“To enable, or not to enable, that is the question…”

Unfortunately, it is far to easy for people to stand by and do nothing, or for Alienators to say “But I’m not doing anything!”, inherently allowing the alienation, estrangement and ultimately erasure of target parents to go on and take over.

Peace Not Pas

The above play on words got me pondering on both the nature and choice of behaviours of those that intentionally or unintentionally become enablers of parental alienation.

“To be, or not to be, that is the question,” from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is arguably the best known line from literature and theatre. In its entirety the speech shows Hamlet’s profound dissatisfaction with life and its many struggles.

ToBeOrNotToBe_PeaceNotPas

He is uncertain what death by suicide may bring. This is subtly  underpinned with the Christian denunciation of suicide, the Tudor belief that suicide leads to the fires of hell. Hamlet is highlighting the dread and uncertainty of suicide. He believes the wrong judgement call leads to the fiery gates of hell with no way back.

In life there are many decisions and actions that are pivotal. Enablers of parental alienation ultimately make the wrong judgement call, when they intentionally or unintentionally engage in certain behaviours. Some choose to ‘turn a blind eye’ while others are prevented…

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Symptoms of Severe Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Parental Alienation

  • Openly violate court orders and agreements, especially in relation to parenting time 
  • Tell the child that the other parent is not their biological parent
  • Fabricate false sexual or physical abuse allegations against the other parent involving the children
  • Force their child to see the other parent under supervised access when there really is no need for supervision
  • Not allow the child to be with or to communicate with the other parent on Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays and other special occasions
  • Allege that the non-custodial parent is responsible for the children’s behaviour and emotional problems when the children are with the custodial parent
  • Instruct the child’s school not to provide information or report cards to the other parent and/or attempt to keep the other parent from attending school activities or events
  • Change their child’s surname
  • Get the child to call the other parent by their first name
  • Reject registered mail…

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My Trip to a Co-Parenting Workshop

A gentle reminder that we are not alone ❤ ❤ ❤

Peace Not Pas

For those of you new to this blog, I am an alienated parent (a definition of parental alienation can be found here). With the exception of one hour with my youngest child at a Contact Centre, my ex-partner has successfully prevented me from having contact with my three children for just over 7 and a half months. Between my ex-partner and I we have spent in excess of £9,000 over the last seven and a half months. I have also overcome unfounded safeguarding concerns against me. My ex-partner’s intention is to keep my children away from and my intention is to co-parent. As part of a Court Order (which she has already breached on numerous occasions) my ex-partner and I were ordered to separately attend a co-parenting workshop. The following is my account of my recent attendance at said course.

I entered the building, carried out the obligatory signing in…

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The Effects of Alienation on Adult Children

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Although I started this blog in response to the PAS suffered by my two youngest stepchildren, I have often mentioned the older three stepchildren that I have from my husband’s first marriage.  It was funny, but as the younger kids were moving further out of our lives, the older children were moving back in, after being estranged in their own way(s) from their father, by their own mother as well as his second wife and the effects of divorce, remarriage, and everything in between.

My husband has often told me stories of the Alienation inflicted on his older children when they were young, which I feel pales in comparison to the more recent scenarios we have undergone since then, but any alienation, no matter how extreme, is abusive, manipulative, wrong and damaging.  It has long-term effects that resonate with children as well as parents for the rest of their lives.  I still suffer from trauma even though I haven’t had to deal with the principal Alienator in our case in over three years.

One of my older stepchildren was over at our house the other day for dinner, and was hanging out with her father in the kitchen afterwards.  I was in the other room, but later on, my husband told me how she broke down crying, and confessed to being conflicted about her feelings for him.  The older three children have often had difficulty expressing their love for their father, and their mother still plays a very influential and significant role in their lives and I’m sure they are not completely spared from alienating conversations and influence.  My oldest stepdaughter even told me once how their mother sat them all down and lectured them at length about their father’s failure to pay support over the years, complete with spreadsheets, elaborate calculations and (I like to imagine) pie charts and bar graphs.  If that’s not Alienation 101 then please tell me what is.

On the one hand, I am deeply saddened by this most recent display of emotion, as it is such a blatant reminder of the emotional and psychological damage that Alientation causes, and how it continues to manifest itself long after the kids are grown up and (relatively) living their own lives.  I’m not exactly sure of the specific concerns that my stepdaughter is having, or what she is currently struggling with, but obviously there is significant distress between her heart – which loves her father – and her head, which has been repeatedly told that her father is no good, that he is a deadbeat, etc. etc. etc.  I will be the first to admit that the man I love has his flaws – we all do – but he is also extremely compassionate, loving, well-intentioned, and loves his kids more than anything else in the whole world.

The flip side of this is that I am hopeful and encouraged about her ability to open up to her father like this and confess her feelings to him.  It is hard for any children to speak honestly and freely with their parents sometimes – even those that have amazingly solid, loving relationships – and the fact that she could enter this line of discussion with him so directly made me very proud and grateful.  Out of all of my stepchildren, she is definitely the most mature and has made a very strong and concerted effort to let her father back into her life.

I remember a few years ago, when she was still in high school, and not long after the kids received the extended “Child Support Lecture” from their mother, she called her father and let loose a long tirade of anger and vitriol at him for all of his failures and shortcomings.  The amazing thing about family is that, no matter how large the disagreements or intense the fights, you always (usually) return to a place of love, despite everything.  And even children that have been subjected to so much pain, so much trauma, are still desperate to return to that place.

One of the most amazing things about my husband is that he is a trained chaplain and counsellor, and his ability to deal with people in intense states of emotional distress or grief is second to none, and his demeanour is always calm and compassionate.  He is a great listener and allows people speak freely, without judgment.   He was able to tell her that he loves her, that he wants nothing else in the world other than to be able to help her in her life, no matter what form that may take.  We definitely let the children determine their boundaries with us and the amount of time and contact that they want to have, but I always struggle with that, desperately wanting to reach out and encourage more contact and visits, while also trying to take a back seat and let their father take the reins – after all, they are his children, not mine.

Despite having children that are “grown up”, family relationships can still be difficult to navigate and I don’t think they will necessarily get any less complicated as time goes on.  This most recent event has made me a little bit fearful for what is to come down the road with my youngest stepchildren, and how painful that reunification (or final rejection) may be. I can only hope and pray that my stepchildren (all of them) are able to process their feelings about their father and family history relatively early on in their (adult) life, in order to allow them to grow and mature, and develop into psychologically healthy people who are able to nuture their own healthy relationships with others.  As some famous Psychiatrist once said (was it Freud?), “The past is the present”.

Social Worker Schadenfreude

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I found out today that the Social Worker who is ultimately the reason I haven’t seen my stepchildren in three years is being investigated for Breach of Ethics and faces a Disciplinary Committee for multiple (13!) different reasons.  Ah, karma.  It might be too little too late but I’m glad that someone had the nerve to report him and have him investigated.  We wanted to do so at the time – as we were well aware that he was completely biased, ignorant and in no way an objective mediator for our case – but we were so emotionally devastated by everything that was happening that we really didn’t have the stomach for additional court and tribunals and committees and hearings …. I’m sure any of you who have been involved in family court will understand.

Today I feel differently – I want to report him right now.  I want to call the College of Social Workers and tell them all about how horrible he is and how he intentionally contributed to ripping apart a perfectly loving and caring family.  How he sided with a sociopathic, narcissitic Borderline mother, who filled his head full of lies, exaggerations and complete make-believe, against a loving, compassionate father who was just trying to do right by his kids, despite the circumstances.

At the time, he made a psychiatric diagnosis of my husband that he was completely unauthorized to make, as he is not a psychiatrist or even a psychotherapist or a psychologist of any kind.  He based that “diagnosis” solely on the hearsay and made-up stories as told by a jilted, unstable, mentally ill ex-wife.  Even if that had been true, and my husband had suffered from that particular mental illness, is that cause to prevent him from ever seeing or speaking to his children ever again?  Even fathers serving time in prison get visitations with their children!  I could go on, as I’m sure I have in this blog many times before.

But basically, I am moderately satisfied that there is some semblance of karma or justice in the world.  I hope that this particular social worker gets the disciplinary action that he deserves.  I have saved the online articles about it in my PAS file for future reference and perhaps some nights I will sleep a little more soundly. …

 

 

Why Parental Alienation is Child Abuse and Why Punishing Such Abuse Can Never Rebound on a Child.

Karen Woodall

A child’s parent breaks the child’s legs and pretends that the child fell over.  The parent bruises the child and tells the child it is her own fault.  A child is sexually abused.  A child is neglected and left to fend for himself.  A parent engages in a campaign of hatred and denigration of the child’s other parent, persuading the child into a fused and encapsulated delusion that the parent is harmful and has done harmful things.

Q. Which of these are child abuse and which are not?

A. All of them are child abuse.

Q. Which of these should be punished and the child protected from suffering such harm?

A.  All of them.

Apparently not according to the head of CAFCASS who in a somewhat bewildering statement to the Telegraph this week tells us that parental alienation IS child abuse but that abuse cannot be punished because doing so…

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Estrangement and Alienation

Parental Alienation

To alienate means to make separate. To estrange means to make indifferent. In family law, both terms relate to a breakdown in a child‘s relationship with a parent.

Children can become estranged from one parent for a good reason that has nothing to do with the behaviour of the other parent. In some cases, a child’s relationship with one parent can be damaged by the actions of the other parent, sometimes in the course of a custody battle and sometimes intentionally. These children are usually said to have been alienated from the other parent.

This section will provide an introduction to the problem of alienated and estranged children, and discuss what the experts have to say about a largely discredited theory called Parental Alienation Syndrome. It will also look at ways of dealing with alienated and estranged children during parenting disputes, and provide a selection of helpful online…

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