Monday, 6 October 2008

Dates - the edible kind

I like dates. I LOVE dates. Right or wrong, I eat a pile of them and count them towards my five a day fruit and vegetable quota, something I am fanatical about. I could easily sit and eat a bagful.

You're wondering why I'm telling you this? Well, here's why: as an alienated child, I was so firmly entrenched in believing the mendacious brainwashing of my alienating parent that until 2008 I wouldn't eat dates. My mother told me at some point that as a little child I loved dates. I was so convinced she was a liar that I wouldn't eat them.

Over the past 3 years, since the alienator/male parent disowned (my kids and) me, as I've mentioned in this blog, the layers of deceit have slowly been peeling themselves away from my mind. Once I learned from a third party that he was lying about ME, to cut a long story short, it made me realise that if he was lying about me, then it's possible he lied about my mother. It was akin to a house of cards falling: I have slowly been reassessing my relationship with my late mother and have seen what a monstrous act of crime he committed in telling his own child from the age of 6 until 35 that her mother didn't love her. He twisted everything she said and did, criminalized her in my mind, and made her out to be the ultimate deceiver. He led me to believe I was literally living with the devil. I had no trust for her whatsoever because according to him, she didn't love me, she just wanted to control me. Everything she said or did to me was based on that, so when she told me I used to love dates, I didn't believe her. I thought she was lying in order to make me eat something disgusting, to torment me for her own pleasure ... when guess who was truly doing that?!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

I'm still here

In response to enquiries, yes, I'm still here. I don't have much to say about PA at the moment. Well, I don't think I do, but the subject has been on my mind again recently. Weeell, it's always on my mind to some extent, I guess, because it has shaped my adult life.

I've been trying to get my head around the Asperger's lately. That's taken up a lot of my thought processes, and has probably pushed the PA to one side.

I joined Facebook 3 weeks ago after much prompting by the offspring. It's been weird because family members I haven't heard from in a decade are "adding" me as their "friend", but then not speaking. I assume that's normal :> I've been reconnecting with one, however, who himself spent a lot of time out of touch with the family.

Joining Facebook has meant facing the presences of my male parent and my sister. I called her after seeing a comment that she made about her husband being sent to a war, to offer my support to her and particularly her children. She thanked me for calling and hung up. Neither of them have approached the offspring on FB - not that the latter would want that, but I have spent the last 3 weeks complaining about the former. I've probably been earbashing the offspring about them a bit too much.

I just don't understand. I keep saying it and it might get old, but I don't understand disowning people. Offspring also received birthday card and present from the male parent, with a note from his partner inside saying "We're thinking of you and your sibling" (paraphrased). I was completely excluded and thoroughly pissed off at such a direct and deliberately cruel exclusion of me.

My sister's children are living in fear of their father dying - and yet she won't let them have the comfort of me and mine.

My offspring keeps saying "Your family are crazy. Seriously. They're mental. You have been surrounded by insane people all your life".

My ex spent a great deal of time insisting he wasn't going to talk to me about my sister, by talking about my sister. Apparently she's angry about things from our childhood. Well, I TOO am angry about our childhood - but I forgive her. I did a long time ago. I'm not going to hold anyone to ransom over something that happened in 1978 when we were both little children, but apparently she's allowed to. It's SOOOO bizarre. She complains about things I did 30 years ago. I don't get it. She made my life miserable - and we argued, like sisters do. But I feel like she should get over it - and if there weren't any ulterior motives, surely she would? I feel as if there is something else going on here.

And then today out of the blue I realised that my grandfather, my male parent's male parent, disowned his daughter too, for not behaving exactly as he wanted her to. This man (whom I adored, despite my mother telling me he wasn't "a nice man") also kicked his wife out of the family home and made her leave her children behind. My offspring said "So maybe your male parent thinks that's normal? Does that make it less malicious?". Does it? It makes it more so, in my opinion, because he's been witness to what disowning does to children and grandchildren - but he did it anyway.

No, there is more than just me not towing the line for him and my sister. There's something else. I still think he chose her over me. Or I should say her and her kids over me and mine (and I have the older grandchildren who knew him, my sister's children didn't).

I have spent the last few months in a very dark place. I called the Samaritans at one point, because I honestly felt that I had nothing to live for other than my children, and that if I didn't have them, I would end my life. I spent weeks fantasizing about death, but not telling anyone. That mood lifted after a week of enforced decent sleep at night (hay fever medication!), but I still feel lost and by myself. I never actually even approached taking my own life, but I wished for an escape. I wished SO HARD!!

The Asperger's is helping me understand myself better in many, many ways, and is helping my life to become easier by giving me understanding. I can eliminate things that I can't deal with and alter how I approach others. What it doesn't do for me is repair broken relationships, even the ones I want to repair. I cannot even tell the people I need to because two in particular are spiteful and would take great pleasure in grassing me up to authorities in order to cause trouble, all the while pretending that they're just trying to do the right thing for my kids. My kids are FINE. They are great, they're happy, lively, thriving, balanced, well educated (because I hide everything negative from them, as exhausting as it is, and because I have replaced their lost family members with alternatives from our church and also have supported/maintained/encouraged relationships with step-relations). My Asperger's does not affect them.

Asperger's also tells me that there are some things that even "normal" people don't understand - and that's deliberately harmful behaviour towards others. Alienation is one such behaviour.

To sum up PA and Asperger's in my life: I was told I was unwanted so I felt excluded. I also have a condition which causes social isolation. I have been doubly excluded socially. No wonder I'm a wingnut ... but knowledge is power, and I know what I'm fighting now, instead of wallowing in misunderstanding.

I'm still not going back to the mailing lists. I can't be drowned out on my own blog so I'm staying here. Please do continue to email me and leave comments. Ask me more questions. Offer comments, even, but please do it nicely :>

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Parental Alienation in Fiction

Here's a secret: I'm a writer in my Other Life.

I've finally come up with a way of integrating Parental Alienation (and perhaps Covert Incest) into a piece of fiction. For three years a backdrop has floated around my mind but that is all it is: a backdrop. I've never had a story to go with it. It was more like an entry in an encyclopedia than a story per se: plenty of interesting and distinct characters, lovely scenery and voyages, family dynamics shifting and growing, love, hate, fear, epiphanies, a travelling circus ... I'll give too much away ... a wonderful little world - where nothing much happened. I had no real story.

But now I do! It's interesting that I can understand the mindset of the alienator now - I know why he did the things he did; I get the corrupted state of mind that allows a person to hurt his children - and as a consequence a beautiful piece of fictional history becomes something far greater and more meaningful.

Would you be interested in reading a novel about this subject?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

An amazing source of help

My counsellor called it "haunting". The events of my past relationship with that man are almost always on my mind in varying degrees. Usually typing up a post about a particular event helps rid me of that event to some extent; this is why some of the posts in this blog are so dramatic or heartfelt or upset, because I write them at the moments I'm experiencing the memory or the trauma. This is why sometimes I say extreme things, for example that I'm going to end the blog. That man exerted control over me in so many ways, and by saying I'm going to end the blog, I think I'm taking back control and deciding whether I will continue to talk about these things or not, on my own terms in my own time.

Usually the traumatic memories float around in my head until I find a way to make sense of them or understand them, or even just name them. To discover "Covert Incest" (which is quite a strong term but what else can we call it?) has been a revelation. Naming something gives me so much power and helps me to further understand the Parental Alienation - and even the reasons for my mother's actions. She pretty much kidnapped my sister and me and for decades I was angry about it. However, as information starts to creep out, and as I've been making sense of things over the last 3 years, as I've read about PA and now Covert Incest, I'm beginning to see that it's entirely possible she was escaping with us in order to keep us safe from him. I'm not sure she would ever have been able to name what he was doing anymore than I could until I found the CI website, but I know for damn sure his behaviour made her uncomfortable. Other people noticed his behaviour too - and thought it was creepy (they said he was obsessed with me, had a strange fascination with me). So if she was seeing Covert Incest, and if she was afraid that it would lead to actual abuse, I would have done what she did too. I would have left him and left everything behind.

Insomnia is making me incredibly miserable at the moment. I'm trying to go to bed at a reasonable time but I'm unconciously avoiding sleep. I'm actually afraid of sleeping, but I don't remember any dreams at the moment, so I don't know what's going on. I'm so tired that my memory is going and I don't even have the energy for much housework. I'm sleeping in my clothes and all I want to do is read books. So ... displacement much?

And yet I can't put my finger on what's wrong. I feel so alone - but that's normal. I only have my children. I was afraid I'd seen the male parent last week. I saw someone driving the opposite direction who looked just like him in a car just like his, but my startled expression didn't cause any reaction whatsoever from the man. I'm fairly sure it wasn't him. He just looked at me blankly with no recognition at all. It terrified me though, and reminded me that he's a creep and wouldn't think twice about driving three hours up here to spy on us. I'd bet money that he has already.

So, on to this amazing source of help. This brought tears to my eyes and caught my breath. It's from here:

It's all about Flashbacks, and I think it's worth reading and then re-reading by all of us, not just those who were affected by CI. Parental Alienation is a form of child abuse, just like CI, and therefore we have suffered harm from it. PA especially means that at some level we were emotionally neglected by one or both of our parents - and that means that some part of us is still a child. A counsellor once told me some of the things in this list and I failed to remember one that I felt was so important at the time: that self-care is vital, especially for the child in us that has stunted (because if your childhood wasn't normal, then you didn't grow properly in all areas), and that even self-parenting may be important. I need to remember that and read this list over. I might even print it off and put it up in my room because I'm so forgetful. I need to be the adult and parent myself - take care of myself the way my parents should have, and be affectionate, treat, arrange cuddles from somewhere (I have a child who is always happy to oblige, and a cat that is occasionally happy to deign to oblige), feed properly, exercise properly, ensure quiet time and rowdy time, and proper bedtimes - even if I don't sleep because then at least I'm resting. I also need to remind myself that I'm doing a GREAT job with my kids, and that I'm achieving good things in my life.


Flashbacks are memories of past traumas. They may take the form of pictures, sounds, smells, body sensations, feelings or lack of them (numbness). Many times there is no actual visual or auditory memory. One may have the sense of panic, being trapped, feeling powerless with no memory stimulating it. These experiences can also happen in dreams.As a child or adolescent, we have to insulate ourselves from the emotional and physical horrors of the trauma. In order to survive, that child remained isolated, unable to express the feelings and thoughts at that time. It is as though we put that part into a time capsule until it comes out in the present.When that part comes out, the LITTLE ONE inside of us is experiencing the past as if it was happening today. As the flashback occurs, it is as if we forget that we have an ADULT part available to us for reassurance, protection and grounding. The intense feelings and body sensations occurring are so frightening because the feelings/sensations are not related to the reality of the present and many times seem to come from out of nowhere.We begin to think we are crazy and are afraid of telling anyone (including our therapist) of these experiences. We feel out of control and at the mercy of our experiences. We begin to avoid situations and stimuli that we think triggered it. Many times, flashbacks occur during any form of sexual intimacy. It may occur with a person who has similar characteristics as the perpetrator. It may be any situation today that stirs up similar trapped feelings.If you are feeling small... you are experiencing a flashback. If you are experiencing stronger feelings than are called for in the present situation... you are experiencing a flashback.


Vietnam vets have normalized this experience and have coined the term as posttraumatic stress syndrome. Even the diagnostic category book for psychiatry defines posttraumatic stress syndrome as the normal reaction of all people experiencing an event that is outside the range of normal human experience.Flashbacks feel crazy because the little one doesn't know that there is an adult survivor inside to help.


2. REMIND YOURSELF THAT THE WORST IS OVER. The feeling and sensations you are experiencing are memories of the past. The actual event took place long ago when you were little and YOU SURVIVED. Now it is time to let out that terror, rage, hurt, and/or panic.
3. GET GROUNDED. This may mean stamping your feet on the ground so that the little one knows that you have feet and, if you need to, you can get away. As a child, you couldn't get away... now you can.
4. BREATHE. When we get scared, we stop normal breathing. As a result, our body begins to panic from lack of oxygen. Lack of oxygen in itself causes a great deal of panic feeling: pounding in the head, tightness, sweating, feeling faint, shakiness, and dizziness. When we breathe deeply, a lot of the panic feeling can decrease. Breathing deeply means putting your hand on your diaphragm and breathing fully so that your diaphragm pushes out against your hand and then exhaling so that the diaphragm goes in.
5. REORIENT TO THE PRESENT. Begin to use your five senses in the present. Look around and see the colors in the room, the shapes of things, the people near, etc. Listen to the sounds in the room, your breathing, traffic, birds, people, cars, etc. Feel your body and what is touching it: your clothes, your own arms and hands, the chair or floor supporting you.
6. SPEAK TO THE LITTLE ONE AND REASSURE HER/HIM. It is very healing to get your adult in the picture so your little one knows that he/she is not alone. Say: "You are not in danger now," "You can tell me about it," "It's OK to feel, I won't hurt you." The child needs to know that it's safe to experience the feelings and let go of the past.
7. GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR NEED FOR BOUNDARIES. Sometimes when we are having a flashback, we lose the sense of where we leave off and the world begins; as if we do not have skin. Wrap yourself in a blanket, hold a pillow or stuffed animal, go to bed, sit in a closet... any way that you can feel yourself truly protected from the outside.
8. GET SUPPORT. Depending on your situation, you may need to be alone or may want someone near you. In either case, it is important that your support people know about flashbacks so they can help with the process... this may mean letting you be yourself or by being there in a way that is safe for you.
9. TAKE THE TIME TO RECOVER. Sometimes flashbacks are very powerful. Give yourself the time to make the transition from this powerful experience. Don't expect yourself to jump into adult activities right away. Take a nap, or a warm bath, or some quiet time. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Appreciate how much your little one went through as a child.
10. HONOR YOUR EXPERIENCE. Appreciate yourself for having survived that horrible time as a child. Respect your body's need to experience those feelings of long ago. Keep a journal as a testimony of your healing.
11. BE PATIENT. It takes time to heal the past. It takes time to learn appropriate ways of taking care of self, of being an adult who has feelings, and of developing effective ways of coping.
12. FIND A COMPETENT THERAPIST. Look for a therapist who understands the process of healing from incest.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The person I used to be

I realised yesterday just how different I am today from the alienated person I used to be.

Within myself I am immeasurably more self-confident - not arrogant, but more self-aware and sure of who I am (the Asperger's notwithstanding).

I used to be very different. The alienated Me was tense all the time, stressed, frightened. I felt permanently stupid because I had been brainwashed into thinking I didn't know anything (again, the Asperger's notwithstanding - it's an issue that does merge occasionally with the effects of alienation but I (hopefully) am well able to separate the two). He always put my opinions down and calmly explained to me why I was wrong about EVERYTHING - even the day on which I celebrate my eldest child's birthday (she was born late at night in a different timezone from the one we live in. He believes that her birthday should be the day it was in the timezone we live in, not where she was born. This logic would also change the date of my own birthday but he never mentioned that) and about how to deal with my children, my sister, my mother's family, my personal life, that it was okay for him to walk into my bedroom when I was asleep naked with my also asleep and naked then-partner next to me, to feel me up, etcetera etcetera and und so weiter. Blah blah and blahdy blah.

I second guessed myself and worried about my decisions a lot. I was always *somehow* wrong if I asked him for advice or opinions. He always spoke down to me. He put me down too, indirectly - he wouldn't defend me if someone else made negative comments about me. My sister says truly terrible things about me. He liked to regale me with these. I once had a strange feeling about the way he was speaking that led me to ask if he actually agreed with her. His reply was that he didn't know. No. Probably not. It wasn't too reassuring - though I've never been able to put my finger on what was wrong with his response, my initial reaction was: he's lying. He does agree with her. He can't tell me outright that he doesn't. NOW, however, remembering the conversations properly, he seemed vague, not in denial. I don't think he had ever thought that deeply about me before. THAT is why I think he sounded so unconvincing: he truly didn't know because he didn't have a clue about my actual, personal character. He didn't know me. He once texted me when I was at a heavy metal concert. "What are you doing there?" he asked in surprise. "Erm, watching and listening to the band" I replied. "I didn't know you liked that sort of thing" he said. I joked that he didn't know me at all - and didn't get a reply to that.

Looking back, I'm amazed at that rubbish I fell for and the things I put up with. It's very easy to look back and wonder why the hell I put up with the abuse, how I believed the lies and manipulation. It wouldn't happen now - but that person believed in her male parent. She trusted him. She believed everything he did was for her own good and that he was behind her 100%. She believed he knew her and loved her. She did not believe a word against him because she had been forewarned by him that certain people were not trustworthy and only wanted to cause her harm. She had been shown how untrustworthy and evil her own mother was, and without him she would never have been able to unravel the subtleties of human behaviour to see that even the smallest gift was nothing more than bribery. He helped that little girl to see that her mother didn't want her or love her - but that little girl was in her thirties before she realised that he exposed her to terrible terrible thoughts and actions and beliefs like the fact that she was unloved ... and then left them to mill around her mind and torment her and haunt her. He sent that little girl to her bed at night in a house she was not wanted in, filled with people who hated her, ALONE. I spent days and nights thinking about my mother not loving me. It was on my mind constantly, even as an adult. Walking home from school was difficult because I was heading for that house where my presence was unwanted, my entrance dreaded not anticipated. I tried to earn her approval, just to receive a nice word, because it was impossible for her to love me, wasn't it?

When I think about my own offspring, especially the younger one, lying in bed crying and wishing someone else were her parents and that someone would come and rescue her from that hideous existence, it breaks my heart.

I sympathise with his heartbreak. I've been left too. I have NO sympathy whatsoever for what he turned me into because of it. I would NEVER tell my children their other parent doesn't love them! Even when things go bad and I feel like bopping my ex over the head, I try to explain that his behaviour is NOT because he doesn't love them!

Kids get hurt feelings when you don't praise their paintings enough. I can vividly remember the feeling accompanying the words "Your mother doesn't love you. She just wants to control you". My stomach would turn over. My chest would feel empty. My brain would feel like it had all fallen to the front of my head above my eyes, where it would try its hardest not to let them cry. My head would fall forward and look at my knees or the ground and the muscles in my neck would become solid. I'd wordlessly ask myself how I was going to live with this. I'd wish I was my sister because "she loves her because she doesn't look like me or you". How will I live with this? Of course, I didn't know how, I wasn't even in double figures, but my heart was broken.

I became so used to that feeling (because it was permanent. He reinforced it every time I saw him) that it felt normal. When boyfriends or friends made me feel that way, it felt normal - and I'd let them abuse me too.

He didn't just tell me these things once or twice, he told me them continuously for YEARS, from 1976 until 2005. He deliberately inflicted that heartbreak on me (and he knew how it felt to believe your mother might not love you because his was kicked out of the family home when he was eleven), but not on my sister.

After 2005, I was free of him. He was out of our lives completely. It was like a detoxing. Slowly I came to understand (and it's ongoing) what a heinous crime he committed. Slowly I came to review past events and revise their definitions where appropriate. I'm like a historical revisionist now. Once I realised that he was lying about me, everything started to unravel in my mind (and that moment came a few months after he disowned me, it wasn't immediate). Understanding of what he'd done and what Parental Alienation is has grown within me since then. I did not have a sudden epiphany - but I'm a different person. I'm stronger now. I trust my own opinion. I stand up for myself more. I am calmer and more content in many ways. I trust my own plans for my life. I don't feel stupid or worry that I am a bad parent or a let-down or a disappointment or that I can't make my own decisions.

If I saw him again, I'd have an absolutely screaming fit. I'm sure of that - right now, that's how I feel. I wouldn't be able to feel calm at this point in time. I'd scream and scream and scream for him to get the hell away from us. I'd call the police if I needed to. He'd start with his excuses and rationalizing and putting me down ("Don't be so silly") but I wouldn't put my head down and put up with it. I'd scream the place down. I'm not letting that psycho anywhere near us, no matter what rubbish he spouts. My kids - well, the younger one hardly remembers him but trusts Mum. The older one knows that man has legal rights to his grandchildren and has never even attempted to assert them, let alone call since the last birthday in February of 2005. They're loyal to me and they know as much as is appropriate for them to know at their respective ages. My ex supports me.

Time was I would have believed anything he said, including his definitions of my character (a character into which I stepped and played for decades until I realised he had applied the personality traits he wanted to me, and never actually saw the ones I truly have). He told me I was a tomboy (I'm not but I believed him and played that role whenever I was around him - but never at home), that I was loud and gobby (I'm not. Asperger's can make you the opposite, it can make you hide away, shy and nervous), that I'm a typical Leo (!), that I might be the reincarnation of his previous wife (WTF?! See my post about Covert Incest!), that I'm stupid (I'm not going to brag about this. Suffice it to say I'm CLEVER. It's the one aspect of my being that I'm proud of. I have nothing else that shines, just my stupendous brain. Okay, so now I'm bragging.), that the only reason I married my ex is because he was a "big, tall American", that I allowed myself to be fooled by my mother every day of my life - that I mistook her acts of love for bribery or manipulation or guilt or showing off or competition against him, that I needed him to help me form my opinions and see things clearly.

I can't help but look back at how foggy my brain was when I was under the spell of Parental Alienation. I can remember my ex ranting at how "pathetic" he thought my male parent was. He reached a point with him when he just lost his patience and couldn't deal with him without wanting to scream. I remember not being able to understand AT ALL where my ex was coming from. I thought he was mad. When his friend formed the same opinion, I thought he was mad too. My ex's exact words stay with me today because they sum my male parent up perfectly: "He is a pathetic man". He didn't mean, he's a pathetic person. He meant a pathetic male of the species, and only now do I understand the two meanings. He meant my male parent is not a real man, according to the standards of other men. It's telling that my male parent has never, ever had any male friends. His friends have all been women - and when I remember them, I remember them as being easily manipulated, vulnerable women just out of divorces who dumped him or withdrew their friendship after a year or so. And I am sorry that he has spent so much time alone - but he has no conception of it being his fault. He thinks it's everyone else. I believed that too.

I am stunned when I realise how much rubbish I accepted.

Parental Alienation is Emotional Terrorism. It is the deliberate harm of innocents in the pursuit of selfish desires (usually revenge).

There is no need for it.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Manipulation - sometimes it's in the littlest incidents

I've mentioned this incident before I'm going to repeat myself because I've possibly discovered a new interpretation of the event. It's one that has puzzled me ever since it happened in the late 70s when I was little, perhaps eight or nine.

We used to have fairly regular visitation with the male parent, once a month more often than not. He would pick us up and take us home again. I can only remember one occasion when Mum came to pick us up because she was on holiday in the area so it made sense for everyone.

We hadn't seen her for at least one week, may have been two, so we were excited to see her again. When she pulled up outside the house, I remember I had been on the sofa by the window, looking for her for a while. She walked towards the window all smiles and I shouted "She's here!". The male parent ordered me not to go to the door "in case she grabs you".

Of course I didn't understand. She was coming to pick us up and take us home. We didn't live with him. We were going home no matter what, plus the law had said so. I could see her confused expression as she beckoned me to the door, but I shook my head and mouthed "I'm not allowed". Later on I told her what he had said, and asked her why he'd said it. She had no answer and neither did I until a few days ago.

It could be that given how excited we were to see her again, he was jealous. Perhaps it annoyed him - and to have us running to the door to greet her reinforced that to both him and her. He wanted to hurt her (that's what Parental Alienation is all about, after all) so he used us to achieve that. She couldn't hear what he was saying inside the house, so didn't hear his instructions to us, but those instructions made it look like we weren't bothered about her arrival. For us not to run to the door, especially when he knew that we had seen her, made it look like we didn't care much for her arrival.

I think, at that point, it would have had no effect on her other than confusion, because both of us still loved our Mum a lot. I remember feeling the beginnings of PA back then but not enough for her to feel hated (which came later). I was only eight or nine so my sister could only have been five or six. Plus we explained later on why we hadn't come to the door - so his efforts achieved nothing.

It's the only explanation I can think of, because his makes no sense. Why would she have grabbed us and run off with us when she was coming to pick us up anyway?! He wasn't keeping us, we knew that.

Can you think of any other reason for his behaviour, other than wanting to make it look as if we didn't care that she had arrived?

Friday, 30 May 2008

Narcissism - discussion

Am reading Louise's post about narcissim and am finding some very interesting correlations and validations of my belief that my male parent is a Narcissist.


"The narcissist INITIATES his own abandonment BECAUSE of his fear of it. He is so afraid of losing his sources (and of unconsciously being emotionally hurt) – that he would rather "control", "master", or "direct" the potentially destabilising situation – than confront its effects if initiated by the significant other. Remember: the personality of the narcissist has a low level of organization. It is precariously balanced.Being abandoned could cause a narcissistic injury so grave that the whole edifice can come crumbling down. Narcissists usually entertain suicidal ideation in such cases. BUT, if the narcissist initiated and directed his abandonment, if the abandonment is perceived by him to be a goal HE set to himself to achieve – he can and does avoid all these untoward consequences. "

I've mentioned before that he disowned me (which I'm not arguing with). Well, at the time, I may or may not have mentioned this before, I was looking for a way to get him out of our lives. I'd had enough of him. I was verging on hatred for him. I wanted him away from my female children because he is a pervert and I was not going to allow him to do to them what he did to me (he was alone with one of them once in her whole life, and the other never). My eldest was coming into puberty and so in my mind I was looking for a way to keep him away from us. Simultaneously I started going back to my church - which he had always hated, for some reason. He wouldn't mind if I believed in HIS (bizarre and NOT ordinary) beliefs, but basic Christianity? He'd panic and try and stop me, criticise, mock (oh the mockery of every aspect of my life ...), bash (as in anti-Bible-bashing), nag nag nag ... it was endless. He'd get himself into such a state. I found it weird. He was proud of what he felt was emotion-free logic and self-control ("I'm rational so I'm stronger than most people"), but when it came to me going to church, he'd freak out like he was having a panic attack. He demanded compliance from me. He never got it, though I often lied to him about my church attendance. It was easier to say I wasn't going and didn't believe in it that to have to put up with endless nagging and attempts to alienate me from church. Clearly this was a control issue with him and I was being disobedient. I hadn't asked his permission to go to church, despite he and my mother not having me christened in order for me to make up my own mind ...

SO, there came the time when he really began to lay it on thick - but I felt stronger and stronger. His nagging and complaints and objection and criticism of my beliefs, my way of life, how I was raising my children, all this went on from August to March. I consistently said "I don't want to talk about this with you. If you keep on, we will fall out", and all the while I was thinking that maybe I should use this as a way of getting rid of him. Unfortunately I'm not devious enough or deceptive enough. All the while I kept us away from him, too. We live three hours from him so it wasn't a problem. And then he blindsided me - he disowned me, out of the blue, after months of me not backing down (which was simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating). He cut me off via email (how kind, the COWARD), using such foul speech, disgusting phrases and vile lies that when I told a friend about the content of his astonishing email, he said "Your DAD said those things?!" Nobody could believe what he had said, least of all me. It was disgusting - and an eye-opener, of course.

I have two theories about why he did this when he did.

Theory One (which is most supported by people who know him): my sister had previously disowned him (and me) and would not return to his life with her four children if I was in it. I told him for years that one day she would make him choose between us - and she did.

Theory Two: he saw it coming. He realised that I was becoming stronger and stronger, and wising up to him on many levels. He knew that once I finally realised just what he had done for thirty years, I would disown him - so he got in there first.

I'll never know unless I really talk to him - and as I will never see him again, no talking of any kind is going to happen. He'd never admit to any fault anyway. Alienators (narcissists) almost never do (I have seen two regretful alienators on mailing lists I used to belong to so there's hope!).

What made me begin to peel away the layers of deceipt only really began with his disownment email. It was just the start. My realisation of his betrayal truly began when I realised that he was lying about me - my uncle unwittingly told me what he believed was the "truth". It was being touted that I was the one who had done the disowning. Okay, so I was looking for a way of keeping the man away from my kids, but I had NOT disowned anybody at that point!

If you're wondering why I didn't just say "Keep away from us, we never want to see you again," remember what your alienator is like. Would they just accept that, just like that? Would they just say "Oh, okay" and walk away? No, they wouldn't. I had to find a way to get rid of that man that would leave him no way of ignoring my wishes - because that's what he would have done. He would NEVER have listened to me. He always ignored what I wanted and did whatever the hell he liked. The reason I spent so many months trying to think of a way to remove him permanently from our lives was because he, as a narcissist and alienator, believes his rights and desires are the only ones that matter, that everyone else in the world in stupid and that it doesn't matter what they say. He would have ridden roughshod over me saying anything about him staying away from us. "Don't be stupid. I'll do what I like. You're not keeping my grandchildren away from me. I'm your FATHER. You owe me". Blah blah blah.

But he initiated his own abandonment and solved my problem.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Covert Incest

If you're in or involved in Parental Alienation in any way (and the odds are if you're here, then you probably are), especially if you are the child, it may interest you to look up something I've discovered called COVERT INCEST.

It's not your "usual" form of incest, involving the crime of physical sexual abuse (for which perpetrators should be hung by their parts and caned), but more an emotional sexual abuse of children (with perhaps some "lesser" sexual abuse - though I'm not trying to diminish sexual abuse. It is ALL hideous, I'm just trying to clarify the difference between the worst kind and the least worst kind). Mainly it involves focussing on children as sexual objects and also as replacement spouses/confidants. Sound familiar?

Now, don't go applying everything in your situation to Covert Incest. It's not a catch-all definition or new syndrome you can blame for everything. It's not Yuppie Flu. I just found it interesting that so many of the characteristics of the perpetrators of Covert Incest coincide with those of the Alienator.

Monday, 26 May 2008

"Get him to hit you!"

I've remembered a small thing. I was once with an aggressive man who was frequently verbally and emotionally abusive towards me. This man used his physicality to intimidate me, pushed me once and ran at me to throw his fist in my face - but did not actually hit me. He meant to make me think he was going to. Of course I didn't know that at the time. I thought he was about to punch me in the face and break my nose in front of our toddler. These details are shared for background, not for sympathy. This man and I have put the past way behind us and moved forward for the sake of our shared child (who doesn't seem to remember the above incident).

That act was the last straw for me. I called my father and explained that this man had been bullying me for a very long time. The male parent said, well, if you need to leave, I'll provide you with money. We agreed that having someone else know what was going on would provoke a change, and that I was safer with someone else knowing.

Then we discussed a storyline running in a soap my stepmother watched: an abusive and violent husband beating up his wife. The male parent said, "Yes, we've noticed the parallells between you and the TV show. It wouldn't necessarily be all bad if he hit you. You should provoke him, get him to hit you, then you can get the police to get him out of the house."


This is an example of just how manipulative an alienator can be. This parent of mine actively wanted harm to come to me in order to get rid of my partner. To me, this demonstrates a clear opinion of me as an object. I didn't want to be hit in order for my partner to leave! I wanted my partner to go to counselling with me to rebuild our family! I didn't want to provoke him because I WAS scared of him, but also because I'm not like that. It would have been a lie - but my male parent clearly saw nothing wrong with it. I cry when my offspring have hurt feelings - that parent could think about and actually want physical harm to come to me to achieve an aim - to "win" publically.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Authoritarians and abusers

This man allegedly kept his daughter and three of the seven children he fathered on her imprisoned for 24 years, adopting the other three (the seventh died).

A psychologist has reported on this case at the link above, when asked the most obvious question: HOW could someone do this? That is, mentally speaking, how would someone be able to do this? How could you imprison, rape and abuse your own children?

I see this so often with Parental Alienation and indeed often ask the same question myself. How on earth could anyone actively wish to abuse anyone else?

The psychologist's answer was that a certain type of person believes it is their right to treat people as they want, especially their children. My male parent exhibits traits of this nature: he considered himself "owner" of his family, my mother and my sister and me, and said as much in public. He felt himself "in charge". "No one tells me what to do". "I know things other people don't". He felt he was cleverer than everyone else.

When no one listens to him, they are targets for verbal abuse -not just complaints or whinges, like "Oh, you're so annoying," but extreme and foul abuse. My mother and one of her sisters were called whores by him - he called my mother a whore in front of me! Amongst other things! As I've mentioned before, her cancer "was her own fault".

When I reached puberty, things changed a little. He suddenly noticed me in a different way. He leered at me, tried to stand too close and rub himself up against me (arms or legs), lay on top of me and kissed me all over my face, ran his hands up and down my back to see if I was wearing a bra ... I tried to keep myself out of the way. I stopped going near him whenever possible. I wouldn't give him hugs anymore, though he forced them. He was always looking at me with a dirty smile on his face. It's sickening to even remember it. He constantly made comments about me growing up, quite often dirty. I refused to play Scrabble anymore when he used the word "erection". I began to hate going to his house every third weekend and did everything I could to get out of it. At first, no one really listened to me, and he'd be "reasonable": "She doesn't have to come if she doesn't want to", and I was forced into it once or twice. From a logistical point of view, I think perhaps Mum felt guilty that he had driven four hours for me to refuse to go. My credibility wasn't brilliant because my PA behaviour (and Asperger's?) was wonderful for twisting incidents into crazy misrepresentations of the truth.

ANYWAY, back to the authoritarianism. Mum told him we didn't like his leering and talking and jokes and curiousness about our pubertal development. He was embarrassing us. Could he please stop? His answer made me begin to realise what a selfish man he is. He didn't apologise. He didn't even stop. In fact, he told us it was his right to do it because he was just proud. He said he wasn't going to stop because he wasn't doing anything wrong, and that he could do what he wanted. "You're my daughters, I can do what I like". I had a similar discussion with him on my sister's wedding day. She had come to me privately a few days before and said "I'm dreading him doing all that stuff on the day. Please talk to him." So I did - and had almost the same conversation.

"If you do that, it will embarrass her."
"I can do what I like".

And yay me - I stood up for us!!!! I nearly passed out with fear but I was defending my sister! And, in a roundabout way, myself.

"No, on this occasion, you can't."
"I can. I can do and say what I like".
"NO. YOU CAN'T. YOU WILL NOT DO THIS ON HER WEDDING DAY! I'll speak to C (his partner) about this if I need to, but you will not mention her growing up once. You will spoil her wedding day. She's afraid you're going to go on about her growing up. I'll tell C all about this if you don't promise not to say a word!"

And he didn't do it! The threat of being grassed up. That's interesting - I've just realised the connection (duh). He behaved himself because I threatened to tell tales on him. When I threatened to tell Mum about him going on about us growing up, he said what I said before: that he wasn't doing anything wrong. He didn't have to worry about Mum's opinion of him - for some reason. In his mind, he had already discredited her? But the current partner - he didn't want her to know. Interesting.

I think this brainwashing (that he could do whatever he likes because we are his children) is the reason I never told anyone about the inappropriate behaviour. I was un-credible anyway to some degree, so the chances of being believed were slim. Perhaps he knew that. In my mind, he could do anything he liked because he was in charge. He believed it was his right to do certain things to me, so because I was "on his side", I believed it too. I've often wondered why I let him do it. I *thought* it was wrong but because I believed everything he said, I believed I was wrong too, so I tolerated it. That's a realisation right there in front of you, folks, thanks to a Sky New psychologist and my own ramblings. I've just worked that out. I was brainwashed into thinking he could do no wrong so when he did wrong, I didn't know it. "You're just imagining it". He made all sorts excuses for his behaviours. He noticed when I wouldn't stand near him anymore and he pushed it. He deliberately pushed himself into my private space. "Nothing wrong with a cuddle", but then he'd be rubbing my breast. He did that in public once and almost laughed at me when I looked at him, moving away quickly. His grin was huge and his expression was one of conceit and utter disdain for me. "You idiot. Look what I can do - and you put up with it!". That he'd do it in public shocked me so much. I began complete withdrawal from him at that point. Although I had never left my daughter alone with him before then anyway, I was determined to keep her away from him. I left the area within a year of that.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Now that I'm not closed off ...

... to there being more than the alienator's point of view, I'm going to have a phone call with my Step-dad tonight. It occurred to me yesterday that I don't actually know the full reasons why my mother left the male parent. I have a vague recollection of being told about mistreatment, but her opinion, point of view, memory, reasons, etc did not matter to me while I trusted the alienator. She had no good reason, according to him, and left because her family hate him. Her family are evil. They are wicked. Etcetera.

But they were always nice to me. I loved them. I liked being around them. I couldn't reconcile the devils he told me about with the loving family members I associated with (and so we come back to me believing I was stupid, because the Alienator told me I couldn't see the truth. I needed him to help me ...).

So anyway, should be an interesting talk with the Step-dad. He's working away from home at the moment so I don't have to worry about his wife being upset, and he seemed happy enough to talk about Mum ...


Just FYI, I'm not on any mailing lists anymore. I withdrew from them a couple of weeks ago so if you've sent me a message via one of them, I won't have received it. Please contact me via the email address on the profile page (on the left, down the page) or the address you found via the mailing list. I answer ALL emails (unless they're asking me what my favourite cookie is).

Will only be posting here for the foreseeable future (and yes, I'll be continuing. Sorry about my misery fit. I guess it's just part and parcel of life in general that once in a while things will get on top of us. I'm really grateful for the commenters who reminded me of the purpose of this blog: to help people. I have a responsibility to those people who come here regularly because it helps them in their own PA struggles. It's very easy to forget others when you sink like I did. Depressive episodes are inherently selfish (I mean that as a neutral statement, not that the Depressed are selfish people) and the world can disappear from view. The insomnia peaked during that week too but I'm dealing with it now.).

Thank you for your patience. I'm a trial LOL.


Friday, 18 April 2008


So, the last post WAS a gigantic self-indulgent fit of the maudlins. I was feeling quite bogged down, as you can tell. Everything got on top of me.

And then I discovered that my friend's 42 year old fiance quite literally dropped dead on Sunday last. I'm not exaggerating: he absolutely, positively just keeled over and died.

Then I stopped whinging pretty quickly.

He'd been advised of an arrhythmia (sp?) a couple of years ago but was cleared in November. You can imagine the incredible shock my friend is feeling right now. She doesn't know what's going on. We are all going to support her and take care of her, and her kids (hers, not his), but other than that all we can do is count our own blessings. She has never suffered grief before so I didn't have the heart to tell her, when she said "Ooh it's time for us to catch up!" the other day, that grief is about to kick her ass - but that she WILL feel better eventually.

So, I would say that today we should all be grateful that our loved ones may be alienated, but alive. WE are alive and, I hope, healthy.

Monday, 14 April 2008

This blog may end now. I'm not sure, but I don't know if I'll post anymore.

I have recently discovered that I have Asperger's Syndrome. It's not a surprise but it's not a good thing either.

I have always imagined my social difficulties and confusion about people's behaviours to be due to Parental Alienation and my dysfunctional upbringing (although I've often said I brought myself up, having been ignored/neglected/messed with by inadequate parenting), and that with time I would grow out of them.

At the age of 37, I'm still socially inept and awkward, hence me speaking to the right people who gave me this diagnosis.

It explains an awful lot. It removes some of the blame for my difficult relationship with my mother from PA/my male parent, but it doesn't absolve him. He still did what he did. Asperger's Syndrome exacerbated the antagonism between Mum and me, to a large extent because the condition was unknown when I was a child.

I can now relax into who I am, for once in my life. Now I can learn not to panic about panicking about social situations (not a typo). The diagnosis has given me a certain level of peace with who I am. It's not my fault. I am not bad. I have not brought it upon myself. I can plan around it now without feeling foolish or childish or deliberately awkward or incapable. I planned a trip to our capital city last week, based around what I can and can't cope with, and it was the best trip I've ever had - I didn't put myself in a single situation that was bad for me because now I understand my limits, so no stress occurred.

However now I know that I'm never going to change. I am this socially inept person for the rest of my life. I am never going to be like you. I am always going to find social situations challenging and confusion and EXHAUSTING. It's never going to change because my brain is a little bit broken. I am never going to have a full social life or groups of friends I can relax with.

My mother is dead, all my grandparents are dead, my male parent is too dangerous to be around, my sister wishes me dead (because she received as much of my bad/incorrect behaviour due to Asperger's as my mother did), my brothers avoid me because of the Asperger's, my extended family all avoid me. People avoid me in general because of the Asperger's.

It's always going to be like this and I can't tell anyone why, at least not until my youngest daughter is grown up (9 years time) because I have a spiteful ex who will use it against me.

I also cannot tell anyone that I couldn't get out of bed this morning because of despair, because I am afraid my children will be taken from me. Parental Alienation and Asperger's Syndrome have ruined my life. I am planning the next 30 years around the fact that I will be by myself (although my children are good to me and always will be).

I am not about to do anything extreme, don't worry - but there are worse thoughts in my head right now than ever in my life before. This blog is the only place I can be honest and take these thoughts out of my brain, because they've been rolling around in there since the beginning of March. If it weren't for my kids, I'd have been dead a long time ago simply because of the PA, and now, if I didn't have them, this blog would not have this entry.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Please don't confuse me or associate me with anyone

Further to my post a few days ago, I'd like to clarify that I'm being followed around the Internet by someone claiming affinity and similarity with me. Wherever I go, this person seems to appear within a day or two and make huge postings dominating wherever I've been.

This person seems to like all the attention to be focussed on them, to the exclusion of anyone else around, taking up entire pages of boards/blogs etc.

This person's motives do not feel genuine. They feel fake. They post nothing original until I speak, and then they paraphrase what I have said, or even copy it over to another place and make it look like their own words/feelings.

To confirm, I only post on this blog, on (twice there, I think, at most), and PASParents and PAPA Yahoo Groups. I don't use any other names nor does anyone else speak for me. I am nothing to do with anyone else.

This person may claim a "kinship" with me but it is not reciprocated because frankly they creep me out. They are also using the serious subject of Parental Alienation to gain attention. Disgraceful!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

When the alienation begins

In response to a question about how the anger and pulling away begin:

"I was furious first and continued to be so while I pulled away from my Mom. A lot of damage would have been avoided had she told me she loved me and that she was doing her best in a difficult situation, and also that she didn't mean to make mistakes or make me angry. Unfortunately because the PA wasn't recognized, much of the blame for the problems between my mother and me was put on me, particularly by other members of her family. I was labelled a "bad kid" and that label still sticks today. People love to tell me what a rotten kid I was, whereas I was actually a very, VERY distressed and confused child."

Expecting gratitude from alienated children ...

I keep hearing about alienated aka target parents and their irritation/distress/annoyance/unhappiness/confusion that gifts, cards and money that they send to their alienated kids aren't acknowledged. I've even seen someone comment that they "never get so much as a thank you".

Folks, these kids are not your enemies and they don't actually owe you a thank you. These kids are in difficult, distressing, confusing and extremely painful places in their lives and those two words are probably the last things on their minds.

Don't send them gifts at all if you expect something in return, or if you decide to feel that your children owe you! That's not what it's about! Your attempts to reach them are about reaching them! They shouldn't be about getting something back from your child! If you feel hurt that your presents get ignored or go unacknowledged, try to put yourself in your child's place.

They are without one of their parents and may have been told that the non-present parent hates them. Your child might feel worthless. Thank yous are probably the last things on their mind right now.

If they do want to thank you, they may not be physically or mentally allowed to
: they might want to - but the other parent won't let them carry out the act; they might want to, but the other parent may have put them in such a terrible position that their life will be miserable if they so much as admit having received something from you, let alone liking it.

Also, if they are anything like me at times, they will think that you sending them gifts is the least you can do, under the circumstances. Someone on a mailing list asked a question about a child's lack of response to receiving gifts (this person was asking this question from a genuine place, not, as far as I'm concerned, from a sense of feeling like they deserve or are owed a thank you).

This was my response:

"Perhaps in her mind she feels so cheated because of the alienation/lies that she feels he owes her. Sometimes I took from my TP mother simply because I felt she owed me materially, given that she "didn't love me" or fill my emotional needs in a way that the AP told me she should. He used to say "if lying to her or cheating her gets you what you wanted, who cares? If it gets you what you want, go along with it. Use her because she's using you."" Apparently the TP just wanted to "control me and use me to control" the other parent, so why not not take from her? Use the user!

Alienated children, in one sentence

"Programmed to believe [the target parent] is out to hurt them".

Quote from R. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Sending gifts and cards, etc

My response to someone asking if they should continue to send gifts, cards etc, to their alienated son.

"Send him all those things, whether they come back or not.

If he accepts them with or without thanks, he accepts you to some extent.
If he rejects them, he still knows you tried (and I don't believe that children who reject gifts from parents are doing so entirely of their own free will).
If you don't, he'll think "She didn't send me anything. Dad was right. She doesn't care about me".

If may seem like you can't win, but it's not the gifts that matter here - it's that you're sending them.

Another thought has just come to me - when my mother gave me gifts to open on my birthday at my male parent's house (my birthday is in the summer so we'd spend a week or two with him), he liked to watch me open them and sat like a vulture waiting for a reponse or comparison with what he had given me. He liked to mock things she said and did and didn't exclude birthday presents, but even if he said nothing about her gifts, I was tense and stressed WAITING for him to say something horrible which would inevitably spoil the day. I can recall the dread right now as I type. And if I liked what she bought me ... I'd be in for an anti-mum earbashing at some point, whether it was about the gifts or not. He'd find some way of spoiling her efforts.

Monday, 10 March 2008

I don't blog anywhere else

Just to clarify, this is my only blog. I don't have any others. None. The only other places you'll see me are PAPA and PAS mailing lists on Yahoo and I am nowhere else and am no one else!

I'm also the alienated child (although I'm an adult now), not the target parent.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

When your alienated children ignore/rebuff all your attempts at contact

Another post of mine to a mailing list, prompted by a parent's despair at their gifts/letters etc to their alienated children going unacknowledged.

"Following on from Robin's post which I received today, I'd like to tell you that while I infrequently thanked my mother for the things she did for me while I was growing up and even in early adulthood before she passed away, I know TODAY what she did. I remember ALL the little things she did, like the little green rabbit cuddly toy she gave me out of the blue before the big school exams when I was 16. I remember the little notes she put in with mail she forwarded me when I was away from home. I remember that I never, ever once came home to a bed I needed to make myself. I remember how she always gave me just as much for Chrismas and birthdays as the other kids, even though none of them treated her like rubbish. I remember how she saw me struggling with English Lit before the big exams and arranged for extra tuition for me, paid for with money she must have snaffled from my stepfather because she asked me never to tell him. I remember her paying for extra Spanish lessons because I was merely interested in languages, not because I needed them. I remember the little gifts she bought me when we were out together with perhaps just the baby with us who wasn't old enough to blab to the other kids or be jealous. I still have upstairs in my wardrobe garments that she made for me with her own hands (that I was too cool to wear but would never part with, even when I (thought I) hated her most). I kept bizarre things like sick notes she wrote me for school. Her hiking boots. Her purse with a receipt bearing her signature. Her curlers because even today they smell of her. I remember how one year she felt I would appreciate a box of chocolate at Easter, rather than an Easter Egg, as I was a teenager - and how outraged I was! I remember how she laughed and made sure I received a big chocolate egg the next year. I remember she used to always buy me blank videotapes because I loved to record music shows off the TV.

I can think of a million other little things that my now-beloved mother did for me, despite being the Target Parent of some incredibly nasty behaviour from me.

Just like you alienated parents, she loved me and found other ways to demonstrate that in the face of not being allowed to tell me. And she never, ever stopped. Even to the year she died, she liked to send me little bits of money here and there to spend on her granddaughter, a child I hardly let her see.

Back then, I barely paid attention to what she was doing. I hardly saw it. NOW TODAY I can look back and remember and be relieved, grateful and blessed that she did all those things and never gave up, even though the alienation lasted for twenty years of her life.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't give up on your children. They will remember everything you do for them, even if right now they throw it back in your face. The comfort I receive from these gestures of love from my poor mother sometimes get me through the day."

Friday, 7 March 2008

The alienator doesn't like rules

If you're new to my blog, welcome and I'd just let you know that it's not in chronological order. I write things as I remember them.

First, a reminder that alienated parents may seem evil, they may even BE evil, but they are also damaged and usually hurting (especially if the Target Parent has a new partner). When dealing with them, I would advocate patience and grace.

Today's post is about the rules the alienator used to make us live by when we visited with him: few, or none.

Of course, as kids, we thought this was wonderful. No discipline, no rules, bedtime whenever we wanted, alcohol when we were teenagers (me) or TEN years old (my sister), any TV show or movie we wanted (including horror films like "Salem's Lot" and "The Car" which even today scare me half to death - I hid behind the sofa or the ironing board when he put these films on the TV or video, so I CLEARLY didn't want to watch them!), dirty words in Scrabble, rude images and jokes and personal stories (ugh), rude comments about our own growing up or sexuality etc etc etc, onwards ad infinitum.

This is all part of him trying to treat us "better" than Mum did. He wanted to make us like him more by befriending, not by parenting. He told me, as I've mentioned before, lurid details of their divorce, including information about Mum having sex with another man (allegedly) when I was perhaps only eight, details you would normally tell your friends, not your little child.

He repeated that he treated me like a grown up, whereas she treated me like I was an idiot. "I've always treated you like you're older."

He lived with a woman called Kathy for a while. She had two sons of similar age to my sister and me, with whom we got along famously most of the time. When he and Kathy hit hard times, they argued in front of us. On one occasion, the argument was about my sister and me. She was angry that the normal house rules didn't apply to us. Everything was different when we visited. We didn't get disciplined the same way her sons did (by him). His response was not a denial that this was happening, but rather confirmation: "I want things more relaxed when the girls are here". Not cool. This situation so unsettled me that I mentioned it to my Mum. I knew it wasn't right, young as I was and even though I loved that no rules applied to my sister and me at his house. She said, "The rules should be the same for all of you".

It was all part of his manipulation of our experiences with him in order to make us like him more than our mother. It worked! Whenever we had trouble at home, the first thing we would say was, "I want to go and live at Dad's". (Today I can only imagine the hurt that caused her, of which I'm ashamed more than you can know.)

He and Kathy split up, but not before he let one of her sons sit without trousers on in front of we other three children for 30 minutes, his private parts on full show, while he lectured him about bad behaviour. The whole speech/diatribe sounded like showing off. He has always bullied the male children of his girlfriends, using threats of physical violence against them if they spoke up for themselves.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Anger in this alienated child

This is an email I posted to a mailing list today in response to alienated parents discussing their angry alienated children - and their frustration and confusion about that anger. I've been reading so many account of loving children quite quickly developing anger and even hatred towards one of their confused and scared parents, anger that is very difficult to discuss with a child who then refuses to speak to the target parent.

I hope it explains potential reasons for bizarre anger in alienated children.

The main thing I heard from the alienator is "Your mother {insert yourself here} doesn't love you". End of story.

They will hear plenty of other bunkum to "prove" this, and I've read all your stories on this list showing what lengths alienators will go to to "prove" themselves right.

But what it all boils down to, that is what I heard over and over at the root of all alienating attacks/lectures, repeated and reinforced, used as "evidence", appearing in almost every sentence out of the alienator's mouth about my target parent was that "She doesn't love you".

"She does that because she doesn't love you."

"That's because she doesn't love you."

"If she loved you, she wouldn't do that."

"If she loved you, she'd do this."

"I hate to say this but I don't think she loves you."

"She doesn't want you because she doesn't love you."

"You remind her of me so she doesn't love you."

THIS is the foundation of everything I heard from my alienator, and THIS is why I was SOOOOOOOO angry and vile to my mother.

Anger is not an isolated emotion. No one is just angry. People are angry because ... [insert reason]. I was angry because I felt HUGE, MASSIVE, ENORMOUS hurt, pain and despair that my own mother didn't love me, that my own mother didn't want me. I despaired that I was so unlovable that my own mother didn't want me.

I remember watching a tv serial of the Phantom of the Opera when I was in my early teens, starring Teri Polo. She played Christine but also, in a flashback, the mother of the Phantom. The narrator spoke of the child being so hideously and disgustingly deformed that society rejected it - but that its mother loved it and was proud of it, that the mother could not see the ugliness everyone else in the world saw. I was a child already suffering problems because I believed my mother didn't love or want me, and when I watched that scene, I believed that I was so ugly and unloveable that not even my mother could overcome her disgust of me.

That's why I was so angry.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

My view of physical discipline as a child

I used to tell people mum beat us.

Mum used to spank/smack us, sometimes with shoes and particularly with wooden spoons. I'm not advocating or condoning this form of discipline because it's wrong - by modern standards, anyway. I don't discipline my offspring this way, perhaps as a reaction against what being smacked did to me.

When I was smacked, it never made me see what I'd done wrong, rather it just simply made me angry. I never felt corrected, just hurt and unloved.

Factor in the alienation and you end up with a child being discipline by a parent, who sees the parent's actions as acts of hate. With every strike, she reinforced what the alienator said. Every time she smacked me with or without those hated wooden spoons (she broke one on my sister once), all it told me was that my mother not only hated me, but hated me so much she wanted to inflict physical violence on me.

The sheer, despairing AGONY of those moments makes me feel nauseous now, twenty years later. I was wretched after those moments and could not forgive her. My reaction was to withdraw and feel worthless, aching and silently begging to be released from the torture of a parent that hated my absolute guts. "If she loved you, she wouldn't be able to do that to you," said the male parent. "I'd never do that to you. I've never had to. You're a good girl. She just doesn't want to see it. She wants to dominate you. She hits because she's too stupid and selfish to think of any other way to discipline you." Indeed, I STILL think it was over the top, even now, even knowing that alienation was occurring. I was withdrawn and traumatized for days afterwards, but she just thought I was sulking.

What I was actually feeling was trauma and devastation so great I don't even have the words to express to you how deeply disturbed those smacks made me.

I used to tell people even when I was into my thirties, that my mother used to beat me. I believe there's a difference between beating and smacking. Beating is successive hits, several, many, lack of control involved, violence. Smacking aka spanking is one, maybe two, as a punishment after wrongdoing. I used to say "She beat the hell out of us". "She used to beat us". "She used to hit us all the time." She actually smacked us once, maybe twice at a push. For example, my sister used to yell "Didn't hurt!" so would get another one. We did not get beatings.

Let me state again: I am not a parent who condones or uses corporal punishment (unless the offspring do something dangerous, in which case it's a spanking or they continue doing something that could cause injury or death) so from the outset I am against her having hit me at all. HOWEVER in her mind, I now firmly believe she WAS just disciplining us. She was born in 1947 - unless I'm wrong, that's how her childhood discipline would have been administered. I no longer believe she hit us because she hated - but I was told otherwise.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Alienated kids say rotten things

Had a bit of a wobbly about my sister, didn't I? I guess I was really feeling the injustice of the situation that day.

I've said it before but the more I type, the more I remember. There are so many memories mulling around in my head causing pain or anger that it constantly surprises me. I hadn't realised my head was so full until I started writing this Blog - and yet it's helping to clear my mind. Writing things down, getting them out, really does work.

I haven't really touched upon my bad behaviour towards my poor Mum, the target parent, yet. I know I've mentioned it and mentioned that I was AWFUL, but I haven't really given too many details, mainly because I was disgraceful so many times. My own behaviour towards her embarrasses me, especially in light of what normal offspring I have. My offspring do not exhibit any of the negative behaviours I saw in myself or my sister. They're nice kids who don't mind a bit of housework - and don't see the request to empty the dishwasher as the savage order of a slavemaster tyrant determined to take all their time and (ab)use their energy and ruin their my lives. I'm not saying they never complain about chores. They wouldn't be normal if they didn't - but they don't scream and rage like I did. I've never once heard "Why should I?". I can reason with them in a way I sure as hell wouldn't have been reasoned with.

One memory of how rotten I was to my Mum came to mind recently, perhaps because it involves my sister and she's been on my mind a lot. Mum had a weight problem. She ate her feelings and was also a bored, frustrated person. She laid down on the floor in front of the TV to do exercise. We laughed at her. She said, "One day you two will stop making fun of me." We replied, "Yeah but that won't be today! Not for a long time!". What vile children. I wanted to hurt her. I saw her weight problem as a weakness, her own fault, more proof that she was an idiot like the alienator said. It just showed she had no self control. It proved she was wrong to have left him because she was never fat when she was with him. It all proved he was right and she was wrong.

But let me tell you this: I was NEVER this analytical before and am not so now. I learned to see nuances and meaning and subtetly and hints and to twist reasoning because I was TAUGHT to do so by the alienator. He taught me that dual meanings existed everywhere and in every aspect of my dealings with my mother.

So if she was overweight, it was her own fault for leaving him - just as he had once said the cancer that killed her was her own fault.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Siblings continued

So now I'm trying to work out what motivated my sister. Why is she like this? Through reading and counselling, I've come to believe that my male parent's mother being forced out of the house when he was eleven years old is a defining moment in his life. I strongly believe it has made him what he is. His reactions to upset are those of an eleven year old boy. Ditto his behaviour towards females. He does not know healthy boundaries towards females, nor how to process disagreements.

But her - I don't know what the trigger point in her is. It's going to take time to work out. Our parents' divorce is part of it. Perhaps she was told I was the male parent's favourite? If there was any counter alienation going on, I never knew about it. Indeed, I've mentioned that mum almost never defended herself.

For some reason, she hates me, plain and simple, and always has. For some reason, she feels threatened by me, and yet is as obsessed with me as he was.

She likes to tell stories about me to people, untruths and half truths. She acts like an obsessed alienator. I almost laughed when I realised this. She is like an obsessed alienator - but why? She says she wants no contact with me but spends a long time talking to my ex, fishing for information about me.

If you have any ideas, please speak up. It won't help me to resolve anything because she wishes I were dead; it will just be good to know. Once I know reasons, I'm capable of processing things and putting them behind me. I have had to resign myself to never seeing her or her kids again. I have money put aside in my will for them. I can't write to them because I'm not allowed to know where they live. I had to give up trying to reconcile with her a few years ago, you know. I couldn't cope with the upset anymore. It's so distressing even now, to know that she wishes I didn't exist and that we can't see her children, my mother's grandchildren. It breaks my heart. I was distraught when I was told about her dealings with my ex last weekend - clearly she is thinking about me.

I'm not a terrible person! I don't deserve this!! I don't deserve to be abandoned by the two of them when I have done nothing wrong! I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG!!!! I have tried to be there for them both and have put up with an awful lot, including inappropriate behaviours from him, and downright lies from the pair of them, and when I said "No more", I'm cast aside. I have never lied about them or cut them off. I tried to maintain relationships that anyone can see were essentially unhealthy by reading this blog, but this situation tears me up. I want to see my sister and I wish I had a healthy-minded father. My mother is dead. I feel like an orphan.


I have two brothers and one sister. My brothers live close by and we see each other often. They're cool and we all get along.

Our sister lives in another country and hates the lot of us, me in particular. She disowned me in 1999 but has never really explained why. I did something to upset her (an email joke that went round the entire family at which everyone but her laughed, even though the joke wasn't directed at her personally. An odd situation that no one else has ever mentioned being upset about). I apologised immediately and three times. Our male parent told her I hadn't meant anything dreadful but she was furious and sent several emails to me with awful things in them. I responded in kind, defending myself - I thought - articulately but assertively. I hadn't meant to cause any problems and apologized - but she didn't want to forgive. She told me never to contact her again. I didn't really believe her at the time, I must admit. I did not believe that three years after we'd lost our mother, she would purposefully cut me and my offspring out of her life, thereby cutting her own offspring out of ours. Our kids don't have any other cousins.

I honestly didn't believe she meant it - but she did. She never contacted us after that, despite my 8 year old offspring calling her now and then. We wrote to her kids, I begged her in writing to let me have contact with my nieces. I begged her to help me when my ex left. My offspring called and asked for more contact. Nothing happened.

The male parent and I were still in touch at the time and he passed on snippets to me. I'd ask him WHY she had done this. He continually said "I don't really know. She said you embarrassed her in front of the cousins in America" - which was in 1987, an event I don't remember, and he couldn't furnish any further information on. "She just says your behaviour to her is typical". "Typical of what? What does she mean?" I'd ask. "I don't really know," he'd answer. He seemed as confused as me because he could NEVER tell me why she'd done it. He actually agreed with me that it was a hard thing to do after the death of our mother. As I've said in this blog, I'd never cut anyone out of my life like that. "I know you wouldn't," he said. I couldn't believe she would do something SO hurtful for SO SO SO many people - she hurt my offspring, her own, me, our brothers, even the male parent because, git that he was, it meant he could never have all his grandchildren together. I did not understand it.

She told him I was a bitch and a slut, that I was evil, that I'd done terrible things to her, that I'd tried to steal her boyfriend (see below). She told me I was never going to have contact with her kids again. I passed this on to our male parent: "She brought the kids into it -", I began. "She said you did," he told me quickly. That confused me - because I geniunely hadn't. I was trying to keep things together. Suddenly, the sister she had called on a day basis had gone from being her best friend to her worst enemy. I was selfish. I let other people clean up my messes. I was a slut. I had barged into her territory (I had moved into our male parent's house where she was living). I was a slut (incidentally, I was NOT!). He spent a lot of time passing things on to me, snippets of what she'd said but never giving a concrete explanation. I asked him why he wasn't intervening. He said "It's up to her". I asked him if he believed I'd do the terrible things she said I'd done. "Well, no," he said. "Did you tell her that?" "Well, no."

Years before, she had said I was after her boyfriend. That one came out of nowhere and I could not understand where she had got this from. He and I had been friends, yes, civil - for her sake. Nothing else. We had never been alone together. I felt she had gone too far so one day I went to her house to speak to her about it. She said my behaviour was a "bit suspicious". I asked her to explain. "Well, you came round here on a Tuesday afternoon because you knew that was when he has his bath". !!!!! Do I need to defend that one?! "You got your t**s out for him when we were having dinner at your house." I couldn't even remember anything like that happening - until weeks later I remembered I had indeed bent over in front of him to pick something up - but I had grabbed my top and held it closed. She chose to see things another way. I mentioned this to male parent. "She wears her heart on her sleeve," he said. He said he didn't believe her.

Maybe it was wedding hysteria because she got married that year. She decided that I would be at the bottom table, far away from her and even my own offspring. I was to be at the table with guests like my own ex, people who had to be invited for propriety's sake. Kudos to the man, but our male parent flipped his lid.

Go back in time again: she was the quintessential little sister and loved to tell tales and get me in trouble. With our mother, given the fraught relationship we had, she was believed quite often. My sister lied frequently and maliciously because she knew she would be believed. I lost possessions because she said they were hers - even things I'd bought myself. I lost skin in beatings because she told our mother I'd hit her. I lost credibility because mother never believed me unless a third party stepped in - which, for example, our grandmother and stepfather often did on my behalf. The male parent did not allow her to tell tales on me, something which was a relief, I must admit. Despite the torment of his torrents against our mother, he never let that girl torture me at his house the way she did at home. I won't deny retaliating, although I did not hit her. I yelled at her a lot, just as much as she yelled at me.

Back to the wedding: he felt she was up to her old tricks. As he was paying for the wedding, they arranged a meeting to discuss costs and seating etc. That same evening he turned up early at my home very angry. He had walked out of her house. He threw the seating plan down on my table and said "Look at it. Look where she's put you!". I was hurt and embarrassed that she would want to publically humiliate me. I'd rather not have gone that have put up with that. He said, "I told her that she was going to have you as chief bridesmaid AND at the top table or I wouldn't pay for the bloody wedding. She's not doing that." Looking back, perhaps it wasn't the best way of maintaining a relationship between his daughters as in her position I'd have been furious BUT she was using me to make a public statement (but choosing only my friend and me to accompany her on her hen night says something else, doesn't it?).

In public and in front of the family, she wanted to humiliate me - but when no one else was around, she wanted me there.

She had our mother's full attention throughout our entire childhood. I used to think it was blatant favouritism because I was the unwanted, ugly, unloved child. She is very like our mother in appearance. People have always assumed that meant her character was like Mum's too, and that because I resembled our male parent, my character was like his. Whatever the reason, she had mum's attention - I resented it. Of course! I wanted some attention, not all of it, but I didn't want to be left out. I never received the love my sister did from our mum BUT I was the target of the alienator, not her. He didn't want me to receive love from mum because that would prove him wrong, wouldn't it? He wanted me angry so that no love could find its way to me, so that - as happened - she wouldn't want to be around me because I was such trouble, so difficult, such a faultfinder, so critical, so much his child.

The alienator told me that I was not loved because I was like him. "She loves your sister because they are alike, but I'm not like that. I love you both the same. I don't have favourites. I'm not like your mum. She's mean and cruel. A real parent wouldn't show favourites. She's stupid. She doesn't know how to parent."

Fast forward to now: I, the child who was supposedly like him, has not alienated anyone nor disowned them. She has. She disowned him too, for years. I warned him that she'd make him choose between us because she needs to be the most important child: it happened. It didn't surprise me but it surprised him. She cursed at him and put the phone down on him. What DID surprise me, thought, was his reaction. He has always portrayed himself as a calm and reasonable person. That's his "image" - unless he gets angry and then the rants start. When my sister disowned him, this new person emerged. It was new to me but clearly was a hidden pre-existing part of his character. He began to badmouth my sister. He said AWFUL things about her, including that she "has a nasty streak like her mother". All of a sudden she was a devil. I can't stress this enough: the change in his attitude towards her was IMMEDIATE.

But then, after he disowned me in March of 2005, my uncle said things were "defrosting" between them. Am I wrong to be suspicious? What I believe happened was that something else was going on in the background - his partner kept in touch with my sister via text message and suddenly I'm out, she's in. I think she got what she wanted: she made him choose and he chose her. For what reason, I don't know. She has double the number of kids I do. Maybe that's it. Beats the hell out of me.

And then we're back to where we started: a man who had built up an image of being a calm and reasonable person disowns his eldest daughter via an email filled with filthy abuse and mockery of her mother's death, using such vile words that my ex couldn't believe it was his ex-father in law.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

The lie perpetuated

My (also) alienated sister recently chased down my ex on Facebook and, from what he said, pretty much put him on the spot and started a webcam conversation with him. His poor wife was in the room too. He told our offspring who told me. He said he felt like he was betraying me by talking to someone who had disowned me and treated so badly. He actually said "If you don't want me to talk to her, I won't" (despite us having had a big, nasty argument the same day). I wouldn't and can't tell anyone what to do - but on my offspring's behalf, I also mentioned that my sister not only disowned me nine years ago but also our mutual child. He didn't realise this - and promptly knocked her off his MSN friends list.

We had a long talk during which he told me some interesting things. This woman seems obsessed with me, although she disowned me (just like the male parent did). My ex rightly did not want to be involved in issues that are no longer his, so kept changing the subject away from me - but she kept talking about me. SHE disowned me, doesn't want anything to do with me, ignored three apologies from me for any hurt she felt I had caused, has NEVER called my offspring in all these years, has made no contact with us at all, even goes so far as to tell relatives that they're not to give me her address or email address (and has never actually given me a reason for this disowning) - and yet cannot stop talking about me. The ex thought it was odd and so do I. Her words: "My sister doesn't understand me" and "I can't get on with my sister".

What does any of this mean?! SHE didn't want me in her life, she has abandoned my offspring and me and yet talked about me incessantly, so much so that my ex said "I felt like she was pumping me for information".

What's this all about?!

Incidentally, the subject title for this email relates to her telling my ex that I had disowned the male parent - which, as I've said more than once, is not true. His words: "I'm cutting you off!". I would never disown anyone. Her recounting this means that he is still telling this story. Liar!

Pity fest


I'm sorry I haven't responded to any of you over the last couple of weeks. I HAVE read your comments etc but have tried to keep my self-pity to myself for the moment as it's not pretty. I can't stand whiners so I'm keeping my whiny self out of everyone's way as much as possible until this passes - because it will. I'm really not being rude or avoiding or ignoring you. I just don't want to share the misery :>>>

Saturday, 9 February 2008

"She doesn't love you because you're like me"

"Mummy doesn't love us anymore."

"Why doesn't she love me?"
"Because you're like me ... because you're on my side ... because you're cleverer than she is ... because she's crazy, she's a nutter ... because you look like me ..."

My stepdad even chimed in once "You look like your dad and it hurts me".

Monday, 4 February 2008

I feel absolutely empty and have done for days and days. I'm cancelling my counselling session this week because it's pointless. I cannot tell the counsellor everything I think and feel and remember, just scratch the surface. I can't tell her, for example, that when I was 20, I felt I should have my eldest offspring. I just felt I should and that was that, never mind that I was a student and abroad and unmarried. Looking back, I realised yesterday that had I not had that offspring, I would be dead by now. I don't know how I would have died but suicide isn't to be counted out, purely because I felt so incredibly and utterley WORTHLESS.

That man made me believe I was worthless to my mother. He also made me believe that if I didn't do or say or think exactly as he did, I was worthless to him too.

So today I feel worthless and useless and like none of this will ever end. I'm not going anywhere: my little family and I are fine, but I will never tell the offspring these things. They will never know that the only reason I didn't drink myself or smoke myself to death ten years ago was because of them. I have given up trying to remove the results of Parental Alienation from my brain because it's tiring and hard and never seems to end.

I said a while ago that I am redefining everything. This now extends to my future life. I am planning a different life to encompass the years beyond my children being at home. I have a new career planned which will probably consume my life because it's a subject that interests me greatly.

I cannot get over my mother being dead. I cannot get over him deliberately hurting me so much. SO MUCH. I can't bear any of it. I haven't smoked or drunk alcohol or coffee for 3.5 years but I'm considering resuming all three. I didn't feel pain like this when I smoked ten cigarettes a day or drank four cups of coffee.

Sleep - still bad, still nightmares. I feel for Britney. I hope she gets well. I hope she sleeps a lot over the next two weeks, although her loss is giving her nightmares too.

I thought realising my mother loved me would be the beginning of a new mindset or a new start to my life. It hasn't been. I feel the most incredible loss not just for my mum but also what should have been.

If I saw that man today, I'd punch his lights out. I want to hurt him so badly, I feel like a criminal - and I don't even use smacks to punish my offspring.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

My childhood thoughts on the legal system and also the silent parent

This is a response I gave to an email over Christmas from someone requesting my thoughts about their Parental Alienation situation. I've reread it today and noticed things that I haven't yet posted on here:

I'm not a psychologist or a professional at anything other than being a Mum. I can only speak from my own experience but I'm MORE than happy to try and help.

The mom involved sounds really insecure and terrified of losing her kids but she's going to make it happen all by herself, from what I can see. She must be hurting a lot to behave the way she does.

However, this doesn't make it right - and telling YOU that you can't tell that boy that you love him is ahborrent and wrong. When I was a child, I thought it was one of the greatest things in the world when my stepdad said he loved me/liked me/approved of me in any way at all. I loved it. I never mentioned it to my male parent because ... well, you sound like you know exactly what would happen. I was so unsettled and unsure of myself that to hear that someone loved me was a miracle. Even just a laugh after a silly joke, a pat on the back and "You're a great kid!" did me good.

Wow. I'm trying to put myself in my 13 year old brain. I remember any mention of lawyers and courts terrified me, literally. I didn't understand them and all they brought to my mind was prison. I didn't want anyone to go to prison. Also, the word "fight", as in "fighting in court" horrified me. I had visions of people beating each other up - and again prison. Every time my male parent mentioned courts and lawyers, my stomach turned over and into knots. He liked to talk about legal processes and the care system for kids and so on - hideous stuff for a child. I had visions of being taken from my home and being in a children's home without any of my family and possessions. I STILL to this day have nightmares about the law courts getting involved in my life because of what someone else has said about me and taking my kids off me - and feeling powerless because no one is listening to me. It's never happened of course and never will, but even before I had kids I had nightmares about being in prison and kept away from my brothers (who I adore).

I think the biggest issue for me at 13 was that I felt that no one was listening to me. The male parent didn't listen to the positive things I said about my mum and her family - he'd yell at me that none of it was real, that they were evil homewreckers etc etc. Mum didn't listen to the things I said about him because he was a liar and she knew it (but I didn't!). I didn't know how to tell her how much stress I felt. I was tense all the time - and snappy and nervous and grumpy. I was so SCARED all the time. I didn't know who to trust either. He was untrustworthy because he wanted to take me from my home and my brothers and my friends whether I liked it or not, and yet she was untrustworthy because he had told me all those terrible things about her that made her untrustworthy in my eyes. My stepfather once took me out in the car to a shop and back again. It wasn't a long trip. He said to me, "What's wrong?!". They knew something was wrong - and I would have told him every single thing if that car trip had been longer because before we knew it, we were home again. I tried to tell my school teachers, but my sentence, "My dad is always moaning at me" just seemed like a whiny kid. They didn't know it meant so much more. Also, because the alienator lied so much and fed me with so many lies, my credibility was severely damaged - another reason no one listened to me because they didn't realise that I wasn't lying - as far as I was concerned. I was spouting his lies.

Household rules and chores - if someone had asked me to make a rota for the chores and to chair a meeting about houserules, I would have shut right up! If I'd made the rules jointly with everyone else (and received explanations for curfew that made sense like, "If you're late, I start panicking like you wouldn't believe that you've been run over or kidnapped or fell and hit your head", instead of "Because I said so", (my own mother's personal favourite and, I admit, sometimes mine :>)), then I'd have had nothing to complain about. I felt SO pulled by what was happening that I felt powerless. I had no control over anything, not even my own mind so when I was given rules, I instinctively reacted negatively because my little brain didn't want to cope with anymore pressure.

One sentence that I wish I'd known to say when I was his age, something I would have said with the alienator during a quiet, calm, good moment: "I love both my parents."

You asked about defending yourselves and avoiding calling her a liar. It did me no good whatsoever that my mother never defended herself - it backed up and supported everything that he said about her. In her way, she was hoping it would end and also trying to be dignified, and, just like you, trying to keep things pleasant. However, there were odd occasions when she said little things that brought me up short and made me stop and think. For example, he swears that he always got up with me in the night when I was a baby. I repeated that more than once to her and eventually she said, "But I breastfed you so that can't be true, can it?" That was it: no argument, no raised voice, just a single little sentence that stopped me. It was completely true and completely logical. I remember going back to him with that information to see what he would say: he covered his tracks by spluttering, "Well ... um ... well, I carried you to her from your crib". I noticed his discomfort. However, one sentence wasn't enough and it was soon snowed under by everything else he said.

I WANTED her to defend herself and tell me he was lying or wrong. I really did. I didn't want the things he said to be true. I didn't want any more tension or yelling or anger, but I didn't want her to stay silent. I didn't want to think she didn't love me or that she loved my sister more - because I got that stuff too. It made me so jealous of my sister. I had such a hard time with their relationship. I wanted the same relationship.

I also should have had counselling because counselling has now been able to free me from all that horror. A third party telling him to believe in his own instincts could make all the difference. Also, being told that your step son's mum is angry because she loves him and is scared of losing him might help. Not sure.

Wow, I've gone on a bit. I hope something here helps you. Please do come back to me if you need to. I'm happy to help because, as this loooong email shows, it's a subject I'm passionate about!!!! You know what will work for you and your family so if none of this is any good, let me know and I'll have another think. I won't be offended!