Amanda was an alienated child. Her father took her away from her mother, and now she is reaching out to other children.
Brig, Soren and Reidar, you can learn and get help from Amanda. She says
Never ever give up.
WHO AM I? (THE ALIENATED CHILD)
23 May 2021|Alienated Child, Parental Alienation
(Child of Parental Alienation & Abduction)
I am 11, my father has taken me from my mum. I am isolated 15,000km away from her, distracted by possessions, new stories, new places, new people and a new life. My world with my mum is suddenly gone. My old friends are all gone. The people I trusted are gone. The places and activities I did with mum are gone. Where is my family, where is my community? Does anyone care? I miss her but I am being forced to forget everything that meant something.
There are no more loving cuddles, fun-loving conversations, someone to adore me, accept me, encourage me, guide me and love me. I can no longer hear her laugh or see her smile. She is gone but I have to move on and I don’t know how.
I am at a new school. There is no encouragement or support from anyone. No one knows I have been cut off from my mum. My memories and feelings are put into a box and they are forced into a place I have trouble finding. I have to start fresh. People ask where is your mum? I don’t know what to say, as I feel guilty and ashamed. So I make up stories to fill the gaps.
My father keeps telling me how wonderful everything is and how lucky I am. He repeats everything to me over and over again. I start to feel like there is something wrong with me because I don’t feel lucky or happy. I feel alone and no one understands.
I am 12 looking in the mirror and all I see is sadness and loneliness but I don’t know why. I see my face changing into my mother’s looks but I am starting to feel this is not a good thing as I am told every time I disagree or rebel I am just like my mother. So my mum is now a bad person who I should no longer admire. So who should I be like?
I sit on my bed and I drag my metal ruler over my legs, each time getting deeper. I watch my legs bleed and it doesn’t hurt, as the pain I feel inside is much worse, but I can’t get rid of it.
I see other children with their mothers, I try and find that place where my mum exists in my mind but it hurts too much and I push it down. I feel angry but I don’t have anyone to talk to that understands. I am afraid of speaking about her as I don’t want to disappoint my father.
I try to make friends but find I have nothing good to talk about and I am ungrateful because my father tells me so. My father tells everyone how good I am at everything but I feel like I am good at nothing. I do everything in extremes to start coping. Being extra organised, super neat, obsessive routines and going above and beyond on my school assignments. But I can’t find happiness because I am lost.
I am 13 and I exist in a shell of a body that is starting to change. I see my body as fat and not feminine and I cannot look at myself in the mirror anymore without crying. I start to count calories, fat and sodium. I begin exercising hard but every time I eat I feel guilty and this is my secret.
I find myself in places where you cannot find love but only lust. All I want to do is please others and hope I can feel something. But all I feel is shame and guilt. Why do I feel this way? Who can I talk to?
My father and his new wife are never around. I am left alone nearly every weekend without supervision. I find myself living my worst nightmare. I am trying to find where I fit in this world. One night I get drunk for the first time then I am raped and I feel disgusting and I can’t tell anyone. Visions go through my head again and again of having his mouth held over my mouth so hard that I cannot scream or breathe. The nurse keeps telling me, “you need to talk, you have got to talk.” But words cannot come out. I feel pain all through my body and my wrists feel broken. I feel dirty and ashamed. How did I get myself into this situation? Who can I tell?
I am 14 and now everything is about exercise and eating. I secretly eat food to comfort my feelings. It feels good for a few moments but I am flooded with disgust so I make myself sick again and again. My fingers are down my throat after every meal and I am running many kilometres to burn calories that I consumed and cannot bring up.
One day a phone call comes through, it is my mum. It was a surprise, she sounds excited to find my voice on the line but I cannot speak. She asks me how I am. I am frozen and my chest is tight. I have no words as no one ever asks me how I am. I don’t know how to think or feel about me but I am hurting and I don’t know why. Why can’t I see her and everything go back to the way it was? I put the phone down as I become overwhelmed. Was it all just a dream? I am shutting down. Why couldn’t I tell her I love her?
I try to bring up a conversation with my dad about my mum. The good memory is not welcome. It turns into negative statements about things she did or reasons why I am not with her. It hurts but I have to accept that I can’t have her in my life. But I need her.
I am 15 and I run every day. I am running so much just so I can sleep at night. I exhaust myself so my thoughts turn off. As I run down the beach I see other teenagers laying on the beach in their bathers. They’re all talking and having fun. Why can’t I be like them?
I watch closely at parents talking with their children, watching how excited they are and seeing how they interact. I start to feel myself flood with sadness and I have to push away from everyone as it hurts too much. Why cannot someone love me like that? Why have I become a loner and so unlovable?
I am 16 and I am boxing, lifting weights every day at the gym, swimming every morning and running hard late at night. I feel strong but angry and this is my only release. I no longer feel like a girl. I don’t wear dresses or skirts, as I feel ugly and awkward. I feel like I barely exist. Others say I look amazingly fit but I feel frail and powerless. What is life about?
I meet new friends but I don’t understand why I am different or why I can’t bond with girls as others do. I see them greet with a hug but it doesn’t feel right when I do it. I feel like I am pretending. I sit in the corner and I can’t think or speak. I don’t know how to interact so I just watch and try and listen. I want to be around people but why can’t I fit in?
I am 17 and I find myself in a relationship with a man older than me. He is strong and tall but he drinks and smokes a lot and gets into fights. I want to be loved by him but it is one-sided, everything is about pleasing him. I do everything for him and don’t understand why I am always crying. He cheats on me, is always drunk or stoned and I feel I am to blame. Is this how relationships should be? If it is, it hurts.
My father is always talking to me about his feelings when no one else is around. He tells me things that children should not hear. He talks to me about my mum, tells me she slept with other men, says her lawyers gave her poor advice, all the money that she lost him and how she destroyed his business. I don’t understand it all, but I feel anger. As soon as I hear him say my mum’s name Nola, all I can think of is how my mum used to play the “Eye of the Tiger” song from the Rocky movie and how she would cry. I would drift off and think about how he would have affairs and would come home and treat my mum really bad. He was very violent towards my mum. I was confused if these memories were real as he was always telling me all the good things he did and all the bad things mum did.
I am 18 and I am moving back from California to Perth. I leave my dad, my brother and my family in Sydney. I am going to try and find my mum as a part of me longs for her love, but I am broken, confused, ashamed and lost. What will it be like? Will she love me?
The day comes where I meet her. She is now much shorter than me as I have grown up into a woman. She is frail, her chest and face flushed red. She looks alcohol ravaged but greets me with a sad smile and a soft hug. I don’t know her journey and all I can think of is, why did you let this happen? I watch her speak and I see tears in her eyes but all I can think about is myself.
My conversations revolve around why she wasn’t around, why did she not visit, why did she not love me anymore. My mum spends the next 15 minutes telling me the great lengths she went to in trying to make contact and hiring investigators to find me. She said she sent gifts to the schools that I never received and money in birthday cards. I never saw any of them. I don’t know who to believe. All I feel is pain and confusion.
My mum tells me how she has been fighting in court for 7 ½ years. She also says I am so much like my father and inside I am screaming with anger. “I am not like Dad, I am like you, and I even look like you.” How could she say this? It was like a sword through my heart.
We walk back up the hill to St Mary’s Cathedral where the taxi stand is. She breaks off a rose and gives it to me. A part of me is relieved to have seen her but I don’t know how to tell her how much I missed her and how I want her in my life. I just want to start again. I get in the taxi and I start to heave and cry all the way back to my dad’s parent’s house.
The following days I call the number she gave me again and again. No answer and no answering machine to leave a message. Thoughts run through my head, “she doesn’t want to speak to me, she doesn’t love me.” Weeks later the phone is disconnected and I can’t find her.
I have just turned 19, I am sitting on my bed and the phone rings. I answer and a voice on the end says “I am sorry to hear about your mum.” I say “What do you mean you’re sorry?” The voice says, “Haven’t you read today’s paper?” I say “No, what happened?” The voice says “You better go and get the paper.”
I put the phone down and run over 300 meters down Mill Point Road to the news agency. I pick up the paper run outside and sit on the curb and on the front page is a huge photo of my mum. I turn to the continuing story on another page and read “How the Red Tape Destroyed Nola.” I raced my eyes down the page and read “Nola had gassed herself in her car.”
It was too late. All those years of emotional suffering that only a parent who travels on this type of journey will ever understand. The never-ending grief of losing your children, when you have done nothing wrong.
I tell my story so I can heal and so others can learn about the impact it can have when a parent isolates their child from their other parent and manipulates them to believe the other parent is a bad parent.
Nothing my mum did was ever right in my father’s eyes and everything he did he believed was right. He thought he was the best parent and thought my mum was not worthy of anything, not even her children. He treated her like she should be punished. He did everything he could to emotionally, financially and socially destroy her, and he was successful.
He wanted me to believe he saved me from my mum, that he was my saviour and everything was fantastic living with him. But in fact, he stole a big part of me. I didn’t know who I was or where I belonged. No one could ever replace my mum.
My father could not show the same type of love towards me like my mum did, as we were so close. We were best friends. She was the most fun-loving mum that anyone could imagine. She made everything fun. But dad wanted her destroyed and it didn’t matter to him that he was destroying a part of me too. He showed no signs of empathy towards my mum or me.
I grew up with a feeling of no identity and didn’t know what a healthy relationship was. I lost an important role model in my life, so I had no guidance.
In our society, it has become acceptable to grow up without one of your parents and this should never be allowed. It is unacceptable especially when there is no evidence of abuse of the parent left behind.
Parents must never be allowed to isolate their children from their other parent. Many ways children are being isolated are by the use of false allegations, the misuse of restraining orders, abducting the child overseas, interstate or even in the same suburb. And too often children are being so heavily influenced they end up rejecting their other parent completely.
The children suffer in silence. They don’t even understand that what they are experiencing is emotional child abuse.
Legal and mental health professional I urge you to educate in the dynamics of parental alienation and its sinister sister parental abduction. Children of high conflict divorce or separation need support and the tools to cope, to put down boundaries and be free to have both parents in their life with no pressure.
If you are a child or teenager that has found yourself disconnected from a parent you love and once had in your life, I encourage you to please reach out and connect with your other parent. It is important that you also get some support through a counsellor or psychologist to help you cope, to teach you to put down some boundaries with the parent that is influencing you and to also help you gain confidence in yourself and gain some control back in your life. You have the right to love both of your parents.
If you are a parent that has been isolated from your child and you are experiencing unbearable grief or are finding it difficult to find your way in life without your child, are having trouble communicating with your child please get some support through a counsellor or psychologist. Your child needs you more than you can imagine. They need you to stay strong, to look after your mental and physical health and to keep living your life. You are important. Believe in yourself.
Never ever give up.
Amanda Sillars (Founder of Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation)