The following is an anonymous contribution from a very courageous alienated parent.
I have four children. Two daughters first, followed by two sons.
Our story began 19 years ago. At the time, my eldest child was 13, and the others were close in age, at just 12, 10 and 6.
I could write a whole chapter on how I was messed about, but that’s for another time. I think I was at the forefront of changes yet to take place. I suffered domestic violence, humiliation and all forms of mental coercion and abuse. This escalated to stalking, and even being held hostage. The police were called out on 27 occasions – by this time I felt mentally under siege. Advice was given by a solicitor, who informed me that it was not unreasonable for my husband to use violence against me as I was the adult seeking separation.
Fast–forward to my youngest child turning 8, where I no longer lived in the same residence. Although still attending school, it was noticed he was falling asleep in class, and was regularly wet, dishevelled and smelly. I attended all appointments wherever they were, and tried to take care of my children, even though the Cafcass centre had noted distinct coercion to ignore requests from me. I was heckled and verbally abused before, during and after attending the contact centre, and on many occasions in between meetings.
It was all affecting my ability to stay focused. I was crying for much longer and even the simplest things were becoming increasingly difficult. Even sleeping, and then trying to wake up, was a challenge.
I changed my solicitor and requested set times to be able to see each of my children. I was laughed at and told that my eldest was in a position to defy court action. To add to that, I was told nothing could be put in place for the three eldest children. My youngest was placed with me permanently on the grounds of neglect.
Even though I lived just a street from my ex–husband, he never asked about, or called to see our son. It got to a point where my son said he wanted to spend the weekends and part of each school holiday scheduled to be with his father halved because he didn’t want to miss being part of a family unit.
Things for the other children at the family home were dire, with no feeling of structure or function. They were upset and constantly fighting each other, frustrated with the lack of attention or responsibility from their father. I had to routinely step in to solve problems and support them, especially when they were left alone to fend for themselves by my ex-husband.
I was still struggling, mentally. I had started university but increasingly needed mental health support. When a position became available for me to attend a psychotherapy unit, I took advantage of the opportunity.
Things did not really improve in relation to contact with my children. Their father had maintained that he was not one to make his children do anything they didn’t want to. In my opinion, that was just a cop-out.
When my youngest reached 13, I asked my sons to accompany me on a house move some 250 miles away. My eldest boy was 16 at the time and, unbeknown to me, had not attended school for almost a year. How did I not know about this? His father had told the school that our son resided only with him and made himself the first contact. I have no understanding why the school didn’t follow this up and check.
I did move. My daughters were 20 and 18 and living at home with dad. I had totally forgotten to investigate school placements before moving and was told that the local school would not take on any more pupils. I didn’t know the area and was prepared to settle for the nearest possible school. However, both boys decided they wanted to return to what they knew, and so I had to let them to go back.
“It broke my heart.”
I saw my youngest in his holidays and at half–term, but never spent another holiday, half–term, Christmas or birthday with any of my other children again, despite my youngest saying he wanted to live with me once he left school.
Fast–forward to present day – my youngest became a father aged 21, and my eldest became a mother at 28. I have no contact with my youngest son or daughter, despite us being a close family. I feel there has been deliberate intent to keep me from being a family member. My eldest son is the only person in regular daily contact.
My children are now all in their twenties and thirties.