Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Adult children of parental alienation

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Imagine cutting yourself off from the outside world on July 15, 2000. You’d never know:

  • The Twin Towers are missing from the New York City skyline.
  • George Bush isn’t President of the United States and an African American is.
  • The Dow Jones is 1,300 points higher yet people talk about a recession.
  • The internet is on your cell phone.
  • Kodak no longer makes film for your 35mm camera.
  • There are more Harry Potter movies than books.
  • You could follow a stranger’s thoughts — as long as he or she communicated in 140 characters or less.

Severely alienated children who remain cut off from their targeted parents and extended families years after the alienating parent selfishly pulled the child into the adult conflict are just as in the dark as someone who knows nothing about September 11th or Twitter.   

These now alienated adults refuse the love and attention of their targeted parents and take a pass on meaningful relationships with their aging grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and formerly close family friends. These grown up children intentionally skip making memories that most people cherish.

There are countless adults still alienated from a parent years after everyone else in the family drama moved on with their lives. Perhaps it is easier for them to stay alienated rather than deal with the guilt of accepting a parent who never did anything to warrant the estrangement. Maybe it is easier for them to stay away rather than run the risk of disappointing their alienating parent. Perhaps these alienated adult children are simply too proud to admit that turning away every time the targeted parent tried to heal the rift between them was wrong.

Whatever their reason, these alienated adult children remain in the dark. They don’t know anything about the events and celebrations that define close-knit, loving families. They don’t know anything about the things that comprise one half of who they are. And saddest of all, they don’t even know that they remain stuck in the past while their targeted parents and extended families move forward making more cherished memories.

Alienation no more

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Many readers of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation say the journal chapters, or diary approach, to describe my family’s descent into severe parental alienation are the most eye-opening and informative parts of the book. In these chapters you can literally watch my relationship with my son go from normal to non-existent in a few months.

When most parents write us they are looking for comfort or suggestions to help them deal with their own heartbreaking situations. That was the case with Carol. She was at the end of her rope in January — even questioning her own existence. Now, however, she is rebuilding her relationship with her daughter. Since many of you say the journal aproach in A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation helped you, we’ll let Carol tell you her story the same way.

January 24, 2011
I would like to report that I picked up my copy of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation from the book store yesterday morning after church. I finished reading it at 9:00 p.m. the same night. 

I am humbled that I am no longer alone as I walk down a road that no loving parent should ever know exits. A few weeks before my daughter’s departure from my life I was asked by my church to start training to be their deacon. Once she was gone, however, I not only questioned the existence of my God, but my very own existence. I now see that my daughter, just like myself, was never given the choice to be part of each other’s life. I raised her myself. I told her every day for 16 years how precious her life was. I still can’t believe this is happening.

January 26, 2011
I just called my daughter’s school. They’ve been poisoned like everyone else. I am escorted off the campus when I show up for my court-ordered visitation. The court order is not worth the paper it is printed on. My daughter’s father continues to violate it, and nothing ever happens to him.

I called because I wanted my daughter’s grades. They hung up. I called back and they put me on hold for five minutes. Then they told me they are not allowed to give me my daughter’s grades. I asked to speak to the principal. He was not available. I’m not holding my breath for the return call.

I feel so hopeless. I have been judged by dozens of people who know nothing about me. I have not spoken to my daughter in almost six months. The only two times I saw her I was handcuffed in the back seat of a police car. I do not have her phone number. I can’t email her. Now I cannot even call her school without being treated like the lowest form of life on this planet.

February 16, 2011
I went to court today. My ex continues to interfere with visitation. The judge told him that if he this situation continues he would go to jail for five months and have to pay a fine.

My ex brought my daughter to testify against me. She did not testify but instead she learned that that I have been fighting to see her for more than six months.

February 19, 2011
My ex did not block me from my daughter today. I called and it was the first conversation we had since August. Her attitude was disgusting. She said she didn’t want to see me. She told me I was an awful person. But she stayed on the phone for 18 minutes. When I told her I loved her she said, “I know.”  

February 22, 2011
Now that I finally have my daughter’s phone number I can call when I want. I called today and the phone went straight to voice mail. I hung up. My daughter immediately called back. The conversation was not as hostile as the last time we talked. I tried to keep her on the phone as long as possible. Eventually she said, “I don’t want to hang up on you but I have a lot of homework to do so I have to go.” I said ok.

February 28, 2011
My ex called my lawyer today and asked if I wanted to see my daughter this coming Saturday. Of course I said yes. I will finally get to spend time with her!

March 1, 2011
I called my daughter today. The call went to voice mail but she called back. This time, the conversation was just like the old days. She was sweet, wonderful, smart, funny, caring and courteous. And the most wonderful thing that happened. As we were getting ready to hang up, I said “I love you” and she said “I love you too.” Her entire life that was the way we always ended every single phone call. After we hung up I cried tears of joy. 

* * * *

Carol asked us to share her story on our A Family’s Heartbreak blog. She wrote, “So many times I wanted to give up and well-intentioned people told me to walk away. I couldn’t do that even though it was killing me inside. I want to be an inspiration for other parents going through this horrible nightmare. I want to let them know there is hope. I thought I had lost my daughter forever and that she would never want to see me again. I know we could regress in a split second, but I want to let other parents know that even during their bleakest hour that you are still in your child’s heart.”

Alienated parents champions, not victims

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

If you’ve read A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, you probably remember that we consider driving a car one of those simple daily activities that can turn an alienated parent’s day upside down. 

For most people, driving a car is a way to go from Point A to Point B. But alienated parents have their eyes on the road and their brains in the past. The longer the drive, the more an alienated parent’s thoughts can drift back to the relationship that was wrongfully stolen away. By the time an alienated parent arrives at his or her destination the anger, sadness, hopelessness, frustration and unfairness of parental alienation can potentially turn the parent’s mood and outlook from sunny and bright to dark and bleak.

Yesterday I was driving and thinking about my alienated son. Another year has passed without any change in our relationship. But before I could take that destructive stroll down parental alienation memory lane, We are the Champions by Queen, came on the radio. For the first time I listened to the lyrics not as an anthem for a championship team, but as an anthem for alienated parents:

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through
 
We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting – till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
Cause we are the champions – of the world.

Alienated parents are champions, not victims. Keep on fighting for your alienated children. You are the champions of parental alienation and the world.

Happy holidays from A Family’s Heartbreak, LLC.

Accept the gift of support this holiday season

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The holidays are an especially difficult time for alienated parents. Despite all the holiday cheer, alienated parents can’t help but focus on the children who won’t visit, call or say thank you for a gift. In these emotionally challenging times, support from other parents who understand the pain and heartbreak of parental alienation is especially important.

Two online Yahoo groups, PASParents and Parents Against Parental Alienation (PAPA), provide alienated parents with a virtual community of support and empathy. There are also countless Facebook groups devoted to parental alienation support. Yet for some parents, nothing takes the place of old fashioned face-to-face communication with people who have walked in their shoes. There are some face-to-face parental alienation support groups listed on the Resources page of this site.

If you don’t have a parental alienation support group in your area and would like to start one, here are a few tips we believe you’ll find useful:

  1. Attracting Members — You want to attract people with shared experiences and a common goal. A good way to do this is to advertise your group’s purpose in a local newspaper, public place, or on a local Internet site. Many radio and television stations will run community service commercials for free during non-peak listening and viewing times. The goal is to attract people who share similar parental alienation experiences.
  2. Screening Potential Members — It is important to make sure participants are appropriate for the group. A short interview where you review the group’ goals and ask the individual questions about his or her expectations of the group process should help you decide if the person is a good fit.
  3. Setting up the Group — A good size for a group is between 10 and 15 people. At this size everyone should have an opportunity to participate in a 60 or 90 minute session.
  4. Establishing Rules — Who talks when? Any topic off limits? What is the procedure for asking someone to leave the group? While you can’t possibly address every potential scenario in advance, it is important to establish group rules up front and clearly communicate the rules to all members before the first session.
  5. Selecting a Moderator — You may have started your group, but you may not be the best person to act as moderator. An effective group will need someone who is a skilled facilitator. The moderator is the person to enforce group rules objectively, keep everyone moving in the right direction, manage the time, and make sure all group members have a chance to benefit. The moderator should also be a little detached from the rest of the group — someone who has accepted and moved on from the initial pain of his or her situation and can keep the focus on members who need lots of support, empathy or suggestions. 
  6. Building in Feedback Mechanisms — Feedback mechanisms are essential for improving the group process and ensuring the best possible outcomes. Whether the feedback consists of periodic informal conversations or an anonymous survey, be sure to have a process in place so group members can share their perspectives on how things are going and you can determine whether or not the group is meeting its goals.
  7. Notifying A Family’s Heartbreak.com — Once you form your group, be sure to let us know so we can add it to the Resources page of this site.
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