Prior to becoming an alienated parent summer of 2016, one of the most memorable and enjoyable past times I used to spend with my youngest child G, was watching the Disney film Frozen.
The cynics amongst you may well raise an eyebrow to the cliched plot, the over merchandising and at the time the somewhat ubiquitous soundtrack. However as a loving parent, seeing the world through the eyes of one’s own children is a joy to behold and treasure.
And with this point in mind I used to absolutely love watching this film with G. We would snuggle up in bed together in her bedroom and watch it on cold winter mornings. We would also watch it together downstairs in the lounge much to the eye-rolling dismay of her older brothers. We would also play the songs in the car together. G and I both knew all the words to all the songs, due to the amount of time singing them together. I still have G‘s playlist of favourite songs on my spotify account. I refuse to delete that playlist.
One of our favourite Frozen song was ‘Love is an Open Door’. Both of us would sing the respective male and female parts. “I mean it’s crazy… What? We finish each other’s…” The last word “sandwiches!” we would both shout, scream or sing, regardless of where we might have been; home, in the car or in the local supermarket.
Another one of G‘s favourite Frozen songs was ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’ Like all the other songs from the soundtrack, G knew all the words off by heart. And now after seventeen months of contact denial the following lyrics present a whole different perspective for me: “Come on lets go and play, I never see you anymore, come out the door. It’s like you’ve gone away… We used to be best buddies. And now we’re not. I wish you would tell me why!”
I sometimes watch Frozen alone. I like to imagine G snuggled up next to me. Where she should be, snuggling up next to her loving dad. When G‘s favourite songs come along I reminisce of the above described singing we would do together.
During this whole period of alienation I have not yet watched Frozen with anyone else. I don’t think I could. I feel that G and I have taken ownership of it. And that I should only be watching it with G, as I always did. The next person I hope to watch it with is G.
A lot of coping with parental alienation is detaching oneself from such memories as the ones described above. To constantly think about such memories is not sustainable. But such detachment runs the risk of inducing feelings of guilt for the alienated parent. Like so many aspects of battling/coping with parental alienation, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Every now and again it is almost as if I need a depressive episode to tell myself that putting such feelings aside is not dismissing them. I have such episodes when people may not even be aware of them. I give in to these episodes not as a form of martyrdom to disclose to others and seek recognition. But as a kind of reality check. Those that don’t really understand may interpret such behaviours as wallowing in self pity. I see it as a self induced reality check. I currently live my life trying to shut so much out. These episodes allow me to feel these feelings of sadness. A kind of self-reassurance that such feelings are still around, but by shutting them out in order to survive, I am not dismissing them.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, the American poet and playwright once said “they say when you are missing someone that they are probably feeling the same, but I don’t think it’s possible for you to miss me as much as I’m missing you right now”
I am an alienated parent of three. Part-time psychiatric nurse, part-time writer. I am also an online activist against parental alienation. I use my knowledge of mental health and lived experience of parental alienation to promote awareness of parental alienation.