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Originally Posted by CWarrior
Validating helps you understand their experience and shows you care. You can validate her experience and still be "right" about whatever you want to be

What is more important, "Being Right" or improving your relationship with D? It is about relating to the other persons experience.


Wolf, I can relate to the parental alienation. Definitely at different levels. The hate campaign my ex wife had for me does not stack up the the hate campaign your X has for you.

Thankfully it sounds like you are shining a light on it and professionals are seeing it.


"What is best for my kids is best for me"
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You have two goals in this therapy. One is to get the therapist to see your side - you've done that.

The other is to improve the relationship with your daughter - that, you're not doing so great at. While pointing out that other people have done more scary things may help make your case with the therapist, it does NOTHING to improve your relationship with your daughter. Being defensive and engaging in whataboutism is not going to help you with her. A better approach would have been validating (which, as demonstrated above, is not about saying "you're right" but about acknowledging her feelings "so, what I hear you saying is me yelling at you years ago scared you?" This could be topped off by "it was never my intention to scare you, I love you and only want what is best for you".

Now - there are two possibilities here with her saying that. One is that you yelling DID scare her and that effect has either lasted or been called back up in the current drama. And she's looking for reassurance that you won't do that in the future. The other possibility is that her mother told her "Go in and say you're scared of him then you can stay with me full time and won't have to visit that horrible ho he's with and see their misbegotten infant".

You cannot know which it is. I'd say 50:50 chance of it being A or B. So just assume that she needs validation and reassurance and offer her those.

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Originally Posted by Wolfman
Dawn. The comment about the bf smoking was that he walked out of their home smoking a cigar. He just wasn’t smoking it outside. He also walked back in the home smoking. That’s where I have a problem. I guess you are right, that I fight to be right. I guess I have to prove that because there is so much stacked against me now, I feel like I am slowly drowning. Overall my depression has come back and it’s pretty bad.

I'm so sorry you are going through all that you are going through. Others have given you some great advice and things to think about. I guess all I can add is that you are in therapy with your D and she is showing up, so that should be a win for you. At least she's coming, even if she is saying she's scared of you. I think it was Deja who talked about how when your D says she's scared, you need to listen and validate rather than try to turn the tables and prove how scary others are in relation to your yelling. This is what I'm talking about your fighting to be right. If you are fighting to be right to your daughter, it is NEVER going to happen and the more you dig in and try to get her to see that you are right, the more she is going to dig in and insist that you aren't and withdraw and defend "her family". Right now, you have to put your feelings aside and make your therapy all about her and her feelings and understanding them.

Your situation [censored] and my heart goes out to you. If you had a good co-parenting relationship with your XW a lot of these things would be easier to resolve, but clearly that ship has sailed, so you just have to continue to work to have a good relationship with both your kids. Keep going to therapy with your daughter. LISTEN to what she says and really hear her. Don't just listen for the sake of forming a response to "prove" how wrong she is. Her feelings are her feelings, regardless of whether you agree with them or not and trying to change her feelings is only going to bite you in the butt later. Listen, validate, say "I understand", "I'm sorry you feel that way", those sorts of things. I have said this to you before and it bears repeating: you are the adult and the dad in this situation, so be the adult! Don't stoop to trying to prove you are right or one-upping her by pointing out that you only yelled while her uncle made threats and broke things.

I will be honest, and I say this from a place of a woman who is and always has been a "daddy's girl". My daddy will ALWAYS be my hero and he will always be the man that every man in my life has to measure up to and let me just tell you, those are some mighty big cowboy boots to fill. Your daughter loves you. Your daughter is hurting. Your daughter is a teenager. She is hurt that you yelled at her for whatever reason (even if that reason was totally justified, as you were getting onto her for something or whatever...I'm not debating whether you yelled or why you yelled....doesn't matter). She's hurt by that because she loves you and she knows she disappointed you. Sure, she loves her uncle, but she might not think his actions are scary because she knows that her mother and you will keep her safe from her uncle. She's also a teenager and teenagers hold grudges and make poor decisions. My guess is her steadfastness in her claims that she's scared because you yelled at her are, at least in part, a way to "get back at you" for hurting her, choosing your girlfriend (another claim she's made against you). My point in all this is that while your XW may very well be doing some alienating, your daughter may be lashing out in every negative way she can think would hurt you just to get back at you for something she perceives as a slight against her, i.e. you chose your GF and new baby over her. (I'm NOT saying that is what you did, just saying that makes sense given that she's actually made that claim, according to your own story.) Of course, this is all purely speculation on my part, based only on the information you have provided, so it could be way off.

I guess my overall point is that I get you are in an awful situation and I feel for you. Just keep loving your kids and trying to be as good a dad as you can be. Listen, validate, make the times you have with them about them and their feelings instead of your need to be right and your need for EVERYONE to agree that you are the victim of parental alienation.


Me 52, H53
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Divorce from XH final 12/17/2014
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Wolfman, you wrote this one year ago--
Originally Posted by Wolfman
1. When I have a disagreement with my GF is to validate and not raise my voice. I can�t help it I am Italian. Lol Seriously though, try to stay calm even when the other person is yelling at me.
2. I have learned from here that a person�s feelings is their feelings and I don�t have right to tell them what they are feeling is wrong, ridiculous, makes no sense. That is how they feel in that moment and it is my job to understand and validate those feelings. Not easy for me but I am working on it.
3. Do I want to be right or happy? Instead of always trying to prove my point, just let it go and put my pride to the side and be happy.
4. Really try to express how I feel and how something is making me feel instead of just bottling it up or expect the other person to just know how I feel.
5. Most important, just learn to be happy no matter what life throws at you. These last 2 years have been the hardest years of my life, literally. I am always trying to find little bits of positive and happiness. It�s not easy, it takes work but it�s worth it.



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Thank you all for your wonderful advice. I need to continue to work on the validation. I really stink at it. I guess a lot of times I am just astonished what my d says about me and what our relationship was. It’s hard to validate at times when they are complete lies. For example a couple of weeks ago, my d said, isn’t it true your gf does not get along with her parents or talk to them? How would I validate that, when it’s a lie? So I replied, I don’t know where you heard that but your brother met gf’s family the other day. We even went out to diner with her parents and her sisters family. So I am a little confused how you could say that? I definitely needed to clarify that. I know my d point is trying to say that my gf has problems with people, but it wasn’t true at all. Even the therapist chimed in and said d how can you say that when your brother has met them? Then my d backpedaled and said, oh s said he did meet them once. So I asked they why would you say that? She changed the subject. So yes, I feel I need to clarify certain situations. I guess I am not always sure when to validate and when to make a point. Does anyone have any suggestions for me how to make a conversation with my d? I ask about school, example, “Tell me about your last few days about school.” I try and use open ended questions to get more than a one word response. But she still cuts it short. She will respond, “it was ok.” I will say can you tell me something that stood out as funny or bizzarre? She will respond, no. I even tried 2 sessions ago to bring cards. I said let play some cards and chat. She refused. I try not to make it into an interrogation, so I try and tell her things that happened during my day. Nothing. Then the therapist will ask her to speak or say something; then she will attack me about something. Again, usually lies that I can disprove. With either texts, pictures or emails. So again, how do I validate attacks on me? I feel if I would have validated her with theses attacks I would look like a monster. Please help me with that everyone. Definitely a skill I am not good at or even understand. Being attacked with lies and sit there and validate and not defend.

More to come. Huge problem happened at therapy on Friday. My ex is out of her mind. I’ll write about it soon. Thank you everyone for sticking with me.


M:42 XW:41
T:19 M: 15
D:13 S:10
BD: 8/10/18
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Friday I had therapy with my d. The therapist text the day before to come in a half hour earlier. I asked, just out of curiosity, why? Wasn’t sure if she wanted to see me first or if she just moved it up. She didn’t respond. I showed up on time and the ex and d were not there yet. I went into the office and she closed the door but left it cracked open. We started to talk about the week before and how it went. Then she asked me why I brought up the uncle 2 weeks before. A little puzzled because she was in There and we spoke about it 2 weeks ago why. So i started to explain it was to show her that my d claims she is afraid of me yet not afraid of my ex’s brother when I’m the past he physically attacked and we had to run out of her parents house. Well just as I said that, my ex and d walked into the building and she heard that. She opened the door, and started to yell at me in front of the therapist and my d I am not to talk her or her family. That this is slander and she is going to speak to her lawyer about this. And that I am a liar that he never did such a thing. I responded calmly, he never attacked you and we had to run out of your parents house? Her yelling still never, you are a liar!!! I said really l, what about him punching a hole in the bathroom door? She started to yell look what you have done!!! I said answer the question. Calmly, “did your brother punch a hole in the bathroom door?” Again yelling at me, what about what you have done!!!! Again I said calmly, I repeated the question. She replied angrily, yeah he did that but the kids weren’t around. I just responded, ok. Then she proceeded to yell, what about you? You put your hands on me!! I said never. And then to my complete shock and astonishment, she said what about you putting your hands on the kids. I said you are a complete liar. I said to the therapist, notice she is saying this all in front of my d. Continue to make a scene and lies in front of my d. The therapist finally escorted her out of the room and told her to calm down. The therapist also apologized to the ex because she said she was the one asking me that question and I was simply answering it for her. She asked my d if she wanted to continue, her response was she had no choice. Which implies that the ex is telling her that she will get in trouble because it is court ordered. I said I guess so, but the ex has to wait outside. Side note, the walls are thin and she sits right outside the door listening to our conversation. She yelled, she is not waiting outside she is staying right here. I said to the therapist then I will not speak unless she is outside and cannot hear our conversation. The ex yelled, I am waiting right here. The therapist said to her, how you go into another room for this session. And she escorted her to another room. At this point I was not in a good mood and my d. Even so, I tried. I took a long pause before I started. I asked her about school. One word answer. I asked about some of her friends. One word answer. So I realized this session was a wash. So I told my d. I love her very much and I am very sorry you had to witness that. I said I know you are upset right now and you don’t have to stay. She looked at me shocked, and replied really? I said, yeah babydoll you can go if you want to. She said thank you and got up and walked out. I spoke with the therapist again solo and made sure they left before we spoke. And she said she is calling my lawyer and writing a letter that there is parental alienation and that we need a forensic psychologist. She also said that she wants to have the family to go through a psychological evaluation. I said that is fine with me. She said besides the alienation there is a very unhealthy attachement with my d and ex. So this is where I am at.


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Originally Posted by Wolfman
Thank you all for your wonderful advice. I need to continue to work on the validation. I really stink at it. I guess a lot of times I am just astonished what my d says about me and what our relationship was. It’s hard to validate at times when they are complete lies. For example a couple of weeks ago, my d said, isn’t it true your gf does not get along with her parents or talk to them? How would I validate that, when it’s a lie? So I replied, I don’t know where you heard that but your brother met gf’s family the other day. We even went out to diner with her parents and her sisters family. So I am a little confused how you could say that? I definitely needed to clarify that. I know my d point is trying to say that my gf has problems with people, but it wasn’t true at all. Even the therapist chimed in and said d how can you say that when your brother has met them? Then my d backpedaled and said, oh s said he did meet them once. So I asked they why would you say that? She changed the subject. So yes, I feel I need to clarify certain situations. I guess I am not always sure when to validate and when to make a point. Does anyone have any suggestions for me how to make a conversation with my d? I ask about school, example, “Tell me about your last few days about school.” I try and use open ended questions to get more than a one word response. But she still cuts it short. She will respond, “it was ok.” I will say can you tell me something that stood out as funny or bizzarre? She will respond, no. I even tried 2 sessions ago to bring cards. I said let play some cards and chat. She refused. I try not to make it into an interrogation, so I try and tell her things that happened during my day. Nothing. Then the therapist will ask her to speak or say something; then she will attack me about something. Again, usually lies that I can disprove. With either texts, pictures or emails. So again, how do I validate attacks on me? I feel if I would have validated her with theses attacks I would look like a monster. Please help me with that everyone. Definitely a skill I am not good at or even understand. Being attacked with lies and sit there and validate and not defend.

More to come. Huge problem happened at therapy on Friday. My ex is out of her mind. I’ll write about it soon. Thank you everyone for sticking with me.

Hi Wolfman,

Validation has nothing to do with facts--it's recognizing your daughter's emotions like fear, anger, pain, etc. Feelings aren't right or wrong. Acknowledge them. Practice this on everyone. Active listening is where you repeat back your understanding of what someone says to ensure you get them correctly. It may be particularly helpful in turning off your right-fighting.

Originally Posted by Conversation
D: "isn’t it true your gf does not get along with her parents or talk to them?"
Wolf: "I don’t know where you heard that but your brother met gf’s family the other day. We even went out to diner with her parents and her sisters family. So I am a little confused how you could say that?"
D: "oh s said he did meet them once."
Wolf: "they why would you say that?"
Therapist: how can you say that when your brother has met them?"

You're so focused on the battle over whether D believes your opinions or your XW's opinions, you seem to be completely missing the battle over whether D wants a relationship with you.

Your D did phrase her maybe-accusation as a question. A simple response might have been, "Your brother and I saw gf’s family the other day. We went out to diner with her parents and her sisters family." Just answer her question by telling her what you saw. The more troubling bit of your dialogue was the "I don't know where you heard that.. how could you say that.. why would you say that?" Are you attacking her for asking a question--discouraging her from communicating with you? Are you trying to attack her mom by getting D to slip up and provide evidence for parental alienation--discouraging her from communicating with you? If your point in these sessions is a legal attack instead of building a relationship with your D, I wouldn't be surprised if mom stops taking her, or requests a change of therapist to one with a more neutral position.

Wolf, I would love to see you rebuild a relationship with your D. As long as you have these sessions, it's possible, so don't squander them on right-fighting. I highly encourage watching the 5-minute video by Brene Brown on empathy or picking up lengthier texts on communication. You can improve the way you interact with your kids. We all can.



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Originally Posted by Wolfman
Then she asked me why I brought up the uncle 2 weeks before. A little puzzled because she was in There and we spoke about it 2 weeks ago why. So i started to explain it was to show her that my d claims she is afraid of me yet not afraid of my ex’s brother when I’m the past he physically attacked and we had to run out of her parents house.
Really?! Wolf, we all called you on bringing up your uncle--it sounds like you still may not get why that was irrelevant and inappropriate in the context of that conversation. Wolf, I'm going to be blunt--I suspect the therapist's recommendation may not be as glowing as you hope. See if you can understand why you shouldn't have brought up your uncle. Show the therapist you get it. I'm worried you're going to lose these visits and then you'll be waiting much longer to patch things up with D.

Originally Posted by Wolfman
She opened the door, and started to yell at me in front of the therapist and my d I am not to talk her or her family. That this is slander and she is going to speak to her lawyer about this. And that I am a liar that he never did such a thing. I responded calmly, he never attacked you and we had to run out of your parents house? Her yelling still never, you are a liar!!! I said really l, what about him punching a hole in the bathroom door? She started to yell look what you have done!!! I said answer the question. Calmly, “did your brother punch a hole in the bathroom door?” Again yelling at me, what about what you have done!!!! Again I said calmly, I repeated the question. She replied angrily, yeah he did that but the kids weren’t around. I just responded, ok.
Wolf, what the hell?! Why can't you turn off the right-fighting, "calmly" or otherwise?! You really did this in front of your D and the psychologist making court recommendations?! That's not a good sign.

Originally Posted by Wolfman
I love her very much and I am very sorry you had to witness that.
Wolf, she didn't HAVE TO witness that. You could have stopped anytime.

Originally Posted by Wolfman
She also said that she wants to have the family to go through a psychological evaluation. I said that is fine with me. She said besides the alienation there is a very unhealthy attachement with my d and ex. So this is where I am at.
Wolf, I get you right-fought "calmy" while your ex right-fought by "yelling". I'd even go as far as saying that if you interact with her in a toxic way, she interacts with you in a super-toxic way. The problem is D is closer to XW. I don't see peace and R with D in your future until you learn to better control your side of the toxicity and stop throwing gas on the fire.



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Originally Posted by Wolfman
She opened the door, and started to yell at me in front of the therapist and my d I am not to talk her or her family. That this is slander and she is going to speak to her lawyer about this. And that I am a liar that he never did such a thing.
How might I reply? "Hello <D>". Imagine if XW ranted and you focused on your reason for being there--connecting with D? And then the therapist explained that she had asked the question and escorted XW out and you had your session with D?



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So I realized this session was a wash. So I told my d. I love her very much and I am very sorry you had to witness that. I said I know you are upset right now and you don’t have to stay. She looked at me shocked, and replied really? I said, yeah babydoll you can go if you want to. She said thank you and got up and walked out.

This part you did right. You acknowledged her feelings and you showed your caring for her. You put her needs ahead of your own. You showed that you were the calmer, steadier parent (although it would have been better not to engage with your ex at all) and your ex will look bad by comparison - mom creates a scene in front of the therapist, dad is calm and acknowledges daughter's discomfort.

No guarantees - she might have just been happy to get out of the session - but if you're lucky, this episode of seeing the two of you contrasted together might just start to plant the seed in her mind that you're not the bad guy mom makes you out to be.

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