The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was referring to the annual migration of swallows when he famously wrote, ‘One swallow does not a Summer make’. But just one little lie does Parental Alienation make.
‘Da called and told me he never wants to see you again’. That’s all it takes. One lie to a confused, hurting child. A lie repeated forcefully and consistently until it became ‘truth’.
But it wasn’t. Because Da didn’t call and never said that. He wouldn’t. Couldn’t. Not ever. It’s not in his character to ever abandon his child.
Just one lie. One ‘little’ lie and the courts ripped the child from his father’s arms for ‘abandonment’. One little lie to the court and he wasn’t Da anymore.
But the worse part was that his son hated him. Hated him for words he never thought, much less said.
They never discussed it. The child too terrified of his mother to utter a word. The father not knowing there was a lie to contradict. He chalked up the change in attitude to ‘Well, he’s a teen now. Teen years are never easy’.
Months of hatred grew into years. The hatred hardened, sharpened into a knife-sharp, brittle edge. Then one day, he got in his car and went to see his father.
Da was still Da. As kind and loving as ever. So he couldn’t quite bring himself to scream and rage at Da. They parted with a hug and never saw each other again. But he didn’t have the nerve to ask, ‘Why did you say you never wanted to see me again’?
If he had, this tale would have ended much differently. Sadly, it remains the elephant in the room no one talks about.
The pain and anger are still there, but not the hatred. He drowned his sorrow in alcohol. The alcohol led to violence and the violence to gaol. His divorce just came through. Now he too has lost custody of his children. In his gaol cell, his head in his hands, he curses Da. Never his mother. Only his father.
And it all started with his mother’s one little lie. Just one lie decades ago. A lie never discovered.
Lives profoundly ruined. Relationships in rubble. Freedom gone. A second generation also alienated from their Da.
All because of just one, little lie.