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Question for people who have dealt with Parental Alienation

Maryjanne345's picture

If one parent is purposely trying turn the child against the other to get full custody does it usually work or backfire? My husband's niece lives right down the road from BM and will go over to visit/play with SS. On more one occasion my niece has heard SS make fun of my husband's weight/receding hairline to BM and BM will laugh and tell SS "you are SO FUNNY" like rewarding him and encouraging him to make fun of his father. BM DID NOT know the niece was over and heard this. SS never does this at school or at our house only to BM. We asked SS why he does this and he denies it,gets angry and refuses to talk about it( this is what he does when he is lying)If there is a violent movie/video game that we wont let SS have BM will immediately go out and buy it for SS. We won't let SS stay home alone so of course BM lets him and tells him we don't trust him BUT she does. BM is a tree hugging nut and hates medicine. SS has allergies/asthma and been taking meds for this for years.  Well BM has been trying to get him off the meds and on to herbs or some natural crap but the DR's refuse. Well SS has recently started putting up a stink about taking his meds something hes never done before. We are sure BM is telling SS to fight us regarding the meds.

So my questions are do you think as SS gets older he will see the crap BM is ding and that its wrong or could she be successful in Turing him against us?

Maxwell09's picture

Ahhh the good ole Buddy system of Parental Alienation. Well my skid’s BM has played the friend role since he started to talk. She likes to indulge him with games and outings because that makes her the “fun” aka Disney parent. She likes to blame DH and say he is alienating SS because SS is well behaved over here and bratty over there. She uses bribery and manipulation to get SS to “choose” her or give her attention over Dh. “you choose me over dad and Max and I’ll reward that behavior with a new game or take you some place special” “SS you didn’t say hey to me when you were with DH/Max so I’m taking your Xbox this weekend...” (que the waterworks from the game addict child) 

Honestly it’s exhausting but the only way I’ve found to combat PA is to literally record and take pictures of Every. Single. Thing. I’ve even told BM that what I’m doing so she’ll back off. I take pictures nearly everyday and keep a log of our day-to-day with SS so when he gets older and wants to pretend we were sooo horrible I have pictures of him being happy with us. I have videos of us happy as a family. I have notes of every time BM didn’t show or cause a fight in front of SS to make it look like she was the victim. It takes commitment and patience and accepting that the kid won’t see it for what it is now but it is a safeguard for the argument in the future. A alienator’s goal is to recreate history in a way that suits them and their storyline (victim/superior parent) and they will work on reforming skids memories to fit that agenda. 

Maryjanne345's picture

or document. BM is smart i'll give her that. Everything she does is behind close doors and hard to prove in court. SS defends BM fiercely and lies to protect her. If asked did BM tell you to say that he will say no. Shes to smart to try and pull that crap in front of us or anyone else.

Maxwell09's picture

But there is stuff to document. Not everything worth writing down is about BM and what she is doing wrong. You need to make entries about what he is doing with y'all.  When he does well in school-I write it down, when I take him to practice and we warm up together-I write it down, if I take him and BS on a hike for the school holiday-I write it down. Take pictures of the kid in action, not poised. You won't win the kid out of alienation by showing him a list of bad things his mom did. That's his mom. You can however show him a photo album filled of good times BM doesn't know about so she can't contaminate those memories. 

Lndsy747's picture

I wish this is something I had considered. OP definitely consider what she's saying.

It's crazy how much PAS can change memories and rewrite history. SD stopped coming over for about 2 year and her return only lasted for about 9 months. The last time they spoke her reason for being mad at her dad and not wanting to continue coming over again was that he hasn't contacted her since forth grade. Although visitation had never been consistent it's so far from true.  I wish I had records of the times we spent together and the times her dad reached out with no reply or realized their numbers changed our other bs.

Cover1W's picture

Exactly this.  BM does not correct OSD's behavior at all.  Ever.  She rewards it.

Example:  last meet up (and last ever for me) OSD ignored both DH and I when she arrived (no hello, just a glare and a turned back) and rushed to the car after dinner with no goodbye at all (BM opened the car door for her even).  BM said nothing, no correction for politeness at all.

It's difficult to stop and correct.  Basically in our situation OSD has alienated herself, with the direct help of BM, from DH.  I know similar things are happening with YSD, but again, I cannot stop it and if DH chooses to ignore the issue he'll eventually lose YSD too. 

I have found the book "Co-Parenting with a Toxic Ex" to be a very good read.  It's not necessarily about co-parenting as it is about how to deal with a parent who is doing PAS.

tog redux's picture

Yes, it works, my SS was alienated from DH from ages 15-18. 

BUT, the important thing is whether what BM is doing starts to change how SS acts around DH. He might make fun of DH to BM to make her happy, but is he starting to act alienated at your home? That’s what’s important. 

Maryjanne345's picture

a positive reaction from BM. SS knows BM hates both of us as he has said it. SS loves his BM very much and I think hes just saying these things as he knows it makes her laugh.  SS is very loving to both of us. The only change we see is he will complain that BM lets him do something that we don't and the issue with medicine. Again my fear is BM is always playing the Disney parent and we are the ones who have to discipline him.

tog redux's picture

If the child's behavior is not changing because of the alienation, then he may be resilient - yes, he's doing what pleases BM, but he doesn't really believe what she says.

That's good - but time will tell.

Lndsy747's picture

I think it usually works based on what I've seen here and personal experience especially if the alienator is the custodial parent.

Even if they see what's going on it doesn't always help. My SD sees who her mom is and has said that she knows her mom hates us and doesn't want her to have a relationship with us but I think it's easier to go along with what her mom wants than stand up to her. 

Kes's picture

NPD BM alienated my two SDs against us, from the time they were aged 5 and 7 - they are now in their 20s.  It was much, much worse when they were younger and would completely swallow all her crap - now I think at least they are mature enough to question it.  She is still BFF with SD22, although SD24 lives a long way from her now.  SD22 goes home every weekend, goes on holiday with NPD BM and does things with her at the weekend instead of with friends.  But the PAS has got less as they've got older, definitely. 

DH now has a decent enough relationship with them, and mine - although I would not say we have a relationship -  they are at least civil.  

Wilhelm's picture

It worked against my DH. Still does even though they are grown up. SD 23 was told her father was ill and was going to visit the next day.

no show and that was 5 weeks ago. I expect she will turn up eventually with a story about how BM needed her.

shamds's picture

Since they were born and even more with the 2 sd now aged 14&22 since 6 yrs ago almost...

its a lost cause now, they are so brainwashed in mums bullshit that they clearly see her doing something out of line/inappropriate but she is still seen as mother theresa

hubby has given up and accepts whatever leftover time of theird that he can get

Want2's picture

I don’t see much of a case for parental alienation tbh. You say he is loving toward you (I read your previous blog where you called him a little bastard and have major problems with his behavior and your SOs attitude) and that the only real thing that was overheard was his mom telling him he’s funny. The rest is conjecture.

What I see is that you have trouble with SS. You can’t get him to go places or play as you prefer. You would in fact prefer him to stay in his room all day. You fear the fact that BM doesn’t have these issues with him and she does take him places and lets him play. She might have a better relationship with him than he does with his father, who, according to your previous blog, doesn’t have a problem with the way he plays.

Not saying you’re wrong but you are apparently the one with the problem and while parental alienation might be a convenient scapegoat, I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. But if it is, your dislike of SS will definitely give fuel to the fire.

SM12's picture

When one parents teaches the child to disrespect the other parent it all goes bad quick.   Especially when you have a DH who won’t discipline the kids for fear they won’t “like them”

Our BM and her SO have trash talked DH and myself for years.  They would over rule any type of discipline my DH would try when the SSs were disrespectful and DH didn’t really try to fight it hard out of fear.   Now he has zero relationship with the older two.  But before it went south they were horrible to dH.  They talked to and treated him like a dog.   So badly that DH found it better to have no relationship rather then put up with their horrible treatment.  

The only bright spot in the whole mess is when BM reaches out to DH telling him to fix his relationships with the SSs because they were being rude and hateful to BM.   DH told her to shove it.  She created those monsters and now that DH is out of the picture they are turning their nasty onto here and her SO.   Sucks to be them...but our marriage has never been better since they stopped coming over.  

Letti.R's picture

In my case, BM alienated her daughter so badly, SD ended up in juvenile custody.
There were no rules, except to hate Dadddeeeeee.
Desctructive parents tolerate all kinds of misbehaviour and disrespect from their children: the rest of society does not!

Your SS is rude and disrespectful to make fun of his own father.
Your BM is stupid too because karma's revenge will be genetics: your SS  will likely be a fat baldy too.

strugglingSM's picture

We are in the midst of parental alienation. Right now, both SSs still come to our house, but neither sees DH as a parent. Also, one is starting to not want to come over because he is "bored" at our house and DH "never listens" and "is always criticizing" him. BM eats this up because she has borderline tendencies, according to three counselors I have worked with, and she is totally enmeshed with SS. Nothing makes her happier than thinking that SS sees her as all good and DH as all bad. She even told SS about a year ago that "your father caused the divorce", even though BM filed for divorce because she met another man. Before DH met me and had his own home, she would pawn the kids off on him every chance she got. After we got married and had our own home with individual rooms for each SS, she started to tell them, "your dad is trying to take you away from me!" and tried to keep DH from even speaking with the children unless it was a visitation weekend. She even wanted to tell DH that he couldn't go to the school science fair because it was "her time." 

I would love to think that SSs will wise up and realize how manipulative their mother is, but I don't think they will. Or rather, I'm pretty sure one of them won't. He and BM are each others' soulmates...I think neither knows where one ends and the other begins. I know that sounds gross and / or over the top, but SS (who is 13) can't even spend two days at our house without talking to his mother multiple times. Also, whenever BM is mad at DH, so is SS and whenever SS is upset with DH, BM steps in to tell DH what a terrible person he is. I want to say to that SS, "you know, staying that close to your mother means that no woman will ever want to date you when you're an adult, because no woman wants to put up with a MIL who acts like she should be first in her son's life forever...", but he's really too young to hear that and honestly, I don't think he'll ever be able to hear that. 

The other SS seems to have a better read on BM, but he has learned how to be manipulative from her, so I don't think he'll ever fully realize what a toxic person she is or how terrible she was to try to poison their view of DH. 

Disillusioned's picture

Yes and no

I grew up with a Mom who worked hard to alienate my siblings and I from our father

For some of us it worked, and to this day they think our father was the bad guy

But for some us, once we were adults we saw through the lies and who the real problem was 

I've realized that my Mom was the one telling lies, the one who cheated on my father, and the one who destroyed their relationship...even though she had all of us convinced growing up that all the problems was our Dad's fault and he was basically a complete loser

Parental alienation is brutal

DH has also experienced this from SD's, even now as adults, and the pattern continues as now OSD has completely alienated DH & I from sgkids

I've always hoped one day SD's would realize how fortunate they were/are to have DH for their father, and now a great grandfather to sgkids...but sadly I'm not sure that will happen Sad

I also always hoped SD's would one day grow up and realize that I was not the evil stepmother, that there was no reason to hate, mistrust, feel jealous or resentful of either. That I did care for them as well and their well-being and truly wanted to be in their lives, but again sadly....just didn't happen!

And it doesn't help when you have inlaws - like DH's own sister - who continue to bad-mouth him (us) behind our backs and encourage the mistreatment from SD's

Sorry you're going through all this!

notasm3's picture

I don’t think there was any PAS from BM with SS34. I was not around until he was in his 20s. 

 But SS’s GF is keeping the grandchild away from DH since he will not “make me behave”.  She thinks she should have access to everything that I own - especially my vacation home that I bought years before I even met DH. She can eat sh*t and die as far as I am concerned. 

I honestly don’t think DH cares. He’s just not that into babies and small children.  He’s happy to have. 30-60 second interaction with a child while we are at Disney but that’s it. Plus dh’s GPs were having babies for a few years after their GC started arriving. Same with my GPs.  GPs with babies and toddlers of their own tend not to go Gaga over GCs.  We both knew that our grands cared about us - but were never under any allusion that the sun rose and set with us in our grands’ eyes.  So that was to GP model that DH grew up with. 

I don’t know the details, but the GF for some reason seems to have also frozen BM out of the GC’s life too. The GF’s mother (who is not wealthy but has a decent job) has purchased EVERYTHING for her daughter since she had the baby three years ago.  I do mean everything - not only everything for the baby but also a house and car. She also keeps the child every weekend.   I’m guessing that BM is on the sh*t list with us since she has refused to dump the contents of her purse and bank accounts for the “baby” or to be at their beck and call when they want something. 

The GF is a COD who is spoilt rotten and is the most entitled person I’ve ever met IRL. Although I realize that many here also have some doozies.  I’ll bet her SM hates her guts.  I am so glad that I banned her from my life permanently a little over 2 years ago.  I just have no use for aholes. 

Maryjanne345's picture

SS Actually stood up to another kid at school the other day when they called his dad fat(my husband is not huge about 50lbs over weight). The teacher told us this so we know it’s true. So we know SS is only saying these things to BM as he knows it gets him positive attention and it’s what she wants to hear. The only time SS’s Attitude changes is when we try and get him to do something he does not want to do. Then he will throw in our face that BM let’s him do something and then say something that we know a child would never think of so it’s coming from BM. 

Notup4it's picture

It sounds more like run of the mill blended family issues than actual/intentional  alienation.  I think that it might be inadvertent from an insecure parent but It doesn’t sound malicious.  Unintentional alienation from what I have read is common and rarely goes further than some bad talk and a bit of frustration from one or both sides.

Alienation that has lasting and a more severe impact have a much sharper tone ... the kids refuse to come over, they don’t get their phone, the alienater answers on their behalf, the kids refuse to acknowledge the other parent as a parent, and will be cruel to the parents face or simply not even talk to them.  

Obsessed alienation also usually has a strong victim tone to it from our experience..... think “Your dad has abandoned us (while paying CS and fighting to see the kids) and he just doesn’t care about you....he isn’t a safe person to be around, but I care about you and always will be here to protect you.  If you don’t want to see him you don’t have to!”..... or “what your dad did was unacceptable he is cruel to make you clean your room.... next visit your cousins are supposed to be here- so you can see them instead and we will all go out shopping for toys”.  “Your dad is married now and has a new baby.... you aren’t important anymore and he did this on purpose because he just can’t stand the thought of you being happy.  He is an awful person he always has been.  He use to abuse me and I just won’t evee let him do that to you”.  It is emotional, it is brainwashing, the mom is overly involved in your house and fully control all (if any) interaction with the kids. 

Dont get me wrong, it still isn’t right not to encourage your kid to respect ALL parents and ALL people.... but your case sounds more like an insecure parent who just wants to be liked more.  It sounds like he has at least been promoted to have a relationship with you guys, and he stands up for his dad.