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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 10:31AM

My husband has two very LDS daughters who disowned him for divorcing their mother and leaving the LDS church. The last time he saw them in person was at a disastrous Christmas gathering in 2004. At the time, his daughters were 11 and 13 and both were very hostile. A couple of years after that, they sent letters that arrived in time for his birthday, demanding that he allow their mother's husband to adopt them. My husband refused, although it appears that they either got adopted or changed their names once they were both over 18.

Well... the younger one, who slapped my husband for having beer during the one and only visit we had with her, recently got married. She's 23 now and a returned missionary. She and my husband are now in contact. I had a feeling this day would come. It's weird, because they are now strangers to each other. She asked him what his favorite color is and what it's like to live abroad. And what his hobbies are... funny enough, when he was married to her mother, he wasn't allowed any hobbies.

I don't really trust my husband's kids, but I'm trying to stay out of it as much as possible. I know he's happy to hear from her. I just hope she doesn't try to reconvert him. ;-)

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 10:42AM

She wants to renew a relationship with her dad.

I hope it works out for both their sakes. Sans religion, it's a normal thing for a daughter to want to reconnect with her father - time may have wisened her to this fact as she's matured, married, and starting a family of her own.

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Posted by: Darren Steers ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 10:45AM

....or she just had a RS lesson that made her feel guilty.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 10:55AM

It's normal and healthy for daughters to want a healthy emotional bond with their fathers. There's no religion involved with that longing. It comes from the heart.

Sadly, my daughter tried that with her father in 2011. He abandoned my children when they were very young. In her childlike innocence she believed in the best, and tried to forge ahead as a young woman.

It backfired when he and his wife literally threw her out of their home in upscale Laguna Niguel with nowhere for her to go. She had to call the police to gather what was left of her belongings from there along with the pieces of her broken heart.

It literally broke her heart. It breaks mine for her that she endured that.

My ex told the police when they showed up that my daughter is not his family, and he doesn't know her.

He was the reason I was responsible for raising my children alone as a single mom for many years, compensating for both mother and dad to my children. They were raised in a much more loving home environment than he is capable of. She just didn't see that.

She wanted a dad. What daughter doesn't?

I moved in with my dad and step-mom when I was 19, after returning home to Idaho from Palo Alto. She and dad had been married only a couple of years when I returned home. She became like another mother to me. She really tried to be one with dad's children. Her own children always came first, but we were all adults by the time my dad and her married. So she did the best she knew how.

I lived with them for around a year until transitioning to my own apartment. Dad and her were both jack Mos. I became re-activated during the year I lived with them. We co-existed quite well despite our differences. :)

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:22AM

Those who have been around awhile know my story. My husband did not abandon his kids. If anything, they were forced to abandon him due to their mentally ill mother. She did the same thing to her first husband. The church had nothing to do with it, since she and my husband converted to Mormonism three years before they divorced.

I'll be very honest. I was there to wipe his tears when they wouldn't answer the phone and said their stepfather was their "everyday daddy" (although "everyday daddy" didn't have a job and was living off the very generous child support my husband was sending for both his daughters and his former stepson). I have been pretty angry with my husband's daughters for years, even though I understand they were caught in a very difficult situation. But they didn't have to send letters disowning their dad and you really can't tell me that they didn't know better.

That being said... they are his kids and I know he loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. I feel badly for them because they missed out on a wonderful dad. I wish my own dad had been half the guy my husband is.

But... we have also been through this before. My husband's former stepson reached out to him. They were in contact for a few years... long enough for him to get a free car and child support until he was 21 years old. It became clear that the relationship was only about money. My husband's daughters no longer get child support, so there is that.

We'll see what happens.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2017 11:23AM by knotheadusc.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 10:53AM

I watched my brother go through a similar situation although not related to divorce over religion. The daughter's husband finally made contact with him and the daughter finally got the other side of the story at 40--the mother/ex-wife had never stopped bashing my brother to the daughter in all that time. She is bitter. All I know is that the healing both dad and daughter needed was intense when they finally met again. They forged a wonderful new relationship that was more like a mentor/friend type of thing.

Your husband needs this in a way that is so deep. I hope they can both build from there. I hope the daughter isn't out to reconvert and is sincere. Could happen. She was brainwashed when she was young. Maybe she is beginning to think for herself now, maybe not. Wait for more of the story to surface before you worry too much. And tell your husband how you are feeling and what your worries are for him. He is most likely very raw down deep over this.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:27AM

We had a good talk last night. There were tears. This situation has been very painful for both of us. I literally only met my husband's kids once in over fourteen years of marriage, so they are strangers to me. I don't have a bond with them, but I know he does. I understand that and he understands why I have concerns.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:36AM

These parts of life can be so emotionally rough on everyone. It is good for you husband to see how hard this for you two as you are a major part of the equation. Sounds like you two are in this together which is the best. I wish you both the best and brightest outcome.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:38AM

Thank you for your kind response. He is a wonderful man and deserved better. I wish I could have given him kids.

But I feel lucky that we can be together and we're happy, despite all of this. And if it turns out his daughters aren't totally brainwashed forever, so much the better.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:41AM

Is there money involved ?

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:47AM

Not at this point.

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Posted by: Itzpapalotl ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:45AM

It's possible she's starting to come to terms with what her mom put her and your husband through and seeing everything in a new light. It took a long time for me to come to terms with the emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse I went through in regards to my mother and father and it's terribly difficult to sort out when young. Only when things became more stable for me was I able to sort through it all and start coming to terms that my mother was as abusive as my father and how much that fucked up my development.

You know how to contact me if you want to chat about what she may be going through. One of my old HS friends went through the same thing with his ex and daughter. It seems to be common in divorces and abusive relationships.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:50AM

Thanks! I appreciate that.

It's not lost on me that my husband's kids are possibly opening their eyes. Now that she's married, it's possible that she's seeing another example of a family. On the other hand, her mother never lets anyone go. She actually got my husband's ex stepson in contact with his bio dad after 15 years of alienating her son from him just to spite my husband. This guy didn't pay child support after his son turned six and never had any contact with him at all until it was time to use him to punish husband #2 (my husband). I'm pretty sure that reunification didn't end up lasting.

I hope that's not what's happening now, since she has two more kids with husband #3. But we'll see...

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Posted by: NeverMoJohn ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 11:55AM

I agree with Itzpopalotl. By what you have written, your husband's ex wife didn't just treat him badly. She sounds like a real piece of work. He was finally able to free himself from her. For the kids, that is more complicated. However, they have probably suffered quite a bit at the hand of their mother and may be seeing things in a new light.

Also, you said this daughter is now married. Her new husband may be giving insight (or at least words) to her mother's behavior.

I would be very leery of any financial entanglements, but would otherwise let this play out.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 12:04PM

For years, my husband told me stories about what he endured when he and his ex were together. Anyone who knows him knows that he's not full of bull. He is a true stand up guy. When I met him, he was convinced he was crazy and his ex was demanding that he get "therapy" from his bishop because he supposedly hates women and is abusive (and no, he has never been abusive to me or shown any proclivity toward hating women).

Last year, he told me that his ex wife sexually assaulted him. And when I say that, I mean she treated him like an object and took out all of her rage and frustrations on him. A couple of years ago, he went to a urologist for a mild case of prostatitis. The doctor noticed scars on private parts of his body and asked about them. My husband had to lie about where they came from. If my husband's ex had been male and reported, she likely would have done time for what she did to my husband. I know he's telling the truth.

I hate his ex wife and, for a lot of years, I was very angry with her kids for being so hateful to my husband. But, I have to admit, I am a lot less angry with my husband's daughters now than I was even a few months ago. When the younger (and more hateful) one said "sorry" and "love" in the same message to him, a lot of my anger dissipated. I still don't trust them, but I am trying to keep an open mind as much as possible.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2017 12:05PM by knotheadusc.

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Posted by: lillium ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 12:34PM

Yes, once you remove yourself physically from the presence of an abusive person you start to see things more accurately.

My mother was a violent angry abusive person and she had all of us kids believing that we were the bad guy growing up.

Now we all see what was really going on EXCEPT the one who stayed in the same town as her. That one is still snowed while the rest of us who figured it out have all spent time at least 3 states away. Distance helps!

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 01:45PM

I hope this goes well for everyone.

Perhaps this young woman has matured enough to be more reasonable.

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Posted by: gatorman ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 02:12PM

No parent-child relationship should go to waste. Some do but after chances are given. I sense some remorse on her part. It never is bad to encourage love. She may also have discovered the ex-wife's hubby isn't the god in process she may have imagined. Another thought is that her missionary experience blemished the church and she is probing.....maybe for support.


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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 02:16PM

I'll add my two cents that there is hope that your husband may be able to connect with his children, but it's likely to still be a bumpy road.

My wife was in a similar situation as your husbands daughter. Her Mother has a significant but un-diagnosed illness (Borderline Personality Disorder). Her parents were married for a while, even though things were bad, very bad, they had two kids (including my wife). Her mother eventually cheated on her Dad and the two divorced.

It took a long time, like a very long time, but eventually my wife realized that her parents relationship wasn't a healthy one when they were married (in many ways it's still not, even though they are divorced, have both remarried, they still have contact through family functions and lets just say that we avoid having family functions that require both sides to be together when possible).

Anyway, my wife was finally able to talk to her Dad and get his side of the story, which to me, was much more reasonable and rational sounding. He was just a guy who did his best with a wife he simply couldn't understand and was never going to understand. He loves his kids, even now, he'll bend over backwards to help us, he's a great guy and it took a long time for my wife to unravel the lies, poison and anger that her mother used to taint the father-daughter relationship. But she did, and she's glad that she was able to do that.

If I were to advise anything for you and your husband (take it as you will, your situation could be very different hand ours.), it would be to stay out of any conversation regarding "the mother". Answer specific questions, if asked, but do so as factually as possible, keeping emotion out of it. I know how hard that can be, if it helps, keep things focused on his daughter and her family. And watch your boundaries. Living with a mentally ill person can be damaging to a person's ability to know what proper boundaries should be, make sure you know what you're comfortable with and what you're not comfortable with going into this. Also watch for strong emotional statements and for strong escalations in emotion. I mean like, things are going a long just fine and you or your husband says something you feel is harmless and carries no negative statement at all, only for the daughter to have a strong angry reaction because she took the statement completely different than you expected. (Her emotional example, her mother, probably hasn't been the best)

I also recommend reading a book titled "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder" even though his ex may or may not have BPD, and his daughter might not either, learning how to communicate and deal with people who have strong emotional reactions to things can be invaluable rebuilding relationships like this. The reason I bring this up is because it wasn't that long ago that this daughter thought it was OK to slap her father for drinking a beer, that reaction is out of proportion, even if the daughter objects to a beer. It may take her a long time out from under the direct influence of her mother to break some of those mental habits. Knowing how to watch for signs of emotional dis-regulations and how to deal with them can help save you and your husband and even his daughter some pain.

Anyway, I hope this is a good first step for your husband and his daughter (and really you too, you're in there as well). Today, my wife and her father enjoy a happy relationship, far better than my wife and her mother. They go out to lunch, we have him and his wife over frequently for dinners, etc. The relationship can be repaired, give it time, but do be prepared for the bumps in the road.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 03:00PM

Yes, I have read "Stop Walking on Eggshells" and am myself an MSW, so I am pretty familiar with BPD. I am pretty sure the ex is more of a narcissist than a borderline, but I don't have proof.

I have pretty much resolved to stay out of this as much as possible. They are not my children and I have no relationship with them. If it gets to the point at which they want to see him in person and it requires them coming into our home, I'll take it from there.

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 03:02PM

Sounds like a good plan!

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Posted by: imaworkinonit ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 02:50PM

I hope he is careful, and you are right to be concerned. My advice would be that he should not give her any money or gifts for a very very very long time, until you both know this is a real attempt at a relationship. Money has a way of confusing motives. He needs to have very clear boundaries.

I know someone who was alienated from some kids that were being raised by a narcissist. Their mother seriously F***ed those kids up. As an adult, one of them reached out for a relationship and it seemed like they were starting to have one. But this kid was always a bit of a taker, was inconsiderate of boundaries, and tried to insert themselves in family events where only immediate family is usually present. When my friend tried to set boundaries, this kid (young adult by now) flew off the handle and cut contact again.

They had to step away from the relationship. I don't blame the kid. She was raised with a false narrative, and trained to see themselves as the center of the universe. There was nothing my friend could have done to make things right or fix the damage that was done. So eventually she had to choose her own sanity and peace. My friend wished she had set boundaries sooner in the relationship.

I guess what I'm really saying, is that it's possible that this daughter has regrets that she hasn't had a relationship with her dad. And she may sincerely want one. But that doesn't mean she is emotionally healthy.

I do hope your husband can have a real relationship with his daughter. That would be really amazing. I'm sure you've got his back and will be watching for any problems.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 03:03PM

Yeah, this is pretty much what happened with ex stepson. He convinced my husband that he wanted to reconnect and, really, it was entirely about money. As soon as the gravy train ended, he wanted nothing more to do with the man he once called "Dad". That's another reason why I am very suspicious of my husband's daughters.

I am not an asshole and I do want to see that "happy ending". But I'm also a realist and I've seen their mother in action.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 03:03PM

I've often wondered when this would happen. I hope for your husband's sake she isn't going to hurt him. Maybe now she is able to see what type of person her mother is. Maybe she knew all along and felt stuck considering the abusive environment she obviously grew up in.

Anyway, I hope for your husband's sake and your sake that things go well.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 03:07PM

Thank you. Really, that means a lot.

I have a feeling that this particular daughter and her mother have butted heads. The other daughter is more like my husband and more likely to go along to get along.

And to make matters more challenging, my husband is seeking employment and hoping we don't have to make an international move this summer. We have less than three months, so it's nervewracking, to say the least.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 03:08PM

I think it would be wonderful if he could have his daughter in his life and that it would be a good thing.

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Posted by: canary21 ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 04:19PM

I always have a heart for the men who leave the church, because it breaks up the family and it's not fair. Your husband lost his family - his rock, his pride, the meaning in his life. He needs to write a letter to them. Who knows, maybe it will lead to his family leaving the TSCC.

Imagine what will happen with the next mass resignation. So many have already done it after learning JS was a con and the church leaders have been defrauding them. Can you imagine how many families will be reunited and repairing relationships?

And you know, I've always entertained the idea of marrying one of my friends from institute and then leading him out the church.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2017 04:21PM by canary21.

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Posted by: Never Mo but raised Fundie ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 04:46PM

A quick note that kids' brains don't really finish developing until they are 25-27. Even if this go-round doesn't work, it is possible that she might be ready when she's 30-40.

I applaud you for being there to support your husband. I know from experience just how helpful that kind of support is.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 05:02PM

Yeah, I have heard about how people's brains aren't developed until they are over age 30 or whatever. I wonder why that isn't taken into account in a court of law. Frankly, I think it's bunk.

And I really don't want to be dealing with this when they are that age.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 05:31PM

It is certainly possible for relationships to change in a positive way. But if I were your husband, I would keep any gifts very modest for the immediate future.

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Posted by: Mr. Happy ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 06:57PM

I hope things turn out well for you and your husband. I imagine even if the result is positive it will still be a little awkward. Good luck with that.

My situation is a little different…I don’t want to reconcile with my youngest daughter. Her mother (my ex) and I divorced when my daughter was less than one year old. Within a couple years my ex met and remarried. At that time she told all of my kids that her hubby was their “new dad”. My older kids never bought into that, but my youngest daughter was raised as him being her dad. Even though I had my visitation, she always treated him more like a father than she treated me. Through the encouragement of my ex, I was never invited to any of my daughter’s activities growing up. No “Daddy Daughter” stuff (her step-dad filled in), no parents nights at school, no invitations to any of her activities.

Nearly six years ago when she was 14 years old we had a falling out during one of her visits with me. She called her mother to come get her (of course my ex did come…she was ALWAYS more interested in being a friend to my daughter as opposed to being a parent), and she left. I sent an email to my ex saying my daughter would be welcome to return whenever she would like. That was the last I have seen or heard from her.

Over the six years my other children (who I have great relationships with) have filled me in about the adventures of my daughter. Due to the lack of parenting by my ex, she is completely unprepared for adulthood. My daughter HAD a $50,000 inheritance to be used for her education. My ex thought it would be a good idea to give her free access to that money while she was a junior in high school. Needless to say, after one semester in college she has burned through all of the money. It appears that she makes poor decisions when it comes to her friends, boys, future, etc., and has alienated those who were once close to her. NOW her mother is trying to parent her but it is too late…she wants her mother to be her friend instead. I guess one silver lining is that my daughter has dumped the church.

Word from my other daughter is that my youngest now wants to make contact with me. Supposedly she wants to “update” me on her loser life and is afraid that something might happen to me before she is able to do so. She is claiming that growing up she was influenced by her mother for her treatment of me. Amazingly though, there is no hint of her being sorry and apologetic…it is always someone else’s fault.

Sadly, I am not interested in getting back together with her. I got used to not being her dad while she was growing up, and over the past five years have become quite comfortable and content with her step-father filling that dad role…permanently. It is also quite a coincidence that she has burned through all of her cash and NOW wants to reach out to me. I’m just not feeling it and have ZERO interest in adding HER drama to MY life. We’ll see had it all plays out.

I have always told my kids form a young age to be careful because actions come with consequences. I have also told them that I would always have unconditional love for them…but not always unconditional like.

Best of luck to you and your hubby. Perhaps someday I will be where he is with my daughter…just not now.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 10, 2017 10:28PM

I don't actually think our situations are that different. I would be fine with my husband's kids leaving us alone. They aren't my kids, though.

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Posted by: canary21 ( )
Date: May 11, 2017 11:36AM

I really feel for you. But it seems that you are taking it less harder than some other men who have lost their families over leaving the church. But have you ever reflected back and thought you should have been more firm with your ex regarding co-parenting?

You do have a mature and healthy attitude about your daughters, though: having unconditional love, but not unconditional like. It's not fair that your children want to come to you just for money. They have some growing up to do first. And A LOT of it. I hope they consider therapy in the future. They really need insight into their mentalities.

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: May 11, 2017 02:22PM

Never mind...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2017 02:23PM by knotheadusc.

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Posted by: Mr. Happy ( )
Date: May 19, 2017 12:22PM

There was no "co-parenting" with my ex...she had no interest in anything I had to offer. She spent a great deal of time and effort trying to put distance between my kids and I. Sometimes she was successful, other times not. My ex made things personal between her and I to the detriment of the kids. If I had an idea or suggestion concerning the kids it was automatically dismissed was my idea.

In my dispute with my youngest daughter, my oldest daughter asked my ex why she didn't support my point of view (the correct point) instead of supporting my youngest daughter (wrong point). My ex's response was, "Since your father doesn't support my values (church indoctrination) I am not going to support his." So to her, because I wasn't encouraging my kids in all things Mormon, she would not support ANYTHING I proposed for the kids...even if it was the right thing to do. There was no working with her, co-parenting went out the window early in our divorce.

Hopefully some day my youngest daughter will snap out of her funk but it doesn't appear that will be happening anytime soon. My fear is that my ex will abandon the monster she has created (my daughter) and that will lead to dire consequences. If that happens, sadly, it is what it is.

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Posted by: canary21 ( )
Date: May 20, 2017 06:37PM

Your ex sounds really immature. She destroyed your relationship with your daughters and doesn't care that you have their best interests in mind and wanted to play an integral role in their lives. She ruined everything.

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Posted by: belfastgirl ( )
Date: May 19, 2017 06:15AM

I walked away from an abusive marriage and daughter and even though it is difficult I have a good marriage and a successful career and have not seen my daughter for years. Just because someone is a family member does not mean they are good for you and it is better to stop clinging on to dreams and embrace reality.Good people that love you will not abuse you and we deserve to have a happy life and sometimes that means putting some people out of your life for good.

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Posted by: Agnes Broomhead ( )
Date: May 19, 2017 02:15PM

A MENDER TERCY right there!

Great to see relationships mended. Clearly a sign that the Lord is shining a light on once-TBM family members.

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Posted by: SusieQ#1 ( )
Date: May 20, 2017 05:46PM

Parental Alienation can separate children from one parent. It's done quite well when the children are young and they can be turned against the other parent because the parent is angry, wants revenge, has entitlement issues to the children, wants control, doesn't want to pay child support, drug use, feels superior, mentally unstable - feeding the children lies about how they are a pawn of Satan and evil, oven using Bible or BOM quotes in the case of Mormons.

I was a monitor for supervised visitation in court custody battles for a few years. I saw Parental Alienation (probably first written about by author Richard A Gardner-now deceased- many more writing about it now). I can write many pages on how that plays out!

Sometimes, however, when the children reach 18 or in their adult years they want to renew contact and the whole Parental Alienation patterns backfire.

I am watching it happen (from afar) with one of my family members. It's ugly, and often called: just plain evil. The level of information that can be fed to a young child that lives primarily with one custodial parent (filled with hate, and revenge and probably unstable), and believed and repeated back to the other parent can be shocking!

I'd suggest getting a book on the subject and getting some ideas on how to handle an adult child wanting to renew contact with their parent.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/2017 06:48PM by SusieQ#1.

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