~from a family man
April 17, 2013
Today Tammy and I were presented with another proclamation for Parental Alienation Awareness Day.
It was a packed house at the Indio City Hall Council Meeting, the Proclamation was the first on the agenda.
We accepted the Proclamation and I said a few words about the worst kind of abuse that you have never heard of. People listened.
Now they have heard of it.
I nervously scanned the crowd as I spoke. I was relieved when I saw the crowd listening attentively, some nodded in agreement. A man sat with his wife and three children next to him. His youngest daughter bounced on his knee as he listened intently.
As Tammy and I made our way back to our seats, the lady sitting beside me thanked me and Tammy for what we were doing. A few moments later an elderly man tapped my shoulder and thanked me as well.
We stayed for a while and observed Citizens Helping Indio Police graduates receive their certificates.
An Indio Police Officer had replaced the lady sitting to my right. After a while, he leaned over towards me and said that we shouldn't feel obligated to stay. People are presented with stuff all the time, he said, and quickly leave. He pointed out the remaining items on the agenda that visitors grab on their way in. “This stuff is boring. It won’t be weird if you don’t stay,” he said. I thanked him but we stayed a little while longer.
On my way out, I was stopped twice. The first man in his mid-to-late thirties had been waiting for me I felt. He was the man sitting behind us with his wife and 3 children, the youngest one of them on his knee. A family man I thought approvingly.
But right now he was waiting, alone, right outside the first set of doors that led into the lobby of the city hall building. We shook hands as we walked out the second set of double doors that led outside where his family stood waiting for him. He thanked me for what Tammy and I were doing in bringing awareness to Parental Alienation.
I thanked him in return just as another man in a business suit approached me. The second man was more interested in promoting his business-some type of marketing and fundraising. We talked a while and I took his card and now turned my attention back to the family man.
The family man was now talking to Tammy. I assumed thanking her as well. As I drew nearer they were saying good bye. He was walking away, and headed back to where his well-dressed children and wife awaited just a few feet away. I caught up to him and formally introduced myself. We shook hands and he made his way back and we exchanged names. He told me his name and then he told Tammy. It was an unusual name, but unfortunately, Tammy and I are having a hard time remembering it.
It’s a shame because what he told Tammy was both interesting and heartbreaking.
We were back in the van driving home, talking about how thoughtful it was for Mayor Holmes to take the time to place the Proclamation on a very nice frame and how packed the council meeting had been. Standing room only.
“Was my speech okay?” I asked my wife.
“It was perfect.”
Our talk turned to the people who had approached us and shared kind words. Tammy then told me about the family man and what he had said to her before I came back to introduce myself.
It was a good thing that she was driving because if I was at the wheel at the time I would have slammed on the brakes.
A part of me wanted to turn around and go back. He might still be there, I told myself. It’s late in the evening and I am wondering how I can touch base with him again. Maybe I can mention it in my thank you letter to Mayor Holmes; There was this guy, maybe you know him, at the thing last night. A family man. Would you happen to have his number?
Or something like that.
It Has A Name
The family man had thanked Tammy as well, while I spoke with the business man. He had told her that he had no idea that what he had experienced as a child had a name.
“This is what my mom did to me with my dad,” he said. “I had no idea there was a name for it.”
This is what my mom did to me.
He went on to say that his mother had so much hatred for his dad that she alienated all of his children from him. As children, he and his sisters were taught to hate their father.
Apparently, he had reconnected with his father because he talked about how his father, it turned out, was this very cool guy.
Tammy told me how he placed an emphasis on very cool guy.
Unfortunately, my sisters never recovered from the damage that was done to their relationship with their father he explained. The family man went on to talk about how his sisters never gave his dad--their dad-- a chance because of all the lies that were told about him.
“My dad died a few years ago,” he told Tammy, matter-of-factly. His sisters never got to know how cool he was and they never will.
“I never knew it had a name,” he said. The family man smiled politely and began to walk back to his family.
When I give a brief speech at the proclamation presentations I always mention that it’s the most horrible type of child about that you have never heard of.
This is not the first time that I have heard someone say that they had no idea it had a name. Or that they had no idea it was so prevalent. Just tonight on my Facebook webpage someone commented that they never knew how common it was. But my hope is that the day will come when I don’t hear that any more. Instead I would rather hear:
Yes. Yes, I have heard of this.
This is completely unacceptable.
This is child abuse and it must stop.
Someday they will say this.
But what I want to leave you with is this. It is something that the family man said that I missed and my wife, Tammy, pointed it out.
In the van on the way home Tammy repeated something that had stayed with her that was so true. She said that what struck her was when he said, “This is what my mom did to me...”
She placed emphasis on the last two words and I immediately got it.
Now I really wished I could remember his name.
This is what my mom did to me, he said.
Not to his father, the very cool guy who his mother had in her crosshairs when she spewed out her poison.
Mom did this to me.
Not to my father, the person who was her target when she shot out her venom.
But, to me.
The man, the intended target parent, the ex, the object of her hatred, is dead. She may have hurt him I am sure, but he is dead now.
All that is left are sisters who will never know how very cool their father was and your son, who is grown now and a family man himself.
Your son, ma’am, and he talks about what his mom did to him, still.
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