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Parental Alienation: Hiding behind your kids

barcher144 posted 11/3/2020 09:34 AM

I have had a good deal of experience with parental alienation, unfortunately. I have read a good deal about it too and I watch videos online about it.

Recently, I saw a short video in which a parental alienation expert was talking about how the alienating parent "hides behind the kids" as a technique.

It occurs to me that my STBXW does this often.

For example, last week, I was not able to have my kids on my normal night because GF's older son was experiencing upper respiratory symptoms and we thought that he might have had COVID (it turns out it was "just" strep throat). So, I let STBXW know that it would be better if I did not have the kids last week and I said that I would be happy to have the kids some other night in trade.

She initially ignored my request to trade nights. Then, today, I emailed her back and let her know that we were COVID-free and that I would have the kids this weekend.

Her response was "I talked to the kids and they don't want to trade."

It was unnecessary... but it's yet another example of how alienating parents hide behind their kids.

One thing that I don't know... how should I be dealing with my STBXW who hides behind my kids? What do you all do?

Poppy704 posted 11/3/2020 13:05 PM

We donít ďtradeĒ. If ex cancels, he forfeits his time, thatís that.

*Edited to add: In the case of combative, high conflict divorce, the less interaction with the other parent = fewer opportunities for drama, fewer arguments, less putting kids in the middle. Follow the custody agreement to the letter, donít engage.

[This message edited by Poppy704 at 1:17 PM, November 3rd (Tuesday)]

barcher144 posted 11/3/2020 14:01 PM

Follow the custody agreement to the letter, donít engage.

Funny that you should mention this. STBXW testified in court that I "follow the parenting plan" as if that was a bad thing. I can only imagine what she would have said if I didn't follow the parenting plan.

The "hiding behind the kids" is unavoidable. For example, DD13 was in the ER last January. I was informed about the ER visit but I was told not to come because "DD13 doesn't want you there."

crazyblindsided posted 11/3/2020 14:11 PM

My STBX I believe is trying this by acting like a victim. That I was the big meanie who ended the M. Thank god neither of my kids are falling for it, but he is insidiously working on them. He told me two years ago he was going to change my narrative about the M.

Poppy704 posted 11/3/2020 15:08 PM

ďFollow the custody orderĒ is literally the advice my lawyer, the lawyer that I work for, and the judge in my county ALL give in high conflict custody cases. You will never be in trouble for following the order. Yes, ideally coparenting and compromise is best, but that requires two reasonable adults working together.
As far as your son goes, he may very well have said that because you and the ex in the same hospital room, in a stressful situation, is a recipe for disaster. My kids are happiest when their dad and I donít get within 50 feet of eachother.

barcher144 posted 11/3/2020 15:19 PM

My kids are happiest when their dad and I donít get within 50 feet of eachother.

This is basically the answer that I gave when her attorney asked why I didn't go to the hospital. I said that my kids know that their parents don't get along and it's easier on them if the two of us are not in the same room.

tushnurse posted 11/4/2020 07:41 AM

Good God she is a narcissistic C^*#T!!!!

Your kids will eventually see that, and they will also see that Dad loves them, and does so without requirements.

(((Barcher))))

I hope this is D is done soon.

barcher144 posted 11/4/2020 14:46 PM

Good God she is a narcissistic C^*#T!!!!

My girlfriend says basically the same thing. I am now trying to not be so negative about her, much more detached. I try not to think of her in the context of good vs. evil, but rather as an inanimate obstacle that makes parenting more difficult.

I hope this is D is done soon.

Well, the work for the D is done, so that's good. The actual D will allow me to work on my finances, which are pretty screwed up right now... but other than that... the D won't change much. The custody part is done. The assets have been divided.

And that's kind of the point of this thread. I am trying to navigate her behavior in the best way possible. And this "hiding behind the kids" thing seems to be common with narcissists and it's definitely something that she is doing.

DragnHeart posted 11/4/2020 14:57 PM

Sorry to ask this but cant you just ask the kids what they want? Avoid the ex altogether? Text or email or call the kids?

Sorry I forget their ages.

It's not like you gave up your time to go fishing. You had a serious health issue to consider and the health of the kids. Your ex shouldn't have used that against you this way and should have allowed a change in the visitation.

Catwoman posted 11/5/2020 08:00 AM

Sorry to ask this but cant you just ask the kids what they want? Avoid the ex altogether? Text or email or call the kids?

This is absolutely the worst thing you can do. You set up a child to disappoint a parent. It is FAR better if the parents decide and hand down the decision as a done deal. Unfortunately, parenting with a narcissist is never going to be that way.

My ex actually wanted our oldest daughter to choose who came to her graduation: her grandparents (who had been heavily involved in her life since day 1 and had traveled 1000 miles to see her graduate) or the AP/OW. I'm not making this up. We ended up in mediation and the mediator told my ex that having our daughter decide was a "horrific" thing to do.

Cat

barcher144 posted 11/5/2020 09:00 AM

This is absolutely the worst thing you can do. You set up a child to disappoint a parent. It is FAR better if the parents decide and hand down the decision as a done deal.

I don't know about the "worst" thing to do, but I am trying really hard to keep my kids "out of the middle" of the action between me and STBXW. At this point, this often means letting STBXW get away with her shenanigans.

And that's the point of this thread... and so far it seems like I have bad choice on the left and poor choice on the right.

My basic approach at this point is to let the kids know that I am doing my best to take care of them (no matter what STBXW says), that I am not going to criticize their mother, and that I cannot do "everything."

The good news is that STBXW is not great at lying. She tells the kids that I am lazy, that I do nothing, and that I have tons of money that I am refusing to spend on them. My kids see that I am always busy doing something... that I do tons of activities with each of them... and that I am working a gross second job and I don't buy very much of anything that is frivolous.

Carissima posted 11/5/2020 09:11 AM

Can I ask what makes you think it isn't the children making the decision?
I know you have a strong bond with them but a lot of children simply don't like their routines being changed and if it's the weekends and teenagers then it becomes an even bigger arguement at times when changes need to be made.

DragnHeart posted 11/5/2020 10:10 AM

My apologies I'm not in this situation so I just thought wouldn't it be best if the kids got some sort of control in an otherwise no option situation.

Incarnate posted 11/5/2020 11:08 AM

Before my ex'a A had even become known, she was working on the kids to try to convince them that i was abusive, neglectful, and narcissistic to her and them. My youngest is still a mama's girl, big time, but she also loves me very much. My ex's actions have driven both my eldest and my second youngest away from her and towards me; both have had powerful outbursts at her where they have yelled at her about her actions and said that they hated the OM, the OW, and refused to ever meet them.

I, for my part, have not ever disparaged my ex to my kids. I rely on her actions, her distance, her dismissiveness to speak for itself. I never push them away to talk to my girlfriend, I never lock them out of my room to tell them to leave so I can spend some "me" time talking to my partner, they know they come first in my life.

So my ex's many conscious attempts at alienation have powerfully backfired. My kids are closer to me now than ever.

In ya FACE, STBXW. How d'ya like THEM apples?

[This message edited by Incarnate at 11:10 AM, November 5th (Thursday)]

Carissima posted 11/5/2020 12:37 PM

It's also possible she's getting advice from a divorcee forum. I've seen many posters on here give the advice to a BS never to trade any custody with their WS during a contentious split and the aftermath. I've seen it on boards not related to fidelity as well.
Your ex may be turning your kids against you, she may not. All you can do is be there for them actively show them how much you love them.

ZenMumWalking posted 11/5/2020 21:14 PM

Follow the custody agreement EXACTLY, and also - this decision is not up to the kids, it is an ADULT decision. (at least for now)

barcher144 posted 11/10/2020 11:49 AM

Before my ex'a A had even become known, she was working on the kids to try to convince them that i was abusive, neglectful, and narcissistic to her and them.

I've seen this with my ex-mother-in-law too. She literally practiced parental alienation even though she is still married to the guy. And it's been effective in her case... several of their kids will describe their father as "completely useless." Uh, the dude made all of the money that supported you while growing up, so he's not completely useless.

In ya FACE, STBXW. How d'ya like THEM apples?

Well played!

I think that I am going to get there too. I think that one of my three kids has Aspergers and she's more difficult (we seem to be doing better for now, at least). But, my relationship with the other two is going great.

barcher144 posted 11/10/2020 11:52 AM

Can I ask what makes you think it isn't the children making the decision?

They might be. But, it's not their decision to make.

And, this is merely ONE example. It's a common technique that she uses and apparently it's common with narcissists practicing parental alienation.

To put it differently, let's say that my kids would do something disrespectful of their mother. I would scold them, appropriately, because they need to treat adults with respect, especially their mother. In contrast, my STBXW would support their poor behavior and agree that I am an asshole.

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