Monday, October 27, 2014

The Loneliest Person in the World

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      Parents who feel good about themselves do not have to control their adult children. But toxic parents operate from a deep sense of dissatisfaction with their lives and fear of abandonment. Their child's independence is like the loss of a limb to them. As the child grows older, it becomes ever more important for the parent to pull the strings that keep the child dependent. As long as toxic parents can make their son or daughter feel like a child, they can maintain control.
 
  From the book Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.

The alienator's life must be a lonely one. It has to be, I would think, unless she (or he) is a true psychopath and can bury her actions in the past where she no longer has to think about them or can simply lie to herself and refuse to accept the truth no matter how obvious it is. But even then, I would think, the guilt from demonizing a parent in the eyes of a child would be dagger to her heart, at least once in a while.

I would think. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Living on a Fault Line: The Warning Signs of Parental Alienation Part II

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The city of Eugene, Oregon sits near a major fault line, which can be thought of as an extension of California's San Andreas Fault. Which, in turn, can be thought of as a sliding boundary between the Pacific plate and the North American plate that slices California in two – at least according to Wikipedia. 

All of which sounds fairly dangerous and a little bit unfathomable. And is. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Living on a Fault Line: The Warning Signs of Parental Alienation Part I

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"We were never the aggressors; we only defended our lands, women and children."    Sitting Bull.
(The way some parents describe their positions in custody battles.)


None of us realized we were living on a fault line of seismic activity that could easily crack open and tear our family apart. None of us saw this; neither the girls nor I.  I especially didn't see what our post-divorce situation had come to. But looking back, I now realize I should have heeded the warnings that my ex's ceaseless attempts to take my children away provided me.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

PA Parents

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      The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. 
                                                                                                                          
 -- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross  

There's a new kind of person emerging within our communities today, a person with qualities and characteristics that can only be gotten from a unique kind of struggle, a person who has been fire-tested, shown to be of steel, and emerged from the other side of this struggle scarred a little, burned a little, but stronger than ever and focused like no one else.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Family Court and Parental Alienation

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An insidious morass of redundancies and allegiances to a host of personal agendas least of which are those of the children.
                 – My description of family court 

As a victim of parent alienation – that is, after experiencing first-hand the alienating behaviors of a parent whose sole purpose seems to be to destroy my relationship with my children – actions that have caused two of my daughters to be consumed by what Richard Warshak calls the irrational rejection of a parent, I've had plenty of time to think about the warlike tactics and insidious poisoning that make up parental alienation and to reflect on how this behavior may have gotten its start.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Writing our Alienation Tales: Truth as a Weapon Against an Arsenal of Lies

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"It's just sheer horrific pain every day. There’s nothing like it and nothing you can do about it. You can't escape from it. Can't hide from it. It follows you, haunts you, cuts you like a knife and your gut wrenches and doubles you up. It sours you on everything and you become sick and have to sit and can't think because you can't do anything when you're cloaked in that kind of emotional pain."
–  The pain of parental alienation, from my journal - September 26, 2013


Recently I offered to help a mother write her story about how parental alienation has affected her life by taking her 13-year old daughter away from her. And during the process of responding to her story, I started examining my own reasons for writing my story – an endeavor I began a little over a year ago about how my children were poisoned and alienated from me much like this woman's child was from her. It's a topic I had thought a lot about before I began writing my story but had never written about.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Afterthoughts of Homespun Terror

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And so I've left the girls and they've left me, and we now lead lives separate from each other. And this was nothing that should ever have been possible according to the unwritten laws and rules we grew up with regarding family. These things shouldn't be possible in a world where family is valued like it is in the Midwestern Catholic family I grew up in where generations continued on connected to other generations with no thought that it could ever be otherwise.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Parental Alienation During the Holidays

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Pioneer Cemetery University of Oregon













The Pioneer Cemetery is located on the east side of the Knight library in the middle of the University of Oregon campus. Today it sits outside the window I found while looking for a place to sip my coffee, read, and do some writing. With its organized rows of century-old gravestones claiming space next to tall Douglas firs, it’s snow-covered road trailing off and away to an infinite horizontal landscape, it makes a pleasant backdrop upon which to gaze as I read, write, and think about the move I recently made and the children I left behind.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Who Thinks Like This Part II

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There are more similarities between parental alienation, abduction, and cults then there are between parental alienation and anything else, especially divorce. In fact I don't like to see the word "divorce" associated with PAS because it muddies the issue and fills in a story in peoples' minds before they have a chance hear the real story – your story.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Who Thinks Like This Part I

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That's a good question. It's the question I asked at the end of my last post and it's the question I'm going to try to answer in this post. But maybe a better question is why some divorced parents try so hard — as if on a mission — to deny their children a life with their other parent? What's wrong with these people? Why do they act like this? And are we even talking about divorce anymore?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Independent Thinker and the Science and Sins of Memory

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I Can Think for Myself - An Imaginary Dialog

"How does my dad know what I'm thinking? He doesn't know. No one knows but me."

"Right."

"He reads all these books on parental alienation, or whatever it's called, and then he thinks this is why I don't want to see him anymore. If you ask me it's all a bunch of bunk. Other people say so too. Parental ‘whatever’ isn't even a real problem."

"Oh?"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Road Home

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Can you see by your lonely light of day
Is this road really the only way
Can this road be taken, taken at all
                                                                                  — Graham Nash


When I say it's been nearly three years since I've seen Mary and Grace, what I mean is that I haven't had a relationship with them for that long. I've seen them though, here and there, around town mostly, and usually always from a distance.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Conclusion to Part 1

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    Becoming a dad was 10,000 times better than anything else I've ever done.  

                                                                                                                — Steve Jobs

Grace and Mary on the swings while Mary reads a book
















A couple of years ago I was walking into a local Barnes and Noble when I noticed an elderly man standing in the entrance by himself. He was holding on to a walker and looking out the window at the parking lot. He seemed lost. I stopped and asked him if he needed any help, and he told me he was only waiting for his daughter to get the car. Soon a car pulled up in front of the store and his daughter came in and got him and they left together.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Never Got to Say Goodbye

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It was a late summer day. Goldenrod and asters were coloring the hill. The days were growing short, the birds were gathering in flocks, and there was a feeling in the air that school would be starting soon.
                                                — From Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace 

Grace with flowers

















When you tell a child her father is evil and that she should hate him, you're telling her that everything she once thought to be true about a person she loves more than anyone else in the world was wrong – that she was wrong. If you think being told there's no Santa is hard on a child, this she'll never forget. In a short period of time, the bond she once had with her father will be severed, the effects will last forever, and in the end she'll end up hating herself.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Heaven Help Us

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I was trying any way I could think of to connect to my kids. I tried to find out where they were living so I could see them and talk to them. I mailed them letters hoping they would get them. I talked to their teachers and friends asking them odd questions like "Have you seen my kids lately?" or "Would you give them a message if you do see them?" I even asked my siblings to help.