Sharing a mom ‘a experience
One of the most shocking and absolutely grievous things about my divorce was how my ex-husband played the victim in such a way that it created extreme disdain and contempt toward me from 3 out of my 4 sons.
My ex-husband and I had TWO conversations about how we would present the information about divorce to the children. I suggested we simply tell them we were getting divorced and none of it was their fault. We would express our deep love for them and we would still be thier mom and dad in every way! At the time, he seemed to be okay with that.
I should have known better 🤦🏻♀️
When it came down to the actual conversation, he stated over and over, “your mom filed the papers,” and presented himself as some kind of martyr. Simultaneously, he was a “hero” to the children for “keeping his vows.”
I was so shell-shocked and I didn’t have a response prepared, so I just flatly said something along the lines of, “This isn’t God’s plan for marriage and I hope all of you have good ones.”
That conversation with my sons was the beginning of thier father’s covert alienation tactics toward me. I felt like I had left one abuser, only to have to live with 3 more. They were horrible to me: disrespectful, scornful, argumentative, irrational and downright cruel. I kept trying the best I knew how to break through the alienation, hoping they would see the truth. I read books, listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos, attended workshops and talked to my therapist about how to overcome this grievous and awful situation. I tried many strategies, to no avail. I became so exasperated and hopeless, I eventually mentally checked out. I decided that if my kids had food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care, then that was enough. Other than that, I was emotionally spent. I literally ran out of “give-a-damn.” If you haven’t experienced parental alienation, you’re probably gasping and thinking, “I could never give up on my child!”
If that’s you, it’s okay. I can see your perspective and I respect it.
But if you’ve been there, let me tell you that it’s okay. All feelings are okay. All emotions are mentionable and manageable. It’s okay to not be okay, just don’t stay there.
I wish I had a fairy-tale ending to this story, but I don’t. Things got a little better after their dad remarried. I have a hunch that situation helped get his attention off our sons since he had a new person to placate him and wipe his butt. My oldest son is still estranged from me. My second now sees the truth, but struggles with MANY after-effects of trauma. My third is a self-centered person who “loves” me so long as I agree with him, placate him and give him whatever he wants. My fourth is the most well-adjusted; he and I have a wholehearted, connected relationship.
I’m fully convinced that every child prefers to have a loving, connected relationship with both of their parents when possible. When a parent intentionally (overtly or covertly) turns a child away from the other parent, it’s child abuse.