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Author Topic: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)  (Read 4322 times)

surviving

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Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« on: Sep 25, 2009, 01:21:44 PM »
Hello.  I am new here and have never posted anywhere before actually.  I am at a complete loss and am looking for others in the same situation or anyone that can give insight to my family's issue.

I am the step-mother of a 12 year old girl.  My husband has been involved with a drawn out custody battle for years.  Just recently he gained temporary sole custody of his daughter and we are all suffering from the effects of severe parental alienation.  I will try to keep this as brief as possible but to get the best understanding of our situation, it may be longer than intended so please bear with me.

When I became involved with my husband, his daughter was 6 years old and I also have a son from a previous marriage who was 5 years old at the time.  My husband and his ex split when my sd was 2 yrs old and she always resided w/her mom.  The visitation orders were very vague, just saying "every other weekend" but not even specifying 1st & 3rd or anything like that.  Over the years, his time was slowly taken away from him and the mom would refuse to drive halfway.  She would make plans on his time and there was nothing he could do about it because the orders were not enforceable. 

When my sd was 9 yrs old he began the process to get the orders modified to have a concrete visitation schedule for weekends and school breaks.  Once the mom was served w/papers about the modification all hell broke loose.  Suddenly my sd did not want to visit and would say bizarre things that were happening at our house like my husband doesn't spend time w/her and we would force her to call me "mom".  One period of time, she refused to visit for 6 weeks straight and the mom would hang up when he tried to call to speak w/his daughter.  She claims this was my sd's decision.  Once set orders were in place, he was able to see his daughter consistently but strange things started to happen.  We were hearing complaints from her neighbor stating he has called CPS because of the loud arguing that was taking place at their home and he was concerned for the child's safety.

My husband decided to persue for full custody once he realized his daughter was possibly in danger.  Fast forward 2 years and the judge determined the mom's home was not stable and granted sole custody to my husband temporarily.  He gained custody last month and there is one more month before the next court date to determine set orders.

The first 5 weeks sd lived with us were great.  We still allowed her to speak with her mom over video calls and phone calls and even allowed the texting to continue (which has been constant).  Her first visit to her mom was last weekend and things have not been the same since.  She is now very detatched from the rest of our family, even treating her 1 year old sister coldly which did not happen before the visit to her mom.  My husband discovered some disturbing info that both her mom and sd have posted online regarding the case and decided it was time to remove all communication from her mom who is encouraging this behavior.  He took away her cell phones and computer and she flipped out.  We found disturbing texts from her mother once looking at her phone about ways to have her come home.  Mom tells her to keep crying every night until we give in and let her come back, and to keep telling everyone she needs to come home and to not stop.  The list goes on and on.

So, with ALL that said (which barely scratches the surface), how do we deal with the severe effects of parental alienation?  How do we help her understand that we are not evil and have not done this to purposely anger her and her mom?  And that we do love her very much.  I am concerned she will hurt herself, because she has threatened that also.  We just began taking her to a therapist too.  Is there any way of coming back from this?  She will be visiting her mom again next weekend, unfortunately, and I'm afraid it will be worse again.

Thanks for your time in reading this.


ocean

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #1 on: Sep 25, 2009, 03:32:15 PM »
Take the texts from the phone and any other communication and see if you can get supervised visits for the mother. What does the therapist say about this? Will she back you with supervised visits for now? Will she be willing to see mom with daughter to "discuss" the situation?

surviving

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #2 on: Sep 25, 2009, 04:34:32 PM »
My husband will be using the texts when they go back to the mediator.  As for the therapist, she has only met with my SD a couple times and asked not be involved with the court proceedings.  Right now she has met with my SD only and has not had the opportunity to review the court materials.  We did go through an entire 730 eval which originally kept custody the same (with BM) but after further review, the evaluator determined my SD should be removed.  That is what caused the temporary orders last month and my SD has been very resistant and claims the evaluator just doesn't like her mom and he's a liar.  Of course, when the original recommendation came through with my SD staying with her mom, no one thought he was a liar.

ocean

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #3 on: Sep 25, 2009, 05:54:46 PM »
Get a new therapist fast! You need one that you pick and will deal with the issues. One- They will help your SD see the light and help her deal with her mother and Two- will back you in court.

Did you have a law guardian for her? Can you call this person and say what happened and see if they will back a supervised visit only? You need to get back to court or file something before the next visit stating that mother is mentally abusing child by telling her to cry and constantly texting her. You can ask for supervised with a therapist at first to make sure she is saying the right things.

12 is a hard age. She wants to be with her mother. You really need a good therapist that will help you all deal with it. Even family counseling for all of you (not mother) so your house is peaceful again. You guys go and interview people and see who is willing to deal with it. Call the local school and ask for names of child/family therapists. If you like the one you have, you can call and say there is a crisis after the last visit and is she willing to deal with it or not?

Have a sit down family meeting and go over YOUR family rules and expectations. Tell her you know mom has different rules but in this house you are to respect everyone if not the consequence is XYZ. Give her chores to do with allowance or rewards to promote the positives. Have game night and maybe you can have "girl" night with her. Tell her you know she has a mother and dont want to be her mother but like a cool aunt. Let your husband do the consequences if he is around. This is a very hard change for her too, all of the sudden she is pulled from one house to the other and mom is egging her on to be mean to you.

Set limits on her computer time and put a parent control on it. My young teens have approved websites only. They cant get onto anything else. I am sure she can get to mom anyway, friends cell phones at school, email from friends houses. Video fun events over the next few weeks (punpkin picking, decorating, make a gingerbread house). Take pictures of her having fun. Maybe show her any old videos or make her a scrap book of old pictures..maybe make one together.

It is going to be a long high hill to climb and will take a lot of effort and patience....
Good luck!

surviving

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #4 on: Sep 27, 2009, 11:32:30 PM »
Thanks ocean, you gave a lot of good suggestions.  I think this therapist actually will work out.  DH signed a waiver to release all the court docs, the only problem is that the next appt isn't until after her next visit with BM
 
Even though DH took away her cell phones, he's still allowing her to call BM to say good night from his phone.  But my SD's side of the conversations just sound like she's receiving orders, just one word responses, "yes...uh-huh...i know"  things like that.  Is my DH "allowed" to stop all communication, even if she's asking to speak to her mom?  We don't want it to seem like we disapprove of any relationship.  We're just in a tough spot.  Thanks for all your help.


MomofTwo

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #5 on: Sep 28, 2009, 05:58:02 AM »
If her Dad doesn't allow her to speak to her Mom, you are going to have even more problems.  It is a very tough spot indeed, but if he takes the approach of cutting off Mom, the daughter will see that and he will be in an even worse situation and there will likely be even more problems.   You have to keep in mind, this is the person she has been with all of her life - good or bad - and she IS attached to her. 

mafitz

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #6 on: Oct 03, 2009, 08:07:10 PM »
I totally agree with Ocean.  A child psychologist needs to be involved in a big way.  The things is parental alienation (while not yet accepted by the courts as such) is EMOTIONAL ABUSE.  Let the psychologist determine what type of contact your sd should have with mom and until then I would cut off contact with mom or at least get it down to a minimum. 
 
Mom is unstable by the sound of it and using the child to further her own ends and the major issue is that this kind of behaviour severely destabilizes the child.  I am speaking from experience on this issue.  My oldest daughter has severe emotional issues because of PAS and the reality is that she is going to spend her adult life working overtime to overcome them or find that her relationships are hindered. 
 

armycoppertop

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #7 on: Oct 05, 2009, 07:47:38 AM »

Thanks ocean, you gave a lot of good suggestions.  I think this therapist actually will work out.  DH signed a waiver to release all the court docs, the only problem is that the next appt isn't until after her next visit with BM

Even though DH took away her cell phones, he's still allowing her to call BM to say good night from his phone.  But my SD's side of the conversations just sound like she's receiving orders, just one word responses, "yes...uh-huh...i know"  things like that.  Is my DH "allowed" to stop all communication, even if she's asking to speak to her mom?  We don't want it to seem like we disapprove of any relationship.  We're just in a tough spot.  Thanks for all your help.

 
 
I think stopping all communications with BM would be BAD mojo, however, I think that making SD speak to BM on speakerphone until the next court hearing (unless there is a court order stating that SD must be able to speak with BM and that she must have privacy to do so) would be a good idea, though. Just put it on speakerphone, tell BM that she is on speakerphone and that until a judge says otherwise, ALL communications with SD will be supervised due to her past actions during unsupervised communications.
 
I would also contact the school, make sure that the teachers are aware that SD is not allowed the use of phones while at school, so if they see her using someone else's cell, they can confiscate it (heck, most schools I have ever seen don't allow cell phones on school property, or at least not allowed to be turned on or used during the school day). Make sure SD knows that if she uses someone else's phone at school, they will face consequences. Contact the parents of the kids she associates with, make them aware that she is not allowed to use the phone to call anyone but you and her father, that she is expressly forbidden from contacting her BM anywhere but at home due to PAS, and that she is not to use the computer while at their homes. Don't sign any consent forms allowing her to use internet capable computers at the library or school, and make sure that they are aware that you are NOT consenting so that she can't forge anyone's signature, or have BM sign consent forms for her.
 
I would also tell SD that until her behavior improves, any communication with BM will be either court ordered or supervised, once she can behave properly, even after a visit with BM, then she can earn priviliges back, like being able to have a cell phone, internet access, etc. She needs to understand that she IS in essence being punished... not for loving her mother, and not for her mother's antics, but for HER OWN behavior. That wether her mother is the one instigating her behavior or not, it is NOT acceptable and SHE DOES have the power to control her OWN behavior and will be held accountable for her behavior while a part of your household... which you intend to be for the long run, despite BM's theories otherwise.

gemini3

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Re: Parental Alienation - Need help (LONG)
« Reply #8 on: Oct 05, 2009, 08:40:09 AM »
I don't think that you should try and stop her from speaking to her mom, or even control the postings that she is making online.  I think that will just feed into the situation and make your SD even more desperate.  Your SD most likely knows these things aren't true - but is doing it to pacify her mother and show her that she is still loyal to her even though she lives with you now.  Children who come from alienators also usually have pretty severe boundary issues because they were never allowed to have any.  You should let her have some boundaries by not listening to her phone calls, reading her texts and e-mails.  I know that you feel that you are protecting her from her mother, but you're also reinforcing unhealthy lessons she learned from her mom.  If neither parent allows her to have healthy boundaries, it reinforces the message that she doesn't deserve to have them.
 
Your SD is trying desperately to do what her mother wants her to do - most likely because she feels that her mother's love is conditional, and that her mother either needs caretaking, or that her mother is someone to be feared.  She has lived with this obviously disturbed woman for 12 years.  It will take some time for her to realize that her mothers behavior isn't normal.  This is a very hard thing for a daughter to face - and she will have a tough time with it when she does finally see her mom's behavior for what it is.  The best thing you can do for her is model "normal" and model unconditional love.
 
I would recommend that you find a therapist is a clinical psychologist.  Ask if this person has had any education or experience with parental alienation - and find someone who does.  If they say that it doesn't exist, or anything like that, move on.  The reason I say clinical psychologist is that the majority of people who engage in active alienation have some sort of personality disorder.  A clinical psychologist is trained to recognize this and to deal with it.  A LCSW may not recognize, for example, BPD behaviors - and might actually feed into them.
 
There are a couple of good books out there:  "Divorce Poison" by Warshack, "Divorce Casualties" by Darnall.  You might also want to check out "Understaning the Borderline Mother" by Lawson.  A majority of alienators have BPD, and this book gives you some insight into their behavior and how it affects their children.
 
Your SD has a long hard road ahead of her to get healthy - and I wish her the very best of luck with it.  And the best of luck to you and your husband in supporting her on her journey.

 

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