Man may hate exwife more than he loves his chil­dren

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

DEAR AN­NIE: I am so sad watch­ing the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect that parental alien­ation is hav­ing on my grand­chil­dren, and I feel pow­er­less to help them.

My daugh­ter is the tar­get of an ex-hus­band who is determined to turn their chil­dren against their mother. My 13-year-old grand­daugh­ter at­tempted sui­cide last week and went to a fa­cil­ity for sev­eral days. She is now get­ting ther­apy, but I don’t know whether the truth will come out about what is go­ing on in this very messed up fam­ily re­la­tion­ship.

I feel like ask­ing my ex­son-in-law whether he loves his chil­dren more than he hates his ex-wife so he will re­al­ize who is be­ing hurt most by his ac­tions. My daugh­ter went to coun­sel­ing for a year be­fore leav­ing her hus­band, and the coun­selor said her hus­band is very in­sid­i­ous with a nar­cis­sis­tic per­son­al­ity. She left him be­cause he was con­trol­ling and emo­tion­ally abu­sive. She was sup­posed to have cus­tody of the chil­dren, but her ex con­vinced the chil­dren that they did not want to leave their neigh­bor­hood, school and friends. My daugh­ter did not fight it be­cause it was what the chil­dren were en­cour­aged to choose.

She also knows her ex­hus­band would use the chil­dren to hurt her. When she re­cently went to sign the fi­nal di­vorce pa­pers, he said that if she tries to change the cus­tody ar­range­ment, she will never see her chil­dren again.

Is there any re­course for this kind of be­hav­ior? My daugh­ter can­not af­ford to fight this in court, and we do not have the re­sources to help, ei­ther.

— Sad Grand­mother

Dear Sad: Parental alien­ation is very real and can hap­pen to ei­ther par­ent. It can cause the chil­dren tremen­dous psy­cho­log­i­cal harm that can last a life­time if not ad­dressed. Your daugh­ter needs to doc­u­ment ev­ery in­stance where her ex has kept the chil­dren from her, en­cour­aged the chil­dren to think ill of her, spo­ken neg­a­tively about her in front of the chil­dren or threat­ened her ac­cess to the chil­dren. At the same time, she should not be­come an­gry around her ex, be­cause he will use it against her.

We know it can be ex­pen­sive to keep fight­ing in court, but this is a form of emo­tional abuse, and she needs to pro­tect her kids as best she can be­fore the dam­age is per­ma­nent. At the very least, sug­gest that she con­sult with an at­tor­ney who spe­cial­izes in parental alien­ation cases.

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