A guest post from another courageous parent speaking up about abuse so others may not have to:
She describes them as:
“Someone of either gender presenting as a victim who needs rescuing who then takes complete advantage of your kind nature by systematically obtaining more and more control over you until you are completely powerless in the relationship.”
When I first got together with the mother of my children, we had worked together for a number of years. I was in a pretty senior role, she was initially in a relatively junior role but I had been fascinated by her ability to somehow get herself into key decision-making meetings. I was busy on the front line and missed how it happened but suddenly she was making hiring or firing decisions, until I called my partners on this and accountability was restored.
The business went through a very difficult patch and I had to work with her again, this time more closely and, although not noticing at the time, she was suddenly perpetuating a victim narrative about her seemingly abusive relationship. She was so successful at this that I personally took it upon myself to step in and have a word with her then boyfriend who she accused of sexually assaulting her. He left.
I was living with a lovely person but we were at different stages in life and I reluctantly transitioned from that relationship and before I knew it, had somehow invited this needy person into my home. I had my doubts but “hey, it was my house and…”
One day I came home from a meeting to find that she had been going through my personal finances. She was accountancy trained and made some excuse about “rationalising accounts for ease of management”. She had an incredible habit of not lying, just not telling the truth, as if that’s not as bad.
Then the neighbours knocked on the door complaining about having a row with her. Later others did the same. I put this down to their sour-grapes at the departure of my former partner, defended her vociferously and left it at that.
However, I then realised that she had gone through my contact books and removed anything to do with former partners and friends she didn’t like from contact details to photos and momentos. She had also thrown out every scrap of anything related to former partners.
I know this sounds like I’m sort of pushover. I was certainly stressed at work and needed support. But I’m no wallflower I promise you.
I confronted her with the latest revelations, front, centre and frank, as is my preferred way. She immediately lapsed into what I now call her hyena mode, where her body language closes and she becomes theatrically upset and submissive.
But she knew she had pushed things too far. I then helped her pack and held the door for her and she drove off sobbing in her crappy car.
At midnight, however, she re-appeared on the doorstep begging for another chance and blaming her ex etc. Somehow I opened the door.
Having then committed I made up my mind to do whatever it would take to now make this work and before I knew it we were selling the house and starting afresh. Despite our high relative status as a couple, however, she was always complaining about people in our “posh” village making her feel inferior. Wherever we seemed to go she had issues with people,something I could never comprehend given she was very well educated and now comparatively well off, with a decent career and I certainly had no problems getting on with people.
In the next house, despite a quick pregnancy, the same behaviour toward the neighbours repeated itself. There were daily dramas and she fell out with every surrounding household. We even received a police visit for one physical attack on a man for parking his car inappropriately. At 7 months pregnant I had to pull her off the back of another woman she took a disliking to.
Despite all the concerns from friends and family, I stood by her and upped my contribution to compensate, literally doing everything in the house and outside and being the sole income driver. I even used my capital to create an online business for her in the hope it would cheer her up and give her a more fulfilling and empowering focus.
Gradually my family were alienated as well. Her parents, however, oddly, became our best friends, travelling from 200 miles away to stay with us virtually every other weekend and accompanying us on holidays. I stopped playing the sports I enjoyed, few of my friends came to the wedding and we focused everything on our new family.
I realise now how absolutely ridiculous this looks. Gradually my control over my own life was being eroded. But you know what they say about hindsight?
Needless to say, I came home from a very stressful client site one day, on my birthday, to an empty house.
She had colluded with her mother, in particular and emptied the accounts and removed everything of value as well as the passwords to all the financials and control over the accounting process. They had forged my signature on various documents and taken the cars.
That was over a decade ago.
I have fought, kicked and scratched with every ounce of everything I have while simultaneously doing everything I can to co-parent and continue to give my amazing children a father. But I’ve been outnumbered, out-gunned and undermined at every step.
Despite the perpetual and, at times, filthy abuse, I have succeeded in being there to influence the children’s most impressionable years and we are seeing those dividends coming to fruition in their performance at school and in their extra-curricular activities.
But, of course, their mother has deployed every trick of control in the alienator’s handbook. Every one, starting with the “non-harassment” gagging clause covertly slipped into my orders through to the “grey rock” refusal to communicate while she ignores the orders, conveniently flipping the ridiculous court support process to make it somehow appear that the controlling narcissist is actually me, despite the clear fact that I have no power in the process whatsoever, not even the guarantee that the simplest of commitments will be honoured, like a plan or a date.
True to form she has inserted herself into key positions within the community she returned to, where they now live, with the help of her extended and complicit family, from a school governor’s role to secretary of the local and influential sports and social club and the partner of the law firm representing her is now “a close personal friend”.
Let this be a salutary lesson to anyone setting up home with a partner. Whether or not you buy into narcissism theories, consider at least that there are two forms of aggression:
- the active and overt kind (shouty, ranty and worse)
- the passive aggressive kind (controlling, manipulative, lying).
If there’s a lot of either in your relationship and I mean EITHER, then you both have an issue and need help.
Do not introduce children into a relationship where control is an issue…or quite soon you’ll find you have none at all. That is a terrifying place to be, most especially for your children as these people will transfer their issues onto your children.
Parent Alienation is ALL about control.
Having not heard a thing from my beloved children for too long, caught tight in her abusive clutches, I certainly understand that now.
Yet I can do nothing, it seems, to seize any sort of balanced parental control back, other than to decide what happens to me. And that is a terrifying position for our children to be placed in by the impotence of our legal and family support systems.
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