Single Dad, Shitty Mom

Or: How I Learned that Parental Alienation is REAL


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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.

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The Here and Now #5: Reunited All Over Again…with Unexpected Allies

 

It finally happened– after 6 months of unnecessary idiocy, emotional immaturity, and counterproductive behavior, I FINALLY got to see my daughter Maya yesterday morning!

This is the second time in 2013 that I have had ANY interaction with my daughter– the first time being on my birthday (March 21st). We didn’t have too much time together– I had enough time to take her out for breakfast and help her plant some vegetables at her grandparent’s house…but we had a WONDERFUL time! It was a GREAT time– as it ALWAYS IS/WAS/HAS BEEN/WILL ALWAYS BE! For those who are seeing this post out of context, I’ll explain briefly:

Six months ago, Maya’s mother (known on this blog by her nickname “crazy“) created a situation that so disrupted my visitation time that I had NO TIME at all. For reasons YET to be determined, Maya– after visiting me for weekend visits for the last 5 years– started acting out whenever I picked her up. This went on for 3 months, with “crazy” only instigating Maya’s issues as opposed to working to fix them– primarily because Maya’s issues were not her own…they were her MOTHERS’. “Crazy” decided that she not only  wouldn’t help with fixing the situation, she’s decided to abdicate her custodial parental duties in favor of fostering her toxic and dysfunctional behavior.

“Crazy” told EVERYONE that would listen that Maya was “afraid” of me, that I had “anger issues”, and was threatening and harassing her and Maya– NONE of which, of course, is true…but that is her narrative. This is what alienators do– we ALL know this. They make things up. They’ll take 15-20% of the facts, then spin that into a full story/history! Ever have a cup of coffee filtered with only 3 coffee beans? That is how WEAK her narrative is– which is evident in my interactions with my daughter.

This visit would have probably never happened if it weren’t for a few circumstances in place. First off, I had my lawyer request the visit via HER lawyer. Now, I hate to say this, but it’s true…going through lawyers instead of dealing with “crazy” directly has resulted in the MOST PRODUCTIVE INTERACTIONS I’VE EVER HAD WITH “CRAZY”– in the 10 years I’ve known her! I say things to my lawyer, he passes the info on to “crazy’s” lawyer, “crazy” argues with her lawyer, her lawyer talks sense into her, her lawyer contacts my lawyer, my lawyer contacts me– BOOM. No arguing with stupidity and unchecked emotional and psychological issues— DIRECT RESULTS!

Basically, “crazy” wanted me to sign and notarize a consent form, allowing her to get a passport for Maya. She sent this to me a few weeks ago– STILL not allowing me to see my daughter (the nerve, right?!). So I suggested that I would drop off the form, then take Maya out to breakfast. “Crazy” agreed.

She happened to be out of town, or on a date, or something– so I would meet up with Maya at her grandparents– “crazy’s” parents– house. Now, for those of you in a similar situation, this is where things get tricky. These are the parents of the woman/man who has made it their mission in life to make YOUR LIFE miserable. It’s their family– how the HELL is THIS going to pan out? What do THEY think of you? What will they SAY to you? How will they react to the fact that you haven’t seen your kid– and moreover, the fact that your ex more-than-likely LIED to them about the reasons why you haven’t seen your kids…!

A female friend of mine told me once that women like “crazy” are not as crafty and convincing as they THINK they are. People like “crazy” work HARD at maintaining the bubble that houses their narrative! The problem for people like “crazy” is that this bubble is TRANSPARENT. My friend told me that EVERYONE in “crazy’s” life– friends and family alike– KNOW HER well enough to know when she is full of shit. She maybe telling them a bunch of things…but her friends and family don’t believe her, and CONSTANTLY question her behavior and motives.

Long story-short (too late..!), I got to the house a few minutes early– they were to return from church shortly. When the car pulled up, and the back car door opened, and Maya jumped out…she saw my car, then saw me get out, and yelled “DADDY!!!” She ran to me and jumped into my arms. Then “crazy’s” parents greeted me…and they were very pleasant. They were, in fact, THRILLED that I was there to take Maya out! They took pictures, and were VERY supportive– which was QUITE a relief for me, I can assure you!

It goes without saying that my 90 minute with my daughter were as well spent as they could have been. The bulk of the visit was spent alone in a booth at a diner- just the two of us- enjoying a big breakfast.  We talked about school, her toys, her new hobbies, her friends, and stuff…we also talked about what had transpired the last time we had seen each other. She did not want to talk about it at first, but I insisted that I just wanted to say a few things, and that we could totally drop it and move on to other things. As I explained the situation, I made it a point to tell her that this was NOT HER FAULT. I told Maya as straight as I could, and without totally disparaging “crazy”, that her mother is doing things that are getting in the way of our relationship. I told Maya that I didn’t know why her mother was doing these things, but that I was doing everything I could to fix things. That was when Maya started to pull her self out of the booth. For a moment, I thought that she was going to run away or something– I didn’t know what she was going to do. She came over to my side of the booth, jumped into my lap, and started sobbing. It’s enough to break your heart– and it broke mine…but I was SO RELIEVED, because SHE GOT IT. She understood what was going on, and she HATED it! I was heart broken because my little girl only wants to love and be loved…she doesn’t want to have to “pick” and “decide” between one parent or another– which is EXACTLY what “crazy” is damn-near FORCING her to do! And that made me angrier than I had been previously.

One of the MANY things that I despise about “crazy” as a person is what she is willing to do to HER OWN CHILD’S emotional well-being…ONLY to satiate her OWN ego and issues…it’s fucking sick. It’s disgusting. It’s needless and UNNECESSARY. How many of us have to watch our children struggle because our ex’s are addicted to being assholes? It’s not right. IT’S NOT FAIR.

Keeping in line with everything I’ve discussed here, I recorded the breakfast chat between my and my daughter. I HATED doing it– hated having to take out my phone, start up the voice recorder app, then set the phone face-down on the table, so as to not draw attention to it. I KNOW I don’t need to prove how great my relationship is with my daughter…but lawyers, social workers, and judges DO need that proof. However, I wish that I had kept the recorder running the entire time I was there, not to capture what my daughter was saying…but what her GRAND PARENTS were saying.

The “unexpected allies” I mention in the title of this post are the grand parents– not your parents, but your ex’s parents. In my case, I have had a rather complicated relationship with “crazy’s” parents. Through it all, however, we had always come to a general understanding: “crazy” is the problem. Talk about getting it– “crazy’s” parents KNOW her better than I do. They can see right through “crazy’s”…well, craziness. It’s her parents that had originally told me that 80% of what comes out of “crazy’s” mouth is a lie. They KNOW that their daughter is problematic– they’ve even acknowledged their responsibility in their not doing enough to deal with these issues when “crazy” was younger. Now she is nearly 40, and trapped in the dysfunctional and emotionally crippled mindset of a 16 year old.

Before I left their house, “crazy’s” mother confided in me her concerns. Now, I won’t go into too much detail, but here is the bottom line in what she explained to me: She and her husband are concerned, first and foremost, with Maya’s well-being; Maya needs both her daddy AND her mommy. It is clear that “crazy” is interfering with that– for whatever reasons she has…which are reasons that are NOT in Maya’s best interests. “Crazy’s” behavior, being antithetical to Maya’s best interests, have put them in a position where they cannot defend “crazy”. And if they cannot defend her…they will not vouch for her when “shit” goes down. In other words…when it comes to their grand daughter, IF they had to choose, they may have to “sell out” their OWN daughter due to the situation she has created. THAT is a conversation that I WISHED I had recorded…but I did not, because I wasn’t prepared. Learn from my mistakes– BE PREPARED!

So there you have it! Six months of bullshit later, and I get to spend 90 minutes alone with my little girl. And “crazy” is angry and bitter because Maya and I had such a great time together. And that’s a good thing, believe it or not! The more she reacts negatively, the MORE she will have to EXPLAIN THAT TO A JUDGE! Remember– all you have is the truth…and that’s ALL you need. The behavior of the alienator speaks for itself! But it doesn’t hurt to have evidence, AND allies. Remember, these people are more wrapped up in spinning and managing their lies and false narratives– so you HAVE TO put yourself in a position to be 10 steps ahead of her. Don’t focus on temporary victories– your goals should be long-term. Ignore the alienator, focus on your kids.

TO BE CONTINUED….


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Knowledge is POWER #2: THINK Like a Lawyer

In the overly-litigious society that we live in today, the word “lawyer” is met with its share of scorn and frustration. I think most of these feelings are perpetuated by those who are beaten by “good” lawyers. For those who have ended up on the losing side of courtroom argument, nothing can be as harsh and as ego-bruising as a room full of people who are basically either calling you a liar, or telling you that your accusations or claims are false, unworthy of merit,  and not worth further consideration. These are arguments lost, and won, by how well a lawyer represents your side of the story.

Now, even a BAD lawyer can win a case if the opposing side has little or no evidence to back up their claims. But a good lawyer could lose a case for the same reasons; if their client has no ground to support their accusations, OR if they have no evidence to support their innocence. This could make ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD to those of us who have to spend 5-10-20  years in court, essentially fighting the same battles OVER, AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Personally, I’ve been in court battles since 2008– having to bring in a judge because the opposing party in my case (known on this blog as “crazy”), has decided to TRY to make my life difficult by using my daughter as a pawn in her toxic, emotionally-crippled game. It’s selfish, obnoxious, hurtful, counter-productive…a PURE WASTE of time, energy, and money. The main thing that makes these constant trips to the courtroom so wasteful is that I have collected a pile of evidence and proof that is so anti-thetical to her false narrative that even her own lawyers and the judges presiding the cases grow weary and tired of her.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer. I used to LOVE “The People’s Court”, then hosted by Judge Joe Wapner (back in the good ‘ol 1980s), then later on “Divorce Court” with Judge William Keene, and later than that was “Judge Judy”. I would watch people on these shows make one accusation after another…but when the judges started questioning them…POP-POP-POP! went the holes in their stories. It doesn’t take much to call out a liar. ALL IT TAKES is a steady and consistent line of questioning.

“Crazy” has stories a-plenty, let me tell you! The problem is that when you start asking follow-up questions…she stutters, babbles, folds and falls flat on her face. It’s because it takes A LOT OF ENERGY to lie! Not only do you have to remember the lies you told, but then you have to come up with OTHER LIES to supplement the previous lies– it’s a lot of keep track of. The liar could then be asked a question that they did not consider previously, and will have to then “improv” their lies on the spot. The new lies are NEVER as stable as the other lies that they told before.

It’s EASY for the alienators to concoct their bullshit in the comfort of their own bubble, where they can control the flow of information. Their own bubble is usually their parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc. These are people that either believe the alienator, OR they KNOW the alienator is not being honest, but couldn’t be bothered to challenge them. I know a few of “crazy’s” friends that don’t really come around anymore. Know why? Because they challenged her behavior– the did NOT believe the false narrative. So now, they are useless to the alienator, and they are closed off out of the bubble.

It’s not enough to KNOW these things are going on. I know I’ve said this a few times in this blog, and I will say it OVER AND OVER again, so get used to it, because you NEED to be…DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Everything? YES, EVERYTHING!!! Every phone call, every text message, every voice mail message, police reports, every visit, EVERYTHING needs to be documented, recorded, and ARCHIVED. I’ve been doing this since 2008– FIVE YEARS. And YOU NEED TO DO IT. And please, NO OFFENSE to you ladies out there reading this blog– there are women who will walk into a lawyer’s office with some sobbing victim story, that they will take to the court room with them, with a lawyer’s help in the spin and courtroom performance. Unfortunately, it is OFTEN IMPLIED that YOU, the male, are IN THE WRONG. You have to realize how POWERFUL and VALIDATING it is to be able to present evidence in court– not hearsay, but CONCRETE EVIDENCE– that proves that she is lying. NOTHING can be as EMPOWERING in these situations to have that stern, cold eye of justice pointed in the OTHER direction!

You have to be prepared, even before you go to a lawyer, and ESPECIALLY if you decided to go into court without one. Whether or not your child was born out of wedlock, resulting from a one-night stand, caught in the middle of a divorce– DOESN’T MATTER. The MOMENT you start suspecting issues, START DOCUMENTING. If this has been going on for years, DOESN’T MATTER– START DOCUMENTING. Go through old emails and texts, DON’T COPY-AND-PASTE, take SCREENSHOTS! Start recording ALL telephone conversations– I don’t care if you’re using an iPad or a cassette recorder– RECORD THEM ALL– good, bad, boring, 15 second, 1/2 an hour, DOESN’T MATTER. You have to CATCH these people in the act– the more often, the better! YOUR JOB is to keep track of, and make records, that illustrate a pattern of behavior that proves your point. Keep a journal documenting ALL encounters with your children AND the custodial parent, so that time won’t interfere with the accuracy of the recounts of events.

The most important thing of all: DON’T LIE. BE HONEST ABOUT EVERYTHING. Warts and all, you have to tell the truth. It’s a LOT EASIER to tell the truth than to keep up with the lies.  You may get to a point when you are cross-examined by his/her lawyer. If you’re telling the truth, that’s all you have to do– TELL IT. Even when they try to trip you up with tricky courtroom games– which is what a lawyer will do when they have NO CASE– as long as you are consistent, direct, BREIF, and honest…that makes your side of the story a difficult one to contend with.

You have to play and replay this situation in your head. You have to teach yourself how to play “devil’s advocate” with yourself– take HER SIDE of the story and think HONESTLY…does she have a point? Is she in the right to keep your kids away from you? BE HONEST. If you can’t, within all reason and personal accountability, if you CAN NOT think of ANY WAY that she has a valid point…you’re in good shape. However, if you DO find that you’re in the wrong for WHATEVER reason…you need to make amends. That may mean that you contact this person, tell them you want to talk, and TALK. Maybe you can find some common ground that won’t require legal action. Maybe you’ve hit a rough patch and you both are able to realize that the kids are more important than this foolishness. But if you’re like me, and you are dealing with someone who is not capable of reason, full of spite, anger and bitterness, and who’s undiagnosed mental illness has not only gotten worse, but has taken control and is attempting to jeopardize your relationship with your child…At that point, there is no amount of discussion or conversation that will change the situation.

Believe it or not, the tide of opinions regarding the implied “truth” of women is changing. In other words, in many cases, it’s not been enough for a woman to play victim and get rewarded for it. What we men have to do is SPEAK UP with FACTS and EVIDENCE. And look, I get it– it’s a PAIN IN THE ASS to have to get the equipment ready, to comb through old emails, all that stuff– I get it…but TOUGH SHIT. These are your kids we’re talking about here. If you say “I’d do ANYTHING for my kids!”…this is when you prove it. DON’T let YEARS go by with no contact because that shrew you’re dealing with won’t GIVE YOU your parental rights. You MAY go weeks, or even months…but DON’T let it go YEARS. Send your kids letters/email/texts, send them a present here and there– AND KEEP TRACK OF ALL OF IT! Receipts, scans, photocopies, snapshots…

You have to THINK like a lawyer in order to gain the perspective you need to make this situation right. You have to look at yourself, flaws and faults and all, and REALLY THINK about whether or not you are a victim of a person who is purposefully alienating your child from you by NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN. You have to be able to SHOW and PROVE that this is happening. You can’t put a criminal in jail without proof…same goes for an alienator: you won’t have justice if you can’t show their lies.

TO BE CONTINUED


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Single Mom, Shitty Dad #1: We’re All In this Together

The name that I’ve attached to this blog is direct and to-the-point. It’s as sincere and “kind” as I can be, considering the horrid state this on-going, nearly decade-long situation. The title of this blog represents an expurgated culmination of my experience with raising a lovely young girl with a not-so-lovely person. And yes, it is a very provocative title, meant to incite some serious discussion about the seldom-addressed issue of Parental Alienation. Since I’m a male, my narrative tends to be slanted towards dads. However, this is CLEARLY a situation that happens with moms as well. As a matter of fact, the only other two people in my life that are dealing with PAS issues are both women– moms having to deal with an oppressive, manipulative, childish, emotionally corrupt ex; the fathers of their children. I also know a couple of women that are dealing with men who not only participate in this abusive behaviour, they also pay no child support.

It’s horrible– the things that some women suffer through with these men. I hear horrible stories like this all the time. And I can relate to ALL OF THEM. Even though the genders in my situation are opposite, we are both dealing with the same type of behavior. We are the “target parents.” We are the dumping grounds for all of their insecurities, their pain, their self-pity and misery– so  much so, that they use our children…our one “weakness”…to get back at us. I am minimizing things, of course– but that’s the point, isn’t it? Overall, it’s childish, toxic, and destructive behavior which is causing them to act out against their child’s best interests. It’s sickening. It’s maddening.

I KNOW there are shitty men out there. Hell, I know I’m being accused of BEING one of these shitty men! The main difference is that a sociopath always thinks their right. But ask them the right questions, and watch the shit-show. Sure, ANYONE can make claims, hurl accusations, tell half-truths…and hey, some of these people can even put on a good show– Oscar-winning performances! You know what beats all of that? A cold, analytical mindset. A stern adherence to the facts, and an steady line of questioning can EASILY dismantle all bullshit. EVERY TIME I have had my ex in court, it’s turned out the same way: I tell the truth, she fumbles and face-plants over her misinformation and lies. EVER TIME. It’s what we all should do. It’s what a good lawyer does– a GOOD lawyer will listen to you, then play “devil’s advocate” to try to break through any hyperbole or plain BS. And that is something that WE ALL need to be good at.

The reason that I wanted to write this post is because I got a very nice comment note from reader PA Spirituality, a fellow target-parent, and mom. She thanked me for including a “Single Mom, Shitty Dad” thread on this blog.  Even though this thread does exist, I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to write for this section. One of the things that I eventually want to to do here is include an audio podcast featuring advise and interviews with parents willing to discuss their experiences. As I mentioned before, I know quite a few women dealing with these situations, so I knew I would interview them. But when it came down to writing something…I was coming up blank. Not because I can’t relate, because CLEARLY I can! I guess it may just be something as simple as the fact that I am not a mom, I’m a dad. And while yes, we are BOTH parents…I believe that the individual experiences we have with our kids are entirely different. The most important experience had is that of giving birth to a child. That is a special connection that mother’s have that fathers will never. This is all stating the obvious, but I guess what I am saying is that I don’t know how to speak in a relatable way to THAT experience. I honestly don’t know what sort of advice or substantive support I could offer to a mom going through this situation.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of a way that I could honor this section of the blog. I think the best way to present a mother’s point-of-view is to TALK to some mothers, maybe get a few of them to share their thoughts and feelings. Instead of me trying to figure out HOW to relate, I could just go right to the source! So that means that MAYBE the format of this thread will change. Maybe it’s written by a mom, or maybe I’ll transcribe an interview– SOMETHING along those lines. I feel that in order to serve this topic properly, I can merely curate, and not dictate.

I would like to open this request up to you, the readers! If you’re a mom and a target parent, or know someone going through this ordeal, and you’d like to tell story, PLEASE do so by contacting me via the form below. Of course your submissions will be anonymous.

Here’s hoping this works out!

TO BE CONTINUED…


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Knowledge is POWER #1: Syndrome or Not, Parental Alienation is Real

In my initial researching of the Parental Alienation issue, I’ve discovered that as recently as September 2012, a decision had been made by the American Psychiatric Association that “Parental Alienation Syndrome” is not to be classified as as mental disorder. It turns out that there had been an enormous amount of lobbying to make this happen, but to no avail. Now, I have ZERO background in psychology, but I can’t say that I would consider Parental Alienation to be a “mental disorder”.

To me, a mental disorder would be something that you were either born with, or obtained in an accident of some kind, that is either damn near insurmountable, or controlled with tons of therapy and medication. Parental alienation is nothing more, to me, than casual and gradual brainwashing. To me, parental alienation is something that can not only be prevented, but can be tackled and defeated. Sure, therapy would be required, but I believe it would be temporary.

As far as I’m concerned, the APA refuting DSM status for PAS is no BFD. It doesn’t at all take away from the fact that this situation is still occurring. What is bothering me are the proponents of PAS, not only against APA recognition, but as a way of attacking fathers who are dealing with this. The absolute WORST opinion in the matter comes from NOW.

NOW makes horrible allegations, like PAS is a way for dads to get out of paying child support, or that it’s a way for fathers to escape child sexual abuse allegations. It is the grand assumption that all men are ANIMALS, and it’s the women and the children that need to be protected from these horrid manipulative BASTARDS! Let me tell you something…men who harm or disrespect women and their children are dirtbags. PERIOD. These men are cretins who are emotionally unbalanced, violent cowards. YES. THEY. ARE. To assume that ALL MEN are THOSE MEN is a foolish mistake, and just flat out wrong.

There are MILLIONS of men out there that are NOT trying to get out of paying child support. MILLIONS of us who NEVER lay a HURTFUL HAND on a woman OR a child– never even crosses our minds! HOWEVER…there are those of us who were in bad relationships, who wanted out because it just didn’t work anymore, or never did at all. Those relationships bore children, whom we love and cherish, and DESPERATELY want in our lives!  We TRIED to be respectful, tried to be patient, through all the yelling and the screaming, the threatening of visitation, the jealousy, the spite, the bile, the bitterness, no matter HOW HARD YOU TRIED…she still got worse, and worse, and worse, until one day…out of nowhere…the kid starts acting strange. He/she cries when you see them. They don’t want to go with you. There mother shrugs, saying “I don’t know what’s wrong…!”

…and it only gets worse from there.

Another stupid debate against PAS is that it will now be a niché market for lawyers and “special advisors” to make money. That to me is just a stupid thing to say. So people make money– does it mean that it’s not a legitimate issue? Does some lawyer making more money mean that the other parent is NOT REALLY taking our time away from our kids? One of the lawyers I spoke to in the last few months told me that “a lot of mothers are losing their kids.” He cited alienation as one of the reasons. Look– I doubt that there are many judges out there that rule based on trends and fads. Maybe I am naive to think that way…but in my experience, judges don’t have time for bullshit. They are going to come down on a person that they feel is not being totally honest. They are going to come down on an attorney that brings a bullshit story with no clarification into their court room.  Women lose their kids when they are BAD MOTHERS– NOT because lawyers and advisors are making more money!

You’re a custodial parent. It is your responsibility to nurture a caring, loving relationship with your child AND THE OTHER PARENT. That is YOUR JOB– the ONE THING that is required of you by the courts. If you cannot, or more to the point WILL NOT, do that…YOU ARE IN TROUBLE. You’re going to have to prove in court, in front of a judge and 2-3 lawyers in the room (opposing lawyer, child’s lawyer, etc) that you had RATIONALE to keep your child away from your ex. When you cannot for any reason that is not acceptable by the court…that’s a problem for you. That will, more-than-likely, result in proving parental alienation. That’s not a lawyer trying to make money, or a dad beating his kids.

If anything, Parental Alienation Syndrome is a disorder of the parent, not the child. What is the mindset of a person that is so filled with hatred that they use their own child to push their agenda? It’s horrible and confusing, especially when you KNOW you aren’t doing anything wrong. They build this fantasy world around them so they can easily manipulate the child and ANYONE ELSE dealing with the child; friends, family, police, lawyers, etc. The key in dealing this problem is IDENTIFYING IT. When you know your enemy, they’re easier to defeat.

It’s not enough to say “she’s CRAZY!”

To learn more about Parental Alienation, get to clickin’ and GET EDUCATED!

StopFamilyViolence.org

Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect it and What to Do About It

Parental Alienation Syndrome by Reena Sommer, PhD.

TO BE CONTINUED


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The Here And Now #3: First Court Date of 2013

Court days can be a very anxious, stressful, emotionally and physically draining time. There is always a grand build up to the actual day. There is strong tension, with frustration and aggravation that is built up over weeks, months, and/or YEARS. Sometimes you just never know what “justice” will throw your way. In my case, “justice” was predicted, and expected.

Yesterday I was in court for two petitions filed by “crazy”; one for Child Support Violation, and the other was an Order of Protection. Let me explain:

She filed a Child Support Violation because when I got a new job last September (after being laid off for 3 months, and STILL paying child support through my unemployment), there was a lapse in the support schedule. As most know, when you get a new job, there is an adjustment period so that HR and/or the payroll company of your employer can align with the State to coordinate payment (I have child support taken out of my paycheck automatically– it’s easier that way). The lapse usually lasts a couple of weeks to a month. During this lapse, she had bounced a check (one of many, I discovered) to the private school (that she cannot afford, nor I agreed to send her to…because WE CANNOT AFFORD IT!).  She wanted me to front her money so that the check wouldn’t bounce. I could not, because a week prior I had to get a back tooth pulled– my insurance with my new company didn’t kick in, so I had to pay out of pocket (over $800). So, the check bounced…and a week later, I got a petition in the mail. Not only did she complain about the lapse, she also decided that I owed her money for a bunch of things that she bought and paid for that not only did I not agree to, or were discussed with me…they were also things that were not covered in the previous Support agreement.

The Order of Protection is the most ridiculous accusation of all. This is a LONG story that I will discuss in a later post (and it WILL BE A LONG ONE), but basically this involved the event that has inspired me to start this blog in the first place. To make this long story short, during the summer Maya started exhibiting very unusual behavior. I would go to pick her up, like I have been doing for over 5 years, but this time, all of a sudden, she started crying and freaking out about going back to my home. This literally went on for 6 of my visits (2 weekend visits a month = 3 months), with “crazy” doing or saying NOTHING to help figure out what was going on (obviously). Out of those 6 visits, Maya came home with me twice (the 2nd and 5th incident). Each time, “crazy” made excuses and wouldn’t offer any help. The 6th incident, I finally lost my patience, and my temper. I yelled at “crazy”, and I raised my voice at Maya; I told both of them to “go to hell.” I was hurt by Maya’s disregard for discussions that we had after the 5th incident– LONG discussion with me and Christina, about this behavior. It marked the 2nd time in Maya’s 7 years that I raised me voice at her…and the first time I swore at her. Again, I will present more details in a later post, but this situation concluded with “crazy” calling 911, then filing an Order of Protection against me, siting that I can no longer “harass, yell, hit, punch, strangle….” (yes, they say “strangle”) Maya or “crazy”.

Insanity.

There are many problems with this claims and accusations, aside from the fact that they are not true. It’s the fact that “crazy” and her lawyer have to PROVE that all of these things are true. Yesterday, that had an opportunity to do so. It did not go well for them.

First off, the Order of Protection hearing was pushed back to May, because I was NEVER properly served a summons. The first time I received a summons, “crazy” sent it to me as a snapshot in a text message, two days before the original hearing date (back in November). I obviously did not have to go to that, and she was chastised in court at that time that for doing that. The whole thing about the summons is that it has to be served IN PERSON– has to be put into that person’s hands. The second time she tried to serve me, it was allegedly given to someone in the mail room of my employer; I got a call from someone who claimed that I had been served this way. When I checked with the mail room, they hadn’t received anything from anyone for me. If they did, I would have had to sign in for it– they have a system here similar to how you would receive a package from UPS or FedEx– with a digital scanner. To this day, I have not been properly served.

As for the Child Support claim, her demands were immediately shot down by the judge, including the private school. The original agreement stipulated that I was responsible for paying 65% of the child’s care costs (medical, babysitters). Private school, as the judge and my lawyer both pointed out, is NOT “child care”. I was also not responsible for paying for a 2-week summer camp that she sent Maya too– this was as opposed to having Maya spend 2-weeks with her father. As for after school care, Maya had been staying with her grandmother for over 4 years (they live in neighboring towns). “Crazy” had just started using a day care service in September, which I didn’t know about until December due to the massive breakdown in communication since all of this lunacy started. When the judge asked “crazy” to explain the child care situation…she fell apart. She didn’t cry or anything…she just couldn’t explain herself AT ALL. She had SO MUCH MOUTH outside the judge’s chamber…but when she was asked direct questions…she had nothing. The judge was extremely frustrated. “Crazy’s” lawyer had his head buried in one of his hands, saying things like “Just say yes.” “JUST SAY YES!” “Just say NO.” “Answer him!” “Don’t ask me, ANSWER HIM!” The judge had to ask her lawyer at least TWICE to answer his questions. It did NOT go well for her.

I think my lawyer had MAYBE suspected that I was being a bit hyperbolic about my descriptions of “crazy”. I think most people might think that I am exaggerating just a little bit. But anyone in a similar situation knows. We ALL KNOW that we can ONLY be honest. You can’t make up this kind of behavior AT ALL. And when he saw it first hand…he was a bit stunned. The first time he saw “crazy” in court was after she checked in. He and I were standing and having a conversation. If you were going to pass by us, you’d either go around my lawyer, or go around me. As we talked, we both watched her out of the corner of our eyes. She walked in our direction, deliberately walked passed me, body-checked me, and kept walking. My lawyer watched this, turned to me and said “did she just do what I think she did?” I nodded. However, I was told that I needed to control myself a bit. I was so outraged by her lies, that I dropped an F-Bomb or two or three– not in court, but in conference. I wasn’t angry, just shocked…but it didn’t matter. “Don’t give her an excuse!” my lawyer said. And, he’s right.

Afterwards, my lawyer sat down with my mother and I (my mom came to support me), to put everything into perspective. And he said it best: “She [‘crazy’] is her own worst enemy.” He’s right. You see, these people canNOT help themselves. They act out in such ways that they can’t help but be sloppy. They have nothing but misrepresentation, lies, anger, and spite. Those things do not mix well. She walked into that court yesterday believing that she would be victorious. She told her lawyer JUST ENOUGH to make HIM believe that they would be victorious. But when you have the truth on your side…bullshit does not stand.

Don’t be afraid of these people! All of their actions and their words WILL BETRAY THEM. You have to be vigilant. You have to be smart. You have to document EVERYTHING. Keep a record of EVERYTHING! She/he may be an asshole, but you HAVE TO KEEP YOUR COOL. I know it’s difficult and damn-near impossible to maintain your composure with someone that is using your child to attack and malign  you. Face it– that’s ALL they have! That is the ONLY THING that they have over you.  Yes, it’s a pretty BIG thing…but in the end, it will backfire, and you will get your life back. But you HAVE TO FIGHT! You can’t be intimidated by their behavior. And if you don’t nip it in the bud in the most SUBSTANTIAL way possible…they will continue to treat you and your child this way.

Don’t let them.

TO BE CONTINUED.