First and foremost my heartfelt thanks for your website. It has been a Godsend for me to know that there is a name for what happened to me and a reason too. It lifted a 1000 pounds off my shoulders when I came to realize a few short months ago because of The Parental Alienation Awareness Organization that my problems and my guilt through all these years were not my fault and that my reactions to the abuse as a child are because of it. It has helped me begin the road to healing and forgiveness. Even with what happened to me as a child I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what it was. I always blamed myself for the most part for being such a “Difficult Child”.
I would like to let you know that the hurt, the anger, the shame and the pain would never go away. I could numb it and put it in the back of my mind but it never went away. It comes out in how I am as a mother, a spouse, a friend. In the decisions I’ve made, in almost everything I do. I fight with myself almost everyday to stop feeling worthless, not to belittle myself. I console myself by thinking any harm I have ever done to anyone was certainly not intended. Now, as I speak of this I wonder why? What makes me think these things, what makes me feel these things? For once, I would like to be able just to like myself. I don't know how that feels. Why can't I feel pride in who I am and what I've become despite the struggles, setbacks and sadly, despite my parents.
They were married in 1963, I was born 3 months later. For the first five years we lived right across the street from my maternal grand-parents. I spent time there everyday and I adored my grandma.
When I was five we moved to High Prairie, so my Dad could open a menswear store.
When I was eight my parents divorced. My mother had left my father with 3 little girls to care for. My middle sister was seven and my youngest sister was barely a year old.
She left us for the city life.
My father re-married about a year or so later to our stepmother. After their wedding our father told us that she was our new mother now and we were to call her "MOM".
I remember our stepmother telling us that our mother "The Thing" as they called her, didn't want us anymore, that she was tired of dirty diapers and kids.
We were told that "The Thing" was a stripper in Edmonton, drinking, partying and hooked on drugs. My father didn't stop her from telling us. I recall my step-mother's distorted face, as she spoke to us about "the Thing". I remember feeling very ugly.
Once my Mom came to the door to pick us up for a week-end visit. She was early so my step-mother wouldn't let her in and locked the doors. My mom busted the glass with her fist and came into the house. I remember her crying and screaming, grabbing items around the house saying they were hers and trying to take them. I remember the blood. I can't remember if we went with her that day.
Another time, my mother kidnapped my middle sister and I. She had taken us right out of school. I remember her telling us to stay down on the floor of the pick-up until we were out of town. She told us she wanted us to be with her and that our father was stealing us from her. We were eventually caught up to after a few weeks in Edmonton I believe and returned to our father.
Shortly after that from my recollection, we moved to Edmonton and my father got a new job.
My mother had returned to Grande Prairie by then. No-one spoke to us about our mother but I do remember over hearing heated discussions about a custody battle. I didn't understand.
By the Court, my father was awarded full custody with visitation rights for my mother.
A few months after we had moved, we were told we were moving again but we not told where nor could we tell anyone about it. I remember missing my Grandma so much.
We boarded a plane when I was about 10 years old. Once we were in the air we were told we were going to live in England. I had not seen my mom or grandparents nor talked to them either. I didn't get to say good-bye. I of course, did not know at the time, but my father had not told my mother we were leaving, he had illegally taken us out of the country.
We arrived in England and lived in the city of York. We were to tell no-one that our step-mother was not our real mother. I remember people telling her how young she looked for having children our age and she would just smile and say thank you. I wanted to scream.
At first, I often questioned about my mother but was immediately stopped and punished. I did not see or hear from my mother's side of the family at all during that time. I also found out later that parcels were sent for Xmas, cards and such, all returned to Canada un-opened.
When my youngest sister was about 4 or 5 years old I remember trying to tell her that she had another mother in Canada. I got the belt from my stepmother and again from my father upon his return home from an off-shore rig job in The North Sea. It wasn't the first or the last time I was made to pull down my pants, lay on my stomach on the bed and get what I deserved. I was told something was wrong with me and sent to therapy because I would not forget about my real mother or her family. I remember many times of being hit, spanked, my ears being pulled, sent to my room, it seemed then like it was almost daily. I was the problem in the family, that is how I felt.
Within the 8 years in England we moved 5 times to different towns. To this day I have no contact with any school friends. We never stayed anywhere long enough to make life long friends. When we did move it was on the spur of the moment usually and we didn't know where we were going. Not giving up hope on my mom and her family I was constantly in trouble at home. There are so many bad memories of those years and very few good ones. I was on the outside of my own home, I was the black sheep, the traitor. My middle sister and I were in constant conflict, she was good, I was bad. Being younger she had accepted our new life, I would not.
I tried to commit suicide when I was 16. Shortly after that, I ran away and hid out in my friend's garage until the police took me home two days later. Later on I remember being told that if I wanted to move back to Canada to be with my mother I could. I said I did.
The day before I was supposed to fly out my father and stepmother sat me down in the living room and told me that if I went the next day to Canada I would never be able to see my sisters or half brother again. I had to make that choice. I believed them of course and decided not to go. In the meantime my mother and her family were waiting at the Edmonton airport for me to get off the plane. When I was not there they contacted my father and he then told them that I had decided not to come. I can't imagine how they must have felt.
School was my escape. I loved playing Field hockey and was the town's Team goalie. I do not remember seeing my father at a game.
At 17 and a half years old I ran away again. I got in trouble for something earlier that day and my stepmother held me up against the wall by my hair, screaming right into my face as she banged my head against the wall and punched my arm. I can still smell her bad breath. I left that night with one small bag of clothes and no money. I stole my sister's necklace, jumped out our bedroom window at about 2 am and ran.
I was on the front pages of local newspapers reported missing. I had hitch hiked to Liverpool, sold that necklace for 5 pounds at the train station. The next day a middle aged man offered to drive me to Doncaster. He had his reasons. I was so naive; to this day I can't believe that I thought he had been so nice to me. After dropping me off I waited until he was gone and turned the other way. I hitched a ride to Scarborough, a coastal town, slept in a ditch for two nights and got a job the next day in a summer resort.
I was not found by the police and when I turned 18, I contacted my friend back in Doncaster. She asked me to come back, she said I was safe now and they could not force me to do anything I didn't want to.
I returned. I went to my house to see my family. I told them I did not want to move back in but wanted to be able to see them and be friends so to speak. My father, stepmother and middle sister were in the living room that day. My little sister and brother were not. I was told I could not talk to my sisters anymore and to stay away if I did not want to live at home. I remember calling my stepmother a bitch, my father slapping me across the face.
I was again reminded as numerous times before, that I was un-grateful for all the good things they had done for me, unappreciative for all the holidays, all the countries we got to see, the piano lessons, the good schools, the fact that my stepmother cared about how I looked and got my teeth fixed, put me on diets because she thought I was too fat. I left in tears. It's funny though, because to this day, no matter how hard I try to think back, at no time do I ever remember hearing the words "I Love You". Of course, I never heard them from my Mom either, to a child it doesn't matter why, they just don't understand.
Early in September I got a flat with my friend, got a job and tried a few times to go see my middle sister at her school. She would not talk to me.
In December I was feeling remorse so I decided to go home and try to see them. The house was empty. I went to the neighbours and asked them where my family was. She was shocked to see me...she told me they had moved back to Canada. No-one had even said good-bye. I was left behind in England. I can remember thinking that they must have hated me so much.
After two months of trying to remember names and places of my mother's family in Canada I contacted my Uncle who in turn got a hold of my Mom. Within 2 weeks my mother flew to England and brought me home.
It was a happy time for me, to be back, to be with my Mom, Grandma and the rest of the family. Everyone was there the day I came home, everyone cried.
It didn't last long though. I had questions for my Mom... why didn't she come to get us, why didn't she fight for us, where was she, didn't she care?
I wanted her to pay for something that really was not even her fault. I was so confused. I ran away from her about 6 months after I had come back to Canada. The next 4 years...well just a typical bad company, runaway life so to speak, I don't need to go there. I was on my own.
I am 45 years old now. Because I made the choice to include my mother in my life, my father and stepmother would not have a relationship with me. They live in Vancouver. My brainwashed sisters also sided with them. Even when my mom questioned me about them, I was too afraid to tell her anything hoping my father would eventually change his mind if I kept my mouth shut.
I married in 1987 in Grande Prairie. I had asked my father to come to the wedding...he wouldn't...not if my mother was going to be there; of course my sisters couldn't come either. I asked his brother, my uncle to come and give me away...he wouldn't either, for fear of upsetting my father. I had the honour of being given away by both my Grandfathers which, when I look back was the best way things could have been.
I promised myself and each of my children when they were born, that I would never raise them the way I was raised, that I would always love them for who they were and I would always let them know. I wanted a white picket fence family....I was happy for quite a long time and things were going fairly good with my Mom too, she loved her grandchildren with all her heart, she was so proud of them. I think she tried to make up for her past mistakes through them.
My marriage didn't last though, it was as if I almost expected it not too, it is almost as if I unconsciously took steps to the inevitable, to confirm my belief...that I wasn't lovable. When my youngest son was about a year and a half old I tried to commit suicide again.
I was hospitalized and treated for severe clinical depression and kept in there for almost 5 weeks. Only 2 days after I was admitted my husband filed for a divorce and custody of the children at first claiming me an un-fit mother (the same thing my father tried to claim about my mother). I have fought long and hard since then to maintain my relationships with my children. I went to counseling, took medication to get better, in my attempt to be better for their sake. I took out a student loan and went back to college in Grande Prairie. I worked part-time and drove down to Devon where we had lived, to see my children every other week-end. History all over again, although un-like my mother I had more resources and support to help. I didn't quit going to see them. I phoned them all the time, wrote to them often and ended all my letters with "I love you all so much...all the way to the Milky Way"
Now, my daughter still signs her cards to me like this and my boys in their e-mails sometimes too.
One thing I never did was say "bad things" to the kids about what their father was doing to me or what was going on in the custody hearings. We received joint custody, with my daughter residing with me and my two boys with their father. It was a very happy day for me, it wasn't over though, but it was a start. I decided to move to Rimbey so we were all closer, that was in 1998. My daughter came to live with me that summer and started grade 5 here
The effort to try to keep the closeness between my three children has been constant, reminding them of birthdays and just to call or e-mail each other. I guess they are all on facebook now, I'm glad, but I'll never check to see. I am so sorry they were separated and I am sure the day will come when I'll have to explain, but hopefully I will be ready and they will understand. My two boys are 17 and 15 now, they do live still with their Dad, but we have a good relationship, I see and talk to them regularly.
One of the saddest parts though is not about me. It is about my mother, who spent most of her adult life living in regret...angry...unapproachable and bitter for what had happened to her, she lived the life of a victim, she gave up. For the record, my mother was an epileptic, the drugs we were told she was hooked on was her medication, if she had of drank in excess or done what else we had been told about years ago it could have killed her. She re-married and divorced two more times after my father, each marriage lasting barely a year.
I contacted my father when my Mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in the late fall of 2006; they did not give her much time. I told him I was letting him know that she was dying and that I am giving him and my stepmother the choice of telling my sisters. I did not want to interfere. I thought I was doing the right thing. That was my mistake. He never told them.
My sisters were told about two months before she died by my father's brother.
When my father found out they had been told he phoned me. He accused me of telling them. I told him it was not me and he said I was lying. He did not ask me how I was...he did not ask me how his three grandchildren were...he did not say he was sorry to hear the news. The call ended quickly, I don't remember even saying good-bye and I felt very, very alone.
My mother passed away less than two years ago on March 31, 2007 at 61 years of age. I was with her at the end, my sisters were not. She was a very un-happy woman. it showed in her eyes, they were the most listless empty eyes I have ever seen. I think though, that she always lived with the hope that her two other daughters would want to see her again. She lived without them in her life for 35 years. Amongst my mother's belongings I found the two silver lockets that she had saved for my sisters all those years, she had wanted to give them to her daughters in person. I sent them in the mail along with some old pictures. They didn't even know what our Mother looked like.
My youngest sister phoned me to say thank you, she said it meant a lot to her. I never heard a word from my other sister.
My grandma also passed away two months before my mom on January 20th. She also lived without them in her life for 35 years. I truly hope they are both at peace. My maternal Grandfather is 90 years old now and has not seen his two grand-daughters for 37 years. I have three wonderful aunts and an uncle, some really great cousins who my sisters don't even know and for what?
Right now I feel that I may never speak to my father again. The funny thing is ...is that if he ever showed up on my doorstep to say he was sorry I would probably forgive him in an instant. I would love to hear him say that I did okay after all or that he was proud to have me as a daughter...I don't think I will ever hear those words.
Through the grapevine I hear he is a very unhappy man. As far as my stepmother goes I don't know her state of well being and I don't care.
My middle sister and I have spoken maybe 4 times in the last 15 years. She is 44, has divorced twice already and has two children herself. I have never met them.
My little sister is in her late 30’s has never married and never had children. I haven't seen her for over 15 years. I don't know anything about my half brother except that he is engaged.
I have lived in at least 8 different towns as an adult. About 15 towns in 45 years. I have been in both physically and mentally abusive adult relationships, but learnt to move on, pick myself up, not getting too attached to anything. I trust very few people. I have very few good friends. I cringe when I hear angry raised voices. Up until just the last few years the only thing I had strength left to battle for was my children...everyone and everything else could, for the most part disappear and it wouldn't have bothered me a bit.
It is only the last little while that the restless feeling I have for most of my life has finally started to subside, the feeling of not belonging anywhere is finally going away.
I am in a good relationship now, it's been almost 5 years. It has been a tremendous struggle for me. In some ways he is the most patient man I have ever met. He understands and has never given up on me. Even when I said it was over time and time again, he still said he loved me, he tells me if I want to leave I can, but he will always be there. He has taught me that I am not perfect but that's okay, I am still worth loving. I struggle with that, but it is getting easier. In truth, he has told me straight out that I am taking steps to destroy our relationship because it is what I expect to happen. I am protecting something I don't need to be. He is right and for telling me that, for standing by me regardless, he has taught me the meaning of real commitment.
My children and I are going to be just fine. There is no other option in my eyes. They are doing well, they are healthy, enjoy work, school and most importantly they know I love them. I tell them how proud I am of them, I tell them they are responsible for their own actions, I tell them I will always be there for them, I tell them to save their money, I tell them to be polite to all people and to say thank you for gifts. I tell them to phone their paternal grandmother and other family members just to say hello. I tell them I love them....all the way to the Milky Way. I tell them all the time...over and over. I tell them all the things I don't remember being told, in hopes of making their lives a little easier, a little better and a little happier.
Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting destroys lives...All children have the right to be loved and the right to return that love. No-one, I don’t care who they are, has the right to take that away. Times are changing, 1000's of children in our schools come from split families, 1000's of children are at risk. Children need both parents. Please take the time to find out more. For parents, grandparents and their families, take the time to listen, take the time to learn. Cases involving other third parties, the Courts, our legal system also play their part in aiding this abuse... such as the jealous stepparent... such as the Courts allowing one parent to move with a child 100's of miles away from the other parent and his or her family. Like all things there are exceptions, but in most cases, this is NOT in the best interest of the child. The resources out there like the PAAO and other agencies can help us learn how to help these children through awareness and education.
Children don't get over it, as some would like to say. They don't always grow up to see it for what it really is and even if they do, they have still been harmed in the process.
If you know some-one who has been un-justly alienated from their child or children tell them not to ever give up the fight to be a part of their lives. If you know someone who is trying to alienate their child or children, plead with them as to why it must stop. At a child's expense, it can and will backfire. I am here on behalf of my mother and grandmother, for their loss. For the two little girls they didn't see grow up, I am here for them; their minds have never really been their own.