Posts Tagged ‘Broken family Broken family Child custody custody daughters divorce heart break Marriage parental alienation parenting PAS Child custody coping custody daughters divorce heart break Marriage parental’

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.