© 2019 by Love Dominates

My innocent, beautiful children before Parental Alienation

TAMARA GERSTEMEIER-SWEENEY

Married with four children, living in a 5,500 square foot house on the end of a cul-de-sac sounds like the American dream.  At the time, my husband decided to start an internet based business.  I supported my husband in his decision to leave his six figure job as he ventured to be an entrepreneur. As Tom was pursuing his dream, I was a stay at home Mother devoting my life to raising my children. I had 4 children in 5 years and my youngest was born with Congenital Heart Disease. I was very involved in the children’s lives volunteering with the Parent Teacher Organization, coaching sports with the Town Parks and Recreation Department and engaging the children in a multitude of local activities.  During this particular time in my life, I was the primary care provider for my children as Tom traveled for weeks on end  (4-6 weeks at a time)pursuing his new business venture.  


With this new business venture came financial concerns.  Due to the stress Tom was enduring I witnessed his drinking escalate significantly. His consumption of alcohol was no longer restricted to the weekends, it became a daily occurrence.  Some days he began his drinking by 10:00 a.m.  As most spouses of alcoholics, I found myself becoming an enabler.  I made excuses, would hide the evidence of his drinking and would take the children to the local pool to protect them from witnessing their father’s embarrassing behavior.   


After a few years, the bills continued to pile up and our debt was out of control.  I had returned to the working world to help with the finances and to carry medical insurance to relieve Tom of some of his stress. I begged Tom that we needed a Financial Adviser. All my ideas Tom degraded and avoided.  After battling with Tom for 3 years to make a financial decision to sell our house, he finally agreed that it would be best to sell our dream home, downsize and move back to Pennsylvania so that my parents could help us with the children. 

 

My return to work was a blow to Tom’s ego.  He had a difficult time accepting the fact that his business venture was taking longer to produce the type of profit he was aiming for.  Although our relationship had begun to spiral, this is when things really took a turn for the worse.  Tom would say to friends and family that he was so proud of me for taking over the financial responsibility, managing work, cooking, cleaning and transporting the children. He was impressed with my organizational skills. I used to joke around with him stating that I didn’t need a husband and that I really needed another “Wife”. Meaning I needed extra drivers, cooks, cleaning person, general help with the chores and responsibilities. Tom was threatened by that statement and in front of me he would belittle my job position, the salary I was making, the people I worked with and my inability to manage work, cleaning, cooking and the general care of the children. He was angry that he had to pitch in and help, perhaps another bruise to his ego.  Although there were always signs of Tom’s belief that women are inferior, it was now that his comments became hurtful to me. 


Despite my desire to help Tom by pitching in and trying to persevere through difficult times, he would berate me constantly.  He also encouraged the children to look down on me by informing them that my job was “worthless” and making comments like “everyone knows who supports this family”.  Now Tom was home more and he witnessed the children being disciplined.  I am not certain as to why he did not support disciplining the children, perhaps due to his guilt about not being home much for them. Tom used to say he felt like a “Stranger” in his own home, because he was gone so much. Regardless, he began to challenge any discipline that I tried to enforce.  Now, my husband’s drinking and my children’s behavior was out of control. I felt the disrespect and demeaning from everyone, I was alone.  

 

Since Dillon was 5 yrs old, I was battling with Tom's parenting skills. He chose the kids over supporting me. As teenagers things progressively got worse. My children were now speaking down to me, following their Father’s footsteps of belittling, demeaning, disrespect. Because Tom chose to travel extensively, I was alone.  I caught the kids stealing, on the rooftops of the schools and the janitors were chasing them off, back-talking, not doing school work drinking and using marijuana. One day Tom and I are both at home and Dillon and Daulton tell us they are going to Kohl’s with their friends. I immediately expressed concern because the boys were not buying anything; they were just looking for something to do. I was concerned they would be playing around in the racks of clothes and the store managers would kick them out or that they would steal something. Tom of course said I was being ridiculous and that our boys are good children and I always put the kids down. About 30 minutes later we receive a house call from the Police stating our children, not their friends were arrested for shoplifting. I handed Tom the phone and he was screaming in disbelief. Only when the police called did Tom realize that our children were troubled! Tom never believed or supported me, he always said I was lying or making it up and he believed the children over me. So the children knew they could get away with anything because Dad would back them 100%. This is where the UNITED FRONT needed to be and Tom did not support that. I had caught Daulton getting high before school and caught him a few times coming home intoxicated in 7th grade! Tom once again didn’t believe me so I took a ride to the local Rite Aid and bought a Marijuana drug test kit for $15.00. Made Daulton urinate in cup, sent it off to the lab and it came back positive. I always had to go the extra step to prove it to Tom that our kids were going down the wrong path.


I was struggling to teach them the basic manners, proper hygiene, homework, responsibility, discipline because Tom would step in and tell them to do the opposite. Tom always demeaned me in front of the children, calling me a Militant and taking my authority away. I had to fight for my belief in Education. Tom didn’t believe in teachers, schooling, and college. One example is when the teachers gave my children a packet explaining how they want them to organize their books before the first day of school. If this was not completed properly you would lose 40 points the first day. So I run around all day to different stores trying to find all requests from their teachers all 4 kids’ class assignment schedules. I bring home all the products and organize them and hand them to each child with what each of their teachers expected. Dillon starts giving me a hard time saying he is not doing it that way. I explain to him that if he doesn’t then he would lose 40 points right away. Starting with an “F” is not the way to go. Tom hears Dillon arguing with me and Tom’s response is, “Fuck the teachers, Dillon is 14 years old and he can do it his way!”  Dillon now refuses to do what the teachers request and he goes to school unprepared and loses 40 points. Another example was I had jobs lined up for the kids at the Jersey shore and Tom tells my kids that they don’t need a job and he would pay them $10.00/hour to sit on the beach. My kids always had to fail first to learn a lesson. I used to think that was a good thing but it was too many lessons and they were not learning from their mistakes because Daddy always bailed them out and then told them how “wonderful” they are. Tom always built the kids up, even if they were doing wrong.


Then all the drinking at the Tiki Bar was overwhelming. I was entertaining from Wed-Sunday and finally cut those friends out because I wanted peace and quiet in my home. Having a calendar of  8 -9 team and work schedules, doctors appointments to deal with was exhausting and I did not want to entertain a bunch of freeloaders destroying my house.  I would have 11 hours of basketball on Saturdays and I did not want to feel tired or hung-over. Tom beat me down saying I was a kill-joy and no fun to be around because I wouldn’t drink and relax. I was the only one taking responsibility, so I would put the kids to bed and then I would clean up the kitchen and go to bed and leave everyone downstairs at the Tiki Bar.  


Tom emailed Todd, my brother, admitting all the pressures he put on me and was not supportive and the alcohol compounded everything. Tom asked for my brother and my mother to back off and to stay out of our lives and to stop interfering, that he should have never joined arms with Todd campaigning against me, his wife, and say that I had mental issues, (i.e. Bi-Polar.) Everyone was in our business and it made things worse. Nobody RESPECTED our wishes. I kept receiving nasty emails from everyone and they were cheering on Tom because all they saw was me yelling because of the utter frustration of this chaos in my house. 

 

Everyone was controlling my life and my family. I shared my feelings with Tom and requested that we seek counseling.  He refused stating “counseling leads to separation, separation leads to divorce”.  He proceeded to tell me that if I were to divorce him that he would destroy me.  I lived the next few years trying to stick it out for my family. 

 

I asked Tom again years later to go to Counseling for parenting, he refused I then asked Tom to go to an AA meeting because of his drinking, he refused(he obviously was not happy at home, due to his excessive drinking, he chose to be at the tiki bar instead of helping me with the kids or to sleep next to me) I told tom I was falling out of love with him and he needed to change and asked him if we could do date nights- he laughed at me and  refused. Then I asked for separation and Tom threatened me, saying it was laughable because he had control of finances that I would be left with nothing, that he would Destroy me, pit family, friends and children against me and I would have nothing. So I felt trapped and stayed 3 more years.


Due to the lack of support and respect I decide to go back to work. I started working part-time. I enjoyed the people I was working with and I felt respected in the working environment. I was able to quickly open up markets for them and then the company asked me to become a full-time employee. However, I found myself having feelings for a man, with whom I worked with. I never thought I would ever be involved with someone I worked with, or cross a line in my marriage but yes, I did stray and I know that was wrong, but I was trapped! 

 

I tell Tom about the affair, July 2011. Tom’s temper explodes, but he promises me he will keep this between us and not tell the family or children. Tom hires a Psychic, Edith Elizabeth. She is now counseling all of us, my children included. She brought in Religion, something I battled with my husband, he did not believe in Catholics, called me a hypocrite, so I trusted her because she had Tom and our children going to church as a family. Tom goes nuts, I feel awful and decide to stay and do my “penance”. Eliz brings in candles and crystals to our house, at the time I thought it felt peaceful but realized it was more of Tom’s games and manipulations. I tried for 9 more months to see if this will work. Tom seems to change and is supporting me and being kind and helping out with the kids and chores. But it only lasts 1 week. Every day I live in fear that Tom was going to tell the children. He was screaming vulgar things to me. He was gesturing vile sexual positions in front of the children and me. The kids started to notice so I stay in my room to avoid any confrontation and starred at the four walls afraid to come out because Tom would berate me and demean me in front of the children. It was so hostile that I had to leave. I emailed my lawyer begging him that I needed to get out. I changed the locks and then my lawyer told me that was a mistake. Tom started to get violent, chasing me around the house, trapping me in my closet, pinning me up against the bathroom wall, and throwing me on the bed. I was terrified!


I left house in April 2012 for 6 weeks, Tom tells our children about the affair on May 7th, 2012. At this point Tom destroys my reputation to our children and paints an image in my children’s heads, at ages 10, 12 , 14 and 16 yrs. old that their Mother is the town “Whore”, “Slut” , having sex with everyone in the backseats of cars and that I’m selfish and I never loved my children that I chose “Scum” over my love for my family. The anger is over the top, overwhelming! I was receiving threats and ultimatums from Tom daily.  My oldest, Dillon was sending me threats as well. My Children are Now hostile against me, calling me the same vulgar and vile names my husband does.( I had a normal relationship with my children up until this point).Tom out of pure anger and hatred made it his mission to abuse, humiliate and degrade me in front of my children, family, friends, and neighbors. ( I have 1 yr of incident reports recorded in a journal) The non-stop onslaughts are lewd, vile and vulgar and take a mental and physical toll on me.


I move back into the Buckwalter house Memorial Day Weekend, because Tom took the kids to Stone Harbor, NJ for the summer. Tom and I have a shore rental house in Stone Harbor together for the summer. Tom gets me off lease and goes to Stone Harbor Police with kids to keep me away from the children and the house on 114th ST. I am alone again. Tom is trying to alienate me from my children. Every time I try to contact them, Tom interferes, by text, by phone, in person. I write my kids apology letters, letters telling them I love them and miss them. I try calling, texting, and no response or if any response my children are vicious to me. Every time I stop by the kids “scatter”, literally run away from my presence. I am frustrated and sick to my stomach that any human could do this to the person they married, the Mother of his children, and to our innocent children at impressionable ages!  They can’t possibly comprehend what is going on but Tom treats them like adults and tells them vicious, cruel and vulgar things about their Mother. Telling the children I am immorally balanced and that I do not love my children and that I never loved them, that I bullied them, I beat them down. My children are witnessing Tom’s anger and are picking up his behavioral habits. I am now afraid of my older boys, they are violent towards me! Tom rebels and teaches the kids how to live in an unorganized, sloppy, filthy house. Dillon tells me he likes the house better this way. Tom tells me the kids could live in center city with dirty rats and filth and the courts still won’t take the kids away from him. Tom is drinking heavily and has alcohol all over house and feeding kids junk. I am fighting to be with my kids, to talk to them, to hold them, to just tell them the truth, to tell them I love them and this has nothing to do with them and that it should be between Daddy and I .

 

Went to trial July 18, 2012 to get back into houses. The rental at Stone Harbor and the Buckwalter house. Judge Daniel allows me back into both residences.
 
Tom and I lived in different bedrooms and had no relations. I asked again for separation and counseling because we were fighting so much and maybe if we lived in separate houses that we could re-connect again but he had to go to parenting classes. He refused. Tom threatened me about the house saying it would take a S.W.A.T team to take him out in handcuffs and drag him across the lawn. I did not want my children to witness any more confrontation. I felt I had no choice but to leave the house due to Tom’s temper and threats. To make things less difficult on our children, I left in peace so the children routines would not be interrupted because I knew the divorce would be difficult due to Tom not cooperating.


Today I am here and you are all witness to Tom’s threat that he would destroy me.  He has taken my family from me, my home, my dignity and my well-being.  It is my hope that you can see evidence of his abusive behavior and allow me time with my children to help them heal and lead them on the right path.  Life at his house is one big party.  No rules just a good time.  Unfortunately Tom encourages the children to party due to his own addiction.  Please help me, help my children.  They need me in their life as I need them.  I am concerned for the safety of my children all in the care of my ex-husband, Tom Sweeney. I was the parent that disciplined and Tom was the “Disney Dad” with no rules, guidance, encouragement or organization.


I have been Alienated from my children for almost 1.5 years (now 5 years) due to their Father’s manipulations and misconceptions. He has told them untruthful things about me, their birth Mother. Tom gave them visuals of their Mother as a bad person. I have continued my therapy as Dr. Nells has requested, Tom is not in individual therapy at all.