Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

Making the first move

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Baseball fans will remember that earlier this year All-Star free agent Prince Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million contract to play for the Detroit Tigers. Tiger fans rejoiced, and Fielder was a key element in the Tigers’ run to the World Series this fall. 

Fielder is not the first member of his family to gain noteriety as a Detroit Tiger. Prince’s father Cecil was a slugging first baseman for the team in the 1980s and 1990s. When Prince was a boy, Tiger Stadium was his personal Field of Dreams.

When Prince signed with Cecil’s old team their complicated father/son relationship was highlighted in the media almost as often as Prince’s batting and home run records. According to reports the two had been estranged for years. Prince blamed Cecil for being an absent father. There was also a difficult divorce between Cecil and Prince’s Mom; and allegations that Dad had taken money from his son’s signing bonus to pay gambling debts.

In one story Cecil reported he had recently reached out to his son and the two were talking “a little bit.” When the reporter asked Cecil why he reached out to his son after so long the father responded, “Someone had to make the first move.” 

Parent/child relationships are complicated; even relationships untouched by parental alienation. Parents estranged from their children, however, should not dismiss the importance of “making the first move” — no matter how long it’s been since they spoke with their children. People change. Children grow up. While parents and children tend to think about each other as they remember them, both parties have lived a lifetime of experiences since the last time they spoke. These experiences are often reminders that past wrongs, both real and imaginary, aren’t always very important in the present.

The holidays are in full swing and at some point the media will report on the latest holiday miracle. Parents who make the first move with their estranged children, even after many years, might have their own miracles to report this holiday season.

Holiday miracle gives hope to alienated parents

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Whether you believe in the miracle of Christmas, Hanukkah or the Miracle on 34th Street, you hear the word “miracle” a lot this time of year. Many alienated parents pray for a very specific miracle during the holiday season – the miracle of reunion.

Zach White of Birmingham, Alabama knows a little something about miracles. Zach was alienated from his father when he was two years old. Nineteen years later, a holiday miracle brought father and son together. They’ve been together ever since, but in order to appreciate where Zach and his father are today, you should know where they’ve been.

In all honesty, their story isn’t unique. Zach’s Dad and Mom divorced. Mom interfered with Dad’s parenting time. Mom told Zach and Zach’s sister that Dad was mean and violent. Zach and his sister behaved badly when they were with Dad. The children were coached to say they wanted nothing to do with him. Dad sent presents and the presents were returned.  A court-ordered five weeks with Dad turned into a few days of drama before Zach and his sister forced their return to Mom’s house. Alienated parents could probably substitute their child’s name for Zach’s and insert his or her name instead of “Zach’s Dad.” As we said in A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, the examples that define parental alienation are remarkably consistent.

The last time Zach saw his Dad was 1991. Zach was 12 years old. During a court-ordered visit the children first refused to leave the airport, then locked themselves in a room at Dad’s house and wouldn’t come out. During the same visit, Zach’s Mom called the police and accused Zach’s Dad of abusing both children. A short time later, Mom and Dad were in court. The judge ruled that Dad didn’t have to pay child support and the children didn’t have to see him if they didn’t want to.

“My earliest memories of my Dad are him trying to visit me and my sister and my Mom not allowing us to have anything to do with him,” Zach remembers. “I was very confused. My Mom kept telling me he was mean and violent and I didn’t know enough about my Dad to know any better.”

All it took, however, was a couple of visits with his Dad for Zach to form a different opinion.

“I saw Dad was not the horrible person Mom said he was. At this point my life became very difficult. I wanted a relationship with him but knew I couldn’t let Mom know because she would be furious. I also felt a sense of loyalty to Mom. I knew she disliked Dad so I felt like if I liked him it would hurt her,” Zach also recalled. 

Zach’s sister complicated his life. She was three years older than Zach and he quickly realized that if he was too nice to Dad when they were together his sister would report back to Mom. “I felt like I couldn’t be myself around him,” Zach indicated. “I felt like I was walking a tightrope.”

Zach’s Mom promised Zach that he wasn’t going to have a relationship with his Dad and she was true to her word. Nine years passed. Zach and his father were living in different states, but for all the contact they had they could have been living on different planets. Mom, now separated from her second husband, moved away.  Zach was in college and returned to Mississippi for the Christmas holiday. Ironically, he was staying with his Step-Dad in the home they had shared when Zach’s Mom and Step-Dad were together. The date was December 31, 1999. While many people were worrying that the Y2K bug would stop the world in its tracks, an alienated Dad in North Carolina picked up a phone and placed a call that would jump-start a relationship that had been dead in its tracks for nine years.

Do you believe miracles can happen for alienated children and parents?  If you do, come back on December 22 and have your faith validated.  If you don’t, come back for a story that may change your mind.

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.”

Spend Sunday night with Mike Jeffries

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will visit the Internet radio show Co-Parenting Matters, this coming  Sunday, January 23, at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Co-Parenting Matters is a collaborative effort between CoParenting101.org, founded by former spouses Deesha Philyaw and Michael Thomas, and WeParent.com, a site devoted to African-American co-parents, founded by Talibah Mbonisi. Co-Parenting Matters routinely discusses issues such as communication, single parenting, divorce, finances, custody, dating, wellness and stepfamilies.

“The biggest weapon in the fight against parental alienation is summed up in the title of program,” Jeffries said. “Co-parenting not only matters, but if you have effective co-parenting you won’t have parental alienation. I’m looking forward to giving listeners enough information so they can keep the focus on co-parenting and hopefully keep parental alienation out of their family dynamics.”

Listeners can tune in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coparentingmatters/2011/01/24/parental-alienation-a-familys-heartbreak.

Jeffries back discussing parental alienation

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will join Gianni Hayes on her New World Order Disorder radio program at www.americanvoiceradio.com on Wednesday, September 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

“The Canadian Symposium on Parental Alienation is October 2-3 in New York City and interest in parental alienation couldn’t be higher,” Jeffries said. “I can’t think of a better way to get ready for the conference than talking with Gianni and her world-wide audience about alienation and A Family’s Heartbreak. 

Hayes is a prolific author, with 14 novel and non-fiction books, plus hundreds of articles to her credit. She has appeared in Woman’s Day, Redbook, US, People, Brides, Parade and Writers Digest. 

Listeners can talk to Jeffries and Hayes by dialing 1-800-596-8191.

A Pointillist view of parental alienation

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Poin.til.lism (noun): a late 19th-century style of painting in which a picture is constructed from dots of pure color that blend, at a distance, into recognizable shapes and various color tones.

Let’s give credit to Attorney David Pisarra of www.mensfamilylaw.com for describing parental alienation both beautifully and accurately. In his recent review of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, Pisarra compared parental alienation to the style of painting made famous by French painter Georges Seurat.

“Parental alienation is a series of seemingly innocent miscommunication, or concerns for the well-being of a child; and it is only when the dots are connected that you see the complete picture,” Pisarra said in his review.

Pisarra also said A Family’s Heartbreak should be required reading for anyone involved in parental alienation cases. “For every man who is enduring this hell, for every lawyer who fights this form of child abuse, and for all the therapists who have to treat the collaterally damaged children, this book should be a first resource in their armament,” he said.

You can find Attorney Pisarra’s complete review of A Family’s Heartbreak at http://mensfamilylaw.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/a-pointillist-view-of-parental-alienation-one-fathers-experience/.

Reunion story incomplete without exploring alienation angle

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

In his latest column for Basil & Spice, Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, looks for signs of parental alienation in the case of the mother who was reunited with her children after thinking they were dead for 30 years. 

“The story is heartwarming, that’s for sure,” Jeffries said. “However the media had the perfect opportunity to discuss the reunion within the context of an ex-husband who may have deliberately alienated two little children from their mother for three decades and the media swung and missed.”

To read Jeffries’ complete column and leave a comment please visit http://www.basilandspice.com/love-and-relationships/82010-parental-alienation-theres-no-co-parenting-happening.html.

The signs of future alienating behavior

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Long before an alienating parent starts badmouthing the other parent in front of the child, or disrupting the other parent’s time with the child, he or she sends signals that parental alienation may one day become a reality for the family.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Elian Gonzalez’s return to Cuba. You remember Elian. He was five years old when a fisherman found him bobbing around the Atlantic Ocean in an inner tube. His Mom and others died in the waters off the Florida coast trying to reach the United States from Cuba. His family in Miami wanted to keep Elian in the U.S. — despite the wishes of his father in Cuba. Presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore even got involved in the debate, and a SWAT team and INS agents had to pry Elian loose from his relatives’ custody so he could return to Cuba and his Dad.

A conversation with my future ex-wife about the Elian Gonzalez situation was one of my first signs that I would one day lose my relationship with my son. I missed the sign until yesterday — when I read that Elian said he is thankful for spending the last ten years with his father. But that’s the funny thing about signs — they are all around us. In my most recent Basil & Spice blog at http://www.basilandspice.com/love-and-relationships/72010-cubas-poster-boy-for-parental-alienation-elian-gonzale.html I explain how future alienated parents can miss the obvious.

Divorce Source Radio features A Family’s Heartbreak

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

What do you get when you introduce Mike Jeffries, the author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation to Divorce Source Radio host Steve Peck?

Just that most informative, enlightening discussion on parental alienation you’ll find anywhere, that’s all. You can access the interview at http://www.DivorceSourceRadio.com.

“Steve Peck combines his background in broadcasting with his interest in family and divorce to produce a quality program that could go head-to-head with interview programs anywhere on radio or television,” says Jeffries. “His knowledge of the legal, psychological and emotional issues surrounding parental alienation allowed us to present perspectives of parental alienation that I don’t typically get to explore in interviews. Listeners will find the information enlightening and extremely valuable.”

Divorce Source Radio produces free programs featuring both legal and emotional advice from respected professionals. The weekly streaming podcasts are listened to by thousands of individuals through the  iTunes store by searching “Divorce Source Radio” or on http://www.DivorceSourceRadio.com.

Justice Jeffries style

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will be a guest on the internet talk show America’s Injustice, Tuesday night, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

The program will focus on parental alienation and the progress parents, legal and mental health professionals have made raising awareness of this destructive family dynamic in the public’s consciousness. The DSM Review Board is currently considering a proposal to put parental alienation in the next edition of the Diagnositc and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — making this week’s America’s Injustice program particularly relevant.

Listeners can access the program at www.talkshoe.com or call in at 724-444-7444, program ID 52056.

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