After discussing my last post with Mel I wanted to follow up to clarify a few things. First off, I couldn’t give a shit what M thinks or feels. She has shown that she is willing to sacrifice everyone for her selfish desires. Having said that I’m not worried about what she will say or do after my visit with B. Nothing I say or do will be right and anything said or done will be twisted to be negative. I do however what to remain aware of the fact that this is a game to her. It is life to me and for B, but that isn’t here concern. To forget that what she is capable of is very dangerous for me.

 

My main concern in that regard is that she find another plot or plan that further hurts B. I can deal and will be fine with time no matter what happens. I have faith that my little girl will return to my arms one day and understand the past with full understanding and clarity. What worries me is what is said and done between B and I during our visit. Being vulnerable emotionally to a teen that is fickle, and has shown a lack of caring for me is scary. I want to be honest and open with B, without letting the meeting cause any undue damage to either of us.

 

I know these are my thoughts and feeling but I want them to be understood and clear. Ok, I’ve had my say and I’m done for now.

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Since I got up this morning I have been in a funk. At first I thought I’d had bad dreams or something. As the day has worn on, my wife has said things about how I have been acting. I started questioning myself on what my issue really was. Well, after all day has passed I have finally figured it out. It’s Thursday that is bothering me… For those of you not following along, Thursday is the day that I am scheduled to see B for the first time in about seven months. There is part of me that is extremely excited to see her, but another that is full of dread and misgivings. I want to see her, but I am so afraid of my feelings after the visit. I’ve been smoking like a freight train for the last several days in anticipation and didn’t even realize what the deal was. I’d almost gotten to the point where I would have claimed to have stopped smoking, but then started dealing with all this and gave into the stress. The Marlboro man loves my dumb ass about now! Could be worse, I haven’t gone and gotten a bottle yet.

 

I’m not sure how to feel, and feel guilty for feeling what I do feel. What the hell, what’s the deal with this? My wife has been dealing with her ex all day about his visitation. She actually said she felt like M for not caving and meeting him 2 1/2 hrs away four times a month. That’s right, this guy expects us to drive 20 hours a month so that it is easier to see his daughter. He made several choices that led to him being so far away from her, not us. Never mind that he has never taken his allotted visitation, ever! I’d drive to hell and back to spend time with B and this dude wants us to do the work for him and is playing games so that he has excuses to not man up and see his kid. Makes me mad as hell. Sorry for the tangent. With the visit with B looming, I am freaking out on the inside. What I completely expect is a detached kid without feeling for the entire visit, and then no contact for God only knows how long afterward.  That’s the good version of what may happen. It could go far worse and hurt far more. The truth is that I’m not really sure what to expect, and don’t want to get my hopes up in any way at all. I e-mailed M over a week ago in reference to the visit and it has been completely ignored. I just have no clue what I am walking into.

 

The only thing that I am sure of is that my heart will still be broken on Friday when I wake up. Some idiotic part of me wants to believe that B will have missed me and now “See the Light”. Pretty stupid, I know but it’s a nice dream to have at least. I’ve had no sign from B that anything on her end has changed in any way at all. So hope is useless when it is based on nothing other than hope it’s self. Yet still a part of me holds out that my daughter will see me and tears will flow and her heart will open. Why am I such an idiot when it comes to this? I know better, but can’t help myself. I’ve come to realize that my hopes, dreams and desires for B mean nothing. M has made sure that they mean nothing to B as well and that she doesn’t even have the ability to know any of them. If M were to read this blog, she would just giggle with joy and beam with pride, knowing the pain I am in. That in and of it’s self pisses me off to no end, but how can I change it? I can’t,  I hurt and I feel the pain everyday and her pleasure in that isn’t enough to make me turn my heart from B enough to stop it.

 

So that’s why I am in a shitty mood and I’m smoking like a freight train, I just don’t know how to turn it all off. In the past, in most area’s of my life I have been able to compartmentalize and deal with whatever life threw at me. No one is shooting at me and my life in general doesn’t depend on it so it’s harder now. I’ve changed too, I’m not the man I was years ago. I’d like to believe that I am a better man that sees and understands more about life and love as a whole. I’m just not sure how to deal with this. A part of me says to close off and ignore what is sure to come and show no pain of any kind, the other says that I should allow the emotions to show. Showing the emotion is dealing with them, or is it? Is it just showing weakness when I need to be strong? Does B need to see any of this internal struggle? If I start to lose my shit do I need to just remove myself from what short amount of time we will have together?  I’ve got so damn many questions and so few answers. I guess that is what this post is all about, my apprehension about Thursday.

 

I don’t know what to say to a daughter that doesn’t want to say anything to me. I loath the idea of even seeing M because of my anger and frustration that she is the cause of. The bottom line is that this is her game. She has set up the players, the board and made all the rules. So, she wins no matter what. M’s manipulations and lies have been swallowed hook, line and sinker by B. M’s end goal of causing me horrible pain has been achieved. When I see B if any emotion is then shown, it will be reported back to M and the games begin anew with even more zeal. Does my knowledge of this outweigh what might possible offset the manipulations? I’m just not sure what is acceptable and what is stupid in this particular situation. Thank God this isn’t something that one has to commonly face, life would be a constant living hell.

 

I’m letting this effect too much of my life. My work is still suffering and the wife and I almost got into a fight as I was writing this because thinking or dealing with anything more is just too much for me to handle right now. I don’t know what to do, how to act or what to feel. It’s just overwhelming to deal with the loss and the anticipation all at once. It was easier not knowing then having the knowledge that I will truly know everything soon. I wanna find a hole, crawl into it and smoke a carton of Marlboro. I’m just tired of dealing with all of it, and need a break.

This didn’t just happen overnight. As I have said before it all really started long before the marriage ended. Things did kick into high gear during the divorce and the a huge leap was made when I remarried. At the time of the divorce I didn’t realize that M’s actions were not just to cause me pain, but were also positioning for what was to come. The idea or ongoing manipulations and a “grand plan” is somewhat unbelievable to me, but I can see it very clearly now. Alienation is slow and insidious in the way it takes hold. It takes months or years to carry out and if you don’t know it is happening then how can you defend against it?

 

During the separation when faced with her infidelity M almost immediately began positioning herself to be in a place of power. The locks on the house were changed after a time for me was set to get my remaining possessions from inside. It was still in my name, so I broke in. No big deal because I owned the property and owned a construction company at the time. All damage was repaired and I got my clothes, work items, and literately very little else. That evening my daughter went missing! She was in the custody of my ex but I was refused my call to her. Shortly after I found out that M had tried to secure warrants for breaking and entering against me! (You can’t break into your own house by the way.) When that didn’t work, she went with domestic violence charges. From there it snow balled. I was legally refused access to my daughter, my ex (as well as her family) , my home, my vehicle, and my guns. In essence she found a way to legally kidnap my daughter without proof of any wrong doing on my part. After several weeks the charges were dropped, but not before she had perjured herself to keep the charges in effect until a hearing.  This allowed several things to happen. It put M in a position of power to determine custody. I had done nothing wrong or even remotely resembling domestic violence and we both knew it, but the mere suggestion cast a cloud over me as a person in general. Let me stop here and say that I detest wife beaters and think they all should be lynched publicly. I have put countless numbers of them behind bars and loved every second of accidental tripping on the way to the back seat of my big blue car. The second thing it did was keep me and B apart. After several weeks of not seeing B, I was pretty much willing to do anything just to see her. It took the fight out of me. The pending charges could have been continued for months, during which I wouldn’t be able to see my daughter. At this point’ I’d agree to anything. I’d never been without my daughter for more than overnight at this point. When I finally was able to see B, I was immediately hit with the question of “Why did you try to have Mommy arrested?”  How do you explain to an 11yr old that exactly the opposite happened. Immediately she was being forced to choose a side/parent. I chalked it up to my ex being a lowlife liar, I didn’t see the big picture.

 

The above several weeks were drama filled and I  won’t even get into everything that happened. Needless to say I protected myself and went no where with out a recording device and a witness. That was the first huge, obvious, in your face time I should have stepped back and asked myself, “What the hell is going on???”. I didn’t, plain and simple. There were just too many angles to view things from that I was blinded to the picture as a whole. Over the next few months and years, other things started to happen. I found that I had been removed as an emergency contact from B’s school records. In fact my whole family had been removed from existence from anything having to do with her schooling. I wasn’t being informed of school function unless B told me, and then it was always last minute. Parent/teacher conferences began happening without my knowing. It was one thing after the other. I saw everything as isolated incidences, again not seeing the big picture.

This means WAR!!!!

 

Does anyone see a pattern forming here? I sure as hell didn’t at the time. I was being phased out of my daughter’s life. The other thing that was happening is that M was doing things so that she could play the role of the “poor single mom”, dad just doesn’t even care, “see, he isn’t even here”! The bitch woman had made sure I wasn’t there! You see all this is happening in the background, B had zero knowledge of what was happening. All B knew was that M was handling things and Dad wasn’t there. Even this is multifaceted in it’s effects on B and all those in her life. All this is preparing B to view me in a bad light and M as her rock, when the exact opposite has always been true. When you add the day to day, “dad’s a jerk for…..fill in the blank” conversations, guess who becomes a bad guy? That’s right, I am this evil controlling overlord that is never around. The actual truth is that this whole time I am being a good parent and father, but holding to rules and attending everything I am told about. I was always there for my visitation and constantly asking for more time, but again that was always behind the scenes and B never knew any of it. All she was allowed to see was negative about me. When I defended myself, it was me against Mommy. It was truly a losing battle. M does no wrong. It is always someone else’s  fault, the world is against her.

 

This thing is like boxing with the invisible man. You can’t see him, but that uppercut sure puts you on your ass! There are a lot more incidences that have occurred, but  I may or may not get into them. I really just want people to understand what I have been dealing with and be able to see the big picture if they are going though this as well. I would give anything to have known what PAS was years ago. I would have been prepared to go to war for my daughter. As it happened, I didn’t even know I was in a street fight much less a war. The overall theme of this post is that I wasn’t prepared and didn’t recognize the signs. I was systematically being  removed from my daughter’s life and painted as a villain. I never realized what was happening until it came to the point that B felt it was actually ok to physically remove me from her life. I was way behind the curve. As a parent in a broken family, you can’t afford to be as blind as I was. Look for the signs and put on your armor. It’s a war for the love and affection of your child!

Keep on keeping on…

Posted: July 14, 2011 in Feelings

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I am very thankful for my life. My family is wonderful. This whole mess is just one aspect of my life. Mel is the most wonderful understanding woman in the world. What woman do you know in this day and time that would be able to take all this in stride and stand by her man. Good women are few and far between, take it from a man that knows. As you can see I have had my share of the bad ones in my life. To wake up and know that all the garbage is in my past and that my wife loves and supports me through anything is the most comforting feeling I’ve ever known.

My son is another source of joy. I am able to watch as he becomes a man and a father. Watching him with our grandson learning and growing is awesome. He doesn’t know how proud of him I really am. My prayer for him is that he can manage to make better decisions than I did and steer clear of all this heartbreak. Although he is young and just doesn’t quite get it yet, I see him take on more responsibility and grow as a person even when he thinks he is doing his own thing. Watching as he opens up emotionally and finds himself as a man has been a blessing to watch.

Our youngest brings her own set of blessings to the table. She is so sassy and teenagery (it’s a word, I just used it) it’s not even funny. Even when she is being a teenage girl, her heart shows through. I love watching her take care of everyone and try to be all grown up. When she sees how down I get she will just come over and give me a big hug, it’s wonderful.

My parents are a life savers. Simper Fi, they are always faithful and always there for me. Both Mom and Dad are always waiting with a word of support and wisdom. I’m not sure where I’d be if not for them over the last few years. Having two people that always want the best for you and pretty much always know what is best means sooo much. The wisdom and love that they impart is priceless.
So yes, shit happens but life goes on and I am able to draw strength from those around me that love me. I have a great support system. Most people aren’t as fortunate as I am and I thank God every day for my family! So when you’re going through hell keep on going. Draw strength from the people that love you and realize that you have it pretty damn good.

By now you all know that I am an NFL lineman sized cry baby about this whole deal. Being a big, tough, strong guy doesn’t prepare you for the emotional train wreck of fatherhood. People’s opinions range from stopping contact completely and just waiting all the way to forcing B to visit every time the court says I have a right. B should be here with me a minimum of 14 days a month. That means that half of every month I am remembering that she isn’t here.  Where is the happy medium that allows me to maintain sanity, but lets my little girl know that I miss and love her? It seems that my weekly e-mails sending my love and emotions as well as updating her on our life, have only fueled the fire. E-mails from my ex are few and far between, but when we get them they are always nothing but venom. Everything is always spun a full 180 degrees and twisted until there is no reflection of reality at all. It seems that my e-mails have only given M the ability to know what ammo to use to cause the most damage. That leaves me in a vulnerable position. So I let my daughter know how much I love and miss her and my ex knows I am emotionally ripe for attack. An army doesn’t attack it’s enemy at it’s strongest point, it finds the chink in the armor. My love for B is that weak point. I can’t just turn it off. As vile as I now know my ex to be, it took a long time to turn off that love. You never really turn it off, so much as see the reality of life and move on. It isn’t so clear cut with a child. No matter what I will always love B, and everyone who knows me knows that fact.

My ex surely knows that fact. We spent a year short of a decade together and she saw the inner workings of Big Daddy the whole time. I don’t hold anything back. I’m very passionate about life, love, and my beliefs. M’s modus operandi is to attack me through love. I loved my career, so she made false legal claims that would insure I’d never wear blue again if proved in court. They weren’t proved because they were false, but the suggestion alone was enough to cause many possible employers to question the wisdom of hiring me. I could site many examples, but this isn’t about M, it’s about me and B. So, before I go off on a tangent I will get back to where I was going. My question is where is the middle ground? How much of my heart do I put out there? I’ve been very conservative over the past several months to give B breathing room and not force myself upon her. Even so, M has found avenues of attack. Where does the balance lie between protecting myself and being open enough that B knows my love will never change?

I really fear an attack by B on our visit scheduled on the 21st of July. I asked for a phone call the third week of June through M. I was informed that B was willing to see me on the 21st but didn’t wish to speak to me via phone. M knows that legally she can’t keep B and I apart, but she can make it as hard as possible. I could take legal actions but that would only exacerbate the situation. Now it makes no sense to me that a child doesn’t wish to speak to me by phone, but is willing to spend time with me a month later. The only thing that I can figure is that several weeks is enough time to get B worked into a frenzy against me before seeing me. What else could it be? I’m not expecting the visit to go well. My expectation is that B will feel forced into the visit and be angry with me before I even pick her up. I have no great agenda up my sleeve. I simply want to see my little girl, and ask one question. Are you happy? That is all I want or need to know. If B is happy and wants things to continue as they are then I am happy on some strange level. At 15 she doesn’t have the foresight to see or understand that and I realize that fact. If she felt this rejection, she would be angry. The fact of the matter is that she does feelW rejection from #1 and that is part of the problem. The fear of M’s anger because of what both she and B view as rejection is what is keeping B locked into her current state. It’s sad that a woman in her 30’s and a 15 yr old are on the same emotional and psychological level, but they are.

The bottom line is that B is taken care of. No not in the way that I would like, but she has a roof over her head, food in her stomach, and is doing well in school. Legally a parent has to be an axe wielding mass murder to keep them away from a child. M is not addicted to any narcotics that I know of and hasn’t gone on any killing spree that I have been informed of. Therefore legally I can’t keep her away from B. That influence is in B’s life and there isn’t much I can do about it now. As I said before, people’s opinions vary but I have become very resolute that my current course of action is correct. Give B time and show her love and at some point she will come back to me. It is going to take far longer than I am comfortable with, but what choice do I have? Continual emotional warfare isn’t healthy for her or any of us. If I push, that is all that will happen. M will feed off the drama and B will be pushed yet further away from me. Nothing I do is right. Everything is twisted to look like I don’t have B’s interest in mind or at heart when nothing could be further from the truth.
Right now that middle ground is hard to find. B needs to know I love her and that nothing will ever change that love. I need the emotional warfare to end for my emotional well being. I have to be able to focus on the things that are important. Over the last several weeks, my eating, sleeping, work, and other relationships have suffered tremendously. Thank God my wife and I are both self employed. Hell, I almost fired myself the other day! How do I let B know how much I love and miss her without leaving myself open to the attacks from M that leave me broken and scarred? So, e-mails one a week? Once a month? Only on special occasions? Do I call on her birthday? Are gifts even a good thing? What the hell do I do?

As a parent you do what you can to raise your children right.  You try to make good decisions that will give them every advantage and all the things that you never had. I became a father at a very young age. I’m not sure anyone is ever truly ready to be a parent. What happens is that you grow and learn as your child learns and grows. No two children are exactly alike, so even parenting one child doesn’t prepare you for the next. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. I always thought that the consequences for those bad decisions were mine and mine alone. I could not have been more wrong. Having lived and learned I now see how those consequences have effected all those around me.

Who would think that a decision I made at sixteen would have such an effect on me at thirty five? Honestly, I would never have imagined that doing all the things that lead to fatherhood would bring me to the heartbreak that I have experienced. Who would think that sex could lead you to the brink of insanity? I sure as hell never did, but it certainly did. My first marriage was almost entirely because I wanted to do the right thing by Number One and B. That led to all sorts of issues for all three of us. For me, I felt rejected, lonely, and questioned any belief system that would force me into being so miserable. I moved further from all the things I had been raised to know were good and right. That led to the mental and emotional state that I was in when I met Number Two aka: M. If I had not been so lonely and emotionally compromised I would have kept walking. Unfortunately I stopped, I stopped dead in my tracks. Here I was wanting to rescue someone when I needed rescuing myself.  What is worse is that I feed into the issues that M already had while I thought I was rescuing her. It’s really sad looking back at how screwed up I really was.
So I was all fubar and trying to rescue a damaged young woman, all while fathering a little girl. If I had recognized how messed up I was, I’d have been able to recognize the danger for B. Unfortunately my eyes were wide shut and my head was planted directly in my ass!  The fact that I couldn’t see the future infuriates me. No one has a crystal ball, but one should be able to see that a rabid bitch dog is dangerous. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and shits like a duck then the damn thing is more than likely a damn duck. Well, I didn’t see any water fowl or dogs at the time. My father has always said that you can’t think straight without your pants on, and that little nugget of wisdom has proven true repeatedly in my life. I let emotions that weren’t based on anything solid dictate the decision that I made. Those decisions have wreaked havoc not only in my life but the life of my daughter and the ones closest to me. My bad decisions are now effecting my youngest daughter who was not even born when I was making them. It seems crazy, but it is so true. My wife is dealing with all this and neither of us even realized that we’d be together.

B is a victim of so many things. She is a victim of my bad decisions and the choices that M has made. If I’d been able to make the right choices, then B wouldn’t be in her current position. On some level, I blame myself for this. On other levels, I know that I could have never known how deceitful and horrible M would become. On yet another level, B is making her own decisions. She is 15yrs old, and that is old enough to make sound decisions about her own life. I raised her to know right from wrong, but she is deciding to do wrong despite what she has been taught. I know that M is more manipulative than most people can imagine, because I have experienced it first hand. Even so, when I wanted to I was able to do what I knew was right.  It takes strength, faith, and courage to do what is right in the face of opposition. B has that strength, she knows that faith, and I have seen the courage in her that she needs to make the right choices. B is only a victim if she wants to be. We all have things to overcome, and I know that people may question my belief that a teen has the ability to make the right call. Personally I think that is bullshit. Teens are faced with the choice to do drugs, have sex, drive recklessly and all sorts huge decisions. Teenagers make good choices every day. Some make bad decisions but they had a choice. B is saved and was raised in church with a strong family belief system. She has all the tools needed to see right and wrong.

I want to be clear, I don’t blame my daughter for this. I played a role in this as did M and now B is playing her part. This is a multifaceted situation. I see how my bad decisions led to this. I also see clearly that M is forcing B to choose a parent. B is in a horrible position. Who is to blame? Is this my fault? Does a child have the ability to make the right decision and stand up for herself? What do you guys think?

In a nutshell

Posted: July 13, 2011 in Definition
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Below I copied and pasted from another blog because she had the most concise definition I have run across. The link is http://noplaceforsheep.com/2011/05/19/when-children-become-weapons/ . I just thought this would be helpful.

As children continue to be murdered by parents caught up in divorce, separation and custody battles, courts and counsellors struggle to establish environments that put the child’s needs first. This can be an impossible task when some parents, blinded by their own emotional turmoil, use their children as heavy ammunition to win a personal battle against a spouse they perceive as the enemy.

Murder is the extreme point on the continuum of co-opting children as weapons. Far more common, though regarded as contentious among some mental health and legal professionals, is a concept known as Parental alienation syndrome. This is a term used to describe a situation in which a child is encouraged to identify with one parent and alienate the other. The child’s behaviour reflects the emotions and perspective of the alienating parent, rather than his or her own feelings. It’s thought to emerge as a consequence of separation and divorce, however it’s apparent in some on-going dysfunctional relationships in which the mother or the father attempts to garner support for his or her position against the other parent from the child. These are general PAS criteria as defined by some psychologists:

Children who succumb to the pressure and ally themselves with one parent against the other often exhibit a set of behaviors that have become known as parental alienation syndrome: 

(1) The first manifestation is a campaign of denigration against the targeted parent. The child becomes obsessed with hatred of the targeted parent (in the absence of actual abuse or neglect that would explain such negative attitudes). 

(2) Weak, frivolous, and absurd rationalizations for the depreciation of the targeted parent. The objections made in the campaign of denigration are often not of the magnitude that would lead a child to hate a parent, such as slurping soup or serving spicy food. 

(3) Lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent. The child expresses no ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support of him or her. 

(4) The child strongly asserts that the decision to reject the other parent is her own. This is what is known as the “Independent Thinker” phenomenon. 

(5) Absence of guilt about the treatment of the targeted parent. Alienated children will make statements such as, “He doesn’t deserve to see me.” 

(6) Reflexive support for the alienating parent in the parental conflict. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with inter-parental conflicts. 

(7) Use of borrowed scenarios. These children often make accusations towards the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted wholesale from the alienating parent. And, finally, 

(8) The hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so too are his/her entire family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are suddenly avoided and rejected. When children exhibit these 8 behaviors the most likely explanation is the manipulation of the favored parent.

On the other hand, accusations of PAS are seen as frivolous and dishonest by some opponents of the syndrome. Some go so far as to claim that a court’s acceptance of PAS causes children to be exposed to on-going abuse from the so-called “targeted” parent. In reality, they claim, the “alienating” parent has attempted to protect the child from the parent perceived as harmful, and the symptoms of PAS are also consistent with those exhibited by children who are enduring real abuse from the targeted parent.

There is no clinical research into the syndrome, and it remains anecdotal.

I’v seen situations in which children have lost contact with a “targeted” parent, and that parent’s family. I’ve seen situations of dysfunction when the parents don’t separate, but the hostility and hatred of one for the other is conveyed through the indoctrination of the children against one parent. The “target” parent is alienated from his or her offspring within their own household, usually most acutely during the process of an adult dispute. Children take the alienating parent’s part, and when the fight has been temporarily resolved and the parents have made up, they are then permitted to re-engage with the targeted parent. The emotional chaos this causes in the children is enormous and long-lasting.

It’s surprisingly easy to persuade children to take against a parent, particularly when they’ve been taught that the “alienating” parent is the only one who really loves them, and the only one who will look out for them. The target parent is constructed as anything from incompetent and unreliable to dangerous and threatening, while the alienating parent presents as their competent and loving protector.

However, distinguishing between so-called PAS and abuses actually perpetrated by the “target” parent can be difficult. Evidence of abuse can be hard to establish if it isn’t blatant. Too often it comes down to which parent is the most articulate, can tell the most convincing story, and has the best lawyer. Children are collateral damage in such circumstances, as the parental focus makes it “all about me” with scant if any regard for their child’s well being.

I’ve known circumstances in which a “targeted” parent has walked away from his or her family rather than fight the wrath of the “alienating” parent, and continue to live with the acute distress they experience when a child or children turns against them on a regular basis. As well, the targeted parent can feel that his or her continued presence in the family will only serve to confuse and distress their children, and in an effort to prevent their children being further emotionally torn, they give up and leave the alienating parent in total control.

The targeted parent is then described as having abandoned the family, and as confirming the alienating parent’s position that he or she is the only one who really cares about the children. After years of clinical practice there’s no doubt in my mind that these are relatively common practices to varying degrees, between parents caught in conflict and dysfunction.

Parents don’t have ownership over their children. We have a responsibility to do our best for them, but we don’t own their feelings and their hearts and minds. Children are entitled to form and enjoy relationships with their family members, especially both parents. To sever the connection between one part of a child’s family is to do violence to that child’s knowledge of him or herself, and to their sense of belonging. Alienating a child from any family member without good cause is emotional abuse and emotional violence, regardless of whether it is identified as a legitimate mental health syndrome or not.

While the murderous extremes of parental manipulation make headlines, children daily suffer greatly in ways that go unrecognized and unacknowledged. The tragedy is that this suffering has long term consequences, and can be generational. One manipulative parent can tear an entire family apart, leaving children without access to grandparents and extended family members. It’s tough being a kid.

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