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Scorched Earth Alienation

Scorched Earth Alienation (n) – intentionally trying to destroy a child’s relations with a parent and associated family tree.

There are different levels of brainwashing children, the most extreme of which is Scorched Earth Alienation.

When the ex tries to poison the relationship with not only the other parent but with that parent’s sisters, brothers, father– the entire family tree essentially, this is called Scorched Earth Alienation.

In my case, my son’s mother tries to deny him a normal relationship with his own half-sister, his Daddy (me), his grandpa (denied him an exchange– which I promptly filed a motion with the Court), and cousins.

She’s not just satisfied with getting him to hate his own Daddy, she’s going after the entire family tree. It’s truly sad… I hope your situation isn’t nearly as far-reaching as mine.

So when it comes time to discuss with your lawyer or the jury your plight, use this term– it’s perfect for what the malicious behavior it’s describing.

Only 40 hours ’til I see you

Counting down the hoursParents who view visitation with the other parent as something that’s a necessary evil often count down not only the days in front of their child, but hours too.

If a parent says to the child “Honey, I miss you so much, only 40 hours until I see you,” what is that telling them?

First, it tells them that there’s a mental clock counting town the time until “freedom” occurs. Until the misery of having to be with the other parent is over. It’s simply not healthy for parents to use such countdowns.

My son’s mother does this. Just yesterday it was “40 hours.” Not 2 days, mind you. 40 hours.

What she should be doing is asking him what he’s doing, to support those things, and then say “have a blast tomorrow, I’ll talk to you then.” Period.

So if your child mentions “only 35 hours until I see Mom,” you know what’s going on the the parent’s mind.

If ex can’t come, then (your child) can’t come, either

There will be situations when your ex will demand that he/she be allowed to appear at an event, or else the child won’t be allowed to come.

Last week my nephew was prevented from accepting a trophy at an awards banquet simply because his Dad wasn’t allowed to attend (Dad is involved in a highly toxic divorce with my sister).

Dad said that if he’s not allowed to attend, then his son won’t be there, either.
And that’s what happened: I, as the uncle, was there to see the trophy, while my nephew sat at home because Dad was punishing his ex.

Yet never mind the punishment meted out on his own son– preventing him from the thrill of accepting a trophy won in a horse riding competition.

This is just another form of using children as a pawn, and it happens too often in separations and divorces. Instead of doing what’s best for the children in all instances, bitter ex’s lash out, and damage their kids in the process.

Brainwashing Tool #7: Tell them what they're missing at home

I’ve experienced this now several times, so it’s time to expose it to other parents.

When your child is with you but talking on the phone to their other parent, one tool the parent uses to lessen the value of your child’s visitation at your home is to tell them great stuff that awaits them back home.

The past two visits, my son has been reminded of both a horse purchase and a fish tank purchase. “Aren’t you excited to come back and see your new horse?” “This aquarium is so amazing, don’t you wish you could see it?”

You’ll see other variations such as:
1. Parent telling the child that he missed his friend’s birthday party, or some other function
2. Parent telling the child how much he’s missed, multiple times, to make the child feel rx generic viagra guilty about being away
3. Parent acting as though the stay is terrible for the child, saying things like “everything will be alright, Charlie, you’ll be home in just two days and things will be fine again.”

Tips to combat this pointless behavior from the parent who’s lashing out?

Have a normal, fun time with your kids. At the end of every day of your visitation ask them, “What did you enjoy doing most today?” And take a few pictures and videos every day. Post them online, or somewhere that the child can see them. Make the actions memorable, which will be far more powerful than the other parent pulling down the child’s enjoyment with you using words.

Brainwashing Tool #16: Not showing them your letters

One thing commonly done by a parent who wants you to have minimal contact to “their” son or daughter is to not show them cards or letters you mail.

You can send postcards, a birthday card, a Valentine’s Day card, whatever. But a parent bent on harming his or her own child’s relationship with the other parent will pass those right along to the trash.

What to do?

Whenever you send a letter or card, remind yourself a week later to ask your son or daughter if they received it. If they didn’t then it’s time to speak to the parent. Explain how you expect letters you send to please be forwarded to the child. Don’t be angry with them, just state kindly but firmly that you would request that correspondence be shared with the child.

You can also start sending your postcards or letters to the child’s school. I’ve done this for quite some time. I address the letter to the teacher, my son, and the entire 3rd grade class. I’m sending them from different countries, so it provides a source of learning and entertainment for everyone. If you’re in the same city all the time this won’t work quite as well, but you get the idea. Explain to the teacher what’s going on, and he or she will be more than happy to field a few letters or postcards.

If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to air your grievance in front of a judge. Contact your lawyer.

This is just one of many forms of mental child abuse. Denying the other parent’s love towards their child one small step at a time…

Brainwashing Tool #3: No pics of you anywhere

Your ex has many tools at his or her disposal to push you away from and out of your child’s life.

One of the small but telling ways is to deny any pictures of you in your kid’s room at your ex’s. Why would they do this?

Simple. “Out of sight; out of mind.”

Your ex is making a pointed attempt to keep the child from thinking of you. Looking at a picture instills warm feelings towards that person, but your ex does not want the child to feel these feelings towards you.

Think about how tragic this is. The parent is deliberately taking away a memory of the other parent from the child.

While it may seem on the surface like it’s not that big of a deal, it actually is. If your kid has other pics in his room (and you can be sure the other parent is in one or more of them), but you’re not in any of them, you can be sure your ex is up to this sad and subtle brainwashing technique.

Not allowing pics of you anywhere is ywr another tool for bitter ex’s to help pass their dislike or even hatred of you — despite your being one of the two top people of importance in their life– onto the child.

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.

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…

Brainwashing Tool #1: Ankle-biting from your ex– constantly

One commonway that an angry ex tries to align your child against you is to ankle-bite every thing you do in front of the child.

You showed up 5 minutes late to his soccer game, and your kid hears “See, if your Dad really gave a damn about you he’d be 5 minutes EARLY.”

Other examples include,

“Your mother usually calls you on Fridays, right? Well, what does that say about how much he loves you since he didn’t call you today? It is Friday, you know.”

“Your father didn’t take you to the movie today? He said he would last week, now, didn’t he? Would you say that’s lying if you tell somebody you’re going to do something, and you don’t do it?”

“See, if your mother loved you she would be so strict with going to bed at a certain time every night. See how easy-going I am? It’s because I love you so much.”

And on, and on, and on.

The fact is, in this parent’s eyes you can do nothing right. Every little slip-up, real or perceived, every single thing you do is under the microscope. Unfortunately for your kid, he or she has to hear this steady drum beat of negativity.

It’s another reason for you to simple stop– today– caring about what the other parent thinks of you. Trying with good efforts and nice gestures to get them to change their opinion of you, even slowly, rarely work.

Simply “do the right things” as a parent week in and week out, and keep a close relationship your kid. You can’t control what the ex says about you*, but you can control how you act, both around your ex and around your kid.

*But always be prepared to fight it in the courts, where you must hold these brainwashing parents accountable.