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Am I a Bad Parent Because I Stop Fighting for the Kids?

Do I fight for my kids or just let them go with the other parent? This is the hardest decision any parent has to make.

Am I a Bad Parent Because I Stop Fighting for the Kids?

J asks: “I feel like I am not a good mother from wanting to stop [fighting in family court for my kids).

Michelle Hanson responds: You are not a bad mother! I call it "dropping the rope". These kids are tied up in the rope being used to play tug-of-war by the alienating parent.

This is the best analogy I have ever heard for what the innocent victims of psychological abuse are going through.  The parents’ stand at each end of the rope tugging while the children stand in the middle with the rope rapped around their necks chocking them.  On the one hand, we do not want to give up the fight for our rights to be a parent to our children.  While, on the other hand, each time we fight back, the children and we are put through horrific psychological abuse.  We are pulling on the end of this rope that is tied around our children’s neck as they stand in the middle between their mother and father.  The person with either the most money or most control is the winner and that is not necessarily the best parent.

I would analogous this to the King Solomon story.  Two mothers claim to be the mother of one precious little boy.  King Solomon cannot decide which mother is telling the truth, so he decides that the only way to solve this is to cut the boy in half, giving each mother one half of the boy.  The true mother turns to the King and says, “I cannot do that to my son, please do not do this and just let the other woman have him.  King Solomon knew at that moment, which mother was the true mother as she was the one to give up her precious son to save his life.

What this means to this analogy of the tug of war is that if we drop our end of the rope, the other side is going to fall flat on their backs.  It may not happen right away but eventually they fall.  Letting go of our end of the rope does not mean that we do not care, what it means is that we care too much to watch our children suffer.  It does not mean that we have to stop keeping in contact, we just find another way to do it that is less toxic.  If we drop out of the fight or tug of war, then the other side has no one to fight with.

This is about choosing which battles to fight and how to fight when we have to.  It is about understanding that we cannot change the alienator.  They are who they are.  What we can change is how we respond and react to them.  What it means is that when we are in front of that judge, we look him straight in the eye and we say, I love my child too much to put them through this.  My child means the world to me, but they do NOT belong in the middle of this tug of war that has been created and that is choking the life out of my children.  This is like the King Solomon story with the two mother’s claiming to both be the mother of a boy.  The true parent is the one that knows it is not worth the child’s life to destroy them in this fight.  All I ask is that your court order my ex-spouse into specialized counseling for Grief and Anger Management and impulse control, so that my children can move forward in a positive way with their relationship with both of us.

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Joan Kloth-Zanard August 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM
YOu are very correct. Every case and situation is different. In my husband's case, we had no choice but to stop fighting for his kids because each time he took his ex back to court for violation of the orders, she would go home and rip into the kids one way or another. The kids grades and behavior would deteriorate. We knew that it was psychological abuse but could not stop it as the courts refused to penalize the mother for constantly ignoring the courts orders. In fact, we had 6 different court orders for counseling and visitation that she impeded with. But of course, the kids were told something entirely different by their mother. In fact, their mother lost all of her court cases and on at least two occasions the judge told her that she was mentally ill and needed a psychiatrist. But yet, the courts never ordered her into counseling. When she was caught by the judge committing perjury, fraud, forgery, defamation and slander, the courts did nothing about these criminal acts. And she, of course, went home and lied to the kids telling them that their father was ripping them off and did not love them. So in our case, it was a matter of it being the only way to stop the psychological abuse by their mother, was to stop fighting for them.
Joan Kloth-Zanard August 25, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Yes, CPS refused to help us either. The ex was in contempt of the courts orders to get the kids into counseling, which is medical neglect, yet no one would hold the ex accountable. Just because she had primary custody does not mean that she should be immune from penalties if she is violating the courts orders. But then our case is very old and the courts did not know as much as they know today.
jonathan January 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Thanks guys I feel alot better after reading this..I have had a young son that i had when i was 16 with a very huge alienator and a minipulator she is obsessed with this fantasy life of us being together and i have never wanted that..she was in prison for years and her parents have taken care of the son for those years..all that ever happens when i try to get involved is bring me down into a slumber and has for years..people treat me different and act like i'm a bad person for not being in his life..but i do not want to subject myself to that womans horrible mind games...i cannot live in a life that will torment me and i do not want to make my son go through those emotional hoops..i am hoping one day he will come to me and what to know me. i always feel bad for not being there and not fighting in court..but i do not have the financees and i have goals i am working towards and trying to accomplish..they make me feel selfish for wanting to achieve my goals instead of fight to see him..but i want to be happy and i am done feeling sad and beating myself up..i know i care for him and i have paid and still continue to pay child support. i am only 25 now and he is 7 i have seen in a few times in the past few months and it caused me stress and grief with the mother..she toys with my head and uses him as a weapon..i cant do that to myself so i am going to step away
Joan Kloth-Zanard January 15, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Johnathan, yes, your mental health is very important especially since it is tied to your physical and emotional health. Dealing with narcissists is not any fun. What you can do is be like a guardian angel in the background. So for example, you can start a savings account for your son that he cannot touch until he is 25 years old or has established a healthy relationship with you and your extended family. You could make sure to keep yourself in touch with his school and teachers on the down low. Make sure that you get copies of his school pictures every year. Start a an open facebook page where he can some day reach out to you. There are so many things you can do silently in the background for him. You can even name a star in the sky after him. Donate to a charity in his name and so on. Plant something in his name. You get the picture.
Freely LoveBoth Parents December 27, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Not fighting my ex-husband for my daughter was my only option, though I am damned if I do and damned if I don't in my ex-husband's portrayal of my response to his lies & cruel control. Not only does my ex-husband, who never stayed home with small children and is 11 years my senior, have a bigger income, but he is a skilled manipulator with connections. My daughter was visibly upset & encouraged to lie against me, her own mother -- how sick & sad for her. I could not do it. Thank you for writing this -- so many I thought were my friends have judged me.

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