The details of my divorce are neither important, nor interesting.  We grew apart. It happens to the best of us.  Some marriages last, mine fell apart. 

Once we separated, I did my best to ensure I provided for my children. I thought we could move through this new stage in a civil manner.  It didn’t seem like too much to expect, I mean, many families survive divorce with great success. 

My divorce was anything but peaceful and with my ex and me living in different states, child custody was complicated. All hopes of civility quickly went out the window. I remember a call I received from my mom after seeing my girls off for a homebound flight.  She said the kids boarded the plane upset as tears and pleads for them to stay were laid on pretty thick.  The visual that I was left with was disturbing, yet I wasn’t surprised. This was precisely the stuff I couldn’t stomach anymore and a big part of me was thankful I hadn’t seen it for myself.   

But it didn’t stop there. Tears and guilt trips quickly escalated into unthinkable conversations and inappropriate situations; which turned into a heart wrenching struggle to save my relationship with my children. There was no choice but for them to side with people who had invested so much of themselves into destroying my relationship with my children.  Their very survival depended on appeasing the people in front of them, regardless of the consequences.  I was distraught over the thought of losing my children. My worst nightmare had come alive, I found myself in the center of parental alienation.

It was a complete mess. 

But never was I as low as the day I sat in the airport waiting for my younger daughter’s flight to arrive only to receive a text message stating that she wouldn’t be getting on the plane and wasn’t coming for scheduled visitation.

I was crushed beyond belief.

The longest walk of my life was that day from airside to short term parking.  I sat in my car and cried myself through feelings of anger, sadness, embarrassment, guilt, shame and confusion.  Why did they hate me so much?  Why couldn’t they see the worth of my relationship with the children? How could they be so wrapped up in their own needs and emotions that they’d lose sight of what was good for the kids? How do you teach a child to hate a parent who loves her children so much?  I was never fully prepared to deal with this stuff.

I’m not sure how long I sat in my car, but it was then that my recovery from this horrendous nightmare began.  There were a few things that I knew for sure.  A child’s hatred for a parent isn’t a natural emotion, it’s taught.  Also, this situation was never about me or who I was, nor was it ever about what I did or didn’t do.  

It was time for me to make a decision that would take my children out of the middle.  It was a decision that wasn’t best for me, but best for the girls.  I abandoned all litigation, as it proved itself to be fruitless.  I detached from the struggle. Going forward, I had to be ok with the fact that things weren’t going smoothly.  I explained to my girls that the friction and disharmony wasn’t good for them.  I told them I had to back off so they could move forward peacefully.  I told them I was fighting a battle that no one was going to win.  I left our conversation by letting them know that the only thing I had left to offer was my unconditional love. Our home and my heart would always be opened and a safe place for them to escape to. My hope was that they understood there wasn't a thing they could say or do to make me stop loving them. It was frightening to be in such unpredictable and unstable circumstances, but I wasn’t going to internalize this and allow it to consume me.

I drew strength from my mother’s words. “You need to feel sorry for them.  They’re in a very lonely place, dear.” The moment I chose to isolate and detach from the events and circumstances of my divorce, is the moment I forgave myself and the people who threatened my core sense of self-worth.  I knew, no matter what was said, history could never be erased. From this relationship, I gave birth to two beautiful children and I was their mom.  I learned that although my relationship with my oldest, at best, was fragile, recovery is possible.  I stood proud of my youngest for not allowing our relationship to be defined by divorce. From losing myself in a sickening situation full of negative emotions, I gained back my self-esteem and a solid essence of who I was.  I came out with a deeper rooted set of values and greater integrity.  I found my dignity. I had finally gained an understanding of who I was, and I liked her. 

For more information on parental alienation or additional resources on PA, please visit PASG.  If you feel you are a victim of PA, please contact a psychologist, psychiatrist or other appropriate specialist in your area for help.    


Unknown said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this. Your story brought up some buried memories from a past life full of turmoil and heartbreak. I was a powerless and marginalized stepparent, and watched as both sides of this struggle pulled at their own children to the point of causing irreparable damage to their futures for years to come. Unfortunately I had to also exit from this situation. It was not easy nor without pain or regret.
But today I have hope for my own two little children and a wonderful life started anew.
I respect and admire your position and actions. Here's to continued healing for you all.
Bill Manning

Lynda Louise said...

Thank you Bill. Thank you for your encouraging words and blessing!! Keeping you and your family close in thought and prayer.

Veronica Lee said...

Glad to know you have recovered. Bravo!
Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Great post!

Patricia Carpenter said...

I appreciate sharing your feelings so much! You are an amazing woman! Anyone who has gone through a divorce never planned on going through a divorce. Why people don't understand this simple and so obvious truth? That is exactly why divorced people know better than most of others not to judge anybody else’s relationship.

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