Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard stories about divorced couples and how one of the parents becomes completely hostile, or if you are living in it? *Raising my hand!!* If you don’t know what this is, please let me explain in my very long explanation that follows.
First, let me state that Surfer Boy and I do not claim to be experts or perfect but we definitely do not practice hostility towards our kids when it comes to the other bio-parents. We want our kids to live in a worry free environment as much as possible when they are with us. We do not discuss with the kids issues related to parenting with the other bio-parent, or our personal feelings towards them, financial issues and so on – period!
When I was married (my first marriage, his 2nd wife) I was able to willingly maintain a good, open relationship with my step-daughter’s mother, and his relationship with her was “mute”. I have a lot of pride in having kept a close bond with her when it came to being able to talk to her on the phone, discuss her daughter and other scheduling issues, and activities. I won’t sugar-coat it, that relationship was something that took patience and about two years or so to really develop. It’s never easy in the beginning, but she still never bad-mouthed, lied and alienated her daughter from us and vice versa. I will tell you that forgiveness and respect mixed with acceptance of the child’s other parent will find you amidst a very good relationship with them as long as you are NOT experiencing what I have now encountered in my life at this point with the boy’s mother.
I have hesitated to talk about this. It’s personal. It’s ludicrous. It’s embarrassing. I think because this sort of behavior is beyond ridiculous, and a bit embarrassing, that I have struggled comprehending how a person can be that ugly inside and then project it in to the public making herself look like a fool. Her children are affected by it, we are affected by it, and so is everyone she comes in contact with. After I did some poking around on the internet I have found a lot of information about this type of problem. I found out that Surfer Boy and I are not alone. I wanted to share a little bit about what we have experienced in hopes to contribute to the awareness of “parental alienation” (potential stepmom alienation), and a type of aggressive hostility. I am sure others have experienced worse issues that include property damage or even physical altercations. That my friend is just asinine! My heart goes out to those who persevere even through the roughest of moments.
In our case we are dealing with someone that fits what I have recently come across (there is actually a name for it) and it’s called hostile aggressive parenting or HAP. It’s just that. It is someone who is hostile, aggressive, and for their own benefit to make themselves feel better lies, manipulates and you name it hoping to turn her child against anyone that has a relationship with her child on the opposing side (I suppose that we are the opposing side). I have learned not only first hand, but in researching that this is a very serious and damaging form of abuse and maltreatment to the children involved. A lot of times this can be identified in individuals with controlling and bullying personalities or those with mild to severe personality disorders. I have seen ten too many times in my life where a woman tries to get away with hostility, and abuse allegations of the other parent to get their way to manipulate, sabotage, and bring harm or hurt to others. What they do in the meantime attempting to hurt others is actually confuse, hurt, and alienate their children from themselves, their siblings, other family members and good step-parents that care for their step-kids. It takes away months and years of happiness from their child’s life and that parent just doesn’t care. They’re hostile and angry and only see what is best for them or what makes them feel better. I think I am repeating myself, but trying to make that point clear – “for themselves”.
I came across a great quote some time ago “I’m thankful for the truth because of this a lie cannot live”.
In our case, because of her bad behavior, she actually alienated her eldest boy from herself and he has been living for the past year and a ½ or so now with SB full time and he wants no contact with his mother. She willingly gave up custody late 2011 which is now a bed she lies in regretfully. She wrote and signed four different letters that outlined how she couldn’t handle her son and the last one she signed she exclaimed that he was no longer welcome in her home. Here son, how about little cup of rejection and abandonment to help you sleep tonight, or a little cherry on top of the mound of hurt I have created that year prior. Do her feelings qualify her as a responsible parent and warrant her behavior when she blames her son for their failed mother-son relationship? I think not! I have even been blamed for her shortcomings with her son. To be honest we all have been blamed. Have I mentioned that I am only “dating” Surfer Boy and we met sometime after their split? I thought I have plenty of times, just checking.
Right now SB’s youngest son “Squirt” is very confused. One day he wants to hug me hello, and the next day he remembers that he was told he is not allowed to hug me so he veers away from me. It’s against his mother’s rules to hug me, and she expects me to respect her rules. My phone number has also been blocked from making calls to his phone. That’s fine for today. He still calls me and texts me whenever he wants, just not the way he used to, and that would be freely without worry of her insecurity. He has told his dad that he is quite hurt by this and it embarrasses him.
I could never document all the specific issues, there are just too many of them. A few other posts I have written about the boys have mentioned this and that. What more can I say?
So what do we do? First of all, SB talks openly to his boys. He reminds them weekly, or more about how he is always here to talk to them. He talks openly about his love for them, what his values are in his home, and doing what’s right. At first Ace was afraid he would be forced to see his mother. SB had to give Ace the confidence he needed to not be afraid of this. She used to call and act as the victim over and over, crying and begging, and pleading. She did this a lot and for a long time. SB advised him not to answer his phone unless he wanted too. He said it in a way not to deter him from his mother, but say “hey, if you don’t want too that’s fine and I will back you up”, but ever y time you answer gives her another reason to call. He told Ace on the other hand, if he chooses to answer the phone he expects him to be respectful. House rules. He leaves the option for him to decide. SB doesn’t want to alienate him from the mother, but if that is a path Ace chooses, then SB feels it should be a choice he makes on his own. Eventually the calls stopped being answered and she stopped calling. I love hearing Ace sing in the house. He is a very smart and happy young man.
Again, I am not an expert but kids will definitely and eventually gravitate towards the parent or home where they experience the most positive, loving, and safe and secure environment. My stepdaughter from my first marriage stayed with her dad and me full time from the age of 8 until she moved out on her own. They thrive where there is love and nurturing, without abuse or hostility. It’s not like you have to be Einstein to understand that love and peace within a family can’t be forced with hostility or negativity.