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Parental Alienation

Craig_1984's picture

PLEASE PLEASE READ CAREFULY AND HELP - Dear All, I hope you are all well and keeping strong. I REALLY need help and as a father I would like to genuinely know if am in the wrong.. its a long story so a lot of you may read every second word but if you have the time please read and be as honest as possible. I need genuinely answers and if I'm in the wrong I'd really like to know , critique but please try be heartful as I've been in a bad place for a long time about this.
I found out from my ex that she was pregnant with my child 2/3 months after we had broken up, her coming from and staunch Afrikaans family I decided to be the person to break the news to avoid her parents from being angry with her, I was 27 at the time and she was 24. I told her not to stress about it, I then saw her almost immediately and told her not to panic that I would take care of her and our child.
we weren't together as we really didn't get along and the fighting (Although far from physically abusive) was just too much for me and I decided to leave, My thoughts were that I'd rather let my son come from a broken family than living IN one. (was I wrong? should I have just stayed, bare in mind fighting was a daily occurrence, we just didn't get along at all). She called me a few days later telling me that if I left she would make sure I never saw my son again and had a restraining order placed against me. When he was born, her family kept it from me and I found out through a social media post... (Whoop Whoop in labour, I'll be a mommy soon)
I took her to court to throw the order out as it was completely fabricated and I wanted to be in my sons life (She was pregnant at the time which in hindsight makes me feel pretty shitty) The judge saw right through her dishonesty, every thing she said genuinely was dishonest. I have fought tooth and nail to see my son growing up and he screamed every time I would pick him up and within 5 minutes of us being together (literally 5 min-ish) and we would have such fantastic time together, once I dropped him off his mother would call me shouting that I hadn't fed him and he was crying of hunger.. I come from and grew up in a very loving close-nit family and always treated him well, never shouted at him and always made a fuss about him being there and fed him incredibly well.
Long story short, I once went to he's house and as I was holding him he fell asleep and blamed me for hurting him, she pressed the panic button and I then decided to leave, the security at the gate never came as apparently she often presses the panic button (although only once with me, not sure about the other times) I became scared she would hit herself with a pan or something and blame me which would have horrific consequences so I stayed away for about a month or so, she then moved to Benoni where she knew no one and far from her family just to make it more difficult to see him as I stay about 60kms to see him. Every social worker enjoyed had no issue with me, we then went to a high profile child psychologist which she chose and the report was devastating for her and read that she had directly and indirectly alienated my son from me, it also said she has created an enmeshed relationship between my son and her. The only issue I had was that the Social worker said I had poor paternal instinct which 
I disagreed with but she is a professional and I decided to go to parenting classes to help myself.
During all of this she slept with my attorney which was a clear indication of her intention to destroy my case. We had a parenting plan in place but was difficult to stick to based on he's lack of wanted to see or speak to me and her not being at home when I got there, I also refused to go when she was in a foul mood because I promised to never fight or argue when my son was around.
I paid generous maintenance until her was 5/6 years old, It was such a battle to see him (I know maintenance and visitation are seen as completely different) but I decided to start paying late strategically to try force her to rather let me just see him, that didn't happen. He since has not answered my calls and refuses to speak to me nor come out of he's house when I try to visit or fetch him. I know this was against the law as I had a high court order but I really didn't want his mouther to land up in jail.
I have only seen him maybe 10 times in 3 years, it absolutely kills me to a stage of suicidal thoughts, which isn't who I am as I have a positive outlook to life. She has since married and surnames have changed and he is the only one who has a different surname which isn't mine or he's mothers ( basically he's own surname now, she wont give him my surname, I've been asked to give him her new husbands surname so he doesn't feel "out", for the best for my son I'm considering it, not sure how to deal with that, I need to put my ego and pride aside and think what's best for him. He has a great step father thank God.
What do I do? carry on fighting or waiting a few years until he's old enough to make he's own decision, of course I'll keep in contact but he absolutely hates me for obvious reasons.
Have I failed him? have I tried hard enough? what do I do, I want the very best for him, please excuse my grammar and spelling errors.
I send him voice notes every second/third day but his mother says he doesn't want to listen to them and doesn't want to reply.
This is an alias account I've created so I can be as honest as possible without being detonated.
I need help, this is breaking me.. I cannot live without him :( 


Rumplestiltskin's picture

You need to follow the custody order and have BM held in contempt if she doesn't allow it to be followed. Not with drama and yelling, but through your lawyer (not the one she's sleeping with, get a new one) and the courts.

I don't see where you say how old he is, and the longer this has gone on, the harder these patterns will be to break. But, you can't let this crazy woman have all the power. Don't speak or text harshly. All business, calm and controlled. But don't be a pushover.

One of my SO's kids refuses to stay with his BM. She has a history of abuse, neglect, and false accusations. The court ordered the kid and her to go to therapy. That may be what has to happen for you if he's older and is refusing.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Harsh, but honest answer:

Either decide that you're going to enforce the court order or stop seeing your son altogether.

Yes, enforcing the court order and seeing your son may land your ex in jail. However, that is HER (and her new husband's) problem. YOUR goal is to be a good father to your son, a court has given you the means to do just that, and they seem willing to enforce the court order. So, follow it. Even if it gets your ex into hot water.

Either decision you make, though, needs to come with you getting some therapy to deal with your emotional trauma from this. Not seeing your son is painful, but you can't rely on seeing or not seeing him to quell your suicidal thoughts. Similar to how you took parenting classes to be a better parent, you need to figure out how to come to peace with the situation and how it affects it. I'm not saying you have to like the situation; I'm just saying you need to start healing from it, for both you AND him.

Finally, did you have a paternity test done to make sure he is your son? Legally it may not make a difference anymore, but if there has ever been any question in your mind about it, getting proof may help. If he isn't, letting go may be easier. If he is, that may help you choose to fight or let him go. Sometimes fathers end up in this wishy-washy state of not knowing what to do because they don't have confidence that they're really the father. They don't want the woman who has hurt them to hurt them further by one day telling everyone that they aren't dad and laughing at their expense when their world crumbles.

I am sorry that she is doing this to you. But, you seemingly have a court system that is on your side. That is rare. You can't make your ex care more about her son than she cares about hating and destroying you, so do what YOU need to do to be a good father, whether that be staying and fighting per your CO or leaving him entirely to keep the peace.

tog redux's picture

Try to enforce the court order, but if your courts are anything like ours, it won't work once he's a certain age and they let him choose.

Above all, focus on your mental health. It's awful to lose a child this way, but it's not the end of the world. Make yourself the best you can be, build a positive life full of caring people who love you. You truly can survive this, and you can thrive as well. 

Also do your best to keep in touch with him however you can, or at least make sure he knows you are still there and still love him. Google "Karen Woodall UK parental alienation". Her blog helped me a lot when my DH was going through this. Her expression was to "keep the door open for the child but don't sit by it waiting". 

When your son comes looking for you he doesn't need to find a broken dad. Take care of yourself. 

ESMOD's picture

You say your son hates you for obvious reasons.  TBH.. I don't see those in this post.  I mean, you haven't been as big of a part of his life as you would have liked.... but that, in general, shouldn't translate to "hate".

As the others said.. you need to be enforcing the CO... and it takes two to fight.. she can be in as foul of a mood as she likes.. you can simply knock.. get your son and leave without a word to her.. if there is a fight wouldn't it be one sided then?

I mean, honestly.. you are choosing to deprive him of a father by not taking your custody time... that needs to stop if you want a chance to turn it around.

Mamabearof3's picture

Put her in jail dude. She deserves it. Keep doing your best. You're doing good. But she's sick and hurting your son. Enforce the order. 

Dogmom1321's picture

Take care of your mental health first. Even if that means stepping back to "regroup" and focus on yourself for a bit. Your son doesn't need a broken father. Be the best "you" you can be. 

How old is he? Are you thinking about waiting a few years until he can decide? Let's say you do go down the road of getting shared custody... is that something you thing DS would even want? Or in a few years, will he decide to go live with BM anyway?

It's sad, but true. PAS is a real thing. Kids rarely recognize it as an adult even. It's easier for them to blame the "absent" parent, rather than to admit your mother is a narcisstic & manipulative person. 

Also, don't feel guilty. BM basically tried to blackmail you to stay in a relationship, or else never see your son. She never had ANY intentions of coparenting with you. 

Ispofacto's picture

It's not normal for a child to reject a parent.  Dr. Craig Childress talks about it but I can't find that video.  Evolution dictates that a child's need to attach to its parents is so strong it will try to attach to a parent even if they are abusive.

Here is a video by Craig Childress mentioning the symptoms you describe