Parental Alienation and HuffPo’s Divorce Section: Reality & Reason on Matrimonial Mismatch
Parental Alienation and HuffPo’s Divorce Section: Reality & Reason on Matrimonial Mismatch by Monika Logan
The Huffington Post recently featured an article,”Stop Divorce Poison.” The article, if properly understood, disentangles a web of blame. Accusations that alienated parents, are somehow responsible, is punitive. The idea that both parents are equally at fault is predicated on assumptions. Dr. Warshak sheds light that alienated parents, similar to survivors of domestic violence, may have married a person that was abusive. Joan Dawson also points out, in her article, No Room for Reason that matrimonial mismatches are a reality. She notes, “Abusers do not come with a sign on their forehead.” She indicates that it is often months or years later, when one finds out the truth. At the beginning of courtship, it is hard to detect that the person you’re in love with, may later resort to despicable tactics. Contrary to popular thought, not everyone marries a like-minded person.
Unfortunately, some groups have no room for reason. Their only explanation to child alienation is that the parent must have been abusive. They rank and order levels of abuse. No one disputes the horrific outcome of physical assault. Yet, it is forgotten, that some abusers tactics consist only of uncensored verbal snares to minor children. Beware: If you are an alienated mother, you will be left in the dust. If you report that your child no longer loves you; you will be questioned and judged. They believe if your child refuses visitation; it is your fault. They do not believe that words alone, by a manipulative ex-spouse, could sway the mind of a gullible child. Grown women can follow the likes of Warren Jeffs, but some are dumbfounded when sociopath ex-spouses lure children with lies. If you have an ex-spouse that never hit you, but instead, refuses to cease denigrating you; you too many become alienated.
Why should parental alienation concern women? Because women are concerned about the emotional well-being of their children. Most would agree; it is not in our children’s best interest to ignore emotional abuse. Ignoring parental alienation is problematic because it casts doubt that long-term emotional abuse is something children just “get over.” (Several studies, not media hype, indicate the damage of relentless denigration, click here, here, and here. Denying PAS also harms women, published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, click here. )
As Dr. Warshak describes, the article intends to make a few simple points. Some of the points are: it is wrong to use children as pawns to express hostility or punish a former partner; it is cruel to teach children to hate people who love them, and it is abusive to force children to choose which they parent they will feel free to love. The crux of the article is that matrimonial mismatches are a reality. The analogy starts off, Mother Theresa does not marry Saddam Hussein.” Judges and court-appointed psychologists recite this bromide when one parent complains about the other. It is meant to convey a sophisticated, balanced, it-takes-two-to-tango view of divorce-related conflict. The system labels these parents a “high-conflict couple,” and assumes that both contribute equally to their disputes (Warshak, 2010).
In some situations both parents contribute equally, but not in all cases. It is often overlooked that a Mother Theresa can marry a Saddam Hussein (especially, as Dawson notes, he is not wearing a sign revealing his true nature). We must admit; the sign may easily be overlooked when we are young and believe we are in love. I share Dawson’s concerns that PA should be distinguished from DV. It is a tragedy when a protective parent has to live with the fact that his or her child has been placed with an abusive parent. But what about emotional abuse? Parents suffer too when their child is placed with an emotionally abusing parent.
I additionally share Dawson’s concerns that many mothers have made good faith allegations; yet they are doubted. The difference is that alienated mothers make good faith allegations that after their divorce, their once loved child is rejecting. They report their ex-spouse never physically abused them or their child. Instead, they report that their ex-spouse will not follow court orders, and will not cease denigrating them to their minor child. They report that their child treats them with contempt, in fact, with the same disrespect and demeaning tone that their ex utilized when married. I cannot help but wonder what they will do when a good mother insists that they did not do anything to deserve such unwarranted hatred. Their messages will be most likely be censored, canceled, and chastised– claiming no man would be clever enough to coax a child into a clouded state of mind control.
“To a good mother who grieves the loss of her children’s love and respect, alienation is not “theoretical” and there is nothing in sounding the alarm about this form of emotional abuse that conflicts with advocating on behalf of victims of domestic violence.” Dr. Warshak, 2010