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17 Years Of Struggle

My daughter (now 17, almost 18) has been living 50/50 with her father and I since she was 10 months old. Initially he fought for full custody, and we had a 2 year battle. Over the last 17 years we have been in and out of court - the last time he tried to enroll her in high school in another state.

My daughter's alliance and loyalty to her father grew stronger over the years, as her disrespect and disregard for me continued to grow. After the high school disagreement was settled, things settled down and it seemed that my daughter was once again letting me in her life. She confided with me more and more about her friends, boyfriend, school, etc. She even said "I love you, mom" a few times. For the last three years, it seemed that things had improved a little.

Last week I came home from work and found a note on the table with her keys, debit card, and everything had been cleared out of her bedroom. The note said that since she was nearly 18 she wanted to live full time with her dad. She said she could no longer keep a relationship with me since I am "controlling" and "possessive" (which I am far from). Her father would say that I'm selfish to want to spend time with her or see her at all - that it takes focus away from her school, sports and friends. (Even though I have spent most of my time with her driving her to and from her events, and anything he wants to do with her is "important").

So it seems I have just experienced a "parentectomy". I can't say that I'm surprised after 17 years of abuse, but all the same I am devastated. My daughter is just beginning her senior year of high school, and I wanted to share that year with her.

Since she has been subjected to constant brainwashing since she was 10 months old, I am not very hopeful about the future. I am in need of support and guidance at this point... Thanks for listening.
Pujapuppy Pujapuppy 46-50, F 5 Responses Aug 5, 2012

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I am with you. I was naive for years defending my motherhood which was relentlessly criticized by their dad. My son was hospitalized, it was my fault even though I was not in his life for years. I was warned by a caring relative who reached out to say your ex is going to take your kids and destroy you financially. I said he'd never do that. I should have listened. This is business to him to get his money and win everyone. I finally realized his has no empathy and never has. He behaved as he thought I wanted him to. He "faked" being kind. I woke up to his apathetic selfish behavior and to his manipulation and he uses my kids without them realizing it. I took the high road and did not put my kid's dad down. It's been close to 7 years since they were taken from home. I promised my daughter I'd never make her choose. I found out today he's dragging our daughter to testify against me. He laughs at me. He's destroying our children and covertly is ruining their self esteem by painting me with his tainted brush then his poisoned pencil to erase me. I see the sneaky behavior in my children that I am constantly accused. It's funny to my kid's they sneak things out of my house. Their dad laughs with them. My daughter plays alone now and my son believes he's his "hero" dad when he hurts me. I am a "Mother Dearest and will never compete. I see the pain in my son; he knows, but is emeshed with his dad. My kids do not remember any good times with me. I tought them the "Golden Rule." It's also forgotten. My ex orders my kids to not help me when I broke my upper right arm and I was helpless for the first time. I could not tie a shoe or open my medicine. That was the last time I saw them. To not help anyone who is hurt and he's teaching selfishness . Dad tells them not to bother. I am not safe. I have no family. He still smiles when I see him. My children are crying inside. He still smiles because he has won.

I have just been caught in the middle of this storm. I have a 16 year old daughter and 13 year old son. Both of my children have recently been brainwashed by their father to believe the same.....that I am a worthless mother. I have sacrificed most of my adult life to provide for my kids and it has taken only the very sick power of a highly manipulative and controlling man to push my kids out of my life. My ex hasnt had a date in the 11 years since I walked out of his life. He uses my daughter (I pray, not in a sexual way) as a wife and she is being trained to mother my son. It is a very sick, disgusting cycle of dysfunction all the way around. My kids are in an abusive situation, but the attorneys refuse to see the truth or attempt to help these children. I sit back watching their lives get destroyed by a man who is supposed to be a father, but who, in turn, is really their abuser. I wonder, from other mothers out there, do the kids ever wake up and smell the coffee? Or are they so brainwashed and fearful for their lives that they refuse to see the light, even as they age and choose to have a life of their own, if in fact he will allow it?

I can relate to your story very much. I went from being a full time divorced mom of 2 children who was class mother, bus moniter, ba<x>seball mom, teaching CCD mom, ballet mom, my house was always the place where kids hung out, ate, slept over and I loved every moment of it. Yelling, name calling, hitting, slamming doors or any other treatment that didn't support one another was not acceptable. I had grown up in an abusive household and I was not repeating that cycle. Now, the kids, ages 20 and 14 live with their dad and he is seen as the hero and I am painted to be the "Mommy Dearest" mom. He is way up there and I am way down there. I do see the children, but it's as if they are visiting an aunt. They never sleep at my house and my ex husband supports that. He keeps the idea of "it's not safe to be with mommy" freshly in their heads.<br />
This all started when I was diagnosed with Severe Depressive Disorder or Clinically Depressed 6 years ago. I couldn't get out of bed and I felt as if I was just barely existing. My son went to a guidance councellor at school and told her something that caused her to believe my kids were in danger. I didn't know what was happening to me. My ex husband dragged me into court while I was trying to get help and sued for full custody. I needed help, so I did everything possibe to get help for my severe depression. I even went as far as having shock treatments which did nothing to help me, but the trauma from the treatment stole my memory and that causes problems in my life on a daily sometimes hourly basis. My ex husband treats me badly and that sets an example for the kids.<br />
I apoligize, I started my story and now I am sobbing so hard, I cannot see. I'll be back to write more soon. Best to you.

I contacted Amy Baker (author of "Adult Children of Parental Alienation") and her coaching is helping me a great deal. I'm focusing on being a nurturing, supportive mother even if she is not contacting me at all. I have a better understanding of what she is going through (the pressure she is under from having to reject me to keep her father happy). I still haven't heard from her, but I plan to be steady in reaching out to her and keeping the doors of my house and heart open. If you haven't read Amy's books, I highly recommend it. She gives strategies for dealing with the alienation and offers telephone coaching as well. I wish that I understood the severity of my situation earlier, but it sounds like you still have time to form stronger bonds with your daughter. I think you have to work very hard to keep the relationship with your child when you are dealing with an alienating ex - you need to be ok with giving, supporting and listening with little affection in return. At some point all the giving will eventually be apparent to your child - even if they are well into adulthood when they realize it. I think we have to do our best to demonstrate unconditional love, especially since what they get from the other parent is manipulation, intimidation and control. Best wishes to you with your daughter!

I am so sorry... This sincerely has me crying tears. My daughter is seven years younger, I fear our sacred bond is being sabotaged. What can I do? Do we just walk away?