'My ex-wife wants to hurt me. I don't know if I'll see my kids over Christmas'

The more fathers and mothers that talk about their experience of alienation, the better for our society. It is in the silent spaces that abuse thrives. 
'My ex-wife wants to hurt me. I don't know if I'll see my kids over Christmas'

Being alienated from your children can be very difficult

Richard, thank you so much for writing about parental alienation in your column last week. I am one of those fathers you wrote about. I have not seen my children now properly for over two years. Access has always been a huge source of conflict between my ex-wife and myself. 

Most of the time when I turn up I am told ‘the children just don’t want to see you’ and I have to leave with the children watching me from the window. It breaks my heart. I have been accused of terrible things. 

Separating from my wife has caused me so much pain, we were not happy together but I can’t understand why she wants to hurt me like this. I never did anything to her to explain such hate. When I am allowed to see my children they pretend not to be excited to see me in front of her because they know that would upset her. But as soon as we are out of sight the chat begins and we have a lovely time. But again dropping them home they become silent. I know this is really damaging them too. I don’t know what to do. 

I have spent so much money trying to get the court to hear my story and to see how much my children have lost out because my ex-wife wants to hurt me. I haven’t seen them now in nine months. I don’t know if I will see them over Christmas. I feel so alone and I feel like giving up, any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you for sharing your story. The more fathers and mothers that talk about their experience of alienation, the better for our society. It is in the silent spaces that abuse thrives. 

And we must always drag into light aspects of our society that need change. It is clear that alienation is an area that demands more public discourse because children are being denied their right to be with a loving mother or father. It sounds like you and your children have had a very difficult journey since you have separated from your wife. 

But just remember the prognosis on alienation is quite hopeful. As I said, children will generally start to question as they grow and mature. They will wonder why they rejected a loving parent. So, never give up on your children. That is what alienation is designed to do, drain you financially and emotionally so that you walk away. 

But we must never walk away from our children. Of course, at times you feel like giving up because the obstacle can seem insurmountable. 

Never give your children the opportunity to say, ‘why didn’t you fight for us, why did you give up?’ 

Because the research shows that children who are alienated from a loving parent generally re-establish a relationship with that parent when they move into adulthood. That might seem like a distant reality right now, but stay the course. You must be resolute about your feelings and never give up.

Alienated children are experiencing incredibly complicated emotions. So you should write to them and outline your feelings in a gentle way. Never criticise their mother but maybe suggest that not everything they hear about you is true and maybe they should hold it lightly. 

Ask them to judge you on their experience of you and not what they hear about you. I had one child tell me many years ago that, ‘my father never changed my nappy’. When I probed further and asked her what this meant, she said ‘he obviously never cared about me or was too selfish to love anyone but himself’. 

When I asked how she remembered he never changed her nappy, she was brought to a realisation that this was a story given to her and she was using it as a reason not to love her father. 

It is important that you are gentle in how you approach this with your children. The temptation is to fight back, but this will only further disturb your children. I wonder have you ever had a section 47 carried out?

This will engage an expert who is trained in family dynamics to observe what is going on in the family unit. This might be a very important next step.

Alienation is a devastating experience for the entire family unit. The court system is becoming more sophisticated in dealing with this issue. But as a father, never give up. Write to your children. 

Record all the letters you send them to prove you never gave up when they do reconnect with you. Remember, you are a loving father. You have a right to love your children. Keep fighting.

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