woman dropped ice cream

I must say it 20 times a day at least.

“I’m well.”

Exchanging greetings with customers in my store – “How are you today?”  “I’m well, thank you. And you?”  Same reply each and every time, no matter what.

Why wouldn’t I be well?  I have a job that I enjoy, and my bosses are honest, kind considerate people.  My husband and I have never been closer.  My children are growing up, healthy and happy.

My alienated daughter now lives in my home, and I have the privilege of being a soft place for her to land when she struggles with the after effects of a f’d up childhood.  We get to build a new relationship, unique to us.  And it is good. It is very good.

I eat healthful nutritious food, and take care to keep toxins and chemicals exposure to a minimum wherever I can.  I drink water. I get decent sleep (most of the time).

I’ve learned to set my boundaries to honour what my body and my soul need to function at it’s best.  I know that taking care of myself allows me to better take care of others.  I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone anymore.  I am me.

I am grateful.  I try to forgive.  I try to treat others with kindness and compassion.

I volunteer with the local Scout troop. I’m learning to love the outdoors, and camping in tents.

I’m well.

Except when the doctor says that I’m not.  He says “cancer”.  He says “lymphoma”.

Today I lied.  I said “I am well.”

And I will keep saying it.

Because some day it will no longer be a lie.




Advice SignThis poem comes from The Parent’s Tao Te Ching, by William Martin, and I recently came across it as I was contemplating my recovery from parental alienation.  It is the most wonderful description of what I found on my journey through alienation.  Mastering these in ourselves can teach them to our children, even when they are not in our presence, because we become it.  We become compassionate, patient, and live simply.  When we live in that state, we are prepared to receive our children back in our lives, offering them a place that is calm and safe, whether they stay for but a moment, or for a lifetime.


There are only three qualities

you must teach your children.

Compassion, patience, and simplicity.

Some would say this is absurd.

They would teach instead,

ambition, drive, and competition,

and say it is the way of success.


But if they learn patience,

they see the world as it truly is.

If they learn simplicity,

they see themselves as they truly are.

And if they learn compassion,

they heal themselves,

and the world.


Following the Tao as a parent

will often seem opposed

to conventional parenting wisdom.

The confusion lies in ourselves as parents.

We don’t know what we truly want,

or who we truly are.

Compassion, patience, and simplicity

cannot be taught

until they are experienced.

And when we experience them,

we lose the need to teach them.

We live them instead.

And then our children learn.


A heart that is broken, is a heart that is open. ~ Bono




The Gift of A Broken Heart

Being an alienated parent leaves you shattered.  Your world is destroyed and something inside feels like an endless black hole.  Everything you thought you knew in life is messed up, and none of it makes sense anymore.

A broken heart is a heart that is open.  Being broken open allows for the possibility to find a new way.  Being broken open allows for new thinking, new feeling, and a willingness to try looking at things from a different perspective.

My broken heart and grief led me on a journey to find peace, and to define myself in my new context as a mother without her child.  In this journey I found serenity, simplicity and compassion.

Serenity came when I realized what it was in my life that I could control, and accepted the things that  I could not control.

Simplicity came when I took action to stop the drama, and cut out the crap in my life.  I set boundaries, and intentions, and stuck by my values.  I refused to let my past define my future.

Compassion came when I learned to first be kind to myself and forgive me for the things I did to contribute to the space I was in.  I released guilt, and opened up to living from a place of love, instead of fear and hurt. Finally, I was able to extend compassion and forgiveness to others, including my foes.

The Journey Continues

I know that there are many, many people out there right now who are in that shattered place.  I’ve been there, and I know what it is like.  I also know that it is possible to move through it, and become happy, healthy and strong again.

Without getting through the pain and anger of alienation, there’s little hope of being strong and secure enough to make a lasting connection with your child again in the future.  They need us to be calm, strong and loving so that we can be their soft spot to land when they awake to the realization of alienation.  We owe it to our alienated children to recover, and let our broken hearts not only mend, but grow, while we are apart from them.






Christmas is not my favourite holiday.  It used to be when I was a child.  We spent so much time with family every year at Christmastime how could I not love it?  It truly was joyful.

Unfortunately, years of stress and pain surrounding every Christmas since I left my abusive marriage has really destroyed my love of the season.  I still spend time with family, although a much smaller bunch these days.  We still have music, memories, presents and great food, but where there was once joy now there is an emptiness in my heart. Even now that I have some relationship again with my alienated daughter, Christmas is not the same.

I don’t hate it. It’s just not the same as it used to be.

For targeted parents of PA the holidays can bring up strong feelings of grief. The family focused holidays are a painful reminder of the loss in your life.  The ache in your heart can feel even more intense at this time of year.

When you have been separated from your child by acts of hatred, and your relationship has been cut off no matter how hard you tried to save it, there is profound loss.  It is like a death, but there is no funeral or memorial service.  There are no cards of sympathy, or friends gathering to support you.  There is no ‘closure’ or ritual to acknowledge the change in our life.

Targeted parents get robbed of the right to grieve.

Well-meaning friends and family often encourage us to ‘let it go’ and ‘get past it’ by accepting the way life is and getting on with it.  But even finding acceptance of the situation as an alienated parent does not make the grief over the loss of relationship, identity, hopes and dreams any less real.  Just because there is a chance that some day you may be reunited with your alienated child, it does not mean that the loss you have experienced isn’t painful and often devastating.

The number one thing you can do for yourself as a targeted parent this holiday season is claim your right to grieve.  Recognize that your loss is real, and being separated from your child by alienation is a death.  It is the death of your hopes and dreams of a happy well supported life for that child, and for yourself as a parent.  It is the death of your relationship.  It is the death of your identity as a parent of that child. Any of that is worthy of proper grief.

Expression of the energy of grief is essential to dealing with the loss and pain you are experiencing.  Ways to work through the grief can vary as much as the individual.  It may take the form of vigorous physical exercise, deep concentration and problem solving, intense creativity in visual, music, or literary arts, or moments of deep meditation or prayerful silence.  Try to find your way to acknowledge and express your grief.

If you are finding that the sadness and grief is too overwhelming, or you just need for a compassionate ear to listen to you share your true feelings about being alienated from your child, seek out a professional counsellor or therapist.  Try to find someone who has knowledge and understanding of parental alienation.  Even the most well-intentioned therapist who does not understand what PA is and how it comes about can be harmful more than helpful.  It may take a couple of tries to find the right person.

This holiday season, give your grief it’s proper place.  Recognize your right to grieve, and take time to find a positive way to express and utilize the energy of grief.  At the same time remember to recognize the places of joy in your life – family, friends and community who are with you and want nothing but the best for you.  Acknowledge and honour those as well.  They will be your lifeline to coming through the grief into a new light and a new year.

Merry Christmas…happy holidays…may the force be with you. 😉



Last night I had a moving dream.  It was so vivid and real.  I recently changed careers and am in the process of defining my values and goals for my business, and my life.  This helps.

I was at a large group conference, that appeared to be a gathering of churches with many ‘religious types’ about.  We were shuttled off to the meeting location – a large cathedral type space – on trains.  The weather had turned very cold and snowy.  As I was making my way from the train stop to the meeting I came across a man and his daughter who were struggling to walk through the snow. The other people seemed to know this man, and they all scowled at him and walked right past.   The two weren’t prepared for the weather, and the girl had no mittens.  Her hands were covered in snow and frozen with cold.  I immediately thought I could help her by giving her the extra clothes and mittens I had at home that had belonged to my daughter.  I said to the man “I want to give your daughter some help.  I have a t-shirt for her.”  He looked at me with a puzzled expression, and said “I already talked to Ian.  I don’t think he would approve of that.”  I had no idea who Ian was, and quite frankly didn’t care.  I asked him to come find me after the meeting so I could give his daughter the t-shirt.  He just nodded his head and moved on, away from the group.

When I arrived at the meeting site, many people were there milling about talking.  I found my seat and as soon as I did a man came up to me.  He was “Ian”.  Ian asked me what I was doing talking to that man.  He said “do you know what that man has done??”  I said I didn’t care what he had done, he and his daughter needed help and I offered to give his daughter a t-shirt.  He looked shocked and angry, and turned to the others he was with and told them “She is going to HELP him, and she is going to try to get others to give donations to help him too!”  They were all angry and disgusted with me.  I was furious with Ian.  I yelled out “This is exactly why I hate this church – people claim to be godly people yet judge others for a mistake made, and cast them out of the community.  They judge harshly and allow someone else – a child no less – to suffer while they stand and watch!”

On the train back to our cars, the tracks were rough because of the snow, and some had shifted, making the train’s passage treacherous.  The railcar I was in made it past the rough spot, but the one behind mine didn’t.  The people inside fell out and landed in the freezing water.  Other people looked around worried, but did nothing to help those in the water.  I ran over, laid on my belly at the edge of the water and ice and stretched out to reach a young man in the water.  I pulled him towards me to safety at the edge.  I tried to holler for help but my voice was too quiet, I could barely make a sound.  When I looked again all the people in the water were at the edge, and I was able to help them out of the freezing water and ice to safety.


In dreams begin responsibilities
And I can love, and I can love
And I know that the tide is turning ’round
So don’t let the bastards grind you down.

~ ‘Acrobat’ by U2



The Miracle

I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred
Heard a song that made some sense out of the world
Everything I ever lost, now has been returned
In the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.


I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred
I get so many things I don’t deserve
All the stolen voices will someday be returned
The most beautiful sound I’d ever heard

~ U2 – The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)

When my daughter was born years ago, she wasn’t breathing.  Complications had restricted her airway, and although it was only moments before the doctor resolved the problem and she was crying normally, it seemed like an eternity of silence. For weeks after, I would smile to myself whenever she cried, because it honestly was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. Her cry was tiny (like her), and polite – almost more of an “excuse me” than a demand for attention. (That polite cry did by the way did develop shortly thereafter into a full-blown infant holler.)  After all the complications of my pregnancy with her, she was my little miracle – a happy and healthy baby, despite having a less than ideal start into the world.

Years later she still is my miracle.  As she grows into a young woman, she has had to face more stress, strain and difficulties than any young person should have to.  She continues to make me proud by showing maturity and thoughtfulness beyond her years, in the face of adversity.  My ability to reach out to her and provide her support during difficult times had been strained in the past, but over the past year or so it has improved.  As she ages and makes more decisions for herself, we have been able to reconnect.  So much so, to the point where I had the privilege of being a soft spot for her to land during a particularly difficult time recently.  And as much as I would have loved to move her in with me and make it all better for her, I instead vowed to support her in whatever decisions she made, as the near adult she is.  It was hard to have her sleep under my roof for the first time in 6 years, and then let her go again.  But it is what she needed to do.  She had to take control of her own life, and make her decisions.  I’m proud of her and support her in whatever she chooses to do.

There are so many things my daughter has given me in her lifetime, without even knowing it.  She is the reason that I woke up from the fog of my relationship with her father, and realized that there was no way I could help her become the happy and confident woman she deserved to be, if I was not that myself.  How could I teach her to speak her mind, if I feared my own voice?  How could I teach her to take control of her life and do what was best for her, if I continued to cower to my husband and sacrifice myself?  How could I teach her to love unconditionally, if I carried fear and hate in my heart? No. I needed to wake up and become the kind of person I wanted her to look up to. That was my miracle moment thanks to her. It has taken many years and much pain, but I hope I have succeeded.


Recently the Journey Through Alienation Facebook page reached 500 likes.  I am both honoured to be able to connect with other people in this way, and saddened that we share this common experience.  Parental Alienation is far too common, and far too easy for people to get away with.  But by sharing our stories and our struggles, and providing support for each other, we will be able to bring the awareness to the issues and have others recognize the damage done to families by it.

I’d just like to let anyone else struggling know that it can get better.  I went through so much and have come so far.  The journey has been hell, but it has also brought me the best of rewards.  I have a deeper understanding of myself and others.  I have learned compassion and forgiveness for those who have harmed me and my child in so many ways.  I have been able to dig into my pain and release it, and in doing so took back my life.  The pain was transformed into personal strength and I used it to find my new career, live a healthier life, and be a better wife and parent for my family.  This curse of PA turned out to be a blessing.

Stolen voices have been returned.

I hope that someday yours will be too.



For the Fathers

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads who have had their role in their children’s lives discounted to nothing more than a support payment.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who have had to fight in court against outrageous inflated accusations, created to take away their relationship with their child.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who have been made to feel insignificant, unimportant, and disposable by their children’s mother.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who have jumped through hoops and moved mountains to make sure they don’t miss out on the precious little time they get to spend with their child.


I’m sorry there are mothers who take all the credit for raising a child ‘by themselves’, all the while actively working to restrict the father’s contact with their child.

I’m sorry our justice system allows this to happen.

I’m sorry that people see this type of behaviour so often that they consider it a normal part of being a non-custodial parent.


If I could wave a wand and make it all disappear, I would.

If I could wave a wand and heal the deep wounds I would.


I wish I could.


Great Dad



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