Navigating Through Parental Alienation (PAS)

navigating parental alienationDuring the holidays is when I realize that this is a sad time and perhaps I feel a little blue. Navigating through the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is not easy and there doesn’t seem to be a right answer other than prayers and time.

Today, I read about a new term called Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and this definition makes a lot of sense. It describes this as an aggressive form of abuse and maltreatment. However, it does say that HAP leads to PAS. It is my believe that either parent and even guardians can contribute to destroying the relationship between child(ren) and either the mother or father.

As a child, I experienced my father’s constant verbal assaults against my mother. His goal was most certainly to turn me against my mother or take his side. To this day, my father will still say hateful things about my mother. For this reason, I rarely speak to my father, although I still love him regardless. Plus, my father’s stories often contained elements of the truth, but unfairly put my mother down. He would say my mother was promiscuous and even refer to her as ‘satan’.

As a young adult, I also witnessed my uncle (father’s brother) turning his three children against their mother. It wasn’t until they were grown adults and married with families of their own that they came to realize there might be another side to the story. Although my Aunt may not have been perfect, more of the harm came from my Uncle then from her. Now they have a different relationship with their father.

Since my daughter was little, my ex-husband has been constantly undermining my parental authority with our daughter. He would call us the ‘food police’ and basically say our rules were extreme or unreasonable. We had some rules, but I would never consider our rules extreme. My daughter has journal entries from when she was ten years old, where she expresses her confusion about whose rules to follow and how to answer his questioning her. This ongoing parental warfare caused unnecessary stress in our daughter’s life during her childhood.

journal entry about rulesjournal entries questions

Once she became a teenager, she was open to moving in with her father, especially since he was offering her a ‘stress free house’ (read no rules) and a car. However, it is so sad the distance my daughter has put between us so quickly. It has been over two months since she left to live with her father. Still, she does not give me her phone number and my only way to communicate is through the Instagram app. It has been over a month since I have seen my daughter and I hope to see her on December 2nd.

Recently, she reached out to me and was asking if we could get together. Her tone seems to have improved a bit and she seems less angry? Maybe time will help? The problem is she still lives with her father and his motives are not so good. Everything he has ever done has an self-serving purpose. I cannot control my ex-husband or his wife, but hearing my daughter speak in a manner that is definitely not her is frustrating.

Last week, we went to my hometown to celebrate my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived a long life and she was 97 1/2 when she passed away. We invited my daughter and she said she could not go to another state and miss even one day of school. Honestly, she is struggling with her grades and I am not sure one day would make that big of difference. Anyway, we had a huge family photo and it was sad for several of us that my daughter was not in the picture.

My mom is frustrated on some days and gets very angry at my ex-husband. I am not really sure how much of this is just her being a teenager. Dealing with teenagers can be a challenge without adding combative co-parenting to the mix. Today, I read an article called Offsetting Parental Alienation that gave me some hope. However, the other day I read a comment on Facebook from one of our readers that said their ex-husband was destroying their relationship with their grand babies. This thought just breaks my heart.

I hope my writing about this is helping some people. It is helping me to write these thoughts down. In July, after we were served the suit for custody, my stomach was upset nearly the entire month. In August, when my daughter was home and hostile towards us, we were completely on edge the entire month. In September, I felt extreme grief, knowing that I might have to let her go. In October, my feelings moved into a depression and it was a little hard to pull myself out of that. In November, I am beginning to accept my reality and trying to accept life with my daughter at a distance.

My prayers are constant to for God to keep her safe and protected. I still pray for my ex-husband and his wife and hope they will find their own happiness. Although, I know people rarely change. For now, I will continue to work on myself and continue working on my own health and happiness.

2 thoughts on “Navigating Through Parental Alienation (PAS)

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  1. I have been alienated from my family and friends for twenty years by many factors. I blame myself for accepting my fate. Mainly I realize it was just… Easier to go along with the flow and not count on making plans for holidays or birthdays or any vacations. It was only going to amount to broken promises and a lot of twisted conversations I was sure hadn’t happened the way I was told had happened. I was tired of feeling confused and frustrated and horribly embarrassed. I stopped trusting my own memories and stopped trusting my husband’s accounts of the facts or history or old conversations. I slowly fell away from conversations and angry comments made by family about me or my husband. I tried not to dwell on my heartbreak and just function day by day. “Just get through this” became my silent mantra… For years until one day my “grown up” daughter (barely 18) ran away, quit school, and got involved with equally demented trusted family manipulators (or was she just a master at manipulating them to believe I was the monster?)

    I cried for the whole year. I became angry and damn determined that my still often manipulative husband was going to hear me and face the brutal truth. Slowly and carefully I began to tell him how he had treated me and our children. At first he was angry and tried to tell me it didn’t happen. Then he began to realize that was why I didn’t share his deeply professed devotion and trust. He remembered a quiet compliant wife I remembered being compliant and silently resenting every single moment of our life in which I had no vote. I guess I raised my daughters to be independent and trust themselves more than their parents. If my daughter ever admits it to herself, she will see I gave her her wings, and it was because I love her. I still feel deeply betrayed and sad by the way she broke free, but I understand. Maybe I was a little jealous. Maybe I felt lost. Now I am just waiting on it to happen again with our last daughter, who is 15 now. I cannot say I could bear another heartbreak. But I know my girls are strong. I just hope they will be able to sidestep anyone new who attempts this twisted type of control over them. I mistook it for love. Now, I’m not sure I can feel anything anymore. Its hard to tell if I am just waiting for death because I have no ambition left, or if I am scared it IS all my fault and I’ll find out I am actually the monster they think I am.


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