But in the end I decided that this would be a lot of expense to not achieve much, with no guarantees, such is the system.
I genuinely want my 14 year old to have the chance to start to repair her relationship with her mum before its too late. But instead because I have no faith in anybody in the system I have tried to be objective and looked at the situation and decided its not healthy.
Therefore I am just letting her decide for herself.
I have effectively stopped the pressure from my end to see her mum. I say that knowing that many who will read this will be alienated from their children. I almost feel as if I have betrayed you and for that I apologise.
My other concern is that my 6 year old will now be fully exposed to the tactics as she will have no backup from her big sister. My ex will be angry at me. She will take it out on a little girl who will not be so resilient and I will not have a clue what’s going on.
Not even the school is communicating with me properly about my children now. So I am still very concerned that she will be forced away as well.
I also miss my 15 year old who lives with her mother, terribly. I’ve not seen her in over 2 and half years now. For me, as with other alienated parents, it’s like a death with no closure as I know she is out there hating me and thinking all these about me that are not true.
I never really cared what anybody thought of me except for my kids.
And now I know this fact is being used to abuse me/us.
It’s a constant emotional storm.
But I must persist and find a way to deal with all of this because tragically I feel that none of the so-called professional services are equipped to help. So I seem to have no choice but to take the abuse and trudge on through the hostile barrage, being frozen out, gradually, all but alone bar my teenage daughter who should be sheltered not exposed to this relentless storm.
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