names have been omitted in this post
I stood at the dark kitchen counter top cutting up a tomato for my salad I was making for dinner. Nearby was a shallow bowl filled with romaine lettuce, shredded cheese, carrots, crumbled egg and seasoned croutons. Olive oil and parmesan cheese stood ready and I began adding the tomato to my meal. My mother was at her end of the counter preparing pork loin she'd bought on sale. In the adjoining den the tv softly played the evening news and weather segment. My mother spoke, "So how was your night last night?" She asked referring to the guy I had gone to dinner and a movie with. Our dinner had run later than predicted with our long winded conversation, hence catching a late movie.
"It was good, we had a great time." I told her as I sprinkled parmesan cheese on my salad. When I was a kid I had referred to it as "sprinkle cheese". I spoke, "Dinner ran later than we thought it would, we got so caught up in our conversation. I was telling him about the golf cart situation." I told her pointedly. She glanced over at me and nodded. My daughter had informed me that at her dad's house her brother had been purchased a golf cart to drive. When I had asked her if he was being supervised she shook her head. "Nope. Daddy just lets him loose to drive around the neighborhood and to the country club and back. He goes up to the club to just hang out."
"Yeah… what did he think about all that?" She asked.
I grimaced "He thought it was ridiculous. He said there's clearly no supervision over there… " I trailed off… "I hate how it's all turned out with him." I commented, referring to my son. "Their neighbors he sees daily and have kinda taken him under their wing… the wife came into work the other day to do a return and I had to check her drivers license … seeing the address I realized who she was. I introduced myself. She seemed nice… I hadn't met her before. We had a nice chat about him and I told her I missed him and hoped he was doing well. She said he is at their house pretty much daily, either helping out, playing with the dog, boating, etc. " I paused, reflecting on her words as I took my glass of ice water to the table. "She said he's very well mannered, sweet and helpful… that I did a good job."
My mother spoke, "Perhaps they have seen enough to know what's really going on and how it's affected your relationship with him." She remarked pointedly. "Maybe he's shared enough with them being over there that they realize the truth."
I shrugged "Maybe… who knows. But I was glad to meet her. Maybe their involvement will help him. From what I can gather thus far he's better off with them than at his dad's for sure based on the alienating behaviors that have gone on."
For children that have been truly abused they are typically said by professionals to be respectful of their abuser out of fear they will be abused again. On some level they also still want to please the parent and earn their love and affection. They really want their parent to change for the better. Children don't want to cause waves in these parent/child relationships and do not wish incur further issue.
Whereas with a parent who has been successfully brainwashed, estranged, alienated, etc by another parent… the child openly shows hatred, contempt, hostility and refuses any contact. They may ignore Mother's Day and Father's Day and birthdays. They show outward hate for the parent they once had a close loving relationship with but ironically also anyone closely associated with the parent. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, long time friends of the parent, etc are all susceptible to also being shown contempt and a result broken ties. This extreme situation is not normal and should be a red flag to anyone; attorney, ad litem, psychologist, judge etc that witnesses a child who adamantly refuses to see a parent, refuses phone contact and also writes off that parent's family members. This type of situation should be seen as need for psychological evaluations on the parent suspected of alienation and a thorough investigation done by an ad litem, etc.
The hate and "fear" that the child shows is irrational, unwarranted and caused by the alienating parent by various tactics they implement. The child will defend their actions stating they are their own person and can think for themselves; that they are not being influenced by the alienating parent. But this simply isn't true. Influence is alive and well and has been for some time.
We may still loosely throw around the terms "alienation" or "alienating parent" in conversation and those terms certainly seem fitting for what one parent is doing… alienating the child (or children) from the other parent. However, it's been realized now that the term that seems to fit this type of toxic behavior is actually called Domestic Violence by Proxy…. or DV by Proxy for short. What we call "alienating behaviors" is technically DV by Proxy… which is a pattern of negative behavior that an abuser continues after divorce from their spouse in which they substitute the child, using them as a pawn in their agenda of control and punishment.
Most folks would never believe that an adult would go to such lengths to punish an ex… yet they exist. Most people can't imagine that an adult would use their own child to punish their ex… yet they do. Until family court systems become educated on these behaviors children will continue to suffer at the hands of parents who are not only toxic but downright dangerous. They may not be physically assaulting their child… but they are mind-raping them every single day by screwing with them psychologically. The court systems should want better for the children they are supposed to be protecting.
If you are a member of One Mom's Battle on Facebook you may already be aware of the term DV by Proxy… and even though with all good intentions many are still using the term "alienation" as Ryan Thomas Speaks does, many are recognizing after more in-depth research that the more accurate term to use is DV by Proxy.
As Alina Patterson explains in her book Health & Healing….
"DV by Proxy includes tactics such as: threats of harm to children if they display a positive bond to the TP (Target Parent), destroying favored possessions given by the TP, and emotional torture (for example, telling the child the TP hates them, was not at the birth/wanted an abortion, and is not bothering with them because they are unloved).
DV by Proxy may also include coaching the child to make false allegations regarding the TP's behavior and harming or punishing the child for not complying. DV by Proxy perpetrators may also create fraudulent documents to defraud the court in order to prevent the TP from gaining custody. Whether or not the child is biologically related to them is irrelevant to perpetrators of DV by Proxy. The perpetrator's main motivation is to hurt the TP; whether or not their own child is harmed in the process is irrelevant to the abuser."
The behaviors of the parent who engages in DV by Proxy are deliberate, calculating and evil. They are fully aware of what they are doing. Please don't be mistaken that it's something they are just innocently engaging in or are merely inept at what's right and wrong. It's evil pure and simple. And those of us who have witnessed it and continue to day in and day out… who hear heartbreaking snippets when our babies come home to us for a fleeting few days, week, etc… we keep documenting, we keep listening, we keep praying… we keep speaking up…. we keep fighting.
We won't be silent. We won't back down. We won't give up.
www.gracepowerstrength.com - 2016