I was naive to believe that events could not get worse after those first few weeks following the 28th June 1988 destruction of my 25 year marriage. At the very beginning I failed to realize that my hellish journey towards the depths of Parental Alienation was a precursor to the true evil that was about to be unleashed on me.
In those first few weeks, after I moved from the Cotswolds to live in London, I tried so hard to overcome the barriers set up to deny my contact of my five children. Each day I phoned my former marital home on the chance that one of my children might pick up the call. For day after day the ring back was dead which signified that the Cottage phone had been unplugged by my ex-wife. Rarely I heard an engaged signal which meant someone was talking on the phone so I constantly redialed in case I could speak to that ‘someone’. But each time after an engaged tone the phone again went dead. Unplugged again from the BT network.
On a few occasions when my call got through it was picked up by my ex-wife who refused to let me speak to my children. It shocked me that her unwillingness to let me talk to my children was so strong. I was reminded of the many dark days in my 25 year marriage when she had angrily exploded over some minor occurrence and subsequently treated me with such abuse.
If I thought my desperate attempts to reach my children by phone was proving difficult then the outcome of my letter writing was even more hideous. Every Sunday after I attended Church I sat down before I ate my lonely lunch to write each of my five children a letter. It was my small attempt to reach out to them to show them how much I cared and loved them. Unbeknownst to me (until many years later) all my letters, postcards and presents were intercepted by my ex-wife and thrown in the rubbish bin.
Apparently, after a few months, it became so bad that when one of my children collected the morning post from the postman they would hand every letter or parcel unopened to their mother for her to deal with. Even though they must have realized that on many occasions a letter or parcel was personally addressed to them. And they all knew my hand writing.
It was not until the beginning of 2000, twelve years after the start of my trauma, that my mother, who believed that she was dying, started to tell me about some of the cruel aspects of which she was personally aware. And not only of those early months but many events which occurred throughout the 30 years of blighted Parental Alienation. These destructive events still invade my life in 2019.
One particular event always stood out in my memory.
In August 1988 it was the birthday of one of my daughters’. This would have been the first birthday of one of my children since the 28th June 1988 drama signaled the ending of my 25 year marriage. In the weeks prior to my young daughter’s birthday I had been in America on an important business trip. (And before you begin to wonder the answer is ‘yes’ …… even when I was overseas on business I still tried to contact my children each day).
During my New York business trip I was able to spend a few hours in Bloomingdale to buy each of my children presents. This was a happy routine that I had followed over many years when I was away on business overseas. A really special present for each of my children on my safe return back home to them. As it was also my daughter’s birthday I bought her a really expensive gift in addition to the others.
On my return to London in mid August I posted all the presents to my Cottage ensuring that they would arrive before my daughter’s birthday. According to my mother’s recollection, in 2000, on the morning that all my presents arrived at the Cottage my ex-wife was entertaining some of her local friends to a coffee ‘get together’.
After the postman left my ex and her friends opened all my cards and presents addressed to my children. This terrible illegal intrusion into the lives of my children was abhorrent. Especially as my daughter was upstairs in her bedroom at the time. My ex-wife then gave her friends my childrens’ presents either for themselves, as I had sent my daughter some expensive personal jewelry, or for their children. I had also included money in each present for my children. This was pocketed by my ex-wife. Nothing went to the children, not even my letters and cards which were given to one of my ex-wife’s friends so that she could throw them all into her bin as there was so much ‘paper rubbish’.
On her birthday, which my own mother attended, my ex told my daughter that it was clear that her father didn’t love or care for her anymore as he had failed to remember her special day. This incredible level of lying was to become a horrific constant theme over the next 30 years.
Of course this is one of the wicked aspects of Parental Alienation. All the manipulation, bullying and brainwashing takes place behind locked doors. Any ‘targeted’ parent is therefore remote from the abuse of their child or children. Despite all best efforts, the impact of the Alienator on the child or children reigns supreme. And this is even backed up by the Courts.
It was on 28th July 1988 that I received the Divorce Court documents. This signaled the first round of a ‘boxing match’ which went way beyond the normal 15 rounds of a professional championship bout. In the end my Court appearances amounted to over 30. Each Court hearing attempted to escalate some of the brutal restrictions placed on me following ‘evidence’ of my ex-wife and presented in Court by her unscrupulous and evil lawyer.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Divorce Courts in the UK maintained an almost rigid approach that followed the dictum ‘mother all good, father all bad’ …. and to hell with the child or children. At another time in another blog I will recount, for a historic record, the detail of the multiple injustices perpetrated on myself by the Divorce Courts. It will make harrowing reading but, thankfully, is not relevant in this 2019 day because a new approach and regime is followed not only by today’s Courts but by the system generally.
And before someone who is currently going through the hell of Parental Alienation challenges my last statement, please understand that, in my experienced humble opinion, the current attitude of Courts, lawyers, social workers and Alienator’s friends and family still requires a considerable change towards better understanding. I know the whole system still sucks. But in the 1980s and 1990s the reality was multiple times worse than today.
In this blog, so far, I have begun to recount my failed attempts by phone and mail to reach my estranged children. Any reasonable reader might justifiably ask why I didn’t just drive up to the Cotswold cottage I still paid for and confront my ex-wife. Demanding in person to see and talk to my children right away. So I will now tell you about my first attempt to do just this action. And it’s ghastly consequences.
At the beginning of September 1988 I was required to attend a Divorce Court hearing in the town closest to my ‘old’ marital home. I drove across from London where I lived to the Cotswolds. Arriving early for the Court appointed time I attempted to talk to my ex-wife in the Court foyer. Immediately her lawyer came scurrying across the foyer to intercept me. On her way she called to a Court Usher to accompany her. In a matter of seconds I was confronted by these three angry women. The lawyer hurried my ex-wife into a pre-trial counselling room off the foyer and locked the door. The Court Usher formally warned me that I was not allowed to ‘confront’ or ‘harass’ my ex-wife anywhere on Court premises except in the actual designated Court Room where my divorce hearing was scheduled to take place. She also called over one of the Duty Police to, basically, read me the riot act. All this because I wanted to ask my ex how my children were getting on.
The Court hearing ended. The only major outcome was that the financial monthly alimony I paid was increased because my ex-wife persuaded the Court that her ‘living overheads’ had increased. One small practical problem. I paid for everything. My ex-wife was not, at this time, in employment. In fact the last time that she had been ‘employed’ had been over 25 years previously just as we were married. Within the next month though her lover, a senior teacher at the school attended by all my children, obtained a job for her as a dish washer in the school kitchen. By doing this they were able to meet every school day to continue their extra marital affair in relative secrecy.
On that Court day I was so close to my ‘old’ marital home and, being the afternoon, thought it might be possible to at least see, at a distance, my children. I decided on a whim to drive close to my Cottage and parked my car in a small lay-by which enabled me to see the beautiful front garden with the drive up to the Cottage. I knew the children played in the front garden because that is where I had set up their swings and outdoor climbing frames.
There was no sign of my children so I waited. About 10 minutes later the car of a local friend of my ex drove up to the Cottage and out jumped my children. My ex-wife and her friend had a quick chat, she had obviously been looking after my children while the Court session took place, before the friend departed. As she came to the Cottage drive entrance she turned right, away from where she lived, and towards me. I didn’t think she saw me. But within seconds she had obviously turned her car around, raced past me back up to the Cottage and ran into the house. All was silent. (Please remember this was in the days before everyone carried a mobile phone). I was about to drive away from the lay-by as I still had a three hour journey back to London when a police car, lights flashing and siren blaring, raced up the road from the local town.
The Police had come for me.
I was escorted back to the local Police Station. Interrogated for over three hours but eventually released with a warning not to ‘harass’ my ex-wife. The result of this little adventure. My ex-wife’s lawyer obtained a Court Restraining Order against me restricting any approach to my ‘old’ marital home and my family. You might ask why were the Police so heavy handed? Well the local Inspector of Police was married to my ex-wife’s lawyer. Enough said.
This blog post has focused on some of the multiple issues concerning access to my children. It is not a complete record of my trials in attempting to have ‘normal’ contact with my children but it forms, I believe, a basic platform of understanding on which I will build in following posts.
My next post will bring into the public light the events which accelerated my descent into the true destruction of Parental Alienation. The post will be a very shaming experience for me because it will recount the rapid sequence of destructive Court actions from which I might never recover.