Question for alienated parents

Here is my question for alienated parents:  If your adult child were to reach out to reconnect with you, how would you feel if they maintained a relationship with the alienating parent? Would that taint your reconnection? Make you fearful, uncomfortable, distrusting of the intentions of your child?

I have a friend who was in an abusive relationship in her twenties. She told me that even now, decades later, she would be emotionally triggered by seeing that ex.  She also said that she would want to avoid relationships with anyone who had any connection to him. I asked her, what if that person who maintained contact with your ex was your own child?  She seemed to think that would still be a problem, perhaps a big obstacle. She does not have any children so she was speaking purely hypothetically. But still, it was interesting to get her perspective.

My alienated mother’s family has welcomed me lovingly. But I cannot help but wonder if they have to consciously fight the urge to view me as ‘the one from enemy territory’. I especially wonder if this may be the case for my mother. After all, the person who hurt her beyond repair is still in my life. Even when I realized with clarity what role my father played in the alienation, I did not push him out of my life. At times I have wanted to, but ultimately I believe in forgiveness.

I am interested in the thoughts of alienated parents on this matter.


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13 thoughts on “Question for alienated parents

  1. As a mother of an alienated child who’s father, while not physically abusive, was psychologically and mentally abusive, I can understand where your friend is coming from and sympathize with her feelings. That said, if my son ever reached out to me and wanted to keep a relationship with his father, I would support that. He is his father after all. I think for me, it would come back to adamantly NOT doing what his father did. If I were to be upset or angry that he wanted to keep that relationship, how would that make me any better, really, than his father? I think it’s important to show these children that it’s not their fault that were taken from us and if you question their loyalty or become upset at the relationship they have with the alienating parent, it puts them right back in the middle of it. That’s not fair to them. I think maintaining a healthy positive outlook, being honest, without slandering the other parent, being open to discussing issues and feelings, I would hope, would show them that you aren’t the monster the other parent made you out to be, without putting down the other parent. In my case, my son’s father has not only alienated my son from me and my family but from his own parents and sister(my son’s paternal grandparents and aunt/godmother) as well because I still maintain a good relationship with them. You would think that would be the biggest indicator to my son that I am not a horrible person, but his father is a very good manipulator, apparently.

    I hope for you, this will alleviate your concern about “being from enemy territory”. I just can’t imagine your mother’s family ever even thinking that for a moment. It’s such a blessing and so positive at thing to have you in their lives, that I can’t think that thought would ever cross their mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your reply! My mother is taking the same approach- she does not bring up my father nor say anything negative about him unless she is simply honestly answering a direct question that I have asked. I am actually amazed that she is not expressing anger or hatred. I think she repressed it all enough to be fairly out of touch w/ her feelings towards my father AND she probably does not want to offend, knowing he is still in my life. Thanks again- your response is helpful. I hope your son reaches out to you in time as this has been a great loss to him as well, even if he is not yet consciously aware of this. A child literally has to “shut down” his authentic feelings in order to reject a loving parent.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My children were 6 months to 17 years old when I lost custody and finally contact 20 years ago. They are now 21 to 38 years old. They wish no contact with me and have supported my abuser/rapist personally in in court these past years. I have reached out to them via letter but have never received a reply. I have lived under a state address protection program from their father since 1999. In 2003 I published my memoir, BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark to help raise awareness about the epidemic of protective and nurturing mothers losing custody of their children to their abusers.

    My children were brainwashed to hate and despise me by their father, pastors, Christian school teachers and the community. If my children wanted to be in contact with me without counseling and awareness of the violence and abuse I have suffered by their father, any contact would endanger my life.

    Many children who have no contact with their protective parent have clear functional amnesia. They have no memories other than those created and re-created by the controlling parent. These children successfully re-program who and what they are outside as well as within.

    Although my children have erased me from their life, I am not dead, I am very much alive, and I have a face, and a name.

    I have been and will always be very involved in their life, even if it is only through prayer. I am praying that someday my children will choose to become “aware, awake and conscious” concerning details of their past and present. Their lack of awareness regarding their own life will greatly affect those around them. I pray my children will find good role models and mentors. I also pray that someday my children find the courage to walk through the unpleasant details of their past.

    Many of the Christians my children have chosen to socialize and worship with, embrace and support their father, Mr. Marty Warner, Independence, Oregon, a man who has committed criminal acts against his former wife and children. In short, these pastors, (and Bridgeport Community Church members), elders and Christians CONDONE crimes against children and women.

    This does not support my children’s well being, only their delusion of themselves and their family.

    You will never know where you are going unless you truly understand where you came from. It is important to take care of the “contamination of the past.”

    On March 10, 1996, I was forced, by an Order of the Court, and by my ex-husband, his attorney, his family and religious supporters, to do something that raged against my good conscience, my common sense and against all my motherly instincts. After a temporary custody hearing, a Court Order signed by Judge Albin Norblad forcibly removed my two youngest children and my nursing baby from me. I obeyed the Court Order and gave my children over to my ex-husband. I drove to the hospital, rented a breast-pump and later collapsed and went into shock. I could not understand what had happened and why. I have not yet recovered from the shock; perhaps I never will….

    When I sought safety for my children and myself in January 1996, the Court allowed me to live in hiding with my young children prior to the court hearings, due to the testimony and affidavits of numerous witnesses. I retained an attorney and reported the crimes that had been committed against my children and me.

    ​The price for my own safety and freedom in 1996 was an imposed, unnatural and unwanted separation from my eight children, including my nursing infant. The injustice committed against me is not just the physical separation from my children, but the willful desecration of the mother-child relationship and bond, a sacred spiritual and emotional entity.

    Many mothers who seek safety from abuse are routinely prohibited from having even the most basic contact with their own children, not because they were unfit parents, but because they were outspent, out represented, and out-maneuvered in a court atmosphere that seems to favor those who inflict domestic violence.

    Women trapped in relationships with abusers come to expect horrendous misbehavior and violence from their partners. What they cannot fathom is the maddening reinforcement commonly provided to abusive men by the justice system, the religious community and the public at large. Tragically, the key abuse collaborator is the custody judge. Of all the bad actors in a battered woman’s life, none wield more power over a mother and her children. It is beyond infuriating when women discover that their custody judges either lack understanding of domestic violence or intentionally collude with abusers to take away women’s financial resources and, even worse, their children.

    Forcibly taking a mother’s children, and then controlling her emotionally by withholding contact must be publicly recognized as one of the greatest forms of ‘mis-use’ of the American justice system and one of the greatest hidden vehicles for wide-spread socially approved physical and emotional abuse and control.

    I have concluded by my present circumstances, that the judicial and religious organizations and people who have aided my former husband, all embrace the same views regarding women and children. They believe male power is absolute over women and great harm will come to those who question and/or defy that power. I believe this is the mentality that causes and perpetuates abuse.

    Please read my OPEN LETTER to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Lawmakers, Advocates & Clergy: Mother of 8 Battered & Raped in the Name of ‘God’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Coral. I read your open letter and visited your site. It is amazing that you are able to do this work now and help others through your story. Your resiliency, courage, and honesty is such a gift. This is so important in shedding light on the injustices that enable parental alienation and other abuses to continue in a society. Also, I imagine the geographical area that you lived in during your ordeal played a big role in allowing it to unfold (the religious abuse, etc etc etc). Thank you again for writing.


  3. I am mother to a daughter who turned 21 at the end of last year. I only live a few miles away from her and had been estranged from her for about 5 years. She got in touch at the beginning of 2015. Although she is now 21, I feel her maturity is that of a 17/18 year old.

    Over the last two years my new husband and I have helped her out, supporting her with any problems she has had, which have included looking for a job, paying for the livery of her horse, fixing her car and other money problems. Perhaps we have been too ready and willing?

    She is still very much aligned with her father. I am sure she never talks about me and my life to him as she understands how he feels about me.

    My response to that, is no matter how I feel about him, I am never negative about him, so much so, she does feel comfortable most of the time to talk about her life with him and his partner. Funnily enough, he doesn’t seem to make much effort to help her out to the extent that we do, in fact he uses her with to launder money through his company, yet she is happy to let him do that.

    I have no idea how she feels about me and is very much a closed book. I am very insecure of my relationship with her and what her intentions are. She is not very warm towards me and shows little respect or gratefulness for what we do and I wonder sometimes why we do what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this. You are in a very difficult position, but there is so much hope too! Your daughter is likely so “closed off” because as long as she maintains close ties w/ her father, it feels “unsafe” to access her authentic feelings and bond w/ you. How does he use her to launder money through his company?? I do understand your desire to give her what she wants and to help her, but perhaps you may want to consider some clear limits. For example, if she is having money issues, in my opinion, she has no business owning a horse. I think you can love her AND set boundaries so that she has to respect you. She needs to see you as strong and healthy. I do commend you for not speaking poorly of her father, though I would certainly understand if you had limits as to how much you want to hear about him! She is an adult now and needs to learn how to put herself in your shoes, even to a small extent (this is all my opinion, to take or leave!) Thanks again- your story is very helpful to others. You are not alone!


  4. I am a targeted mother of four fully grown alienated children all of whom whom I was very close with
    for roughly the first 20 some years of their lives.

    Firstly, let me acknowledge all that your courageous voice has done to awaken people to
    the damage Parental Alienation can do to a family. Thank you!

    I am going to attempt to answer your question which you have directed to your readers from my own personal experience. I have been pondering whether I was actually going to do this as ( I am sure you can relate) it sometimes dredges up great pain associated with our alienated children, who are still “roaming” out in the world, either in a non-contact posture with us or perhaps
    minimal contact, and then either threatening of choosing no contact with us again. Devastating.

    I will refer to my children as 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each child has responded somewhat differently.
    All four of them are in contact with their father.

    Here is back ground in a nutshell:

    Marriage: 28 years.
    Year 7 husband begins relationship with “ business partner” female.
    Relationship is clearly more than “ business”. In no uncertain terms, Ex communicates both verbally and non-verbally, that she is indispensable to his business and he is not terminating the relationship.

    He is parading the relationship before everyone as a “friend”. I champion him and accept her-
    at some level believing the lie and simultaneously disbelieving. The symptoms of Cognitive Dissonance.

    I finally gather the courage to leave.

    Both he and she basically litigate the divorce ( duration of approx. 9 years ) aided by the complete
    support of his very large and wealthy extended family, to the extremes of committing fraud
    against me by wiping out all our assets which in turn violate the Temporary Restraining Order. I had to file punitive contempt as Ex was not complying with virtually any of the court orders. He enlisted all of my children to show up for him at the closing day (in place of himself) of our divorce hearing delivering a letter they had all supposedly composed on their own, to disown me as their mother.
    I was given a settlement. He then appealed that settlement. The divorce continued for 4 more years.
    “ You sent Dad to jail” has been the predominating mantra of my children through these years.

    After hiding out with a new girlfriend in the mountains in a cabin, EX eventually had to come forward, for the trial ( to prevent a huge judgement placed against him ) was put in jail for less than a day, claiming to be insolvent financially, and is sprung for
    a massive amount of money. He then settles with me finally in a jail suit. All of this accompanied by my 2 youngest children and the new girlfriend, who also sit in the courtroom during the hearings.

    Now, I will respond to your question.

    If your adult child were to reach out to you how would you feel if they had a relationship with the alienating parent?

    All 4 of my children, to the best of my knowledge have a relationship with their father.
    I do not know how healthy those relationships are as I would have no real way of knowing.
    In my estimation, a relationship with a narcissist proves to be empty at best, and damaging at worst
    unless you have done some kind of therapy to understand the nature of that sort of personality.

    Three of my children have gotten married fairly recently. I was not invited to attend any of the ceremonies. I guess this choice provides a much easier path than having to confront a powerful, manipulative host of in-laws in an unrestricted celebratory environment. I have no idea what it might be like to be in the same room with these people. ” Emotionally volatile ” would most likely be an understatement.

    One of my children is back in my life. He has also gotten married. I am very close to my new daughter-in-law and their new daughter, and I imagine it is as difficult for them sometimes, as it is for me. Through each other, we touch our “old worlds” they have been put in the role of “the keeper of secrets”, whether they actually recognize that or not, I am not certain. We rarely speak about the past. We focus on the present. We support each other.

    Interestingly, No one from my own extended family was invited to the weddings either. But admittedly, my own mother who is also a narcissist, is an extremely difficult person to deal with and is now quite old. But her personality definitely affected her relationships with my children as they grew up, and they did not like being with her as she is very difficult. My father was a phenomenal man, whom allowed her the freedom to control. My children adored him, as did I. But his decision also sadly limited their time and mine with him also.

    Finally, my reality is this. Do I worry about my safety in regards to having contact with my children?

    In all honesty, with some of my children the answer would probably be yes. Child 3, a daughter is reaching out and I have reached back through text. She does not call or wish to speak. I believe having any contact with me is threatening to the decision she has based the last 10 years of her life upon. A decision to eradicate her mother.

    How does a child live with that loss if they perhaps perceive they might have chosen that separation wrongfully?

    But I believe that I must keep asking what I term to be the over arching question.

    What is my highest path?

    I know that when the end of my days come, I will have done all that I can to keep reaching towards them and to stand against what I believe to be some form of evil, or at its’ least a most debilitating human selfishness.

    As much as I have oftentimes desired for the purpose of sheer closure to close the door upon relationships with my children, I have never felt the peace of mind to do so.

    What I might gain, which I deem to be an ” illusion “ of control over my life, would sadly preclude
    the Great Reconciliation with the 3 of them down the road, which I carry within my heart.

    I humbly hope that some of these words will help other alienated parents.

    My sincere love and prayers go out to you all, and Dana:)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for replying and telling your story and perspective. I do believe it helps other parents and helps me as well. I am very glad for you that you have a relationship w/ one of your children, and daughter-in-law and their child. And I suspect that is enticing another child to reach out via text. Or do you mean that your son and his wife are keeping their relationship w/you a secret from other siblings? I am not at all surprised that none of your extended family was invited to weddings. My alienation from my mother came with a no contact w./ her entire family-my father would have been furious to see any of them at any occasion, wedding or otherwise. Interesting that your mother is a narcissist- I suspect some of the root cause of all of this is that the targeted parent may accept as “normal” or “okay” the red flag behaviors, probably even before children are born. Of course no one imagines something as cruel as being alienated from ones own children. Thank you again for writing. You seem to be on a healthy path forward and how fortunate for your son that he has a healthy mother to come back to.


  5. I am in this position now. I am fearful. Only one of my sons is expressing a desire to reconnect, and I am not confident in his motives. He has said or done nothing to cause me to believe he sees the truth, or would be willing to tell the other parent be is unwilling to continue to be drawn into the spousal conflict. As a result, I have little to no confidence in his motives or in the possibility of any ongoing relationship. It is really, really hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for writing, TL. I really understand what you are saying about the position you are in. It also helps me to understand my own mother’s position a bit better too. I hope that you will find a way to keep your heart open, at least enough to give the relationship the best chance of growing. He may be conflicted due to fear, but the more he can connect with you, the more strength he’ll gain to face the truth. Best wishes.


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