I met Eric Carroll of Dad Talk Today at CPAC in 2020. Shortly thereafter, he had me on Dad Talk Today to talk about what I was …
Live from Belmont Library MA – The Public Lie We’ve Been Told About Narcissism
WHY RETHINK NARCISSISM?
People ask, “Why rethink narcissism?” and sometimes they get a little confused from the title that somehow I’m talking about how great narcissism is – that’s not what this book is about at all. In fact, it draws on many of the most promising and recent research findings that we have in understanding narcissism and includes my own research in helping people understand narcissism in a different way, which gives you a much clearer path through all of this than we’ve ever had before.
THE NARCISSISM TEST
If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you go to The Narcissism Test on www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-narcissism-test and take the brief online version of the measure my colleagues and I have developed (The Narcissism Spectrum Scale) to see where you or your loved ones score (if you want to take it as if your loved one was taking it; many people have).
BUY THE BOOK
On August 7, 2021, I participated in an Equal Parenting Awareness Rally at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas. This second …
Benjamin Redic says that society – and our military in particular – need to support marriages to help them survive and thrive.
I’m not one of those experts who believe that divorce has little significant effect on a child’s life. I’m of the opinion that divorce can set a child up for lifelong emotional struggles. The divorce of a child’s parents leaves them with negative emotions they will deal with throughout their lives in one way or another.
Yes, they learn to adjust to the fact that their parents are divorced but, the sadness caused by the divorce lessens with time but never goes away. On top of the regret a child feels over a parent’s divorce there can be devastating consequences if the parents do not handle the divorce in a responsible manner.
The Unvarnished Truth About Children And Divorce
I bristle when I hear parents say that children are “resilient” and can “handle” their divorce. I’ve talked to adults who were devastated years after their divorce was finalized, yet for some strange reason they believe that their children are more capable of getting over and learning to live with a situation they, themselves are finding hard to accept and move on from.
It is this belief by parents that children are more flexible and pliant emotionally than they are that sets children up for disaster when their parents’ divorce. A child’s divorce experience is shaped by whether or not parents continue to put their children’s well-being and security first during the divorce process.
4 Reasons It’s Important To Put Children First During Divorce
1. Divorce means huge changes in the lives of children. It can also mean direct involvement in the conflict between parents, changes in where they live, economic hardship, broken bonds with a parent, loss of emotional security, and a multitude of emotional stressors.
2. Divorce means the loss of a child’s family, something that is the center of their universe. If a child is raised in a happy or low conflict family, that family is the base of their security. It is what allows that child to go out into the world and broaden their horizons because they know there is a safe place to return to.
The loss of an intact family is like a death to the child. There will be a period of grieving and a need to replace, with something new the security they had in the intact family.
3. Divorce increases a child’s risk of psychological, educational, and sociological problems. A parent’s divorce touches every aspect of a child’s life. A child’s relationships with friends will change and their ability to focus and concentrate in school will be affected. As a result, there is an increased possibility of problems with anxiety and depression.
4. Divorce causes children emotional pain. Regardless of how hard a parent tries and how well they parent, a child will feel sadness and loss during and after a divorce. Your divorce is going to hurt your children! And please, don’t fall for the nonsense belief that if the “parent is happy, the child will be happy.” I promise you unless your child is witnessing or a party to domestic abuse or high conflict the child could care less if Mom and Dad are happy.
Some parents have a misguided belief that their children are spending time and energy worrying about their parent’s happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth, children are concerned with their own happiness and security, as it should be.
So, please, don’t project your need to divorce so you can be “happy” off on to your children. You will do them no favor and it will free you up to ignore their pain due to a skewed belief that is not correct.
What Are The Negative Effects of Divorce For Children?
If you contrast children from intact families to children of divorce, children from divorced families are:
- Twice as likely to have to see a mental health provider,
- Twice as likely to exhibit behavioral problems,
- More than twice as likely to have problems with depression and mood disorders,
- Twice as likely to drop out of high school before graduating,
- Twice as likely to divorce themselves as adults,
- Less socially competent and tend to linger in adolescents before moving into adulthood.
Andrew Cherlin, a family demographer at Johns Hopkins University, said that even those who grow up to be very successful as adults carry “the residual trauma of their parents’ breakup.”
In other words, when we, as adults make the decision to divorce we are going against our natural parental instincts…protecting our children from harm. Some would argue that divorce in and of itself does not cause harm to children. They believe that it is the behavior of the parents during a divorce that determines how a child will fare or what the consequences will be.
I agree that as parents we can lessen the negative effects of divorce on our children. There are obligations that parents have during divorce that can help our children cope. The issue I have though is this, during my career as a divorce family therapist who has worked closely with divorcing clients and their children, the children seem to take a backseat to their parent’s needs during that time.
Parents are more focused on the legal process of divorce and their own emotional needs than their children’s needs. Until I see a change in the way the majority of parents behave during divorce I will hold onto my belief that children are irreparably harmed by divorce and suffer due to parents who are unable to parent and divorce at the same time.
What can I do if my ex disregards the stay-at-home order and puts our children at risk?
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips for this sort of issue.
As you are experiencing, many parents during this time improperly are ignoring the pandemic warnings. As such, many of the nation’s family courts quickly are responding to these types of situations.
That being said, the courts generally do not like to see parents engaging in self-help, which is when a parent decides what they believe is the best course of action without seeking court intervention. For example, if you decided to withhold your children based on the other parent’s behavior, this could be frowned upon by the court.
If you have an enforceable court order, you certainly have the right to inform the police that the order is not being abided by if the other parent is putting the children in harm’s way. At times, law enforcement is unwilling to engage in any type of situation which may be considered a family law matter and will direct people to file appropriate actions with the courts.
A lot of courts now are having emergency or expedited hearings, as it relates to contempt of custody orders. Further, if your jurisdiction is under a stay-at-home order, many courts have implemented virtual hearings, so you can participate in a hearing by phone or video conference.
In my jurisdiction, once a custody order is entered by the court, the court expects that each party will abide by the order, but the court does consider the best interests of the child(ren) paramount. If parties to a custody order do not abide by the terms of the order and/or put the children in harms way, the party seeking enforcement of the terms of the order has the ability to file a contempt petition against the offending party.
In order for contempt to be found, the moving party (the one who wants to show there was contempt) has to show that the offending party has “willfully failed to comply” with the court order. In other words, you have to show that a person purposely is not abiding by the terms of the custody order.
However, the courts generally will not enter a contempt order until such time as the custody order actually has been violated or there is a clear indication (i.e. a person actually stating, preferably in writing, that they will not abide by the terms of the court order) that the custody order will not be followed. If the courts find that a party is in contempt of the custody order, there are several remedies the court may utilize.
Some examples are: imposing monetary sanctions, awarding counsel fees if counsel is retained, changing of the custody order (a rare occurrence but may happen if contemptuous behavior is pervasive and ongoing), and potential incarceration.
The post What can I do if my ex disregards the stay-at-home order and puts our children at risk? appeared first on Dads Divorce.
Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.
Before you begin your divorce it is wise to consider how you are going to parent your children during the case. There isn’t much information out there that touches on this subject (at least that I could find) so I wanted to share with you some pieces of advice that I have cobbled together through my years of being a family law attorney and parent. We spend a great deal of time on this blog talking about the law and how it applies to your family, but spend relatively little time discussing how everything impacts your ability to parent.
Today I am going to try and save you some heartache and problems of all sorts by sharing some tips that you can implement to avoid mistakes in parenting and managing a divorce. While not all of these pieces of advice may be relevant to you, I believe that many of them will be.
If you are moving, do so with your child in mind
It is unavoidable in most cases that either you or your spouse will be moving out of the family home as a result of the divorce. In many instances, the move will come before the beginning of the divorce. Your home environment may be so toxic an inhospitable that you need to leave for the sake of your children and yourself. In other instances, you will be ordered to leave the house due to your spouse being awarded temporary exclusive possession of the home.
Either way, if you are leaving the home you need to be aware that wherever you choose to move needs to be a place that your child will feel comfortable in. Here is where we need to walk a fine line. On the one hand, I just said that your new residence needs to be a place that your child feels comfortable living in. That means you shouldn’t pick the cool condo downtown with the great view if you have four kids that will be coming over in a few weeks for their first visit since the start of your divorce.
Your choice in a new home needs to be a blend between affordability and practicality. Your children will begin to feel comfortable in your new home the more time they spend there. It doesn’t have to the prettiest house in the world. All it has to be is a place where you can house your children during the times you have them and place where they are safe. Everything else is just gravy on the biscuit.
You should treat your children the same way you would have you remained in the family home. Do not treat your children any differently just because you are in a new home. This would be enough to cause the children to feel even more out of place than they normally would. Rather, assign your children chores (age-appropriate) just like you would at home, discipline the kids just like you would at home and then play with the kids just like you would at home. If you can manage to do all of these things you will have found the sweet spot for parenting in a new environment.
Let your kids be kids and don’t involve them in the process of your divorce
Your children are such a big part of your life that it would be easy to let the divorce case begin to bleed over into your parenting of your kids. It does make sense on some levels to keep your children informed about the case just so they are not completely clueless about what you and their other parent are going through.
However, the individual facts and circumstances associated with your divorce do not necessarily need to be shared with your children. First of all- they are children. They do not have the mental faculties to process all of the circumstances of your case. Even teenaged children have never dealt with the things you are dealing with. They are not prepared to handle what you are going through. The last thing you want to do is cause them stress unduly.
Another huge part of this discussion is that your court orders will bar you from saying negative things about your spouse to your children or from involving them in the case. The best thing to do would be to keep them up to date on the progress being made. You can let them know how close you are to the end of the case and what steps need to be taken to complete your divorce.
You do not need to share a timeline because you don’t know how much longer you have or what could happen to delay your case without notice.
The other thing that I see parents doing, especially with older kids, is using the kids as messengers. Having your child give updates to your spouse during the divorce is not a good thing to do. Telling your child partial information on a subject causes them to wonder and worry about the significance of the message that he or she may be relaying for you. Also, depending on the reaction that your spouse has to the message, your child may feel like he or she has caused their parent pain. You can avoid this problem by communicating directly with your spouse and not using your child as a means to do so.
Be careful with what you say about your spouse in front of the kids
You may be in a position where you are livid with the actions and decisions of your spouse. You may feel that this divorce was caused entirely by him or her and that you are the innocent party in all of this. Even if you completely justified in feeling this way you need to be careful about voicing your negative opinions about your spouse in front of your children. Not only does this violate the court orders but it can also be a huge impediment to your children transitioning into their lives post-divorce.
Remember that your children are not exposed to varying viewpoints like an adult is. They go to school and they interact with children and teachers there, but then they come home and have you and your spouse as role models. As such, they value what you have to say perhaps more than you might think. As a result, you need to be able to take this to heart and start to value what you have to say as much as your children do.
The other thing that I will take note of is that what you say about another person is not necessarily reflective of him or her, but more reflective of yourself and your character. Think about all the times in your own life that you have heard another person speak badly of a person who is not in the room. Does the person talk ever look like an upstanding, honorable person? I’m willing to bet not. Most of the time when I hear another person talking about someone who’s not within earshot, I just wish he or she would stop talking. Don’t let your children see the worst side of you in badmouthing their other parent. They probably feel caught in the middle of you and your spouse to a great extent already and hearing you say negative things will only add to that problem.
Let your ex-spouse live their life
It is normal to be at the very least curious about the goings-on of your ex-spouse. After all- that person was your partner in life for an extended period, the other parent to your child (although that hasn’t changed) and recently went through a trying ordeal with you. Now you are left with questions about how the marriage failed, what happens next and what will happen to you. Wanting to know how your ex-spouse is handling the situation is understandable.
However, you would be best served to not ask your children for those updates. First of all, your children are not going to be very accurate at the relaying of messages especially if they are younger. To test this idea of mine out, go ahead and ask your five years old what happened at school today. I can almost guarantee their answer will be about 10% truth and 90% fantasy. Kids are just not very good at recalling information that has to do with emotions or occurrences. If you want to know about one specific event they may do ok, but a series of events or something like that will be difficult for them. Why bother asking, in that case?
The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that you don’t stand to benefit much from asking questions about what your ex-spouse is up to. If you find out that your ex-spouse is doing great then you will likely not feel great for him or her but will feel worse about yourself. On the other hand, if he or she is doing poorly, you will likely take some amount of satisfaction in that. This is probably not the way you want to appear to yourself or your children. So why not just let your ex-spouse live their life and you can do the same?
You are sharing possession of your children with your ex-spouse- remember that
Your children are your children, but they are also your ex-spouse’s kids. Meaning: do not act as if you are the only parent that matters. At all times, their other patent matters, as well. You should take advantage of every moment that is made available to you but do lose sight of the fact that your ex-spouse has just as much right to have their time with your kids, too. As such, do not abuse your possession schedule and run over on your time. Taking your child to your ex-spouse thirty minutes late continually is not only disrespectful of your ex-spouse, but it also puts you in violation of your court orders.
The earlier in the process that you can realize that your ex-spouse has just as big of a role to play in raising your children as you do, the better off you will be. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop the kids off early at the other parent’s. This does not mean that you need to run every planned activity with your children through another parent to make sure he or she knows what is going on. What it does mean is that you are best off being respectful of the other parent. This takes little effort but does require that you be aware of other people and their needs. Even the needs of a person that you just finished getting a divorce from.
Remember that your divorce is in the past- treat it that way
Your divorce is in the past and should not be re-litigated. You may need to come back to the courthouse in the future to deal with issues that arise in the future, but what led to the divorce, the divorce itself and the immediate period after the conclusion of your divorce needs to be set aside and not brought up time and time again. Tomorrow’s blog post will begin by focusing on this topic.
Questions about divorce in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material that we shared in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week here in our office. These consultations are a great opportunity to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide you specific feedback about your case as well as answers to your questions.
We work in the family courts of southeast Texas every day and do so with a great deal of pride. Our work is done on behalf of our clients who in reality are the people we consider neighbors and members of our community as well. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Oh, how there are days when I think I got it all right. Then there are days when I think I got it all wrong.
Raising two children who were 4 weeks old and 4 years old when we ended our marriage and who are now in their 20’s! That represents a lot of growth. Growth not just for them, but for me as well.
I know I did the best I could given the cards that I was dealt. But was any of it right?
I was married 14 years and I have been single for 20 years now. I never remarried.
My parents were married for over 50 years. Both my grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversaries. It just wasn’t in my DNA, I guess. Having the tools and models to cope in a divorced environment had to come from outside sources.
Coping with a divorce after infidelity was utterly foreign to me. Twenty years later, I know I am still growing as a woman; as a single woman who is now 60. I am picking up a bookmark that I laid down deliberately in order to raise a family.
But I didn’t know I still had growing to do as a single parent. Apparently, I do. And I have my two kids to show me just how much. I decided to interview them to get a little further insight.
I wanted to give voices to the children that are now 20 and 24 years old. And I wanted to share my findings with single moms who still have young children and are navigating all the frustrations and heartache that goes along with single parenting and divorce.
In my interviews, I learned a lot. I wish all three of us had the maturity then to speak back in those days. My children to have the wisdom of age to articulate how they felt, and me to have the maturity an adult should possess in order to hear them speak in ways they only knew how to communicate.
Much can be said if parents would just talk to their children and then shut up and listen. Even more, could be said if divorced parents would grow up and communicate; period. My son Scott was 4 years old when my ex-husband left. He is now 24 and works as a Congressional Aide. My daughter Olivia was 4 weeks old when my ex-husband left. She is now 20 and in college as a film major.
Here is my interview with my children.
What is your first memory or realization that your mom and dad were divorced?
There was never one instance I can recall. My memories from those days are still a bit hazy. “Divorce” was just a concept I grew up with and accepted. Even if I knew it wasn’t the norm, it was my norm. I bore it largely because I was told to. Early on I would ask dad if you were ever getting back together and he said “no.” Maybe that was the first moment that I learned it was permanent.
I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you. It’s like asking me what my first memory was. Like realizing that I am a girl or something. There is no standout memory, it was just my life.
If you could give a voice to the child that you were at that time, what would you say? What questions would you have?
I would tell him that it would impact him in ways he couldn’t imagine and still doesn’t fully understand. But I would also say that it doesn’t define you. You’re your father’s son, yes. But you’re not him. This is not a cycle that needs to repeat. I would simply try to tell my younger self that he is his own person. He might feel that he has no voice or choice but one day he will get a lot closer to finding those things for himself.
As a child back then, I would ask why can’t I choose who I want to go with and when? Why do you always ask me to tell dad how much you spent on something and vice versa for him? I would definitely say “stop asking me to be the one to give dad a check because I am obviously going to look at how much it is for. I always felt guilty about how much money was spent on me.
Were you angry? If so, what made you angry most?
Of course. I was largely confused at the time and that manifested in anger. I was angry that things were changing and for no good reason. I was angry that my parents were angry at each other and were no longer friendly with each other, but instead openly hostile. I felt that they were the adults and should have the maturity to fix it themselves. Today I still feel a bit of that. I’m mostly angry at how it contributed to my longstanding anxiety about loss that I still cope with.
I’m not angry, I get frustrated because it seems that often I am the go-between you and dad. I hate having to do the “dad said” “mom said” thing. It’s annoying and makes me remember things that aren’t necessarily my responsibility as “the kid”.
What did it feel like to have divorced parents?
Normal and yet abnormal. It was my normal. Still is. I’ve known almost nothing else. But it became abnormal when it contrasted with what my friends had, especially when I stayed over at their houses for playdates. It felt weird to talk about my parents separately as opposed to one entity. I often had to explain that they were divorced. I didn’t know how to process, let alone explain, that my parents didn’t like each other. Sometimes I felt sides had to be taken in battles that were not mine to fight.
In the grand scheme of things, it did not make me feel different at all. I don’t care that you guys are divorced, it doesn’t bother me. It only bothered me when you two had issues communicating. A lot of people’s parents are divorced. It’s almost more normal to have divorced parents now than it is to have married ones.
Did you feel different?
Different from others? Yes. I knew I was. But I also didn’t lack for much that any middle-class kid would want or need and for that I’m always grateful. I got the toys and video games I wanted and got to see my friends often enough. But I knew that there was a wholeness and closeness that other “intact” families had that mine lacked.
I did not feel different in the slightest.
Did you feel like the divorce was your fault?
Of all the tropes of children of divorce that I may play into, feeling like it’s, my fault has never been one of them. I knew it wasn’t my fault. That doesn’t make it much better as sometimes I felt victimized and powerless. But I didn’t blame myself.
I did think the divorce was my fault (being born sort of initiated it) but I don’t think that anymore. I think every kid carries with them the idea that it’s their fault but then we grow up and realize it’s not.
What still matters to you?
I think I’ve adopted values that make a repeat of this situation less likely in my life. Commitments are important to me. One’s word in their oath. How I treat people and what I expect of myself is different – and better – as a result.
I don’t understand what you mean by what still matters to me. But I guess just having parents that are there for me matters. Knowing I have a relationship with both my mother and my father even though they’re divorced.
Does family have a deeper meaning to you or a lesser meaning to you as a result of divorce?
Family has a much deeper meaning to me but strangely marriage has a much-reduced meaning. Commitment to family – serving and protecting them – is always important and even more so now that I see the results of the opposite philosophy.
However, I honestly have a low opinion of marriage. People – ostensibly mature adults – enter into these commitments all the time and almost as often don’t see it through. I saw a perfect marriage in my parents that was squandered so how could I not think every other kind of marriage is worthless too?
Again, the divorce was not something I actively saw (like Scott). I never knew anything before it, so the value of family stays the same for me.
Do you think something good came out of the divorce at this stage of your life?
If something good did come of it, it was my perspective. Having gone through things I likely would have never experienced if the divorce had not happened. I have a greater capacity to empathize with others. Because I’ve had fewer comforts, I have fewer blinders now. That’s invaluable to me. I choose to think that it made me a better human being.
I think the divorce had to happen. I think if it didn’t happen then, it would have happened later. I think it’s good you’re divorced because you guys probably would hate each other AND live under the same roof if you hadn’t.
These responses were eye opening and made me sad at first read. I wanted a do-ver. I wanted to hug my little people. I wanted to sit with my boy and talk to him in ways that would help him express his feelings.
I wanted to tell my little girl that I am sorry for ever making her feel like she was a go-between. I wanted to take back any and all things I said in anger towards their dad, even though I know I had every right to feel the anger for leaving his young family.
I sit here now and wonder if things would have been different if there had not been infidelity. Would I have been as angry? My heart was broken, and I was frightened. And he became a mere stranger overnight.
But I had no right to make my children feel sad, or guilty or anything that would rob them of a secure childhood. My son said he didn’t feel whole and that makes me sad. But then, I didn’t feel whole either so, what else was he going to feel?
My kids do know that I did everything in my power to bridge a new kind of relationship with my ex-husband. One that would grow into being just two old friends. That was my lofty hope anyway. Afterall we had known each other since we were the ages that our children are now.
I invited him to our daughter’s 1st Birthday party, and he declined. I should have stopped at that point, but I kept asking for inclusionary behaviors and he kept refusing. Sadly, I suppose when another woman is involved, these things are not attainable.
My kids saw me try and saw him resist so, I guess I am at least glad they saw some efforts, albeit one-sided. I fell out of love with him a very long time ago. I have not had a day in 20 years that I wanted my husband back. A shattered trust for me is irreparable. But a new relationship could have been forged for our very young children.
So, what is the epilogue of this story?
I share all of this with the hopes that any divorced mom reading this who has rough feelings towards their ex-husband as I did, will hear the words of two kids that are now adults and who are giving voice to the little people they once were.
I don’t want anyone to want a do-over. You have time to change the trajectory now.
My kids are amazing people. Though they felt like they were in a taffy pull often in their life they have grown to be two very intelligent, articulate people who have good hearts.
They have made the conscious choice to take the sum of their experiences and be good citizens of the world. I am grateful for these two exceptional people and I’m so glad I am their mom! Never stop learning.
“Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”
Barack Obama (raised by a single mother)
Best wishes to all the single moms that must be dads too….and remain civil!
The post And Interview With My Children: 20 Years After The Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.
Originally published by Nacol Law Firm.
Dealing with a worldwide medical pandemic and personally trying to stay alive and healthy is mentally changeling, but for parents who are divorced or have separate custody agreements and co- parent, it can be a disaster for the entire family. Hopefully, this Coronavirus Pandemic will be a short-lived life-threatening situation, but how the Co-parents cope with the problem could deeply impact their children’s emotional life.
In Texas, on March 13, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order that divorced /single parents should go by the originally published school and visitation schedule in their current decree. Since the last life-threatening pandemic in the United State was the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, most divorce/ single parent agreements do not include a pandemic clause!
Do not be one of those parents who decides that they “are the decision maker” and drives away with the kids for an extended vacation to Grandma’s in Florida without telling the other parent. Or deciding that the family circle of trust does not include their Other Parent and refuses visitation or joint decision making. These hasty, irrational decisions may seem reasonable in this time of national panic but consider the legal ramifications of violating an order. Since all courts, in Texas, are now closed except for emergency litigation matters only, when the courts are fully operational again and the medical danger has passed, how will a violation of your current decree look to the Judge? Judges always look to the needs of the child versus the unreasonable expectations of the parent. There will be serious ramifications against the violating parent.
Let’s look at some ideas on how co-parenting during this pandemic season can work the best for all family members and by joint agreement will save your both money that would normally go to legal fees.
Just remember that as co-parents your children are most important. Your child has been told that they can’t see their grandparents because of their age and if infected by the coronavirus, may die. No school, no playing of sports, or playing with friends since they may be infected with a deadly virus and become very ill. Decide to cooperate as responsible co-parents to navigate the child to the new changes in their daily routines without a lot of stress and anxiety on the child. By keeping the child calm and showing “a united family circle” the child will know that Mom and Dad are there for him/her.
Some areas of agreement should be that the child will have regular email, phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom visits, and texting with the other parent. The child needs to know that both parents are safe and interested in their wellbeing. Regular visitations times must be made available for the child to see each parent. Remember the child’s core circle of trust are his/her parents and siblings.
Another very serious matter is the decision of what will happen to the child if one parent becomes ill and cannot care for the child. The joint decision must be made by both parents and must ultimately be in the best interest for the child.
Custody disputes and circumstances that have totally changed in the last month. Just remember, co-parent cooperation is the best choice. There is no doubt that judges will be happy to hear that parents have worked together to meet their child’s best interest, by taking steps to protect the child’s health and safety.
This is a time for mutual give and take from both parents. No one is always right nor always wrong. In this upside crazy pandemic world, jointly trying to navigate your family to a better place will have its own rewards.
If, however, one parent unilaterally refuses to make fair agreements for the children or violates your custody orders, avoid retaliation and follow your decree orders faithfully. This Pandemic will pass, and most Judges will not treat lightly intense misconduct when the courts reopen.
Mark A. Nacol
The Nacol Law Firm P.C.
The 3 main reasons your children don’t want to see you
You were a loving parent. Your kids came to you for comfort and you knew exactly how to make them better. Your relationship with them was something you were so proud of.
But now, they seem to have forgotten all of that. They say they hate you and don’t want to see you. They blame you for everything and you don’t know why.
This is the reality of hundreds of thousands of parents across the UK and the world. So how does it happen?
There’s three main ways:
- A hybrid of the two
This is when a child has been manipulated into rejecting you by a parent (could be step parent, grandparent or sibling).
It is a process of behaviours designed to ensure you are seen as the bad parent and the alienating parent is all good. It is usually instigated by a Narcissistic or Borderline Personality Disordered parent.
How do they do it?
But eventually the long term plan is that the child rejects you, because they’re literally left with no choice by the controlling, alienating parent. And I’ve been through descriptions of that, I’m not going to go into any more great detail, but ultimately, the motivation of the alienating parent is to destroy your relationship, put you out of their life, prove that you are at fault. They’re the hero and they are protecting their child and most importantly, is that they get the child to do that rejecting themselves. They manipulate the child into believing that you’re this awful person, this abusive parent partner, everything perfect. And so the child will basically parrot a script given to them this narrative that’s created by usually a personality disordered parent in the milk. Most of these cases of alienation tend to have a personality disorder, usually with either borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder. And the child will tell anyone that will listen that they hate you and that you’re mean and that they are afraid of you. They put on this grand performance, but what’s going on behind the scenes is actually they’re not feeling that at all. These are not their authentic feelings.
They’re being given no choice, they’ve been manipulated to believe this. They’ve been given this role to play under the guise of protection. The child knows that if they don’t do as they’re told, then they will lose that parent. That if they won’t ignore you, they may lose their sibling, they may lose a dog. There’s lots of different ways that it can be done (see our free download for the exact process) but the result is the same. In order for the child to survive and retain a relationship with the alienating parent, they must reject you.
Estrangement, however, is an authentic experience by the child. It’s where something’s happened (you may have had an affair and left or you may have lashed out at some point, you may have been baited to so in front of the child so you get angry, or perhaps you were stressed so drinking more), you may have done something that led a child under any normal circumstances to be upset or maybe not feel safe in your company at the moment. And so they don’t want to see you right now. And the difference with estrangement is that the child’s feelings are authentic. It’s okay for them to feel like that and with the right support, and encouragement from the other parent, that relationship can get back on track. It’s an immediate response to feeling anger or feeling the fear or feeling unsafe. And it is easily remedied. It’s not long term. There’s no there’s behind the scenes manipulation. Again, it’s just a genuine authentic response from the child to something has happened. Usually an apology and explanation (age appropriate) and time is enough to restore the relationship providing your ex supports your relationship.
A hybrid can start off as estrangement and you may have done something (as described above) which provides the catalyst for the other parent to realise that life would be easier without you around.
Mistakes happen in relationships. Sometimes you can lash out and make a mistake but from the child’s point of view, they saw a different side to you. They saw something happen and they’re angry or upset. But without the support of the other parent, the relationship doesn’t get mended. In fact, what happens is the relationship is then turned into an alienation process. Because the alienating parent will use it as a trampoline to spring other ideas off of, to really ramp up. So they’ll take something that you’ve done and it will be continuously talked about. It’ll be exaggerated, it can be manipulated, it will be twisted. And so the child takes what was their authentic feeling (they were feeling angry, they were scared) and it becomes their entire memory of your relationship. And so that’s why it’s quite difficult in these cases, they have this real memory of something that’s happened, but it’s been so distorted that it’s become enough for them to reject you themselves. In these cases it is important the original fracture is acknowledged and then repaired whilst not allowing additional misdemeanours to be assigned to you.
I understand that if you are not seeing your children, it feels like alienation. There are lots of support groups which talk about alienation and so everyone assumes that theirs is alienation. It’s easy to get angry when you start taking on board everyone else’s experiences and anger with the system. But the truth is that not all cases are pure alienation. Some will be cases where a child has genuinely felt upset with a parent but due to the strained relationship with the ex and all the peer pressure in groups, the “targeted parent” may be lead to believe that it’s the exes fault and so start to blame them which the child doesn’t respond well it because that genuinely isn’t their truth. And you can sometimes come on too strong, you can become pushy, and you can start saying, “well, this is your mum/dad’s fault, they are stopping you from seeing me” when actually, that wasn’t what was going on. But because you’ve said it, they then genuinely become fearful. They don’t want to see because you’re acting a bit crazy or saying things that they don’t like. And so you take it down that alienation path, and like I say, that might be really hard to acknowledge, and I’m not here to lay blame, what I mean to do is try and help you to see that sometimes our own behaviours can impact these situations. In fact, in all the cases our behaviours impact these situations because we change, we allow that frustration, we allow those natural feelings of sadness or guilt or remorse or frustration, anger to take over and to a child that can appear quite scary and they become afraid of you. And so what starts out as estrangement, could have been fixed if you had taken a moment to reflect on what had happened and listened to the children.
Sometimes our own behaviours become so fixated on it potentially being alienation that you become fixated on it when what you perhaps should be thinking is “how are the kids seeing this? What are the kids’ point of view of what’s going on? How am I helping them through this process?”
I appreciate that this is probably quite difficult to hear, and it’s certainly not about blame, or that you’ve done anything wrong. It’s just about being aware of how our behaviours can impact our children. Keeping your children at the centre and always considering how they might be feeling, what can you do to make them feel safe, secure while still fighting? Then keep that as your focal point and your relationship at its core will stay protected.
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