any of your ex's use parental alienation tactics?

callmeraeJuly 17, 2006

today was the day from hell for has been years of hell in a miserable marriage with physical and emotional abuse and 6 years after the divorce is no ex is teaching my kids to hate and take on his anger..anyone else go through this?

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Yes quite often wife and I are subjected to this. When ex has the kids, I cannot talk to them when I call for weeks on end. Then the summer comes and she doesn't call or make an effort to come see them. I have had my younger ones since early April. They have spend a total of 4 days with their mother since then. I have told her that my 45 days ended long ago and she keeps stalling. I would love to keep them, but it is an extra $700+/month for us and she still gets $1000.00/mo child support while we keep them.
It's difficult to save money for court action to get custody when she pulls these tactics...
Frustrating for my wife and I and the kids who want to see their mother.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 1:31PM
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Oh yes, my ex is the King of this. My kids cannot call me when they are with him, even when my daughter had to go to the emergency room to have stitches. I got instructions, not even an explanation, scribbled on a piece of cardboard. Ex goes out of his way to ignore me. He refuses to answer questions, he has asked me not to call him, I should e-mail him with any comments/questions but does not respond when I do. He has told them when they are twelve they can come live with him. He permits them to watch pg13 movies (at ages 3 & 4), rated T video games, though I do not permit this, etc. I still make attempts to speak civilly to him for the children's sake, but it is a dead end. I read a helpful book that you, too, might find helpful. It is called Divorce Poison and it has strategies and advice for almost every situation. I highly recommend it. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 7:01PM
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what are some of the strategies the book your ex threatened to have the boys when they were 12 he has two of them..15 and 12..the assessor said that the boys were tired of dad fighting and putting us down, that dad doesn't discipline (which they like) and all this negative stuff but at the end said the boys were fine to live there..I don't want the boys to be caught in the middle anymore and I don't have $20 000 to fight this so I have to allow it..scary thing is it worked with 2 boys so nothing will stop him from working on our 8 year old either

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 7:32PM
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The book explains several situations of parental alienation from bad mouthing, turning them against you, rejection, etc. It's backed up by this doctor's real stories, he has testified in custody cases. It's just a real calm way of dealing with a$$holes like yours and my exes. It teaches us how to not be critical and angry, but how to arm ourselves and our children against it. The author is Dr. Richard A. Warshak and he also wrote another really great book called The Custody Revolution. I would definitely check with your library to see if you can find it or look on If you can't find it, I will send it to you. It's that important. It's not too late for your 8 yr. old. Isn't it a shame that we even have to have these conversations? Why can't they just grow up? Let it go, they don't want the kids they just want to hurt us. If it wasn't such a serious issue, I'd tell my ex to go ahead and take them now (not that I don't want them, I just know him too well), he'd send them back in a week! He couldn't handle it!! Notice they say 12...when the kids are somewhat self sufficient, sleep through the night, don't require potty training...etc.!!!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 9:03PM
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I'm not sure I should say anything, because I'm not a step-parent, but my step-father does this. He's got nothing good to say about his ex adn always claims she's "nosing in" if she has any contact at all. He really hates her.

Though i'd imagine it depends on how old the kids are and how suddle the parent is, it's can have the opposite effect that the mean parent wants. I mean with my step-brother, he was really angry with his mom for cheating and then leaving. But when my step-father goes off about her, it's just like when they were married and still fighting. I know he understands why she left that!

I'm not defending parents who pull this kind of thing, but I think most people are start enough to see through the manipulation as we get older. And I can't imagine anyone liking that when they get old enough to understand things.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 9:35PM
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When I first seperated from my husband he moved in with another woman a week later. Of course he wasnt' paying child support yet and so we didn't hear from him for seven months. When I went after child support and finally received it he wanted to see the kids. Of course I was really angry and very scared to send my 7 and 12 year old to see him because I had left him because he was doing drugs and he moved in with a woman who lost her children because she was doing drugs in front of her kids. I knew that my girls needed to see their dad, but I think I displaced a lot of my anger at him and the situation on this other woman. I was sick with worry and indecision and I put off letting my kids see him. I wanted him to see the kids without this other woman in the picture. He refused and said he could see the kids and I couldn't do anything. Looking back it doesn't make sense but at the time I was scared and angry. He took me to court and received visitation rights.

He doesn't get the girls during scheduled visitations, quits working for months at a time and doesn't pay his child support, but works under the table to get by. And the worse part was that they were subjected to his dope sessions and what not. But anyway, to cut to the chase....was I using parental alienation tactics?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 6:19PM
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Charlie , yes you were using some of those tactics by preventing the kids to see him but with good reason! whenever there is drugs involved any mother is scared and i think in that case alienation tactics are for the best. If he did drugs in front of your kids then you should explain to them why you dont want them to see their father. Because you are scared of his habit. There is nothing wrong in being scared of this.
My hubbies ex does pot. We cannot prove it but her new common law husband is into drugs and there is his kids and my hd's 2 kids in the house. They lock themselves up in the bedroom when they do it but still..what happens if there is a fire or a kids breaks his leg and they are too stoned to do anythign about it? This is what we worry as mothers.


I know how you feel about the nonphone calls. My husband and his ex had an issue with the phone. Which i put a stop to it when i moved in. For the sake of the kids. He would phone his kids and she would either refuse to hand the phone, make excuses they were takign a bath or donig their homework. Other times she would limit the phone call to 5 minutes. And then my hubby would do the same when the kids came over. I told him stop it. The kids have a right to phone their mother no matter how much you hate her. She may act that way but dont do the same thing cause its damaging your kids.
The email thing i can understand. If your husband is stressed cause he feels harassed with your phone calls he wants a paper trail. I know we;ve done the same thing with my DH's ex. But she's really bad. She'll phone him just to scrap it out. But i put a stop to that as well. I told my husband she is never to phone the house unless her kids are here or to discuss something about the kids schedual. No fighting or i will havea restraining order if she keeps up this behaviour. She has alot of hate in her. I dont involve myself with her but she does affect my husbands state of mind and i have the right to protect that. She abused him for 14 years. And one thing is for sure she is intimidated by me cause i wont take her cr*p. Even with all the mind manipulation she does withthe kids.
My personal opinion, mark everything down and then take them to court asap. Cause it will drag on if both parents continue the backlashing. One has to stop and ignore.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 8:06AM
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I went to the libary on friday to see if they had the book..they are having it sent from another library..hope it helps!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 1:43AM
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That's great, I'm sure it will help you, it did me. I at least learned that this is common and someone is trying to do something about it!
my ex doesn't answer when I call, I have to leave a message. Even then, he doesn't tell them. I only call when I have an emergency, maybe twice in the past year, so no, I don't harass him. It's not such a big deal now because they're young (6 & 5). But I still miss the heck out of them and want to hear their voices and know they're alright but ex doesn't think I have that right on his time. However, he doesn't call them on my time. A lot of days the kids will ask to call him and I have never told them no. I will always be the bigger person. It's so sad the games that grown people will play...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 9:55PM
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My common law husband is currently going through a very nasty custody battle and his ex-wife is using extreme alienation tactics on his two daughters ages 8 and 6. We are at a loss what to do. The courts have proven to be very biased towards giving women the children, regardless of whether the mother is capable of being a proper mother and do not seem to care or even address alienation. His ex-wife does drugs, has sedated the children with Gravel when her multiple lovers come over to the house, she puts the children with sitters every time she has them, she has left them alone in the house and in her van numerous times, she has taken 5 vacations in the last year (two weeks at a time) to Hawaii, Europe, Florida, Vancouver, New York, all without the children, the list goes on. She has stated that she is only fighting for the girls for money. Her most recent and horrific alienation tactic was to tell the 6 year old that she (the mother) would kill herself if the 6 year old left Canada for more than 4 days. This was a day before we were leaving for a vacation in Florida with the girls. The entire time we were there, the 6 year old panicked and cried that she had to get back to Canada right away and could not be out of Canada for more than 4 days or her mother would kill herself. We called and called her mother to try and show the 6 year old that her mother had not killed herself but her mother refused to answer the phone or return our calls. The 6 year old was so upset she was throwing up for days. Then the 6 year old ran into the kitchen, grabed a knife and said she was going to kill herself as she made her mother kill herself because she left Canada for more than 4 days. This is one of many emotional pressures she puts on the kids. She refuses to spend time with the girls and then takes us to court claiming that we wont allow her to see them. She then tells the girls that daddy scares her and threatens her and wont let them see her. This is how she explained taking five vacations without them. She refuses to sign travel consents without significant legal intervention and has made us cancel trips with the girls because we could not get the travel consent in time. Then she tells the girls that we cancelled the trip because we didn't want to take them. How do we handle this? It is causing serious emotional damage to the girls and it appears there is nothing we can do. We have called the CAS, we have raised it in court, we have raised it with the lawyers....nothing is done. We are terrified she will eventually brainwash the girls into not seeing their father at all and completely destroy them. Does anyone have any advice?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 1:57PM
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sdg147, can you put the girls in counseling? Do you have a lawyer?

Document everything as much as possible.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:13PM
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I agree with Giggle about getting the girls into counseling. Do it as soon as you can! In the meantime, I'd suggest giving the girls private journals for them to write (or maybe draw in the case of the 6 yo) about their feelings in hopes that they'll be able to figure a few things out on their own just by putting them on paper. Tell them that if they want to share their journals with you or their dad, they are welcome to, but that they don't have to and you WON'T snoop on them.

If you're worried about the cost of counseling, you might be covered for free counseling through work or school. If you or CLDH attend or are employed by a Canadian university, many of them are affiliated with a free short-term (usually 6 month-ish) counseling program arranged by Wilson-Banwell(sp?) for the employee or student, their spouse and dependents. You and DH might have to be legally common-law for that - I'm not certain - but check with your employers or universities.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 8:16PM
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You HAVE to get the girls to a neutral 3rd party who they can tell these things to and can testify to them in court. A counselor, a mediator, a custody evaluator, a pastor . . .
These things are HORRIBLE and will have a tremendous effect on the kids. You have to keep pushing on and document EVERYTHING. If it is legal in Canada (assuming you are there, too) for you to tape phone conversations go buy a recorder and the phone set up NOW. Tape all calls with the kids and with mom. Get as many witnesses as possible to everything that is said. DON'T GIVE UP, and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:01AM
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Go to the library and find a book called 'Divorce Poison' -- It's all about the kinds of extreme and alienating tactics the kids' mother is pulling, and it counsels parents on the other end of them how to deal and how to help the kids deal.

One of the most useful parts is that it shows you how to keep to the high road (and not ADD to the damage) while counteracting the tactics of the other parent. For example, if you allow Mom's lies to go unchallenged, the child may believe them. You need to find a way to explain Mom's tactics to the child without villifying the other parent. Some examples:

- "People sometimes say crazy things they don't mean when they're upset, and your mother is very upset right now. She doesn't really mean everything she's saying."

- "It sounds like your mom has forgotten that you can love two people at the same time. You can love us both and YOU DO NOT have to choose."

- "Sometimes people say things that aren't true when they're angry, and your mom seems to be feeling very angry right now."

For an older child, asking her to use her own judgement about what is true and what isn't, and to rely on what SHE has seen and experienced can also help.

But I'd also agree with the suggestions for counseling, and if it's legal where you are, for taping phone conversations.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Thank you all very much for your helpful advice. It is very much appreciated. I have now purchased the book Divorce Poison and am documenting as much as possible. Thank you as well for the suggested responses to the girls. We will follow your advice and the advice in the book as well.

We are trying to get counselling for the girls but the mother wont agree. We have asked the CAS to step in and try to force counselling. I am hoping that the CAS will be able to force it as they so badly need a professional to talk to. My husband's work health plan will provide counselling but the mother has to agree.

Unfortunately, we may end up having to give up the fight for the kids and its breaking our hearts. We have run out of money and can borrow no more. We have spent almost $100,000 to date and have nothing left. We owe our lawyer about $20,000 still and he is being as patient as possible. We have begged the girls mother to settle and asked her what she wants and she simply replies, "see you in court". She is sleeping with the senior partner of the law firm representing her and has been able to run a tab because of this and so she has the funds to continue the battle.

We are very concerned at this point where this will leave the girls. If we are unable to fight, she will surely have the girls full time and we will not see them. We are terrified that she will continue her alienation tactics to the point the girls will not want to see their father at all. The girls demeanor is getting worse. They are often depressed and withdrawn. We are seeking advice from anyone who has experience with this and can help us help the girls. If anyone has any further suggestions, we will gladly take them.

We are so upset and frustrated with a system that is supposed to help and be there for the children and they are the ones they are letting down the most.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 3:42PM
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sdg147, you can still fight without a lawyer. Research as much as possible about the laws in your area, you and DH can still do it! Do not give up on those girls, please.

Let's hope CAS says okay. Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 6:45PM
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Hello Everyone. Here is an update. The CAS interviewed the girls and their mother and advised that they did have concerns and were addressing them. They could not tell us what they were but noted that they had no desire or need to interview us as their concerns were with the mother. They will retain their findings and recommendations on file until the Court orders they produce them. They advised that the girls need immediately counselling and were concerned that we had not put them in counselling to date. We explained to them again that we have been unable to get the girls into counselling without their mother's consent, unless court ordered. We asked if the CAS could help us force counselling on the mother and they are looking into it. We have continued to ask the mother to agree to counselling through my husband's health plan but to date she has refused. She has refused to allow us to speak with the girls on the phone and simply hangs up when we call. The other day we were able to reach the older one as she picked up the phone without her mother knowing. However, when her mother heard her talking to us on the phone she yelled at her to get off the phone and the phone was hung up. She called back and whispered into the phone, "Daddy, mommy says I can't talk to you" and then she started to cry. We drove over to the house but were not allowed to see the girls. The youngest one came running up to hug us and their mother told them to get in the house. This is just brutal on the girls. They are severly depressed and miss their father and me very much. She doesn't seem to care about the extreme emotional damage she is inflicting on these girls. We don't know how to get that through to her. We have offered to settle the litigation for whatever she wants, except that we want the girls at least 50% of the time. We have offered to pay her whatever she wants regardless of how much or how little she has the girls. She refuses. She is intent on destroying everyone in her path, including her daughters. How do we get through to someone like that?

It is clear that her anger is driving her actions but we are unsure why she is so angry. The marriage ended because she could not stop having affairs. She currently has nine (yup nine) different lovers, 5 are women lovers and 4 are men lovers. She also is living in the matrimonial home completely free. My husband is paying the mortgage and all bills. She doesn't see a bill. Given that she has gotten everything she wanted so far, we simply don't know what else to give her to make her stop this behavour. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:39PM
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Sdg - It sounds like you are trying to use rational thinking to influence and predict the actions of an irrational person. See the mismatch? Logic simply won't work with a person who is behaving illogically. Her actions are being driven by her emotions, so influencing her emotions may be the only way to influence her actions. But how can you ameliorate her anger without hurting yourselves or the children? I'm not sure it's possible.

CAS's actions sound promising, and I'll cross my fingers that the wheels of justice work smoothly and more quickly for you.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:10PM
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Sdg-Sometimes you just have to accept mental illness. It is a very real disease. By her actions....she appears to have difficulties in relationships, attempts to problem solve through manipulation, & feeds her mental illness with revenge. It seems to me some antipsychotics, anti-depressants, or a combination of the two might help her bazaar behavior. Also, if those don't work....try an Exorcism. She sounds like pure hell.
Really, take notes on all behavior(dates & times) & give the to the counselor. Maybe he/she can refer or suggest a Psychiatrist for the person.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Sdg, I know it may not seem like it, but the ball IS rolling in the right direction from what you have posted. Keep up with everything, research research research your local area laws and procedures.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Misti is right - you need to have as much documentation as possible to provide CAS. The more things they know to question the girls about, the better your chances of helping them. It seems like things are turning your (their) way . . . keep positive and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 10:42PM
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I can understand your pain. I think you can take suggestion from magic of making up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Magic fo making up

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 7:27AM
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Jackee12 (I think you misspelled that: surely the ending should be "ass12")- What a load of old cobblers.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Hello Everyone, this update is long overdue. After my last post, we got a Custody Evaluator involved. After five months of psych tests, evaluations, mandatory counselling etc, etc, the Custody Evaluator saw through the ex-wife's crap. It was such a relief to have someone take the time to really look into what was going on. The girls have been through hell and back. They are in counselling now. The Custody Evaluator gave 50/50 access and will determine legal custody very shortly. It was confirmed that the ex-wife was doing drugs, was drugging the girls, was leaving them alone and in fact and generally being an absolute horrible parent. The Evaluator actually said in the meeting, "you abandoned your children for years" But, the system still favours mothers, particularly ones that cry the blues and say they have changed, and very generously gave her 50/50. Not that we don't want the girls to see their mother, but the damage she continues to do with her extreme alienation tactics is horrible. The girls therapist is going to report back to the custody evaluator in a few months and will no doubt confirm the girls' issues are being caused by the mother's alienation tactics. Hopefully they can force her to stop emotionally abusing them. It is painful to watch. I can't imagine what they are going through when they go to her house. While she cried that she is a changed woman, she is continuing to do the same things before the evaluation. By the way, my and my husband's psych tests came back very positive. While we have not had the opportunity to review the ex-wife's, we already know that it came back that she is seriously emotionally screwed up. We know that she has Borderline Personality Disorder. She has been court ordered into regular therapy. She has been court ordered not to use drugs or alcohol when the girls are with her. There are many more restrictions. The good news is that there is hope and the girls have not been taken away from their father simply because he is a man. The bad news is that she is continuing to get away with her behaviour simiply because she is the woman/mother. I want to thank all of you who recommended certain books and sites etc. They were all very helpful and helped us cope with this stressful situation. Please keep your fingers crossed that in a few months, the father is granted sole legal custody. The mother is completely incapable of putting the girls first and of acting reasonably. He is a great father and has always put them first and I have no doubt always will. It was so nice to finally have an "official" state in front of everyone that the girls were living in a very stable andloving home until the mother decided to get back into their lives and cause havoc. We pray that this ordeal is over soon so that we can all get back to living.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 7:29PM
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