- I miss you. You may think that’s weird. I mean, we didn’t get to know each other that well. I did enjoy what time we had together, and I miss laughing, snuggling during scary movies, you and J dancing, and working on your homework that you totally didn’t want to do. I miss that I don’t know YOU from more experiences of my own. I don’t at all have a bad view of you, or any of our time together. I think there were ways that each of us (me, your dad, you, your mom) could have handled things, but we are almost 1.5 years past that now. Unless we are going to live in the past, how we got here doesn’t matter. How we can fix it does. It can be fixed. I have gotten to know you from hearing lots of stories about you growing up, and seeing pictures, from your grandparents and aunt and cousin, and most of all from your dad. I’ve seen your cards, pictures, drawings, notes to your dad when you were little and some much more recent. I know you from pictures I took of you, with your family and friends here. You were not unhappy, and you were not mistreated. I think there were a few misunderstandings and a normal teenager that got mad…guess what, you’ve missed out on your step-sister having some attitude too! The difference is she isn’t allowed to pull away and disengage, she has attitude, we deal (she is corrected by me, your dad, her dad and her step-mom as a TEAM), we move on…life moves on. Turning away is not a healthy part of growing up, or healthy for anyone. To NOT deal with life is unhealthy. In spite of what you may think I know that you are very greatly loved, and missed. I get to see it daily when we do normal things or go places and I think how much you would like this or that. How I’m sure your dad misses getting to talk to you about things only the two of you shared. I know that your grandmother misses you and hearing anything from the emails she sends. I miss hearing about your sports, cheerleading and awards days. Your dad has hopes each time he emails you that you will answer, even if it’s just to say you’re ok.
- At this point, there isn’t much I feel I can say to “change your mind,” but I do want you to hear what other people have to say, that have never met you, or your dad, or your mom, and frankly I don’t think you are getting the information you need. These people all have lots of information that you will see yourself in. As I’ve always told you, you have a mom, I don’t want to and can’t replace her, but even though I’m new to you, I’m not new to parenting. As you know, J has 4 parents that love her and make sure she is taken care of TOGETHER, there is no reason, ever, that a loving, stable, caring parent should be distanced or put out of their child’s life, by anyone, including a child/teenager that doesn’t see all the repercussions of a decision like that. It’s why there are courts, and judges and why ALL parents are instructed to act in the best interest of a child and why visitation is court ordered. It’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. It is not in your best interest to eliminate one of your parents because you are mad or think you’re old enough to. You have 3 parents that love you deeply and can each give you something valuable in life, and 2 that are not being allowed to give you what you so desperately need during these years (and the ones to come) in your life. So, with lots of love, and because I am your step-mom, but more importantly because I love your dad and you, I’m asking that since we’ve not talked for over a year, you check out the next few things I write and watch a link or two. Just look at it as homework, or research…payback for not having to listen to one of my lectures for over a year, or a way to get me to shut up:) Just trust me on this…you know I have nothing to gain here besides helping you and your dad be happy together.
- I want to go ahead and say that lots of this might sound scary or stupid, or you might think it has nothing to do with you or what’s going on with you. I know you make your own decisions, so I’m asking you, just because I want you to think for yourself, to use the information I’m about to share to gain all the knowledge you can and make your decisions based on facts and what you KNOW. You’re grown enough to understand that life isn’t always pretty and perfect. You have to deal with some crappy things sometimes to get to the good stuff though.
- There is actually a WHOLE dvd that we have that I will get to you if you want to see it, just let me know. It explains all sides, yours, your mom, and your dad, and how to resolve things so everyone is happy! Wouldn’t that be nice?! Here are some reviews from other teens (that didn’t want to see their other parent, and some that had not seen a parent just like you), moms, dads and people that watched the dvd, because I know you think it’ll be boring. http://www.warshak.com/alienation/pluto/viewers-say.html
- Can you do me a favor and watch this little part of it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Puy0hjtedU&feature=related
- Also, I know some pretty smart people that have been where you are (and didn’t think they needed help or that anything was wrong). I don’t want you to think that I or anyone here thinks there is something WRONG with you…we just all know that sometimes things aren’t as they seem and it never hurts to have knowledge about what’s going on in your life. If you get a minute, this is someone that is now grown and has lived with not talking to her dad for a while when she was your age. I think you’ll find it interesting. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=139545826175900&id=100003614494125
- Now, these are LONG, and I think if you are honest with yourself you’ll see some very familiar things. Doesn’t matter how they got there, or how it happened, I want to focus on HOW TO FIX IT…I think you’ll recognize some stuff, you can finish reading my letter here first, then come back and check these out (but don’t forget, they are very informative)http://www.drhavlicek.com/what_everyone_should_know_about.htm http://www.drhavlicek.com/Parent%20Alienation%20Effects%20on%20Children.htm
- Ok, so this one is a little more realistic. I’m going to be honest and point out that this is your relationship and you have done or said just about all of these things. Yes, they were your idea, which shows that you are in fact, an alienated child, whether you intended that or not. It’s not fun to read, but you will see that it’s not “just your idea” it is something that is documented time after time for years and is a problem not just for you, but has been and is for thousands of other children and teens your age. It is considered abuse to allow a child to go through with these thoughts and actions. It is not healthy for you, and is not normal.
THE RESPONSE AND BEHAVIORS OF THE ALIENATED CHILD
It is important to discuss the typical clinical presentation of alienated children. For the most part, our observations of the behaviors and emotional responses of alienated children are similar to those reported by others (Gardner, 1987,1992; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980). By definition, the core feature of alienated children is the extreme disproportion between the child’s perception and beliefs about the rejected parent and the actual history of the rejected parents’ behaviors and the parent-child relationship. Unlike most aligned or estranged youngsters, alienated children freely express hatred or intense dislike toward the rejected parent. They demonize and vilify that parent, often present trivial reasons to justify their hatred, and usually are not reticent about broadcasting the perceived shortcomings of the parent to others. This is particularly baffling to the rejected parent, extended family, and other adults knowledgeable about the prior parent-child relationship. Most often, as stated above, rejected parents have had at least an adequate relationship with these children, and the angry rejection is not merited, even when contributions of the rejected parent are taken into account. One of the most common behaviors of alienated children is their strongly expressed resistance to visiting the rejected parent and, in more extreme cases, an absolute refusal to see the parent in any setting, including a therapeutic one, and a desire to unilaterally terminate the parent-child relationship. These children want only to talk to lawyers who represent their viewpoint and to those custody evaluators and judges whom they believe will fully support their efforts to terminate the parent-child relationship once they hear all the “facts.” To all, they strongly advocate their right to choose whether they will see their parent. Another feature of alienated children is the manner in which they present their stories. Their allegations about the rejected parent are mostly replicas or slight variants of the aligned parents’ allegations and stories. These scripted lines are repeated endlessly but most often are hollow, without underlying substance, texture, or detail to support the allegations. They have adopted the allegation(s) but, unlike children with histories of abusive treatment, do not have compelling supporting information. Generally, alienated children sound very rehearsed, wooden, brittle, and frequently use adult words or phrases. They appear not to be guilty or ambivalent as the children denigrate, often viciously, the rejected parent. Sometimes, they appear to be enjoying themselves. There is no obvious regret. One of the sobering aspects of these presentations is that alienated children have essentially been given permission to be powerful and to be hostile and rude toward the rejected parent, grandparents, and other relatives. Furthermore, assisting in orchestrating the obliteration of a parent does not bode well for their future social and emotional adjustment. Sadly, even previously cherished pets, now in the custody of the rejected parent, might be denigrated, and the children proudly describe the virtues of their new and extremely perfect replacements provided for them by aligned parents. And finally, alienated children often idealize or speak glowingly of the aligned parent as an adult and parent. They refuse to consider any information that might undermine this viewpoint of their perfect companion and parent, and they vigorously reject any suggestion that their obsessive hatred of the rejected parent has any relationship to the views or behaviors of the aligned parent. They might describe how that parent is suffering, has been harmed economically and emotionally by the rejected parent, and is worthy of their total allegiance. It is important to note that some alienated children-although they present as very angry, distraught, and obsessively fixated on the hated parent in the therapist’s or evaluator’s office-appear to function adequately in other settings removed from the custody battle. They might retain their school performance, might continue to excel in musical or athletic activities, and at least superficially seem reasonably well adjusted. A closer look at their interpersonal relationships, however, often reveals difficulties. Alienated children’s black-and-white, often harshly strident views and feelings are usually reflected in dealings with their peers as well as those in authority. However, it is in the rejected parents’ home that the child’s behavior is severely problematic and disturbed. They might destroy property; act in obnoxious, even bizarre, ways; and treat these parents in public with obvious loathing, scorn, and verbal abuse. They prefer to be in contact constantly with their aligned parent by telephone, at which times, they whisper hostile observations about the rejected parent’s words, behaviors, meals, and personality. If they are resisting or refusing contact, all efforts of the rejected parents to communicate directly with their children are rebuffed, including demands that the parent never contact them again, stop harassing them with presents and letters (which often are discarded or unopened), and cease their useless legal efforts and court appearances.
Again, this isn’t about who is right, wrong, who did what, who needs to change, it’s about how to stop this. We can fix it, you can have both of your parents, and they both owe it to you to get along enough so you can have each of them without you feeling that it’s necessary to deny one of them. Did you know that if YOU told both of your parents (nicely and respectfully) that it IS your choice and that they both need to get along so you can have them both involved in your life, that they would have no choice but to do it. Think I’m crazy? Your mom has said, typed and told numerous people that it’s “not my problem and it’s between her and her dad” and that “she is old enough to make decisions about her life” and your dad has said that he just wants you to be happy and healthy. So, if you said to them that it is your choice that they both get along or that THEY ignore each other and allow you to be happy with each of them, they would have to do it, or they would both be liars. It may not have been started by you, it may have, but regardless, YOU can stop it. You are old enough, you are smart enough.
- If you want help, you can reach out to me, your school, your church, your family, you know how to get any of us, and I know you have the means to contact us. We all miss you. You will be welcomed back with open arms. We will begin again and move forward and learn together how to make life work for everyone involved.
- If you don’t want help, or don’t think you are ready still, or you’re still mad, or still sure you don’t want to talk to anyone here, even your dad. I will accept that, but only if you are honest with yourself and inform yourself with the information I shared. You can’t just continue to walk along thinking that your decisions and those of your mom that have become yours, do not affect you, your dad, your family here, or will not affect you later down the road. Remember, you don’t get back time lost. You can’t go back and redo things sometimes. You can make sure that things you do in the future are done right though. I hope you choose to be informed, be forgiving, and be happy.
The girl in the pictures here was not abused, unloved, unhappy, unwanted, sad, or any of the things that one would assume would cause a parent to be eliminated from her life. This girl (now a young lady) was told that she was old enough to decide and that it was her decision, when in fact, that was a violation of a court order to have her father eliminated. The people in the pictures with her have ALL been cut out of her life at the same time over a year ago. I could understand possibly being that mad at one person…but a whole family? There is not one picture where you weren’t smiling. With all my love…Melissa.
That girl was happy, having fun, loving, and enjoying life…I miss her.