Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

Parent Alienation Comment/question

Larry writes:

You often site examples of Jon’s children. Who is Jon?, your husbamd or the guy you’re shacked up with? Is shacking up the reason that his ex is so difficult to get along with. Is it the reason that she trys to limit his activities with the children? Maybe if you all were legally married things would change. What is your relationship like with your children. Assuming you have children because of all the advice you offer about parenting.

Sonia says:  Larry….Jon is in fact my significant other.  In my opinion, and you are entitled to yours, whether Jon and I are married or not is of no consequence at this time.  Jon’s ex wife had made it her mission to alienate him from his kids long before I entered the picture.  I just happened to be the person who exposed it….and since then, my stepson has chosen to come to live with us.
I think that the point here that I would like to make is that it is important in these cases to look very hard at both sides unconditionally.  One parent should not be allowed to hammer the other.  Ever.  The issues between the biological parents should be kept seperate at all times. There should always be a priority system in place where the custodial parent initiates contact with the other parent, especially if distance is involved. 
 When I asked my stepson why he didn’t call his dad when he missed him, his response was that his dad was out of site, so he tried to put him out of mind.  He was just being a kid and going on with things.  It bothered him, but his mom told him that if his dad wanted to talk to him he would call or come there.  So that’s the way he looked at it.  It didn’t ever occur to him, as a child, that his dad was calling and trying to see him or that his mom was discouraging that communication.  And….not encouraging IS discouraging.
As far as whether I have kids or not…since I give my therapeutic opinions on parenting:  Knowledge does not have to be experienced to be understood.  I have never been sexually abused and I work with abuse victims.  I have never been a drug addict, but I am an addictive disorder specialist.  I am an adolescent specialist as well…..but I have been an adolescent, so I guess I am safe there.  And…I have experienced parent alienation….so seems I am safe there too.  I tend to write the most about things that I have experienced.  So I guess we are both right, huh?
Thank you for your comment…

Insight vs. Instinct….

Insight is knowing why you know something…..instinct requires no voluntary action


Your success shows up as a result of how you show up… show up unattached

to all of your crap.  Better yet, get rid of the crap.

Results of parent alienation

When a parent alienates their child from the other rightful parent, it disrupts their moral content.  It disrupts their ability to develop their value system properly.  It disrupts their ability to come to conclusions or decisions rationally.  They are forced,.sometimes abruptly ,to choose who to go “against”. They learn that choices or decisions don’t necessarily require negotiation, or gathering of information.  The most important thing becomes not upsetting the alienating parent….because they are usually the ones who have primary custody and essentially make most of their “choices” anyway.  Keep peace…..keep it quiet.

Maybe this is what is wrong with our country….bad parenting. 

Of course, you know I have to give an example:  Jon’s kids are so brainwashed that they sincerely believe that he is useless, irresponsible, broke, and not interested in them.  Why?  Well, that is what they have been told for 20 years.  Why didn’t he fight it?  He did….but he ran out of money.  Then what?  The kids lived hundreds of miles away….and still do.  How far do you go when your kids don’t want to see you anyway?  When they have been completely cut off from his side of the family like they never existed?  He tries to keep up with his 17 year old son.  We made several attempts to see him in the past year.  The visits usually lasted about 15 minutes to and hour and a half.  He won’t come to see us….it would upset his mom too much.  He now lives with his uncle because his mom threatened to die before she allowed her son to live with his father.  That’s pretty sick.  Recently  the child put up a picture of himself (at like 3 years old) with his step dad.  His step dad is listed as his dad….because he has been told that his real dad has never been there…and so that is what they believe.  They were pretty young when the divorce happened, so it’s not exactly hard to change or influence the memories that kids have in their little heads.   So it didn’t matter that he showed up at their doorstep  for visitation to have the door slammed in his face….or that his ex wife declared his company in bankruptcy after they were divorced, forcing him into financial duress.  It didn’t matter  how many cards, or phone calls, or attempts that he made….they were still being told on a regular basis that their dad was not there, didn’t care , that he never fought for them and that he just sucked as a human…. 

And so he does….in their eyes.  And so they move into their adulthood with half the truth.  Are they going to have healthy relationships? Or are they going to repeat cycles.  Their mother was abandoned by her father… she repeated the cycle and recreated that with her own kids.  She has single handedly created a situation that looks just like hers.  It looks like Jon abandoned his kids like her father abandoned her.  It’s just so tragic….and abusive.  Therapy would have been a much better option.  What a horrible thing to do to your own children.

We are at the mercy of our unwillingness to create a new thought…


Luck is where opportunity meets preparedness……(said by one of my clients)

Mean teen….

Margaret writes: Hey Sonia ~ what would cause a teen to start calling me names when she is angry ? I would never even dream of this as a child!!! My child is so disrespectful and her mouth has gotten bad!I have even called the jail to see if they have a scared staright program and they will let her visit and spend time there for a SAT. She is almost 16 and yes she has been spoiled and the only child. I am divorced 9 yrs and her dad is now gay. Do you think I should get her counseling or anger management? I need help. She is also very worried about her weight all the time and is snapping pics to see how she looks in outfits after she tries them on to see how she looks and will change if she doesnt like the pic.
Thanks Margaret

Sonia says: Find her a therapist pronto and preferably a group too.  I always have both available. Not only does she have to deal with her parents divorcing, but she has to deal with her father changing sexual preferences.  That’s tough for a kid and trauma shows up in many different ways.  Sometimes it’s anger, and sometimes it’s more depressive, or isolative or compulsive.  It just depends on the person. 

Also,you are probably the custodial parent, which makes you the primary parent and sometimes that means you are the most unconditional parent.  Your daughter may feel abandoned due to the divorce and the “loss” of her dad as she knew her dad….and so she could be “testing” you to see if you are going to leave too.

Yelling at you though, is not ok and neither is calling you names , obviously…so she needs to work on her approach to you and maybe you to her.  You can find a therapist by lookng up “professional counseling association” online.  For Georgia it’s LPCA (Licensed Professional  Counselors of Georgia).  There should be a list with therapist’s specialties and stuff.  Make the call!  It changes everything.

Family gatherings…

Ahhhhhh……the Holidays.  You can always count on someone to screw it up, act out or cause a family crisis…..right?

A.  Don’t drink too much.  It doesn’t relieve the stress….it just makes more.

B.  Bring toys for your kids.  Bring dvds for your kids.  Bring kids for your kids.  Just don’t let them run wild.  Watch them.  DON’T EXPECT OTHER PEOPLE TO DO IT FOR YOU.

C.  Don’t talk politics.  The President is at his own family dinner managing his own family issues.

D. Talk about happy things….not all of your personal crap.  It’s dinner and a visit, not a therapy session.

Just some food for thought.  Oh, and try not to catch anything on fire.


Integrity is more than just honoring your word….it is completing the task as it is meant to be done.

Parent Alienation: more signs and symptoms…..

We left off at #10 last time….so to continue with #11.

11. The child is owned, controlled, and indoctrinated by the alienating parent.  That parent is viewed as all good, all wise, and all poerful by the child who becomes dependent, manipulated by them.  There is never questioning that what the parent says or does is always right.

(just recently, Jon’s son called and wanted to come and live with us.  He has just been thru a residential treatment facility.  Interestingly enough, when his mother got wind of it….she threw an absolute fit.  Now he lives with his uncle, or her brother.  She told him that she would rather die than have him live with his father.  Then she threatened to take Jon to court even though she is the one in contempt.  She simply makes it so difficult for her son to have a relationship with his dad that he just succumbs to it.  He can’t take the pressure or the fear that she will abandon him.

12. The child tends to paraphrase statements used by the alienating parent.  The words used are often untypical of words likely to be used by a child.  It is very similar to a cult type of indoctrination.

(Jon called his 7 year old son on Thanksgiving morning to say happy turkey day and his son said….”dad, stop calling here and harassing my family”.  We could not believe it.  Harass?  He didn’t even know what that meant!  His mother grabbed the phone and said, “stop calling here you weirdo”.  This is a true story.  A grown woman who is a parent, said that.)

13. The child suffers from paranoia (hatred) inculcated by the alienating parent who promotes attitudes, intentions, and behaviors of a negative nature to the alienated parent.

(Again, Jon’s ex would tell his son not to take any medicines and to be careful what he ate.  He was told that he had to call her before he went  to bed so she could make sure he was ok.  So his son was afraid that his father was going to give him “drugs”.  He locked himself in the bathroom and would only talk to me.  Thank goodness I was able to explain that this simply was not true.  But….then he went home and got indoctrinated again.

14. The child will speak about exaggerated or contrived abuse that has been experienced from the alienated parent.

(Jon’s daughter wrote a letter to him saying that her mother had to call DFACS on him because he was drunk while they were with him…and that she had to come all the way up from Florida to get them.  Never happened, but the memory was put in her head when she was a kid and she believes her mom.)

(Another good one was from his son….”dad isn’t that the big white house you kicked me and mom out of?”.   Again, never happened.  There was moving, but no “kicking out”.)

15. The child or alienating parent makes statements insinuating quasi or actual sexual, emotional, or physical abuse suffered by the child.

(This is very common.  Jon was not allowed to see his son for months when his ex accused him of physical abuse.  She even made false 911 calls to have him arrested.  Then he had to go thru supervised visitation which, of course, has a negative affecct on the relationship and makes the implication that he is guilty.  It took over a year to prove her wrong.  That is a year lost with the child)

16. The language comes indirectly from the alienator such as, “he touches me inappropriately” or “he has penetrated me,” These are all borrowed scenarios from the alienating parent.

17. Children who are alienated no longer know what the truth is.

(And so they shut down.  They just try to stay where it is safe and forget the other parent.  It’s easier.  There is not way a child could know how to process information this complicated, so they either compartmenatize it , ignore it, or act out.  If they acto out, it is going to be blamed on the alienated paretnt as abuse or abandonment.  Often, we see stomach problems or sleep problems or eating problems as well.)

18. The child who is alienated against the parent will often be alienated against the parent’s family also.

(Grandparents have rights.  It’s hard to exercise in court, but they have rights.  Jon’s kids have not seen or heard the voice of their grandparents in years.  His parents send cards and gifts with no response.  His ex responded one Christmas and said in a card, “Thanks for thinking of us”.  It is inconcievable to me that a person would keep their kids from their grandparents and their cousins.  )

19. The alienator will also poison the child against the therapist unless the therapist supports the alienator.  Hence the therapist is seen as an enemy in the same light as the alienated parent.

(This is where confidentiality becomes very important.  It is imperative that the therapist not base his or her opinion on one side of the story.  I never, ever make a judgement without consulting both sides several times.  The emotional development of a child could depend on me doing a little extra investigation.

20. It is not what the alienator says, but how it is said.  For expample when telling a child “father would like to take you out”, it can be said with joy and enthusiasm indicating positive expectations or it can be said with venom indicating negative feelings. This is what is predominantly communicated to the child rather than the verbal message.

(I have said a million times.  It  is the responsibility of the primary, custodial parent to encourage and maintain the relationship with the other parent.  Period.  Saying “your relationship with your son is your problem.  I have nothing to do with it”…is simply immature and wrong.  Period.)


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