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A different tactic to try with questions for your daughter: "What was the best thing that happened to you this week? What was the worst thing? What are you most proud of? "

These kinds of questions let HER pick the reply - but they do require an answer. (She could say "I don't know" but seems less likely with this kind of question.) Does she ask YOU any questions?

School may be something she doesn't want to talk about if it's a problem area for her right now, which it might be.

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Thank you for the responses, they are great. I will definitely try to find out more about her teachers. I will try anything. It’s just so sad the relationship we had and where we are now. I am trying so hard to not let it bother me, buts it’s tough. I have couple of things.

2 weeks ago I was in therapy with my d. At one point the therapist said she was going to go in the hall and get a cup of water. I was showing my d pictures of the fun times we had when she stepped out. She was literally out of the room for 1 minute. She came back in and I continued to show pictures and talk with my d. Later that night the therapist got a call from her mom saying my d was very upset she stepped out of the room and she was anxious. Here’s the thing, my d was fine the one minute she was gone. 2. My d has had no problem voicing how she feels about me and bashing me. My d could have told her she didn’t want her to step out, but she didn’t. She could of said after that, that made her anxious and upset but she didn’t. Before the phone call the therapist even said to me I bet I get a phone from her mom about stepping out of the room. The therapist said this shows a lot of the character of her mom. She said when she came back in the room my d looked perfectly fine. It once again goes to show what her mom is doing.

Friday I went and picked up my s from his moms home. I was parked on the side of the home and on the opposite side of the street. I see my s walking out of the house and my ex’s bf walk out behind him with a lit cigar. Walking next to my s while he is smoking it and walked him half way to me. Then walked back in the home with the lit cigar. I am so disgusted this man is smoking around my children and she is allowing it. It’s her home and I know I have no say what goes on in the home but those are my children too. I did t say anything because I know she would deny and cause an argument.
Lastly, my s had a basketball game on Sunday. We was with me for the weekend. His mom had his basketball shirt. So she gave it to him before the game and different sneakers to play in the game and he changed. He ran over to me before the game and gave me his shirt and sneakers. Ok fine no problem. After the game he went over to him mom to say goodbye, while he was saying goodbye there was another right after his, so 2 other teams where there and people in the stands. She made him take the basketball shirt off and his sneakers and made him run across the whole gym shirtless and shoeless in front of all these people. My s was so embarrassed. I have no idea why she wouldn’t let him wear his basketball shirt home with me. Or his sneakers. Or ask him to come over to me to get his shirt and shoes and change in the bathroom. She is a disgusting human being!!! I emailed her why she did that last night, waiting for a response.


M:42 XW:41
T:19 M: 15
D:13 S:10
BD: 8/10/18
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Originally Posted by kml
A different tactic to try with questions for your daughter: "What was the best thing that happened to you this week? What was the worst thing? What are you most proud of? "

These kinds of questions let HER pick the reply - but they do require an answer. (She could say "I don't know" but seems less likely with this kind of question.) Does she ask YOU any questions?

School may be something she doesn't want to talk about if it's a problem area for her right now, which it might be.

I love kml's question about what are you most proud of. We did that with our girls when we were teenagers...ask them pointed questions rather than questions that could easily be answered with one word. We called it blessin' and lesson time where we would share blessings and lessons from our day. Their dad and I participated too to show good faith that we just wanted to chit chat and we weren't trying to pry into things that they might want to maintain privacy about, but just wanted an overall look into how their day went and what was good and not so good. Given the option to say few or now words, a teen will take that option EVERY time with a parent or authority figure. You just have to be creative to get longer answers.

As far as your post about the counseling stuff with D, you are certainly in a tough spot, as is your D. I'm not particularly a fan of Dr. Phil, but I do watch his show on occasion if I happen to be home when it is on because he does sometimes make good points. One point that I have heard him ask over and over and it is usually aimed at either parents or fighting spouses is "do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" I may have even said this to you before, can't remember, but Wolf, your posts here, at least in my interpretation as I read them sound like you spend a lot of time trying to get everyone to see your point of view and to agree that you are right. I think people have said to you repeatedly that you are NOT in your daughter's head so while she may APPEAR fine, you really don't know exactly what she's thinking when she is sitting in that room either alone with you or with the therapist and you. And, you said that she could've spoken up and said she didn't feel comfortable about being left alone, but think about that for a second. Most kids, in her spot, if they were TRULY uncomfortable being left alone, likely are not going to say that to anyone unless they feel about 10,000% safe and while your daughter may be ok with the therapist, she may still not have felt safe enough to say hey, don't leave me alone. You just can't assume anything. Honestly, I'm not defending or siding with your wife, but if I was sending my child to therapy with anyone and I found out the therapist left them alone in the room, even for a minute, I would want to talk to that therapist about why that happened. You need to focus on yourself and your relationship with your daughter and stop assuming what she is thinking or what she knows and stop making accusations against your wife. You can't control her. The quicker you realize and accept that, the smoother your road will be. All you can do is do YOUR BEST to connect with your kids and you may have to be the adult and meet them at THEIR level instead of trying to reason or force them up to yours.

As far as the deal with your son and his basketball attire. Yeah, that was a real d!ck move on her part. But, if you saw it happening, why didn't you go meet him halfway or closer or make some move to help him rather than just watching him walk across the gym half-dressed? Now, again, not defending or siding with your XW because there is NO excuse for that, but man, just help your kids out and be there for them. I know you are trying, but you almost need to act like she just doesn't even exist so that you can focus on them. You and your XW clearly cannot communicate effectively or co-parent, so just act as if. She's going to be who she is going to be and she's going to do what she is going to do and you can't change that. It almost seems like the more you try the harder she digs in.

I'm confused about why you were so upset about her bf smoking outside while he was walking part of the way to your car with your son. You don't owe me any kind of explanation of that so don't feel obligated to give one because they are your children and you have a right to choose what influences they have around them. I guess for me, that just seemed like something else that you wanted to be in control and wanted everyone to say you were right about, but it kind of seemed like a little thing. It would be different to me if he was in the car with them or in the house with them smoking in an enclosed space near them, but walking outside doesn't seem that bad to me. It makes me wonder how you would react if your current GF were a smoker. It also makes me wonder if you might see how some of your actions might be things that your XW doesn't care for her children being around, but you just haven't really thought about it. Your younger-than-you GF who you hadn't dated very long and by your own postings were strongly considering breaking up with got pregnant and now you have a child with this person out of wedlock. I would be a little leery of that around my kids, if I were in your XW's shoes.

I'm sorry this is long and harsh and judgmental and I really don't mean for it to be any of those things. My heart goes out to you and your children because it is clear you love them and want to have a good relationship with both of them. I'm sure there are a lot of things that I read and interpret incorrectly because I don't know you nor all the particulars of your situation. I guess I could probably actually go back and delete the bulk of this and just say, try to focus on yourself and your kids and stop worrying about being right about how awful your XW is and the horrible things she is doing because you really don't know what is going on from her end and even if you did, you couldn't control her. Stop fighting to be right and start fighting for your kids.


Me 52, H53
Bomb drop 9/29/2014
Divorce from XH final 12/17/2014
Marriage #2 12/31/2019
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Originally Posted by Wolfman
I emailed her why she did that last night, waiting for a response.
Hi Wolf, I'm going to go out on a limb here and wager your intent wasn't inquisitive--e.g., "Hmm, I wonder if I should do that too?" You already have an antagonistic relationship with your XW that boils over onto your kids. You mention you have a protection order that prevents you from sending positive messages about her parenting or soliciting her advice on your relationship with D. It's odd it doesn't prevent messages like the above. I would probably try to drop all communications with her unless it's simple logistics or positive messages. I encourage the latter if you can. Easing tensions with your XW would be a cheap and very effective way to reduce parental alienation. And, frankly, she seems better at that game than you--which is a compliment. wink

Originally Posted by Dawn
I think people have said to you repeatedly that you are NOT in your daughter's head so while she may APPEAR fine, you really don't know exactly what she's thinking when she is sitting in that room either alone with you or with the therapist and you. And, you said that she could've spoken up and said she didn't feel comfortable about being left alone, but think about that for a second. Most kids, in her spot, if they were TRULY uncomfortable being left alone, likely are not going to say that to anyone unless they feel about 10,000% safe and while your daughter may be ok with the therapist, she may still not have felt safe enough to say hey, don't leave me alone. You just can't assume anything.
I was thinking exactly this. Consider how much easier it is to bash an ex than to admit when you're feeling uncomfortable or afraid--and to top it off this is a teen. My D16 also isn't comfortable expressing certain things in front of certain people. If I were her Mom, I'd be asking the therapist the same thing--"Why?" I'd be more comfortable hearing it was a test to see how you two handled being alone, and it won't happen again for a while than hearing she was just really thirsty.

Originally Posted by Dawn
I did t say anything because I know she would deny and cause an argument. I am so disgusted this man is smoking around my children and she is allowing it.
That's "Fortune Telling", but I agree you have not built a relationship with your XW that would allow you to offer constructive criticism and be heard. Imagine if you were on such terms, and able to see from her perspective as a loving mom--"I bet, like COVID, outside smoking isn't as bad as inside smoking." If you were in that place you might be able to share a May 2007 JAWMA article stating it's on par with inside smoking. She might take a look and decide for 2-minute walks to the car it's okay but she'll consider that the next time they're all sitting outside on the patio for thirty minutes or more.



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The last quote I meant to attribute to Wolfman, not Dawn! Look, I don't love your XW's choice to take off his outfit in the bleachers so it stays at her place--but given the place you two are at now--I think you'll gain more influence with her by considering her point of view and building a relationship than pointing out perceived flaws and errors.



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Hi Wolfman, been a month, how's therapy and life coming along?



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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.

Hey CW thanks for checking in. Things have been really hard. I was completely hurt 2 weeks ago at therapy with my daughter. At one point she mentioned that she is afraid of me. The therapist asked why? Her only response was that I yelled at her a few times when she was younger and that scared her. So the therapist asked was there anything else your father did to scare you? She said no. So I asked you are afraid of me? She said yes. I said it’s only because I yelled at you when you were younger. She said yes. I asked if she was afraid of anyone else? She said no. You said you are sure you are not afraid of anyone else only me. She said yes. I am sorry I had to bri g this up with the therapist so she could hear it. I said you are not afraid of your uncle (my ex’s brother). She said no. I said that is interesting I said so you are afraid of me for yelling at you but not your uncle who physically tried to beat up your mom in front of you? She had no response. I said or the time he punched a hole in the bathroom door of our house in front of you and your brother. Or the time he flipped a glass table and shattered it? But you are afraid of me because I yelled at you when you weren’t doing the right things. The part that hurt me was then her response. She said don’t talk about my mom and uncle. I said I am not taking about your mom I am talking about what your uncle did and that you are not afraid of that but are afraid of me raising my voice. She said that my family don’t talk about them like that. I said I am your father and I am your family too. That comment that’s her family makes me feel like I am nothing to my d. I just wanted to break down and cry right there. Afterward the therapist said to me privately, that shows her how bad the parental alienation is. That she is going to write a letter to all lawyers that she feels that this parental alienation and we need to have forensics involved.

For those of you not going through this, this is tearing me up. This is like the death of my daughter. And everytime I see her it just opens that wound again. This situation is destroying me. I am trying to stay strong, I am trying to be the best person but I am losing. Death would be easier because people understand death. In everyone else’s eyes, oh your daughter is there she will come around. No one can understand this pain because every says she is “here”. Even if she does I am losing so much time with my daughter that I will never get back. I don’t even like talking about this anymore. It just hurts more and more. And no one wants to hear about it. Parental alienation is so lonely and devastating.


M:42 XW:41
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BD: 8/10/18
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Wolfman,

Sorry you're going through all that with you daughter. As a parent I can imagine it would be heartbreaking. Hang in there and keep trying to be the best dad you can be.


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So sorry Wolfman. I can appreciate how hard this is. I really can. What you need to keep reminding yourself is that this IS parental alienation and not about anything you did or did not do. As difficult as it is, you need to step back from it and accept this is what it is right now. Forgive your daughter and forgive yourself. Yes…you are losing time with your daughter but there is plenty of time left. As long as you are consistent and steady in your presentation, she will eventually see that she is wrong about you.

Also…a word of advice… you really need to stop trying to logic her into feeling differently. Her feelings are her feelings and they are valid…to her…right now. As difficult as it is, you need to stop trying to defend yourself or point out to her how bad other people are. It will not change her mind in the least. It will only seem to her that you are getting defensive because she his right. When she says stuff like that, you just listen and say you understand…not that you agree…but that you understand. You can’t fight with someone who is refusing to fight with you. She is continuing to show up to these sessions and that’s a good thing. Your only goal during those sessions is to listen and validate and be consistently non-threatening and warm. Give her a different experience than what she is expecting…every time. Give up the need to be right. You are right and you KNOW you are. That’s good enough for now. It’s not fair. It’s an awful situation but it is what it is. Accept it. Work with it. Use whatever time you have with her to chip away at her beliefs by showing her she is wrong, not telling her. One question you need to ask yourself every single time is… “Is what I’m about to do going to pull her towards me or push her away?” If it is the latter, don’t do it. Your goal is to win the war, not the individual battles.

RE: your depression. I don’t know if you are seeing your own IC but you really should if you can afford it. You need to work through these feelings with a neutral party away from your daughter’s view. If you can’t go to an IC, than my advice would be to call your local crisis line when you just need someone to talk to. That’s what they are there for.

Best of luck my friend. (((HUGS)))


Me 53
H 48
B/G Twins 13
SD 21
Legal SA - January 2019
Divorce filed - June 2019
Divorce final - November 2019

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Hi Wolf,

Ditto DJ's comments.

Originally Posted by Wolfman
At one point she mentioned that she is afraid of me. The therapist asked why? Her only response was that I yelled at her a few times when she was younger and that scared her. So the therapist asked was there anything else your father did to scare you? She said no. So I asked you are afraid of me? She said yes. I said it’s only because I yelled at you when you were younger. She said yes. I asked if she was afraid of anyone else? She said no. You said you are sure you are not afraid of anyone else only me. She said yes. I am sorry I had to bri g this up with the therapist so she could hear it. I said you are not afraid of your uncle (my ex’s brother). She said no. I said that is interesting I said so you are afraid of me for yelling at you but not your uncle who physically tried to beat up your mom in front of you? She had no response. I said or the time he punched a hole in the bathroom door of our house in front of you and your brother. Or the time he flipped a glass table and shattered it? But you are afraid of me because I yelled at you when you weren’t doing the right things. The part that hurt me was then her response. She said don’t talk about my mom and uncle. I said I am not taking about your mom I am talking about what your uncle did and that you are not afraid of that but are afraid of me raising my voice. She said that my family don’t talk about them like that.

Originally Posted by Gottman
The third horsemen in the Four Horsemen is defensiveness, which is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood in an attempt to ward off a perceived attack.

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Minimisation, or downplaying the significance of an event or emotion, is a common strategy in dealing with feelings of guilt. That avoids acknowledging and dealing with negative emotions by reducing the importance and impact of events that give rise to those emotions.
I'm glad you're getting traction with parental alienation. I hope it bears fruit.

I get losing your D is a helluva punch to the gut and hope you are able to find counseling. I also hope to see you here more often. Your, my, and Andrew's stories tend to get lots of.. feedback.. lol.

Wolf, lots of good advice was offered last month on validating your D and building a relationship with her. You finally have these little slices of time with D. Use them wisely. I'd focus on your broken relationship with D rather than D's functioning relationship with XW and her family.

Minimization is a form of invalidation, the opposite of the validation DB encourages. When you say, "it's only because" you are minimizing her experience. Consider the alternative, "Wow, it really scared you when I yelled." As you try to understand her, you might discover it wasn't the yelling per se but your apparent anger, or it triggered memories of someone else yelling and what happened next, or whatnot. (Can you tell I've had not-too-dissimilar conversations with my daughter?) 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, e.g. yelling as an appropriate punishment for misbehavior when she was under your care. I do wonder if the qualifiers "a few times" and "when I was younger" came from her or you. If they came from you (e.g., after she gave three examples from 3 years ago), they're also minimizations.



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