As one year ends and another begins ……

Our hope to all those struggling with maintaining a relationship with their children is that they find peace in the new year.  Whether it be good news:  forming a bond, and being able to sustain that bond.  Or whether it be a less pleasant outcome:  when a parent finally gives up.  Either way, our wish to each and every person following this blog is that you find peace.  Peace in your own heart, in your own life and in your own relationships.

Life is too short to carry anger and hatred with you on a daily basis.

Live life to it’s fullest.  Enjoy the small things that come your way, and let go of the things you have no control over.  You never know what tomorrow might bring, and the time wasted on animosity and hostility toward others — even though it may be well deserved 🙂 — takes away from the positive things life has to offer.

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Parentification and the Narcissistic Mother

Parentification is the trait in Narcissistic Mothers of expecting her daughter to look after her instead of the other way around.

This parentification can take the form of the daughter being expected to meet physical needs far beyond her age, such as clothes-washing (her own, or her own and her mother’s), cooking, minding younger siblings, fetching and carrying for her mother and so on.

But parentification can also take the form of the daughter being expected to take care of her mother’s emotional needs. In this case her mother will probably speak very inappropriately to her daughter of her relationships (including her relationship with the daughter’s father if that’s still relevant), of her sex life, of her issues and concerns.

This process of parentification is very abusive as the daughter, correctly judging this as the price of her mother’s approval, and not knowing any better, tries to take on the burden of meeting those needs.

This means that she is not paying attention to her own needs and desires and attending to the important business of growing up. And it also means that she’s trying to do stuff she’s just not equipped for.

Parentification is a huge burden to put on a small girl, but one that Narcissistic Mothers put on without conscience.

This feeling of being burdened can keep us trapped in looking after her. I have two EFT videos to solve this issue: Erase The Belief That It’s Your Job To Fix Things andErase The Belief That It’s Your Job To Keep Her Happy.

And if you’d like to be parented for a while, instead of doing the parenting, I invite you to check out the Inner Mother Guided Meditation.

[Source:  http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/parentification/ ]

Check your ego at the door (beyond Mom and Stepmom hate)

“My little boy clutched his Valentine’s Day cards in his dimpled hands and beamed with excitement. Jill, my son’s stepmom, had made them. I forced a smile as my heart exploded with disappointment (along with jealousy and a dash of insult). This was the same feeling that caught my breath when I saw my son wearing a new haircut or clothes she bought. My immediate reaction wasn’t the gratitude I feel today. Back then, when sharing a mothering role was new, my possessiveness over my son was paralyzing.

Connor was MY child. How could she do this to ME? What was she trying to PROVE?

Divorce ushers in a loss of control over many things, especially our children.

I took a deep breath (one of many).

I had to admit anger was a secondary emotion masking my fear of being replaced, of my inadequacy as a mother, of Connor loving Jill more than me, of my jealousy that she did things with (and for) my son that I wanted to do. I was also acutely aware unchecked emotion often leads to vicious behavior between moms and stepmoms. Did I really want to go down that path? Hating is easy, especially when it’s condoned by society.

I almost fell for it.

As a mother, I was expected to make derisive comments about my son’s stepmom, even in front of my child. I was allowed to ridicule and insult. I was permitted to drive a wedge between Jill and my child because it was acceptable when disguised as being “protective.” My fragile emotion made me susceptible to embarrassing, immature, regrettable behavior.

We’ve all heard of moms who lie about their children’s sporting event and party locations and times, manipulate drop-offs, change plans unexpectedly and make unreasonable requests of ex-husbands just to be vindictive. I’ve heard moms tell daughters they aren’t allowed to wear gifts from their stepmoms. Sadly, the list goes on. Meanwhile, children are forced to witness egregious behavior while struggling to make sense of adult problems. I realized my child wouldn’t understand why his mom and stepmom fought — he’d just think it was his fault.

My son.

My little boy’s well being stopped my insecurity in its tracks. I didn’t want Connor to suffer and refused to confuse him by encouraging hatred for a woman who loved him. I refused to be selfish, cruel and bitter because it’s just not how I’m wired. And I began to wonder, what if? What if society considered nastiness between moms and stepmoms abhorrent? What if moms and stepmoms who chose to hate were shunned for creating hostile environments for children caught in the middle? What if the societal pressure was that we get along? What if I chose to be tolerant, patient and accepting of Jill? And what if Jill met me halfway?

Like so many of you, even if I had the best intentions, Jill could thwart my greatest efforts. She could detest me, the ex-wife, which would also be expected and condoned. And if we both chose hate, we’d be caught in that stereotypical relationship perpetuated by millions of combative women whose worlds collide because of a child.

While I checked my ego at the door, Jill chose kindness.

This hasn’t always been my experience.

In addition to being a mother, I am a stepmother. The path Jill and I chose was harshly juxtaposed against the insufferable path my stepdaughter’s mother preferred (where the rainbows, unicorns and sunshine ended). The real victim is my stepchild who is poisoned by a hate that doesn’t even belong to her. Hatred is so strong, even if it’s one-sided, it can win. It infects children’s hearts, minds and worldview.

Is this what mothers really want for their children?

All mothers and stepmothers have a choice.

I chose to remove ego from my situation. I chose to temper my protective instincts, loss of control, jealousy and insecurity. I had them (oh, did I have them.) But I realized there was no danger to my son being loved and mothered by another woman. The only danger was to my own self-esteem and fragile ego. Jill’s love for my child, and the way she showed it, had absolutely nothing to do with me.

Instead of characterizing Jill’s mothering as an affront to me, I was relieved Connor had more love in his life. Instead of surrendering to jealousy when Jill did things for him or with him, I was grateful I had help in raising my son (and from a woman who loved him like her own).

We often hear mothers say they’d die for their children, that they would take a bullet. I know I would. Yet, if we’re so willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of our lives for our kids, why can’t we sacrifice our egos for them?

Some say my friendship with Jill is too “idyllic,” “impossible,” or not “the truth” when it comes to co-parenting. I assure you, it is our truth. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. As with any family relationship where disagreements are inevitable, we’ve committed to respectfully communicating, forgiving, accepting different points of view, apologizing, adapting, compromising and moving on. We’ve been co-parenting for well over a decade. It’s my hope more women will be inspired to consider a different path, one where kindness is chosen and ego is sacrificed. You can create peace for yourself, and more importantly, your children.”

By Shelley Wetton

[Source:  huffingtonpost.com/shelley-wetton ]

8 Commandments for Surviving Christmas Custody | Tiffany Benyacko

Stand Up For Zoraya

Christmas trees. Christmas presents. Christmas custody?

When a couple with children are no longer together, the couple has to decide who will have the children during the holidays. There are some who may celebrate the holidays together in hopes of creating a peaceful holiday for the children.

There are others who are not in a true co-parenting relationship.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau via CNN, there are an estimated four million divorced parents in the United States. Based on those numbers, many have experience in coordinating Christmas custody.

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Finding My Father

NEW YORK, NY – December 7, 2015 – Oxygen Media today released a national study inspired by Finding My Father,the network’s new series that follows young people searching for the fathers they have never known. Heading into the holidays when family is at the forefront, the survey, conducted by Research Now, examines the role dads play in the lives of millennial women. The study found that dads are an invaluable figure to young women and that a negative or absent relationship can have harmful effects. Specifically, 75 percent of young women said it is “very important” to have a close relationship with their father and 47 percent said their father is “the most important person in their life.”  In addition, those who grew up with a positive relationship with their father tend to say they are happier than those who grew up with a negative or non-existent relationship. Of the respondents without fathers, 50 percent said they felt a void by not knowing their father growing up and 50 percent said not having a father is partially responsible for their negative issues in life.  Further, a majority of young women who grew up without a father (63 percent) said his absence negatively affected their trust in others, while 61 percent said his absence negatively affected their romantic relationships.

Key Findings:

The Importance of Fathers

  • 75 percent of young women believe it is “very important” to have a close relationship with their father.
  • 47 percent say their father is “the most important person in their life.”

Communication & $upport

  • 32 percent of the young women surveyed communicate with their father every day, and nearly two thirds (66 percent) do so at least once a week.
  • It seems some of that communication may be about an adult allowance, as 72 percent of the women surveyed claim to have “received financial support from their dads in their adult years.”

Your Father & Your Love Life

  • There’s no denying it, fathers tend to influence a young woman’s love life.  While 36 percent say they “look for someone with similar qualities to my father when they date,” 65 percent of the married women surveyed said “my husband shares many positive qualities with my father.”
  • Having a negative relationship with their dad also shapes a young woman’s romantic future. 63 percent of respondents claiming negative relationships with their dads say they “tend to have trouble trusting men,” while 40 percent of those who grew up without a relationship with their biological fathers say they have “trouble forming stable romantic relationships.”

Impacts of Growing Up without their Biological Father

  • 50 percent of the respondents without dads say “they felt a void by not knowing their father growing up” with 50 percent claiming it is “partially responsible for my negative issues in life.”
  • About two thirds say it both “negatively affected their trust in others” (63 percent) and “their romantic relationships” (61 percent).
  • A silver lining may be the way the absence of a father strengthens the mother-daughter bond, with 78 percent saying the absence “made me rely more on my mother,” with 47 percent claiming “their mother” as the replacement father-figure in their lives. 

The Search and Reunion with an Absent Dad

  • 60 percent of respondents without a relationship with their father growing up “tried to make contact,” 77 percent of these “before the age of 18.”
  • Making contact seems to be a very achievable goal, as 90 percent of those who tried proved successful in their mission.

Motivations for a Reunion

  • The main motivation for reunions for the respondents with absent fathers was “to gain closure” and “have my questions answered” (both 64 percent).
  • 65 percent hoped a reunion would lead to “forming a relationship with him.”

How We Search

  • The most common way the respondents went about finding their father was simply “asking their mother” (58 percent), followed by “reaching out to other family members” (38 percent).
  • 21 percent of women “employed social media” to find their fathers.

The Fears of Reuniting

  • More than half (55 percent) say they saw “emotional pain” as a potential risk, while 49 percent feared they would be “disappointed in whom he was/what he had become,” and 48 percent “feared rejection.”
  • While 31 percent feared they might “emotionally hurt their mother by trying,” 57 percent claimed their “mother was supportive of my search.”
  • 78 percent of those who made contact with their father said their relationship with their mother “was not affected” by their search/reunion.

Silver Lining to Finding a Father

  • 37 percent of women say that finding their father “was one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” 40 percent say they “continued communicating” and a third (33 percent) now consider their once absent father “a part of their family.”
  • Over a third of women (36 percent) say they “discovered a new sibling” through the search.
  • Over half of women (55 percent) say that, despite the outcome, trying to find their father was still a positive experience.

[Source:  oxygen.com]

 

 

Father Absence, Father Deficit, Father Hunger

We recently read an article about the psychological effect on children who grow up without a relationship with their father.  We are sharing that article here.  There are many reasons why a child / father relationship may end, but in the cases of parental alienation, it is especially tragic.  What supposedly loving, nurturing parent would purposely harm their child by doing everything in their power to end their child’s relationship with the other parent?  And, as most experts agree, the alienating parent is doing irreparable harm to their child when they undertake a mission to alienate their child from the child’s other parent.

Here is the article, which was written by Edward Kruk, PhD.:

According to the 2007 UNICEF report on the well-being of children in economically advanced nations, children in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. rank extremely low in regard to social and emotional well-being in particular. Many theories have been advanced to explain the poor state of our nations’ children: child poverty, race and social class. A factor that has been largely ignored, however, particularly among child and family policymakers, is the prevalence and devastating effects of father absence in children’s lives.

First, a caveat: I do not wish to either disparage single mothers or blame non-residential fathers for this state of affairs. The sad fact is that parents in our society are not supported in the fulfillment of their parental responsibilities, and divorced parents in particular are often undermined as parents, as reflected in the large number of “non-custodial” or “non-residential” parents forcefully removed from their children’s lives, as daily caregivers, by misguided family court judgments. My target of concern is those responsible for laws and policies that devalue the importance or, to use an old-fashioned word, the sanctity of parents in children’s lives, and parental involvement as critical to children’s well-being. Children need both parents, and parents need the support of social institutions in regard to being there for their kids.

Despite President Obama’s 2011 Father’s Day lament on the irresponsibility of “deadbeat fathers” footloose and fancy free from taking responsibility for their children, in fact the two major structural threats to fathers’ presence in children’s lives are divorce and non-marital childbearing. More often than not, fathers are involuntarily relegated by family courts to the role of “accessory parents,” valued for their role as financial providers rather than as active caregivers. This view persists despite the fact that fathers in two-parent families, before divorce, typically share, with mothers, responsibility for the care of their children. This is both because fathers have taken up the slack while mothers work longer hours outside the home, and because fathers are no longer content to play a secondary role as parents. Most fathers today are keen to experience both the joys and challenges of parenthood, derive satisfaction from their parental role, and consider active and involved fatherhood to be the core component of their self-identity.

Whereas parents in general are not supported as parents by our social institutions, divorced fathers in particular are devalued, disparaged, and forcefully disengaged from their children’s lives. Researchers have found that for children, the results are nothing short of disastrous, along a number of dimensions:

 – children’s diminished self-concept, and compromised physical and emotional security (children consistently report feeling abandoned when their fathers are not involved in their lives, struggling with their emotions and episodic bouts of self-loathing)

-behavioral problems (fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, and are more likely to report problems with friendships, and manifest behavior problems; many develop a swaggering, intimidating persona in an attempt to disguise their underlying fears, resentments, anxieties and unhappiness)

-truancy and poor academic performance (71 per cent of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father absent homes are more likely to play truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood)

-delinquency and youth crime, including violent crime (85 per cent of youth in prison have an absent father; fatherless children are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults)

-promiscuity and teen pregnancy (fatherless children are more likely to experience problems with sexual health, including a greater likelihood of having intercourse before the age of 16, foregoing contraception during first intercourse, becoming teenage parents, and contracting sexually transmitted infection; girls manifest an object hunger for males, and in experiencing the emotional loss of their fathers egocentrically as a rejection of them, become susceptible to exploitation by adult men)

-drug and alcohol abuse (fatherless children are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and abuse drugs in childhood and adulthood)

-homelessness (90 per cent of runaway children have an absent father)

-exploitation and abuse (fatherless children are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, being five times more likely to have experienced physical abuse and emotional maltreatment, with a one hundred times higher risk of fatal abuse; a recent study reported that preschoolers not living with both of their biological parents are 40 times more likely to be sexually abused)

-physical health problems (fatherless children report significantly more psychosomatic health symptoms and illness such as acute and chronic pain, asthma, headaches, and stomach aches)

-mental health disorders (father absent children are consistently overrepresented on a wide range of mental health problems, particularly anxiety, depression and suicide)

-life chances (as adults, fatherless children are more likely to experience unemployment, have low incomes, remain on social assistance, and experience homelessness)

-future relationships (father absent children tend to enter partnerships earlier, are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions, and are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership)

-mortality (fatherless children are more likely to die as children, and live an average of four years less over the life span)

Given the fact that these and other social problems correlate more strongly with fatherlessness than with any other factor, surpassing race, social class and poverty, father absence may well be the most critical social issue of our time. In Fatherless America, David Blankenhorn calls the crisis of fatherless children “the most destructive trend of our generation.” A recent British report from the University of Birmingham, Dad and Me, confirms Blankenhorn’s claims, concluding that the need for a father is on an epidemic scale, and “father deficit” should be treated as a public health issue.

We ignore the problem of father absence to our peril. Of perhaps greatest concern is the lack of response from our lawmakers and policymakers, who pay lip service to the paramount importance of the “best interests of the child,” yet turn a blind eye to father absence, ignoring the vast body of research on the dire consequences to children’s well-being.

What is the solution to father absence? Many fathers’ advocates have stressed the need for fast, low-cost, effective ways for non-residential parents to have their court-ordered parenting time enforced. While access enforcement is important, legislating for shared parenting would be a more effective measure to ensure the ongoing active involvement of both parents in children’s lives. A legal presumption of shared parenting would affirm the primary role of both parents, and make clear that even in the absence of a spousal relationship, both mothers’ and fathers’ parental responsibilities to their children’s needs are “sacred,” and therefore deserving of full legal protection and recognition.

One Casualty of Parental Alienation – Birthdays

Hawaii's Parents Against Parental Alienation

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Severely alienated children will try to prove the alienating parent is correct in their assessment of the targeted parent. After all, why would a parent lie and say bad things about the other parent if it’s not true?

It is certainly the case in mine. If I called to talk to my son, he has to let Mom know that I never even tried. If I gave my son money, he had to tell her that I didn’t give him anything. If I told Mom something and she, in turn, questioned him about it, he would flat out deny it so that I would be the liar.

When my son came down during a past visit, we had a birthday cookout to celebrate his birthday that occurred earlier that month. Family and friends (friends he had since he was 5) came to hang out and celebrate, offering him gifts.

He…

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2 types of alienated children

Parental Alienation

Did you know that there are 2 types of alienated children (in my opinion.) There is the “Oblivious Child” and the “Hostage Child.” Let me explain.

The “Oblivious Child”

This is a child who has absolutely no clue that they are living under the spell of alienation. They fully accept the reality that has been created for them; the controlling parent is always right, and the alienated parent is always wrong. This ignorant “bliss” keeps their life in relative peace…as long as the alienated parent doesn’t dare try to show and interest in their life or express love. When that happens, the manipulation and feeding of false stories gets kicked into high gear. The “how dare they…” expressions come out in full force and because the child has been so used to this conditioning, they go right along with it. In fact, with each episode their belief is re-enforced and…

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Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

Co-Parenting With a Narcissist

There is no such thing as co-parenting with a narcissist as they have no concept of teamwork or even cooperation. Perhaps the title would be more accurate if it read, “Parenting In Spite of a Narcissist”. Most often there is little to no “co-parenting” that occurs when your ex-spouse is a narcissist. You spend your time and energy undoing the damage that the narcissist has done to the children.  Narcissists see their children as extensions of themselves and are simply objects meant to fulfill the narcissist’s needs. Keep your expectations low for them as parents. They don’t have “normal” maternal or paternal instincts and are incapable of putting their child’s needs first.

[Source:  http://thenarcissisticlife.com/ ]