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PAS successful with SD17. Need advice please

StrawberryPie's picture

I don't even know how to start this.  It has been such a tough go of things.  But this week was the culmination of it all.  Like many of us on here, the BM is a real piece of work.  Very high conflict, filled with bitterness and hatred toward my DH, and then consequently me - only because I married him (she got remarried before my DH and I were dating so I would have thought she moved on, but omg the bitterness is unreal).  It got so bad last year, I finally, got a stalking order against her.  Needless to say, it was very bad. 

Over the course of the last 5 years (maybe longer but I only came in the picture 5 yrs ago so I don't know what it was like before that), BM has been working her magic on alientating the kids from their father - and this past week she was finally successful with SD17.  SD17 is like a mini-BM.  The final event, but there have been many many events over the years, was when I was sick with the flu.  DH suggested to BM the kids not come because there was active flu in the house, BM said no way - I'm sending the kids.  Then DH insisted she not.  She got really mad and told the kids their Dad doesn't want to see them.  That he is a bad dad and doesn't care about them.  etc etc.  Anyway, SD17 declared she doesn't want to see her dad or communicate with him anymore.  Not only that, she decided she is also not communicating with her grandmother (DH's mom) - no idea why, other than her grandmother is connected to her dad.  I know this wasn't about the flu, but this was the event that made SD17 declare she hates her dad.

It is all very sad.  My DH is absolutely distraught.  He loves his daughter.  And he is a very caring and loving dad.  The email SD17 sent her dad was very strange.  He showed it to me and I have never heard a kid write / talk like that.  It almost sounded like she was divorcing her dad.  Like I said, very strange.

So I know you all have good advice.  And I am hoping you can share it.  I'm distraught for my DH.  I love him and hate to see him hurting.  And since this is not my kid, I have very different feelings.  I am angry at how terrible SD17 is being to her dad - even though she has probably been heavily infuenced by her mom, she is days away from being 18.  So the way I see it, she is accountable for her actions.  

How do I support my DH through this?  (In no way, will I support any games SD17 wants to play.  Like 'dad, I need $$ forXYZ' and then back to radio silence.)  

What can I expect from SS14 - is it just a matter of time before he decides he hates his dad for no reason?

Will SD17 eventually come around and realize her mom has basically brainwashed her?  

Any kind words or advice would be helpful.  This has been such a hard time and I feel so torn between my heart breaking for my DH and lots of anger towards SD17.


sharlyns's picture

You poor thing..don't feel bad! Really your DH needs to grow a pair. You can only do so much. Take care of yourself.  The child is only doing what her BM tells her.  And well no matter what that's still her mom..unfortunately.  Just be there. Don't interfere and don't let BM know its causing issues.  Just agree and move on. It's not going to change til DH has her own kids..and that's a long way from here. But have faith. They eventually come around even if its later in life!

You're doing your best! And that itself is enough!

strugglingSM's picture

I don't have much good advice, but I can commiserate. We are nearly in the same situation. I have known DH for five years, been married for 3. By the time I met him, BM was already remarried, but her level of vitriol toward DH is unreal. I don't have a protection order against her, because I don't come into contact with her at all. 

BM has been actively PA'ing the kids at least since long before I've known DH (from what I've heard, she was PA'ing the kids even while they were still married). 

From the summer of 2018 through the summer of 2019, BM went on a total rampage, telling everyone who would listen that it was traumatic for both SSs to come to our home. She tried to get a court order to reduce DH's custody time (currently EOWE) for one SS, threatening to take DH to court if he didn't immediately select a therapist for both boys. After the mediation, at which point, he gave up Friday evenings with one SS, agreed to give BM more money than she is entitled to, and agreed to go to counseling with that same SS, all of a sudden the children were fine. SS stayed away on Friday evenings for three visitations before BM just told DH he would be returning to the regular visitation cycle. When DH told SS, at a counseling session, that if he dind't want to come to our home, DH wouldn't force him, BM contacted DH and screamed, "you can't change the visitation schedule without consulting with me!!" Both SSs who were in counseling stopped going after less than 3 months. DH only found out when he attended his third counseling session with SS and the counselor mentioned something about neither child going anymore. 

Both SSs still regularly report back to BM during and after visitation weekends. One SS will regularly tell BM how much he hates DH. However, now that BM knows that DH will no longer fight to keep SS coming to our home, she won't agree to making any changes to the visitation schedule. When SS contacts DH and asks if he can skip a weekend, DH will say yes and then BM will send him a nasty message saying he had no right to change anything without consulting with her first. When SSs call DH to change anything, he will ask if they have spoken with BM, they always say yes and BM always tells him, "I had no idea what they asked you to do." She told DH that he had to reach out to her. DH requested the same - that if either SS approaches her to change the schedule that she send him a message (via Our Family Wizard), she gives a million excuses as to why she can't. 

Recently, DH was admitted to the hospital unexpectedly. He told BM that he couldn't take SSs for that weekend (they are teens, not toddlers). She told DH that he was disappointing his children and that he owed her $1100 for not taking the children that weekend. SSs made other plans and didn't seem concerned about DH. 

I suspect that one SS will gradually become more and more PA'd and I know it will upset DH (he cried in the counseling session with SS and told him he was afraid of losing him), but honestly, I would be happy for the drama to be gone and I think part of DH will be happy for the drama to be gone as well. 

Some women just can't seem to control themselves. They can convince themselves that everything they are doing is "in the best interest of the children" even if its really about their own ego and feelings. 

Family court is also typically biased towards mothers and doesn't understand alienation at all, so it's not usually helpful to try to fight it in court. 

My only suggestion would be that your DH find a good counselor who can help support him and maybe if he gives SD17 space, while letting her know that she's welcome back anytime and he will always love her, that she'll come back in her own time. I still hold out hope that children eventually realize that they have been manipulated by the alienating parent, but I imagine it takes lots of time and lots of personal work with a therapist. Mothers who alienate don't typically limit their manipulation to badmouthing the other parent, they are typically manipulating in other areas as well. 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Are you sure she wrote the email? At the very least, it was probably written with the help of BM. It seems odd a 17 year old would email instead of text.

I know it is hard, but DH needs to back off. He should send some sort of a reply indicating that he is sorry she feels that way (not sorry for his actions, as he did nothing wrong) and he hopes she changes her mind. He should tell her he still loves her and let her know that she can contact him at any time. Then he should let it go "drop the rope" so to speak. He should send her a text or email every couple of weeks or so just letting her know he loves her and wait for her to reach out. If he pushes at this point all he is going to do is drive her away.

As to whether she will ever come around - it is hard to say. My SD was younger when she quit coming over and after a couple of years she and DH did reconnect. She even lived with us for a few months, before things went south again. When she quit visiting, DH was told by a therapist to let her go, that he was doing more damage by forcing her to visit.

I'm sure Tog will respond, her SS was completely alienated and is now back.

StrawberryPie's picture

I would be very surprised if SD17 wrote the email.  I suspect it was heavily crafted or entirely written by BM.  But either way, SD17 must have read it and clicked send.  So I feel like even if the words weren't her's directly, she did agree with the things in the email.  So hurtful.  I cannot wrap my head around these parents and kids who do this to the other parent.  It blows my mind.

SteppedOut's picture

What a freaking lunatic! Imagine what her husband thinks... a stalking charge due to her stalking her ex-husband's current wife. Honestly, in my mind, that is grounds for divorce. 

What kind of relationship does ss14 have with his dad? Is he a "strong personality"? If the relationship is not strong and he is not a step personality, then he also will likely succumb to PA. As to if the other will come around.... that is anyone's guess. Some do, some do not. 


StrawberryPie's picture

SS14 has a strong relationship with DH.  However, SS14 is a people pleasure and I have observed him (on occassion) lying to each parent because he is saying what he thinks the parent wants to hear.  My DH has a therapy appt to get him into therapy to hopefully head off the alienation of SS.

stepper47's picture

Similar situation with our family and my SD16, but fortunately no stalking (yikes) and for the most part we have had a civil relationship with BM over the 8 years we have been married.  In our case, I think BM truly believes she is the superior parent over my DH, she has a controlling and forceful personality and when DH has not gone along with what she thinks is right, she lets her opinions be known to the kids that he is Wrong. 

The big catalyst that led toward alienation for us was SD dropping in all random times to grab things, then it moved into SD wanting to pick and choose when she was going to stay where.  DH had 50/50 and his kids were with us about half of every week.  After SS went away to college, SD decided that schedule didn't work for her anymore and she would just let DH know when she was coming, usually all last minute.  There were times he would arrive to pick her up only to be told she wasn't coming, or she would call out of the blue and say she was staying at our house that night.   I couldn't deal with it, I need schedules and expectations, and never knowing when she was going to be here and basically take over our house with no responsibilities, and expect DH to be at her back and call, was too much for me.  At the time, DH was very much a permissive parent, and if I said anything against anything I was the bad guy. It was rough, and I withdrew a lot, which didn't help.   I eventually got him to agree that she check before stopping by, and do a few things like clean up her dishes and not soak the bathroom floor after she showered. That did not go over well with her, and turned into her saying she was not welcome here, fueled by BM saying "she is welcome at MY house anytime".   We had a rocky year with her coming over less, but I finally made a point to have a conversation with her to let her know I love her and that I have never meant to make her feel unwelcome.   Things seemed to thaw after that, and it seemed like she was sticking to a schedule and being more respectful.  DH was not giving in to as much, and it seemed like she was responding better with having a few boundaries rather than being allowed to run things.

Until last spring when he picked her and a friend up drunk from a party.  She was so out of it he almost took her to a hospital.  He was angry and I guess he did yell at her the next day, and she ended up calling BM to come get her.  He and BM agreed to ground her for a week, but he found out BM did not stick to it. When SD was supposed to come for her next weekend with him, she told him she was going to spend the night at a friend's one of the nights and he told her no bc she was still restricted.  She texted him similar to what your SD emailed, language that was not normal for a then 15 year old, talking about how he was supposed to consult with BM before any punishments because that was coparenting, and that she was just going to stay with her "real" parent.  When she finally came to stay for a weekend, she manipulated and snuck to get to a party, which he ended up going to get her from before it even started.  They had a huge fight, she called BM who scurried to get her, and she has not stayed here since.  BM and her boyfriend gave her the master bedroom the next week, which seemed an awful lot like a reward... 

At this point things are inconsistent.  She has come around here and there, but it often seems tied to her wanting something.   Once she invited him to dinner, but to tell him to pay her every month since she wasn't using our food and utilities.  He didn't hear from her for awhile after he said no, she threw a huge fit and said he was an awful person who doesn't care about her.  Since Thanksgiving things gave been a little better, but it was the season of gifts.  She asked DH to go to dinner again a few weeks ago, but that was about needing money for a prom dress, which he did give her. She will send texts continually for days when she needs him to help with doctor or dentist appointments, but then she will go for weeks without responding to him.  Appears it is back to not communicating at the moment.  

We just take things day by day. DH is heartbroken and feels like he has been cut out of being her parent.  Which he has unless they need him to do something.  He texts her every few days to try to check in and tell her he loves her, usually with no response.  But he is trying to keep the door open without feeding into any negative drama.  My SS is older than she is, and has not seemed to be influenced too much by BM.  He does have times where an entitled side comes out, but overall he is pretty laid back and tries to be a neutral party.  He actually chose to live with us for a year after high school while he went to community college, but he still kept a good relationship with his mom.  Which is how it should be. I will never understand parents who try to influence against the other one, because truly the one who is hurt the most is the kid.   It has felt like BM is in popularity competition with DH, that it's more important to her that the kids see her as a "better parent" rather than actually parenting.  DH has finally decided to start parenting, but naturally SD is more interested in being where it will serve her best.  It appears that BM treats her as equal status, if not slightly above, so of course that seems better to her. We can only do what we think is right, try to keep the communication with the kids,  and hope that as they grow up they can see things from a different perspective. 

shamds's picture

Too is his family even when they have done nothing wrong, according to the ex they are guilty by association.

my husbands ex remarried when divorce papers were issued right after divorce was approved, barely a week later she remarried her ex high school sweetheart while her kids were in school. They didn’t even know their mum was dating. 

A year prior to hubby marrying me she already cut off contact and kidnapped the 2 daughters. When she found out maybe 1.5-2 yrs after kidnapping her daughters and alienating them from their dad, she found out hubby had a caucasian gf and we were real serious. Oh boy did she lose her shit!! Straight away called hubbys eldest sister on a rant fest how i was a half naked christian whore and my husband had lost it and how could she possibly have her daughters anywhere near me.

sil calls hubby knowing exwife made up this shit because hubby has a certain type of woman he would consider to date as he is very high up in his company, hubby told his sister that the exwife is batshit crazy, my gf will be here in a few weeks and i will introduce you to her and you will see exwife made everything up.

needless to say i am fluent in the asian language they speak and i am not a half naked christian whore. Fat forward 3.5 plus years and eldest sd was 23 and had started confronting her mum about the lies she made up of hubby. Turns out sd saw a pic of her 1st cousin (hubbys nephew) holding my daughter and they had both fallen asleep together on the sofa and it was such a cute pic. 

Sd knew if we were as their mum said, hubbys family would have disowned him. Know what happened next? Exwife faked a medical condition “the i can’t walk syndrome and require a wheelchair”, its so pathetic and no specialist can see anything wrong, told her all scans show her in perfect health. She took this further and saw a witch dr with hubby #2 allegedly confirming my husband saw a witch dr to put bad spirits in her. I can tell you my husband wouldn’t waste a breath on her yet alone waste time seeing witch drs. Sd’s believed all this crap even when the lies were so clear as day to see, they’re too brainwashed. 

Thing is exwifes family all suffer from bone issues (her mum even did), instead of blaming shit genes, its my ex husband put bad spirits in me.

it is what it is and some kids never see the truth or refuse to believe it even with hard evidence. Almost 2 yrs ago sd met us, suddenly exwife calls my elder sil claiming how privileged she is to have me marry her ex husband and how lovely i am to her kids and how i love her kids like my own. I wanted to punch her in the face for saying that.

tog redux's picture

He should just let his daughter know he loves her very much and the door is always open. He's happy to talk about her feelings any time, but he should not allow abuse or disrespect or money grabs.  Don't debate what he did or didn't do, don't endlessly defend himself and don't engage with BM about supposed solutions. 

Then focus on healing and being healthy,  leave the door open and move on with life. 

My SS20 was alienated from 15-18.5. DH did the above. He mostly ignored DH with some nastiness. He came back at 18 when BM wanted the court to order college tuition (they did - he dropped out).


The most important thing is that he cannot let it destroy him. Get therapy if needed. 

StrawberryPie's picture

Yeah, he has a therapy appt next week.  I truly do hope he can find a way to be happy and find peace in his life without her in it.  

Thisisnotus's picture

As a mother of a PAS’d DD17.5 whose words cut me like a knife....the anger at me was not deserved at all.

i am NOT on team I love you so much and my door is always open. Bullshit. I am not a doormat.

if these practically adult kids want to treat a parent like trash then they get no sympathy from me.

i beat myself up for a solid year I cried each day.....after my dd told me she wanted to live with her dad and not come to my house anymore.....I raised that kid....did it all for her. Her dad had fancy boats and toys and he won.

i decided to move on.....and as much as she cut me out of her life....I had to cut her out of my mind and my life. I stopped going to any of her school events or sporting events...I know nothing about her anymore....I see her maybe 4 times a year for a few minutes at a time.

i stopped caring and something happened in my heart....I have no feelings for her as she broke my heart into pieces. I have 3 other kids who need this point I’m not even sure if I will attend her high school graduation or wedding or if I will ever have a relationship with her....she is toxic to me and to her sisters......and my life has been better without her in it.

she would tell me that my house wasn’t clean enough, that the way I talk is annoying, looked at me in disgust if I was having fun....hated the clothes I wore.

She made fun of my laugh, if I was sick or tired she’d tell me what a lazy good for nothing I was.......the last time I said out loud in front of her that I didn't feel good..... I was 9 months pregnant and working full time and spending my evenings watching her and her sister play sports.......

my groceries weren't good enough....her room is my house wasn't good enough....she hated my DH and his entire family...she hates my 2 year old (her 1/2 sister) and is verbally and physically mean to my DD12 and DD15....

I don't know why all that happened.....we live in a very nice house...nice house is clean and very tastefully decorated...I wear fashionable clothing and make up (actually we shop at the same stores and shared clothes) it wouldn't have mattered any way...she had decided with her dads help that she hated my guts....

ETA: my point is that it was NOT my fault and it's NOT your DH's fault. But the kids want us to pay and suffer....or at least right now they think they do. It's not healthy or fair to have to live with guilt like that.....just try getting him to understand that it isn't his fault. My DH has been very good to me regarding this......he keeps me grounded because I have gone running back to my DD when she comes around being nice....only to realize it was b/c it was her b-day or christmas and she wanted gifts....then she leaves me high and dry. Last may she spent mother's day with her step mom b/c those plans were "more fun" than mine....that was the final straw for me.

And like your DD has also cut out my family who adored her her entire life...and she now views step moms family as her real family.....all lead by her dad...but still.


tog redux's picture

Sorry to hear that - there's a fair amount of evidence that these kids come back eventually if you don't counter-reject them and leave the door open for them. Doesn't mean you have to be a doormat or take their abuse, but that you recognize that she is a kid who is being manipulated and abused by her father, and don't take it so personally.

Hope you can find some peace. You obviously DO still care, very much. 


Thisisnotus's picture

I totally understand. It’s just hard not to counter reject and at this point I have.....we are a family of 8....and my dd is mean to every single I had to stop including her in family events/trips..because it ruined it for everyone else.

my dd15 has flourished in dd17s absence....dd15 was bullied so bad by dd17..and physically slapped and actually one time dd17 kicked dd15 down half stairs.......she never came out of her room and was withdrawn....with dd17 gone she is happy as can be....and never in her room.

I do care I have just learned to tuck it away and go on with my life. But when I do see her she smarts off or says nasty things to her sisters.....or calls my house screaming at the top of her lungs at her sisters over an article of clothing she thinks they took......

i just don’t know if I ever want to take her back......or for her to come back.....the damage done is pretty severe. I also don’t trust her around my 2 year old because she hates that’s hard too.

Survivingstephell's picture

I've been thru this and watched as BM alienated 3 out 4 skids.  The youngest is still in contact with her father.  (SD20)  

Looking back, I would tell you that start critical thinking skills with SS.  Ask him pointed questions about why something was said, why someone would say that, make him start to realize the manipulation without pointing it out.  This is a life skill SS will need the rest of his life to manage BM and SD.  He will need to be able to think for himself.  Don't let DH fall into a pit of depression over this, it will affect his ability to keep contact with SS going.  He might think that SD is more important that himself to his father.  No doubt that the heat will turn up on SS with the two of them ganging up on him.  Arm him with age appropriate facts about the situation.  When BM comes at DH, have him point blank point out to her that he knows what she's up to and he will not allow lies and twisted facts remain unchallenged.  Truth will prevail.  If needed have him remind BM that he is divorced from HER not the skids.  

The website for Divorce Poison has a video called something Pluto.  Get it.  We made a couple of 13yos watch it twice to counter act PAS.  It was helpful and if they started to get confused, we offered to watch it again.  That was enough to get them to remember what was going on.  

I wish you the best in this but its a tough road.  Watching a grown man crumble when faced with a PAS'd kid is not easy.  Therapy is a must and hopefully he has a therapist that knows all to well the worst of it.  My DH was blessed with a male therapist who himself was PAS'd.  His main advice was that old song, "if you can't love the one you want, love the one you're with."   Focus on the family you have and love them.