Had my parents divorced when I was a kid I honestly couldn’t you tell who I would have preferred to live with. More than likely some “educated” judge well versed in domestic violence propaganda, oops I mean literature, would have awarded mom custody. I hate to say it but I wouldn’t have fought it.
My dad was, is and always will be the only parent I have. I know that now. I have one parent and one prison camp director that raised me. As much as I loved my dad, as a child I wanted the prison director to love me, too. Mom made it clear that she had no time for any of her children if we dared to refuse or refute her nasty comments about her husband, her children’s father. Mom was subtle with her parent alienation. She didn’t come right out and say she thought dad was an idiot. I have now learned as an adult that my mom encouraged my dad to take a job with evening hours. It was a promotion and she told dad that he deserved it so he should take it. She then turned around to lament to her children how awful it was that our dad refused to get day hours so he could spend more time with us. She would say that dad “just didn’t think about his kids.” She also hated any attention dad paid to his dtrs. A hug or a compliment from dad was termed “sick. According to her, normal fathers don’t hug their dtrs and this was a message she pounded home daily. She taught me that hugs from my father were bad and shameful so I started to refuse them.
The way my mother used to talk about my father upset me quite a bit. I know now that what she was engaging in is called Parental Alienation. What I and my sibs went thru is nothing compared to what other kids go thru, I know. However, it’s unsettling nonetheless. I see so many kids living with a Borderline parent that engages in Parental Alienation. These kids are caught in a dangerous spot. They must side with their alienating parent or face utter annihilation. To show any love or affection to the other parent means punishment.
Unfortunately, as kids we don’t have the words to tell the other parent “I’m doing what I have to do in order to survive.” Eventually we get to the point where we repeat the lies from the alienating parent. We are worn down. As we repeat the lies we begin to believe them. Reality is dictated by a child’s parent, and when that reality is a custodial parent telling us what an SOB the other parent is we start to believe it. Honestly, I know it’s hard for other dads to hear but we have no choice. As I stated above, we do what we have to do so we can survive.
I was secure in the love my daddy had for me. I knew that my dad would never leave me. My mother, however, made it known that her love for me was conditional. Sad to say, I sided with mom time and again, and most often in matters I had no business knowing. I felt I had to show my allegiance to my mother in order to keep the peace which lead to what I thought was her love for me. I was a dog begging for emotional scraps. In the same way you train a dog with treats, an alienating parent trains their child with the most potent of “treats”-praise, affection, and some insane charade that they tell us is love. As a kid, and even as an adult for the short time she declared all out war on dad, I just wanted her acceptance. I wanted peace. I wanted her to shut the hell up. The easiest way was to nod and play along. At that point in time fighting back risked too much for me. I didn’t want to lose whatever scraps mom threw my way.
Even today I see the affects of mom’s distortion campaign. I try to take over whatever it is dad is doing because he doesn’t know how to do anything (according to mom). I dismiss any thought or emotion he has-“your father just can’t communicate” said mom. “He’s cold and uncaring.”
Well, actually he isn’t. I’ve worked very hard on the above bad habits. Dad and I are now closer than ever and he now has no fear in telling me to shut the hell up or to quit taking over whatever it is I am taking over. He says these things with love and with firmness. He says them as a dad. Dad kept quiet for so long; afraid of what would happen should he point out the obvious-that his kids were being brainwashed by a seriously mentally ill mother. My dad deserves a medal. I don’t know how he kept going all these years, taking the undeserved crap his kids dished out. He never gave up on us; he was always there, no matter what. Mom walked out when her kids refused to continue being her robots.
I don’t know how he withstood it for so long or how he knew when the time was right to point out the flaws in the logic I parroted from my mother. I can’t fathom how he lasted so long being married to someone who tried to turn his kids against him. What I do know is that I will always and forever take my dad’s real, quiet, constant unconditional love over my mother’s grandiose, self absorbed version of love.