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Old 04-16-2020, 08:04 AM   #1
WorriedParent15
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Default Gas Lighting Children

I have already talked to a lawyer about this but I am looking for advice on how to talk to my child about the below.

A little background, I have 100% physical and Legal custody with the other parent (I will leave out genders for anonymity) having a day visit every other sunday. Generally if things were going well, and the other parents behavior was good (they have alcohol issues) I would allow more time accordingly and stick to the court order during those times things were not going well. Basically I would assess the situation for safety and make a decision every other weekend if my child could go for extra time or not.

During Covid 19 I have stuck to just the court order, and gotten a lot of angry texts about being taken back to court, because I won't let my child over there for more time. To the point I was nervous the other parent might try something and keep my child, but two visits so far and no issues other than angry texts.

The big thing is I got my child a phone, so if while working at home they wanted to reach out to their other parent or any family member they had a phone to use freely. So the other parent has the ability to text and call.

Some samples of texts my child has gotten from the other parent "I pray every night you are allowed to come more than just sunday this weekend, it's not fair your "mom/dad" won't let you come see me, they are working from home and not paying attention to you, I would never do that to you"

"I miss you soo much I continue to pray that you will be allowed to come see me more this weekend, you have a phone now because your "mom/dad" is more worried about their phone and being on it then allowing you to use it"

"You are the most important thing in the world to me, not some phone"

Obviously I have to work from home during this covid19 stuff, and I am grateful I have a job when most are getting laid off. I got my child the phone so they would have complete access to anyone in their family they wanted to talk to, on both sides of the family, during a scary time.

On top of that, outside of those texts in the few days leading up to the visit, there has been very little contact, no calls, no other texts. Unless my child texts or calls first, then there is a quick response but a child at age 7 shouldn't have to be the one that reaches out to a parent, the parent should reach out.

On top of that, my child has an older sibling, that isn't mine. That sibling is in the same situation lives with the other parent, has every other weekend visits, and that sibling gets calls daily. So it's weird that my ex is calling one of her children daily but not my child? Then gas lights my child through texts in the days leading up to the visit.

Anyone faced this before?
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:13 PM   #2
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Smile Re: Gas Lighting Children

I'm afraid I don't have anything to offer with regard to your concern. However I noticed you had yet to receive a reply to this thread. So I thought I would at least acknowledge it. Here are links to 8 articles, from PC's archives, that I thought might be of at least some interest. Hopefully there will be something in them that can be of some help:

What is Gaslighting? | The Exhausted Woman

Gaslighting: How a Parent Can Drive a Kid Crazy | The Exhausted Woman

7 Ways to Extinguish Gaslighting

7 Ways Narcissists Retaliate Through Children | The Exhausted Woman

How to help your children when their other parent is a narcissist

https://pro.psychcentral.com/recover...dium=popular17

https://pro.psychcentral.com/recover...dium=popular17

https://pro.psychcentral.com/exhaust...rcissistic-ex/

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Old 04-18-2020, 05:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Gas Lighting Children

Welcome @WorriedParent15 I am sorry you are going through this. What you describe sounds like parental alienation. (Parental alienation - Wikipedia)
Quote:
Parental alienation describes a process through which a child becomes estranged from a parent as the result of the psychological manipulation of another parent.[1][2] The child's estrangement may manifest itself as fear, disrespect or hostility toward the parent, and may extend to additional relatives or parties.[3] The child's estrangement is disproportionate to any acts or conduct attributable to the alienated parent.[4] Parental alienation can occur in any family unit, but is believed to occur most often within the context of family separation, particularly when legal proceedings are involved,[5] although the participation of professionals such as lawyers, judges and psychologists may also contribute to conflict.
Quote:
Consequences
Studies suggest that independent of other marital issues, acts of parental alienation may be harmful to children. While not all adults who experience acts of parental alienation during childhood report negative consequences, many report outcomes that they attribute to parental alienation, including low self-esteem, addiction and substance abuse, lack of trust, and relationship problems. For example, a retrospective study of adults found that independent of damage of a child's relationship with the other parent, perceived experiences with parental alienation during childhood correlate in adulthood with lower self-sufficiency, lower self-esteem, higher rates of major depressive disorder, and insecure attachment styles.[12] A survey of self-reported childhood experiences of three hundred and sixty-one adults in Italy found that 42.1% of participants reported acts of parental alienation by their mothers, and 54.3% reported acts of parental alienation by their fathers. Reports of parental alienation were found to correlate with reports of psychological maltreatment.[11]

Assessment of the impact of parental alienation within the context of legal proceedings, such as child custody litigation, is complicated by the participation of other professionals, including psychologists, lawyers and judges, whose actions and decisions may negatively affect family relationships.[34] Although alienating behaviors by parents are common in high-conflict divorces,[15] most children do not become alienated from a parent as a result of that behavior.[16]

Some mental health professionals argue that severe parental alienation should be established as a form of emotional abuse and domestic violence.[9] Controversy persists as to whether parental alienation should be treated as a form of child abuse or family violence.[2]
These are just a few points I wanted to highlight but the link I shared has more details.

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Originally Posted by WorriedParent15 View Post
During Covid 19 I have stuck to just the court order, and gotten a lot of angry texts about being taken back to court, because I won't let my child over there for more time. To the point I was nervous the other parent might try something and keep my child, but two visits so far and no issues other than angry texts.
It sounds like this parent is using threats and the covid situation as a way to harass you. Is there anymore details you can share about this parents behaviors and actions? If this person has an alcohol problem was that a reason for divorce or separation?
Quote:
No federal or state laws regulating parental alienation currently exist in the United States. Some courts recognize parental alienation as a serious issue with potential long-term effects and serious outcomes for the child.[22][51] Other jurisdictions may suspend child support in cases where parental alienation occurs. For example, in a New York case in which the father was prevented from seeing his son by the child's mother through a "pattern of alienation", child support was suspended.[52][53] Some United States courts have tried to address the issue through mandated reunification therapy.[54][38]

Due to the nature of allegations of parental alienation, many courts require that a qualified expert witness testify in support of allegations of parental alienation or in association with any allegation that a parent has a mental health disorder.[55]
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Some samples of texts my child has gotten from the other parent "I pray every night you are allowed to come more than just sunday this weekend, it's not fair your "mom/dad" won't let you come see me, they are working from home and not paying attention to you, I would never do that to you"

"I miss you soo much I continue to pray that you will be allowed to come see me more this weekend, you have a phone now because your "mom/dad" is more worried about their phone and being on it then allowing you to use it"

"You are the most important thing in the world to me, not some phone"
This is very disturbing and unfair. IMO its almost abuse and you should have the right to address this type of behavior from a legal perspective and because of the potential harm to your child.

Quote:
On top of that, outside of those texts in the few days leading up to the visit, there has been very little contact, no calls, no other texts. Unless my child texts or calls first, then there is a quick response but a child at age 7 shouldn't have to be the one that reaches out to a parent, the parent should reach out.
To me this confirms that your ex is using your child to hurt you. Manipulating your child to hurt you is more important to this parent than an actual relationship. It is a coward's way of acting because a 7 year old has no defense to that kind of manipulation. I know you said you talked to a lawyer but lawyer or not I think when things open up again you should consider going to court. When you say you allow more time if things are better is that in the custody agreement? Or is that because you are being fair and trying to keep the relationship between your child and this parent from estrangement? During this crisis Personally I would absolutely not make any modifications on your part to the actual agreement. Let the ex threaten you all they want. Being that they have an alcohol problem with such limited visitation leads me to believe that this parents issues are known to the court or at least noted in the entire child custody situation. This parent cant take you to court for not giving them what they demand. No court is going to hear your case now anyway and even if they could the covid pandemic and social distancing guidelines would protect you specifically when it comes to extra visitation. Their past issues that led you to get full custody would also be something that courts will not look favorably on. Save your texts and all texts the child has.
Quote:
On top of that, my child has an older sibling, that isn't mine. That sibling is in the same situation lives with the other parent, has every other weekend visits, and that sibling gets calls daily. So it's weird that my ex is calling one of her children daily but not my child? Then gas lights my child through texts in the days leading up to the visit.
More and more this sounds abusive and your child is defenseless. I personally would tell your ex that they can call you and speak to your child but block texting between the child and the other parent. This will protect your child and keep you informed. Right now the child can receive an unfair message and you might not know right away or at all. I do not think a 7 year old needs a phone in order to keep contact with this parent. Its find in theory as far as what you mentioned with other family members but I think you should block your exes number and work out another way for them to communicate.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Gas Lighting Children

I am so sorry. We spoke on your other thread.

Do not let your child to see the other parents more than the court allowed. Absolutely no. Strictly what court allows only

Second of all save all these correspondences and keep showing to your lawyer.

Third your child doesn’t need a phone at 7 and doesn’t need to text at all. Block the other parent. Inform the other parent that they can call you and request to speak to the child via phone (you stay right there). I understand why you gave your kid a phone but there is no legal requirement for a child to have a phone to text with mom. This shouldn’t be allowed

How often is she/he allowed to call the child per court order? That’s how often she should call on your phone. Not kids phone. In your presence. If he/she sends you harrassing texts save them and forward to your lawyer

What a terrible person
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gas Lighting Children

I agree.. remove the child's cell. Allow her to use your phone, any time she wants to contact the other parent. Before you give her your cell, block his/her number so s/he doesn't text her through your phone. You can always unblock him/her after each call.

Ask your lawyer if she can speak to the other parent via speaker phone so you can intervene when conversations become toxic. When it does become toxic and you're having to intervene, make sure you speak ONLY about the behaviour (in kid language) so she doesn't feel like the "piglet in the middle". Never defend yourself and always reassure her that you want her to maintain a healthy relationship with the other parent, as much as possible.

I'd stick to the schedule because this toxicity is likely happening during visitations.
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Old 05-26-2020, 05:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Gas Lighting Children

It sounds like you could use a good counselor skilled in child developmental issues to help out with this. It sounds good to give the child access but the interaction is clearly not healthy/positive----I think it would be best if you talked with the child to find out how they feel about the interactions and take the phone---having the phone puts the child in the position of having to deal with issues well beyond their years & may put them at risk.
You are trying so hard to be "fair" (I think) that you may not be being a wise parent. ((hug)) tough situation.
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