Home > Parents > Letting Go: When Alienated Parents Give Up

Letting Go: When Alienated Parents Give Up

Letting Go: When Alienated Parents Give Up 

Letting Go

When a parent endures parental alienation, various emotions materialize.  Some are angry and others feel helpless.  On the other hand, a number of rejected parents evolve into dedicated empowered advocates, but just as many are depleted both physically and financially. Some parents may ask, when do I let go? Clearly, alienated parents (also known as rejected parents) are grieving parents.  In 2002 Dr. Richard Gardner wrote, “For some alienated parents the continuous heartache is similar to living death.” Sadly, for many rejected parents, the sorrow never ends.

Most are familiar with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grieving.  First is Denial.  Denial is not recognizing reality.  As noted by Dr. Gardner (2002), denying reality is obviously a maladaptive way of dealing with a situation.  In fact, denial is generally considered to be one of the defense mechanisms, mechanisms that are inappropriate, maladaptive, and pathological. Obviously, it is hard to deny that one is a rejected parent. However, at times, it may seem easier to deny that the situation is not real. To deal with the unreal, some parents may resign.  Studies indicate that some rejected parents, similar to survivors of domestic violence, become passive. (Kopetski, 1998).

Anger is another stage of the grieving process.  However, underlying anger is hurt and a loss of power and a loss of control over a situation or an event. Unquestionably, alienated parents become angry as their cases are dismissed and their cause is mocked.  Third, is bargaining. As an example, a bargaining parent may believe if they try hard enough, or say the right thing, his or her child will suddenly have a change of heart. Fourth is depression. Self-blame, hopelessness, and despair consumes their thoughts. The fifth stage, is acceptance. Clearly, rejected parents do not happily accept their plight, but they may be forced to give up “the fight.”  That is, some may cho0se to loosely let go.    

It is vital though, to consider what letting go signifies.  Letting go is not to cut oneself off, it’s the realization that one person can’t control another. As applied to parental alienation, one cannot force an ex-spouse to cease his or her hate campaign. Secondly, letting go is not to deny, but to accept.  Acceptance is realizing that some ex-spouses refuse to co-parent.  Some alienating parents intend to turn the child against the other parent–permantely. They stop at nothing.  One study depicts this unfortunate, but true, reality, “a minority of parents who suffer from personality and mental disorders may ignore the court and spend their waking hours finding ways to exhaust the other parent emotionally and financially” ( Jaffe et al. 2010). Yes; you may realize that you, or a loved one, are in the minority.

Parents may also have to accept that they may be blamed for the rejection– blamed not only by family and friends, but blamed by society.  No one likes to point fingers these days, after all;  it is socially unacceptable.  As noted by Dr. Richard Warshak (2011), attributing a parent-child problem to both parents, when one parent is clearly more responsible for destructive behavior, is a misguided effort to appear balanced and avoid blame.

When to  let go?  First and foremost; it is personal.  Dr. Warshak’s book, Divorce Poison (2010), notes that the parent may see no viable option other than to let go of active attempts to overcome the problem.  As a caveat, he notes, “I just urge all alienated parents and relatives, and all therapists who work with these families, not to wave the white flag of surrender too soon.”  He offers seven suggestions about the possibility of letting go. One suggestion is when all legal channels to improve the situation have been exhausted.

Some parents, unfortunately, have discovered the aforementioned exhaustion. As  Dr. Amy Baker reported, “alienating parents did not respect the court orders, the attorneys were not interested in or able to force the alienating parent into compliance. Apparently, once the alienating parent determined that this was the case, noncompliance became the order of the day.”  Rejected parents know all too well, that non compliance works. A second suggestion by Dr. Warshak is when, “your ex is so disturbed that a continuing battle could provoke him or her to violent action against the children or against you or other members of your family.”  Clearly, not all rejected parents have the funding to continue the battle.

As a conclusion, should you come into contact with a rejected parent it may be helpful to offer grace for his or her grief.  Each and every rejected parent differs in his or her stage of sorrow.  They will also display unique feelings.  Some may feel  discouraged, dejected, and depressed. Or, others may feel angry and outraged.  If the parent recently read about parental alienation, and discovered there is a name to the irrational rejection; they may feel relieved.  Perhaps, they are baffled, broken, and bewildered. If they have pleaded with the courts for 15 years, they may feel helpless and guarded. When their families blame them, they may become withdrawn and detached.  Regardless of the stage or feeling(s) that accompany the pain of parental alienation, rejected parents require empathy, exultation, and esteem.

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  1. Gina
    November 20, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    As a result of my ongoing experience with parental alienation ( of which I am lucky enough to have had the courts intervene within the critical initial 6 month period) I can not stress enough the valididity and importance of empathy. Unfortunately empathy is all too often in short supply these days as we as a nation have, in my opinion, become preoccupied with litigation, blame and self importance. While we all have moments when we are not at our best it is my sincere hope that every parent both strives to be and takes solace in our role as stewards for our children. We learn what we live and if we truly try each day day to be the best person we can be I believe our children will, despite inevitable stumbles and disconnects, grow into adults who have the wisdom and discernment to see the real truths in the tapestry that is their life. I have felt almost incapacitating fear, struggled with despair of the unfairness of the situation and felt my blood boil in anger…alll of these feelings remain on the fringe of my conciousness waiting for the moment to reestablish themselves but they had their time and ran their course and I try to remain vigilant to recognize when those emotions seem ready to reemerge so that I may deal with them accordingly. Grief is not weakness and acceptance is not capitulation it is part of an essential healing process that must take place if we as parents are going to be the examples to our children that Christ has given us the blessing to be.
    Know you are not alone and if you have the interest take a moment to study the definition and meaning of Agape love. It’s not easy…

  2. November 20, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    Gina, well-written. You are correct about empathy. Also, far too many rejected parents have not had their pain validated. Beautifully stated, “Grief is not weakness and acceptance is not capitulation” Best Regards

  3. paul
    November 20, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    This post is timely for me. Never the white flag, but perhaps a greater sense of acceptance.

    thank You

  4. November 20, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Your blog post hits the bulls-eye for me, Monika. I went through the entire range of emotions you listed in your last paragraph, reconciling each one with whatever rational explanation most fit the circumstances.

    Notwithstanding the evidence that alienation extends long into the child’s adult life, similar to feelings of abandonment due to adoption, I confess that I drew a line about my attitude when my children became adults. While they were youngsters, living with their mother and more limited in their ability to reach out to me on their own, I considered them 100% innocent victims. But given the fact that they know where I am and how to contact me by phone or email, and they are now 26 and 31 years old, those alibis are now invalid. I am aware that they may not be free of their psychological bondage until their mother’s death.

    My conscience is clear. Theirs is a behavior I did not teach, nor set an example for. In this country, we have a tradition that people are innocent until proven guilty and we have a right to meet our accuser face-to-face and be presented with the charges against us. The parent alienation (abduction of the mind) that my children grew up with taught them that it’s OK to accuse, indict and convict your own father without confronting him to discuss whatever may be your rightful grievances.

    Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that each person’s lifetime is finite and precious, and I do not want to make what is left of my lifetime a relentless crusade to begin a relationship with two people whose behavior is exactly like their mother’s. I am not interested in photos of grandchildren I am not permitted to know in person, reminiscent of the annual school photos I received in the mail with the implicit greeting: “You can look but don’t touch.” or “See what you’re missing?” I simply don’t surround myself with that behavior in my friends, family or business colleagues, so buy children are no exception.

    Having said all that, the honest truth is that if the doorbell ever rings, my willingness to engage and recover relationships can be switched on immediately.

    • Kevin
      December 21, 2011 at 5:15 PM

      “””Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that each person’s lifetime is finite and precious, and I do not want to make what is left of my lifetime a relentless crusade to begin a relationship with two people whose behavior is exactly like their mother’s. I am not interested in photos of grandchildren I am not permitted to know in person, reminiscent of the annual school photos I received in the mail with the implicit greeting: “You can look but don’t touch.” or “See what you’re missing?” I simply don’t surround myself with that behavior in my friends, family or business colleagues, so buy children are no exception.”””

      Thanks Mr.Burnham…I’ve been a good dad and stating the obvious, not perfect. My ex was a stay at home mom (her choice) for eighteen years. She brainwashed from an early age, so consequently, the seed was planted and came to fruition when I left. When I left children (four) were either adults or late teens.

      I’ve spent the last six years crying and trying to build back relationships that I had no idea were already damaged prior, beyond repair. I’ve constantly had to justify myself and I feel as though I’m the child. I now have grandchildren and I feel exactly how you do with “you can look but can’t touch.”

      I’m tired and I agree life is precious. One thing I know is that nothing has worked for me so far. Conflicting feelings are always with me. I’m so tired of trying. And if I don’t try, it will be perceived as I am not caring. It can’t go on like this. Life is precious. They are all adults now. Parental alienation is a factor… but could part of it could be, as children who were abused like this are now in the entitlement generation. They are so self centered.

      Thanks… I am in the process of letting them go. Like you I would welcome them back in a minute.

      Kev

      • Renee
        December 22, 2011 at 6:23 PM

        It caught my eye when you said “if I don’t try, it will be perceived as I am not caring.” My husband has said the same thing many times in regards to his teen daughter. He feels as he is in a lose-lose situation. No matter what he does his ex makes him out to be the bad guy. Looking back at the years my SD lived with us, I can hear her repeat the ugly things her mom said to her. We now realize that the ex has been trying to alienate this child for years. Reading about PAS and Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP), it’s almost as though both subjects were written with the ex in mind. Scary stuff for sure.

    • melinda
      July 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Love this! and I agree with you totally!! Same thing the pictures, the notes, the fake smiles. There are the phone calls I call “courtesy calls” on the holidays, I am not willing to be treated this way and so off I go to live my own life be happy and let go. If my 2 boys cannot find peace within themselves they will never find peace. The resentment. anger and alienation they have for me will someday turn on them. and how sad is that!

      Best wishes Melinda

  5. Mary
    November 20, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    I am thankful that for my significant other giving up was not an option. He has exhausted the courts and his finances, but is rebuilding his life and supporting his children. He will always be their father. It is hardest when he realizes that being even on the fringes of their lives means hurt for them. The mother tortures them emotionally, stirring up drama, not just in private, but publicly. He keeps his distance, but she does not. We walk away but both feel that completly abandoning them is disgusting. We plan carefully so we can financially support them in an appropriate and responsible way, we keep in touch with cards, notes and small gifts, and are building a family website to record what the rest or their family is about. I hope one day to get to know them. He knows that he will always be their father and that they cannot deny that. Even if he dies before they realize, he will leave to them a story of his love and support. The court system ( MA.) should be condemned! Not a caring,loving parent. Scrap it from bottom to top. It is a despicable mess. An abusers best weapon! Wish the “occupiers” would show up at divorce court .

    • Diane
      October 14, 2013 at 4:13 AM

      I could not agree with you more regarding the court system. I feel that the family court system was the catalyst in my ex’s success in alienating me from our son’s life. The “Family Court System” what a joke!!! Isn’t the whole premise behind that system to facilitate the best interest of a child? If so, how is it even remotely in a child’s best interest to not have contact with one of his/her parents?

      With the help of the court system my ex exhausted all my financial means to fight back and in that the courts may as well have handed my son over on a preverbal silver platter. Actually once my ex finally (after years of brainwashing) managed to have our son utter the words “I don’t want to live with my mommy anymore” that was it, it was all over for me!!! My ex tried to discredit me and prove me an unfit parent for years; unsuccessfully I may add but the day my son said those words at 11 years old my ex just stood behind him using him as a human shield having our son do all of his dirty work from that point on. The courts are completely useless!!! My son has not even seen my parents or any other family member or friends of mine since shortly after he stopped seeing me. My ex knew the only way his plan would be successful was to ensure no possible contact at all!!!

      I keep thinking this is terrible nightmare that I just need to wake up from. This emotional rollercoaster just keeps repeating itself like that movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray. I am just so sick of feeling sad and mad and hurt and depressed and and and need I go on? As mentioned above “if I don’t try, it will be perceived as I am not caring.” I understand that feeling all so well. I do not mean any disrespect to any wonderful dad’s out there but I just feel as if society really looks down upon a mother who does not have access to her child(ren) as historically it has mainly been mothers having the children after marital break ups. Sadly, I think men may have been experiencing this for a long time but it just wasn’t identified as it is today. I think it is a relatively new phenomenon for mothers though at least to the degree it is happening today. I have one last comment about the infamous “Family Court System” the one with the most money will win especially when the imbalance is extreme!!!

      • DH
        February 7, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        went thru similar circumstances. my son moved with his dad at age 12. I have a sick elderly mom living with me. My son claimed he was just so stressed out and he was failing school. since then my son and my relationship has been rocky. he is told I do not love him, I do not care about him. brainwashed for 4 years. see him very little, its fun at his dads, no rules and he gets everything he wants! Still failing school too. I email my son, when he even bothers to read it. letting him know I love him, and miss him and he can visit whenever he wants. But he prefers being with his dad, they have the funds to go out to eat every night, go to movies, sporting events, concerts and other things nightly, even if it interferes with his sleep for school. he gets $50 a week to spend just because his daddy loves him. I just hope some day my son realizes less about material things and that he has a mom who does love him and tries her best to have a good relationship with him. so now I just live my life, enjoy friends, and my hubby, and keep myself happy and focused on positive things. It is sad when one parent feels their child is their property.

  6. M. Annabelle Twilley
    November 20, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    The Grieving process is a natural, and essential one to cope with catastrophic events that cannot be changed. This includes the initial Denial when the facts confronting the person, are just too enormous to all be taken in. The final stage, Acceptance for all that has happened and that cannot be changed, is also the signal for a turning point in Life, a looking forward instead of backwards. I have been attempting to re-create my relationship with the child who accuses me of being abusive when she was young, but forgiving me although not to my face, as she denies me contact with my two grandchildren ( see, still a struggle as I relapse back into the staged of the Grief cycle), I write to her, blog, research ways to give gifts that cannot be returned ( to charities that have some meaning and a good record of accomplishment). I am now at the point where it is hard to continue to read of struggle and defeat, all those places I was and want to leave behind, in group postings, in my Network of Fcebook contacts, and on. I have only one face, I am not Janis, and I want my face to be oriented to the sun, not the dark of the past.

  7. gina
    November 20, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Like all of you above, I have gone through all of the emotions. Grief is the hardest. My child’s aunt lost a child to death and the way I explained to her was that although I do not try to downplay her loss or hurt, I would think death would be easierthan dealing with my child living less than a half mile away and only wantingto see me every six months or so. I want to make sure one day he knows I didn’t choose to be out of his life. I had no choice. All I can do is keep myself busy and try to show and love to other children and my grandchildren.

    • Diane
      October 14, 2013 at 4:27 AM

      I totally agree with your analogy comparing the grief of a parent losing a child to death verses alienation. With our alienation comes rejection, the most extreme kind!!! Rejection in a typical relationship breakup is hard enough but the rejection from a child is just not fathomable. You can remarry or date again but your son or daughter will always be your son or daughter and only we can be their biological mom or dad…..there just is no substitute for that….there is NO closure. It’s an open wound that never heals over completely. Every time I see my son or hear about another milestone I have missed it’s like someone just pour acid (never mind salt) on my wound again and again!!!

  8. November 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Great article and great discussion. Thank you, Monika, for your continued insights and willingness to help others.

    In the U.S. we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in a few days. I think this is a perfect holiday to help in the letting go/acceptance process. One of the keys to letting go is to focus on all the things for which we are thankful. Despite my status as an alienated Dad, I’m thankful for many, many things — especially the many people in my life who supported me through the worst of my alienation experience. These people deserve to have me in their lives at my best — happy, healthy and with an optimistic view of the future. While my alienated son is never far from my thoughts, the ability to to not let parental alienation ruin my life was a key component in my ability to let go, move and and even help others through their alienation nightmares.

    There is a link to a speech I made on our website at http://www.afamilysheartbreak.com/resources. The speech is called Surviving parental alienation. Please check it out if you get a chance. I’m confident the message will resonate and help.

    Sincerely,

    mike jeffries
    Author, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation

  9. November 22, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Monika, thank you for this article. It very nicely pulls together some of our thoughts about blame, empathy, letting go, and grief on our blog http://www.parental-alienation-blog.com. I’d like to guest post this on there, with your permission.

    • November 23, 2011 at 1:49 AM

      Jennifer, thank you. Letting go is necessary. As Mike Jeffries mentions, letting go is needed for the rejected parent to remain happy and healthy. It also includes acceptance of “what is.” However, letting go is not the same as giving up, letting go is simply giving oneself “a break.” Feel free to re-post.

      Regards,

      Monika

  10. Renee
    November 23, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Monika, thank your for posting this article. Although it is my stepdaughter who has abandoned her dad after living her first 16 years with him, I too am grieved as I helped raise her for 12 of those years. For the last 1 1/2 years, she has been residing with a woman (mother) who has never parented her, but has been her best friend all these years. This woman has done nothing but try to destroy my husband in every manner possible. Including vilifying him to his one & only child. I think my husband is somewhere between bargaining & self blame. I am beyond the self blame but angered over how my husband has been treated. I cringe when she calls him, asking for money for something. After each phone call he becomes depressed and we go thru the last 4 of the stages all over again. Is there anything I can do to help him off this merry-go-round? Thank you for your time.

    • November 23, 2011 at 10:35 PM

      Hi Renee, thank you for your comment! Your situation is frequently overlooked– the perspective of a stepparent. Often it is portrayed that stepparents are the one that start a campaign of hatred. This is unfortunate, as there are many wonderful stepparents that pick up the slack. They pick up the slack when the biological parent refuses to follow court orders, pay school lunches, does not adhere to drop off times, etc. instead, they focus his/her energy on being a friend and not a parent. They will not pay child support but they will purchase the latest video game. Without a doubt, they do not focus on the child, but spend time figuring out how to get even. It is exactly what you describe:…..” never parented her, but has been her best friend all these years.” Dr. Richard Warshak discussed this in his article, titled Remarriage as a Trigger of Parental Alienation. The merry-go-round may occur as according to one researcher, certain alienating parents, “spend their waking hours finding ways to exhaust the other parent emotionally and financially.” Consequently, this leaves one parent on the defense (the rejected parent) and the other on the offense. If courts have not helped in your case, coping and a support group may be an option. Self care is vital. The parental alienation awareness organization and Dr. Richard Warshak offers a lot of resources. Good luck to you!

      • Renee
        November 28, 2011 at 7:20 PM

        Thank you for your reply. It is nice to know that there are people out there who do recognize the stepparent’s role in raising children. Unfortunately for me, bio-mom started campaigning against me from the get go. It does hurt that my stepdaughter can’t see thru this charade. She is, after all,
        almost 18. I knew someday I would be portrayed as the “wicked step-mom”. Sure it hurts, but what hurts most is the way my stepdaughter treats her dad. Only time will tell if she is smart enough to see what’s really going on.

        There is, however, and upside to this situation. My husband & I are closer than ever & we have moved forward with our lives. I would be pretty confident to say that bio-mom can’t stand that.

  11. Kay Sell
    November 24, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Dear Monika, I love your site. I guess my fight for my son has morphed into a fight for everyone’s children.

    Sophie stood in a long staggered line of people. Some stretched back and forth to see what was at the head of the line, but Sophie held the small hand of her son and cradled her daughter on her hip. She kept her head down, while shielding her children with prayers. A moment later, a patrolling Nazi Commandant caught her defensive darting eyes. The short transaction that followed was uneventful, compared to the blood and guts and “kill your whole family”, horror movies, of today’s standards. However, I can’t think of any more dreadful scene in film history.
    Meryl Streep won the Academy Award in “Sophie’s Choice”, for her ability to portray the brutal existence of an alienated parent after someone, with an obviously disturbed agenda, had taken her children from her. Sophie’s mind and soul became possessed with finding and saving her children. However, the deck was stacked, and every pebble of truth and humanity she found was yanked from her hands. She ruminated about how her children were building their own prisons and she was tormented by the ease in which the abuser destroyed young, innocent lives unabated. Sophie punishes herself relentlessly for crimes she did not commit, and also for the crimes against her children that she couldn’t stop. For the rest of her life, Sophie sought peace from the persistent whirling torture of guilt, exhaustion, despair, desperation, and the fear of acceptance.
    Audiences around the world embraced Sophie’s suffering in the setting of Germany 1942. Yet in America 2011, Society not only tolerates a parent’s pain of losing their children to Parental Alienation, but appears ambivalent to the reality that these children are being forced to build their own prisons. Within those life-long prisons, the young innocent ones will grow up never having the opportunity to live the lives they were born to live. Society replaces responsibility with the perception that the child is only “going through a stage”, and the alienated parent should just accept it.
    Accept what? Accept that your child will no longer be a part of your life? Accept that your child will no longer have the opportunities to live and love fully, like you have dreamed and worked for? Accept that your child will someday be the reason that someone else must endure the insufferable existence of an alienated parent. I can’t accept any of it.

    Kay

    • Karin Jones
      February 4, 2014 at 1:42 AM

      I can’t accept it either. People tell me to just get over it, but I don’t know how. Every second of every day, their absence is all I can feel. He spent years setting this up and I was so stupid. My girls asked me not to send them to visit anymore and I gave them the speech about “Daddy deserves his time, too.” and explained how the law must be respected. He refused to return them on the next visit.
      While my ex is responsible for his own actions, so is law enforcement. Judges and police officers who violate federal and state laws to interfere with child custody face no repercussions. That makes the whole system guilty.

  12. phyllis
    November 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    About giving up; it has been 25 years. My adult children have continually berated and blamed me over the duration. I have had rare visits from them that dwindled to no visits 15 years ago from one of them. The other has popped up at intervals of a year or two at a time, only to start exhibiting hostility that she projects on to me, and them storm out. Over the last year this has escalated to her making contact with me to con, (yes, sadly, con) me out of some money before she fabricated a story of “my hostility” and made her customary angry exit. This year also, in our home, she physically assaulted her stepsister who then called the police. Then she texted me at some point with four texts, spilling out abusive language and telling me that if I ever contacted her again, she would file harrassment charges. Interestingly enough, her sister made the same assertion this year. I have tried to contact both of my children by phone once or twice a year. I suppose that is it then, time to let go. What else can I do; they are adults and they have both told me that they consider my yearly call to be harrassment. Yes, I know their minds are confused and yes, the father in this case was the architect of alienation. I am not naive; there are other factors, among them my own frailty. I dare say that the aggressor described in the Parental Alienation Disorder is an apt description of my ex-husband.

    About letting go, I don’t think I can expose myself any more to this; in truth I have come to fear my daughters. I almost want to disappear for the fear that their irrational hatred will culminate into a physical attack against me or my present family members.

    Is this what you mean by letting go? I have to let go.

    • December 1, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Dear Phyllis, no one can decide for another when to let go. However, the topic is necessary, especially for “older” situations of PAS (parents that have been dealing with PAS for 10 years or more). And, the wait may continue on for years to come, as there remains a lot of debate around parental alienation (syndrome). This is unfortunate. I am reminded of a quote, “We know that men can be made to do exactly anything. It is all a question of finding the right means”—Jules Romains. Alienating parents have found the right means. If adults join cults, it seems absurd to dismiss the possibility that children cannot be coerced into rejecting a once loved parent.

      As you noted, your ex-spouse was the architect of the alienation. Most notably, you have dealt with this for 25 years. Also, each parent knows his/her own limits. Studies show and parents tell, that one of the hallmarks is the disrespect that favored (also known as the alienating parent) teaches to his / her child(ren). If disrespect is taught at a young age, it is likely to carry into adulthood. Some parents have had property destroyed, been physically attacked, or others, if they are “lucky” may have items missing from their home and given to the parent that overtly or covertly displays a pity party (the favored parent). If you can, get a copy of Dr. Warshak’s book, Divorce Poison. He discusses the topic of letting go. It is a tough process indeed. Best of luck to you.

  13. November 28, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    This resonates with me and my family. Unfortunately, after such a long time having a child withheld from our home, our love, our attention, and then having that same child hate us, after a while acceptance is the only road to take to heal ourselves (after all else fails, miserably)

  14. Pamela
    January 6, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Thank you for this article! I’ve posted it on my facebook page and am doing my best to help inform others of this growing problem in our society.

    The biggest problem of all; most courts do not recognize the problem. My son has been battling for 4 1/2 years. We finally got our day in court only to have our attorney shaft us! 1st he didn’t even show up, sent another attorney from the firm that we had never had any contact with. 2nd he didn’t know our case and didn’t present over half of it even though we kept telling him what papers he needed and what questions to ask. He just wouldn’t do it. The Judge found her not guilty on all of the Contempt Charges even though we did prove she was in contempt of court. What is sad is no one is really looking out for the Children who are the most important ones.

    We have been really blessed that my grandsons don’t hate us. They know we love them and are fighting for them. As a matter of fact, the oldest one who is 8, knows exactly what his mom is doing and has made the statement several times that he is angry with her and when he is old enough to tell the Judge, he is going to tell him he wants to live with his dad.

    Kay, I love your comments! They are so so true!

  15. January 16, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    A Christian point of view on this subject:
    There was a reason God had honor thy father AND mother in the ten commandments. There was no conditions put on that commandment either. The bible does not state don’t honor your father or your mother if he is mean, unattentive, missed an event, didn’t give enough money, bought the wrong gifts, etc.

    Children, obey your parents in the Lord,[a] for this is the right thing to do. 2“Honor your father and mother…”[b] (This is a very important commandment with a promise.) 3“…so that it may go well for you, and that you may have a long life on the earth.” Eph. 6:1-3.

    I believe an alienating parent is removing the promise or blessing from God on these children by teaching them to hate the other parent. A loving parent would never do these things. A loving parent would never teach to love and respect the other parent only with conditions met.

    • January 18, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      Janet: Thank you for your comment. I am hopeful that the Christian community will recognize the turmoil that alienation thrusts upon rejected parents. It is disheartening that one parent teaches the child to hate the other parent (as we know, the child does not truly “hate” the rejected parent). Although alienated children clearly appear like they are harboring hatred, the appearance is misleading. It is easy to see why many are critical of rejected parents as they observe the rejection. Or, without education about parental alienation, one can understand why rejected parents believe and internalize that their child(ren) hate them. This is yet another reason why education about parental alienation is needed. It is difficult for rejected parents when they are dealing with children who display extreme rebellion, destroy property, perpetually trash family dinners, refuse visitation (in the absence of true abuse and neglect) and many other manifestations of undesirable behavior that result from parental alienation.

      • Missy
        June 25, 2014 at 6:55 AM

        And what happens when the alienators are also your own parents, sisters and ex-husband? I am a Catholic and believe in the 10 commandments, but also believe that I cannot enable evil. And an evil in the past (which is denied and unrepented) does not make its present day impact any less evil. I severed ties with my family after trying to explain what they had done to finally an ultimatum to which more alienating behavior ensued. Not everything is so cut and dry. My action was the correct and noble one.

    • dea
      August 24, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      I have looked at the biblical perspective devoutly over these long and lonely years, to find solace, and comfort…to find any reasoning and Iv’e only fought that “…God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle”… I’ve devoutly prayed for less, because this womans broken so very broken.. I miss my 4 children 2 boys, 2 girls…my oldest is full of hatred.. the divorce started when she was 5, now 14 ( It was an abusive home, I left) i had to get him ordered back to my state w the children, he managed to get ordered to live in my home, after nearly killing me and made several damaging problems with child services and injuring me and two children I was hospitalized again and in a women’s center…Because of the previous order the way it was done the womens center could not take my children and returned them to the home to my ex …this is how life has gone 9 years…the ex from hell, the stepmom from hell she made my kids call her mom and would hurt them if they didn’t… i Breastfed them! sang them lullibys all their lives and even when they were part time they would all crawl up pon my lap anf fight for the space!… fast fw to when my ex wasn’t home at pickup time..i’d get emails where were you today “you could have at least called”… “the kids were waiting”….me- hello you live 4 blocks down the street there’s no dumb way i can miss a pick up we walk! in court hits me with contempt and not following court orders…my oldest child backs up that I never show up…I have never missed a pickup time for anything less than illness then I send a person to go get them (grandma) a 14 yr old with her own cell phone has alot to lie about a mother who already lost everything has nothing has nothing to need to lie about.
      I think these people are nothing of God, even when they claim to go to church, because they certainy never went when I was the head of the house hold , the ex was an athiest. and told me i was wasting my time…well consider false face and where that leads. I believe I am the stronger person, I still to this day do not smoke, do not drink…though i cry in church sometimes at the pain in my heart… some power is keeping me from that fate and i haven’t killed myself yet either, though some days i don’t always feel blessed as I should I do need the reminders that there are blessings in my life just not the ones I wanted…

      • Joy
        April 16, 2014 at 3:57 AM

        Hi dea: nowhere in the bible does it say “god won’t give you what you cannot handle”. Dying is a pretty good indication that we have experienced something we cannot bear. There is a verse 1 Cor 10:13 which states that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear; there will always be an escape”. God has not given us these terrible circumstances; it is the result of the sin of the alienating parent. But we do have choices in how we respond & there are many wise words in this blog and responses that help. But no, we have not been given these circumstances because we are strong or because we need some sort of twisted lesson. Society likes to think that so that they do not have to make a choice to recognise unacceptable behaviour & perhaps do something about it !!!! We can look to god for ways to help us respond and care for ourselves. Hugs to you.

    • Trish
      November 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      This is correct. I pray for both of my children so that they will one day hear the voice of Jesus and find healing from their anger since it is a true removal of a blessing.

  16. luci
    January 18, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    There is no need to grieve any child that isn’t dead! Just because parents are alienated temporarily does not mean they are never going to see their children again…. there is a very big difference! I disagree that alienated parents or other family members need to grieve…. they simply cannot get contact for the time being…. these children are not children forever and in today’s world there are far more opportunities for them to find out the truth for themselves as to whether they are actually loved and cared for by a parent who has been unable to reach them because there is injustice in the family law system today. Presumption of right of contact for both parents is fair and justice…. why discriminate… times are changing! Forget grieving…. these alienated family members are raising awareness and campaigning for change and we will never give up!

    • September 24, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      This comment angers me. To be taken out of your child’s life unjustly is to grieve. Period. Regardless of raising awareness or campaigning for change.

      • September 24, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        Thank you for your comment, Denise. Yes; parents do grieve, for many years. Alienation for some is akin to the death of a child.

      • Joy
        April 16, 2014 at 4:00 AM

        Thank you very much for your reply Denise. As an alienated parent, of course we are grieving.

  17. January 18, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Luci: thank you for your comment. It is certainly true: helping professionals and parents are raising awareness. Thanks to the work of thousands of parents and the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization, along with the work of Dr. Richard Warshak, Dr. Amy Baker, Dr. Kathleen Reay– just to name a few. As you said, many who are temporarily alienated certainly would not give up. The article was prepared for those in which efforts span 15 to 30 years (or more), but still have not re-connected with their (adult) children. Even then, most parents would keep the door open. Nevertheless, along the way, many endure grief, frustration, and anger. Letting go temporarily, that is, to take a break for self-care is vital. Giving up entirely is not an option or consideration in the hearts and minds of most parents.

  18. Renee
    January 19, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Re: Janet’s comment—It is unfortunate that even Christian parents alienate. They seem to change any rule be it the courts, society & even the Churches. It is very selfish and appears to hurt everyone, including themselves. My step daughter was baptized Catholic by her mother & dad (both raised Catholic). Dad & I raised her in the Catholic religion for 13 years. Her mother has told her numerous times that she herself doesn’t believe in the church & only baptized her because her dad told her she had to. My SD & her mother went to Christian churches sporadically over the years. To me this was the epitome of being hypocritical.
    Re: Luci’s comment–I don’t feel as though my husband & I are grieving like our child is dead so to speak. It is more the loss of the close & loving relationship we once had & would have liked to continue.

  19. Kimberly
    March 21, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Would it be wrong to give adult children literature, books etc on parent alienation? My husband has been a victim of this for years. His children with his first wife have been poisioned for 14 years.
    I want so badly to email them information on this syndrome, if nothing else but to plant a seed. Their mother has emotionally abused these kids for years and have been brainwashed into hating their father for no reason. He is a wonderful man.

  20. Renee
    March 26, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    My step-daughter has just been put on Zoloft (she is 17). Since she has moved in with her mother, she has missed over 100 days of school in the last year & 3 months. She has been in counseling for over 7 months but still does not contact her dad. As a matter of fact she is now referring to her ex-uncle as “dad” and he is calling her “daughter”. Husband & I met with her counselor. She is concerned about what the mother is telling the daughter, the daughter’s lack of emotion, concerns of abandonment, stress & a list of other things. The counselor does feel like daughter is getting the bulk of her feelings towards my husband & I from her mother. She also suggested that daughter has absolved her mother of any wrong doing and is projecting it on us. She said in her experience the child can go either way, i.e. recognize the dynamics of what is going on & correct it or refuse to see any problems created by the same issues. I mentioned Hostile Aggressive Parenting & the counselor stated that is what she sees as happening. When I mentioned PA & PAS, the counselor said she was familiar with the terms but not enough to render an opinion. When asked what we should do, she said keep doing what we have been doing. Invites for dinner, phone calls, etc. However, my husband is at the point of giving up. He is not being told about school functions, pictures for school, parent teacher conferences. He isn’t even being told about counseling or doctor appointments. Sorry to go on from one subject to the other.
    I guess what I really want to know, is now that we have met the counselor do we push to meet with daughter for some intervention? Do we push the counselor to read up on PA to help us? We just don’t know where to go from here.

  21. March 28, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    Hi Renee: Many rejected parents do feel like giving up. Parenting is a tough job and even more difficult when the favored (also known as alienating parent) makes the job harder. Support and self-care are a dire necessity. If you have not, Dr. Richard Warshak’s video, called Pluto is a great tool, not only for your family, but for therapists. It covers the emotions that rejected parents endure and points out that some rejected parents may over react and others may under react. Regarding therapy: in some cases parents have offered their therapist educational materials regarding PA. It is a personal decision to discuss with your therapist. The link provides studies that some have used. They are free. The articles are not “opinion” pieces, but have been included in journals.http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/info_pas.htm Best of luck to you.

    • Renee
      April 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

      I received my copy of “Pluto”. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. I made my husband sit down & watch it with me. I am the one who has been doing research on PA, PAS & HAP. I have taken out books from the library, read on-line resource information and have tried to pass on this knowledge to him. Watching this video was the most IMPORTANT learning tool that I could ask for. He actually said that it could have been written about his situation with his daughter. After one year of counseling, step-daughter is still not making a move to include Dad in any aspect of her life except taking her to doctor’s appointments. She is still treating everyone in her mother’s family like God’s and distaning his family. We are going to give the video to her counselor, who has strong beliefs that the mother is creating a wealth of issues in step-daughter. Maybe she can share it during sessions.

      I highly recommend anyone who is suffering with PA to order this video. You will watch it many times. It may not solve the problem, but you will certainly gain a new perspective.

      Thank you again!

  22. Trish
    June 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Hi all, so many thoughts and wonderful comments. I am in NC an an alienated parent, haven’t given up but always feel like I am in a fog and constant state of grief. If anyone is willing to form a group in North Carolina with me to help create awareness (Raleigh/Greensboro/Durham area) please contact me at 336-693-6278. Trish

    • Kendra
      August 9, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      I was wondering if a support group was ever formed ?I was looking for one for my mom ,she lives in Raleigh.

  23. becky
    September 18, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    After so much hurt and pain, this morning I finally told my daughter that maybe she should go live with her father and SM. She has been threatenting to do this for some time and I am soooooo worn out. It’s very difficult to be a single mother, sole provider and primary care provider without any support and to further an ex-husband and his wife who do everything within their power to manipulate my daughter against me all the while making her think that I am the one who manipulates. Most of these posts talk about never giving up, but I ask at what cost? When my 14 year old daughter is suffering chest pains and taken to the ER because of anxiety all the while blaming me when I, albeit not perfect, have tried my absolute hardest to co-operative parent and support her relationship with her father…..what more can I do? My attorney doesn’t believe that I can make any changes legally; meeting with PAS therapist haven’t gotten me anywhere….I just don’t even know how to proceed. I applaud all of you that have been able to “never give up” and keep everyone who is victim to PAS in my prayers. Thank you for letting me vent.

  24. August 7, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    I am a Christian with two alienated kids. They are both around 30. They blame me for everything; sure I made mistakes. I did wrong. But who doesn’t? I have prayed for them, expected God to turn their hearts to me, but nothing happens. It just gets worse. My family has slowly taken the side of my ex, because, well, I think they like to see me fail. They always have. So, as a Christian, this is what God has done for me these past twenty years as I endured parental alienation: first, He allowed me to feel and grieve. For years. Then he allowed me to try everything to believe they would come back. Then he showed me they would not, and told me to accept truth. Now, he tells me to guard my heart and live my life, to not enter the role of horrible mom that they want me to fulfill in order to be kind of accepted with a phone call now and then, or an email. God Almighty told me to love myself and move on. I do, and am much happier. I don’t need a family that hurts me continually. That is not a family. My kids have chosen life without me. So be it. I praise Jesus and live on. The hardest part for me is the society thing. I am a teacher and it’s tough to explain why my two grown kids hate my guts. Jesus, help me!

    • Trish
      August 12, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Hi Toni. I have been through the same. Remember that alienation is a disease and those that are emotionally abused and literally taken from their parents live a different reality. My sister blamed me for not being able to see her niece anymore. My daughter and my sister blamed me for remarrying someone else. Prayer has been my only hope. As for society I tell those that only get to know me first about my situation. The rest of the judgemental world I tell them I have no children. It has been easier that way. Remember that those that love God will face the devil many times over and keep praying and ask Him for help. Satan will win if we let him. Think of the advantage you have as a teacher to help children in other ways as teachers do in so many different areas. Are there others who need you more than your children? I have had to ask myself that question and it has led me down different paths. My prayers are with you.

    • dea
      August 24, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      oOh lord, be with you…I’m facing letting mine go and ive been told i’m selfish etc.. ut i’ve lost my medical career and everything to all the allegations and suffered so much that I’ve almos killed myself…Ive never done drugs or alcohol or anything but did face a famil member who recently turned out to side w the ex because she said i wouldnt have 2 exs saying the same thing if it weren’t true…well have we never heard of ganging up? i make an ez target…i couldn’t believe she believe their story that i gave myself all of my injuries(i was abused, so were my kids, the ex managed to flip it) 2nd joined ex after i threw him out, but the court did discount his case later. Family is supposed to support each other. apparently thats just on T.V.

  25. Amanda Iler
    September 22, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Some days are easier than others. Omg unless you have experienced this first hand, it’s unimaginable to comprehend the dynamics, at hand.
    Every other day is a struggle internally. 1 day I wake w/ the keep fighting attitude and then reality sets in, I’m out numbered, the other side (alienating family) has 20 influences compared to myself who is comprised of myself and my sons 2 siblings, that reside w/me.
    I haven’t had contact w/ my first born-oldest child in over 2 years, since he went to live w his father, actually. I backed off to hopefully stop the hate campaign or least lessen it. I feel like any mention of myself poses threat of further damage and the less I am mentioned perhaps they don’t feel as threatened and will quit the campaign. These people are sick. Frequently, approx every 2-3 months I do send a text to my son just reassuring him that we miss him dearly and love him unconditionally, despite anything that had happened or anything that may happen (clueless as to what he’s been fed but also not blaming anyone in texts, despite my understanding of being the targeted parent) he never replies, which is extremely hurtful because it takes so much courage to will myself to send yet another plea that’s falling on deaf ears. It’s discouraging. I have dreams of him playing w/ his younger brother and sister, only to wake up and wish I hadn’t woke up because the pain is unbearable, at times.

    I feel as though it may beyond repair but i will continue to send a text ever so often to acknowledge that regardless of anything, I love him and miss him. I can only fantasize that one day even if a decade from now that he will realize that he’s been robbed just as much as myself and his 2 siblings.
    After periods of the internal wrestle of ‘keep fighting’ then idk if out of a defense mechanism I flip over to ‘let go’ to release all the grief consuming me, my mind, heart and soul and damn near come to accept this hellish nightmare and attempt at picking up my shattered remnants and try to live a normal life, to the best of my ability, given my circumstances, and tell myself I’m robbing myself of happiness that I deserve by letting it eat me to the core… But even when I convince myself to accept this as it is and try to move on their are days I wake up and the cycle of internal of this starts all over.

  26. Robert
    September 24, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    I had to give up in this life, ten years of court violations on her part ended with my being given a full 50/50 time with my Daughter. She committed suicide due to the constant harassment of her mother.

    • September 24, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Robert, very sorry to hear about your loss. Unfortunately, I read of such tragedies too often. One mother, Pamela Richardson, shared her story, titled a Kidnapped Mind.

  27. Ronald
    September 26, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I am at the point where I have given up, and see no end to all of this. I have step children and one out of the four of my is still talking to me. Now one other is talking to me, and it seems like giving up and letting things take their course may be the answer. I really don’t know. I came home from the military a real mess because of what I was involved in. A combat veteran with a real case of PTSD. My former spouse used it against me, and the courts went along with it.

    • Trish
      September 26, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      first thanks for your service to this country, I appreciate it. Second, sometimes I think you really need to let go – I did and had no choice at all due to finances as Jerry stated above. If you don’t have the money to fight it, the courts disregard what they are hearing. I found that in order to live again I had to let go. I never gave up trying to contact my kids and it was easier to do as they got older, one will speak with me and the other will not. So I proceed cautiously and don’t try and “push any ropes”….I have found that doesn’t work…

  28. September 26, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    great article and information…..

  29. Jerry
    September 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I had to let go; I saw no other option. It didn’t matter what I said or did, I always ended up as the bad guy, the liar, the instigator – regardless of how much proof to the contrary I had or how ridicules the accusations were. Without the finances to afford heavy hitting lawyers there wasn’t much I could do even after I finally learned what Parental Alienation was. Now both my kids are adults and both refuse to speak to me.

    Sometimes we give up because there is no choice. You must accept life as it is; pick up the broken pieces of your heart and life and try to move forward. My heart will forever be broken but I am learning to live again. Letting go was the best thing I could have done.

    • Ronald
      September 26, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      Jerry I read your comment and since you really can’t tell hardly anyone who will listen that is in the public eye, it is even worse. Might I give you a different way of looking at this. I worked in the government and had a high security clearance. The one thing they always taught us is how to recognize the efforts that are made to destroy a country. I have been chewed on a bit for saying this but I firmly believe there is an organized effort here to destroy the family unit in this country. It was taught to me long ago, and I think we have overlooked it. Of course this is conjecture on my part, but I know what I was taught and what to watch for.

  30. Carrie
    September 26, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    I too went through the years of grief and mental and emotional torture and eventually I did let go – my final option for my own survival. A miracle has literally taken place and my four children now grown have returned to me…….they are damaged but they finally made their own way too me. Let go but never give up hope….

    • September 26, 2013 at 10:14 PM

      I have learned, in my case, that sometimes its the children themselves who stop PAS from continuing, My wife absconded with my son in late March. In late June her lawyer contacted my lawyer, she hired a law firm notorious for being “sharks” and 6 days before a FCS meeting, i get a restraining order against me, claiming rape and other falsehoods. Eventually FCS interviewed my son and he told them he misses me and wants to see me. at first i had to do the supervised visit thing for 3 weeks, this is what her side offered, than they offered unsupervised visits on Saturdays for almost 8 hours. Now I have a court order with joint custody and 1/3 of the time with me, this is after the restraining order was defeated. During this whole progress my son has been saying he wishes to spend more time with me. Someone is listening to him, maybe things are getting better, or God heard my prayers. I am in southern California.

  31. Ronald
    October 2, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Indeed to resolve this in my mind would take subjecting myself to the absolute corner of my mind where the death of a family member resides. That is where I have refused to go for over fifteen years, now it appears that is the only choice.

  32. Vickie
    October 17, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    For 6.5 years, like most of the other replies, I have grieved for my two children and never been able to talk to anyone..because really how do you explain this to someone that has never gone through it. Normal responses have always been….”why didn’t you call the police?” The system is so deeply flawed in Canada and anything that requires a lawyer is a ticket for them to empty out your bank account and do nothing. My ex perjured himself in court on at least a half dozen times and every time we tried to get someone to listen to us, his lawyer always over powered us. Thus, she/he who has the most money and more powerful lawyer…wins. Unfortunately the children lose. My children are now 18 & 20 and one of them has recently contacted a family member. It has broken my heart to learn that she is now under psychiatric care after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. It is also appalling to me that my entire family (which is small) has tried to hide all of this from me, including the “reunion”. They are terrified of my “ex” but is that enough of a reason to act like children themselves? On most days, I can function and had done like some of the other parents and just reconciled that this was the way it’d be, even went to the extremes of telling people I didn’t have children, because it made the pain less painful, then trying to explain alienation. But now the immense pain, anger, and now betrayal are back with a vengeance. I guess the moral of this story is that I let go of them once, now I’m letting go of the whole lot of them….will the pain ever diminish this time?

  33. bettysblue
    October 25, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Why isn’t parental alienation more frequently recognized (and consequently appropriately penalized) by family court? Too often, the alienated parent is heart broken, financially-wrecked, and is left with barely any legal custody of the children. More than being angry with the alienating parent, I’m more concerned about family court judges’ unwillingness to recognize a crime with negative, irreversible consequences that have long been documented and extensively researched in psychological science.

    • November 1, 2013 at 5:15 AM

      More and more courts are recognizing parental alienation. It could be that judges’ are not unwilling to recognize, but on the contrary, it is a reality they operate in a bogged-down system. Hopefully, families can find other options vs. court, which is adversarial, to resolve conflict. One example, to aid in decreasing conflict, when alienation is unintentional, is a co-parenting class. In situations in which the alienation is intentional, it may be in order for a temporary change in parenting time. I agree; the consequences have been long documented in the social sciences; parental alienation is considered by many as a form of emotional abuse.

  34. Jeff
    November 22, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I can’t believe how many people go through this! It’s a travesty! I felt all alone and try to come up with words to describe how I feel. Everybody here is facing the same issues. I really appreciate to hear your stories, we all seem to live the same life. There needs to be a way to get this heard in court! I’m sick of being overlooked and cast away! Safety in numbers people! We need a voice. I love my child and have not been able to see him in a year and a half. Enough is enough! I’m done spending all my money in court without results. I just want to have my relationship with my son before it’s too late.

  35. November 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    What happens when you have lived this so long, that “court” or “safety” are meaningless? It’s too late, their childhood is gone…something that can never be replaced or returned has been taken from your life…your babies, your children, your family. How can one attempt to disclose this pain? The holidays, the birthdays, the summers, the winters, all of life. It doesn’t get better, it doesn’t change and they don’t ever cry, or come back or care. Rather they use you and despise you and do everything they can to break you.

    I still recall the night I found out about PAS and the relief was overwhelming…no one loved (loves) their children and grandchildren more than I. I know who I am and I know I was a very good parent…but they hate me and have since my divorce. Same story as all of you, thank you for coming forward. At least I can now accept…

  36. allison
    December 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I think more so than the article itself, it comforts me to read the comments. Its as though some of you have lived mine and my fiancés life when it comes to his 2 teenage children. And, took the words out of our mouths with “if I stop trying, I’ll be uncaring…” and we would welcome them with open arms but we cant live our lives constantly battling …We are in the process of court proceedings and it is emotionally exhausting the things the mother does and says and even worse what his children say to him after how much he has tried to be there for them. It has gotten to the point where I don’t even let him read some emails he gets from his children (or his ex acting as them) claiming they don’t want to see him for visits because I know how much he gets hurt inside by the words. He acts like he doesn’t care, that maybe he doesn’t need to see them anymore but then I watch him cry for hours because he misses them. Im younger than him and children of our own are in our future and it hurts me to know that we may end up having to “let go” and future children may never know their siblings and we may not get to stay in touch with the children just 6 years ago, we were all once so close with.

  37. December 10, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    We are all suffering.
    I know of 1 suicide, Akio and also Yoshida was in prison for trying to see his daughter. Alex couldn’t get access to his children, lost his job and had to move out of Japan. These 3 members can be seen on Clive France photo project blog along with my profile.

    This is tormenting to the parents and the long term mental effects on the children. While the mothers know what they can do within their Japanese legal system is absolutely appalling.

    Tim Johnston Japan
    Kai Endo Japan

  38. KathyC
    December 16, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    I have decided to let go – it has only been only been 2 devastating, rejecting years by both my children and the court system but I feel like I have exhausted every avenue. My daughters are only aged 7 and 10 but mimic their alienating father’s attitude. I know I am a good mother, I will always love them unconditionally with all my heart. I am angered that the judicial system can turn their backs on these children but have accepted the reality. It sickens and worries me how my daughters are going to turn out from living in a PAS environment. I’m still grieving the loss of parenthood to my daughters – I had such a great relationship with them, so many wonderful memories….now I have nothing. I desperately want to have a relationship with them but the ex will do everything in his power to prevent this from happening and the courts won’t do anything to stop his behavior. I hate the idea of giving up but honestly it is the only way I feel I can move on. Every act of love I direct towards them is rejected, the rejection hurts…knowing that they are deeply psychologically damaged and their condition only worsens as time passes on is unbearable. The children have been so emotionally and mentally brainwashed at this point, I feel as though I cannot reach them. People who have not dealt with PAS firsthand do not understand, it is frustrating and I’ve given up even mentioning my previous children because of it.

    I have an amazing supportive husband and new baby – letting go appears to be the best way to shield any future pain from my healthy growing family. Before my ex took my children, my husband was the only dad that they had ever known. I know that my husband feels the loss also. I take comfort that we did have many wonderful memories with the children and hope one day they will recognize this.

    People can judge me for letting go, at this point though, I am beyond caring what others think. Unless you have walked in my shoes, you have no right to judge. I think when you have done everything that you can possibly do….failure after failure, realize the injustice of the court system, and lose virtually all contact with your child(ren) you have to find a way to cope. The way to cope for me is letting go. My ex wants to control my life, he wants to ruin me emotionally as a person…I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE HIM THAT SATISFACTION. I am letting go, I will always love my children, I will try to make known to them from time to time that the door to a relationship with me is still open, although I am mentally prepared for this plea to fall on deaf ears as it has in the past, There will come a time that I will stop this too, but right now they are still young and I hold onto the hope that they still might listen, I will not tolerate abuse from them, although I totally anticipate them to adopt their fathers abusive, destructive behavior as this is what they have learned to be acceptable.This behavior is already evident in the few conversations I get to have with them. If they seriously want to have a relationship one day I will point them in the direction of professional help.

    My heart goes out to all other parents affected by PAS, it’s an undeserved emotional roller-coaster of heartache. I pray that despite the long and painful journey, we can all find peace at some level.

    • Trish
      December 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      Don’t worry my dear. No one has the right to judge you and for your own sanity I know what it’s like to have to walk away as a mother. Keep telling your daughters you love them and turn a thick skin on if they abuse you in return. Remember they are being programmed. I think it would have made a difference in my case had I at least done that. Best wishes.

    • Lisa
      June 16, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      Oh Kathy, I so relate to your story.
      I have finally given up/let go of the fight in order to save my life and start a new one. I even have changed my phone number. Because I cannot manage the repeated heartbreak. I experienced a heart attack last week because of this.
      Much information out there about PAS is in the interest of fathers. As I reflect, I see that the abuse and manipulation started very early on in my relationship with my abusive ex- husband and in my children’s lives. I can even now recognize the signs in our first date 21 years ago!! And even at the birth of my first child, Nicole, where as soon as I gave birth he took her from the delivering doctor and would not let me hold her.
      I love my kids so so much, yet feel anger that they cannot stand up for what is right (they are 14 and 19). They have told me that my home is a sanctuary, and we had a loving relationship, yet when interviewed by therapists, teachers, coaches, attorneys, and law enforcement, they will lie to protect their Dad and his new wife who acts as if she is a family savior yet has relentlessly tried to remove me from their lives.
      I appreciate and feel so much hope that there are other parents experiencing the same heartbreak and confusion regarding compassion and love for their kids versus anger at how this revenge happens. It is the ultimate form of bullying and child abuse.

  39. Ronald
    December 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    This is indeed a very tough time of the year for those of us who are targeted parents. May I offer this to all of you. Please don’t stop fighting because I am on about my eighteenth Christmas season (it doesn’t get any easier) and I have a somewhat different view of alienation. I see it as the destruction of a country, and was told this many times by the US Navy back in the years when they seemed to care. They told me to be on guard and watch for anything like this happening, and of course it is going on as we speak. This country is going into the abyss, with the results being devastating to all of us. Ignoring our pleas for help, is just another symptom of the destruction. Never stop telling your story. I am a combat veteran who chose to tell the truth about what I saw in service to my country. Little did I know what would be done to me for telling the truth. Never stop, NEVER!!!!!

  40. February 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    MAMA is a page that is for alienated moms to draw support from and meet other mothers who are alienated parents. Please come and help us spread the word against Maternal Alienation. Devoted husbands and fathers who support our cause are welcome as well.

  41. Cindy
    March 23, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    My adult children – have had a re-written history and been provided with money by their dad who deliberately and with intent destroyed my children’s relationship with me. They refuse to speak with my friends who were around when they were growing up (he never did anything for them as children) when I basically raised them. They were young adults by the time I divorced (it took six years because of his obstacles as a solicitor were successful). When they replicated his actions and abuse with threats I put a halt to it. It no longer worked because I put in boundaries they did not like. As a result, they have cut me out of their lives. An alienated parent suffers tremendous despair and the questions of “what did I do to deserve this” has never been answered. I know enough about the results of PAS on adult children and for their sake I hope that they never have any children. I foresee only sadness in their lives and the intergenerational abuse will be perpetuated thanks to a man who had his own agenda, was a sociopath and never really loved his children. My adult children may never have closure.

  42. EmpatheticWife
    May 11, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    This article and these comments are offering me so much solace. My husband’s daughter is now in her early mid twenties with three children that he has never seen. He is disabled with crippling arthritis and because of this our finances have been really bad for the last 9 years. Every once in a while we go through a spurt of receiving some good money because of earlier projects that my husband did before his arthritis took over and then his daughter is all of a sudden so sweet and wanting to talk to him all the time and says how much she loves him (though she would never say it publicly, no her social media is only reserved for talking about how much she loves her mother who was a junkie and left my husband as a single father when the daughter was very young). As soon as we don’t have enough money to give any to her anymore she is then gone, poof and then really moody with him.

    She talks all the time about what a “horrible” father he was even though he raised her and her sister by himself because the mother was constantly moving around and in rehab. Her grievances about him are so ridiculous. They are the most spoiled and entitled things I have ever heard. She says he was a bad father because he moved them around all the time (the moved about 6 times, total ) and in the first 3 years of her first child’s life she moved over 10 times! I guess that grievance doesn’t apply to her.

    Her mother ODed in front of her one time and she blames my husband! She doesn’t seem to have any anger at all towards her mother for ODing, but somehow it was my husband’s fault. He can do no right unless he has money. Then, all of a sudden she remembers the good times and she loves him (privately, of course). As soon as the money is all dried up, she’s gone and back to not liking him again. We have tried to get her to come visit us with her children because my husband can’t travel very well and she always agrees and then just never does it. We even sent money to her twice with the sole purpose of it being used to come visit us but then she doesn’t contact us for months and then it is never brought up again.

    My husband is so tired of it all and he has emotionally tuned out. It is difficult for me to accept and I keep wanting him to try because that is his daughter but it is so hurtful how one sided and full of rejection she is. I have to figure out a way to let this go the way my husband has. It just hurts to see so much undeserved blame being pushed onto my husband and yet the mother’s sins are too long to list and she somehow gets all of the unconditional love. Every present the mother gives her, she announced on FB how wonderful her mother is but if my husband gives her $1000 to help her from being evicted or sends a bunch of toys to the grandchildren, she doesn’t say a word to anybody. It’s like it didn’t happen. She barely thanks him and then continues to ask him for money until we don’t have any extra to give her and then she disappears or becomes hateful.

    When her first child was born, we sent her a bunch of stuff that she said she needed even though we couldn’t really afford it and never once did she publicly thank her father the way she thanked her mother for her baby gifts. I don’t even remember her thanking my husband in private for that. As a matter of fact, we got an email from her half sister (not my husband’s daughter) asking us to go in on a crib with her since we hadn’t sent anything yet. We’re pretty sure that the half sister talks badly about my husband to her as well. It’s ridiculous. There was also a time right before her first child was born when she told everybody in her life that her dad was dead. We know this for a fact but she refuses to admit it even though we have proof. She just denies the proof and then disappears for months if he ever brings it up to her.

    I know I have repeated myself several times here but I am so full of frustration about the whole situation and I am glad to be able to vent it here among people who are unfortunate enough to understand our situation. My husband has been trying to connect with her over the last month and he sent an ecard for his grandson’s birthday but she won’t respond to any of it. We have no idea what it’s about this time. The only thing we can think is that she has been spending a lot of time with her mom during this time and she is even dating a guy who her mom set her up with now, so she might be getting it from him too as he was apparently friends with her mom first.

    There is so much more and I don’t even know if I did it any justice, but I can’t think straight. I am so tired of feeling so frustrated about all of this. How do you let go? I

  43. patrick
    June 5, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Never married. Broke up before the 1st was born. Second child occured while visiting my oldest. Im 40 now…My kids are now 9 and 7. Theres been parental alienating going on since birth. It started out as the mother wouldnt let me take the kids home with me. I could only visit with them in her apartment. Then at some point she confined the visiting in just the kids room. I hire a lawyer early 2012 and she was served for custody. Our court date was 3 months away. Once she got served she completely ignored every request for me to see the kids. For those 3 months I had no communication and no idea where they were. Upon our court appearance the mother gave a lame excuse why I had not seen the kids in 3 months. Judge issued immediate temporary visitation. Since family court has been involved theres been countless accusations, allegations, missed visits, interferences upon my visits, etc. Its as if the courts are an ‘enabler’ or further alienation. To make a long story short, I have been at the point when Im ready to walk away (over and over). Im not very emotional, but this ordeal has made me very unemotional. Ive gone through all the emotions mentioned above and Ive become at peace if i make the decision to walk away. Alot will depend on family court, forensic, supervised visit, law gaurdian, etc. now that they’ve recognized the alienation if they do anything about it (immediately). if not, i am inclined to walk away and salvage the rest of my life.

    • dea
      July 19, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      I’m a mom who has lost my emotions over the circumstances…I got tired of the lame excuses of the kids and other parents not being at the pickup time and place, I’m tired of their accusations, and tired of the abuse by them that the courts enable with their lengthy, ineffective processes, that by the time all the other appeals are entertained 2 more years went by and my youngest hadn’t seen his brothers and sisters in most all of his life. I hear nothing but bad things… A total of 5 years has passed plus a few months and days since I last saw them, my youngest in the group of 4 children was 3, the oldest 11…it took every breath and worried me to the point of non functioning. but I still had my youngest son I have to provide a life for, so Easter this year I gave up all hope .and what did that was the facts that I don’t have a phone number, anything I send, never gets there, and a picture on my parents wall that day was a recent photo of them all with my brother and sister in law and I found out my whole family was buying into my ex’s crap and helping him…I was floored, how do you justify that, every part of my being has been shattered, as if Him breaking my neck was somehow justifiable…the same family who helped to rebuild me after that, was the same one ripping my family apart… so yeah, I gave up, because you can’t dis-prove a lie especially when you recruit a person’s family to join in the lie and attacking. its awful, all I have wanted is my time, don’t care to argue or fight, just give my 1/2 time, I wanted my hugs and birthdays, and school activities too, now I don’t have any of that either way..I couldn’t stand it anymore

  44. Trish
    June 27, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    I never gave up hone of seeing my son again and finally had the chance to see him after 8 years. He did understand that what he heard was not true and the lies that he had been told were not true so I am grateful for that. He doesn’t really see me as his mother but someone that is a financial resource at this point and I believe he met with me only to see what could be gotten from me. Of course he has learned disrespect and that I am just someone to be used which would have been all that he has learned from his father. I highly doubt we will ever have a relationship that is more like mother and son but I still hope that someday he will mature (into what type of person is unknown since I did not raise him for the last 8 years). So it’s a slow road and for those of you who are hoping to reconnect, may not be the connection you had hoped for. It’s important for alienated parents to prepare themselves very carefully before they re-connect.

    • dea
      July 19, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      I’d rather not reconnect, I can’t stand shallow people that ask for things…I haven’t hardly spoken to my sister-in-law since my brother married her 15 yrs ago, she’s a hideously selfish creature an he’s become like her, my ex husband and his wife will only let my kids contact them of all the people in the family. dumb considering my brother hates kids/never wanted any and the in law is a greedy self conceited pig who wanted kids but wasn’t allowed to have any so she went after mine. six months ago she stated proudly my kids liked her better than they liked me… Who does that? I don’t need it in my life(drama queens) and neither does my special needs son, we have enough business to take care of without.

  45. Mollly
    August 17, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    I read all these posts, I can’t help but feel angered at ALL the Court Systems no matter what state it is. When you are in the thick of a divorce/custody battle, feeling helpless, vulnerable and emotionally exhausted, it is then, that attorneys work their magic upon you and when your well dries up, it is only then, that suddenly everything is finalized. Let’s not forget that we are their bread and butter that keeps their firm in business. As my attorney stated to me “you gota keep taking him back in front of the Judge so she sees him for who he is” Yeah! as I only see it now, so I keep filling up your pocket!!! The Courts in PA did nothing to him, even when documents were written in stone that he did not abide by. Most importantly, and the reason for this post, NO amount of money can be placed on an alienated child. I would do it all over again, to know I did everything I could as a mother to protect my child. Even though, my story is surely not a happy ending, I have not seen or spoken to my precious son since he was 14, he is now 21 years old. I think about him everyday, I still send text messages on birthdays and holidays and an occasional voicemail, nothing. I still can’t possibly let go of hope, it’s all I have. As for my ex, who is living in our home, remarried AND became a minister, yes a poser to the public, obviously still continues to alienate. To all the parents whether being the Mother or Father, if you were the alienator in your divorce, you have done such a disservice to your own flesh and blood, these children are innocent and became a victim of your sickness. These children have the right to love both parents. Someday you will have to answer to the almighty one. I pray for you.

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