Saturday, 29 December 2007
I am so much calmer and more relaxed about myself. This big knot of tension in my stomach is unravelling and it's a miracle.
Understanding the PA also means that every relationship in my life (almost) has to be redefined, in particular those with members of my mother's family as they were also attacked as part of the PA. I have avoided my mother's family for most of my life and almost entirely since she died. Whenever I have seen them at funerals, I have been stand-offish and kept myself apart from them, partly because I was convinced I was a loser-idiot, but also because I believed them to all be as psychotic as the male parent told me they were. "They're all nutters" he said often.
This redefinition is difficult, though. I've made a start and am in touch with one Aunt who was absolutely HATED by my male parent - and lo and behold, she's nothing like he said she was. Another Aunt has tried to maintain contact with me over the years but as I've tried to ignore her as much as possible, it hasn't been easy for her. Again, this Aunt was a target by the male parent: he called her a whore frequently. Now an uncle wants to be in touch and I've held off for over a month. I don't know why I'm so nervous about emailing him. As this point, I'm too afraid to see any of them, apart from the first Aunt who we visited in November, but emailing should be easy, right? I don't know. When I saw my Aunt in November, I cried a lot because we went over the problems with my Mum and what I now know. I didn't mean to blub. It just came out - just like during my chat with the step-father the other day. So at the moment I don't want to see them - but I can't understand my reluctance to email this uncle. I'll have to mull it over. I also have to hope that anyone I get in touch with will be able to see me as I am now and understand that I am not the same as when we last met. I'm hoping for forgiveness where relevant. I'm not that much of a social person so I don't want to be overwhelmed with social invitations or anything like that. I will be happy to be included in the lives of a handful of people who care about me and will talk to me about my Mum - another consquence of Parental Alienation is that I was not interested in her as a person. I didn't want to know about her interests, ambitions, childhood, personal life, nothing. To me she wasn't someone I cared to know or understand. I'm asking questions now but I didn't know the schools she went to, the places she lived, who her friends were, what music she liked. Shaming! This is embarrassing.
Another issue at the moment is that old enemy: grief. As you know, I hardly grieved for my mother (she died in 1996) but this year has been a turning point. I KNOW that I hold so much grief within me that if I let it all out in one go, I would be out for the count, so I'm pretty certain I'm holding back. Mentally speaking, I've been waiting for an opportunity to get it all out but the opportunity is not forthcoming. My counsellor pointed out that it probably never will be. I have commitments on my time, like any other mother, that do not permit me to take hours or a day off to have a bloody big cry. I remember having a cry like that (or three) when my ex left and, though it hurt like HELL, it was cathartic and healthy. I got over that break up well because I cried a lot. Life is different now. I have less time to myself now so, at my counsellor's suggestion, I'm actually letting it out in dribs and drabs, rather than holding it in and waiting for a day that might never come. While grief is painful as we all know, whenever I feel sad about mum, I sit with it for a while and feel it. It's never too big to handle, something I couldn't bear (and maybe another reason I've been putting off "The big cry" because it will also hurt like hell), and each time I feel the pain, sometimes/usually having a cry, I feel a bit better.
I truly 100% am "letting it out", but in a way I can cope with, one that won't overload me with grief. I have these sad moments usually more than once a day but my mind is freeing up. I don't feel so laden down with grief. I'm not in a place where I can cry a lot all in one go and I'm still the Queen of Distraction (ie finding things to do when I really could be taking a moment to work through the grief), but I'm feeling better.
I also know that this is a grief that will never entirely leave. The grief I felt for my ex is gone, end of story. Grief for a loved one cannot disappear, I understand that, but it can lessen and in time it won't be something constantly on my mind, like now.
Grief for Mum, the PA, my sorrow for the pain I caused her - these three things weigh me down at the moment.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Most importantly, my Mum did think I hated her. I asked him outright: "Did she think I hated her?" He just nodded, didn't say anything. I explained what the male parent/the alienator had been doing and he said she hadn't known anything about it. She just thought I hated her. He also offered the following piece of information: that she gave up on me, in a sense. She withdrew, worn out with me, something you as a reader will remember me saying a while back. I've withdrawn from someone I love for the same reason so I can understand why she did it. He spoke of my teenage years being horrendous, the very time when I knew she was withdrawing from me emotionally, the very time I was becoming angrier and angrier from the hurt that her withdrawal was causing me.
He also said, unrelated to anything, "Your mum always did her best for her kids".
He said he didn't remember my male parent ever asking for custody of us, something the latter made a great big deal out of, sombrely telling us on the way home (which he used as a time to rile us up and make us angry in order to drop us off miserable with our mother) "Mummy has said no". My stepfather said if this actually ever happened, he never knew about it (something that would have been unlikely).
He remembered how poor we were: my school bag was a carrier bag from the supermarket and my pencil case a plastic sandwich bag. He remembered how my male parent kept everything after the divorce (including my school stuff), my mother's possessions, all her memories and photographs.
Actually, this is more important her thinking I hated her: he said several times, "She DID love you." We discussed the anger I displayed towards her leading her to think I hated her and he added, "You know, she knew deep down that you love her." He's having similar problems with one of my brothers - there are no alienation issues, just an angry young man who won't help himself and is slowly wearing out everyone's patience. Neither my stepfather or I really understand what's going on in his head because none of the rest of us are like him, but we are both hanging in there. This brother screams hatred and insults at my stepfather, calls him names, has hit him before or so I'm told, he has a history of self-harming, and even now calls his dad by his given name. Despite all this, my stepfather said, "I KNOW he loves me, no matter what he says or does, and your mum KNEW you loved her deep down, no matter what you said or did".
I need to sleep now but I feel a post about Mum's depression developing. Will probably post tomorrow night.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
If you're finding today hard, like I do, take a moment with me to remember and count your blessings. If you're feeling really, really bad, find five things you're grateful for. Remember that someone, somewhere has it worse than you today. If your kids/alienated parent is not in your life today, at least they're healthy, right?
I truly hope you find a way to enjoy at least some of today. In fact, I insist! I insist that after today is over, you will look back and think, "Okay, actually THAT bit was enjoyable".
Friday, 14 December 2007
Chances are, the alienator will also dump them at some point because their alienating tactics are about control. Sooner or later (probably later), your child/ren will realise what the alienator has done. They will also grow up eventually and the control the alienator has over them will weaken. It may even bring the alienator back to breaking point again. It did with me.
The alienator did not like that his control over me had waned because I had simply grown up. No one else in my family has a problem with me, but he could not bear that I had my own opinions, most especially my own opinions about my mother's (the target parent) family.
Something alienated children do to protect themselves is to either never speak of or never say anything nice about people the alienator hates, usually the target parent's family. I LOVED my maternal grandmother with an absolute passion. Given the state of my relationship with my mother while she was alive, my grandmother's love and acceptance was a life saver to me. My male parent, the alienator, couldn't bear that I loved her. I would never mention it to him while I was growing up or I'd never hear the end of it. "THAT WOMAN and above all her eldest daughter are to blame for our divorce! If it weren't for them, your mother and I would still be together!" Of course, they weren't to blame: they weren't even in the same country as us. My mother went home to her family once she'd made her mind up to leave.
I guess it's part of the condition of an alienator. He could never accept that the divorce was only between him and my mother. He could never accept ANY part of the blame at all, ever. Even three years ago he still carried the bitterness and, as I've mentioned before, he said her cancer was karma for leaving him and that it was her own fault.
So, faced with a rant like the one above, I never told him that my relationship with my grandmother was one of the joys of my life. He reserved his nastiest rants for the "eldest daughter" mentioned above, my Aunt. He said some AWFUL things about her when I was younger than instilled such a morbid fear of her that I couldn't bear to be in the same room as her. My aunt's husband, for example, beat her up. He said it was her own fault because she had such a big mouth. As a consequence, I've NEVER had a relationship with her. She recognized on the rare occasions that I saw her that there was a problem with me. She said as much in November of this year when I saw her. She didn't know what it was: she just saw me acting like a little demon, upsetting her sister who, like my own eldest daughter, was really quite a gentle person at heart. Mum didn't know how to discipline us by herself. Aunt knew, for example, on the day of Mum's wedding to my stepfather that I was seriously upset about it and acting hatefully (click the REMARRIAGE label to the left). No one realised the reasons (previously posted: I thought I had failed to reunite my parents, a duty I had believed was mine, partly due to the male parent's pressures and behaviours, and that I was to blame for their divorce) and, to be honest I'd probably do the same too under these circumstances, my aunt took me to one side and threatened me with trouble if I spoiled mum's special day. However, no love of me was inferred so given what the alienator had brainwashed me with about mum and her family and my stepdad, her warning to a naughty child only reinforced what the alienator had told me: that these people were evil, didn't love me, didn't want me, wanted to control me etcetera, etceterea and bloody etcetera.
So, the upshot of this is that once I grew up (and I'm talking late 20s, early 30s), I was braver about expressing myself to him. I was still afraid of him and still am now, but I was more confident about saying that I loved my grandmother. He'd argue and blame her for mistreating him by causing his divorce. I remember the blank look on his face when I said, "Well, she's never mistreated me". He shut right up. I almost laughed - and it was so empowering!! He just couldn't bear it though. It was a beginning for me and the end for him. He started picking on other areas of my life after that (he didn't like my kettle, that I don't give my ADULT cats milk, that I didn't have marmalade in the house when he came to visit (get over it! I hate the stuff!), didn't believe I could wire a plug myself: "Let me do it properly for you"), real nitpicking - and continued picking fault with my religion. He could never sit down and have a proper discussion about it. He never asked me why I chose it. He just picked fault with it via sarcastic remarks and silly comments, ignoring me when I said it was a closed subject.
I think he just didn't want me anymore when he realised he didn't have full control over my mind. So he dumped me - and my kids. Unfortunately for him, that act unravelled EVERYTHING. Within six months I realised what he had done and now there's no going back. Perhaps he knew that would happen and that's why he dumped us.
Now I'm glad he's out of our lives but I'm saddened that I have such a messed up parent who was willing to screw his child up to get revenge. I wish someone else had been my father, because he is not that. I'm ashamed that he's my parent. I'm saddened that he can't be trusted around my children or me. I'm saddened by the lack of a grandparent - my kids have, in fact, lost BOTH my parents now. However, that man will NEVER be allowed near us again. End of story. Sometimes I'm paranoid about him: I'm so desperate to keep him away from us because I am afraid of him that if some guy at the supermarket resembles him, out of the corner of my eye, I panic.
Friday, 7 December 2007
Monday, 3 December 2007
From this website.
I agree with this. I had no idea what was being done to me and I still believe my mother didn't have a clue. She just thought I hated her, that I couldn't cope with, for example, the other kids in the house, my step-father, rules and discipline etc.
Rules and discipline, more specifically HER rules and discipline ... I couldn't cope with them, no, I admit it. I thought everything she said and did to discipline me was personal because she hated me. I NEVER thought she was trying to just raise me and train me to be an adult. I had been told that she wanted to control me and that she didn't want me, as I've mentioned so many times before, and that everything she did was based on her hatred of me, not love - never love.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
"I've hurt myself by hating you" - couldn't have said it better.
Listen to the song or look up the lyrics on the Net. Contrary to opinion, this song is not about Aguilera's estranged father.
"Because of you" by Kelly Clarkson says some of how I used to feel towards the male parent. Not completely accurate because I'm not an alienator or as messed up as the person she's singing about, but it comes close.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
While I was growing up, I was painfully aware of the horrible relationship the two of us had. Now I know that neither of us understood the reasons why. I once said to my uncle, "I know she doesn't love me." He replied, "She does love you, she just doesn't understand you." That didn't make any sense to me at the time and neither of us continued the conversation for whatever reason - and then we forgot. I wish I'd taken that further.
From the time I was a teenager, I also hoped that once we were BOTH older and wiser our relationship would improve. I cherished a dream of us sitting down one day as mature, calm women, talking and talking until we were friends. My ex-mother-in-law once said "You'll find your relationship with your mother will improve as you get older". I so looked forward to this. Unfortunately, mum passed away in 1996.
Yesterday during my counselling session, we discussed not only forgiveness towards my male parent (which coincidentally last night was mentioned in a comment on this blog) but also grieving properly for my mother.
Back when I still thought all our problems were because mum didn't want me and couldn't hide it, I managed to, over a period of months, reach a point of forgiveness for her. I have a religion, as you know, which helped significantly in that. Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting, but it does mean allowing some peace into your mind about a particular person and their actions. I felt much better, though I still felt sad. My counsellor mentioned this same process in relation to my male parent and clearly, since I can only call him "male parent", I have some anger to let go of and a whole lot of forgiving to do. I will be working on this because I don't want to be angry forever. I strongly believe that this process of healing has come at this particular time in my life for a particular reason.
The hard thing today is grief. I've never really grieved for mum. You can't grieve for someone you don't think you love and who you don't think loves you. I cried a bit on the day of her funeral, but I cried more when my ex left, if I'm honest. Unfortunately, it's really starting to hit me now. Last night, I couldn't sleep because of it. I was awake for a long time, sometimes crying, sometimes just thinking about her. Uppermost on my mind is the knowledge that I wasn't there for her during the last ten weeks of her life. I felt unwanted enough that I saw her a handful of times during that period, although distance and lack of finance did play a part. My sister and I lived hours away by car but that shoudn't have mattered, should it?
This is how extreme the PA affected me at that time: I truly believed she wouldn't care see me, even though she was dying.
Now I just feel like I abandoned her and was unbelievably selfish. I wasn't there. Those words keep going round my mind and I keep breaking down today. I keep shouting silently, "I'm sorry!". She died slowly over ten weeks and I wasn't there. She saw my offspring once or twice during that period.
My sister and I felt like we were treated very badly during that period and also after mum died. Perhaps this is why - perhaps we were perceived as uncaring and selfish. Everyone flocked to comfort our younger brothers and said cruel things like "It's alright for you girls because you've got your kids," but we were left to our own devices at a time we most needed our family. Perhaps this is why. My stepfather, however, was furious that we were excluded like this so he certainly never felt we had done wrong. He's never said anything about it us since, either.
I did want to go and stay with her and even offered to when schools broke up for the summer holidays but was told a cousin had already decided to care for my mother (MY mother) during that time. My brothers had protested because they wanted me there. I don't really understand all this. Again I felt rejected, as part of the pattern, so perhaps that added to me not visiting more. I was genuinely poor and without transport at the time. The times I did visit mum were by getting lifts with other people.
So this is what's on my mind today. A floodgate of grief has opened, and perhaps it's about time, but it feels raw and horrific. It's as if she has just died and I miss her so much. I wish I could talk to her. I don't feel like talking to anyone so I'm staying at home today. My stomach is churning and my throat feels strained.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Facing upto and getting an understanding of the PA has lead to me being able to not only fondly remember my life during the times when it was at its worst, but also remember my mother and her family in a positive light. I've never been able to do this. When a friend of mine said "Remember the good times," I simply couldn't. If there were any good times my mind was so accustomed to putting a negative spin on events, that they were rationalized out of existence. She was never nice to me - she was only sucking up or manipulating me into trusting her etc, were common "explanations" of mum being nice. She was never just nice to me as a normal behaviour. The male parent always explained everything away.
More later. Have to go.
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Having said that, all I can tell you is that the child only thinks they hate you. You might have to just wait until they grow up before they put two and two together and realise what has been done to them. If you don't have contact with them, that's probably what's going to happen anyway. If you do have contact with them, the most important thing to do is remind them that you love them. The second most important is to never, EVER join in. Don't play criticize the ex, even if you want to put out their eyelashes. As I've said before, find a safe outlet for anger but never let your children feel it. You're just supporting the ex if you do. The ex ie the alienator will have told your kids all sorts of rubbish about you so by even perhaps defending yourself in a critical manner (ie, "S/he always says that but it's CRAP. S/he's talking crap"), you're supporting the ex.
You're entitled to two copies of school reports and letters home. You're entitled to have these things sent to you directly. Offer to join the school run or clubs run. Offer to pay for a club or two. Attend everything you can and send good luck cards etc when you can't. Give gifts/cards/letters directly to your child. The mailman will deliver but the ex may or may not.
If you can possibly avoid things getting nasty, do, even if you eat more humble pie than you think you deserve. Your kids are worth it, aren't they?
My ex is also the child of a rotten divorce so, despite our mutual loathing for one another at first, we managed to work our relationship into something pretty decent because we were absolutely determined our offspring would not be victim of PA or even of warring parents without PA involved. It was HAAAAAAARD, probably the hardest thing I've ever done, and we are not perfect, but our offspring knows where we are, that we both adore her, that we plus stepparent want what's best for her. If I ever think he's trying to out-gift me, I say "Wow! That's soooo cool!!!" instead of "You're trying to out-gift me", although I have to say it rarely happens. We did have moments after the break up when he DID try to play the "Criticize the ex to all who will listen" but as most of those people are HIS friends and family, I learned none of it matters and put it out of my mind. He also tried it on me: he'd call me from his new partner's parents house to loudly berate me about the offspring's dirty feet (!). It was all posturing and I knew that and he knew I knew that so I said (with gritted teeth and clenched fists) "I'm not playing this game! Do you want to talk to the offspring?" A couple of episodes of that and he stopped. I wanted to whack him over the head with a rolled up newspaper, but it stopped.
So, back to the original question. The answer? I just don't know. It depends on how you handle things, whether you have contact with the kids, whether your ex will calm down, the courts, all sorts of things. Just don't engage the ex. Be as conciliatory as possible about everything, if you want your kids around. Forget your ego and your pride. Love those kids and SHOW them as much as possible. If your ex bans you from visitation, go to school plays and make sure they know you're there. In the long run, all this will add up and they will understand, at some point, that the alienator is a liar. That you have always loved them. Set up a website or a myspace page or something RIGHT NOW so that in a year, two years, five years, whenever, they will see that you have loved them all along.
My mother put up with me despite my hatred for her. I had everything I needed while I was growing up. She and I may disagree about disciplining our children, but she never let me down, not even when I was an adult.
One thing I would change is something I mentioned previously. She stayed silent about the alienator. She never defended herself, not even wisely. She just ignored everything he said and did, and everything I said and did, so that when I was having rages, she didn't try to get to the bottom of them. When I said "I know you don't love me!", she said "Don't be silly" and walked off. DEFEND YOURSELF but don't bitch about the ex at the same time. It's not an impossible task. Is it?
It will end one day. I can't tell you when. I just promise you it will. Your kids aren't stupid. They'll work it out.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
"My mother hated me! My father told me so!"
Living with that belief felt like my insides were being eaten away by acid.
I was a pretty rotten kid to my mum. I'm mortified now, to be honest. I did REALLY well at school consistently. Academically - I'm was a good kid. Behaviour-wise to her? I was awful. A certifiable IDIOT. I never broke any laws but I broke rules - and I didn't care. I didn't smoke but I used to go to bars and nightclubs secretly when I was 14. I was not promiscuous. I dated loads of boys but never did anything with them. I never got thrashed on alcohol (apart from on one occasion the alienator decided it would be a good idea for me to get smashed out of my head to teach me a lesson, at the age of 15. He and his cousin allowed the cousin's 13 year old and me to get absolutely wasted. My mother was never told and it's something that made me wonder about him. Of course, at the time, I didn't think there was anything wrong with it because he was always right ... I'm pretty horrified by this event). I simply don't like alcohol very much, never have, and haven't drunk any for years because of my religion.
Because, as I've said many times already, I had been told that every time she said no it was because she didn't like me, that it was because she wanted me to be unhappy, that she wanted to control me, that she wanted to stop me having fun, this had a devastating effect on me as a teenager. I've touched on it before this but I have things to add.
I truly believed that when she said no, it was for all the above reasons - so sometimes I went out of my way to get what I wanted because in my opinion I was entitled to have/do what I wanted. If the only reason she said no to me was because she hated me, then that wasn't reason enough. That was my logic. She was only saying no from spite, therefore what I wanted to have/do was rightfully mine and I had every right to go behind her back and have/do things anyway. Of course, it never entered my mind that she was, for example, making me come home at 11pm for my own safety and well-being. She was only stopping me dating at 13/14 for my own protection - but in my mind, it was holding me back from something everyone else was doing for her own personal, evil reasons.
So, I lied a lot. I went to nightclubs and bars at 14. She had no idea. It never occurred to me that what I was doing was in any way wrong or inappropriate because I had been conditioned by the alienator to believe that she did not want what was best for me. She wanted control and dominion, not what was best for me.
What a psycho he is ...
One of the reasons I hated those road trips to his house was because they were spent assassinating my mother's character, life, choices and motives. "She just wants to control you" was a frequent phrase. I'd rant about teenage woes which SHOULD have been met with: "Well, she loves you, she's just trying to do right by you" or whatever. What I was met with was almost as if another teenager was in the car ranting with me and agreeing with everything I said, then putting a spin on it. He wound me up and sent me home filled with anger and fury at her unfairness and evil ways. "She has no right to treat you that way."
The trips home were the worst. Now I realise that he was priming us/me (especially, as the older child) for our arrival. One particularly tragic trip comes to my mind now. He was going through the motions: "She doesn't really want you. She just wants to get back at me and control you at the same time. She just thinks your her toys. If she loved you, she would never have broken the family up. If she loved you, we'd all be together". I can remember saying, "Yes, she only thinks we're her toys". He was pleased and agreed with me. He said he was going to ask for custody because he believed we wanted to live with him. Based on those conversations in the car, I'm not surprised he thought that - but he had COACHED me into saying those things. It was bizarre, like brainwashing sessions lasting four hours, the same things over and over again, until I parrotted everything back at him and went home pissed off.
I can even remember one occasion when he said "Wouldn't it be lovely if a judge was at your mum's house when we got home and he says you can come to live with me?" Think about what that did to my little brain. I believed every word he said: that he was a better, kinder parent who loved me, and she was an evil witch with a tiny mind who wanted nothing good for me at all. He revved me up during that particular journey. I got so excited about the thought of a judge waiting for us to allow me to and live with the alienator that I was practically jumping up and down. I remember leaning over the front seat, eager beyond belief that this was possibly going to happen. He allowed me to believe all this and I got to the point at which I ACTUALLY believed it was going to happen. I craned my neck from my seat in the car to look for the judge at the front door with the paperwork allowing us to turn the car back around and go "home". I thought about the new school I would be attending the very next day.
Of course, it didn't. Judges don't generally work child custody cases on SUNDAY evenings. They also don't turn up at people's houses to order them to change custody details. He knew perfectly well from the outset that it wasn't going to happen. He knew I was going to be disappointed. It was what he WANTED.
That man, the alienator, put ALL those thoughts into my mind. He set me up - and my mother (and my sibs and step-parent, because PA affects everyone in the family). I was no more than ten. He let me believe my troubles were about to be solved, knowing FULL WELL that it was all a great big impossibility and a LIE of the most devious and nasty kind. He set me up for disappointment in order to hurt my mother and he didn't mind hurting me in the process. Perhaps I was so objectified that it never entered his mind that he was hurting me too.
It took me a while to realise why he did this. Manipulators can't allow their subjects to be happy. He did not want me to be happy when I got home. He wanted me to be angry so I would take that anger out on my mother. He wanted me to be angry with her. He wanted to punish her and also make it look like I wanted live with him. He wanted to deliver me to her front door filled with anger and hatred.
I still don't know if he understands that he hurt me as well as her. I really don't know. He told my uncle that he "talked to me too much about the divorce" but I don't know what he meant by that. I don't know if that includes the alienation. I suspect, sometimes, that he is beginning to know what he did because his disowning of me was an attack out of the absolute blue. I think he was then realising that I was thinking for myself so he got an attack in first. He can tell anyone who wants to listen that I was the problem, not him. Like a child, he can tell tales first.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Now I'm much better at relating to people. I don't have to fill every silence with chatter so much anymore. I used to annoy myself as well as other people. Sometimes I slip but I also don't hate myself for it afterwards. Please bear that in mind if you know someone who can't seem to stop talking: it's nervousness. For some reason, they're telling you about themselves so that you know they are worthy of your attention. They're not bragging, although it seems that way. If they say "I've done that!" etc, it's to show a link with you, not to get one up or show off.
I don't hate myself so much either. I'm relating to more and more people without being nervous and if I am nervous, I'm masking it much more easily. I'm controlling my mouth and not chattering a lot of the time. I'm not saying I'm ready for any deep relationships just yet. I'm still calming down, still winding down from three decades of screaming tension because of a blatant and outrageous falsehood that was inflicted on me by a wicked person/a damaged person (take your pick or pick both). I need to get to know this new person - or is it the person who was always there? I think the latter. She was in there but hidden because that person wasn't good enough for a mother to love. I was the failed experiment/the failed prototype. The real me was hidden beneath all that and is taking time to come out - but she's coming out. My clothing choices seem to be altering first.
Monday, 12 November 2007
They may not act like it but you will NEVER erase their love for their other parent. No matter how much you manipulate them or lie to them or deceive yourself, you will not win. They may be angrier than a ticked off bee for years, decades, even but deep down, that child of yours LOVES their other parent! Even if you cut them off from the target parent and move across the world/country, whatever. Even if your children never see their other parent again, they will still love them!
You will never stop them loving their other parent, even when you make them think that parent is evil.
ALIENATED KIDS LOVE THE TARGET PARENT!
And I know that because I am one of those kids.
I felt like a dog: no matter how much you mistreat a dog, it will still come to you the moment you show it a smidgeon of kindness. I LIVED for any compliment she gave me, any moment when she might show me kindness (but not love because I had been told never to expect that), any positive act - a gift she had found in some random shop in town, when none of the other children received anything, being allowed to stay up ten minutes/half an hour later than the other kids, even being spoken to as if my opinion was worth something.
She could laugh at one of my jokes and I was in heaven for the rest of the day. I loved her so much but couldn't show it. I never expected her to love me back but hung on almost every word from her in the hope that she might like me.
I thought I'd add something about the kind of discipline I would have responded to or would have liked when I was a teenager. As I said earlier, mum didn't handle teenage dramas well. The step father never involved himself. He didn't feel it was his place - but he's a good man. Mum was left to handle the alienated brat child from hell that I was by herself. She yelled. And hit. A LOT.
I guess she did what she knew. She was frustrated and angry and hurt too. She had other kids and little support - not that I'm condoning whacking kids with wooden spoons and taking all their possessions away - but she mishandled me in a big way. Everything she did played into the alienator's hands. He loved it. When she took away my stuff, he said, "She has no right! That's YOUR property! Go and tell her that! Tell her she has no right!". When she told me off, he said "That's how her tiny mind works." When she punished me, he said, "She's a big fish in a small pond. She thinks she controls the world when actually she's nothing".
What I would have responded to was anything that began with "I love you but ..."
I use this approach on my offspring and so far I still get love notes and cuddles and "You're the best mum in the world", even from the teenager.
- "I love you but you're really ticking me off. Go away until you can be nice to me, please."
- "I love you but you're being horrid. I'm going into the other room for a bit."
- "I love you loads, you know that, don't you? (Child nods, probably crossly and resentfully) Good, but you're really winding me up so please either pack it in or go to bed."
- "I love you but please shut up."
She did argue back as I got older (ie teenage years), which didn't help matters one bit. She became as vicious as me, sometimes. I got so angry that I hated her, though I never said that once. I was proud of that. I can still feel the anger towards her in me now, though it was misguided and even sometimes just normal teenage fury. She made me FURIOUS and because I believed that this anger towards me was because she didn't love me, it made my heart break too. It reinforced everything the male parent aka the alienator told me about her.
Everytime she yelled at me, no matter which one of us was right or wrong, it supported the alienator's lies. It was agony. And we all know what some people do when they're hurt? They act out with anger. It was AWFUL. My teenage years were especially traumatic because neither of us realised that that scumbag male parent of mine had driven an almighty wedge between us. At that point, he had well and truly succeeded. He had got what he wanted. He revved things up during those years, telling me her actions were all about control and trying to keep me down and not allowing me to by myself and because she didn't love me or care about me in anyway.
He also liked the other angle: he'd never treat me like that. If I lived with him, life would be great because he was a much better parent than her. He cooked better ("Let me make you a fried egg without all those burned bits on it like when mummy cooks it"), cleaned better ("I know a special trick with a broom that no one else knows"), treated me better ("I've always treated you like you were a couple of years older. She just treats you like a child"), life in his town was better - better schools, near the beach, near the roads to holiday destinations, not in a city in a smaller house ("You live in a slum").
I recently saw an aunt I haven't been in touch with for years, my mother's older sister. I told her about the alienation and asked what she knew about it. She said nobody had ever known. They - their siblings - knew something was wrong but not what. My mother kept things to herself a lot of the time. She was just a private person. Their brother said my mother didn't understand me. My aunt said, "If your mother had just said, "I don't know what to do with this kid anymore!", we'd have stepped in or talked to you or tried to find out what was wrong". This same aunt was present when my mother remarried - when I was hysterical that she was remarrying, feeling as if I'd failed to reunite the family because the male parent had made me feel it was my responsibility (at the ages of 7,8,9,10). She actually reprimanded me for my behaviour, telling me to behave myself and keep myself quiet on mum's special day. Even then, my behaviour was misunderstood.
It looked like I was just being horrible and bratty. I was actually a heartbroken ten year old, feeling she had failed her father and her family, realising that there was no hope of things going back to the way they were (which he had told me was how things should be, that their split was temporary, that she had just lost her mind for a while, that she didn't mean it, that she was being silly and stupid and stubborn, and was just being pushed into what her family wanted her to do, that she'd come to her senses) bearing in mind I could barely remember how things were.
Saturday, 10 November 2007
What looks like hatred in an alienated child is actually anger.
They don't hate you. They're angry at you because they think they hate you and they've been told you don't love them.
I hated her telling me off because I had been told she only reprimanded me because she didn't love me. Every time I was told off as children often are, my heart broke because it reinforced what I had been told. This made me angrier and angrier. It must have been harder and harder for her because she withdrew from me more and more, which made me angrier and angrier, and supported what I'd been told.
Thursday, 8 November 2007
The result of this is that I was afraid of being abducted for a long, long time. I can't tell you yet when this left me. I've only just remembered this fully. All this fear instilled in me by the alienator - no wonder I was permanently tense and worried.
He never EVER had any reason to complain about access. He cannot say that it was ever denied him (other than the three month period I mentioned a couple of days ago, which they both blame on each other). He had regular access from the start, almost.
Moreover, if he was so worried about her abducting us, something he clearly made me paranoid about, why did he move four hours away the moment he returned to our home country? He couldn't have truly been worried about it or he would never have left the town we had moved to.
And in case I wasn't clear about it the other day, I HATED those road trips to his house four hours away. I also hated the fact that he lived so far away - I was being forced into all this boring, dangerous, time-consuming travel to see someone I didn't know who shouldn't have left his kids in a city two hundred miles away in the first place! Rant over.
My children were alienated from me in 2001 they were then young teenagers. Last week one of them[ almost 20 years old] contacted a relative and asked if it would be ok for them to come over knowing I was on my way there. The visit was cordial, better than it's been in years] What do you make of this?
07 November 2007 12:54
Rowan Blackwood said...
I think it's a good start. It's hard for me to know what to say other than what I'd want if I were that child. I think I'd want to ask questions in my own time, rather than be told. If I were them, I'd want to hear "I love you" and "I'm proud of you". I wouldn't want to have anything forced on me in the way of gushing love or explanations etc. Your child is an adult - I'd just want an adult conversation with my parent. Smiles. A hug at the end with "I love you". Nothing over the top. Something relaxed and respectful. Good luck. This sounds promising! My email address is on my profile page.
Can I put this in the main blog or do you want it to remain in the comments section?
07 November 2007 14:17
Rowan Blackwood said...
Addition: I wouldn't want the subject of the split/divorce/alienation etc to come up unless I myself mentioned it. Your child is meeting you to find out if you're what the ex says you are. By being yourself, relaxed and calm and respectful (towards the ex, if necessary), you're demonstrating that you are a friend, not an enemy, and that's what your child wants to find out.
07 November 2007 14:19
That was what I thought.
I did everything but the hug and the I love you, I was afraid it was to soon.
Like you said, in their own time. I'll be here waiting with open arms.
You can post this where ever you like.
Thank you again your blog helps many of us alienated parents more than you know!
07 November 2007 16:02
I found your blog while searching parental alienation blogs. I am a former alienator and am now working to help families heal. I have posted on other blogs and tried to help as much as I can. I am so sorry that you are still hurting. You did not deserve to be treated the way you were. The bottom line is that alienators are very selfish and don't think of anyone but themselves. A word of caution...you need to be very careful that you don't alienate your own children. You know now how painful it is. You see, I was alienated myself while I was alienating my kids from their father. A huge step that I took to help my family heal was I remarried my husband after 16 years of divorce. I came to the realization that I was so wrong for divorcing him and keeping the kids from him. Things are improving slowly for our family. We take 1 step forward and sometimes 3 steps back, but the steps back are getting fewer and fewer. Our kids are 20 and 21 now and I work very hard to draw them closer to their dad and his extended family and work very hard to not alienate them from anyone. Because I am still tempted to alienate, unfortunately. You see, my parents are sociopaths and our kids still have to do with them. But I have had to realize that it is important for the kids to have some sort of relationship with them also...and get help in the process. I hope I make some sense to you. Keep getting counsel, but be careful who you see-not every counselor is skilled in helping people recovering from such a devastating series of life experiences. Be very good to yourself!
03 November 2007 09:06
It's a brave person who posts something like this. I applaud you for admitting what you did. You're a rare breed! Be good to yourself too - forgive yourself. Thank you for leaving your comments. I will just say this about myself, taken from this 7th November post .
I have never and will never allow my offspring to become alienated from their father. There have been occasions when, after an argument with the father, I have yelled "He's such an idiot!" or "He really does my head in", or words to that effect, but I have gone back to the offspring afterwards and reassured them that a) I was stinking mad when I said those things because daddy and I don't agree on this and that at the moment, b) that he's not actually an idiot, I just said that because I was stinking mad, c) that I shouldn't have said it and d) that daddy loves them tonnes and tonnes and no matter what happens between daddy and me, we will both always love them more than the universe.
It's not easy for anyone never to say anything bad about anyone else but you just have to have self-control and watch yourself. You're never going to be perfect, even if the worst you do is convey anger via a facial expression - but kids understand human failings when they're explained to them. Kids even understand just being angry. They know everyone disagrees sometimes. It's how these disagreements are taken forward that matter. It's how you treat the ex over an extended period that matters.
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
It was horrible and heartbreaking at the same time. I was constantly looking for signs on his behalf that she wanted him back. It was so stressful!!. I was seven to ten years old at the time.
TWO YEARS later it was still going on - when she was pregnant by my stepfather!! When she told me they were getting married, I burst into hysterical tears. I felt distraught. I felt I'd failed. I'd tried so hard for him, to get her to love him again because that what's he wanted me to do and what he wanted her to do, too. I felt like I'd missed the crucial sign that she wanted him back, the one I should have noticed and told him about so he could come and get her back. I felt like it was my fault that she was remarrying and that I'd done wrong. I actually liked my stepfather but I didn't take their relationship seriously. Mum was just being silly and messing about. She didn't actually MEAN anything she was doing. She really loved my male parent and would realise she wanted him back at any moment. She was stupid, really stupid, and didn't know what she was doing. She was also being misled by her interfering evil family, who were also stupid.
NEVER tell them how much you hate your ex, even if you wish them dead.
Your kids just do not want to hear it. End of story. They don't. Your divorce is not theirs. YOU are splitting with their other parent, not them. They love their other parent. Deal with it.
It's so hard to keep quiet about how your ex has done you wrong, believe me, I know (and I'm not saying I have a perfect score, either) but your feelings have nothing to do with your kids feelings for their parent and you have no right to try and change them.
I have never and will never allow my offspring to become alienated from their father. There have been occasions when, after an argument with the father, I have yelled "He's such an idiot!" or "He really does my head in", or words to that effect, but I have gone back to the offspring afterwards and reassured them that a) I was stinking mad when I said those things because daddy and I don't agree on this and that at the moment, b) that he's not actually an idiot, I just said that because I was stinking mad, c) that I shouldn't have said it and d) that daddy loves them tonnes and tonnes and no matter what happens between daddy and me, we will both always love them more than the universe.
It's been a hard slog for the other parent and me but we have a pretty wonderful relationship now as things go. The break up was bad for while - can they be anything but? - but throughout it all, he saw the offspring, spoke to the offspring every day, and with his wife we are a parenting team. We're not best buddies and never will be, not least because that's inappropriate, but our mutual offspring knows we are a unit and want what's best.
After my parents split up, traumatic for all four of us, I would say, we didn't see the male parent for a while. He stayed abroad to finish up bits and pieces with our house and general affairs. Something was badly amiss between them - clearly a spiteful divorce, but I don't mean that, I mean more than that - to cause my mum to tell us we weren't going to see him for months. If memory serves, it was three months. She specifically said "He doesn't want to see you for three months". He later said SHE had said he couldn't see us for three months. Now, I don't know to this day who said what. I honestly can't say. IF she did say that, it was the only time I have ever known her to lie about him specifically (she did lie about returning to our home country from abroad, as I think I've mentioned, but she lied to escape him. She felt she had no choice. She was afraid of him). She wasn't like that about him to me at any other point as far as I know. She always encouraged us to see him. Immediately after she told us while she was brushing my hair, we burst into tears. Either she did lie and then realised how upset we were, thereafter resolving never to deliberately do something like that again, or HE is lying. Now to be perfectly honest, even back when I thought he was a good person, I STILL could imagine him saying something like that, just to be spiteful. If we look at his "disowning" of me, it fits more that he would say it than her. I don't believe he didn't want to see us then and I don't believe he doesn't want to see my offspring and me now - he just wants complete obedience and thinks that he can manipulate people into behaving a certain way by withdrawing himself. It's like a tantrum. "If you don't come back to me, I won't see you or the children and then it will be YOUR fault that they don't know their father/grandfather".
I've heard that logic from him before. In 2005 he claimed that it was my fault that my sister stopped speaking to him. They argued about something which kind of involved me but had nothing to do with me (she thought he was stopping off at her house on the way to mine, something he used to do regularly, but on one particular occasion he had no plans to. She felt slighted and yelled at him, refusing to speak to him for a year afterwards. I kept my mouth shut and kept out of it because she's DIIIIIIFFFICULT, to say the least, and I wanted her and her kids at my offspring's birthday party. She was already ticked off at me for generally being alive and was vacillating about coming. This perceived slight when he called to actually beg her to come to the party tipped the scales and she cut both him and me off at the same time). So, because this problem between the two of them occurred during a phone call involving me, he blamed me. "I lost your sister because I was pushing for what you wanted." I NEVER once asked him to get involved or push her or nag her. Not once! I invited her and left it at that because she's as mardy as he is. If you nag, she digs her heels in - so I invited her and left it with her.
Anyway, back to the no contact for three months, I still can't say for certain. Either way, once we did see him again, he felt like a stranger. I've mentioned that before too. He kept ALL of our possessions for such a long time that I forgot them too - I forgot my toys and cuddly bears I'd been given at birth. He kept every single item from the family home, down to her clothes - and mine - kitchen stuff, furniture, ornaments, you name it. Literally EVERYTHING they had built up together remained with him and he wouldn't give it back. He was trying to force her to go back to him. It wasn't until he nagged me about my religion that I was on the receiving end of his manipulation and bullying. I didn't even realise that he may have treated me in the same was as he treated her after their divorce until recently. He does not know when to stop.
Don't get me wrong: I understand the trauma of divorce and being left by your spouse. It's happened to me. I also understand fighting for your family, tooth and nail, but this has to stop at some point, and when you're upsetting and traumatizing the very person you want back, that is, when you have to make threats to force them to come back to you, you've lost. He never understood that. He couldn't see anything wrong with threatening mum with dire consequences if she didn't go back to him. He couldn't see anything wrong with issuing hatred for mum and her family because they supported and loved her and protected her from a man who used to sleep in his car outside their home.
I have to go now and I didn't even get halfway through what I wanted to say. Back later.
To the person who asked how long alienation lasts, I will come back to that too.
Monday, 5 November 2007
Alienating behaviour - I know people like juicy examples so here's another one. We used to spend at least a week in the Summer holiday with him. I hated the drives to his house - four hours each way. I never wanted to do that drive. It's vile and I resented it. I didn't want to go away from my home and, after my brothers were born, I didn't want to be away from my siblings. I hated being forced into that situation. I hated that no one listened to me. I hated that I spent a full day a month travelling on dangerous high speed roads to spend one day and a morning with him. I actually envied my friends who saw their dads on Sundays!. I'm not saying I hated every minute with him, because I didn't. Half the time it was fun - he took us to see our family, ie his siblings, our cousins, my beloved grandfather, the beach - but he spied on us when we were asleep and slobbered all over me and spent hours telling us how evil our mother/grandmother/aunts/uncles were. He snogged my neck like a boyfriend would. When it freaked me out, he said he was just showing affection and that there was nothing wrong with that. The more I withdrew from him, the more he chased me. If I didn't want to stand close to him, he would deliberately stand practically on top of me.
One Summer, our mother came to pick us up, having not seen us for two weeks. I waited for her and was watching for her out of the window. She walked up the drive full of smiles, happy to see me (my sister wasn't in the room at the time), waving, beckoning for me to open the door and come out. He freaked out. He said, "Don't open the door! She might snatch you!". What an odd thing to say. She was there to pick me up anyway. I remember the confused look on her face because she was happy to see us - me, because my sister wasn't there - and I wouldn't come to the door, as far as she was concerned. He wouldn't let her in the house, either. Wasn't his house.
He also used to regularly ask for custody. I don't know why. She was never going to give him custody, was she? He nagged for it.
Saturday, 20 October 2007
He joined the service at sixteen and never lived at home again. He kept in touch with his siblings and father and, until she died when I was three, his mother and her husband (on and off).
After his divorce from my mother, he moved around one town, living in different places, with friends and family, until he bought a large house in 1983. I never understood why. As I mentioned earlier, he kept EVERYTHING, every single item that was in our house after the divorce, even my mother's personal possessions, my toys, kitchen equipment, the lot. He moved it all into his new house, mortgaged based on a well paying job that he then got laid off from. From then onwards, 1983-ish, he was unemployed or self-employed, though he never earned much money. He paid almost no maintenance due to being unemployed which meant my step-father paid for everything. Despite my anger towards my mother and wariness of my step-father, I was clear-headed enough to know that this man was paying for my food and home and clothes. He knows and always has known that I know this and appreciate it (see, I'm not completely stupid).
At one point the alienator was paying the equivalent of $15 a week for my sister and me. He argued with my mother and step-father about this, saying it was too much and that he was subsidizing another man's child (ie my brothers). Even I, loyal as I inexplicably was, knew he was out of order. I think even my sister, who wasn't more than ten, agreed with me and the alienator found himself shouting outside our house with no one supporting him or listening to him. I'm still not sure what that argument was really about because surely he knew that $15 wasn't enough for even one child? And how could he complain when my step-father was paying for everything else? It was illogical and I can't help but think there was something else going on.
I'm getting off the point. This post is supposed to be about factual elements of the alienators background. My mother and his current partner are his only successful relationships - and by that, I mean not short term. He was with my mother for eleven years and his current partner sixteen so far. Obviously I've had no contact with him since 2005 but as far as I know, he still works at the good job he was in, as does his partner. He's financially comfortable for the first time in his life.
I don't know what else to add to this.
Friday, 19 October 2007
Afterwards I felt worn out and relieved. So strange - but good. However, since then I have felt sad at all the wasted years, incredibly sad. I also feel huge amounts of sympathy for my mother for what she must have suffered without really having any idea of the motivation for my constant anger towards her.
I feel grief and sadness. I also have been feeling unsure of myself again but I wonder if that's because I'm really, really tired (late nights, not the infamous insomnia that plagued me for two years after the male parent disowned me. The shock and stress of what he did and the complete change it caused in my understanding of my life and relationship with both parents kept me awake for hours nearly every night. Insomnia is an evil curse). I didn't want to go out anywhere or follow my normal routine. Found myself doing lots of my distracting things.
The "hole" is filling but far slower than I anticipated. I was all excited, wasn't I? A week ago I thought I'd be "cured" within days. Got a bit ahead of myself. I do feel better in odd ways, though. Instead of constantly feeling worthless, I think I've only really felt that way, the way I've felt most of my life, today and perhaps last night. This is good, an improvement. I suspect being so tired has an effect. I do feel intensely but manageably sad about my mother. It's timely and necessary and okay and will settle down when I've grieved enough. I'm not afraid of this grief. I MUCH prefer it to the dislike and anger I used to feel for her. Feeling sad is much nicer than feeling something verging on hatred.
I also felt violently ashamed for what I did. I know, as my counsellor repeatededly told me, that the alienation wasn't my fault. I was brainwashed from a very young age, I know, but I'm also supposed to be the clever one. I'm finding it hard to accept that I couldn't see what he truly was until I was an adult and he did it to me, until he lied about me and tried to bully me the way he did to her, all because he couldn't get his own way. I still feel stupid and complicit. The man felt me up and I still believed in him!
I have no one to protect me or take care of me. I take care of everyone else. This is okay. I have learned to take care of my offspring and am learning to take better care of myself - including self-protection. I think this is what my counsellor meant when she said to parent myself. I also need to do things my parents would both do if they were both alive, sane, able and willing. Right now, Mum would tell me to sleep more and chill out more, but also not to mess about on the Internet so much when I have important things to be doing. She'd tell me to manage my money better and be stricter with the offspring (because I think I'm too soft, given that I've always been afraid of making said offspring too angry at me, like I was with my Mum) . Critically, she would tell me that she is glad she now understands what made me the kind of child I was, that it wasn't my fault, that she forgives me and is proud of me for seeking help, for facing upto my part, however much blame you want to attach to my actions, and mostly importantly that she DID and DOES love me and that she knows I love her; she just never understood me and did not know how to show love to a child that seemed to hate her and reject her at every turn.
I'm sad but relieved that I know the truth because sophistry eats you alive and lies can kill you.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
It was: "Do I still annoy you?".
She said that to me, not the other way around. At the time, I had no idea what she meant but I wasn't about to lay anything on a dying woman so I said "No". "Annoyance" wasn't a term I had ever used to describe our relationship. I just thought she didn't want me so I was angry. To me, it was always as simple as that.
I've thought about that question on and off for the last ten years. When I mentioned it to the male parent shortly afterwards, I was confused. I even said, "That's just like her, putting it all on me," and I can STILL remember his reaction to this day. He just nodded and looked embarrassed. He barely said a thing. He was sombre throughout the period after her death. Could be guilt but equally could be grief for someone he loved. He did visit her grave a while afterwards which, as far as I know, he didn't tell anyone but me about. The only reason he told me me was to ask for directions to the actual gravesite itself because cemeteries are large.
The whole issue was WEIRD and confusing and I could never make any sense of it. I had ALWAYS believed it was ME who annoyed her, not the other way around.
But today I got thinking, especially in relation to her keeping silent in the face of his alienation and badmouthing etc.
Did she actually know about it?! And if she did, did she have any knowledge of the depth of it?!
Her deathbed question, which today breaks my heart, opens up a can of worms. To me, that question sounds like she didn't know. She just had a child who hated her and didn't understand why. It also explains a lot about her behaviour towards me: it wasn't all hateful and hatefilled. It must have been frustrating and distressing and confusing and depressing - because if there was ever a candiate for lifelong depression, it's my mother. She had a hard life even without this horrendous child who hated her (ie me). BOTH my parents had hard lives but I've never seen any signs of depression in him.
I'm now sick to my stomach at the thought that I was a cause of her depression. I have to be honest about this as hard as it is. I feel intensely guilty today. I have suffered depression and so know how terrible it is. It can be debilitating but I don't remember her being "happy". I remember how much she loved our youngest brother (but then we all did; that boy is the most wonderful human being I have ever known and everyone (seriously! EVERYONE) who knows him says the same thing) and for a period of time after he was born and before we moved house, she was happier for a while. Things went wrong for her after that, but she did have a period where I know she was happier than I'd ever seen her.
So, I'm wondering now if she really knew what was going on.
I have to go right now so will finish this later. Just wanted to get the beginnings of the idea online so I won't forget. I haven't forgotten my list either.
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Insecurity - emotional, because I was convinced by the alienator that my mother did not love or want me, I therefore imagined I was flawed or that there was something wrong with me. He said he loved me in spite of "my ways" (which were no abnormal "ways" at all, he was trying to make himself seem like a hero). As I mentioned, I have spent the last thirty one years believing that there was something vastly wrong with me, like a medical condition or brain damage that led to me being so hateful that my mother did not love me or want me.
Social difficulties - all stemming from feelings of worthlessness begun by the alienator telling me that my mother did not love me, that she had rejected me, that she loved my siblings more.
Relationship difficulties - no close friends, but I also am solitary by nature, I think. I like being on my own but I would like calls on Christmas day ...
Sometimes a stammer, if I'm not babbling like an idiot, when in company. I think it comes from not having adults to speak to, partly. I feel so stupid because I can't stop talking, knowing that thereafter whomever I'm speaking AT will avoid me in the future. I have seen my low self-esteem problems in someone else recently and I recognize that her symptoms really annoy me - so now I know why people avoid me and dislike me and have done forever.
Friday, 12 October 2007
That's a horrific thing to say! A human being felt so broken and irreprable that they thought they were brain damaged! It's tragic!
Good grief. NOW, only NOW, after the breakthrough on Monday with my counsellor when she made the point that my emotional development may/probably was stunted at six years of age when the alienation began, do I feel calmer and more hopeful, as the most recent posts demonstrate. The tense little hole in me is closing and every day I'm waking up feeling better about the future. I can begin to look back at how this cruel and evil behaviour by one parent over thirty years, not even stopping when the target parent had died, truly caused me significant mental harm.
But what a telling description of just how low I sank: that I thought I was brain damaged, and this was inflicted on me by a parent.
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
What I did, as a child, because of the alienation, ie how horrible and hateful I was.
Male parent's own background.
Summary of the effects of PA (on me, anyway) for those who don't want to trawl through my posts.
THIS is the feeling I mentioned - the not feeling normal. I can remember it not being present before a certain point and then sitting in my stomach ever since.
The feeling in my stomach began the moment he first told me she didn't love me anymore and intensified every time he told me things this:
My mother told a lie - or so I thought. She told me that we were returning to our home country for a holiday and that we'd being going back again after two weeks. We never left. We returned to this country with only a suitcase or two - and as I mentioned previously, male parent kept EVERYTHING including our clothes and toys. Male parent told me that she had lied to us, that she had never intended to go back, that she had known all along that we would not be going back abroad. "She lied to you." She also didn't love me, according to him. Was just using me. Only wanted control over me. Thought I was her toy and possession. Didn't actually want me at all. Just wanted to keep me away from him to hurt him.
I worry so much, all the time. My ex affectionately once said to me that if I didn't have something to worry about, I'd worry about that. I was a worried child. I was - and still am - permanently afraid of upsetting people and, even now, at the age of 37, if I think I've made someone angry or upset, I'll cry. When I used to get hauled into the boss's office at my last job for making mistakes, I'd cry. I couldn't help it. It used to drive me mad! I'm too old to be crying about raps at work!
But now I know where it comes from: a worried, disturbed, scared, unsettled, traumatized little girl who thinks that she's so bad, evil, unloveable that even her mother cannot love her. I have felt shame for who I am since the age of six.
This situation was brought about by the one man in the entire universe I should have been able to depend on and trust in. Parents are all flawed, I know that. I don't expect him to be perfect, not for a minute. I'm a horribly imperfect parent, but that man hurt me on purpose. With deliberate intent, he said evil things to me that have affected my entire life, my entire personality, all my relationships, my self-esteem, my mental and physical health, made me ashamed of myself, EVERYTHING. I have no friends (at the moment) because of what he did. I'm incapable of normal adult social interaction (at the moment). My stomach is in permanent knots because of what he did.
BUT today I woke up feeling hopeful about myself for the first time. The knot is still there and still almost as big as yesterday, but today I know I can get rid of it. I know that I'm not damaged beyond repair, that I'm not autistic, or insane. I just have a broken part or two - and broken parts can be fixed.
I went around my normal social interactions today watching myself as if in the third person. I was less tense than normal and less ashamed of myself. I spoke less today and felt good about it. The only time I feel relaxed and unembarrassed about myself is on the days I don't leave the house.
She did love me, no matter what he said. Nothing can change that. Nothing he says can change the fact that the person she didn't love was him, not me, and that's not my fault or my problem. I didn't do anything wrong. He abused me - parental alienation is child abuse. I have a lot of negative imprinting to alter in my mind - but now I know I'm permitted to do that and I'm allowed to do that and that I should and must do that, that I CAN do that. I have no need to feel shame, though it's not going to vanish overnight, but I actually feel better about who I am today than I did yesterday. This may not sound like a big deal but this is HUGE!!! I don't want to tell total strangers that my mum didn't want me - because I know now that it's not true. I don't have to feel worthless because I'm not, no matter what he said. She did love me and in fact loved me so much that, though the silly woman was incapable of hugging her kids even when they were in desperate need, she kept me and took care of me in the face of my hatred for her (and believe me, I wasn't nice to her).
My mum used to tell me that you have to think up nasty things before you can say them, and that to think them up means you'd carry them out. "You'd only say that if you had done it first". Now I know that everything he said, like the old saying "Many a true word spoken in jest", was true about himself, not her.
He, the alienator, lied, did and does not love me, used me, saw/sees me as a toy/possession/object, does not see me as a person with any individual worth, used me to control and hurt his ex-wife, my mother. At the moment I don't feel a thing towards him other than anger. It's odd. After he disowned me, the shock was intense: I had to understand the kind of person he was then showing himself to be. I then spent two years crying as I realised what he had done to my mother and me (and to my sister to some extent), getting into trouble at work because I couldn't keep my emotional state outside, alienating people all on my own by being so tearful and down and depressed. Today, two and a half years after he disowned me, is the first time I've felt good about things in any shape or form. My counsellor has helped me make a real breakthrough in understanding the alienation. I was all kinds of upset for a while but now I feel very little towards him beyond anger.
I'd rage at him if I met him but at this point in time, I feel like I've never had a father and am grieving for that loss. For him personally - that's who I feel little for, to clarify. I don't care if he lives or dies. It's VERY odd to say that about the parent I thought mattered most but it's true. My uncle tried to patch things up but I couldn't raise any interest, not least because male parent is a dirty pervert, but besides that, I couldn't care less about him. I don't wish him ill. I just don't care. Maybe this is numbness, who knows. Time will tell.
I'll never speak to him again, that's for damn sure, and neither will my offspring.
Monday, 8 October 2007
After that and ever since, I have never felt normal. My sister and I once discussed this as teenagers. We didn't feel right. We felt unwhole. We felt a lack of something but didn't know what to call it. Once my male parent had begun the alienation and thus once my mother had begun to pretend it wasn't happening, I stopped feeling safe.
Apparently, I also stopped developing socially in some areas too - because of the alienation. The divorce itself may also have been a culprit but I know children of divorce who are doing okay. I'm not going to say that the actual divorce of my parents and end of my previous way of life did not affect me, because it did. However, what damaged me was their behaviour afterwards, and in particular the war waged against my mother by the male parent.
I was about six years old when the first comments were made, maybe six and a half. We returned to my country when I was seven. The first comment I remember him making, which I think I've mentioned before, is the one he made in the middle of the night. Somehow he was in bed with me. I have no idea if it was his bed or mine. I know that my mother was sleeping on the sofa and he used to wake me up every night and take me into his bed. I'm fairly certain my sister was present on this occasion too. He said, crying, "Mummy doesn't love us anymore", the sicko.
According to my counsellor today, this could be the point at which part of me is emotionally stuck and undeveloped. She asked me to think about that point of my life, which didn't thrill me a great deal, but the more I thought about it and verbalized the event, the more I realised that those words shattered me and my world view. I had never known that it was possible for anyone to stop loving anyone else, let alone my parent, my beloved mother, to stop loving me. But he insisted and repeated it. Every action that she carried out that was in opposition to what he wanted "proved" him right. "If she loved you, she wouldn't do that", from mild tellings-off to bringing us back to our home country (click here for why I don't give any identifying details about myself in this blog). He's still the same dictator now: if you don't want what he wants, you're an idiot, you're selfish, you're stupid, you're thick. I think a pretty traumatized kid lay there in that bed after she heard that her mother didn't love her anymore. I told my Aunt, my mother's sister, about this a couple of years ago. She said it was lies and that she "could kill him for saying that, the bastard". "But it was true," I said, surprised. No it effing wasn't, came the outraged reply. "She used to sit and cuddle you for hours, not doing house work, just cuddling and playing with you! She adored you!" Their brother responded similarly: "She loved you, she just didn't understand you."
I guess she didn't. I rejected her - but she never spoke to me about all this. I don't know if she was stoic or just hated talking about her marriage, but she kept her mouth shut. Under ordinary circumstances that would be the right thing to do: to keep the kids out of grown up problems. But this wasn't an ordinary circumstance and, as I've said before, her silence was a killer.
I don't know what to think about him having me in bed with him. Could be innocent. I can't remember anything happening. No idea. I don't think I was afraid to cuddle him until puberty. I remember he wouldn't let me sleep in his bed when I was eleven (pre puberty).
So, anyway, thanks to my insane male parent, I am a bit emotionally stunted which makes me feel terrific, especially as I also feel stupid at the moment too. Today I feel inadequate and thick. I'm terrible in social groups and have never really had friends. I'm always the same: I try so hard to please everyone, to make everyone like me. I'm smiley and helpful (too helpful) and over eager and desperate for friends. I have felt stupid my whole life because he has treated me that way so I try to make people see that I'm not stupid. I didn't realise that I just come across as a big head, as arrogant, and as if I'm trying to put people down. People then clam up and don't want to talk to me, so I talk even more. People end up hating me and avoiding me. It's HORRENDOUS to be a social misfit, someone everyone avoids. And I know it's happening so it makes me even more desperate to be liked. A vicious circle. Now I avoid people. I do like being at home but I am afraid to go out socially. I haven't been out in years with another adult. People make me nervous because I know what's coming: that I'll babble and suck up and make myself look like an idiot, all the while thinking "Shut up! You're doing it again!".
My counsellor sees a six year old in all that, who has been told that their mother doesn't love them or want them. Remember me saying I spent my whole life trying to be her little girl? It all seems to come from there, from that moment (thirty one years ago!!!). That terrible, selfish, egocentric man has made me this social inadequate and made me think I was so unlovable that even my mother didn't want me - but that he stood by me, despite me "having my ways".
This is really, really painful. I can't stress that enough. It feels like she's right though because my whole body is reacting to it. It's awful and I want to scream my head off BUT if I know what the problem is, I can take steps to fix it. She recommends "parenting" myself, which sounds completely ridiculous but as my mother is not here to do it, I'll give it a go. If you know how to approach this, please jump in because it just makes me feel weird. She wants me to parent myself like I parented my offspring at the same age. Ooookay. Can't hurt, can it?
Just knowing the name of the problem is an excellent start because you have to remember I've lived for the past 3 decades thinking that there is something horribly wrong with me, something medical. I've even looked for symptoms of Asperger's, to the point that I wanted to go for diagnostic tests. I don't have Asperger's. I'm emotionally broken in one place - but it's fixable and I will fix it. I already feel better just knowing that I can change the problem - it's not autism and therefor permanent. It's damage and damage can be repaired.
If you're an alienator, re-read this post. Save your kids from this. My throat hurts from crying.
Saturday, 6 October 2007
I'm an intelligent person. I'm genuinely bright, but that man savaged my self-confidence and always managed to blame it on other people. Again, I'm not saying my mum was a perfect parent; she was far from it. Sometimes she was even cruel, but most of the time she did her best. He made me doubt my own mind. When I felt uncomfortable about him insisting on me going swimming during puberty or deliberately starting intimate and inappropriate conversations, I'd say so - but somehow, he was never wrong. I was. He was never wrong, never at fault, never to blame, and always had a million excuses as to why it's your own fault that you feel uncomfortable because you misread him drawing pictures of your breasts/got embarrassed by him using the word "erection" during a game of scrabble with two teenagers/kept ornaments of men with large penises around the house.
When you're consistently told something - in this case that I was imagining his bad behaviour - it sticks eventually. I feel so stupid for falling for this. I can forgive myself for believing in my dad as most kids do. I can forgive myself for not knowing he is a nutter when I was a teenager. What I can't fathom is how I allowed myself to believe in him as an adult?! I'm currently on my second university degree so I'm not uneducated. My offspring fares excellently - thriving, in fact. No criminal convictions for anyone in my house. I'm a good person. I contribute. I have responsibilites and respect from my friends. And yet, I fell for brainwashing until I was 35. I feel utterly ridiculous.
Unless I'm wrong, I've answered my own question. Brainwashing overrides your confidence in your own opinions. When someone you (secretly fear and) look up to and think is your friend builds you a world view from six years old and no one challenges it, when that person insists that they are always right and know better because they are older and male and no one corrects him, it imprints on your mind, despite the evidence of your own eyes and ears, despite your own best judgement, despite your instincts.
He abused me in many ways but always talked himself out of it and blamed ME. When you're growing up, you're trying to make sense of the world. One of my parents barely spoke to me - my mum. The other one - the male - spoke all the time and even now freely admits he may have talked too much. He bragged that he treated us like grown ups when our mother treated us like kids - hence us watching "Salem's Lot" before we were in our teens (a film so frightening I won't watch it now) - and that this meant he had more love and respect for us. I believed this too. I trusted him and he knew it so he fed my brain with rubbish and adult rubbish at that. Once he knew I trusted him, he could say anything he liked.
I think that the moment he knew that was the day they abandoned me when I was maybe seven. They argued and my mum picked up my then baby sister. She ran from the house in such a panic that her shoes came off in the front garden. He ran after her, jumping over a fence to chase her. And there was I, left in the house by myself. THAT moment is when my mental outlook, my whole perception of life changed. At that moment, I realised I was not important to either of them for myself, or at least not to him, anyway. I don't know what was going through her head. Maybe she didn't think he would chase her and that he'd stay in the house with me? I don't know. I have, until I typed the preceding sentence, consistently believed that being left behind by both of them means that both of them did not love me. I don't know. I will have to think about this. Anyway, I think the moment he realised he could use me against her was shortly after they ran off. I ran up the road after them, wondering where the hell my parents had gone and why they had left me. I found them at a house futher down. My mother was sat in an armchair crying with my sister on her lap. I was so angry that she had left me - and taken my sister - that when she reached out to me for a cuddle, I backed away.
THAT was the moment for him. He knew then that he could (ab) use me against her. No thought of the two poor little girls involved in adult arguing. No thought for the seven year old they'd just ran off and left behind. Just: "I can turn her against her mother as revenge."
Friday, 5 October 2007
He treated me like a boy. Once he'd decided I was a tomboy, that was it. His mind wouldn't change. He decided what I was and has never changed his mind. Even I believed it. I'm not sure I am a tomboy. He tried it with my daughter and went through a stage of buying her nothing but boy's things, until I protested. His partner bought her girls' things alongside his choices.
When I hit puberty, he became a pervert. He leered at me, would "accidentally" rub against me, against my breast, ran his fingers up and down my back to see if I was wearing a bra. He ogled my sister and I horrifically when we breastfed. He did this to me once. The second time I had to yell at him to leave the room. He actually argued with me about it, demanding to watch. He made disgusting sexual jokes and innuendoes. He drew pictures of me and added breasts (my daughter remembers this). I blocked a bedroom door once to stop him coming in but he pushed the block out of the way - I was 21. He kissed my neck like a boyfriend would (it was after this incident that my mother told me she had been warned, when I was a baby, never to leave me alone with him ... but she did, didn't she?? Visits, long stays ...). He looked at the back of my trousers to make sure my bottom wasn't visible through the material and made comments about "around the front".
He never thought he was wrong. My sister and I complained often and long to our mother about his teasing. To hear "You're getting big" and "You're growing up" all the time was mortifying. It made us feel so uncomfortable AND spied on and observed. I understand parents say these things. It's hard to convey the tone of voice he'd say these sentences or to describe the expression on his face, but I must stress that these were not the normal words of a parent amazed at a child's growth. His expression was DIRTY when he said these things. He was perving on our adolescence, telling us boys would be queuing up for it with us. Mum spoke to him once and asked him to stop. He told us afterwards that he had no intention of stopping because he wasn't doing anything wrong, that we were the problem - he therefore didn't care about how we felt, going back to my posts about Objectification and him not seeing me as a person. I remember a similar incident when my sister was about to get married. She was SO afraid of him going on about her growing up (which he had never stopped, just as he said) that she asked me to speak to him. I did, wondering what the point was because he never listens to anyone. He, of course, said "I will say it if I want to". I said, "Please don't, you'll spoil her day." This became an argument. He said he had the right. He felt entitled to say whatever he wanted, no matter what the cost or how much he hurt her. We both repeated our cases and he only behaved himself after the intervention, I believe, of his partner.
He has an excuse for everything. This used to drive me absolutely mad. He is impossible to talk to, sometimes. He's someone you would avoid talking to because he'll give you "a lecture with diagrams", someone once said, when you've only asked him for the time.