Personal Story: Parental Alienation Does Exist for Women


I read this article by Joan Dawson.  I was flabbergasted because this author described my experiences to a proverbial “T.”   I have experienced parental alienation in an extreme situation.  I have been lucky enough to have encountered another person, a man, who also acknowledges that yes women do experience it in equal numbers as men.  His name is Micheal Jeffries.  In other words, not all father’s rights groups are a bad thing.  Women and men are suffering a severe backlash against them because of the parental alienation wave.  It is the innocent parties that are experiencing it. 

To give you some background, I am wife number five to my ex, Donald Burt Jr.  He has already proposed to wife number six but he can’t get married yet because our divorce is STILL not final.  My ex husband is a pro at divorce.  Yes I was a fool marrying him anyway.  Like the wives before me and the ones following me, I believed that I could love away all of his pain.  My ex is the product of an abusive marriage himself.  His father and his relatives abused, drank, and cheated.  Although my situation is not as severe as his father’s situation, it was bad enough.  My daughters and I suffered abuse on many levels with my ex husband.  He was verbally, emotionally, physically and mentally abusive.  He went one step further with me.  He was sexually abusive to me.  I don’t know how many times my ex would get mad at what was cooked for supper.  He would throw a plate of food without considering who was in the way against the wall.   My ex has also shoved me to the ground, kick me and rake spurs over my legs.  He has also rubbed my face in a rug.  He often left bruises on my daughters and I.  Because I did not complain to law enforcement, there was no documented evidence.  This went on for years.  Every time, I would find a job that allowed me to get ahead; he would want to move to another out of the way local.  I was expected to work a full time labor intensive job along with maintaining the health and well being of our daughters, maintaining our home, and taking care of ALL of his needs. I spent fourteen years doing this for him.  I endured because I believed him capable of change.  In the last year and half of our marriage, I realized that he was not capable of it.  I gave it one last try the last six months.  I humiliated myself by scrubbing floors, being sexually available to him, and keeping the house utterly spotless.  When the six months was up, I had enough.  I realized that I was better than that.  I watched the man I loved and committed myself to become a morally bankrupt man. I believe it was the influence of the ranch that we worked on.  He wanted to be thought of highly by these very morally challenged folks.  I spent the last fourteen years wanting to die but when I chose to leave, I finally felt free enough to begin living.

He has convinced our daughters that he did not abuse us.  Because I was not beaten to a bloody pulp, he has them convinced that no abuse occurred.  He has them convinced that although he called several women 8-10 times each, he was not cheating on me.  Although he did drink, he has them convinced that he is not an alcoholic with violent tendencies.  My oldest daughter has accused me of lying on numerous occasions.  He has also told our girls that I trapped him into marriage.  I was pregnant with our oldest daughter.  He had to tell me either to leave or get married in order to get me to say yes.  He used the ranch owners to push the issue even further but they backed off when I told them that he had been married four times at that point.  My ex has not ever been single since the age of 19.  He is now 44 years of age with five marriages ending horribly in divorce. 

I finally made the decision to leave.  I told him that I wanted a divorce.  He was pushing me in so many odd ways.  Little did I know that he was already planning this.  I believe now that he had already spoken with an attorney.  I left with the help of so called friends, Beth and Dwight Michener.  Later I learned that they helped him hack into my sister’s computer and my email accounts.  They reactivated an email account of mine using another email account.  I had closed the account on December 20th and it was reactivated on January 11th.  I was at my sister’s home during that time.  Even if I had used the account while at their home, I had changed the password several times because my email account was acting fishy. They used a key logging program to get my information on my email accounts. 

My ex filed for divorce on December 17th with a hearing scheduled for December 30th.  I did not discover this until January when my attorney, Bethany Lucking, filed for divorce for me.  It was then that I got a copy of his paperwork.  He was demanding that the girls and I be forced to return to Wilbarger county, that I be restrained from seeing our girls, and that we not be allowed to leave that area. 

The hearing was rescheduled for February 1st due to a jury trial.  My attorney canceled that hearing due to weather which the judge promptly requested that we all come up the next day.  I believe that my ex’s attorney committed his first act of ex parte communication that day.  For whatever reason, the judge was furious enough to violate normal court procedure to have this hearing.  My attorney was from Legal Aid of Northwest Texas.  She was more concerned for her child than she was with my children.  She did not adequately represent my daughters and I.  The judge allowed those illegally obtained emails into evidence which were in violation of my privacy and constitutional rights.  Keep in mind that the judge, Dan Mike Bird, did not issue a subpoena for these emails.  I had written private emails to friends where I ranted about him because he  had threatened to never allow me to see our daughters again.  At this first hearing, my sister, Stacy, had testified that my ex had been abusive to my daughters and I.  She had testified that he tried poisoning the girls against me.  He had also abused animals that we had along the way.  He also told her that I was obligated to have sex with him at any time.  When he was on the stand, my ex had admitted to abusing the girls and I.  He also admitted to spending too much time drunk.  He would drink from sun up to sun down.  He maintained his buzz.   The judge, Dan Mike Bird, gave my ex custody of our girls that day.  When my mother stated that he was giving my daughters to a man that was abusive to them and their mother all their lives, he threatened to deny me custody of any kind.  The judge told the court that I could have custody back once I moved back to the area or contiguous counties.  When my oldest daughter found out that she was being sent back to her father, she began screaming that it was not what she wanted.  The judge said that it was a reflection on my family and I.  This judge is well known for his inappropriate commentary.

After I got home, I began researching this judge.  I discovered that he had a working relationship with the father of my ex’s attorney.  They shared an office together years and years ago.  I also discovered that this judge also did this very thing to his ex wife.  I also discovered my daughter’s diaries.  She had wanted to committ suicide for a very long time.  The next day, I attempted to call Texas FPS but I stopped short of reporting it.  I wanted to contact my new attorney.  I did seek help for my child.  I contacted my ex first in which he blew it off.  I have this on tape.  I also contacted the school and the school district that they were attending.  I contacted Helen Farabee and Star Connection to get her help but I would have to incorporate help from the father which he didn’t want to do in the first place.   She even had a depressive episode on March 1st which he ignored and said it was all in her head.  I called the Suicide hotline to get help as well.  She wasn’t in danger at my home but at her father’s home.  I finally filed a complaint with FPS to get her the help that she needed.  After they began investigating, I discovered that the investigator was related to my ex’s boss.  She was a cousin of his.  She should have removed herself.  I knew then that this was not going to go in my favor.  I was right.  They decided that I was guilty of medical neglect of my oldest daughter.  They falsely accused me of giving the judge her diary.  I never did that.  I requested an administrative review which they refused to give me the forms to do so.  I finally contacted Austin Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.  They began the process.  I don’t think the investigator expected me to fight back or that I had proof backing up my claims.  The decision was reversed on September 13th.  They defined medical neglect as the following:

The definition of Medical Neglect is: the failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child with the failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of a child. 

 

This is the result of the findings by the Administrative review:

1. Ms. Burt had joint managing conservatorship of her daughter as of 2-9-10 but she did not have primary possession of the children from 2-9-10 to 4-21-10 when her oldest daughter was diagnosed as suicidal and needing  hospitalization.

2. Ms. Burt indicated that there was one incident a few years ago when her daughter pulled a knife and threatened to hurt herself but this threat came after Ms. Burt disciplined her oldest daughter and she believe that the incident arose from her daughter being confronted with her misbehavior. 

3.There is some evident that Ms. Burt knew of her oldest daughter’s past issues with suicidal idation due to CPS staff believing from information provided by Ms. Burt on 4-21-10 that she was aware of suicidal concerns prior to 2-9-10.

4. Her daughter’s current counselor indicated her daughter was very manipulative especially with Ms. Burt and she was not sure how much her daughter’s past behavior was an attempt at attention.  The counselor did believe that her daughter was angry at Ms. Burt for reading her dairies and because of her family situation in general.

5. Ms. Burt indicated several attempts she made after reading her daughter’s diaries around 2-9-10 to secure help for her daughter  including the notification of Mr. Burt of what she read of her daughter’s suicidal ideation and her offer to let him see the diaries.  Ms. Burt contacting school officials to arrange counseling for  her daughter.  Ms Burt contacting statewide intake to report suicidal information, Ms. Burt contacting Helen Farabee to ask about help and Ms. Burt contacting the Star program.  Ms. Burt indicated that her daughter was assessed by the Star program during Spring Break of 2010.

6. After the 4-21-10 Family Team Meeting, it does not appear Ms. Burt was interviewed extensively about the knowledge she had of her daughter’s emotional condition and suicidal ideation and any attempts she made to secure help for her.  There was therefor no opportunity to follow up on and corroborate any attempts Ms. Burt indicated she made to secure help for her daughter.

7.  Therefore there is some credible evidence that Ms. Burt knew of her daughter’s emotional condition and suicidal ideation, but there is not a preponderance of the evidence that Ms. Burt did not take any appropriate action to secure therapeutic assistance for her daughter. 

 

Now I have removed my daughter’s name to protect her identity.  As you can tell, they stopped short of accusing him.  This administrative review was about me and not my ex. In this report, it was heavily documented that my ex was abusive to the girls and I.  This report also documented his alcoholism and his cheating.  Both reports also describe this in detail.  Both reports also document that the medical facility in which my oldest daughter was sent to were dead set against her being returned to her father.  They could not guarantee her safety and well being. 

Shortly after I notified the judge of my new address, he immediately gave custody of our children to my ex.  My previous attorney, Bethany Lucking, at the previous hearing recommended that I enter a women’s shelter so that I could get the girls back.  I looked at her as if she was crazy.  The judge would have definitely taken the girls from me at that point.  I also believe that because of the bias of the judge, that even if Gloria Allredge was allowed to represent me, I still would have lost. I believe that my ex’s attorney, Matt Malone, intentionally set up this divorce situation knowing what he knew about the judge.

My ex has admitted to going to the courthouse with the intention of stopping this judge in the building and asking him to speed along the divorce.  That is intentional ex parte communication.  His attorney has done the same thing.  My attorney has not been contacted or advised of anything by the judge or my ex’s attorney.  The judge has even requested to speak with my oldest daughter to ask her if she had changed her mind about her living situation.  My daughter had signed an affadavit for her preference of living situations. 

During my time at my sister’s home, I sent regular updates to my ex about our daughter’s.  I sent him pictures.  I even allowed the girls to have phone contact with their father.  I have the emails to document this.  Can you imagine the field day that my ex and his attorney had when my first attorney was so disorganized?  My attorney never even fully represented me.  My sister was fully aware of his temper and did not want him visiting her  home.  We all would have gladly allowed him to see the girls but under close supervision where he could not hurt anyone. 

We had our final hearing on May 5th.  I had chosen an apartment which was in walking distance of schools for my girls.  I had chosen a job that would provide for my girls. I attended parenting classes in case I needed to learn anything knew that would benefit my daughters.  I had chosen a job that provided excellent health insurance benefits.  My apartment provided adequate space and privacy for my daughters. They had their own bathroom.  I did everything in the best interests of my children. 

The judge still gave custody to my ex.  When the inital review by CPS was done, my ex had intention of terminating my rights as a parent to our daughters.  I am sure he is not thrilled that I have had that decision overturned.  The judge did put us under a morality clause where neither one of us is to have a member of the opposite sex over to visit after eight p.m.  The judge also put a no drinking around the children clause in our orders as well.  I have honored his orders while my ex has his fiance over to spend the night on many numerous occasions.  The judge even knows that my ex is breaking his orders.  I have still yet to receive any property.  I have yet to receive any compensation from his retirement.  Today is the deadline for it.  The judge has even awarded my property prior to the marriage to my ex. 

I have had to start my life over with nothing.  Now I have to pay child support to a man who will use that money to support his new girlfriend. She just quit her job at Sonic.  Our daughters still live in fear of him.  He still threatens them.  I have heard him screaming at our daughters on numerous occasions.  He still threatens me every chance he gets.  I have documented emails, phone calls, and text messages.  His threats got so bad that I had to change my phone numbers.  I had to open a P.O.Box to afford myself some peace.  He had his mother and his girlfriend threaten me in the past as well via email.  Our oldest daughter has even threatened me as well.  She has gotten to a point where she slaps me in front of friends because she knows that she can get away with it. I still have not received my property.  The judge still has not signed off on the divorce.  He has declared our marriage over but there is no documentation proving such. 

If you don’t think it can happen to you as a woman, you are wrong.  It does quite often because judges believe in that parental alienation thing especially in cases of domestic violence.  Today I have to listen to our daughters being threatened.  Today I have to be harassed continually by my ex.  If I don’t comply with every demand, it is usually accompanied by a threat to deny me access to our daughters or my things.  He wants the morality clause lifted because he wants his girlfriend to move in full time with him and it is a cramp in his objectives.  Today I have to watch my daughters lose out on their mother wanting them desperately.  Today I have to watch my daughters become under educated.  I have to watch my girls learn that it is okay to lie, cheat, abuse, and manipulate others to get what they want.  They are learning that it is okay to violate the rights of others to get what they want.  I stand here ashamed of those lessons.  I stand here unable to fight back because of the corrupt power of an attorney, an judge and and a ranch. 

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  • jo

    Hi Amyadoptee,

    I’m Joan Dawson, the writer of the article on domestic violence and parental rights. I’m sorry about what you have been through at the hands of your ex; and, you’re correct, many people do experience similar situations – as far as experiencing further abuse after separation.  

    Parental alienation would not be the term used to describe your situation, however. Some would say it’s domestic violence by proxy. It’s definately a continuation of the abuse. We do know that batterers seek custody and, often enough, they get it. They do this to further control and abuse the mother. That’s why many like the term “domestic violence by proxy.” The children are simply the tools for getting back at the women.

    We also know that men falsely accuse women, usually they claim neglect or being unfit. They actually have higher rates of false accusations than women, but you would not know this from the myths out there.

    Getting back to the term ‘parental alienation.’ This term has no scientific merit. An ‘alienated’ child can not be distinguished from an abused child. And, therein lies the problem. If a person claims abuse, the alleged abuser can counter with a claim of alienation. (“I did not abuse the child, she alienated her.”) Jay Silverman at Harvard researched this and found that sexually abusive parents used claims of PA at high rates. People that work in domestic violence understand that abusers use PA against women that they abuse – and it can tear children apart from these women. So, either based on the lack of scientific evidence or based on practical terms of what it’s been doing to battered women that allege abuse, the term is not used.

    I wrote this article on PAS: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?menu=&no=383732&rel_no=1&back_url=

    All the best to you,

    Joan Dawson

     

     

  • mechashiva

    It is very brave of you to share your story. What you’ve been through is utterly horrifying.

     

    Ever since I met other women staying at the shelter I entered, I was glad I left before having kids with my ex. All of them were going through versions of your scenario. All their exes used the children to control them, and they manipulated key people in positions of authority to rig the case.

     

    And people wonder why women don’t report abuse. No one wants to go through all of that. I know when I left my ex, I didn’t care whether or not there was “justice,” I just wanted out.

  • amyadoptee

    My ex is very guilty of hostile aggressive parenting. I have documented proof that my ex has done everything he can to alienate me from my daughters.  My oldest daughter  has slapped me numerous times.  He has allowed her the choice of not visiting me which she doesn’t have a choice in.  He allows her to tell me what to do.  Fortunately her therapist has put a stop to much of it.  I no longer  have the role of mother in her life.  He has brainwashed her so much that it is not even funny.  She actually treats me like I am an egg donor.  He tells her that I trapped him into marriage when marriage to him was the last thing that I wanted.  She has accused me of lying on numerous occasions but yet will not come up with a single instance of it.  Her father has her convinced that there was no domestic violence.  That he did not hurt me physically.  His reasoning is that I was never bloody.  She was a witness to his violence.  In fact, she too has had a plate filled with food thrown at her on several occasions.  Fortunately she did not get hurt on those instances.  There have been times when she stood up to him.  He  has gone charging after her with me stopping him and getting between them. He has also told her that he did not cheat because he did not have sex with another woman in front of me or them.  In actuality, he would meet these women privately. He would devote his evening time to talking with these women while ignoring the girls and I. 

     

    Before I left, he accused me of parental alienation.  I told him that I don’t need to say anything to them about him.  His actions alone are alienating his children from him.  He used to call his daughters his bartenders because he made them get his beer or whiskey for him.

     

    His mother has threatened to put a boot “up my a$$.”  She badmouths me every chance she gets.  His girlfriend did the same thing but the sad thing is that she is realizing that there is some truth to what I have been saying about him.  I don’t think there will be wedding bells for them.  She knows that I do not want to deal with him any longer.  I would be perfectly happy to deal with her at our exchanges.  I think that makes her uncomfortable. 

     

    For me, justice never existed in this situation.  The judge believes in parental alienation of fathers.  I have seen this judge do this to many women in Wilbarger county.  In fact, he tried terminating the rights of one woman.  She had a good appeals attorney who reversed that decision.  I am one of those that can’t afford an appeals attorney because this would have been reversed immediately.  The girls and I would be free to move someplace else other than this area.  Honestly I am still afraid for my life while I am living in this area.  I refuse to go into Wilbarger county because it is a rural county where it would not take much to hide my body and my car. 

  • targetnomore

    The claim that one or both parents undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent is not controversial, parents of either sex have been known to attempt to disrupt the loving bond between child and parent.  It can happen in different degrees, from innocent and mild to malicious and severe.  I know of fathers and mothers who have lost or walked away because of severe alienation.  It happens.  The court’s know it happens.  The <i>term</i> parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome is.  I really don’t care what it is called, just that it is recognized and dealt with.

    One thing that I have noticed is that many parents that purposely, maliciously and severely alienate often have a <b>personality disorder</b>. One thing that struck me in your post is you say that he you are wife number 5 and he is already working on wife number 6.  That is a HUGE red flag.  What you don’t say is whether he has children from previous marriages.  I wonder what his relationship is with those children.  If he is malicious in his alienation, he’s likely to have done it before and will likely do it again.

    You might find this site helpful: http://www.conflictualpeople.com.

    Lastly, your story underscores why women and men who are abused speak out, seek help and document the abuse.  Claiming abuse during a divorce, when there is no documentation or claims leading up to the divorce is a sure fire way to lose your kids. I’m sorry that your lawyer didn’t tell you that.

    Hugs to you.

     

     

     

     

     

  • amyadoptee

    No I am the only woman who gave him children.  Funny thing is that he admitted to abusing our girls and I on the stand.  He admitted to having a temper.  He admitted to drinking heavily.  He also admitted to cheating throughout the marriage.  CPS feels that he has an anger management problem.  They also believe he is an alcoholic too.  They encouraged him to get counseling.  The medical facility that my daughter was sent to recommended it as well.  They thought him to be “too aggressive.” To date, he has not gotten any.   I have that in written documentation.  He also admitted to cheating on the stand.  This too is documented in court documents as well as CPS records. 

     

    Today I got a series of text messages that something is going on again because he is being secretative with our youngest child while incorporating our oldest daughter in the latest scheme.  I am sure that it is something to screw me over yet again.  I have learned to expect it.  I am sure he has now discovered that I am no longer being silent about this situation.  I am speaking loudly, writing legislators, and organizations to get the help that I need to fight back.  I have now police documentation as well as email and text messages of threats and harassment. 

     

    So I am now waiting for the next round of harassment.

  • mechashiva

    There’s a widespread belief that abusive behavior is caused by alcoholism or anger management problems. Unfortunately, not many people realize that abuse is a separate issue of its own. There are non-abusive alcoholics. There are abusive non-alcoholics. Some people who have a tough time with anger management never abuse their partners, and some abusers always have their anger under control (the cold, calculated abuser is often the most dangerous).

     

    This ignorance in the courts results in abusers getting off easy if they agree to attend AA or anger-management programs. It seems to me that juries and judges are softened up when abusers “admit” to having substance abuse and anger problems. They think that him admitting to having a flaw means that he will change. They buy into the same shit partners do. The abuser’s behavior never improves, though, and it just traps women and kids the way you and your family are trapped now. Considering how common this problem is, I’m amazed that people in general don’t even understand the basics of what an abusive relationship is and isn’t.

     

    I hope you are in a safe place and can feel physically secure. This guy is dangerous. Fighting back like you are is very brave.

  • amyadoptee

    I am not safer necessarily.  I have my own space now that is very public.  My job puts me into potentionally dangerous situations.  It is a matter of time before he realizes that he can target me when I am doing my job.  I am a cable installer now.  Being on the ladder is my most vulnerable position. 

     

    I am proactive in my job.  If I spot him, I can climb down quickly and call for up.  I take my phone with me while I am connecting someone’s cable.