Wednesday, 7 November 2007

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.


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?

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?

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.

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!