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Divorce/Separation :
Surviving parental alienation

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 Slanted (original poster member #71939) posted at 2:42 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Learning these days that there are harder things than adultery and divorce. My divorce is final at last. And in the months since, my ex has taken the position that our parenting schedule does not matter, that our child is the only and final arbiter of the schedule. And my ex lies and lies and lies and lies.

She lies about whether I pay for things. I make child support payments, but she says I owe her other things. She shares these things with our child. She lies about why we got divorced (we got divorced because she had multiple boyfriends and said she was "sorry" while remaining in contact with two of them). She drives wedges. And it's working. Dad is the villain, and can be safely forgotten.

I have seldom in my life felt such pain. And my choices are to accept the reality she's creating, in which I am a father a day or two every six weeks, or to take her back to court. Everyone tells me the court will do little or nothing, because a teenager has a big say.

What flaw exists in the universe that means that these sick people can succeed at these games? There is little to nothing that can stop my ex absolutely ruining my own child's future by excising me from the picture.

Sorry to rant. I'm just really, really feeling it all very deeply tonight. So tired of my life being warped by a sick woman who chose to cheat repeatedly and blames me so severely that she's now taking revenge on me in this way.

posts: 193   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2019
id 8762154
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getbusyliving ( member #71058) posted at 10:57 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

This is so awful. She sounds an absolute C. It is hard enough dealing with the shitshow of infidelity but this is hurting you at your core. Your ex is also lying to your child. When they figure this out, and they will, they will be incredibly angry with her. Liars slip up and kids are really astute. Never give up and keep venting here.

BS:54 (me). WS:54. together 30 yrs on DD1 March 2017.

TT /lies until DD2 July 2017OL,P, EA, Sex workers.

Dates known: 1991, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2017.

posts: 100   ·   registered: Jul. 21st, 2019   ·   location: Aotearoa /NZ
id 8762187
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:24 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

There's threads here that talk about kids growing up, moving out, and having more space to properly examine their parents' choices. If you're able to be patient and keep a door open to your child, you may find him coming around. Eventually she will not be able to cover up the massive pile of lies she's told over the years.

I used to think my dad was the better parent after he died. I was left with a teenager of a mother. Her grieving came first and I felt like her parent. Since moving out, getting married and having (finally) some time to consider dad and his choices (blatant A in front of us kids from upper elementary to middle school), I saw him for the manipulator he was. My mom is no peach, to be sure, but much of her pain and lashing out and instability were exacerbated by my dad's choices.

Patience please, your child will eventually come around, if your ex allows him to move out and create his own life as an adult. So long as you take the higher road, keep your door open and your ear bent to listen, your kid will be able to come to you when they're ready.

Sorry to hear about this- this has got to be the worst.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 895   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8762201
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taken4granted ( member #61971) posted at 4:14 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

I’m sorry that you’re going through this.

My ex has told the kids horrible things about me to try and alienate too. Luckily, they tell me the things he says and I’ve been able to prove his lies in most every case. I don’t go out of my way to make him into a liar, but I do defend myself. So, for example, my ex will say that I don’t spend the child support on them. I show them receipts that simply prove that wrong. I also point out that he would have no idea how we spend money since he is no longer part of the household. He claimed that I used their college fund to divorce him. I was able to show them the statements from before and after. They could see for themselves that it wasn’t touched. He does accuse me of things I can’t prove and I will simply say to them that there is no way to prove it, but I’ve established that he’s lied on so many things that they don’t care if I can’t prove that he’s lying anymore.

But I certainly understand the concern. I’ve simply told the kids that if they have any questions, I’ll be honest with them. Sometimes just asking them why their dad would say something negative about me out of the blue and they will figure out that he wants me to be the bad guy.

I sure hope your teen gets to that point for you too. Just keep being the steady safe landing place off them.

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain
Me: Living life! Him: Not my problem anymore
Married 15 yrs.
1 LTA, Many EAs from 2009 - ?
Dday 1 = 6/16/17
Last Dday = 1/4/18
Started loving myself 2018!

posts: 383   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2017   ·   location: OH
id 8762226
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barcher144 ( member #54935) posted at 6:23 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

I am in the middle of this right now and you are right... in many ways, it's worse than infidelity or divorce.

I have tried to spin things as a positive and the one thought that comes back to my mind is that infidelity, divorce, and parental alienation... has taught me that I really and truly love my children. I can't intentionally hurt them (e.g., by saying truthful but hurtful things about their mother) and I can't stop loving them no matter what they say or do.

As far as solutions to your situation, others have hinted at this but... you have to play the long game. Meaning, you need to set an arbitrary date in the future and decide that your goal is to have your kids love you on that date. For whatever reason, therefore, my thought is "I want my kids to love me when they turn 23 years old."

You are 100% correct that the courts are going to let the teenager decide, with the caveat that the courts might care if your ex is intentionally, repeatedly, and significantly violating the parenting agreement that you both signed as part of your divorce. So, I would (with a few exceptions) basically give up on any assistance from the courts.

So, what are you to do?

First, do not give up. If you only get one or two days every six weeks, then make the most of them. Be a Disney Dad! Whatever it takes! Related to this, send them text messages (with photos!) whenever you can and it feels natural (not forced) to do so. Attend all of their school functions, whether they say that they want you there or not. If they don't let you see them on gift-giving occasions (birthdays, etc), then send them a gift anyway. I 100% promise that your child is watching and they will remember how you are handling this. They might say things (now) like "he's so annoying! why doesn't he just leave me alone!" but you can ignore that. You are their dad and that's for life, whether they like it or not.

Second, never, ever disparage their mother in front of them. Do not tolerate anyone who does. I would also recommend that you don't go so far as to cheerlead for their mother (i.e., lie and say things like "she's such a good mom!")... just avoid that topic. Definitely try to learn about their life at their mother's house and be openly supportive of your child having a great life there. My son, for example, got a new Xbox and I bought him a hands-free headset for it for his birthday (I've never gotten to see him use it) but I ask about his Xbox, the games that he plays, and who he plays those games with.

Third, try to separate "I am a pain-in-the-ass teenager" from "I am the victim of parental alienation." It's hard because they look a lot alike, but one is normal/healthy and the other is child abuse.

Fourth, remember that your ex is making a ton of mistakes that will hurt her in the long run. I have friends whose MARRIED parents practiced parental alienation and as adults... they recognize how awful the alienating parent was. My ex is refusing to let her son bring his Xbox to my house. My ex has been generous enough to buy a new car for herself and she lets our two daughters drive the car that she used to drive, but she refuses to let either of them drive it to my house. Petty crap like this is your friend.

Basically, you're getting crumbs... and you need to cherish every freaking bite that you get, so act like it's the best three-course meal that you have ever had. Basically, you have to focus and be the absolute best parent that you can be with whatever opportunities that you have. My motto is basically: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Be patient. Stay focused. And be a great dad.

I have to go now. Thinking about all of this has... well... I have something stuck in my eyes. Both of them. Weird how that happens.

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: 5316   ·   registered: Aug. 31st, 2016
id 8762250
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 10:24 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

So tired of my life being warped by a sick woman who chose to cheat repeatedly and blames me so severely that she's now taking revenge on me in this way.

So sorry you are going through this too. I agree with Barcher be a Disneyland dad when you have them and spend as much one on one time with them as you can when you have them. Me and my ex have a 50/50 agreement but this still doesn't stop the alienation. My ex also blames me for the D and the marriage falling apart not what led up to it. My daughter feels sorry for him and lashes out at me for reacting to the things he says. I just don't discuss the ex at all and don't want to hear about him now.

try to separate "I am a pain-in-the-ass teenager" from "I am the victim of parental alienation."

This is also good advice something I am constantly analyzing.

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: 8358   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8762280
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 Slanted (original poster member #71939) posted at 10:52 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Gonna read these through several times. A lot of good stuff there. I feel like I am doing most of the right things, but what I really fight is the crushing feeling of injustice, and those moments like a recent one when I had no choice but to talk with my ex present. Everything/everyone was strained, and it left me very upset, with nothing to do but take it.

I have some small faith that in the long run, it will be okay. I just hate knowing every day creates more damage. It's hard enough to grow up and become an adult without this crap added on. And all because my ex can't make the leap all the way to supporting me as a father even if she hates me for "making" her cheat. So screwed up.

posts: 193   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2019
id 8762290
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Jameson1977 ( member #54177) posted at 6:18 PM on Thursday, October 27th, 2022

Slanted, I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this crap. I can’t relate this to my situation but yours is similar to one of my best friends.

His wife left him, out of the blue after 20+ years of marriage. She was just done, and abandoned the family. It was the worst time as one of my friends daughters was into drugs and was very much at risk. Two of the daughters stayed with him and one lived with the mother. Through the separation and divorce, she bad mouthed him to his daughters constantly. What did he do? He took the high road, never badmouthed their mother, and was the only adult in the situation. His wife was going through a midlife crisis.

I told him early on that his daughters are old enough to see through her BS. That they want a stable parent, not a best friend (that’s what his wife was to her daughters) and that when they are a little older, they will come back to him because they need stability!

I saw him this weekend. All three of his girls are living with him. He loves it! They are all doing well, and the troubled daughter cleaned herself up and is doing well. There is so much more that he had to deal with but recently, his ex wife has said to him that he is a fantastic father and was a great husband. She realized that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. She has even talked about getting back together…he shot that down right away. He’s forgiven her (for himself) but he has zero desire to go back to that.

The damage to the mother / daughter relationship has been done, there ain’t no putting the genie back in the bottle. His daughters know the truth.

I would just recommend that you spend as much quality time with you child, take the high road and don’t badmouth her in front of your child. Be the parent your child deserves, even if your ex wife won’t/can’t. It is best for your child, but absolutely isn’t fair.

posts: 807   ·   registered: Jul. 16th, 2016
id 8762413
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BetterTimesAhead ( member #70001) posted at 2:13 AM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

Slanted, I am sorry you are dealing with this. My D is not yet final and I am already dealing with this. Truly heartbreaking. A friend recommended the book Divorce Poison which deals specifically with this topic and how to proceed. Sometimes you just don't know what will help and what will harm. It is difficult to play the long game but there are no quick fixes unfortunately. Remember to take the high road no matter how difficult. When you child reflects back at this time, they will see you are the better person and not the one who was stirring the pot.

Me: BS - 54 Him: WH - 55 DDAY: 2/22/2019 - Three year EA and PA Filed for D 9/2021***************An apology without the action to back it up is just manipulation.

posts: 678   ·   registered: Mar. 11th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8762943
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humantrampoline ( member #61458) posted at 2:41 PM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

My father had an affair and left my mother for the AP when I was in my early college years.

Just an additional perspective to think about with parental alienation:

When I was in my 40s, I learned that my father not only told me and my siblings lies about my mother, he also told her lies about all of us. He made up stories of things that we did to hurt her. When they lie to children, they will also lie to you.

posts: 590   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2017
id 8762974
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BeingNaive ( member #30652) posted at 6:06 PM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

A friend of mine has an ex who constantly violated their custody agreement. He has a teenager and a pre-teen. He has taken his ex to court, fighting for the agreement to be enforced. Especially since she spoke badly about him all the time, allowed her family to talk badly about him, would keep the oldest from him, called the police if he didn't answer his phone even when it was HIS LEGAL TIME with them, ect. The list is extensive and yes, she also told the kids that they could not do XYZ because their dad didn't pay. Of course, that was also a lie.

It was a horrible situation, as he absolutely lives for his kids. He thought it was hopeless, but he couldn't just sit back anymore.

Let's just say that his ex was in tears and was told that she was lucky he wasn't going for full custody because he'd have a damn good case and would probably win. His oldest in now in therapy with a court appointed therapist (their mom had them going to a quack that isn't even a licensed therapist)! They are working on reconciliation between his teenager and him.

Was it easy? No and it still isn't because she keeps doing shady things, but the point is, things are moving forward. He gets to see his oldest, they are reconciling, and honestly, that's what matters. Don't just assume the courts won't do anything. He assumed the same thing and waited longer than he should have. Don't let your assumptions prevent you for fighting for your child.

posts: 295   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2011   ·   location: Michigan
id 8762994
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 Slanted (original poster member #71939) posted at 7:06 PM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

I appreciate the insights. Unfortunately, it's all just accelerating. Sigh. So what's worse? Trying to force visitation, or just watching as a relationship falls apart?

posts: 193   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2019
id 8763003
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 7:34 PM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

So what's worse? Trying to force visitation, or just watching as a relationship falls apart?


'
I don't know. As a child of divorce, I can tell you that my own father became very uninvolved. If we showed up, fine. If we didn't, whatever. He had a replacement family. We were superfluous. At least, that's how I remember it. If he had another story to tell, I wouldn't know because my own became entrenched. I was fine with an uninvolved father as a teen. I liked it that way. As an adult though, there was a certain amount of resentment. After I had my own kids, I couldn't imagine not fighting for all I was worth to be with them.

So yeah, maybe you don't go back to court, but I do think it would be a good thing to put YOUR own narrative on it so there's no mistaking about what your real feelings are about having a good relationship with your kid. Saying you want them with you once or twice won't cement it as fact. Calling and writing EVERY DAY without fail and without judgment just to say, "I miss you" and "this is what happened in my day today and I so much want to hear about what happened in yours" is what might have thawed my little cold teenage heart back then. Just keep showing up is my advice.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6169   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763010
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BeingNaive ( member #30652) posted at 8:09 PM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

Calling and writing EVERY DAY without fail and without judgment just to say, "I miss you" and "this is what happened in my day today and I so much want to hear about what happened in yours"

My friend did this. Even when he received no replies, he would send a message. He'd go up to the school to see how they were doing, just so he could stay involved as much as he could. His oldest one stopped seeing him for about a year due to their mom's manipulations and lies. Between him messaging, taking his ex back to court, and the court orders the teenager is now texting him on their own accord.

I think the worst thing you can do is not fight for your child. Even if they decide they don't want to spend any time with you now, they won't be able to deny the fact that you fought and tried to spend time with them. When they're older and can view the situation from a more mature point of view, that will definitely be something that could allow for a relationship. If you just sit back and say "well, I wanted to"...people say actions mean more than words for a reason. Now, I suggest you take some action.

posts: 295   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2011   ·   location: Michigan
id 8763016
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 Slanted (original poster member #71939) posted at 10:28 PM on Monday, October 31st, 2022

If you just sit back and say "well, I wanted to"...people say actions mean more than words for a reason. Now, I suggest you take some action.

You're entirely right. I've now said I will fight for time, so that it will be very clear. I am going to pursue it in an escalating way, and I am going to explain why I'm doing it.

[This message edited by Slanted at 10:35 PM, Monday, October 31st]

posts: 193   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2019
id 8763035
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BeingNaive ( member #30652) posted at 5:59 PM on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

I wish you the absolute best of luck. Do everything your lawyer suggests.

Oh, I will say that, at least in my state, they have a communication system that they use between parents in these types of situations. It is a text messaging system and everything is recorded so it can be reviewed by the courts at any time. I'd definitely see if they have this available, should things go well for you.

posts: 295   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2011   ·   location: Michigan
id 8763137
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homewrecked2011 ( member #34678) posted at 5:18 AM on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

I think it’s a good idea to get your atty or another atty to fight this. It might go your way, I think it’s worth a try anyway. My child was all over the place because of his Dad’s manipulation. He tried to make the kids feel guilty for loving me. mad

I did have custody, but my youngest would lash out at me when he had to come home from his Dads, tried to go there on my weekends, with Dad encouraging it and planning fabulous trips on my time. I was ok with him going to their Dads, but I was entitled by a court order to get my time with my children. My state takes it pretty seriously, even stating that if child support is not made, the child gets time with that parent anyway.

I went to every single practice, game, band concert, etc. Try to do the same. They are college graduates now and they both thank me for my support all these years-even though they acted like they hated me (bc their Dad and OW were pulling the strings).

Also, I went to a counselor, and she was awesome at helping me manage 2 teens who temporarily hated me, but were being manipulated. (My sons see it now, btw).

[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 4:27 PM, Wednesday, November 2nd]

Sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage, but calms His child. Dday 12/19/11I went to an attorney and had him served. Shocked the hell out of him, with D papers, I'm proud to say!D final10/30/2012Me-55

posts: 5452   ·   registered: Jan. 30th, 2012
id 8763214
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