Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
( Psalm 30:10-12)
I finally have an appointment tomorrow with a surgeon. He is a great surgeon, Iv’e had him before and he was wonderful. I am trying to get a Gastric Bypass in order to lose weight and become a much healthier person. I think it is the ultimate “tool” I need to achieve my goal. Along with this surgery and the results, I plan on transforming or re-creating my entire life! My entire past will have brought me to where I will be but I think I will be able to lay my past to rest. I am going finally be able to move on, I will face new obstacles and new issues that I will triumph.
In doing so, I am prepared to face other people’s issues, they were used to the “old” me, I will no longer be that person, it will be as if I died and became someone else. It certainly dont mean that I am no longer responsible for the things Iv’e done in the past but, life does go on and things will change. I can’t live in my past forever, and my past has brought me to this point in my life where I am needing to find a way to put it away otherwise it will end up destroying me. I have lived a life of destruction, my coping was through food in order to make the pain and hurts go away even if for only the moment. It has been self destructive and in order to live a healthier happier life I need to wipe the slate clean and start over as I break free from the rubble of my destruction, there will always be reminders that I will carry with me, extra skin, scars and memories but I deserve to be happy and healthy, if other people have a problem with that then thats exactly that…..their problem. If they cant find a way to deal with it then I will have to distance myself from them because I wont be able to go on with my own life being guilt ridden and shamed by their unhappiness with my happiness. If they want to continue to be a part of my life they will have to be reaquainted with the “new” me.
I am only the way I am today pre-surgery because Ive adapted to be who I am. It isnt easy being a prisoner of your own body, not being able to do the things that you want to do because your body limits what you can do. Of course I will be different, I will be free,I will be independant, I will be more active and happy doing so.
Isn’t Life strange? We are created in the womb, precious new life stirs within a life. Our Journey begins before we ever have a chance to percieve that we are in control of any of it, depending solely upon fate and destiny; until we are able to make our own choices drawing out our own paths and directions in life like a raindrop falling from the sky, where will it land, what life form will it touch? whose to say it won’t take shape into something much larger, a puddle, a pond, a lake or even the ocean. But just maybe it falls upon a flower in the forest washing away the dust to reveal a blossom. Nurturing a seedling to maturity, life giving life; the cycle continues.
God is like the suns rays, gently beaming down from the heavens breathing life through the forest, without him the forest would be dark and cold. Though the rains nurture, without the sun all life there would surely perish and lose it’s beauty. It’s a balance, one without the other cannot survive. Imagine a clock with only one number, it wouldn’t be a clock. Imagine a tree that never held leaves, it would only be a stick. A river without water would merely be a ditch, a pasture without foilage – a desert. What a wonderously perfect balance we have and without a God, life would be nothing to get excited about.
I believe that if we find ourselves living and breathing wondering what our purpose in life is then we can be certain that we have one. We all have a purpose here on this earth, not to get too comfortable here though because another thing is certain, that being we are only here for a short time. Once we find just what purpose we are to serve here on this earth, if we fullfill that purpose, we will be rewarded by a more permanent home in heaven where we belong, where the sun shines all the time and the flowers bloom for no other reason than to make us smile and to keep all the butterflies busy.
Methods and Suggestions from Parents on Coping with
You may also feel very alone, powerless and at loss as to what to do. It may interrupt your sleep, your job, your relationship with friends and family, your whole way of life.
Many parents have been where you are now, some still struggling hard to maintain a relationship with their child, hanging on to that last thread with everything they have. Some non-custodial parents see their children regularly but it feels forced and appears unwelcome by their child and other parents have tragically lost contact with their child all together, having gone weeks, months and sometimes years without any communications at all.
We asked parents currently in various stages of alienation and even some that have succeeded in overcoming PA, what they did to cope with it all. Some of the answers are simple, yet very effective and others may come as a surprise to you. Not all the answers are solutions for everyone, as each of us handle our troubles differently, but we do hope these suggestions from other parents may help you cope through the difficult times and offer you some solace in knowing you are not alone.
- Learn about Parental Alienation; an understanding of the dynamics, an understanding of what the child may be going through and the knowledge of what can happen, may release you from so many unwarranted burdens you may carry.Readingup on Parental Alienation is essential.
- Share your new found understanding of Parental Alienation with others, a spouse, trusted family member or friend, so that they may support you and understand your perspective.
- Take care of your health. It is imperative to stay active and at peace with yourself in order to remain strong for your child. With a better understanding of Parental Alienation this will come easier for you.
- Stay in contact with your child’s school and health care providers, request newsletters, report cards and a school photo package. Anything like this will at least help you know how your child is doing in an environment away from the other parent. Sometimes a child may behave completely different at school than they do in the presence of the alienating parent.
- Start a diary, journal or even your own blog webpage. Write to your child or about your life with thoughts in mind that one day they may read it. Parents have even made tribute videos to their child on websites such as YouTube, which is a wonderful way to share the memories, express your love for your child, and something to always treasure. Please remember however, that if you choose to write or put up anything online, use caution, you may want to keep it in an unidentifiable manner to some degree, to protect your child and yourself in the future for when circumstances change.
- Take up an old hobby, craft or sport you used to love to do, anything that makes you feel good about you and takes your mind off your troubles. It is perfectly alright to enjoy yourself and don’t feel guilty about situations beyond your control. Some parents chose to work more, keeping occupied this way also brings a sense of accomplishment and productivity.
- Honour your child by making a scrapbook or photo album full of positive times and memories, something that someday can be shared with them.One parent thought of making video’s of special occasions, filming special family members talking to the child, along with celebrating their absent child’s birthday with a cake for them and recording it all for them to see later on. A beautiful way to let them know how they are deeply loved, missed and always have been. Something they will surely treasure for years to come and something for you, as a parent to let them know they were not ever forgotten or abandoned, as they may have been lead to believe.
- Join a support group or online resource group. Just being able to talk about this in a safe and understanding environment can be very uplifting.
- Some parents have become very vocal with sharing awareness of Parental Alienation in their own communities, giving the behaviour a public face. They have become actively involved in such things as PA awareness campaigns and the Family Rights movement. By sharing and educating others they have found it rewarding and comforting. It can be as small as handing out a brochure on the subject, to creating an educational website, to as big as donning a superhero costume and climbing bridges. Some have written novels or educational books while others have simply shared resources and offered understanding to others who are going through alienation themselves.
- Put yourself up on communication websites such as Facebook or Twitter. Leave your page open in the search stations. Some parents write daily heartwarming messages to their child on their wall in hopes that their child will see them. We are hearing more and more about parents and children who have re-united on public forums such as this.
- Take long walks, bicycle rides or go for a drive when you are feeling down. No matter how you feel when you leave you are almost certain to feel better afterwards. Listen to music, full blast if it feels good and sing or cry along.
- Find a trusted family member or close mutual friend that is connected with your child, someone who can let you know how they are doing. It’s okay to ask, you have the right to know.
- Sometimes when your attempts of gift giving to your child are left unacknowledged or even returned to you, there may be other ways to honour your child. Some parents have found that by donating funds or items to those in need, such as orphanages, community service groups or even local children’s sports programs for example, gives them satisfaction from helping others. Donating in lieu of gifts to your child, can be very gratifying.
Keep your parenting style the same than before the relationship changed, when you are with your child. Do not feel you need to become a ‘Disneyland Mom or Dad’. Quality is much better than quantity in the long term both for your child and yourself.
Become actively involved at your child’s school and extra-curricular activities or maintain the level of involvement you had prior to changes in your relationship. Volunteer in the community to help other children’s programs and activities. Helping other children in need, however you choose to, is always a very rewarding experience.
- Always maintain your time with your child in a positive way however you can and do not involve them in any way with your troubles with the other parent. Refusing to engage in the negativity of Parental Alienation and protecting your child from it as best you can will bring you peace of mind. Talk about good times you had in the past, spend a little time looking at old photographs, keeping the good memories alive and well for your child and you. For older children, send little positive text messages if you are able, just to say ‘I love you and can’t wait to see you again’. You may think this goes unnoticed and it very well may be left unacknowledged, but the loving message is clear to your child and that’s what counts.
- Be gentle yet firm in how you allow your child to talk or act towards you. Teaching them what is acceptable and what isn’t is far better in the long term. Giving them a ‘good moral compass’ as one parent puts it, and seeing them grow to be good citizens will be worth it despite the pain of having them periodically act as though they hate you. Again, knowing you are doing the right thing despite the circumstances is a way to keep yourself positive.
- Keep a gratitude journal just for yourself. On the darkest of days, writing an entry to this journal can help the despair from weighing you down on a long term basis. Having it available to read through when you need to can also bring comfort.
- See your doctor, if you feel you are unable to cope with this on your own. If you are not sleeping or eating properly and taking care of yourself things may not improve. Do not be afraid to ask for help and suggestions, it isn’t not by any means easy to deal with being a target parent and it is not something you have to do alone.
Avoid thinking and feeling as if you are a victim, but at the same time take it easy on yourself. Some things you just can not control, such as the actions of the alienating parent but you can control your reaction to them and by remaining as positive, strong and healthy as you can is what matters in the end, both for you and your child.Information here gathered from www.paawareness.org
THE RIGHT to be treated as an important human being, with unique feelings, ideas and desires and not as a source of argument between parents.
THE RIGHT to a sense of security and belonging derived from a loving, nurturing environment that is free of negative social influences such as drugs, alcohol, crime, bigotry and weapons in the home.
THE RIGHT to a continuing relationship with both parents and their extended families, based on a fair and just arrangement that will provide the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, which includes the freedom to receive and express love for both.
THE RIGHT to have
“listening parents” who work cooperatively in the best interest of the child as well as all members of the family.
THE RIGHT to express love and affection for each parent without having to stifle that love because of fear of disapproval by the other parent.
THE RIGHT to flourish in an atmosphere free of disrespect, exploitation and neglect.
THE RIGHT to know that their parents
’ decision to separate or divorce is not their responsibility.
THE RIGHT to continuing care and guidance from both parents, where they can be educated in mind, nourished in spirit, developed in body and surrounded by unconditional love.
THE RIGHT to know and appreciate what is good in each parent without one parent degrading the other.
THE RIGHT to a relaxed, secure relationship with both parents without being placed in a position to manipulate one parent against the other.
THE RIGHT to have parents who will not undermine the child
’s time with the other parent by suggesting tempting alternatives or by threatening to withhold activities or parenting time as a punishment for the child’s wrongdoing.
THE RIGHT to be a child, to be insulated from parental conflicts and problems.
THE RIGHT to be taught, according to their developing levels, to understand values, to assume responsibility for their actions, and to cope with the consequences of their choices.
THE RIGHT to be able to participate in their own destiny and to be taught about their family’s culture and history.
THE RIGHT to be able to contact any parent, or any member of either parent’s extended family without unreasonable objection or interference from either parent.
THE RIGHT to be listened to by legal authorities and to have their age appropriate wishes and preferences made known to any court of law.
The RIGHT to be supported and cared for, both financially and emotionally, by one’s own natural parents and extended family as the first option before the involvement of the government or other parties.
THE RIGHT to be assisted by competent third parties whose responsibility it is to protect or advocate for children and to be provided this assistance without prejudice or bias in favor of, or against, either of the parents.
Some readers wanted to see more on Parental Alienation/Aggressive Hostile Parenting, I would highly encourage you to join PAA’s website for updated information about the subject, at their website they even have brochures/flyers/posters to distribute. If you would like to join and make a stand against PAA, go check them out!
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is defined as a set of behaviors that are harmful and damaging to a child’s emotional and mental health. It generally involves the mental manipulation and/or bullying of the child to pick between their mother or father. These behaviors can also result in destroying a loving and warm relationship they once shared with a parent.
Parental alienation and hostile aggressive parentingdeprive children of their right to be loved by and showing love for both of their parents and extended family. Parental Alienation can occur in intact families, but is mostly seen in separated and divorced families.
Parents/guardians using alienation tactics to hurt the other ‘target’ parent have been compared to cult leaders. They deny access to anything that may challenge their view of the other parent, including any photographs, or communication.
Professionals agree that the problem exists and it’s damaging to children, and can affect them into adulthood.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a psychological condition most often observed in children affected by high conflict divorce and/or separation. It is one of the most damaging outcomes affecting children as a result of exposure to PA or Hostile-Aggressive Parenting. The most common symptom of children affected by PAS is their severe opposition to contact with one parent and/or overt hatred toward such parent when there is little and often, no logical reason to explain the child’s behavior. The effects of PAS can last well into adulthood and may last for a lifetime with tragic consequences.
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is different from Parental Alienation (PA). PAS refers to the behaviors of the child, whereas PA describes the abusive behaviors of a parent or caregiver. There are many debates as to whether PAS exists or is ‘Junk Science’. PAAO believes that is for the experts to decide, we concentrate on bringing awareness and education about the abusive behaviors of parents & caregivers, whether or not they cause PAS is not important, what is important is that the abuse be recognized and stopped.
How can it happen?
During the crisis of divorce, most parents fear whether their children will emerge unscathed. Any reasonable and empathetic parent sincerely believes in the value of his or her children having a healthy relationship with both parents. Ideally, parents deliberately work on comforting and reassuring the children that no harm will come to them. At the same time, both try to strengthen their parent-child relationships without degrading the other parent or causing the children to feel divided loyalty. They encourage visits, talk kindly of the other parent in the children’s presence, and set aside their own negative feelings to avoid causing the children distress. They are sensitive to the children’s needs and encourage positive feelings toward the other parent. This outcome is the goal.
However, any number of events can destroy the fragile balance of peace between parents. If this happens, an injured parent may seek comfort by aligning with the children, especially since be or she may feel threatened by the children’s love for the other parent. A pattern of alienation usually begins without any malicious or conscious intent to harm or destroy the relationship between the other parent and the children. Though most parents mean well, they are often unaware of how subtle behaviors and comments can hurt the relationship between the children and the targeted parent. Alienating parents however learn how to manipulate and use their children to hurt the other parent on purpose, and with a vengeance. This can include anything from outright telling the children their other parent does not love them and does not want to be with them, to destroying and hiding communication from the other parent, to simply refusing to act as a ‘parent’ when a child does not want to spend time with, or is rude to, the other, and empowering their child to do as they wish.
In 1994, approximately 2.4+ million North Americans obtained divorces, including the parents of more than one million children under the age of eighteen. Nearly as many unmarried couples with children will separate. Thanks to sky-high divorce rates and recent increases in the number and viciousness of child custody battles, there has been a marked increase in parental alienation. Children suffer from a breakup because they are torn, trapped, precariously balanced, as if one wrong move could cost them all their parents’ love and acceptance. This can easily lead to disastrous effects on children. Various studies show that youngsters exposed to even mildly alienating behaviors may have trouble learning, concentrating, relaxing, or getting along with their peers. They have been known to develop physical symptoms and/or serious behavior problems. Clearly then, parental alienation is a threat to the mental and emotional health of a child.
Some early signs of Parental Alienation:
- Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems of the other parent
- Children appear to have knowledge of details relating to the legal aspects of the divorce or separation
- Children show sudden negative change in their attitude toward a parent/guardian
- Children appear uneasy around target parent – they resort to “one word” answers and fail to engage openly in conversations as they previously have done
- Children are uncharacteristically rude and/or belligerent to target parent
- Access time is not occurring as agreed upon or court ordered – visitation is being unilaterally cut back by the other parent
- Hostile Aggressive Parent (HAP) parent undermines the other parent or speaks disparagingly about other parent in the presence of the children
- HAP parent starts making reference to other parent as being abusive and a risk to the children with no apparent good reason
- Allowing children to choose whether or not to visit a parent, even though the court has not empowered the parent or children to make that choice;
- Telling the children about why the marriage failed and giving them the details about the divorce or separation settlement;
- Refusing the other parent access to medical and school records or schedules of extracurricular activities;
- Blaming the other parent for not having enough money, changes in lifestyle, or other problems in the children’s presence;
- Rigid enforcement of the visitation schedule for no good reason other than getting back at the other parent;
- False allegations of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol use or other illegal activities by the other parent;
- Asks the children to choose one parent over the other;
- Reminding the children that the children have good reason to feel angry toward their other parent;
- Setting up temptations that interfere with visitation;
- Giving the children the impression that having a good time on a visit will hurt the parent;
- Asking the children about the other parent’s personal life;
- ‘Rescuing’ the children from the other parent when there is no danger.
After recieving my “Bad News”, I emailed the Lawyer I had for my Divorce, unfortunatly I was unable to obtain him for this case as Missouri has such specific guidlines for Legal Aid, I did not qualify and had to obtain my own in which I could not afford therefore having to represent myself and did horribly at it as you have seen
I emailed him and sent him the documents I recieved to have him explain them better to me and he did. Which is what follows:
I have reviewed the Judgment to Modify and the Court’s docket entry. Keep in mind, modification only pertains to “changes”from the original decree. If it is not addressed in this decree it is not altered and stays the same. Keep in mind that I did not hear all the evidence that was put before the Court nor was I privy to any of the discussions with the GAL and Chris’s attorney. That said, from looking at everything you sent me I believe the following took place:
1. On the strength of the evidence presented and the GAL recommendation the Court modified the custody to sole legal custody for Chris. Now about that. This is bad because if takes you out of most discussions pertaining to your daughter. Chris can now make significant decisions on the part of your daughter without first checking with you. Additionally, later should you attempt to modify again, it becomes significantly harder for you to get your case before the Judge because now that Chris has Sole Legal/Physical you will need to show that there has been a substantial change on his part such that his actions now have caused such an impact on Dani that custody needs to be modified.
2. For the summer you will have 6 consecutive weeks of visitation with your daughter, starting summer of 2013 the day following father’s day, which is always a Monday will be the start of that six weeks.
3. You are allowed the last full weekend of the month to exercise visitation in Missouri. Make sure and send an email no less than 14 days prior to that visit that you do plan to exercise that visit. Your failure to email will likely result in Chris not permitting you the visit.
4. Chris will have Dani every Thanksgiving and every spring break.
5. You must pay all transportation costs.
6. Interestingly Dani can’t be in the presence of B. or L. S. unsupervised? I don’t know who these people are or why Dani cant be around them. Is this something that you agreed to, and if so why? (B.S. is my Boyfriend and L.S is his 11 year old daughter who lives with her mother, along with her 9 year old brother who wasn’t even mentioned. Yes, I agree this was interesting as it just shows how Chris is still trying to “control” me and not only who our daughter is around but by trying to discourage me from even being around him, I think he fears any father-like figure to be around his daughter. Iv’e been with him for over 3 years and Chris just married someone who hes only known for a few months, maybe I should have had provisions specifying who HES with and having our daughter around”)
7. In addition to all the changes above, you were found to have been in contempt. The punishment is that for Christmas 2012 Chris will get the first 5 days that would have otherwise been your time.
8. The Court also found that there was no need for a GAL and that is why they are sticking you with the bill. You did not prove your allegations and apparently the GAL did not substantiate either, this led the court to holding you responsible for these expenses.
I am sorry that this went so badly for you. I would be curious to know about this S. situation.(the bf situation I explained above) And also, the fact that Chris now has sole legal custody, DOES NOT MEAN THAT DANI IS GOING TO BE ADOPTED. This is not a termination of your parental rights. So take a deep breath. It was bad, but not that bad. A step parent adoption is a complicated process. Without your consent it is highly unlikely that will ever happen.
My advice to you at this point is to concede. At some point you must stop fighting. Whether the court got it wrong or not should no longer be your focus. Spend as much time with your daughter as you can. See her every opportunity that you get. Try the best you can to stay current on the support obligation each month. But most importantly just be the best mother that you can to that little girl, and know good and well that a time may come that she will need for you to be there for her in the future but until that time you are somewhat limited as to the overall role you will play in that little girls life.
I really wish you the best of luck. At some point the fighting must stop and the healing needs to begin. Your healing. There is a lot that you need to move past and continue to look forward and remind yourself everyday that there are some things that just are not in your control, but that you will do the best that you can with that which you are in control of.
I have taken all of his advice to heart and am still thinking it over and processing it, a topic this all has to do with is Parental Tug of War, which I will discuss at a later date I am sure. I have already linked some information about it in my site, they call it “Dropping the rope” definitly something I will be researching more on as I encourage you to, please share your comments, opinions or findings, I would be happy to discuss any ideas about the subject.
The verdict is in, so to speak…the Judge has finally made his decision regarding my child custody modification case. The “other” parent is a Parental Alienator, narcissistic Sociopath and many other things I am sure.
He counter petitioned against me of course, I represented myself because I couldn’t get help in obtaining a Missouri Lawyer while he, living in Missouri obtained one by promising to make payments, he’s already skipped out on payments to the divorce attorney he obtained before setting fire to the house his parents owned that he lived in, of course making it look like an accident in order for his family to collect on the insurance which they had just purchased, he then had to move to another home, which he conveniently chose to move to another county in Missouri. His dad and other family members are volunteer firemen and good friends with a lot of the towns people (good ol boys) so the details have a habit of going overlooked. They had a house fire in another house they previously owned a few years before this one so it wasnt anything new.
The judge made a decision to give him full legal custody of our 6-year-old daughter. He already had sole physical custody, now he has sole legal custody. I have visitation rights for 6 weeks during the summer and 1 week christmas, that’s it!
This decision was made on account that I am in ND and he is there with her in MO. Lets totally forget that he should have gotten a contempt because he didn’t properly notify me that he was planning on moving to Montana, he didn’t tell me the name of the city just told me Montana and he didn’t give me a 60 days notice. BUT I was in contempt because while I had her for christmas visitation the roads were closed because of a snow storm which closed down the interstate in 4 states. And during a summer visitation my transmission went out in my car and while I was making other arrangements to return her, keep in mind that I notified him both instances, he chose to come and get her.
I try to call and talk to her twice a week and he turns his phone off and ignores my calls, he refuses to answer emails and avoids any kind of communication with me about our daughter.
He had just kicked out a woman he was living with who he was making our daughter call mom, he then moves in another who he immediately has her calling mommy and they then get married two months later.
Also in the judge’s decision, in the provisions he made me agree to keeping my boyfriend/fiance and his 11-year-old daughter away from our daughter stating they can only be around her supervised! His way of trying to “control” who I am with ?
And because of the contempt against me, this years christmas vacation …he gets the first 5 days of that vacation that I would normally get …as a punishment and reminder to make sure in the future to get her home on time, so if there is a snow storm and icy closed roads I had better get my ass out there and risk mine and the children’s lives and DRIVE 700 miles on those icy closed roads!!!
So, now Im left with the question, What do I do now?
Fighting a Parental Alienator is NOT an easy task as I have experienced and seen in my research. Another run at it in the courtroom with the Narcissistic Sociopath who doubles as an emotionally abusive Parental Alienator at my expense, proved to be unsuccessful again on my part. It wasn’t totally a failure as I got an extra 2 weeks of summer with her totalling 6 weeks with her for the summer..YAY!! He tried to flip everything and get total custody of her, taking away joint legal custody from me on the grounds that he is there with her in Missouri and im here in North Dakota, Luckily I dodged that bullet and the Judge decided to keep custody as Joint Legal custody and staying his Sole physical Custody, keeping child support at same amount and visitations. However, He also filed a contempt against me because I didn’t have her back on time from a visitation due to a winter storm causing roads to close, he expected me to drive her home over 700 miles of ice and non-visibility!! And he chose to come get her one summer when I called him telling him I would be late because my transmission went out in my car!! He won that issue and I got a contempt against me therefore he gets the first 5 days of her Christmas vacation this year, I get whats left equal to a week, making sure she is home in time for school to resume.
Since I have legal rights to her, I decided to exercise those rights, I searched the web for her school information and website since he conveniently omits that information to me which he is supposed to freely offer up to me (yeah right!!). I found that her teacher has her own classroom website and found her contact information and sent her an email a little bit ago. I let her know that I would like to be as fully involved in her schooling as I can be and let her know that I would like her to email me or contact me with any concerns regarding my daughter. I also seen they weekly post spelling words and told her that when I call her every week I would like to and plan to go over her spelling words with her when I call her. How Exciting!!
There isn’t a darn thing he can do about it, I am a concerned parent and have every LEGAL right as a parent to talk to whomever I choose to concerning her School, Doctor, Counseling etc. It’s called exercising my Parental Rights!!
As a Narcissistic Sociopath, I am sure he will NOT like what I am doing ONE BIT if he catches wind of it. It might even set him off and make him do something stupid, oh well, let him!
I am not doing it in spite, I am doing it to keep a strong relationship with my daughter and to know what she is doing in school, I was just thinking that I have two kids here with me and know everything they do and see everything they bring home from school, and instead of just sitting here wishing, hoping and feeling helpless I decided to take action and Exercise my LEGAL RIGHTS!!
Hopefully he don’t “punish” me by not answering the phone when I try to call her to talk to her, I try to call her at least once a week, sometimes twice but he dont always answer the phone and when he does I hear him in the background telling her she needs to eat her supper or she needs to get in the shower or anything that distracts her while she is trying to talk to her mommy on the phone. BUT when I have her for visitation, this summer (6 weeks) for instance, he expected to call and talk to her every single day!! And when he didnt get his way he would leave me nasty voicemails! Don’t you just LOVE Narcissistics and their Double standards?!!
Parental Alienation – A Corrosive Legacy By Judge Michele Lowrance
I have been a judge on the divorce bench for 16 years, and have watched the wreckage of the corrosive legacy of parental alienation and visitation interference play out over decades.We have no statistics for measuring this group, because the victims are too vast.But the concentric circles include the children, their children and the extended family as well.The declaration of war by one parent on another creates radioactive fallout, which contaminates for generations.
The alienating parent treats the target parent like a disease in the child that must be removed.They make the child’s survival contingent upon such removal. So the child must extricate the parent without the privilege of grieving the loss.These are crippling circumstances.
I have witnessed impassioned declarations of love for a child by an alienating parent to masquerade the venom he/she feels for the other parent. Parents who do this are not interested in mere control.Their stakes are higher: total annihilation of the target parent’s bond with the child. Little by little, alienation in a divorce case starts to take root. And when it fully takes root, I see the child’s boundaries collapse before my eyes. Soon the child forgets how to protect him or herself, and must align with the alienating parent as if life depends on it — because it does.
Perhaps curing this degenerating influence may, in the future, be addressed by therapy. But for now, we can and must do better. I want to tell you how to be proactive in court, and how to fight against the inclination to give up like so many hurt, alienated parents — who are, frankly, not always welcomed in the courts.
Why Cases Involving Parent Alienation are so Difficult
Here are some reasons these cases are so difficult, and why judges often have no love for them:
- Combative parents present conflicting stories of “he said / she said,” and make it very difficult to determine who is telling the truth. Often an alienating parent comes to believe what he or she is saying, and their presentation seems authentic.
- When targeted parents present their side of the case, they are often angry and frustrated — and as a result, they don’t present very well in court. Judges often consider attitude as influential as content.
- The children often support the alienating parent by telling the judge, their attorney and mental health professionals how they have been treated badly, and of their dislike, for the target parent. The reasoning skills of alienated children are often compromised, as is their ability to choose freely.
- Alienated children often won’t cooperate with therapeutic intervention, and courts have difficulty enforcing these orders.
- Judges like to believe that what they do works and it is the right decision. When their decisions don’t work, they often get exasperated with both parties.
What You can Do in Courts
Despite these difficulties there is plenty that you can do. Here are some suggestions for handling parental alienation in the courts:
- Parenting plan orders should be entered as soon as possible.
- Create an alienation map or chart for the judge, which shows him or her in five minutes what couldn’t be said in five hours. This map should include all missed visits, and a list of all the denigrating phrases made by alienating spouse to the children, including the friends and/or extended family of the hated parent (if they are admissible in evidence). If you know how to make a graph, you can show the increase in missed visits in a very compelling and impactful way.
- Most judges aren’t warm to the phrase Parent Alienation Syndrome. Instead, ask the judge to please keep an eye open for visitation interference, as the case progresses, and describe for him or her the maligning behavior.
- Get a court order for parenting therapy as soon as possible.
- If orders are violated, go to court on a Rule To Show Cause for violation of the order as soon as possible. If you can’t afford an attorney, then do this yourself. Write petition for rule, for visitation violation, for family therapy, or for makeup visitation.
You may be among the many alienated parents I have known, who have grown weary due to the repetitive stress fracture on your heart. Each time your visitation is interfered with, it has a cumulative affect. This can make you hyper sensitive, which easily magnifies your emotional response.
Because your emotions are flooding your ability to reason, writing and rewriting a petition with your attorney is a rational thing to do and gives your thoughts “breathing time.” If you immediately act upon your anger, you are just going to make things worse — and perhaps run the risk that the other parent will get an order of protection against you. Reflect upon the past consequences of your amped up anger. Did you write nasty emails, make hostile phone calls, yell at your child, become overly aggressive, or decide to retreat and do nothing?
The way to tell if your anger serves you is to always ask yourself the following four questions:
- Does this anger further my constructive goals?
- Does this anger further degenerate my relationship with my children?
- In what ways does this anger help me?
- In what ways does this anger help my spouse?
If your reactions are based upon what has been done to you, you can only respond with hatred. When you do this, you give the alienating parent the “upper hand,” because he or she has provoked you to become the hateful person who they are portraying you to be to the children. Don’t let someone else provoke, influence, and therefore control how you behave. You run the risk of actually becoming as miserable and dysfunctional of a person as they’re trying to portray you to your children. When you react with hatred, you not only play into their hands, you’re letting them steer your ship, letting them determine your present and future.
When Your Children Come Home, Who do You Want Them to Come Home to?
As you read this, you may be on the edge of giving up. You may be starting to feel that nothing can work against your former spouse’s devotion to destroy your relationship with your children. Even though you may be physically invisible to your children, you will always be visible to them through stories, gossip and second-hand reporting from all sources. When we lose a loved one, we often decide to live the way that the departed person would have wanted us to. In the same spirit, when you lose a child to alienation, you need to live as if he or she is watching you. Your long-term goal is to become the person your child wants to come home to.
Michele F. Lowrance has been a domestic-relations judge in the Circuit Court of Illinois since 1995. A child of divorce who was raised by her grandparents, Judge Lowrance has been divorced and has devoted her professional life to helping those similarly situated. For more information visit http://thegoodkarmadivorce.com.
IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THE PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME
by Dr. Reena Sommer
The Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) is the extreme end of a custody battle gone “real bad”. P.A.S. is a most negative consequence of an increasing number of high conflict divorces. In these cases, children become the victims of a relentless and destructive “tug of war” between their parents. It is a war that children cannot win or defend themselves against. It is a war where the “enemy” (the alienating parent) is someone whom the children dearly love and depend upon for their needs to be met. For children, PAS is about loss, insecurity, fear, confusion, sadness, hopelessness and despair. In fact, some experts consider PAS to be a form of child abuse because:
- it robs children of the security provided by the bond they once shared with the targeted parent
- it embeds in children’s minds falsehoods about the targeted parent that are injurious to their own psyche and their sense of self (i.e., “Mom/Dad never really loved you”; “Mom/Dad is dangerous”; “Mom/Dad has done inappropriate things to you”).
- the process of aligning children against the targeted parent often involves threats, lies, manipulations, deprivation and even physical abuse
For the alienating parents, PAS can have several motivators such as:
- feeling betrayed or rejected by the targeted parent
- using the children as as pawns to get a better divorce settlement
Defining Parental Alienation Syndrome
The Parental Alienation Syndrome has been variously defined. But here is the definition I tend to rely upon because it is based on my observations of and experiences with divorcing families:
“The Parental Alienation Syndrome is the deliberate attempt by one parent (and/or guardian/significant other) to distance his/her children from the other parent and in doing so, the parent engages the children in the process of destroying the affectional ties and familial bonds that once existed…”
The alienating process develops over time and the distancing between the children and the targeted that occurs includes some or all of the following features:
- The alienating parent speaks badly or demeans the targeted parent directly to the children
- the disparaging comments made by the alienating parent to their children about the targeted parent can be implicit (“I am not sure I will be able to afford to send you to camp because “Mom” or “Dad” does not realize how much you enjoy it”) or explicit (“Mom/Dad” left us because he/she never cared enough about you to keep our family together”)
- The alienating parent speaks badly or demeans the targeted parent to others in the presence (or within audible distance) of the children.
- The alienating parent discusses with the children the circumstances under which the marriage broke down and blames the targeted parent for its failure.
- The alienating parent exposes the children to the details of the parents’ ongoing conflict, financial problems and legal proceedings.
- The alienating parent blames the targeted parent for changes in life style, any current hardships; his/her negative emotional state and inability to function as before and conveys this to the children.
- Allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children are often made.
- Alienated children come to know that in order to please the alienating parent, they must turn against the targeted parent.
These features exemplify the diagnostic criterion set out by the late Dr. Richard Gardner in his discussion of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Dr. Gardnerâ€™s early writings are now supported by empirical research on P.A.S. conducted by numerous academics, thus adding credence to P.A.S.â€™s validity and existence. Nevertheless, there are still some who have chosen to misinterpret Dr. Gardner’s writings by suggesting that he advocated pedophilia and/or placing children at risk with their abusers. This is clearly a gross distortion of Dr. Gardner’s expressed intent as he emphatically and repeatedly stipulates in his papers that allegations of abuse that are made all too frequently in custody disputes must have no prior history, nor upon investigation are they to be found to have any basis. These types of outlandish criticisms are reflective of misguided thinking, ignorance and an ideological perspective that requires a distortion of reality to give it validity
The Genesis of Parental Alienation Syndrome
It is believed that P.A.S. arose out of changes to the divorce laws in western society. Starting the 1970’s, family courts began to recognize that both parents had rights and responsibilities when it came to providing for their children post divorce. Out of that recognition, the concept of “joint custody” was born where both parents were allowed to continue in their roles as “legal” parents just as they had been during the marriage. Today, joint custody is considered the norm in most western countries. However, along with this progressive move in divorce laws, there has also been an increase in the incidence of P.A.S. – where children have unfortunately become pawns in their parentsâ€™ struggles for alimony, support, the marital home and other assets of the marriage. Parental Alienation Syndrome has only recently been recognized in the divorce literature as a phenomenon occurring with sufficient frequency and with particular defining characteristics as to warrant recognition. Today, the P.A.S. as a byproduct of custody battles is attracting the attention of divorcing parents, child protective agencies, doctors, teachers, clergy, divorce attorneys and divorce courts.
The Politics of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Because the Parental Alienation Syndrome has been linked to the increase in joint custody awards, it is also an issue that has fuelled considerable debate concerning the validity of its existence. Opponents and critics of P.A.S. continue to argue that it does not exist simply because of its absence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Version IV) or the DSM-IV. While there is no dispute that this argument has face validity, it nevertheless neglects the following alternative salient argument: – As with any phenomenon, there is always a lag period between the times it is first identified and when it is fully embraced by the community at large.
There are many examples of this such as:
- schizophrenia (it was originally thought that people with this disorder were smitten by the devil)
- attention deficit disorder
- HIV and AIDS
There is no doubt that these conditions existed long before they were acknowledged in textbooks or by academic and legal authorities. However, their absence from these authoritative sources did not imply that didn’t exist or lacked validity. What it meant is that for some of these conditions, there was a lengthy lag periods in some cases, almost a century. Hopefully, this will not be the case for P.A.S. because modern technology makes it possible for the publication of research and transmissions of information to occur much quicker than ever before. But in the meantime, if we are to discount the existence of P.A.S., we are turning our backs on children who are being deprived on their right to love and be loved by both parents. Regardless of the arguments put forth to discount the P.A.S.’s existence and validity, it is difficult to explain how a previously strong, intact, positive and loving relationship between a child and his or her parent quickly disintegrates and transforms into outward hostility toward that parent, usually following separation or some other significant family reorganization involving high levels of conflict.In spite of the divisiveness concerning the validity of the Parental Alienation Syndrome, one issue that few will debate is the fact that too many children are now caught in a “tug of war” between their separated parents.
The Consequences of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Children who are exposed to the ongoing conflict and hostility of their parents suffer tremendously. The guilt they experience when their parents’ first separate, is exacerbated by the added stress of being made to feel that their love and attachment for one parent is contingent on their abandoning the other. Although children are powerless to end the struggle between their parents’, they come to believe that if they turn against one in favor of the other, the unhappiness they experience on an ongoing basis will also end. And if the alienating process is at all successful, its long term consequences for children victimized by it may be even more profound. The main concerns rest in their ability to form healthy and lasting intimate relationships with others as well as how it may negatively influence their self esteem, self concept and general outlook toward life in general. We owe it to children to do what is necessary to prevent this from happening.
I want to share with you some information I got from Parental Alienation Syndrome, Child Custody and emotional abuse, I subscribe to them on Facebook and they have some really good information. I myself face Parental Alienation and share custody with my ex who is a Narcissistic Sociopath who has lied and schemed his way into gaining physical custody of our daughter and is trying to Alienate me by using our daughter against me as his revenge. The following is all obtained and shared from PAS’s Facebook page. Thanks for your interest in this issue!
Invisible Red Flags! What an oxy moron, right? Hind sight is always 20/20 as I wished I knew then what I do now, then again who doesn’t?
The red flags were right there in front of my face and I should have needed only one, not hundreds!! I was vulnerable then and have to realize and understand that there are men out there who “Hunt” for women like that, they seek out vulnerable women because it’s the only women they can get and the only women they can get in order to get what they want, they have serious power and control issues and feed on women who are vulnerable and color blind who do not see red flags!
Here are the red flags that I had missed starting with the first most important one:
1.) I was already in a relationship, I was married with 2 children not living with the childrens father. For whatever reason, I began talking to a man who my aunt was trying to get rid of. She had met him in a chat room and he was much younger than her but not for me. He was trying to convince her of his love for her, I stepped in and took him off her hands, I enjoyed the attention as I wasnt getting it from my current relationship, which was a rebound, very quick marriage and disaster in an of itself. That is where If I was in my right mind, I had no business seeking any kind of relationship and should have been working on previous abandonment issues and been learning to deal with just being with my children and working on myself. However, I didnt and found this man who I spilled my whole life out to and he took it all and kept telling me how he wanted to come take care of me, he lived half way across the country and we only had a relationship through the internet and phone. Things moved very quickly, my head may have even been spinning and I would not have even noticed. Before I knew it I was kicking out my husband and gave in to this mans pressures of sending him money for a bus ticket and going to pick him up and move him in without ever have meeting him. Looking back, I call myself an IDIOT for ever doing such a thing. He told me everything I had always wanted to hear from a man and I believed him and soaked it up just like a sponge. At this point he has convinced me to kick out my husband and send him money and move him right in!!
2.) I had always seen a marriage where two people become one person and the man was the lead, the man was the dominant person in the relationship, that vision has changed a bit to say the least. I, at this point shared with him all my secrets all my thoughts and that was one of them, the very minute I shared that idea with him He changed, I seen something come over him, it’s kind of indescribable but I knew at that point that I should have not said that to him because he took it literal and held me to my words. It was a very scary moment for me, his whole being seemed to change like he was just waiting to hear it and was shocked that it was so easy for him to get to it.
3.) Almost the minute he moved into my apartment with me and my children he treated my children as if they were his own. The children’s father wasn’t really in their lives and didnt act or seem as though he ever wanted to be. It was always my dream to have a normal family where the kids had a father and I had a man who they called dad, to me it seemed like it was normal and things were looking up. The problem is he “made” them call him dad and sir and if they didnt he got angered and wanted my permission to punish them if they didnt behave, he moved right in and took control over everything and wanted to rule MY roost!! Seeing it now, I can’t believe I did that!! It really scares me now, maybe I was just as scared then but didnt know what to do but to accept it and go with it, maybe it was my way of coping. I should have got out, somehow.
4.) He constantly seemed severely depressed, he would sometimes just stare at me with this puppy dog stare, he had a way of making me feel sorry for him, I would ask what was wrong and he told me all kinds of stories of how his past relationships with women where they abused him and treated him badly. He told me many stories of how his family was disappointed in him and didnt love him, which made me open up and tell him things that I had dealt with in my own past. He would cry and sob and tell me how he was sexually abused by his grandpa and an uncle when his mom abandoned him to leave him and his sister with his grandparents and how he was beaten with pipes and chains and it just sounded so horrible. His stories beat anything that had ever happened to me in my lifetime and his stories were almost too horrible to even believe. He was even suicidal and very paranoid that anytime I ever left the apartment he would question me as to who I seen and what I did. He accused me of finding someone else and leaving him. He began cutting himself making himself bleed. he told me that if I ever left him “he would slit his throat”, he even said this while holding a knofe to his throat once. He became a very dark person right in front of my eyes but at this point I felt trapped, imprisoned by his lies and manipulation. He said if I ever left him he would hunt me down, he said he would cut off my head and send it to my mother. He laughed about that saying it was just a joke, something one of his favorite comedians supposedly said once. I did NOT find it funny, it actually scared the shit out of me. Yet, all while he was doing all of this he would be telling me how I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and how lucky he was to be with me. He told me all kinds of things to flatter me and make me feel important.
5.) By this time I had realized he had some very strange and different ideas of sex. He wanted to try things and talk about things I was NOT open to. I did not and do not like to share when it comes to sex. I see sex as an intimate thing between two people and thats that. He however seen it differently and was hell bound for the next 7 years to get me to think and feel otherwise. The first time we had sex he tried to do the backdoor and I rushed up to go to the bathroom, he said it was an accident, and was laughing because I had apparently deficated in the bed. I was humiliated and had a feeling but now know it was not an accident. At that moment I was scared and mad at the same time and wished he would just disappear out of my life.
6.) He began to have strange thoughts he would share with me, he came out and told me that he was a Wiccan and believed in magic and was a sorcerer. He believed that he had powers and could make things happen, people die and disappear and all sorts of other strange things. He then went on to tell me he was a “Bonecrusher“, which he explained was a member of the mafia who got rid of people. He said that when he lived in Baton Rouge/New Orleans he was a bonecrusher and killed many people that were never found. He said that he was probably even a wanted man and could never go back to either place. This was very scary!!! But what was I going to do? I felt paralyzed, like it wasn’t real. Like he was a jykel and hyde, when he wasnt scaring the shit out of me he was to me normal.
7.) He told me that he could call up any number of buddies that owed him a favor and call out a hit at any time he wanted and it would get done. He told me that his dad worked on a ship in the ocean once and knew some people that taught him how to kill someone and get away with it. He made his dad out to be a badass. Yet to this day I really dont know why he told me the things he did, why was he trying to scare me if he supposedly loved me? Surely if he had done any of those things he would be seriously a wanted man and FBI would be looking for him and I wouldnt be having the problems Im having with him today because he would be in PRISON!!!
There were plenty more red flags that were ignored, some I may add at a later date, Im a bit overwhelmed right now just recalling them from memory and kicking myself in the ass again as I have done many times. I keep having to remind myself that this wasn’t as stupid and as helpless of a man as he played out to be. He actually used the phrase, “Help Me Rhonda”, as thats my name and he was always telling me I needed to help him prior to me sending him the money for the bus ticket and my self inflicted prison sentence of 7 years with him. He made himself seem helpless in need of rescuing, then swoop in and took over rendering me powerless over my very own life. It all worked out just as he had planned, and 7 years later after everything has been done, it still amazes me at all he has done, all I let him get away with. All I can really be now is thankful that I made it out alive and my children still have their lives as well.
I can definitly say, I have seriously learned a very hard lesson. I have had many bad relationships with men, this one was the mother load and made me the strong woman that I am today. I can say that I have seen it all when it comes to controlling men. I seriously fear for any woman who ever gets caught up with him and can only imagine what lies he has told about me to her and what part of his manipulation his being with me plays in any future relationship he ever has with anyone else.
He is truly a monster, as a child I was affraid of monsters in the closet or in the shadows and under the bed, I got older and let one in my bed!!
I’ve been feeling really crumby lately, I know it’s because of my weight, because of Sjogren’s, Fibermialgia, Artheritis and all the co-morbidities that go along with each of them. If I were to lose weight all those things would get better the doctor says. How do you lose weight when your held prisoner within the humungus shell of a body that you just can’t move anymore without severe pain. The rashes in places that I cannot see nor reach are driving me insane! They hurt badly and it’s utterly humiliating to ask anyone to help clean it but you know it is something that needs done if for anything comfort!!
How long can my body take this torture, God knows my mind has reached it’s limit. How long before the remaining people who are left by my side start to disappear not wanting to deal with me anymore. The irritability, lashing out at them as if it’s their fault I’m this way! I don’t mean to be mean. I didn’t mean to get this big.
Why did I get this big? Did I give up all hope of anything good in my life, Did I just give in to the addiction, hoping food would make me feel so much better? Thanks a LOT food!! I hate you!! LOOK what you did to me!! No It’s my fault, I didnt have to eat you but I did. Maybe I thought If I ate it it would make me feel better, but more yet maybe I would gain enough weight to keep away anyone who would just end up hurting me anyway! Who wants to be around a fat miserable old lady? NOBODY! That is what I have learned, but I kind of like it, they don’t bring trouble to my door, I have a quiet life with my kids and boyfriend who I seriously dont see what he sees in me and truly don’t understand what he stays here for, why keeps him here?
I haven’t had sex with him in over 7 months, its not that I haven’t wanted it or tried or hinted, but truly, what the hell would he want to do that for, I disgust myself so what makes me think he would want any of this, right? Oh, Well. He tells me that he just dont have a drive but that he loves me anyways, he says before he met me he went 3 years without it, sex is just for making babies and Im stupid for wanting sex thats just being lustful….ok, whatever, but if I were to lose the weight and become attractive, and he still didnt want me, I cant say that I would want to stay with him…..I think sex is a basic human need and he sees it just for reproduction and he sure as hell dont want anymore kids like ever…..well, im not too sure id ever want more kids either but giving up sex all together for the rest of my life just to be with him? I cant say I could do that.
Maybe Im just wrong! He really is the best man Ive ever been with in all other aspects. Maybe if he liked to cuddle and stuff instead but he dont even like to do that!! Maybe its just ME!!
I would like to think that I deserve a better life than this.
I dream and envision myself as being thinner, healthy. The thin and healthy me is active and has fun just being able to be herself without any setbacks and without anything holding her back from being capeable from doing a thing.
Something I always dreamed of doing is jogging, hiking, biking, exploring. Being able to sit with my legs crossed. Sitting in any chair I please and not having to worry if my ass will fit or not. Being able to find clothes in a department store and look and feel good in them. Being able to be a good example for my daughters so they dont end up having this very same struggle in life.
Being able to join a marathon and finish and accomplish it. Being able to go to a carnival and ride the rides with my kids. Being able to ride a bike again!! Being able to ride a horse again!!
Being able to go in public and not have everyone give me dirty disgusted looks, not having kids point or stare or be scared or laugh at me. Being able to take care of MYSELF!!
Go to basic training for law enforcement and become an officer of the law, getting off of disability!!
Doing it all for ME, to be a healthy person, to show my abusers that they didn’t win, to show them I WON!! I want to not only make people proud of me, moreso, I want to make myself proud of ME!