The alienation wasteland
The alienation wasteland is where days like today go to die. Futile. Unremarkable. Even unmemorable, despite their anguish – because there is already so much anguish that it no longer marks time.
Today is the fifth day my partner and I have spent dealing with something that wouldn’t even register as an issue if not for parental alienation. It concerns a deposit that we paid for one of our kids’ extracurricular activities.
Last Wednesday, my partner got a call from that kid after her first practice.
“Hi honey! How was practice? How is your new team?”
“It was ok. But… we have a problem…” The kid proceeded to say that the deposit didn’t seem paid, putting her spot on the team in jeopardy.
“There must be a misunderstanding,” my partner assured her, “Don’t stress, I will handle it.”
A week before this kid’s try-outs, we got an ultimatum from my partner’s ex: she would not let the kid try out unless we promised to promptly reimburse fees. Finances hadn’t impacted the other kid, so we went to bat for this one: the kid couldn’t have done more to demonstrate her commitment. In the end, we took over all payments directly, if she made the team.
I respect clubs like this: non-profit, under-resourced but committed to offering the kids the best experience at a price parents can afford. However, they are a mess: it took us three weeks to get instructions on paying the deposit and longer for our check to get cashed. But all was set and done, my bank account displaying my cashed check with the manager’s signature on the back; all well in advance of the first practice.
That day, the alienating Mommy decided to ask the manager whether anything was outstanding; the manager felt compelled to say we may not have paid; and within minutes Mommy, having ‘over-shared’ with the kid, was accusing my partner of incompetence.
Any other parent would have told the manager that my partner should be contacted for any payment issues, since we were handling finances. But with parental alienation in full swing, common sense wasn’t on our side.
Between the ex’ accusatory texts and our inability to reach our daughter or the club, we were spinning. Several days later, the manager received an email from me that nobody wants to receive. Professional, it nonetheless laid out that we felt unjustly called out for incompliance by our kid, of all people, after we had done everything asked of us, starting with weeks of proactive communication helping the club navigate our dual-household situation.
Once on the phone, the manager told me they had our money; that she never said we hadn’t paid; that she was just caught off-guard by the question and didn’t have her file on hand. She also said that the alienator specifically advised her to be the only one included in any communication, and that my email address was to explicitly be excluded. She apologized profusely for stressing out our child; we apologized for her having to face our family drama; and all agreed how we avoid this going forward.
Why would the ex get into this?
Why couldn’t she diffuse the situation?
Why would she burden the kid?
Is she punishing the kid because we advocated for her?
Why were five days worth of life necessary to resolve this non-crisis?
These questions after the hurricane of parental alienation that's raged through our lives, defy all logic to me. Don’t they void days, weeks and years of our lives as they are sucked into an abyss of fabricated battles? Doesn’t that illustrate why so many of us feel insane?
A pitiful, futile, utterly unnecessary waste.