Being a mother to my three kids, I always knew that life would become so hard from the moment I got divorced. I can’t measure how unlucky I felt my marriage was. My husband cheated with another girl, and our relationship is all about lies, arguments, and betrayal. However, the things that kept me looking forward are my boys. I love them so much that I don’t want them to suffer. As much as possible, I tried to secure their emotional and mental health regardless of our failed relationship. But with all the effort of keeping them away from emotional and psychological damage, I made a mistake.
Where It All Began
I was angry with my husband for cheating on me that I immediately filed for a divorce. It was so instant that my kids know nothing about it. So when they found out, they kept asking me questions I don’t think I’m comfortable answering. But then, I knew I had to tell them what’s going on before they end up creating speculations. Therefore, I told them everything I discovered about their father’s infidelity. My boys are clueless at that time because they have seen no proof of my accusations. With that, I forced my husband to tell my kids every mistake he made to clear out my name. So he did. I witnessed on my children’s faces the disbelief, so I tried elaborating the situation. And because I wanted to protect myself from their judgment, I started parental alienation.
My husband’s infidelity is the worst thing that ever happened to my kids and me as well. As much as I felt sorry for myself for loving the wrong person, I was afraid for my kids, and I don’t want them to grow up and become like their father. With that, I put matters to my hand. I started brainwashing my boys and fed them information that I know will ruin my husband’s reputation. Though I must say, I did not create lies only to make it happen. I merely used the infidelity as a strong reason as to why they should avoid their father at all cost. I succeeded. My children began avoiding spending time with their father where they ended up cutting communications as well. I admit I felt relieved that time. I thought it was a great choice and that my kids deserve peace away from their unworthy father. I don’t want the man to become part of my boys’ lives, and I don’t want them to look at him as an example growing up.
With what I was doing, I thought I was protecting my kids. But not until I realized that I have been causing too much emotional and mental degradation at some point. I thought my kids are better without the presence of their father. But I was wrong. With my boys having so little to do with the man I used to love, I thought my kids would never turn out to be like their dad. But one time, my eldest son did something dishonest. And when I confronted him, I was shocked by what he told me. My son said that he couldn’t help himself. My boy felt sad and depressed because of the idea that he was and will always be a representation of his father. That whatever wrong he does, it will always be because of his likeness to his father. My eldest said that he often told himself that he is also a liar, a cheat, and an unworthy person just like his dad. “Children’s views of the targeted parent are almost exclusively negative, to the point that the parent is demonized and seen as evil,” Edward Kruk Ph.D. says.
Hearing that from my teenage boy is devastating. I felt guilty and powerless at the same time. I can’t explain how sorry I was for not allowing him to see a bigger picture of the situation. I caused too much pain and suffering that made him think that things will never be okay. I made him believe that my failed marriage is more important than anything else. “On the deepest level, children suffer from lower self-esteem when they perceive that one parent is deeply flawed, because that parent is half of them,” Samantha Rodman, PhD explains.
So to all mothers out there, we need to realize the effect of the poison we feed our children when we badmouth the other parent. We have to watch out for the emotional and mental damage of parental alienation because it will undoubtedly backfire on us. Susan Heitler Ph.D. says that, “Typically, kids benefit by the presence of both parents. They do not benefit—and indeed can be harmed—when one of their parents portrays the other in a relentlessly negative light.”