Single mother ….. or single woman?

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“I think that co-parenting works if both parents come to an understanding of the child’s necessities, and what both parents can afford to provide for the child. Parents who are no longer together should still try to maintain a level of respect so that the child is not used as the psychologist who has to hear their parent’s threatening remarks towards the other parent… this will hurt the child’s phsychological well being. Parents may have different lifestyles and ways of disciplining. It took two parents to bring a child into this world …. therefore I believe it takes more than one person to care for all of a child’s needs. It’s better to work as a team for your child’s well being… Don’t let divorce or a breakup ruin your parenting responsibilities. Children deserve to be loved and cared for if they are to survive, and live a good life.”
[Comment left on blog about importance of co-parenting]

She just can’t let go ……

We have previously discussed our alienating parent’s refusal to let go of her relationship with her ex, even though they have been divorced over 36 years and she was successful in alienating her children from their father many years ago.

One of those blogs can be found here:
https://ltepas.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/keeping-the-relationship-together-36-years-after-a-divorce/

On the evening of October 21, I updated our family tree on rootsweb for the first time in months. In that update I asked — again — that our alienating parent remove all personal, non-genealogical comments from the names of my family and my husband’s family. That would appear to be easy enough, to anyone who was actually ready to let go of a marriage that ended decades ago, wouldn’t it? We have been making this request of our alienating parent for many years and have even had to go to the various websites about her inappropriate postings. Many of them deleted her material entirely from their websites themselves, after she refused to do so.

But, of course, nothing is that easy with our alienating parent. Not only did she refuse to delete the comments, she added more! Check out this one she has under the name of my father:

rootsweb-post-10-22-2014_edited-1

 

Do these comments have any genealogical merit? No. They are our alienating parent’s personal comments. And, as usual, they are not quite truthful. I’ve never protested her online tree because it provides correct linage (lineage) of her children. I have a problem with her online tree(s) because they post her personal comments, theories and alleged information, the majority of which is not even true. Her opinions of me and my behavior have nothing to do with genealogy, yet she keeps posting her comments on genealogy websites. I could care less about the article she keeps claiming “may shed some light.” Her comments, opinions and a newspaper article about a lawsuit she filed against my husband and I have nothing to do with genealogy. And they certainly have nothing to do with my father. Period. But it’s more fun for her to make up strange scenarios and then post it under the names of innocent people who have already gone on before us.

She has a blog. Why not post the information there, where people might actually be interested in what she had to say? Because if she posts it on a genealogy website, under the name of my father or my husband’s parents, that keeps her connection to us. Plain and simple.

And what is really interesting about this latest development is the time frame during which it took place. I update our family tree on rootsweb, asking our alienating parent to remove these comments, and only hours later, she updates her tree, adding more! hmmmmm, didn’t take her long to (1) realize I had updated my tree; and (2) to find my request that she remove the comments and respond by adding more. We’ve always known how closely she monitors every move we make, and this is just another example of how much she is following our daily lives. How scary is that?

Should Targeted Parents Send Alienated Children Books?

“Frequently I will get an e-mail or call from a targeted parent asking me which of my books and writings do I think they should share with their alienated child, as a means of enlightening that child about the cause of the breach in their relationship. My simple answer is one word: none.

I know of no situation in which a currently alienated child positively received such an item. The wish is that the alienated child (regardless of the age of the “child”) would read the item and have an epiphany and say something like, “Wow. I have a whole new understanding of what has happened in my childhood. I only thought you were the bad guy. Now I realize that you really loved me and I was tricked into believing that wasn’t true.” It is completely understandable why a targeted parent would harbor such a wish. It is almost like having a magic wand. However, as far as I know, there is no magic wand for undoing the spell of alienation.

When I coach targeted parents I try to help them see what has happened from their child’s point of view. No alienated child believes that they were brainwashed. If they had that insight they wouldn’t be alienated any more. Currently alienated children (again, I am referring to the person as a child because of their role as the child of the targeted parent not because of their age) have an understanding of why they have no relationship with the targeted parent and that understanding is based on their felt experience with that parent. They are not aware that they have been manipulated. Usually, there is a grain of truth to their complaints about the targeted parent. Because all parents are imperfect there is always something to point to as “the reason” for the breach. In my experience, the only way to reconnect with an alienated child is to see the relationship from their point of view. That means, trying to understand what is upsetting them, even if from the targeted parent’s point of view most of their upset is based on exaggerations and mis-information.

There are ways of doing this that do not involve (A) apologizing for things that didn’t happen or (B) arguing with the child about their false beliefs. This is a delicate dance but one that can be done and, based on my coaching, one well worth doing. Once there is a reconnection, usually the targeted parent lets go of the idea of having the formerly alienated child fully understand what happened. Ironically, what often helps targeted parents come to this understanding is reading one of my books. I often encourage targeted parents to go back and read “Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind” as a way of helping the targeted parent experience the alienated child as a victim. When that empathy for the child is rekindled, the targeted parent is usually ready to try to engage the alienated child in a more delicate fashion, one that does not involve sending them materials about how they have been manipulated.”
[Source: Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D.]

Fatherless Daughters

“Daughters who live in mother only homes are 92% more likely to divorce. So any mother preventing her daughter from seeing her dad is almost guaranteeing her daughter will divorce and have trouble in life with men. They do not learn to understand men when they do not have a father and can become promiscuous, afraid of men or experience other problems.”

“Children From Fatherless Homes Are:
15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
4.6 times more likely to commit suicide
6.6 times more likely to become teenaged mothers
24.3 times more likely to run away
6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions
10.8 times more likely to commit rape
6.6 times more likely to drop out of school
15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenage
73% of adolescent murderers come from mother only homes”
[Source: Fatherunite.org]

Children need both parents ……

Warning signs of Parental Alienation

Having lived through parental alienation for many years, we’ve come to learn many of the warning signs of PAS. While it may be too late for us, we thought we would share what we’ve learned with others in the hope that it might help someone being alienated from their children ….. before it’s too late.

Badmouthing: my husband’s children, when they were very young and would visit with us or his parents, would share things their mother had said about us, and about their paternal grandparents. They were often present when their mother would rant and rave about us to other people.

Limiting the other parent (as well as their extended family’s) contact with the children: all you have to do is review the Court docket in our particular case, and you can clearly see that the mother made every effort to limit her childrens’ time with their father.

Getting angry at the child: if the children would go home and tell about their visits with their father and I, if they made any indication that they enjoyed spending time with us, their mother would — and I quote the children here — “freak out!” The childrens’ parental grandmother told of an incident where the mother went to her, hysterical because she [the mother] thought the children “liked” me, their stepmother, better than they liked her. My mother-in-law was horrified by her behavior, her jealousy of the childrens’ relationship with me, and her apparent low self-esteem.

Forcing the child to chose between parents: our alienating parent, after the children spent Christmas with their father, greeted them upon their arrival home, crying and asking them why they hadn’t wanted to spend the holiday with her!

Discussing adult relationships with the child: this was an ongoing issue with our alienating parent. She discussed totally inappropriate subject matters with children as young as four and five years old.

Removing photos of the other parent: not only removing, but destroying them, as well!

Creating conflict: even as the children grew to adulthood, it was impossible to have a relationship with them, due to their mother’s ongoing attempts to create conflict …. which, incidentally, continues to this day.

Throwing out letters and gifts: one January, when we arrived to pick up the children, we saw a Barbie house that we had bought for one of the girls a month earlier for Christmas, in the trash.

Why do PAS parents act like they do?

“I believe that PAS parents have become stuck in the first stage of child development, where survival skills are learned.

To them, having total control over their child is a life and death matter. Because they don’t understand how to please other people, any effort to do so always has strings attached. They don’t give; they only know how to take. They don’t play by the rules and are not likely to obey a court order.

Descriptions that are commonly used to describe severe cases of PAS are that the alienating parent is unable to “individuate” (a psychological term used when the person is unable to see the child as a separate human being from him or herself). They are often described as being “overly involved with the child” or “enmeshed”.

The parent may be diagnosed as narcissistic (self-centered), where they presume that they have a special entitlement to whatever they want. They think that there are rules in life, but only for other people, not for them.

Also, they may be called a sociopath, which means a person who has no moral conscience. These are people who are unable to have empathy or compassion for others. They are unable to see a situation from another person’s point of view, especially their child’s point of view. They don’t distinguish between telling the truth and lying in the way that others do.

In spite of admonitions from judges and mental health professionals to stop their alienation, they can’t. The prognosis for severely alienating parents is very poor. It is unlikely that they are able to “get it.” It is also unlikely that they will ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation. This is a gut wrenching survival issue to them.”
[Source: Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome, by Jayne A. Major, Ph.D. ]

Reading this article struck so many chords with us. Control was such an ongoing issue with our alienating parent. She, and only she, had the right to make decisions pertaining to HER children. She certainly did not obey court orders, since she — as mother — knew what was best for her children. Court orders did no good in our case, because they were completely ignored. Rules are meant for others to follow …. not her.

And, on many occasions, she would have her young children call their father and give him excuses as to why he would not be seeing them during his regularly scheduled visitation, or on his scheduled holidays.

Is she able to see this situation from her childrens’ point of view?  That’s highly unlikely; otherwise, she would not have put her children through the ordeals that she has put them through.

Can she distinguish between telling the truth and lying?  Lies roll off of her tongue so easily, we worry that she is so delirious, that she actually believes what she was saying.

Just a few days ago, someone — who has traveled with us through our journey of parental alienation, said: “she just doesn’t get it, and doesn’t see that no one is buying her version of what’s happened over all these years.” Like Dr. Major said, it’s very unlikely that she will ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation. Even after 36 years, she can’t put her children before her feelings ….. and the alienation continues.

Kudos to Kendra!

It was with great interest that I read an article about Kendra Wilkinson reuniting with her estranged father after two decades.

Wilkinson says, “I do reunite with him (dad) after a very long time. … It’s the most powerful, most amazing thing I’ve ever been through in my life, and I’m so proud of myself for doing it. I never thought I would face my dad ever again, and I did.”

Asked why her dad left all those years ago during an appearance on “Access Hollywood Live” on Thursday, the former centerfold refused to give up details, adding, “I wanna be in a place of forgiveness and I wanna move on. I wanna live right now. … I wanna say, ‘Screw the past’.”

The article I read also went on to say:  “Eric [Kendra’s father] has close friends who had to drag their children through divorce court.  He swore he’d never do that, create a hostile environment where his kids had to choose between parents.  It’s Patti [Kendra’s mother] who has created this bad dynamic.”  Patti herself has been quoted as saying “I’ve always told my kids to have their guard up when it comes to their father.”

It appears that Kendra has recently been on “the outs” with her mother and younger brother.

Good for you, Kendra!  Although your relationship with your father should not affect your relationship with your mother, should it?  As an adult, you should be permitted to have a close, loving relationship with BOTH parents.  Your relationship with one parent should have no bearing on your relationship with the other.

An Open Letter to an Alienated Child

Even though we have had no contact with my husband’s children for many years, it was heartbreaking to hear the news that one of them was in jail.  We don’t know any details, other than what we saw on the news and read in the newspapers.  This is one of my husband’s children who, after being alienated from her father herself, decided to continue that behavior and in turn kept her children from her father ….. their grandfather.

She is an adult, but she is also an innocent victim of child abuse — as discussed in our previous post.  So what does a parent do?  Forgive and forget?  We’ve been down that road on more than one occasion and only ended up not being allowed to see my husband’s grandchildren … time, after time, after time.  Cut her out of our lives completely?  That’s difficult to do when you see that she obviously needs help.

We have no way of contacting her since she is in jail, but thought we would put this open letter on our blog, in the event she does read it at some point …..

Dear C,

I read in the newspaper that you said “I have learned my lesson and from this day forward, I know to make the correct decisions in my life.”

I would love nothing more than for that to be true.

I don’t know what led up to your being in jail.  Obviously, you made some poor decisions.

Did you also make a poor decision when you decided to keep your children from your father?  Would your children be better off right now if your Dad was in their lives?  Your attorney said you’re a great mother.  Would a great mother worry more about the anger she was feeling than what was best for her children?  Is it better for your children to grow up knowing they are loved and cherished by their grandfather, than thinking he doesn’t care about them?  Because, C, he does love them and would do anything for them, if you let him.

I don’t know about your relationship with your Dad.  He’s been kept from his grandchildren for almost 7 years now and is understandably pretty angry about that.  But I do know that he deeply loves M and C (he doesn’t even know your youngest) and would do anything for them, no matter how angry he might be at you.

Maybe it’s time to start making some better decisions?  Beginning with trying to heal your relationship with your Dad?  I don’t know what his reaction would be.  It might take a lot of time and a lot of effort to erase the past 7 years, but someone has to start somewhere.

He can keep his feelings about you separate from his feelings about his grandchildren, in order to help them.  Can you do the same in order to help your children?

You know how to get in touch with us.

C

The Innocence of a Child …. Generation after Generation after Generation ….

For those of you following our blog from it’s inception, you’ll remember that our Alienating Parent was herself abused by a parent.  She was sexually abused by her father.  She did, for a time, seek counseling and take medication for the resulting trauma from that abuse.  Unfortunately, once she felt “okay” she left the counseling and medication behind.  It wasn’t long after that that she began the crusade of alienating her children from their father and his parents.

So, our feelings toward her behavior run the gamut from anger (at the parental alienation), to pity (from what she endured at the hands of her own father), to exasperation (that the behavior has continued for over 30 years).

She was an innocent child who suffered through a horrendous childhood.

There were two children brought into this world as a result of her marriage to my husband.  Those are, likewise, innocent children.  Innocent children who were emotionally abused by their mother, in her quest to alienate them from their father.  It is well documented that children suffer when one parent tries to alienate them from the other, which is exactly what happened in our case.  The children do not have a close relationship with the targeted parent, they feel the need to “protect” the alienating parent, and oftentimes grow up to exhibit many symptoms of child abuse.

My husband has not spoken to or had any contact with his adult children for several years.

We now have three victims of child abuse in our particular situation:  a mother, who was abused as a child, who then went on to abuse her own two children.

On to the next generation:  one of my husband’s children is currently in jail.  She has three children, from three different relationships.  So we now have three more innocent children, harmed because of their mother’s actions.  That mother was a victim of child abuse, at the hands of her alienating mother.

We wish there were something we could do to help those innocent children, but their mother made the decision many years ago to take them out of our lives.  She was successfully alienated from her own father, and in turn, alienated her children from their grandfather ….. just like her mother tried to do so many years ago with her former in-laws.

Ours is a story of three generations of innocent children being harmed by a parent.

When will the cycle end?