People often ask me why I married the man I did.  The answer to that is simple.  We were the Perfect Storm.  You will have to read my book to find the answers, but I will share some of my thoughts here.

I was much younger than him. At the time we met, I had just graduated from college. I was kind of lost as to my next step in life.   

He was older and extremely self-assured.  He took me under his wing and made a plan for me.  He owned his own business and easily found a spot for me at his business. I started working for him almost immediately and found myself engaged to him within six months. 

Now I see that the qualities I first liked about him are some of the same ones that contributed to the marriage failing.  His need to control me and every situation was an extremely serious issue to me when I was 45 but back when I was 22 I honestly thought that was love!  I thought to myself, “Wow, this guy really loves me!  He doesn’t want to let me out of his sight.  He doesn’t want me to be around my friends or even my family.  He just wants me all to himself.”

Looking back all the red flags were there. Why didn’t I see it?  

Even our wedding was very abnormal. I wanted a big wedding and James wanted to elope.  We agreed on a destination wedding with our immediate family.  When we got to the destination my family was there but his wasn’t.  He (they) decided that it would be better if none of them made the trip.  So, it was James, me and my family.  James didn’t have one person there representing him.  

The red flags leading up to the wedding were all there but I ignored them.  The story of our lives, dating, the prenup, our wedding and the control I was under, can all be found in my book.

As time went on, his need for control began slowly suffocating me. Unfortunately, that was just one small piece of the dysfunction I lived with.

Let me say that this Blog isn’t an ex-husband bashing site.  It was an unhealthy marriage which snowballed into an unhealthy divorce with children caught in the middle.


This Blog is about Parent Alienation.  I want to: 

  • Bring the subject of Parent Alienation to light.  
  • Help parents going through this so they can talk to someone who has made it to the other side.  
  • Reach out to those being alienated and tell them that they are not crazy!  
  • Speak to those who are (perhaps unintentionally) alienating their children from a caring, loving parent.  I want them to see the damage they are doing to their children.  In the end, it is the children that get hurt the worst. 
  • Have my prayers answered – to build a healthy relationship with my kids again. 

During the marriage, I just focused on raising my kids.  Unfortunately, looking back I see there wasn’t really even much of a marriage. We didn’t go on dates or vacations without the kids. He slept with my middle son every night. 

When my first child was just a baby I started to question some of James (dad) comments and behaviors. James told me that if I tried to leave him he would take my son from me. He told me he would do whatever it took to get my baby – even if he had to go to court and tell the judge that I slept with many men. 

This kind of fabrication was a pattern of his. If I talked kindly of someone or mentioned that one of my friends’ husbands did something nice for her I was immediately accused of being “in love” with my friend’s husband. When my sister began dating a very kind and successful man, if I dared mention that they went on a vacation or he bought her a gift I was accused of worshiping him and sleeping with him. As the boys got older these conversations went on in front of them. 

It is hard to sum up a 21 year marriage in one blog post. There were many red flags.  So many to name, but there are a few that really stand out in my mind that I’ll share here.


  1. Red flag: His relationship to sports. 

Sports were everything to my James.  He really pushed the kids and put them at the highest level possible in every sport they participated in.  Traveling teams 12 months out of the year.  Side story, my house cleaner came over one day and handed me a baseball.  He asked me if  James would mind signing it.  I said, “Why on earth would you want him to sign your baseball?”  

Well, he thought that James was a former major league baseball player.  He said that James would sit in the office for hours talking to coaches about teams, etc.  He thought James was a retired baseball player that became an agent.  Actually James would sit in the office all day talking to coaches about our kids and their abilities and would promise many teams that the kids would play for them. He would switch teams at the drop of a hat and we actually got banned from many teams because of James’s poor behavior, as I’ve written about. 

At one point when my youngest was ten years old he had just come off a really fun football season with a great group of kids and wanted to go on and play basketball with them. The boys were forming a recreational basketball team. Sam (my youngest son) didn’t want to do all the traveling and practicing that he had done the previous years on his competitive travel team.  He just wanted to play one game a week and have fun with his friends. He was ten years old!!  TEN for goodness sake. He should play for fun with his friends!  Somehow we talked James into it. My kids did not like it when their dad would come to their games–it was too much pressure on them. 

Sam and I had just gotten back from his first game.  He had so much fun.  He was smiling the whole game. We got home and James wanted a report of the game.  When Sam told him that he had scored ten points my ex went nuts.  James said, “Just 10 points, do you understand that this is the lowest level of rec basketball there is?  It is for retarded kids!  You better quit and focus on baseball and football.  This obviously isn’t your sport.”  

What James didn’t know is that Sam was playing so well and scored ten points in the first quarter so he passed the ball off every time he got it so other kids could score.  

Here’s the kicker to this story…..When I started to defend Sam and tell James the story Sam actually yelled at me and told me not to talk bad to his dad and that his dad was only trying to make him be a better athlete.  Sam yelled at me and told me to leave his dad alone.  

That was a huge red flag to me!  

My children would do anything at any cost to please their dad.


  1. Red flag: How hard it was for me to leave the house for book club. 

I had a book club with my friends. The only time I could get away for a few hours with friends. At that time, it was my only outing EVER!   

Our meetings usually occurred in the middle of the week.  Within an hour of being at the book club I would start to get texts from James asking when I would be home. My friends would get so upset and force me to stop responding. 

When I wouldn’t respond he would have the boys start texting me saying they needed me to come right home and help with homework or fix them something to eat.  All while James was sitting right there.  This went on for years.  

One night my friend was going through a rough time and needed to talk privately. We went out to my car and I turned my phone off as it was such a distraction.  After talking with her in my car I headed home. James had locked me out of the house and told the boys that mom was with her boyfriend and that she wouldn’t be coming home that night. 

This was only around 10 pm on a Wednesday night.  It was traumatic for the boys and for ME!  I was trying to get into MY house!  

Thank goodness my friend had gone back to her car and realized that she had left her keys in my car.  She called my house phone and explained the situation to James.  Only then was I let back into the house.


  1. Red Flag: His reaction to my desire for a career. 

Naturally, I wanted to get out of the house more as the kids grew older. I ended up choosing a field that was a natural fit for me – photography. A job that I could even take my kids to on many occasions. My first job was on a Friday evening. I tell the kids that they can come with me or fend for themselves as I would be back in a few hours.  

To that James said, “Kids, I am so sorry that your mom has chosen to abandon us for her dream job.”  

I was shocked but went ahead and left the house with my youngest in tow. 

While I was working I stepped away to text Sam and check on him.  I immediately get a text back from James, “Who are you texting, is that your boyfriend?” 

He had followed me to my job site and was watching me from afar.  From there on out he would sarcastically say to me, “You go, Girl!” every time I would leave for work. 

From that point on, James became convinced that I was working outside the home for the sole purpose of meeting men. He conveyed that idea to the boys on many occasions. This was definitely one way that he was starting to drive a wedge between me and my kids.


  1. Red Flag: His reaction to the idea of marriage counseling or individual therapy.  

 About two years before the divorce I announced that I wanted to go to marriage counseling. James was adamant about not going. So I said fine, I will go myself. 

He refused to let me go.  He would stand in the driveway behind my car and tell me if I left he would divorce me. 

When I did go, he would make fun of the counseling and the counselor. 

Many times when I got home an hour or so after my counseling appointment he would still be standing in the driveway with his arms crossed.  


  1. Red Flag: He was always making me out to be the “Bad Guy.” 

Even when I was married and in the home I was always made out to be the “Bad Guy.”  Simple everyday things. 

If I was walking in the door from the grocery store with an arm full of groceries and James would yell to me, “The kids are hungry.”  

I would say, “Ok, I just need to get these groceries unloaded.” 

To this, James would say, “I am sorry boys, mom is just too busy to make you something to eat.  I guess I will have to get up and make you something.”  

That is all messed up!!  

First of all someone should be helping me with the groceries and they were all capable of making a sandwich.  When I would protest and say exactly that to them, James would again turn it back on me and say something like, “Wow, your mom sure is angry. It seems like she is always in a bad mood.”  

Stuff like that went on daily.  I was always on “Defense Mode.”   Back to the cycle…. James would do and say terrible things.  He would act inappropriately and then announce that he wanted to go Disney World.  

Again, he would say to the boys something like, “I am so sorry guys but mom just doesn’t want to go to Disney.  She is trying to ruin our fun.  She hates Disney.  What is wrong with her?” 

Small seeds were being planted and I didn’t even realize it. 

Only looking back can I see that it was a cycle of abuse that the four of us endured for much too long.