‘I had the plan, the place, the rope,’ my husband, Rhys, told me. ‘I was going to end it all. I’d been a loving father and a good provider. What I didn’t realize is that my ex never intended to stay with me nor let me be a father to my children. I was merely a sperm donor to her. When she had the full quota of children, she took them away and sued me for every pound I made. I was exhausted from working over eighty hour weeks to meet child maintenance. I worked my ass off and didn’t even have enough left over for a sausage roll. But I didn’t mind starving, if I just could’ve seen my kids but she refused to follow the court ordered visitation schedule. Finally, the grief got too much for me. I was going to end it all, but then I thought of my children. So I didn’t commit suicide. I stayed alive for them. I kept going. I’m glad I did.’
The mental health of good fathers unfairly alienated from their children is too often overlooked by the mental health community. Standing up for men, and especially non-custodial fathers, is unpopular in a society that assumes mothers are inherently kind, caring and honest while fathers are probably abusive and ‘deserve what they get’ in Family Court. (Bullsh*t!)
This gender bias becomes glaringly clear when this blog, Full Heart, Empty Arms triggers women who know they are guilty of committing Parental Alienation. The vitriol in their comments says it all. The hatred! The attacks! The assumption that my blog is full of lies are a microcosm of what good fathers are actually subjected to day in, day out in the family court system. A system seemingly designed to be delicately and brilliantly manipulated by personality disordered women.
How do men cope with this abuse? Do they cope? How many of them, like Rhys, contemplate or even succeed in committing suicide? How can you and I help them and in so doing save their very lives?
On December 29, 2013, alienated father Chris Mackney took his own life. In his suicide note he wrote of his great love for his children. But he also wrote about his ex-wife and the truth about the psychopath-enabling family court system:
‘This is what being [done] to death or ‘targeted’ by a psychopath looks like….The stress and pressure applied to me was deliberate and nothing I could do or say would get me any relief. Nothing I or my attorneys said to my ex-wife’s attorney or to the Court made any difference. Truth, facts, evidence or even the best interest of my children had no affect on the outcome.
The family court system is broken, but from my experience, it is not the laws, it’s the lawyers….
It is absolutely shameful that the Fairfax County Court did nothing to intervene or understand the ongoing conflict. Judge Randy Bellows also used the Children…it was inconceivable to me that he would use children like this. This is exactly what my ex-wife was doing and now Judge Bellows was doing it for her.
…after I had given my ex-wife full custody to try and appease her, I learned about Psychopathy and emailed Dr. Samenow about my concerns and asked him for help. Of course, I was ignored. As the conflict continued, I was forced to defend myself. When that didn’t work, I thought I could get the help I needed by speaking out. There is no right or wrong way to defend yourself from abuse. Naively, I thought that abuse was abuse and it would be recognized and something would be done. I thought speaking out would end the abuse or at least get them to back off. It didn’t. When no one did anything they were emboldened.I took my own life because I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do or say to end the abuse. Every time I got up off my knees, I would get knocked back down. They were not going to let me be the father I wanted to be to my children….
Being alienated, legally abused, emotionally abused, isolated and financially ruined are all a recipe for suicide. I wish I were stronger to keep going, but the emotional pain…became overwhelming. I became paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t flee and I could not fight. I was never going to be allowed to heal or recover. I wish I were better at articulating the psychological and emotional trauma I experienced.
I could fill a book with all the lies and mysterious rulings of the Court. Never have I experienced this kind of pain. I asked for help, but good men did nothing and evil prevailed. All I wanted was a Guardian Ad Litem for my children. Any third party would have been easily been able to confirm or refute all of my allegations, which is why none was ever appointed to protect the children or reduce the conflict.
Abuse is about power and control. Stand up for the abused and speak out. If someone speaks out about abuse, believe them.
Please teach my children empathy and about emotional invalidation and ‘gas-lighting’ or they may end up like me.
God have mercy on my soul.
If you, Sir, related to that letter, you too are a victim of Parental Alienation. But you are strong! Hang in there! I know the clouds hang dark around you now, but time passes and quickly. Children grow up in the blink of an eye. Show them what true courage means by hanging in there.
Hang in there! Your children love you, no matter what lies their mother has told them about you. A child’s love for their parents is almost impossible to kill. I know how much you love them. In the deepest recesses of their souls, they love you too.
Hang in there! Even if your visitation rights have been removed or your ex refuses to allow you to see them, they know you’re there. So be there. Anywhere. Just having Daddy somewhere, thinking about them, means the world to them. They’re thinking about you too.
Hang in there! Don’t give up. Don’t you dare give up, Sir! Seek counseling if you can, but be sure it’s with a counselor or therapist who understands the cruel minutiae of Parental Alienation. A therapist who will believe you and believe in you, even if the whole world, your ex, her attorney and the judge accuse you of lying because you’re so upset that you begin sweating and shaking in court.
If counseling is beyond your financial means, there are a plethora of websites and especially Facebook groups where alienated men, just like you, will support, love and counsel you through the Hell you’re going through by drawing on their own experiences. Don’t try to do this alone. There are others who’ve lived it and survived it. They can help! Let them turn their sorrow into triumph by helping you through the minefield of Parental Alienation.
But most of all, hang in there! A. A. Milne wrote, ‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.’ That’s true! If my Rhys can survive two decades of the worst Parental Alienation I have ever seen and so can you!
Photo by public.resource.org