I was asked a question recently about how one can recover as an alienated child. Clearly the person asking the question was beginning the process of working through the reasons why they, as a young adult, may think about the world in a different way to other people. In responding to the question, I found myself wandering the backstreets of the world of the alienated child again. A world which is dimly lit at best and at worst, is full of shadows and secrets and lies, to such an extent that reality based thinking is more or less impossible. It got me thinking, how does a child recover from the experience of psychological splitting and what is the psychological journey to full health that must be taken?
The process of psychological splitting, which is the strongest symptom of alienation, drives a child back into an infantile state of mind in which the world becomes divided into wholly good and wholly bad. This is not a natural state of being for anyone over the age of about two, when split thinking is resolved by the young child and integrative thought become possible.
Splitting or split thinking is a defence mechanism which is used by people who fail to be able to hold the positive and negative qualities of self and others as an integrated whole.
Splitting is central to there British school of object relations theory whose proponents were Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, Harry Guntrip and Scott Stuart. Harry Fairbairn contributed his own formulation of object relations theory in the nineteen fifties.
According to Klein, we internalise the relationships we have with our parents as objects which serve as templates for all future relationships. We learn how to be parents, by being parented ourselves.
Which is why so many alienated children go on to become alienated parents. The internalisation of the template of one parent missing or rejected, being that which is carried forward by the alienated child who is unable to resolve the split state of mind. This is one of the counter intuitive realities of alienation and many people believe that the reverse is true, that alienated children will grow up to be alienating parents themselves. This is untrue. The biggest risk for alienated children is that when they become parents they will find themselves trapped in the internalised template of their childhood. Unaware that their minds were influenced by the alienating parent and that they suffered from split thinking, these children internalise the template of alignment to one parent and rejection of the other as being normal and mistake that pattern for being loved. In short, they literally believe that their fused alignment with the alienating parent is what love feels like and so, when they enter into relationships as adults, they seek out those who replicate that feeling internally for them. Which means they fall in love with alienators, controllers and those who seek to define their world for them. All of which leads to the trans-generational repetition of the trauma pattern of alienation as the now grown up alienated child finds himself the victim of alienation from his own children.
This is a trauma pattern which cannot be stopped unless the alienated child is able to come to consciousness of what has been done to his mind. The recovery task for the child being to first recognise that it is not normal to wholly and completely reject one parent and align to the other and it is not normal or healthy to go into adulthood believing that one parent is absolutely deficient, whilst the other is absolutely perfect.
In my response this week I considered how to best help the questioner in one easy interaction. It is not easy to help an alienated child to understand how the mind has been prepared for such distortions but it is always important to try. I told the child, (now an adult on the outside) to think about the world in the following way.
When you look outside and the sky is blue and grass is green and you know that all of your friends see exactly the same thing as you do, ask yourself this. Do your friends also completely reject one of their parents, refusing to see them, contemplate seeing them or even talk about them? What do your friends say about their parents, do they find them frustrating, annoying, likeable, friendly? When you were younger, what did the parent you feel love for feel about the parent you are currently rejecting? What were the messages you internalised about that parent, which were passed to you from the parent you think you feel love for? It is not normal for any child in the world to completely reject a parent. All children, even if they were abused, retain love in their hearts and minds for that parent. Only when a child is exposed to messages, either spoken or created by seeing the parent they live with upset and angry, are they driven to a place of absolute rejection. If you want to recover from alienation, do the thing that your internalised template is driving you not to do. Reach out and contact the parent you rejected. Only in doing that counter intuitive thing, can you make whole the divided self and repair the fractured mind. Do it today. Do not wait. Do not be afraid that you will be rejected, you won’t be, you cannot be. Your parent is your parent in every cell of their being, it is a biological imperative for them to be there when you reach out, for they were made to take care of you and completion of that drive is everything they were put on this earth to do.
As I spoke these words I watched the face of the questioner and knew that the dimly lit world was one in which they had struggled to survive for a very long time. Now free from the daily influence of the aligned parent, this young adult is now at university and is exposed to the wide ranging lived realities of her peer group. No longer in a place where her life must be compartmentalised in order to keep the peace with her mother and her mother at peace, she was beginning the journey that all alienated children take in recovery – self questioning from a state of mental and emotional confusion. It is only when that state of cognitive dissonance is reached (when the outer no longer matches the inner experience), that a child can begin the process of such recovery.
As alienation aware adults, it is imperative that those of us who know, send messages to children in the psychologically split state of mind which are clear and unambiguous. When we are educating others we must be as equally clear. The psychologically split state of mind is not healthy, it is not necessary and it can be repaired. Rejecting one parent and being completely aligned to the other is not a natural state of being, it is a defence mechanism which if allowed to continue, will cause the world of the child to be half lit and full of shadows. It will restrain the mind from full expression and it will curtail all possibilities for depth and breadth of thinking. Worse than that, leaving a young person in a split state of mind, risks them becoming alienated from their own children as they seek and find others to continue the controlling management of their thinking.
One of the saddest outcomes for alienated children in my view, is the feeling of comfort and familiarity that they find in making relationships with people who control them. Without the capacity to know any different, these children sink into adult relationships in which they do not need to be gaslighted because their world is already so dimly lit that they think being half blind is normal.
As alienation aware adults, we have a responsibility to not shy away from telling these children the truth about their lives. In doing so we do not need to bad mouth the parent they have been aligned to, all we have to do is make it clear that it is not a normal state of being to believe that one parent is perfect and the other is wholly bad. That kind of message making can take may forms but it should be central to our education and interaction with others who work with young people at all times.
How to recover as an alienated child? Recognise first that healthy people do not reject one parent and align themselves to the other. Healthy people do not come to believe that one parent is so bad that they must be decanted into the rubbish bin of history for all time. Loving and loathing a parent is normal, finding a parent irritating, is normal. Believing that you are entitled to dispense with a parent however is not. In your half lit world it may feel right, in a world lit with full spectrum lighting, you would be able to see how ridiculous it actually is. Which is why your world is so dimly lit. That way you cannot see the reality of what has happened to you.
Turn up the lighting, get help to do so. When you do the defence mechanism you are using will be no longer necessary and the energy you are suppressing along with the love will return to you. There is a reason you feel half alive. It is because you have attempted to kill off one side of yourself to keep the other side (the parent you feel that you love), in a state of peace and contentment. You do not need to do that anymore. This is your life not theirs. You can be wholly and completely alive when you switch on the lights.
All it takes is a phone call. One hello. One reconnection of the wiring and you are good to go.
This article is written for alienated children all over the world but especially for those who are in the age group 16 – 30 when the questioning of the self and the sensation of being half alive is strongest. It is written particularly for children who have asked me questions, all of whom have shown that their world is not as complete as they believe it to be. It is written with love and with tenderness and with the absolute knowledge that psychological splitting is as harmful to an adult child as it is in childhood. It is written with the hope that any adult child who is reading this might understand that their own life is the most precious thing of all and that living for the self, through repairing the damage done in childhood, is key to emotional and psychological freedom.
This is not about your parents, it is about you and your relationship with the parent you have rejected is the key to lighting up the whole of your internal world. It doesn’t mean pleasing your parent or giving in to them, it doesn’t mean you even have to like your parent. This is about letting the half alive self heal, so that in your internal world, you are in relationship to all of the people in your life who were present on the day you were born. It is about releasing the energy you are using to keep the door to that other side shut, so that you can be free to be the whole of who you are.
Let it go. Open the door. You have nothing to lose but your captured mindset and more to gain than you could ever dream possible.
This is not about your parents, it is all about you.
I am a great believer in synchronicity, meaningful co-incidences happen all of the time. Today, just after I posted this blog, this arrived from a producer we have been talking to about helping parents and adult children reconnect. If you are an adult child who is thinking about reconnecting, this project could help you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. I am working on this project and can give you some more information.
Just asking those simple questions is so powerful to recovery.
This reminds me of a domestic abuse situation, where the man had been subject to coercive control for years, and despite being divorced, the controlling relationship & abuse continued. He was so sure his ex-wife had helped him so much. When ai asked, quite innocently, what she had done for him, he couldn’t actually tell me. She had been repeating that statement to him for years, without any evidence, and he had believed it. And then the penny just dropped with him. He realised what control she had inflicted on his mind, and whole life, and there was almost an instantaneous recovery! The light suddenly went on.
Abuse, in whatever form is takes, often relies on gaslighting. The manipulation can be so powerful, but all it takes is a simple question to open up their mind & switch those lights on.
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When there was a Guardian attached to our case we asked that a simple question be put to the child – “what do you fear from having any contact, or a relationship, with your (parent)?”
The question was never asked – instead the Guardian’s report cited the thinest of reasons for no contact, including the child feeling responsible for the other parent (inappropriate but never identified as such).
Such a simple question, which could have heralded a light bulb moment, but never asked, so the light stays off.
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The question that was posed by the therapist, the single time my daughters met with one, was also simple: “Why don’t you want to see your father?”
And the answer was simple “We are concerned he will be critical of our mother”
Not that I “was” critical (I knew to avoid this), not that I had done something bad, evil, abusive, etc., but they were concerned I would be critical.
The light bulb here also remains dark. So, so hard.
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“Loving and loathing a parent is normal, finding a parent irritating, is normal. Believing that you are entitled to dispense with a parent however is not. “
This is untrue. Alienation is caused by a narcissistic parent. After years, and sometime decades, of attempting and failing to repair the relationship with a narcissistic parent, adult children often dispense with them; it’s called going no contact.
“ The process of psychological splitting, which is the strongest symptom of alienation,”
There is far more pathology than just splitting working in the child’s damaged inner world.
“many people believe that the reverse is true, that alienated children will grow up to be alienating parents themselves. This is untrue.”
It is true. Children brought up by a narcissistic alienator usually grow up to become wounded empaths or narcissists themselves. The narcissistic adult children will often go on to alienate their children from their, usually empath, partner.
Ted, you are entitled to your opinion and so I have posted your response here but I am not posting any more than this comment, because you are living in an entirely made up world of your own and therefore, in my opinion, you are not helpful to other parents.
I have read what you are writing about me elsewhere and I understand that you are completely caught up in your own belief system which is encouraged by the guru you follow. What you need to take great care with, is ensuring that your guru does not turn on you as he has turned on your friend who writes a lot of unpleasant emails to me. The same guru who wrote a rather unpleasant and somewhat controlling email about me and others in the summer.
Take care who you follow Ted, the narcissist is often wrapped up in sheep like clothing.
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Ted, I told you that I am not posting anything further from you and I am not. Skilled as you are at spotting narcissistic sheep, flying monkeys, pink bananas, Uncle Tom cobble and all, you are not going to spend your time on here telling other people that you and your guru are right and everyone else is wrong. That guru you follow doesn’t have all the answers, as he said himself only recently, 20% of the people who go to him claiming to be alienated, are narcissistic alienators themselves.
I would also ask you again, if your tribe has all of the answers, what on earth are you still doing here?
You take care now, that guru might just have a few acidic words for you if you carry on rubbishing everyone who thinks differently to you, I thought Edward Kruk was rather respectful myself.
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What ARE you doing here Ted? Why do you keep coming back?
Is it because you somewhere know that your guru doesn’t have all the answers?
Or is it because you NEED to change my mind?
Go well in the world.
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Ted. If I thought you could hear I might bother discussing things with you. But you can’t because you have the ‘truth’ and all you want to do is force this upon me and other people here. Which is not fair to them or to their children. So please, go in peace and be with your tribe, you have found the people who make sense to you.
I am not posting your comments because other people find them either irritating or concerning.
I AM genuinely intrigued by your belief system and genuinely interested by the way that you turn everything around 180 degrees to suit it. However, I can see that you believe that what you write is true and so I will leave you to get on with your formulations.
To Karen re Ted 🙂
Why bother? Just ban him if he’s behaving like a pesky fly that refuses to go away.
Love, Me (who really appreciates your words of wisdom) xxxx
Hi Willow, I know he sounds pesky Willow but I am really interested in why he keeps coming back here when he has the ‘truth’ and doesn’t actually need to do so. He says he is advocating for the ‘truth’ which always makes me think of people like Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who behave in cult like ways. I don’t mind him having a go at me, it is the manner in which he asserts things which are disturbing to others that means I don’t post everything he writes to me. No matter, other people in his tribe also write reams of stuff to me and about me, it is an intriguing by product of their guru’s outbursts about me this summer.
Re Ted : I don’t know whether he’s genuine or where his beliefs originate OR whether he’s a troll – trolls have been known to practically destroy forums before now and that’s really sad because it’s just how they get their kicks and it spoils it for everyone. I have to say I read and take on board or dismiss quite easily these days. It’s not too difficult to see those who have really gone through the mill and know the frustration and pain of being rejected.
No doubt you know a whole lot more about him & his posts than I/we do on here.
Ted isn’t a troll Willow, he is someone who follows Craig Childress and he and a couple of others have been banded together in a campaign which was encouraged by Childress in the summer.
I try in my responses to him to help him to shift his perspective but it is clear that it is not possible to do so.
The flying monkey pathogen label that was generated by Childress is irritating but somewhat fascinating at the same time, Some people like Ted, really believe that it is a real thing when in fact it is nothing but a projection. They also believe in leaders and messiahs and gurus and the ‘truth’ as something which is being withheld from the world. In these circumstances, even when one confronts these people with the reality that Childress’s model has been used by psychologists and psychiatrists in the UK for five decades and it hasn’t changed a darned thing systemically, they still cannot hear. All of which leads one to the conclusion that there are non so blind as those who do not wish to see and non so deaf as those who do not wish to hear. Childress suits these people. He divides the world into for and against and good and bad and right and wrong. Split thinking which is rife throughout this world resides in that way of being. It is a shame. I think people deserve more than that myself. But I realise that the continued debate with Ted is irritating so will not post anything else from him – unless of course he is up for some reasoned debate, which is always welcome.
Thankyou Karen. If only I could find a way to get my daughter to read this….
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“waiting33″… I feel the same. I wish my daughter would read this as well. My oldest son mentioned that my daughter had seen a psychiatrist ‘a couple of times’ (I’d like to know if it’s a regular thing or not) and my biggest concern is when professionals are not trained in parental alienation syndrome. I would think there’s an entirely different approach to therapy when an adult child is the victim of parental alienation syndrome. My son also told me it was my daughter’s psychiatrist who recommended having no contact with me. I certainly don’t know if that’s true or not, but if so, it’s clear the psychiatrist hasn’t a clue what’s really going on for my daughter. In any event, I appreciated reading this post, Karen – it’s nice to think of the situation from the child’s point of view instead of just the alienated parent’s point of view.
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Like your reference to brightening the dim light, what I pray for is for my children to attain a level of awareness that they can see and think for themselves, with authenticity. They are in the age range you state – 18 and 21, both away at college. I have quietly hoped that their physical separation from their shadow world would lead to some opening, but there has yet to be a glimmer of that. I am tempted to send them a link to this article – will they read it? No clue – they don’t respond to much, and then a few words at best. I can also print and bundle it in the mail – but that has also been a dead end in the past. So frustrating to see the words that cry out to be read, and so hard to find a way to share them. I guess this awareness is something that is just not on our timetable…
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What words do they send to you Peter? Those can be clues as to where they are, you can send me an email rather than posting it here if it helps. Karen.email@example.com
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Wow! powerful positive words you have written. I am an observer and when truth is uttered, it rings like a bell. I am sorry that we missed the opportunity to meet while you were in Boston. I hope the end of your trip went well and will look forward to seeing you in the UK as I anticipate a trip in our future. Best regards.Glenn
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Hi Glenn, I was sorry to miss you too, I was so unwell unfortunately but I am better now and back home and ready to roll. When you come to the UK you will be our guests in London and we will take care of you. I loved your country and feel that so many people are friends whether we met or not. I loved Boston and Cape Cod and the whole feeling of our trip was of hope and possibility. I send you my support and my care to both of you, much work to do ahead, the universe is collecting right minded people to do this job. Very best, Karen.
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Yes much work to do, with so much wonderful possibility to help so many who are hurting. You were an inspiration and guide for C during your visit to Boston. The guideposts are now better illuminated and with encouragement and support I have a strong sense that we will positively affect the lives of many many children and families. C and I are reading and discussing your posts. This has been an often confusing and painful journey, but enlightenment comes at a cost. We look forward to encouraging and working with You, and visiting on our trip the UK.
My beautiful, gorgeous daughter, you are no longer the baby, child, little girl and teenager that I loved with all my heart you’re an adult with your own home, your own husband and a life you love. You have done well, so well. But how I wish I could say these words to you. The words are not mine by right but they say it all for me …………………..
“When you look outside and the sky is blue and grass is green and you know that all of your friends see exactly the same thing as you do, ask yourself this. Do your friends also completely reject one of their parents, refusing to see them, contemplate seeing them or even talk about them? What do your friends say about their parents, do they find them frustrating, annoying, likeable, friendly? When you were younger, what did the parent you feel love for feel about the parent you are currently rejecting? What were the messages you internalised about that parent, which were passed to you from the parent you think you feel love for? It is not normal for any child in the world to completely reject a parent. All children, even if they were abused, retain love in their hearts and minds for that parent. Only when a child is exposed to messages, either spoken or created by seeing the parent they live with upset and angry, are they driven to a place of absolute rejection. If you want to recover from alienation, do the thing that your internalised template is driving you not to do. Reach out and contact the parent you rejected. Only in doing that counter intuitive thing, can you make whole the divided self and repair the fractured mind. Do it today. Do not wait. Do not be afraid that you will be rejected, you won’t be, you cannot be. Your parent is your parent in every cell of their being, it is a biological imperative for them to be there when you reach out, for they were made to take care of you and completion of that drive is everything they were put on this earth to do.”
I loved you then and I would love you again,
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Did you/will you send this? And remind me age of your daughter?
No Peter, I’ll never send it to my daughter because she is 100% entrenched in her belief that I am evil personified and her dad is perfection personified – she would never read it and if she did I am certain it would make her even more ‘right’ about getting rid of me.
She and he had 18 years of pushing me out until I finally left them both. My husband very nearly destroyed me. She is now 36 years old (I left 3 years ago). He began alienating her more than half her life ago and her conviction is so strong that she agrees wholeheartedly with him that I brought it on myself. In my husband’s words “It’s no wonder (daughter) doesn’t like you, NOBODY likes you” – Instead of ignoring him I finally asked him one day who exactly all these people were who didn’t like me & he said well, actually it was him who didn’t like me. And when I asked him what he really thought of me as daughter’s mother (before I left) he told me “You were a very good mother but she grew up and saw you for what you are”. What he really meant was …I don’t like you, you became a threat to me, I’m going to punish you in the very best way I can …. and it was done. QED
Willow, I still send messages to my son but get nothing back! He has passed his driving test and calls to spend time with his sister!! He sits outside my house but never ventures out of the car! Last night my daughter came in and said he asked if I could lend him petrol money….. I was thrilled! It’s a small step, but it’s still a step!! Your reply made me cry, you voiced what is in my heart!!
What a beautiful description of a horrible process, written with love and empathy.
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This is such a complicated field. If one parent really is disordered then the children might well feel that going No Contact is the only way. How do they cope with the lies and threats and abuse? Just suffer it during time spent with the unwell parent? So difficult.
not really sure what you mean by going no contact Susang. If a child is going no contact with an unwell parent they are not an alienated child but a child who is making a justified choice. When I talk about alienation I am talking about the unjustified rejection by a child who has been forced into making a ‘choice’. That is an alienation reaction. The other isn’t. It’s not really complicated, it just requires one to understand that children who really have been abused will struggle really hard with that choice to go no contact, whereas the alienated child appears to find it easy – that is because they have used the defence of psychological splitting which makes it seem easy to them and to others because they bury it into their unconscious and so do not have to confront it. Does that make it make more sense to you? K
Thank you, Karen, yes that does make more sense. It’s just that the unwell parent is accusing the now resident parent and family of alienating the children, taking it to court, after years of court action. Very stressful.
oh yes I know that scenario well, that’s not alienation, that’s an alienating parent without insight claiming to be alienated.
Karen I so agree with you when you wrote above (quote) “It’s not really complicated, it just requires one to understand that children who really have been abused will struggle really hard with that choice to go no contact, whereas the alienated child appears to find it easy – that is because they have used the defence of psychological splitting which makes it seem easy to them and to others because they bury it into their unconscious and so do not have to confront it.”
I have experienced both of these scenarios.
My own mother was a most uncaring, odd, cold person. She ruled with a rod of iron (one look was enough to freeze), she constantly belittled and never showed affection. I swore I would never be like that with my children. When she refused to come to my wedding and gave no reason other than ‘we can’t afford’ and still refused even when we offered to pay for everything including their clothes – all my parents had to do was get themselves to the local registry office in the town where they (not I ) lived – I came very close to walking away and never looking back, very, very close. But I didn’t. I kept a respectful distance, visited and cringed inwardly and wrote often and for more than 50 years until she died I tore myself apart. I cannot describe how she made me feel but I kept going.
By contrast I did as I had promised myself. I was not like that with my daughter. If anything I loved her too much. I wanted her to KNOW the love I never had. But of course I met a controlling man (which you also cover above) and he turned into an alienator with the result that, within a 40 plus year marriage he literally took my daughter from me. It wasn’t hard for her to align with him against me. I know for certain that she has never agonised over it like I agonised over my mother and father. I never saw them as separate. My husband managed to convince my daughter that he was MY victim and because it suited her (his glamorous hobby which from teenage years onwards and even to this day provides her with an amazingly good social life) she found no problem with casting me off totally.
So Karen you are spot on. The two are completely and obviously different.
A really good article Karen 🙂
Reblogged this on Walter Singleton and commented:
The process of alienation is not well understood. This article sheds some light on a difficult subject in a surprisingly insightful way.
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Reblogged this on sb393 and commented:
Perhaps my daughter will find this.
Reblogged this on | truthaholics.
The greatest poem ever known
Is one all poets have outgrown:
The poetry, innate, untold,
Of being only four years old.
Still young enough to be a part
Of Nature’s great impulsive heart,
Born comrade of bird, beast, and tree
And unselfconscious as the bee-
And yet with lovely reason skilled
Each day new paradise to build;
Elate explorer of each sense,
Without dismay, without pretense!
In your unstained transparent eyes
There is no conscience, no surprise:
Life’s queer conundrums you accept,
Your strange divinity still kept.
Being, that now absorbs you, all
Harmonious, unit, integral,
Will shred into perplexing bits,-
Oh, contradictions of the wits!
And Life, that sets all things in rhyme,
may make you poet, too, in time-
But there were days, O tender elf,
When you were Poetry itself!
Christopher Morley – To a child
So, you say the children said they won’t see you because they fear you will be critical of their mother?
No.1. Stop being critical of their mother.
I am not critical of their mother.
Well, I see from facebook you are always posting stuff about how we favour mothers in court, over and above the needs of children.
But, that is true and I don’t refer to my children’s mother directly. I just wanted to open my children’s eyes to the truth.
. Since when did your opinion of the truth ever mend a relationship?
But it is the truth, implored John.
You are going to have to be a lot subtler in your approach;
On an emotional level, the children are asking you to give them a safe route back into your life. That route must take the form of appeasing the thought that their mother should not be criticised. So, give it to them.
That grubby little photo you have of you hugging your Ex when she won the cup at the Gymkhana; what impression does that give?
So, you want me to glorify the bitch after all the horrible stuff she has done?
In a word, yes. Like I said this is an emotional conundrum you are solving, not a factual, not a practical nor righteous one.
But, how can I save face when the children aren’t being told the truth? It makes me look like a complete fool, as if it has all been my fault.
You are no fool, you are being in tune with the emotions of your child.
When the child says to the therapist, I don’t want to see my Dad because I fear he will criticise Mum, then you must allay that fear.
I’ll tell you this much, in the world of emotion the truth remains irrelevant.
If you do make a connection based on appeasing your children’s fears then I am going to credit you with more bricks for that transition bridge you were re-building; the one which was washed away in the storm ten years ago.
One more thing, said John, how will my children ever get to know the truth?
Through the comfort of their connection with you and the confidence they gain through the love they receive from you.
Emotions come first.
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Anonymous, that’s quite an incredible passage. As you were posting this I was having more or less the same internal dialogue about my own projection in to the world, righteous, indignant full of rage…… sometimes the truth is terrifying or at least overwhelming.
I haven’t just shot myself in the foot when I have been ahem, disconnected, despairing, forlorn, angry,…. i took my bloody leg off.
Son, come see the state I’m in, we’ll go for a hop if i can lean on youand catch up and discuss how your mum made everything in my life and your life shit and how afraid you should be.
Not gonna work is it.
I think I was trying to find balance having had an arm and a leg ripped off on the other side, i was paddling in sodding circles, now I’m just bobbing here like a little buoy.
On another note,
Got to let heavenly dispatch know i said I need prosthetics to get me moving. Did someone day the gods have got a sense of humour or need reading glasses.
Decided whilst out of bed and one foot in the grave, it’s nice out, of both and it appears I still actually have my arms and legs. I take it all back what I said about the gods.
Karen, Do you recommend sending this letter to our teens?
The wine club that pays!
I will be interested to see what Karen replies to your question.
Personally I think that, although we all share the same heartache, our situations will always be different in that all our children are different, we are all different. Sometimes I think (I know) we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Whatever we do, we can’t win – though I hesitate to use that word because it makes it all into the competition that of course it always was. My husband wanted my daughter. He didn’t want me. He got what he wanted. He won. I didn’t want to win. I just wanted to be an equal part of my own family. I wanted us to be happy together.
In my own experience it did no good whatsoever trying to make my daughter understand why I had to leave (because I couldn’t take any more, it was making me ill) it only served to confirm that she was right in all that she thought about me (a liar) and how much her poor, perfect dad had suffered thanks to my ‘awkward behaviour’. And telling her over and over how much I loved her and was proud of her just made her think I was guilt tripping her. It made me look pathetic and that (amongst everything else) was what she hated about.
Personally I think that the longer such situations go on (into adulthood) the more entrenched it becomes and sadly, for me, the more final it is. Which does not mean that there wasn’t a whole lot of trying to work it out along the way. Or that that ‘trying’ was pointless. For a very long time (all of the 19 years it was going on while I still lived with my husband) I kept telling myself ……….. there’s hope, it’s not over yet: you haven’t failed until you quit trying. Now I believe It’s acceptance that brings peace and I think that at last I am reaching that final point of acceptance and peace within myself. I cannot change what is so I have to accept it and go on. At long last I believe I am finally getting to be myself.
My own relationship with my daughter was on very shaky ground once she reached 15 (I’ve posted elsewhere about how I believe this came about) but not completely severed while I was still with her dad who made her his best friend and ally. The two literally ganged up against me. Of course it escalated as he kept ramping up the inevitable but my daughter was still ‘part of my life’ until she was 33 when it was ramped up to such a point that I left everything behind. I escaped madness – a madness HE had created and roped her into. There was nothing she wanted to hear from me so I stopped trying. I personally wouldn’t send her the bit I quoted previously, but I really wish I could!
I doubt very much that there is any ‘getting through’ without outside intervention and the later that comes (if it comes at all) the harder it is…….. if not impossible. It seems to me it is all Catch 22.
I sent it. Formatted similar to how you had laid it out prior. To date it has been met with the same silence I have grown accustomed to.
Peter I’m so sorry.
I have had nothing but silence for three years now but I always knew (from the time she was 15) that it would come to this eventually – unless my husband stopped belittling me (and other things including telling tales) and he was never going to do that. It’s not nice. Even now I wonder whether he KNEW what he was doing or if he just fell into it because he decided he preferred our daughter to me and once she started adoring him (for his racing) he wanted it all. I was in a very black hole for three years after I left and if I’d been working and not retired I couldn’t have gone to work every day. I could barely function. My mind wouldn’t keep still. All I wanted to do was sleep. It’s only now that I feel human again that I’ve started working from home and kick started the business that came to a grinding halt three years ago. What saved me was joining a local Meet Up group. My dog and I (I got him as an 8 week old puppy one month after I moved) go off on walks with the group and end up with a meal in a pub and I’m on an absolute high. It’s a very, very long time since I felt like that…….. never having to second guess my husband/daughter, always falling into his traps, constantly treading on eggshells and still failing. It’s actually good being me these days 🙂
I think, and it’s only my opinion, that without early intervention the outcome isn’t good. Sadly in my family there was only ever we three (no relatives living or visiting) so no one to say ‘hey, just a minute, that’s not right……’ I think there’s a whole lot more hope with younger children especially where there’s intervention such as Karen can provide. I only know that my daughter doesn’t want to hear anything I have to say. So now I’m feeling human again, I’ve given up saying it. What will be will be.
You did what you had to do, you sent it, you tried. In the end that’s all any of us can do. Maybe one day there will TV progs covering all this with messages at the end giving phone numbers for support lines, as there are with many other issues today. That would be an enormous step forward.
When you write “so no one to say ‘hey, just a minute, that’s not right” it is so familiar. This disordered behavior can not be carried out in the light of day, visible to others. Like evil, it thrives in the darkness, gestated with quiet whispers. In my experience, the “others” who could/would have said “Hey, that’s not right” had been systematically cut off, split black, if you will. Until it was my turn, and then there were none who could intervene. Separate, isolate, alienate – what a wonderful (sic) progression. Family, friends of decades, all were cast off in favor of one particular toxic BFF, and then an entirely new alternative community of supporters.
Peter I agree, it’s mind blowing in its simplicity. No wonder I/we didn’t see what was coming until it was too late. However there was no family to step in with my daughter, no doting grandparents to see something wasn’t right, to call her out for the way she spoke to me (which echoed what her father was saying to me). He didn’t need to isolate me from others, our worlds didn’t actually meet other than with regard to his racing and there he just made it so horrible for me (going off on his own with teenage daughter without saying anything to me while we were abroad and still not saying anything when he got back; making plans with her to eat out without involving me, again while we were on holiday) that I stopped going with them (husband and daughter) seven years before I left him. He told me more often than I care to think about that I isolated myself. Maybe in that sense, the sense that I opted out of a very painful situation which he wasn’t prepared to change, I did isolate myself. He was utterly convinced that nothing was his responsibility, it was all me.
Looking back there were a few instances where my husband got so used to doing what he did that it did happened in public. Once, early on, was when we went out for a meal with his best friend a high ranking army officer and his wife but it was such odd behaviour that no one said anything. He got away with it once in public so to him, it was all normal and others must agree with him otherwise they’d have said. Great logic.
I know one thing though, three years later he can’t touch me anymore. I don’t feel anything when I think of him, only amazement that he did what he did and that he got exactly what he wanted.
I think Ms. Woodall and Dr. Childress should try working together for the benefit of the children and parents affected by PA. Just a thought.
I think Dr Childress should stop being abusive and misinforming people about my work and then there might be a chance of co-working – there is no conflict coming from this quarter, that is important for people to understand. Dr Childress is the aggressor, he is the person who demands that we all do it his way otherwise we get attacked. It’s not a he said/she said situation Ray. It’s not about conflict. I won’t be bullied but you won’t find me writing pages and pages of material in an attempt to discredit Childress, I wish him well with his work.