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When one parent turns child against the other parent

(12 Posts)
KatharineAllan Fri 12-Dec-14 16:37:08

Dear All
I was looking around on the Internet for support when I came across a thread posted by caz4366 on this site in August 2012. Are you still out there caz? I do hope your situation has improved in the last two plus years.
The reason I am posting this now is because my situation bears remarkable similarities to that which caz describes: The oldest daughter is turned against her mother by her father, causing indescribable pain not only to the mother but to the siblings still living with the mother, whilst also damaging the daughter who is trying to live a motherless life. There was a wonderfully reassuring response to caz4366 from lola88, who described how when she was young her father had turned her against her mother, but that in time she realised what he had done....
If anyone out there has anything supportive to say, please respond to me. I would be so grateful. Here is my story:
I left my husband in September 2011, having lived with him since 1997 and been driven into clinical depression followed by ME/CFS by his controlling, bullying, manipulative ways. Our two daughters, A and J, chose to live with me. All was well until September 2013 when I had the audacity to go on a date with another man. Up til then I had kept S sweet by not asking for money, letting him see A and J whenever he wanted, and generally letting him come and go as if he owned the place. The night I went for my date with D, S was surprisingly willing to baby-sit. On my return A was incredibly angry with me - saying I was only seeing D to get back at S, claiming S and I were going to get back together, that I was a selfish whose only motivation in life was to make those around me unhappy... And off she went to live with her father, 9th Sept 2013. I did not see her again until May 2014. If I rang him he said I couldn't speak to A because I upset her too much. When I asked what I had done wrong he just said "You know what you have done. You know what you are like..."
In May 2014 A sent me a text asking to meet and from then, until now, saw me, although at first it was a secret from her dad, and I have always had to pick her up not from his house. She would lie to him about where she was if she slept over, but luckily he never checked up where his 15 year old daughter was (!). Since discovering that A sees me S has regularly wound her up about things and blamed me for them (he is particularly venomous at the moment because I am divorcing him and there are financial issues to resolve). A then gets angry with me, calls me a lying, selfish, manipulative evil mother, the cause of all her problems ('lying' because what I say doesn't tally with what her father has said) and then storms off. I never know when she will be back. It has never been as long as the first nine month gap, but I don't find that reassuring. Further to her most recent tirade on Wednesday, I am anticipating a long wait - I missed Christmas with her plus her birthday in January last year, and am preparing myself for it being the same this year (especially as we are in Court on 2nd Jan. A has already blamed me for S's financial problems, despite the fact that he has never paid me anything plus has sold OUR family home and kept all the proceeds!)
Following my separation from S in 2011, A began to show more and more mental health problems. First it was cutting herself. Then it was depression and the complete inability to get out of bed. She started to miss A LOT of school and if she did go to school she would have panic attacks and then run away. In June 2013 she took her first paracetamol overdose, and again in July 2013. She seemed to be a bit better in August, but then her father made his move in September 2013. She overdosed a further five times (that I know of) between moving in with him and April 2014. Nobody would involve me (hospital, CAMHS, doctors) because I'm not the resident parent and because A tells them not to. She hardly went to school at all for the whole of Year 10. So it is against this background that I am saddened to find that she is still cutting (well, she was on Tuesday of this week) and has taken up smoking cannabis regularly (at least every Sunday afternoon, according to her Twitter account). Her father continues to make absolutely no effort to get her to school, check who she is with or what she is up to, even if she is away overnight. A social worker was involved in September / October 2014 but went away saying A didn't seem to be at risk. Her father had said all the right things; A herself had said "I'm fine. Go away." So they did.
I feel that S has completely taken advantage of this vulnerable person and uses her to get back at me, with no consideration for the damage it does her. S's behaviour towards me was often very passive aggressive - refusing to communicate and keeping me in the dark about things being favourite methods. He now takes ignoring me to new levels, even though I am only sharing information on his daughters (since August this year J has refused to see her father, so I am trying to fix that as well). I often try to stay completely away, from A and from S. But then my maternal instinct pulls me back because no matter how much damage it causes me, I absolutely want to help her in so many areas of her life.
Anyway, thanks for your time in reading this. Sorry it was so lengthy.
Kate

badbaldingballerina123 Sat 13-Dec-14 12:23:01

Google parental alienation syndrome. It's well recognized in other countries and is nearly always inflicted by someone who is personality disordered.

HedgehogsDontBite Sat 13-Dec-14 21:54:21

I really feel for you and your poor daughter. What a nightmare to see the slow motion car crash of your child's life and be powerless to stop it. sad

I don't know what the 'right' thing to do is, but my gut tells me that you need to be consistent. Don't involve her in the battles with your ex, be honest with her, make sure she knows you love and that the door is always open for her to come home and don't hold her messed up behaviour against her. She will wake up and see the truth eventually.

LittleLionMansMummy Sun 14-Dec-14 08:53:23

Hi OP how awful for you, I'm so sorry. My dh is alienated from one of his daughters and has been for 3.5 years. Things have never been as bad as you describe as dsd just cut herself off completely and is completely no contact. It was very hard on dh at first. He continues to send cards for birthdays and Christmas so she knows the door is still open, but there is nothing else he can do as she refuses to see him or speak to him. My advice is to continue to subtly let your dd know you will always be there but explain you are very hindered.

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 21:37:20

Dear badbaldingballerina123 - Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Have googled parental alienation syndrome, and WOW - that was scary! There was my situation in all its warped intricacies. Gave me a lot of insight and really great to feel that I am not alone, so that was really helpful. Thanks!
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 21:52:41

Dear HedgehogsDontBite - That is an amazing description of how it feels - "the slow motion car crash of your child's life", and being powerless to stop it. You have really hit the nail on the head! I don't know what the "right" thing to do is either, but I have been doing what you suggest... How to behave with my child is not so much a problem as what to do where her father is concerned (if anything). As we all know, we can't change people so I guess with him it's just a question of damage limitation... Anyway, it was lovely to feel that you understand and I really appreciate your good advice. Thanks!
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 21:52:41

Dear HedgehogsDontBite - That is an amazing description of how it feels - "the slow motion car crash of your child's life", and being powerless to stop it. You have really hit the nail on the head! I don't know what the "right" thing to do is either, but I have been doing what you suggest... How to behave with my child is not so much a problem as what to do where her father is concerned (if anything). As we all know, we can't change people so I guess with him it's just a question of damage limitation... Anyway, it was lovely to feel that you understand and I really appreciate your good advice. Thanks!
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 21:52:41

Dear HedgehogsDontBite - That is an amazing description of how it feels - "the slow motion car crash of your child's life", and being powerless to stop it. You have really hit the nail on the head! I don't know what the "right" thing to do is either, but I have been doing what you suggest... How to behave with my child is not so much a problem as what to do where her father is concerned (if anything). As we all know, we can't change people so I guess with him it's just a question of damage limitation... Anyway, it was lovely to feel that you understand and I really appreciate your good advice. Thanks!
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 21:52:41

Dear HedgehogsDontBite - That is an amazing description of how it feels - "the slow motion car crash of your child's life", and being powerless to stop it. You have really hit the nail on the head! I don't know what the "right" thing to do is either, but I have been doing what you suggest... How to behave with my child is not so much a problem as what to do where her father is concerned (if anything). As we all know, we can't change people so I guess with him it's just a question of damage limitation... Anyway, it was lovely to feel that you understand and I really appreciate your good advice. Thanks!
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 21:52:42

Dear HedgehogsDontBite - That is an amazing description of how it feels - "the slow motion car crash of your child's life", and being powerless to stop it. You have really hit the nail on the head! I don't know what the "right" thing to do is either, but I have been doing what you suggest... How to behave with my child is not so much a problem as what to do where her father is concerned (if anything). As we all know, we can't change people so I guess with him it's just a question of damage limitation... Anyway, it was lovely to feel that you understand and I really appreciate your good advice. Thanks!
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 22:04:31

Dear LittleLionMansMummy - Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and give me your support. I think in ways it must be WORSE for your dh not to see his daughter at all. Heart-breaking. I hate to say this, but if his daughter's mother had given the right encouragement, I'm sure his daughter would have stayed in touch, he has done nothing wrong after all. The fact that it is all so avoidable makes it even more awful! Anyway, good luck to you and your family.
Kate

KatharineAllan Mon 15-Dec-14 22:14:50

Apologies to all for posting the same message five times! Aaaaaargh!
Kate

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