All three boys have handled this differently.  I am going to start with my middle son, Johnny,  because this is my main focus and main source of sadness and anguish. I used to rock this child to sleep while rubbing his forehead and singing, “You are my sunshine.”  

“Our” song was, “You will always be my baby” by Mirah Carey.  We would dance in the kitchen and he would beg me to play it over and over again and sing that line to him. He would giggle and laugh and I would swing him around the kitchen. 


Johnny hasn’t spoken to me in years.  

He is over 18 and I have no rights as a parent anymore. Believe me, I have tried all avenues but have had no luck.  He has completely cut me out of his life.  I have written numerous cards and letters, gone to James’s house, hired a private investigator to locate him,  and even reached out to a psychiatrist that Johnny once went to, but the psychiatrist would only accept my request in writing. I wrote him a letter and never heard back from him.  

I have reached out to my ex-sister-in-law, Jane, sending her numerous texts and calling several times.  She never responds.  I tried communicating with my nephew on James’s side.  

I loved this boy.  I changed his diapers, baby-sat him, went to his games, cooked for him.  

He did respond, but it was with total disdain for me, like I did something wrong.  


It is like I don’t exist anymore in the boys’ eyes. 

I have spent thousands of dollars with attorneys trying to find a way around the “18 and over” rule. A way to get back into his life and have some say so in raising him. I have researched laws such as abuse of an adult (since he is over 18) and laws in which an adult can’t care for him/herself and they need parental supervision, none of which I can prove apply to my situation. 

As with most children, turning 18 does not mean instantly turning into an adult who no longer needs a mother, but since the courts recognize him as an adult, if he chooses not to talk to me, there is nothing I can legally do about it.


The signs were there, but I didn’t want to see them.

When Johnny was around ten I noticed a strange bond growing between his father and him.   It was extremely unhealthy.  

My middle son was big into sports but would not allow his dad to go to games.  He couldn’t handle the pressure that was being put on him.  The poor child would throw up on himself before and during games that his dad attended.  He would be staring at his dad in the stands instead of looking at the pitcher while he was in the batter’s box.  

The pressure put on that poor boy was abusive.  He eventually started having some involuntary twitching in his face.  As a mother, it was heartbreaking to witness. 

Again, we were asked to leave many teams because of drama and just plain ugly situations with James and the way he treated my children and coaches.  Johnny was absolutely eaten up with trying to please his father. He started withdrawing from friends and hanging out only with his dad.  James saw no problem with this.  By the time he reached high school he had no friends and did nothing but hang out with his dad. They slept in the same room every night.  

Johnny was so protective of his dad that if I even tried to joke with his dad he would get very angry and sometimes physical with me defending his dad.  Even if I only said something like, “Nice outfit, James,” or “Were you going to shower today?”

When the marriage started going south I began to see an alliance forming between the two.  James was using Johnny as his confidant and would demonize me to our son and it was working.  He was pulling away from me and glorifying his dad.  To the point of complimenting him 100 times a day, literally!  They were together constantly if my son wasn’t in school.


Examples of his father’s lies that tear us apart.

Fast forward to an ugly, high-conflict divorce – the result of a very unhealthy, controlling and emotionally abusive marriage.  Johnny blamed me and hasn’t stopped.  Some of the stories are so bizarre and sick.  

Here are some examples:

  1. James actually filed for divorce first. It wasn’t me. I think he could see the writing on the wall. He wanted the upper hand. 

    This lie is easily proved as there are court documents with dates on them.  Yet at the time, the boys didn’t want to listen to me.

  2. Since James filed for divorce first he set up a “nesting” situation. That means that the kids stay in the house and the parents rotate out. He set this up for every other day. 

    One time, he told the boys that I must have had my “boyfriend” over and he left his jacket there.  He put the jacket on and modeled it around while Johnny took pictures.  I was getting these pictures from Johnny’s phone while my youngest son was calling me crying saying, “Mom how could you?  How could you have a man over here at our house?” 

    Again, another lie that was easily overturned.  They sent the picture to my oldest in college and he confirmed that it was his jacket from when he was in middle school.

Again, the seeds were being planted. The damage was being done. The lies and exaggerations have been carried on for years. 

I have a thousand more really insane stories. The manipulations and distortions still are shocking to me.

The Last Time we Spoke

The last time Johnny talked to me was at Sam’s baseball game in July of 2014. He was refusing to stay with me after the divorce so I approached him at his brother’s game.  It was a terribly ugly confrontation with him yelling and screaming profanities at me.  I can’t even tell you the feeling that came across me.  It was the first time that I realized that this wasn’t going away. 

All the “professionals” and attorneys were telling me that things were going to settle down, that this was temporary.  At that point, with the look of anger and hatred on my son’s face, I knew.  I knew that it was going to be a very, very long road ahead of me to get back into his life.  

I haven’t given up hope.  I miss him so much.  I have such a fire inside of me to get back into his life.  A drive that I won’t give up on.  This is my child.  I gave birth to him!  I sang to him as a baby.  I comforted him when he was sick. I was his mother!  Yet I am like a stranger to him now.


Johnny’s Essay

One night I found a writing assignment left on the counter that Johnny had been working on.  He was supposed to write about someone who inspired him. Of course, he picked his father.  He absolutely glorified his father and over exaggerated so many things. For example, his father was retired and hadn’t worked since Johnny was in 6th grade, but Johnny wrote how his dad gets up and goes to work and works so hard for the family every day. The reality is that sometimes his dad didn’t get out of bed until 10:00 in the morning.  

I was vilified in the assignment.  He said things like, “Sometimes we don’t know where my mom is, she stays out all night, and she drinks all the time.”  Now of course, you don’t know me but that is ABSOLUTELY not the case.  

Because of the control James had over me I did nothing outside of the home except my book club.  If I wanted to go visit my sister out-of-town I would leave on a Friday morning and come back on a Saturday night because of the grief and abuse I would get for leaving the family.  The distortions of the truth were growing.  It was baffling.


Unusual Sleeping Arrangements

One of the most bizarre events in all of this are the sleeping arrangements.  James continues to sleep in the same room as Johnny.  I have been told that to this day, James has never replaced the master bedroom set, as that was something I took when I moved out of the house. He continued to sleep in Johnny’s room on a couch and Sam’s mattress was on the floor there as well.  Now, even more disturbing, Sam also sleeps in the same room with them. 

I am not implying that it is sexual BUT it is sick!  It is total control, total enmeshment in the lives of two young men. They should be taught to spread their wings and become independent thinkers and separate human beings.  They shouldn’t be sleeping with their father every night.


Withdrawing from School

When Johnny was a Senior in High School  he tried to drop out saying that he just couldn’t finish school because of the sadness he was experiencing from the divorce.  The school called me to alert me of this.  They said that James was prepared to sign a form that would withdraw Johnny from school.  

Since he wasn’t quite 18 yet at the time, I needed to sign the form as well as his dad.  Of course, I would not sign it and instead requested a meeting between all parties including my son and my ex.  My ex didn’t show up to the meeting. I thought it would be good to see Johnny and it might soften him by seeing me. Boy was I wrong! He was adamant about dropping out and told the room full of people who I have known since he was in 6th grade that his mother had “abandoned” the family and he just couldn’t bear to go to school anymore. I was embarrassed and mortified but I continued on. I didn’t back down, which didn’t do me any favors in his eyes or his dad’s.  

After graduation, which he did not attend, he went to a school out-of-State. I was kept in the dark on all of it.  He also changed his phone number so I couldn’t call or leave him messages. I hired a private detective who found him for me.  When I called the school they told me that they were not allowed to give me any information on him as my son and ex husband had signed a form stating that they DID NOT want his mother getting any information on him.  That was crushing!  Heartbreaking.  In the back of my mind though I thought that maybe this wasn’t a bad thing.  Maybe him being away from his dad would help him.

It didn’t last long.   He was back to his dad’s by the end of that semester, I heard through the grapevine.  I started writing him letters.  I would send him pictures of the two of us when he was little.  I don’t think he got any of them.  My father, mother and sister had also been cut out of his life by this time, which is very common in alienation cases. They also wrote him letters.  At one point I got an email from my ex husband stating that he was canceling his mail because I was stealing things out of his mailbox. I had months of going back and forth with attorneys before I was able to get his new P.O. Box address.  I once again started sending Johnny cards, pictures, and letters.  Then I got another email from my ex husband asking me to please stop sending him pictures of myself as he thought it was “weird and creepy.”  He changed his address again.


The Sandwich Shop 

One summer day I was out driving and I saw my oldest’s car at a sandwich place in our town.  I parked and walked into the place.  He was sitting there with his two brothers and his father.  When James saw me he screamed for Johnny to run.  Johnny looked up and saw me and jumped up from the table.  He burst out the door and took off running down the street.  This is someone who is over six-foot, two inches tall and probably weighs about 220 pounds—running for his life, away from a mother who is five foot, five inches tall and weighs one hundred and seventeen pounds.  I called out to him.  He just kept running.

My other two boys were instructed to tell me that Johnny had moved away again and was doing really well and very happy. I didn’t believe it but I didn’t know what else to do to find him at that point.  


The Jogging Incident 

One day I was out jogging on a path near my house. I ran smack right into Johnny.  He recognized me and ran from me like he was scared. I ran as fast as I could, calling out to him.  I decided to run home, get my car and drive to his dad’s.  I decided that I was going to see my child and work this out once and for all.  I park my car and go ring the bell.  I wait and wait.  My ex husband starts calling me and says he is going to call the police if I don’t leave.  I walk around to the back of the house.  I see Johnny standing in the kitchen.  I walk in and stand at the door.  He yells at me and tells me to get out of there.  

A stranger.  He is a stranger to me.  I am pleading with him.  Begging him to calm down and talk to me. I tell him I am not leaving until he does.  I go sit on the front porch of James’s house, my old house, and I wait.  Within minutes the police show up.  I tell them everything that is going on and they ask me to go to the street.  They ring the bell and James answers.  Johnny is nowhere to be found. James won’t let him come out of the house. The police have a good idea what is going on and they plead with James to let my child come out and talk to me. They say that they will be there to referee. James tells the police that I am crazy and violent and that I would hurt them if allowed to come near them. The police tell me to leave and not to come back.


Two years gone

Last month marked the two-year anniversary since Johnny and I have really had any contact except what I have just mentioned above.  There isn’t a minute of the day that goes by that I don’t think of him.  My home is covered with pictures of him and my other two boys.  I miss him more than I can describe.  

One evening I was longing for him worse than usual.  For some reason I thought if he just knows I am still secretly fighting for him, still thinking and praying for him everyday, and still loving him he would come around. If he just saw my face it would trigger some emotions. I know he has to be missing me too. 

So, I did a stupid thing. I went back to James’s house. I rang the bell. James opened the door and slammed it in my face. I walked to my car devastated and heartbroken again. 

Shortly after I got home, the police came to my door. James filed a Criminal Trespassing order against me. They handcuffed me – in front of Sam – and took me away to jail.


My Concerns

I don’t think Johnny is thriving at all.  How could he be??  His mother lives 1/2 mile away and he is forbidden to see her.  I believe he stays in his dad’s house all day long.  He has no friends, hasn’t gone to college since that first semester and doesn’t have a job.  He has to constantly look over his shoulder to see if he is going to run into me.  

He and his dad continue to be “best buds” spending each day together, going out to eat together and sleeping together at night.  There are sightings of the two.  

My friends will run into them from time to time. All the stories are the same. They will ask Johnny how he is doing and his dad answers for him. Either that, or both look down and try not to make eye contact with the person standing in front of them. They say Johnny has a blank stare about him, like he is void of emotion.  

When I hear about these moments my heart aches for him.  I am overcome with sadness, grief and a sense of loss.  I miss him so much!  When I ran into him jogging on the bike path even though he was running from me I felt some comfort, some familiarity.  Just to see his body, his face, his mannerisms – it was comforting to me in some way.


Glorifying violence against moms
For Christmas last year I heard that his dad bought him a football jersey.  The player (which I can’t remember the name of) had gone to jail for beating up his mom. I guess he is now Johnny’s idol.  They glorify that professional football player at James’s house.