It is a mystery to many how a left behind parent can even function after their child has been abducted or alienated from them. Some people are surprised we are even able to talk at all while others can even become angry at us that we are able to do so well with out going to see immediate retaliation for the hurtful destructive behavior on your own child by someone else who is normally the person you promised to spend the rest of your life with and support. I am still alive, living quite well, and these are some things that have helped. I am not a professional and I do not offer legal advise but I am a peer and I have helped many parents and children who have been separated from each other by an ill person or a small cult. Mothers, fathers, and children have called me a saint in the last year.
In The Beginning For A Left Behind Parent
Even the first signs of alienation or an abduction will trigger stress and confusion in the left behind parent. I did not know what to do when it happened because I had never experienced this type of ill behavior before. If you think someone including your spouse may abduct your child, you can go to the court and file abduction prevention orders. It might cost you more than $300 to file this with the court clerk in California but it will show you and everyone that you were justifiably concerned for your child and wanted to take the steps to get help. If you think that your spouse, a family member, or someone else may be keeping your child away from you and alienating them from you it is time to get educated on parental alienation. I never did these things to begin with because I did not know what these things even were or that people would do such a harmful thing.
These first steps along with daily solutions to help yourself are crucial for optimal survival during this time. When you know your child may be abused soon you will go through more trauma and stress than ever before. Take great care of yourself because digestion problems and dehydration from the stress may cause you to visit an ER. Improve all parts of your personal care during this time because this will also help your mental health. Things like washing all of your skin with a warm wet clean cloth in the morning and evening along with proper shaving, hair, foot, and nail care will improve the way you feel about yourself and will help you in the days, week, or in worst cases years to come.
You might be able to help the alienated or parental alienator become healthy by looking at ways they can improve their own life as well. Maybe they are not working, having leisure time, experiencing things with their friends, or able to express their love. Do what you can to help them in these areas. Certainly this is no excuse for abusing a child but solving the problem and moving forward in your relationship will be better on everyone including the child. No one but the lawyers and court staff are better off after your divorce. Your children and generations to come will suffer because of someone filing for divorce in many ways including financially even if you find a new partner that is better with money. The fact is you are 60% more likely to get divorced the 2nd time around.
Do not agree to anything you do not agree with, do your thinking for yourself, and even if some family members of yours or some unhealthy friends suggest that you are doing something wrong by trying to help your child grow and develop with both of their parents, don’t give up. Even the courts and professional lawyers (except for a few bad apples) know that it is best for a child to have both of their biological parents and for the most part they help make this happen as quickly as possible if they can. Courts in California even have a PACT class to help parents understand that it is important to keep parents and children together. If someone suggests something like ransom to visit with your child while they call it parenting time or a couple weekends a month, only do it if you think that is the best thing for your child. I find most parents (not all) are just forced into weekend visits even when the child would be much better served with more time from both parents.
Your Finances / Overall Health Will Suffer As A Left Behind Parent
It is your struggle. It is the struggle to help your own child(ren) so they are not abused by the other parent or person. It starts late at night with nightmares about the child abuse that you child is surely suffering from. You are reminded of the abuse each morning you wake up and your child is not with you and you can not keep your child safe because of the abductor(s). You might try to exercise and have excellent nutrition in the morning so that you have the energy to visit a legal office or go to court. Maybe you even run to the court house if it is reasonable by food so that you are a bit more relaxed while you wait in line for hours to file and request more paperwork to help you child(ren). Then you might call the national center at 1-800-THE-LOST and check in with your case manager or maybe volunteer your time with a non-profit child agency or kinship agency because you know there is a need to help. All of these things take away from your finances and overall health.
You must do these types of things to work on the problem of the ongoing child abuse but you must always focus on your health as well. Your emotional health will almost always suffer greatly and many left behind parents give up and kill themselves because of their kids being abused each day by their spouse or other. You know you can’t do this though because your child is depending on your survival to help them out of their daily suffering.
If you don’t have money, demand it from social services, the court, any special victims units, any shelters including domestic problem shelters. Many can give you a free stay in hotels or some ideas on how to get emergency funds to continue to help your child. Your family may have passed or might be part of the problem so it is best not to depend on them for your survival during this time however they can help out in life changing ways if they are healthy enough to do so.
Since your health is suffering from the stress of the alienation and/or abduction make sure you do some exercise each day. This exercise should be different each day so that you are using a different part of your mind which is also impaired and meeting new and different people with each activity. These new relationships will help you express what you are going through, will give you a support group, and will help show you that your child’s abuse is not really your fault even though their unprofessional lawyer or an abusive friend in the cult might agree.
Do not spend additional funds if you don’t need to and it does not solve the problem. It may seem like sending flowers, buying gifts, or paying for a visit is the best thing for your child at first but remember it is about parenting your child. Your child has the right to be parented by both of their parents in an easy free way just like we have been for millions of years. Spending money on travel and other arrangements just because the ill abducting parent wants you to come to their new location where they have a new partner may not help solve the problem of parenting your child. If they are keeping your child from you and you want to make sure your child is safe, alive, and you know where they might be at, call the local police and ask how they would like to do a child welfare check with their ID. This saves you money and helps let the cult know you are not giving up. You also might make some contacts in the PD that could pay off at a later time.
Don’t let the lawyers or court staff suck your money. If you do not have funds, file for a financial waver. In many cases the abductors of your child will also take things like passports, money, jewelry, expensive household items, limit your access to bank accounts, and really financially abuse you in any way they can. This does not need to stop you. Get free consultations from 100 or more lawyers before you sign up for one. Try out the non-profit centers at no cost so you can get some legal advise. Use federal therapists on the national center site and contact local therapists for free consultations or visits. We all want to help you get through this. It is only a small group of ill people that are harming your child. Remember 80% of parents are not happy with their family lawyer who need one.
Try not to go to court if you don’t completely need to. Going to court costs everyone money because we all pay for court staff. It also may cost you money so only go if you are volunteering to help other parents, jury service, or some other needed court function. Pick up paperwork when it is easy for you so you don’t need to spend extra money on it.
Maybe there is an unprofessional lawyer that is being deceptive or lying to try to get you to pay more money while he helps abuse and hide your child. Be sure to report lawyers like this to the state bar and on ripoffreport.com or another related site. This will help inform other parents of the problem so they can navigate accordingly.
Left Behind Parents Have Fun!
Each day do something fun. Do something you have excelled at and enjoy. This will not only help your mental health during this time but it will also put you in front of groups of people that want to support you and may have ideas on how to help stop your child’s daily abuse through parental loss. My daily fun and leisure time might consist of some computer games like chess, a dog walk on a new path, a sailing race or cruise, time at the spa, or playing music with friends.
Only you know what you like doing for fun and be sure to get some variety as well. You might even reach out to another left behind parent and see what they might want to join you for a hobby.
Left Behind Parents Need Support From Friends
Reach out to your friends and even reach out to the ill parent’s friends. This is a suggestion from the State Department of the United States and you can see it yourself on their site. You might find that one or more of these friends is not as susceptible to the cult activity as you may think and could help with the recovery of your abused child.
In most cults there is a circle of influence and you should know and understand this if it is what you are up against. You will quickly find out if someone is unhealthy and giving you the cold shoulder because they are angry about something, if they threaten you or say something negative about you, or in some cases they will help the child and give secret information that will help your child for the rest of their life.
Reach out to other friends that are left behind parents and ask them how they were able to get through it. Ask them how they were able to solve the problem or if it is still a problem today. You may be surprised to find out that in almost every case where a child has been abducted there are problems with the family and marital / divorce relationship for the rest of everyone’s life. Start your own left behind parents group locally and support each other. It works and you may be able to help your friends solve some problems as well.
Left Behind Parents Enjoy Love
Everyone enjoys expressing their passion for the ones they love. You can express passion for yourself and keep yourself in great shape, you can express your love for your community or your culture, and you can even express passion for the children of others or your family. What ever ways you can find to express your love I suggest doing it. It will help your mental health. In many cases the wife you loved and your only family including children you loved have been stolen from you and you can not express your love easily. Do not be tricked through; make sure you are expressing your love for people who really care about you and make actions to help you even when things are tough. Left behind parents are impaired from the daily stress and we can easily be tricked into another manipulative relationship. This is the time to explore your options, even locally if you have been left behind and told not to contact the other parent or person who has taken your child.
Left Behind Parents Working Daily
It is hard to find any type of work as a left behind parents for a variety of reasons including the fact that you have court dates, lawyer meetings, court filing times, and no one wants to hire someone that is going through the most traumatic time in their life. Even if they do hire you and the abducting parent is awarded child support (ransom in most cases) your company will not be able to award your skills like they could because around 30% of your check will already be taken which if you include your taxes works out to be around 60-70% of your check. Companies want you to benefit from the checks while you are working for them and not be given to an ill abusive parent that hides their kids.
There are plenty of opportunities for work however. Do something each day that you consider work, even if you are not paid for it. I enjoy writing, helping others in need, volunteering for legal services to help other parents that have had their children taken, working with the county, helping with public services, and working with other children. At first it was too stressful for me to watch other parents with their kids since mine had been stolen from me but I do well with it since it now since it has been years of understanding who is an ill parent and who is not.
Even if you just write for an hour each day to your child as work it will help you and will give your child something to understand. Visit http://mylahillman.com for some of the things that I have written to my child. I have much more that is not publically available but I want others to write to their children and let them know what they could have been doing with their parent each day.
Left Behind Parents Get In Shape
Many parents were watching and parenting their child each day every day before they were abducted by the other parent or another family member. Once this happens you will experience stress and struggles with all of your health. The way to counter this is through fitness and variety of exercises. Work on something different each day at least. Some ideas can be seen here: http://www.gregoryhillman.org/2011/08/03/how-to-manage-stress-grief-and-ways-to-optimize-health/
Take great care of yourself, enjoy life. You want your child to enjoy their life and they would want you to enjoy yours. Never stop fighting to stop their emotional abuse through parental loss.
May this help your children.