This is a conversation that I’ve had with my wife as well as my parents on several occasions. It’s also the subject of many articles on PAS (parental alienation syndrome) and HAP (hostile aggressive parenting). The offending parent hasn’t let go of the previous relationship and is seeking to control the other parent (their ex) by using the child as a weapon. Honestly, to say that this isn’t effective would be a complete lie. Has the lack of relationship with my daughter hurt me? Yes of course it has. Has the stress of dealing with it all had an effect? Again, yes of course it has. The interesting thing is that since I am a healthy, right thinking adult I don’t see this as a rejection by my daughter, but as a manipulation of B’s feelings that has led to the current situation. I’m not consumed by my emotions concerning my estrangement with B. SHE IS ON MY MIND DAILY, but the negative emotions don’t effect me daily.

The person that this has consumed is M. I’m dealing as well as possible and B thinks that she is content with her life or at least willing to accept it. M is left to come up with ways to further her end goal and spin given situations. B is growing and changing and the hold M currently has will fade. If it isn’t me, it will be a boy, or school, or who knows what. B is growing into a young adult and will see things clearly in what I hope is a short period of time. M on the other hand will be left grasping to control the emotions of others. I’ve moved forward with life and I’m raising my step children and have a wonderful marriage. So as you see, M is the only person that is stagnant in her life. She has the same job, the same “boy friend” (we’ve been apart since 2008), the same rental home, and even the same vehicle. This seems to be a very common theme among parents that are guilty of PAS and HAP. They become stuck emotionally and even physically where they were in the past. As the Vince Gill song says, “There ain’t no future in the past”, life moves on and everything changes. Sometimes those changes are good and sometimes they suck, but the constant is change.

What I have found is the key to dealing with all this is living in the present and looking to the future. B will not always feel the way she does now, and if I’m stuck in the past being hurt I might miss the opportunity to heal the relationship. Hence I recently made a decision that is backed by B’s counselor. I’m backing off, waaaay off. I won’t be going to court constantly (we’ve been three times in the last three months), attending B’s doctor’s appointments, etc. B has made it clear that I am not welcome at her doctor’s appointments and that I am not wanted. The only real reason for me to be there is to get information and to give information to the doctor. I have to trust that M won’t intentionally harm B just to spite me. You may think I am wrong or you may agree, but at this point all I am doing is repeatedly chasing B from having a relationship with her father. The more I push to be in B’s life the more she pulls away. The other thing is that as long as we continue this fruitless court battle the more M is a subject of daily conversation. I don’t know about you, but I DON’T WANT MY EX TO BE A PART OF MY CURRENT MARRIAGE. The only way to accomplish this is to break the cycle that has proved ineffective in changing my relationship with my daughter, thus removing M from having the ability to do and say things that effect daily life.

As a parent it is our job to teach our children what is right and wrong, it’s our job to guide them. We can’t make decisions for them and when they make the wrong decisions the consequences are theirs to own. B is making decisions and she has consequences. That’s not to say that when she has a change of heart that I won’t be waiting with open arms, because I will. No matter how long it takes, I will be here and love her with all my heart. I simply have to focus on the family that is here, now, in the present that does love and accept me. They too deserve my time, energy, finances, and love. I can’t give those things to them if I am constantly torn  up emotionally by B or concentrating on my next move to counter M’s insanity. If M want’s to be crazy, she can do it without me. I don’t want or need her in my life as she only hurts those around her. In some way I believe this may have all been a tactic for her to remain present in my life and keep me from having a healthy marriage. It hasn’t worked, and since this isn’t a game I am taking myself off the field.

Well, a lot has happened since my last post.  It’s been a complete whirlwind that is just now starting to slow down. Before we had the chance  to file the motion for contempt, M screwed up yet again, but this time in a huge way. My daughter B had as seizure that M failed to inform me of until they had been released from the hospital. Then M has repeatedly lied about when she notified me. Get this, M sent me an e-mail to tell me my child had suffered a seizure (for those of you that haven’t read all my posts, I’m epileptic ). DOES THAT SEEM NORMAL IN ANY WAY????? What normal parent waits until their child has been released from the hospital to inform the other parent of a medical condition the he also suffers? I did get to see B for a short period of time the evening following her visit to the emergency room. Yes, she is fine but this is a big deal considering my medical history and the likelihood that she will suffer more seizures before a medication is found that keeps them under control. B was a bit timid when we visited, but we exchanged several hugs and get well cards, balloons and the like. She was all smiles! It was great just seeing and holding her for a few moments. I even got to meet M’s boyfriend (I have no idea what their relationship really is, but they are at least very close since the guy has been around several years now). He’s a nice guy, I like him just like B said I would.

So I am now fighting for medical updates which I have been told to relax and wait for by M. Sorry, but that’s difficult when what I have received is half true and a lot is left out. Can you believe M told me to call the doctor to get info! All that is still unfolding and I don’t know anything concrete yet, but I will keep you posted…pun intended. Just keep B in your prayers please. This has to be a scary and difficult situation for her to deal with. As if she didn’t already have enough on her plate now she has medical concerns! Which is the last thing I want for her, it sucks!

Well guess what, I’m still waiting! Well kinda anyway. As I said the contempt motion was filed on both the court ordered counseling and the failure to notify me of my daughter’s seizure. We had our court date, but apparently her attorney was nervous and asked what I wanted. I asked for stronger wording with a legal consequence (15 days in jail) for another instance of contempt. As I expected M went against her legal advice (yes, her attorney is stupid enough that he discussed it with her within ear shot of myself and my family! A real rocket scientist that one is!!) So another date was set so that all is in place and my side of things is a slam dunk. M continues to strengthen my case daily by refusing to communicate, etc.

Well, she does have B in counseling and that’s great news. I met the counselor and have full faith that she is as good as they come. This woman is extremely professional and obviously not willing to take sides. Which is exactly what B needs. So that took care of it’s self in a way. Yes M is in contempt for not following the custody order by notifying me and having the two of us agree on the counselor ordered, but B is in counseling so the end goal has been achieved.

The other aspect was the notification of the medical emergency. Well subpoenas went out to half the state and we have more than enough to win that particular case, however we continued it until next month for several reasons I cannot disclose here. So hence I am still waiting. At least it is by choice this time and not because I’m being forced to. There is a lot I could say to fill in the blanks, but I need to wait until we go to court. Until then, keep us in your prayers and I will update soon.

Well, I spoke to my attorney and the motion for contempt should be filed today. M’s attorney, bless his heart, wants new wording in the custody agreement because he was to inept to recognize the agreement was not to his client’s liking. So I should have a court date this week or next and I’m sure there will be some type of motion made from M’s side to amend the custody order. From here I feel that a no mercy approach is in order. I plan to nail M to the wall at every chance possible. We have tried to imagine what her next move will be or what the next drama will be, but when dealing with someone that isn’t mature or stable it is rather difficult. We have had the foresight to recognize that things may become outlandish. If that is the case, it’s fine and we’ll deal with it. Honestly the weirder it gets the better for my relationship with B. It can only go so far before B looks around and says ” what the hell, really?”

So at the moment we are waiting and hoping for swift movement on the part of the court. We also have found a group on FB about PA. It has been a great resource and has help me not to feel so alone in this. I don’t think that the court will move quickly, and I don’t think M will abide by any order unless forced. To be truthful I think M may even go so far as to play the martyr so that I can be blamed and look bad in B’s eyes. I don’t put it past her to attempt to absorb financial punishment or even a night or two in a cell. It’s really strange to think that M is that far removed from reality and so deep into her “game” playing mode. If the past is any indicator the truth is that we should expect the most extreme and strangest behavior possible.

So I am sitting here waiting to see what will happen to force this into a counselor’s office, where it all should have been years ago. I pretty much know based on her behavior how M is reacting. What I don’t know is how B is, or is going to react. I have no idea of what the outcome will be. I keep hoping that my hopes are correct and that the Lord will bless B with the “ah ha” moment where the light switch just goes on. The truth of the matter is that there has been a lot of time that has passed and that it is much more likely to take a long period of time to heal and regroup emotionally. B has been subjected to what many consider child abuse by emotional manipulation. I tend to agree and that is a serious thing. Abuse of any kind is difficult to heal from and sometimes it is a long road to what most would consider a normal emotional place. So as a father I have no idea what to expect, and truly just want that relationship with B back in any healthy form. I’m not sure what is left of the relationship we had or if it can be restored. Will it be something new and completely different? A lot of time has now passed and I just don’t know what to expect.

As far as I am concerned there is nothing to forgive B for. She is a victim in this and although she has made decisions of her own, those decisions were made while under the emotional control of an unhealthy adult. There are no feelings that I need to resolve with B, I just want to be able to be a father again. I just want to see those moments that only happen once. The look on her face when her team wins a game, the smile when she gets off the phone with her latest boyfriend, those moments. I feel like I have lost so many of them over the last year and a half. So, no I am in no way angry with B. M on the other hand, is another issue altogether. Yep, I am mad as hell that she is so sick and manipulative as to use a child as a pawn in a sick game of her own making. That is something I have to work on. Not vomiting on her from disgust while in her presence is going to be a challenge. Unfortunately I will have to be in the same space as her and hopefully one day co-parent B with her. That is going to be rather interesting.

One of the biggest mistakes in the treatment of PAS is that many counselors concentrate solely on the child. Not the child’s relationship with the non preferred parent and not the relationship between the parents. The relationship with the child has to be healed and the relationship between the parents must be healed. Without that healing the cycle will just continue indefinitely. The truth of the matter is that the child isn’t the issue, the parent or parents are. The parents need counseling as much or more than the children. It’s the alienating parent that has caused the damage and the other parent that has dealt with the damage, and the child has been hurt and damaged from the actions of the parents. The whole family unit has been effected and needs to be healed. That includes step parents, and siblings as well as grand parents etc. The animosity has to stop and be healed or it all just continues.

So here I sit waiting. I’m waiting on the court to do it’s job. I’m waiting to see how B will react when counseling starts. I’m waiting to see how weird and wild M will get before this all is resolved. I’m waiting to see how difficult it will be to forgive and move past all the hurt and anger. I’m waiting and ready for it to all be resolved and done. I’m waiting to once again be a father to my child.

All the waiting is just killing me!

Through out my life I have been guilty of acting purely upon emotion.  As I have matured and grown spiritually it has become less and less. Anyone that knows me knows that I wear my heart on my sleeve despite my appearance. Sensitivity can be a great attribute but it can also be exploited easily, and such was the case in my life on too many occasions. In the situation that this blog has been focused on, M has counted on my acting purely on emotion. The problem is that I have grown and changed in a positive way which has left those emotions in check. Essentially, M doesn’t know who I am at this point in my life. The same can be said about her as well. It has been more than ten years since we met and I feel like I know less about her nowthan I did the first day we met. All the things I believed to be true about her have been proven completely false. M has shown time and time again that she is capable of things that I could have never imagined. The marriage was a complete sham and I now know it.

There is a strange twist to this story that I never imagined would occur. It seems that as I have grown and changed in a positive way, M has regressed and lost touch with reality and logic. Her actions recently show that she is acting purely upon emotion and has no grasp of reality and has forgotten about logic altogether. I will explain that statement shortly. At the beginning of this ordeal, I was crippled with grief  because of the estrangement from B. It literally consumed me to a point that it was unhealthy. As time has passed I have learned to lean upon those around me for support because they understand and act as a sounding board for me. I believe that the initial alienation that M caused was a tactic to come between my wife and I and cause us to be at odds. That is exactly what it would have done in the marriage with M. What M didn’t understand is that it gave my wife and I a common battle that we could come together and fight. The behavioral issues with B and the drama with M cause Mel and I to become closer rather than tear us apart. Over the course of several months, the behavioral issues with B got worse and M attempted to cause as many issues as possible, but her game plan wasn’t working. She had to figure out a new game plan. That plan was to take B from me and do her best to emotionally cripple me. In the past it would have worked. I would have become so distraught that I would have acted out in a negative way and M could have sat back as had her “I told ya so” moment. Throughout the past year and a half I have proven over and over that I am well grounded and can handle any situation she throws my way with maturity and class. The same can’t be said about M.

M once told me that if backed into a corner she would act like a wild animal and attack, that she would win at any cost (that statement was made during the early days of the divorce). She proved those words, then with a false claim of domestic violence and since the signing of the new custody agreement she has shown yet again her animal instinct. M’s actions over the last month have been degrading to a point that logic is no where to be found. She continually backs herself into the proverbial corner with out right lies and completely illogical actions. The new agreement states that as B’s parents we both agree that she needs to be in therapy. It further states that M is solely responsible for having B enrolled in counseling within two weeks of the agreement. Well, as you know that never happened and I had to get the attorneys involved so that a counselor was FINALLY chosen. A list of counselors was given to M and she approved two for me to decide from. One of them never returned my call so I chose the other and set an appointment to speak with her. The appointment was to find out who she was and what her qualification as a therapist were. M had previously sent an e-mail to me stating that she had researched the counselors and that B was comfortable with her choices. I in response sent an e-mail asking what she had done to research them and  asking her to share that information. That e-mail is still awaiting a response as of today, therefore I had to do the research myself. I e-mailed M and invited her to the  initial appointment with the counselor so that M had equal access and B could become familiarized with the new counselor.  I received no response but my attorney received several from opposing counsel. Apparently M had called her attorney and stated that I was compromising the process of therapy, yada yada yada. M also called the counselor and told her that I had no legal right to have anything to do with the counseling process. What I found humorous is that M had sent her the custody agreement just hours prior.That custody agreement outlines that we both have equal access and rights to all medical care givers etc. Strike one for M. The counselor compared M’s statements to the legal documentation that M had provided.Can you say DUH?

I also decide to touch base with the guidance counselor at B’s school just so she was aware of the new custody agreement and to let her know that B was attending counseling. I don’t know how B will react to the counseling and I wanted her to have as much support as possible. We had also sent the guidance counselor an e-mail in reference to the counseling  that she had not yet replied to. I wanted to follow up as well. Upon speaking to the school counselor, I was informed that she had just spoken to M and that M had informed her that no counselor had been chosen yet, and that M wasn’t sure it would even occur. Bear in mind that the custody order states that B must be in counseling or there will be consequences for M. The guidance counselor is in possession of that agreement! My e-mail to the counselor was sent prior to the conversation with M. It was also in direct contradiction to their conversation. S0, strike two for M. Do you see a pattern forming here? Caught in lie number two within a day. M is lying to all the wrong people!

Today was a huge strike three. I’m not sure what the hell she was thinking to be honest. M missed the initial appointment with the counselor for the court mandated counseling. What’s even more surprising is that she followed up with a call stating the counselor’s services were no longer needed and that B would not be seen, period. I was angry, but more baffled. Is M really so arrogant as to think that she is above the law? Does she think she can act with impunity indefinitely? To this point I have avoided filing any motions for contempt because I felt it would do more harm than good in my relationship with B. It also would continue the animosity between M and I. M changed all that today. I can’t see how not moving forward with a motion for contempt would be positive in any way for B or anyone else. It’s time to let a judge decide if M deserves a slap on the wrist or a little time in a cell. Either way, a pattern has been established over the past several months and it is all documented.

One cannot act purely on emotion with no consideration of logic. M is living proof. I will keep you posted as to how things turn out.

  • I miss you.  You may think that’s weird.  I mean, we didn’t get to know each other that well.  I did enjoy what time we had together, and I miss laughing, snuggling during scary movies, you and Jas dancing, and working on your homework that you totally didn’t want to do.  I miss that I don’t know YOU from more experiences of my own.  I don’t at all have a bad view of you, or any of our time together.  I think there were ways that each of us (me, your dad, you, your mom) could have handled things, but we are almost 1.5 years past that now. Unless we are going to live in the past, how we got here doesn’t matter.  How we can fix it does.  It can be fixed.  I have gotten to know you from hearing lots of stories about you growing up, and seeing pictures, from your grandparents and aunt and cousin, and most of all from your dad.  I’ve seen your cards, pictures, drawings, notes to your dad when you were little and some much more recent.  I know you from pictures I took of you, with your family and friends here.  You were not unhappy, and you were not mistreated.  I think there were a few misunderstandings and a normal teenager that got mad…guess what, you’ve missed out on your step-sister having some attitude too!  The difference is she isn’t allowed to pull away and disengage, she has attitude, we deal (she is corrected by me, your dad, her dad and her step-mom as a TEAM), we move on…life moves on.  Turning away is not a healthy part of growing up, or healthy for anyone.  To NOT deal with life is  unhealthy.  In spite of what you may think I know that you are very greatly loved, and missed.  I get to see it daily when we do normal things or go places and I think how much you would like this or that.  How I’m sure your dad misses getting to talk to you about things only the two of you shared.  I know that your grandmother misses you and hearing anything from the emails she sends.  I miss hearing about your sports, cheerleading and awards days.  Your dad has hopes each time he emails you that you will answer, even if it’s just to say you’re ok.
  • At this point, there isn’t much I feel I can say to “change your mind,” but I do want you to hear what other people have to say, that have never met you, or your dad, or your mom, and frankly I don’t think you are getting the information you need.  These people all have lots of information that you will see yourself in.As I’ve always told you, you have a mom, I don’t want to and can’t replace her, but even though I’m new to you, I’m not new to parenting.  As you know, Jasmine has 4 parents that love her and make sure she is taken care of TOGETHER, there is no reason, ever, that a loving, stable, caring parent should be distanced or put out of their child’s life, by anyone, including a child/teenager that doesn’t see all the repercussions of a decision like that.  It’s why there are courts, and judges and why ALL parents are instructed to act in the best interest of a child and why visitation is court ordered.  It’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. It is not in your best interest to eliminate one of your parents because you are mad or think you’re old enough to. You have 3 parents that love you deeply and can each give you something valuable in life, and 2 that are not being allowed to give you what you so desperately need during these years (and the ones to come) in your life.  So, with lots of love, and because I am your step-mom, but more importantly because I love your dad and you, I’m asking that since we’ve not talked for over a year, you check out the next few things I write and watch a link or two.  Just look at it as homework, or research…payback for not having to listen to one of my lectures for over a year, or a way to get me to shut up:)  Just trust me on this…you know I have nothing to gain here besides helping you and your dad be happy together.
  • I want to go ahead and say that lots of this might sound scary or stupid, or you might think it has nothing to do with you or what’s going on with you.  I know you make your own decisions, so I’m asking you, just because I want you to think for yourself, to use the information I’m about to share to gain all the knowledge you can and make your decisions based on facts and what you KNOW.  You’re grown enough to understand that life isn’t always pretty and perfect.  You have to deal with some crappy things sometimes to get to the good stuff though.
  1. There is actually a WHOLE dvd that we have that I will get to you if you want to see it, just let me know.  It explains all sides, yours, your mom, and your dad, and how to resolve things so everyone is happy!  Wouldn’t that be nice?!  Here are some reviews from other teens (that didn’t want to see their other parent, and some that had not seen a parent just like you), moms, dads and people that watched the dvd, because I know you think it’ll be boring. http://www.warshak.com/alienation/pluto/viewers-say.html
  2. Can you do me a favor and watch this little part of it?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Puy0hjtedU&feature=related
  3.  Also, I know some pretty smart people that have been where you are (and didn’t think they needed help or that anything was wrong).  I don’t want you to think that I or anyone here thinks there is something WRONG with you…we just all know that sometimes things aren’t as they seem and it never hurts to have knowledge about what’s going on in your life.  If you get a minute, this is someone that is now grown and has lived with not talking to her dad for a while when she was your age.  I think you’ll find it interesting. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=139545826175900&id=100003614494125
  4. Now, these are LONG, and I think if you are honest with yourself you’ll see some very familiar things.  Doesn’t matter how they got there, or how it happened, I want to focus on HOW TO FIX IT…I think you’ll recognize some stuff, you can finish reading my letter here first, then come back and check these out (but don’t forget, they are very informative)http://www.drhavlicek.com/what_everyone_should_know_about.htm            http://www.drhavlicek.com/Parent%20Alienation%20Effects%20on%20Children.htm
  5. Ok, so this one is a little more realistic.  I’m going to be honest and point out that this is your relationship and you have done or said just about all of these things.  Yes, they were your idea, which shows that you are in fact, an alienated child, whether you intended that or not. It’s not fun to read, but you will see that it’s not “just your idea” it is something that is documented time after time for years and is a problem not just for you, but has been and is for thousands of other children and teens your age. It iis considered abuse to allow a child to go through with these thoughts and actions.  It is not healthy for you, and is not normal.

THE RESPONSE AND BEHAVIORS OF THE ALIENATED CHILD

It is important to discuss the typical clinical presentation of alienated children. For the

most part, our observations of the behaviors and emotional responses of alienated children

are similar to those reported by others (Gardner, 1987,1992; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980). By

definition, the core feature of alienated children is the extreme disproportion between the

child’s perception and beliefs about the rejected parent and the actual history of the rejected

parents’ behaviors and the parent-child relationship. Unlike most aligned or estranged

youngsters, alienated children freely express hatred or intense dislike toward the rejected

parent. They demonize and vilify that parent, often present trivial reasons to justify their

hatred, and usually are not reticent about broadcasting the perceived shortcomings of the parent to others. This is particularly baffling to the rejected parent, extended family, and other

adults knowledgeable about the prior parent-child relationship. Most often, as stated above,

rejected parents have had at least an adequate relationship with these children, and the angry

rejection is not merited, even when contributions of the rejected parent are taken into account.

One of the most common behaviors of alienated children is their strongly expressed resistance

to visiting the rejected parent and, in more extreme cases, an absolute refusal to see the

parent in any setting, including a therapeutic one, and a desire to unilaterally terminate the

parent-child relationship. These children want only to talk to lawyers who represent their

viewpoint and to those custody evaluators and judges whom they believe will fully support

their efforts to terminate the parent-child relationship once they hear all the “facts.” To all,

they strongly advocate their right to choose whether they will see their parent.

Another feature of alienated children is the manner in which they present their stories.

Their allegations about the rejected parent are mostly replicas or slight variants of the aligned

parents’ allegations and stories. These scripted lines are repeated endlessly but most often are

hollow, without underlying substance, texture, or detail to support the allegations. They have

adopted the allegation(s) but, unlike children with histories of abusive treatment, do not have

compelling supporting information. Generally, alienated children sound very rehearsed,

wooden, brittle, and frequently use adult words or phrases. They appear not to be guilty or

ambivalent as the children denigrate, often viciously, the rejected parent. Sometimes, they

appear to be enjoying themselves. There is no obvious regret.

One of the sobering aspects of these presentations is that alienated children have essentially

been given permission to be powerful and to be hostile and rude toward the rejected

parent, grandparents, and other relatives. Furthermore, assisting in orchestrating the obliteration

of a parent does not bode well for their future social and emotional adjustment. Sadly,

even previously cherished pets, now in the custody of the rejected parent, might be denigrated,

and the children proudly describe the virtues of their new and extremely perfect

replacements provided for them by aligned parents.

And finally, alienated children often idealize or speak glowingly of the aligned parent as

an adult and parent. They refuse to consider any information that might undermine this viewpoint

of their perfect companion and parent, and they vigorously reject any suggestion that

their obsessive hatred of the rejected parent has any relationship to the views or behaviors of

the aligned parent. They might describe how that parent is suffering, has been harmed economically

and emotionally by the rejected parent, and is worthy of their total allegiance.

It is important to note that some alienated children-although they present as very angry,

distraught, and obsessively fixated on the hated parent in the therapist’s or evaluator’s

office-appear to function adequately in other settings removed from the custody battle.

They might retain their school performance, might continue to excel in musical or athletic

activities, and at least superficially seem reasonably well adjusted. A closer look at their

interpersonal relationships, however, often reveals difficulties. Alienated children’s

black-and-white, often harshly strident views and feelings are usually reflected in dealings

with their peers as well as those in authority. However, it is in the rejected parents’ home that

the child’s behavior is severely problematic and disturbed. They might destroy property; act

in obnoxious, even bizarre, ways; and treat these parents in public with obvious loathing,

scorn, and verbal abuse. They prefer to be in contact constantly with their aligned parent by

telephone, at which times, they whisper hostile observations about the rejected parent’s

words, behaviors, meals, and personality. If they are resisting or refusing contact, all efforts

of the rejected parents to communicate directly with their children are rebuffed, including

demands that the parent never contact them again, stop harassing them with presents and letters

(which often are discarded or unopened), and cease their useless legal efforts and court

appearances.

The girl in the pictures here was not abused, unloved, unhappy, unwanted, sad, or any of the things that one would assume would cause a parent to be eliminated from her life.  This girl (now a young lady) was told that she was old enough to decide and that it was her decision, when in fact, that was a violation of a court order to have her father eliminated.  The people in the pictures with her have ALL been cut out of her life at the same time over a year ago.  I could understand possibly being that mad at one person…but a whole family?   Again, this isn’t about who is right, wrong, who did what, who needs to change, it’s about how to stop this.  We can fix it, you can have both of your parents, and they both owe it to you to get along enough so you can have each of them without you feeling that it’s necessary to deny one of them.  Did you know that if YOU told both of your parents (nicely and respectfully) that it IS your choice and that they both need to get along so you can have them both involved in your life, that they would have no choice but to do it.  Think I’m crazy?  Your mom has said, typed and told numerous people that it’s “not my problem and it’s between her and her dad” and that “she is old enough to make decisions about her life” and your dad has said that he just wants you to be happy and healthy.  So, if you said to them that it is your choice that they both get along or that THEY ignore each other and allow you to be happy with each of them, they would have to do it, or they would both be liars.  It may not have been started by you, it may have, but regardless, YOU can stop it.  You are old enough, you are smart enough.

  • If you want help, you can reach out to me, your school, your church, your family, you know how to get any of us, and I know you have the means to contact us. We all miss you. You will be welcomed back with open arms.  We will begin again and move forward and learn together how to make life work for everyone involved.
  • If you don’t want help, or don’t think you are ready still, or you’re still mad, or still sure you don’t want to talk to anyone here, even your dad.  I will accept that, but only if you are honest with yourself and inform yourself with the information I shared.  You can’t just continue to walk along thinking that your decisions and those of your mom that have become yours, do not affect you, your dad, your family here, or will not affect you later down the road.  Remember, you don’t get back time lost.  You can’t go back and redo things sometimes.  You can make sure that things you do in the future are done right though.  I hope you choose to be informed, be forgiving, and be happy.  With all my love…Melissa.

Heading to Gigi and Pawpaws, 2nd to last visit Dec 24, 2010.

Gigi and her girls!

Headband crew

Aunt Sherri and Brianna

Daddy and his girl

Our first Christmas together:)

The Ham couch

Jackpot!

Thanksgiving 2010

The sugar high kicked in later.

Matt and Bri waiting for the sugar to kick in!

Choices choices – October 2010

My girls

Daddy’s girl:)

First pumpkin pickin’!

EWWWWWWWWWWW

Still at it

Bri meeting her newphew for the first time:)

4th of July 2010

Daddy and his girl

Girls getting ready for our wedding April 2010

Adorable girls

Love it more!

Badonkadonk

Well I recently got B’s new phone number. It’s been over a year since I had a working number for her and just the idea of being able to call or text her is pretty exciting. In the past if I called M she would let it go to voice mail or on the rare occasion she did answer, she’d say, “I’ll let her know you called.” Honestly I am not expecting much of anything to change, but at least now I can call and hear her voice…even if only on voice mail. Side note: We have a consult with the court ordered counselor!

I’ve talked about the fact that I think a lot of ingredients and a lot of people contributed to B being in the emotional place that she is. I think taking a look at all the major players is a good idea. I know that my parents being married for over forty years has effected my outlook on love as well as all the relationships in my life. To start with we have B’s biological mother. Strange side note, she and M are now friends! They’ve always hated one another….so strange. Ok, back on track. We’ll call the womb donor R.

R and I met in high school and started doing all the things we shouldn’t have done. It was a little hard not to. Her home life was just ridiculous. Her parents were long divorced, but her mother had just gotten custody of her. R basically had gone from a religious nut-job of a father to a no rules, drunk mother. I actually bought food for the house and stayed late into the wee hours on many occasions so that she and her younger sister weren’t alone and had food. All of which were insane considering the fact that R’s mother and step father made good money. He was a pilot and she worked in the IT industry. The problem was that mom was out partying/whoring around (the woman tried to seduce me not once but four times), and step dad was working all the time literally. This was her mother’s fourth marriage by her own choice and she wasn’t even close to 40 yet. I felt the need to be rescuer and white knight, which was a bad move. You can see where a teen girl might get a little screwed up in that type of situation. It really brought out the worst in R. She was selfish, lazy, and generally not really that nice of a person. The issue was that I loved her (17YR OLD LOVE ANYWAY) and felt responsible for her. Notice I say I loved her, and not that I was in love with her. There is a huge difference and I was too young to understand that. Shortly after graduation, B was on her way into the world. Three months along and in a wedding dress, and for all the wrong reasons on both sides. She needed a meal ticket and I felt like I needed to take care of her. Within a year of marriage R and I were not even friends and room mates was as close to a relationship as you could describe what we had. Looking back I know postpartum depression was an issue, but at twenty I couldn’t spell it much less understand it.  A couple of years later, her mother died in an alcohol related motorcycle crash and her hole grew even deeper. B was a constant source of stress for her and I was just there. To be fair, I had a couple of serious car accidents during the time we were married and that too was a huge stress in our lives. The short version is that we never should have married, I should have asked for custody of my child and gone about life. B never saw love or affection from R for the first four years of her life. I think the divorce was a huge relief for R, and she was able to pursue things for herself and try to find happiness. She did all those things, and gave me full custody of B and within a year, she stopped seeing B. I held her feet to the fire and made her do things correctly, and it was just too hard on her. Several years later R would give up all parental rights. Enter M….

M was the product of a broken marriage and had very little contact with her biological father. She and her step father were close, but it was a bit of a strange relationship. Let’s just say there are several things about the man that made me question his character and question the childhood experiences of M. The relationship is just “different”. I’m not making any accusations, but the signs were and are there. M’s mother was an addict the first time I met her and to my knowledge still is. There are three sisters and the whole family dynamic is volatile and based on who can use the other the most. It was bad enough that M had moved out prior to turning 18 just to get out. Not the best background and a huge red flag, but I had hopes that she had risen above it. She had unfortunately not and is very happy being who and what she is. M and I did have several good years, but I truly think she was playing house. She was trying desperately to be the person she was expected to be by me and my family. The problem is that she never was that person and the strain was too much to bear. You can’t pretend forever and she is no exception. By the last few years the change was obvious and she tried less and less to convince anyone of who she was. At this point she doesn’t even try to put on a front to my knowledge. Every time we have contact, she is all games, all lies, and all “what can I get out of this situation”. I’ve said an awful lot about M in previous posts, so I won’t take up any more space for her here. You have a pretty damn good idea of who she is and what her character is. Not to mention I get tired of even thinking about her.

Now, for some self examination. This should be fun, NOT! I’m  a pretty decent guy by most accounts, but I have spent most of my life rebelling against one thing or another. For the most part I have run from God as often as possible. You see, my dad is an ordained baptist preacher and I didn’t want any part of that. Most of my teens were spent pursuing what made me happy or what I enjoyed. Mostly girls and a few good fights from time to time.  Sex and fights are  pretty fun past times, but both have serious consequences. Brianna was not the consequence of a fight obviously.  Being a decent guy, I wanted to do the right thing and hence my white knight complex. Doing the right thing means a lot of different things depending on the situation and I was too young to understand there were options available to me. I did my best to be a good husband and father, but the husband part was out of my hands. It was a dead relationship from the start and the dysfunction was very obvious.  From early on B was the victim of the dysfunction and felt the constant stress. I worked a lot to survive both financially and emotionally. The more time I spent away the more the grass looked greener. So I mowed a few lawns over the years and then had to deal with the guilt I felt. Dysfunctional or not I was married and it ate away at my soul to be that person, “that guy”. I think on the whole I was a good father, but a really shitty husband. The divorce from R was such a blessing for us both and was healthy for not only us but B as well. I then hooked up with M and like I said for a while it was good. My white knight complex is what got me in trouble yet again by ignoring all the big red flags. I take responsibility for the influence that M has on B . I also take full responsibility for the abandonment that B feels from not having R in her life. So I completely acknowledge my role here. This is all partially my fault and I know it. I don’t beat myself up because at the times I made those decisions I wasn’t mature either emotionally or spiritually. The past is just that and you learn from it an do your best to overcome the consequences of your actions. I hate that B has to be a victim of my decisions and would give my life to change it all, but it isn’t possible and I have to live with it. You see if I had made better choices, B wouldn’t feel abandoned by R and wouldn’t cling so tightly to M because of those feelings.

So the three parental figures in her life have thoroughly screwed up B’s emotional health! However, B is making her own choices now and shares a bit of blame as well. Most stories have two sides, but this one has four. So there ya have it. The highlights of the players in this sordid mess we have made of my daughter’s life.

I know there are those that read my blog and wonder how I ever let this happen. How could a loving father become estranged from his daughter in such a dramatic way. My answer is that it is easier than you think for drastic life changes to occur before you ever see it coming.  I certainly never could have imagined that “Daddy’s Little Girl” would turn against me and want nothing to do with me, but she has. From the time of her birth, literally, B and I were extremely close. Just my opinion, but even closer than most father’s and daughters.  B’s womb donor, as I refer to her, was ill equipped for motherhood and married life. She had her emotional issues and her own personal problems. That left me as the main care giver as well as the one showing B affection. It was a role that I relished and loved every moment of. I may be big, bad and tattooed but I’ve always been very sensitive as well. It really wasn’t hard for me to be a father and I really loved the role. The womb donor, not so much. She wasn’t much of a wife or a mother, but when we divorced it did leave a hole that was in need of filling in both my life and B’s. I had custody, and was receiving child support because I had B full time. The problem was my job. I was a cop and my family really had to step in and help.

I won’t pull punches, there was a girl I was involved with and had been for a while when the womb donor and I separated. After a few months, she decided to step up to the plate. Here is where M enters the picture as well as B’s life. She was wonderful with B and I saw my daughter blossom under her care. Of course my heart was gone, completely stolen. If she loved my kid that much, how could I not love her? On went the blinders and out went common sense. There were a lot of warning signs, and a a few neon stop signs that I totally ignored before we married. I should have at least paused, but I didn’t. Her broken home, the way we got together, her basic out look on love and relationships should have told me to put on the brakes. The problem was I was lonely, hurt and needed love as much as my little girl did. It’s how the mistakes started, but they didn’t end there. I think M enjoyed the role and was getting what she wanted from her life. She had a husband and child that adored her, a new car, a new house, and really didn’t want for much. Not a bad deal for her by most accounts.

Me on the other hand, I had issues. I was working my ass off and spending less and less time at home. I had to keep up, and keep moving so I was around less and less for B. I became angry when M became jealous. You see wearing a badge isn’t without it’s peril and I don’t mean guns and knives. Women literally throw themselves at you. M knew this because she had been one of them, and it’s how we got started. She also knew that I obviously wasn’t immune to them, hence her jealousy. I was angry because she was jealous and I felt like the odd man out at home. It was a combination of ingredients that were forming the perfect storm. The marriage was on the decline, but things changed dramatically. In 2005 I faced major health issues. Those issues took me out of the loop even more and I literally only saw B when she got home in the evenings after school and cheer leading. I pretty much sat at home for over a year. Every thing had changed and not for the better. Less money, less time, and more stress was pushing an already weak marriage to the breaking point. I had become the insecure one and her insecurities hit a peak when I finally got back out into the world.

During all this I wasn’t able to spend the time with B that we had both been accustomed to. M had become the major influence in her life. In a lot of cases I was left to play the heavy when it came time for discipline and the like. I had gone from being B’s everything to a side note in her life, but I didn’t realize how that would come to haunt me in the future. From the moment of our separation,  I feel like I was portrayed as the “bad guy.” Honestly, anyone with any common sense would have seen the writing on the wall, but I didn’t. I didn’t even see my child being intentionally pulled from my arms. It’s clear now that the end of the marriage was calculated and a working plan for a rather long time. M had become unsatisfied with me in general as well as finances and life. To put it plainly, she was tired of trying and was finished. For some unknown reason she was angry with me for not living up to her ideals. For years all the time it was Mommy and B against Daddy. It didn’t matter if it were a board game or an inside joke. Speaking of jokes, there was the one where they both talked about Mommy’s “boyfriend” (we were still very married at the time) and made constant jokes about it. You see for years it was obvious that M was setting a tone of making me the odd man out. It was ok not to include me, it was ok to make jokes at the expense of my feelings. M was teaching B not to take my feelings into consideration, she was teaching her not to respect me as a parent or as an authority figure.

By the time we divorced it was very easy to transition into a Mommy vs Daddy mentality for B. It was also very easy for her to pick sides. It had been her and her mother against me for years already even if it were just a joke at the time. When a tone is set in any relationship it is easy to maintain rather than to change. To change takes strength and courage that most grown ups don’t have. Take battered wife syndrome for example. A wife who is beaten daily will defend the abuser, her husband at all costs. I saw it time and time again in police work. If adults can’t see things clearly and be that strong, how can I expect a child to? It’s been four years now and even with all the back story, it still took until last year for the estrangement to occur. I think B did a valiant job of standing her ground until she grew tired and I remarried. My marriage gave me a safety net and she knew I ‘d be alright. She saw that I now had others in my life to fill the void she would leave. I don’t believe all this went through her head at her age in a black and white form. It is more based on feelings and decisions or lack of decisions as well as the reactions to them.

You see, the estrangement started long before there were any custody issues or we were even divorced. B had been conditioned for so long that when the divorce came, and then her mother ramped up the drama when I remarried…the decisions had already been made. B was caught in an unseen trap that I myself had been victim to. There were years that I was estranged from my family to varying degrees during my marriage. As a person, you make choices based on the information and feelings you have available. I don’t blame B for the choices she has made, nor will I ever hold them against her. I’ll just continue to love her and wait to welcome her back with open arms. I often wonder how any loving parent could allow this to happen, but you see it’s very easy when you want to see the best in the ones you love most.