We’re Moving to a New Nation

So, I have moved a lot in my life!  We moved every couple of years when I was a kid.  It seemed like just when things were going well in my life, my parents would announce another move!  So, we packed up again and moved to a new home, a new school, new friends, and more.  It was difficult, but it was our life and I did not know any different.

As an adult, I have also moved many times.  I moved when I went to college.  I moved when I served a full-time mission for my church.  We moved all the time as missionaries!  I moved back home, back to college, back to home, and so on!  I moved when I got married.  I moved when we needed a bigger home for a new baby’s arrival.  I moved to go to graduate school.  I moved when I got my first job!  I moved when I bought my first home.  I moved when I was transferred for work.

While most moves are the same, there have been some key similarities!  There are boxes!  Lots of boxes!  Packing all your things and loading them into a truck is a lot of work!  And there were trucks!  Lots of trucks!  Big trucks!  Then, even bigger trucks to accommodate the large and growing family!  Once, we had a paid move where most of the work was done for us!  Most of the time, we packed our own boxes, loaded our own trucks, broke our own backs, and relied on the generosity of friends on both ends.  Moving is a somewhat common thing in our life.  We like to move it move it!

However, we are moving to a new nation this time!  I have never done this before!  It is so different and requires a different kind of packing and unpacking.  It is more stressful than any other move I have ever undertaken.  This move is killing me.  It is unlike any other adjustment and stress, and I am having a hard time with it.   This move has been in the works for years.  I am still trying to figure out how to do it all.

For those of you who are worried at this point, thinking we are heading out of our beloved country, please know that we are staying here.  The move I am speaking about is a different kind of move.  It is the move to alienation.  We did not choose this move, but it was thrust upon us by people who seem to just want to hurt us and blame us.  It is the most painful move I have ever been through. My wife and I try to comfort each other as we face this move to alienation.

Parental alienation is when one parent seeks to alienate or distance the children from the other parent.  It is seeking to destroy the relationship between the other parent and his or her children.  It is most common in divorce situations and it is a deadly move.   Parental alienation takes on many forms.  It can look like an active meeting pulling together all the kids in a group and bashing the other parent, labeling them with things like narcissist, borderline, bipolar, abusive, and so forth.  It can take the form of crossed boundaries, sharing texts or emails out of context, and criticizing the other parent.  It can take the form of isolating, restricting visits, controlling conversations, and pushing out interactions.  It can take the form of cruel accusations, court actions, and demanding changes.  Most insidiously, it involves whispered innuendoes, accusations, judgements, blaming, and more into the ears of vulnerable and innocent children.  There are so many ways to move into alienation.  All of them are deadly to the children.  All of them cause incredible harm.  This move is hard on all.

Parental alienation is a major problem and there is so little that can be done about it.  In this day of social media and internet connection, it is even easier to do and harder to stop.

In fact, there is little that can be done to stop parental alienation.  Unless the targeted parent witnesses it or has others who have witnessed it, there is nothing that can be done in the courts or other forums.  Even misaligning social media posts cannot be used in a court of law because they are not conclusive.  Those parents who choose to alienate the other parent have all of the power.  They can whisper their distorted lies and accusations and cruelties in the ears of their children and there is little or nothing the other parent can do.  It is maddening and so very sad.

Children suffer the most from this move to parental alienation.  How can they be expected to navigate this particular move?  When one parent chooses to pack up and load up vicious and cruel comments, accusations, and criticisms of the other, how is a child supposed to manage that?  They have no context!  Sometimes they have no memory of things that happened.  They are limited in what they can see or not see in a parent’s relationship.  They are not qualified or able to assess what is real and what is not.  Especially when a parent chooses to take any weakness, any sentence, and interaction and turn it into a weapon, when that same parent is willing to tell any lie and go to any length to alienate, it destroys the child stuck in the middle.  This move destroys children!

Even more, the alienated parent struggles with the loss of one of the most important relationships in his or her life.  This out-of-control feeling and the powerful and devastating grief associated with it is the worst feeling ever.  In these moments, this parent may respond out of grief and hurt.  The patterns of abuse and cruelty in the marriage, caused him to get out of the marriage.  He was safe.  His children are still stuck in the middle.  As he loses control, connection, and closeness simply by the dissolution of the marriage, it can be terrible.  And, whether we like it or not, courts are not friendly places and the adversarial legal system is hardly the place to solve things.  So, the alienated parent loses control.  He may try to fight for his kids.  When he is met with challenges, often his very actions are twisted against him and the offending spouse uses that as more ammunition.  No wonder many alienated parents (especially dads) give up after trying so hard.

Once the offending spouse has administered the poison of parental alienation, it is hard for the other parent to find an antidote.

This is a major problem in our society and throughout the world.  More needs to be done to address parental alienation.  I wish I had the answers.  I wish those involved in my world would think of the children first.  That is really the answer.  I know there are abusive parents, but too many good parents are alienated from their children by the other parent.  It is never healthy or good for a parent to shame, blame, misalign, criticize, or belittle the other parent.  Even in bad situations, this creates a difficulty for the child who is naturally curious and connected to both of her parents.  It can be impossible for even the brightest and best children to navigate what is true and figure it out.

As my sweetheart and I talked about this move, we pondered on our past.  Each of us grew up in a home that included divorce.  Each of us had a parent who alienated the other parent.  Each of us had our journey and struggle with what happened.  Eventually, we grew up and matured and became curious about the so-called abusive or terrible other parent.  In each of our cases, we finally saw things more clearly.  We finally were able to have more perspective and discern more of the truth.  We are grateful we eventually were able to see the light of day after being so fully kept in the dark by abusive alienation tactics of one of our parents.  We still struggle with some of the hurt.   We would not wish that upon anyone–especially our own children.  The cost is too much.

We can only hope that our children will one day be able to see clearly.  Until then, we struggle with this move to this nation.  There is nothing good about a move to alienation.


Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R Jacobs is a brave creator who strives to do mighty things! Jim is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator helping others to live more brave and authentic lives! He is the author of Driving Lessons For Life: Thoughts on Navigating Your Road to Personal Growth. Jim speaks professionally, and coaches others to success and living with integrity. He is a counselor, educator, innovator, father, and friend. Please check out Jim R. Jacobs and Driving Lessons For Life and find Jim on social media! Let's connect and dare mighty things!

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