A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child.”

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Mention the fatherless epidemic in the United States, and the arguments are polarizing:

Why fathers walk away after divorce

It is either:

  1. Men are irresponsible douchebags who abandon their children to mothers, who are left to raise the children with few resources, or …
  2. Women are conniving, malicious, entitled nut-jobs who alienate fathers from their children while taking all said fathers’ money — all of which is supported by the family court system.

How can a father walk out on his child?

After studying this issue for the four years I’ve had this blog, I understand that the issue is complicated and nuanced, and there is plenty of legitimate room for both of these points of view.

Struggling with not seeing your child? Struggling because you miss your dad? Consider online counseling. BetterHelp is rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau, and offers unlimited messaging and weekly live sessions with a certified, licensed therapist. Financial assistance available.

Use this link to get 10% off and get connected with a therapist immediately >>

Ready to take action? Join MomsForSharedParenting.org — an activist org devoted to changing policy, law, culture and attitudes around parenthood. Time for 50/50 default parenting! 

A father’s experience with parental alienation

What I haven’t reported much is the point of view from the checked-out dads, many of whom have shared with me articulate, thoughtful, and often heart-breaking accounts of why they are not part of their children’s lives.

These stories resonate with me, as they have challenged my earlier, blind admonishments that every parent has a moral obligation to fight for their children, no matter what.

I still believe this, but I also believe in empathy, and for recognizing each other’s humanity.

Here is one story from a reader:

Related: Parental alienation: A call to change parenting culture — and law

Point of view from a dad who doesn’t see his child

From John G:

From my own experiences, I believe it’s widespread for women to use children as a weapon to exact revenge against the ex during, and after, divorce proceedings.

During my lengthy divorce, my ex-wife claimed I was abusive, that she was ‘afraid for her safety,’ and tried to get ‘supervised visitation.’

None of it worked, because it wasn’t true, and because, as an educated professional I had enough money to spend six figures on an attorney.

However, it was still a waste of time and money. Even after the divorce, the games continued.

My son was being tutored on what to say to me (did you ever hear a 7-year-old respond ‘I’m not comfortable talking about that’ when asked a question?) and being instructed to call me by my first name and not ‘dad.’ I grew tired of making phone calls that weren’t answered, or of being put on hold and the child not coming to the phone, and of canceled visits.

It was heartbreaking seeing the child slip away from me, little by little.

I went to court on several occasions. There is the assumption that the man will just sit there and take the abuse because he does not want to lose the child.

She stuck by the letter of the law, and was able to severely limit my contact with my son by way of orders of protection and maintaining to the courts that he was a ‘danger.’

Orders of protection as divorce strategy

Of the divorced, professional men that I know, all of them had orders of protection against them by their wives.

This is even a problem that is recognized by the courts. Some attorneys go so far as to admit that the ‘afraid for my safety’ issue is part of the ‘gamesmanship of divorce.’ I went from the mindset of being a father to the child, to being reduced to the status of a ‘visiting uncle’ or a ‘Disneyland dad’ allied with thinking all the time like an attorney.

I was often worried what would happen if she started to make untrue claims that I had (for example) abused the child. When he fell over and scraped his arm when he was with me, I was advised by my attorney to go to all the trouble of going to the doctor, having the scrape bandaged and so on, just to legally cover myself in case she would claim that it had in fact been intentionally caused.

While on the lookout for anything that could be used against me, all the while constantly being told I was a bad person, a bad father, and all my involvement with my son was systematically stripped away. The whole process became a painful sham.

Father refuses to see his child? Not quite …

I eventually reached a crossroads with four paths. Some men commit suicide because they can’t handle the anguish. Others resort to violence and anger against the ex-wife. Others take the difficult road, and sacrifice years of their happiness, battling on a hopeless battle with the ex, just to maintain some sort of contact with the kids. The fourth way, is to simply give up, and decide that the cost to the child through seeing the conflict, and to oneself, is too high.

Consider online therapy to help you through painful challenges >>

I considered all the above paths for a long time and was tempted by more than a few of them. In the end, I walked away from all contact with my child more than two years ago.

Mother keeping child away from father

After I had calmed down, I tried again and contacted the ex. I had hoped she would have calmed down and would be willing to work with me.

But no, she is still the same bitter and vengeful baggage that she always was. Rather than attempting to discuss things and put things on the right track, she is willing to communicate in writing only.

She refuses point blank to let me contact the child. Everything has to go through her.

Some people will say it would be the noblest thing to carry on fighting regardless. ‘I would do anything for my kids!’ they spout.

Frankly, I feel that’s very naive and is almost always a view propagated by women.

Any father here who has been generously granted a weekend every two weeks knows the feeling when you say goodbye.

You’re just getting used to having them around, and they are gone. It’s like having a wound that never heals. Like a band-aid being ripped off over and over. The pain never really went away.

During those days, I used to recall these lines from Shakespeare’s King John:

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;

Logically, I have to balance the damage to myself, my life and mental health, the possibility of the conflict damaging the child, against the damage done by my absence.

People who don’t know the situation raise their hands in horror, or pass judgment, assume that this is a choice that is taken lightly and easily. It is not.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. Sometimes I see children in shops that look like my child and find it hard not to break down.

Sometimes I can’t take my eyes away. Even the shoes are the same. I don’t like to watch movies with children of that age in them.

I had to remove all the photographs that I had of my child and every other item and put them in a box. And that’s where all those emotions are now.

In a box, held tightly under control, so that I can try and enjoy some semblance of a normal life. It usually works.

I spoke to my ex recently. She claims that the child is just fine. She doesn’t seem to think that I’m needed and believes that my seeing the child is a bad thing.

She told me that the gifts I had been sending postally were in a box and he never got them. What is the point of trying? Who am I to argue?

She lives with the kid and does the real parenting. All that I could do, once a month or less (she lives a long way from me) would be to visit for a shallow shared visit, a museum trip perhaps – that’s not parenting – that’s just being a Disneyland dad.

I am in despair that many people and the courts expect the impossible. They expect the man to be totally interested, committed, involved with his child’s life – and yet – they make it impossible for that involvement to happen.

How can you remain interested and involved when you are given no information about the child’s everyday life, when even the most basic contact is made difficult or impossible, when you are limited to four days a month contact time if you are lucky?

In far too many cases, the father is merely viewed as a source of income.

The mother is viewed as the ‘real parent’ who almost always gets physical custody of the child. And once she has the child, she is then almost entirely free of the threat of any consequences.

Consider online therapy to help you through painful challenges. Very affordable, convenient and anonymous (no one will see your car parked in front of the counselor’s office!), get the help you and your family need via video, phone or text therapy. Use this link to get 10% off and get connected with a therapist immediately >>

How fatherlessness affects children

This is a great shame for the children involved who will probably be involved in divorces of their own or be afraid of marriage because they have seen the consequences when they fail.

I shouldn’t be surprised if more and more men eschew marriage and traditional family values over the next century.

Personally, I refuse to be blackmailed by my better instincts. I refuse to be reduced to the level of a Disneyland dad by some judge, attorney, social worker or indeed his mother.

I refuse to beg for access, or beg for photographs, or ask permission when I can please take him on vacation.

No. They will have no more of me.

One day, I will be able to get in touch without going through her once the child is old enough. Until then, I intend to get on with my life.

Please listen to Terry Brennan, co-founder of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, explain why default every-other-weekend visitation leads to absentee fathers.

Note that in cases where ‘standard’ visitation is awarded — every-other-weekend — fathers become depressed and non-involved, and within 3 years, one study found, 40 percent of children in an unequal visitation arrangement had lost complete touch with their non-custodial parents, which are nearly always the father.

Have a listen:

“I hate my child’s father.”

Negative feelings for your kid’s dad are totally normal and understandable, but unless he is actively hurting your child, you have to work through that and put your kid first. Mothers standing in the way of fathers’ relationships with their kids is central to the reason fathers don’t see their kids. Focus on being part of the healing — not the problem.

Co-parenting counseling can help, as can personal therapy for you. Work through feelings of grief over the loss of the relationship, and mourn your original vision for your family. Educate yourself on the importance of fathers’ presence in their children’s lives and how that benefits moms, too.

Read more about Emma Johnson’s stance in favor of shared parenting, empathy for absentee fathers, and other related topics here:

The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

Related books:

Kickass Single Mom, Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, By: Emma Johnson

Blend, The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, By: Mashonda Tifrere

Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, By: by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Paul R Fine, LCSW

Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, By: Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Learn more about parental alienation, and solutions for reuniting estranged parents and children in the documentary Erasing Family:

What do you think? Are you a dad who no longer sees his kids? Why? Please share in the comments …

Or, are you the mother of a child with an absentee father? What is your response?

Here is my advice to moms and dads whose other parent is not involved.

If you are tempted to turn your child against the other parent, or not sure what is the best kind of parenting time arrangement, keep it simple, and equal. In fact, there are now more than 60 studies that prove that equally shared parenting is best for children (and, moms and dads!).

While we’re at it, have a read about why a simple, fair 50-50 shared parenting time with no child support is the best, fairest, and most feminist arrangement.

Why coparenting is important

To prevent this kind of trauma, here are some tips to how to make co-parenting work:

  • Accept that mothers and fathers are equal. This is a gender equality issue
  • Accept that just because the other person doesn’t parent like you do, that is not abuse.
  • Let him fail, succeed and find his own parenting style. Many dads become better fathers after divorce because they have to.
  • When communicating with him, use ‘your house’ and ‘my house’ … not ‘Home.’ Same when you address the kids – “daddy’s house” and “my house.” Both places are their homes..
  • Keep him posted on matters large and small. Even if he doesn’t show up for the teacher meetings, or make the doctors appointments, keep him abreast of what is happening with the kids.
  • Buy him holiday and birthday presents on behalf of the kids.  

One of the first co-parenting apps, and widely used app, OurFamilyWizard, which features chat, information storage (like pediatrician and teacher contact info, prescriptions, etc.), and financial record-keeping. 30-day free trial,  discounts for military families, and a program to provide OurFamilyWizard free to low-income families. Each parent can add unlimited numbers of other people for free, including children, grandparents, step and bonus parents, as well as attorneys.

Try OurFamilyWizard for free for 30 days now >>

Read OurFamilyWizard review on Wealthysinglemommy.com >>

But the bigger challenge is to change our culture, from one in which it is presumed that fathers are incompetent, and mothers are the default primary parent. Terry Brennan of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, and an equality activist. Listen to our podcast conversation:

For more on co-parenting communication, and reasons for better shared parenting, read: Co-parenting rules–even with a difficult ex

Are you a child of a father who is was not around? What do you say to this dad?

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.


I was 18 years old. Full time job, socially active, physically and mentally very fit & healthy, and heavily involved in several hobbies/passions. But I was also fairly fresh out of high school and very naive.

One day I was browsing through social media and found a message from someone I had never met before (27 y/o female). I didn’t know much about her at first and decided to meet her at the front of her house. Nothing went drastically wrong on the first meet and I returned to my home as if nothing really happened or was going to happen.

Almost instantly I get another message asking for another meet, and I accepted. Only this time I was invited into the house, to which I should have been horrified by what I saw but was too naive to really notice or care. Holes in walls, every square inch of the place littered in rubbish, doors off the hinges etc.

As time went by, I met her only daughter. A 6 year old girl at the time I believe. She was nice but I can tell looking back that there were a bunch of red flags screaming neglect.

A few short weeks into meeting this 27 y/o, we forged some sort of unconventional relationship and I moved in with her at her request. This turned out to be the biggest mistake I have ever made.

I essentially began raising her daughter whilst the mother verbally abused the child and constantly made her stay in her room while she sat on the couch eating kfc/pizza and watching t.v.

One day, seemingly at random, she sat me down in a quiet room at the end of the house and told me point blank that if I did not get her pregnant then she would leave me and kick me out of the house (her best friend just fell pregnant you see). She asked me 15-20 times if I want to give her a baby and I repeatedly said no until she upped the threats and forced me, a still scared unintelligent teenager, into agreeing to her conditions to avoid homelessness etc.

One night within a week or two of that discussion, we were having intercourse and multiple times during said event, I clearly stated I do not want to ejaculate inside of her. As I attempted to “pull out” she wrapped her legs around me tightly, forced me into thrusting against my will with her legs and would not let go until I ejaculated. That is 100% the definition of r*pe.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was attending my pop’s funeral, in which I received a text message mid-funeral notifying me that I am now going to be a father, pulling aside my dad and telling him to which he replied “well… you’re fucked”

From that point on I was dragged to every single appointment and required to attend every event along with finding a way to fit my puzzle piece inside this persons puzzle that I just met not long ago and am now apparently going to be involved with indefinitely.

Needless to say in the time it took for my daughter to be born, I developed a very heavy drug addiction and psychosis which later turned out to be a personality disorder and complex trauma (some of which developed as a child but was majorly impacted by the recent events)

By this point I had no social life, no job, drastically reduced physical and mental health, and virtually no interests other than drugs and severe self harm.

I was verbally, mentally and physically abused on a daily basis and I slowly began to completely withdraw from life itself until I was strictly confined to a small bedroom for months. This was the start of the mental prison that I created for myself which I am still to this day learning how to escape.

I was kicked out before my daughter was born and was expected/threatened endlessly into raising her part time whilst homeless and broke. Eventually I secured my own apartment and began to have her stay more. But every time the minute she left I would crawl up into a ball and cry because of how exhausting and hard it was to raise the very child that was created out of one of the most horrific times in my life.

This continued on until she was 5 years old. I love my daughter with my whole heart and I built an identity and life around being a dad, losing virtually every part of my individual personality in the process.

I reached a point about a week ago where after years of dealing with mental warfare I finally decided to just let go. I cannot do it anymore. I am now in the process of signing forms to allow the mother to change my daughters last name and give her full custody.

My reasons being:
1. At literally any point in time the mother could decide she wants to file a serious false claim against me which could ruin the rest of my life.
2. I cannot spend the next 13 years being tormented the way I have been over the last 8 years.
3. Not once, before, during or after conception did I consciously agree to be a dad. My manhood, freedom, youth, time, finances, innocence, sanity etc were all stripped from me without my consent and I was manipulated so deeply into thinking that the entire time this was my choice and was under such an illusion that it took me until last week to even consider the choice of just letting go.

It breaks my heart that all this has happened and this is where it’s all come to. The last time I saw my daughter I didn’t know it was going to be the last time so I didn’t even get a proper goodbye. There’s no knowing if she will ever want to meet me when she is older and the chances are even slimmer considering the mother will almost certainly run my name through the mud for her entire childhood.

All I can do now is have hope that my daughter in time will see the errors in her mother’s ways and reach out when she’s ready, but until then all I can do is live the best life I can for me.

You really believe this. My ex has my child. I haven’t seen him for over 3 years. I am alone now. Life sucks and it’s not worth living sometimes. I am starting to forget the feeling of having him around. My ex screwed me financially and mentally. He has a house and my son. I rent and have no one. You think this is fair..??? I got screwed. Men rule the world.

Some dads just leave and have no desire to see their kids. It’s not even a court mandated issue; they just want a fresh start and leave everyone in the lurch by moving away overnight. It happens.

I have a 50/50 arrangement with no child support. My ex used to be involved and take our daughter half the time. He had some personal (I think mental health issues possibly related to a head injury) and his behavior became erratic, he started showing up when he wanted to and then dropping her off at his mom’s…the last time he saw her was before Christmas and when his new girlfriend broke up with him he took off and went to Las Vegas. I can’t be friendly with him to try to convince him to come back and be a dad bc then he says I led him on about getting back together and 2 years ago stalked me for like 2 months. But this sucks and I’m heartbroken for my little girl, she doesn’t deserve this and I never, ever thought he we be this kind of dad.


Thank you for this article. it touches me deeply as a divorced Dad.

It’s interesting you mention that you came to a crossroads after your divorce. After my divorce 12 years ago, I came to the EXACT same gut wrenching crossroads. What did I do?
I ended up choosing: “Others take the difficult road, and sacrifice years of their happiness, battling on a hopeless battle with the ex, just to maintain some sort of contact with the kids.”

12 years later I can honestly say, without getting into all the gory details, I should have walked away!
I am now certain it would have been better for me to walk away. Only I just couldn’t bring myself to do it back then. And I tried to be a Dad as hard as I could but in the end… I am an insignificant part of my children’s lives. I ended up becoming the “Visiting Uncle/Disneyland Dad.” It’s heartbreaking for me to admit this, but it’s true.

If you find yourself at this same crossroads, my personal advice is: WALK AWAY. just “rip off the band-aid” as they say. It will be a lot more painful for you later on, trust me.

We live in a radical feminist matriarchy where the best solution is never to have the problem. But for those who still choose to entangle themselves in the body of radical feminist familial law, which is enforced by law enforcement agencies who will imprison and issue you a criminal record forever impeding your ability to earn should you trip over one of the many landmines being placed in your path for you to step on such as losing your job because of illness and failing to send the feminist-court ordered money to a female who has left you to have sex with other people and/or herd small animals in what used to be your house, do your best to keep the government out of your relationships… that means never ever sign your name on anything, including a marriage certificate, that cedes your liberty away to the government and another person so they can steal from you and hurt you. And know the law where you live because females and government are always looking for a new way to entrap, disempower, and exploit you for the benefit of the matriarchy. There are males paying court ordered child support on another male’s child AFTER the female left the sucker. Don’t let it be you.

Understand that you are nothing more than a utility beast of burden to be exploited under the present radical feminist matriarchal system and body of law if you ever fall under it. Don’t do so voluntarily. They will treat you as if they bought a mule if you ever allow yourself to be tricked or taken in and placed under that body of law that exists exactly to transform you into a “walking wallet.” It’s your responsibility to ensure that never ever happens. Wake up men. Females are competitors in the labor market and exploiters in relationships. You have to outcompete them in the labor market, just as you would another male without hesitancy or any care whatsoever to how they feel as they are your competitor competing against you in a environment of economic scarcity where they want to win and subjugate you. No “white knighting,” leave that for those will lose. And position yourself in this present anti-male environment not to be exploited by their body of familial law. For you religious men, God never ordained the government to rule over Adam’s wallet for the benefit of Eve after she abandoned Adam. Wake up, if you must have a religious ceremony find a minister who won’t require a signature or send in the paperwork to the government. It’s perfectly legal to have a religious ceremony without getting Uncle Sam in bed between you and your soon to be ex-wife. And do a SWOT. Many liabilities, almost no benefits for you. It’s all geared for her, the one who left you.

You be the center, the leader, the decider and that can only happen if you never allow them to subjugate you to the government body of familial law designed to turn you into their beast of burden. Best wishes toward that goal. Save yourself.

This is appalling.
I am a mother, when we first split the kids loved with me 100% of the time, because he didn’t want to see them. Gradually I convinced him to, 5 years in he was finally up to two nights a week. His girlfriend got pregnant, he spent 6 months creating a case behind my back (mentioning things at school, slowly and building up the frequency. Having friends and family make anon calls to social services etc). He asked to stop paying me, I said no and then he started it all. Called social services etc. Long story short a year later they loved with him, buy, I had them 40% of the time. I still paid for EVERYTHING. I tried leaving it, but, by the time the kids were at school with holes in their shoes, grey school shirts (uniform) and the eldest had the issue where you could see her belly button the shirt was so short and she had to keep her blazer permanently closed. They were going to school and complaining they were bing abused by him, had bruised to back it up. All that happened was I got told to stop telling them to say things. Throughout this time I made sure the kids knew I was still there for them, they weren’t alone. He left them in their room all the time. I realised this wasn’t going to change (before this he did take them out to do stuff) sowe would video call every night so we could catch up, help with homework etc. I had an opportunity to move 4k miles away. I knew he wouldn’t want them full time and I took a big risk, I moved. Went to court, arranged visitation etc. Two days after the move, he arranged for them to move over, at my expense. He immediately cut contact down to once a week 30 mom video call. By year two that was 30 mins every other week, sometimes once a month and only with the eldest. Two more years later, he speaks to neither, refuses to hand over his address (he never paid once he sent them here) refuses to answer my texts, calls, emails. He doesn’t want contact and now he doesn’t have to pretend to look good. I know what he tells people is that I stop him, I poisoned them. Meanwhile, we are here working our asses off to reassure them it isn’t them, trying to find a way to contact him. People back home are trying to find his address, anything. He blocked our eldest social media accounts. Fighting for your kids as an opportunity, I did it. As for the courts, my friends who got divorced recently all got given almost 50/50 by the courts as standard.

Thank you so much for this article.
I haven’t seen my daughter, who just turned 7, in almost 2 years.

I have PTSD as a result of my daughter’s mom’s abuse. The alienation; the constantly pushing and replacing me; the false assumptions… one day I had this familiar feeling come over me. It was the same feeling I got the day I realized my dad was going to die soon (he had cancer and no one told me it was going to kill him so I found out myself just on a hunch given a traumatic experience relating to it), but it wasn’t a feeling of someone dying so much as it was the feeling that I wouldn’t see my daughter again for a long time, but I didn’t know why. That day, before my daughter’s mom arrived to pick her up, I sat her down and let her know how much I love her; and I let her know that there may come a day when I don’t see her for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her or that I don’t like her as a person; and if I don’t see her for a long time, she has my number and can always call me or ask her mom to call me and that I’m only a phone call away; and I basically just went over what things she could do if that scenario ever occurred (hypothetically) and that she is loved, necessary and wanted no matter what. Like I said, an inkling came over me.

After that, her mom arrived and we planned for the following other weekend visit and my daughter went home with her mom. After a week, I texted my daughter’s mom to just confirm the plans for the following weekend. She said, she’s get back to me the following day. I texted the following day, but didn’t hear from her. I called, and didn’t hear from her. I waited a couple days, called and texted again, and I didn’t hear from her. The weekend came up, and I called and left a voicemail, and didn’t hear from her. Alas, I haven’t heard from either of them since. I even called my daughter’s phone (her mom had gotten her one for emergencies) and couldn’t get through. After a month, I called one more time, and couldn’t get through.

Before all of that, there was already so much that had happened and that had wore me down, year after year. Even the shear balling-my-eyes-out joy of my daughter’s birth was cut by the utter heartbreak and fears my daughter’s mom proactively created. I never stood a chance. Even her family was working against me, and no one in my family understood the extent of it. I was also coerced into the relationship; into having sex when I didn’t want to; and into having my daughter, which, at the time I didn’t know what coercion even was (as is distinct from common manipulation). I was suffering my first PTSD episode (relating to my dad dying), and my daughter’s mom took this very broken, mentally vulnerable and barely hanging on individual (myself, at 21 years old after experiencing a series of heavy losses for the first time since my dad’s death) and pushed and pulled at the strings of loss, grief and bereavement and what I would later learn was an extreme anxiety disorder (severe PTSD), and just used them to get what she wanted out of me, which made my mental illness a lot worse for a time and made thinking a challenge, to say the least.

From then, after my daughter was born and after I’d gotten the mental help I needed, gained some emotional tools, and empowered myself some and left my daughter’s mom, my daughter became her mom’s weapon of vengeance for leaving her. Among other things, I eventually felt like an occasional babysitter more than a dad, and I was completely ignorant of anything I could potentially do legally without completely and utterly screwing myself over. Part of that was because I was lead to believe by my daughter’s mom’s parents that if I ever went to court, her father who is wealthy, would have a line of lawyers ready and that the legal system in our state would destroy me. I was a 21 year old working at just over minimum wage at the time. I don’t know why I believed her parents about the legal system in this state so much (though there is some truth to the bias of the legal system), but even so, I knew her dad well enough to know he wasn’t lying about the lawyers. He dealt with lawyers regularly (in his favor) as a Ford Motors Executive. And as a 21 year old, poor black man with a poor friends and a shattered and distant support system (family fell apart after my dad died), my chances weren’t great.

I even talked to a lawyer a couple years ago to get an idea of what the process would look like and what it would cost, and even at a steep discount I don’t make that kind of money, nor did I have the support system or energy to do that all by myself.

And what was worse, is my daughter started to become an unmanageable trigger for my second source of PTSD (my daughter’s mom). My body would shut down and I couldn’t physically operate or function when my daughter was around. And I’ve had that before with PTSD, but this was way worse. Within 10 minutes of my daughter visiting, I would suddenly get tired as if I hadn’t slept in 60 hours. I’d get tunnel vision, and my body would scream at me to sleep. I couldn’t focus because of it, and I was always on the verge of passing out where I stood. And when I say where I stood, I mean I was walking her to the park nearby my house and with her and I hand in hand, I literally started sleep walking for at least 5 feet. And I’d slept 13 hours the night before, and it wasn’t narcolepsy. Beyond that I was hyper irritable, snappy, couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, struggled to think and my memory declined (and I have amazing memory usually), and only when my daughter was over. I’d also get incredible, building anxiety the few days before she’d visit.

I even got my adrenals tested before and after she started visiting more and my adrenals were close to zero functionality after this started. The year before I’d only seen my daughter a couple of times, and so to see her bi-weekly and have her leave every time was like watching my dad die over and over and over again right in front of me, but I didn’t think it about it like that. I didn’t know I had PTSD yet.

And it took me 1.5 weeks to recover from having my daughter over. Once she left I could suddenly see more clearly, but I’d have to sleep 12 to 18 hours a day for the first few days, then I could start sleeping 10 – 12. But my utter exhaustion was making maintaining my relationship hard and it was drastically effecting my work performance, which my bosses noticed and I got significantly reduced money/hours because of it.

The point of sharing all that was to get to the point that after I got that feeling that I might not see my daughter again, and after trying for a month, I realized that I needed to stop, because I was declining in a way that went beyond physical will. I suspected I had PTSD relating to my daughter’s mom, but wasn’t diagnosed, and I didn’t know anything about it relatively. But my life was crumbling and there was physically nothing I could do if I kept engaging with my daughter’s mom and anything/anyone that reminded me of her, including my daughter. My health wasn’t going to get better like this. So after so long, I just stopped trying. I did what I could to prepare my daughter for this, and I did it as thoughtfully and compassionately as I was capable, and my feeling was very on point. 6 months later, on my daughter’s 6th birthday following this, I called my daughter’s phone. However, the phone had become disconnected or something. But it’s been a year since then, and I haven’t reached out again since. And I’ve healed a lot since then and can function like a normal human being again, but of course, loss in my life can be the major caveat to that, because I’m prone to dipping into extended PTSD episodes with that type of trigger. However, even with a therapist who specializes in these kinds of things (through BetterHelp), we concluded together that stepping back into that situation is something I’d need way more support with both within and outside of myself. That’s a mountain that I can’t tackle on my own and not with the types of support my current circle provides in its own. So my therapy has included learning to be present to the feelings that come up with deciding to take care of myself in this way (not engaging with my daughter or her mom); learning mental/emotional tools to manage panic attacks and PTSD episodes and episode prevention; and very slowly building an intentional support system.

I’m confident in what value I brought to my daughter’s life while I was in it. Though she was definitely young, which is my only concern about what I’m about to say. But when my daughter gets older and she gets the notion to reach out if I haven’t yet, then I’ll be more than happy to get to know her again. And I have two other approaches as well: once I feel I’ve developed the internal and external support I need to tackle that mountain, then I’ll step into that again, or, when she reaches the ages of between 16 and 18, I’ll reach out if the former thing hasn’t been accomplished yet. But until any of that happens, there’s a lot of healing from this persistent heartbreak.

And that’s only a little bit of the experience.

Your article here touches my heart and leaves me feeling understood in such an important way. Thank you so much for writing this <3

My son is 32yrs, he has a child with a woman he dated, did not know was married. The mother lied to everyone, even her parents. Once a DNA test confirmed the child was my son’s, he began fighting to see his only child. The child is now 9 months old. It’s been less than a year but devasting in every way. Financially, so much money to fight to see the child monthly. Emotionally, he is hurting every day, thinking and talking about everything he is missing. He has no life, only the fight for his child. He has moved to try to be closer to the mother (then she moved away), spend all savings on the fight instead of buying a home or beginning his own life. He no longer dates because he has lost all trust in women. As the mother of a 32 yr old man, I also am devasted. I raised him to be a great father and husband, a great human. The Court seems to understand that the mother wishes my son would disappear, she wishes this child was her husband’s. She does everything possible, has used every excuse, even moved away from him, to make it as difficult as possible for him to see his child. Gratefully we live in a state that does believe fathers are equal but because the child is so young, they still favor the mother. I understand why a man would give up. He is paying a huge amount of child support but is rarely allowed visitation. I believe it will take the court system putting action behind their thought that both parents are needed and equal. The courts have the control and power to stop this, to ensure children have both parents in their daily lives. Now it seems they are much more worried about money, making sure the father pays so child doesn’t require any money from the state. It’s a very tragic situation. Mother’s have the power and control.

It is heartening to find this article published on a website with mommy in the title. Being a divorced dad means being surrounded by opinions about being the lesser parent, or even human, with the word abuse thrown around so often it is sickening. So thank you for this balanced article.

Im a father who was in a very bad relationship with our childrens mother (1 boy 5-1 girl 3) she was constantly abusive towards me in front of them on several occasions..her parents then took the children on a guardianship basis I ended up leaving their mother a year later after guardianship was awarded a saw the kids one last time before I ended up moving to nevada to start my life over again to get them back. I have not seen or spoken to them in almost 8 months and my father has told me that my son is starting to forget me and is calling his mothers new boyfriend daddy. Im at a loss for words or emotions is love my kids and will die fighting for them but im feeling very stuck and Idk what else to do if anyone has any tips please let me know Idk what im going to do…..

Each situation needs to be taken on its own, every situation is different. There is no room for generalisations that ‘all women are bitches or men are bastards’ it doesn’t work like that. In my case the father was abusive, this was born out by many witnesses, (the school was involving DOCS based on what my youngest child was saying and doing at school.) He was still advised by psychologists and the law that he could have access he just had to take it slowly to win back their trust, starting with correspondence, (we are only talking 3 months here, not forever) then move to supervised access in a public place, again we are only talking a few months. He would have had increased access within a short while if he had just taken baby steps. He didn’t bother at all. He was invited over to see the children with his mother but they didn’t come. He preferred to disappear and it seems play the victim because 4 years later he remarried and his second ex-wife accusing me of being a cold heartless bitch. She tried to get access but gave up pretty quickly, even sending me correspondence saying that he didn’t want to TRY and that his behaviour towards her indicated that we were right to want our distance from him, she apologised profusely and left him after that. Never again did we hear from him, not a birthday card, Christmas card, nothing. He would say he didn’t know our address but he knew the solicitor’s address, the one he was supposed to send his correspondence to, so they could be forwarded. His mother knew my parent’s address, she sent them cards every year, but he didn’t try at all. Not once in 15 years. (His only requests for access at all came 6-7 month after the separation and stopped a month and a half later,) When questioned by his own solicitor as to why he waited so long, he claimed to have had an agreement with me that we would have a settling period…. no such conversation was ever had, it was merely back pedalling on his behalf. One of our children, who was 12 at the time has never looked back. The other has been in and out of psychologists her whole life. her father told her when she was very young 3 or 4 that “your mother and sister don’t love you, they are a team and we need to be on a team’, then if she cried when with him and wanted me he would slap her across the face. (Even in public, this happened many times) He would yell into her face, thump her hand between his and the table if she used her fingers to eat, slam doors, threaten her. If she acted out repeating what he did at school, which she frequently did and I was summoned to the school to talk about it, he just told me to tell them it wasn’t true. If I dared to say but it was true, instead of acknowledging what he had done, he blamed our older daughter who wasn’t even involved in the situation. What he did to the older one was far worse and involved a lot more physical violence, including holding her head under the water in the pool to frighten her when he was angry with her. It worked, she was certainly frightened. Grabbing her by the pony tail and repeatedly whacking her with a hairbrush while she hid, trembling behind a curtain, throwing his shoe at her face, or a ball intentionally into her face because she couldn’t throw on target herself. I could go on an on. I was advised to leave him by medical professionals for the sake of the children, I said the usual “but he is not always like this” and was told “why are you defending this man? Are you going to wait until he breaks one of their legs, it will only get worse not better.” Yet despite all of this the law in this country would have given him access, but he chose not to take advantage of it. If I was told write to our children for three months then you can see them, I would be writing a letter every day. if I had to see them first in a public place for a further three months I would be at the park as often as I could. The oldest is now 28, 10 years after my involvement could have influenced anything, she still remembers very clearly what happened and says that although she wishes him no harm she doesn’t want him near her. The younger one developed mental health problems as a result of his behaviour in her formative years and still has them. She contacted him and instead of saying ‘sorry’ he went straight into “your mother stopped me from seeing you, I was a victim.” She is now more messed up than ever. He doesn’t care how hurt she now is, as long as he gets to play the victim. How was he stopped when he was offered legally to initiate contact? How when his second ex-wife also tried to support him and get him to get contact but he turned on her and ended their marriage. Some women may make things up, I never did. Some men may be genuinely stopped by the mothers, some it is the other way round. I see, in my job, plenty of men who leave their families and take the kids simply as a means to get control and use their time to turn them against the wife. They do nothing with the kids, often leave them with their grandparents and don’t interact with them at all, but as long as the mother doesn’t have them then that is all that matters. I have also seen, in my job, some mothers who make their children anxious about seeing their fathers for no reason. There is no ONE scenario that fits all. This isn’t about men versus women this is about individuals. Some men, some women do the wring thing. Some are falsely accused it goes both ways. See each case under its own merit.

Mothers who claim abuse when it never happened hurt multiple parties:
1. Their own children
2. Their ex
3. Any and all women and children who have ACTUALLY been abused

My husband has two sons he stopped seeing a year ago. Their mother alienated them in some of the worst ways I’ve ever seen. But if you ask her, my husband used to “abuse her” (my husband is the most kind, caring, understanding, respectful man I’ve ever met). My stepsons were fully alienated and wreaked havoc in our household. It became too much.

On the other side of the coin, my daughter’s father was ACTUALLY abusive. My daughter suffered for 7 long years until a Guardian Ad Litem finally figured out what was going on and advised the court to limit him permanently to supervised visits.
But after 7 years, my daughter is permanently damaged from the abuse. It’s because of bitter, alienating mothers who make false claims of abuse as a weapon to hurt their exes… it is this reason why it took so long for the court system to finally see the ACTUAL abuse of my own child. In fact, the court system has to have hard evidence (video tape from Dillards, Outback, and finally from my child’s own camera).
And I blame all of these nasty bitter ex wives for what my child has to endure. It’s because of them that the courts question actual abuse cases, and it’s because of them that other people’s children are actually abused.

I’m the mom in this case. My ex husband has a child from a previous relationship. When that child was young, my ex would call every once in a while. Later, he claimed that the mom changed her phone and he didn’t know how to contact her. I found out later, his brothers wife is best friends with the mom – he chose to not try to get in contact. It was messy, but it was also his choice.

Fast forward to my situation. My ex was abusive – verbally, physically, financially, spiritually. Towards myself and both our children. He refused to participate in the divorce, he wouldn’t even open his mail to read what he was awarded. The judge put a time frame for him to retrieve his property or forfeit it – I tried to get him to get his stuff many times, he kept delaying so I said I was done waiting. He wrote letters during the separation saying he was sorry for the physical and verbal abuse, but verbally denies any of it.

He moved out of state recently. He calls maybe every couple of weeks. The visitation rules require professionally supervised visitation because of the physical abuse, and he has not even called the group to set up an interview with them.

Yes, my ex is not the normal situation. But they are out there. Even with the admissions in writing for child abuse, local prosecutor declined to address the situation. I don’t have a restraining order out, but my teenager does after being strangled multiple times.

My ex plays the victim because he “lost his family” in the divorce and I won’t let him get his “junk” (his words). He has refused counseling or classes on DV, still denies he abused us regardless of his written apologies, and tells our young child they will see each other really soon while on the phone even though he’s done *nothing* to start visits.

My teen’s biological dad from a prior relationship calls frequently, visits as often as possible and takes my teen for weekends whenever his work allows the time. It’s a great relationship! My ex husband will likely never choose to be on that level.

The conflict between the ex and I was too much so he has left. 50/50 on paper still but he doesn’t see them. At all. It’s games though, that’s the thing. It’s power and control. He tried to use every tactic to make my life miserable and finally decided the ultimate would be to “stick” me with the kids. Mind you, if you asked him the tale would be different. Divorce is so complicated but he wasn’t mature enough to get past our issues and just be a dad to his kids. Sad.

I am of the opinion that divorce only happens when one (or both) parties are afflicted by something that impairs the basic level emotional intelligence to make *any* relationship work, not just marriage.

I am also of the opinion that divorce is not a decision that anyone of a healthy, mature level of emotional intelligence arrive at lightly. Healthy people have the capacity to self-reflect and visualize the cascade of damage that divorce has on everyone effected by it… especially their children. This is why successful marriages work. It isn’t some “magic” or “enduring love”, all marriages encounter the same trials and tribulations, but only those built on foundations of mutual respect, shared social morals and values, and solid communication skills can work. This requires a healthy level of emotional intelligence that not everyone has, and certainly eludes us while blinded by the first stages of love (limerence).

More often than not, divorce is a consequence that is pushed by an unhealthy spouse onto the other spouse. Marriages don’t usually start out with bitterness, it is a consequence of building levels of hidden abuse (betrayal, lies, deceit, etc.), Sometimes that abuse includes overt forms of abuse (sexual and physical violence), but the hidden forms of abuse are always there, and can be extremely undetectable to the other spouse due to their own feelings of love and affection, and the “calming down” phases in the cycle of abuse where the abuser shows their “best sides” again, the side the abused spouse fell in love with is seen again. These intermittent cycles of drama creates a trauma bond that is expertly disguised as “love” or “passion”, but it is anything but this.

I didn’t know I was a victim of abuse until I was in therapy after my separation “happened” to me. At the time I was in shock and denial, “cognitive dissonance” I was told. I had been covering up my ex-husband’s vile behaviour for so long that I had minimized it even to myself. There were broken walls, doors, cabinets, electronics, yet there was never a bruise on my body. Money disappeared in the tens of thousands out of our joint account, and I always accepted the excuses after big fights in order to keep the peace. I joked with our friends about his incessant flirtations with other woman, covering up for his behaviour calling it harmless, even though catching him in the physical act is what led to his sudden departure from our lives. I had been systematically isolated from all of “my” friends whom my ex-husband never liked, and then isolated from “our” friends when he turned his back on our family after he left.

“He” was entitled to be happy, he said. “He” would have either “snapped my neck, or slashed his wrists”, had he stayed with me.

For many months after I left, I struggled with my self-identity. I hadn’t realized how much I had lived by his “validation” of who I was, who my friends were, which members of my family were “good” or “bad”, or what goals I should have for the future. I thought I was less than nothing. I felt like I was worthless, useless. I felt like a broken toaster stored away in the basement of “his” life, only to see the grace of sunlight again if he so desired.

Due to the help of several great therapists, an amazing support system, a wonderful career that I love, and a family who loves me, over the course of a couple of years I was able to work through my “cognitive dissonance” and see the truth instead of the lies behind a life I’d lived for nearly two decades. I was amazed, and sometimes horrified by how much people were “afraid” to say when we were together, but willing to openly share once he was gone. I’ve learned to identify who in my life actually cares about *me*, and who didn’t at all. It was liberating to live in the truth again.

Many women are abused with subtle, coercive control methods disguised as “love”. We all want to be loved and cherished, so we believe in these fantasies until one day, something happens that breaks the illusion. For many of us who have been abused, there is always a danger that we will “go back”, because deep in our hearts we loved the “good side” our abusers could be when they wanted to be. There is always a dangerous hope that they will magically become that person again, permanently, forever, but it is a futile hope, and that is where the deepest grief work needs to be done.

Once we reach the other side and recognize the abuse, and we “see” it, there is no way to “unsee” it. This is what keeps us safe, but it is also what terrifies us. There is more work to do in forgiving ourselves for letting this happen not only to ourselves, but also to those we love… especially our children. We are horrified that we let our children witness abuse us in so many ways… with disrespect, unkindness, aloofness, detachment, physical violence… we realize that all of the things we experienced, they experienced too. The shame we feel is overwhelming. The desire to prevent further harm to our children and ourselves is unwavering and resolute.

There is a reason why so few divorces end “well”, with congenial 50/50 arrangements, shared events, friendship-like relationships, etc. This is because people who can do this wouldn’t divorce in the first place. A divorce is a violent event of detachment and estrangement of the family unit, and it comes with a very high cost. A divorce is an abusive act in itself, especially when it is forced by one partner onto another in favour of “greener pastures”.

I don’t believe the family judicial system is the correct forum to detect the instigator of violence from the true victim, but in most divorces I am pretty sure that this dynamic exists. It should be part of the process of all divorces to determine where the abuse lies before divisions of property are made, and certainly before custody and access orders are granted. Divorces today perpetuate coercive control and in may cases it gets worse. The abuse doesn’t end with divorce when children are involved, but drama wheel of abuse changes… it becomes more covert, and in many ways this is more damaging to the children because it directly involves them.

Children need healthy models of interpersonal relationships. They need caregivers who love them, cherish them, and do not pose risks their safety, security, or parental attachments. A parent who chooses to leave the family unit, abuses or disrespects the other parent in any way, demonstrates behaviour that frightens a child or threatens their sense of security, these are not people who should have custody and should have controlled access. People like this pose substantial risks to a developing child’s sense of attachment, security, and overall well-being.

I’ve read the “accounts” of estranged parents in this article, and the language choices used by them indicates a great deal of contempt for their previous partners. In nearly all of them, it’s clear that they are pointing the finger of blame at their former spouses instead of reflecting on what part they may have had to play in their estrangement. It is the modus operandi of abusers, to deflect, shift blame, and make themselves out to be the victims, instead of taking a healthy account of their own contribution to the problem. If a former partner is claiming abuse, the healthy response would be to question our actions, and make efforts to reform our shortcomings and ultimately make restitution to those we have wronged. This generally results in healthy reconciliation that enables the cooperative style of parenting they claim to seek, but all of these “accounts” appear to be completely devoid of such self-reflection.

Studies have shown that “false allegations” of rape and domestic violence and abuse are “few and far between” (Starmer, 2013). If a woman is claiming abuse, I can tell you first-hand that this takes a tremendous amount of courage to admit not only to others, but also to yourself. It absolutely humiliating to admit publicly (or even to yourself) that you weren’t “smart enough” to see it, or “brave enough” to leave it. Those who finally do find that courage deserve a badge of honour, not more vicarious abuse from opinionated bystanders who buy into the the toxic pity-ploys of abusers, or write articles like this defending them.

You make some good points but unfortunately you have made too many assumptions. Making an assumption on choice of language for example, is unwise, considering that my part of the article was only originally written as a comment on a cellphone. You are correct though that divorce is usually initiated by one party. More than 80 percent of the time its the woman who initiates – as it was in my case. Using your logic if the woman initiates the divorce its because she is a victim of abuse. If the man initiates it, it’s a childish desire to seek pastures new. In both cases its the woman who is the victim. I’m not entirely satisfied with that reasoning and I don’t believe that you should be either! I am sorry for your situation but you are guilty of projection – your own experiences do not necessarily apply to the situation that I described and you are in no position to pass judgement or make assumptions thst you know thr facts. That’s just silly. I would like to make one more point: Claims of abuse are actually part of the gamesmanship of divorce – attorneys actually admit this – and I have known several decent hardworking professional men who strangely enough were all labelled abusers. To thr surprise of all of us. This BS needs to stop. There certainly are abused women, but there are too many that use the term as a lever in a divorce case to gain advantage, and there are too many women that use the children as a weapon to try and exact revenge on an ex.

I keep coming back to you his article time and time again, as I battle with making the decision about how involved I should be with my children.

All the research shows kids do better in life with both parents, but is this really the case when dad is just everyone’s punching bag?

The dynamic of the relationship with the mother before separation was that dad (AKA me) was always wrong, and as long as dad accepted that, there could be peace in the household. No affection, love, or any nice things, just peace. If dad did not accept that, there was a household colder than an abandoned igloo in winter where the ice lingers for weeks or months.

The children whitnessed this dynamic, and in essence are still of the opinion that a father showing any form of displeasure in an attempt to discipline the children is a wrong father.

My son has autism, and just wants to be with his mother. My daughter is only interested in being with me when the cool people like my sister and new early stage love interest are around. It never occurs to my daughter that the reason I have got a really lovely lady in life now is that I am actually a really decent guy.

I have tried hard to stay in their lives, but receive only negative feedback from them for my effort.

It is easy to become envious of the so called dead beat dad who’s children actually miss them, rather than the scenario of being a good dad who is seen as a wrong dad.

Hi Rachel,

Why are you deeply disturbed?

There are two reasons why it is impersonal…

1) He’s telling his story online to people who don’t know him or ‘the child involved’ so the name doesn’t matter and he may want to remain anonymous. Could that be why it he is keeping it impersonal or do you think it is something else?
Do you think that he should have given the name of his child out to random people on the internet who don’t know him or the child?, knowing that this could cause further damage between him and the child and also ruin his reputation.

2) Or maybe he has distanced himself from a sad situation. Would you have preferred him to refer to the child as ‘My Child’ instead of ‘The Child’?.
Well sadly, when the privilege of knowing ‘your child’ has been taken away from you and there’s nothing at all that you can do about it, then sometimes it doesn’t feel like your child is yours anymore and it is easier to distance yourself from the situation to save yourself from further heartbreak and pain. Can you blame him if this is the case?

So hopefully that has cleared things up from a fathers perspective and I hope that you are no longer disturbed. After all the article is titled “A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child.”
I don’t know the guy but I’m pretty certain that it is is very personal to him and that he doesn’t write Christmas cards or letters and address them to ‘the child’ or the ‘ex wife’

I can completely relate to his story, I myself Father of 5 have “chosen” to walk away. The word “chosen” is specific to the intent, a choice, stay and loose yourself under the strict manipulative rules and regulations of the other parent, the years of insidious underhanded abuse, complete alienation and isolation. Or leave and at least function and live. I at least can walk past my Sons room (I allow 1 week visits every holiday, and we talk weekly) without breaking down. My much older kids(4) have told me I don’t exist and I’m occasionally sent messages about my grandchildren I’ll never see. Still to this day I receive vial emails with a full psycho analysis of who or what I am.

For the record It took me 5years to finally ask for a divorce and a further 3yrs to move away from my youngest child.
It is NOT easy and a path I would not recommend for the faint of heart. Although I would do it again.
I do NOT Love my Children less, I just have to love myself more.

Really? I did the same. This is a public forum. I am not going to put the child’s name on display. It’s wrong of you to assume something negative from not using the name

When a father is abusive, manipulative, and refuses to work on himself, he is able to make it appear that the mother is “alienating”. The term is low hanging fruit setting in motion an immediate pity party for the father.

I am a therapist and more than often if a mother is saying there is abuse, there has been multiple signs of domestic violence, especially with multiple women, a child is not safe with that father unless he decides to be accountable for his actions and choices. We are what we do. Not what we say we do.

Please look into Coercive Control and believe women.

By definition ‘Coercive control’ is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Whilst that is awful, surely it is a separate subject altogether and should be filed under the ‘Abusive Relationships Thread’?.

If someone is abusive, violent, manipulative or dependent on alcohol or drugs, then no one will disagree that the person should not be allowed anywhere near children (or anyone else for that matter) until they seek help or prove otherwise.

But not all relationship breakups feature abuse.

In most of the cases that I have read on here, the father is a loving man who only wants to continue his relationship with his child / children after the relationship between him and the mother has broken down – nothing else, he doesn’t even want to speak with the ex, yet alone abuse her.

So why jump to conclusions on this thread and put a person who has been alienated from their child in the category of “a father (who) is abusive, manipulative, and refuses to work on himself?
I was never abusive, so I guess this puts me in the minority.

I know that there are lots of abusive relationships which is sad and terrible when that happens, but to say “more than often if a mother is saying there is abuse, there has been multiple signs of domestic violence” and to link that comment to this thread is actually assuming that most men in the category of being alienated from their children are abusive.
But as a therapist, I’m sure that you know better than to discriminate or make judgements without knowing the full story from both sides.

I am the mother of children who live with their father and I feel this fathers pain so deeply. I am so close to giving up. The alienation and blatant attempts to completely cut me from their lives takes such a toll and I feel it’s better for all of us Iif I just walk away.

My son is now 5 years old. He has a 3 year old sister who is not biologically mine.
My ex convinced my son another man was his father even though I visited him every other week if not more.
This other man died in a bar fight when my son was 3.
Then my ex cut me off completely. She lied to everyone involved, and the Judge believed her when we went to court.
I was forced to get random drug testing, get a therapist of my ex’s choice, and only see my son 4 hours every other weekend.
I kept my head down. Did everything asked of me. I had to struggle to not give up.
The hopelessness became overwhelming. It became painful seeing my son.
He repeated the lies told about me. He refused to acknowledge he knew me at all.
I almost gave up.
I just kept saying to my self. “Do the right thing” for him and his young sister.
Do the right thing. Just do the right thing.
Be There.
I now have both kids in my house full time.
The mother is working on getting back into their lives.
The truth finally came out.

Just do the right thing.
My son and his sister are now safe, healthy, and happy.

Don’t give up.

My grandson is 5 at xmas. His father has issues regarding cannabis and drink I mainly look after the little boy. His dad wants to see him at xmas. He last saw him last xmas. He makes false promises like I will step up. He pays nothing for the child. Just a present at xmas and birthday which is xmas. He sees him once a year. Should I say he can’t see him anymore if it’s only once per year. Thankyou.

I am in the same situation where I cannot see my 1 year old daughter. This is not how I had imagined my daughter to grow up. Her mother is the most irresponsible human being I have met. At 8 months, during the pandemic, she saw no problem in going out to get drunk with her friends leaving our daughter at home with the nanny. Confronting her let to this situation where unfortunate threats were made and I haven’t been allowed to see my daughter since her first birthday on the 1st of November. She blocked me from all WhatsApp and she doesn’t answer my calls nor respond to my SMS messages. I feel so guilty for bringing my daughter into such a toxic environment. I have been there since she was born and I had the most indescribable connection with her. Looking at the current situation, she will grow up not knowing me.

I read the dad’s story and couldn’t help thinking that he was feeling sorry for himself. Parenting is hard. It hurts and is the hardest thing I have ever done. Kids grow into teens that say hurtful things and make bad choices and tend not to follow their parents advice. Younger kids throw tantrums and challenge boundaries and can be completely exhausting. Not to mention the feeding, cleaning, driving, homework, and schooling. The first time your teen sneaks out and you get a call from the police in the middle of the night. These are the realities of raising kids. I have been doing it on my own for quite a long time. Their dad cheated and left years ago. He didnt have much to do with them when he lived at home with us. That was his doing. I always encouraged him to spend time and bond with them. Now, they dont have much to say to him. It is always really awkward. I know it might hurt him, but honestly he made his bed. He needs to own his actions and be present. I would love for him to be a dad to these kids. They would benefit from having a dad. I also happen to know he has some of these same sob stories he spreads around. He doesnt want to look like a bad guy, so he deflects. Puts the blame on the kids and I. They are angry and have unresolved feelings that he needs to be open to hearing and dealing with. He isn’t willing to put in the effort. Yet, he tells everyone how much he misses them and how they don’t want to visit him. Well, he never calls or texts them. He only wants to see them for holidays or birthdays and even then it is only for an hour or so. It takes time, effort, and unconditional love to be a parent. It takes putting their needs and feelings above your own. It is hard. I dont have the choice to just leave or decide my feelings are hurt. I dont get a break either. I wouldnt change it either. I chose to be a parent. So, yeah, it’s hard. And yes, it hurts. But a parent does not get the choice to walk away. You are hurting the child. I am also thinking if the courts find that you only get supervised visitation, maybe you can look back and find something that might open up your eyes. Yes, there are some false instances of abuse, but more often than not, if you are a decent person, you would be loved, valued, and cherished by your kids and most moms would welcome a co parent partner and a break.

Thabks for the lecture on parenting but I don’t need it. Through circumstance I have actually parented several kids through to adulthood and currently have some more kids. The article wasn’t about that. It was about my experiences with my ex wife and the alienating behavior that I encountered. It is also wroth pointing out that many commentators seem to assume that there is no smoke without fire, and that there must have been some grounds for the claims of :abuse’ thrown at me. I still don’t feel there were. My new wife has never complained about feeling abused (we have now been together longer than my first marriage so I assume if I was an abuser it would have come out by now) or controlled and I have asked her about it often enough, because for a while I really questioned myself and wondered – was I doing something abusive without realising it? I’ve come to the conclusion after a lot of thought that I simply wasn’t and I’m comfortable with that. I had a lot of friends who went through divorce and many of them had the same nonsense – the orders of protection – the ‘afraid for my safety’ claims – its often used in the gamesmanship of divorce and that is plain wrong. So.. To all the commentators out there with the drugstore psychology and the theories.. Go forth and multiply. I visited the page just on a whim to read the comments. It’s been a blast – but much of the strident comments from women have been way off the mark. I think there was a woman further down who said she was the wife and there were 2 kids. No she wasn’t and there was one only. It’s weird how many people think this story refers to them. It doesn’t.

My custody agreement with my child’s father is “as mutually agreed upon”. I had this wording put into our divorce decree because I knew that his father would not visit him as much as the standard possession order called for and I didn’t want him to have any reason to say that I wasn’t holding up my end of co-parenting. I have spent years trying to get him to spend more time with his child, to be met with excuse after excuse as to why he “couldn’t” visit his child. I feel for this father that would really like to spend time with his child, but is met with hostility from the mother, but you still have to be a parent regardless of how hard it is. After 7 years of being separated I am just tired of arguing with my child’s father, trying to make him see the importance of being involved in his child’s life, but I fight for it because my child still wants to see his dad. As a parent you fight for what’s best for them, not what’s best for you.

I live in nyc. Great living dad and separated husband. A month before COVID-19 lockdown my wife got an order of protection stating she feared for her safety. I broke things and used drugs. It has almost been a year and I have not seen my kids. I do not use drugs. Have passed a drug test and the kids are being coached by the mom. The kids are being emotionally and psychologically harmed. Myself included. I am guilty of staying out late and sleeping around. My wife suspects this and this is why things are the way they are. It does not make me a bad dad. I am a great father and have been there since day 1. Every day if there lives I have been there. I live my wife and kids. My rights have been stripped away. I feel as if my life is on pause. I have never harmed my wife or kids. I have contemplated suicide, taking matters into my own hands and possibly walking away until my teenage kids are 18. What is happening is disgusting, not right, down right wrong. And happening on a wide spread level it’s sick. The game is rigged and I don’t feel I should be explaining to six people how I parent. After three kids I know what I’m doing. I get one weekly zoom phone call a week. That’s it. And that is supervised. I do not even get supervised visits. What is happening is like a sick dream. I cannot believe it. God help all those involved and those that are turning a blind eye to what is happening. Shame on the family court system.
A hurt loving father who just wants to love his kids

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