Tag Archives: parental alienation

God, Are You My Mother?

If I were to look at my life through an old fashioned movie reel, there’d be two frames that’d stand out above all the rest, and in stark contrast to each other. The first frame would show the worst thing that ever happened to me: being torn from my mother at the age of four. The other frame would be the bestthing: the day I met God.

I’ve written about the worst thing many times. My mother loss is the soul wound that I’ve tried to patch up, wanting to be whole with all my might. Page after page, I’ve been trying to piece myself back together. It is a labor of love, using whatever love I can muster up for myself. That I was taken from my mother, that is painful for people to read. But bad things happen and people believe it. It is true. My mother loved me. I loved her. She was good and I was told to believe she was bad. She was alive and I was expected to pretend she was dead.  It has been scary to tell my truth, but how could I not tell it?

But the good thing, the best day, the day that I became whole, well that has taken me over fifteen years to even contemplate writing about.  I recall that day with  just as much clarity as the worst day; so much clarity in fact that it is almost blinding to my senses when I recall it, even now.

Why didn’t I write about it sooner? For one thing, what if the telling makes it less real? What if I am giving something away that was meant only for me? But also, there is only so much I can expect people to believe.  It might sound unbelievable to some, especially those who don’t believe in miracles.

Which brings me back to God and the day I met Him. Or Her. Or perhaps more accurately, All That Is.  Creator.  Higher Self or Inner Being.   I am not a particularly religious person in the traditional sense. I don’t go to church. I’ve never read the bible. But when you think you’ve been broken, eventually you turn to God to fix you. I prayed, I meditated,  I did God my own way, which was privately, quietly, and with my whole heart.

Then one day God showed up like a Mother. I mean he showed up in a Very Big Way. I had gone to bed the night before distraught over something, the details of which are not important, but that had everything to do realizing I was not  yet whole. I felt desperate to be whole. Desperate. I could not undo the past. I could not fix myself. I had all the material things I needed, and I had true love in my life.  I also had my writing, my passions. But I still had that gaping hole where my wound was and that night I really felt it. That night, I lost hope that I could fix myself, so I turned it over to God. I turned my un-whole self over.  I recall that I  surrendered, completely and intentionally; I am talking Jesus take the wheel surrender. And then I fell asleep.

The next morning, well, how can I tell you about this? How do I frame it?  I was new.  Real.  Whole. And so very alive.  I remember it all so clearly, so I will tell it clearly too. There were five feelings, or knowings, – there were five things that I awoke to find myself being – without even trying. There were just these five ways of being that took me over. Nothing at all was new on the outside, but I was suddenly different on the inside.

Presence  I was completely in the moment. My mind was not on the past or the future. I remember the phone ringing and not wanting to answer it, because I absolutely did not want to be pulled out of the present moment. I was totally, completely, there, mind, body and spirit. Instead of overthinking, worrying, and analyzing, I was simply being. I spent much less time in my head, and more time in in my body where my heart dwelled, where my feelings could flow through me. Instead of thinking, thinking, thinking, I was living. Life was now.

Joy  I was completely satisfied with the moment. Whether I was doing a jigsaw puzzle with my children, or taking a walk alone, it was joyful. I had no craving, no desire for something different. I was enjoying life in the purest sense of the word.

Love  I was filled with love for myself and others. I was overflowing with love. I was love.

Self-Care  I recognized and met my own needs, moment by moment, simply, and directly. When I was hungry I ate. When I was full, I stopped.  When I was tired, I laid down.  I exercised moderately and without fanfare or much planning. I just did it.  And I accepted my body completely, knowing I was giving it whatever it needed, without obsessing or even thinking about it, really.

Belief  I knew that anything was possible. I had met God. God was within me.  My self-imposed limits vanished. I knew that the more I “let go”, and allowed myself to be guided into right action, the better chance of achieving whatever I wanted.
And that is it. That is all of what I felt, and all of what I became that day that I met God. I was living, not in my head, but in my Whole Self . I was whole and it felt amazing. But before I lead you astray, I must confess something.

This did not last.

IT lasted a few days, or a week at most. And they were the most glorious days. But slowly, my doubt came back. My distracted mind returned. I judged people again, including myself,  and I neglected my own care, or expected others to meet the needs that were mine to meet. Bit by bit, I gave my power away without meaning to. My ego woke back up.  I got busy and overwhelmed. I didn’t pay attention. I didn’t check in with my Self. I started to lose my way again.

 

But  the really good news is that I know what to strive for nowTo be more present, to find joy in my life every single day, to love and care for myself and to find the best in others. To believe that all of this is possible. Every. Single. Day. 

My dreams are possible.

So are yours.

 

I aim to feel this way every day now and I fall short, every single time, but sometimes I get close. And God always meets me in the middle.

 

Perhaps I was meant to tell you about the day I met God.

Maybe the story was never mine to keep.

It does not feel less real, now that I’ve given it away, now that I’ve told you about this.

It feels more real.

And I feel more real.

I am whole, just like you. I was all along. I’d just forgotten.20170428_120611

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To the fathers who have been alienated

I imagine that Father’s Day is an excruciating day for alienated fathers, just as Mother’s Day is for alienated moms. Today, my heart is with you, all of you fathers who cannot be with your beloved children.

I have seen your pain. I saw you in Boston and New York and on the pages of your blogs and in the messages you put out for your children, hoping that they will read them. I saw the tears in your eyes and felt the love in your heart.

You only want the chance to love them.  How could anyone believe you are unworthy of this? It makes no sense. I know you are treated as the disease, the outcast, the dangerous one. And I know that is a lie- the most destructive lie that can be told to a child.

This pathogen is the disease, the virus, the destructive force.  Your child has been conditioned to confuse the two. Your child treats you as the disease to be avoided, the “bad parent”, the dangerous entity . And many of those around your child, influenced by the alienator, has  fallen into that trap as well (more on this in my upcoming podcast).

But love is on your side, and you are not alone. So many of us understand your heart.  We hear you. We see you. And we are moving forward with you.

I understand all too well the vicious pathogen that has taken your children from you. Your children are victims too, believe me.

Keep loving them from afar. On some unconscious level, they will feel this. And someday, they may come back to you.  The truth is a powerful thing. Don’t ever give up.

Awareness and education about the pathogen of “parental alienation’ is spreading far and wide.  There is more hope than ever before for aliented children and their parents to be reunited!

Statistically speaking, as an adult alienated child, I should be a drug addict, or alienated from my own children, or a depressed alcoholic, or at the very least have gone through a traumatic divorce of my own. But none of those scenarios are true for me. Any of them could have been and I can look back on my teen years and young adulthood and recognize those pivotal moments when I could have jumped off a cliff, metaphorically speaking, but something saved me.  What if there was a reason I was given the strength to begin to heal and remember, and know the truth? What if I knew the truth all along, and that is what saved me?

I am one of the lucky ones and that is not lost on me. I refuse to waste this.  I know exactly how parental alienation happened to me and happens every day all over  the world, and I have no good reason whatsoever to stay silent.  I have every good reason to speak up.

So Happy Father’s Day to the father’s who simply want to love their own children and are not able to share that love freely.  Many of us see you and we are on your side!  Together, we can move mountains. Stay strong. Be healthy. We have work to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stories We Tell

Published in 1995, The Liars’ Club dramatically revived the art of memoir. Mary Carr’s command of the English language, along with her honesty, grit and courage left me in awe. I read Carr’s other memoirs as well and by the end of the last one I actually felt a sense of grief parting with these real life characters I had gotten to know so well.

Pat Conroy’s The Great Santini is fiction that reads like memoir. Like a lot of fiction, the author’s real experiences are on the page. Calling it fiction allowed his father, the tyrant in the story, to temporarily deny its truth. Conroy offers up his angst to the page, one scene at a time. Like Mary Carr’s, his words do not convey self-pity, but rather a detached yet descriptive unfolding of his history. In the end, his father owned up to the truths in the book, and the two men redeemed their relationship.

I considered writing my book as fiction, but have made my choice to call it what it is, a memoir. Still, I definitely understand Conroy’s choice. To call a true story fiction is an act of self-protection, or maybe of protection of others as well, to offer them up the possibility that it was all made up. It’s just a tale, something from nothing, no big deal, we can all go home now. I do see the appeal in that.

My own memoir-in-progress tells the story of being alienated from my mother after my parents’ volatile divorce, when I was four.

Secrets and suffering are ingredients of nearly every memoir.  Mine is no exception.

My father threw my mother out of our home when he discovered her affair, and capitalizing on her shame and her already low self-esteem, he essentially bullied her out of my life completely. My mother, a broken woman after five years of marriage with a man who intimidated her, after some struggle to maintain contact with us, slipped away quietly.

My father remarried soon after and insisted we call his second wife “Mom”.  He convinced himself he had put life back in order and he never mentioned my mother again.

The absence of truth is usually a lie, and in the case of family tragedy, pretending to the outside world that all is well leads the most introspective amongst us to take notes, both literally and metaphorically speaking. My memoir is the accumulation of all my mental notes. They started when I was four.

I know something of that need to bring “the thing” to light by way of the written word.  The desire is compelling, and almost beyond choice.  Most memoirists have suffered greatly before they craft their story for the public. But many suffer even more afterwards, or so I hear. That part is scary and surely tests the desire to offer the story up to the world.

From the outside, my family was ordinary by anyone’s standards.   But the loss of my mother was extraordinary and therefore I must write it.

As I am nearing the end of it, I imagine my father’s response to my words.  He somehow had convinced himself that erasing my mother was excusable, even necessary.  To face 250 pages from the lens of my loss is not going to sit well with him. But it is also quite possible that he will never read it.

And I understand that- the not wanting to read it- or even needing to deny that it is written. I empathize with the pain of being exposed, and the vulnerability.

And in the depths of my soul, I know that we are all vulnerable.  My father has been my teacher and the lessons have been hard, really hard. But I believe in something of a soul agreement, chosen before we even come here to this this side of the veil.  It helps to believe that I actually chose my particular lessons, and that  I needed my father to help carry them out. We all have our lessons, and my story just happens to contain mine.

I hope I am learning to speak up for myself and make up for the betrayal of childhood; to dig through the rubble and reach authenticity, even when it hurts like hell.  I hope I am learning truth and courage and forgiveness too.

I have written what I have lived, my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my words.  And that’s all a writer can do in the end, is just to say it is the truth, her truth, and hope others can understand that  it had to be told.