File under: It could be worse

I don’t know about the rest of you alienated dads, but for me, the alienation started a long time before the separation occurred.  I can identify the first real instance of this — where my daughter had some things about me that were frustrating her and she went to her mom and her mom basically validated every concern she had and told her that this is just the way her dad is.  

My daughter then “confronted” me on the 10 issues she had with me.  She wrote them down and told me I couldn’t talk while she read them all.  After she was done, I asked her if I could talk with her about some of them.  She wasn’t too excited about this, but I jumped in and tried to share with her why some of those issues might have been based on miscommunication or misunderstanding.  I did own up to some of the shortcomings she had mentioned, but the conversation ended with her yelling at me and then her mom and her not speaking to me for four days.  We were on vacation.  That was 4 years before we separated and things went downhill from there.  

Toward the end of the marriage, the alienation was occurring every week and daily.  Something would happen in the home and I would get blamed for it and no one would speak to me for 3-4 days.  I would be a stranger in my own house.  I would try to communicate with the family, but would be met with either complete indifference and no reply or an angry response.  Even after “apologizing” for whatever I had done “wrong” I would still be treated with silence.  (I put those in quotes, because very frequently there was no sin or wrong involved, rather someone was frustrated with a response I made to something because they didn’t agree with it).  

All this to say.  I’m living alone in an apartment.  There are no kids visiting — they won’t even talk to me though I have done nothing to harm them or my ex-wife.  But you know what?  It’s peaceful.  There’s no one here to actively hate me.  I have the ability to talk with God out loud any time I want.  I don’t have to constantly defend myself for perceived slights and I can make a new start.  

My brother told me the other day that he was feeling bad for me being alone.  Then he realized it was probably better than when I lived with the family.  He’s absolutely right.  I will never have to go back to living in that environment again.  I won’t allow it.  Even as bad as it is getting negative and hateful emails from the kids and ex, I don’t come home to it every night.  I have a sanctuary here in my apartment.  THAT is something.

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