We felt it was time to sit down and share our story of parental alienation, from it’s inception:
My husband and his ex-wife married in November, 1973. Shortly after their second wedding anniversary, a divorce proceeding was instituted. At the time, they had one child. They reconciled long enough for a second child to be born, but then divorced in 1978. At the time they filed the second divorce proceeding, their daughters were ages three and eight months.
In 1983, my husband and I became engaged to be married, and moved in together. It didn’t take long for the troubles between my husband and his ex to escalate.
Back in the ’70s, there was very rarely joint custody. Our alienating parent had sole custody of the two children, and made sure everyone was aware that she was Custodial Parent! She also made certain everyone knew how much she and the children were suffering, both emotionally and physically. The blame for that situation, of course, fell squarely on the shoulders of her ex-husband, the father of her two children. Threats of Court action were abundant: “And you can certainly prevent a court battle by co operating with my Attorneys.”
Here are some excerpts from a letter hand-delivered by the children to their father during visitation on December 10, 1983:
The children very rarely arrived for visitation with their father without some note or letter from their mother. And the comment about “drinking uncontrollably” was especially amusing, since the children told us: “Mom threw S***** [her boyfriend] out of the trailer because he drank all of her wine.” 🙂
Less than two weeks after our alienating parent wrote the above letter, the Court entered a Journal Entry evidencing my husband’s decision to “increase the amount of his voluntary wage attachment,” otherwise known as child support.
Our alienating parent says: your children are suffering due to your non-payment of child support, while the Court docket clearly shows that, not only was he paying child support, he voluntarily elected to increase it!
As you can see, we learned early on that our alienating parent had difficultly telling the truth, which is why we’ve chosen to show you court documents, as well as her actual letters to us. She says one thing …… but these documents paint an entirely different picture.
More threats followed in February, 1984:
At the same time my husband was receiving these threats, one of his daughter’s was being seen by a Psychologist. This is a report he received, also in February, 1984:
Here we have a nine year old child who was obviously in distress. Fortunately she was seeing this psychologist, who was able to help her through a difficult time, while her mother — the Custodial Parent — was more interested in taking Dad back to Court. Does anyone doubt that her mother’s behavior contributed to her low self esteem and “other problems?”
It was also right around this time that my husband’s youngest daughter — who was 6 years old at the time — casually mentioned during a conversation: “My Mom hated her Dad.” Our alienating parent had been sexually abused by her father and we were certain that was what the child was referring to. It was alarming to us, however, because we felt it was entirely inappropriate for a mother to have such serious, and completely age inappropriate, discussions with her 6 year old child. Perhaps at some point the child would need the learn the terrible truth about her grandfather’s relationship with her mother, but it did not need to be broached at such a young age.
It was obvious our alienating parent was not keeping boundaries with her young children and was having conversations with them, which would have been much more appropriate to have with a therapist, a counselor, or even a friend.
From the time of the divorce until the children were grown, there was never any attempt at co-parenting. Here’s a good example from March, 1984:
On one hand, the alienating parent stresses that the father should follow the Divorce aggreement [sic], but in closing reminds the non-custodial parent that he should inform her of his plans accuratly [sic] so she can make an appropriate and fair decision. Are we following the divorce agreement, or are we following her decisions? As you can see, there was never any attempt to include the non-custodial father in any decision making with regard to his children. She was the only parent permitted to make decisions about the children. As usual with a narcissist, it was all about control.
My husband and I were planning on getting married in August, 1984, but our alienating parent couldn’t even wait for the wedding bells to ring before attempting to involve me in to her ongoing Court battles with her ex. This was a subpoena served on me by our alienating parent’s attorney in April 1984, four months before I even married my husband:
I had two children from my first marriage: boys, ages 5 and 7. My ex-husband had disappeared, we had no idea where he was, and I was not receiving any child support from him. Our alienating parent knew of my situation and still subpoenaed me to appear for a deposition, and bring along my financial information. You’ll notice she wanted information about my income, but had no interest in my expenses. The reason for that was: because she wanted my income to be included in a recalculation of my soon-to-be-husband’s child support obligation! Her children were being supported by two parents, while I was the sole support of my children. My attorney filed a Motion for Protective Order and, of course, the Court quickly granted that motion, and protected me from our alienating parent’s attempt at forcing me in to paying her child support.
I’ve always kept a journal and our alienating parent has given me plenty to write about over the years. 🙂
Not long after the subpoena was served on me, we heard some disturbing news from my mother-in-law:
This was alarming to everyone! Did our alienating parent honestly think she was getting back with her ex, while he was in the process of planning his wedding to another woman? And, if not, why would she say that to her former in-laws? It definitely caused a great deal of concern throughout the family: were my husband’s children being raised by a person who was so delusional, she actually thought she was getting back together with her ex?
Our alienating parent and targeted parent divorced in June 1978. They spent their last Christmas together in December 1977. Since that was the case, can anyone explain why our alienating parent pretends that they were still celebrating Christmas together in 1979?
At one point, she posted a family photo from Christmas 1977. But she then shared a photo, allegedly from Christmas 1979 at her parents’ house — over a year a half after her divorce from the targeted parent. The targeted parent and his oldest daughter are wearing the same clothes in both photos. And judging by the ages of the children, the photo was in fact taken in 1977. Which makes sense. Why then would our alienating parent pretend she was still celebrating holidays with her ex-husband well after their divorce? An inability to let go of the relationship?
The voluntary increase in child support which took place in December 1983 wasn’t enough for our alienating parent, so she took the matter to Court. During the discovery conducted for that matter, she produced her ledger of 1983 income, compared to what she expected to receive in 1984. She expected to receive $5,000 less in 1984 than she had received in 1983? hmmmmmm …..
Everyone found it interesting that she was claiming she earned $8,900 in 1983 from her employment; even though her tax return for that year indicated she had actually received $10,628. Even more fascinating was her admission that she had earned $1,642 doing cosmetalogy [sic] services at home in 1983, and had earned $3,900 in gratuities. The services performed at home were conveniently left off of her tax return. And you’ll notice she only claimed $300 in tips — even though she received $3,900, by her own admission. And this is the same person who posted a comment about me on a website: “Guess integrity isn’t a strong suit for that woman?”
And speaking of integrity ……. during this same attempt by our alienating parent to increase the child support due from her ex-husband, she produced the following, as evidence of her expenses:
Everyone noticed right away — except our alienating parent, obviously — that this was a collection notice addressed to my husband, but using our alienating parent’s address. This was not a bill for the children. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that our alienating parent was still using her ex-husband’s health insurance — for herself — five years after the divorce! Needless to say, Medical Mutual became involved and an investigator came to our house and obtained the following affidavit from my husband:
Also during this Court case for increased child support, our alienating parent completed an expense and income form. She signed where it stated: “I represent that this is a true and accurate statement of my present income and monthly expenses.” You’ll notice on Line 4, where it asks about babysitters, our alienating parent represented that, at the time of the prior order, she was paying zero, but at the current time she was paying $287.00, “raised include 5-1-84.”
Compare our alienating parent’s version of her babysitting expenses, with the version given by the day care center which the children attended:
According to the day care center, our alienating parent was paying nothing toward child care, because the day care was paid by County Services. And when the children were not at the day care center, they were being cared for by my in-laws — at no cost to our alienating parent. Until she put an end to that, of course ….
For a period of time, my husband paid his child support and medical expenses for the children, in cash — many times via his parents, who babysat the children. When our alienating parent decided to ask for an increase in child support, she also claimed that my husband was in arrears in child support and medical payments, “conveniently” forgetting about the cash payments she had received. My mother-in-law was willing to testify in Court that her son had, in fact, made payments to his ex-wife in cash. She knew that, because he would leave the cash with her and she would personally give it to her former daughter-in-law. Here’s an attorney note to that effect:
Needless to say, our alienating parent did not appreciate her former mother-in-law testifying against her and the way she chose to demonstrate her displeasure was to, of course, keep the children from their grandparents:
These two people, who dearly loved their grandchildren and would have done anything they could for them, were punished because they actually wanted to tell the truth? Unfortunately, they learned not to upset or anger our alienating parent; otherwise, they would not see their beloved grandchildren. This was the situation until their deaths.
Not only did our alienating parent make visitation between her children and their father, as well as his parents, difficult, she was dishonest in her representations to the Court when it came to how much child support her ex-husband should be required to pay.
In June, 1984, our attorney took the alienating parent’s deposition as part of the discovery process with regard to her request for increased child support. Here are portions of that deposition:
Our alienating parent swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ….. But she then went on to testify, under oath:
that she had suffered a stroke! This was news to my husband, especially since she claimed to have been hospitalized for an entire month!
During one of her later lawsuits against us, our attorney obtained copies of her medical records — which interestingly enough, don’t quite correspond with our alienating parent’s testimony during her deposition. Here are her discharge papers:
“Transient neurologic disturbance of uncertain origin” was the final diagnosis. Most tests came back unremarkable or normal. A brain tumor was suspected. That was the hospital’s diagnosis of the hospital stay — which was actually from July 7, 1980 to July 16, 1980. So, the hospital cannot determine exactly what is wrong with our alienating parent, but suspect a brain tumor. (Which later tests confirmed was not the case.) However, when it was time to testify — under oath — our alienating parent claimed she had a stroke. She also claimed she was hospitalized for a month when, in actuality, she was hospitalized nine days.
Lying under oath in a court proceeding to increase child support ….. This was the first of many instances where we have proof that our alienating parent cannot tell the truth.
And it was also during one of her many lawsuits that our attorneys discovered proof of our alienating parent’s lies about who was responsible for her medical care. When she was hospitalized in 1980 — two years after her divorce — she gave the hospital false information:
On July 9, 1980, our alienating parent claimed that “L******* M*****” was her husband. Was that true? No, it was not. She also gave the hospital the following information with regard to the responsible party for her medical expenses: “M*****, L*******, Husband.” She, of course, gave her address as the address for her alleged husband.
My husband and I had a lovely wedding in August, 1984, and began our lives together …. with my two children, his two children … and his ex-wife. 🙂
Here’s a photo from our wedding, which we found on one of our alienating parent’s websites:
Lovely photo, isn’t it? Except this is what it originally looked like:
Yep, our alienating parent took us out of our own wedding portrait! And you’ll notice how we have to watermark all photos we post on the internet, because we know they’re going to end up on one of our alienating parent’s websites.
A month after our wedding, our alienating parent wrote, and I quote: “It is not any easier when there is a third party running interference. You did a better job when you handled your on [sic] situations concerning our daughters.” That was obviously her opinion about the fact that I was now her children’s stepmother? And after all the remarks about what a terrible job her ex had been doing as a father since their divorce?
Even more startling was a letter we received five days later, from our alienating parent’s boyfriend! It appears she had a change of heart about third party interference? But that change of heart was also short-lived, because before we knew it, the boyfriend was “no longer with” them.
While all of this was going on, a friend gave me the following article, which she thought hit very close to home:
Our alienating parent did not want to deal with me, even though I was her children’s stepmother. But it was okay for her on-again-off-again boyfriend to get involved with situations pertaining to the children? I especially like the comments from the advice columnists: “Look closely at your motives for wanting your ex to arrange visitation. Is this a way to keep a relationship alive between you? Do you feel resentment toward his new spouse? Do you believe she threatens your relationship with the children? If any of these motives are at work, reconsider your position. The goal should be reliable visitation arrangements. Your willingness to work with her will also help your children accept her as a new stepparent. If you are unable to do this, counseling may be in order.”
Right around the same time, we heard from my mother-in-law that our alienating parent was having a difficult time accepting my marriage to her ex, and the fact that I was now her children’s stepmother:
Seems our alienating parent went to her former mother-in-law, crying and upset, because she felt her children liked me more than they liked her. Needless to say, this was disconcerting to my mother-in-law, who could not imagine children “liking” anyone more than they “liked” their own mother. My mother-in-law also made a very astute observation: instead of being happy that the children “liked” me and that they enjoyed visiting with their father and I, our alienating parent was only concerned with how it made her feel. It was hard for my mother-in-law to believe that a mother could actually put her own feelings of insecurity and jealously before the well being of her own children.
It was after this telephone conversation with my mother-in-law that I decided to finally get in touch with our alienating parent. I may have had my opinion of her, as a person, but she was still the mother of my stepchildren and I felt something had to be done to try and ease all the problems we kept having. So, I wrote to our alienating parent:
We were surprised to receive the following letter from the children’s mother:
Could we actually hope that we’d gotten through and all of the problems were going to be behind us?
Of course, after reading about how proud our alienating parent was that her ex was willing to fight to see his children (why should any parent have to fight to see their children?!?), we read the next paragraph: about the upcoming holiday schedule. This was in 1984. In 1983, Christmas Eve was on a Saturday and Christmas Day was on a Sunday. We did not see my stepchildren at all that weekend, even though they were supposed to spend every Saturday and Sunday with their father. Our alienating parent pointed out that it was her turn for “the holiday,” so the girls stayed home and spent both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with their mother. We celebrated Christmas with them the following weekend.
Fast forward to 1984, when — suddenly — Christmas Eve is a holiday, and Christmas Day is a holiday! Unfortunately, the visitation schedule set forth in my husband’s divorce decree was very vague and only said: parents shall alternate holidays. Guess that might explain our alienating parent’s nice letter? She was hoping we would agree with her new idea — that the Christmas holiday actually consists of two days (one for each parent), even though that wasn’t the case the year before?
My husband responded in what we thought was a very reasonable manner:
We tried to urge our alienating parent to stress to the children that both parents had their best interests at heart, could certainly share holidays with them and that this was an “okay” arrangement. Our alienating parent’s response? To have the children write their father:
How would our alienating parent have felt the year before if we had tried to involve the children in decision making having to do with holiday visitation? I’m sure we would have heard about it — and rightfully so. In December, 1984, the children were ages 10 and 7, yet their mother had no qualms about having them write a letter to their father that they did not want to abide by the visitation schedule decided upon by their parents at the time of their divorce.
The children lived with their mother over a half an hour’s drive away from our home. After we adhered to the holiday schedule in 1984, and had the girls with us both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we did not see them again for quite some time. The very next weekend, when my husband arrived to pick up the children, he found this note taped to the door:
After hearing “you will abide by the Court ordered visitation” for months, it appeared that our alienating parent did not feel the same need to abide by that very same agreement. My husband would drive to his ex-wife’s trailer every Saturday, only to find no one home. He also took people with him, as witnesses that the children were being made unavailable to him. The youngest daughter did come to visit with her father after a couple of weeks, but we did not see the older daughter for quite some time.
We eventually learned from the children that when they arrived home from their Christmas visitation with their father, they were met by their hysterical mother. The holiday was over — the children had spent it with their father — but their mother still had to make certain the children knew exactly how upset she was, having to spend a holiday alone. It was then that we realized exactly what lengths this so-called loving mother would go to in order to alienate her children from their father. There was a court order in place, allowing the children to visit with their father every other Christmas. When it was mother’s turn to have the children with her for the Christmas holiday, that included both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Our alienating parent was well aware of the Court ordered visitation schedule, and that the children would be with their father on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Instead of exerting some self-control and refraining from displaying her anger and emotions in front of the children, she instead chose to greet them upon their arrival home crying and yelling about their father. Did they feel bad that their mother was upset? Yes. Were they angry at their father, because it was “all his fault” that she was upset? Yes.
What sort of parent wants to purposely make their children feel bad? What sort of parent wants the children to be angry at their other parent? An alienating parent, that’s who.
After this episode, there was no more talk of following the Court ordered visitation schedule, inasmuch as the seven and ten year old children had decided not to see their father, because they were angry at him. They made that decision based upon what their mother told them, because they never even spoke to their father about it, or got his side of the situation. Well done, alienating parent ….. well done. I’m sure she was proud of what she had accomplished, not taking in to account the harm she was doing to her own children.
Our attorney instructed my husband to keep a record of his attempts at visitation, and the outcome of same:
It was also during this time (the beginning of 1985) that my in-laws went months without any contact with their granddaughters.
On January 7, 1985, our alienating parent filed a Motion to Show Cause and a Motion to Show Cause and Specify Visitation with the Court. At you can see, those were both dismissed for want of prosecution:
Our alienating parent liked to do this — file Motions with the Court, but then drop them. Because, you see, it wasn’t about what she hoped to accomplish through the legal system. It was all about keeping that connection with her ex-husband. We would no sooner settle one of her legal actions, than she would file another. This went on the entire time the children were minors.
The first time we saw my youngest stepdaughter after the Christmas 1984 debacle was on February 2, 1985. She was wearing a filthy coat that was much too small for her. I soaked it overnight and washed it three times during her visit with us, and it still was incredibly dirty:
So, we went out and bought the child a new winter coat and made sure to get it large enough so that she could wear it the following winter. Well, guess what? Here’s a note — hand delivered by the child, as usual — asking for the filty coat back:
“To Whom It May Concern” ….. don’t you love it? And I’m glad she clarified she was “Her Mother!” 😉
During a telephone conversation with his youngest daughter, my husband learned that our alienating parent was still hard at work, trying to end the relationship between the children and their paternal grandparents. It seems the oldest daughter’s bicycle tire was slashed, and she accused my father-in-law of doing it. The youngest daughter told her father that her mother had suggested it was Grandpa M*****.
The youngest daughter also told her father that her sister wanted to visit him, but was worried about what their mother would say. This corresponded with what we had been told by my mother-in-law, when she was still babysitting. She told us that there were many occasions when the older daughter would be unnaturally afraid of her mother’s reaction. Whether it be the fact that she had had an accident and wet her pants (when she was still young enough to be expected to have accidents), or whether she fell and got her clothes dirty. My mother-in-law had to quickly wash the clothes and dry them, to appease the child because of her fear of her mother’s reaction.
While my husband’s oldest daughter refused to see him, he kept attempting to make contact. Here’s one of the many letters he has written to her over the years, letting her know that he loves her very much and he misses her when he doesn’t see her:
We still did not see my oldest stepdaughter — until Mother’s Day 1985! We had not seen her for over four months, but when my husband went to pick up his youngest daughter, both girls came out of their trailer and got in to his car. He was obviously surprised and asked why the older daughter had decided to come over to his house, and she said: “Because Mom is going out of town.” Enough said. 🙂
We left it at that and were just happy that we were able to see her again.
But, of course, the problems continued ….. Here’s a series of letters written by our alienating parent. The first one was dated July 1, 1985, the second July 5, 1985 and the third July 11, 1985:
As you can see, these communications run the gamut from “an insecure and destructive attitude comes shining through,” to “Hope this note finds everyone in good health,” and “can find time to accomadate [sic],” to “I do not feel we should be inconvenience do [sic] to your sudden whim of wanting to spend Saturdays at the pool.”
I have been a legal secretary for 39 years. When my husband and I married, we had a typewriter at home, so I would type his communications to his ex-wife. She obviously didn’t like that. She claimed I was the one who wrote the letters, even though I was simply the typist. My husband still corresponds in this manner to this day: he’s director of a car club and when he has to write to someone, he dictates the letter or report to me, and I either print it up and mail it, or e-mail it. But our alienating parent had a problem with that.
And you can’t help but notice the drastic mood swing from July 5, when my husband’s Beautiful Ex Wife said she would have no problem getting pool passes for her children, to July 11 when DXXXX L. MXXXXX (and yes, she signed her full name) didn’t feel she should be inconvenienced by getting the pool passes.
Another example of our alienating parent’s refusal to co-parent with her ex-husband. This letter was dated August 7, 1985:
My husband’s only responsibility to his children’s medical well-being was paying the bills, because our alienating parent was “not required to give a medical account regarding the childrens Doctor visits.”
The next week brought more drama:
My husband’s youngest daughter was at our house and we celebrated her birthday. This is the version the alienating parent gave us, although when we asked the child about her so-called missing money, she had no idea what we were talking about. This was obviously just another excuse for our alienating parent to contact her ex, and accuse his new wife of either (1) stealing money from their children; or (2) lying to their children.
And then our weekly letter arrived:
We had noticed the child was not wearing her glasses but all we could get out of her was that they were lost. And, of course, according to the alienating parent, they were lost at our house ….. although we never saw them suddenly appear. This is all still a mystery to us, but gave the alienating parent some more ammunition to use in her letter-writing campaign.
October 1985 rolls around and we receive another letter from our alienating parent, regarding medical services for her oldest daughter. By this point, we had changed our medical insurance carrier to Kaiser and were very happy with the service we received there. Our alienating parent ….. well, not so much:
After reading this, and hearing that the child was treated like cattle, we contacted the doctor who treated her and got a very different version of the office visit:
The child awoke on Monday with a fever, but mother didn’t call for an appointment until Tuesday? And that appointment was made an hour and ten minutes after the initial call? It was mother’s decision not to return for an injection, after the strep test was completed? Isn’t it sad to see a parent who is so interested in causing problems that she’ll lie to the father of her children about medical treatment?
We likewise could not get information from our alienating parent, a.k.a. The Custodial Parent, about the children’s progress in school and had to contact the schools directly. Luckily they were very receptive and helped my husband keep up with his children’s educational development:
Is anyone wondering about the Christmas 1985 holiday? Christmas Eve was on a Tuesday that year, and Christmas Day was on a Wednesday. And, of course, the children spent both days with their mother.
In 1986, an agreed Judgment Entry was filed with the Court, setting forth very detailed holiday visitation. It specified hours, even-numbered years, odd-numbered years, etc. And, of course, the non-custodial parent’s very first holiday visitation, according to this Agreed Judgment Entry was Easter, from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Did that visitation take place? No — and only weeks after the Entry was signed and filed with the Court! Why? Because the eight and eleven year old children decided they’d rather spend that holiday with their mother, instead of with their father.
In Ohio, the age of consent — with regard to custody — is determined by the Court after an in-camera interview. “First, before we address the specifics of how child custody is determined in Ohio for divorcing couples, it is probably wise to note at the outset that children do not have the power to make the determination. It is a common misconception that children, once they reach a certain age, have the power to pick the custodial parent. While former Ohio law allowed a child to make this decision upon reaching the age of 12 years old, the current law does not.” This language deals with custody, while our problems dealt with visitation, but it is safe to say that the children did not have the power to make the decision. The decision had been made by their parents, and agreed upon by their parents — as well as the Court — but we still very rarely got to see the children on holidays.
In March, 1986, after complaining for years about the fact that my husband corresponded with her by typewritten letters, our alienating parent got a typewriter and started typing her letters to him:
We didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the beginning of a pattern by our alienating parent, of mimicking everything we did. If we wrote to her by typewritten letters, of course, she had to correspond by typewritten letter …. even though she had been complaining about that very same fact for years.
Here’s a sample of our alienating parent’s letters — this one from August, 1986:
We had gotten my sons a set of bunkbeds and after she got her daughters bunkbeds, she claims my sons made rude remarks. Luckily for us [and I’m being facetious here], she sat down and had a conversation with her nine year old daughter about it. And then went on to comment about my husband’s decision to drive an older model Catilac [sic]. “I guess that some people like to spend their money on big things that make them feel important while others spend their money on things that are important for them. Some people just manage their money poorly I suppose.” This coming for a person who has filed for bankruptcy and lost a house to foreclosure? Whoops! Just thinking out loud, sorry. 🙂
And this is a conversation she was having with her nine year old child, about the child’s father?
November, 1986 found my husband still having to contact his children’s schools directly in order to get information about their educational progress, as well as copies of their school photos:
Here is a custodial parent who refuses to get in touch with the non-custodial parent about their children’s medical and educational needs, but she can write to him with her thoughts about his step-children, his wife and their spending habits?
The moods swings continued:
We went from short and sweet in January, 1987: “If you spent more time consentrating [sic] on your own life and correcting your own mistakes, you’ed [sic] have less time to worry about others” to say hello to your wife and step-sons, take care and God bless! All in a matter of weeks?
In May, 1987, our alienating parent was still making it difficult for her children’s paternal grandparents to have a relationship with the children. This is a letter she had her attorney send to my husband, about his father:
Visitation became very sporadic, and oftentimes non-existent. We just resigned ourselves to the fact that we would not be able to have a steady relationship with my husband’s children. His 13 year old daughter wrote to him in December, 1987: “Sure haven’t seen you guys in a long time.”
On my husband’s birthday in 1988, we received an interesting letter from our alienating parent, pointing out to her ex-husband that their children needed a father. And since she wouldn’t be getting married in the near future, if ever (and she has, in fact, never remarried), “who is better qualified to be XXXX and XXXXXX’s father than you for you are their father.”
Ten years after their divorce, with very little regular visitation between father and children, and our alienating parent acknowledges that she has made some mis-takes [sic] in handleing [sic] visitation. You’ll notice our alienating parent also admitted that, should she have remarried, that person would have been a father figure to her children. But she has never accepted me as a stepmother to her children? She must have been feeling very generous when she wrote this letter, because she finally conceded that the children needed a father. I told you it was interesting, didn’t I? 🙂
It got even more interesting three months later, when we received this letter in July, 1988:
Remember, prior to this time, we had had little or no visitation with the children for a couple of years. But now that Mom had a new boyfriend, and needed time to develop that new relationship, we began seeing the girls every other weekend and Mom even voluntarily offered to let us have the girls with us for two weeks — for the first time since her divorce from the childrens’ father, ten years prior!
Our alienating parent’s spin on the lack of regular visitation? We all know she had one, right? 😉
Five years into our relationship and my husband’s alienating ex-wife explained that his seperation [sic] from his children was, perhaps, positive because it gave everyone time to adjust to our marriage? Obviously not taking into account the harm that had been done to her children, due to their lack of a close, loving relationship with their father for the ten years preceding this declaration?
While she was a good mood, she went on to ask that we switch our weekends with her, because her new boyfriend had his children the weekends her children were scheduled to be with their father. Isn’t it amazing how there’s no problem with visitation when Mom has a boyfriend, and especially when Mom and her boyfriend would like weekends without any children?
And you have to love the paragraph about the one child’s report card. This, coming for a mother who steadfastly refused for years on end, to give any information about her children’s education to their father! But, you see, this is the life of a targeted parent. You take what you can get. Mom has a new boyfriend, so visitation begins again and information about the medical and educational needs of the children is freely given. We learned to take advantage of it while we could, because we knew it was never going to last.
Visitation was going along nicely, which — while we enjoyed it — was sad for us because we knew it was only because our alienating parent was in a new relationship. What parent bases their childrens’ relationship with their ex-spouse on whether or not they are dating?
And then our alienating parent dropped a bomb on us:
Our alienating parent was asking us to take custody?!? Keep in mind that we are talking about two teenage girls who were basically raised by their mother and allowed very limited access to their father. Yes, we wrote to our alienating parent in June, 1985, that we would gladly take custody of the girls. Strange that it took her over three years to respond …. or maybe if I look, I’ll find a response, which was undoubtedly not quite the same as the one she was writing in November, 1988! 🙂
But even though we did not have a close relationship with the girls, we were looking forward to forming a bond with them — even at such a late date, and after years of little or no contact. We both loved them dearly, and love them to this day, even though we have no contact with them. Not seeing or talking with them does not make the love go away, just as it didn’t when we were not permitted visitation with them as they were growing up.
Custody changed from our alienating parent to my husband and I at the end of January, 1989.
We, of course, had our alienating parent’s visitation schedule incorporated into an Agreed Judgment Entry:
“Mother will have the children every Wednesday night from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.” Did that visitation ever take place? No. My 11 year old stepdaughter was crying herself to sleep at night because she missed her mother, but Mom couldn’t take the time to come and see her during the week.
“Mother will have children during their spring break from school.” Spring break 1989 was to begin on March 24 and end on April 2. On March 23, we received this letter from our alienating parent:
The day before spring break is to begin, and we get notice that (1) our alienating parent has moved (from a city about a half an hour away to a city over one hour away); and (2) our alienating parent did not want visitation with her children the entire week of spring break, because there were boxes everywhere from her move.
Again, need I remind you, there is an 11 year old girl missing her mother terribly, and Mom declines to take advantage of her very first opportunity for extended visitation with the child. And this move meant that the Wednesday visitation would never take place either, because it was too far of a drive, now that Mom had moved away.
We eventually had communications between our alienating parent and ourselves reviewed by a psychologist, in connection with a lawsuit filed against us by our alienating parent. The psychologist rendered an opinion that we were dealing with a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Here is a portion of that psychologist’s report:
The change of custody was all about Mom — and not about the girls who were missing their mother so badly. As if they weren’t victims enough — not being permitted a relationship with their father, but then to be “abandoned” by their mother. It was no surprise that there were problems with the change of custody.
Traits of a Narcissist:
An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
A lack of psychological awareness
Difficulty with empathy
Problems distinguishing the self from others
Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults
Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
Haughty body language
Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them
Detesting those who do not admire them
Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
Pretending to be more important than they really are
Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
Claiming to be an “expert” at many things
Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
Denial of remorse and gratitude.
How many of these traits had we seen from our alienating parent over the years? Many!
Only six months’ in to the change of custody and our hearts were breaking for my youngest stepdaughter. The Wednesday night visitation was not taking place; Mom was allowed two weeks visitation during the summer break, but still had made no plans for that visitation …… Here are some notes from a conversation Dad had with his youngest daughter:
My youngest stepdaughter wanted — desperately — to go back and live with her mother. How do you tell an 11 year old child that that is not going to happen, because Mom is happy living with her new boyfriend, working and going to school? So my husband did the best he could and told his daughter that maybe we should try for more visitation with Mom. Mom, of course, was not accepting our letters and we did not have a telephone number for her at her boyfriend’s house; therefore, no additional visitation was ever arranged.
And then we come to summer vacation visitation: the girls told us that it was going to take place the last week of July — even though Mom was entitled to two weeks vacation. On July 19, three days before the visitation was planned to begin, our alienating parent called her oldest daughter and said she would be bringing the girls back to our house on Wednesday, because she was going out of town. Her regularly scheduled visitation ended on Monday evening, so she was only spending an additional two days with her children — instead of two weeks.
On both occasions when Mom was allowed extended visitation with her children, she contacted us only days before, to let us know that she would be cutting the visitation short. Can you imagine the effect this had on her teenage daughters?
No matter how we felt about our alienating and her behavior toward her children, we kept her in the loop:
Visitation with Mom continued to be sporadic and the girls began to act out. My husband met with the teacher of his youngest daughter, who told him she felt his daughter was misbehaving in an effort to force him to send her back to her mother. In other words, if she behaved badly enough, he would “make” her go back and live with her Mom, since she (the child) did not feel that Mom would ever voluntarily allow her to come back and live with her. The teacher had daily contact with my stepdaughter and had had conversations with her, so we took her theory to heart.
The girls would no longer listen to us. We had four teenage children in the house, so there were rules that had to be followed. We learned years later that my oldest stepdaughter was sneaking out of the house after we went to bed. One of the children’s chores around the house was to clean their rooms. This is the condition of my stepdaughters’ room after we asked them to clean their bedroom:
My youngest stepdaughter’s plan worked: we had no control over the girls, they would not listen to us at all. It was finally decided that, once the school year ended, they would be returning to live with their mother. At that point, they did start having visitation with the mother every weekend.
Since that was the case, we were surprised to arrive home from work on a Friday evening to see my husband’s youngest daughter sitting on our front steps, with a neighbor friend. We were surprised because they were supposed to have already been picked up by their mother. We were also upset because one of the rules around our house was: no one was allowed to have friends over when we were not home. When we pulled into the driveway, the neighbor girl went home and my stepdaughter started walking down the street. We told her to get into the house, which she refused to do. I went outside, took her by the arm and walked her back into the house. When we got inside, she grabbed my hair, threw herself down on the floor, yanking my head down with her. With help from my husband, I was finally able to disentangle her hands from my hair.
We asked the girls why they were still home and they said they had no idea where their mother was. We waited a couple of hours, and then they tried to call her:
The children had their own telephone line. Remember, this was in 1990 — well before the days of cell phones, so the girls were trying to call their mother at her boyfriend’s house. As you can see, they tried six times over the next hour, and never reached their mother. We learned the next day that she had gone out-of-state to attend a funeral for someone who had died in her boyfriend’s family — without letting us, or her children know. Today she would tell the story entirely different: everyone knew she was going out-of-town. But if that were true, why were her daughters trying to telephone her, if they were aware she was out-of-town?
Needless to say, after that episode the girls did move back with their mother. And a year later, she filed the infamous lawsuit that she keeps sharing on genealogy websites ….. because that’s where her thoughts and observations about us belong, right?
Our alienating parent filed a civil lawsuit, on behalf of her minor children, claiming damages as a result of the altercation between her youngest daughter and myself. The children had no physical damages. They had no monetary damages. So, the Common Pleas Court granted a Motion for Summary Judgment, filed on our behalf, and dismissed the case.
Her attorney filed an appeal and the matter went to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals heard the matter and decided that the lawsuit should continue. There was a newspaper article written about that decision, which our alienating parent keeps referring to, via the internet, to this day. The Court of Appeals did not decide anything about the merits of the case. They simply decided that she had the right to bring the lawsuit on behalf of her children, and so the case was sent back to the Court of Common Pleas.
For some reason, our alienating parent thinks her repeated reminders about the lawsuit and the newspaper article bother me. They bother me because she keeps putting them on genealogy websites, under the names of my deceased ancestors, as well as my husband’s deceased ancestors. The lawsuit and the newspaper article do not show that anything inappropriate happened. They simply show that our alienating parent continued her long standing habit of taking my husband and I “back to court.”
And would you like to know the outcome of the lawsuit? In order to settle the matter — which my husband was adamantly opposed to — we agreed to pay her attorney $3,000 toward his costs. Keep in mind that the attorney had spent years on this case. It went from the Court of Common Pleas, to the Court of Appeals, back to the Court of Common Pleas. So I’m sure our alienating parent and her children had a large legal bill, aside from the $3,000 that we agreed to pay.
And what did the children receive? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The Judge who was hearing the matter told our alienating parent’s attorney that he had better suggest — very strongly — this his client agree to the settlement, because he was going to start making decisions, and she was not going to like what he decided.
So years went by, during which we were technically being sued by my husband’s children (even though we knew who was behind it), which made it difficult to maintain a relationship with them. Of course, it had always been difficult to maintain a relationship with them, but this took it to a whole new level.
Slowly but surely, we started to communicate with the girls again. Here’s a letter my husband received from his youngest — who was 15 years old at the time — for Father’s Day, 1993:
Unfortunately, this became part of our alienating parent’s lawsuit because it showed a propensity for violence on the part of my youngest stepdaughter. Who would voluntarily put their child through something like that? The same person who would go away for a weekend without letting them know she would not be picking them up for their weekend visitation with her?
As the lawsuit worked it’s way through the Court of Appeals, we reconciled with my husband’s daughters.
The alienating parent took her youngest daughter and moved out-of-state. Her older daughter had graduated from high school and married, and her father missed both of those momentous occasions in his daughter’s life. But the week after Mom left town, the daughter was on the phone with her Dad, asking him to meet her — which he did.
Does anyone believe the timing of that phone call was a coincidence?
The older daughter brought her husband to meet her father and we went to visit them twice in Maryland. She even sent her Dad some photos of her and her sister, as well as her father when he was younger:
And here’s just a small sampling of what she mailed to her father:
And I have to share the back side of these photos:
The back sides are important because, you see, our alienating parent has spent years posting on genealogy websites (because that’s where her opinions belong right?) that I stole these photos from her children, or from her websites. As you can plainly see, they were given to my husband by his adult child, voluntarily. We also received photos after my in-laws’ deaths. When we were helping clean out my in-laws’ house, my brother-in-law kept photos of him and his family, while we kept the ones of my husband and his family.
Our alienating parent is probably unaware that her daughter gave these photos to her father, because the daughter may have kept that from her mother in fear that she would “freak out,” as she has on so many other occasions. An alienated child “protecting” the alienating parent, by not telling her the truth — she gave her father photographs — because she knew it would upset her mother? And allowing her mother to go for years, making bizarre comments in inappropriate places, and ending up looking like a fool? How is that helping, or protecting, her?
My husband’s younger daughter came back to Ohio. In fact, when she returned to Ohio at age 17, she moved back in with us. Things were going along fine, as you can see from these notes she would leave for us:
Notice how the notes where addressed to “Mom & Dad?”
It was a nice summer, although there was one surprising event which took place on Father’s Day 1995. My husband’s oldest daughter had moved back to Ohio, so weekends were often spent in our backyard hanging out with the kids. Here’s a photo which I took the weekend before Father’s Day:
Our oldest son, son-in-law and my husband’s two daughters sitting around our backyard. (I’ve blurred the faces so I don’t hear from anyone about putting photos on the internet without their permission.) The next weekend was Father’s Day and our two sons, our son-in-law and my youngest stepdaughter were all there to spend the day with my husband. But my husband’s oldest daughter was mysteriously absent. Her husband came over, but she didn’t. When we asked why she wasn’t there, we couldn’t get much out of our son-in-law, other than “… her Mom.” Enough said, that was the end of the conversation.
And, of course, the very next weekend my husband’s oldest daughter was over with her husband, swimming in our pool. She was not upset about anything and there were no problems. So why did she not come to see her father on Father’s Day? Because it had been indoctrinated in these children at such a young age: you do NOT spend holidays with your father! I’m sure the scene that awaited them upon their return home, after spending a Christmas holiday with their father (their mother sitting there, all alone, crying and hysterical) was embedded in their minds and affected them well into adulthood.
Even after they became adults and we were trying to have a relationship with them, we wondered why they spent every holiday with their mother and only shared an hour or so, if any time at all, with their father on a holiday. Their explanation? Mom was alone, so they had to spend their holidays with her. Do you think that brought back memories of her tantrum when they did actually spend a Christmas holiday with their Dad?
We did not discuss my stepdaughter’s refusal to spend Father’s Day with her Dad because that’s just what we did: we not make a scene, we did not talk badly about their mother in their presence, we simply enjoyed the fact that she came over the next week. If we only knew then what we know now, we probably would have handled it differently. Although by this point, the “children” were in their late teens and early 20’s, and adults themselves. Their parents had been divorced for almost 20 years. It was probably too late for us by that point; unfortunately, we didn’t realize that then …..
In any event, for the most part, it was a nice, peaceful summer spent with my husband’s children. But then we received the news that the lawsuit was being sent back to the Common Pleas Court. How was my husband’s daughter supposed to testify against us, if she was living with us? The lawsuit could have been dismissed at that point and, according to my stepdaughters, they wanted it dismissed. Our attorney even prepared an affidavit, based upon his conversations with my youngest stepdaughter:
And here’s an affidavit signed by friends of ours who were visiting when all of this took place:
The alienated children wanted to dismiss the lawsuit their mother filed against their father and I, but the mother’s attorney refused. Unfortunately, this is a classic case of an alienated child. When it came down to signing the affidavit prepared for her signature, thus successfully ending the lawsuit her mother had initiated, my husband’s youngest daughter worried that her mother — the alienating parent — would get in trouble. And so she refused to sign the affidavit.
That’s a common symptom of parental alienation: the alienated child feels the need to protect the alienating parent, even if it means ending a relationship with a targeted parent.
There were occasions, after all of the brouhaha about the lawsuit filed against us by the alienating parent, that we asked my youngest stepchild: why did you lie to your mother? And her response? Because she [the alienating parent] did — or would — freak out. It’s a protective mechanism on the part of an alienated child. In most cases, they’ve already lost one parent, so they’ll do whatever is necessary to keep from losing the other. In our particular case, our alienated parent suffered trauma at the hands of her own parent when she was a child, which undoubtedly affects her behavior later in life. Especially when it comes to child / parent relationships. That could be why she tends to “freak out” when faced with certain situations.
But back to the lawsuit: when faced with telling a Judge that her mother filed a frivolous lawsuit against her father, our alienated child could not do it. She left our house and the lawsuit continued. The attorney representing the alienating parent refused to even attempt to negotiate a settlement, resulting in the case being set for trial. My husband and I, as well as his two daughters, appeared for the trial. The alienating parent, who actually brought the lawsuit, was no where to be found.
Prior to the trial, I received a telephone call from the neighbor who was sitting on our front porch on the evening the altercation between my stepdaughter and myself occurred. It seems my stepdaughter had called her, told her she was going to be a witness at the trial (she was subpoenaed) and asked her to lie about what she saw that evening. My neighbor was very upset. This was her good friend, but she didn’t like being asked to lie. I told her to tell the truth, and whatever happened …. happened. But you have to ask yourself, why did they feel the need to contact potential witnesses and ask them to lie? Because they might “lose” the lawsuit if the truth be told? Was it that important that they end up “winning” this lawsuit? The same lawsuit which resulted in nothing whatsoever for the children?
And, again, the father / child relationships slowly, but surely, began to mend and my husband’s daughters were part of our lives again ….. until the grandchildren began to arrive. Which gave our alienating parent another generation to alienate. My husband has two grandchildren that he has never even met, and he hasn’t seen the two he did have a relationship with for many, many years.
August 2003: my youngest stepdaughter was getting married and, of course, our alienating parent used that wonderful family event to exhibit her ongoing refusal to accept me as her children’s stepmother:
The cake topper was a gift from the bride’s father imported from Ireland? Anyone who knows the bride’s father knows he did not have this cake topper imported from Ireland. It was the bride’s stepmother who accomplished that. And if the alienating parent didn’t want to acknowledge my contribution to the festivities, why even mention it all?
This is another perfect example of our alienating parent’s refusal to put her children’s well being before her own feelings. By this point, I was stepmother to our alienating parent’s daughter for almost 20 years. After all that time, and she still could not acknowledge my role in their lives? No, she couldn’t. Because she was jealous, angry and bitter. And, obviously, those feelings took precedence over her daughters’ well being.
Our alienating parent goes to great lengths to make sure everyone knows she is the only person to have biological children with her ex-husband. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but that doesn’t stop her from posting it all over the internet. Is it a result of her low self-esteem? Is it a trait of her Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Is it her ongoing refusal to acknowledge me, the step-mother, and the two children I brought in to my marriage to her ex?
It was refreshing to read my youngest son’s e-mail, after I told him about comments our alienating parent had made on the internet about him, his biological father and his step-father:
Almost 20 years after my marriage to his step-father, and my son wrote: “Pops is the only one i could ever remember growing up that i’d call a father. I mean he was the one who helped me with the first bike rides, talks about cars, sports and politics later in life ….”
Go ahead and say what you will alienating parent ….. you can’t take these words away …..
In September, 2004, our alienating parent’s postings on the internet became so vicious that we had to contact the Ohio Attorney General:
Our alienating parent was contacted by the Attorney General’s office and instructed to cease and desist.
October 2004 found our alienating parent writing about Grand Parents Day at her first grandchild’s pre-school:
This was posted on a genealogy website (of course, because that’s where it belongs, right?) and contained some very insightful verbiage. Insightful because it says so much about our alienating parent / grandparent: she watched her granddaughter’s body language as she slumped into her seat and began to whimper? Grammy wanted to swoop in and hold her, but contained herself! This is the description a grandparent gives about a Grandparents Day event at a pre-school?
And, sorry, but I couldn’t resist:
For the Grand Finally! 🙂
March 2005 rolled around and big plans were being made because my stepdaughter’s boyfriend wanted to ask her to marry him on St. Patrick’s Day! Everyone was in on the secret, except the future bride, of course. The boyfriend told everyone when and where the proposal was going to take place, and he even gave us some money so we could go and buy a Claddagh ring, since he was proposing on St. Patrick’s Day.
Our alienating parent did not approve of the boyfriend’s plans, and let her youngest daughter know that she would not be present. The boyfriend went ahead and proposed anyway. Of course, this was before he was part of the family and realized exactly how controlling and manipulative his future mother-in-law really was. And also before he realized he was dealing with someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.
The boyfriend borrowed a microphone, got down on one knee, asked my stepdaughter to marry him, and she said yes! Beforehand, he had made sure to ask her father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. And then he presented her with the lovely Claddagh ring he had arranged for us to get.
That’s what actually happened, as you can see from the photos. After our alienating parent learned that the proposal went ahead as planned — even though she was not there — she freaked out (as usual). She did not speak to her youngest daughter for weeks, because she blamed her for the entire episode.
She did eventually address the issue — on a genealogy website, of course, because that’s where it belongs …. right?
The above was her post dated April 6, 2005. Her spin on the engagement: it was not official. How could it be official if she was not there? Even though she was invited and her youngest daughter offered to pick her up and take her there. She didn’t approve of where or when the proposal was taking place, so it was not official. Classic behavior of a narcissist: it’s all about her, and she is in charge of when, where and how the proposal should have taken place. Not the boyfriend who was asking her daughter to marry him. Just as my husband found out very early on, with our alienating parent, it was all about control.
And then came her post dated April 21, 2005:
As you know, our alienating parent is all about setting the record straight! 🙂
No ring was given? Guess the photos say otherwise. 🙂
In any event, by this point she had gotten around to blaming it on my husband and I. Her daughters and future son-in-law undoubtedly told her whatever it was she wanted to hear. That’s a coping mechanism the children learned early on, in order to deal with the atmosphere of lies, drama, erratic behavior on the part of their mother, as well as her numerous bouts of “freaking out.” That is the only way they knew to deal with that behavior, and it has carried on into their lives even though they have now reached adulthood.
We planned the proposal when we knew she would not be there? No, the truth is that she chose not to be there, and we weren’t aware of that fact until we arrived at the location and learned from my youngest stepdaughter that her mother was not going to be there. Again, our narcissist thinks everything should revolve around her, and refuses to accept responsibility for her actions. Was this proposal about her …. or about her daughter? She chose not to be there, that St. Patrick’s Day, even though she knew her son-in-law was going to be proposing to her daughter. And then, after not speaking to her daughters for weeks, she decides: well, it was all C***** and L****’s fault anyway.
September 2006, and our alienating parent published a birthday tribute to her oldest daughter on one of her photo websites:
Is it just me, or does anyone else find this a tad bit strange? Is this about the birthday girl, or is it about the alienating parent? Building herself up with an alleged conversation with her doctor, while at the same time putting down her ex-husband, the father of her children. Great way to wish your child Happy Birthday, right?
January, 2008: Here’s one of many (many, many, many ….) posts our alienating parent puts on genealogy websites, under the names of my family, as well as my husband’s family:
You have to love her “Editor’s Note” where she states that my husband and I do not have this article listed on our tree as of 01/20/2008. Is our alienating parent interested in genealogy to find out about family history? Or is she interested in it because it’s a hobby of mine? And is her “interest” merely another way to show how superior she is? Whatever the reason, it is obvious from this post that her main concern is making sure everyone knows she has an obituary that we don’t have…… How old is this woman? Fifty-two ….. or two?
Oh, and by the way, we did have that obituary:
We just hadn’t shared it on any websites, because of our alienating parent’s behavior.
Our alienating parent also took this opportunity to place several post-ems on our on-line family tree:
Having been interested in genealogy for many, many years, when my husband’s first grandchild was born and I was putting together a family history for her, I offered to include our alienating parent’s side of the family. She thought that was a wonderful idea and shared a great deal of information about her family so that I could include it in our family tree. After I received these messages from her, I, of course, deleted her family from our family tree, per her request.
As of this writing (February, 2016), over eight years after our alienating parent asked me to remove all of her families from my online tree (which I did), she still has more of my ancestors on her online family tree than she does of her own ancestors! She has thousands of my family on her tree. I have asked her to remove them. She has refused. All I can say is: Welcome to our World!
February, 2008 was when my husband and his children mutually decided to end their relationship with each other. It had been a long time coming, and — unfortunately — inevitable.
The final nail in the coffin of the targeted parent / alienated children relationship came when it was time to celebrate some of the grandchildrens’ birthdays. My husband has a grandchild who was born on February 21, and I have a grandchild who was born on February 23. In 2008, February 23 fell on a Saturday. It was my grandson’s first birthday. In the fall of 2007, we had rented a room at our local Irish American Club, of which we were members. The party had been planned for months. My husband’s granddaughter was going to be turning 7 on February 21, which was on a Thursday that year. My husband asked his daughter if she could plan a birthday party for his granddaughter the weekend of February 16 – 17, so he could attend. His youngest daughter told him that she was unable to plan a party that weekend, because the bowling alley where she was holding the party had no times available for birthday parties either of those days. My husband called the bowling alley and inquired about availability on February 16 or 17 for a child’s birthday party. He was told by the bowling alley that they had several time slots available on both of those dates.
As usual, plans were purposely made so that the targeted parent could not attend a family event with his children and grandchild. Unfortunately, this time it was done by his own child, not his ex-wife. The alienated child not only planned her child’s birthday at a time when she knew her father could not attend, she then lied to him about it.
The alienation of parent / child was complete and another cycle was beginning: the alienation of grandparent / grandchild by an alienated child. Another generation of alienation. It was at that point that the targeted parent and children decided to end their relationship.
That decision was made in February, 2008, so we found it strange when, in April 2008, our alienating parent posted this to a photo website (which she joined after she realized we were posting there):
A birthday greeting from the grandchild our targeted parent was no longer allowed to see? Or a barb by our alienating parent, knowing how much this would hurt the targeted parent? You decide …..
And we can’t help but notice that, 30 years after her divorce from her ex-husband, and her posts on the internet still bear his name — photo by: M***** (her former spouse’s name) – R******* (her name).
The alienating parent was successful in alienating her children from their father. That, however, did not keep her from following our every move via the internet. She would view our genealogy and photo websites several times a day, as evidenced by our statcounter logs. Here’s one example of her daily, ongoing perusal of our websites:
This is page one of twelve pages from this one visit to our photo website by our alienating parent. Four hours, five minutes and thirty-seven seconds? And this was just one day! She did this on a regular basis. You’ll notice she came from our genealogy website, but then started looking at our vacation photos, and our holiday photos. And then once she started viewing a gallery, she would oftentimes pull a particular photo up to a larger view, so she could see it better.
Her children had nothing to do with their father, so why did she feel the need to spend hours looking at our vacation and holiday photos? By this point, our holiday and vacation photo galleries did not include photos of her adult children, so she had absolutely no reason to be looking at them.
April 2008: We learned that my husband’s cousin had suffered a stroke while traveling in Italy. This is a man who had never met our alienating parent. She had been divorced from his cousin since 1978, after a very short-lived marriage. Yet, when we posted information about a website which had been created to keep the family informed about the cousin’s medical situation while in a hospital in Italy, our alienating parent took it upon herself to post comments on that website!
Those comments came from a person who had never met my husband’s cousin, who in all likelihood would never meet the cousin, and who had never met the cousin’s wife, children or grandchildren. Yet, our alienating parent felt that, because she had been part of this family for a few years, three decades earlier, she should send her best wishes to a man who was gravely ill and fighting for his life in a foreign country?
The website created was not a public website, so our alienating parent’s comments caused a great deal of concern to a family who was already suffering so much, with a loved one hospitalized so far away. Did our narcissistic alienating parent stop and think about what her former husband’s family would think, reading her messages? No, she only thought about how it would make her feel. Although, for the life of us, we can’t imagine what prompted her to leave comments in the first place.
This is another example of how our alienating parent follows our every move via the internet. We post on a family photo page about a cousin’s illness, and provide the family a link to a website set up to keep family informed about his progress. Our alienating parent had not been part of this family for 30 years. By this time, she had successfully alienated her children from their father and that relationship had ended. Even if the “children” (who were adults by this time) felt the need to post a comment on the website — again, to a man whom they had never met — they were certainly capable of doing just that. So what excuse can our alienating parent give for inserting herself in a situation she was not part of? To keep the connection with her ex-husband, of course!
And then came the explanations: a brother of the cousin who was hospitalized in Italy came home for a visit. We made arrangements to meet him for lunch. And the first words out of his mouth, after we sat down and got comfortable? “Who is D**** R*******?” As it if isn’t enough that my husband lost his relationship with his own children, he now has to spend years, and years, and years explaining the alienating parent’s behavior? Again, there’s that connection. He has no connection with his children, but the connection with the alienating parent continues to this day, due to her online behavior.
June 2008: our alienating parent was actually going on websites and pretending to be us! We googled our user name and were amazed to find the following posts:
The ZIP code was our alienating parent’s ZIP Code; the person writing lived in B******, which is where our alienating parent lived. But the user name was one we had been using for many years.
February 2009 — years after we had had any contact with our alienating parent — but she still felt the need to voice her opinion about me on myspace:
I’ve had tests done on my dna and guess what? My dna shows that I am 43% Irish. First of all, why does our alienating parent feel the need to keep posting comments about me and my husband online? What business is it of hers, whether I claim to be Irish or not? Why does it bother her — to the point where she has to take it upon herself to Set the Record Straight? Especially when her remarks are not even based on the facts? She has no idea what my ethnicity is, but lack of knowledge or information has never kept her from making strange — totally unfounded — comments on the internet.
Symptoms of someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder: they may come across as conceited, boastful, pretentious. Someone who takes it upon themselves to continually belittle or look down on others? Sounds a lot like our alienating parent, doesn’t it?
In April, 2013, our alienating parent posted this photo wishing her ex-husband a Happy Birthday:
“Grandfather of 3 biological grandchildren and two biological children wish him a very happy 62nd Birthday.” He hasn’t even met one of his biological grandchildren, and hasn’t spoken to his biological children or the other two biological grandchildren in over five years …. but they want to wish him a happy birthday? Or is it our alienating parent who actually wants to wish him a happy birthday? I think we all know the answer to that question. 🙂
We had a frightening situation in February, 2014. Here’s part of the report we submitted to our local police, as well as our County Prosecutor’s Office:
Would someone go so far as to steal a password from a private message on Facebook, in order to view our private family photos?
The first visit came at 8:30 a.m, only minutes after I had posted the private message on Facebook. This is one of six pages from this particular visit. This person was not viewing the photos from Australia, although this person was viewing photos in password protected galleries.
The second visitor to our website arrived shortly thereafter, at 8:45 a.m. This person came from Facebook and immediately went to our Private Family Photos gallery. This visit lasted one hour and 51 minutes.
Then, at 12:20 p.m., we had someone visiting — probably on their lunch hour. This was their 11th returning visit, but they immediately went to private galleries that we had set up for our grandchildren …. including the grandchildren the targeted parent was no longer allowed to see.
We found this report extremely interesting. This particular person came from a link on Facebook. Did someone actually post a link to our private photo galleries on Facebook, and then provide the password for those galleries? We did notify Facebook, but by the time they checked in to the matter, the link had been deleted.
This visit was from our alienating parent, once she arrived home after work. She has Road Runner internet service at home and always comes to our photo website through our Ancestry.com profile, where we have a link. We all know her love of genealogy, don’t we? 😉
After arriving at our photo website, through our Ancestry.com profile, she went to private photo galleries we had posted with photos of our targeted parents’ grandchildren (and yes, they are as much his grandchildren as they are hers ….. but that issue would take another entire blog to get in to).
Our alienating parent was back the next day. We had already changed the password, but that didn’t stop her from trying to access Private Family Photos and Family Pool Time photos, which are also password protected.
March 2015 found three generations of our family, standing on the shores of the Galway Bay in Ireland and saying a few special words as we scattered some of the remains of my father-in-law. My in-laws loved their grandchildren, just as their son loves his grandchildren. They — like their son — were victims of parental alienation. They learned, without notice, that they would no longer be babysitting their grandchildren (because the alienating parent was angry at their son, father of the children) and went from seeing the grandchildren on an almost daily basis, to only seeing them occasionally. At one time, they went months without any contact at all with the grandchildren they dearly loved, and with whom they had previously had an extremely close relationship. My father-in-law received a letter from our alienating parent’s attorney, accusing him of spying on her and instructing him to limit his visit to her trailer. He was also blamed — by the alienating parent — when one of the grandchildren’s bicycle tires were slashed.
Needless to say, after all he had had to endure during life, we were honored to give this hard working, loving grandfather a final resting place in his beloved Ireland.
May 2015: Our alienating parent posted her opinion of Parental Alienation on her Facebook page. This particular post, she chose to make public ….. for obvious reasons. Her two daughters and son-in-law immediately agreed with her observations:
A couple of weeks after this post, our targeted parent was in the hospital, undergoing emergency surgery. Both of his daughters reached out to him, but he was very hesitant to speak with them because of the years that had passed since they had spoken, because of everything that had taken place when they were still speaking, but also because of this post. How does a targeted parent overcome the fact that his alienated children cannot even understand that they, themselves, are victims?
October 2015 — and our alienating parent took it upon herself to voice her opinion of her ex-husband and his financial situation:
Our alienating parent and her ex-husband 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, she 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:
Our targeted parent 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 voicing her opinion, does it?
We 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 our targeted parent 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 assessment 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 imagine 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 absolutely right.
Just a quick update: it’s now 2017 and we’ve learned from various genealogists that our alienating parent has continued to add non-genealogical comments under my deceased father’s name on a number of genealogy websites. Because that’s where they belong, right? 🙂
I’m sure she would add her comments under my name, or my husband’s name, but on genealogy websites, information about living people cannot be shown. So our alienating parent leaves her comments under entries for deceased people — my father, among many others. She even has a link to her blog about us posted under my father-in-law’s father’s name.
If nothing else, we’ve learned from writing this blog about some of the ways to deal with a narcissistic ex-spouse: limit communication, disengage from conflict and don’t take it personally.
Our alienating parent has no reason to be in contact with her ex-husband and so we’ve accomplished the first rule of dealing with a narcissist — we have no communication with her whatsoever. But she doesn’t like that, so instead, she posts her thoughts and comments on genealogy websites under the names of our deceased family members. These comments are, of course, ranting, attention-seeking expressions of self-centeredness. While we may not be happy that these comments are connected to our family members who have already passed on, we’re aware that they are placed there by our alienating parent for the sole purpose of maintaining her connection to us. Once we viewed her behavior in that light, it was easier to disengage from these ongoing conflicts.
We also don’t take her comments and behavior personally. “Projecting” is common place among narcissists and our alienating parent’s behavior is a classic example of that character trait. Narcissists will project their own offensive thoughts and behaviors onto others. It can be difficult listening to antagonistic, demeaning comments about us from our alienating parent and not react to it. But, again, once we realized that this is just part of the narcissists’ game, we learned not to take it personally. We keep taking deep breaths and remind ourselves that this simply part of her “projecting” behavior.
At this point in my life, my only concern is the man I love — the man I married over 30 years ago. When you face the thought of losing your soul mate to health issues, other things quickly lose their importance. I don’t have the time or energy to continue dealing with his ex-wife. I’m sure our alienating parent is posting her comments in an ongoing effort to engage me or my husband, but that ship has sailed. We’re done.
When people contact me about our alienating parent through genealogy websites, I explain who she is, why she is doing this — and more importantly, what’s she’s been through herself. We’ve actually started a prayer circle and keep her in our thoughts and prayers each day. We pray that someday she will stop feeling the need to continue her connection with her ex-husband and his not-so-new wife. That she’ll stop feeling the need to engage us in entirely inappropriate ways. And that she’ll move on and find some peace in her life. How can someone continue to feel the need to voice her opinion about her ex-husband and I after all of these years? That, alone, tells you what a tortured soul our alienating parent really is. So if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this narrative, please considering saying a little prayer for her yourself.
While it might be easier to continue lamblasting our alienating parent, we have, instead, chosen to forgive and move on with our lives.