Archive | September, 2008

Brainwashing Tool #8: The telephone

When you have your kid for your visitation time, oftentimes the other parent knows he/she has only one way of brainwashing your kid during those days. The tool used?

The telephone/cellphone.

The alienating parent will try one or several of the following tactics:

1. Keep the child on the phone for a long time
2. Inquire in a negative spirit how the visit is going. Instead of “tell me what you did today,” the sentiment more like “Are you doing OK?” “How much do you miss me?”
3. Tell the child about a big surprise awaiting him/her upon their return
4. Tell the child how much the parent misses them, that the time apart is very difficult

The Brainwashing Boomerang

Although direct and firm intervention is always required when dealing with an ex’s attempting to alienate you from your child, always keep this in the back of your head: the concept of the Brainwashing Boomerang.

Brainwashing Boomerang (n) – when a parent’s attempt to alienate their ex from their child or children backfires, and the intended effect is the opposite: The child or children resent the parent who attempted the brainwashing.

You can’t sit back and wait for this effect to take place down the road. It is something that often happens, however, especially in cases where the children have relatively strong and independent minds (ie, less susceptible to mind shaping). This blog doesn’t recommend this passive approach, however, as damage is still done to the child’s psyche.

And even this boomerang effect isn’t desirable, as it simply switches hostility between the two parents… in other words, hostility which shouldn’t be there at all still exists.

"Don’t make me choose!" – the universal cry of children

Inside a child’s mind, when he or she faces brainwashing from a parent, the feeling they get is one of:

Please don’t make me choose!

Children know their parents have faults and aren’t perfect. They don’t hold one parent up to the other and say to themselves “this parent is better, so I like them better.” Rather, children simply want harmony and to be loved by both, in each parent’s own way of expressing it.

They don’t want to have to choose one parent over the other. Which is why brainwashing is such a travesty– it’s forcing them to develop negative feelings towards a parent when the child doesn’t feel such hostility naturally.

So it’s our duty as parents to never put our children in the direct or indirect fire of toxic statements or insinuations against our ex. Children love both their parents, and deep within hate negative expressed towards a parent– even when what is spoken of is true!

How taking "ownership" of a child hurts them

All parents feel a bond to their child. But a good percentage of parents take this bond to a new level, approaching ownership. They feel like that child belongs to them, while the ex is relegated to a legally-obligated role in the child’s life.

This is indicative of a very needy parent, for starters. A strong person, after all, would want their child to have both a mother and father bond.

But these parents take the role of dictator in the child’s life, wishing their ex would simply wither up and go away. They would much rather “own” their child and have the ex never appear again in the child’s life, than share the responsibilities of raising the child.

It’s amazing how a parent can put their own needs in front of their children’s. But it happens all the time. These power-obsessed, bitter, emotionally immature parents don’t care what damage they do to their children’s psyche. They don’t even think they’re doing anything harmful, they’re so wrapped up in their emotions.

How to cope with such “ownership”-inclined parents? See your kid(s) as often as possible. Use the courts if necessary to attempt at custody (sometimes this is the only way to get the brainwashing to subside– but even that is optimistic).

Above all, use your actions to convey your love to your children. There is a good chance that your efforts will be rewarded at some point down the line. In fact, a very good chance…

When your son is suddenly sick before visitation

Multiple times before visitation, my son’s mother has said that Charlie’s sick. It wasn’t a “be forewarned, he’s sick. He’ll need XYZ medicine, etc.” Rather, it was a simple, “He’s sick.” End of story.

At the time I just thought whatever, she’s just letting me know he’s not feeling well. Oh well, we’ll get through it.

Only later after lots of research on the topic of brainwashing of children did I realize that this is a commonly used tactic by ex’s who don’t want your son or daughter around you.

Your only solution is to do what I did, tell them thanks for the update, and reconfirm the pickup time. If your ex suggests no visitation because of the illness, politely inform them that you will take care of the child (and are open to medical solution suggestions), and that to deny visitation would raise the matter to a new level.

Sidebar: Keep in mind you’ll have to judge the entire situation: If the child is indeed quite sick, would you want them to be around your healthy house? A good technique is to speak to your child and gauge the extent of their illness over the phone.

A brainwashed child’s vocabulary

A brainwashed child’s vocabulary is often quite remarkable. You’ll hear an 8-year-old say words like “concerned”– as in, just today my son, 8, told me he’s “concerned” when asked why he wants to know when our next visitation date is (it was the first time he’s ever asked about upcoming visits).

90% of the time Charlie says anything weird about me or my family, or expresses angst (the brainwashing in the background at work), he uses adult language. It’s a dead giveaway to the thoughts not being his own.

So when you suspect your son or daughter is being brainwashed by the ex, you’ll get confirmation many times by the vocabulary he or she uses.

Son says concerned about upcoming visitation

Charlie is 8 years old, and today I had a weird conversation with him on the phone. He asked me when I’m coming to pick him up next. I told him I don’t know yet, my flight schedule isn’t out yet. But that I will know in 2 weeks.

I then asked “Why, Charlie?”

“Because I’m concerned.”

I said, “Concerned about what?”

“Um, because you’re going to take me away from my family.”

“Charlie, you know we’re going to have a blast as usual when I come and pick you up, do you not a great time usually with me and the kids?”

“Um, not really.”

Mind you, he has a fun time around me and my family. I take pictures and videos to document this for the upcoming trial. It’s very difficult to hear your son become distant from you and even say that he doesn’t enjoy being around you. You know it’s his mother’s programming, but it still hurts.