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Parental Alienation and the Christmas Present Competition

Parental Alienation is a living horror every day of the year but it acquires an extra anguish at Christmas. For alienated fathers faithfully paying child support and alimony, Christmas presents can be another source of anguish, struggle and even further alienation at what should be the happiest season of the year.

For hard-working fathers, just the tradition of Christmas presents can be a challenge and source of even more pain. Many fathers find themselves working two or three jobs just to meet their child support obligations. Sometimes, it comes down to deciding between eating and paying child support. There’s no extra left over for Christmas presents.

In Parental Alienation, the amount, the cost, the quality of the Christmas gifts may be a source of competition between the alienating parent and the alienated parent. It shouldn’t be a competition, but it is. It shouldn’t be a litmus test for parental love, but it is. Parental Alienation is alive and well all year, but never more so than at Christmastime.

While my step-children were growing up, my husband Rhys found himself stuck in this no-win situation. Faithfully he paid child-support to put food in his children’s mouth, clothes on their back and a roof over their heads.

Instead of being well-fed, well-clothed and well-housed, their mother squirrelled away the child support funds. They ate the cheapest of food and wore holey clothes they’d long outgrown all year long. But their Christmas presents were amazing! There were mounds of expensive presents under her tree. ‘Mum really loves us’ they concluded, gleefully tearing through package after package.

Meanwhile, Rhys was only able to afford one or two modest gifts for each of his five children. He scrimped, saved and starved himself just to afford them. While he existed on virtually nothing to scrape together enough for Christmas presents, his children were disappointed. ‘Dad doesn’t love us’, they concluded, ‘Mum gave them so much more’.

Parental Alienation had triumphed. It was carefully orchestrated. Their mother had told them their father was immensely wealthy, rolling in dough and holding out on them. She had them convinced that the one or two measly presents they received from their father were a direct reflection of how much he did or did not love and care for them. It wasn’t true but they believed her anyways.

Earlier this year, I wrote ‘Alienated Fathers: Don’t you DARE Give Up!‘ about Chris Mackney, an alienated father who couldn’t take the pain any longer and took his own life four days after Christmas. What I wrote then goes for all the fathers (and mothers) out there who are alienated and finding it harder than ever to bear at Christmastime.

‘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 counselling if you can, but be sure it’s with a counsellor 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 you are a victim of Parental Alienation, hang in there. Things will get better after your children grow up. Sooner or late, the lies of Parental Alienation will begin to crumble. They can’t hold water forever.
Happy Christmas to all of you.

Parental Alienation and the Christmas Present Competition

Ivy Blonwyn

Ivy Blonwyn is a Welsh freelance writer and photographer. She and her husband have been trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family for several years. Ivy can relate to the pain, confusion, jealousy and sense of injustice that accompanies infertility. But she also knows the pain of being a step-mother to children who’s vindictive birth mother has systematically employed Parental Alienation to distance them from their birth-father, Ivy’s husband, Rhys. Her articles, often illustrated with her photos, are intended to validate and comfort those who suffer from infertility, Parental Alienation and the pain of sexual abuse. She finds solace in indulging her passion for plein air photography during long tramps with her husband through the fields, hills and castles of Cardiff. Follow Ivy on Facebook at or contact her at [email protected]

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APA Reference
Blonwyn, I. (2018). Parental Alienation and the Christmas Present Competition. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Dec 2018
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