The brilliant news is that we can now publish this first online English translation of an Alienated teenager’s crie de coeur. In A Tardis of a Textbook, we featured Wilfrid v. Bloch-Galhau’s English version of his German book on Parental Alienation. It’s a wee cracker (as we say in Scotland). Buy it!
The most striking thing in it is Astrid v. Friesen’s report of an 18-year old’s story: “Children of separation accuse!” You can read the original in German in the magazine Papa-Ya and elsewhere too. Now you can read it in English here too!
This sustained honest searing angry account – and his accusation against everyone involved – is quite long. It is remarkable and healthy in its evident accuracy and anger. We don’t know how much Astrid helped shape it up. But it has the ring of truth, doesn’t it?
A more fully Alienated child would loudly assert the opposite viewpoint confirming the rejection of his other parent … like the sister did in this story. But this boy has either been able to recover from that, or he didn’t take in the Alienating persuasion that he and his sister lived with. Many children would be unable to find and voice their experiences like this, at least not until much later. But this still speaks for what they do say when they are able to find it and say it.
In addition to the controlling parent and her friends, the adults comprehensively accused include: judges, social workers, court experts, grandparents, godparents, nannies, nursery teachers, teachers, priests and doctors.
From its opening “We accuse you adults” to its closing “Why is there no penalty for tearing children apart?” this article cannot and must not be edited down. All that’s been added here is some sub-headings. Readers should set aside the time to read it all. Download a pdf to ‘take away’ to read and share.
With many thanks to Wilfrid, Astrid and, of course, the original anonymous 18-year old author!
Nick Child, Edinburgh
Dr v. Bloch-Galhau comments that this story – told by a child who has been alienated from his father – could equally have been written by a child where the mother was alienated … with the gender generalisations reversed!
“We accuse you adults!
We accuse you adults! Where were you when our parents tore us children apart, in their mad divorce war, which lasted for 12 years and really was a war? Where were the judges and social workers, and the experts, who interviewed us a dozen times, but never made any changes, although our father always had the right of custody!
And you, grandparents, what did you actually do? We were never allowed to see our father’s parents, they died without ever really knowing us. But my mother’s parents: you knew them, didn’t you? They were kind! You wanted us all to your-selves, you never told your daughter that she was trampling all over our human rights. Did you not teach her any morals? You never stood up for us grandchildren, not once.
Where were the godparents who, at our christening, had promised to look after us? Who didn’t demand from our mother that she’d let us see our father just once a fortnight for a short weekend. We wanted to see him without any pressure, without suffering the punishment of her migraines, without her pinched lips, without thundering silences, without threats to kill the cat next time we wanted to see our father… Without the mean refusal by our mother to feed the rabbits just for those few days, which almost broke my little sister’s heart … Her father or her rabbits? Life or death? Because she was only seven and she loved her pets more than anything. And loved our father just as much.
Where were the crèche nannies, who are supposed to be so fond of children? And the nursery teachers? Why weren’t they there for us children, didn’t take our side, defend our right to see all our relatives? They preferred to stay out of it. Cowards, that’s what they were, nothing else.
And the teachers? Surely they must know that divorced parents do not pass on letters, it happened with ten children in my class. They must have known from the files that he had the right of custody. They never told our father when we had a school party and I played a brilliant part in “Peter and Anneli’s Journey to the Moon”, or my sister danced in the ballet, so father could have seen us. He would’ve been so proud – and would’ve told us so, as he always did.
And the priests didn’t tell everybody about my confirmation! I wasn’t allowed to tell, because my mother forced me to promise I wouldn’t tell anyone. Which is why my paternal grandparents didn’t know, and my cousins never came, half my family weren’t allowed to be there. I was ashamed because my family was so small. Like during the Cold War, after the wall had been built between East and West Germany, and relatives from the East were never allowed to come over. I felt like I’d been amputated. Almost all children had four grandparents there, some even more, if they’d got divorced and married again. I only had two. Who, on top of everything, made stupid comments although they hadn’t seen the other grandparents for 12 years … who couldn’t even defend themselves because they knew nothing about it. I hate this rivalry!
Why didn’t the doctors tell my father when I was in hospital for six weeks, longing for a visit from him. My mother simply claimed she had sole custody. It didn’t occur to anybody that she might be lying. Adults can be so stupid. She lied to their faces, the doctors and everyone else, all the time.
How many parents do this?
I often wondered how many parents do this. Because almost a third of the children in my class are divorced.
Why did you leave us all alone with her, taking away one half of our life, our roots, my family?
Many people spend a lot of money looking for their roots. I was simply cut off from my paternal roots. I was tormented by my helplessness, almost every day, not being allowed to call my father, or receive any parcels from him. We nevertheless always waited for him, even knowing he wasn’t allowed to come, couldn’t come. Waiting, waiting, waiting – my life was all waiting and hoping.
Often my little sister and I were allowed to visit him only four days a year, not half the summer holidays, every other Christmas. Oh no; not at Easter and never during the autumn break, never allowed to go on holiday with him. My mother never gave us our children’s passports when we went and no change in clothes either. Although the judges set the holidays each year, she simply didn’t stick to them. When I was 13, I was allowed to go to Holland with a friend and his parents, even though my mother hardly knew those people. But we were never allowed to go on holiday with my father.
In 18 years, I probably spent only six Christmases with him, although he’s brilliant at decorating the tree, and arranges dozens of small animals around the crib. He just uses the animals that are placed around his train set during the rest of the year. That is so funny.
He was never allowed to say Happy Birthday to me, could never teach me how to ski, though he’s supposed to be a fantastic skier. I’ve never seen my grandparents’ house, as though it was in the Himalayas and not 300 km away in Lower Saxony. Now they’re dead and I have no memories of them. We could never make any plans together. My mother would turn him away from the door – after he’d just driven 400 km to see us – claiming we weren’t at home. I once saw from my window how he was crying in the car, having to drive back all that way, without us. And I cried, too. But I didn’t dare call him, because our mother checked our phone calls, checked everything. Or she’d nag us for three days, or, even worse, not say a word. I couldn’t cope with that. And my sister would always get diarrhoea and a tummy ache. Which mum would then blame on our father. But we couldn’t tell her that it was because of her. Or because of our longing. My little sister would then often cry at night. I tried comforting her, but really there was no comforting her.
The terror of courts
Later, in puberty, my sister hated our father. Hated him flat-out. And if I said: But he wasn’t allowed to see us, he tried so hard, she’d claim that it couldn’t have been like that. He should’ve gone to court, surely a judge would’ve helped him. And I’d reply: But he went to court so often, I had to give testimony so often, every year. But she just didn’t believe me. Although she knew herself it was perfectly true. Because whenever I’d come back from the court, I’d always be stressed and my mother would spread terror for days.
Before I went, it would be nice terror, where she’d be on at us constantly, telling us the good things we should say about her. Afterwards, it would be bad terror. There was no getting her away from her hatred, although she’d loved our father once and he’d never done anything bad. Neither to her nor to us. And though she’d left him for another man, who turned out to be no good and was soon gone again. I really think she actually hated herself, for leaving our father. Women are so weird!
My sister also started hating him at some point, because she wasn’t allowed to love him. Like my mother. Women are strange. But the hatred was misdirected. Because we couldn’t hate our mother, or all hell would have broken loose at home. I think it was more the situation she hated. And because you can’t hate something abstract, she diverted the hatred to our father.
But it wasn’t his fault. He was despairing and fighting for us like a lion. And it made him ill, too, because he always lost: us and all our holidays, all the Christmases, all the Easters, always lost everything.
Why are adults such emotional idiots?
And then the child therapists. What did they do? Nothing! What therapy can you give to children who are suffering because they’re not allowed to see their father? What complete rubbish. They should’ve enforced it, and I was taken to see three of them. They should’ve given therapy to my mother, so she’d let us go, without terror, and without saying that all men are bastards. That includes me, I suppose? What else was to become of me other than a “male bastard”. Oh, sure, I could become a “loser” or an “emotional cripple”. Fab! That really makes me look forward to adulthood!
I accuse all adults who turn a blind eye, who don’t care about children. We children have been destroyed and torn apart in front of your eyes, or you were indifferent, chose not to see because the parents were putting on the pressure. We children are always supposed to decide: who do you love more, me or your father? What a crap question! Don’t you know that this question tears us apart, when you ask us to betray ourselves, our feelings, our longings, our needs? Incitement to treason! That’s the worst, I read it once in a book on American Indians.
Why are you adults such emotional idiots that you can’t get anything right? Not your marriage, and not the end of a relationship either. And I thought you’d loved each other at some point? So why this hatred at our expense? Read any crappy self-help book and it’ll tell you that parents should always remain parents. It doesn’t tell you about the thousand cases where that doesn’t work, because you’re inept, hysterical, and prefer to destroy us rather than act sensible again. There’s no self-help book for children on how to deal with stupid parents! We’re not your property, but you treat us like emotional slaves, whose sole purpose it is to make you feel better, to give some meaning to your life. That’s also crap for us, complete crap.
And all this spiel about “child welfare”. What crap. What would have made us fare well was quite simply being allowed to see everybody without any pressure on us. That’s it, full stop, end of story. My father is normal, and my grandparents were also normal and apparently they were really really kind, says my cousin who was allowed to know them. Dad is also very kind and gentle and funny. But also sad. Once we cried together, when I had to leave again after three days. He never says a bad word about my mother, never. But she always bitches about him. Even 12 years after their divorce. Good grief, why doesn’t she have anything else to talk about in her life than this hatred? Although it was her who left him, for another man. She married him of her own free will, left him of her own free will – so where’s the problem? They haven’t seen each other for 12 years, he pays maintenance, but she gives him hassle… with lawyers, threats, lying about him to his boss; she called him and told him a load of rubbish, and to all friends and acquaintances, of course. And all the women believe her, because men can’t be anything but “bastards”. That’s funny, I often find men brilliant and quite cool, really.
Her weird feelings matter but never ours
How I hate it: walking into the living room, and there are six divorced women sitting there, bitching about men and also about my father. My mother is gossiping, telling them everything: what he was like in bed and stuff like that. Disgusting. And she hasn’t even seen him in 12 years. And all the other women are bitching like her, as though all men were idiots.
Sometimes I think it’s the women who are the idiots, because they don’t get it that the marriage is over, but carry on torturing us children for years.
And all these contradictions: dad isn’t allowed to have a girlfriend, she’d go mad if she found out that he did. Once she thought he had one. Even after 12 years, she still spies on him. She called her a tart, which I didn’t understand at the time. But I do today. And she’d always probe us for hours. As though we didn’t know what she wanted to hear. But we never tell her anything. Never. Not even, what a good time we had and what we did, because then she’d throw a fit and bitch about him. Or she’d bloody rubbish everything, when we’d tell her that we had a great time at the fairground, or that we went hiking, or that we slept outdoors in a tent with him. She’d spoil it all completely, with her mocking, ridicule, bitching, just cruel. So we don’t talk and she thinks we didn’t have a good time, because we just give one-word answers and don’t tell her anything and have sad faces after such a great weekend. Then she thinks it’s once again our father’s fault. She hasn’t got it in 12 years, that it’s her fault. Nobody else’s. And she blames our father again for that. It always makes me feel like I was sitting in a bloody mouse trap.
Whatever you do is wrong: whether you tell her or not, she’ll be in a bad mood, for three whole days. Usually until Wednesday and then she calms down. After she’s been on the phone to a dozen women friends, been over it a dozen times, as though we can’t hear it. But she doesn’t care if she bitches about our father in front of us. As though we had no feelings, as though we were pieces of furniture and not his children, as though we weren’t descended from him… She just doesn’t get any of it. The only thing that matters are her weird 12-year old feelings, but never ours. Even if everybody keeps blathering about child welfare. Don’t make me laugh. What exactly does this have to do with child welfare? I can’t see any child welfare, but only stupid bloody child harm!
As I was saying: if our dad had a girlfriend, our mum would go mad. But she was the one to leave him because of a bloke, and now she treats herself to a new man every few months. When you go to the bathroom in the morning, he’s suddenly there, half naked. It makes me want to puke and I can’t eat anything before going to school. Good grief, the blokes she picks up, they get ever younger and more stupid. But she bitches about all men.
Blokes in our bathroom
My little sister can handle the blokes in our bathroom even less. She goes all quiet and runs off to school, as fast as she can. And doesn’t say anything for ages. Hardly anything at all, or she gets mad over nothing. That’s how I know that the blokes get on her nerves.
I hate it, these double standards. Our mother takes all the liberties she likes but still bitches. Why can’t she enjoy her life. She only tells others: My children are my happiness. We children certainly aren’t aware of that. Those are only words, hollow, empty words. We’re quite alright and doing well at school, always have done. But she’s rarely happy with us. She never used to play with us either, women don’t. My friends say so, too. Only fathers do. Not all of them, but many I know, they play football with their boys, or Monopoly or stuff like that. Or they take them out hiking or climbing. That’s really good fun. And my father, he’s one of those outdoors types, we would’ve played with him a lot or gone camping. If we’d been allowed to. Even my little sister enjoyed the camping and thought it was cosy, although she always got scared at night when we were at home. But she was never scared when our father was with us, not even in the tent. She felt really safe and secure and happy and had fun. And so did I.
And he always read much more to us, brilliant stories from his old school readers. Really exciting. The three of us would sit on the sofa, all cuddled up. I still enjoyed that even when I was 14. When I was very young, I’d always cry for hours when I had to leave him again. And he’d comfort me, put his arms around me and say that we were both hoping to see each other again very soon. And that he thought of me every day and loved me every day, even if he couldn’t call because my mother had blocked all his numbers. We couldn’t tell our mother that we were so sad because she’d have taken it the wrong way and said nasty things about my father again. My little sister already knew that when she was only five years old. I’d always remind her, warning her not to open her mouth. But in fact she knew herself. You have to protect yourself as a child, you know the score.
I accuse all adults
I accuse all adults: Do you know what crap examples you set to us children? Worse than crap, you’re the pits.
- Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?
- Why is there no check that prevents parents from destroying their children?
- Why can’t you make sensible decisions, get help when something is troubling you?
- Why can’t you deal with your life crises in a way that makes you proud, rather than having tons of half-dead parents, grandparents and children all over the place later?
- Don’t you know that you “pass on” this pattern to us children?
- Why are you so selfish and want exclusive rights to our love?
- Why do you think you’ll lose our love if we’re also allowed to love our father and grandparents?
- Don’t you like both your parents, all your relatives and a dozen friends?
- Your bloody fear destroys us, it’s completely neurotic.
- Why are you so aggressive, also passive-aggressive, by banning, making impossible and manipulating so much?
Our mother always lied about the right of custody. Said that we weren’t there when our father came. Lied to him, lied to us, lied to everybody. We grew up in a world of lies. I was, in fact, never sick when my father came. Another lie. And if I had been sick, he’d have nursed me, lovingly, and read to me. And fooled around. What a fantastic example with all those lies. Very ethical. There is a human right to know and see all your parents, siblings, grandparents, and relatives. Why do you violate human rights? Why is there no penalty for violating human rights? What kind of a society is this, which doesn’t penalise that? If we travel without a ticket just once, we’re immediately arrested and interrogated and are in a right mess. But that doesn’t happen when people don’t let their children see the grandparents, although the court has ordered it. Dozens of times, 12 years of my life and 10 years so far in my little sister’s life. That’s about 264 times if you count just 12 visits a year. 264 criminal offences, 264 human rights violations.
The courts never gave us justice
We just want to get out of here. Bloody country with bloody courts, you know what you can do with your “child welfare”. Because the courts never gave us children justice. Just hassle. I’m now allowed to access the files. There are more than 10,000 pages, written by my father or his lawyer. He fought for us like a lion. And finally despaired. When I read how many tens of thousands of euros it cost, money, as he once said in jest, that we could’ve blown on something fancy, and when I see his despair because he could after all that only see us rarely and not long enough, although he just wanted to play with us, I hate my mother. And my grandparents are now dead, I can’t get to know them now. It was really terrible for them, too, not knowing us. Because we’re their grandchildren. It’s not as if you have so many that you can do without some.
Now I’m all alone. No father near me and full of hatred for my mother. As I already said, my sister also hates our father, which is completely stupid because he’s not done anything to her and it’s not his fault. But, whatever, she now hates both of them. But really she hates her life, that’s it! What a beautiful life, and what a crappy start it had. For 18 years. And no other adult helped us. And then everybody complains about us Germans becoming extinct and young people not having enough children. Well, my sister and I definitely won’t want to have any, that’s for sure. And as for becoming extinct – that’s all the adults’ own doing.
Why is there no penalty for tearing children apart?”
~ ~ ~ ~~
This full text translation is taken from Dr Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau (2013) English-language version of his book “Parental Alienation”. It was originally a German article “Trennungskinder klagen an! Die Geschichte eines 18-jährigen Jungen” by Astrid v. Friesen (2012), in the magazine Papa-Ya, 12/11