There’s nothing quite as powerful as your bond with your mother, even if her ‘mothering’ is rife with lies, greed, neglect and abuse.

Perhaps it was hubris, perhaps it was naivete, but when my husband, Rhys, was finally able to tell his (now) adult children the truth after years of Parental Alienation and all their complaints about their (custodial) mother, I’d expected them to react much differently than they did.

In their position, I would’ve been hungry for the truth. Horrified at her blatant lies and relieved to embrace the proof Rhys provided. It would’ve formed a cohesive Big Picture for me.

That’s not how my step-children behaved at all.

They listened politely and said ‘uh-huh’ in a convincing manner. They gathered as much data about our personal lives and finances as they could eke out. They won Rhys’ trust by telling horrific stories of their mother’s neglect and abuse. Stories that left Rhys weeping too hard to even speak.

As far as we could tell, at long last we were all on the same page. Truth and love had triumphed over lies and abuse. There was justice in the world after all. Rhys was vindicated and the adult children seemed happy to have a loving relationship with their Da again. He loved hearing about their lives and sharing paternal wisdom.

Maybe that was his mistake. As we all do, his children recreated the horror of their childhoods in their choice of partners and lifestyle. Rhys’ advice for their safety and happiness seemed to fall on deaf ears. Again they said ‘uh-huh’ and did exactly the opposite of what Rhys advised.

Apparently, it irritated them more than they intimated as, last week, en masse they returned to their lying, abusive mother and betrayed all our confidences. I guess their loyalty was always with the one who exploited them and caused them so much pain. Once again, Rhys is being called a liar. To say that Rhys feels betrayed and hoodwinked is the understatement of the millennia. Again, he wept.

There was no inkling that they were anything other than delighted, even desperate, to forge a loving adult friendship with their father after years of Parental Alienation.

Then it was all over. There was no hint, no warning. One day Rhys was dispensing fatherly advice and they next, they wanted nothing to do with him. It was as though Rhys had somehow gotten stuck in an infinite time loop, reliving the horror of Parental Alienation again.

Personally, I believe she bribed them. They love money more than life itself.

This time the Parental Alienation is different as the children have chosen it of their own free wills as adults. Although saddened, our hearts are surprisingly light and, more importantly, our consciences are clear.

We did the right thing and, as the saying goes, ‘water will find its own level’. I guess they enjoy embracing lies. If that’s their level…!

It may sound harsh but Rhys has decided he will not be giving his children another opportunity to be a part of his life. ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me’. They have not changed. Their mother raised them to spy on their father, behaving lovingly to his face but despicably behind his back. Adulthood changed nothing. All five grown children have chosen to remain the same in adulthood as they were as teenagers.

Rhys did his best. He was honest, loving and supportive. If his children don’t want a Da like that at their weddings and cuddling his grandchildren, then it’s their funeral. Rhys will no longer try to connect with them nor accept their advances. It’s over.

If you are alienated from your children, I hope you too will be reconciled one day. I hope it goes better for you than it went for Rhys. But forewarned is forearmed: your Happily Ever After may turn to ashes to.

It’s not your fault.