‘For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, “It might have been”.’ Those bitter words written by John Greenleaf Whittier always come to mind when I consider how much children affected by Parental Alienation are robbed of what is rightfully theirs. They grow up in unnecessary deprivation – emotionally, relationally, affectionately and sometimes even the most basic aspects of life, clothes, food, even hygiene.
This is not usually the case when parents go their separate ways. In the best case scenario, the children are loved and cared for deeply by both parents who coparent in harmony. Parental Alienation is the exact opposite of this situation. In a nutshell, Parental Alienation is when one parent chooses to brainwash, manipulate and distance their children from the other parent, for their own personal, selfish agenda.
Unfortunately, my step-children experienced one of the worst cases of Parental Alienation cases it’s ever been my misfortune to witness. Looking back now from the perspective of years, it strikes me how much they were cheated in every facet of their lives.
Food and Clothes
For some, Parental Alienation is born of bitterness over a bad divorce. For others, it’s a ‘long con’ carefully planned for years. My step-children’s mother made no bones that conceiving children merely as an income source. Having secured five living paycheques, the child support their father faithfully paid had little chance of actually going to meet their needs let alone provide any creature comforts.
So my step-children were begrudgingly clad in ragged clothes they’d long outgrown and fed on the cheapest food. The balance of the child support went to their mother’s new man, her new kids and a lifestyle well beyond her means.
Not only did they miss out on the basics of survival, but also on the sweetness of life. Before the divorce, Rhys and his children were on the best of terms. When his wife chose to move on and kick Rhys out in favor of her new flame, she took advantage of his absence to poison his children against him.
How? It was incredibly easy. She fabricated outrageous lies. Prevented visitation. There was nothing she would not stoop to, nothing she wouldn’t do to convince his children that Da didn’t love them. Good men have been done to death by the grief over losing their children in this way.
Nor did their mother try to give her children an extra portion of love, to supplement the love of their father. Instead, their new step-father abused them in every possible way with her knowledge. To abuse was added the insult of a filthy home so unsanitary that they lived in squalor cheek-by-jowl with vermin. Yet the courts always sided with her, against Rhys when he brought the abuse and squalor to their attention.
When Rhys and I married, Rhys shared his secret dream of gaining full custody of this children. Together we planned how, with a little ingenuity, lumber and nails, we could easily convert our two bedroom home into a six bedroom home, so each child would have their own private space. Small, but all their own.
Not only were their creature comforts our first concern, but we came to discover they lacked even the basics of hygiene at home. Toiletries like toothpaste. Feminine hygiene products. Hair brushes and combs. Shampoo. Deodorant. They were unkept and unclean…a situation Rhys and I quickly corrected buying them toiletries at visitation and encouraging them to take long, hot showers at our house.
Love, comfort, cleanliness, good food and plenty of it could have been theirs every day instead of merely at visitation. We offered it to them happily, sharing our plans for remodeling the house to meet their needs. All they had to do was raise their hand, to reach out and grasp all the good things we offered.
Instead, inspired by Parental Alienation, they chose to hate not their abusers, but us instead. Yes, Parental Alienation is that powerful. Our invitation was declined. From then on, their hatred toward us was palpable, their words increasingly vicious and cruel. We shook our heads in confusion that so much good was repaid with so much bitterness.
Thanks to Parental Alienation, they chose to remain in filth, squalor and hatred. They chose to remain with their villainous abusers. The people who were kind to them, they hated the most. Parental Alienation cheated them of the very things they wanted, needed and deserved – nutritious food, good clothes, affection, kindness and cleanliness.
I grieve for them. I grieve for all children of Parental Alienation who have been cheated out of the ‘might have been’ that would have made life so sweet if only they had known who was truly the villain.