My husband, Peter, alienated my daughter, Sarah, within our intact marriage of over 40 years. Shortly after we lost our first child, aged five, he told me “If you ever leave me I will fight you for custody and I will win!” He was referring to our toddler daughter, Sarah.
I stayed with him and we had many happy times but he was becoming more and more a controller and a bully. By the time Sarah was in her mid teens he had been made redundant, had a crisis of status and decided he didn’t much like me any more. He told me he preferred Sarah. Peter said she was more grounded and I was emotional. It was at that point that my beautiful daughter changed towards me. Sarah had to protect her dad and give him back the status he’d lost. She became his best friend, protector and wingman.
“I stayed within the family because of that old threat: I knew for certain that if I ever left him I would never see my daughter again – she would always choose him over me. Your question and answer struck me because I had already suspected the reason why my husband took my daughter from me.