It’s time to tell the stories

Ten years ago there was a divorce. It was nasty. There was a small child and a conservative court. The mother was granted full custody. The father was devastated.

He was bullied by his wife during their brief marriage and he knew the bullying would intensify in the empowered hands of his ex-wife. She held the perfect weapon. Their son.

A Google search for “parental alienation” leads mostly to psychologist and attorney sites.  These sites are very informative but do not tell the stories. There are a few other voices out there — both targeted parents and adult survivors of PA. This blog will add a voice to the heartbroken but determined choir. Is anybody listening?

Present – August 16, 2017

…[O]nce you become the target of a Vindictive Narcissist, she will try to destroy you. You may have challenged her superior status in some way you don’t even recognize, and as a result, she needs to prove you the ultimate loser by destroying you. She’ll talk trash about you to friends and family. (CHECK) She might try to get you fired. (CHECK) If she is your ex-wife, she might try to turn your children against you and spend years tying you up in family court. (CHECK).

From: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shame/201509/5-types-extreme-narcissists-and-how-deal-them (CHECKs are this author’s)

Three updates.

  1. Sam and Melanie, Zack’s dad and stepmom, met with a counselor at Zack’s new school to share information and concern about Zack and this summer’s contact denial as well as the long-term impacts of alienation. The counselor was guardedly supportive and said she would talk to Zack and invite him to join a group of students who meet because of family issues. When Melanie asked if Missy could object to Zack’s involvement and ultimately forbid it, the counselor said that Missy does have the final say (see “Mommy’s in charge,” in Story #2). The counselor went on to say that if his mother recognizes that Zack is negatively impacted by the custody drama, surely she would agree to Zack getting some support. Based on nearly all of Missy’s past predictable behavior, she will not only object, but she will quickly find a way to make Sam pay (wielding Zack) for talking with the counselor which she will see as a violation of her authority. Stay tuned.
  2. Today was the “pre-trial” in county court (the same backward county court system that gave Missy full custody ten years ago). Again, stay tuned.
  3. Now that the school year has begun, the regular weekly parenting schedule should resume. Sam called Zack and Zack actually answered and spoke to him. Zack not only sounded willing to ride the bus to his Dad’s on their established day, but Zack told Sam that he had been talking to a neighbor friend (a neighbor when Zack is at his Dad’s) about playing together. The call ended with Zack saying he “might come,” and he would let Sam know ASAP. Almost immediately after they hung up, Sam received a text from Zack saying he would not be riding the bus home to his Dad’s on Wednesday (today). A conclusion could be drawn that either Missy intervened or Zack is unwilling to be dismissive voice-to-voice, but can reject Sam comfortably via text.

Present – August 10

From: https://www.avoiceformen.com/men/fathers/the-impact-of-parental-alienation-on-children/

Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child; it has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child.

What began as Zack expressing that he’s not UNcomfortable as his Dad’s, but he’s just MORE comfortable at his Mom’s therefore he wanted to spend Memorial Day weekend with her… has turned into an entire summer of contact denial. Zack’s communication with his Dad has deteriorated. Sam has received fewer and more hostile texts from 12 year old Zack as the summer has progressed. Missy, in rare exchanges with Sam, repeats that she is respecting Zack’s feelings, and that he is old enough to choose to not see his father. As school begins, the regular parenting schedule should resume, but Sam has received no information from Missy or the school district regarding Zack’s transportation plan to and from Sam’s house on what should be their evenings and mornings together.

Meanwhile, no strides have been made in court. Missy received papers in early July regarding the contact denial (which elicited an angry text from Zack to Sam about Zack’s outrage that Sam has “put him in this position”). Missy’s attorney filed for, and won, a continuance. A meeting between attorneys and court officials is finally due to happen on the same week that school begins. Summer 2017 has been an unequivocal loss for Sam and Zack and the entire side of the family that Zack, with Missy’s blessing, has rejected.

Arrogance. Check.

Story #13

From http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20025568

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions.

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
Having a sense of entitlement
Taking advantage of others to get what you want
Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

Sam went to pick up Zack, and Missy answered the door to tell Sam that Zack was at his Smith grandparents’ house and didn’t want to be with Sam. Sam, again, stressed that Zack’s time with his father’s side of the family is just as important. Missy said, again, that she was simply respecting her 12 year old son’s choice. When Missy was asked about her family helping keep Zack away from Sam (see Story #7 “Beach Vacations” regarding narcissistic alienators’ mob tactics), she said her family was only, “supporting Zack.” Missy was then asked directly, “Do you think your family is better than our family?” Her response was, “Well LOOK at your family.” Which is a definitive, “yes.”

10 and 2

Story #12

From: http://warshak.com/blog/category/overcoming-parental-alienation/
Any aggression that you show, either verbal or physical, will merely play into the hands of your ex. Your behavior will be taken out of context, blown out of proportion, and then used to justify the children’s rejection.

There are countless stories and articles about African American parents who have “the talk” with their children about what to do if they get pulled over by the police. One of the things usually mentioned is the driver keeping their hands on the wheel at the 10 and 2 clock position. And sometimes it still doesn’t matter. Injustice prevails. Alienated dads like Sam grit their teeth and keep their hands at 10 and 2, and it makes no difference. These fathers follow all the rules — don’t get angry, show up even when they know they’ll be rejected, be patient and hope for an enlightened attorney/therapist/judge, etc. Injustice prevails again and again and again. Ex-wives continue to lie and win custody in court. Children become so entrenched in the alienator’s world that re-connecting seems impossible. It’s been 53 years since the US Civil Rights Act was signed, and discrimination remains rampant. Fathers, stepmoms, grandparents, and the CHILDREN suffer at the hands of empowered toxic Narcissists, and are nowhere close to organizing sit-ins, marches, and freedom riders. We scream our little blogs out to 2 or 3 readers and hope it’s a start for small victories and eventual justice. Will someone deliver an “I Have a Dream” speech for alienated families soon? Or ever? Who will listen?

Meanwhile Sam keeps his fists locked at 10 and 2.

Another Wicked Stepmother story

Story #11

When Zack was 7, his transition anxiety was especially apparent. Missy blamed Sam, as always, even though Sam assured her Zack calmed down as soon as they left her driveway. Missy would sometimes call Sam’s cell phone when she knew he was on his way to pick up Zack. She would put Zack on the phone to tell Sam that didn’t want to go to his Dad’s house. When Sam asked Zack why, Zack usually could not come up with an answer. On one occasion though, 7 year old Zack cited his reason for rejecting his time at his Dad’s house as not wanting Melanie, Sam’s girlfriend, to hug him anymore. Sam asked why and Zack replied, “She’s not my real family.” Sam and Melanie married soon after, but the damage was done. Melanie was careful not to cross any lines that Zack might interpret (and report to Missy) as too affectionate. And Zack was empowered to dismiss Melanie as a parent.

Breaking Point

From: https://lost-dad.com/2017/06/29/a-living-death/

In a sense, there is an almost permanent blunt pain. Every day I think of my children and what they might be doing, other days my mind drifts off thinking about what could have been.

I remember the dark days as I …  realised that my relationship with my children was being destroyed before my very eyes. Hardly anyone believed me. They could not understand [that] the society we live in would allow something like this to happen in plain sight, that parents are capable of such evil – ‘I must be exaggerating’ I saw written on their faces. Those that did believe me became my lifeline with the real world. They were and still are always there, ready to pick up the telephone and just talk.

 

First, thank you for reading. Whether you are a personal connection or a Twitter follower or if you found the blog following a tag, thank you. I am breaking character as the author of these stories to speak directly. I don’t care if it’s called parental alienation or battling with a narcissistic ex or AB-PA as a DSM-5 diagnosis or whatever terms are used today to describe an ex-spouse maliciously manipulating your child’s feelings against you.

Living like this is agony.

Please try to imagine that YOUR child runs away, is kidnapped or dies. Feel that nauseating pain and gaping emptiness. In the case of the first two, imagine that the police do nothing. You beg for law enforcement to search and they are passive. You obsess about your child’s location and well-being. You are in the dark and helpless. In the case of death, imagine that your child passes away and no one shows up to mourn with you. Or someone tells you to just move on. You are heartbroken and even more alone.

Imagine, in any lost child scenario, how it feels to walk past their empty bedroom every day. Imagine being surrounded by family photos showing you with your smiling child. Imagine the pang when you see a parent and child laughing together at the grocery store or riding bikes in the neighborhood. Imagine your mind completing the phrase, “It’s X’o’clock, do you know where your children are?” every time you see a clock. And your answer is always no. Imagine all the tiny things that remind you of a past shared routine or moment — buttering triangular toast, hearing a certain song, or seeing his favorite Gatorade in the back of the fridge, for example — and feel the loss hit again and again.

The father who wrote the blog entry which is quoted at the beginning of this post says that people think he’s sometimes exaggerating the alienating parent’s behavior and the resulting anguish. Yes, I’ve been told that, too. But if you truly imagined yourself and your lost child in any of the scenarios described above and in the stories on this blog, do you think your trauma can be understated?

Add to all of this the fact that someone is vindictively and successfully creating this torment. The lost child is living minutes away but is unreachable. The suicide rates of alienated parents are high and no wonder.

Please BELIEVE and support any devoted parent you know who is being eviscerated by a toxic ex-spouse who (empowered by an ignorant legal system) is striving for and/or succeeding in a rejection campaign against them.

Present – July 19

From: http://www.breakthroughparenting.com/PAS.htm

By the time all of the evaluations are in place and the case is heard by the court, considerable damage has been done to the child. It is an irony that the very people we turn to for help in such a difficult situation can often be those who most contribute to allowing the on-going abuse and neglect of the child to continue.

Sam is living his nightmare. Time with Zack has been, and will likely to continue to be, completely lost. Sam continues to go to Missy’s to pick up Zack according to the original summer schedule. Each time, contact is denied and Sam files a police report. The police take no action. Sam did finally receive a court date, but it’s in mid-August when school begins, so the academic year will probably start with ongoing contact denial.

Do the Math

From: http://www.divorceandchildren.com/parent-alienation-and-divorce

Parent alienation is a dynamic where a child is significantly influenced by one parent (typically referred to the “favored” parent) to completely reject the other parent (often known as the “unfavored” parent). Children are literally placed in a situation where they must view one parent as all bad and one parent as all good. This dynamic leaves no space for a child to love both parents. Given that children view themselves as half Mom and half Dad, the end result is that the child is forced to deny or reject a significant part of themselves.

Story #10

Sam talked with Missy and stressed that it’s important for Zack to be with both sides of his family because he is half Baker and half Smith. Missy told Sam he was wrong. She said Zack is clearly “90% Smith and 10% Baker.”

Present – Mid July

From http://www.jmichaelbone.com/blog1/the-eight-symptoms-of-parental-alienation-independent-thinker-phenomenon

The Independent Thinker Phenomenon, is a symptom that can be easily missed, or perhaps given less significance than it deserves. The Independent Thinker Phenomenon refers to the consistent behavior seen in alienated children where they claim that their resistance to seeing the unfavored or targeted parent derives from their own independent thought and is not the result of the other parent’s influence.

Contact denial (which began in May) continues. Missy has finally been served with papers from Sam’s attorney which address the contact denial (as contempt of court), request a change in custody to 50/50 and mandatory counseling for Zack. Sam did not hear from Missy regarding her receiving the papers but instead received angry texts from 12 year old Zack expressing his outrage about court involvement and accusations that Sam is not listening to him. Zack repeatedly stresses that his mother is not at fault and is not telling him what to say – she is only respecting Zack’s feelings.

Becoming invisible

Story #9

When Missy and Sam’s breakup began, Sam’s first conversation with his attorney focused on how he could safeguard his relationship with his son. Sam’s lawyer advised him to stay in the house so Missy couldn’t claim abandonment (she did anyway). During this time of traumatic coexistence in their house, Missy screamed at Sam when baby Zack called for his Daddy, “I’m going to blindfold him so he can’t see you.” This threat has been methodically executed for ten years.