I’ve been thinking a lot about perseverance and fortitude. I don’t think I have much of either sometimes. The slightest provocation and I want to blow my stack. For instance, my son recently married and I’m very happy for him. But concerned too as any mother would be. When I attempted to reach out, I was rebuffed again. And threatened with legal action. Ok, so that’s not slight, it’s extreme, but it’s certainly the truth. I’m in pain and I have to stop just living with it.
A bit of history here. Circumstances were such, while my children were small, that I was not allowed as much time with them as I should have had. While I never tried to poison the minds of my children against their father and his mother, both of them were quite vocal about their thoughts and opinions of me. My daughter was a bit older and could for the most part, form her own opinions, but she was still poisoned, and to this day believes it was by my choice that I wasn’t with her.
I guess you could say, in a way, it was. I could have stayed in a deplorable situation, been miserable, and we would have all been together. But, I wouldn’t have been a good mother, or a good wife, or a good person. I would have been miserable to the point of deep depression (even deeper than it was at that point), which wouldn’t have been in the best interest of anyone.
My son however, was much younger, and was systematically and completely alienated against me. To this day, he does not want contact with me because of what he was told. And has said that he will get a restraining order against me should I try, and prosecute me to the fullest extent of the law….. I have no way of knowing exactly what was said to them, but it must have been severe. I do acknowledge my own part in all of this. I was neither strong enough, nor smart enough to stand up to them. I should have been more insistent about having my children more a part of my lives, even though, because of their conditioning, they didn’t want to. I should have been the parent, not the friend, or tried to be understanding and not forceful.
I have since learned that there is a name for what’s happened. Its called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). There are studies to show what it is, how it happens, and unfortunately, once its to the level of my son, there is very little to do about it until he decides to contact me. He is convinced that I’m a horrible monster, a despicable mother, and the worst excuse for a parent he’s ever seen. He will actively defend those who alienated him from me.
The worst part of all of this? There is NO foundation for any of it. If I had been the horrible awful person they portrayed me to be, I could understand their treatment of me. But I wasn’t. I was young, I made mistakes, but I was not alone in them.
For too many years I’ve allowed myself to pushed around by people who thought they were better than me. Finally, it took me waking up one day and knowing that I was so depressed I would not have fought to save my life, for any reason. That I wanted it to be done, all of it, the pushing me around, the overwhelming sense that the world was better than me, and that I had no voice, not for any single thought – that I was always wrong. I deserved more than to be in constant emotional pain every day. I had to make changes. I had to fight for my life. I did deserve better.
Since I ‘woke up’ that day, I left an oppressive and abusive marriage of 15 years (to be fair, he never hit me, but there are more kinds of abuse than just physical, and he did all of those) and moved to Sterling, CO, the small town where my twin sister, mom and dad live. Moving saved my life. I saved my life. Sterling opened its doors to me and made me welcome, and helped me come back to myself.
While in Sterling, I met Michael. Michael is an amazing man, who appreciates me – which let me tell you, is NOT something I was familiar with. Perhaps because he’s had his own nightmares, he can better understand and appreciate me as a person and accept me for who and what I am. I know that’s certainly true for me. He’s an intelligent, loving, truly incredible man and I’m so honored we found each other. We now live in beautiful Colorado Springs, and have a really nice home, and a fun and loving life together.
Finally, this is life.
As for my children, I’m grateful my daughter is in my life, that she wants me to be part of hers. I pray every day that my son wants to have me in his life as well. Meanwhile, I’ll never give up on him. I will always love him and try to reach out to him.
For any of you who are going through Parental Alienation Syndrome, you are not alone. Some research can be found here. There are some good books available for both adult children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, and for the parents who were alienated.
PAS has not only been a constant source of daily pain for me, but for my parents and my siblings as well. We have all been denied knowing my children. We’re grateful my daughter wants to be a part of our lives. But they feel the loss of my son nearly as much as I do.
For my amazing daughter. May you read this and NOT feel that I’m judging you. This is not about our current relationship – it is about the pain I can no longer deny and will strive to overcome. I love you, and I’m so very proud of you. Remember what else I said, don’t give up on your dad and his mom and your brother. They will come around. You did nothing wrong, you followed your heart and that’s ok. They are missing out on knowing you, and your children, but remember, they made this decision to not share your life with you. Don’t give up on them, the same way I never gave up on you. I celebrate you every day.
If anyone wants to talk about PAS, your stories, or pain, let me know. Email me and we’ll chat. Above all else though… DON’T GIVE UP!