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Father not involved in child’s life? 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. We hear things like “Father refuses to see child” or “Father not involved in child’s life.” It’s easy to fall into stereotypes, but I discovered the issue is quite complicated:

Father not involved in child’s life? A look into 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.

However, as we unpack in this article, the real reasons are more complicated, complex and human. Men after all, are marginalized as inferior or at least secondary parents, a fact that is codified in family court when mothers are nearly always granted primary time with children — a power position that means men and dads are officially a lesser parent. 

Read: My advice to moms and dads whose other parent is not involved

Why do fathers give up?

This post challenges a cultural assumption that men willingly walk out on their children and are irresponsible, apathetic parents. Instead, we all suffer under a sexist culture and legal system that marginalizes fathers, and makes it hard if not impossible for them to be meaningfully involved with their children, for reasons including:

  • Sexist culture that does not value or support dads, or prime boys to grow up to expect to be involved, meaningful parts of their children's lives
  • Family and divorce courts that favor mothers=
  • Parental alienation, in which one parent turns the kids against the other parent
  • One dad's compelling story about why he doesn't see his kids (keep reading)
  • Many dads don't believe the child is theirs, or were tricked into fatherhood, or otherwise felt they did not decide to father the child. A DNA test with a site like MyHeritage can help you understand who your children — or father — really is. Try MyHeritage.com now for free >>

806 reader comments and counting on this post tell a story about how prevelant fatherlessness is, how passionate people feel about its reasons and results — and how varied and nuanced those reasons can be.


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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. Men walk out on their child for many reasons, including:

  • They never wanted to be a dad in the first place but were trapped 
  • They have been marginalized by our culture and court system to every-other-weekend parents, which is more painful than walking away and starting a new life that promises more joy 
  • Conflict with the child’s mother is too difficult to navigate 
  • They feel unworthy of parenthood, and feel like walking away is the best thing for the child 
  • The father never had a strong father figure, does not feel competent as a dad nor understand how important his role is.

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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, John G:

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

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.’

Related: This is the real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

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.

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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.

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.

What to do when the non-custodial parent doesn't show up or cancels last minute

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.

Related: What is parental alienation?

Impact on a child’s life when a father isn’t involved

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:


 

 

Bottom line: Father not involved in child’s life? Try to make co-parenting work.

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.

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: Co-parenting rules–even with a difficult ex

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?

Why do fathers give up?

This post challenges a cultural assumption that men willingly walk out on their children and are irresponsible, apathetic parents. Instead, we all suffer under a sexist culture and legal system that marginalizes fathers, and makes it hard if not impossible for them to be meaningfully involved with their children.

How can a father walk out on his child?

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

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. 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. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

813 Comments

Child support is too high and Family Court doesn’t give a shit. Cant afford to have kids over anymore – – working and taking care of myself leaves me no time. If they did come over they will be by themselves 90 percent of time. Have to pay rent, pay ex wife’s mortgage, food, no need to waste time with kids when quality time is Disneyland Dad. Oh well, when they are 18 + if they want to get together.

I know how how it feels, I haven’t seen my two girls for over 20 years, that’s what I thought that they would see me after they are 18, but being lied to and alienated from me for all those years, I understand why they don’t want to see me, I never took their pictures of the walls, now I have two other children that are 21 and 18 and they know about there’s siblings and have not seen them either, walking away was not easy but I couldn’t see the girls being torn apart every time we had them, I miss them so dearly and wish them well, they are both professional now and I know that I was a great father to them. But I wasn’t going to play her game my hole life

Hello,

The problem is that the system doesn’t care if your a good parent or not. The system doesn’t care if your ex is a good parent or not. All the system cares is that you pay for your kids. Well if the system said to pay for the actual costs would it be so bad? If there was consequences for partners that tried to not co-parent would the system be so bad? The problem is that the parent that makes more money needs to pay the other parent more. So if you work really hard to support your kids plus your new family you pay more. So eventually you just keep working harder paying more and seeing everyone less. Does that seem like the answer?

Hmmm!

I’m recently divorced. Not quite a year yet, I find it difficult if not impossible to see my children. Let me first say I was no angel and I’m in no way innocent in the fall of my marriage.
I spent the last four years incarcerated. I fell apart during the events that caused my marriage to fail. I’ll just say that my crime was nothing to do with my children.
My ex divorced me my as soon as I made parole. She is now engaged to a man who was my best friend and with whom she had a long term affair with. He too was recently released from prison.
I don’t have standard visitation. Any contact I have with the children is at her discretion.
My children love me and I love them. When I was first released I saw them consistently for about Two months. My Mother then passed. She the bridge between my ex and myself. My parents took over my role in my absence helping with the children every day, and keeping them in contact with me. They made sure I got a call at least twice a week.
I asked my ex when I was released to please petition the courts to give me standard visitation. I didn’t ask for anything other than that. “No. That’s between you and the courts,” was her response. I knew then. I’ve worked since I was released I’ve not missed one support payment I spent every last dine I made to fix up a room in my house for them and but them second hand furniture trying to make them as comfortable as I could.
I knew our relationship was delicate. For the first month or two I wouldn’t let them come to my house because it had some work to be done, and I didn’t want them to worry about me.
I don’t bring anyone around them that has not been in my life as a positive influence for years. No women whatsoever. I would only consider that if it where a woman I was in a long term relationship with, and even then my time with my kids was so valuable I didn’t want to share it.
I’m sorry I’m rambling, but my point is. I’m a loving father who wants to be a part of my children’s lives. They love me. Everyone who knows me and sees our relationship agrees were happy.
For two months now I haven’t heard a word from my children or my ex. I know they’ve gone to visit my family out if state with my father. He refuses to tell me when he has the kids because as he said “what if she finds out?” I was speechless.
I’m heartbroken and the feeling of something slipping away is every day for me. My children don’t reach out to me. I think to myself “I haven’t done anything.” How could not having me In their life be so easy when it tears my heart out.
My ex wifes last words to me were “You’ll never see your kids again.” I knew she meant them. I knew I had just lost the two most precious people in my life. Every day since had keen mentally and emotionally trying. It effects my work, I’m depressed to the point don’t want to go on. But I will.
I want to say again I’m not a saint. But those children were everything to me.

The problem is there is a system that is designed for “supporting children” and “protecting spouses” and “protecting children” and “dividing assets”. These systems while they’re labeled and maybe at some point may have done the task of the label, are taken advantage of by women in order to alienate children from their father, and make the father pay in one way or another.

If there was no system, and people had to just work things out between themselves, rather than taking advantage of the father they would have to figure things out.
Right now the only people that make out with the money are the lawyers. The support that is imposed on the fathers gives the mother the independence encourages the mother to alienate the children.
If the woman had to work for that “child support” money that the man didn’t provide she would likely reach out to him and ask him for help with watching the children, or ask him for financial help or help with a purchase. Because that doesn’t exist, neither does communication or the need for the other parent to be involved in any way. It’s about extracting finances and blocking communication, visitation, and ability to parent and be a part of the child’s life.

Even if you’re not together with your spouse, it is healthy to see parents working together AS PARENTS even if not as husband and wife. It is healthy for children to see what you both can agree on or disagree on, that you both are working to a common goal of raising the child and that you’re both concerned for the child equally and are doing things within the ability of the child. It is healthy for children to hear from the other parent that they are missed and that they want to have them around. It is also fair and normal for a child to hear from their father if they can’t afford an expense. Both parent’s likely work and things can get hard to afford, and when it comes to choosing between a Nintendo Switch and food, well they should hear about it.

This system only supports the parent with custody to move on to a new partner and their new life. It doesn’t help bring parents together AS PARENTS. If the goal is to setup a visitation schedule they do it and the parenting ends there. If the goal is to setup child support, it’s done and the parenting ends there. If the goal is to setup an order of protection and keep the father away, it is done and the parenting ends there. There is no communication, cooperation, and most of all THERE IS NO PARENTING.

This might sound strange but even if I am working, I would love to have my ex drop off my kid to me and say “HERE YOU GO, I’M EXHAUSTED, PLEASE WATCH HER FOR A DAY OR TWO, SHE MISSES YOU”
to me this says “I am human, I’m not a robot, and like all humans I get tired, I am not here for your money, your daughter wants to be with her dad”

I feel like there is a fear among women to let the father know that their kid loves them and wants to spend time with them, to literally tell them “I don’t want your money, I want you to spend more time with your kid, they miss you, can you please find time to be with them, also it would be nice if you could go with them and shop for some clothes, but if you can’t; I understand”

These women are so busy trying to get at their ex, THEY DON’T HAVE THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM. It’s always about documenting something to use against them. What’s funny is that they talk to their new life partner as if they have the ability to parent their child, and reason, and talk about finances together and agree and disagree together, but with their EX, nooooo, that will never happen.

What a great read… But there is a 3rd option. The dad gets caught cheating for the last time in 10hrs. Begs for reconnecting and reconciliation. But separate for 2 years – 7 hours away. My job transfers me so I am close to my parents as they are retired. He signed the legal separation with no lawyer, no questions and no issue. I have sole custody and he has full access. My son is now 12 and in the past year his father has told our son who is 5’5, 130lbs, size 9 foot, high functioning autistic the following, he gets hurt by an ice ball “your a pussy”, Tells his son he was a disappointment, the whole marriage was a joke, he has a current revolving door of women in his life and his son feels like his dad can’t even have one visit without him having a woman around.

He has recently just asked to stop seeing his dad. I begged him to reconsider until I caught my son getting sick after dinner cause he wanted to lose some weight before he left. So yeah sometimes there are women who would work their butt off to keep a bond between her child and his father but he keeps hurting our son emotionally. And my son’s therapist is so ready to put my ex in his place. And I fear for my son. He seems very mature and articulate about his decision. And as I told him,, maybe if his dad does some counciling with him and maybe some parenting courses, maybe he will find a bond again. His words to me were *mom. I won’t hold my breath on that”. Breaks my heart that he is sometimes wiser then myself?

The father in the above article is a clear-cut manipulative narcissist. He chooses his words carefully but repeatedly makes sure that you know he is an “educated professional” who can afford a “six figure attorney.” So, he went through affording that type of attorney and then walked away. It’s because it was a shot to his ego that he would’ve been “reduced” to temporary supervised visitation. That was insulting to him so instead he came up with this noble and “selfless” narrative where he has walked away as to not cause any further damage to the child’s emotions. It’s complete nonsense. Courts push hard to get both parents involved. We don’t know the true story. The father in the story above claims it was all “false accusations.” Do we know this? We are going by his story that is not being supported with actual evidence. All I’m saying is let’s now let our hearts melt for these “poor and unfortunate” dads that choose to walk away and assume that they are the victims. Ask any pshycholosit and they will be the first to tell you that it’s exceptionally concerning that a father would walk away and is usually a sign he did something and doesn’t want the allegations to come to light.

This 100%, it made me feel a bit sick reading it tbh. I see some parents who coparent amazingly well. Two with.narcissit/psychopathic ex husbands. I’m both these cases though, the father genuinely wants to be there for the child. I should state that before I get abuse for this, one father is clinically diagnosed and the one I am friends with, the other I am friends with the Mom, but only friendly with the Dad as we met after their split. In their cases two parents work together for the child. In many cases, one of the parents just doesn’t want to. The same for me and my ex. He left and it took me 5 years to get him to have any sort of proper contact with his kids. He got up to seeing them twice a week, but it was an uphill battle and by the time he agreed, was only best for one of our two kids really. That was okay for a year, then he got his gf pregnant and found out 6 months in her sister wasn’t going to be their free live in Nanny (a conversation I saw happen in real time and was exactly as awkward as you would imagine). Then we went to court, he could afford a lawyer (actually a barrister and 5 solicitors as we were in the UK) and I couldn’t as I had gone to Uni later in life. He got 50/50 and no more payments to me, the judge did order their official residence to be his though, leaving him to pay for.big ticket things. Which he didn’t, so, I caved and laid, but made sure everything was dropped at the kids school so he couldn’t lie about it. The physical abuse towards the girls got worse as the reality of having them around set in. I moved away, he refused to let me.take them and instead called me the day after I left the country to say he was sending them. Which meant we had no payment order in place. Five years later he has seen them twice. He dropped down to 20 min calls once a week after two weeks and then missed nearly half of them. He refused to give them, or me, his address. 18 months ago the younger one stopped talking to him as she got sick of their by now once monthly calls being about.gim and him not wanting to hear about her life. 7 months ago the older cut calls and texts as she got sick of him being verbally abusive to. Calls I ended up listening to and texts she showed me, it was horrific. I have tried to speak to him (for the record our kids are 16 and 14 ) and asked for alternate contact (the oldest wants letters, so they have to both take their time, she is hoping it would be kinder contact) and he has refused, even to send the letters to a different address (he is afraid he will have to lay money if they find out his address). He ignored her 16th birthday, won’t talk to me, won’t email or send letters (he has our address and their emails). Hear him talk though and it is all “poor me, woe is me. I can’t see the girls and I love them so much” all the nonsense seen from this guy and a few others in the comments section. Zero effort made, but plays the victim hard. He twists every situation to make himself the victim. He also cannot stand people doing better than him, not even his kids. He openly finds it offensive that they do well I’m school, because he didn’t. Instead.of being pleased, he would tell them they were useless and wasting their time and they still wouldn’t do as well as him (low level manager in a warehouse, which in other companies would be supervisor level). Some people just don’t want to be parents, which is a shame, but fine. Seeing them playing the victims is disgusting.

Your comment is the reason why mostly of the women out there don’t like feminism, father’s must be listen as a mother you should always tell your kids to speak well about their father, the courts have no prove he was abusive so both parents deserve equal rights that’s what true feminist believe

That’s not true, the same exact thing happened to me. All she had to do is go to court make false allegations and cry. And in a system where a restraining order is very easily obtained that automatically gives you a leg up in custody. I have a clean background and never been in any trouble – I was treated like a criminal and lost my daughter during the process. I’ve done so much for my family and my daughter from the day she was born…. I’m fighting like hell for her but it requires deep deep pockets and lot of patience. System is shameful, I’m ashamed to be a citizen of a country that does this to a parent.

This post sounds like my story. Whoever doesnt have possession of the child or they are removed to another state (my case) can literally be jerked around for months about the most important thing in your life (your child). And, access is contingent on lies about your character and 50000 in attorneys fees. I dont understand keeping your spouse from their child. I always assumed my childs mother (if capable) should get as much access as possible and have as much influence as possible on my child. I wish I could resign myself to giving up (I even tried for a month). What is lost in shared experience and influence between my son and I becomes greater every day over the last year since he was taken from me. I try to video chat with my son every chance but its not the same. What is truly ‘just’ or ‘best’ for your child is not what you are considered due by family court. Family court is tasked with the distillation of guile and legal tactics for the purpose of finding out whats best for a child. Many of the best men I know have been trained for a lifetime to stand between their family and danger or insult. Men like me dont virtue signal to the court or authorities well when casual violence to our children, psychological or otherwise is perpetrated by a spouse or allowed by a dysfunctional system. I’ve lost family, lost careers, been divorced, but nothing compares to not being able to be with your child. My best advice is not to have kids if you arent likely to handle a circumstance like what Im describing effectively, because it can injure your ability to parent well, which was a big part of my decision making process in becoming a parent.

There is no incentive for a woman to deny her children access to their father. If I was divorced, I would want my children to spend time with their father so that I could get a break and some needed free/me time. Society is always painting women as vindictive and the men as these so-called ‘innocent victims’. Women do not divorce, create supervised visitation, and orders of restraint for no reason. That man did something bad that made him dangerous and untrustworthy as a father and husband. The father of my son decided he wanted nothing to do his son. My brother was on drugs and never raised his children. He might pop in on occasion, but overall he left the raising to the mothers and he never got his life together either. My two friends have men who never raised or were involved with their children. My relative has a son whose biological father is never involved and left all fathering to his stepfather. The stories of trifling men who abandon their children abound over and over again. So I am supposed to believe that a woman who stands to benefit from raising her children in a two-parent household willingly decides to divorce her children’s father AND prevent them from seeing him because she is that mad. OR more plausible in a country with thousands of reported and unreported instances of verbal/physical abuse and domestic violence, where men typically engage in extramarital affairs, abuse alcohol and drugs at higher rates than women —- these men did something seriously f–cked up and the women left him for the safety of her children, who she has spent her life taking care of and now these men are concocting sob stories to make them look good (because that is what they do) and somehow I am supposed to believe the word of a man who has abandoned his children over the word of the mother who is taking care of her children all the time??? I think the author of this article should have spent more time vetting these men’s stories. In an effective domestic violence/anger management programs, they always check in with the woman to see if true change is taking place because men will lie and say anything to get what they want and keep up their image.

Men and women perpetrate domestic violence in relative equal percent. The premise of your argument is that women never do anything wrong. It’s like saying men never do anything wrong. You have an ax to grind and sounds like you need therapy.

I believe that you have not gone through a separation or divorce nor have the police come to your house and tell you that you have 30 minutes to leave your own house due to a bogus pfa order that my ex wife put on me. She included my sons in the pfa ( the earth’s scumbag move). I tell you this to say this every story is different and I have learned not to judge anyone for their actions because until you get put in a situation that men have faced in divorce and child custody. You and everyone reading this have no right to judge anyone for their decisions. Women can be just as evil as men and when child support is involved, women forget about the kids best interest. Best advice I can give a men facing a pfa is to not forget that pfas can be put on women as well. I put one of on my ex to level the playing field.

Mary,
You’re on a website called wealthysingle mum. The guy is honest about having a job and an ability to pay for good legal advice. Does this make him manipulative and self fulfilling.
I’m faced with his exact situation, differing in that I left 3 kids, recieved physical violence, and don’t think she is capable as mother. I am are waiting patiently to decipher her lies through courts. In this process I’m turning to alcohol more and more, but is that as a cause or result of my leaving, to protect my children.
Thanks for being honest, the further comments highlights feminist sexism is a rife in a girls club which I hope will be addressed somehow.

Exactly! This article seems it’s putting the “blame” on the mothers more than the “men” accepting accountably

I’m so confused. My kid’s father has lived away (out of state for work) from us for 14 years (our kids are 17, 14, and 10). He still always maintained a decently close relationship with the me and the kids. He would visit as often as he could and talked to the kids usually once a week. He would live with us when out of work.

Recently, he was living with us and he strangled me. I was able to scream at the kids to call 911, and he was arrested. His friends got him out the next day. This was the only time he was ever physically violent to me, and has never been to the kids. A mandatory restraining order was automatically entered against him. A month after at the court appearance he asked the judge if he could contact the kids the judge said no. Prior to the next court date I asked the DA to try and change the protection order so he could talk to the kids. The judge approved it, so now he is allowed to talk to them. It has been about 2 weeks and he hasn’t tried to contact them. Also, the kids know they are allowed to contact him too and none of them have.

I’m so confused by the whole situation. I don’t know why he hasn’t called after years of maintaining regular contact with the kids? I’m also a little surprised none of the kids have called him. The kids know what happened that night because they were all home. (If they had not been I’m pretty sure I’d be dead.) I haven’t said anything bad about him since it happened. The only thing I have said is that I miss him. I want our kids to have a relationship with him. I think he wants a close relationship with the kids, so why hasn’t he called or texted them?

Child support is too high and Family Court doesn’t give a shit. Cant afford to have kids over anymore – – working and taking care of myself leaves me no time. If they did come over they will be by themselves 90 percent of time. Have to pay rent, pay ex wife’s mortgage, food, no need to waste time with kids when quality time is Disneyland Dad. Oh well, when they are 18 + if they want to get together.

After long conflict we broke up, her son being then 6, now 7, she has a new relationship and has decided to move away to her lover of 9 months. Taking her son from the place where he grew up and went to skool for 5+ years. With almost walking distance from her parents. Leaving everything behind. She knows I do not condone and therefore I have decided to pull out and not engage in any more of her actions. The effect of her malisious actions on my mental health are a border I will not let her cross again. It is unfortunate for the child. She never let me have legal recognittion of him and therefore there is no power I have or can invoke to prevent her actions. Im done with it and will no longer be played. I will not be a disneyland dad.

I never got to have children , so I can only try to understand how some of the parents feel. I try not to get involved in any custody talks any longer as one or the other of the parents are very angry with the other . I believe that if people don’t nitpick each other about minor problems and make an ant hill into a mountain . Best of luck everybody . I will never even consider a girl in a relationship with an unruly ex . You can keep her . No matter how pretty, wealthy , or great the woman is , the unruly ex who is jealous and angry , will make her eventually not be worth the price of admission, whether it’s free , a movie and dinner night , a night out on the town , or an easy night at home , that ex will eventually ruin all of these things on separate occasions over time . Stay away from the “ Crazies “ !!! Do yourself a huuuuuuge favor ……… Donald

I was the child of a divorced father who was made out to be a monster by my mother and grandparents. It was the 1950’s and 1960’s so he stayed away “for the good of the child”. My mother put me into foster care for 2 years, and then I lived with my grandparents for 4 more years before ending up with my mother and a stepfather who didn’t care about me. I have come to understand how important it is to have people in your life who genuinely care about you. Foster homes traumatized me since I did not understand why my world had been ripped away, and since the foster parents didn’t care about me (I now know there are some foster parents who do care), my mother seldom visited, and of course my father never did. I now deeply resent that my father who cared about me (I met him again when I was 21) was kept away from me when I so needed to be cared about. The lack of caring caused me to stay in abusive relationships, constantly reliving the script that I am an outsider who doesn’t belong. Don’t deprive your kids of people who care about them, you will damage them for life.

I have been divorced for 8 years and and remarried for about 4. My children are all adults from age 22 to 32. I DON”T WANT TO SEE THEM. This seems to be unusual because if I google, ‘Parent who doesn’t want to see adult children’, I only get links about children who want to cut off their parents. I am also sure that many of you will think that this is cruel, but let me explain. My ex became very emotionally distant once we had children and I would say that I was never as close to my children as I wished. We only saw my ex’s family at holidays and I was working 2 jobs much of the time. I became the extra wheel after a while and right before we separated she said the best she could say is that I am a good provider.

I tired so very much to have a good relationship with all of my children after the divorce. Things went well for a while and I let them go to my ex’s for holidays as I wanted to be accommodating and I saw them a week before or a week after the holiday. But after a while I realized that they were just going through the motions and there was no affection at all between us. I won’t go through all of the signs but to wait for a grain of sand’s worth of affection back is too disappointing. I had a heart attach last August and my youngest hasn’t called, visited, or texted since then. She has a car that I bought for her and she lives 20 minutes away. My son made a big scene 2 Christmas’s ago, told me my politics are terrible and he left without even acknowledging my wife when she came home. He invited me (not my wife) to his wedding but also made it clear that he would prefer if I did not come.

I am a traditionalist and a Christian when my 3 children are not. I grew up poor and also believe in family staying together, and children honoring their parents. They have none of these values. When I do get an occasional text promising to get together it brings me nothing but pain. So I am moving on and do not contact them. I used to feel guilty about this but finally no longer do.

After 20 yrs of fighting to stay in touch with my son, and a actual relationship for maybe 5 of those. I’m exhausted from fighting her to be part of his life. For a brief time after a guy I went to school with I didn’t particularly care for (he made it clear when he called he felt the same about me) and told me my ex was driving with the boy in the car utterly annihilator on god knows what but I can tell you it was more then beer. I talked her into leaving him with me on weekends after work I would get him until Sunday . Her family we’re all very willing to cover her known mental issues from finding her dead mother as a child ,so I’ve been told. I did read a police report that seemed to verify this at one point. After she’d tried to return and couldn’t agree to be a one man woman I refused to pursue that type of relationship, and she decided I needed another court hearing if I wanted visitation. I still get told I didn’t pay support when somethings said about visitation, even though I have the $75 card from the returned overdrawn paid support at home. Just in case it comes up again one day in someway. I felt the same as a lot of these men but I couldn’t stop fighting for him even if it meant being the best parent I could be by not being his parent. After he had grown he did make contact again after an attempt by me to initiate. For while things we’re great kinda, I was able to send copies of all 5 court cases and the refusal to allow adoption when notified. Come to find out later she had lost her rights for a time for meth and instead of the Father being notified of that, apparently somehow the grandparents superseded my co parenting decree and claimed I no longer had any interest in my child. Even though I never lapsed in support I was often called deadbeat, or absent. Always from people who had no idea of my circumstances and more than once by a court or child services or support employee’s. After my son received the court documents he seemed confused and stated he just couldn’t believe his uncle could lie to him. I guess this meant the Official documents had somehow been fake? Or I was lying though in the deposition she clearly states “Yes, I kept him from his father because he moved” He now has a daughter of his own, I was lucky to find out when 2 days after she was born his mother called to tell me and ask me to “come back to her and make another kid” that was immediately refused. A few days later my son threatened to keep the child from me. After 25 yrs I’d had enough and told him he should. I almost took my life at Christmas even though I hate suicide. The resulting depression ,and economical loss ,eventually sent me to the hospital from malnutrition ,with a heart attack. I probably wont live long enough to see this round through. I’ve only seen a single picture of my granddaughter that I’ll never meet in all reality. I was angry at my friend when he said “I don’t want to fight anymore for my daughter, I don’t want to think about her, I want to forget she exists” as your article shared I expected him to go through all the hell and trauma I had or how can he really be a good father? That was before it almost took my life an sanity, as well as another mans detailed account, and even though I hurt for those lost yrs and hate what has happen to my family I don’t hate her, and have sat with more than one ex gf in similar situations asking can we go because watching the kids in the Christmas play is just too much for me to bear. How could I tell her no when I felt the same heartbreak over my own child? So of course we left. It isn’t that I as a man am a victim of some kind, it’s that this issue destroys whole families that I felt I’d share in public a short account of my personal story. Please try your best for your children to co parent, because they need you both more than you know.

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.

Ben… (comment below me)

Dude.
What. The. Fuck.

I… w..hat.
Someone please step in and give some advice. I’m sure there are plenty of people much smarter than I who can do that. Which frees me up to take the low hanging fruit of being the first one to say… what the actual fuck! I was struggling harder & harder to even believe what I’m reading is real the further I went through your comment. I’m sorry if I sound insensitive, that’s not what I’m going for here. I guess what I’m saying is… Maybe you can give some more insight as to your thought process, or something, throughout the early stages of…whatever this thing is that you went through. I mean.. why did you keep seeing this…woman (I hesitate to use that word, as that implies that she is human, i.e. possessing some humanity, and of that I am not incredibly overall convinced.) after everything you described? Genuinely, I’m asking because I just am not understanding, I feel like I might be missing something here. Was it just a case of being that much of a horny 18 year old that you were like fuck it, you didn’t really care? I say that with absolutely no disrespect or judgement btw – if that’s what it was, then alright. I mean I’m just trying to wrap my head around it. Seriously. Perhaps you can walk us through the emotions leading up to everything that’s going on now.

I regret that I can’t offer any advice to you on your current situation. Legitimately though I think some further context would help here

And by the way, just as a quick addendum – I wanna just say that I feel for you. I found this blog because of a relatively atypical fked-up situation involving my girlfriend and 18 month old son that I’m going through currently, and stumbled on it while googling. I wanna make it clear that I think I understand that feeling you must have of – that your situation may indeed be somewhat unique/uncommon compared to some of the usual advice columns you find on the internet, and not knowing wtf to do at all.

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.

I am the mother. I felt this entire piece except from a mother’s view. I did not do anything wrong, but myself and other reported abuse that was told by her. I fought for her protection. They gave him sole physical and legal. I have not seen or spoken to her in two years. It kills me every day. Some days are better than others. I have to pay for supervised visits and gave up on seeing her than 10 hours a month. It is $200 an hour for supervised visits. I could not take hearing my daughter talk about abuse or watching her behaviors I know were not okay and no one would do anything. They just said child was coached and they usually do that in abuse cases against the father. There has been zero contact at all in years. I do not know anything at all about my child. Some days I want to die. Some days there are glimpses of my old life and me before having a child. I love my child more than anything. I sometimes hope for a miracle that will release her from her father, but it has not happened. Now I get scared of going back to being a full time parent. The court made me feel like I could never be a good mother and I used to feel I was one. Unless a parent is abusive, they should not be stripped of custody. They thought I was abusive because they refused to believe abuse was happening and worked in a team to get the father custody. I left him because he was abusive and an alcoholic. A lot of people do not believe he was abusive and they just thinkI am messed up when I am not. I never wanted this. I wanted to have a father present in my child’s life and share time with, but he ended up abusive. I do not know what else to do, but stay away like this person and reclaim my life. I do not have the resources for fighting in court and court also took my life. I afraid they will succeed one day if I keep fighting. I remember what it was like last time. I have PTSD, depression, and anxiety now after fighting for years. I feel so guilty and lost, but I do not want to keep fighting and give them the last piece of me until I lose my life. It is even worse as the mother because people assume the mother always gets custody unless they are bad so I am viewed with skepticism or judgement that I must be bad. They view the court system as protecting children who need it when this is not the case and they believe that if court drops a case, then person is innocent. This is far from the truth. Now I paid with the loss of my child. The last memory of them is them crying to not go and they will miss me and saying something to comfort them, but ended up being reprimanded by my ex’s lawyer and CPS for saying it. You are always wrong in court when they choose to target you. You do not stand a chance of getting to love your children. Today I sat and sobbed until I found some comfort from reading this piece because I feel so lost and alone. I am not the happy person I was years ago after losing my child. There is always a sadness over me despite picking up pieces of my life. I feel older and just empty. It is amazing the lengths they will go through to keep a child in father’s life, but they erased me completely as a mother, like I was not important and a child did not need me. They acted like there were no consequences to a child who the erased the mother from. No one wants to help unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars. I just want to see my daughter and have her safe, but the court and her father will not allow this. The healthy moms and dads do not get to see their children when there is unhealthy parent who court allows to do the abuse.

From a mother who has a 10 y.o son and has gone through the system myself, I offer a very differing persepective.
My ex husband of 15 years abused me and a police application was taken out for a protection order. The police identified the use of our son as a way to manipulate and abuse me, and him threating to kill us made them also want me to put him on the order. I refused as I never wanted to take him away from his dad. I sought mediation, his father refused. He disappeared for over 6 months because we couldn’t be happy family. Then he came back. We have been through court. He got granted supervised visits due to his criminal charge at first, its progressed to unsupervised, and since the unsupervision my son has come home and asked why his father says bad things about me and why he always wants so much information. I have told him to respond with the exact line this father has stated “I dont feel comfortable discussing this”, if it something you dont want to talk about, and I have tild my son that should I ever do the same you are to tell me this also. I have taught my son a boundary, and his father much disagrees with him putting it into effect and now claims I am “brainwashing and alienating our son”.
He has from day 1 been unable to commit to any kind of agreement we have put through the court, he barely shows up, and the time our son has with him he is questioned, made to feel uncomfortable, and then reports are made to docs to try and say he is in danger in my care.
The communication like the above situation, is only through a communication app, and he is to not call my number at all not even to contact our son and that was because the documented abuse was so bad that it was deamed inappropriate for phone contact.
Now in this app, there is a constant trend of anger, name calling and rage constantly thrown at me as well as a huge string of allegations about how my son is not safe in my home.
I am glad communication is in writing, because it has the abuse documented.
I understand it must be a difficult time for his father, and I am sure he doesnt understand why its important to me to have a consent order made. But when someone has been so volitle and continues to be it is necessary. He can not follow or appreciate boundaries and thinks rules dont apply to him, hence the criminal charge.
Maybe he has wounds that cant heal because of the situation with our son, but even single bit of abuse I cop and the way our son gets questioned it shows me that the past behaviour hasnt changed.

Ill also add that I do offer him extra time if I know he isnt going to be working. He also lives away from us some distance so it was a every second weekend thing. We came to a final agreement that would see significant time increased, but then his father changed his mind and moved away.
He told me he cant do it, he cant see our son the way he expects and he is entitled to our son and its my fault he feels the way he doe as. Its been 12 months.

The mental health of himself and myself is severly affected in our communications and this whole ordeal. Our son is too.
When there has been abuse, the party who conflicted it thinks that it should just be forgotten, for which part it is. But then behaviour that aligns with the previous abuse occurs and you have someone suffering PTSD, and the other side mentally suffering too.
Where abuse has been involved and proven, there needs to be some real work required of BOTH parties before they are shoved into a coparenting box. If the abuse continues, then unfortunately the suffering to the child is too high.

As a mother, my son is my priority, as I am certain his father feels this same way. This has made me want to kill myself as it has been extremely difficult to navigate. I have sought help from many many professionals to deal with strategies to help with my PTSD, so that when he triggers me with certain things I dont fall into a heap.

It may all be in writing, but to read the words still does damage. My son has seen me cry, I take full responsibility for him seeing more than he should have. It hurts me to think I have impacted on his feelings about his Dad in anyway, and I have worked hard to try to make sure I didnt make any of those mistakes a second time.

Like I said its been 12 months since his Dad left us with a message blaming me. Broken families are hard. Not just to the fathers, but the mothers too. ECSPECIALLY when abuse HAS occured and then still occurs.

I will await his return, and in that time hope he works on himself just as I am, so that maybe we can get it right. I feel like I fail my son daily, I feel weak, and I feel like I wishing I could turn back time and do things different.

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.

THE CROSSROADS

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 daughter is also my trigger and seeing her, specially when when she talked about abuse the court did not believe, it would wreck me every week I saw her. Every time I think of going back, nightmares start again and I break down. I am seeing a therapist for years now who knows the whole case. I am female, but I feel what you felt. I feel guilty not seeing her and paying $1600/month to see her for 8 hours supervised. I do not want to deal with her fathers abuse again either. I chose to step back a bit. I still try sending things, but it only answered by silence. Im terrified to attempt a call since my ex got supervised visits and I was told no phone calls allowed.I have been threatened with jail time if I kept saying she was abused. The whole experience left me where you are. I am sorry you had to go through it.

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.

Few and far between. They exist however ( starmer(2013)). If knowledgeable abusers knew this would they abuse such common law verdicts ? Yes, by nature.
And also when reflecting on contributions are abusers unlikely to forget the modus operandi? No , by nature.
It’s not easy to judge, hence courts middle ground but I see virtue in your idea to establish situation prior to custody decisions.
Thank you

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

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