When someone new stops by my blog and follows, I sometimes hop over to find out about them. This happened recently when I had someone visit my blog who is a parent of Parental Alienation (defined here: https://wp.me/p8uhxn-evv.) I’ve posted a few times about this subject and while visiting and reading a number of his blog posts, I began having flashbacks of my own journey. I sometimes hesitate to write about this subject as I want to reach out and educate other people and show support, as so few receive the support and understanding that they need, but at the same time I know I am risking even further alienation from my own two daughters.
…no one can tell another’s truth except for that person…
It is a difficult place to be, but writing helps me; and ultimately, I need to purge my stories and thoughts and feelings. This is my outlet and my stories, and maybe one day they will have the courage to read my stories and know my truth, because no one can tell another’s truth except for that person and I guarantee you that in the case of PA, no one knows the truth except for the person who has been experiencing it. When you are told stories, always remember that one fact. It’s crucial.
The school would only acknowledge the custodial parent.
The person whose blog I was reading was writing about his experience with his children’s schools. Reading his story brought back a dark time for me. I remember calling my children’s schools to be put on the newsletter mailing list so I would know when activities were. I was met with sarcastic attitude and this was a Catholic school. With attitude and tone of voice, I was told that I didn’t matter. The school would only acknowledge the custodial parent. I didn’t stop with one phone call, I made many and I was always made to feel like less than nothing.
When you add that attitude to the emotions of an already distraught parent who is simply trying to stay a part of their children’s lives, the results can be devastating. I sunk into deep depression. I could barely function in my job or my life. I felt I had literally been wiped from my children’s lives and I didn’t know where to turn for help. It was only by the Grace of God that I survived. I look back and think God must have a plan for me because, in all truth, I shouldn’t be here today.
When I did have the opportunity to attend functions, my children were not always happy to see me. I usually sat through programs trying to hold back the tears until I was safely back in my car. Other parents (everybody) who did not know the real truth looked at me with disdain. Some even went so far as to tell me that they took care to involve one of my children in activities, with the underlying being ‘because I had abandoned her’ and then they would turn their backs on me. How do you answer that? And, further more, what would be the point? They believed what they heard. To this day, I rarely go to the town where I used to live. People hang on to stories for a long time.
I continued to attend functions at school although it was difficult for me. When one of my daughters graduated from high school and attended college, I continued to go to concerts. My husband would normally accompany me as I was too afraid to go by myself. I would sit in the audience so proud of my daughter and all that she was accomplishing. But, in the midst of the proudness was the anxiety of hoping she would speak to me afterward. I was constantly on edge; not sure how to act or what to say. Then, after a brief hi/bye, we’d head home. My poor husband then listened to me sniffle and cry in silence the two hours it took to get home, my heart broken. Then, we’d do it all over again for the next concert.
My anxiety slowly took hold…
My anxiety slowly took hold and I became more and more of a homebody. It would be days before I could gather the courage to even think about opening the gates and driving out. I would leave to run errands and after one stop, would turn around and hurry home, not calming down until the gates were safely closed behind me.
My husband had a similar experience with his children’s schools. Each year, I had to call the school and request that he be put on the mailing list. Then, I had to send a check to cover the costs. I might add that this was also a Catholic school. I mention this because one would think that a Catholic school would be more about keeping parents involved than ostracizing a parent simply because of a divorce, or in his case, the ex-spouse spreading lies. I was so frustrated at one point that I threatened to take the custody papers to the school and show them the “joint custody” phrase.
Situations like this are frustrating and humiliating for a parent who is already struggling to maintain contact with their child. You are already fighting the other parent and their influence and their half-truths and innuendos, and then to be treated like a criminal by people who have no real clue about what is going on and not even caring about the problem is beyond reprehensible.
I step out of my comfort zone and risk
So, that is why I step out of my comfort zone and risk not having a relationship with my children and write. People need to be educated about Parental Alienation and if the parent who is living out the nightmare doesn’t step up to the plate and do that, then things will never change. Not only is the alienated parent hurt, but the children are being robbed of a relationship with both parents. It is seldom that a child of alienation will even realize that they have been a victim, not even as an adult, so an entire lifetime will go by without a reconciliation.
The saddest thing of all is there is no do-over, for any of us. Life just stops. Our stories are sometimes all we have; our stories and our memories…