Parental Alienation

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Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of a parent psychologically brain washing their child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect and even hostility towards the other parent. In some cases, the alienating parent will deepen the brain washing by witholding the child from the other parents’ parenting time, manipulating the police with false allegations, taking advantage of the courts – who don’t have effective mechanisms to handle these cases. These children victims often suffer social adjust challenges face difficulty re-engaging with the needed love of the targeted parent.

Parental alienation is very prevalent, with 13% of all parents reported alienation and 48% of those to be deemed extreme(Harman, Leder-Elder, Biringen 2016). Of note and contrary to popular belief, there is no significant gender variation – it’s about 50/50. This is growing health crisis and hidden epidemic, out of sight because the children have no physical signs of abuse and they don’t even know they are being abused. A parent who inflicts parental alienation child abuse typically has either a narcissistic personality disorder (6% of the population) or a borderline personality disorder (6% of the population) or fit both diagnoses (10% of the population) (Grant et al. 2008). If one of these diagnosis is present, divorce trauma anxiety often triggers that parent to initiate alienation behavior in order to mediate their loss experience associated with the divorce. (Interpretation from C.A. Childress, Psy.D. 2015)

The long-term effects of parental alienation revealed seven major areas of impact on the victims: (1) low self-esteem, (2) depression, (3) drug/alcohol abuse, (4) lack of trust, (5) alienation from own children, (6) divorce.

  

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Incoherant ramblings…of the Holiday Blues

khadfield_cookiesforsanta_gingerbreadtree

It’s the Christmas season again. You know the time of year when you are jolly and laugh a lot and wish everyone you come in contact with “Happy Holidays!” For me, it’s the season where I want to crawl under a blanket along with my heated mattress pad and sleep until January or February, maybe even March. Holidays are difficult for me; partly because of decisions I made for self-preservation, but mostly because of lies and manipulation by others.

When my depression hit a really low low, the point where I didn’t even want to put up a tree, I decided to have a Cookie Swap party. For my husband’s sake (bless him, he’s the angel who keeps me going) I made the effort to do this one thing, one normal everyday thing in my un-normal world, to feel some sort of normalcy. This one party began a yearly tradition for about ten years. My dad passed away two years ago the week before my party at which time I stopped the tradition. I wasn’t up to having the party last year and really didn’t have plans to host the cookie party again. As much as my friends looked forward to gathering for fun every year, I just wasn’t feeling up to hosting. I found it easier to hibernate.

Then, to my surprise, I began planning my party without even realizing it. Somewhere between here and there, I decided to take a stab at living again, at being “normal.”  So, my cookie swap tradition carries on this weekend. I actually sat down to plan my tasks for today, tomorrow, and Sunday, not to write a blog post but yet here I am. I haven’t been writing many personal stories as of late. I hesitate at times because there are two people I try not to make angry although at times I feel that my very existence makes them angry. They do not wish to hear about my life or my stories or what I am feeling; they are my daughters.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will have read stories about alienation. Perhaps it is something you understand or have experienced, perhaps not. The trouble with alienation is that those who are victims almost never realize it and anytime someone talks about it, it will make them even angrier and then they don’t want anything to do with you and you walk on eggshells, censoring every word you speak or write but nothing changes and the cycle just keeps going on and on, and sadly never-ending. That is my “normal.”  I wrote a story about an incident that happened about five years ago (not the incident, the story) and (pardon the language) it pissed them off and that has resulted in five years of silence and walking on eggshells. In fact, I am pretty sure that when they get wind of this post, it will give them the excuse they are looking for to spend another five years in silence.

That isn’t why I’m writing. I’m writing because I have a right to express what I am feeling and thinking. I have that right, it’s mine as a living, breathing person. It’s the season, the holidays, and sometimes it brings out the best in us, sometimes the truth, sometimes depression, sometimes hate and anger. Right now, this minute, when I should be busy getting ready for my party, I am feeling anger. I am angry that my daughters do not want to be in my life. I am angry at the person(s) who have caused this. I am angry that I didn’t have the knowledge back then that I do now, maybe things would be different. I am angry that my two children whom I love more than life itself, can’t see past the lies and manipulation and remember the love. I am writing this because it’s the only communication I have with them.

It’s times like this when I’m angry that I want to tell the ugly story no one knows. All of the fighting to be able to give my daughters what they enjoyed growing up, the sleepovers, the music lessons, the parties, the gifts, Catholic schooling. I protected them from all the ugliness. I’m not sorry I did, but perhaps if they had witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly (as a counselor once put it) they would be more understanding. But, I guess that’s neither here nor there, it is what it is. I’m all out of clichés’. Life goes on and normal takes on a new meaning each day.

I’m not looking for sympathy. Sometimes you just have to get real and that’s what I’m doing. This is my life and I plan on writing about it. I truly believe that some of us have experienced the things we have because we are supposed to help others with what we’ve learned. So, with that, I guess it’s time to take a look at my plan of action and begin the preparations for my party…and look for that new normal, at least for today.

You know who you are…

This is for you. You may believe because everyone thinks that you are the nice guy, such a loving father, that you have fooled everyone and life is good. They are only human, just like my daughters. It takes a real man, a man of God, to admit to his lies and manipulations, to put others first and try to mend what’s broken, but that’s not who you are.

What you haven’t realized is that while you pretend, you are NOT a Man of God. The humans may believe every lie that leaves your mouth. Humans are easily manipulated, but One sees all. One hears all. This is the One that matters. God will have His revenge and that should scare you. That is what keeps me breathing when my heart hurts too much to take a breath.

broken heart

It's a fine line we walk…

It is said that there is a fine line between right and wrong, love and hate. I think the same holds true with sane/insane, crazy/not crazy.

I get up each day and face the reality that I cannot call my daughters and talk. I cannot share something that happened the day before. I cannot share a funny antidote. I cannot share memories. I cannot ask how they are doing.

I cannot ask them about my grandchildren. I cannot say, “Hey! Why don’t we meet for lunch?” I cannot call to simply say I love you. I cannot call to say I was thinking of you today.

Each morning as I open my eyes and greet a new day, my reality hits me like a train going 90 miles an hour. It crushes my chest and my heart hurts. On a bad day, I barely exist. On a good day, I spend my days asking God for forgiveness.

Forgiveness because I was so broken. Forgiveness because I didn’t know how to fight. Forgiveness because my daughters were so easily manipulated into thinking I abandoned them. Forgiveness for not being stronger for them.

I ask forgiveness for shrinking from confrontation. Forgiveness for only being present in body and not mind. Forgiveness for decisions I made in my brokenness. Forgiveness for not forgiving.

I ask forgiveness for hating. Forgiveness for anger. Forgiveness for being human.

We all pretend to have people in our lives that we say fulfill those empty places – “You’re like a mom to me.” or “You’re like a daughter to me.” or “You are my family.” It is only a figment of our imagination, a story we tell ourselves to fill the void, to pretend that everything is okay; but in the end, the heart will triumph because it knows the buried truth. What we really want is our own mother, our own children. A do-gooder, a pretend, cannot fill the void; it can only be filled with the person whose place it rightfully belongs.

It is a fine line between sane and insane. I know. There are days when I am not sure which side of the line I am walking.

Thanksgiving – Sometimes you have to dig deep to be thankful  

What makes alienation so easy? Humans need security. To ask someone to stop and question 10-15-20 and even 30 years of their security is something most people cannot handle. To learn that half of their life is built on lies and half-truths is unfathomable. Life is easy, why complicate it.

In most circumstances, only a tragic event will make a person question what they believe; and how many parents are willing to ask that their child suffer so great an event, that they hurt deep enough to make them question what they believe.

Many times, only after the alienated parent is long gone, does the alienated child come to the realization all was not right. By then, it is too late. So, why then, do kids not question when they have those nagging thoughts that God has placed on their hearts? Only they can answer that and the unknown is scary.

So, for eighteen years, I have spent Thanksgiving alone, Christmas alone, Easter alone, summers alone, days and weeks alone, birthdays alone. I don’t know if it will always be that way, but at times like this, it feels as though it will be.

Sometimes I get really really angry. Anger is the emotion that feels the void my kids no longer fill. It sneaks up on me when my heart is aching so much that it is an actual physical pain. Pain takes my breath away and anger keeps me from exploding. There is so much pain that anger consumes me.

It’s Thanksgiving Day today. It is a day when we are supposed to be grateful for everything in our lives. It is two-fold for me. It is a holiday that I thought I would always spend with my daughters. Now, I have only the memories. Holidays make me sad. I am thankful they are both happy in their lives and I guess that should be enough. But it’s not.

I am so very thankful that I had the first twelve and sixteen years of their lives. Sometimes it feels as though life has been suspended. Although they are no longer twelve and sixteen, they remain so in my mind. They are my babies. I wish I could gather them in my arms and hold them one more time. I wish I could smell them again. I wish I could tell them that I love them one more time. I wish I could see them smile one more time. I wish I could tell them I am sorry that they felt abandoned. I wish I could tell them that I didn’t abandon them. I wish I could tell them how broken I was. I wish I could tell them I was hanging on by a thread. I wish I could ask them if they could love a broken mother. I wish I could ask them if they could still love me.

Read also –

If You See My Mother