Single Dad, Shitty Mom

Or: How I Learned that Parental Alienation is REAL


1 Comment

Father’s Day 2013

 

It’s been almost a year since these two have seen each other. Kids change and grow so quickly; it’s sad to miss those things with your kids. It feels horrible to miss those things as a parent. I missed my daughter’s first steps. I missed her first word. I missed her first pee-pee on the potty. However, I gave Maya her first bottle. I changed her first diaper. I bought her first popcorn for her first movie theater experience. And I gave my little girl her first car trip in the front passenger seat when I drove her back home on Father’s Day.

If you read the previous post, I wasn’t really 100% sure that I was going to see Maya for Father’s Day this year. I saw her last year at this time, and four months later would be the last I’d see her again for MONTHS.

This Father’s Day was the first time Maya’s been in our home in 8 months. Thankfully Ravi is too young and won’t really remember what’s transpired over the last several months, but for Maya it’s different. She’s 7 years old, and a slave to her mother’s whims. “Crazy” does not put her daughter first– “Crazy” puts “Crazy” first; that’s a fact. It shows.

Now, the thing that you have to realize about this situation is the reason why Maya has not come to my home in nearly a year. She didn’t come because she was “afraid.” Of what, you may ask? Don’t know– that’s what her mother tells everyone. “Maya does NOT what to go to his house! I don’t know why!” Now, ask her what she has been doing to help rectify this issue. Hear those crickets? That’s right– “Crazy” has done NOTHING. Not only has she allowed this to go on– with NO valid or truthful explanation…she has perpetuated the issue beyond what any SANE asshole would deem necessary. She has invented a fantasy world, where I am this tyrannical, angry, miserly monster that abandoned her and her daughter, and continues to harass and threaten her…!!!…but with the help of (INSERT DUDE HERE), she will soon have the life she always wanted…! Hence the name “Crazy.”

According to “Crazy,” up until Sunday morning, Maya would cry at the mere MENTION of going home with me. For 8 MONTHS STRAIGHT, getting into Daddy’s car was tantamount to taking a cattle car to Auschwitz. But on this Sunday morning…NOTHING. She got right into the car happily! No argument, no crying, no screaming, NONE OF THAT. It was like it had NEVER been an issue.

To be honest, I was expecting the worse. I expected it, because THAT WAS THE PATTERN. Eleven months ago is when all this lunacy started. I would go to pick up Maya, then OUT OF NOWHERE she just started crying and screaming and acting as if she didn’t want to go with me. This continued for THREE MONTHS, with “Crazy” doing absolutely nothing about it, except telling Maya “Well, if you don’t want to go, then that’s it. I won’t force you to go.” When questioned about the behavior, “Crazy” made every claim in the book: “She’s just rebelling,” to “She’s just unusually attached to me,” to “Maybe it’s something YOU did!”

 

My mom drove me to “Crazy’s” parents house to pick up Maya; that was a neutral place where I KNEW things would run smoothly. The thing is, “Crazy’s” parents love Maya…but they don’t like their daughter too much; it’s a sad shame. They are very supportive, and were very excited when Maya was willing to get in the car with us. The thing is, I have a horrible feeling that I know why Maya was “suddenly” interested in going.

Through little bits of information, provided my Maya and her grandmother, I think what happened was this: “Crazy’s” back is up against the wall– she’s in trouble…and she panicked. Faced with the VERY REAL prospect of losing custody of Maya, she screamed and yelled at Maya to…(wait for it)…FORCE her to come to Nyack. When I first saw Maya, she jumped into my arms, I picked her up, gave her a kiss– all the usual stuff. And, you know,  you just LOOK at your kids. Even if you seen them EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY, you LOOK at them– look at their faces, their hands, their feet…when I looked at Maya’s face, I saw that she had what looked like a small rash below the corner of her right eye. I asked her where she got that from. She said that it was because she was rubbing her eye really hard the night before, because she was crying. I asked her what she was crying about, she said her mommy was yelling and kept using the F-word…”about you, about everything,” she said.

Image

Nothing but bitterness and anger. For someone who has made mention of “healing” the relationship between Maya and myself, she sure doesn’t seem all that supportive. Because…SHE’S NOT. I had to send a letter written by my attorney, which outlined the beginnings of challenging her custody if ANYTHING went wrong this weekend– it took THAT for her to FORCE the right thing to happen.

Basically, she created a monster that she DID NOT want to control…until it got her into trouble. Now that she was (and, as far as I’m concerned, still is…) facing the prospect of losing custody of Maya, NOW she wants to break a habit that she enabled in my daughter! NOW, she wants to tell her– after MONTHS of saying the EXACT OPPOSITE– now, you HAVE to go to see your dad! Forget EVERYTHING I’ve been saying to you– NOW YOU HAVE TO GO!!!! And “Crazy” yelled, and she cursed. It’s so easy to bully a kid when you’re a sniveling coward.

The thing that I feel shitty about is the fact that Maya is still there, with that woman. When Maya is with us, she is calm and relaxed. She has a GREAT time with us because, among many other reasons, we are the most STABLE people in her life. “Crazy” is not good for Maya– not by a inch, not by a mile.  She is emotionally incapable of being a good custodial parent. Having Maya with us on Father’s Day showed me, once again, that I have to get my little girl away from her mother.

When I pulled up to Maya’s grandparent’s house at the end of our day, I reminded her about the time we went to breakfast a couple of months ago, when I told her that I would take care of this situation. I told her that this would not happen again– I did not want this much time to go by without seeing her. I told her that soon enough, things will not be what they used to be– they will be BETTER. I told her that we will be spending a lot more time together.

“More weekends?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Three weekends?” she asked.

“Yes, three weekends…or more,”

“Every weekend?”

“Yes, honey,” I said. “That’s what I want.”

“Okay, good.” she said.

I don’t have to disparage “Crazy” in front of Maya. I don’t have to, and I won’t. “Crazy” is doing MORE than enough to show what kind of person she is. They say that actions speak louder than words. To know “Crazy’s” words are to know the true definition of rambling, mindless, angry, bitter, vitriolic babble. Her words mean NOTHING. Her actions…well, there’s enough to write a couple of books. I think the first one should be: “How NOT to Be a Good Mother.”

For the previous week, in the back of my mind, I was expecting the absolute worse situation possible this weekend. It’s what I have always been used to thinking in these situations. And even though I was extremely pessimistic…I am always, almost annoyingly, optimistic. After all the bullshit, I STILL try. I haven’t given up, and I REFUSE to give up. There is no FUCKING WAY that I’m going to let that person pull my daughter away from me. No matter what she does, no matter what roadblocks “Crazy” wants to put in my way, I will plow right through them. It’s been 5 years since I brought her to court for a previous alienation issue. It’s taken me 2 years to get a lawyer to deal with it. “Crazy” acts as if this has all come out of nowhere. And that is one of her biggest problems.

In the end, after a pretty depressing and someone anxious week…I had a great Father’s Day. The kids where happy. Mom was happy. Christina was WONDERFUL. And Maya’s grandparents where supportive and good.

The first step in a journey for redemption, peace, and love…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…


2 Comments

Pre-Father’s Day

 

I have to admit– I’m not a fan of Father’s Day.

Sure, it may sound a bit weird for me to say so, especially being the father of two kids. And I feel really shitty about not being all that into it. But it’s now been four years that I have not been able to appreciate or enjoy Father’s Day- not one bit. And this year, it’s even more painful, stressful, and uncomfortable for me.

In 2009, Father’s Day fell on June 20th. On June 19th, my father died after a 5 year struggle with colorectal cancer. I wasn’t there; I was in New York shooting a final day of interviews for a documentary. My mom had called early in the evening to tell me that they were taking Pops to the hospital; it was bad. I planned on going home the following day, as early as possible. He died at 2:17am the following day. I could write a book about how shitty I feel about not being there. It’s a frustrating pain that will NEVER going away. Sure, many people have told me that “it’s okay,” but it’s not to me. It will never be okay to me.

In the four months leading up to his death, I tried to get my daughter Maya to see him. Easter of 2009 was the most memorable of these attempts. Pops wanted to see her, and he could not. The reason? “Crazy” was the reason. Maya’s mother refused to let me take her to see him. The “why” of it, simply enough, is that she’s a fucking asshole.

“Crazy” is an inherently horrible, disgusting, despicable, toxic, emotionally damaged excuse for a human being– that’s as kind as I can be about her. See, you have to understand that in Maya’s 7.5 years of life, I have NEVER spent a holiday with her: No Christmas eve/day, no Thanksgiving, no Easter; ONLY the day or two afterwards. Never spent a summer vacation, or ANY kind of vacation, with her– never been on a plane with her. I have never spent more than two nights with her. Never. And on that Easter in 2009, when my dad desperately wanted to see her, I practically begged “crazy” to let me take Maya to see my father; she refused…because it was Easter. Mom told me that Pops cried; Pops never cried.

As I type this out now, I am being flooded with every emotion in the fucking book– I am beyond angry, beyond sad, beyond FURIOUS. After Pops died, the ONLY way I could get Maya to the funeral was for “Crazy” to be there. Do you have any idea how HORRIBLE that was for my family to have that…fucking person there?! And she’s so oblivious that she didn’t even realize how vehemently she is hated and loathed in my family– not just for keeping Maya away from my dad in those last few months, but for all the alienating bullshit that she’s put my family through. I HATED “Crazy” being there, and it was that moment when I began to get comfortable with what will be my life-long hatred for that woman.  When I tell you that I will NEVER forgive her for that…I mean, it’s just not possible for me to NOT hate her– deeply, meaningfully, and comfortably hate her. It’s a hatred that I have managed to mask from Maya. It’s a hatred that I am so comfortable with that it doesn’t manifest in any way, shape or form. There is nothing redeeming about that woman, and that is the way it will always be.

Flash forward to Father’s Day 2013. For those of you following the saga of the Single Dad, Shitty Mom blog, you know that for nearly a year now I have only seen my daughter twice, and have spoken to her on the phone three times. No contact over Thanksgiving, Halloween, her birthday, and Christmas of last year, or Easter of this year. And now we are coming up on Father’s Day. The one thing that is different this time around is that I now have a lawyer. It was hiring this lawyer that has angered and frustrated “Crazy” even more than usual, because deep down– underneath her lunacy and emotionally stunted behavior– she knows that the end is near for her. Using a letter crafted by my lawyer (which I will examine in a future post), she was informed that if she did not make Maya available to me on Father’s Day, she WILL lose custody of Maya. Personally, I think she she lose custody anyway– she is a sorry excuse for a custodial parent.

The issue at this point, chronicled here, is that she claims that Maya is “afraid” to come to my home– where I, my fiancé, and her 2 year old brother live. This is the home, mind you, that she has been visiting for the last 3 years. The home in the small village town that she LOVES…”Crazy” is telling me that Maya is afraid of that. “Crazy” won’t, however, discuss the fact that she has spent years trying to poison the well, so to speak. This is what alienators do; they brainwash the child to embrace what are seemingly irrational fears and issues. My fiancé is convinced that “Crazy” is doing this so that she can push me out of the picture, and replace me with her latest boyfriend (this is number 5 in the last 7 years). But I digress– all of this business is for a future post.

Leading up to this Father’s Day, the shit has been hitting the fan. Ever since Maya and my VERY successful brunch date from 2 months ago, “Crazy” has been crazier than usual. She tried to snub me and my mother from Maya’s communion. I’ve tried to arrange phone calls, and with the only TWO I was able to get…”Crazy” eavesdropped on one 30 minute call (prompting Maya at certain points), and the other she hung up on me. Both of these calls I have recorded, and presented to my lawyer. That’s an important side note, if you are NOT recording ALL interactions– audio and/or video– you NEED TO START!

As of today, Wednesday June 12th, I have no idea how Father’s Day will work out. I’ve contacted “Crazy’s” parents to let them know the situation; I made arrangements for my mother and I to pick Maya up from “Crazy’s” parents house. They have promised me that they will make sure that “Crazy” is long gone before we get there, which is entirely the point. As I’ve mentioned previously, “Crazy’s” parents are completely onboard with facilitating a positive relationship between Maya and I, in spite of their own daughter. On one hand, they totally understand what is going on and strongly disagree– and are disgusted– with “Crazy’s” behavior. On the other hand, they live in fear of the FACT that if they confront “Crazy,” she will alienate Maya from THEM as well. They are treading lightly, and part of me does not blame them. It’s really up to me to play hardball, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

This is what Parental Alienation is all about. I have been living with a pit in my stomach, and a cloud of anger floating above me, for over 7 years. After the death of my father, that cloud has darkened. I don’t wear these emotions for all to see, quite frankly because these problems are mine and mine alone. They have nothing to do with my kids, or my fiancé, or family or friends– this is “My Own Private Idaho”, as it were. In the coming weeks and months, I will FINALLY have “Crazy” in a court room to answer to all of this. That moment cannot come soon enough. I do feel as if this is the very beginning of the end of this piss-poor situation.

Father’s Day will never be the same as it used to be pre-2009. Nothing will change that. The only thing that I can hope for is to have some peace with my kids and my family. That’s all that matters anyway, right?

TO BE CONTINUED*

*PS…I want to apologize for the over-all tone of this post. I know it reads as angry and bitter, but it’s honest. Please forgive the excessive profanity; I won’t make that a habit, I promise.

“Minnesota Judge Has 200 Blunt Words for Divorcing Parents”

1 Comment

One of my Twitter followers posted this article written by Judge Michael Haas, from 2001. THIS is the kind of thing that needs to be posted EVERYWHERE for alienators to see. THIS is pure logic and reason regarding the responsibility of parents to nurture their child, instead of using them as a tool to express their spite and toxic behavior.


1 Comment

The Here and Now #6: Holy Communion

 

The first time I spoke to my daughter Maya in 2013 was on my birthday. Her mother was put into a position where she HAD to have Maya call me, which she did. We spoke for nearly 30 minutes, had a WONDERFUL conversation– so far removed from the BS narrative that her mother “crazy” is constantly spinning (about how Maya is SCARED of me and such). One of things Maya had mentioned to me was her Communion, which she explained would be on the 27th of April…and she asked me HERSELF if I could come. The answer, simply enough, was OF COURSE I could! The problem with that…”crazy” had NO INTENTION of inviting me.

“… Interference with the non-custodial parent and child’s relationship is an act so inconsistent with the best interests of a child, as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the offending party is unfit to act as a custodial parent.”

That is an excerpt from an article I read last week, involving a ruling by a judge condemning the actions of a woman who was purposefully alienating her children from their father. That one line speaks VOLUMES to the thousands of alienation cases worldwide. It’s also a line that is THOROUGHLY relatable to my situation.

“Crazy” is FURIOUS with me right now– more so than at ANY other time. Her problem is that she has suffered a sizable blow in Family Court recently. For the last several months, in spite of everything going on with Maya, she has decided to try to fleece me for money, IN ADDITION to filing a bogus Order of Protection charge against me. Both cases have not gone according to her plan; which was not surprising for everyone else, but her. The OP has been withdrawn, and over 80% of the moneys that she requested (I’d say demanded) were stricken. The fact that I hired a lawyer to handle this (and the following custody hearings– more on that in a moment), the fact that my mother, my fiancé, and “CRAZY’S” FAMILY AND FRIENDS are in concert for believing that “crazy’s” behavior is the problem…the WORLD IS AGAINST HER. That’s where her mindset is right now. It’s not the fact that her behavior, her emotional instability, her piss-poor custodial parenting skills, her fiscal irresponsibility– it’s NONE OF THESE THINGS that are to blame. According to “crazy”, EVERYONE (except Maya) is OUT TO PUNISH HER. The ironic thing is, though…she’s kinda right. But not in the way SHE thinks.

“Parental alienation” is the practice of mentally manipulating or bullying your own children with the express goal of damaging their relationship with their other parent. Both parental alienation and its related practice, “hostile aggressive parenting,” deprive children of the stable and loving relationships they need when coping with divorce (and life in general).

The communion itself was very nice– I’m not a religious person, and if I had my way I wouldn’t bother with this stuff…but it’s what Maya’s mother decided, and “crazy” has absolutely no interest in entertaining my point of view. Which has led to one of her financial issues– she was determined to send Maya to Catholic school…but had no answer with regards to how she had thought we would be paying for that. “Crazy” didn’t care. And I told her that I was in no way, shape, or form paying for private school– there were PLENTY of good public schools that she could go to. This is one of the issues the judge threw out– immediately. He said that I was in no way, shape, or form responsible for paying for private school. “Crazy,” and her lawyer, were NOT pleased. But I digress…

The communion was nice– Maya was BEAUTIFUL, as always…! The picture at the top of this post was afterwards; that was the ONLY time I had with her. And not because Maya’s family and friends didn’t want me, and my mother, there (Mom came with me– my lawyer recommended NOT going alone). All of the ire, the stress, the anxiety was ALL because of “crazy”.

My mom and I had a brief conversation with “crazy’s” mom before we left. That’s when she told us that “crazy” had not only not intended to invite me to the communion, we WERE NOT invited back to the house afterwards. But it wasn’t said like that– “crazy’s” mother said the following: “I tried to get her to change the guest list– this was a month ago, and…she just wouldn’t listen.” Yeah, no shit.

I felt REALLY BAD for my mother, though. See, we’re not used to this passive-aggressive, dysfunctional garbage. And mom, to her credit, tried to keep it together– up until we got to the church. It was when she read the church program that she went nuts. On the back of the program, they listed all the kids that were participating in the ceremony. About 40 kids. Among them was Maya. The problem was that Maya’s name is typically hyphenated with my last name and “crazy’s” last name. On the program, only “crazy’s” last name showed up. Now, this did NOT bother me– I just figured that they didn’t have enough room to fit her full name. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t buy that. Look, “crazy” is as petty as they come, but I know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t have gone out of her way to try to force the committee that put the program together to drop Maya’s paternal last name. Besides that, Maya’s full name is on the records throughout that school, so I wasn’t worried. Mom was so furious that she confronted “crazy” about it before we left. Now mind you…”crazy” had GONE OUT OF HER WAY to avoid getting ANYWHERE NEAR my mother OR me.

She steered FAR AWAY from us for almost the ENTIRE TIME. Which was fine, because it gave EVERYONE even more opportunity to see how “crazy” works. Believe me, her behavior DID NOT go unnoticed by family, friends, and friends of friends. No one wanted to really “get into it”, which was fine– the mantra of that communion was “This is Maya’s day.” That’s what everyone kept saying. In reality, though…it wasn’t Maya’s day…it was “The ‘Crazy’ Show!” because EVERYONE was acting in a way to NOT draw “crazy’s” ire!

Oh, the egg-shelll walking and the pins-and-needles, the stress and anxiety was SO BLOODY PRESENT outside of that church you’d think Jesus HIMSELF was about to get his dad to bear judgement on that group! ALL that energy, all that angst…for WHAT?! That’s right…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Maya was very happy to see me and mom. She gave me a big hug, and we gave her some presents, and took some pictures and video and stuff. We even posed for what could be the most AWKWARD family photo EVER! It was the grandmothers, Maya, me…AND “crazy” herself! I’ll tell you– I’d just LOVE to have a copy of that picture JUST for the story alone!

Signs of Parental Alienation
  • Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems for the other parent.

  • Children have knowledge of the divorce details or legal procedures.

  • Children show a sudden hostile, negative change in attitude toward target parent.

  • Children are not delivered for court-ordered visitation and/or are not allowed to “choose” to visit the target parent.

  • False allegations of abuse are made against the target parent.

  • Children are asked to choose one parent over the other.

  • Anger and negativity toward target parent is reinforced.

  • Children are given the impression that if they have a good time with the target parent during a visit, it will hurt them.

  • Children are asked about the target parent’s personal life.

  • Children are “rescued” from the target parent when there is no danger.

That’s the list right there. Go down that list, check off as many as you can. I can attest to all but  one of them– namely discussions of legal matters with the child. It puts a knot in my stomach to see my daughter in this situation. She’s just a little girl– and her mother in putting her in such a difficult spot! The bright side of this situation is yet another affirmation of allies behind enemy lines, so to speak. It’s knowing that the people in Maya’s life understand that “crazy” is a BIG PROBLEM in keeping Maya from having a relationship with me. So many of them were saying “I am SO GLAD you’re here!!” As if they had NO IDEA that I would be. But hey– when your Minister of Information is insane, you’d be surprised by new information as well! That’s one thing to take away from all of this– NOT EVERYONE is convinced by the alienator. Let me repeat that– NOT EVERYONE IS CONVINCED BY THE ALIENATOR. Sure, they have an EASY time lying to a child…but it’s not as easy to convince adults!

And, of course, I recorded all the interactions. Basically, I used my iPhone’s voice recorder app, and put the phone in my shirt pocket with the mic side sticking up. Great thing about that app is that it runs while the phone is in standby mode, so you don’t have to worry about the app switching off or another app opening…you can have the screen be blank without drawing any suspicions. Again, I know this cloak-and-dagger crap seems a bit shitty and ridiculous…but it’s REALLY NOT. I had to get into a habit of making this happen, EVEN WHEN I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE IT. Having to sneak recordings seems a bit immoral…but you know what’s even worse? PARENTAL ALIENATION. You DON’T LET that woman (or man) LIE to your kids and everyone else, misrepresenting and slandering you, because THEY’VE got the problems/issues/disorder! Who the hell gave them the right to keep YOUR CHILDREN away from them!? NO ONE did– THEY took that right! That makes them criminals. PERIOD.

Judge Ross found Lauren Lippe in civil contempt of court and ordered her to spend every other weekend in the Nassau County Correctional Facility during June, July and August.

See? There IS hope! There ARE people in the legal system that FROWN UPON alienators! Know that, YOUR JOB is to PROVE THIS. The mindset of the alienator dictates that they will try to fight against these allegations– as is their right to do so. And they may even try to exploit gender stereotypes to make a convincing counter-argument. That’s why you need FACTS. You need to HYPERACTIVE in collecting those facts. And listen, there will come a time when your alienator discovers that you are recording them OR keeping records of interactions. GOOD. “Crazy” knows that I record phone calls– hell, I told her that 5 years ago! That knowledge has caused SOME alterations in her behavior…but like I’ve said in previous blog entries…crazy is SLOPPY. People who act this way mess up. It’s INEVITABLE. YOUR JOB is to be there when it happens, AND DOCUMENT IT. Pretend you’re filming your own reality show– CAPTURE EVERYTHING. Have friends or family accompany you, and have THEM record things!  Record interactions with your children– video mostly, if you can. You see, “crazy” can tell ANYONE IN THE WORLD that I have “anger issues”….but she forgets that a lot of the people in her life ALSO know me…! And they KNOW that I don’t have anger issues, and THEY KNOW that I love my daughter, AND THEY KNOW THAT MY DAUGHTER LOVES ME!!!!

So, the bubble is getting smaller. And “crazy” is getting sloppier. She showed her true colors at that communion. She thought that simply avoiding/snubbing my mother and I would be the best thing to do. And all that did was draw attention to her poor behavior. The people in her life noticed. Maya noticed. And therefore, “crazy” has been PUT ON NOTICE.

Before we left, “crazy’s” mother told my  mother and I that “…maybe she’ll [‘crazy’] change.” She knew DAMN WELL when she said that that “crazy” will NEVER change. That’s exactly what I said, followed by “…regardless, I’m taking care of it. Once-and-for-all.” She replied, “I hope so, for Maya’s sake.” I’m sorry, but when YOUR OWN MOTHER can’t support you…you’ve got PROBLEMS.

TO BE CONTINUED….

PS.

This is the article I referenced in this blog post: http://www.momlogic.com/2010/06/new_york_dad_and_parental_alienation.php