Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Seven Years War

A Jewish friend, being more religious than I, tells me that the old and new testaments are full of seven year epochs. Plagues, wars, that sort of thing.

Sharon took our three kids out of the house for "spring break" in 2001 and they never came back. Having plunged the children into the middle of our troubles, she filed for divorce. The "children" sued me in 2002, with Sharon as their "best friend" on the papers because one child was too young to be a party. That suit was tossed in 2003 and none of my children has communicated with me since. They live two miles away.

It's called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), where one parent, usually the custodial one, turns the children totally against the target parent. It's a form of brain washing, and also child abuse, too. A hallmark of it is that children sometimes become litigants too. I don't care whether you believe it exists or not because I know it does. Me and thousands of other American dads know this fact.

Anyway, this has been a momentous year personally for me. My running has sucked but my restoration from the depths of despair over having my children "taken" from me really started this year.

I have never woken up one morning with it all "better." When I was a young man I believed that life was two steps forward and one step back. Now I believe that life is complicated. Both beliefs fit. It's a work constantly in progress.

It started with my trip out west in February to see family. For a week I drove around the high country in raging snowstorms visiting relatives. Uncle Harry in Durango who fought at both Battles of the Philippine Sea. Aunt Betty in Parachute who worked in the defense plants. A sister in Santa Fe who is an attorney. Another person who, enraged at a post of mine, asked to never be mentioned in a post again. So bid adieu to that person forevermore. Sorry!

That solitary white-knuckle driving allowed me plenty of time to think in between bouts of terror on snow-slickened two-lane no-guardrails shelf mountain-pass roads. I came up with the notion of forgiveness. Perhaps I saw or was introduced to the presence of God. Who knows?

Forgiveness is a Christian tenet, from what I gather. I guess it exists in other religions too. It has helped.

I forgave those awful people who participated in stripping my children away from me. I forgave my children, who sought to demolish me in court and who religiously took my money without ever uttering a word to me. No calls, thank-you notes, return messages or cards on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Father's Day, my birthday, their birthday, graduation day, no day no way, nope, nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero.

But this is 2008, seven years later. Seven years of heartbreak and heartache, of feeling depressed and unworthy of even familial love, of struggling to make ends meet financially amidst lifetime alimony and crushing child-support obligations. Things have happened this year. I'm going on travel for work in a few hours but more later.


Sunshine said...

Safe travel, Good Friend.

May blessings be poured into your life. Sometimes God working happens in unexpected ways.

Keep us posted... many blogger friends care about you.

Petraruns said...

Have a safe journey...

I cannot begin to imagine what you have been going through but I absolutely believe your feelings. It sounds like you are beginning to find some kind of peace with it all which is so encouraging - hard to find but very worth it. Forgiveness can be really hard to find within yourself but if you can find it it will set you free from so much.

Good luck with it all. Sounds like you may be on 2 steps forward right now..

Anne said...

I'm a big believer in foregiveness, though the journey to reach it is often protracted and painful. I'll forgive in my heart, but I'll also permanently remove those people from it as well. Some people just don't deserve second chances.

Someday your own children will have children and maybe realize they made a huge mistake in their youth.

nylisa said...

I've witnessed my mother and sister go through something very similar. It took them 30 years to finally deal with it, to be able to speak with each other again without the pain of the past. Best of luck with you and your journey, whether physical or spiritual. I think sometimes it helps under the guise of blogs to release some of that which you've been holding in. As sunshine states, we're all here for you.

amy said...

I am very sorry for what you are going through. Unfortunately, I can believe what you have been going through because I have been studying the issue of parental alienation for several years now and have heard one story after the other of the incredible pain and loss and suffering of parents who have lost their children to PAS. I wanted to say that you are not alone. There are many internet support groups for targeted parents, there are some helpful websites, and even some resources for dealing with this. I hope you can check them out, including my website. I think you might find some useful resources and links there.


Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D.

renae said...

Once upon a time, I was a child of a bitter divorce but it's always been left up to me to create my own...life...with each parent. It's never been easy, and I've always been able to feel their anger, but I've been able to create unique relationships with each. Even though it is a huge amount of work, especially with every major life change I go through (marriage, children, etc), to have had that opportunity taken away from me is more than I can even imagine.
Here is to your strength.

jeanne said...

Peter, you've gone through more than any parent should have to endure. I hope you find peace. I know how hard it is to practice forgiveness. My mother is in the hospital right now, dying, and I'm struggling with my own issues of forgiveness. It's not for wimps.

My best wishes always with you.

akshaye said...

Peter, have a safe trip.

I cannot even imagine what you have gone through. Take care my friend.

David said...

Maybe I've been lucky but forgiveness always sets me free. I am a strong believer. And once the prospects of what it provides become reasonably clear, it is a burden-relieving joy to prepare and execute.