Adult Children of Divorce, Anger, Blended Families, Child Abuse, Children of Divorce, Conflict Resolution, Divorce, Divorce Poison, Dr. Amy Baker, Dr. Gardner, Family Law Reform, Grief, Growth, Healing, Losing a Child, Mediation, Morris County NJ, NJ, Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation Support and Advocacy NJ, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Peaceful Parenting, Post-Divorce Issues, Step-Families
Here I am. The Author of this Blog. Coming through to you from the state of New Jersey. I am passionate about human rights. I am a feminist. I am a wife, a mother of 5, a step-mother of 1, an entrepreneur in the unpaid workforce (although I do hope to get paid for this one day). After many years of caring for my children and struggling to find my “new self” I was slowly led in this direction; becoming a voice for Parental Alienation Awareness and Support.
I have experienced Parental Alienation my entire life. As a child born to parents who couldn’t communicate in an emotionally intelligent way, which eventually helped to sever my relationship with my Dad for 11 years, and now as a Step-Mom who has witnessed the slow demise of my Husband’s Relationship with his Daughter, which now has been severed for the past 2 years. Here I will focus on my personal experience as a child affected by Parental Alienation.
In order for me to properly describe to you my passion for Parental Alienation Awareness and support allow me to take you back to before I was born, and I’ll have to call my family out in order to do this.
It is the late Seventies in New Jersey. My Mom, a woman who runs her own Hypnosis practice along with her Second Husband, meets my Dad, an artistic man who has a bustling Framing business, who is married to his Second Wife. Well, it may not be all that traditional, but they meet and the rest is, as they say, history, or maybe it’s more like the beginning of the future. Fast forward a year or so later I, the author of this Blog, arrive on the Earth a tiny, squirmy, and helpless infant. Reminder: my parents, Hypnosis Lady Mom and Artsy Framer Dad are still married to their Shocked Spouses (I’m putting this together after gathering pieces of information over many years).
Okay now, bear with me, Mom, Dad, and Infant are in the Maternity ward in a New Jersey hospital during the late Seventies and a nurse walks in with the Birth Certificate. Here is where I get a little confused. My original Birth Certificate reads: First Name, Middle Name, Last Name of Mom’s Second Husband. What?! What about Last Name of my Dad? Well, according to my Mom, NJ law in the late Seventies requires that a baby born to a married Mom must take Married Mom’s last name, which was also Second Husband’s last name. (CORRECTION: AFTER CHECKING OUT MY ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE, I REALIZED IT HAS MY MOM’S SECOND HUSBAND LISTED AS: FATHER! MY BIOLOGICAL DAD HAD TO PETITION THE COURT TO REMOVE SECOND HUSBAND’S NAME AS FATHER AND INSERT MY DAD’S!) It gets really ugly from that point on. Fast forward some time, my Dad, brings the proper Motions in court and has my B.C. and my Last Name changed, which now reflected my Mom’s Maiden Name. So, now I don’t have Mom’s Last Name, nor do I have Dad’s Last Name, I don’t even have my half-sisters’ Last Name (siblings from Mom and First Husband), but I do have Grandma’s Last Name. Fine. Or is it?
For the next Seven years of my life my relationship with my Artsy, Framer Dad and his family blossomed. I was loved, I was cherished, I was spoiled with the best clothes. I was fed three meals a day. I was surround by my loving, doting Dad, Aunts and Uncles, Cousins galore. Of course, this was only on visitation weekends because my Dad and my Mom separated. Since they were never Married, Divorce was never an option. My relationship with my Mom grew as well. We lived with her First Husband from the time I was two years old, and he acted as a perfect Step-Dad to me. I was surrounded by loving Half-Sisters, who I will only refer to as my Sisters here on out because they are my Sisters.
From the age of seven and a half, my relationship was severed with my Dad and his Family. I don’t remember much about that. I don’t think I even questioned it at that time. I just knew that my Mom said “If you want to have a relationship with your Father you can after you turn 18”. Well, for the next 11 years my self-esteem dropped gradually, my confusion rose just the same, my sense of belonging was also displaced. I longed to call someone “Dad”. I had a great Step-Dad (Mom’s husband #1), but I wanted “Dad”.
At the age of 18, not long after my birthday, I received a call from my Step-Mom (Dad’s wife #2). Are you sensing any confusion with Step-Mom and Step-Dad? You should. (Figure it out or continue to follow my posts so I can explain further, as that’s a story for another day.) My Step-Mom said how long she and my Dad have been waiting to contact me, and would I be interested in meeting him again? My answer was “No”. However, I did have a desire to reconnect with my Aunts. I got started on reconnecting after the shock wore off that I was 18 and I was free to do whatever I wanted (not to mention my Mom left me at the age of 17. (Don’t worry I lived with my Step-Dad who continued to car for me the best he could.) So, the first beloved Aunt I contacted was unable to talk because she had suffered a severe stroke. Ugh, that was a mighty blow. I cried after I got off the phone because I longed to hear her voice and be embraced in her warm hug once again. My second Aunt that I contacted was so excited, in her anxious way, to hear from me. I felt like a little girl! She invited me to her home, and asked if she could invite my Dad. I said “No”. The next week when I came to her home I felt like I was a little girl again; she saved all my photos, my dolls, every toy, my tricycle, my shoes, my clothes. Wow! It was a loving reunion.
Some time after that, I did agree to meet my Dad. I went with my boyfriend at that time, and met my Dad in his Frame Gallery. It was an awkward, but loving meeting. I could immediately feel the hurt in my heart and the longing for all the years lost to return. My tears flooded the room. Why had I blocked off all hurt? Why hadn’t I wanted to meet him again? I suppose it was self-protection mode. You know what I cried over the most? The moment the word “Dad” flowed from my lips! I hadn’t directed that word at anyone in the 11 years that we were separated!
Meeting my dad again for the first time was a memorable day. Dad played old school videos of me as a child on a felt board screen. He also played me audio recordings of me babbling away as a little girl. He gave me his precious memories that sustained him; his cap and booties from the hospital room the day I was born, the tape measure that was used to measure me the day I was born, a beautifully preserved lock of hair from one of my early haircuts, photos of my bedroom that I never stepped foot into. He always had me in mind and stayed prepared for my return, decorating a bedroom in girl style, buying me a bicycle and wrapping gifts for birthdays and Christmas. My Dad filled this bedroom with these items and would eventually take photos of them when he no longer could afford the two bedroom apartment. He did save a few gifts and all the cards I made for him during my younger years, photos, etc. that I treasure dearly.
Our relationship was awkward, because we lost so many years. However, little by little we became closer, but there just wasn’t enough time to make up for the lost years before he died. We had about 6 years reunited before he passed away, only three months after my first son was born. The toughest part for me about our reunification was that I didn’t know this family that I had remembered so fondly. My Aunt that had the stroke passed away about two years after I was reunited with my dad, and this was a very traumatic event for me because it was simultaneously a family reunion for me; it was just too much to handle. I am not too close to my remaining blood family on my dad’s side, only to my detriment. I am close to my “Step-Mom”, who was actually Dad’s Wife #2, divorced.
After my dad passed away I inherited all the court documents that he saved regarding custody, name change, and all the ugly court proceedings. It didn’t help me when he was alive, and it surely didn’t help me after he died, except that I now know he tried to see me, he attempted to be a part of my life. However, that doesn’t bring back the years that we lost.
Long after my mom successfully severed my relationship with my dad, long after my dad gave up the fight to see me, long after my dad passed away, and long after my relationship with my mom had settled in to mediocre at best, I am still dealing with the pain, the sadness, the longing of having a loving relationship with both parents.
This would be the end of my story, except now it is happening all over again with my husband and his daughter. In fact, my Husband’s entire side of the Family, my Children, and Me…and when she realizes it, my Step-Daughter, The affects Parental Alienation has me revisiting my past and it’s preparing the way for my future.
This post about my personal life I hope can help a parent who is naively alienating his or her child from the other parent. I hope at least one person can benefit from reading this, at least one child will be saved from going through a life without both parents.
Expect to hear more from me about what is currently going on with my dear husband and Step-Daughter and how I am helping others.
Parental Alienation IS Child Abuse. Children need BOTH parents.