WARNING: Dilettantish, exceptionally amateur psychology follows, please look away if you are not empathetic (!)
Looking around the internet while researching this there are several articles discussing the empathy gap between couples. For instance, when one partner doesn’t give the appropriate response the other partner expects when something happens, be it a cut finger, slip, being fired, etc. etc. Empathy with the partner declines when one or both of the partners are not interested in the relationship anymore. This is logical – another way of putting it would be to say they are not in love anymore.
I was in the country of my birth last weekend. The first time privately (not business) since 2009. There are many reasons for this – lack of money, the shame of what has happened to me etc. etc.
The reason was for a reunion of friends that graduated in the summer of 1987. Yes it really is thirty years since I graduated, when my whole life seemed rosy and full of promise!
To tell the truth I did not want to go. I was afraid of another round of having to explain why I am in the situation with the children that I now find myself, “What did you do to make her do that?”. My wife persuaded me to go, and I love her for it, for I had one of the best weekends ever.
This post was suggested by my various professionals during my journey and a post by David Shubert on iwaserased.com
I have thought about this a lot over the previous years. How to put into words the loss that I feel not seeing my children, having no idea what they are up to, not being asked daddy questions and an infinite amount of other possible situations.
I was ‘lucky’, in that I have found (or they found me?) a wonderful new partner and her son, both of whom adore me. They make me feel whole, and the residual doubt that I had every now and then that I could have been to blame for what happened between my children, their mother and I have been exorcised. I know I am a good partner and a good father to a son who isn’t mine. I certainly must take part of the blame, as no break-up is without fault on both sides, but certainly, the majority lies with my ex-wife and her new partner, whose actions regarding the children I really cannot even begin to understand. And to be frank I don’t think I am even capable of understanding how insidious their campaign against me was and probably still is.
Again, based on personal experience and has no relation to the work of practising members of the psychology profession!
I have been intimately involved in parental alienation for several years now. I have researched the hell out of it, and since the start of this blog at the start of the year I have also come across dozens more cases, some with their own blog, others through my twitter feed.
Well after several years of having to deal with this I have a theory. It probably will be shot down by any practising psychologist within a three-kilometer radius but here goes…
The problem with downright lying is that it is hard to reproduce. I mean we have all seen those crime series on TV, where the same questions are asked time and time again, sometimes from several angles to try and catch the perpetrator out. Well, there is a reason for this. If you make it up completely – I mean Pinocchio level lying, then it never happened, so how do you actually remember it? It is difficult, and some can do it, even maintaining the framework of several lies.
I was reading this report today on transparency about a father that brought a case of Parental Alienation against his wife with respect to his two boys. The analysis of the case by the superbly independent Transparency Group showed that he was probably to blame for his actions, and ultimately the fact that he did not allow himself to reconsider the ramifications of his actions, or show any empathy for the circumstances which effectively caused the situation that now existed.
I read this report three times, and as always I drifted off in contemplation. All sorts of questions came to mind: Did I cause my own situation? I am to blame? Am I possessed with blaming my ex-wife and her new husband for something that is ultimately down to me?
This is potentially one of the most important decisions that you will make if custody becomes contested or access starts being violated.
I cannot stress this more strongly.
I, unfortunately, went on a recommendation and landed a lawyer that just reacted. We cannot in the main expect lawyers to be pro-active, after all, they have other clients. But I now expect a lawyer to be pro-active in so far as they suggest different courses of action leading to a pre-defined and agreed goal.