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Divorce/Separation :
Parental Alienation - please help!

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 okaynow (original poster member #13813) posted at 7:14 PM on Friday, September 16th, 2022

Old timer here now seeking help for my dear stepson(DSS) and grandkids. Seeking advice on how to handle parental alienation and possibly leads for professional assistance in SoCal.

DSS has been in the process of divorcing his adulterous STBXW for a few years now. The major delay has been due to the California courts having been closed for a period of time because of Covid and the court calendars being clogged.

DSS has 2 young children whom he adores. He is a genuinely good dad. He lives alone in a modest home with nice bedrooms for each of the kids. STBXW continues to live with the kids and her mother in the original family home. The mother has lived with them for many years.

The older child has been seeing a therapist for anxiety issues. STBXW is also a client of this therapist and has convinced the therapist that she is a victim and my DSS is a monster. Familiar story? She's NPD all the way. It's amazing this therapist bought into it.

On a daily basis the children are told by both their mother and grandmother that the father is a bad person. They berate the father in front of the children at every opportunity. For example, the children have sports events/practices that they attend during the week. Both parents often attend. DSS sits in a different area in order to avoid conflict. The grandmother, his STBXMIL, calls him names under her breath but loud enough for the children to hear. Separately, the STBXW pulls the children away from DSS when they are in his custody so they will stay near her and demands their attention. The children have been told directly that there will be "consequences" if they talk with their father. Another example is when the kids went to an amusement park after the dad bought them annual passes. They had a great time and told their mother about it. The mother responded by telling the kids they would die if they went on any rides and that the dad wasn't taking good care of them by letting them go on rides. This is a major theme park he took them to, not a little traveling carnival set up on a street corner.

The parents are encouraged to speak with the kids by phone during their non custodial days. When STBXW calls, DSS puts the kids on the phone and gives them a private place to talk as per court order. When DSS calls the kids, she either ignores the calls and doesn't tell the kids the dad called, or she tells the kids to say they don't want to talk to the dad, or she distracts the kids while they are on the call. One day she even told the younger child that she couldn't finish her dinner (it would be taken away) if she got on the phone with her dad.

STBXW is an elementary school teacher who has studied child development. Her knowledge of how to manipulate young children makes her evil.

STBXW has a very aggressive female attorney, not unlike herself, and the judge seems swayed in her direction. Comments and requests by DSS are generally dismissed.

Advice will be greatly appreciated. If anyone has leads on professionals in the Southern California area who can help that would be appreciated also.

Married 18 yrs, together 25+.
D-day: 2/18/07.
1 child
The story doesn't really matter anymore. Time is a great healer. Life is good.

posts: 2462   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2007
id 8755625
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 10:23 PM on Friday, September 16th, 2022

I don't know of any legal professional here in SoCal that deal with parental alienation. I do know how difficult it is to co-parent with a narcissist as my XWS is diagnosed NPD. My kids were a lot older when I left but it doesn't stop him from manipulating and trying to alienate them from me. I just make sure not to say anything bad about the other parent and let them call him whenever they please. My xWS has ranted and raved about me and causes them fear to answer their phones when I call them. Usually they text me and say they are with their dad. I can't imagine what this does to the younger ones though sad there is a really good book called "Splitting" by Bill Eddy, ‎William A. Eddy, ‎Randi Kreger on tactics to use when in D with an NPD. I am always told by my friend who has a PHD in psychology that the children realize more later as they become adults which parent is the manipulative one. All your DSS can do in the meantime is just make sure his parenting with them is consistent and loving and stable. I don't think there is anything you can do to prevent a lot of this. Narcissists are evil humans walking amongst us who get off on this game playing, manipulative button pushing tactics. It has taken me a few years to not let this affect me and there are still days it brings me to my knees.

fBS/fWS(me):49 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:51 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(19) DS(16)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014
Divorcing

posts: 8332   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8755658
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 okaynow (original poster member #13813) posted at 3:34 AM on Saturday, September 17th, 2022

crazyblindsided, thank you for sharing your story with me. I believe that kids eventually see the truth. It just worries me greatly how much damage will be done by that time and how much may be lost by then. This is a heartbreaking situation.

Married 18 yrs, together 25+.
D-day: 2/18/07.
1 child
The story doesn't really matter anymore. Time is a great healer. Life is good.

posts: 2462   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2007
id 8755701
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barcher144 ( member #54935) posted at 5:11 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

This is a very difficult situation, one where your DSS will need to tread very very carefully.

Unfortunately, I don't have much to contribute on the legal side. Laws vary so much from State to State that I can't contribute. One name that you might want to look up is Craig Childress, who is a psychologist who has done a lot of work in the area of parental alienation. I think that he was located in California at one point but I also think that he moved to Seattle. I think that he basically transitioned all of his work with parental alienation to another person, who I think will work as a consultant in divorces.

Beyond that, you DSS needs to document as much as he can. I am pretty certain that California is a two-party consent state, so audio and video recordings are not likely to be helpful because he would need his ex's permission to record.

Basically... my legal advice is to get a really good lawyer with experience in dealing with parental alienation. Then, he needs to listen to that lawyer.

On the personal side, I'm so sorry that your grandchildren are going through this. It's exceptionally difficult for them. My older daughter was actively suicidal for about 18 months when her mother was doing this to her. My younger daughter and I used to be very close and now... not so much.

Anyway, he really needs to watch what he says and does at all times. He needs to do his best to keep the kids out of any parental/legal arguments, which is often difficult because his ex will try to do the opposite. He (and everyone around him) needs to NEVER disparage their mother, at all, ever. He needs to do his parenting activities when he can and he should never skip his parenting time unless he has a REALLY GOOD excuse (I missed one weekend; I broke two ribs... and then two days later, I started having muscle spasms in my chest area... I was basically put on muscle relaxers and pain meds that made me incoherent for a couple of days).

My personal opinion is also that court system is often horribly biased against men in situations like this. These biases will sometimes include "experts" recognized by the court. In my case, our custody evaluator is/was almost certainly biased against men. I was told this by one of my attorneys prior to beginning the custody evaluation... and afterwards, I found a parental alienation advocacy group that said that same thing about this specific custody evaluator. So, here again, this is where a good lawyer can steer your DSS to a fair/unbiased evaluator (or guardian ad litem... or however California does their business).

Me: BH, age 48Her: WS, age 45 (multiple EAs and PAs)D-Day: August 30, 2016

Diagnosed with depression in December 2016, which was primarily caused by my xWW's affair and associated emotional abuse.

posts: 5307   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8756009
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