by Sharon England
Oil on Canvas
76cm (H) x 100cm (W) x 3.5cm (D)
Part of my series focusing on the tactics used in the process of parental alienation. The deliberate creation of endless boundaries, obstacles and finicky rules is one of the ways an alienator set the target parent up to fail. They set impossible standards and use any failure to comply or slight deviation from the orders to convince their children that their other parent is uncaring, disrespectful and untrustworthy.
When Daddy went to live in his apartment, Mummy told me that Daddy was no longer part of our family household and that we needed to set some boundaries. It was a little hard to keep track of them sometimes but they were really important. Mum said making boundaries was the way you made sure people treated you properly. Sadly, Dad was having some problems understanding what boundaries meant so I needed to make sure I told her what was going on all the time so that she could make sure I was OK.
Dad was no longer allowed in our house. He was only allowed to knock on the door then step back onto the pavement when coming to collect me. He should not come early. Or late. And he should text Mum five minutes before arriving so that we were not shocked or inconvenienced when he came. This was respectful behaviour and if Dad was not prepared to accept our boundaries it was obviously because he was being disrespectful to us both.
Dad also needed to respect our privacy. Especially Mum’s, because she was working really hard to keep our home intact and did not deserve to be attacked. Mum said it was not acceptable that Dad knew what she was doing, because he had left us of his own free will and no longer had the right to know. So its best if I don’t tell Dad about anything that happens while I am with Mum. What happens in our house is no longer any concern of Dads. We have made a special girls adventure page on Instagram just for us, but Dad is not allowed to see.
When I used to go to Dad’s place I needed to make sure I went to another room to talk to Mum so Dad could not overhear and invade her privacy. And Mum said I had boundaries that needed protecting too. I did not have to talk about my feelings with Dad as he still had a lot of work to do around his communicating because he didn’t understand boundaries or agreements. Instead Mummy said it would be better if I spoke to her about anything that was bothering me, that way she could make sure that Dad was putting my interests first. She said it was also best if she listened on speaker phone when Dad called me at home so she could make sure that Dad was not being aggressive or trying to manipulate me.
Then Daddy tried to call us while we were on holiday, which was so rude and crossed our boundary because Mum deserved not to be harassed while we were having our family time. Every time Dad called me Mum would have to spend hours and hours emailing him about how disrespectful he was being and it was very unfair of Dad to cut into our holiday time like that.
After a few months we had to put a lot more boundaries in place because Dad wasn’t able to follow the guidelines for being a good and loving parent that Mum gave him.
Mum said it was best if Dad agreed everything we would do in writing before I saw him so that she could make sure that he was making the best decisions for me. She would let me know what they had agreed and that I should stick to my boundaries and refuse to do anything else that Dad planned.
Dad was especially hopeless with this boundary and kept disrespecting Mum by not communicating everything with her. We both can’t understand why Dad is trying to cut Mum out of my life.
We decided it was better if Dad did not call any more because he was often disrespectful of homework time, and dinner time and he did not understand that I might be tired after school and not in the right frame of mind to speak with him. Now Dad is only allowed to text me. That way I can protect my boundaries and decide if I want to text him back. And also Mum can check if he is being appropriate and not upsetting me.