|Parent AlientationPage 1 of 1 |
|If you are talking about choosing not to see your kids because the ex makes their life a living hell, etc. idk what to tell you. I suspect someone that is going to immediately believe that they understand your situation without allowing you to explain it?|
My ex is a verbally and emotionally abusive person. The last person I had a relationship with told me he thought I was exaggerating about the way my ex was until the first time he heard him yelling at the kids through the phone when he brought them home.
OP, some people just aren't going to understand and part of it is not having a frame of reference for that degree of venom as well as someone that truly cares so little about their children that they are more worried about their own stuff than their kids.
You aren't going to be able to alter everyone's thinking on this, there are going to be some people that believe that you should continue to fight even when doing so hurts your kids more than it helps. This is the hand that life has dealt you, this is one of the downsides to that life.
Posted: 3/9/2010 6:13:42 AM
|Parental Alienation? Do you mean you have been 100% forced out of your kids lives? And have chosen to accept it? |
Or have you had a tough time dealing with being a non custodial parent? If it is the non custodial I would suggest you join a support group they are free and they are in most communities.
Posted: 3/9/2010 7:06:14 AM
|Parental alienation has two components. Making it as difficult as possible for a parent to see the children, excuses for canceling visitation and otherwise just not surrendering the kids. The more disturbing and damaging part for the kids is that mother tells the kids dad (or mom) doesn't care, and many other things to essentially make the kid hate the other parent because that is what they want the kid to do and it also makes denying visitation easier when the kids aren't pestering to see the NCP.|
It is easy to say don't ever stop but if the kids are being made emotional hamburger because you want a relationship with them at some point if you love them you do give up so that their lives are not just a continuous stream of upheaval. I don't know how many cases are that severe.
I have a friend, his ex told his kids he was dead. He paid his child support like clockwork but because of the things she said and did he concluded they would be better off if he didn't keep trying to be their father. His mother even went along with the lie because it was the only way she could continue to see them at least once or twice a year. It sounds nuts but I know what crazy people will do and say to the children because they have no concern for how damaging the information is; people that are quite capable of fooling judges and anyone else that might question what the person does.
OP most people will say that your situation until X down the road is no one's business and that talking about dirty laundry too early is not wise. To me it is really just a bait and switch. Say you are talking to someone with very strong family values, they are probably never really going to understand the choices you have made so why is it better to say goodbye later when some real feelings may have developed rather than sooner before either of you had invested more of yourselves?
It would be appropriate content for an e-mail, phone or in person because of a conversation you are having, but only you can decide when that is appropriate. I wouldn't recommend just random introduction of the topic but there should be a point in time fairly early one when you do discuss past relationships. Why you think you chose poorly, what you learned about yourself and other people during the relationship, the tenor of the break-up and co-parenting relationship when children are involved. These questions to me are a normal part of getting to know another person and I don't think dating makes this different. Generally, unless it is someone I have just gotten to know at work with no lunches or happy hour conversations, I will ask those types of questions of anyone I meet and generally fairly early on.
I would think at some point you would pretty much HAVE to talk about this with someone because as you said, you sometimes get in a funk around birthdays and other times you miss your kids. I would hope that most people whether they understand and/or believe they would have made different choices recognize that they do not know the answer to that until they are met with the same circumstances but more importantly that you made your choices based on love and what you thought was best for your children, not for you.
Posted: 3/9/2010 7:10:43 AM
|Riseup, first I would like to say that I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. So few people really understand what this is like. I am aware of some organizations that are fighting to make this a part of the DSM so that it can be used in court. It might help to get involved in one of the organizations and to share your story with others who have been through it. |
As far as your question about dating. I wouldn't put it out there in the first conversation or in an email/profile. I would, however, talk about in the first couple of meetings. There will be people who judge you and it's better to know that before getting too involved. Do know, however, that there are women who do understand this and will support your decision.
Posted: 3/9/2010 8:00:12 AM
|I'm still not sure if I follow you OP. Did the court force you to give up seeing your children or did you make the decision yourself?|
If the court forced you, then either get a better lawyer, or there is something you aren't telling us about what happened.
If you decided yourself not to see your children, then I don't care what the reason is, I'd still slap you across the head if I met you.
Posted: 3/9/2010 10:08:39 AM
|I would not date someone who chose not be remain an equal part of his children's lives. I have a child whose father chooses not to acknowledge her existance, I cannot have respect for a man who abandons his children and cannot date a man I don't respect. Your children need you, don't let them down!|
I had a girlfriend in another province suggest I meet a friend from their city. When I pointed out that the 8 hour drive would be difficult just to get to know each other let alone maintain a relationship, she indicated he would be willing to leave his children and move to a new location for a woman. My was completely shocked when I expressed my disgust. So far as I am concerned, that would equal child abandonment. It's one thing if you have to move to pay the bills and be able to financially look after your children, it's quite another to move away from them just for romance!
Posted: 3/9/2010 11:19:34 AM
|OP, my SO's ex wife took his children and literally moved as far away as physically possible, within the continental U.S. He felt helpless. It tore his heart out. To this day, he can't talk about his kids when they were little without getting tears in his eyes. They are now adults and he has reconnected to some degree - phone calls, attended his daughter's wedding, but the time he missed eats away at him. I don't hold it against him, it breaks my heart as well. There will be some who judge, but they've never had to make 'Sophie's Choice'.|
Posted: 3/18/2010 5:54:22 PM
|I think that you did what was right for your children at the given time. |
My father decided to do the same when I was 2 years old, because my mother was continually causing dramas in front of me, causing me to be very upset. Dad stepped away, and when I was sixteen, just dropped in to say hi and to give me his contactdetails, so that if I so chose to, I could contact him and get to know him.
I chose to contact him, and now dad and I have a wonderful relationship.
I do not blame him for stepping away, it was in the best interests of his child at the time.
Of course I had questions, Why did it get that bad? Why didn't he take me too? But dad took the time to sit and talk it out with me.
Your children will have questions too, if you so choose to do things in a similar way. Be available for your children when they call.
Posted: 3/18/2010 7:56:49 PM
|OP, you must understand that, for a parent, it is hard not to judge you, but I will try. I don;t know the specifics of your case, and truthfully, they wouldn't matter, as they would be only one side of the story. I guess it is unfortunate, but you will have to learn to live with the fact that there are people who will judge you as "not preferred" because you have no contact with your kids, as I admit I am one of them. Personal experience has shown me that it is a convenient excuse to not sacrifice, not swallow one's pride or struggle in order to maintain a relationship when conditions are adversarial. It is up to EACH parent to foster a relationship with their child, and up to each parent to fight for their rights & the rights of their children. Good luck to you!|
Posted: 3/18/2010 9:25:46 PM
|As a single mom whose child's father is not involved in her life: I would NEVER date a man who had abandoned his child (you say "alienation", but in reality, you have abandoned them). It doesn't matter how much drama the children's mother causes or whatever other reason. If you can provide a positive, safe environment for a child, there is NO reason good enough to justify abandoning your children. If the child's mother is causing problems, you can arrange (in court if necessary) to have someone else pick up and drop off the children so that you don't have to deal with her personally. Alternatively, both of you can GROW UP and learn to co-parent without animosity. You chose to enter into a lifetime commitment with someone when you chose to have a child with them. It doesn't matter what happened in your relationship; that is separate from your relationship with your children. Ultimately, there is NEVER an acceptable excuse for not being involved in your children's lives.|
Now, if you can't provide a safe, positive place for them to be, then you need to work your butt off until you CAN provide that. Not being involved in their lives for this reason is STILL inexcusable.
I have this point of view BECAUSE of my life experiences. I dated a man who wasn't involved in his child's life because "the mother wouldn't let him see the child". Guess what? We have a child together that he has CHOSEN not to see for the last 9 years. I have never denied him access or caused him ANY sort of grief whatsoever regarding seeing her. I even ENCOURAGED him to see her for years. To me, a man who isn't involved in his child's life is really showing his true colours. There is NEVER an excuse for not being there.
Posted: 3/18/2010 9:38:54 PM
|bfk, I empathize with you, truly I do. But.... I believe there must some for whom the bast solution , as they see it, is to bow out, as their children are being harmed. The truth is, I tend to think that the majority of those who espouse that feeling are deluded & twisting the facts to suit their selfish lives, but there must be some. There are evil people out there, and some of them are custodial parents! The majority of parents absolutely believe that there is NOTHING, NOTHING, that would keep them from their child. Not everyone is in the majority, nor have the majority lived the other side of the story. I am trying to be logical and fair, all the while feeling sickened by past experience. I think you are at least somewhat the same, as you clearly acknowledge being tainted by past experience. Still, you have brought out a good point that is often overlooked on these forums; there are three sides to every story.|
Posted: 3/20/2010 6:05:33 AM
Parental alienation has two components. Making it as difficult as possible for a parent to see the children, excuses for canceling visitation and otherwise just not surrendering the kids. The more disturbing and damaging part for the kids is that mother tells the kids dad (or mom) doesn't care, and many other things to essentially make the kid hate the other parent because that is what they want the kid to do and it also makes denying visitation easier when the kids aren't pestering to see the NCP.
I wanted to highlight this because it is a HUGE part of parental alienation.
Custodial Parents who are bitter or angry who have not learned to let go of that anger and bitterness will do anything they can to alienate the child from their parent. They will talk bad about the other parent (often to the child). Making comments that they don't love them, that they are bad people and that it's not the custodial parents fault that they are this way nor their fault for the divorce. This feeds into the confusion the child already has. See, kids are torn during a divorce. They want to continue having the love and support of both parents and when one parents does their best to usurp the relationship they have, it further confuses the child.
My ex has worked hard to alienate my daughter from me. He has no qualms telling her I'm evil (his words), that I am a whore, a slut, a ****. All because I occasionally date or actually spend time with friends (platonic). He tells her that I am immoral, a sinner and that he is the only one who can give her love and guidance, because (according to him) I lack the morals he has. He tells her that the divorce was my fault and that if I were smart and groveled for his forgiveness he would have taken me back, but now I deserve whatever bad things come my way. He tells her I deserve to be alone because I broke my vows by leaving him.
What he fails to tell her is that for 10 years of our 15 year marriage he was emotionally and verbally abusive. She saw some of it, but she has started spouting off what he wants her to believe, that if I were different he wouldn't have to yell at me or call me names or threaten me.
To the OP, people who have gone through this will understand your plight. Do you do what's best for your child/children or do you continue trying when you know that the CP is making "emotional hamburger" of your child? It's not an easy decision and one I can understand is probably tearing you up.