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Another advice columnist gets it wrong...again!

Started by Kitty C., Jul 18, 2011, 09:09:43 AM

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Kitty C.

Just saw this on the 'Ask Amy' column:

Dear Amy: I have a heart-wrenching decision to make about giving the love of my life a second chance.

He will not be honest with his two children about our relationship. His 16-year-old daughter and son (age 20) have told him that if he marries me, they will cut him out of their lives and never speak to him again. His ex-wife is fueling this and has so far been successful in making his children think they have the right to make this ultimatum.

This is emotional extortion. He is currently serving in Iraq. He and I have been living together stateside. His children and his ex-wife find this unacceptable.

During a visit home recently he asked his son to help him move some personal belongings out of our apartment to put them in storage. This was a sham gesture to make the son think we are not together.

I was so upset I ended the relationship. I am humiliated and devastated that my significant other cannot be honest. I think he is spineless and unable to establish healthy boundaries.

We spoke by phone today, and he said, "I will be honest with my children about us," but I've heard this for more than two years, and I don't have any reason to believe him now.

Should I give him a second chance?

— Devastated

Dear Devastated: All the most important people in your guy's life are pressuring him, and he is reacting by scurrying for cover.

Because he has essentially moved out of your home, your "second chance" could be to dial back your relationship and calmly continue to assert your choice to live authentically.

A good parent models appropriate and mature behavior. Allowing his kids to jerk him around isn't good for him — but it is really not good for the kids. His ex is training them in the art of emotional extortion, but he is participating by permitting it.

When he comes home, if you two want to be together permanently, you can decide to get married (living together without marriage creates doubt about your relationship).

If he is honest, patient, happy and in charge of his own life, his kids should come around.


It amazes me to believe that Amy honestly thinks that the father 'is participating by permitting it'.  He's afraid of losing his kids, for God's sake!  And if she honestly thinks that if he takes charge of his life that they will automatically come around, she's in for a big surprise.  I've witnessed severe PAS with a personal friend, who's ex was so vindictive, she poisoned his DD so bad that not only did she refuse to allow him to walk her down the aisle when she got married (she didn't want some blind guy escorting her), she wouldn't even send him an invitation.  Now she's had a son and refuses to allow him to have ANY information about the child, let alone see him.  Children CAN be poisoned for life from PAS..........something Amy fails to realize.......
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


You're right.  Children can be poisoned for life from PAS.  However, I fail to see what other advice she could have given.  If the children are so far gone that the father can't live his life, he's going to lose them anyway because the mother will poison them against anyone.  They are too old to be ordered into counseling.  He can't allow his children to control his life. 

A lot of it depends on how long has passed since the divorce, if the girlfriend was involved in the cause of the divorce and what the children had been taught from the beginning. 

My brother doesn't get along with our stepmother but my dad and brother are both mature enough to continue their relationship outside of her presence.  And she's mature enough not to interfere in their relationship.  (And she's been our stepmother since 1973).  When our birth mother tried to interfere with my relationships with my siblings (technically half siblings) and my dad, I bucked back because I had been taught that my siblings were my siblings regardless of how they got here and my dad had never said anything negative about my birth mother and I expected her to have the same courtesy.  I got tired of hearing her snide comments regarding my sister not being my sister or only being half and I said, "I'm 30-something years old.  I know the definition of "sister" and _____ fits that definition."  That was over 10 years ago and I've never heard another snide comment since.  In regards to my dad, I got tired of hearing her "revelations" of the past and told her that I was comfortable with my recollection of things but if she preferred, I'd be happy to make arrangements for the three of us to meet and compare notes."  She declined.

My point being that he does appear to be participating in the alienation by not fighting back.  I honestly don't know how you combat it without it looking like you're doing the same thing the alienating parent is doing.  It's a tough position to be in and I'm grateful that my oldest child eventually saw the truth and has moved past it and that my youngest son never fell prey to it.  (The alienation coming from their stepmother, not either of their parents.)  I bit my tongue and refused to engage her and it took 5 years of my son not speaking to me and me holding steadfastly and others reminding him of truth for him to come to the realization on his own that he had been manipulated and played.   
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!

Kitty C.

My biggest problem is with this statement:  'If he is honest, patient, happy and in charge of his own life, his kids should come around.'

I agree that how he's handling it right now probably isn't the best way, but he also sounds desperate.  So it seems to me that Amy is making a HUGE assumption if she thinks that the kids 'should come around' if he just goes on with his life.

'His ex is training them in the art of emotional extortion, but he is participating by permitting it.'

He's certainly NOT doing it willingly!  JMO, but it seems to me that his ex harbors an enormous amount of animosity towards him (duh) and she's holding the kids hostage against him.  Right now, he's choosing his kids over his girlfriend, as it should be.  And he's trying to figure out how he can have both in his life.  With him being in Iraq, it's obviously going to take some time and it may have to wait until both kids are well out of the BM's home and have some distance from BM's influence.  But that still doesn't mean that they will come around to him. 

But Amy's assumption that if the father just goes on with his life and the kids will come around is just plain ignorant.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


She didn't say that they will come around, only that they should.  And she's right, they should.  My stepmother nearly went off the deep end when her mother started a relationship with a man 8 years after her husband (my stepmother's father) had passed away.  8 years is a long time to be alone and she obviously wasn't in mourning any more.  Grandma continued to live her life figuring my SM would eventually come around.  She didn't and she lost out in the end.  The boyfriend wasn't a bad guy, he wasn't after Grandma's money (he had more than enough) and Grandma protected everything that she and Grandpa had worked for and it all went to the kids and grandkids.  The only thing the BF got was a right to live in the house (but not own it unless he bought it at fair market value) and a few items they had gotten together.  It doesn't get any more fair than that but when Grandma passed away, SM was still so angry and bitter that she wouldn't allow him to be acknowledged as an important part of Grandma's life during the memorial and funeral services.  Despite the fact that they had been together over 10 years and Grandpa had been dead for at least 18.  Just because someone SHOULD do something, it doesn't mean they WILL.
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!