Letter to the grandparents

This email was sent from Melanie to the Grandparents on September 26

Sam had his first (only?) meeting yesterday with the court appointed guardian ad litem. He is not confident that the meeting went well. Unfortunately the GAL had spoken with Missy already, so Sam spent most of their meeting defending himself against her accusations. Without making this email 10 miles long with the details, I’ll get to the gist.

Missy’s mindset has always been that She = Home, and Zack visits Sam. Therefore if Sam is elsewhere, Zack should be with Missy (not us). I have countless arguments here, but this is a big sticking point for Missy and for the GAL. Sam is being accused of “wasting two years” of his time with Zack because he took college classes. I could explode. Sam was HEARTBROKEN as well as ANGRY when a semester’s required classes were only offered on Wednesdays (which did not happen EVERY semester). If Missy was taking classes to extend her education and Zack was with Stepdad or the Smiths, would this be an issue at all?? Sam has always gone to great lengths to avoid any work commitments that fall on Zack days, but it does sometimes happen.  I’m struggling with keeping this brief…

Parts of this specific accusation: 1) Sam is inflexible 2) Sam is not devoted to Zack 3) Zack’s time with his stepmother or grandparents doesn’t “count”

Missy’s definition of “inflexible,” is basically — not her way. Sam is seen as inflexible if he says no to Zack going to an event with her or one of her friend’s kids during our time. She has always been brilliant at putting Sam in these situations. (See Story #6 “In the NO”) We have so little time with Zack that we want to maximize it and that sometimes means making plans to be with you because when else would you see him?! And so Zack (and Missy) don’t get what they want = Sam is inflexible. Sam explained that these last two years allowed him to see Zack off to the school bus in the mornings, which never would have happened if he had his traditional work schedule. The GAL was not impressed with this. Clearly she does not understand how much Sam cherishes the small moments that he has with Zack — little daily routines that seem meaningless if you can have them every day, but Sam has been robbed of most of these kinds of simple times with Zack because of the 2007 custody decision. (Remember, Missy said THIS SUMMER that she knows Zack is 90% Smith and 10% Baker. She said this when talking to Sam AND Zack. Don’t underestimate the power of her stating this as fact.)

If a “flexible” schedule is mandated by the court, that will translate into Sam begging for Zack while Mom & the Smiths always have a better offer. Unfortunately the schedule HAS to be black and white in our situation because we have ten years of proof that “flexible,” does not work. If we had more time with Zack, then there would be more time with extended family AND time with his friends originating out of OUR house — again not something to take lightly. Missy has ALL the connections with Zack’s friends’ families, so we seem like an obstacle rather than a vehicle for Zack’s friendships.

Sam and I agree that this is likely the final battle — if Missy “wins,” we will see very little of Zack from now on.

We’ve all lived with the situation of Missy’s dominance for over 10 years. It is impossible to condense our stories in one letter or email, but I’m asking you to consider sending the GAL a letter or email to share your thoughts. Say whatever you want, you don’t have to address the specific accusations above. Anything you say on Sam and Zack’s behalf is welcome. It may be our last chance to say anything to try to save Zack’s Baker family connection.

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167 Red Flags

At a BrainSyntax.com community site, contributors listed 167 “red flag” alienating behaviors. The arbitrary number 10 of 167 was given as an indicator that an ex-partner can be defined as an alienator. Missy’s red flag number, based on recorded events and actual quotes from Missy and Zack, is FORTY-THREE. Some of these descriptions mirror Sam’s experiences word-for-word. 

#11 “Refusing to supply or keep the parent in the loop on medical issues, educational issues, [and other] events pertaining to the child.”
#99 “Told the child that the other parent does not love him or her [and] that the other parent never wanted the child to be born.” (See Story 1 ½ “Early Red Flag”)

The number of Missy’s red flags that have not been directly witnessed but are likely based on observation of Zack’s behaviors and Missy’s swift attacks soon after Zack returned to her house is TWENTY-SEVEN.
#7 “Grilling the children about their [time with other parent], asking the children to spy or collect evidence.”
#106 “Alienator denigrates all statements, answers, discipline, and activities of the [targeted parent].”

red flags
SEVENTY, Missy’s grand total of red flags, should convince someone other than Sam and his family that there is a significant problem that needs to be addressed. SEVENTY represents a barrage of attacks in ten years, and that number increases significantly when the repetition of specific behaviors is factored in.

 

Schooled by a Narcissist

Source: Apple Dictionary/Thesaurus

narcissism
noun
his emotional development was hindered by his mother’s narcissism: vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-centeredness, self-regard, egotism, egoism. ANTONYMS modesty.

Kindergarten through 2nd grade before and after school transitions were very rough for Zack. He was with Missy before, during, and after school, so when Sam entered this mother/son bubble for their father/son time, Zack displayed extreme anxiety at the exchange. Most days, he would be calm and laughing minutes after he and Sam left the parking lot, but nearly every PM pick-up was stressful.

During these years, Sam saw little of Zack’s paperwork or completed schoolwork except for the occasional spelling list, math paper, or drawing Missy would allow Zack to share with his dad. Sam asked Zack once if he had any “important papers,” in his take-home folder. Zack replied, “Mom takes out all my important papers.”

When Zack was in 3rd grade in a new school (not where Missy worked) and Sam and Melanie still lived out of his school district, they, plus Grandma Baker, moved mountains (modified work schedules, missed meetings, etc.) to get to Zack’s school to drop him off and pick him up on Sam’s parenting days. Missy wanted Zack to ride the PM bus to her first, then Sam could pick him up later. Missy also figured that if Sam couldn’t get Zack to school on the one school morning a week they had together, the Wednesday overnight would have to end. Sam had hopes that this school year would be better for Zack, and his stunted independence, without Missy as a daily intermediary. The average mileage on the days that involved BOTH a pick-up and a drop-off was approximately 170 miles round trip. If Zack had sports practices or school activities, that number was higher. Zack, understandably, sometimes complained about all the time spent in the car and likely saw Sam as the reason, even though Missy was the one who chose to move away. During one trip Zack and Melanie were driving home from Zack’s school and saw lots of houses for sale. They started acting like they were choosing one and would comment on the houses’ yards, curb appeal, etc. Zack stopped the game by saying, “It doesn’t really matter what house I’ll like because the girl will pick it anyway.”

That third grade year was a definite improvement, but Sam and Melanie concluded that a move to Zack’s school district, even though it was farther away from both of their jobs, was worth it for their vulnerable family. Zack could have school friends as neighbors at his dad’s, and he could ride the bus every day — sometimes to Mom, sometimes to Dad. Missy resisted again insisting that Zack was better off following the same bus schedule every day. Even though Zack did eventually stick to the alternating bus plan, at the beginning he complained about missing time with his friends on the other bus. A very familiar refrain continued from both mother and son, always with Sam as the cause of Zack’s hardships.

Now, after two years of uneventful and efficient transportation, there is a new school and another conflict, this one the worst so far. Although the bus routes and schedules are nearly the same, after an entire summer of contact denial, Zack has refused to ride the bus to his dad’s house on what should be their time together as a family.

Who can possibly be blind to this pattern of the neverending grasp for control?

 

Evolution of contact denial 2006-2017

Missy said:
You can’t pick him up because…
He doesn’t want to come to your house today because…

“You can’t get the the car seat he needs into your car.” (Sam had already visited the police station to have them check Zack’s car seat safety before Missy said this.)

“He has a fever and wants to be with his mommy.”

“He wants a special day with his Grandpa.”

“Melanie doesn’t even like small children.” (Stepmom Melanie worked at a junior high when Zack was a preschooler.)

“A new bus schedule will confuse him too much.” (This when Zack began 4th grade and Sam & Melanie moved to Zack’s school district over the summer — Missy had moved Zack further away from Sam’s house when Zack began kindergarten.)

“He doesn’t like the food at your house.” (See Story #3 “Food Fight”)

“He’s bored at your house.”

“If he’s not with YOU, he should be with me — not Melanie or your mom.” (This when Sam took grad school classes that were sometimes scheduled on Sam’s parenting days. Sam was upset when these conflicts occurred because he hated missing the time with Zack AND because he predicted Missy would object to Zack being with Melanie and/or the Baker grandparents. He was right.)

“He’ll miss being with his cousins.”

“He wants to be with his friends whose parents are MY friends, so YOU can’t take him to their house.”

“You make him read too much.”

“He just doesn’t want to be with you. I’ve told him someday he’ll be old enough to choose. And you’ll see, he’ll never want to be with you.” (Zack was about 6 or 7 years old when Missy said this to Sam for the first time.)

And this summer, Zack said,

“I’m not UNcomfortable at your house, I’m just MORE comfortable at my mom’s.”

“I can’t believe you’ve put me in this position.”
So Zack is without his father. And Sam is without his son.

And Missy claims innocence.

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.

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 – 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.

Present – First Day of Summer

After almost a month of contact denial at “his choice,” approved by his mom, Zack agreed to go golfing on June 21 with his dad, Sam, only if Sam agreed to take Zack to his mom’s house immediately after. Sam informed both 12 year old Zack and Missy that he intended to follow the parenting schedule which has Zack with Sam for the entire week of June 19-23. Sam said if Zack wanted to leave his dad’s house against the schedule, Missy would have to pick him up. Zack countered he would not golf with his dad if Sam would not agree to take him to Missy’s. Missy said she WOULD come get Zack, but she thought Sam would “use it against her.”