Since my divorce, I have been going through a steady stream of parental alienation at the hands of my ex-wife. During the divorce proceedings, my ex was adamant that the children should never have overnights with me. She started to reinforce this with little justification in December of 2018 while we were still separated.
Keep in mind that my ex-wife did not work while we were married, since very shortly after she gave birth to our first child, some 12 years ago, and throughout the marriage we were either reliant on my parents for assistance, blew through the inheritance they left me (since they both passed away), or had severe money issues while I tried to work 2 jobs. I was on the fence about leaving my ex-wife due to having a little sympathy for leaving an unemployed woman home alone with 3 children and 2 dogs, but her lack of help, and lack of love and emotional support on any level, made me miserable and probably could be considered emotional abuse. When we divorced, we had not slept in the same bed for over 7 years. She blamed this on my weight, my snoring, and other factors, but she was happy to have 3 children with me and have me take care of her financially without any support from her.
While she was a stay at home mother, she did not take care of the house. She expected me to cook and clean, while working 2 jobs for most of the marriage, or living off of inheritance for a period of 2 years, working in her family business as a second job. This is the same business where she worked before she decided raising children and working was too much for her. My home was in such disarray that family services was called by a third party and the children were removed from the home until the house was cleaned and renovated due to a hoarding issue and mouse infestation. I was the one who had to do most of the cleanup with help from my family, and blew through most of my inheritance on the repair and renovations of the house without much help from her or her family.
Towards the end of 2017, I decided that we cannot be married and my ex even recommended we get divorced and stay under the same roof, to which I responded that we have to go to marriage counseling. Keep in mind, I was working a second job at a nursing home working from 8:30 AM - 9:00 PM every night due to severe money troubles. So much so that if I did not get help from my brothers, we were in danger of foreclosing on the home I dumped most of my inheritance into.
We went to marriage counseling and proved that neither of us could successfully communicate to each other, and the therapist in a side session advised me to run. It really took me until March or April to decide I no longer wanted to be with her, and at certain points looked for apartments on my own. I finally told my ex, 3 days before the fight that ended our relationship, that I planned to move out. She begged me to stay. At the end of April 2018, we had a physical altercation. After she hit me multiple times, the last slap across the face I responded to, and I am not proud of it to this very day.
In the temporary agreement for the divorce, I agreed to pay her mortgage, electric and cable, provide her with child support and separate alimony, and paid for her car for a short time. I also agreed to only take the children on every Sunday thinking the process might take a couple of months. It extended for a full year, and my apartment was not ready to host children at that time. Eventually we settled on me having the children every other weekend… until the first weekend for me to take the kids came around.
The week prior, my ex kept badgering me to pay for sleep-away camp that she unilaterally decided the children would attend, without considering how much both of us could reasonably afford. During this same time, she was insistent that I did not take the children for overnights even during my first weekend with them, despite the fact the agreement allowed for a phase in period where I would take them Friday night, drop them off Saturday night, and pick them up Sunday. I initially told her what she wanted to hear, but after I picked the children up that weekend, I emailed her that I will not be taking them home that night and insisted on keeping the children. Her response was to call the police saying I kidnapped the children.
I cooperated with the police and while busy with them, my middle daughter (who my ex arranged a playdate for in New York City the next day) called her mother and insisted on being taken home. My children are 12 (M), 10 (F) and 8(F), and she was crying to the point that I felt taking her and her siblings back to their mother was the only way not to traumatize them. My son did sleep over that overnight, and that was the last time that he slept by me on a Friday.
In the months to follow, my middle daughter stopped coming to parenting time and a few months after that my youngest daughter followed suit. The last time I spoke with them face-to-face was on a Friday under the supervision of police officers, after I took my ex back to court on a Motion to enforce litigants rights. This stated the police shall take all steps necessary to enforce the court ordered visitation agreement. The reality is, this is not much help, as they refuse to take the children out of the house and keep sending me back to the courts.
Presently I am trying to get the children into family therapy. At this time, I have an appointment scheduled after the holidays to start the healing on some level. However, the children do not provide realistic answers as to why they don't want to see me, and I don't want to create more trouble for my ex than reality will give her. As far as I can tell, she has not paid the mortgage since the last time I paid it in May 2019. While she might be applying for relief, who knows if she will ever have the intention of not letting things foreclose. She has planned (or represented she planned) a Bar Mitzvah for our son without telling me the information and has pulled all children from therapy (my oldest 2 were going, youngest never did) for a litany of reasons, without intention of their return to therapy.
After declaring bankruptcy and clearing it, I have had to take out loans from friends to hire an attorney to negotiate with her attorney (how can she pay an attorney, but not her mortgage?) to make sure that we get on the right track. Day after day, I just feel less responsible for everything and really don't want to go back to the constant gut punches of my kids not speaking with me, not coming with me for parenting time, and the inability of anyone, even the courts, to provide real solutions to remedy this alienation.
I keep hearing from multiple sources (including family services who was called by the police to investigate an incident where I tried to pick up my daughter to take her to parenting time, despite her resistance) that children are resilient and they will see the abuse, but possession is 9/10ths of the law and she already has shut the dogs out of my life (one passed away) so why would the children be any different? Yet, I still have to pay child support and hang out there for her extortion. Like always, it seems I am good enough to suck dry financially, but not good enough to have a healthy familial relationship on any level. What can I do? What will happen to my children?
My oldest son has ADHD. My ex has failed to provide him with proper psychological treatment and refuses to medicate him. This does affect him in school: he shuts down in class, falls asleep a lot of the time, and hides in his video games from a world that I am sure he feels does not understand him. He is especially not understood by his mother. ADHD is prevalent and diagnosed/treated in my family. If it exists in her family, they have no empathy for it. My daughters will be raised by someone with a Cluster B personality disorder, as diagnosed by my son's therapist, our marriage counselor, and my ex's old therapist. The children will have unwarranted and untrue issues towards me. I was the one trying to keep things afloat while my ex couldn't bother to help me on any level and blamed me for all of life’s failures.
She is so much like her brother, whom she has been estranged from for 10 years now, her step-sister who she has actively hated for years, and her mother who sometimes comes in and out of the picture when my ex can get something out of her. She will find a way to turn on my girls and leave them for dead by not having the benefit of a father who is looking to turn his life around, build a solid foundation for his family, find a loving relationship and partner to work together in life, and make things just work out.
I might not be in the Chicagoland area, but certainly, out in New Jersey, this is a problem as well. People don't understand the impacts of it and the system doesn't provide proper ways to protect children from parental alienation.
This blog is written by those living through parental alienation. Some authors have chosen to remain anonymous. Silence breeds abuse.
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