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Hi. I've been divorced for almost 2 years. My spouse had a very high conflict type personality. At the time of the divorce she did numerous things to alienate our children from me. Now, two years later, I still do not see my eldest son at all, and I have strained relationships with my younger children. I have no idea if she is still actively undermining my role as a father, or if it's simply a matter of damage that has already been done. I am seeing a good counselor with my two younger kids, and that helps somewhat, but there is still very little emotional connection. We used to be so close. It's hard to describe the anguish of losing that.

I put together this video to tell my story. I did this in part for my own therapy, and in part because I wanted other parents to avoid the hell of Parental Alienation. I knew my spouse had psychological issues, but I had never even heard of Parental Alienation, and was completely blindsided when it happened to me.

Parental Alienation is Real - YouTube
 

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Been there. And it took a guardian ad litem, a counselor, a court ordered psychological evaluation (at my request) to prove it.

It was hard to prove. I was the custodial parent! He would show up at before-school care (her school started at 9:15) AND after-school care (I picked her up at 5:30). He would take her out of after-school care, take her for ice cream and to the park then back to daycare so I wouldn't know. He showed up to eat lunch w/ her at school most days. He would call every evening and talk to her for an hour but her side was usually "yeah. uh huh. I did. ok. yes." I finally recorded her calls (I "gave consent" on her behalf as her legal guardian since she was a minor - nice little technical glitch) and caught him saying "remember what we talked about" and calling me a b*tch to her.

He was diagnosed w/ Narcissistic Personality Disorder - a severe, unchangeable (in the psych report) PD. And PAS was determined to have occurred.

Over the course of 3 years I went from oblivious (I took the high road never talking ill of him even though I knew he didn't do the same thinking I set a good example - WRONG) to him keeping her away from a month before the courts could make her come home. In one month she went from the normal happy 10y/o to a child who hated me, feared me and wanted to live with her Dad. I was devastated.

I followed some advice by Dr. Richard Warshack who wrote "Divorce Poison" - I recommend you get it. The first year she refused affection - she just lived there because she had to, basically. But I stayed constant. I punished when needed to, I loved as much as I could, I became her rock, her constant, whether she wanted me to or not.

She would not return "I love you"s, she would not hug back but let her arms hang lip at her sides. Second year She would begrudgingly hug back and say an unenthusiastic "You, too" to my I love yous. By year three she finally hugged me, nearly to the day of her own accord, and would respond with "I love you, too". I remember sneaking out to the porch to tearily call my Mom and say "SHE HUGGED ME!!!!!!!" How silly to be sooooo excited over an act that I took for granted 3 years earlier.

The things I did per the book:
- I made sure she remembered the good times with me that she had forgotten. I put all of the photos (printed digitals) into albums and casually perused them. She watched this project and I would randomly say "remember your birthday party I threw?" or "wasn't that vacation FUN?".
- I enlisted friends, family and co-workers to remind her I am a good person worthy of love and respect. Friends would look through album and intentionally recall good times when they were present. I took her to the office after a mid-day dental cleaning and had people tell her what a great person I was, how they liked having me work there and showed her the award I had won. Mom/Dad/Sis would recollect times together. It was all very orchestrated and intentional.
- I would remind her friends of good times when they came over "so glad you could come - we had SUCH a good time at the last sleepover!"
- I no longer hid her father's shortcomings. I did not bash him but I no longer said anything positive. I told her about the diagnosis and how he was "sick" and couldn't help it but always thought he was right and in his eyes I would always do things wrong. Nothing that could be construed as slander; it was true and provable. I stuck to facts.
- We watched movies and talked about brainwashing. Hook (the lost boys brainwashed Peter) and Mrs. Doubtfire (she made the Dad out to be the bad guy) and talked about how other people could influence our opinions. I never tied it directly to her Dad, it was subtle.

It IS real and more courts are recognizing it. Sometimes the parents ARE bad. But there are clear guidelines as to what constitutes PAS. It's not a legal diagnosis int he US but it is in Canada. Fortunately the psychologist recognized it and so did the Judge.
 

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You did a terrific job on the video. Ultimately, the kids will come up with their own conclusion as they mature. The fact that you are there, putting in the effort and figting means alot.

They will never say that you tried.

You ex-wifes "colors" will come out with the children. They will get it.

Praying for you and your family.
 

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Well done for making a video and attempting to bring this form of abuse (and, yes, it is abuse).

I'm at the other end of the scale with PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome), in that I reared my son alone, my ex having taken little or no interest in him until he was 19 years of age. My ex then swept in and cunningly blamed his absence in my son's life on me, which has caused my son to estrange from me.

I run a support forum for parents of adult children who are estranged from them, and the heartache amongst those parents is staggering.

Your children are young, and my advice to you is to fight to be in children's lives, using the strong of the arm of the law, if necessary, to prevent your ex from manipulating your children and bringing about PAS.

My heart goes out to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey, thanks for the replies, especially EnjoliWoman. Wow, there is so much in your post that hits home with me. I know those limp-arm, head-turned-away hugs. When I'm not with my kids (9 days off, 5 days on is my schedule during the school year) they never call me, and they almost never answer their phone. On the rare occasion I actually talk to them, it's one-word answers, especially if their mother is in the background. This is radically different from the way things used to be. There is so much that has been lost, I have to force myself not to think about it. I'm going to check out those links, thanks!
 

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Did she ever respect you?

How could things escalate, I don't understand how one parent becomes so dominating and overbearing... I feel for your kids, I hope everything works out for you. Keep going to counseling and stay away from that crazy woman.
 

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The craziness started the very first year of marriage. What was amazing to me was how polar opposite her personality was outside our home compared to inside. To everyone else she would be super sweet, but behind closed doors it was a completely different story. Being young and ignorant I blamed myself. I said to myself that I must be the one triggering this behavior since it only seemed to occur around me. It wasn't until years later, when things got much worse, that I realized she must have some kind of personality disorder. She was abused as a child, and I suspect this was a predisposing factor.

When the behavior finally started to be directed toward my children, including a violent episode with my eldest son, I decided I must file for legal separation. That is when she put things into overdrive. She started a campaign of distortion, telling just about anyone who would listen, including friends and professionals, that I was "emotionally abusive," etc., etc. There was no hard evidence of course, but people believed her because they had only seen the sweet, demure side to her personality. I'm told this phenomenon is common among those with borderline/narcissistic traits.
 

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Same with my NPD ex. Before I left I wanted to document his behavior for court. I had a VAR to record conversations between us because if I said anything besides "ok" it ended up in a fight. I knew I'd have tons. Well sure 'nuff one morning as I was getting ready for work he laid into me because I didn't want to have sex because I was almost ready to leave when he woke up (everything was always on his terms). Our 4y/o walked into the room and he yelled at her to leave and his tone made her cry and he grabbed her and yelled at her for crying for nothing. I made him stop and I left for work. He found the recorder between the towels in the bathroom and confronted me. I told him I wanted him to know what he sounded like and was going to play it for him (lied). Of course he didn't learn from it, I lost my evidence and 2 weeks later I left.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I decided to write my story of Parental Alienation. There were lots of dramatic twists and turns, which I hope will keep readers interested, but my ultimate purpose in writing it is to help others learn from my experiences, and to raise awareness.

If you are interested, the story can be found at:

INTRODUCTION - Parental Alienation is Real

I'd appreciate any feedback.

Dave
 

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It doesn't stop, either. Nearly four years later we're finally OK (kiddo and I) but ex is STILL trying to manipulate me/the situation.

Bottom line, he violated the order by asking kiddo if she wanted to do something on MY weekend this weekend. Kiddo said yes she did want to and told him I'd be gone anyway (for only 2 hours out to dinner w/ a girlfriend for her birthday this Saturday!). The event he wants to take her to is 2 hours away, will last several hours plus the return drive. Plus we already made plans for my friend's daughter (her good friend) to come over in the afternoon and stay the night so they could hang out together while we're at dinner. Then Sunday other mother coming over and we're doing a bunch of holiday baking while the girls cut out, bake and decorate cookies together.

The order states the parents are to discuss any deviations to the order, agree and then present to kiddo. He totally circumvented so I'd either have to capitulate or be the 'bad guy' and disappoint kid by saying no.

Typical parental alienation technique. Of course she isn't even supposed to know about the order and doesn't get why I'm mad because I've sheltered her from his sh*t. I'm so sick of always having to be put on the defensive. He still hasn't emailed me about it which kiddo said he was going to.

Due to his NPD he doesn't think about anyone else's plans, how his actions affect anyone else because no one else matters! Kiddo is perfect in his eyes because she has his genes. I constantly have to take her down a notch while assuring her I love her and am looking out for her best interest and being the 'solid' one while he gets to always be the 'fun' one.

He was even ballsy enough to buy the tickets already. A$$hole.
 

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I decided to write my story of Parental Alienation. There were lots of dramatic twists and turns, which I hope will keep readers interested, but my ultimate purpose in writing it is to help others learn from my experiences, and to raise awareness.

If you are interested, the story can be found at:

INTRODUCTION - Parental Alienation is Real

I'd appreciate any feedback.

Dave

Dave i read this:

14. Gender Bias - Parental Alienation is Real

It's a very good show on how things are being done about children and gender issues. Child protection services all over the western world are totally biased against men. Male complaints are never taken seriously. And every lie told by a woman registers. Stories like yours are all too common.
 

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Dave i read this:

14. Gender Bias - Parental Alienation is Real

It's a very good show on how things are being done about children and gender issues. Child protection services all over the western world are totally biased against men. Male complaints are never taken seriously. And every lie told by a woman registers. Stories like yours are all too common.
AND there is the bias that non-custodial parents and fathers can't/don't alienate. Everyone wondered how could a non-custodial parent alienate a child against her mother, the custodial parent. I'm fortunate I was able to prove that's exactly what he was doing.

By visiting her at before-school care, after-school care, lunch daily at school, calling every evening and talking to her an hour before bed - his presence was CONSTANT. If he put that much effort into ANYTHING productive, he could accomplish so much.
 

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I talked to a family member who as a child went through an acrimoniouis divorce. I was amazed at how much he understood and correctly perceived. So I would say try to be nice and stay in contact. In many cases, the parental alienation syndrome works by driving away the other parent; he should maintain continuing contact even if it seems unwelcome and if need be enforce those rights in court.
 

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I was a vicitim of this insidious crime against children the the Alienated parent.

It's really terrible.

The kids grow up totally messed up.

A few things I can offer advice on is as follows:

* Keep ALL correspondence whether it be email or text.

* Try to keep MOST correspondence via email or text as if it's done by phone then you won't have anything to show the kids when they get older.

* DO NOT get roped into being nasty, rude or arrogant, name calling etc.

* Always try to reason with the perpetrator with rational suggestions. ie/ When the mother writes 'You treat the kids like $$hit they don't want to see you' reply with,
'Can you give me an example of how I allegedly treat the kids like $$hit'
Most of the time they'll reply with some left field rant about how you abused them in some form or another (this is the sort of thing you can show the kids when they get older)

*Always make an effort to suggest days, time to see the kids or talk to them on the phone.

* SEE A SOLICITOR AND GET ADVICE.
* DO NOT LEAVE IT TO LATER TO TALK TO A SOLICITOR
* GET INTERIM ORDERS IN PLACE ASAP.

Biggest tip I can offer is

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR KIDS!!!
THEY NEED YOU.
 

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The craziness started the very first year of marriage. What was amazing to me was how polar opposite her personality was outside our home compared to inside. To everyone else she would be super sweet, but behind closed doors it was a completely different story. Being young and ignorant I blamed myself. I said to myself that I must be the one triggering this behavior since it only seemed to occur around me. It wasn't until years later, when things got much worse, that I realized she must have some kind of personality disorder. She was abused as a child, and I suspect this was a predisposing factor.

When the behavior finally started to be directed toward my children, including a violent episode with my eldest son, I decided I must file for legal separation. That is when she put things into overdrive. She started a campaign of distortion, telling just about anyone who would listen, including friends and professionals, that I was "emotionally abusive," etc., etc. There was no hard evidence of course, but people believed her because they had only seen the sweet, demure side to her personality. I'm told this phenomenon is common among those with borderline/narcissistic traits.
100% CORRECT on your statement of 'Common among those with borderline/naccissistic traits'
 

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I'm told this phenomenon is common among those with borderline/narcissistic traits.
Dave, I agree with you and MrNice. High functioning BPDers interact very well with casual friends, business associates, and total strangers. NONE of those people trigger her anger because they pose no threat to her two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. Specifically, there is no close relationship that can be abandoned and no intimacy that would cause engulfment. Heaven help those folks, however, if they make the mstake of trying to become a close friend. This is why BPDers typically have no close long-term friends (unless they live a long distance away).

If your W is a BPDer as you suspect, an excellent resource for you is the "Raising a Child when One Parent Has BPD" forum at BPDfamily.com. I also suggest, while you are there, that you check out the articles on the resources page. If you would like to read a brief overview of BPD traits here on the TAM forum, I suggest you take a look at my post in Maybe's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/33734-my-list-hell.html#post473522. Take care, Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Based upon helpful feedback (including a lot of great thoughts from posts by Uptown) I've continued to update my book (parentalalienationisreal.info), which not only tells my story of Parental Alienation, but serves as a guide to the underlying psychology, from one layperson to the next. Here is a short chapter that I recently added:


Chapter 14

GOODNIGHT MY ANGEL

"Okay, now make him look sad," I said.

Kendra contorted the stuffed animal's face to the appropriate expression, and then whimpered a little for added effect. This made me laugh.

It was bedtime. I was tucking my daughter in. We were lying side-by-side, our heads sharing the same pillow.

My wife and I had not yet fully separated. I was still spending my evenings at our home, but I was sleeping at a little apartment I had rented. There were no lawyers yet. We were considering counseling. But soon the violent episode between Andrew and his mother would take place, and the days of utter chaos would begin.

"Okay, just one more and then I have to go... now I want you to make him look surprised." Kendra raised the animal's paws up in the air, perked up his ears, and then spastically shook his whole body back and forth. I laughed again.

"That was perfect! Okay, now it's time for you to go to bed."

"But you have to stay in my room until I fall asleep."

"No cutie, I'm sorry. I can't do that. I have to go."

"But then I won't be able to sleep."

"I'm sorry honey, but it's time for me to go." I started heading out. I didn't want her to see me getting choked up.

"I love you Dad," Kendra said softly as I left her room. "I love you too Kendra," I replied.

As I walked down the hall I passed the master bedroom. The door was partially open, and I could see the dim shadows cast by my wife's reading lamp. I'm sure she was listening to everything.

"I love you Dad," Kendra said loudly as I headed down the steps. "I love you too Kendra. I'll see you tomorrow night." Had I only known the storm that was coming, I would have savored her words even more. After that night I would not hear them again.

I opened the front door. "I love you Dad!" Kendra shouted to me one last time. "Goodnight Kendra! I love you very much! Go to sleep now, okay?"

I stepped out into the cold and closed the door behind me.


The problem with Parental Alienation is not that it causes the pain of a divorce. Obviously the pain is already there. It's inherent. The problem with Parental Alienation is how that pain is then used as a weapon. Parental Alienation infects the wounds of a divorce and it causes them to fester. It interrupts the natural healing process. It leaves ugly scars, and the scars it leaves last for a lifetime.
 

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:iagree:A superb writer, actually. That verbal exchange -- which you describe with such clarity, Dave -- was painful for me to read. Your website, by the way, is excellent too -- especially the YouTube video. At that site, your story grabs the reader at the get go -- starting, as it does, with the details about the beating of your son by his own mother.
 
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