Graduation Dilemma: Life as an Alienated Parent

accomplishment ceremony education graduation
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I motioned the court for contempt regarding our parenting plan. It had been more than 430 days since I had any contact with our daughter, despite the fact that she lives ten minutes away from me, and I wanted to see her. I tried to see her.

I represented myself in the hearing. AP’s divorce attorney appeared for him. The judge allowed AP’ attorney to dominate the time allotted for presenting argument (he gave him more time) and actually told me to shut up when I attempted to explain why I was even there. My motion was denied. Sadly, I just wanted a chance to see Gus. If I could get an order that she had to see me a few days before she turned eighteen…

In the hallway after the hearing, AP’s divorce attorney had the nerve to tell me that if I want to give Gus a graduation card, he would make sure he would get it to her. I said, “How do you sleep at night? Really, I want to know. How do you sleep?” He ignored my question. He blinked. He is now the Superior Court commissioner in our county.

I heard about Gus’s graduation announcement. I did not receive one from her. The announcement included a collage of photos. Friends in other states and countries sent me Gus’s prom photos they had received or had access to online. Some sheepishly apologized for sending the photos, stating that maybe it hurt too much for me to see and they were sorry. I said no, I want to see the photos. In truth, the photos make me feel both happy and…pain.

Though I understand that the alienation isn’t my daughter’s fault, she participates in hurting me. I don’t want to hurt anymore.

I am desperate to remember who I was before I had children. This is particularly difficult because I am the “bad” parent, and I am isolated in a community that receives free music lessons from AP’s family. Gus’s graduation hat had the name of the music group on it in pop-up storybook version, which I learned on the music group’s website.

****In half an hour, Gus is graduating. She will be ten minutes away. I am not to going; I wanted to go, I wanted her to know I was there. I am too broken. I am alone. And I have heard loud and clear that she doesn’t want me there. AP takes every opportunity to hurt me through the children. I don’t want to give him this opportunity.***

I spent more hours on academic instruction than anyone else in Gus’s life. We labored together at the kitchen table on spelling lists, English, Social Studies. Admittedly, she wasn’t very advanced in school by the time I told her she had to get help from her dad with her math homework. Dinner was on the table at 6 pm. We talked and ate together. Dad helped Gus with her math homework. I cleaned up. H. Watched a show, or colored at the kitchen table.

When Gus was in elementary school, I decided to “give back” and volunteered at the public school to help kids with reading problems. Gus liked that I was at her school helping out, and it wasn’t even for her. She was in the gifted classes. I taught her third grade class how to knit. That was fun. Some of the kids already knew how to knit, and they helped to teach the others.

Fast-forward several years. Gus sang Hamilton songs in the shower at my house. I made sure she had peppermint tea in a commuter cup in the morning, and a slice of toast smeared with almond butter. I worked hard, and brought her to study group after work on Tuesdays. She talked to me about her friends and her life. That was January 2017.

In February, she started taking medication she did not need. Prozac. AP took her to the doctor by himself and filled the prescription, even though we have joint decision making on non-emergency medical care.

In April she began refusing time with me. Another April passed. I tried, I tried so hard for a year to enter the same room with her. AP’s attorney had the nerve to say my not giving up on seeing my daughter when there was a GAL AND A COURT ORDER was very expensive for his client.

June 2018. Graduation announcements were sent out, but I did not receive one.

I love my daughter. I always will. I just can’t give her and her father the satisfaction of hurting me today. I’m barely hanging on. It might not seem like it, but this is actually for you Gus. I am protecting myself today. I am modeling for you to not accept maltreatment and abuse. I hope you know that I love you, and I hope you will understand one day why I’m not seated in the bleachers.

1 Comment

  1. Oh, my, how I feel your pain.

    Six years ago, my youngest daughter graduated community college. Open to the public, I decided to go (we’d been estranged 2 years) The graduation was held outside and no invitations were required. There I was, by myself among bustling family and friends, trying to dodge my girl, fearing she might see her mom frantically doing what she could to document her name being read via video. (Which I was able to do) Immediately following the ceremony, I leapt to my feet, briskly walking to my car.

    Certainly by the time she graduates as an undergrad, I’ll be able to attend. That’s in 2 years. The estrangement can’t last that long. Can it?

    When she graduated university in 2016, I planned on attending. It was out of state. Out of courtesy, I’d written her a month before her graduation to let her know I’d be attending though would not approach her. The day before I was to fly she responded. Clearly her dad had told her I was coming and when. My biggest mistake was talking to my ex way too much! He was my thread to our girls and I didn’t know how to walk away any further. (That’s a whole other story!)

    Anyway, my girls email response set me back. The words, such fear and anger, it was clear she’d been told things about me that were not only false, they were unwarranted.

    I canceled my flight and did not attend. Months later, my ex sent me graduation photos, including one with her sister.

    I’m now in my sixth year.

    I’m sorry for your pain. My heart is with yours. Keep writing, sharing. Your voice is heard. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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