The first rule in any parenting-after-divorce guidebook or counseling is to love your child more than you hate your ex. No bad-mouthing is a fundamental guideline.
When Sam suggested that Missy read some of the same post-divorce parenting guides he was reading, she told him. “I don’t need any books. I’m his MOTHER.”
Missy did not know, or chose not to follow, the no bad-mouthing golden rule, and she called Sam obscene names. Most of the time, Zack was within earshot.
Zack, as a toddler, repeatedly told Sam, “Mommy’s in charge.”
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”
From the poem “The Mourning Bride” by William Congreve
Studies show that women bully differently. Research also indicates that one tactic in ugly custody battles is falsely alleging abuse.
Zack was with his dad, Sam, at Sam’s parents’ house. Missy and her parents, the Smiths, came to pick up Zack. Sam and his mom watched them leave from an upstairs window. As soon as Zack was inside the car, Missy and the Smiths stripped him and examined his little body, presumably to look for bruises. There weren’t any. But if they would have found some? Would they have been GLAD? Glad to be able to shout that accusation at Sam? But wait, that would mean Zack had been HURT. But they would be happy because they would “win?”
The pattern begins.
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?