From a father that has seen both sides

Submitted by Admin on Wed, 08/09/2010 - 10:34

A subtle message for the unsuspecting partners of abusers, you may end up targeted one day also

The below comes from a person now well known to this site and through his own experience has been able to help others that have been targeted, he devotes much of his time freely to many and through his contributions on the Dads in Distress forums has brought back many from the depths of despair.

If you go to the DiDs forum (not gender specific by the way) and post, it is almost a certainty that he will be one of those that reply, you will soon know who he is from the amount and type of support you will get.

To this author and many others, he has provided invaluable insight and support and for this I salute him.


Hi to all I would like to share my story in relation to P.A.S. as both an instigator and a victim.

Many of us have experience these days of being part of an extended family and this creates another dynamic into perpetrators of P.A.S.

This is a brief description of my dealings being as honest and truthful as I can in relation to P.A.S.

I met and entered into a relationship with a mother of three and the youngest was 4 turning 5, I openly fell into the role as father and matriarch with the guidance of my future wife deliberating how the family should run in regards to the children, I am a fair caring person and managed to put my personal spin bringing to the children's life consistency and care.

I was aware of the father of the children and had met him, he seemed a reasonable man who was not threatening at all to any aspect of my life and as I had no need to be his friend I was happy enough to become acquaintances.

I noticed some very unusual patterns in the children's behaviour that I talked to my partner about, she excused the behaviour as the result of a bad relationship with their father and certain aspects of their relationship, fair enough I thought and I suggested we work on sorting the problems out so the children could start to be more secure and enjoy life. Certain parts of this was to change the children's attitude to each other as well as their mother and I having the same rules and punishments to adapt a consistency for the children at home.

Now when I look at the situation in hind sight I realise that I was being put in the position where mum could play the good guy and let slide with the rules when I was not there then use me as a tool to keep the children in line.

This was done on some very complex levels and a few negative emotional tools. Being from a split family and the children fearful that I would soon be on the out the most effective tool was FEAR, as far as the children were told I could leave at the drop of the hat, this was not the only tool but the most prevalent and one I discovered in a round about way that their mother put down to separation anxiety, so a family meeting and re-assurances were made. Although disarming the use of the tool so much it was still used and the fear was deep set in the children.

At this point to my shame I was drawn into alienation of their father, I did so reluctantly and it happened with out me being aware by subtle strategies by the children's mother who emotionally bored into my soul by expressing danger to the children through their fathers by mental abuse this backed up by her friends who knew the man and situation.

Needless to say I succumbed to a lesser form of P.A.S. thinking I was helping the children gain strength to stand up for them self, this was incorporated into my development of the children to reduce the problems they suffered.

In admitting this I will also say that in my time with them I was able to develop many coping skills that will last them through their lives and gave them assured confidence, this I will never receive accolade for and I ask none.

This continued through the relationship and as the children aged my job became more of a support and sounding board for the children to listen and help them maintain a relationship with their father as it had become a problem of confusion to them which at this point was further highlighted by their mother as she was now using the past to influence the children and their relationship with their dad, at this point I started to realise that I had been used unknowingly.

All this in less than four in which my daughter was born and in the second year of her life.

At this point the worm turned, my darling soul mate and wife decided that she wanted out although she was not changed to myself and hid her plan well she had decided to find a new love and make plans for her future. She initiated a barrage of P.A.S. on my stepchildren that would see them despise me as she used examples of my bad behaviour and subtle threats that may be suffered if they upset me, she even told the eldest that with in the year she would be free and they would not have to suffer.

None of the lies were true and my wife worked hard to develop conflict that the children could witness but was always sure to avoid anyone else seeing what was going on when she was abusing me.

Around this time it appears that my daughters mother decided to become overly involved in sorting some of our friends marriage problems out, she separated them with her interference and started a relationship with the male whilst both couples were still together, details of this are not important except in concerns of the children.

Her aggression and attacks toward me increased the children were involved in the disputes by their mother and she influenced them when I was not present to create conflict between myself and the children to the point where unknowingly to me they despised me and yes I was still there for them when they needed me and still help them through their problems.

As she did this she built up the other man as their saviour and who needed them just as much as they needed him. This was a very involved and complex time I was rock bottom as I had discovered the possibility of the affair she was lying to all that would listen and peoples opinion of me and the way they treated me was different, those of our friends who stood up for me didn't last long and again I was alone with head racing, heart breaking, wrapped in fear and depressed to the point I was bed ridden for some time and when I wasn't I was totally disjointed to all around.

By the time the separation came it was less than a year from the time my X had decided to move on and less than a months since she had caused our friends to separate, my stepchildren wanted nothing to do with me and my daughter was too young to have an opinion. I was alone and in my eyes had nothing suicide was contemplated to the point and tying a hangman's knot in a piece of rope. I don't know what it was that stopped me, I assume it was the love for my daughter and the knowledge that someone on this god forsaken planet needed me.

It took a few months to find my feet and look at some form of stabilised visitation, it was being run before this by my daughters mother who said I could have my girl any time but made excuses when I asked etc etc, you all know the drill.

I started the fight back, my daughter and step kids where used to find out information, my daughter was grilled the step kids where ask to spy when they came into the house, there reward was their mothers approval and being allowed to listen in on adult conversations that further degraded me by my daughters mother telling all that would listen any secrets that I may have divulged to her and making up a fair few just to add fire. The only one who may have been saved by the onslaught of P.A.S. may have been my step son but his mother even had a tool for this. When he did not agree that I was a bad father her and the new boyfriend kept him up till three in the morning telling him what made me a bad father, explaining how I had failed them and how I was abusive, over and over again till his little mind just agreed as it broke.

I need to express at this point that I do not hate my step-kids and although I used to be disappointed I no longer am, I have just accepted they did what they did to survive as they now do what they do, it is easier to believe the lies and hate someone than admit your to scared to find the truth and deal with it's consequences. Unfortunate but true.

With the step-kids no longer at threat of being turned against her by siding with me my daughters mother now concentrated on way's she could break the relationship between my three and half year old daughter and myself. If she remained in town it would be difficult to stop contact or at least control it to an extent where my daughter would dislike me intensely but well aware of the knowledge that if she did not continue a decent amount of contact she would be judged by other by her action. Many things would have flowed through that twisted mind as to how things should be handled.

She decided to move 300k's away due to family illness, this of course was an excuse and was just another means to try and create an unattainable relationship with my daughter, she could be appearing to be doing this for all the right reasons, she would even meet me half way for drop offs and allow me 38% care of my daughter till she started school, but the head was still ticking and planning for the next move. As my funds were limited and I was living in the home that we had purchased but never lived in together she suspected that I would not be able to meet the costs of this arrangement.

Again I fought back this time by frugal living, I stopped smoking lived on next to nothing and saved every cent for when my daughter would be with me, my mother and her boyfriend saved me many times, every time my girl would come they came their excuse was for a visit but with them they brought a weeks worth of food and each trip brought another piece of furniture and some more toy's for my girl. I could afford to keep contact.

The next of her plans was to refute our agreement that we made where I would have 9 days contact two weekends in this time span, she would use excuses why she could not drop off my daughter as planned or ring when my girl was here referring to pick up being two days earlier than it should be.

I became sick of the constant changes and excuses I had a hand written parenting plan with dates and times, I had also made another one for changes that she wanted to make for changes to pick up and drop offs, I could not understand why she was fighting this so hard we had agreed.

I applied for mediation and it was granted, I did the right thing I told my girls mum who in fact had suggested it some time prior, her response through a lawyer was to stop contact, now we all know this can be fought in court and should be done A.S.A.P. but she picked her time well, I could not afford a lawyer and had no legal resources, it was two months to Christmas and the mediation was in February. Courts closing down for break, lawyers hard to find and legal aid was slow, the best I could manage was 1 day's contact a day before new years. The first contact with my girl in over two months I had no idea how she would react or if she would remember me. I was lucky the bond was still as strong as ever she wa not tainted and still loved me it was the best Christmas in all the time man has lived ever.

The next year was filled with conflict and sub conflict with myself trying to negotiate and mediate and the X and her lawyer trying to create as much conflict as possible, the step kids were now brought back into the malay as accusations of myself upsetting them in their new life, yada yada yada, my reply was I had no contact so how could I ?.

All attempts where made to reduce contact, lies where told and offers bandied about with myself remaining resilient that I would have decent contact if not 50/50. School became a central point, and my inability to travel as well as the distance being too great.

I ended up putting a proposition to her lawyer that I have my daughter for all school holidays apart from one week at Christmas break and my daughter is schooled in the capital or my daughter is schooled with me and spends her holidays with her mother.

The wild card out of all this was finances and we owed substantial, at the time no collateral, added to this she had told me she was moving back to town gave me an edge to be patient.

I dealt with the devil and made a compromise for 50/50 orders and sorting out of finances and then we could avoid court. It was agreed upon but did not end.

Another year of mediatory action on my part to try and have orders signed and discuss finances saw no resolve, contact had remained 50/50 but no orders this worked in my favour as it was setting president and I need not be in any hurry, so I just continued. Divorce was suggested which I had no problem with as long as we sorted things out this did not happen of course and the judge appeared to be there just to rubber stamp, but this did not worry me either as I attached the Parenting Plan and she had not refuted things. The divorce went through and this meant finances to be sorted.

Considering all that had been addressed and my attempts to keep a good regime of contact you would suspect their would be an acceptance and a stop to alienation and now we could get down to parenting and forming rules for both homes as my girl has two homes.

Guess again. Not all alienation is aggressive some is very passive and gentle it is like a snake sneaking up on prey until it can strike with full force. Mums house is better than Dads house because ............ You get pressies every time you come back. You can stay up longer. you don't have to do things you don't want to, everyone is at your beacon call, we have a new dog, a horse, a sheep, a motor bike, mum gives you lots more hugs and kisses, mum treats you like a baby, um does this mum does that mum loves you more than anyone in the whole world.

All of these little things added together take away the subtle building blocks that give children the things they need to learn and grow how to be strong members of society, they also take away from children what they need most, a stable environment where they know the rules, not creating stability in a child's environment is abuse.

It is also the case that this is a form of subtle alienation towards the father and the extended family who live in fear created by the mother that they may lose their sibling if they do not bow to her needs. It creates insurmountable problems if children feel they control an environment and creates conflict between parent and child if in my case the mother manages to alienate myself the father. The child is encouraged to cause conflict and can even be sent with an agenda designed by the mother who has used the child as a tool. If it is fought by aggression it further establishes the mothers agenda and alienates the child who then further attaches them self to mother, if it is left it becomes a situation that escalated out of control where the child then establishes them self as the head of both environments and has no boundaries.

But it is not impossible to create an environment where P.A.S. is in one home but not the other, it is something that needs constant re-formatting but rules must remain the same, changes can be as simple as explaining to your child that it is OK that people form an opinion with out truly knowing you. In my case when my daughter came to me after several months of telling me what everyone at mums house was saying bad about me, which I might add was upsetting her greatly. I simply sat her down and told her that I forgave them and that she knew her daddy.

 I forgive.

This worked better than I could ever wished for, She no longer had to struggle with the conflict of loving all parties and feeling she had to choose because it no longer hurt one main party. Can you imagine the reactions " That's OK dad forgives you " what could be said to that. Anything that was would have been obvious P.A.S. and seen as such by my daughter.

Conflict is increased with answer that show agitation towards the other party and to be honest it's natural to react this way but to avoid P.A.S. you need to put in perspective your child's needs not the personal battle with the other parent, we hear say " Be the bigger person " and this is what it take to provide an environment for our children where they are not used as pawns in a fight of revenge and emotions, if their other parent chooses to use them in this manner it is their choice and something that we may not be able to influence but what we can influence is our environment, this will provide them with a haven, voicing anger at the other parent causes conflict for the child, if you must do something then listen to your child and offer ways that might influence the other parents behaviour in a positive way.

There is much I haven't said about the struggles that will be present for myself and my child as long as I live and perhaps longer for her. I can't change things for the best but I can provide her with better at our home and I can listen. It is not impossible to de fuse P.A.S. to a point but once a parent uses it there is a good possibility they will never stop as they will justify them self for using it and seek others approval by telling part of an embellished story and lying.

The other parent needs to accept it is wrong. So myself personally I believe this will be a life time battle that may well see my daughter lean towards her home with her dad.

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