According to Wikipedia:
Parental alienation is a social dynamic when a child expresses unjustified hatred or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible. These feelings may be influenced by negative comments by the other parent or grandparents, generally occurring due to divorce or separation.
The above definition makes my tale of parental alienation (at least in my own context), all the more interesting. My parents are divorced and, like a river that flows into an ocean, their divorce flew into the ocean of my life leading to my own divorce and ‘alienation’?
My personal parental alienation stories.
I was maybe 12/13 when my parents divorced but I had seen it coming despite their efforts in trying to hide their sustained disaccord.
When it happened, although I had heard of stories where mostly the Fathers alienated the Kids from their mothers, I did not expect my own father (who to me was a ‘refined’ man), to try keeping us away from our mum. It was simply terrible.
The more he made negative comments, corroborated by his ‘friends and family’, the more we longed for our mum. I knew what he was trying to do and he did not care to see what it was actually doing to us.
Parental Alienation to me at the time simply meant daddy did not want us to see our mother. I was so hurt and I could understand why at some point my mother stopped trying to come by our house. It was so sad to see her insulted as she stood for hours in front of the gate while we were locked up in our rooms.
She wasn’t any danger to us, and I told my siblings we could not hate our mother no matter how our father tried. Yes, he got custody in court thanks to his money and power back at the time, and refused to respect the limited visitation rights accorded her.
Through sheer determination and continued demands from my siblings and I, we eventually went to live with our mother again. It was easier for my two sisters because the first was an adult and she just upped and left one day. My kid sister was “saved” by ill health. She was so unwell that the doctors advised she live with our mother. It is probably the trauma of that in between period and much more that followed that affects my brother and I so much that we each suffer from some form of ‘mental illness’ or the other.
My Self Alienation or what?
History would repeat itself in my own marriage.
When after six years I couldn’t take it anymore, I made the decision to leave that marriage and my children behind. Just like my mother did, after all neither one of us had any resources when we left. I could thus say I alienated myself from my children, right?
But did that mean I didn’t want to be the mother to those boys again? Hell no!
Yet it wasn’t to easy and still isn’t. I remember staying for 8 good months without being able to talk to my sons because their father and his family wouldn’t let me. Even when I went to their home and tried, they had moved house and my family, who had kept some contact with them, would help me trace them.
Eventually I got to meet my boys. I keep comparing this reunion to Princess Diana’s with her boys aboard the royal Britannia. Indeed, the eldest told me some of the nasty things his dad and family were feeding them about me and he even told me he would still love his mum even if any of those things were true.
My ex-husband’s pursuit of parental alienation.
I think his sustained effort in alienating me from my children stems from some ego problem and the desire for revenge or whatever. I can only see my boys when my ex-husband allows it and since disconnecting the landline, I call only reach them via him or his sister and success will depend on their being at home and their mood in general.
Even though the marriage has been dissolved, and I have the right to see my boys during the holidays, as l wrote on a post on divorce and property my African reflections, nothing is done to a man who ignores any so called divorce order. It’s so funny and sad because I am not even in the same country as my kids but I’m going over this weekend and I still have not been able to get hold of their father so as to communicate my schedule. He doesn’t answer his calls and seems to have shut down his email and facebook accounts.
Who, in the end, is the victim of parental alienation?
I am thinking that except in cases of great danger to the child concerned because of the other parent’s addiction and all, the real victim of parental alienation is that same child who is brainwashed to dislike the other. I know the story of a child who was been brainwashed to dislike his mother and even beat her up, who suffered a nervous break down and ended up killing that same father of his.
Dear readers, as always, I share my reflections drawn from my experience and hope it enlightens, helps and dare I say heal someone somewhere?
Marie Abanga – Follow Marie on Twitter