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Alec’s Outburst

April 22, 2007

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Alec Baldwin’s rambling, venomous voicemail to his 11-year-old daughter. It was definitely out of line, no question. I don’t want you to think that I’m supporting his behavior, because I’m certainly not. But I do understand it.

Married to a father who shares custody of his kids, I have seen this frustration level firsthand. I have seen the aftermath when a Mother alienates her child from her father a little every day. I have seen the accusations fly. I have stood in the front yard of our home and witnessed a child scream at my husband that he’s worthless, abusive, doesn’t pay enough child support, and never cared enough about her.

Where does that come from? Did she come up with that drivel in her little 13-year-old mind? Nope. She got it from Mommy.

I have watched my husband turn inward a little bit more when Mommy schedules some kind of activity or event during each and every visitation he’s supposed to have. I have watched his eyes well with tears when the daughter herself calls and demands to have her wishes met, or tells him she’s just not coming. I have watched his face fall when she tells him she never wants to see him again. Who encourages this? You guessed it… Mommy.

That’s the same Mommy that should be nurturing her daughter through her life, not poisoning her mind against her Father every day, under the guise of caring for her, of telling her the truth. She shouldn’t be repeating the foul, awful things she tells her. She shouldn’t be messing with Daddy’s visitation time. She shouldn’t be encouraging her daughter to disrespect her father at every turn.

What she should be doing is supporting her daughter’s relationship with her Daddy. She should be telling her daughter that Daddy is the best Daddy in the world, even if he’s absolutely the worst. She should be telling her daughter that Daddy loves her… so much. She should be keeping quiet about the things she thinks about Daddy, because there was a time when Daddy was good enough for her. She should allow Daddy to be good enough for her daughter. If Daddy truly isn’t so great, she should allow her daughter the courtesy of figuring out for herself what Daddy is like, later in her life when she has the tools to cope.

No, I don’t believe Alec’s rambling, explicative-laced voicemail was the proper communication to an 11-year-old kid, but who do you rail against when the most important person in your life is purposely destroying your relationship and you have no control? Who do you scream at when you’ve spent your life savings getting a court order to maintain your relationship with your children and you can’t even get Mommy to have them answer the phone? What do you say? What do you do? To whom do you turn?

Can the court system help you in times like these? Nope. Mommy is still all-knowing, still the best parent in the court’s eyes. Even if they believe that Mommy is destroying your relationship with your child and she’s doing it intentionally, they’re overloaded with cases of “real abuse,” so no time to look at yours. Even if they determine that Mommy is violating the order, they simply don’t jail the mother of three children. Maybe just a slap on the hand. And filing that order? Another $5K out of your pocket. Will they at least assign her attorney’s fees? Likely, no. Maybe you could ask the Advocate. Nope. They don’t believe Parental Alienation exists.

I’m here to tell you that it does. It’s very real. It’s so much a part of the divorced-with-children process, it ought to be labeled an epidemic. It doesn’t happen to just Daddies, but I would venture that most of the alienated are indeed fathers. That means we have a huge number of kids out there who have no relationship with Dad… because of Mom.

That missing Daddy piece will scar them in so many areas, it’s almost unfathomable. After all, they’re a product of Daddy, right? If he’s that bad, they must carry some of that badness, too. Even worse, many will grow up thinking that Daddy just bailed on them, abandoned them, cared too little about them to stick around and lend a hand in their raising, instead of understanding what they should… that Mommy drove Daddy away, selfishly and purposefully.

Somehow this whole house of cards is built on the premise that when we divorce we’re in some kind of twisted contest to see who measures up better in the eyes of the child. With whom does she want to live? With whom does she want to spend more time? Pick me! Pick me! Of course the court system contributes to this, because that’s all you fight for in the court system anymore–who is the better parent? The real question, and the question the laws SHOULD be framed around, is “What’s best for the child?” Sadly, that’s not what we’re really asking, although I’m sure every family law judge out there would tell you that’s what they’re doing.

So, when you’re a father, and you’ve been beaten by the court system, beaten by the Advocate, beaten by the Mommy and, in the coup de grace, beaten by your own child, what kind of frustration level do you think you might have? Enough to curse, to scream, to berate? Probably. I don’t think I could handle it on my best day. Is it right? No. But I can understand it.

It’s a dirty little war, this custody thing. It’s insidious, it’s evil, it’s painful. And when you know that Mommy brainwashes your child every day, it’s not such a stretch to find yourself fighting dirty, too. When you know that you can’t change it, that you can’t fight it, that you give up or go bankrupt trying, I can see how you could go over the edge trying to get your child to hear you.

I am a Mommy myself and I understand the desperate desire to prove oneself. But my son will grow up thinking Daddy hung the moon, unless Daddy shows him otherwise. I can’t stand to watch what alienation has done to my husband and to my stepchildren. I won’t participate in alienating my son from his father. I won’t be the one that causes him to grow up missing that Daddy-piece of his life.

It’s too bad that Kim can’t have that kind of perspective. It’s too bad that Kim doesn’t make sure Alec’s little girl answers the phone when he calls. It’s too bad that Kim spends all of her resources making sure her daughter is “on her side”, using her as a pawn. It’s too bad that Alec was good enough, once upon a time, to be Daddy–good enough that Kim trusted him to father her little girl–and now he’s vilified to the person in his life he probably loves the most, his 11-year-old daughter.

It’s too bad that it has happened to Alec and Kim. It’s too bad that it has happened to millions of parents across this nation. It’s too bad that it will happen to millions more. It’s too bad that our kids will grow up missing a huge piece of their identities because one parent can’t understand what’s really best for the child. It’s too bad that we encourage it. It’s too bad that we jump on the bandwagon before we really understand the situation, or its repercussions…

Because while Alec is the one being hurt in the media right now, both he and his daughter will pay the price, for a long time to come, for the game Kim is playing.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynda permalink
    April 23, 2007 9:28 am

    Wow! You were able to put in words exactly what I was thinking! I immediately thought of your family situation when I read this. What a tough thing to go through and though what Alec said was very inappropriate, I also understand how he could get to that level of frustration after awhile. I’m very proud of you for bending over backwards to give your son a positive picture of his daddy. That is a truly priceless gift!

  2. April 23, 2007 10:37 am

    I think you had my blood boiling in paragraph 3… I am so all over what you wrote about and feel glad I don’t need to write it!

  3. April 25, 2007 6:45 am

    I agree with what you said. It is so frustrating!

    Dawn

  4. April 25, 2007 8:51 am

    This is so very, very true. Alec was taking his frustation and anger at Kim out on their child and he was wrong. But every single thing you wrote is true. I, too, and married to a man whose ex-wife seems to have no other goal in life except to turn the children against him/us. Everything we do is scrutinized and summarized in emails in which she copies her atty. and her shrink. The shrink who has no idea the ex had a affair, cusses out the children nearly every day…and on and on. I often times think indifference is the best response, but it’s so hard when you see the children slowly slipping away. Very good post.

  5. April 25, 2007 3:44 pm

    Aren’t the rest of us glad that we haven’t been recorded in all of our kid-conversations through the years? I suspect we’d be mortified at even ourselves, but it is easier to point the finger at his very public, very humiliating escapade and feel better about it.
    Great post, Stephanie. Good insight. “May the words of my mouth…be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord…”

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