sad girl on father's shoulder 750

Dear Daughter: A father’s letter to his little girl

Dear daughter,

I know I’m probably the last person you want to hear from, but I felt compelled to write you this letter. Your grandfather is dying, you have a five-year-old brother and two step-brothers, and though you no longer share my name, I still miss you and think about you all the time. You need to know this and so much more.

Twenty years ago, I found out I was going to be a dad and I was both excited and scared. I worried if I would be a good father, if I would be able to take care of you, and if I had any business bringing another life into this world; but once you were born, all of those questions disappeared the moment I saw your face. I knew I loved you more than life itself and I vowed to do anything and everything to keep you safe. Never in a million years would I have believed that my love for you would be put to the test, but it was. I never believed I would be forced to prove that I could be a good father to you, but it happened. And I never believed in an evil so uncompromising that it would force a man, me, your father, to walk away from his sweet, beautiful child whom he loved so much.

I found out that such an evil exists and my life has never been the same since.

This evil that I speak of is one so strong that it can turn lies into reality and makes the truth seem like lies. This evil cares nothing for anyone but itself, and it is aided by a legal system that profits from the misery it causes between children and their fathers. The pain, the anger, and the complete devastation committed by this evil has gone unchecked, aided lawyers and courts and the so-called laws they’re designed to enforce.

You know this evil, dear daughter… it is the evil that came from the people who told you I didn’t love you, and that I left you. It is the evil that took you from me no matter how hard I fought.

It was they who demanded sole legal custody of you; they even told the court that it was the “only reasonable solution.” To further show how reasonable they were, they also said that I was a horrible person who wanted to hurt you. This didn’t bother me because I’d heard these lies before. Unfortunately, it was what you said, dear daughter, that hurt me the most. When you said that you were afraid of me and didn’t want to see me anymore, I realized that I no longer had a place in your heart or your life. I flew over 2,300 miles to fight for you, yet in that instant, I realized that anything worth fighting for was long gone.

Losing a child is every parent’s biggest fear and this evil forced me to face that fear. They not only made me stare that fear in the face, they made it a reality… one that I’ve had to live with for nine long years and counting. I hope you never live to understand what it’s like to have the one thing you love more than life itself just taken away from you for no good reason. At least you were happy, though. You seem to be living quite the wonderful life and I’m happy for you; I’m reminded once again that life goes on.

If you’re still reading this, dear daughter, I would like to leave you with this offer: if you ever want to know the truth about everything that happened between us, I would love to have the chance to tell you. I’d be glad to show you the stacks of paperwork – the letters to judges, the Governor and the Friend of the Court – as well as the attorney’s bills, that show a desperate father trying to do everything he could to keep his daughter in his life. I know you once told me that you don’t want to talk about the past because it’s too painful, but there’s so much more to our story than you’ve ever been told, and it’s equally painful for me not to talk about it. In the end, I will respect whatever you decide. Just know that I am here and I haven’t forgotten you, and I haven’t stopped loving you.





Your father.

About John Ribner

John P. Ribner is a professional writer and author of Legacy of the Bear and Prophecy of the Bear. When not working on his next novel, he is often pondering the far-reaching effects of a biased legal system and the pain it causes.

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  • DukeLax

    I feel youre pain here john, a father losing his daughter to a lying selfish mother.

    Lately ive been trying to wrap my mind around some earlier feminist propaganda i read about…that told women / mothers that………….. “men are the enemy”, and yes…even youre own sons are the enemy, and must be turned upon.”
    I though to myself…..How many American mothers did turn on their sons…and raised their sons only to feed them into the meat grinder????

  • Aimee McGee

    Dear Friend, I hope one day your daughter seeks the truth. My SO was alienated from his daughter for 3 years. She’s now no contact with her abusive mother, but struggles to overcome the deep hatred she was encouraged to show towards her father

  • Chris Wedge

    *sniff*I have something in my eye…
    A tear.

  • Bombay

    I hope your daughter comes around.

    I had a friend (RIP) whose mother took away his children. On his death bed he asked me to contact their mother so that they could see each other/say their goodbyes, since would be the last chance for them to see each other. He never did see his kids.

  • Bewildered

    I find it very hard to come to terms with this man made cruelty.
    People who poison kids’ minds are the lowest of the low.
    FFS even animals are shown kindness and compassion.
    What happened to you is awful and disgraceful but yet people love to pretend that it never happens or grudgingly admit it and simultaneously say ” It’s very rare”
    Have they redefined civilization or what ?

  • Rosemary Kondraciuk-Ribner

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure that many, many men can relate to the pain of Parental Alienation, forced separation, using the courts as weaponry and treating fathers as nothing more than sperm donors and bank accounts. It’s disgusting what so many women do to their children and the father’s of their children.

    The lies your ex-wife told to your child, to the courts and to anyone who listened were disgusting and vicious. To be forced to surrender your rights to your own child is something that many of us parents cannot fathom but happens all too often to men. Using your child as a weapon to punish your ex for leaving you is beyond disgusting, it is sick, demented and nothing less than child abuse.

    I hope I’m around to see her get her karma…one day that girl will know exactly why her father disappeared from her life. Just like your ex found out about her own father and what her mother did to him. Anyone want to guess whether or not she’s speaking to her own mother these days?

    • G Trieste

      “Using the courts as weaponry”, kinda sidesteps the problem.
      It almost puts the blame on the ex. She is not to blame for this alienation, and “the courts” are not passive mechanisms, like a gun, to be called a weapon.
      There are judges, full thinking beings, with years of education and experience, who affirmatively CHOOSE to empower socially/emotionally insane women.
      They are the ones to blame, not the ex. The ex is just taking what they will give her.
      That is where my ire is directed. Not my deluded, mentally ill, and hysterical ex-wife.
      You don’t blame a dog for licking its balls in public. That is just the way it is.

      • John P. Ribner

        G Trieste: Perhaps our situations differ. It’s my firm belief that my ex bears the brunt of my blame in my situation. It wasn’t so long ago that I forgot the pertinent details – her mother kept her and her siblings from their father, inundating them with stories about what a horrible man he was to the point where the children repeated these tales verbatim. It’s no coincidence that the same pattern repeated itself after she and I divorced. Not to belabor the point, but it wasn’t the courts that told the ex to violate the custody agreement, it wasn’t the courts who coaxed my daughter into speaking out against me, and it wasn’t the courts that continue to have an ideological stranglehold upon my daughter’s mind. It was the ex.

        • ComradePrescott

          It’s an argument which makes no sense to me. Neither is passive. Both are at fault and that is not mutually exclusive.

        • G Trieste

          Yes, there are differences, your ex is worse than mine on the alienation aspect.
          My ex is not so overt, as far as I know at least.
          But I believe the courts are still more culpable.
          I don’t know what your custody agreement was, so I am only extrapolating. And I don’t know what in the custody agreement your ex violated.
          Forgive me if I have this wrong, but
          The court allowed your ex to continue having custody after she broke the agreement. A breach of a custody agreement should give custody to the other side.

          The court allowed a situation where your ex could have exclusive time, extended time, to poison your child’s mind.
          You did not have an opportunity to correct or undo the lies and venom your ex injected in your child’s belief system. You could not be there while the lies were being conveyed.
          So yes, your ex certainly had a large part in this, but the court is there to police these things, and did not, and permitted the distortions of truth to be planted and grown into your child’s mind. If the court did its job, the alienation could not have taken hold.
          I am extrapolating from my own experience in family court.
          It was established by admission from my ex on the stand, that she did these things, but whereas I did not, the the court paid close attention to inferential allegations that I did. There was proof by admission she did, and the court did not seem to care, but a non-evidenced allegation that I did had the court’s stern gaze.

          The court’s will allow horrible alienation to occur, when it is the mother doing it, but will come down hard if they think a father is doing it.

          It is the court’s failure that is the most culpable because they are there to equalize and make fair the situation, notwithstanding your ex’s initiating evil.

  • Turbo

    That was tough to read John, thank you for submitting it here. I sincerely hope that one day your daughter contacts you.
    If only your case were an isolated one, sadly it is all too common.

    • John P. Ribner


    • Bombay

      It is not isolated – that needs to be appreciated by everyone.

  • G Trieste

    Everything you wrote, I feel.

    My only hope is that my daughter is not so far gone.

    The last few things she said to me was I love you, but I am afraid to be with you alone.

    This was after 10 months of not seeing her at all, and then only with enablers and abettors of her fear, fear that never existed before and when I asked her what she was afraid of, she could not articulate anything, just afraid.

    It took so much just to get to be with her at all, and hearing that it too weakened my resolve a bit to fight.

    Like you, it took far more than the other parent to get to this point. That alone would have never resulted in this situation.

    Rather it was attorneys, CPS workers, and judges who threatened me with guns, prison and parental termination, if I didn not follow the wishes of the other parent. Under those threats, I was not even able to speak with my child to let her know what was going on. She only got a full belly of propaganda of falsehoods from the other parent, as well as several agents of the state.

    Society, in the form of the family court judge and related actors, simply wants to rip my daughter from me, and leave her fatherless. Then they further want to inculcate her with falsehoods and denigration of me with no other source of information.

    Under that kind of onslaught, there is no winning, there is no game even. The system is rigged with the veneer that due process is taking place when it absolutely is not.

    That is our burden as fathers in America today.
    A violation of human rights as deep as the connection between parent and child.
    And we, and our children, suffer.
    And that is the way it is.

    • John P. Ribner

      Sadly, our stories are much too similar. I cannot advise you to do the same thing that I did – it was the toughest decision I ever had to make. I just hope everything resolves in your favor.

    • Bombay

      100,000 thumbs up.

    • feeriker

      Rather it was attorneys, CPS workers, and judges who threatened me with guns, prison and parental termination, if I did not follow the wishes of the other parent. 

      I would love to believe that there is an especially nasty, horrible portion of hell reserved for these people, a space that they’ll share with the REAL rapists and paedophiles whom they are arrogant and deluded enough to think they are above.

      • John P. Ribner

        They will never enter Valhalla with such cowardly actions.

  • Rosemary Kondraciuk-Ribner


  • crydiego

    I’m sure this was difficult John, thank you.

    • John P. Ribner

      I’m a professional magazine writer and novelist by trade, yet this was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. Thanks for reading!

  • DukeLax

    Keep writing bro…it cathartic, and many fathers need to read youre work, so they can heal Also.

    • John P. Ribner

      Well, I’ll continue to write here as long as they’ll have me. LOL

  • ComradePrescott

    I have a friend whose family “threw out their father”. I’ve always wondered about it, but I also don’t pry so I can’t say one way or the other about whether his father deserved it or whether his mother just became sick of him. I’m also biased so without the whole story my assumptions are not worth their salt.

    Having said that, over the years I have seen bits of evidence emerge here and there which indicate that my friend’s mother is a very… controlling and manipulative person and I find myself wondering if my friend and his siblings lost a perfectly good father.

    • John P. Ribner

      It wouldn’t be beyond the pale …

  • Shortcircuit

    If there are any here who are now adults who were alienated as children and left it at that: Getting in contact went terribly for me and yet it is perhaps the thing I will regret doing the least in my whole life. At the very least you’ll know you did what you could and can fully put it behind you. If you don’t do that then you’ll never truly know if you were harming someone unjustly. Children’s perceptions are unreliable, there is only one way to know.

    • John P. Ribner

      Well said.

  • Steve Phelan

    I share your pain and loss, John. No contact with my son for 8 years. But I did have an opportunity to reconnect with my daughter, share those court documents with her, even managed to meet her a couple of times. Small wins but I’ll take them.

    Of course, it still hurts like crazy at Xmas, Father’s Day, and birthdays when I get no response to my messages, but I live in hope. The hardest stories for me are those where the guy has lost hope and takes his own life. I’ve never been tempted but I completely understand how someone can get in that dark place. Happy father’s day and renewed hope to all those who suffer in this way. This, too, shall pass.

    • John P. Ribner

      Steve: thank you for your kind words and saddened by your story, as well. Me, I’ve accepted the fact that I am most likely dead to my daughter. As I commented to a previous poster, the pattern of make-dad-the-demon (#mdtd perhaps?) started with my ex’s mother and the pattern repeated with my ex. Perhaps seeing it firsthand before it happened to me makes it easier to accept and move on. We’ll see …

  • sputnik

    Dear Mr. Ribner;

    Here’s an ultra- short short, just for you, in sketch form.

    Me?– I saw plenty of my daughter, but there was a brief time when I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’d been her primary caregiver for nearly three years while working a night job: diapers, and breakfast from scratch, every morning @ 06:00 like clockwork, that kid. And by “from scratch”, I mean rice cereal ground from whole grain and soy, on the spot, as well as other stuff. Omega 3’s, anyone? Nutrition: I was on it! Not a Gerber bottle in the house: everything fresh and organic. I was particularly fond of doing the fresh seasonal fruit thing. June nectarines, you know. Michigan cherries. So then I wrote a little throwaway:

    “Goodbye, sweet / ‘ . It’s been fun.
    Someday our paths will cross again.
    We’ll share a rosy peach,
    and my oh my!– but won’t we have a chuckle then.”

    Years later, turns out she’s a highly gifted, multi-award winning teenage writer – one with a published work to her credit by the age of 16, to resounding critical review — who simply can NOT see the effects of years of parental alienation. Perhaps her best single award winner was a dark, pseudo-suicidal, hatchet job on Dad, loaded with distortions, exaggerations, and outright fabrications, but it was simply fabulous, poetic prose. I had to let it go.

    So we get to Carnegie Hall for the award ceremonies, and the sign-in lady says, “Oh! You’re …….. ! I’m so pleased to meet you! I read your piece, “………………“, and I told all my friends, ‘You HAVE to read this!’”

    And I’m standin’ right there. Well, howdya think I felt! 😐

    How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a thankless child, and sharper still should that child be a writer. Ain’t nuthin’ worse.

    “If nought seem better, nothing’s worse / … ”
    —Robert Bridges (1844-1930), “All Women Born are so Perverse”

    So, Mr. Writerly Ribner, my short story is just for you: yah, I certainly feel for you, believe me quite sincerely!– even though our stories are sorta opposites, especially if you and your daughter reconcile. My daughter and I are now essentially estranged. We don’t communicate. She’s an extremely high intelligence quotient, low observation quotient, word twister, who believes the damndest things that never were. And is considering liposuction at 26. Nutrition, anyone? It hurts, believe me, it hurts. Bad.

    Me?—I’m okay. It is what it is. And nothing stays the same forever. Wish I could be more encouraging. But give it time.

    • John P. Ribner

      You said it best, “It is what it is.”

  • Bewildered

    I was being sarcastic. In a truly civilized society what happened to you wouldn’t have happened or at least it wouldn’t have been so easily marginalized.People would have been worked up over it and would have sought to plug the loophole in the laws that permit such atrocities.What’s the ground reality today ?
    How did ‘FAT’ become beautiful ? Did our perception of beauty undergo a radical change ?
    Can you see where I am going with this?

    • John P. Ribner

      I’m with on everything but your question about fat = beautiful. The idea that an emaciated waif is the standard of beauty to which all women must strive and all men must desire is a social construct … but I digress. Thank you for your kind words.

      • Bewildered

        I was justifying the use of ‘redefined’ in my previous post.
        I find the notion that you can change reality by merely changing your perceptions comical.
        LOL! what did the fox say when it couldn’t get the grapes ?

        ‘Emaciated waif’ hmmm! now that’s the other extreme and establishing that as a standard is definitely a social construct,but don’t you see man’s penchant for the extremes at work here? Isn’t that reflective of a culture that enthusiastically follows the “More is Better” philosophy ?
        In any case my point was that fat was redefined as beautiful to make women like the one in the picture feel good about themselves ! {Dangerous virtual reality!}
        I consider it a gross willful ignorance to hide pathological conditions.

        • John P. Ribner

          I get your point, I just don’t think it’s well made, especially on a site that’s urging the world to rid itself of its biases.

  • Shrek6

    Argh…………………………………………………………….this really tares at me. It burns me deeply!

    My first marriage was for 8 long years of abuse from a vicious woman. By the time it ended and my wife walked out, I was (WAS) a father to 2 beautiful children. A 6 year old girl and a 3 year old boy.
    It was September the 14th 1987.

    I stayed in the house for a month trying to contact her and find out what could be done to fix the problems. What a fool. They were problems associated with the evil in her head and heart, and I was never going to fix anything. What a loser!

    One month after she left, she waited round the corner one morning with a removalist truck and watched me go to work, then they moved in and stripped the house clean.

    After that second devastating blow and many months of legal wrangling, I got to have some time with my kids, but I had to drive for 3 hours to see them. Two years and 52,000 kilometres later, my kids told me they didn’t want to see me anymore and I also had to stop the driving, because it was killing me. I had to walk away from them.

    I had a few phone calls after that, but in the end the parental alienation was completed and I lost them forever. It is now 2014 and almost 27 years since I lost my kids. Apparently they are married with children. My grandchildren!

    Can I tell you something. The day I lost my two young children, was the day someone tore a hole in my soul. The agony never leaves me. It is still as raw today as it was on the day it occurred and it never seems to diminish. Time has taught me to distract myself, but when my thoughts wander back, I bleed profusely and the pain is intolerable.

    Women in general, have shown themselves to be the most heartless, ruthless and coldest of all creatures on this earth. It is only just a few women, who resist this evil behaviour and who actually have a heart and a soul. These women are human beings.

    The rest however, are demons put on this earth to destroy the world of men, by abusing and killing the children that belong to these men.

    • John P. Ribner

      A horrible story, my friend. So sorry that you had to endure that. I truly hope things improve for you.

  • menrppl2

    thankyou for sharing
    I’m also a parent who had no enforceable right to my child because of my sex
    makes the right too vote seem trivial by comparison
    if we ever beat feminism we are going too need a memorial to fathers deprived their children in every capital, too ensure this tradgedy of inhumanity, is never forgotten and never happens again

  • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

    This is a beautiful letter, I know fathers who have not seen their own children in decades, I once re-united a friend of mine with his long lost father, he told me that his mother always spoke bad about his father, and it is still a secret to her today, but whenever I see how he loves his son and does everything for a boy he hasn’t seen in 15 years I wonder why so many women in my country could be so cruel, I hope that this will never happen to me. :- This is one of the many reasons why I am a Men’s (Human) Rights Activist/Father’s Rights Activist.

    • John P. Ribner

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • Rob

    Thank you for the article.
    I did not realise it was fathers day yesterday, and like so many fathers I hear about I too have not seen my daughter for two and a half years. I think society has a long way to go before we stop this abusive behaviour, but I feel that in comparison to the aboriginal children taken from their families in Australia we too we have our own stolen generations. We already know that this has an effect on our children ( no matter so people may claim) of generations growing up with a broken familiy( and this does include even children who acquired a “new father”) with dysfunctional issues that run into adulthood. Even those who may appear to be ok on the surface may find that issue will arise when there are triggers.

    two weeks ago i lost my custody appeal after two and a half years of fighting in the sharia courts, and i say appeal because my wife( who thinks she is divorced by using a sharia court, even though our solemised marriage in the UK say uh uh, you still married) applied for custody hearing in secret and got herself custody, so i was already at a disadvantage.

    I laugh every time i hear ignorant people especially fems who claim that sharia is anti women. sorry sharia is anti women and anti men ( and I have a muslim women rights NGO in a muslim country who were very critical of the whole system to back me up). The same court who decided that mother was best even though I demonstrated the mothers neglect of our disabled daughter.

    so I have had the double punishment of not only suffering 7 years of abuse including violence across four countries but the addition of the denial of a relationship with my daughter. I am the only person in her sphere who shares her disabilty and understands what she is going through. I’m not even sure if she will ever recover from the neglect( as many experts tell me that some children will never recover from the impact on the childhood development of this neglect).

    I do not know what the future will hold for us in terms of reconnection as she is likely to have issues with me revolving around abandonment and the possible long term abuse by a mother who was quite happy to abuse her husband in many ways in order to have control.

    if i was lucky and she searched me out across the thousands of mile that now seperate us( she is currently in the gulf) I had decided to just lay out the evidence ( the court papers, doctors testimonies etc) and let her make her own judgemnt. It is possible that will sense that tthere are some mental health issues with her mother.

    Yesterday I found an online photo of her at her nursery( they use the children photos to promote the nursery). it will be the last one as she will now move up to main school and she is already four years old.this photo will be all i have until…..

    I have gone from at home dad to alienated dad in what seems like yesterday.I have often wondered if these mothers who are obviously so twisted and abusive would be happy to see this behaviour inflicted on their own fathers, their own brothers, and their own sons. some how I think they decide that those relatives and any male friends who support them are the exception to their narrow view of the world.I wouldn’t wish this on anyone , not even on mothers who are alienated from their children( and yes I know this is men rights we are championing here, but the effect on a child is the same)

    It would be nice to know if there was some sort of time capsule service out there or a sort of lost persons service, whereby a child can search to see if someone is waiting for them. something that would help children to try and reconnect with their stolen parent

    unitl then…
    happy fathers day

    • John P. Ribner

      Thank you for sharing.

  • Aimee McGee

    I will still hope for you

    • John P. Ribner

      Thank you.

  • John P. Ribner

    Chad: I’m saddened to hear that we have THIS in common. Any time you need to talk, get a hold of me. I’m here for you, brother.

  • GoldenBoy

    I’m sorry.

    • John P. Ribner


  • Luke Matthews

    Hi John.

    I also share your pain and have a very, very similar awful story. I have not seen or had any contact with my daughter for over ten years. False allegations of historical child abuse were made against me 4 years ago by her mother (supported by my daughter!) , and I was blackmailed into giving up my Parental Rights so she could be adopted by her stepfather. If I refused, further false allegations would be forthcoming. Unfortunately whatever I said was not believed by social workers, etc, regardless of the proof I had showing that lies were being made up against me.

    I was so hurt and incensed by the whole matter that I wrote a book based on my story which has since been published (called Can’t Explain, available on Amazon). I made a promise to myself that whether or not I can repair the devastation caused to the relationship between my daughter and I, I will not rest until the profile of Parental Alienation is raised such that the common publlc understand just how wicked and abhorrent this act is. I hope others will also come forward and share their story so everyone can understand just how common an issue this is within our society.

    All the very best to you and hope things work out for you, as I do for all such targeted parents.

    Luke Matthews

    • John P. Ribner

      Always happy to check out books written by fellow authors.

  • Kimski

    Takes another chip of the old ticker, everytime I read stories like this one.