Finally a small victory: The court orders that I start counseling with Sam immediately and that all fees be paid by James. I was told I could pick any counselor I wanted. I went to the psychiatrist we were working with and asked him to recommend someone for me. He recommended a man in his office and was happy to relay the current status of the case to him. 

I met with this therapist first to give him some background. He seemed very concerned for the boys’ mental health and he mentioned the phrase “Parent Alienation.” It was the first I had heard of it. 

When we had our first appointment with him, Johnny (my middle son) drove Sam (my youngest) to the appointment. He said he wanted to come in as well. By this time, Johnny had turned 18 and the courts couldn’t require him to go to counseling with me, so I was very excited they would both be there. I said YES! ABSOLUTELY! I thought, “Finally, we are getting somewhere.  Finally we will have someone to talk to and start putting the pieces back together.”  

The session did not go as I envisioned.  Johnny had so much anger towards me. He immediately tried to run the show and kept saying to the therapist, “I need to tell you the back history on all this. I need to tell you about the abandonment.”  

Johnny wouldn’t back down. He was on a mission to get his message out to this man.  I was crushed.  It wasn’t going well at all.  

When the therapist asked Johnny to leave the room, the rest of the hour didn’t go much better.  The tears I shed!  Wow, I began crying 24/7.  

Later that day I got an email from my attorney saying that James was requesting a new therapist and was refusing to pay for the one I picked. His quote was, “It was very obvious that you were sleeping with the therapist.”  

I didn’t back down. I continued to see the new therapist and to bring Sam. Many times Sam wouldn’t show up.  After about 6 months of this, the therapist told me he couldn’t help us anymore. So we stopped treatment with him.  


I was turning into a detective. 

Trying to figure out the next step, I began recording everything going on. I documented every time Sam wouldn’t show up for a counseling session, or show up for my parenting time. I collected every message from my ex husband.  

I started looking into this “Parent Alienation.”   It was exhausting.  It was a full-time job.  

I felt like I was under a microscope, too. I was being videotaped secretly by Sam to try and “catch” me doing or saying something that could be used against me. I might also add that I am now trying to grow my small business into something that I can support myself on.  Every day felt so overwhelming for me. 

Finally I had enough documentation to get the GAL to suggest counseling for James and me and again counseling for Sam and me. The judge approves it. I ask them to choose for me this time.  They pick the court-appointed therapist that was already on the case. Sam had a fairly good relationship with him and they thought it was a good move.  

Once again, I am hopeful.  I am thinking things are going in the right direction.  The GAL also ordered that James start to contact me through a court communication system called Family Wizard where his emails could be monitored by her and the courts.  


Court-ordered counseling with James was a joke.  

He would sit there and not make eye contact with me or the counselor.  He would bring in long lists of things to blame me for.  He worked tirelessly to try to make me out to be a bad parent. 

The counselor started sending us both out an itinerary of what would be discussed in the meeting.  James would not follow it.  The hour would fly by and nothing would be accomplished.  

He would tell the counselor fabrications like: 

  • I let my son drive illegally.
  • He is out all hours of the night on my watch with no parent supervision. 
  • I would let him go to high school parties where alcohol was involved. 
  • I wouldn’t pick him up when I was supposed to.

The list goes on and on.  Funny thing is, James never had any proof or story to back it up.  

One time in a session he told the counselor that Josh came home at 3 am and then went back out because I wasn’t home and was nowhere to be found (post divorce). I asked him if he could provide the date. He said it had been the previous Saturday.  

I pulled up my phone and showed a stream of text messages between Sam and me around the 11 pm time frame confirming that he would be home on time at 11:30 pm where I was waiting on him.  Once he got home that night, I made him a snack and he watched tv and went to bed.  

I then mentioned to James that I had an alarm system put in where only I know the code. Once Sam is in for the night, he’s not leaving!  All doors and windows have an alarm.  It would have been impossible for him to open a door or window without the alarm going off.  

To that, James had no response. The therapist was definitely starting to put it all together. 

My son’s appointments didn’t go much better, though.  He would sit on the couch slumped over, or pretend to fall asleep. Here is a child that I raised to be courteous and polite to adults. I watched him and I thought, who is this kid? This isn’t my child! I didn’t raise him to act this way towards me or anyone else.  We wouldn’t accomplish much in those sessions.


James holds no boundaries with the kids.

I also want to mention that besides the mental manipulation going on, my boys are being showered with expensive gifts and a life filled with no rules or boundaries.  

During this time, James buys Sam TWO three wheelers. Not one but two.  One for him and one for his friends.  At the time we were still “nesting” and I would come home to see my son and his friends making racing tracks around our beautiful home and property.  

Sam, 14 at the time, was also given a $40,000 vehicle. His dad then proceeded to put an additional $7,800 into that vehicle with a lift kit, new tires, etc. 

If he didn’t want to go to school, he didn’t go to school.  

If he wanted $50 he got $50.  If he said he needed $100, he got that, too.


My family keeps me going.

I do want to mention that I had an amazing support system going through all this and still do.  My mother, father and sister have been there every step of the way.  They have never left my side and have been there to bounce ideas off of, wipe away tears and financially get me back on my feet.  

To this day, my parents pay for me to go to counseling to help me deal with the sense of loss I have. My mother was actually throwing around the phrase “Parent Alienation” while the first therapist was mentioning it. She started doing research on it. Volumes of research. She – the boys’ grandmother – was being alienated, too. 

When I read about how kids start calling the parent who is being alienated by their first name, a light bulb went off.  I finally realized what was going on. All this time, all along, I didn’t know what was happening. As sad and heartbreaking as it was, at least then I knew.  

Now I knew what was happening to my family. My mom, sister, my dad and I poured all our energy into researching parent alienation.  It all made sense now.  

Every time I would go to my mom’s house she would have stacks of pages for me to read.  She would order books and video tapes.  

I even ordered extra ones to give to the current therapist and the GAL on the case.  Given the frequency that Parental Alienation occurs, it is unfortunate how little is known about it within the court system. 

This would all come in handy once the divorce was final and the first time I took James to court for being in contempt and exercising alienating behaviors.