Should I go???

blanca09August 7, 2009

My husband is meeting his 24 year old son for the first time. He last saw him when he was 5years old. Recently my husband began the search and found him. His son didn't want to contact my husband directly so they were going thru his sons mom. My husband and she had been in contact thru email. I had no problem with her being the middle person until her emails became inappropriate.

My husband told her right away what his intensions were and they had nothing to do with her. However it has become a bigger problem than I could ever imagine. I just thought this was going to be about his son I had no ideas she was included. (She is currently on her 3rd marriage)

My husband and his son are scheduled to meet and his son's mom is going to be there because his son doesnt want to do it alone. However I have been advised by Friends & Family to attend the meeting? I honestly donÂt want to go and I hope that after they meet she steps out of the picture, but I also donÂt want to regret not going if she doesnÂt back off. I have been quietly supporting my husband and trying to be as understanding as any human being could. Should I make my presence known? Please tell me what you think???

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No, I do not think you should go.

I think this meeting should be about the son and his father. I think it's somewhat odd that his mother is going---BUT, really, this meeting should be about the SON and if he feels more comfortable with his mom being there, that is his choice.

Why has your husband not seen his son in 19 years???

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 1:30PM
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What purpose would it serve for you to go? That is what you have to ask yourself.

Her being there is serving a purpose for their son. He wants his mom's support. If you trust your husband, it doesn't matter what HER intentions are... he doesn't seem interested in her and if she is using this as an opportunity to throw herself at him, she will look foolish and it would probably have a negative impact on your husband and his son being able to establish any relationship.

I think there is a lot to work out between a father that has been absent for 19 years and it's between this grown up son and his father. My son harbors some resentment against his father for not seeing him when he was growing up... though he is at least talking to him. My daughter wants nothing to do with her father that also had nothing to do with her when she was growing up. If the son is 24 and not willing to deal with his father directly, it's also possible that he has conflicting feelings of resentment or curiosity, or both. If I were you, I'd stay out of it and be supportive when he gets home.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 2:12PM
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Your husband is NOT meeting his son for the first time. By your own statement your DH met his son when he was 5, and obviously knew about the son at that point. Either you, your DH, or both, is attempting to obscurate the situation. Why did your DH let his son go??? I am so sick and tired of Some (not all, but some) second and third wives putting this on the mom. I think you need to explain what was going on in Dads world and yours that this child was left alone for 20 years.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 2:21PM
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kkny, It is USUALLY the fault of the parent that does not see his/her child. It is RARELY the fault of the custodial parent. The custodial parent can make it difficult of course but the non custodial parent has rights and options. Going away because it's easier than doing whatever it takes, is no excuse at all. My kids' fathers may try to make excuses like not knowing where we lived, but we didn't hide. We didn't change our names. We could have been found. Sure, the custodial parent can find them too, but it really is the responsibility of the parent to find their own child and do whatever it takes to have a relationship and take responsibility for the child. I suspect some of these fathers that stay away until the child is grown... do so to avoid financial obligations.

In defense of 2nd or 3rd wives, they are only operating on the information provided by the husband. Of course, if my husband told me he hadn't seen his child in years... I'd probably rake him over the coals about WHY NOT?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 2:35PM
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"It is USUALLY the fault of the parent that does not see his/her child. It is RARELY the fault of the custodial parent. The custodial parent can make it difficult of course but the non custodial parent has rights and options. Going away because it's easier than doing whatever it takes, is no excuse at all."

I agree. I am sure my DD's bio-dad would have some BS excuse about not being around and I know for a fact he's tried w/his family/friends to lay the blame on me. But the end of the matter is that he could be involved IF he wanted. He, for whatever reason, chooses not to.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 2:59PM
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LH, I would advise OP to warn her DH not to make such lame excuses...

My son met his dad when he was 18. His dad tried to lay blame on me and it backfired.. my son grew up with me, saw me filing court papers and is now old enough to realize that if his dad really wanted to see him all those years, he could have found him. It's taken a couple of years but I see my son letting go of the fantasy father he had hoped for and the reality is sinking in... especially when his father doesn't do what he says he is going to, or when he does anything, it's under a microscope and analyzed by my son. (ie. his dad called him on his birthday, but it was at 11pm so my son figures he either forgot or it wasn't a priority...) A parent that has been absent may have to work ten times harder to make it up and may be scrutinized over every little act... lol, kinda like stepparents/stepkids do to each other sometimes... because that relationship is just not there, but the expectations might be.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 4:42PM
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No you should not go! His ex knows he is married, and most importantly your dh knows he is married! Let him handle his ex's inappropriate comments or advances, etc.

His son has not seen his father since he was 5, he needs to get to know him. You being there will make it uncomfortable. Let father and son work on their relationship. After a few meetings father and son may start doing things without the mother anyways.

I am curious though as to what kept your husband away from his son all these years??

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 4:48PM
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No don't go. And I don't think it's strange that the BM wants to be there. Why do you feel threatened by that?

BM has raised son and your dh does not have a say in whether or not she is goin to be there at all IMO!! She has facilitated the contact between the son and him, she should be thanked for that. Without her this meeting would probably never have happened, so why should she not be there??

And why has DH not seen son for so long? What is his problem?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:13PM
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I have met a couple of men in my life who didn't see their children. they usually reveal it right away at first couple of dates, needless to say I never wanted to see them again aftre I have learned such info about them, let alone marry them. it is a mystery to me how some 2nd or 3rd wives think it is OK to marry men who don't see their children. and now they are talking about why mom is there. LOL unbelivable.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 10:11AM
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"Should I go???"
Yes, to counseling.

I thought the question was going to be along the lines of whether, despite her own discomfort, the OP should go because her husband asked her to be there for his support -- which I could understand him wanting if he feels he's going to have to account for his absence all those years.

But the only reason she gives for considering going is that she fears the mom will be "inappropriate" with her husband in some way. THIS is the issue she sees? Her husband is and this young man who is his abandoned son are meeting after all these years -- that's huge. But it's all about HER and her insecurities -- not how she can be supportive to her husband and his son at this wrenching time.

And in fact, her only real question is, "Should I make my presence known?" Does that mean that the son and his mother don't know she exists? No wonder she feels insecure.

There are a lot of big, important issues here, but whether the OP should be at this little meeting isn't one of them.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 1:03PM
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"Does that mean that the son and his mother don't know she exists? No wonder she feels insecure."

if the father didn't see his son for all these years, then of course how does his son suppose to know about existance of his wife? more so why would he or his mother would even care if she exists?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 1:34PM
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Maybe they didn't know about her all those years (or whatever part of them she has been around), but since they have been in contact, it seems like he might have mentioned it, especially when he "told her right away what his intensions were and they had nothing to do with her." I would find it pretty strange if he hadn't, in fact.

"why would he or his mother would even care if she exists?"

Think about it. It might be only of passing interest to an ex-partner as a personal matter that her ex has remarried, but he is trying to start a relationship with her son; although he is already a young adult, she would be care who his rediscovered family now includes for many good reasons far beyond nosiness or any interest in whether her ex is available. And certainly the son would care a great deal to know whether he has a stepmother -- and perhaps half-siblings.

If the OP's husband is keeping his marriage a secret, this family has really big problems even beyond his wife's concern that he might be rekindling this old relationship.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 3:52PM
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I understand why you would like to attend and i dont think you are insecure like others state here. It sounds like dear mother has done the PAS in the early years and your dh gave up seeing his own son for peace of mind. I've seen many men give up seeing their kids because their exwives were psychologically attacking them and also poisoning the kids. My dh almost stopped seeing them , gave up but i encouraged him to keep calling and seeing them and never give up cause that is what bm wants.
So,my personal take is the BM should also not be there. I know her son asked her but he's 24 years old and if he cannot have a man to man meeting with his own father regardless if he hasn't seen him in almost 20 years then that says alot! You being his new wife to me will leave a sour taste and may begin the meeting ot an off start.
Your husband should take his own family member since his exwife is going to be there. A brother, a sister or even a grandparent of the child on dad's side.
I dont think your husband should go to this reunion alone, but he should take a family kin member and not you to reduce tension to an already high tension situation.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 7:11AM
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organic, I don't know why you assume that it is somehow mom's fault dad never saw his son (you know no facts yet you make an assumption).

Do you not know that there are deadbeat moms and dads and it is not always the other parent's fault?

i think your post is offensive to people who post here.

Do you think that it is lovehadley's fault her daughter does not see her father?

Do you think it is imamommy's fault her kids do not see their fathers?

Do you think it is mom2emall's DH's fault his exwife does not see her children?

Do you think they all alienated deadbeat parent?

If you assume that to be true in OP's situation, assume without any knowledge of the fact then do you assume the same about posters here? Your assumptions are unfair without knowing the facts.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:05AM
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And why would it be ok for absent Dad to bring a family member, but not the Son? Who would Son get to bring that wouldnt make SM insecure? Thats just bizarre to me.

Yes, he may be 24 but this is likely the hardest thing he has ever faced in his life. We do not know details, but if it was a form of PAS (which has been universally discredited) I doubt Mom would be in any way accomodating to helping Son unite with his father. Do you really think she would waste her time emailing this deadbeat?

And before anyone goes off on a tangent, I do believe there are forms of PAS but in 99% of the cases it is easily taken care of. There are other issues like in Hadleys, Pseudos where the other parent has mental issues, but that doesnt mean it is PAS per definition as commonly thrown around. PAS to me has become a common scapegoat when a person cannot explain their absence in their childs life. Yes, the other parent may be unbalanced, but it doesnt excuse the healthy one from being there. In any case, if it is true, then it is even worse that the healthy parent would get away and leave their child with that person. Sounds worse anyway its put.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 11:37AM
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When I used the term PAS in reference to BM's behavior, I do not mean that DH is walking away from his child. I mean that BM is constantly disparaging him/me/us to their son, and in general makes negative comments and tries to discolor OUR family's relationship with SS. My Dh would never, ever walk away from his son, and thank God, BM's antics haven't really worked. It seems more and more SS is seeing his mom's true colors; and while he certainly loves her, as she is his mommy, he also loves DH, loves me and doesn't buy into all the bad things she says and does. I absolutely know that given the choice, SS would NOT want to live 100% with his mom. He loves us and cherishes being with us. Bottom line--he loves both his parents.

In my daughter's father's case---it's hard for me to say entirely, as I don't know what goes on in his head. I know when I moved back home when DD was a newborn, I certainly changed the dynamics, and made it a lot harder for him to have a relationship with her. BUT I didn't make it impossible by any means. He could have filed court papers in his home state (DD's birth state) anytime within those first 6 months and chances are, I would have been court-ordered to move back. DD was not considered a resident of my state until she'd lived here for 6 months.

He didn't do anything.

I was the one that filed papers when she was about 8-9 months old. We finished everything in court when she was about 13 months old. I filed a paternity suit against HIM b/c I didn't ever want him to say "oh, well I didn't know about you" or "I didn't know where you were" to DD down the road.

He wanted NOTHING. In our papers, it even says in the last paragraph "respondent declares he has no desire to pursue involvement with minor child" or something along those lines.

I think for him--it is an out of sight out of mind type thing. I don't think DD is "real" to him. I used to email pictures, etc., not just to him but to his mom, as well. I finally gave up after no response for years.

He knows my number, knows my address and knows my email. He could get in touch if he wanted.

He doesn't want to. I talked to his sister (the only family member that's ever really reached out to have somewhat of a relationship with DD) about it a year or so ago, and she kind of shrugged it off when I asked about his lack of involvement and her thoughts. She just said "he is the same old _____, he's kind of immature and selfish and only cares about himself."

IMO that is pretty much it. I think for him---it was too much effort--not worth it---and easier to walk away and bury his head in the sand and pretend DD doesn't exist.

The sad thing is DD is starting to realize that. She knows him by name and has seen pics of him b/c he came to visit her twice (keep in mind I bought both his plane tickets), once when she was 6 months, and once when she was 7 months.

JUST last week after at least a year or two of her not mentioning him, she asked me out of the blue what her dad's last name is. I told her and she said she wondered if she should use that with my last name and with DH's last name---a triple hyphenated name. I told her she can use whatever she wants.

She shook her head and said nah. Then she asked me "do you think ____ cares about me?" And I said "He doesn't know you, but if he did, I know he would love you. And yes, I am sure he cares about you in his heart." And then she said "I don't think so b/c he never calls." And I told her she could call him if she wanted. And she just said "nah." And then she moved onto other things and was fine.

She is soooooo intuitive and perceptive. It made me sad to hear the stuff she said, BUT I am also glad that she doesn't seem that hurt (at least at this point) by his lack of involvement. I know she is processing things but I have never seen her turn things on herself, or think it's her fault. She was pretty matter of fact about things. I think it is really interesting that she NEVER refers to him as her dad, she always (when she does mention him) refers to him by his name. She calls DH "daddy."

I know these will be issues she will have to deal with as she grows up, but for now, I feel I am doing what I can do to help her be confident, happy and to feel loved. What she chooses to do in regards to a relationship with him down the road is up to her.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 12:09PM
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"...but if it was a form of PAS (which has been universally discredited)"

Important clarification. The therapist who coined the term PAS had been thoroughly discredited. His theories have not been. There's a big difference!

"And before anyone goes off on a tangent, I do believe there are forms of PAS but in 99% of the cases it is easily taken care of. "

If it's easily taken care of, then it isn't PAS. Simple bad-mouthing every now and then can be dealt with relatively easily. But PAS is an entire campaign designed to excise the other parent from the child. It's NOT simple to deal with.

I will concede that it's often used as a convenient excuse for why one parent doesn't see the child, and that even if it's true, as an excuse, unless ordered by a court, it's not a valid one.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 4:43PM
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Sweeby, PAS has been discredited in the science community. It is not even included in the DSM for professionals in the mental health community, you can say it didnt even have the chance to be credited then lol. Attached is an article of interest.

Gardners theory was that PAS led to the adult/child not seeing the other. It is simple to deal with, you still see your child/parent.

Yes, there are unhealthy/unbalanced people that want to interfere in the other parents relationship with the child, but it is not PAS per definition.

There are things that I think look like PAS, but as a theory it is not. Yes, in pseudo's case it looks like PAS as commonly thrown around term, but it is not as pseudo's husband still is actively involved in his childrens lives. If BM in her case is using PAS, she is not very good at it. And she is one of the worst parents Ive read about recently, its not saying much for PAS if that is what it is.

As far as Gardner, most of his work has either been discredited, criticized by scientific community, or just outright ignored. He, as well as his theories have been discredited. Interesting article

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Because I read up on PAS and the book "divorce poison" helped me and hubby helped the children deal with mom's attempts .... it was a little difficult as hubby had custody of the children up until last year when he gave custody of his DD to her mom in order to help his DD... her mom had/has her so twisted and the child's mental state is/was such that there was no undoing the damage her mother created. Hubby was granted sole legal/physical custody of the 2 boys and BM was granted sole legal/physical of SD.

Will SD ever get any better no clue ... but its on her mom and dad to fix not my problem .... sorry if that sounds like I am the worst SM in the world don't care anymore. Again I used to care would cry and battle with hubby about it but at the end of the day nothing I said or did was going to change SD or her mom so it is what it is an unfixable relationship.

Not just my relationship with SD hubby's relationship with his DD as well .... its so tense when she is here I hang out in my room like a grumpy teenager. :)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 6:12PM
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From your link Nivea:

"It is the position of Justice for Children that PAS is junk science."

Clearly, the man who wrote this web site believe that PAS is junk science. But the very next sentence (still simply a quote from the web site's founder) makes it clear he has an overly-simplistic and narrow definition of PAS:

"P.A.S. per se (not "parents lying about abuse allegations") is not a syndrome. People lie on the witness stand every day but that does not make it a syndrome. "

True, it's not a 'syndrome' recognized in the DSM IV. LOTS of psychological problems, issues and patterns of behavior are not included in the DSM IV. Pathological jealousy is not in the DSM IV. So by this guy's logic, it must not exist.

As any parent who has ever been on the receiving end of 'PAS Tactics' can tell you, there IS something there -- whatever you choose to call it. And it is far more insidious and goes far deeper than 'lying on the witness stand' and false allegations of abuse. It is a systematic pattern of behavior carried out by one parent with the explicit aim of destroying the relationship the child has with the other parent.

Are you seriously trying to say this never happens Nivea?
Or that when/if it does, that it's easy to deal with?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:11AM
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I can tell you that Parental Alienation is very real.

Like Sweeby said "And it is far more insidious and goes far deeper than 'lying on the witness stand' and false allegations of abuse. It is a systematic pattern of behavior carried out by one parent with the explicit aim of destroying the relationship the child has with the other parent."

It's slight and small things that, in themselves, seem innocent. But when put together over years and years it results in the brainwashing of a person so that they literally see something different than what exists.

It's telling a 7 year old they must call their SF "dad" so as "not to confuse the baby" that wasn't even born yet.

It's telling DH she would pick SD up from school, falling asleep, and then telling SD it was DH's fault. It still gets brought up 7 years later. He tried explaining what happened to SD, but she never would believe him.

It's telling SD that she could choose between 2 activities and when she didn't choose the one BM wanted, BM said she would pay for it or take her there. So SD was forced to do the thing BM wanted her to do.

It's being late to pick SD up from DH and then telling SD she would have to pay BM back the money for the cupcakes she baked if no one ate them because they were late.

It's BM putting a picture of herself, SD and her sister in her bag she brought to the wedding. Why would she need a picture of THEM at our wedding???? I'll tell you that when SD's having a good time, she can see that picture and remember who she's "loyal" to; so she can remember who she should be grateful to for "letting" her go on the trip. The picture in and of itself is no big deal. It's the subtle and subconcious reminder of who is the boss. SD was only with us for 3-1/2 days. Why would she need a picture of her mother when she was only gone for 3-1/2 days?

It's the constant text messages from BM saying "love you" and "miss you" and "don't forget to call me tonight" or "don't forget to call me when you wake up". She was only with us for 3-1/2 days. Why would she need to make that many calls to BM?

Or it's the ranting about SD's bag stinking when she picked her up from the airport because SD wanted to take home the sand dollars and bleach them herself. So now the sand dollars that SD dug for herself and had a blast finding are in a landfill because BM made her get rid of them. Why would SD want to do anything with us if she's just going to get punished for it?

It's not being allowed to bring her camera charger with her because "there's only one charger and my mom may need to charge her camera so I'm not allowed to bring it". Even though SD is the one on vacation; not BM.

It's not being able to find the suitcase DH bought for her for Christmas.

It's yelling at SD that she is costing her $XXX because she had to fly her back from vacation early for a "mandatory " cheer practice, even though it was BM's idea for SD to be in cheer and we tried to get a commitment from them many many months ago before she made the cheer squad and they wouldn't do it. Why would SD want to go on vacation with us if she's going to get an a$$ chewing for it when she gets home? It benefits SD more to just stay there.

It's SD telling us in one breath that her teacher told her their state has the second worse schools in the nation, but then saying that the schools are better there than here in the next breath. She sees what she's been told is the truth; not what is really there.

Anyone could pick apart any one of these things and justify them. But when you put them all together and take into account they happen every time SD visits and that they've been going on for many years, it amounts to a kid who doesn't want to see her father, but is told it's her choice. When she makes the choice to see her father, she has to suffer for it. So BM can say she gave SD the choice, but really she left SD with no other option.

That is parental alienation. It may not be a syndrome, but it's very real.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:53AM
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" I'll tell you that when SD's having a good time, she can see that picture and remember who she's "loyal" to; so she can remember who she should be grateful to for "letting" her go on the trip"

I can soooo relate to that.

BM is big on the picture thing, too. Whenever we've gone anywhere with SS, BM packs a picture of her for him take. Now, this in and of itself is not a big deal.

BUT BM doesn't just stop there---and trust me, it is NOT about the picture for her. It's about making sure SS doesn't "forget" her. It's little insidious things that add up over time.

Like the ornament that BM helped SS get for DH for Christmas last year. It was a little ceramic snowman--personalized. It feautred a big daddy snowman and a smaller boy snowman. They had it personalized with: "Our Family. Daddy & SS."

Our family???? I mean, that's great and all, but BM knows well and good that "our family" consists of DH, me, SS and DD.

Do I think that was a dig at us? Absolutely. And what kind of message does that send to SS when BM is having him get that kind of gift?

Then for Father's Day this year, BM and SS gave DH a picture frame with many pictures of SS from birth to present. If it had just been that, it would have been great. But in the 10 pictures, at least 4-5 of them are pics of BM and SS! There is one pic of DH and it's a pic of him, BM and SS when SS was coming fome from the hospital.

Ummm, ok, so why in the h*ll would we want to hang a picture frame in our house with pictures of BM??? IMO it should have just been pictures of SS--and pics of SS with his dad. This was for FATHER'S DAY, mind you.

So now we have this large frame sitting around b/c neither DH nor I want to hang it up.

SS does have a pic of him and his mom framed in his room, and THAT I think is totally fine. :)

BUt we are not hanging multiple pics of BM up in our home. nope, sorry, that is just kind of crazy to me.

And mark my words--it was very intentional what BM did.

I could go on and on and on....

PAS is very real.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 11:13AM
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Exactly! Great examples. Here are some more where it's Dad doing the PAS tactics:

- At every farewell: "Daddy's so sad. I'm going to miss you so much. I'm so sad when you're not with me." Poor 3yo DS felt so bad that he always made his Dad sad (by leaving) that he said he wanted to stay. Which was of course followed by: "Mommy won't let you."

- When he was being re-tested for learning disabilities at age 10: "Don't worry. There's nothing to worry about. Daddy will be right here the whole time. I'm not going anywhere. You'll be OK. I know there's nothing wrong with you. You can come out and see me any time you need to - I'll be right here." This was to 'reassure' him about taking a pencil and paper test in familiar surroundings. (The psychologist was furious about how Dad stirred up all this anxiety that hadn't been there before.)

- It's little comments like "I know you don't like StepDad" and "I know you're scared of him, but I'll protect you!" when these weren't true at all.

- It's consistently buying movie tickets for Wednesday night (my night) instead of Thursday night (his night), or circus tickets for my weekend instead of his, inviting DS, then blaming Mommy when he couldn't go. (I always offered to switch times, but that never seemed to work for Dad.)

- It's putting 6 y.o. DS on an airplane with a goldfish in a plastic baggie (surprise!), then blaming Mom for a dead goldfish the next day.

- From Hubby's Ex's bag of tricks: It's promising DS and DD that they could each bring a friend to their weekend with Dad, and that Dad would take them to the movies, then out to ice cream, and then host a sleepover. So Mom drops off the whole crew with sleeping bags and promises. Dad is left with the choice of foregoing any meaningful family time with his kids and forking over substantial bucks for all of the festivities, or of being the bad guy.

- It's letting 4-yo DS make every major decision -- what to have for dinner, what movie to watch, whether Dad marries GF or not (!) -- then saying how Mommy is mean and doesn't care about him or what he thinks when she maintains limits and makes parental decisions.

- It's encouraging (and helping!) 11 yo DS to sneak around Mom's rules that Dad disagrees with on Mom's time, and telling DS to lie about it.

- Showing the child the custody agreement and private emails between the parents with editorical comments.

There are many, many more. Call it what you like, it's real.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:47PM
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"At every farewell: "Daddy's so sad. I'm going to miss you so much. I'm so sad when you're not with me." Poor 3yo DS felt so bad that he always made his Dad sad (by leaving) that he said he wanted to stay. Which was of course followed by: "Mommy won't let you.""

This is such a tried and true tactic with parents that try to alienate the other parent from the child. :(

SS's BM does this alllll the time. When he is on the phone at night with her it's always "I miss you so, so much" and then he usually responds with an "I miss you, too, Mom" and then she starts again "I miss you soooo much, I just can't wait until you're "home," I feel sad when you're not here" blah blah blah.

She has reamed SS out before for not "acting" like he misses her enough or not talking to her "long enough" when he's with us. One time vividly sticks out in mind, she had him in TEARS a few months ago b/c we were over at our friends' house and SS and DD were playing with their kids. BM called to say goodnight and SS was short with her b/c he wanted to get back to playing. Instead of taking her cue from him and saying "ok, glad you're having fun, have a great night, love you" she blasted him for not paying attention to her, and being rude to her, not being happy to talk to her on the phone. It was TERRIBLE. :(

The guilt tactic is another one used. JUST this past Monday---when BM picked SS up after his 5 day stretch with us, she used the guilt tactic.

I had gone shopping over the weekedn and Gap was having a sale on backpacks. So I got DD and SS each a new backpack for the new schoolyear, kind of a tradition in my family growing up, and I like to carry it on...

I *did* hesitate a bit b/c I wondered if BM planned on getting him a backpack, but I figured they've been so broke lately, I doubt she'll have the money. And I didn't want to get DD one and not SS.

SS LOVED the backpack. He was all excited and wanted to take it to show his mom.

So--relayed by DH since he walked SS out to BM's car that morning---I guess SS went running to the sidewalk where BM was standing and said "look at the backpack LH got me!" And BM said to him "oh, it's great, but I was looking forward to taking you to get one." DH said she shot him a nasty look, too, after SS got in the car.

I am SURE that SS just deflated inside at that comment.

Quite frankly--I guess I don't blame BM necessarily for feeling that way--but for her to actually SAY that to SS was just wrong.

In one fell swoop, she undermined something that HE was excited about and also managed to get a little jab in at me at the same time.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:29PM
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"- Showing the child the custody agreement and private emails between the parents with editorical comments."

BM did this, but in a different way and DH found out about it when they had their big blow-up last month.

You probably remember me saying before that they were lying about moving saying they didn't know when and blah, blah, blah. That's when DH checked SD's e-mail (let's not go into this old arguement again, please) and found an e-mail from BM to SD saying "Thank you so much for all your hard work keeping the house clean while we try to sell it. I know we've been busy and haven't spent much time together, but I promise all that will change after we move. We'll be able to spend more time together. And Grandma said she's going to pick you up from school every day and take you for ice cream. I promise we will have a much better life there."

At that point they hadn't told DH they were for sure moving. SD was 12.

Anyway, when the big blow-up happened, BM said that she had consulted an attorney and that now that SD was a resident of that state, there was nothing DH could do (BS, but anyway). She said the attorney said he couldn't force SD to visit and that it was all up to SD. BM insinuated DH's hands were tied and he should just let go of SD and give up. She also said DH had no right to school information or to contact the school.

The bad part was that SD was sitting right next to BM during the entire conversation becuase DH could hear her talking in the background.

And most of what she said isn't true. Sure it is harder since he didn't have papers modified before she moved, but it's not impossible. He can still get an order for visitation. Sure he can't force her to come, but a modified order is a start. From there he can make better decisions.

And he sure does have rights to all school information and schedules.

But now SD thinks she can do whatever she wants to DH.

One more example of the parental alienation:

SD lied to us one day about having to go home early on a Sunday afternoon. Really it was to have lunch with BM and (found out later) BM told SD to lie so it wouldn't "hurt his feelings". So the next weekend I asked SD if she lied and she said she did. I told her that it was disrespectful to lie to her father and she should've just told him the truth.

BM called DH the next day screaming and crying that I said all kinds of stuff to SD trying to poison her against BM and how she's been trying to make "this arrangement" work for all these years. DH told her I didn't even mention her in my conversation and she's overreacting.

SD told DH that BM told her DH would rather go to my DS's football game than to go to her stuff (which is not and was never the case and anyone who knows them knows how involved he was with her activities). That broke SD down into tears.

Now tell me that's not parental alienation!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 4:24PM
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I can see why people don't believe in parental alienation as much of what everyone is describing is just good old-fashioned manipulation and abuse of power. I'm not so sure it's intended to "alienate" the other parent from the child's life.

My ex and his girlfriend and dad and step-mother use the term and I find that all of them use it as an excuse for the real reasons why their children and step-children don't like them. Its used to deflect attention from the real problem -- them. Now, I'm not saying that's always the case, just my personal experience.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 4:43PM
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I think with our BM she's not so much wanting to alienate DH from SS---she just feels extremely threatened by us and our "family unit" and she has this need to feel that SS "loves her best." EVERYTHING is a competition with her.

I honestly believe she has some kind of personality disorder that makes her act the way she does.

My ex and his girlfriend and dad and step-mother use the term and I find that all of them use it as an excuse for the real reasons why their children and step-children don't like them."

In our case, I can assure that SS does love DH very much and he loves me, too. I don't feel he loves me the way he loves his mom, and that's ok---but he certainly values his time with us and enjoys being a member of our family. I am so grateful for this, that BM hasn't "gotten" to him in this respect.

As far as someone like Ashley's SD goes, this girl might have an estranged, difficult relationship with her dad---but I absolutely believe that this can and does happen as a result of the other parent's behavior.

Look at Pseudo's situation. In her case, the BM successfully alientated that girl from her dad, stepmom, and even her brothers, to a certain extent--since she no longer lives with them.

I am NOT saying that PAS is the reason for every strained relationship between parent and child. BUT it certainly does happen! Ashley and Pseudo are two examples. And Ima's BM does it, too.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 5:07PM
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Thanks, Love!

SD was VERY close to DH! He had her EVERY SINGLE weekend for the first 4-1/2 years of our relationship!

I'll tell you why things changed so quickly....DH decided he wanted to marry me and she knew she would lose control of what happens at his home.

BM is most definitely trying to alienate SD from DH. She wants the picture of a perfect family and SD having a different dad than her husband doesn't fit into that. When they lived here, she would tell teachers SF was SD's dad and then DH would show up and ruin her whole little fantasy.

That's why she won't "allow" DH to contact ayone at the school or have any information about events. If another man shows up at one of SD's events then it ruins her little fantasy family.

DH is not making up excuses and never has. His daughter has always been his priority, almost to the detriment of our relationship.

The only people who would not believe that people could be sinister are the people that are commiting the sinister acts.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 5:50PM
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ashley, the last two lines of your post are very defensive and accusatory. If it was directed at me, it was misdirected as I said nothing to lead you think I was taking up for BM's actions nor did I imply that there aren't sinister people in the world. As for your DH, in my opinion, you are making excuses to an extent as your DH had options, which he did not excerise. I don't doubt his daughter was a priority, but obviously not so high up enough for him to fight for her when he should have, which was prior to the move.

Generally speaking, I think people don't give kids enough credit. Yes some kids are easily manipulated, but not most kids.

My dad and step-mom, for example, try to blame my mother for why we don't want to deal with him and her. But do you really think one person could manipulate 5 people (now adults) into turning away from a father and step-mother who were good to them? Highly improbable. Similarly, DD's dad and his girlfriend tell people its my fault his gifted, incredibly stubborn, strong-willed child, whom even I can't control, doesn't like them. Except no one buys their crap except them.

Like I said, I'm not saying there aren't highly manipulative parents out there who want control over who their kid loves more, but for the most part, I don't buy into the pas. I agree with those that say with small exceptions, any efforts to exercise such control can be combatted and not result in any alienation.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 7:17PM
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They didn't say "efforts to exercise such control can be combatted" --
the wording was "in 99% of the cases it is easily taken care of."

I'd certainly agree with the former statement, but NOT with the latter.
Some parents who employ PAS-type-tactics are very clumsy manipulators, and it's no surprise that kids can see through them -- especially with a little help from the victim parent.
Others are much more subtle, skillful manipulators, and they aren't so easily defeated.

The book 'Divorce Poison' is the best 'PAS defense manual' I've ever seen. And it's all high-road defensive tactics, no counter-offensive nasty stuff.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 8:52PM
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Since PMS (parental manipulation syndrome) was taken ... I'll stick with PAS

And agreed Divorce Poison helped hubby and I cope with mom tactics long before the judge did.

Going to court tomorrow with BM...should be interesting

She stole my identity for insurance purposes changed my address with the insurance company ... all under the premise it benefits the children.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Marie your DD is under the age of 18 correct? Shouldn't you be fostering a relationship with her dad instead of justifying why she doesn't see him?

If you learned your parenting skills from your "manipulative" mother isn't that how you would raise your own child?

another observation I have learned in life ... if you hear something long enough you start to believe as fact whether or not its true

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 9:54PM
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pseudo, you misread my post. My mother is anything but manipulative. No she wasn't perfect, but she never tried to manipulate her kids. That's what my father and step-mother tell everyone as the reason for why my father's 5 children (I understand that her two are almost at that point) don't care about them. How exactly should I be "fostering" a relationship with her father? DD is 10. There are phones. There are computers. I used to make DD call her father every once in while, share things with him, etc. She specifically asked me to stop doing that because she has her reasons for not wanting much to do with him. As I explained before, they are entirely legitimate. He shows no interest in her and she recognizes that. I used to try to get him more involved. I've pretty much stopped doing that as well. DD swam in the state swim meet the other day and I invited him to that and he cancelled at the last minute, as I expected he would. I invited him a couple of years ago to take DD to our city's father daughter dance and while he did come, his behavior during that trip made DD tell him she would never go to anything like that with him again. I have tried to talk to him over the years because their relationship has been on a downward spiral since she was old enough to comprehend her surroundings. He does not listen and continues to do the things that angers her. I just don't think he cares. She is visiting him right now and just last week she said to me, "What in the world did you ever see in him. He has no redeemable qualities." Out of the mouth of babes. You cannot force someone to like another person.

And as I said, I do not manipulate my daughter. Your insinuation is quite offensive. She is the type of child that cannot be manipulated. In fact, that is part of the problem. Instead of parenting the child he has, he has always tried to parent the child he wished he had and to that end tries to break her will. As anyone who has a strong-willed child knows, you cannot break their will no matter how much you think your will is stronger.

I do not bad mouth him to her. Never have. I have better things to do with myself to even think about him. It would make no sense. He is the one who actually bad mouths me to her, as if she would listen, and never likes the response he gets when he does. That only makes her dislike him more.

The whole point of this is to say, many people who claim parental alienation need to look internally. I'm not saying all. But a lot of it is pure nonsense. I've seen that in my own case and in several cases I've handled.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 9:14AM
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Ashley, I dont agree that the only people who dont see things as sinister are sinister. Thats absurd. I think situations can develope. Maybe SM is too controlling and oversteps boundaries. Mom complains to Dad. Dad doesnt get involved. So Mom says, well no need for child to visit SM.

I think insurance has to be handled very tactfully if child is on dads, or even SMs policy. Paying for the policy (and where I work, you either get single or family, including everyone), doesnt in and of itself entitle SM to childs confidential health information. What if there is something damaging (physicatric care, drugs, abortion) and Dad and SM get divorced and SM blabs it all over town. In my plan, any beneficiary can have his/her account password protected. I recommend that.

I think there can be more than one side to a story. For example, Dad doesnt spend time with kids. Gets remarried, wife encourages him to spend more time. Mom wonders -- will that last? Where was he before?

And I dont beleive everything a child says. For example, if a child told me that the teacher said the school was the second worst in the nation, I would not believe it. Never heard of rankings like that (only best in nation), and dont beleive a teacher would say it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 9:29AM
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I know people (adults and minors) who do not want to see their parent/parents, do not have feelings for their parents or are estranged from their parents for multiple reasons. It is very convenient to blame PAS/custodial parent instead of looking at what YOU are doing wrong that your children do not want to see YOU.

Parenting and bonding is every day work and noncustodial parent cannot expect children to have any inetrest in them if they do nothing for bonding wiht their children. It takes more than trips to the Zoo.

I suggest that parents whose children do not want to see them take a very hard look at themslves and ask: WHAT DID I DO TO CREATE BONDS WITH MY CHILD? And what can I do (not someone else) to fix it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 10:18AM
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I don't doubt that there are crazy parents out there, and many of you have crazy exspouses or exspouses of your spouses who make it difficult (SO's DDs are grown yet their crazy mother manipulates and guilts them, so I know it is real), but none of you abandoned your children and most of your spouses work very hard to maintain relationship with their children. That is the point.

Just because other parent is crazy, you don't give up. In fact if you made a mistake and had children with crazy person, then why do you punish your children for that, you have to work twice as hard if the other parent is crazy.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 10:34AM
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I'll second everything finedreams said. And now I'm done.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 11:00AM
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I don't think we're all that far apart --

Even though I believe that PAS exists and that some parents use these tactics to 'get rid of' their unwanted Ex's, I'll ALSO go on record to state very clearly that the targeted spouses CAN'T give in to these tactics. That they have to fight however hard it takes to stay involved in their childrens' lives. And that parents who use PAS as an excuse for lack of involvement are doing just that -- using it as an excuse. Sure, it may be a contributing factor (sometimes a big one) -- but a determined parent can and must stay involved despite his/her Ex's alienating tactics.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 11:10AM
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Finedreams said - "I suggest that parents whose children do not want to see them take a very hard look at themslves and ask: WHAT DID I DO TO CREATE BONDS WITH MY CHILD?"

I totally agree with this. And I believe with all my heart that DH has searched and searched for places he went wrong. He's found a few minor things, but nothing that would seemingly cause this type of turn-around in the last 2 years.

Marie said - "As for your DH, in my opinion, you are making excuses to an extent as your DH had options, which he did not excerise. I don't doubt his daughter was a priority, but obviously not so high up enough for him to fight for her when he should have, which was prior to the move."

You are correct about one thing in this statement...He did have options which he did not exercise before she moved. But she WAS on the top of his priority list.

First, BM and SD lied about when the move was to take place telling him only 2 weeks before they were to leave and a week of that he was away on a business trip.

Second, BM and SD "assured" him that she would regularly visit and blah, blah, blah. IMO, this was to keep him from filing papers.

Third, SD called and cried and begged him not to file papers because she didn't want to have to go to court. She said "I don't want to be like _____ (my DS)". I guess BM had told her something about how courts were bad and said something about X and I going to court. I'm not sure what she was talking about because at that point X and I had only been to court once and it was for CS; not visitation.

In theory, yeah, he should've done something and I could see it coming from a mile away. But he let SD play on his heart strings so he backed off. I'm sure BM put SD up to it, but that doesn't matter much anymore. DH trusted his daughter and didn't think there would ever be a time she would be too busy for him. I guess that makes him naive, but it doesn't make this situation his fault.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 1:16PM
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Sweeby, finedreams and marie basically wrote what I think, so not much more for me to say about PAS.

And the reason why I brought it up as not a very good thing to use, was this very thread. The OP wrote about her husband not seeing his child for 19 years without mentioning why. I think it is very irresponsible to bring up PAS or try to use that as an excuse. It also makes a joke out of other situations where true alienation is happening. Instead of just saying something is PAS, to get true help it is better to explain the entire situation. I think it is very disingenious to try to blame other people or see some SM's claim PAS on every situation a father hasnt seen their child without any information whatsoever.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:58PM
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