Friday, April 3, 2015

PA - The Prelude

An alienator does't just spring up out of the blue, and Ken Shaw didn't suddenly start in with me.

When I met him, Ken Shaw was separated and in the process of getting divorced. He had two sons who were approximately 10 and 12 when I met him.

Initially, he appeared simply frustrated, as many of us who end up in that situation can be. However, over time as we dated and he became more comfortable around me, his behavior shifted. By the end of the relationship you would think that Ken's ex-wife was the devil incarnate from the way he spoke about her.

I can specifically detail a number of things that he did, by his own admission and as I witnessed for myself, that fell into the four criteria of Parental Alienation:

Access and Contact Blocking:

As Ken Shaw and his ex-wife had joint shared custody of their sons, with a week on/week off living arrangement, this was more difficult for Ken to accomplish. This was even more so because at the onset of the separation/divorce she had obtained an order of protection, and he had to vacate the family home, had limited or no contact with his sons, and was living under the supervision of his parents. All of the above caused him to become retaliatory with a vengeance once he was able to see his sons again and had regained custody of the home (she chose to move out - more on that later).

However, Ken Shaw did manage to engage regularly in the following activities:

  • The favorite word for Ken to use regarding his ex was "bitch". He would regularly call her that in front of the boys, and when referring to her. She was their "bitch" mother.
  • Despite the supposedly "amicable" arrangements, Ken Shaw was not amicable. He would continuously insist that his sons wait until the exact time specified before their mother could pick them up, and if she were late bringing them back he would call and interrogate her.
  • Whenever the boys called their mother on the phone, or she called them, Ken had a phone set up in another room on which he would listen to the entire conversation. He would also frequently physically disconnect the phone line, let the batteries go dead on the cordless phones, or keep the phone with him so that they could not speak with her.
  • When Ken had to work or otherwise not be able to be with his sons while they were on their week with him, he would insist that they be at his parent's house, even and especially if they asked why they couldn't just go with their mother.
  • Additionally, at any and all times that the boys were supposed to go to their mother's, Ken would turn it into an episode of trying to make the boys feel guilty about leaving. (Phrases like: "She doesn't love you as much as I do," and "You don't want to spend time with me," were a common refrain.)
  • Additionally, Ken would not disclose the hockey practice schedules or other activity schedules to his ex-wife, and she had to secure copies for herself. He also would not keep her informed of changes, and used the participation of the boys in hockey as an opportunity to control access by keeping their equipment at his house so that he would have to transport them to and from practices and games, even if it was during the time they were scheduled to be with her.
  • Ken would also schedule activities with the boys during times that they were supposed to be with their mother, so that if she did not allow them to participate with him she would look like the "bad parent".
In this criteria, Ken was very limited by what he was able to accomplish, but he did his best to interfere with the boys spending time with their mother.

In order to get a better handle on the nature of unfounded allegations, you should read the linked article. Ken Shaw did a great job with the claims of psychological and emotional abuse inflicted by his ex-wife - although in reality he was the only one who was inflicting either.

  • Ken Shaw's initial refrain, not only to his sons but also to anyone else who would listen, was that his ex-wife "didn't love" the boys, and his evidence was that she "ruined the marriage" and "cheated on him".
  • He was also repeatedly reminding the boys that their mother "stole them from him" and "lied about him" in order to get an order of protection that kept him away.
  • Ken escalated from there, telling his sons that their mother "only loves her boyfriend", that she put her boyfriend above them and everyone else.
  • When one of his sons became less interested in playing hockey and tried to quit, Ken blamed it on his ex and her "lack of support and participation" and claimed that she was a bad parent for not supporting her son.
  • When his other son repeatedly got into trouble at school, Ken claimed it was because his ex was neglecting him, or encouraging the behavior, and that she was a horrible parent.
  • For every issue that went wrong in the household, Ken claimed that it was directly the result of his ex-wife's action (or inaction as need be).
  • When I first saw the house, it was in a very sorry state (to put it mildly), and Ken claimed that it was entirely the fault of his ex-wife (poor housekeeper, hoarder, etc), and he repeatedly made the claim that she had mental health issues.

A number of issues contributed to the deterioration in the in the relationship between the boys and their mother, the first and foremost being Ken Shaw's attempts to drive a wedge between them whenever possible. Additionally, by nature of them being boys and Ken being a male, he was able to capitalize upon the "she doesn't understand you" factor.

Additionally, towards the end of our relationship, Ken would repeatedly tell me that I had to act like a mother to the boys, and that they had to treat me as their mother, because their own mother wasn't competent. Ken was deliberately trying to use me as a replacement for his ex-wife, even though I repeatedly reminded him, and them, that the boys already had a mother and that Ken and I weren't even contemplating a formal relationship.

This aspect was one that Ken Shaw was able to keep hidden from me until close to the end of the relationship. The only person that I ever saw his sons afraid of was Ken. What he demonstrated at the end of the relationship was that he had a temper that could become out of control, and he would unleash it on even his own children.

Ken claimed that he had "anxiety" and would blame his temper outbursts on his anxiety. What I began to witness was that whenever his boys would do anything that he didn't like, he would have an "anxiety attack" and begin to scream at them. However, I also witnessed that they would flinch away from him when he was really worked up.

Then he began to target my children with the same behavior (the youngest was not born yet). He would begin to scream at me to "get them under control" and yell at them, and then go isolate himself for a while.

Things came to a head when I witnessed an extremely violent outburst between Ken and his older son. At this point I tried to terminate the relationship.

Ken's older son started complaining about his computer not working correctly and was blaming it on my children "doing something" on it. Ken went into his son's room, and sat down to try to figure out what was wrong. When he discovered that his son had installed some questionable software on the computer, he said something to his son. His son immediately put his feet on a table and shoved it full force into his father's back. Ken jumped up, threw his son face first on the bed and tried to hit him and choke him. I made him get off, then packed up and left.

Yes, I did report this to the Canadian version of CPS, but to the best of my knowledge they never did a thing about it. I also subsequently reported it to our local CPS unit on two occasions, and they also did nothing other than placing my youngest daughter in his custody 8 years later.

So long before the opportunity arose with my youngest daughter, Ken had already been practicing and refining his skills at Parental Alienation on his own two sons. It is no surprise that he was able to continue on with the same behaviors when given the wide open door by CPS and the court.

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