Wednesday, 28 November 2007

"I've hurt myself by hating you"

"Hurt" by Christina Aguilera. This song sums me up at the moment. Christina wrote how I feel about mum.

"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

Today is not a good day.

Not good today. One aspect of the PA I have been involved in is that my mother passed away in 1996. I was not aware that there had been any alienation until 2005.

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

Looking back positively for the first time

I've realised today that I'm looking backwards quite a bit at the moment, but not in a negative way. I am able to look back at memories of the years when the alienation was at its worst in a way I previously avoided. I've known for a long, long time that for some reason, the 70s and 80s were painful periods for me, obviously, but they were so painful I couldn't bear to remember them for long, if at all. For example, I am looking up old friends and listening to favourite music of the 80s now, when I haven't been able to before now.

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

How long does Parental Alienation last?

It's a hard question to answer. In my case it was around thirty years. I was alienated into hating a parent, though I always had contact with both of them (sometimes whether I liked it or not). I don't fall into the category of young children who are cut off from a parent.

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

Finally ...

I'm also going to add this. When I acted out as a child/teenager, all the times I made fun of my mother or was horrible to her, I didn't care whether I hurt her. In my mind, she didn't care about me or about hurting me, so when I acted out my anger and pain, I didn't give two hoots about whether she was hurting too. I did not care about her feelings at all. When I was angry, I was hurting and letting my hurt out. I guess I was trying to hurt her (was I? Or was I just venting?) but I didn't truly believe I could hurt someone who didn't care about me. But, as I've said, I also didn't care if she was upset by anything I did. I was in so much pain, it was all I could think about.

"My mother hated me! My father told me so!"

Living with that belief felt like my insides were being eaten away by acid.

More about alienated child behaviours - Set ups.

Well, more about MY alienated child behaviours, anyway.

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

Referring to this post, things are swings and roundabouts, but better. The constant panic in my stomach is so much less now. I don't even have to remind myself all the time that things are different now. It's bizarre but great. I am so much calmer. I know that my mother did love me and that the alienator is a liar. I lived with the belief that she did not love me and that I was therefore unlovable and not good enough for even a mother's love since the age of six. It made me so unsure and uncertain, scared, nervous, insecure. I was afraid of everybody because I waited for them to find out that there was something wrong with me. I couldn't have really deep friendships because I am a bugger for withdrawing from people before I get too close to them. After all, what's the point, if even my mother can't love me? No one else will.

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

To parental alienators and alienated parents ... here's what I'm laughing about

I have just realised this. It's what I'm sat here laughing hysterically about. In the end, the alienator lost. It may have taken decades, but he failed.

No matter what you alienators do, your kids will love the other parent forever.

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.



And I know that because I am one of those kids.

How much I actually loved my alienated parent

But you know what? Even underneath ALL THIS CRAP, I loved my mother like no one else on Earth and I still do. I would never have admitted it in a million years. I remember being 13 years old and crying at school, in the corner, because I wanted to go home and be with my mummy and cuddle her. Like a little child. I knew/thought I knew that this wish was pointless and would never be fulfilled because she did not love me at all, that she loved nothing better than to reprimand me and hit me.
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.

How an alienated child feels ... how I wanted to be disciplined

Well, I just can't stop tonight, can I? It's spilling out. That's a good thing. Instead of crying, I'm laughing ... but not in a good way. I feel a bit weird.

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.

Bad idea.

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."

How the alienated child feels - mocking the target parent

I did lots of that. I said terrible things to and about her for years and years and years. I laughed at her, made fun of her, treated her like she was stupid, picked fault with her, criticized her, belittled her, ignored her, took every word from her mouth as negative. The male parent said she rejected me. Now I know different. When my offspring is in a mood, I walk off, leave the room, disappear until it's over. I withdraw. That's what she did. She continuously withdrew emotionally because that's the kind of person she was, though as I got older the arguments blazed, until I think she just gave up on me when I was in my late teens. She probably had no energy left. I've felt like that about somebody I loved: I loved them a lot but they were such hard work and caused so much heartache, after a few years, I didn't have any energy left to give them.

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").

How the alienated child feels, continued

These posts are really painful, not just because they're dredging up old memories and old hurts, but also because I am ashamed of how I treated my mother, the target parent. I apologise to her nearly every day and I hope that wherever she is, she can hear me (she passed away in 1996). I'm pretty sure she can. I, however, am still alive and still working through what happened to both of us and everyone else it affected.

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

How an alienated child really feels about the alienated parent

I loved my mother even though I was alienated from her. It looked like I hated her. That's how I behaved: always angry and irritable with her, always complaining about her, rejecting her constantly, perceiving every "no" as "no, because I don't love you". I actually loved her deeply but had no way of showing it. The alienator wouldn't allow it. He wouldn't even allow me to feel it.

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

Fear of abduction

Memory is so weird. Writing a couple of days ago about the time he wouldn't let me open the door when my (custodial) mother (and target) came to pick us up after spending a week or so with him, I then remember other occasions he spoke about her abducting us. He was "concerned" about it, although it was never, ever an issue. Granted, she lied to him when we were abroad to bring us home (she wanted to "go home for a holiday" after a difficult period during their marriage. That's what she told him anyway. What she actually wanted to do was get us back to our home country and be safe with her family in order to leave him), but once we were in England, it was never something that was going to happen. He was difficult about us having holidays abroad for years afterwards, including making threats before we took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the US.

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.

Response to comments

Anonymous said...
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

Anonymous said...
Thank you!
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

Response to comments

From 20th October post detailing the alienator's background:

Anonymous said...
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 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

Looking for signs she wants him back

This became an obsession with him and he passed it on to me. He was constantly watching for anything that might indicate, in his eyes, that she wanted him back. It was like a form of stalking. Bizarre - he was making her hate him but waiting for her to take him back too. Blinded. It got to the point that if she was pleasant to him, that meant she wanted him back - and he told me that. If she used a local word from the area of the country he was from, it meant she still loved him. I kept wondering and asking when she was going to love him again. He kept saying that things she said and did meant she still loved him and wanted him back.

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.

Don't bitch about the ex

No matter how much you want to. You may feel like taking a hit out on the ex or running a front page article telling the world what an evil sob/bitch your ex is, but please don't. Blog it or diarize it secretly and securely or rant at your mother/sister/best friend/brother, but don't let it get back to your kids.

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.

Post-divorce trauma on all sides

I've already explained how the divorce happened. I'll find a link to the page later on but I have some things to post today. If I don't post them now, they'll either vanish into the depths of my memory or they'll annoy me until I post them.

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


It's been a while. I've been busy but thinking too. Thoughts rolling around my head are one, that I'm an object that THAT person and two, I am also and separately a sex object to him too. Doesn't feel good. Makes me feel dirty and worthless - initially, anyway. Those feelings have been with me since I was a child (though, as I've said, I never realised until recently where they came from). I do however now remind myself those feelings have a source - and unrighteous source, and so will go. I do still feel better most days, although I have to keep reminding myself that my mum loved me. I'm reprogramming my brain. Takes time.

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.