The Well of Loneliness: Underneath the Cloak of The Alienator

Alienating parents are people not monsters. As such they are human with all of those failings which come with that reality.  Understanding alienating parents is what I have been doing for many years, working with the impact of their behaviours on their children, is something I have done for almost a decade now.

What I know about parental alienation is that it is a state of being which is underpinned by fear.  When I meet alienating parents what I notice most of all is that they are uncomfortable in their state of fear.  Ruffling the feathers of the alienating parent is what I know I have to do in order to shift and change the dynamic which captures the child, who is locked in fascination by the power of the alienating parent.  Doing so means that I draw the negative transference, which is that wave of behaviour which would normally be directed at the rejected parent but which is turned upon me as I begin to intervene.

Anyone who does this work directly with children and families knows that in order to rescue the child, the mental health and legal interlock which causes the dynamic change for the child, must be dealt with first.  In the UK it is impossible to achieve any kind of change for the child without robust intervention.  In setting up the pieces on the chess board therefore, what we must do as practitioners is recognise that our moves must be one step ahead of the alienating parent in order to achieve the change we need.  Working with teams of others, many of whom have absolutely no idea what is going on under the surface, one has to keep in mind that the work that can be done is only as a strong as the weakest link around the child. Break that chain and the dynamic will not change. Hold the tension and the child will take the step towards the rejected parent which is based upon the trust that the practitioner can hold the splitting for long enough to allow the buried feelings emerge.  Anyone who does this work recognises the necessity for this dynamic to be set in motion.  Failure to do so incurs the wrath of the alienating parent and all the attendant rage which comes with that.

Children are powerless in the grip of an alienating parent. Powerless because every fibre of their being depends upon that person for survival. Much like the crowds who gather around the guru, or the people who believe that the emperor has a brand new suit of clothes, children who are alienated are helpless and fascinated by power. The more the power is displayed in the form of rage and vengeful attack, the more the children cling and clamour.  Assisting children to escape from this brainwashed state of mind is a tricky endeavour.

Children who are alienated are led to believe that the parent they are clinging to is perfect.  This parent becomes the idealised and adored parent who can do no wrong whatsoever.  The other parent becomes the demonised and rejected parent, the one who does everything wrong and who, in doing so, is the recipient of blame by the children, simply for being.

Working with children in this setting is difficult but it is not impossible.  What one does when one is confronted with a child in this split state of mind is listen not to the words of the child but the actions. The words are the expressions of the rage and vengeance from the narcissistically wounded parent, the actions are the expression of the real child beneath who is hurting and harmed.

Get close to this child and give another perspective and expect the wrath of god to descend. Unadulterated this rage is poured with scorn which is intended to scald and scour the truth that there are always two or more sides to any story or experience from the face of the earth.  The closer one gets the louder the roar of the alienating parent.  Standing in the face of this is not much fun, but it is not impossible either because the reality is that the rage does not really belong to the object it is being projected at but somewhere else entirely. Which means that not taking it personally becomes an art form easily perfected.

Unlike some I do not hold alienating parents in contempt or project hatred at them, I do not rage and vent and howl into the void. What I do instead is listen, observe, watch carefully and gather information about the cause of the rage and the depth of the well of loneliness it comes from. Because there is the truth of what can be done, there is the place where the healing can begin. There is the work that is necessary.

Not in all cases I grant you. In some cases we must immediately rescue the child and protect them from the extreme level of harm they are suffering. In others we must construct other pathways to help the child escape.  In all situations we are working with the child first and everyone else second.  For it is the child whose wellbeing we must be mostly concerned about – child first, adults second, healthy parenting always our goal.

When I watch alienated children in the fascinated gaze of their powerful parent I know that they know I am there and I know that they know that I know the trouble they are in.  I also know that they know that if I cannot get them free completely from the bind they are in, their fate will be sealed by that failure.

When the alienating parent roars with rage I know that the cloak that they wear hides the fear of exposure. For behind the curtain of most alienating parents are small men and women projecting pictures onto a big screen to make others believe in a truth which doesn’t exist.

Understanding these people and the human problems they suffer, is that thing which I do for much of my time in this field.  Helping the children they bind into the webs of untruths and projections they spin is the other.

And compassion and empathy, understanding and humanity is that which allows me to keep on knowing that what we are doing is right, because it is grounded in truth and reality.

That and the children once in love with their captors, now free and alive and their parents whose hearts are now mended.

 

Under the cloak, alienation is a problem with a human face.

And being human in the face of it all.

Is enough.

 

 

 

 

27 comments

  1. cara · August 24

    Where does the child’s fascination with power come from? Is it a reflection of the alienating parent’s focus on power? When my stepson decided he wanted to live with us at one point before he was alienated entirely, he was very focused on the idea that he “had all the power” and that the court would do whatever he wanted Since being alienated he will periodically text a demand for an object he (his mother) wants from our house and threaten to involve the police. The fear behind this impotent attempt to intimidate his father makes me sad (and doesn’t intimidate his father in the slightest). I don’t think the alienating parent is a monster, but nor can I summon any compassion for someone who would abuse her child to meet her own needs for power and control.

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    • karenwoodall · August 25

      The reason his father is not intimidated Cara, is because his father is aware that his son is projecting the idea that he is in charge. His father knows his son is not in charge and is the conduit of his mother’s issues, that allows him to retain compassion for his son and empathy. HIs father escaped but his son could not, because children are not arbiters of their own journey in life, they depend on others to support them and keep them alive. I don’t know the background to your story but I know enough families where someone left because the spouse was too much to deal with and in doing so the left behind spouse took the child hostage in revenge for the leaving. I also know spouses who were left and then treated as if they had done the leaving. The back story is the answer to the current situation your stepson finds himself in, understand that and you will understand how and why and when you might expect your stepson to return to a more balanced way of being. Children are completely and utterly dependent on others for their wellbeing. If you have a mighty parent and a meek one it will affect which way you align yourself, if you have a leaver and a left parent it will affect what you do. Children are caused to reject and align for many many reasons and knowing those reasons is your first step to understanding and building the road ahead that is clear for your child to return. Who has power and is willing to use it is a biological survival signal to the child which causes them to be hyper vigilant and to please those they are most afraid of or those they feel will abandon them if they do not conform.

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      • Anonymous · August 25

        That is so true statement “I also know spouses who were left and then treated as if they had done the leaving.” The alienating parent left and took the kids and abandoned me and lied to everyone that I left him. The lies impacted the children so much. The lies are part of the power i feel. I now understand that he needed to lie to appear so powerful and to align the children with him to strengthen the bond and make it “we” against “her”; the war begun. He made them a unit. It is most interesting to read your blogs and get affirmation to what happened to us in the wake of the relentless waves of punishment from the alienating parent.

        Anonymous-mother of three

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      • Cara · August 25

        Yes, she was left and it took her by surprise. I think there is revenge as well as fear of losing her son and fear of being exposed for the dysfunctional person she is under the mask. I don’t know how or when or if my stepson will return but I do know she has little power over us anymore, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.

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  2. everthinghappensforareason · August 24

    fantastic post, Karen. as you know, for many years i came across nobody (bar one!) who ‘got’ the reality of what was going on in my case. despite discovering this blog too late to save my children’s early years, it fills my heart with hope and joy to know there are numerous alienated parents who now benefit from your deep understanding of the alienators sad life-journey and how it manifests into the insecurity that is power and control at all costs……..even the sanity of their own offspring. that they, the alienators, were more often than not badly let down in their own childhoods and are desperately seeking to fill the massive emotional void they’ve always sought to fill with one substitute or other

    Liked by 1 person

    • karenwoodall · August 25

      I think you EHFAR, more than anyone I know, understands the power of what we have put in our book for others to use. And you know that it works and that it transforms the nature of the trans-generational pattern of dysfunction through empathy and compassion and protective care for your children. We can’t change the past but we can change the present and the future. For me, this is how it is best done with all the power and the tools in the hands of the healthy parent, I have seen it work over and over again, you have done it and so can all the others.

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      • everythinghappensforareason · 30 Days Ago

        my experience has been that you are so right, karen.

        for me, the hardest thing to accept was that (despite what my ex had done and continues to do) there were two sides to the alienation story…..that my own childhood narrative had just as big a part to play in the drama that’s unfolded over such a long period. that i’d unconsciously sought out a partner/wife who, for her own reasons, was incapable of loving me and, more importantly, would model the mother, my mother, who’d always withheld acceptance and approval (ie. love) from me before I’d even jumped from the frying-pan into the fire of a marriage.

        that insight enabled me to recognise that as well as having been a part of the ‘problem’ i also have the privilege of being a part of the solution if i make certain choices. that’s meant acquiring a deep understanding of the trans-generational dynamics that led me into such a relationship in the first place and, then, using that knowledge to try and understand the dynamics of where my children have been, where they currently are and also where they’re likely to be in the future should i continue to be shunned.

        in the meantime, i’m straining every sinew in my body to be the healthiest parent i can be…..i’ll need to be just that should my wish come true

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Willow · August 24

    Cara – that’s a very good question! (Where does the child’s fascination with power come from?)

    My husband raised my daughter high above me so that she had all the power, literally. There was not one thing I could say or do to parent her because he gave her his full support to speak to me and treat me however she wanted to.
    Maybe, as a 15 year old, she was more likely to respond this way since I suppose teenagers are chomping at the bit at this age and think they know it all and no one can tell them what to do. ……………..

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    • everythinghappensforareason · August 24

      i suspect the ‘child’s fascination with power’ is both related to control the alienating parent has over the rejected parent’s contact with the child as well as the power the AP has always exercised over the child themselves. the power and control exerted, from birth, that has seen the child meeting the parent’s needs rather than the other way around. this is where many of us learn to be ‘people pleasers’ from a young age.

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      • everythinghappensforareason · August 24

        …..meeting the AP’s need rather……

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    • karenwoodall · August 25

      Make a child watch a parent be diminished over time and you have the grounds for a narcissistic wound to be transferred in the intra-psychic world. Men’s power over women, witnessed by their daughters, renders the daughter vulnerable to splitting off her identity with her mother and burying that in favour of identification with the wounded father. She will then become narcissistic in her own personality and will feel that she is entitled to dismiss her mother. In addition, wed the daughter to the father in the intra-psychic and the attachment hierarchy is not only collapsed but corrupted. Do it at the age of 15 and prevent the natural return of the daughter to identification with her mother through bribery, coercion, lies and so on and you have the perfect storm. What will happen to the daughter is that she will never be able to progress her own self growth beyond ego identification and she will never be able to develop the wisdom of compassion and empathy which comes with age. She will despise what she perceives as weakness and will become haughty and arrogant and cold. She will alienate others and will become alienated from her own children eventually because she will choose a partner like her father who will control her – her partner may even align with her father against her eventually. She will become like her mother, alienated and dismissed and she will feel despair and loneliness and wonder what happened to her. What she needs now and always is the continued ‘loving into the void’ from her mother, she needs to know and experience even at the margins of her life, that her mother survives. The richer her mother’s life, the more engaged in true joy and happiness her mother can be, the more the daughter has access to the antidote to her father’s bleak landscape of life. Parenting a child like this requires you to be the most healthy, the most in touch with living you can possibly be, you may never see or hear from your daughter but you need to live and live as well as you can to give her a living template of hope and escape from the hell she doesn’t know awaits her. Sending you love Willow x

      Liked by 1 person

      • everythinghappensforareason · August 25

        amen, karen! deep down, that’s always been my belief (providing a ‘living template’) but despite one hell of an up-hill struggle over 16 years i now know that was the only and best way to go. as you say, it’s the ‘bigger picture’ and long-term we need to keep our focus on

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      • Anonymous · August 25

        Karen-this is scary and too close to home “Do it at the age of 15 and prevent the natural return of the daughter to identification with her mother through bribery, coercion, lies and so on and you have the perfect storm.” My daughter is now 29 and what you describe above is too close to my situation. It saddens and breaks my heart. And yes to this day I feel she attempts to alienate other people to the fold. She is in the prime time in her life yet with so much emotional trauma to deal with unbeknownst to herself. You are right. The father had the power over me with his created and fabricated lies. I admit I was scared with his actions and continuous plot to go the police and authorities and claim I abused the children. He did this multiple times in an effort to make the lies stick. I felt his plan was to put me in jail. I was so scared and confused. I was worried for my life. He even sent the children with power to hit me or push me down the steps. This must have appeared as weakness in the eyes of my daughter. This also scared the children to align with the father. I am still learning. I survived all his vicious attacks. I am strong now, but i don’t how strong i have to be. I can’t fix the PA. Loving into the void is not easy task. Can anything be done to rescue my daughters.

        Anonymous-mother of three

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      • scsoeg · August 25

        This is scary. I wondered if the children were exposed to the narcissistic personality of the alienating parent and with the deficit of the personality of the healthy parent would it have much impact on the children’s personality. Please give us more information on this Karen. How to be with our children when they behave like the alienating parent on chance meetings or when they finally come back.

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  4. scsoeg · August 24

    They may not be monsters but they still torture their children and their other parent and get pleasure from doing it. That’s not right. I have known people who have had horrendous childhoods and do not take it out on others. It is a choice to behave this way and they should not be excused nor their actions justified.

    If the alienators motive for alienating the children is to destroy and ruin the life of another person does that not make them a monster especially when they do not care that they are harming the children. They use the children with no regard for their suffering now or in the future. They do not care about the destruction they cause. That behaviour seems more like a monsters than a human beings. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour. It is inhumane. Child abuse is inhumane.

    I understand that there are different types and degrees of alienation and parents genuinely think sometimes that it is better for their children not to have contact with the other parent. I thought that at a time when my children were being distressed because of irregular contact. I got a play therapist for my child. I learned from her that almost always it is better for a child to have contact with both parent so they have two experiences, their lives are more complete and they will be able to choose the life they want for themselves – what they want to take from their mum and what they want to take from their dad. They will grow up to be better rounded and choose the life they want for themselves.

    I am lonely, incredibly lonely. The alienator alienated my children, my family and some of my friends. It is not an excuse for me to treat anyone callously. I listened to the words it might not be right but it makes me feel better from the alienator which chilled me, My children and I feel the full force of these words now.

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    • karenwoodall · August 25

      Sceog, it is horrible to be so lonely and to be so alienated from others and the alienating parent’s words are cruel beyond belief, that is a hard burden for you to have to carry alone. The starting point however is for you to understand that this is not about you, it is not personal although it feels desperately so. This is about the alienating parent’s distorted and dysfunctional behaviour patterns and the power they have over the children.

      Thinking of alienators as monsters gives them more power than they deserve to possess, for if they are monsters there is nothing but nothing you can do. Monsters are for fairy tales, this is real life, they are people and as people you can understand what, why, when and how. And understanding this provides you with an escape route for your children. You may not be able to activate that escape route immediately but you can work that route over time to keep all the doors open.

      In the meantime you must recover something of your self and strength which is a journey in itself but which is not impossible. All those who travel this route will tell you the same thing. You have to learn to live for yourself and recover your life and your soul and your reason for getting up in the morning. Do that first and then you are in place where you can plan the changes which are necessary.

      You are not alone. Many many others travel this path. This is a human problem replicated all over the world.

      Sending you my best support.

      K

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous · August 25

        I can relate so much to your response scsoeg. I am on this path that Karen speaks of. It is a lonely journey. You do learn and become stronger each day. You find a reason or a thread of strength somehow to keep going. But the overwhelming feeling of loneliness of missing the children only dissipates because you busy yourself with life. As soon as your thoughts are free the children are there and you are thinking of them. They never escape your thoughts. And when major milestone events occur in your children’s life i.e. graduation, confirmation, birthdays, holidays, marriage, grandchildren, you find yourself working with your roller coaster emotions and dealing with the facts you are missing from their life. And missing so much of their lives. I feel no matter how strong you are and how you moved on your journey it still leaves a mark on your life.

        Anonymous-mother of three

        Liked by 1 person

      • scsoeg · August 25

        Karen my life is really good in many other areas. I have a job where I am being paid to help and support people and I do it well. I love it, it is well paid and the team are lovely people. I have only returned to the workplace after 14 years, 11 of which involved looking after my children full-time. I feel dead lucky in this respect.

        I approached one of the leading academics in social work and created the opportunity to teach social work students at Queen’s University about the counter-intuitive nature of parental alienation and join the Social Work Training Consultative Training Committee. He guided me to undertake further study and research, fully funded which I am doing over the next 2 years.

        I have a lovely group of friends, most of whom I have met in the recent past. I have learned so much since my life was turned on its head – life lessons that I am truly grateful for. I have learned so much about myself and what I want out of life and how to manage what I want less of.

        I play the fiddle, Irish traditional music and I love it. I meet with other musicians a couple of times a week and I enjoy their company. I find that people like to be around me now because I have learned to love myself and embrace the life I want.

        I am making the most of my life I think, creating opportunities for myself but it is hard, life is hard.
        The grief is there. When I close the door of my home, the silence screams at me, my heart breaks again. How do you ever come to terms with or lessen the heartache of loss of the wonder and beauty of your kids. You can put a mask on and even forget what has happened at times when you get engrossed in something but the pain follows you. Does it ever lessen? I have had therapy. I don’t want to talk about it again and again, relive the past. Is it about accepting the way it is until a door opens?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. CG · August 25

    Whenever i saw the AP in my situation, and its been a long time now, she always seemed full of repressed fury, even when on the couple of occasions I saw her in the street, and she didn’t see me. Her face was fixed in a scowl and she walked with heavy speed. it seemed like she was moving in her own black cloud. I struggle with rage against her. I get she had problems as a child, and intellectually I reason that no-one really would, surely, willingly want to be in this situation, but she has shown only extreme, vicious, visceral, sustained cruelty to her son’s father in abusing her son to reject him, and as a divorced mother myself I see how much it means to my own children to have their Dad in their lives, on their own terms. So I’m short on empathy or pity for her.

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  6. Anonymous · August 25

    Thank-you Karen for your kind words and your compassion. I have been working hard to make a life for myself over the last four years and am in a much better place physically and emotionally. Today I received my first paycheck in 14 years and I feel really proud of how far I have come in my working life. I am also going into training and research funded by a local university and health trust. The topic – parental alienation. And am working with the other local university to prepare to teach second year social work students on the same subject. Preparation for this is taking the emotional and personal out it and this will be good because in all honesty I think no-one who was well would willing cause so much hurt.

    I have learned to take one day at a time and make the most of it and opportunities have started to come my way which is making my life much more fulfilling. I have learned to take good care of myself and build up a lovely support network around me and I know my kids will be proud of me when they come back. I am proud of myself and I have recognised how good it feels to use the power within me to make a difference in a positive way. I will get there because I can box the nightmare of alienation and not let it consume me and this is something I have had to learn to do.

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  7. Willow · August 25

    Karen your passage (below) was interesting, very interesting:

    You wrote : Do it at the age of 15 and prevent the natural return of the daughter to identification with her mother through bribery, coercion, lies and so on and you have the perfect storm. What will happen to the daughter is that she will never be able to progress her own self growth beyond ego identification and she will never be able to develop the wisdom of compassion and empathy which comes with age. She will despise what she perceives as weakness and will become haughty and arrogant and cold. She will alienate others and will become alienated from her own children eventually because she will choose a partner like her father who will control her – her partner may even align with her father against her eventually.

    The bit where you wrote “She will despise what she perceives as weakness and will become haughty and arrogant and cold. ” describes my now 36 year old daughter PERFECTLY. It is 100% true.

    The rest deviates. My daughter has been adamant from a young age that she never wants children – daddy dearest with lots of laughs and ‘banter’ (with her) told her more times than I care to remember that childbirth is disgusting and babies and toddlers are boring until they can hold a proper, grown up conversation. Perhaps that’s why my husband chose the age of 15 to start on her – by 15 she could hold a proper grown up conversation – but I do remember the day before then when he proudly (with a big grin on his face) told me that he could always get round her because she hated him to think badly of her. That comment stuck in my mind (as did his absolute pleasure in telling me) but I didn’t see it then as manipulation and the glee of a controlling person. I am glad she doesn’t children because I’m glad it will end here.

    Neither has my daughter chosen a partner like her father (unless you count the fact that both are very practical and she chose a man who would always work with her (for her) as she began her ‘property empire’. The bonus being that he’d also cook and shop for her (unlike my husband who thought such things women’s work). I liked her partner (now her husband). He was a hard working bloke but had no money at all, he lived with his mum. All the money was hers through the bank of mum and dad. He was always pleasant to me. But when push came to shove and I was on the verge of leaving, he told me “I don’t want to get involved”. He didn’t want to get involved because SHE (my daughter) called all the shots, I know that she did. He once stepped out of her line and she came down on him like a ton of bricks. I saw then flashes of how she treated me. But she was also very, very protective of him, just as she was of her dad. Her partner is a nice bloke but now I can see that he’s weak – anything for a quiet life. He reminds me of my father who was totally controlled by my narcissistic mother but protected and adored her to the day she died.

    My daughter is presently in 1000 miles away in Europe with her dad who is racing. I know that because I look at the website connected to the racing. Like me, her husband doesn’t go with them. My daughter is part of the governing body and the life and soul of the party with the other racers. I suspect that one day, when her dad no longer races and becomes old and frail, she might just ditch him as she (they) got rid of me. It’s all so very sad.

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    • karenwoodall · August 25

      what a tragedy, your daughter’s father alienated her from her own right and desire to have children even before she was old enough to think about what having children meant. One day she will realise that her life was stolen by her father and it will be too late to go back and live it again because it will be gone. Her partner is her replacement for her mother, someone who is easily pushed aside by her father, she has re-created the dynamics of her childhood, just as we all do, in a bid to right the wrongs of the past. When her father dies or becomes too frail, your daughter may have a breakthrough moment. She will notice, at certain times however, that the depth of her love for her father is ankle deep not ocean deep and she will notice that behind the love he shows for her there is a howling black void that she must ensure does not ever fully appear. You, in your existence however, provide an anchoring point, a point which she cannot ignore no matter how much she tries for blood truly is thicker than water and whilst ever you are alive (and even if you died) you cannot ever be fully erased. You have to live and live as fully as you can and let her see that living as much as you can. You have to be steadfastly and forever as healthy as you can be, you must turn your face to the sun and find your own shadow and learn about everything you need to know about yourself. This is your life, this is your journey and you must live it to the best of your ability. That provides an anchor point, an escape route, that is your role right now if you choose to accept it. xx

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      • scsoeg · August 25

        This is so sad. I feel sick to the pit of my stomach when I read your experience Willow. The professionals who made the decisions in relation to protecting my children did not protect them. I have got my foot in the academic door in the field of social work to bring awareness and change in this field.I find it unacceptable that those whose work it is to protect children are getting it wrong so often. I don’t understand why there is such reluctance to deal with it. The counter-intuitive nature of parental alienation is easier to bury than to expose. That leaves children in the unhealthy place for a very long time because the alienator cannot see or change what they are doing. Their beliefs are fixed even when they get information to counteract them. They are not capable of change without the help of professionals and sometimes not even with the help. Professionals I believe need to get their act together – whatever it takes – and do what they are being paid to do – protect children.

        I agree with Karen. You are and always will be part of your daughter’s life. You will always be her mother. She is lucky to have such a loving, strong mum who keeps going. You are willing to learn what you can do so you can be the best support to your daughter when she comes back inspite of the pain. Whatever maker you fulfilled, do that. Whatever makes you feel like a really good person, do that. Share your love and your joy with others and when your daughter comes back you can bring her into your world of fulfilment and limitless possibilities. Sending love and light.

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  8. Anonymous · August 25

    I co-parent in a life which has had its’ ups and downs and the tendency to alienate has never been far from the agenda.
    I accept that I cannot change the attitude of my former partner but that I can be influential in my children’s lives. My eldest has some weird ideas that were her mother’s but I cannot change that, my youngest is overly protective of his mother.
    But I have accepted this and view my time with my children not as a correctional exercise but instead one where I can have good positive exchanges with them and build up a trusting relationship.
    However dysfunctional my former partner may or may not be it is up to me to stay fit and healthy and continue to be the anchor and refuge for my children. When I first started to have troubles in my relationship the Head teacher described my family as dysfunctional. At that time, I was affronted, upset because I saw myself as blameless, but now I realise it has nothing to do with who is to blame. What she was talking about was family dynamics, how we all influence each other by the way we behave.
    If you are stuck in a family dynamic where you feel controlled by the chief puppeteer, who not only strings you along but also leads the children a merry dance then you must seek ways of not being your former partner’s puppet. When I see the children, they leave their strings behind and take the wings that I leave under the plant pot with the key at the front door.
    For my situation, at least that has all come from me, and it’s been hard, and I could do better I know that much. All these pearls of wisdom that come from Karen’s knowledge and experience makes the journey easier.

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  9. Peter · August 25

    Thank you Karen. Another beautiful post about such a terrible subject. When you write about placing yourself in the path of the wrath of the AP (and children), I think about the dynamic between BPDs and their psychologists. And the risk to those psychologists who place themselves in targeted danger. I do a lot of praying these days, I will add to those the prayer that you will remain safe in face of danger that you volunteer to face on a regular basis.

    I’d also like to add that besides how valuable your writing is to me, the comments add just so much. Knowing that each screen name represents such heartache let’s me know that I am not nearly as alone as I often feel.

    My youngest has her first day of college next Tuesday. I assume she is already away at school. But I can only assume. This one is another in a series of crushing triggers. Every car with a school decal proudly displayed in the back window…

    Thank you.

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  10. Willow · August 25

    Karen thank you for your insight. I think your bit about “ankle deep” may well be true.

    My husband once passed on a ‘criticism’ of my daughter that I shared with him but asked him not to say anything to daughter. This was only a few years before I left when he thought he could say and do anything. Of course he got straight on the phone to her. She wasn’t available to take his call (since she was at work) so he left a message and she rang him back as we were walking her dog along the beach. I couldn’t hear what she said to him but when he got off the phone he looked at me and said “She’s just spoken to me how she speaks to you”. All I said was “Well, now you know how it feels”. He was shocked that she would ever dare answer him back. (Didn’t stop her tearing me down later). As far as I know she never spoke like that to her dad again but he sure as hell made the rest of my day miserable with his berating of me for causing his beloved daughter to speak to him that way. All I could think was “Yes, you jolly well DO know what you’re doing”.

    It is a great pity that he wasn’t into fishing. Racing was much too exciting and held too much by way of a social life for an attractive teenage girl who acted like a magnet for other boaters and allowed daddy to bask in her glow all the while boosting his ego and inflating his self image. Had he been into something like fishing I have a feeling he’d not have manipulated her so easily because she wouldn’t have been interested.

    As for me, I’ve joined a local Meet Up Group which is thriving in my new town. Last Saturday eight of us (and four dogs including mine) walked round a lake in the pouring rain and went for a meal. It was wonderful. I really enjoyed it. For the first time I spent a whole day not thinking about or speaking about THEM. Pooch and I are walking with them again next Friday. I hope it goes as well as the last one. That day made me realise that I will be OK 🙂

    Like

  11. Carl · 28 Days Ago

    This is why you’re the number one, number one. x

    Like

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