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




I started this blog about a year and a half ago, as I was consciously trying to deal with the remaining damage that had been done to my soul by a horrific divorce, custody battle, and ultimate alienation from my daughter.  These events had taken up a large chunk of my adult life, and it was time to stop letting it define me.  I found a great deal of comfort and growth from reflecting on my attitudes, values, wounds and scars, dreams and desires.  Some of those I wrote about here, and some I kept to myself.

But the more I dug through my own experience with Parental Alienation, the more I became a witness to it in the lives of people around me, known and unknown.  There are three incidents that really stuck with me.

  • A year and a half ago a new grandson came into our family, and despite all our efforts and all the bullshit crap of family court, he’s already been torn away from us by his immature mother and meddling grandmother.  The cycle of alienation is deep in that family and it continues on with our grandson.  Despite our hopes and dreams for that young boy to have a loving healthy childhood, the likelihood is pretty slim.  It breaks our hearts.
  • Another incident involved complete strangers.  On one particular occasion while in Family Court trying to help my step-son get access to his son, I was witness to an alienating parent in action in the courtroom.  I have no idea who the parents or child involved are, I just happened to be sitting in the courtroom waiting for our case to be heard when this one came before the judge.  The mother, representing herself, had made an ’emergency’ motion, without proper serving or filing of paperwork, to have the father’s access rights removed based on the fact that the 10-year-old child said he didn’t want to go to his father’s house anymore.  She hadn’t followed proper channels to file her documents, but this judge decided to allow her to verbally present her case, under oath (as if that means ANYTHING in Family Court).  This woman went on the describe her son’s relationship with his father – and she hit every one of an alienator’s standard points.  She testified that the child refuses to go to the father’s home and she can’t force him; implied abuse of the child while with father; father spends all his time drinking or watching tv and not with the boy; father talks to the child about the mother and the divorce; child chose to call father by his first name and not ‘Dad’; blah blah blah.  And then she says this has been going on for the boy’s entire life, but NOW TODAY she needs an emergency order to immediately terminate the father’s access without notice until the court can hear her motion to have access permanently severed.  WTF???  Red flags were waving frantically in my mind.  I sat in that courtroom and prayed.  I prayed that God’s grace would allow the judge to have wisdom to see what total BS was coming out of this woman’s mouth.  I prayed that the judge would not grant this motion, and give this poor father the chance to defend himself against false accusations.  And thankfully the judge did just that.  She allowed the woman extra time to properly serve and file the court papers, and have this handled properly in court.  The judge saw no urgent need to take way access from this father, since every other weekend since the child was born he had been with his dad.  Thank God.
  • On another occasion this past year, I briefly reconnected with a coworker I had years before.  Back then we had the opportunity to work fairly closely together, and became friends.  We found that we had some similar experiences in raising our children and going through divorce, although her children were much older than mine.  So naturally when we met again this year our conversation turned to our children, and how things were going after all the struggles of earlier years.  I told her about being alienated from my daughter and how I was handling that.  She told me about how her now grown daughter came to her one night and told her something she had hoped she would never hear.  Her daughter made it clear that she was only ever going to say it once, and then proceeded to tell her mother that when she was growing up and went to visit her biological father, he sexually molested her, for years.  Upon hearing that I lost it.  I broke into tears and felt my heart sink.  It was the realization of the ultimate suffering a child can go through, no matter how hard her mother tried to protect her.  Words can’t describe how I felt that day.

While I was strongly affected by these encounters, and I found myself sympathetic to these children and their parents, I just wanted to run from it all.  I couldn’t take it any longer.

“Hey, I was all better” I thought, having learned to forgive and let go of the anger towards my ex that had been eating me alive for years.  “I’m done with this journey, right?” I thought.  I was sure I didn’t need to face it any more.  “I’m all good now…aren’t I?”

Now after allowing myself a bit of a break from it, I realize that this process of growing and learning is never all done.  Seems silly to think that it ever would be.  But sometimes the traveler on the journey needs a break to be able to absorb the lessons, and recharge their batteries to continue on.  I imagine it’s the hard work between the epiphanies where the real growth takes place.

So as far as I know I’ve come already, I know I’m still just here.  And here is a whole lot better than where I was before.  But I’m not done.  There will be new insights and revelations.  There will be more lessons learned.  And now that I’ve had a little break from it all, maybe I can get back up and continue on my journey wiser, stronger and happier than before.




This is part 2 of the post on Dr. Phil, Richard Rohr and Alienation. To view part 1, click here.

So after pondering what I had seen on the Dr. Phil Show episode on November 1st, I opened up my email the next day and came across the following meditation from the Centre for Action and Contemplation.

Saturday, November 2, 2013
All Souls’ Day

Holy Tears

 ~ A meditation by Richard Rohr

We only become enlightened as the ego dies to its pretenses, and we begin to be led more by soul and by Spirit. That dying is something we are led through by the awesome and quiet grace of God and by the hard work of confronting our own shadow. As we learn to live in Divine Space, we will almost naturally weep over our former mistakes, as we recognize that we ourselves are often the very thing that we hate and attack in other people. Weeping, by the way, is much more helpful and true than ever attacking, hating, or denying our sin—maybe not literally weeping, but sincere, non-self-hating compunction for our mistakes. (Compunction was the subtle word that the mystics often used to describe a regretful ownership of our sins, but without descending into abusive self-hatred.) Only grace can teach us how to do that. But only then can we begin to become and to live the Great Mystery of compassion, even toward ourselves. How you treat yourself is how you will usually treat other people too. The person who was vindictive to you today has been vindictive in his own mind since early this morning. She is punitive toward you because she has been punitive toward herself for years—without even knowing it.

God’s one-of-a-kind job description is that God actually uses our problems to lead us to the full solution. God is the perfect Recycler, and in the economy of grace, nothing is wasted, not even our worst sins nor our most stupid mistakes. God does not punish our sins, but uses them to soften our hearts toward everything.

Adapted from A Lever and a Place to Stand:
The Contemplative Stance, the Active Prayer

What probably stood out to me most in the meditation was the concept of compunction, and then living “The Great Mystery of compassion”.  I’ve written often about striving to have more compassion for myself and for my daughter’s father, in order to move beyond the alienation.  I want to use it to give me reason to thrive in my life, instead of allowing myself to become buried by the grief of it all.

I wasn’t able to find compassion for my ex-husband until I was able to find compassion for myself, for the mistakes I have made in all of this.  And forgiveness is what has made it possible to move on.  With sadness yes, but also with hope.

I’ll admit it – in a certain way I can relate to Sara.  Not in that I have ever, or would ever,  talk to my daughter the way she was on that show.  What I can relate to is the obvious anger at the situation, and the feeling that if we yell loud enough about the alienation someone will listen and do something about it.  Unfortunately that doesn’t usually work.

I’ve lost my temper at my ex on occasion (never a good thing to do).  I’ve vented and ranted to my friends and family about the injustices and the insanity of what he was doing to our child.  I’ve even told off a child protection worker who ‘just didn’t get it’.  Fortunately, I’ve never been in a position to lose it with a judge, lawyer or therapist.  And I’ve definitely never lost it with my daughter over this because frankly we’ve never discussed it.

Along the way there have been things I have said or done – out of anger, fear, frustration and confusion – that may have contributed to the alienation.  I own that.

I’ve done the best that I can with the skills  and capacity I had at the time, and sometimes it wasn’t at all helpful.  I take responsibility for that.

If my daughter’s father AND I were able to work together like adults to raise her then she would be better off.  I accept that.

So what if I can look at my mistakes with regret?  It doesn’t change the fact that my daughter is gone, and there is virtually no contact with her.  It doesn’t change the fact that her father continues to desire her relationship with me remain completely severed.

I don’t believe that had I not made these mistakes in the past that the outcome would be all that much different.  I know in some cases it would have been less difficult, less stressful, and less painful if I had made a different choice.  But without BOTH parents making different choices, the  alienation would still have occurred.

It is a catch 22.  You can’t sit back and not address the alienation and abusive behaviour.  Just playing nice all the time makes it easy for the other parent to take control of the child’s mind and turn them against you wrongfully.  But causing stress and strain for the child by fighting against the alienation can also accelerate the alienation, and depending on the severity, maybe rightfully so.  It’s a balancing act that we must play out.  It’s somewhere between giving up at the get-go, and becoming a Sara.  Unfortunately no one can really tell us where that is.

I wish you peace as you confront your shadow.  For whatever mistakes you’ve made along the way, may you take regretful ownership of them in a non-self-hating way.  Be compassionate to yourself.  And then, when you can do that, step outside of yourself and turn that compassion toward those who have hurt you most. Let your heart be softened.  May you be an example to your child – even if they may not see you – of a person who takes responsibility for themselves, and strives to live with loving kindness toward others.

November 1st and 2nd brought to my attention two seemingly unconnected things.

The first was a show on the Dr. Phil Show about Parental Alienation.  Dr. Phil.com – Shows – Parental Alienation: Who’s to Blame?.

The second was a meditation by Richard Rohr about sincere non-self-hating regretful ownership of our mistakes.

If you’ve taken a moment to review the Dr. Phil episode, your reaction may be the same as most other people – that it is not a depiction of Parental Alienation.  It’s pretty clear that the mother, Sara, is behaving in such a way that makes it very understandable why her children want nothing to do with her.  How comfortable would you be with having to deal with a parent like that?

My first thought when watching was:  Oh lord, that show has done nothing to advance the cause of those of us fighting against Parental Alienation.  I sincerely hope that people who view that show do not assume that all targeted parents are like this poor woman.

It appears that most viewers, even those who have experienced alienation themselves, condemn the woman as mentally ill and/or solely responsible for the damaged relationship with her children.  And it does appear that way.  But, we don’t really know.  We don’t know how this all started.  Did she really just start acting ‘crazy’ one day out of the blue? Or did the father engage in alienating behaviours years ago which drove her into this destructive state, which she seems to now be stuck in?

What I do know is that she is NOT making the situation any better for herself or her children, and most likely has damaged their relationship too severely to ever be repaired.  Bless the daughter who is still willing to give another chance to reconciliation therapy, although Sara has a lot of work to do herself before she’s able to have a chance of success at that.

The most important message that a targeted parent should take away from this episode, is Do Not become a Sara.  Don’t do the alienator’s work for them.  By acting the way she has – not listening to her child’s concerns, challenging them, and ranting about Parental Alienation – Sara has become the ‘crazy’ person her ex claims she has always been.  He no longer needs to interfere with her children’s opinion of their mother, because she has created the conflicted relationship herself.  He can sit back and let it happen.

Although I suspect every targeted parent has become ‘crazy’ over parental alienation at some point, I hope that most do not get stuck in it for years and years.  I don’t know how a parent could be faced with the manipulative, deceitful actions of an alienating parent and not completely lose it at some point.  It is just so painful to experience, and so hard for us to wrap our brains around it, that sometimes our only response is anger.  And that is EXACTLY what the alienator is trying to do.  If they succeed in turning you into a seemingly unstable and unreasonable person, then no one will question what role they had to play in the damaged relationship between you and your child.

The lesson here is this:  when it comes to speaking with lawyers, judges, therapists and, most importantly, your child, you have to do your best to control yourself.  Focus not on the alienation, but instead on your relationship with your child, and the desire to improve/repair it.  (Dr. Craig Childress has an excellent piece on what he calls Ju-Jitsu Parenting that addresses strategies to use in these situations.)

Containing our emotions when faced with parental alienation is not an easy thing to do, and grasping and understanding of it doesn’t happen overnight.  How do we let go of the anger, accept our situation and our role in the outcome, and finally, grow in a healthy way from it?  And what does a meditation from an insightful Catholic priest have to do with any of it?

More in Part 2.

Some excellent advice on dealing with Parental Alienation, from Emotional Butterfly blog.

Tips to Coping with Parental Alienation


I’m getting the feeling that my house is just about due for another ‘purge’.

Every now and again I start to feel cluttered, and that we just have too much stuff in our house.  Mostly it’s toys and clothes that my youngest has grown out of, or books I’ve read once, loved, and hoped to read again some day.  As if I have time to read for pleasure.  I swear it feels like by the time that happens, books in print will be obsolete and I’ll just be able to download them directly to my brain.  100_0624

Anyway, I’ve gone through this purge phase a few times over the last 5 years, so we really don’t have that much stuff.  Or at least not as much unnecessary stuff as we used to have.  Other than the outgrown clothes and toys of my son, what’s left is the hard stuff.  The things that have been packed away and I just haven’t been able to get rid of.  The things that I just don’t want to look at, or can’t bring myself to let go of.

There’s the boxes, and boxes, and boxes of court papers and files from over 10 years of trying to stop my ex from taking my daughter.  I would LOVE to dispose of all of that crap but I know its best to hold on for a few years yet.  They get relegated to the furthest corner of the basement storage.  Hopefully I’ll never need to look through those again.

Then there’s the boxes of my stuff that I gathered from my parents house when they moved out of our childhood home, and forced my siblings and I to collect our stuff so they didn’t have to move it with them.  High-school photos, journal books, mementos and the like.  I hang on to them thinking someday I’ll maybe scrapbook the photos and neatly record my childhood and adolescence.  Ya…sure…that will be about the same time I begin to read those books again.  I’ll just put these away with the baby book I started for my youngest when he was born.  So far the first six months are done.  Now he’s almost 8 (years).

100_0629A few boxes have things that belonged to our oldest children when they were younger.  I guess we have to hold onto those until we move out of our home some day, and force the kids to take their stuff so we don’t have to move it to our retirement home with us.  They can store it in their own basements, hoping for some time someday to organize the photos and give their sentimental mementos a home.

Tucked carefully away in a box on a shelf in the closet are my daughter’s baby items.  The few things of hers that I managed to get out of the house when I left my husband.  I guess my ex didn’t think they were anything important at the time, because I actually have them.  Most things he managed to rummage through after I had  packed them up but before I moved them out, and removed anything he felt he should have instead of me.  Funny thing is, there are very few things in my home now that came from that house.  Seemed like such a big deal at the time but it turns out none of the stuff really mattered.  Except my small box of special items from my first child’s first few months.  Her hospital i.d. bracelet.  A couple of photos.  A crocheted sweater I made for her when I was pregnant.  The tiny pink knit hat they put on her head when she was born to help keep her tiny body warm.  These treasures will always remain in their little box on the shelf in my closet.

And then there’s the baby blankets.

The warm crocheted one from my now departed grandmother.  I used it to cover the carseat  and stroller to keep my little ones warm when we went out in the cool weather.  Little children have played with it to cover their dolls or to make blanket forts.  It just seems to have grandmotherly love woven right into it.

The soft jersey knit one with the animals printed on it.  I swaddled my daughter tightly in it when she was first born.  She loved to be tightly and securely wrapped up, and would instantly settle and relax when she was swaddled like that.  When she was a little girl, I taught her to use that same blanket to swaddle her ‘baby’ and keep him snuggled.  Still later I used it to cover my youngest as he slept.  Over the years little children have played with it too for making superhero capes, forts, and doll blankets.  But this blanket will always be my daughter’s.  It just is.

But what do I do with these now?  The baby blankets that make me want to cry when I hold them.  The blankets that I can hug and hold and somehow feel closer to her now.  The baby blankets that make me feel the loss of her all over again.  Will I ever get the chance to cover my grandchild with them?  Will I ever get the chance to show my daughter once again how to swaddle a baby with it?    These blankets bring back happy memories,  and make me grieve for the time that has been lost with her, and still make me wonder what the future will bring for us.

Those damn baby blankets.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with them.

I do know that they won’t be getting thrown away any time soon.








A.C. Alienator Tip # 32:  How to alienate your child from your ex with “Crazy Making”


One tool to have in your alienator bag of tricks is the ability to be a crazy maker.  It’s an effective tool to be able to drive the other parent away from your child purely out of frustration. The most effective way to do this, is to create a false sense of security for the other parent, and then out of the blue make a change that ‘kicks them in the teeth’.

Rearranging access schedules is a guaranteed way that you can use crazy making to be extremely frustrating for the other parent.  If you don’t have an access order for your child, or have one that allows for certain arrangements to be made between the parents such as pickup or drop-off locations, hours of access,  phone calls etc., this makes it the easiest to be crazy maker with the schedule.  Always be sure of course, to play it just this side of legal. You don’t want to be found in breach of the order.  However, no one says you have to make things easy.

The first step in being an effective crazy maker is creating the false sense of security. To do this you have first make an offer that is more generous than what is provided for in the access order, or previous agreement between yourselves. For example, if an access order allows for one visit per week for a few hours, you can offer to extend that time or include an overnight visit.  You can do this one or two weeks in a row, being very nice and agreeable with the other parent.  Then, out of the blue, you change it.  Once you have the other parent feeling comfortable and more relaxed, commence the “crazy making”.  Start making changes to the regular access such as changing pickup location or hours of access.  Start to make demands that make the access more difficult for the other parent.  Have them drive out of their way in order to collect the child  You know they won’t refuse, because spending time with their child is the most important thing to them.  Once you hear them complain, but finally grudgingly agree, make a change again.  Anything they agree to, you’re going to change at the last minute to something less convenient.

You know what to play with, it’s their desire to do anything to see their child.  You have a great deal of power in this position.  You can go on making unreasonable demands and changing them frequently, until the other parent explodes in frustration.  Then you get to use that exact explosion of frustration to your advantage by claiming they have anger issues, or are otherwise unsuitable to care for the child.

So how do you know if you’re doing “crazy making” right? 

  • If you’ve driven the other parent to explode in frustration: you’re doing it right.
  • If you’re spending any amount of time focusing on what you can do next to create some chaos: you’re doing it right.
  • If you’re recruiting friends to help you with your harassment crazy making: you’re doing it right.
  • If you are happy rather than deeply saddened that your child will miss an opportunity to spend time with their other parent: you’re doing it right.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to be so good at crazy making that the other parent misses their access visit (one or several): you’re doing it right.
  • And if you explode with glee at the possibility of missed access: you’re doing it right.

The longer you can carry on these bouts of crazy making, the more likely you are to be successful at alienating your child from their other parent.  You’ll win.  The other parent loses.

But what about your child?

With the other parent out of the child’s life, you will have the opportunity to implant your version of who that person is in their mind.  Your child gets to hear you badmouth the other parent.  They’ll hear how “good” you are and how “bad” the other parent is.  But what you don’t realize is that what they see is not the same as what they hear.  They don’t see the other parent as bad, because what you’re telling them and what they’ve seen isn’t the same.  They just know that they miss their parent, and can’t understand why they’re not allowed to just have a happy relationship with them.

When you’re successful in alienating your child from their parent, you are successful in causing untold amounts of hurt to your child.  You’ll be successful in making them feel unloved, unworthy, have a low self-esteem, and be more likely to have difficulties in school, have problems with drugs and alcohol, and perhaps even suicidal tendencies. Causing a child to doubt a parent’s unconditional love for them, is like stealing that child’s soul.  It’s taking a piece of their heart and crushing it.

All this so that you can feel superior, and fill your own emotional void and ignore your own issues. Thank goodness you don’t have to deal with that.

Because in this game you’re the only one who matters right?

I think I’ve heard it a million times from well-meaning friends and family.  I think I’ve seen it a million times posted on blogs or comments on Facebook pages that deal with Parental Alienation.

I absolutely know that every time it has been said, it has been said with the utmost sincerity and desire to make a targeted parent feel better. But the last thing a targeted parent needs to hear, or worse yet to believe, is:

“When they’re old enough they’ll get tired of the mind games of the other parent, and they’ll choose to be with you”.  or “At thirteen they can decide for themselves who they want to live with.  Just wait. They’ll choose you.”


teamgraphicEvery time this has been said to me, I’ve managed to eek out a smile, nod my head, and say “Thanks.  I hope so.” Every time I see it written about in a comment to a blog or Facebook post I just want to say “NO!! If you’re being alienated then the children, in all likelihood, won’t choose to leave the alienating parent and live with you.  They may WANT to, but they won’t be ABLE to because of the emotionally abusive mind control that their parent has over them.”

In the early years I really did hope that when my daughter was a teen she would choose to come live with me.  But as time went on and the control my daughter’s father had over her became more apparent, I knew that the likelihood of that ever happening would be pretty slim.  I even made the mistake early on of retreating a bit, to allow her the freedom to “choose”, as if she had the emotional maturity or strength to make such a life changing decision while under the strong influence of a domineering father.  Not that my child is in any way  immature for her age, or unable to comprehend and weigh two sides of a situation.  But she is still a teenager.  Teenagers just do not have the life experience nor the brain chemistry to deal with such a huge life altering decision.  Add to that the fact that every decision she has tried to make in her life regarding me has been influenced by a father who desires to have me removed completely from her life, and the decision she will make is obvious.  It should never even have been an option for her.

So, if you are, or suspect you are, being targeted by an alienating parent and someone tells you “When they’re old enough…” just nod and smile and say thanks.  But under no circumstances believe it, or rely on that happening in your case.  Don’t push for your child to have a say in the outcome of a court decision regarding custody or access.  That is just playing right into the alienating parent’s trap.  Respect your child’s wishes, but work to protect them from being placed into a position where they have only one viable option (in their view) that will NOT be what you want. Behave in a way that would make your child want to be with you, but don’t sit back and wait for them to decide.

Generally the law provides that older children have the right to be heard in a legal matter dealing with which parent they will live, but no where is it required that the court allow their decision-making powers to rest solely on the wishes of a child.  In a situation of an acrimonious separation or possible parental alienation, it is downright irresponsible for a lawyer, judge, therapist or child protection worker to place that enormous responsibility on a child or teenager.  In my opinion, it is contributing to the abuse of that child.

If you are a lawyer, judge, therapist or child protection worker, please take the time and make the effort to better understand not only Parental Alienation, but also the workings of a teenage brain.  Consider what outside influences a teen is under from their parents and/or other family members, before resting your entire decision on the wishes of a youth in an emotionally abusive situation.  It is your duty to do what is in the best interests of the child, not what is easiest and quickest to get out of the court system.

And finally, if you are a friend, family member, acquaintance, or therapist of someone who is a targeted parent, please refrain from telling them that “when the child is old enough…”  It may be coming from the appropriate desire to make the person feel better or see things in a more positive light, but it is not true, and not helpful.  Instead say something like “That must be terrible for you.  I hope that something changes some day so you can have your relationship with your child back again.”  It’s enough to know that you are trying to understand what we are going through, and want the best outcome for us and our child.  But we don’t need to be told to believe something that will most likely never happen.


(Note:  for a great piece about the Teen Brain check out this YouTube video by zefrank)




“Acts 9.10-19 reminds me of two things. First of all, God’s voice to Ananius calls him to reach out to a previous persecutor — something only possible through choosing forgiveness. It reminds me of how we are to be a reconciliation people, working to put aside bitterness, resentment of the pasts. “There is no future without forgiveness”, as Desmond Tutu has said. Who in your life do you harbor bitterness with? How can you begin to set yourself free through forgiveness? Also God says that Paul’s salvation from the path he is on, though yes it saves him, calls him to a purpose that embraces suffering. So often we hear (and even preach) that salvation means deliverance from suffering. Here God admits that the path of salvation includes you willingly embracing certain suffering. Salvation does not deliver us from the pains of this world, from disability and poverty, but instead transforms our path so our suffering can become paths of healing for ourselves and for this broken world.”
– Micah Royal

43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  – Matthew 5: 43-48 (The Voice)


Father’s Day passed recently, and for me it was a day of reflection.  Earlier in the week I had come across both of the passages above.  Each resonated with me, and I found myself recalling them repeatedly in my mind over the next few days.  As Father’s Day arrived I of course was thinking about the many fathers in my life.

I thought about my own father, who lives nearby and I have the benefit of being able to see and speak to regularly.  My children have the benefit of knowing a loving grandfather who has allowed the warm and tender side of himself be more apparent as he has aged.  I am so thankful for him in our lives.

I thought about my husband, J, and what a wonderful husband, father, and now grandfather he is.  I am so thankful to have him in my life and my children’s lives.  As well I remembered my father-in-law who passed away a few months ago, and how it was a shame that we didn’t make the time to get to know each other better when we had the chance.  He too was a kind and gentle man, and we will miss him.

I thought about my step-son, now a young father himself, learning and maturing and trying to be the best father he can be.  I am proud of him for taking steps respond to life’s challenges in a mature and loving way.  I know that given the chance he will be a loving influence in his son’s life.

I thought about all the fathers who are separated from their children on Father’s Day – by choice or not – and especially those separated from their children because of parental alienation.  Having just gone through a Mother’s Day without my daughter, I empathize with them and wished them peace at a difficult time.

Then I thought about my daughter’s father.  The man who had made my life hell for years, and who had essentially stolen my daughter from me.  The man who has made my blood boil and my temper flare like no one else ever could.  But this time I could think about him without hatred or anger.

This time I found myself silently wishing him a Happy Fathers Day too.  After all, he is the father of my daughter, and without him my amazing, bright, talented, kind and beautiful daughter wouldn’t be with us.  I know that he loves her and she has been shaped into the person she is partly by his influence.  And for all the years we were together and all the experiences we went through together, I realized that I cannot truly know him.  Only he and God know what is in his heart, and God loves him just as much as me.

I don’t agree with the terrible things my ex husband has done to our child and to me over the years, but I try to understand where they are coming from.   It saddens me that there seems to be so much fear and pain in his life that he feels the need to behave the way he does.  I would love nothing more than for him to find what it is that he needs to move into a place of genuine peace and love, so that his life, and consequently my daughter’s life, can be happier and more fulfilled. I also realize that dream is something I cannot control myself, and all I can do is hope and pray that some day that will come about for him, in whatever way he needs it to.  Despite all my efforts over the years to change what was happening, all I can really do is affect my own part of the equation, and hold onto hope for change.

Over the past year I have been working on understanding forgiveness and compassion, specifically towards my daughter’s father.  In my life I’ve always found it fairly easy to forgive a friend or loved one, but forgiving someone who has caused so much pain and damage to me and my child, now that’s something different.  And truly loving my enemy and having compassion for him was completely foreign to me.  There was a time when I didn’t think I would ever be able to get there.

Early on in this quest to get beyond the pain of alienation I quickly realized that I didn’t really have a good grasp of what true forgiveness or compassion was. Through reading and reflection I began to comprehend that forgiveness and compassion does not mean condoning the behaviour.  And forgiving my ex for the abuse and alienation is not for his benefit, it is for mine.  It is allowing myself to put aside the bitterness and move forward with my life.  It has given me the peace I need to continue through my life without anger and hatred.  That doesn’t come easily.  From the point of declaring forgiveness to finally finding peace is not a linear path.  There are ups and downs, and unexpected twists and turns.  As Micah Royal tells us, starting a journey of freeing ourselves is being willing to embrace certain suffering in order to get there.

I have accepted the suffering of not having contact with my daughter in order to release myself from the bitterness and resentment towards her father.  By doing so I have been able to forgive and find compassion and peace.  By examining my own beliefs and actions, and shedding what was being detrimental rather than helpful has created a new version of me, and one that is much happier and confident and satisfied with my being, despite what I have been through.

Forgiveness has transformed my path.  I am taking a step closer to finding the divinity within me, and becoming the spiritual being I am meant to be.


“Heavenly peace enters in when the desires that spring
from self – love and love of the world are removed.”
          ~ Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven

Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be
And whatever suffering there is in this
All comes from desiring myself to be
But what need is there to say much more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of
Just look at the difference between them!
         ~ Shantideva

To rejoice at another’s joy is like being in heaven.
          ~ Meister Eckhart

With Mother’s Day recently passed, the sad feeling still lingers,

a little more present in my heart and mind.

For most days I’ve been able to push past the sadness and carry on.

Like the big red sign


But Mother’s Day comes and goes,

and still no end to the “break” that she asked for.

My heart sinks a little lower.

When she was an infant I knew I wanted nothing more

than for her to be a happy, confident, and carefree person.

Trying as I may,

Do as I might,

For her to be happy inside.

Not by things given to her,

material desires fulfilled.

But by feeling loved,

and secure

and whole.

That desire never changes.

A mother’s hopes and dreams for her child don’t disappear

no matter the time or distance apart.

A mother’s joy comes from the joy of her children.

I still want nothing more,

than for her to have love and security and happiness.

I want the people around her to find inner peace, and serenity and love

so then there will be

no more reason to continue the hurt.

About B.O.L.D.

About B.O.L.D

Bubbles of Love Day is here!  Help spread awareness of Parental Alienation by blowing some bubbles at 12 noon for at least 10 minutes on Thursday April 25th.


via About B.O.L.D..

Light of Truth

Turn on the Light of Truth

Turn on the Light of Truth

About two months ago I seriously considered shutting this blog down, and abandoning it completely along with the blog I have for my daughter as well.  For a while I set them both to ‘private blogs’ so that no one could see them.  I stopped just short of deleting everything.

You see, the problem with turning light of truth on wrongs, is that those who get exposed by that light aren’t so appreciative.  In fact, they retaliate.

My first reaction when faced with the accusation that my blogs are the reason my daughter has chosen to stop communicating with me was to cave in – take them offline and hide.  But running from false accusations like that is partly what got me started in this mess so many years ago.  At the mere suggestion that something I was doing was making me into a ‘bad mother’ I would immediately stop it, just so no one could say that about me.  I was a puppet on his strings and he could manipulate me into doing just about anything he wanted.  Fact is, he can manipulate most people into doing what he wants.

Nope, not doing that again. Ever.

Then I was angry.  I wanted to let everyone know what a scoundrel he is, and how they were all made fools by believing his stories and failing to protect my daughter.  But really, would it do any good?  What’s the point in arguing when we all wanted the same thing in the end?  Why waste that energy, and take on stress where I didn’t need it?  Nothing was going to change for me or my daughter by making those arguments, so I decided that I just wouldn’t go there. And I didn’t.

I took some more time to consider it – the claim that I am harming my daughter by writing about how much I adore her even though we’re not together, or writing about my own personal spiritual experiences through the lens of alienation – and I saw what BS it is.

Right now I have only one way to communicate to her that I love her, think about her all the time, and understand what she’s going through.  There is a slight chance she doesn’t like it, I suppose.  But if it serves as a place where she can go when she misses me, and she can relive memories or catch up on what’s happening in my life, I can’t take that away from her.  At worst, she won’t read it.  At best, she’ll find comfort in knowing we both miss each other and I’m here waiting for her someday when her life is different. I need to have that connection for me just as much as I do for her.

And after all, none of this is – or ever was – about him.

It’s about me.  It’s about looking inside and trying to find that part of me that can send out love and compassion to my enemies. It’s about finding the things in me that have caused me and my family hurt and pain, and letting those things go.  Turning that light of truth inwards, and making changes in me for the better, without judgement or shame.

It’s about taking what I’ve learned and experienced and sharing it with others, so that we can start to bring the wrongs out into the light, and bring about changes in attitudes and behaviours.  Nothing will ever change if we don’t talk about and share what happens to children and parents when faced with Parental Alienation.

I’m doing my part to shine a little light to bring Parental Alienation into focus.

Can you?


Rest In Peace


“Rest In Peace” they say,

“Rest In Peace” loved one.

Words I’ve heard too often these days.

Our loved ones who have

passed away,

gone to heaven,

died –

They are not in eternal rest.

There is no “resting in peace” for them.

They are alive!  More so than any of us, you and I.

Released from the constraints of their physical bodies,

Free from the ravages of old age, disease and pain,

They live now in the springtime of their youth.

Answers to the greatest mysteries revealed.

Knowledge and understanding beyond anything

available to us,

Are theirs to behold.

They are now beyond our sight,

but never gone from our hearts.

Perhaps it is us,

The ones who remain here

until our time to shed our bodies

and become fully ourselves,

Who should rest,

and be in peace?

“Death – the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.”
-Sir Walter Scott

I can assert positively, though, that as soon as we die we find ourself in the other life and live as a spirit among spirits…the death of our body, then, is merely the disposal of the apparatus that served a purpose useful to us in the world.

-Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven

[Those who have died] travel along pathways that are open between communities in heaven until they find a community that is in complete harmony with the feelings in their hearts…there they are among their own people, who are like relatives and friends that they love with all their heart because they share the same passions. There they experience the happiness that makes them most alive and their heart fills with delight because their soul is at peace.
-Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christianity, Vol. 2

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

I had an interesting experience in my home the other week that really made me think about what ‘family’ is.

It was early in the morning and like usual I was busy making my son’s lunch and trying to get him to get ready to go off to school for the day.  My 19-year-old stepson was there that morning as well which was out of the ordinary.  Usually living with his mom in the city, he had stayed at our house the night before because of an important appointment he had to attend the next day.  The weather was turning ugly, and my house was closer to this appointment than his mother’s, and we figured he would have a better chance getting where we had to go if we started out from a closer location.

The weather was terrible, but the appointment my step-son had to get to was too important to miss.  It was so important that his mother and I both were going along to provide support.

As I rushed to gather a lunch and pack the school bag for my youngest son, my sister arrived.  She had volunteered to make the 30 minute drive through the snow to take my youngest to school so that I could go with the 19-year-old another 30 minute drive in the opposite direction for his appointment.  Just before my sister arrived, my stepson’s mother had arrived as well, ready to join us for this important event.

My livingroom was filled with chatter about the weather, and whatever was on tv – my youngest son, my oldest stepson, his mother (my husband’s ex-wife), and my sister.  We were all coming together to make sure that our children had what they needed that day.  The village had gathered to care for the children.

My husband and I have been together for 13 years now.  I’ve been a step-mom to his two oldest sons, and watched them grow into fine young men.  They lived with their mother most of those years, and spent time with us alternate weekends and holidays.  Over the years the boy’s mother, father and I have found a way to work together to raise them the best we could.  It hasn’t always been easy.  I may not have always agreed with my husband’s ex-wife about how to raise the children, but I knew that she was doing her best, and the decision of how to raise them was hers and my husband’s.  Not mine. My job was to provide support to whatever decisions were made about the children, and give opinions only when asked.

We may not have always liked each other, but each one of us love those boys, and because of that we learned to love each other.  We treat each other with respect, and have taught the children to respect all their parents as well.   When issues or concerns come up we talk about it, and work together to find solutions or the best possible ways to help the children.   There is no arguing or fighting, no accusing or blaming.  Only ideas shared, and an attempt at understanding where the other is coming from.  Life is so much easier when we can all work together.

The longer the co-operative parenting with my husband and his ex-wife goes on, and the better the relationship between the three of us becomes, the more strange and painful the lack of relationship with my ex-husband and his spouse seems.  My ex-husband spends so much time and effort convincing people that I have made it impossible for my daughter to be in my life because of an inability on my part to work with him and his spouse to co-operate.  My ex husband’s various ‘reasons’ for my daughter severing her relationship with me are so far from the truth it’s almost laughable (if it didn’t hurt so damn much).

I’m living proof that it is possible for divorced parents to work together to do what is best for their children, and in doing so, teach their children about love and respect for both their parents and others. I’m part of the village that works together to raise the children.

I’m also living proof that when one parent is so wrapped up in hatred of the other or their own insecurities and fear, they are willing to sacrifice the child’s well-being in order to ensure the other parent is out of the picture for good.  It’s sad because it just doesn’t have to be that way. But no matter how much I want it to be different, I can’t change what someone else does.  All I can do now is continue to try to have compassion for him, and hope that someday there will be a healing within him that will make all  the difference in the world for my daughter.

I am forever grateful for the support of family and friends that I have who make it possible for me and my husband to raise our son to be a kind and loving person.

I am forever grateful to be a part of the supportive group of family and friends that make it possible for my husband and his ex-wife raise their sons to be kind and loving people.

I am forever hopeful that someday my daughter has the opportunity to be a mother or a step-mother in a loving and supportive relationship.



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