Devastated Fathers Speak Out About Parental Alienation

For any parent who is alienated from their child, every single day brings the painful realisation that they are missing a vital piece of their heart and soul. To me it is an unimaginable pain, and yet one I encounter on an almost daily basis as I support men who through no fault of their own, have had this inflicted upon them.

Birthdays, holidays, and festive occasions are all exceptionally difficult times for alienated parents and after Christmas Day there is perhaps none more damaging or hurtful for men than being alienated on Father’s Day.

Many Australian families will be celebrating the role of father’s in their children’s lives this week. Little children will be rushing into Dad’s room to give him the present they made at school, or purchased from the school fete. Older children will be giving Dad a hug, making him breakfast and letting him know he is loved. Sadly though, many fathers will inevitably be alone on Father’s Day and prevented from seeing their children from whom they are cut off and intentionally alienated.

Born from nothing short of spite, hatred and monetary gain, many women will refuse contact on this day if it doesn’t fall on the ‘right’ weekend. For men who are fully alienated and have no contact, often through false allegations, they will know like other years before that they must yet again face this painful day and somehow survive it.

I asked some men from my support group to share their words of what it means to them to be an alienated Dad on Father’s Day. Here are there heartfelt replies.

Hurt. On the most important day in a Father’s life after birth, being with your children on Father’s Day and denied by the mother. It is a knife to the heart, it reduces you to tears and desperation and questions your own worth.

Devastated, heartbroken, confused. I see my daughter for 30 hours in a whole year and they have canceled repeated scheduled visits through no fault of my own. I tried to arrange to see her on Father’s Day, but the mother won’t agree.

You loose hope and you feel suicidal anger and it changes you in a big way , so you move on in this difficult life and carry the pain for the rest off your life.

My ex girlfriend won’t let me see them.  I don’t have words for it and I try not to think about it…. Because it’s depressing

It’s absolutely heartbreaking I’d rather not remember the date of fathers day so I can just skip it

First marriage, my children were abducted by their mother for ten years. No Fathers’ Day, no birthdays, no Christmas, nothing. I have still not seen my daughter from that marriage since 1983…….What can I say about the lost time? It sucks. My eldest son, who will soon be 39, only stopped crying on seeing me (or talking on the phone) a couple of years ago. I don’t give a f**k about the impact on me. That is a child’s life destroyed.

For these men the lies and false accusations by the mother of their children have left them with a life of pain. They are faced with a no-win situation when our legal institutions predominantly support the woman’s word irrespective of any evidence, when it is really born out of nothing but evil.

During the court process the mother is the assumed carer and this buys her time and incentive to keep the legal process being drawn out. You see, the longer she alienates the father the more likely she is to get full parental responsibility. She hates him and she wants him to pay, so she wins at all cost through sanctioned perjury.

For the ‘lucky’ ones, even when he proves he has never harmed her or the children he is forced to pay for access through ‘supervised visitation’ centres which are often run by staff who treat innocent father’s like criminals.

All the while she lives off the child support he pays even though he can get very limited or often no access to his children. Our society labels these men as ‘deadbeat dads’ but these mothers are the deadbeats. Lazy, vexatious and vindictive women who want to cause harm at any cost.

We can not ignore the impact on children who are also the victims of this malicious and self-centred vendetta. Amanda Sillars from Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation recently commented about the effects on children of Parental Alienation

“This is about power, manipulation and control by a selfish often mentally unwell parent who hates their ex more than they love their own child. The mourning for the child and parent is a ongoing till the day the child is old enough to break free to love that parent. Sometimes the damage is irreversible where the child cannot bond because they have lived a life of conflicted thoughts and suppression.

Children will grow up with a distortion of reality, they will be taught harshness & cruelty and they will learn to exaggerate negative qualities. If the child is strongly influenced by the ex the child loses their ability to think or to feel for themselves. If the child is not taught to have concern for others the child will grow up to have no empathy. A child that grows up with a polarised perception will assume that anything less than perfect should be rejected.

Australia [and the world] needs legal and mental professionals to educate in this sinister, subtle, complex form of child abuse & spousal abuse. Many parents and children suffer in silence because our legal system does nothing to stop it. Some parents cannot and will not co-parent. The courts allows false allegations with no penalties, allows breeching of orders with no consequences and does not have the children’s best interests at heart.

Each man has his own methods of survival. Some that have been alienated for extended periods have found ways to ‘cope’ with what has been inflicted upon them. For all though, it is a soul destroying process of prolonged torture.

For me this year I accept that I will not have any contact from my only biological child. I know it’s not her fault. This year I am choosing to celebrate having my own father in my life. At 81 he’s not always going to be around and I want him to know that he is loved and how important he was to me growing up and knowing that he is always there for me. I know and understand the unconditional love that he has for me and I want him to know how much I appreciate all that he has done for me. It makes me very sad that he won’t see or get a card from his only grandchild though. Parental alienation is child abuse.

Whatever we do in society, we have a responsibility to care for others. This Father’s Day, please reach out to an alienated father and let him know that you care. Let him know that he’s not alone and that like all of us, he is worthy of love and connection with his children.

I will finish with this final quote.

I have not seen my daughter since she was 4, and she will soon be 17. This is the work of a malicious ex-wife and a horribly biased Judge. I was never accused of anything – they just did what they wanted and trampled on my rights, and more importantly, my daughter’s rights. I cannot recover the lost years and experiences that my daughter and I were deprived of. I know now that I will never see my daughter again. If she had died, there would have been an ending to the loneliness and anger eventually. The fact that she is still alive yet unreachable through the machinations of others is like an open wound that never heals and never stops hurting.

[Source:  relatingtomen.com ]

The Importance of a Father in a Child’s Life

Researchers found that, overall, the love — or rejection — of mothers and fathers equally affects kids’ behavior, self-esteem, emotional stability, and mental health. “But in some cases, the withdrawal of a father’s love seems to play a bigger role in kids’ problems with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse,” says study coauthor Ronald P. Rohner, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. And for others, the presence of a father’s love may do more to boost children’s sense of well-being and improve their emotional and physical health.

[Source:  www.parents.com ]

After all the evidence, how can a mother justify keeping a child from it’s father, just to make herself feel better, feel more important …. and even more disturbing, to hurt the other parent?

Father Absence, Father Deficit, Father Hunger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children

Writing the post the other day about our targeted parent’s grandson’s paternal family sharing photos with us reminded me of a brochure I had read, which was published by the government, dealing with the importance of fathers in the lives of their children.

Our alienating parent has a problem with a child’s paternal family sharing photographs with that child’s grandfather?  Why?  Doesn’t a father, or a father’s family, have the right to decide whom they will share family photos with?  Or does that right only exist for the child’s mother?

Remember the remarks made in one of our first posts, about our alienating parent’s need for control? Think this falls under that aspect of her behavior?

In any event, after many studies, experts would undoubtedly disagree with denying a father the small, simple choice of whom he will share family photos with. And if a father is being denied that right, what other rights is he also being denied?

Fathers are equally as important to a child as mothers are. And mothers who purposely try to destroy a child’s relationship with their father are doing harm to those children.

“Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers.”

“Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes.”

“One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior.”

“In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of children.”

Don’t you think a mother who actually loved her children and put the well being of her children first would, instead of only thinking of herself and what she is feeling (I’m angry; I’m upset; I’m jealous), would put her child’s best interests first and work toward maintaining a close, loving relationship between child and father? Would our alienating parent’s children have been better off if they had had the opportunity to share a relationship with their father? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.