The pain in my heart is all-encompassing. Moments weave in and out—moments of my current daily existence—moments of memories of earlier times in our children’s childhood, before Parental Alienation severed the loving bonds that I enjoyed with our kids and took for granted.
My tears well up and drop, falling slowly to the depths of my new reality. In my head I hear a voice that tells me that this separation is only temporary. I hear other well-meaning people, friends, family and strangers alike, tell me that the kids will eventually come around and realize the truth, and to just wait. I fear the wait will be eternal and that I will never be rejoined with our children like we were. Researchers say it’s very unlikely to reprogram the kids if interventions don’t happen right away. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, months turned to years and now the years are too many to count. The damage has been done.
In my quest to understand how I went from secure happiness as our children’s loving mother to a distant, disrespected, discarded and alienated parent, my situation is so very hard for me to comprehend and accept. My story mirrors that of so many other alienated parents; the covert narcissist alienators all seem to use the same script and playbook. I continually seek out guidance in the form of educational literature and YouTube video accounts and advice. This support, which is generally free and can be accessed on demand any time day or night, has seen me through so many dark moments when I questioned my strength and ability to persevere the abuse inflicted on me and our children by their dad, an undiagnosed (as they never seek help) malignant, covert narcissist determined to devote his life to punishing me for leaving him…actually escaping… after I realized who he really was.
I know that I am more fortunate than most. Our two children were legally adults when my awakening to my ex-husband’s abuse and the discovery of his double life occurred. I know that I was unbelievably fortunate that I had 20 years—two decades—-where I could experience the tremendous joy of motherhood. I know that I gave our children a beautiful childhood and imparted loving structure and guidance, even though I did not have the support of a co-parent and was constantly undermined. There are so many other targeted parents, both moms and dads, that have lost their children to Parental Alienation when the kids were so very young.
Losing your children to Parental Alienation and other traumas that go along with it (false accusations, chaos, financial abuse, legal injustice, threats, stalking, fear, illness, isolation, losing your friends and neighbors, job security issues, homelessness, bankruptcy, etc…) are devastating at any stage, but luckily I didn’t have to face custody, visitation and daily co-parenting issues of minor children with the abuser. It’s always a no-win situation for the loving, honest, targeted parent, but with younger children, the situation has to be even more devastating.
These poor innocent kids, the babies, toddlers and grade schoolers, are permanently damaged. Oh my heart breaks for them. My heart equally breaks for the targeted parents who have been victims and have had their children abducted from them. Many of these loving parents turn to suicide or lose their lives to autoimmune issues because their bodies and minds can’t fathom life without their children. I am grateful that our two kids were older, although there is still a lifetime of damage that has been done.
Because I was very busy as our children’s primary caregiver, working a full-time job while earning my degree, volunteering and taking care of all-things-school-and-play for our kids, I was not aware of my ex’s advancing agenda. Because I did not acknowledge the persistent demeaning, discounting, smearing, gaslighting, stealing, financial manipulations and the steady and slow infliction of domestic violence, I did not even think of leaving my marriage during that time.
I was lucky to be able to experience being a mom—my greatest accomplishment and joy ever. I made the marriage work for three decades and turned a blind-eye to all the numerous red flags that were signs to get out: my husband’s infidelities, too many late nights “at work”, financial deceit and manipulation, his pornography and gambling addictions, obsession with computers and passwords, private text messages, smirks and stares, controls and rules, lies, being overly concerned about his public image, grandiose view of himself while putting down everyone else, regular criticism and belittling, very tense and empty birthdays and holidays, undermining me constantly and his extreme secrecy.
Now the abuser has somehow successfully convinced our adult children that they cannot make it on their own without his financial support, so he discourages independence and encourages dependence where he can control everything from their cell phones to their jobs. He isolates our two children from each other so they won’t talk or compare notes and he can prolong his false narrative and prevent the truth from coming out. Our children now have no relationship with each other or with my extended family, who were also completely severed from them as a result of parental alienation.
I continue to be grateful and positive however and try to look at the upside. I am so blessed and fortunate that I provided 20 years of wonderful experiences and memories for our children, even though these memories are most likely suppressed now. Our children knew that their mother’s love was unconditional and always. I was very lucky then, but find I now need to compartmentalize my thoughts and feelings to make it through each day. It hurts to know that both kids will have future emotional and relational struggles as they eventually learn and sort out the truth. It’s hard for me too, but I have a wonderful zest for life, a few true friends and a very strong will to survive.
I have always believed in goodness, integrity, honesty, and hard work; I have always prayed for peace, love and harmony. I know that I’m a good person, I just made a bad choice in who I married…and stuck it out way too long. I know the alienator has already twisted the truth of our children’s memories and views of me so that the happy, positive and loving experiences that were part of their lives are looked at through a distorted lens, even though photographs and scrapbooks show the happy truth. The alienator has most likely discarded and hidden the evidence, so our kids can’t “see” the love and truth. He would like the positive realities to fade away, only revealing his calculated version and contrived view.
My abuser shoved me against the wall and threatened me after his mask slipped and he confessed that he stole thousands of our daughter’s hard earned money (which was the final straw)…”Don’t you dare divorce me. If you do, I’ll take away your house, your money and your children.” And he did just that. He lied and forged documents. Our beautiful home that he assured me was paid off for years was now in foreclosure. I had no access to any of “our” money. I had no escape plan, I just knew I had to get out as fast as I could.
The abuse continued to play out legally during and after the “high-conflict” divorce proceedings where I had to hire numerous lawyers to fight for equality, yet justice was never achieved. The ex is well-connected and somehow gets away with never following court orders, yet continues to threaten by abusing the judicial system. The lawyers and courts favor the abusers, take all your money and punish the honest unfairly. Family court is about money and is not for families. My abusing, Parent-Alienating ex-husband, however, didn’t know I had the inner strength and determination to survive and make it. I was motivated because I had to let our children know the truth.
I know as an erased mom that the malignant, covert narcissist alienator has made it his life’s obsession and puts forth tremendous efforts and has succeeded (hopefully only temporarily) in rewriting our children’s history. I know that he has lied, implanted false memories with half-truths, made up fake scenarios and put me in such a negative light by twisting the facts of our children’s experiences. He uses our children to get back at me. He hates me more than he cares about them. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past him to cause one or both of our children’s deaths just to destroy me, as these alienators really don’t love their own children. I’m surprised he didn’t have me killed so I could be permanently erased. Many domestic violence victims don’t survive. I know that I was and am still a great mom. My ex also told me and everyone that I was an excellent mom for 30 years, that was until I filed for divorce; he then viciously attacked my character and new stories arose.
Even though the alienator has done such unthinkable things, I still believe that the kids need to have both their mom and dad in their lives. I don’t disparage their dad and make up slanderous comments; I only speak the truth of what he has done…not to try and get the kids against him and for me…only so that they will have an honest account of reality so that they can make sense of their issues as they sort through who they are and where they came from as they experience their own life journeys.
Our “golden child” son has overcome many of his struggles, including the shame of not living up to his father’s unrealistic expectations and plans for his athletic and professional success. With my loving, ongoing support and interventions our son is finally on his way to becoming independent, healthy and happy and learning that he is good enough and wonderful just the way he is. He can pursue his own interests and can follow his own dreams. He is a beautiful soul with much love and goodness in his heart. He has an excellent work ethic and is learning that he can make decisions about his life on his own. He appreciates nature, music and humor. He’s got a good start now on his recovery journey. Our son just needs to stand up to his dad to refuse his verbal and physical abuse, as well as his money dependence. He knows that his mom loves him to the moon and back.
Our “scapegoat” daughter has a ways to go because of her “Stockholm Syndrome” alignment to her abusive father. She has had difficulty regulating her emotions in the past and these challenges may have escalated into her adulthood and are being exploited by her dad. At the age of 20, revengeful Parental Alienation stole her away and taught her to lie and hate after previously enjoying a secure and loving relationship with me. Her whereabouts are concealed by her dad and she is not reachable on social media. After years of estrangement and with her dad’s encouragement and guidance from his lawyer, she took legal action against her loving mom to inflict pain and punishment and ensure our communication would be severed; just another example of how the alienator uses the children as weapons in their mission to destroy their ex. Our daughter plays the victim and believes lies and surrounds herself with many friends who have no honor or integrity and perpetuate the alienation. She is also a loving soul who connects with animals, is super-creative and is a hard worker. Deep down she knows the truth of the fun times and love she shared with her mom for 20 years.
At this point I can only pray for both of our children. I have gone above and beyond in my efforts, trying to keep the lines of communication open, reaching out with loving and open arms to give unconditional love, encouraging them to achieve their full potential in life, and providing documentation to show them truth and goodness when their memory fails. Brainwashing and cult behavior are difficult to undue. Alienated adult children suffer from Independent Thinker Syndrome and usually align with the abuser because they fear abandonment and have been a witness to one parent’s infliction of Domestic Violence.
I have now chosen to take care of myself and leave my old life to start a new peaceful life with a second chance at true happiness and love. I am role-modeling positive living. I am a kind person who is mindful and honest. I travel the world to see its natural wonders and make beautiful connections with others. I continue to be generous and support worthwhile causes. I embrace my creative gifts and continue to learn. I work hard with strong ethics and integrity. I quiet my mind with meditation and prayer. I honor my body with exercise, restorative rest and organic nutrition. I listen to music, birds, waves, wind and people with an open heart.
I am so very fortunate and count my blessings, even though my life has been forever altered due to the abuse of Domestic Violence and losing our children to extreme Parental Alienation. Justice in our targeted-parent world does not seem to prevail, but I am hopeful and truly believe that truth, goodness and love will.
essay written by an anonymous targeted mom