> No More Secrets And Lies: I Lose Grace Too

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Lose Grace Too

This might have been the last time Grace would allow herself to notice just how crazy and extreme things had become — maybe the last time she would see all this craziness for what it truly was. It was becoming more and more troubling for her to hold two opposing views of her father: the father she knew and loved, and the father that was now being created for her — a person she was supposed to despise. Trying to reconcile opposing images like these, especially of a parent, is too much for any child to have to deal with, and I believe it's what caused her to break down that day and cry — this, and the trouble she knew she would get in if she didn't go along with others' views of me.

The fact that there was pressure on all the girls for even liking me is something Josie alluded to in her note. Her mom was trying hard to convince them all that there was something wrong with them if they got any enjoyment from being with me. And even though they had all seen bad-mouthing before, they hadn't seen anything like this, and they weren't all able resist it either.

Within a few months, Grace had left behind that part of herself who had once loved her father, and I was no more than a distant memory to her, if that.

I remember one morning when I was taking Grace to school at Dakota Meadows (she was in the eighth grade). She was telling me how upset she was about some things her mom was saying about me, and she wanted me to make her mom stop doing this. I told her there was nothing I could do and that she had to tell her mom herself. She said she had told her to stop this many, many times, and she wouldn't. And then she turned to me with the most frightened look I'd ever seen on her face and said,

"Please, please promise me, Dad, you won't say anything to mom about this! Please promise me you won't tell her what I said!"

I promised her.

Maybe her mom doesn't realize she's doing this. Maybe she does. Maybe she's also being manipulated in some way to do this. But Mary has told me many times how she would say things to her until she started crying, and like with Grace, I could never speak to a soul about this or risk getting into trouble myself. I would be seen as the one causing problems. The girls and I were all afraid to say anything. And now the only thing they can do to avoid this wrath is to agree with this view of me. I doubt if Grace would even remember talking to me about this anymore. She's had to forget it all.

I watched the Grace I knew die away just like parental alienation literature says your child will if bad-mouthing isn't stopped. Each symptom listed in the books appeared on cue. In fact, Grace's behavior matched that of the literature so closely, I thought her mom was reading from the same book I was.

Like with all my girls, Grace and I had always been very close, but I knew our relationship was coming to an end, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Throughout the whole 2010-11 school year she would use the same excuse whenever I tried to get together with her,

"I can't hang out with you Dad because I have too much homework."

And just like with Mary, the longer I went without seeing Grace, the more her contempt for me grew.

It was devastating to have to stand by helplessly and watch my daughters drift away unable to do anything to stop this. And no matter what tried, I seemed to only make things worse. The girls I had raised to be rational and independent thinkers, to question and consider other points of view, and to trust themselves and make up their own minds so as not to be wrongly influenced or manipulated by things of the outside world, were now gone. And no amount of reasoning or logical thinking seemed to make any difference. They had their minds made up, and I had perhaps failed to warn them about those things which I knew to be even more dangerous — things not so much of the outside world, but rather closer to home.

Soon all three of my girls were gone: Josie went back to Oregon and hasn't returned since. I've had no relationship with Mary since August of 2010, and I have no relationship with Grace anymore either.


Daughters said...

I would understand this, but I'm too dumb.
Your Stupid, Brainwashed, Manipulated, Naive, Blindly-Following Daughter,

John Brosnan said...

Well thanks for the comment at least, Grace. I miss you. Love Dad

TSElliott said...

I really doubt that Grace would write that. But, then again little girls do change into monsters during puberty. John - your ex-wife is so good at abusing you that she has taught your children how to do it as well. You are the perfect prey. You just sit there and take it and then they all get together and laugh at your suffering.

John Brosnan said...

She never changed during puberty. She didn't change until she saw Mary changing. And Mary didn't change until I lost my job.

Daughters said...

Dearest Father and TSElliot-
I DID change during puberty! I got my period, my hormones kicked in, I grew taller... But don't worry, it's natural. I don't know why one would believe that "little girls" change into monsters during puberty... that sounds like a horror movie, not reality, silly!

The Post-Pubescent Grace

P.S. We're having a "let's laugh at John's suffering" get-together this Friday. Your invited, TSElliot, as long as you bring the popcorn!

John Brosnan said...

I meant that you didn't start hating me during puberty when you changed in other ways. I don't know who that TSElliot person is, Grace. Don't worry about them. - Dad

Schnitzie said...

John, I see you as holding steady and maintaining your integrity. That is all you can do...hold the love. Keep it there. I cannot imagine a more loving thing to do. Acknowledging your pain and your humanity is too painful for your girls now. But they will always be your girls. What a cruel alchemy that has turned their love into hate, in order for them to survive. But the energy is still there. -- Schnitzerella

Pennie Reese said...

I have been through that whole process. And I wasn't stupid or naive or blind. It's actually easy to do and can be done to anyone, especially when the people doing it in a position of authority - a parent, grandparent, teacher, counselor, minister, etc. It's unhealthy and the loss, especially for the child, is beyond measure.

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