Alienation can take many forms. As an alienated Mother, it is very hard to miss out and not be included in the important milestones in your child’s life. I can’t begin to describe the hurt and pain I felt when I had an important milestone ripped away from me – it is something a Mother and daughter should be able to share.
On March 11th, 2015, I received a letter from my daughter stating that she was going to live with her Dad. Nine days later – on March 20th, 2015 – she had her 14th birthday – I was allowed to see her on that day. We went out for a family meal – in attendance were her siblings and maternal Grandparents. It was an extremely uncomfortable event as we were all suffering from the shock of the recent news that my daughter had chosen not to return home. After we were done eating and she had opened her gifts, I asked my daughter if she wanted to go for a treat so I took her to a local coffee shop that serves wonderfully decadent deserts. As we enjoyed her birthday desert, we discussed graduation. I told her that we would go dress shopping on my next Friday off from work. She was in agreement. After we finished our cake, I asked her if she wanted to go for a drive. We drove through the local park and then I drove by some of the dress shops that we would go shopping at. It was later in the evening so none of them were open but I wanted to show her which shops I was thinking we could go to. On Sunday, March 22nd – while my two other children and I were getting ready to eat our Sunday meal, the telephone rang. It was my daughter . . . the conversation went something like this:
E***: “Mom I have something to tell you – I already have a grad dress.”
Me: “pardon me?
E***: “I already have a grad dress . . . I didn’t think you would want to take me any more since what happened.”
Me: “where would you get the idea that I wouldn’t want to take you for your dress?”
E***: “I don’t know.”
Me: “ok, well I have to go E*** (insert shakey voice here). I love you, talk to you soon.”
What happened – was referring to the recent events of her leaving her home and moving in with her Father and Stepmother. I haven’t mentioned anything about the Stepmother but there is a lot to say. There will be an entire section about what has gone on – boundary stepping and liberties that have been taken with my daughter. This news was extremely heartbreaking. I have cried so much about all of the things I have lost and will never get back – this would be one of those examples.
After my daughter announced this heartbreaking news, I quickly got off of the phone. While on the phone, I tried to remain strong and not let on that I was very upset and hurt (I don’t think I was very successful because I was holding back the tears). Once I hung up the phone, I started to cry – I couldn’t hold in the pain. My other children and I had our meal and discussed what had occurred.
The pain I have endured with the alienation from my daughter has been unbearable. I suffer in silence while others mock. I later learned through Facebook that my daughter’s Stepmother took her to get a dress soon after my child opted to not return home. I looked at my daughter’s Facebook page to see if there was any sign of when this happened – it didn’t take much work – her Stepmother posts everything on my daughter’s page. Her narcissistic campaign of look at me – look how great I am and see what I did today with your daughter is a never ending saga. She has a whole cheering section behind her as well – my exes’ family and their friends. It would be a lot healthier if I wasn’t friends with my daughter on Facebook but it is the only portal I have into her life – even though it is a life without me. I am her Mother and of course I want to know about her – through Facebook I can see that she is still alive and get small glimpses of what her life is like. I did find the “shopping” post – it was a shopping date with my daughter, her friends and the Stepmother – the date was March 13th, two days after my daughter didn’t return for her weekly visit. It is cruel and heartless to take away something that should be shared between Mother and daughter. I would never intentionally try to hurt anyone – behaving in that way is thankfully not who I am – I find it very difficult to find anything rational about it. I have concluded that I may never understand. It is also very cruel to do this to my daughter. She may not realize it now but she will and have to live with the fact when she realizes she has been duped by people who are supposed to love her.
I was part of the graduation organizing committee for my daughter’s grad. During this time at our regular committee meetings, I did not let any of the parents know what was going on. I continued to keep my head up and put on a brave face – meanwhile I was heartbroken and nobody knew it. I listened to the stories the parents had regarding their family preparations for grad but I had none. I didn’t even know if I would get a few minutes with my daughter at grad or not. The Stepmother took my daughter to get her hair done – got it coloured green to match her dress, she took her to get her nails done, took her for shoes and I was completely left out of everything. The posts she put on my daughter’s Facebook page bragging about everything was the only way I knew what was going on.
About a week before grad, I contacted my daughter because I wanted to give her the grad present I had bought for her. I had bought her a ring (birthstone) and I hoped she would wear it on graduation day. I sent her a text asking her if she had a few minutes to meet with me because I wanted to give her the grad present I had bought her. At first she wanted me to just drop it off. I told her I would much rather see her open it. She agreed and we arranged for me to pick her up. I asked her if she wanted to go for ice cream. We did. As we were eating our ice cream in my car, she was receiving a lot of texts in rapid succession. All of a sudden she started shaking and telling me that she would rather drive back and sit in front of her Father’s house – she told me she has anxiety about being around me and she would feel better if we sat in front of her Father’s house. I was stunned – I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing from my own daughter. I told her that I wanted to finish my ice cream and then I would drive her back. Trying to be the voice of reason, I told her I didn’t want to drive holding an ice cream – I would drive her to her Dad’s when we were done. She opened her gift and she seemed to really like it. She also seemed to calm down. After finishing the ice cream – I drove her back and dropped her off at her Dad’s – we hugged and said I love you to each other. Sadly, a few weeks later I received a letter from my daughter telling me that it was obvious to her that I was trying to buy her. She did wear the ring on graduation day but I have never seen her wear it since. The only piece of me that was part of her graduation day. I am a photographer – you would think that I would be taking my daughter’s grad photos – instead her Father and Stepmother hired a photographer to take pictures on her grad day. I couldn’t even be included in that. I am sure it was all done on purpose and with the intent to hurt me. Once the photographs of my daughter’s grad were posted by her Stepmother on Facebook, it was just another spear in my heart and a reminder of that painful time. I did manage to snap a couple of my own “long distance” shots at grad with my telephoto lens – they are the last photos I have taken of my daughter in over a year.
On my daughter’s grad day one of the organizing committee’s tasks was decorating the hall during the day for the after grad party. As we worked, we chatted about our kids and their futures – how fast time flies and remembering kindergarten. For that short while – I felt normal because I was doing the things I would normally do. I have always loved to volunteer and help out with school activities – this was the last time I was able to be part of something like that. I cherish that moment of normalcy – it was a gift at a very difficult time. As an alienated parent you cling hard to those “little things” because those “little things” are all you have. None of the parents knew what was happening behind the scenes and I never let on that I hadn’t been seeing my daughter or having regular contact with her. At one point during these conversations, one parent mentioned my daughter’s green hair – I was stunned. I hadn’t seen it so I had no idea that she was going to have green hair for her grad. I didn’t let on that I didn’t know – I just went along with the conversation. As I look back, even though I was erased out of my daughter’s graduation planning, dress shopping, party and photos, I couldn’t be erased from having that small part in making her day a fun day – that couldn’t be controlled by her Father and Stepmother. Even though my daughter didn’t know what I was doing behind the scenes for her grad, I know what I did and I am happy I didn’t opt out of it even though our lives had changed so significantly.
On grad day, I was very proud of my daughter – she was an honour roll student and I watched her receive an award for that. She sang for the church ceremony with her choir group and I watched with pride. I couldn’t let on how sad I was and how utterly left out I felt – it was her day and I just wanted her to enjoy it and be happy. She did come over to where our family was sitting at to say hello and give and receive hugs and congratulations. I told her she looked beautiful because no matter what she is my daughter and she is beautiful to me. Little did I know that this would be one of the last times she would see the friends she grew up with. Little did I know how much worse everything would get.
Alienation tactic: remarriage as a trigger for parental alienation/badmouthing the target parent/not sharing milestones with the target parent/treating the child as a possession/using the child to hurt the other parent