When the decision is made to split it can be amicable, or not.
It is not uncommon that one party makes false accusations about the other. In my case, as with other fathers this happened as well. Even as we had three long months together before I had my own flat. I found out what she was saying, and more’s the point what she is still saying in front of my children.
All of a sudden I had turned overnight into a violent alcoholic that beats his wife and even found time to be a serial adulterer. It was so unbelievable that even my then mother-in-law rang me to say she didn’t believe any of it. Most people thankfully didn’t.
So, let’s pick the allegations apart then, just for the record: Nobody had even seen me drunk apart from at my stag night (and perhaps a couple of Oktoberfest visits – I do live in Munich after all), and Karola (her still best friend and my ‘informant’) supported me in our circle of friends and colleagues by saying that my wife had never mentioned that I was violent. And finally to be frank a balding glasses wearing lanky git from the North-West of England with ears that would make Prince Charles nod in approval is not going to land the girls is he now!
In fact the allegations bordered on the incredulous when I was actually being blamed for the fact that she had an affair. An interesting if not uncommon form of argumentation that supports the narrative that the failure of the marriage was the fault of the person who was not unfaithful. She had to do it to break out! And this becomes part of the history passed onto the children, instead of what it was: a marriage about to break down due to ‘irreconcilable differences’, with no real ‘blame’ on either side.
The point here is that this is the point in a relationship that when the common friends make a decision. No matter how ludicrous the allegations are. This choice will also affect the children, and the evolving narrative of the soon to be ex-wife. For instance, when I picked my children up for a weekend years later they told me that Wolfgang and Anke had been visiting my ex-wife immediately prior to my arrival. I asked why they didn’t stay to say hello. I was told by my children “They don’t want to see you”. Naturally an understandable choice on their part of course, but nevertheless a point that they probably didn’t make to the children, but to the mother who gladly passed it on to the children thus supporting her overall narrative of: “Your father is not a good person”.
I had to see that some people I cared for believe these lies, and accept that there is nothing I could really do to change their minds – blood is really thicker than water! But the fact that they would also be (mis)used for the alienation process was something I did not see coming. Two (Klaus and Marianne) even pretended to still be friends in order to pass information back to my wife. But I shouldn’t really complain – My wife’s best friend came over to the ‘dark side’ and saved me from doing something stupid and quite literally acted as a telephone hotline in times of distress for years afterwards.
You will lose some friends, but ask yourself if they really were friends anyway? And no matter what you do, you will not be able to stop your children hearing these lies. The only way to reduce or cancel their effect is to be yourself when you are with your children, so they cannot believe these lies. The problem, of course is when your access is restricted or blocked. Then the children have only one source of information and that is against you.
Welcome to a modern day variant of Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’.
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