The picture above is a self portrait sent to me by Rebecca via text in November 2016.
She is not really a victim but she plays one in real life.
There are many motivations for a person to engage in the manipulation of a child. Jealousy, fear, guilt, shame, sadness, loneliness, anger, and narcissistic injury. The psychological forces at play in the alienator are covered in this book: Co-parenting With a Toxic Ex by Amy Baker, and Paul Fine .
Rebecca has always been somewhat jealous of my relationship with my son. She also has an aversion to work, a strong affinity for victimhood, and a disturbingly egocentric, narcissistic view of life. In addition, she has a strong need to “prove” that I am mentally ill, that I am abusive, that I have a myriad of psychological issues. If she can “prove” these things then she can feel justified in her past treatment of me, and as a matter of financial advantage, she can gain full custody of our child, thereby securing for herself a significant sum of money in support from me. To that end, she insists that she will not allow me to spend time alone with our son, until I have “worked on my issues”. There are of course no express criteria to determine when I shall be deemed to have resolved my “issues”, and am worthy to spend time with my son. In other words, it is Rebecca who will decide, at her own discretion, if and when I get to spend time with my son.
As long as Rebecca can hold on to our son I have to pay child support in addition to spousal support. She had her lawyer draw up a support agreement whereby I would pay her a child support amount in view of the fact that my son was living with her. (In addition, I also pay her utilities and storage bills, and until recently, her cell phone bill as well. I was also paying half the mortgage for the house she currently lives in, but was not able to keep up after a few months.) How she got him to want to live with her full-time is the subject of this blog. While the money is of course an important consideration, what I care about is that our son is being used to manipulate money out of me and other people. Our child is being used by his mother as her source of income. As a result, he is being denied a normal, healthy childhood receiving love and caring from both parents. To Rebecca it’s of little to no consequence that she is damaging his psychology by manipulating his emotions, by teaching him to hate. To Rebecca it’s of no consequence that our child is being denied the love of his father and grandparents. All that matters to Rebecca is that she should be spared the ignominy of actually working, of doing an honest day’s work to earn her living. All that matters to Rebecca is that she should be spared the encumbrance and shame of a job. All that matters to Rebecca is that she should be able to prance around an expensive studio teaching a form of dance (Duncan Dance) which, as far as I can tell, few people really give a shit about. Not enough to make a living off at any rate.
Here is how it happened….
My son had had nothing short of an extremely loving relationship with me and his grandparents. A normal relationship. Until November 2016. It was then that Rebecca skillfully began to alienate my son from me and his grandparents. She so manipulated our son’s emotions that this child who only a few months before had wanted nothing but to live with me at my parents’ house and hang out with his grandfather, now wanted to be attached to his mother, refusing to even visit his grandparents, and expressing hatred towards me. This is not by any means a natural trajectory for an eight year old, or a child of any age. Children are not hateful by nature, they do not reject love by nature. In fact, children crave love, and thrive on it. There was never a statement of more obvious fact. If a child expresses hatred it is because he has been taught to hate. To deny a child the love of either parent is a hateful crime against Nature.
We moved as a family, Rebecca, our son, and I, from Fairfield, Iowa to Ajax, Ontario, Canada in February, 2016. Rebecca had been obsessed with the idea of moving to Canada for two years. Her avowed reason, “To get our son close to his grandparents”. My parents have been living in Ajax, Ontario since the ’90s. Our son had always been very close to his grandparents, especially his grandfather. “Your father could die within the next couple of years, Bob”, Rebecca had said on numerous occasions when urging me to move us to Canada. She has a strong belief in astrology, and was also convinced that the astrological horoscope of the Fairfield area, as well as my horoscope both had a negative impact on her health and her career, and believed that moving to Canada would have a positive impact on these areas of her life. I was reluctant, very reluctant to make the move. I simply could not trust her to remain stable long enough to justify such a significant relocation. I had a work from home job that I would be able to do from Canada, so employment would not be an issue. She got so persistent, she would not stop until we had made a plan to move, declaring that she could not spend another night in Fairfield. Against my better judgment, I agreed. We own a house jointly in Fairfield. We loaded a few things into the van, locked the house up, and headed north.
I think she had somehow imagined that moving to Canada would cure our relationship too. It did not. Within four months she began to blame me for every physical and emotional ailment she experienced, from stomach aches to insomnia. The blame? My astrological horoscope had a negative influence on hers. And no matter what I did, I was not doing enough to help her in her difficulties. This had been the case for years. Everything that was wrong in her life – the failure of her career, the fact that she did not have a studio, her digestive ailments, her insomnia, her anxiety issues – all of these she attributed to the negative impact that the combined horoscopes of Fairfield, the house, and myself had on her horoscope, and therefore, her life. She had been in the habit of kicking me out of the house in Fairfield on a regular basis over the same issues – my horoscope was making her sick, and causing her career to remain dormant (close to extinct really); I was not doing enough to help her with her anxiety and other issues. (I had taken her to many doctors, both allopathic and herbal. We spent thousands of dollars on herbs and supplements. We spent thousands of dollars on weekend trips because Rebecca could not stand being in the house. The horoscope of the house also had a negative impact on her health and career apparently. She would wake me up in the middle of the night and tell me to help her with her anxiety attack or insomnia. I would offer suggestions, none of which were good enough. Then she would start getting angry and complain that I was not being compassionate. The episode would end with her asking me to leave the house or go to the store to get her some sleep medication. And this would happen anytime between midnight and 4AM. Night after night.) She would also kick me out for other reasons. One night a mutual friend, Rebecca, and I watched a show that Rebecca had suggested, the Tim Allen stand up routine, “Men are Pigs”. We all had some laughs. After our friend left, Rebecca said she was upset by the “energy” with which I was laughing at the show, and did not feel safe with me in the house. I found myself calling friends at about 11 at night, hoping somebody would let me sleep over. This had happened innumerable times over the course of about five years. Now we were in Canada, and nothing much had changed. In June of 2016 I moved into my parents’ house down the road from where we had rented a house as a family. We had not slept in the same bed for years, but it was a relief not to have to sleep under the same roof with Rebecca.
We had rented this house that we could ill afford because of its ample living room. The plan was that Rebecca would teach dance in the living room. To her credit, Rebecca did try to promote her classes through flyers, stickers and door hangers that she would distribute throughout the neighbourhoods within walking distance. Unfortunately, very few people at that time were interested in what she had to offer. She attributed her lack success to the horoscope of Ajax as well as the horoscope of the house. She said it was unbearable to live in this house and in Ajax anymore, and that we had to move to another town with more favourable astrology. One night, she worked herself into such a state that she decide she could not spend the night in the house, or even in Ajax. She packed an overnight bag for herself and our son and drove east with no particular destination in mind. As you can imagine, I protested vehemently against her taking our son along. I was simply not able to prevent her. It was late, on a school night, but this didn’t seem relevant to her. She called me around midnight from the town of Cobourg, to have me pay for the hotel. Why didn’t I just say, “No, I am not paying for another hotel. Come back to the house”? Because she had our son with her, and would not hesitate to make him endure a night in a car and then hold me responsible for the experience.
She was also convinced that in order to teach she must have her own studio space. That summer of 2016, Rebecca began to look for studio spaces to teach dance out of. Innumerable times I suggested to her that she rent some space by the hour from some existing studio, build up a steady clientele, and then once she had an income to budget with she could figure out what kind of space she could afford to rent for herself. She completely dismissed this idea, insisting that she needed her own space in order to do her “dharma” (the path that God had chosen for her, or something along those lines). She said it was my job to help her find a space. “You have built up your career over the last eight years, now it’s my turn.” I explained several times to her as clearly as possible that expending several hundred dollars a month in addition to rent in Ajax, and the mortgage in Fairfield was simply not going to work. She either could not understand or chose to ignore me. In pursuit of a studio space, she traveled the breadth of the GTA, from Orangeville in the west to Peterborough in the east, then beyond to Montreal, and numerous towns between Ajax, and Quebec. She finally found a studio in Cornwall, about a four hour drive from Ajax. She planned to live and teach at the studio. I was more than happy that she was going to be so far away, but I had made it clear to her that she could not take our son along. She immediately agreed that our son should live with me, and continue to go to the neighbourhood public school. She suggested that our son and I would drive half-way to Cornwall and meet her there every other weekend. I was not crazy about this idea, but in my enthusiasm to have her gone, I agreed to this way of meeting. I was thrilled at the prospect of having Yogasthah live with me and my parents, as well as not having to see Rebecca except a couple of times a month.
My son and I had always had a good relationship. In 2015, Rebecca had gone to India for two and a half months, during which time, I took care of our son, and we grew very close. This was the first time he had ever been away from his mother for such a length of time. Leading up to her departure, I was anticipating an emotional crisis on my hands. To my amazement, my son did not once ask for his mother during those two and a half months. Not once did he ask to speak with her, not once did he ask when she was coming back, not once did he say he missed her. Those two and a half months with my son was the happiest and most cherished period of my life. I wish that each ordinary moment had lasted forever. I wish that each tender moment I could have somehow spirited into permanency. Each morning, each breakfast, each drive to and from school, each bedtime story, each playtime. I had always been engaged in every moment of my son’s life before, but now there was the relish of being able to enjoy my fatherhood without the bleak colouration of the marriage.
One afternoon, I received a phone call from my son’s school informing me that he had peed in his pants. He had been in school since the age of three and had never wet his pants. I took a change of clothes over to the school, and found my son sitting quietly in a corner of the receptionist’s office. I knelt down and got close to him and asked if he was feeling okay. “Ya” was his quiet response. He didn’t seem upset in the least. I asked him how come he hadn’t gone to the washroom when he needed to pee. He simply shrugged his shoulders a little. In the washroom I undid his pants, and found them completely dry! His underpants were also dry. I asked him if he really had peed in his pants at all. He insisted that he had!
Our son had a little friend whose grandmother was his caregiver. One evening the grandmother brought our son home from a playdate the boys had had at her house. The grandmother said, “You know, I wanted to tell you something. I brought Yo home earlier than planned. Out of the blue, Yo just said he wanted to go home. I asked if everything was okay, and he said “ya”. Then I asked they had had a fight, and they hadn’t. He said he just wanted to go home, couldn’t give a reason. I think he was just missing you.”
Upon Rebecca’s return, my son and I met her at her hotel in Chicago. The plan was that she would drive with our son to Milwaukee to spend a few days with her mother. When our son learned that I would not be coming along on the trip, he cried for forty-five minutes inconsolably. Though this was a sad moment, and I will never forget his tearful distress, it also affirmed to me that I had done something right as a father over the last couple of months. We had created a bond stronger than before. I am sure Rebecca was disconcerted by this obvious closeness between father and son. She would soon do everything in her power to destroy that bond. It started with her almost never allowing Yogasthah to spend time with me alone. I had moved into my own apartment in Fairfield, and Yogasthah had repeatedly asked for sleep-overs at my place. She never allowed this. Except once, when she wanted to spend the night at the biker rally, and needed to leave the child overnight.
She moved to Cornwall towards the end of October, and spent a week settling herself in her new studio. our son’s life continued in Ajax. Not once did he ask for his mother.
At the end of that week, Rebecca returned to Ajax to spend the weekend with us at my parents’ place. Rebecca had formed a dislike of my mother in 2014, when they had had a disagreement. The stress level was always high whenever Rebecca was in the house. Nevertheless, my parents tolerated her for our son’s sake. Rebecca on the other hand not only made no effort to improve relations through harmonious communication, but actually made herself more unpleasant than usual – slamming doors, calling for Yogasthah at the top of her lungs, almost never letting him spend time with his grandparents, complaining about the food, complaining about my father’s tendency to spoon-feed Yogasthah.
On the morning of October 30, Rebecca had a tense exchange with my father over him feeding our son breakfast when it was time to go to the temple. She whisked the child out of the house, and yelled out at me to come down. In the car, she declared that she was going to take our son back to Cornwall with her because she did not want him living in my parents’ house. our son did not want to go to Cornwall. He adored his grandparents, and was perfectly happy living in a house he had known as his second home all his life. I strenuously protested against her decision, as did our son. As outrageous as it was to even have to present arguments against this decision, I tried hard for several hours to reason with her – our son was comfortable at home, he was enrolled at school, the studio was not a home, it was not a place for a child, and the most urgent of all reasons was that I would only be able to see our son on weekends, and would have to drive four hours to do so. I argued that it was Rebecca who had made the choice to move to Cornwall, that we had agreed that our son would remain living with me, that she was pulling our son out of school in the middle of the year, that this was destabilizing to the child.
None of this made any difference. Rebecca, as usual, paid no heed to anything I said. While Rebecca was loading things into the van, our son hid himself in a blanket in the basement. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he did not want to go to Cornwall. “Mommy can dance here” he said, pointing to the floor of the basement. Short of physically taking hold of our son there was nothing I could do to stop her. She took my son and drove away. I was completely in shock. I was devastated. The horrors of the marriage were nothing to the horrors yet to come. My little boy was about to lose his innocent childhood.
Over the next few days, I pleaded via text with Rebecca to bring our son back to Ajax. “The child should be with the mother. Any judge would say that. He is not living with your parents.”, was her response. I was not able to handle the stress.
Some weeks before, we had planned to drive to Fairfield to get a few more things from the house. The plan was to leave after our son’s birthday in the first week of November. Rebecca and our son drove back to Ajax. As a birthday treat, I got them a beautiful room at the Hilton where we celebrated our son’s 8th birthday. We also had a cake cutting at my parents’ place. All of this as if nothing were wrong, as if nothing insane had been done just a few days before. Inside I was writhing. our son had made the adjustment, but he was stressed as well. His behaviour was different – a little unsure, a little quiet, his words and actions a little constrained. We headed out towards Fairfield. At a rest stop on the way, I took our son into the men’s room. After we had washed our hands, our son began pushing me with his wet hands. I realized soon after that he had been playing, but in that moment, my hand reached out and smacked him on the cheek. He was shocked. I was shocked. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that. Once I had set him in his seat, I hugged and kissed him, and said I was sorry for what I had done. I apologized repeatedly, but the deed was done. He didn’t cry. I hadn’t hit him that hard. He was hurt inside. Within a few minutes, however, we bounced back into our playful relationship. I had made a mistake. It was a mistake that could have been remedied.
When we returned to Ajax, I tried yet again to reason with Rebecca. I recorded the conversation on my phone. Here is the transcript…
INT. BOB AND REBECCA’S VAN
Bob drives, Rebecca is in the passenger seat. Our son in the child seat behind.
BOB: Ok, so…
REBECCA: …to your house, so he can run in and see his grandparents…but we’ve got to get on the road…open house starts at 9AM, so I want to try and make the most of it.
BOB: Ok, so, I don’t know when we can talk, but…I…you know…I’m gonna be filing the taxes here pretty soon…
BOB: …and they’re gonna kick in, and they’re gonna be around six thousand dollars that were due for last year. And then…
BOB: …and they’ll give me a payment plan and that’ll be it…it’ll go out every month and I’ll have to…and then my taxes for this year will be kicking in as soon as I file my taxes at the beginning of next year. Right? So that’ll be an additional…you know, however many thousands of dollars…it’s gonna be more like ten fifteen thousand dollars that I’ll owe because I’ve been a contractor for almost all of this year.
REBECCA: Uh huh ok
BOB: So all those taxes…and over fifteen hundred for the mortgage in Fairfield, and now the fifteen hundred plus for the studio in Cornwall.
REBECCA: Uh huh
BOB: So that’s three thousand dollars right there. Uhhhh…and my net…is only going to be…I think around five thousand…yeah a little over five thousand. Five, six thousand. I think. So I just don’t…I don’t know how it’s going to be possible to get another place, so…
REBECCA: Well, if it’s really that tight then we’ll just have to get a small apartment for like two hundred bucks a month or something.
BOB: Well, you can’t get anything that’s two hundred dollars a month.
REBECCA: In Cornwall, I already saw it, I already saw stuff for like two seventy five things like that.
BOB: Well, but i don’t want to live in a hole in the wall though, you know? And he shouldn’t either, right?
REBECCA: Well, we’ll just have to look at it
BOB: So, I’m just saying the most reasonable thing…
REBECCA: Well, the other thing is is that you have to look at how to make money.
BOB: …the reasonable thing is to let him stay with me until you’re established, and you’re actually pulling in some money, and then we actually do a budget…Let him stay with me…let him
REBECCA (INTERRUPTING):I don’t see that as a reasonable thing, so no, I’m not gonna do that. You have your issues to work on. You want to take me to a court, I can show that you have serious issue that need to get attended before you can have him.
BOB: Well, I had him for over a month…
REBECCA: I know that. And that was a mistake.
BOB: And it wasn’t a mistake. ‘Cause he was happy, and he was fine.
REBECCA: Ok, but that doesn’t mean…we’re not gonna argue in front of him
BOB: But that’s just the point!
REBECCA: I’m not going to argue…
BOB (INTERRUPTING):I’m not arguing but the most…it’s just
REBECCA: I’m not going to argue about it. We can talk about it later then.
BOB: It’s the reasonable thing to do.
REBECCA: It’s according to you it’s reasonable. It’s not reasonable to me.
BOB: He’s in school here and he has a home here.
REBECCA (INTERRUPTING):It’s absolutely not reasonable to me. Ok.
BOB: The studio doesn’t have a kitchen, it doesn’t have a stove. You have a camper stove.
REBECCA (INTERRUPTING):I’m gonna make a kitchen.
BOB: Doesn’t have a fridge. Doesn’t have a shower. You know, there’s no real bedroom for him.
REBECCA: Bob, I don’t want to talk about it right now in front of him.
BOB: I mean it’s a studio!
REBECCA: I don’t want to talk about it right now.
BOB: Well, when is a good time to talk? When can…I don’t know when…last night you didn’t want to talk ’cause it was…night time.
REBECCA: I guess we’ll have to figure that out. We’re two adults and we need to figure out when to talk.
BOB: Ya…but…it’s just a simple, reasonable thing to do.
REBECCA: Bob, it is not reasonable to me and I don’t want to talk about it any further.
Our son (VERY FAINTLY): I want to go to the school here.
REBECCA: No, you’re not going to the school here. Yo we’re going to
BOB: No, you haven’t been to school in a week and a half!
REBECCA: All right. I don’t want to argue about it.
REBECCA: All right
BOB (INTERRUPTING):He has a home here
REBECCA (INTERRUPTING):I am not leaving him with your parents. They are completely wrong.
BOB (INTERRUPTING):He has extended family here, and his father here.
REBECCA (INTERRUPTING):They are completely wrong. No I am not
BOB (INTERRUPTING):And you’ve chosen…
REBECCA (INTERRUPTING):No. I am not going to do that.
BOB: You’ve chosen to move to a place that’s four hours away, and you just pulled him right out of everything. In the middle of everything. Out of his home. Out of his school.
REBECCA: Yeah. I did.
BOB: In the middle of his school year.
REBECCA: We had to move. We’ve moved before. We had to move.
BOB: We didn’t have to move. You made a choice…where there’s no income.
REBECCA: I am not leaving my child in a home where there are two adults who don’t know how to behave. I am not doing that and any judge would agree with me. He is my child an I am taking him with me. So that is it.
Our son: But I’m going to school.
BOB: He doesn’t even have a house there. That’s not a house, the studio is not a house, it’s not a place for a child. It’s not a place for a child.
REBECCA: .., do you want to go inside and see Granpa for a few minutes. Can you do that if you promise Mommy that you’re not going to give me a fit. Otherwise you’ll have to stay in the car.
Our son (EMPHATICALLY): I promise!
REBECCA (TO our son): Do you understand?
After allowing our son a few minutes’ visit with his grandparents she drove away with my son again.
I felt helpless. I literally had no idea what to do, but I felt that I had to do something. I had already set too many precedents for Rebecca to psychologically strong arm me. She was doing it again. But she had gone too far this time. I felt I could not simply let this go. For one thing, this meant that I would have to borrow my parents’ car every weekend and drive four hours to Cornwall to see our son. Or not see him often at all.
At the time, I had no idea about the legal implications involved. I had a couple of free consultations with lawyers over the phone, and visited the Family Law Information Centre. I was given to understand that what Rebecca had done was bordering on an abduction. (One lawyer went so far as to say, “You should be imagining her in an orange jumpsuit. She has abducted your child.”) I understood that this was a “mobility issue” – one parent moves the child away from the other so as to effectively deny the other parent access to the child. I was advised to file an “Ex parte” Notice of Motion to have our son brought back to Ajax. A very kindly lawyer named Angelia McLean helped me with the paperwork without charging me a cent.
I was granted a police enforceable court order that my son should be brought back to Ajax. I emailed Rebecca a copy of the court. Within minutes she called me in hysterics, wailing on the phone “What have you done, Bob? What have you done?”. In the background, I could hear Yogasthah saying something indistinctly. This was followed by text messages from my son – pictures that he had drawn, with “Bad dady” written in big, bold letters. She had exposed our 8 year old child to a court order. I don’t know what she had said to him. There was no way for him to find out about it except that she told him about it. What does an 8 year old child know about court orders. I had barely gained an understanding of it myself over the previous couple of days. She texted me saying that our son was “trying to board up the front door of the studio because he was afraid the police were coming to get him”. This was the beginning of the alienation of my son from me. She started doing it without realizing what she was doing. In her mind, there was nothing wrong with exposing a child to a court order. In her mind this was the natural thing to do. She had been so used to using the child to manipulate me that it never occurred to her that this could be hurting the child psychologically. The idea of protecting him from adult issues, adult stresses never occurred to her (nor does it yet). In her mind, she had done nothing wrong by taking him away from his father and school to a town four hours away, to live in a studio. In her mind, I was simply expected to play along with the choice she had made to move to Cornwall, and take our son there. In her mind, it was perfectly reasonable to move to Cornwall even though she knew nobody there, and there was no guarantee of any income, no guarantee of success in her dance teaching. As a matter of fact, it was not even legal for her to work in Canada, because she did not have a work permit or permanent resident status.
The day she was to bring my son back to Ajax, we exchanged texts and phone calls. With our son in the backseat, she yelled out on the phone “What do you want, Bob? You want Yo’s mommy to go to jail? You want Yo to see his mommy being taken by the police?” (I don’t know what happens to a child’s tender psychology when exposed to these kinds of stresses and instability in a parent. It is hard express in writing the extreme fear a parent feels for their child’s future. And this was only the beginning of the turmoil and stress my son was to endure over the months to come.)
Instead of bringing our son back to my parents’ place as the court order directed, Rebecca, not surprisingly took him to a Durham police station. I am not aware of what transpired there, but I can surmise that she was hoping to make a case that she was in the right. Se finally brought my son to my parent’s house. Two police officers followed to facilitate the transfer. I slid open the van door to find a frightened, confused child shooting sticky streamers at me. This child who had once been my son, who would always be my son. “He doesn’t want to live with you, Bob.”
At the time I didn’t realize what he was feeling inside – that his world was breaking. At the time I didn’t realize how far she had worked her way into his psychology. Probably she didn’t either. She did it so naturally.
I got my son out of the car and into the house. Rebecca refused to leave. “He has rages. He lied on the court order.”
One of the officers finally had to say, “Ma’am you are now trespassing”.
When I went back into the house I found my son playing with his grandfather. Contrary to appearances, however, was divided, alienated, and hurting inside. At the time, I was not aware of the degree to which this was happening. His behaviour was much as it had been before.
Her texts to me are on the left in the screenshot below.
Smack on the shoulder
Getting my son ready for school had always been somewhat challenging. In speaking to other parents about their experiences in the same task, I learned that my son’s behaviour was within the range of his peers. This knowledge didn’t necessarily make the job any easier.
One school morning a couple of days after he had been brought back from Cornwall, my son bagan to hit me on the forearm as I was struggling to get his coat on. “Stop!” I said impatiently, and smacked him on his shoulder. It was not unusual for him to hit me. Nor was my reaction on this occasion the first of its kind in similar circumstances. His tendency to hit was an issue that his mother and I had had to work on with him over the years. In moments of calm, he would receive a verbal correction; in moments of stress, he would receive a quick reaction like mine. Innumerable times Rebecca had called me at work to tell me “he got a spanking today”. Once when he was only about three years old, I found the red imprint of her hand on the small of his back. She had hit him so hard that her hand had actually left an impression. I reproach myself for not having done more on this occasion. Rebecca has always had the ability to impose her view of a situation on me. In this instance, she was justified because his bahaviour was bad. That was her view. And that meant that that was the truth. And I was weak. I can only imagine how many other hand impressions my son might have received that I had simply not discovered. This present incident however, was to take on a disproportionate significance in the days and months to come.
A few days later, she visited Ajax. In my ignorance, in my unfounded, unwarranted trustful assumption in Rebecca’s basic human decency, I took my son and his mother out for a family dinner. After dinner, my son wanted to ride with his mother rather than with me. I was actually surprised by this, so ignorant was I of the psychological forces that had come into play. This was just not normal for him. On every such occasion in the past, my son would beg to ride with me. Things had changed, and I was as yet unable to recognize this new reality. When we arrived at my parents’ place, she got out and said that our son had told her that I had hit him while getting him ready for school. I was bewildered. I explained what had actually happened. I had no idea at the time that part of the alienation picture was the child telling stories about the targeted parent. Why has this happened? I still don’t fully understand how this happened. This bewilderment may be something that targeted parents have in common. Because it is simply not in us to manipulate our children, to try to own their emotions, to turn them against their other parent. Because love does not deny love, we are simply incapable of comprehending how a parent could possibly force a child to reject the love of the other parent. We know, without ever thinking about it, that this hurts the child. We do not hurt the child, no matter what the exigencies of self-preservation. This is what distinguishes us from the alienating parent.
When we reached the house, Rebecca got out of the car in a state of crisis, while our son remained seated with the doors shut.
“Yo has told me something very disturbing, Bob. And I have it on video. He told me that you hit him. I have to take this to the police.”
“I smacked him on the shoulder because he hit me while I was trying to get him ready for school.”
“This is child abuse, Bob. I have Yo telling the whole story on video. That you hit him. I have to take this to the police.”
“Take it to the police. I’ll come with. I’ll explain what happened.”
Our son got out of the car, and walked up to the porch. I asked him to go inside.
“If I don’t report this to the police then I could get into trouble. Stay here Yo,” Rebecca continued.
“Go to the police.”
“I recorded Yo’s statement on my phone, Bob. I have it on video from Yo himself. Telling me how you hit him.”
“I don’t know what else to tell you. I’ll explain what happened to the police. Let him go inside the house.”
We went inside, and our son as usual started playing with his grandfather.
Rebecca was in a frenzy. “This is Nature organizing, Bob. This is Nature organizing for you. You have to do the right thing.”
“What in God’s name do you want me to do? I can’t move to Cornwall. I’ve explained it already.”
“I have to report this to the police, Bob. This is serious. If I don’t then I will get into trouble for not reporting child abuse.”
“Go to the police.”
“Do what’s right, Bob. This is Nature organizing. You have abused the child.”
My father got up from his seat in great frustration and stepped towards us saying, “What are you doing to this family?? What is it you want??”
At this, our son broke down and started bawling. He had been used to seeing and hearing his parents fight, but he had never seen his grandfather so upset before. His grandfather was a figure in his life that he could always count on for stability, and a smile, and stress-free interaction. I believe he was really crying “Stop!” His world was falling apart. Rebecca thrived on conflict; it was her proper stage, her familiar, native language. But it was breaking open the ground our son stood on. And she was blind to this. Still is.
I believe Rebecca was hoping that I would agree to move to Cornwall rather than have my name reported to the police.
We ended up at the police station. Rebecca and my son went inside, while I waited in my car. After about twenty minutes, two officers came out to question me, and I gave my explanation. I also gave them the court order.
“I see. That’s what she said too. Sounds like physical discipline. Ok. Please wait here sir.”
After another ten minutes the officers came out. This time with my son and Rebecca.
“Ok, sir, he goes home with you, based on this court order. Now no physical discipline. And he also says he is confused sometimes. Doesn’t know when you’re kidding and when you’re serious. But we asked him if he is afraid of you and he says he’s not. He says he loves his father. So he goes home with you. Have a good night.”
My son’s behaviour returned to normal, but he was shaken up inside.
At the case conference a couple of weeks later, the judge decided that my son would continue living with me, and that Rebecca would have him three weekends per month until a final order had been settled. Also, my son was to spend the first week of the upcoming Christmas holidays with his mother and the second with me.
Accordingly, Rebecca drove my son to Cornwall at the start of the holidays.
Three days into the holidays I get a call from the Children’s Aid Society to inform me that I had been reported.
“Rebecca has reported an incident. She says you threw your son up in the air and he hit his head,” was all that the CAS lady could say about the incident.
I was stunned by the allegation. I had no idea what this could possibly refer to. She had no more details to give me a clue. The CAS had made an appointment to interview our son the following Tuesday. I was hopeful that more details would follow.
The Friday Rebecca was to drop our son back at my parents’ place, she didn’t show. No surprise. Back to the police station. The officers informed me that she had come to the station claiming that she did not feel our son would be safe with me, and that there was no court order. A bold faced lie.
She assured the officers that she would bring our son to the interview with the CAS. They told her she was not to leave Durham.
The next day I learned through texts and phone calls that, with characteristic disregard for the law, Rebecca had gone to Cornwall. On the way, apparently, the van had developed a mechanical issue. They had reached Cornwall, but she would not be able to drive the van back before it was fixed. The repairs would cost over $300. I was broke at the time.
I send Rebecca several thousand dollars a month in support. This is how she blows the money instead of finding a source of income (like a job, for instance); she has rented a large studio that probably costs hundreds of dollars a month, with no guarantee of any income. And then she turns around and claims to me that she is standing in the food line with the child because she has no money for groceries. As you can see in these videos, she is not exactly packing them in.