My husband and his former wife, the mother of his children, have been divorced for almost 38 years. He has not had a relationship with his children for several years. Even though that is the case, our alienating parent posted the following on her blog (which was created after she learned we had begun this blog):
The first portion of the blog is our alienating parent’s thoughts about our situation, and then she chose to share the information our son had posted on a fundraising website. You’ll notice our alienating parent took it upon herself to highlight the language about our out-of-pocket expenses, and label it “Deductible.”
First, let me start out by saying that this entry is password protected on our alienating parent’s blog. One of the people that she has given the password to was so horrified by this post that they shared it with us. So, people (friends and family) whom our alienating parent has chosen to share her deepest thoughts with, find her ramblings disturbing enough to share with us.
Secondly, let me remind everyone that this individual has been divorced from her ex-husband for almost four decades. Yet, she presumes that she still knows all about his health care insurance?
“Poor Choice in Insurance Deductible so seek funds from friends” is the title of her post. How does she know her ex-husband made a poor choice in his insurance deductible? She doesn’t. But, as usual, truth and accuracy are not prerequisites when it is time for her to voice her opinion.
And why is she even voicing her opinion about her ex-husband’s medical condition (and yes, she had a blog post about his health crisis too) and/or his medical insurance coverage? What business is it of hers?
But back to her allegation that we made a poor choice when it came to our insurance deductible. Contrary to what our alienating parent claims, we had no choice when it came to our health care insurance:
My husband is a retiree, who is not yet eligible for Medicare. The above is his plan document. Therefore, our insurance is administered by Medical Mutual. Period. I don’t see any options available to us, do you? Our alienating parent wasn’t aware of that, was she? But that didn’t stop her from pontificating about our so-called choice when it came to our deductible.
And then we come to the actuality of our insurance plan: our coinsurance is more than our deductible. Here are just a couple examples of the incredible number of bills we incurred as a result of my husband’s brain tumor and subsequent treatment for brain cancer (which is still currently ongoing):
On the first bill, our deductible was less than our coinsurance. On the second bill, our deductible had already been met, but we still owed almost $700.00 as coinsurance.
Our alienating parent’s version: We made a poor choice on our deductible for health care insurance. — versus the truth: (1) we had no choice; and (2) our coinsurance was higher than our deductible.
Our alienating parent had absolutely no idea whether or not we chose a deductible, how much that deductible might be, how much we were required to pay as coinsurance, etc. — but that didn’t stop her from posting a blog sharing her opinion of our situation.
And then our alienating parent goes on to suggest that we sell luxury items and pay our bills. Is she aware of any luxury items that we might own? No. How could she? But that is her opinion and, by God, she’s going to put it out there! Even though it is not anywhere near being accurate.
What’s especially ironic is this comment was made by someone who has filed for bankruptcy, as well as lost a house to foreclosure. Did our alienating parent sell any so-called luxury items that she might have owned to pay her bills? Maybe she did. We certainly don’t know. But we do know she filed for bankruptcy and lost a house to foreclosure. Obviously she is the last person who should be giving financial advice to anyone, but — again — that doesn’t stop her from giving her opinion.
I would normally not share such personal information, but this is the face of parental alienation.
You have someone who has not been part of your life for almost 38 years, someone who has absolutely no knowledge of your situation (especially something as personal as your health care insurance coverage), someone who has no idea whether you own — or do not own — “luxury” items …. but that person feels the need to share her thoughts and opinions about your predicament when someone creates a fundraising website to help you pay medical bills.
And, by the way, how did she know about that fundraising website in the first place? Is she, perhaps, still stalking her ex via the internet, 38 years after their divorce?
Our alienating parent was successful in ending the parent / child relationship between my husband and his children many years ago. Yet, she still can’t let go. She accomplished her goal, but still feels the need to comment about her ex-husband and his status. She has posted on her blog about his medical condition, the fact that his oldest daughter called him, her opinions about forgiveness, details about his health care insurance (inaccurate though they may be), and on and on and on.
The “children” of this marriage are in their late 30s and early 40s. But they cannot have a relationship with their father, without their mother posting her assessments of him and various situations he finds himself in, on the internet.
It is none of her business, but she makes it her business. She has no idea what she is even talking about, but voices her point of view anyway.
Yet, the “children” continue to maintain a relationship with her. A woman who butts into their father’s business decades after their divorce, a woman who has no idea what she is even talking about, but will tell other’s what they’ve done wrong and how they should live their lives ……
But they won’t have a relationship with a man who loves them, a man who has worked hard all of his life, only to be stricken with a terrible medical condition ….. all because it might upset their mother, or she might “freak out?”
That is the phenomenon of parental alienation.
And, last but not least, does anyone who read our alienating parent’s blog post believe that this person did not do her best to alienate her children from their father?
If she is speaking about him in this manner, almost 40 years after their divorce, can you image the way she was speaking about him in the days and years immediately following the divorce? If his situation is her business now, when her children are grown adults and have had no relationship with their father for years, can you imagine how she spoke about him and his situation(s) while he was trying to maintain a relationship with his children when they were young?
To quote our targeted parent: “There was no way she was going to allow me to have a relationship with the girls.” And, unfortunately, it turns out that he was right.
Some of the observations from yesterday’s post about a biological parent sabotaging his or her children’s relationship with their stepparent also hold true for parental alienation. What is parental alienation but an attempt by a biological parent to sabotage their child / children’s relationship with their other biological parent?
Sure-fire ways to damage your child include denying your child / children the right to love their other parent. How does that affect your child / children?
“You deny your child permission to be himself. You rob your kid of free will, which can make him feel unimportant and depressed.”
This is the narcissistic behavior by an alienated parent that we’ve experienced. No one — not even her own children — are permitted to feel or think differently than she does.
“You force your child to focus on your needs instead of his own. Your child feels less safe and taken care of. Emotional energy towards fulfilling your demands is divested from your child’s ability to relax and be himself. Your child is left uptight and guarded, which can lead to anxiety problems.”
This was always a problem with our alienating parent. The children took on the adult role of taking care of the parent at an early age. It was all about how the alienated parent was feeling. If she was in a good mood, everything was okay. But if she was feeling angry, jealous or unworthy, look out.
My mother-in-law (who babysat our alienated children) often told us about incidents when the children were unnaturally afraid of their mother’s reaction to various situations. Instead of being permitted to be children, and enjoy their childhood, their main concern was trying to keep their mother from getting upset — whether it be about an accident they had resulting in dirty clothes ….. or her whether it be about their mother’s anger at their father.
“Engaging in the role reversal in which your child has to take care of his mother instead of the other way around can also set the stage for your child to become an enabler for people with other problems, down the line.
This was a particularly disturbing aspect of our case of parental alienation. As previously discussed, the children were put in the position of taking care of Mom and her various mood swings. As adults, they even told us that they lied to their mother because otherwise, she would “freak out.”
Forbidding, or encouraging your child to misbehave or cooperate with his / her other parent or stepparent: “Your child won’t feel like the part of the family when at your ex’s house. It’ll impact his self-esteem. It’ll also damage his sense of belonging (a fundamental need) which, when missing, leaves a void that people try to fill with things like addictions and cults.”
“You discourage your child from being in touch with his feelings, which can foment resentment, anger, and depression.”
A child needs to be allowed to express what they are feeling, and not keep it bottled up for fear that it would anger the alienating parent.
Let you child be a child. That child did not ask to be put in the middle of your ongoing anger, hatred and animosity toward your ex. That is between you and your ex. Allow the child to be a child, and love both parents — in spite of your anger, hatred and animosity toward your ex. That’s what is best for your child.
[Source for quoted portions: http://www.remarriedwithchildren.org/ ]
You expected mothering to be a solo job. You and your husband raising your kids together, with no one to interfere—okay, except the media and public education. You anticipated tender, private moments with your children.
So much for that. Along came divorce. Worse still, your husband remarried.
You didn’t sign up to share motherhood with another woman. Your dream of privacy and exclusivity with your children is shattered. Your profound sense of loss gives way to anger and frustration. As if that wasn’t bad enough, your kids like or even love her, making it more uncomfortable still.
Sabotage: Finding Your Motivation
That dream’s loss may have been sour, but these special cases can make it that much harder to accept your children’s positive relationship with their step-mom:
- As your husband’s lover, she was the wedge that split the marriage.
- She’s younger, aggravatingly attractive, and is easier for your kids to relate to.
- She’s less worldly, leaving you insecure about the “life experience” and maturity level that backs advice she gives to your children.
- She comes from a different background, and is exposing your kids to different religious or cultural values.
Either way, it’s unnerving watching your children spend more time with a competing mother figure than you. You feel inadequate, your judgment clouds, and you make knee-jerk reactions in protection of your cubs. You catch yourself making unkind remarks about your children’s stepmother and demanding your children’s unwavering loyalty.
You’re just making life hard for her, right? Wrong.
Surefire Ways to Damage Your Child
- You treat your child like a mole by grilling him about every detail of what went on in the other house. It’s boring and annoying having to do seemingly insignificant reconnaissance work for a neurotic parent.
- You censor your kid’s ability to relay what went on at your house. Being unable to talk freely makes your child uncomfortable and unsafe.
Deny Your Child Permission to Like His Step-mom.
- You deny your child permission to be himself. You rob your kid of free will, which can make him feel unimportant and depressed.
- You force your child to focus on your needs instead of his own. Your child feels less safe and taken care of. Emotional energy towards fulfilling your demands is divested from your child’s ability to relax and be himself. Your child is left uptight and guarded, which can lead to anxiety problems.
- Engaging in the role reversal in which your child has to take care of his mother instead of the other way around can also set the stage for your child to become an enabler for people with other problems, down the line.
- You discourage your child from being in touch with his feelings, which can foment resentment, anger, and depression.
Forbid Your Child From Cooperating with His Step-mom.
- Your child’s stepmother and father will become upset with him. Your child is causing problems on your orders, not of their own volition, and now has to take the heat for it. This leads to anxiety.
- This negative attention often comes with punishment, which will additionally leave your child frustrated and isolated.
- Your child won’t feel like the part of the family when at your ex’s house. It’ll impact his self-esteem. It’ll also damage his sense of belonging (a fundamental need) which, when missing, leaves a void that people try to fill with things like addictions and cults.
How You Hurt Yourself
Undermining your child’s positive relationship with his or her stepmom* also backfires. He will be angry at and resent you for not trusting his judgment and decision to like his stepmom.
*This assumes absence of any major indicators of abuse.
How You Can Fix Things
Empower yourself with a positive and a proactive attitude by taking these practical steps:
- Have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself. Write it all down and get in touch with the buried stuff that you’ve yet to examine.
- Evaluate your concerns about the stepmother as objectively as possible.
- Grant your children emotional permission to like her if she is indeed nice to them.
- Give them permission to have their feelings independent of yours.
- Listen attentively to your children. It’ll deepen your relationship.
- Give your children your undivided attention when you are with them.
- Get therapy if you still need help processing your losses or establishing boundaries.
- Reach out to your support system, like friends and family, or join a support group.
Let go. Your old dream of a private, exclusive family life chains you to the past. Releasing it lets you create a new, happy, and healthy vision for yourself and your children.
Most stepmothers won’t come between you and your kids half as much as your fear will.
[Source: http://www.remarriedwithchildren.org/ ]
As a continuation of yesterday’s post, we also wanted to point out this book’s very insightful portion on blended families:
The healthy bonding of the relationship between stepdaughter and stepmother was most likely delayed because of the biological mother’s unwillingness to accept the stepmother’s involvement in the stepchildren’s lives.
“A biological parent who is unwilling to accept the new spouse of her or her ex initiates a lifestyle of divided loyalties for their children. Youngsters caught between biological parents and stepparents are expected to be compliant — to fall in line with the values held, good or bad, by the parent who is most “powerful” in their lives.”
As always, my question is this: why would any parent want to put their child through that?
I’ve been stepparent to my husband’s children over 31 years. I’ve always felt I had a good relationship with the girls …. who are now grown women. I am not their parent. They already have two of those and certainly don’t need another one. I feel I am their friend — or I would be, if their mother allowed it. Thirty-one years, and she still cannot accept me as part of her children’s lives? Of course, this is the same person who has done everything in her power — and continues to this day to do everything in her power — to keep her children from having a relationship with their own father. So I suppose her behavior toward me is no surprise.
I follow a lot of blogs here written by people going through the same things I went through oh so many years ago. In our particular case, we know why our alienating parent behaves the way she does. It’s a personal tragedy that I won’t go in to at this point. Knowing the reason behind her behavior doesn’t make it any easier to accept, although it does offer us some solace in knowing the reason why.
To every parent fighting to be part of their child’s life, and every stepparent dealing with their husband or wife’s bitter ex, I would say: fight the best fight you can. Do everything you can to combat the harm being done to the children by their other parent. Do it for the children, because the only other parent they have does not love and care enough about those children to put their own feelings of hate and anger aside for the child’s well being.
Do everything that you possibly can ….. but in the end, if it isn’t enough, go ahead and live your life, knowing you did the best you could.
If anyone would like to read further on this subject, I would highly recommend “Raising Children in Blended Families” by Maxine Marolini.
We recently read the following excerpt from the book “Raising Children in Blended Families,” in the chapter entitled “The Consequences of a Bitter Parent:”
The biological mother in this particular situation was creating more emotional pain for her children. When the children visited their father, they carried with them extra baggage — lots of guilt for leaving Mom home alone. Anyone knows this is unfair to the children.
Unfortunately, we know all to well how this scenario can harm the children — from first hand experience. We’ll never forget my husband’s 7 and 9 year old daughters telling us how their mother behaved after they spent Christmas with us: crying hysterically and asking them why they didn’t want to spend the holiday with her. There was a court order in place; it was the father’s turn for Christmas visitation; yet the mother made her children feel guilty about spending that holiday with their father.
And that emotional baggage stayed with those children well into adulthood. Even after they were adults, they told their father: “We have to spend [insert various holidays: Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.] with Mom, because she’s home all alone.”
Can anyone honestly say this is not Child Abuse?
What do Hell and parental alienation have in common? Their both pure evil and punish their victims with torment and and deep pains.
My name is Jason and I am doing my best at surviving child abuse while dealing with parental alienation. This is my diary. This is not a dark fantasy or horror, this is real life. I’m not alone, my pain and tears have many names.
Have you ever wondered what living in Hell is like? Read this short diary from a 16 year old based on a true story. Parental alienation is something not many hear about, but most are affected by at some point in their life. Child custody issues is where you will find most of the narcissistic parental alienators, but it happens in even the most “stable” of situations with a happy family. Surviving parental alienation syndrome for a child is surviving child abuse…
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Source: Why Daughters Need Their Dads
Source: Why Daughters Need Their Dads
Many people have been asking me if there is any information out there about reversing PA. I came across this article from a well respected Doctor.
How Can One Overturn the Programming of a Child Against a Parent?
Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D
Southern England Psychological Services
What will follow will in some cases make a considerable amount of sense. It will consist of viewing the specific approach to dealing with the problem with some concern since emotional factors come into play which are not typically used in any therapeutic approaches otherwise. There are several ingredients necessary in order to reverse parental alienation, or what is often called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). We will use one or the other of these terms interchangeably as there is still some uncertainty as to whether the syndrome, which has not yet been accepted by the American Psychological Association, is relevant. Certainly, parental alienation…
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Some people wonder why we have chosen now to tell our story.
There are a multitude of reasons.
So, why shouldn’t we share our story?
After much research, I have concluded that all pathological and compulsive liars have personality disorders, and those disorders can be placed on a psychopathic spectrum. Pathological lying is the opposite of normal. I will repeat that: pathological lying is the opposite of normal! It is irrelevant that researchers have discovered evidence that everyone lies in one way or another. Not only are most lies damaging, psychopathic lies are beyond the scope of what most people can even imagine when they think about lying. When someone lies habitually, that behavior pattern is always connected to other extremely disturbing traits and behaviors.
Lying is like breathing for psychopaths, and they use it as a manipulation tool in the following ways:
Psychopaths lie in order to dominate others
Because relationships are games to them, and because they view other people as objects and feel completely justified in exploiting them, psychopaths know that…
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