It’s not just that alienated fathers are lopped off the family tree. No, it’s worse than that. It’s that the true strong oak limb that represents that father’s character is gouged out of the family tree and the spectre of an ugly, gnarly, thorny limb grafted in its place. Along the way, the children receive an entirely wrong picture of their father, their hereditary line and the character of their family tree.
No one typifies the word ‘villain’ more than the fiction created around alienated fathers. Suddenly, they said horrible things they never said. Perpetrated dreadful acts they never committed. Didn’t want children they did want. Abandoned the family they built with great hope and still support financially. Worst of all, too often they’re accused of domestic violence against the mother of their children.
The truth is, of course, just the opposite. But it’s hard to prove something didn’t happen especially if you’re not physically present when and where allegations are being made against you. The father being slandered is automatically at a disadvantage, blindsided by shocking allegations being parroted by his own sweet, confused children. Anything he says in response will sound defensive and thus guilty, by default, of exactly the allegations he’s trying to refute.
The innocent children are as much victims of parental alienation as their father. What are they supposed to think? That they are descended from the poison seed of a wife-beater, a deadbeat, a criminal? A man who never wanted them?
What does that do to their self-esteem? Beyond even self-esteem, it adversely affects their whole view of the family stock they have risen from and can affect many generations to come.
One man I knew supported his ex-wife and children through his work as a plumber. He spent his days elbows deep in the kind of malodorous muck most of us couldn’t smell without vomiting. From his work, he faithfully paid alimony and child support for the family he’d been summarily kicked out of when his wife cheated.
His ex blew the alimony and child support on alcohol, drugs and gambling, then told the children their daddy didn’t care enough to put bread in their mouths. As tiny children they accepted her spin on the facts without question.
However, as they got older, they began to question why their father owned well-worn work uniforms if he was an unemployed deadbeat who never paid child support. ‘Those are just costumes he wears to fancy dress parties’ their mother told them. They believed her implicitly calling their father ‘Deadbeat’ to his face.
‘Why should I spend my days unblocking toilets just to be called a deadbeat dad?’ he sobbed. The pain of being so slandered destroyed his drive. His work suffered, he gave up plumbing for menial work, lost his own home and finally teetered on brink of suicide. Only his love for his children pulled him back from the brink.
That was years ago now. His alienated children have grown up and had children of their own. I recently heard the lies they were told about their father have been passed down to the next generation. His grandchildren despise their grandfather, seeing him as little better than an ex-con. A stain on the family tree. Someone they must rise above, to blot out the besmirching of the family name.
In reality, they should be proud. A finer man never existed. But they never had the opportunity to get to know the real man. They don’t know what a fine line they are descended from and that his place on the family tree should never have been gouged out and replaced with an ugly effigy.