“Mom doesn’t want to see you anymore” – How alienation by the toxic child father works and what you can do about it


First of all, this blog post on alienation does not discuss the “official” Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS for short, which I have already discussed in detail in this article.

In this article, I would like to address the deliberate alienation caused by a toxic ex-husband who happens to be the child’s father. Specifically, the situation when the right to determine place of residence has been awarded to him, i.e. the child lives with him and the mother is only allowed to see him against her will, for example every 14 days, even if she has always been the main contact person for the child before the separation, or shortly thereafter.

Many mothers in this situation then see themselves as a disposed mother, but I personally do not like this term at all.

Garbage can be disposed of, but not mothers! Even if the Ex may well have intended that you feel that way!

But you decide for yourself what attitude you will take in this situation. Whether you allow the toxic ex-husband’s suggestion to make you feel like garbage, or say to yourself, “OK, the court has now ruled that way. I know how hard I fought to keep it from happening, but that’s the way it is now. I accept the situation and will definitely learn to deal with it. I am now a visitation mommy for an undetermined amount of time.”

Do you see the difference?

As a disposed mother, you feel like a victim. Someone else has made sure that your status as a mother has changed.

However, as a rule, you still have custody. Even if a toxic Ex won’t care one bit about what you still have on paper.

And yet, it is always you who decides which true identity you take on.

This identity you believe in is enormously important for your self. For your thoughts, and thus for your emotions.

The identity you adopt decides whether you rise from the crisis quickly or slowly and miserably.

Therefore, a double and triple vote for “temporary: visitation mommy.”

So. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to the essentials:

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What’s the best way to handle the situation as a visitation mommy?

By giving yourself plenty of time to process the recent court proceedings. Please make sure you get therapeutic support, because this is not something you should deal with alone.

You can additionally discuss with your legal counsel when you can approach the last judgment again to get a change. Then you’ll have a goal again.

And until that time comes, you can do two things:

  • Document objectively the attempts of the toxic ex-husband to alienate your child from you.
  • Take care of yourself intensively.

1) Document factually your toxic ex-husband’s attempts at alienating your child from you

Print out a blank monthly overview of the individual months of the year (e.g. from Calendarpedia.com). So you have 12 single DIN A4 sheets.In these monthly overviews you mark your contact weekends or the contact days that were granted to you in one color.

With another color you mark the contact days you actually had.

In the weekends of contact that have been cancelled, you write the reason in keywords. It is best to quote his exact words (“child sick”; “child does not want to see you”; “child was invited to the child’s birthday”; “important family celebration” etc. pp.”).

If he writes longer emails, print them out or save them as PDFs and number them. Reference the number in the monthly summary so you can quickly find his reasoning.

Whatever attempts at alienation or psychological pressure on the child happen between contact weekends, document them with a different color.

For example, if you are on the phone with your child and he or she is supposed to talk over the loudspeaker, and you notice that the child’s father is in the room and the child becomes monosyllabic.

Or the child tells you on the phone that he is looking forward to the next visit with you, and the next day he gets an e-mail from his ex saying that the child wants to cancel the upcoming contact.

If the child is then with you for contact and is reserved, introverted and rebellious, although you don’t know it like that, make a note of that as well.

If the child even says directly: “Daddy said you don’t love me anymore and you don’t want to see me anymore”, then this should also be noted immediately.

Especially in this case, write the toxic Ex a factual email with these observations.

Write to him that you are experiencing the child being in a major loyalty conflict and that he should please refrain from making such untrue claims to the child and that he is overwhelming the child.

The email is not for the purpose of entering into a dialogue with the Ex!

The email is only for your documentation, so that you can show later that you have recognized his attempts of manipulation and alienation from the beginning and have acted against them.

What is the best way to tell your child that his father is lying?

Actually, not at all. I’m not a psychologist, but I don’t think you’ll be doing your child any favors if you explain things to it “properly”.

It certainly depends on how old your child is.

But I would be cautious with words in general.

The only thing you can do is to show your child how much you love him.

Not by showering him with stuff.

But with time. Attention. Noticing. Listening. Playing. Laughing together. Small, surprising gestures of love. And a loving, encouraging look into the child’s eyes, in which you put all the love you can imagine right now!

A mom in my Strong Moms Facebook group had the idea of hiding little Ferrero Kisses® with messages of love everywhere – in the pencil case, in the sock drawer, in the toy trash can, and and and.

Or you cook favorite meals and bake favorite cakes.

Or you do handicrafts and sewing together with the child.

And always surprises – children love surprises!

So when the child experiences you so lovingly, he himself feels that the father’s lies cannot be reconciled with that.

Without question, the child is confused and unsure what to make of it!

But you cannot prevent a toxic father from manipulating the child without regard to his emotional maturity.

It’s not about the child – he wants to keep control and power. You have lost, and that’s the way it should stay!

It won’t work, because lies have short legs, and sooner or later he will lose the manipulated child.

Until the time comes:

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


2) Take care of yourself intensively

You have a lot of time for yourself now, sweetheart.

Time to ask the really big questions and find the answers in peace.

By really big questions, I mean ones like this, for example:

  • What meaning do I want to give to my life?
  • Suppose I were not a mother – for what task did I come into the world?
  • How can I help others?
  • Which of my talents and abilities fill me with joy and can still be refined?

Use this phase of your life and first go deep inside yourself and listen. 

The answers you will find will subsequently lead you outward.

You will no longer be the woman you were before your toxic Ex.

You will certainly no longer be the woman you were in the relationship with him (thank God!).

But you can already very much look forward to the woman you are yet to become!

The journey there is bumpy, and every now and then you will take a detour, but the more clearly you have found your answers to the big questions, the clearer your destination will become.

And with it your courage and confidence for the future.

And how will your child react to the alienation?

I don’t know when – but your child will realize all of this one day, and then the really good conversations will follow.

Make absolutely one thing clear to yourself, however:

The longer you wait to accept the situation as such and to concentrate on the inner work, the more the child will feel your unhappiness and sadness and the less emotional support it will be able to find with you.

The best time with your child is yet to come.

What has been your own experience with your toxic Ex’s attempts to alienate you? Do you have any tips for other moms? Then leave your comment below – thank you very much!

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