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[Warning: graphic language in below video] Here is a very sad audio clip of an angry father going on a yelling tirade against his kids. This was one of the few times a child is able to document their own Dad’s abuse. To anyone that says emotional or mental abuse isn’t as damaging as physical child abuse, I would simply ask them to listen to this:
[Consult with a family law attorney in your state; I am not an attorney]
As an airline pilot who has gone through the family court system too many years to remember, I’m asked frequently what custody arrangements should be used from fellow divorcing airline pilots.
The answer initially depends on how far the pilot lives from his children. If the pilot lives more than an hour’s drive or so away, alternating weekend possessions don’t work. Instead, request the ability to choose two weekends per month in your decree.
If the pilot lives in the area of the children, however, then approximately 50% of the time the children should be legally allowed to be with him or her.
The problem is our irregular schedules, and getting the legal system to understand how they interfere with seeing our kids if a standard visitation template is given to us. Most judges really don’t understand the changing schedules of pilots, firefighters, police officers, doctors, etc. They’d prefer to just approve a standard visitation template to make their jobs easier. This is where you need to find an attorney who understands variable possession orders, or airline employee possession orders (each state has its own name for it).
As an airline pilot, you’re aware that there are rare flying jobs with a typical 8am to 5pm schedule that most workers have. So a standard visitation order of alternating weekends (first, third, and fifth weekends typically) or weeks will not work for the vast majority of pilots.
So this is what you need: a variable possession order based around the airline pilot parent’s schedule. The alternative is severely diminished time between you and your kids.
The best way to go about this is to hire a family law attorney who’s familiar with these types of custody arrangements. This is critical. If he or she is board certified, all the better. If you don’t hire a family lawyer, your lawyer’s lack of knowledge in this area could result in a decision by the judge that steers towards the default standard possession order.
Once you hire an attorney, help him or her draft the language in an order to best enable you to see your kids on your off days. Many attorneys don’t understand the kind of schedules we have. This is your decree and your kids, so take an active part in making sure the language doesn’t hurt your ability to see them.
The important point is this: you and your attorney should demand a decree that offers possession of your kids on all or most of your days off, up to a maximum of 15 days per month. 50/50 physical custody, or as close as possible.
Seeing both parents equally, or as close to it as possible, is clearly in the best interest of your children— a standard used by every state. Don’t expect your ex to agree to this, however. There are many, many ex’s who will try to limit your ability to be with your kids.
Typical (weak) objections by the other parent to variable possession orders:
Some sample language for your decree, or as arguments to opposing counsel [Consult with a family law attorney in your state; I am not an attorney. Many family law attorneys will, in fact, find the below helpful]:
Other things to consider (run these by your lawyer, too):
I have noticed that in the majority of airline pilot divorces that the ex does not go along willingly with this visitation arrangement. So be prepared to have to fight this in the family court system.
Sample airline pilot possession orders [Consult with a family law attorney in your state; I am not an attorney]:
If you remember only one thing, please remember this:
You and your kids should not be penalized by your employment as an airline pilot. Fight for the common sense right to see them as much as they see their other parent.
Subjecting a child to negative statements about their own parent violates the most basic job we have as parents: to protect their heart.
When I think back on all the negative things (whether truthful or a lie) our son heard about me, what did they all have in common?
They hurt his heart.
This blog wouldn’t exist if parents out there were able to do this fundamental job of theirs. Their inability and/or refusal to protect their child from completely inappropriate hate, negativity, contempt, and denigration is a true tragedy– and millions of children suffer as a result.
You just discovered something about your ex? Ask one question: Will this information hurt or help their heart?
As no other question matters.
One of the trademark expressions of an alienating parent is the use of the terms “my son,” “my daughter,” or “my kids.”
It’s as though the other half of the child is discarded, leaving only one parent (when in the context of mentioning the other parent, of course. On its own, “my son,” for example, is appropriate). And in an alienator’s mind, that’s exactly the case. They are the “good” parent, and the other is the “bad” or unworthy parent. They would never admit to co-parenting with their ex.
You will never, ever hear an alienator– on any level– use the term “our son/daughter/kid.” As to utter those words implies an importance and biological connection to the ex.
As the non-alienating parent, you should always use the correct term of “OUR son,” “OUR daughter,” or “OUR son” when speaking in reference to the ex.
“By seeing himself as a victim, a person is able to justify just about any kind of immoral action”
Parents that try to peel a child’s love away from an ex all have something in common: they view themselves as victims in the failed marriage or relationship. A parent who is going through a divorce or just went through one can either pick up the pieces, shoulder the hurt, and move on… or they can view themselves as an aggrieved party. The former tend to keep talk about the ex to a minimum, no matter what he or she did wrong or even maliciously.
The latter, however, set the stage for hostile action against their ex which includes turning the child on him or her. Called “Parental Alienation Syndrome” by most professionals (I’ve never liked this term, as a lie that one parent is not worthy of love is abuse— not a “syndrome”).
There is a direct correlation… the more a parent sees himself or herself as a victim, the greater the possibility that he or she will go after the child’s relationship with ex. And once they do, there is often no limit to their efforts. They will falsely accuse and malign everything associated with their ex, and will manipulate the child like a puppet. In short, they have little to no boundaries. They will spill anything damning– both truths and lies– into the child’s soul. So can you blame the child, who loves this parent unconditionally, for believing the messages being heard?
Sadly, there is no short term solution to you, the alienated parent. Sitting your child down and speaking factually about yourself and what’s going on will, in fact, usually backfire (except with teenagers, but you have to be careful). Long term, instead of using words, be yourself and use your actions to allow your child to see who you are. Over the course of a few years and long summers together (especially important for noncustodial parents), all the vicious lies and stories will begin to be questioned by the child. Consciously, subconsciously, or both. But you have to be patient– this is going to take years! But once this happens, the reversal of their hardened heart towards you will begin…
High level brainwashers (parents actively campaigning to eliminate an ex from the child’s life) very frequently have a “You owe me” expectation once the child becomes an adult. How does this come about?
High level brainwashers are hyper-selfish people who are experts in playing the victimhood card. They view parenting not only as an obligation but also a favor to their child, and expect something in return down the line. This is the ultimate form of entitlement. Moreover, they view the child as an extension of themselves, not as an autonomous human being. They’re clueless to the notion of,
“One’s child is not an extension, let alone a clone, of oneself” – Dennis Prager
The brainwasher’s thought as the child nears adulthood is, “How dare you leave me and live an independent life!” Any guesses on where this next leads? It leads to the parent heaping a heavy dose of guilt onto the child. And further victimhood status:
In raising kids, these parents try to make themselves indispensable to the child, and have an entitlement mentality that eventually turns into “You owe me.” It’s completely unhealthy emotionally. Instead of turning to another adult for emotional support, this type of parent turns to the child, using him or her as an emotional confidant or spouse.
That’s the unfortunate thing about high level alienators. Their inappropriate enmeshment with their own child doesn’t cease upon the child’s entering adulthood. Rather, it kicks into new gear, centered around guilting the child for expressing and acting on his or her natural desire for independence. To these parents, this is a threat of the highest level imaginable– not being needed.
But what happens when the child, now an adult, resists such manipulation?
The alienating parent will do one of three things:
Don’t underestimate the ability of a toxic, manipulative, brainwashing parent to wreak havoc on their adult children by playing the “You owe me” tactic.
Bonus: Adulthood is usually the time where these children become closer to the non-alienating parent, no matter how much damage was done by the brainwasher. The truth eventually comes out– always– and the brainwashing boomerang goes into effect.
There are degradations of parental alienation. The most severe type is perpetrated by High Level Brainwashers (HLBs).
These parents are ruthless in their efforts to eliminate their ex from the child’s life. They spend decades spinning tales of woe of what the ex did, labeling the ex every derogatory name imaginable, and doing everything possible to deny an ex physical access to “their” child.
Below is a list of the dominant characteristics and behaviors of HLBs:
There is one final trait of the truly worst HLBs, and that’s the narcissistic parent. I didn’t include it in the list because only a sliver of the high level brainwashers are narcissistic. And these parents are the absolute worst abusers, and are true evil-doers at their core. They all lack a conscience. Read this article on the narcissistic parent.
HLBs are professionals at wrecking parent-child relationships. They are masters at turning their perceived victimhood into manipulative lies intent on destroying their own child’s love for the other parent. This mental child abuse that causes lasting scars, even when the child does one day realize the fraud and lies perpetrated onto them.
Two extremely unfortunate but common tactics an alienating parent will use to further damage the child’s connection to the targeted parent is to:
Teach the child to call the targeted parent by his/her first name only
This is very common. The aggrieved, victimized (in his or her eyes), brainwashing parent can’t stand the thought of the targeted parent being in the child’s life. So since labels and words matter so much in a child’s world, a quick way to devalue that parent is to label them by their first name. Not “Daddy,” and not “Mommy.”
This is destructive to a child’s soul, as now they’ve stopped having a Mom or Dad to address (of course, that label will be used on the alienator’s new spouse if they have one). Since what kids label becomes their reality, over time this causes their feelings to become at minimum muted towards this “Justin” or “Christine.” Imagine calling your own mother “Christine” for years, and never muttering the words “Mommy…” do you think you’ll have the same feelings towards someone who’s not being labeled your mother?
It’s yet another way of instilling false feelings in children, and it’s abusive.
Eliminate the targeted parent’s last name
Another unfortunate effort by an alienating parent is to eliminate or modify the child’s last name. Of course, we’re talking wiping out or dropping the targeted parent’s last name.
So Elizabeth Tracey Smith, whose father’s last name is Smith, is taught to stop using Smith and substitute the mother’s maiden name, Johnson, instead.
Or John Paul Warren-Stevens, whose mother’s last name is Stevens, is taught to drop Stevens.
Some parents even teach their children that once they’re 18 that they can legally drop the targeted person’s last name.
In my case, my son’s name was modified by the judge to have two last names. When I brought a hearing before the judge showing that my son is being encouraged to not write his last name anywhere (with lots of evidence, including testimony and actual school homework and folders), unfortunately the judge (Judge Gary Coley in Waco, Texas) didn’t care about my concerns and ignored my pleas. So today my son, if his name were George Herbert Walker Bush, has an effective name of George Herbert Walker. My last name,”Bush“, has been eliminated from everything.
How to effectively respond to a de-identification campaign
De-identifying a parent is the cornerstone the parents who are brainwashing their child to get revenge at an ex. If you’re on the receiving end of these techniques, here’s what you need to remember:
1. Do not allow your child to call you by your first name. You don’t allow him or her to use profanity, do you? No difference here. It’s profane to call your own parent by his or her first name.
2. Ensure that your child is using his or her legal last name at school and at sports activities. Speak to the teachers and principal and let them know that you’re concerned that your child is not writing his or her last name correctly.
Do not go heavy on your child with the last tip, as they will just hunker down and resent you further. Use the school to enact the change… not the child.
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