This particular post may generate disagreement, strong opinions, and—hopefully—input into an ever-evolving question. How do we stabilize ourselves in the midst of what is happening with our shifting family structure (i.e., the parental alienation we are experiencing)? What’s working?
Even though I am divorced, (could also be divorcing, or in some other way separating in whatever form that may take)—there is forever a family unit present between me, my ex, and my child (or children.)
If you have not seen the info graphic video I created The Best Interest of the Child Explained in 90 Seconds please take the 90 seconds to understand or be reminded in a nutshell what stressors are present and what you should be continually striving for in your situation. As of the writing of this post it’s reached over 20,000 people and I hope it will reach 10X, 100X, or even 1,000X that many at some point.
In the last two posts I made on coping, Coping Skills Part 1 (Consider the Source) and Coping Skills Part 2 (Consider the Options) I talked about a variety of behavioral techniques. Here, I am delving more into an overall strategy. It matters that we learn how to respond more resourcefully also being aware the positions we took to get us here to begin with. How did we interact with the world that allowed someone like our ex to to come into our lives? If we hang onto the false notion that we had nothing to do with it, we are left with the strong possibility of meeting someone like that again—and/or even worse: teaching our children to do it. Just like we filled in something that our ex felt was missing, we did the same.
I don’t think it’s been about finding an answer, but rather asking a “virtual question” regarding what I need to be doing to stay as stabilized and balanced as I can be in any given situation. Asking this kind of question is like experiencing a particular center of gravity in my body when I walk. There’s no static “answer” because that position is always changing relative to where I am. I am consistently looking for what I need to do to remain balanced or re balance in a particular moment.
I spent years in an off balance “posture” around my ex. Once the family system became physically separated it got even more obvious. When I get off where I need to be, she (and now by extension she and her lawyer) can more easily apply a certain type of stress to produce a particular structure (the pathological cut-off family structure) which suits her and only her. Instead of making sure my center of gravity is where it belongs, i.e., what supports the most optimal entire family system—holding that posture makes it easy to misstep and get badly tripped up. When I’m like that, I miss valuable information going on around me. I get body aches and am exhausted much more easily because of all the effort I have to put out to compensate. My range of motion is more limited. However, when I am naturally balanced I stand straighter and can move more easily in whatever direction I need to based on what’s happening. I tend to have more energy for longer periods of time.
Why Does All This “Center of Gravity” Stuff Matter?
When moving with another person or people, your center of gravity absolutely influences how the other person or people move with you. And the person with the best use of their gravity will have the most ability to influence others. Whatever books you read, advice you get or techniques you try, without knowing where your center of gravity is and being able to adjust it it’s very difficult to respond appropriately over time.
Your ex is operating out of raw emotion and wielding influence over allies, therapists, and court officials not by logical facts and information but by influencing how they feel. Their center may be “off” but they are utilizing their “weight” very effectively. If you don’t pay attention to this dynamic you can talk until you’re blue in the face and most of the time it won’t matter. You see the devastating results all over the place.
I urge everyone to look at this question with honesty and resolve to move in the direction of knowing who you are as whole and complete human being. It’s where you have the most control anyway, and the buck has got to stop somewhere. Don’t pass this on to your kids, and their kids, and their kids. It’s definitely not easy. If it was, someone else would have done it before you. But the upsides are tremendous. I have seen things happen over and over that are nothing short of miraculous; family relationships repairing themselves, obstacles disappearing, and resources showing up at just the right time.
I don’t have definitive answers, but I believe more than ever before there are things happening as a result of our ability to communicate with each other and address personal issues like never before. We can change our own center of gravity and for the generations that come after.
How Do We Stabilize?
As far as questions go, this is a very useful one.
It is my nature to brainstorm and just throw things out as a way of kick-starting new conversations. Several of these things are mired in controversy, but anything I’ve ever seen in my life worth a damn usually is. I tend to look at who is advocating or detracting and asking why that might be happening. For example, the approach I took to get my child back was (and still is but less so now) seen as outside the “conventional wisdom.” Of course the “conventional wisdom” wasn’t helping much.
This list isn’t meant in any way to be anything I would suggest or necessarily advocate… In addition to the suggestions I have already made like getting into decent therapy (like someone who knows about systems), EMDR, taking antidepressants if necessary, getting into groups of people who are looking at real ways to get better outcomes, like Parental Alienation Solutions Organization (PASO) …there are new ideas and modalities showing up all the time. Some of these have research, cost, and current legality issues (mainly they are new or haven’t been given mainstream blessing yet) This list is certainly not exhaustive.
- Nootropic supplements for clearer thinking: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic
- Ways to disrupt ingrained patters of thinking and re-align / reset:
- Substance-Free direct neuro-enhancement: https://www.experiencethefield.com/
- Microdosing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUOX6LD9q0k
- Ayahuasca: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca
- A potentially revolutionary way of addressing PTSD and depression: https://www.ted.com/talks/rebecca_brachman_could_a_drug_prevent_depression_and_ptsd/transcript?language=en