Archive for the ‘opinions’ Category

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.

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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!

A lot of people don’t understand what PAS really is. There is a difference between a some what healthy/normal relationship with an ex spouse and what PAS is. In a normal relationship with an ex, you don’t let it effect the children involved. An example, if you have an ex that you don’t necessarily like or get along with, then the children or child doesn’t see the two of you fight. The kids don’t have one parent pitting them against the other. No negative comments are made about the other parent and no one tries to influence the child in any direction. My wife and her ex-spouse don’t get along well. It is difficult for the two of them to communicate, etc. But as far as I know, he doesn’t make any harsh comments about us nor do we about him. Neither side tries to pit the child against the other. Now having said that, there are the normal ex games as I call them. This is my opinion, but her ex does try to use us as an excuse.

There are two types of parents. There are parents that will and have walked through hell for their children, then there are parents that have children that seem to be after thoughts in their life. In any family where there are new blended families with new marriages and children there are new priorities. What is right and what is wrong is a choice that the parents decide for themselves. If a parent chooses not to take advantage of visitation for a long period of time and then the other parent doesn’t cooperate with meeting half way or something of the like, it isn’t PAS. The fact is that the other parent has something to prove. They need to prove something to their ex, and the child. A parent should always have the best interest of their children at heart.  If that means that the other parent has to drive a little further to show that they are serious, then so be it. A child doesn’t need a parent when it is easy for the parent and no parent when it’s hard for them. That isn’t the way it works. It’s just not healthy for a child to have a fair weather parent. So the above is normal, and far from PAS.

PAS is a whole other animal completely. With PAS a child is used a a weapon, period. There is one parent that attempts to cut the child off from the other. Now the offending parent usually has their reason. Bear in mind that it isn’t a good reason. I am sure that M could site a laundry list of why she knows best and how B is better without me. Is it true, HELL NO IT ISN’T!  A parent that is guilty of PAS makes the child depend solely on them, they intentionally make negative comments about the other parent and or family. They make sure that the child doesn’t view the other parent as worthy of being loved. It is very complicated and takes time to achieve. It’s all planned out and there is an end goal in mind. The links on my blog and the definition post explain things so much better than I ever could. It’s kind of scary that it has happened to me and I still don’t understand exactly how. I could write about independent incidences and tell you about what has happened blow by blow. It would take days of typing to do that and I don’t really care to relive the past.
There are ex’s then there are sick demented horrible people that you once were married to. There is a difference, a huge difference. If your ex sucks, they are supposed to, they are your ex for a reason. If your ex is truly a monster, read up on PAS and get your child into therapy as soon as possible. It wouldn’t hurt you either.

I read the blog of someone who is right in the middle of a separation and facing a divorce last night. It reminded me how horrible divorce really is. In his situation there are two small children involved, how horrible. I put my two cents in and gave unsolicited advice to him. Maybe I overstepped, but it is hard to see clearly in the midst of a crisis. Nothing in life is more of a crisis than a divorce. My advice to him was direct and to the point. I told him what I did and what I experienced.

In my personal experience I felt the same as he did, it was all my fault. Now looking back I was a fool. There was way more to the story that I was just not aware of. The divorce had been in the works for months and all the decisions were made long before I knew what the future had in store. There was nothing that I could say or do that would have changed a damn thing! My opinion is that divorce is an evil, terrible thing sent straight from the bowels of hell. There is nothing positive that comes from a divorce. God can use divorce to effect positive change and release you from your own bad judgement as He did in my case, but in and of it’s self divorce is a vile thing.

I have mentioned that my father is a pastor, what I didn’t say is that one of the many ministries that he has been involved with is with the homeless. I myself in my past career came in contact with all walks of life from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low. Having been around so many people that have hit their own rock bottom has allowed me some prospective. So many of these people began their own downward spiral because of divorce. If you don’t see the need for help and try to handle things alone, it’s easy to find bottom. In my case the grace of God is what kept me from hitting bottom. I had the wisdom of both my parents to draw from and a wonderful church that supported me.

My divorce brought me back to God. Those that aren’t saved don’t have that benefit, nor do those without a strong family unit. I am a very lucky and blessed person, and I know it. Things could have been much much worse had things been slightly different.  A person can only take so much heartache before they become broken. How far a person falls is just a question of how much support they have. It’s so sad to see or hear of so many family units being broken. I haven’t even mentioned the effects on the children. In my case it has been extreme. B has had to deal with the abandonment of her biological mother and the manipulations of M. There isn’t a much worse situation that a child can face.

Had B not had the abandonment to deal with, she would not be so easily molded and weak in the face of the manipulation by M. B’s heartache all started with divorce. The divorce with #1 was mutual and smooth for both she and I. It was agreed upon and welcome. The emotional effects on the two of us was minimal, but for B it has and will cause a life long series of questions and pain. My divorce from M was the exact opposite. I never saw it coming, it was completely out of left field. I never knew how bad it was until it had already happened. I had steeled myself to remain committed and work through  any trial that faced us. The problem is that she had given up long before I knew there was a problem. I won’t say it was all her fault, because as much as I dislike her, it wasn’t. With my medical issues came huge financial changes and long periods of depression. I wasn’t always the husband or father that I should have been. Was the divorce my fault? The answer is HELL NO! I was committed, but she wasn’t. I now thank the Lord everyday that she wasn’t, because if she had been I wouldn’t be with Mel. At the time though, it sucked.

Marriage only works if both people are completely committed to making it work. That means different things to different people. For my wife and I it means putting God first in our marriage and drawing strength from Him when we are weak. We both realize that everyday you aren’t madly in love and that you don’t always have rainbows and care bears shooting out of your ass. That’s when we have to lean on Him. Find what is true and real and fight for your marriage. When it’s right, it is better than all the money in the world, and when it’s wrong it’s like walking through hell. I’m blessed with the woman God intended me to have the first time. I wake up knowing that no matter what the future brings, she will be by my side to face it all. I love you Baby, thank you for being my wife, even on those days when life is a trial.

Well let me start off by saying that I totally respect everyone’s opinions. There are a lot of them out there and some people completely agree with my stance while others just plain don’t get it. Some people (a family member) has even suggested that I am delinquent in my responsibilities as a father by taking my current stance. This post is to give a little bit of insight into what the reality of the situation truly is and the sacrifices that have been made on our part already.

Everyone has their own life experiences and all children are different. Having said that every parent must make decisions on how to handle any given situation. My life experiences and my daughter’s personality come to bear in the decisions I am currently making. Before we get there, let me explain how we got here. For the sake of clarity we will refer to my daughter as B and my ex wife as M. Kinda funny because the whole situation keeps me in the bathroom a lot!

B is very aware that her biological mother abandoned her when she was four years old. She has very few memories of the womb donor, but none are good. When M came into her life, the decision to take a year off work and bond with B was made. The two became very close in short order. The fact that B lost the relationship with her own blood plays a huge role in all of this. I truly believe that if the situation were slightly different that B would not be where she is emotionally. From her first memory, I have been a constant in B’s life. Never changing and always there, that’s me…good ol dad. The relationship with M has always been different. I don’t know that B has ever felt as secure with M. There are several reasons. First and obviously the biggest is that B is afraid of M leaving and not being in her life. The emotional games that are constantly played by M have only played to that fear on the part of B. It’s sick but a very effective tool to control the emotions of  others, myself included. So if the games worked on me, how would I not think they would work even better on a child. I could list examples and quips that were constantly made while I was still in the marriage that kept me off center at all times. I have seen it in action with B as well.
To fight something that has been ingrained into a child for 2/3 of their life and expect any results in a short period of time is unrealistic. So you have a child with abandonment issues and a mother that plays to those fears to gain control over emotions, thoughts, and actions. On the other side you have a father that has reassured his child that his love is unconditional and everlasting. Now on which side does the child see the most risk? Duh, the answer is obvious. What we are dealing with is two separate individuals with very deep seeded issues. These issues effect the dynamic of their relationship with each other as well as with me. If neither of them are will to participate in counseling or in B’s case is forced to attend, what can be gained? Counseling only works if you go and want to make progress. If you don’t want to change, then you won’t. That was the case with B. She was attending sessions but was bringing up the same things repeatedly. The counselors (plural) both had explained to her how and why she was wrong. However, within hours of leaving the office the same things were being dredged up. An example, “you don’t spend enough time with me”. I planned special days for just me and B. Without fail when the wallet went dry, she was ready to be done or she would decide that her favorite Disney show was more important and flatly refuse to go at all. I would try to get B to just run errands with me so that we had time to ourselves. Only a few times did she accept my offers and then ice cream or a latte wasn’t enough. The child actually expected a fifty dollar dinner. I shit you not!

So at this point we have a child making unrealistic demands of her father and being selfish in general. Normal teenage behavior, no big deal. As things progressed, B decided that she was right and that the counselors and I were wrong. She began to voice that opinion on a regular basis. B also started to remind my current wife that she was physically larger and stronger. She also created situations where I had to pick a side between her and my wife. Things were going down hill, quick fast and in a hurry! B then decided that she wasn’t going to counseling, period. So there was screaming, cursing and all sorts of drama on the drive there. It was almost impossible to get her into the vehicle without physically picking her up. Bear in mind that our other daughter was witness to all of this. My punishments just weren’t working, and talking took the visits to a grinding stand still. The come to Jesus meetings also had our other daughter in her room alone and completely ignored by all. It wasn’t fair to her, and we started to see changes in her behavior as well. Why not try out some of the stunts and see what happens, I see the logic as a child.

After a couple of months of this I finally drew the line and explained that it all ended here, period. B could decide to come to counseling and work on her behavior or she could stay with her mother if she wished. The next few visits started with a bang. Screaming at my wife and I and cursing. During one visit, B actually tried to push me. I am by no means a small man. My wife says I am very intimidating to those that don’t know me. Hell, I carried a gun for a living for ten years and broke bones in the line of duty, but that didn’t slow b down a bit. At this point B had thrown things, had now attempted to push me and was lording over my wife. What is a father/husband to do? I told her that until she was ready to go to the counselor and straighten up, she could stay at her mother’s house. The choice was her’s. I couldn’t wait until my wife was assaulted by my 14yr old to stop things. That quickly turned into M saying that I had kick B out of my house. No, I took her back to M when she started her crap. I could handle it but I wasn’t willing to subject my wife and other child to her behavior.

My wife took on the role of friend and mediator for B. As a general rule, ninety plus percent of her anger was focused on me and me alone. If however that was to be focused on my wife, it would have been catastrophic. There is no choice, as I said before I believe in an order to a household. My wife is and will be my first priority, period. If I had felt otherwise, I’d have never married or had children. There are just certain guidelines that have to be followed if you expect a family unit to work.

The choice to be here has always been in the hands of B. There are conditions and restrictions, but she has always been welcome. B has been the one who has decided not to visit because she didn’t want to modify her behavior or adhere to the plans outlined by the counselors. At no point over the last seven months have I not pursued a relationship with my daughter. I have explained my feelings via e-mail when my calls to her and M went unanswered. I have asked her, again via e-mail about her feeling. None of the e-mails have been returned. Out of thirty e-mail, nothing and I mean no reply of any kind.  So at this point I am waiting for a visit with B to determine what her feelings are now after all this time. If she still feels the same way, then she is making the choice that has already been made.

Put yourself in my position. If there was the threat of violence against your spouse and the negative influence on your other children, what would you do? If I were single I would put up with all grades of shit, but I’m not. It’s very easy to sit back and Monday morning quarterback, but in the eye of the storm the view is very different. My sister just doesn’t understand. We aren’t even able to talk about it at all. The truth is that her marriage isn’t at risk, her son isn’t refusing to see her, and it isn’t a battle she has to experience.  I may look back and regret my stance on this, but at present I feel it is not only right but biblical. So you all have the right to your opinion and I love you all no matter how much we differ on this.