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.