Parental alienation is born out of pure hatred by a parent for the other parent. It is meant to inflict unconscionable pain on the other parent by ruining his or her relationship with the children. Furthermore, this complete act of selfishness is devoid of any empathy for the other parent. The perpetrating parent devalues and discards the other parent, and effectively forces the children to do the same.
I have described it as going from “hero dad” one day to “zero dad” the next. For a parent and children to do an almost instantaneous about-face on the view of the other parent and their dad, respectively, as a parent, makes no sense to most outside observers, who either have not experienced alienation themselves or dealt with alienation as a professional (including, family and friends). Parental alienation seems outrageous and nonsensical, absent a reason for the alienation brought upon by the alienated parent themself. (It might be worth noting estrangement is likely being confused with alienation.)
What outside observers don’t understand and what alienated parents likely do not realize until way too late, is that the parent was alienating the other parent from the children during the marriage, separation and divorce. The outside observers don’t live the relationship day-to-day. By the time parental alienation is raised as an issue during the separation or divorce, it is viewed as untimely. Also, by this time, these observers have been shown and manipulated into seeing what the alienating parent wants them to see and believe.
As for the targeted parent, alienating behaviors weren’t necessarily viewed as such during the marriage, nor were they likely the cause for the breakup of the marriage. Instead, other issues (such as job loss, financial problems, infidelity, abuse, addiction, narcissism and the all-encompassing “irreconcilable differences”) were the likely reason(s) for the separation and divorce. In other words, while alienating behaviors may occur during the marriage, this is a problem that manifests itself for the targeted parent at some point either during the separation or after the divorce.
During my own marriage, there were things my wife did that made me scratch my head and think, “Did she just say what I think she just said and put the kids in the middle?” or “Did she just do that and completely discredit or vilify me in front of the girls?” While I didn’t like it, I rationalized that she’s only human, maybe it’s stress or something else going on, and, thought, “Besides, she’s my wife. This isn’t hate. Got to take the good with the bad.” So, I gave it a pass and let it go or, later on with her in private, I questioned it and/or got an apology. Heck, before my separation, I was rarely, if ever, prevented from speaking or unable to talk to my children while I traveled away from home. We always managed a call, even if only for five minutes before school in the morning or before bedtime in the evening.
Two months into my separation and ever since, approximately 95% of my calls to my ex and my children went unanswered or were forwarded to voicemail, only about 25% of my unanswered calls were ever returned (and at least half of these were not returned the same day), and at least 95% of my texts to my children went unreturned. (By the way, these are conservative numbers. I have the phone records and texts that prove it, too.) Plus, when we spoke, the girls had to be on the call together and all calls had to be on speakerphone because their mom claims cell phones cause brain cancer.
Contrast this with the fact that during the first two months of my separation, the exact opposite was true. In fact, during those first two months my children both initiated texts and calls to me on their own from their iPhones. Unless we used FaceTime, we did not use speakerphone and the girls took turns talking with me. (My guess is that the girls met the guy around this time and the break in contact ensured their mom that this secret remained a secret.)
Communication went quickly from normal to anything but normal. There was a lot of confusion, hurt, hopelessness and pain on my part. I went from a 24/7 pulse on my daughters to nothing in a matter of a couple months. Even worse, no one else involved in my divorce cared. Not the guardian ad litem, not the lawyers, not the multiple mediators, and not the custody evaluator.
….This is just one type of alienating behavior I have experienced. It, in and of itself, is abhorrent and despicable.
This next example is a doozy. My ex and my children kept from me the fact that a man had been in the picture from Day 1 of our separation, became my ex’s fiancé at some point and less than 10 months after our divorce was final relocated with them to NC. Without my knowledge, they all lived together for 13 months while I paid alimony per our divorce agreement. However, our custody agreement required prior notice of any intent to cohabitate and our divorce agreement provided for the modification or termination of alimony should she remarry or cohabitate. Parental alienation was not only used to inflict pain and emotional distress, but for my ex-wife’s monetary gain both before and after the divorce.
A month or so after she was served the motion to terminate alimony due to the cohabitation, my ex-wife and I had coffee and discussed settling out of court. As she sat across the table from me, she looked me in the eye and with a straight face claimed three separate times that this guy “was just a roommate helping her with the bills.” (He’d been in her and the girls’ lives for three years at this point and she had been denying a relationship every step of the way to anyone involved in our divorce.) She knew from the motions and through my lawyer’s conversations with her lawyer that I had the dirt on her. Yet, she lied to my face and believed what she is saying. I believe she is, and always has been, a pathological liar. (Narcissistic persons and their propensity for parental alienation will be the topic of another post.)
The experience of parental alienation is pain, plain and simple, by any means possible and at any cost. The alienator has to win and cannot be wrong or else their lies and malicious behavior is exposed and they are seen for who they really are: a liar, a cheat, a bully. Parental alienation is so bad that I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.
I would like to thank WordPress’ LOST DAD for inspiring this post.
Below is the link to the posting shared by Lost Dad, a WordPress blogger:
Below is the post by LOST DAD on Father’s Day 2017:
Featured Photo – credit http://www.timetoputkidsfirst.org