You’ve heard the phrase “it takes two to tango?” Well parent alienation requires an antagonist and an antagonised, a targeter and a target and a resident parent and a non-resident, in that order.
While there are a few exceptions to the rule, because parent alienation is the act of one parent turning the children against the other parent in order to exclude them from their lives, the alienator’s greatest weapons are time and proximity to the kids. So, for that reason, they tend to be the resident parent, often the one who has used the children to acquire the combined assets of the family. This tends to cause a great deal of ill will.
That is why it is such a lucrative but frankly filthy business and why alienators are so reviled by those in the know. So no surprise that no-one wanted to step forward for this interview as they’re either in denial or hiding in plain sight.
So, much credit to Lizzy (not her real name), who describes herself as reformed following over a decade of war with her ex over parenting their children.
Q1: Why did you do it?
So straight to the point? It wasn’t something I decided on lightly. I’ve also given it lots of thought since. But there were a number of reasons. Firstly, I still loved him but my family didn’t after a big row about another family matter. Having a baby is stressful and my parents were not the easiest. He is not a man to be pushed around and I guess, my mother in particular took offence when she didn’t get to spend as much time with her first and then second grandchild. They lived far away and I used to be so close to them.
Secondly. my lawyer was worried that he would be a very good litigant in Family Court. My lawyer was my Dad’s friend and he suggested we start a storyline about him being a bully. He had shouted at me in the past and I him but there had never been any real fighting. If anything I had the temper. It would also get me legal aid. I thought that would save us money. But what the approach did was start a war.
“What the approach did was start a war.”
Thirdly, I was still getting over the birth of our second child, a boy. I was full of hormones and struggling to cope and not thinking straight. I went to see my mum for a week and the relief was so huge I just stayed. I didn’t think about the impact on him and my mother didn’t exactly help.
Q2: Why did you continue it for so long?
It’s a bit like telling a lie. Once you start then you invent anther and another and soon it becomes your life. I was surrounded by other women who had divorced and got rid of their exs. They had long lists of the things to do and when and there’s loads on online sites, you know, for abused women and stuff? Everyone knows you just have to say “I won’t do that with my children” and refuse everything saying you’re scared and the court and lawyers and social workers will side with you.
But it was tough. My ex is charming, a great role model and intelligent. He fought and fought and spent everything while I was getting legal aid.
“Refuse everything saying you’re scared and the court and lawyers and social workers will side with you.”
Q3: Didn’t you feel anything toward him in many years of fighting?
It seems odd but I was terrified he would win. He’s actually been better at me at so many things at work and stuff and I thought he would take the kids from me. But he was on his own while I had a lawyer, a barrister, my whole family, friends, other mums and everyone believed me first. A lot of people resented him and seemed to be on my side. And I was pretty messed up. The lawyers get in your head and make you do things you wouldn’t normally.
Q4: Why didn’t you both focus on the kids?
Well, that’s the thing, I thought he was, that he was after them, They adored him when they were little and I couldn’t compete. I was the one who wiped bums all week and put up with their moods while he was “good time parent”. I know I made it that way, but still.
It was a case of the more he tried the more I pulled and actually, it annoyed me that he didn’t try that hard to keep me. Yes, that annoyed me a lot.
Q5: How did you turn the kids against him?
It’s no one thing but it’s not that hard, When kids are young they will go to the one who offers the best sweets and presents. When older, they stick to the one who arranges things with their friends and takes them to activities. To go to his they would have to miss out and at 10 or 11 that really annoys them. So after a while they get embarrassed and annoyed and tired of the drama and all you then have to say is “you don’t need to go” or “would you rather go for that sleepover”. It’s easy really and no-one can prove you’ve done it. After that you just cut off all lines of communication. It’s called stonewalling. He’s left grasping at shadows.
Q6: Did you never feel guilty?
“It’s easy really and no-one can prove you’ve done it. After that you just cut off all lines of communication. It’s called stonewalling. He’s left grasping at shadows.”
All the time. I came close to breaking during tough nights alone. But they’re your kids and they’re worth it, And he had someone new by then anyway.
Q7: So what changed you?
Most of the women I know in this situation never stop and the kids don’t re-connect until they’re maybe late teens or at Uni. But for me, well my Mum passed away and he found out and despite everything, not seeing the kids for years, he was kind. Also I saw how the kids were so like him as they grew, Used to hate that at first but that changed. Also I started a new career and money wasn’t such an issue any more, I started going out more and he seemed an obvious choice to help out and I didn’t want the kids to blame me in future.
Q8: So if you had that time again would you……?
Do it again?
Well I don’t regret having the kids to myself and my family. It saved lots of arguments and compromises. I regret paying lawyers so much. But I knew that he would survive and he has proved me right. So I guess it turned out ok in the end.
I agreed to publish her words without editing.
I also agreed not to add any interpretation or critical take.
The interview was offered in good faith by a friend of a friend.
She is aware of the site and wants her perspective to be used to help others understand both sides of the wall.
Hope this insight has been useful.
Feel free to comment below.