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!

Friday, 25 January 2008

Lies and control

These two subjects are going around my head this week, along with many tears of grief.

The male parent said Mum didn't love me. So I'd ask why she didn't just let me live with him then. He said it was because she wanted to control me.

I believed it. I believed pretty much everything he said for years because he'd got in there first and she never defended herself (but she also didn't understand or know what was happenening, so she didn't know that she SHOULD have defended herself or that there was even anything to defend herself against). Every time she told me off - which is what happens to all kids! - her reprimands bounced off a mind that had been filled with hate: hate from her towards me, hate towards her from him via me, hate for myself because I was so hideous my mother didn't love me. I was so angry and thus I was horrible.

But his arguments were specious, though I didn't understand. I accepted what he said because I trusted him. Now, today, I can't remember why I trusted him, but as a seven year old I did. It made no sense to me that she kept me despite not wanting me, so I asked him about this often. He continually said she only wanted me so she could control me, that she wanted control over my sister and me and him, that she just wanted power and control. It made no sense whatsoever but it was all I had to go on.

What an ugly, damaging thing to tell your own child: that your other parent is capable of evil and that they actually want to inflict that evil on you. There is no love in this.

I understood so little, almost nothing. My mind was blank and innocent until it was filled with the anger, hatred and bitterness of a grown man.

Sunday, 13 January 2008


Am exhibiting old but familiar signs of real stress at the moment and have been for about a week. I'm having sleep trouble again and skin issues. I'm losing interest in sleeping - before, I had no trouble actually going to sleep, just trouble staying asleep. I don't go to bed until I can't stay awake any longer. I'm out of my normal routine - but I've had three weeks off over Christmas - and will really only get back into my normal routine from tomorrow onwards.

I *think* it's grief surfacing, to be honest, real nasty down and dirty honest grief for my parent. Normally I go to church on a Sunday but this morning offspring came in to wake me up - and I said "I'm not going!" and rolled over. The thought of getting out of bed and even of going to church made me want to cry. I just wanted to cry for mum all day.

Instead I've done classic avoidance stuff: reading Michael Crichton and surfing the Net. I can't bear to have a quiet moment.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Thanks to Louise U

I have been wishing there was some way I could know how my Mum would feel if she knew how I feel at the moment - how sorry I am for being such a (manipulated and abused) little git to her. I have a faith, as I've mentioned before, and I have been praying for weeks for some kind of experience or answer or even a dream (well, Joseph had them!) to let me know how she feels right now (because life goes on after death). Nothing was happening. I felt like I was in limbo.

And then Louise posted this.

Louise said...
I am so sorry for what you are feeling, I also feel those feelings often.

I am not only analienated mother, I was an alienated child as well.

It took me until I began going through it with my children to figure it all out.

My target parent is also in a better place without my having cleared things up before it was to late.

I know he looks down on me and forgives me as your Mum forgives you, it wasn't our fault.

Just as I forgive my children, it isn't their fault, how could I want for them to suffer grief for the way they treat me?

I can't.

31 December 2007 01:07

Louise, you answered my prayer. I've read your blogs too and I've appreciated all your comments on mine but what you said really, really struck a chord with me. I know that this is how I'd feel if I were in my Mum's position, and I feel certain that this is how she would feel too. THANK YOU so much. It took me a few days to realise this. I was actually with my counsellor when it hit me. THANK YOU. You've set my mind at rest.