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

parental alienation fatherlessness

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.

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.

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 commenter on the above posts:

Related: Resource guide about parental alienation

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. Find a counselor now with BetterHelp for rates starting at $40/week, unlimited>>

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:


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

How to get dads involved in divorced and separated families

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

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.  

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:

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

About Emma Johnson

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, MONEY, 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.

482 Comments

  1. Faith on January 20, 2020 at 5:07 am

    My 14 year old son blocked me in September , after a long year of fighting with the hospital . As he had Cancer and my ex did a good Job of turning my son against me while playing happy family’s with his new girlfriend . She even was allowed to live at the hospital while I was given no support I have zero family. And i was alone fighting for my son to recover and fighting to keep him at home with me where he had always beeen. I’m in Truma deeply hurt angry let down. I’ve tried everythin to get him to come home. My ex don’t even contact me he hasn’t used my son to send messages what are for adults to discuss. My ex has never payed for his child and left me years without no support my son would go to my ex’s mums to have more of a routine I never tried to keep my child away from him or his family. Soon as my son got ill and then seen money signs and a free disabled car and buying my son with gifts to get him to stay with them. My son now has completely disowned me after his treatment . I’m so hurt beyond hurt I wanted to take my own life how could my child do this? Yes I know his father and all his family provide him with stuff I can’t but what about my love and his brother?? What about all these years I’ve struggled to give u what I could. What about the 4 busus and 4 hour bus drive to hospital with a 5 year old and getting home lat every nite while u was in hospital . I was made to leave as I never got supported. And the hospital denied me staying and my ex and his partner was staying I was alienated from my son when he needed me the most . My ex never tried to take custody before so now my sons 14 and my ex is being a goof father I’m just what?? This is the worse pain of my life I don’t want to breath without my kids. Now I can’t even text my child . My other child is suffering I can’t get a lawyer what else is there left?? No body cares

  2. Chuck on January 20, 2020 at 3:04 am

    Excellent article by the author I completely agree. I too have had to draw the line in the sand. I have two kids boy/girl two separate mothers. They both are using the court against me to keep my child away. It is a deep pain like no other. It cuts life a knife. But somehow I must find joy and go on with my life. They both have me blocked from calling and I have no clue where they live. And I’m paying a hefty child support for both and yes I have weekend visitation in place. Still no luck.

  3. Judy on January 18, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Im a single mother. I had my 1 year olds father move out because I got really tired of his picking on me, financially using me, paying all the household bills and everything for the baby alone. Its as if he was with me just so I could support him. He blamed me for everything that would go wrong in his life, cheated on me before I was pregnant and while I was pregnant, hit me various times and in front of his other child. He has multiple kids from multiple woman. He recently started seeing someone and he allows her to answer my calls and texts when I ask for help with the baby. I have stopped reaching out and he has stated he cannot deal with me insulting this person he is seeing so he is giving up all rights and I should file the paperwork for this and send it to him to complete. Most recently, I believe he is engaging in drugs and is homeless thanks to the female he is running around with who has lost custody of her child. He does not pay childsupport and does nothing for my child but has that female text me insults and say I was a regret to him. I am no longer communicating with him since it is pointless. He wants to be a bum and chase this easy girl around. I believe he is sellig and doing drugs now, as well. It is a sad situation. My child is learning to speak and often cries out Dada. His sibilings and parents do not help or contact me about the baby.
    They are worse than there son.
    He is a disgrace and thinks he is so happy with this bum easy female now and has no time or care for his child. Before this female came in the picture, he would ask to see the child weekly but it would be when he didnt have other plans. Basically, my child was a second option when his bum friends of the females he was begging to be his girlfriends were too busy for him. He would not financially contribute or help with any of the childs needs. I am at a loss for words here and regret having him leave because now my child is the one to suffer a life without a dad and all children need a mom and dad.

  4. JJ on January 13, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    We are not divorced yet but separated. We live several States apart. Despite my encouraging him to come visit our daughter he has only seen her twice in 5 years. He tried calling her for a while. She was angry and didn’t want to talk to him. I actually made her talked to him a couple of times. He stopped calling. We are going to mediation and two weeks. He is flying in for the first time in more than two years. He had made no plans to see our daughter. I pushed him to see her and he is planning to see her for one evening before he leaves. He has sent her childhood things to us. She is now a teenager. He doesn’t want any of her childhood pictures or artwork or clothes. It breaks my heart that he is treating her like this. I feel like he is associating her with me and he is angry with me so he is angry with her. I feel like he should have tried to continue to act like her dad even though she’s resisting. She’s a child he’s an adult. He needs to be strong enough to fight for her. But that’s exactly one of the reasons why we got divorced. He is uncomfortable with emotions his own or anyone else’s. In the end my daughter is the one who is getting hurt the most.

  5. Megan on January 6, 2020 at 12:43 am

    I’m a mother of 2 great kids. I’d give anything for their dad to be a stable part of their life. For them to get to see him and spend time with him clean and sober. I’m so sad that there are so many mothers who use their children as pawns and don’t allow good dads to be a part of their children’s lives. It’s heartbreaking for the kids and the dads.

  6. avery on December 27, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    Today I have decided to leave my daughters life. Our daughter was born in America, but brought to England without my permission by her mother 8 years ago. I spent the last 8 years fighting to be a positive part of her life and have failed. I was not aggressive in court as I felt that the woman I loved and married was mistaken or under the influence of her rather nasty but wealthy family or would she would see that I just wanted to be a good father and whatever had happened between us (I still don’t know) had nothing to do with our little wonder. I would win in court and she would battle away again and again – one particularly bizarre time she defended refusing me access for a year claiming that our daughters bed was not good enough, and later that I was not actually living in my house… It worked, although I won in the courts I was delayed and delayed and delayed. If I fought too hard in court she would get her friends to contact any work places that I would find and harass my bosses till I was fired, she would hire security guards to harass me, this I could handle. However it was when she would send me audio recordings of our daughter screaming crying and yelling about me (when we had not even met for 3 years) that I realised I could not fight in court. Cafcass was alternatively excellent or terrible, once completing a investigation without contacting me and once sending corrections days after the court case had finished. Last year I finally began contact in .earnest, but by then the damage was done. At first she would be full of fear and hide or simply sob, but I broke through and found good times and smiles and happiness, but always in front of a wall of pain. Today my daughter told me she only saw me out of guilt, I told her that we should never do things out of guilt but instead out of love and that she didn’t need to see me if it made her feel bad. I explained that I should never wish to make her feel guilty and that whatever she felt she needed was all right with me. I told her I will always be there for her and always love her, I was positive, loving and kind. I have lost so much, though, I cannot carry the burden any more. I left my home (Colorado) sold my cars, my house, gave up my family, lost my career, damaged my health irreparably, moved 2000 miles to a country that despises me for being an immigrant. Now I am poor, exhausted and broken. I have no future here and today I realised no future with our daughter. Not all fathers are bad and not all mothers are bad, but sometimes people carry the weight of their own childhoods into parenting – I know my Ex’s was dickensian in its pain – and I am sure she is just trying to protect her daughter, but sometimes actions are simply evil.

  7. Robert on December 25, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    I’m seriously considering walking away from my children. Been 8yrs since I left their mother. Her persistent manipulation of the children has led me to bankruptcy fighting legal battles just so judges can call me an idiot. It’s only been getting worse as my daughter gets older. I’ve reached the point where I feel my involvement with my children only causes more problems for them. We live in a system where my money is important but my time is not.

    • YOLANDA on January 22, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      Please dont stop. They need you more than you know. It may appear they dont but they will appreciate it in the long run. My ex and I divorced 3 years ago and I have never tried to stop him from getting the girls. I made it easy for him to get them. I made sure he was informed about every aspect of their life. I had only two expectations (financial help to the best of his ability & spend as much time as he could). He failed at both and gave up on them. Im left confused as to why and its affecting my daughters. Please dont give up on your children

  8. Casey on December 25, 2019 at 1:22 am

    I just needed to get this out. I divorced partway through a military career with four kids. My Ex left me when i deployed to go overseas. I knew things were rocky and we had worked to patch things up but i didnt know she was going to have a moving van at my place the day after i left and also boyfriend lined up. When i found out i was devistated. I vowed to do everything i could to be part of my kids lives and help to raise them. Three months later she had moved 3000 miles across the country without letting me know. My duty kept me stuck but I had sporaic trips and contact over the next few years, they were still excited to see me on all of my visits. I took orders I didnt want to be close to them. She came to visit once and wanted to get back together, as much as I loved my kids it just wasnt possible, there wasnt anything emotionally left for her, and as much as I wanted to be a family it wasnt the right choice and would do more harm then good. After a discussion and I told her, she woke up my kids out of their beds that night and drove off without me even saying goodby. She remarried, he’s a nice guy. When i finally got to the same geographic location as them it was even more difficult. I had to deal with “vactions” during my court appointed weekends, times changed at her whim, my phone calls went unanswered for days, weeks. For a while i still made it work. Facebook was great, summer visits, taling them to see my relatives, then things changed again. She moved 9 hours away, she rarely met me partway or worked with me on visits. My kids talked like robots, once proactive boys seemed more distant, their answers scripted, hesitation, stiffness, and looks to mom when i came to pick them up.
    I deployed overseas for two years. The the oldest suddenly unfriended me at 18, one by one they stopped responding on digital media. Other then a call about finances or a health bill no communication came my way. I tired to get word to them i missed them. I planned my trip home. She informed me they all needed new phones but ive only gotten her lone number, all communications stopped. Now on Christmas, I go to call and she says that ive been abusive to them, to my kids! The only thing i’ve thought or cared about over the last 16 years… I never even attempted a serious relationship becuase I wanted all of my free time to go them, and i feel ive lost them anyway. I think they’ve been brainwashed into thinking im a terrible person but I cant even talk to them. My military sevice has made it harder, but her use of my children as leverage has always been present.
    Did she finally win? I’m at the point now where everything they do is controlled by her. Maybe one day they will see I still love them.

  9. Sean on December 24, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I think the point of this article is to highlight the abuse of false information. However I do not understand the concept of giving up and how that helps anything at all. I traveled 4.5 years through court misleadings and will do it again if need be.

    There is no doubt in my mind some mothers triangulate the courts and abuse the service to serve there selfish entitlements through libel. There are also numerous victims of DV that don’t recieve the appropriate protection because of the generalized standards of our courts or are viewed as a perpetrator because they don’t speak up. Active “good” fathers also fall under a category for minimum standards in involvement. I can confirm how much this can hurt.

    All I can really say to this father who decided to step out is, you are a coward trying to validate your actions. You are stepping away from your child using them as an excuse for your own needed self care. Perhaps you dont deserve it after all. If you could step up, be a parent to your child regardless of any inbitterment from a toxic or disfunctional co parent relationship and simply work at diffusing conflict you would receive limitless victory knowing your child has both parents and the other parent hates it.

    • ChestyPsrighthandman on January 3, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      Cool story bro. You’re an asshole and one of the guys who hurts all of our causes. “Oh I took a dicking lying down so you should too”. And when your kids are 45 and you’re dying and they still don’t give a shit about you, remember your self righteous diatribe here and remember that you did it all for nothing. You’re a coward for submitting to the state run disenfranchisement of fathers. These guys who’ve decided to stand up for themselves are not.

  10. Tyler W on December 23, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I stopped seeing my children for these same reasons. For 5 years I fought for them through the courts and after receiving generous court ordered access, my ex started calling children’s aid to start bogus investigations after every visit. After 8 CAS investigations and bringing the children’s aid to court for harassment on two occasions I have given up. The CAS must investigate every complaint just in case and will never go after someone for false accusations because it will discourage people from coming forward with real issues. So I am done. I wish I stopped earlier as the conflict has been detrimental to me and my children. It’s now been a year and I’d like to say that I’m doing well but that’s not the case. I am currently an inpatient in the mental health ward at my local hospital with a strong desire to end my life. Good luck to all you men out there who are going through similar experiences.

  11. Steve on December 21, 2019 at 7:22 am

    I’m at the same place. The court granted custody to my two sons’ abusive mother and gave me a “fantastic” visitation schedule that can’t be enforced because the mother threatens the kids with punishment if they go with me. They are well into the process of alienation now.

    The more I try to be involved in my kids’ lives the more their mother litigates and manipulates the kids. It has to stop. When I try to pick them up they get hysterical because they will be punished if they go with me, either that or they just aren’t there because she already took them in direct violation of the schedule. I still have options left for trying to enforce the visitation schedule, but they are based around punishing the mother for violations and will only heighten the conflict and lead to more pressure on the kids.

    So now it has to stop. I and my second wife have done everything we reasonably could to help the kids at the expense of our own health and wellbeing, but the system has its own ideas about what’s in their “best interests”.

    I’m not abandoning my kids, neither are the other fathers here. I’m letting go in a tug of war before they get irreparably damaged by their narcissist mother. They’re already traumatised, that much was confirmed by a court-ordered psychological assessment, and I know that their mother is capable of far worse.

    She’s abusing my children in this way specifically to get to me, that much is clear. My only hope left is that when I remove that option and feign indifference, she will let up on the kids and turn her attention elsewhere. There is a precedent, it happened much like that a year ago. When the pressure was let off, each of the kids in turn made an “escape” from their mother, refusing to return to her after I picked them up, which ultimately led to the custody case. When my oldest son made his “escape” early this year he was undernourished and on the verge of pneumonia. My wife and I spent more than six months nursing him back to health and preparing him to repeat first grade (he’d been sent to a grammar school a year early, he wasn’t even ready for a regular school and he was failing spectacularly). When my youngest made his escape on his birthday just over a year ago, he told of all sorts of mistreatment – apparently he’d become the scapegoat when his older brother started failing in school. His older brother told a similar story – the roles were switched after little brother came back “home”.

    I don’t expect that they will ever try to make another escape, as the mother has now pulled out almost all the stops and due to the custody ruling I wouldn’t be able to take them in anyway – I would be in violation and the authorities would respond to that by shooting first and then shooting some more later. I don’t even expect that they will want to resume contact, since the last few times we saw each other were associated with extreme unease and resulted in punishment from their mother. Over just a few weeks their story has changed from, “Mum will punish me” to “I just don’t want to” and my youngest already started making up crazy excuses and telling me he doesn’t ever remember loving me (internalisation). Now I am likely to be forever associated with that fear and pain, along with whatever other dirt their mother and her family smear me with. I am becoming the embodiment of their mother’s abuse.

    Not all alienation/estrangement situations are identical, despite the obvious similarities. Up until recently my kids were resisting their mother’s alienation, they wanted to be free from her abuse and they had something of a way out. Thanks to the welfare services who ignored mountains of evidence and advised the court to give custody to their mother they no longer have a way out and the abuse has quickly become far more insidious than it was during the trial. The only way I can see to make the abuse stop is to take away the target, and ultimately I am that target.

    What’s most shocking here is reading the accounts from the UK, US and NZ of draconian court orders and other restraining measures applied blindly to fathers, that sound almost as though they were DESIGNED to facilitate alienation. I thought I had it bad here when by comparison I got a “great deal”. What’s obvious is that without proper intervention, no court-ordered schedules, no matter how generous, will lead to maintained, healthy contact with the non-resident parent if the resident parent is a narcissist.

    To all you trolls out there – burn in hell.

  12. Daniel on December 17, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I miss mine so bad. It’s been really hard. I just dont understand it at all.

    • Eddie on December 21, 2019 at 5:02 am

      You’re not alone. Stay strong.

    • Frank on January 3, 2020 at 1:31 pm

      My son is not with me, the divorce is not final. But the minute I see him I cry because I know he will not be staying. I feel like our little family, however imperfect, is dead.

      People try to comfort me by saying (divorce happens all the time, and “look at the problems other people have”) things that don’t even begin to resonate. I don’t care about those other people. I care about my son.

      Please, for those out there who try to normalize this pain, don’t tell the person with grief about how other people suffer too. Just give them a hug. Say that you are there to be their friend. It is bad enough when we lose those we love to death. But my little guy will grow up without somebody who loved him dearly.

      The most important part of my life and the most important person is alive and I never get to see him.

      Military families make this sacrifice by choice, and God bless them for being willing to have Mom or Dad gone. But a divorce, without one party even being willing to seek counsel is not the same. It is selfish. It is not about the child.

      These “no fault” divorces seem great for some. But they are actually cruel when you consider the child. It also sends the message they should want away from vows they made. Sickness/Health, Richer/Poorer….

      Best wishes to others feeling pain like I am.

  13. pnob on December 16, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Agatha, you sound just like my ex-mightmare who whined and bitched that we should “co-parent” while she continued to micromanage everyone including me demanding that I run my household like hers. you are truly missing the point about the position we part-time “dads” are placed in by the courts and by the custodial mothers. I was told from the beginning of my divorce that all she wanted was for me to disappear. very indicative of someone who is not capable of compromise, shared decision making, or an adult relationship like marriage: all the reasons why most good dads leave their wives only to be tied to playing the same “uncle” role they did while married. get a clue Agatha. your bitterness and that of all these custodial mothers is the flashing warming signs for young men to find real mature and emotionally stable young women to marry first and then maybe, maybe, have children with.

  14. Frannie on December 15, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Wife or husband, mother or father – whoever leaves the marriage for another person loses a lot of their “rights” with the child/children. The child’s home is the home that the child knows as home. If the mother or father shacks up with another person – that home is not the child’s home……It is the home of the new boyfriend or girlfriend and the parent that left to be with the new boyfriend or girlfriend. The child “visits” that home.

    I would like a dollar for the times I have known the child to be off “visiting” the parent and their new “spouse” and being told to treat this place like home, treat the new “spouse” as a step mother or father, then the relationship “fails” and the child is just supposed to take in their stride and repeat the same feelings towards the next new “spouse”. It is wrong and it is cruel to the children.

    As for the mother having more rights than the father. Well every child knows their mother…..sometimes they have to guess with their father.

    • Navin R Johnson on January 5, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      yes, sometimes the children do have to guess who their father is.
      these “good moms” are so busy spreading em for multiple men on social media, even they cant keep up with it.

  15. Emma on December 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I call BS and shame on you for hiding under the mantle of ‘alienated parent’. John G is clearly angry at his wife. But he is allowing his anger to get the better of him in a way that sort of proves her point. He may not be physically abusive but he certainly shows sign of being a narcissistic abuser. For example uses little tricks of language to get you to feel that his choices are the only logical one. For example he very cleverly frames it as if there are only four choices when you ex-wife doesnt like you and uses the ‘letter of the law’ to torment and ‘abuse’ you 1. suicide (interesting how that is named first). 2. Violence (interesting how he names that second) 3. Sacrifice years doing hard battle or 4. Give up. Now given those 4 choices alone, no reasonable person would fault a man for giving up. Except battling with the ex is not a choice between 4 roads. Its more like wandering in the forest. There are infinite paths. And one of those paths is humility. But no.. no way is ‘educated and wealthy enough to afford attorneys but not wealthy enough to move closer to his children so he can get to see them’ John going to be reduced to going to museums and shallow shared visit ordered by ‘some judge’! Why that would be jst being a Disney Dad..and what he wants is to completely and totally enmesh with his son or have no contact at all. And also..if she is going by the letter of the law..then he wants us to think that the the law is also a partner in his ongoing abuse. Except when he has high powered attorneys that are too smart to ‘let her get away with that’. Also he dehumanizes in his language. IE..Who calls their son ‘the child’ over and over..or ‘the kid’? A person who sees him as a pawn, that’s who. That is divorce paperwork talk and anyone who uses it is playing the ‘divorce paperwork’ game. Look John.. when you find yourself at what you see is a crossroad. you swallow your ego, accept whatever the law has given you, enjoy it to the best of your ability, go home, cry in your pillow and then go see a therapist. Can you imagine if, when you were contemplating suicide or violence you decide to let her ‘win’ and humiliate your better instincts and travel ‘far away’ to see your son and take him to the toy train museum and sit through her stupid sunday dinner smiling and hugging him. Even if he cried every time you left he would know that you would be back again and again. And as for the gifts..buy them, wrap them and send them to yourself. That way when he grows up you can show him that you cared. None of these things require that much effort. What it requires is for you to come to terms with what the courts have decided and get on with it. Like million of women who get fucked by professional men every single day re alimony and child support.

  16. Hailey Walker on December 12, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    I gave my ex husband 50/50 custody because I thought it would be so much better for my kids. He is supposed to be with his beautiful children 3 nights a week. He sees them every 2 months for 3-4 hours at a time. I am left picking up the pieces financially and emotionally. My $165 a month in child support is barely a week and a half of groceries. I’m not bitter or angry, but I see the pain in my children’s eyes every time he cancels. Or he calls then once a week crying about how much he misses them, but can’t see them and makes promises over and over again. Do I really go to court and become the “bad guy”?

    I will always advise a woman going through a divorce against 50/50 custody.

    • avery on December 27, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      I am sorry you feel this way, I am sorry the father of your children has failed them. But not all fathers are bad, don’t tar all men with the failings of your Ex. Some men are good.

  17. Kevan on November 29, 2019 at 1:10 am

    This describes my situation perfectly. Very few people understand the trials that I’ve has to go through. I literally dropped everything and ran states over, driving myself into unemployment and financial debt in pursuit of my son after his mother ran off with him. I was told that it’s her legal right but had I done the same, despite being on the birth certificate, I could wind up in prison for abduction. Despite all of that, I wound up being a Disneyland dad not by choice, but by the mandarin of the courts. I’ve been thrown into absolute financial despair, unable to provide for my own son and myself included. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on things for my son for when he comes over here only for him to not ever be over here.

    His mother ignores my texts. She ignores my families texts. She is in absolute control of my son. I’ve been told outright by the court during the process of filing for custody that I do not matter as much as she does. The problem is that my son is my entire life. Its physically impossible to make it on a daily basis without him. After losing him I slipped into a very deep depression that not even a severe dependency to alcohol could correct. I’ve aged faster both physically and mentally. You can see it on my face that I’ve lost my child.

    The last time I saw my son, his mom picked him up. He tried to force his way out of the car seat, pushing her away while she tried to buckle him. He was screaming and crying while he reached out to me. At that time he was a year and a half old. A baby that young shouldn’t have to be that aware of the fact that he was leaving his dad. He knew it was time to say goodbye and he didnt want to. They say that at that age, they’re incapable of deciding for themself, but goddamit my son knew where he wanted to be. He made a choice to stay with his dad and his mom told him no. I havent seen him since.

    It’s not that I dont want to be involved. It’s that I just cant keep up. I’m exhausted. I’ve been on my knees begging his mom like I’m cattle begging to be spared the slaughterhouse. I’ve been treated as lesser than human by the courts. During her pregnancy, I was deliberately held back from things because that’s all about the mom. They just dont understand that my love for my son goes beyond everything. I bonded with him in a way that absolutely no one else is capable of, and he did the same with me. Hes my boy and I’m his daddy. But I’m not allowed to be with him because, as others have mentioned, I broke his poor moms heart. For that, he has to pay the price too.

    • Ken Smith on December 11, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      Kevan, I can relate completely, I’ve seen my girls maybe six times in the last 19 years. The courts let me know emphatically that everything was about the mom, not the children or their best interests. They’re grown now and thanks to years of brainwashing, they’re convinced I abandoned them. The truth is, their mom left me for one of her boyfriends. Those who have never been in our shoes cannot begin to understand. I too spent thousands on lawyers who did nothing but take the money. For my own sanity, I had to focus on trying to better myself. Rather than drinking or becoming a couch potato, I went back to school and got my degree and have dedicated myself to helping others. I pray for a restored relationship with my daughters one day but I don’t know if that will happen. I just have to take one step at a time and try to move forward, in a positive direction. You are in my prayers.

  18. Agatha on November 26, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Any “father” who stops seeing their kids or kid just bc they don’t have it their way , is ridiculous. You can’t take it out on the child just bc you don’t get to see them more then you want to And on your time instead of the moms who bust their asses raising these kids alone . Mothers are given custody bc kids are better taken care of by them. Men tend to put themselves and their own feelings first especially young men who are not ready to be a parent. Stop saying all the moms want is money bc it’s your responsibility to provide for your kid too! Not just hers . Do you expect to just not pay for anything the kid needs ?? Even if all she does want from you is money so what?! Yous are together anymore so what else is she going to want if it isn’t you? you Men are so dramatic and lie and try and make us moms look bad while we bust our asses raising the kids from the second they come out of it . Then complain that you don’t get your way. It’s not about YOU.

    • Abdul on December 17, 2019 at 7:38 am

      I would prefer an absent father instead of a sad father destroyed by the cooldest mom. So, please, mothers, think outside of the box. I bet that 90% of money related arguing issues are happening because the mother cannot hide the “I want everything from you. I want you to slowly die but continue with sending money” face. This is not normal and the fact that for some money mothers are always ready to distroy the relationship with the father of the children is hilarious. Of course we are responsable of sending money for rasing the child. Every normal man should see this way. Not normal is that moms are fighting for those money rather than understading and learn to be calm and have peace.

  19. Mr pk on November 20, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    These accounts are all very sad and I can relate to them so well,I got divorced after being married for 24 years,during which my self worth was constantly eroded to a point where life was no longer worth living and I wanted out,tried a few times but came to realise the course of action was to get away from the person inflicting the damage,this took 3.5 years,loads of legal fees and my two daughters.
    That is now 17 years ago ,I haven’t seen one of my kids since then,she has to sons,also never seen,my other daughter stared to treat me like her mum did and I had to make a very difficult decision in order to protect my life,that was to cut her off,it’s all very sad but my two children,now 39 and 35 are well old enough to work things out for themselves if they wanted to ! But they have inherited a problem,like my ex did from her mother,they will never be what I want them to be,that is a normal person respecting themselves and me and enjoying being in each other lives ,and so every time I get down I have to remember the torture that took me to the edge and ask myself do I need to be driven there again ? Well head over heart ,the answer is always no.
    Life can be so good,I am remarried and very happy with my life and wife of 11 years now.
    The pain of loss will only end with my passing,am very down and sad sometimes but do my best to focus on the great things in life not the mistakes from the past.
    PAS gave me so many answers,it helps me understand which can help people cope most of the time.
    I wonder if one day my grandchildren will come looking for me but won’t hold my breath,god knows what they would have been told about me ! All very sad,all inflicted by a sick person who was in need of so much help I couldn’t give.
    I would like to have been a grandad and spent normal time sharing the great things in life,still no to be,head up and move on.
    Parent alienation syndrome is a very real problem damaging so many lives but not talked about so much.

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