Five years ago, I blogged about parental alienation, and about being one of the 25%. Parental alienation is more commonly carried out by women against the fathers of their children. I believe I was one of 25% of women who was subjected to it by the father of our children. Five years on, and it appears to have switched completely. It’s now more like child alienation than parental. Five years ago, I really felt that my childrens’ father was trying to get me out of the picture. Now he has managed to get all three of us out of his life. He is no longer seeing either daughter, and they both live with me full time.
The “how” I can sort of answer. The “why” I do not understand. The “why” I do not want to understand. It seemed to start nearly 4 years ago, after I came home from the trauma rehab unit, 3 months after my accident. Initially, because they were in school, and I wasn’t able to drive, and I was still recovering, my daughters were staying with me at weekends only. Whilst I was off work and unable to drive, this made sense. Except when I tried to negotiate with my daughters’ father a change in this pattern, with me going back to work, he refused. It caused many arguments, and I did try mediation to try to resolve, which failed.
Over this time, my daughters were saying they didn’t want to have any weekend time at their father’s house. They wouldn’t really give reasons why, they just said they were happy with arrangements. I got accused of not wanting them. I asked their father to have them for the weekend of my 40th birthday, with 6 weeks notice. It was refused. Whilst yes, they are my children, having the odd weekend, or weekend night even, child free, when the other parent is around, isn’t really too much to ask. And the other side of it – why would you not want to have some weekend time with your eldest two children?? I now know that they weren’t welcome at weekends, and heaven forbid they might encroach on “their family time”. Neither daughter told me any of this before.
Eventually, in the late summer of 2015, my eldest daughter started to open up to me. She’s always been very shut down to me. She started to tell me how much she was struggling at her father’s house. She was being criticised by her stepmother a lot. She was afforded very little privacy. She was on a wifi ban, but she could use data, which I paid for, so he didn’t really care about her accessing the internet. Neither daughter wanted to be there over the school holidays. I made it clear that they were always welcome with me.
My eldest daughter came to live with me full time on the 18th December 2015. At first, it was just for the holidays. Then she was made to feel so unwelcome, even on Christmas Eve, that she didn’t want to go back. She wasn’t welcome for her younger half sibling’s birthday, so she was on the phone begging for me to pick her up. Finally, a week after they went back to school, in the Sunday night, her father issued her with an ultimatum. He said she was disrupting his family. That it was quite simple and that she couldn’t just pick and choose. She was distraught. She stayed with me. Within 3 weeks of her coming to stay, he packed up her bedroom, dismantled her bed, gave her mattress to her half brother, and gave her bedroom to my other daughter. Even if she had wanted to go and stay, there was no longer room for her.
She did, after a few weeks, go round for tea. She went a few times, and hated it. She had a row one night, when she told her father how unwanted she felt. How her stepmother had told her she wasn’t wanted. He didn’t believe her. He asked his wife, in front of my eldest daughter. His wife denied everything. My daughter came home in tears.
She’s told me that when she told her father and stepmother that she had been subjected to inappropriate touching by a boy at school, they said that if she didn’t wear her skirt so short, then it wouldn’t happen (her stepmother had chosen the school skirts). When she told me about the inappropriate touching, I told her to tell her teachers, because she wouldn’t let me go in to school. She told me that her father and stepmother had told her she looked like a slut, when she was about 12 or 13, when she was going out in shorts, opaque tights, a vest top and a flannel shirt. She hasn’t seen her father for over a year now, and he pretends he’s tried – he hasn’t. He blames her. She’s nearly 16 now.
Both daughters have told me that they had had some kind of online tracking on their phones, so that all private messages could be viewed by their father and stepmother. Comments were made to both children about things that they had said to friends in PMs only. They knew they were being watched. My youngest daughter continued going to her father’s, but refused to be there with just her stepmother, so she stayed with me during school holidays. She got left sat on the doorstep, locked out, a few times. In January of this year, she got screamed at to get out, by her stepmother, so she did. She walked here in the dark. I was still at work. Her father caught up with her when she was more than half way here. He just dropped her off. It took him 11 weeks to see her. She was instigating contact. She’s the child, just turned 14. He’s supposedly an adult. He said it wasn’t his fault. She was going round once a week, always her instigating. Her stepmother was not welcoming. It still wasn’t his fault, he said.
A couple of weeks ago, he said he had noticed there was a problem between my youngest daughter and his wife. He said he couldn’t see her at his house any more because of it. He said he would have to see her somewhere else, and this would make it difficult. He said he would be in touch “in a few weeks”. He has chosen his wife over his children. He had told them he would never do that. He hasn’t stuck up for his children once. He has rejected them, and I cannot even begin to understand why. They’re great girls. They’re intelligent. They’re funny. They’re good company. They’re messy. They’re noisy. They’re stroppy. They’re teenagers. And they’re wonderful.
There’s more detail I could put in, but this post has become longer than I intended. The three of us are muddling along ok, but they are trying to deal with rejection, attachment and abandonment issues. My eldest is trying to deal with lost years with me, from when she had been manipulated against me. She’s survived GCSEs. And I am trying to recognise where and when they’re having problems, in the hope that I can help and intervene at an early stage. It’s tough on your own, and it’s lonely. I did always know that they would work it out. I never thought their father would do this to them. And I still do not understand why.