Home > Uncategorized > Parental Alienation Cited in Goldman Decision by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Parental Alienation Cited in Goldman Decision by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Posted with permission by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Parental Alienation Cited in Goldman Decision by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

Parental alienation is emotional abuse. Judge Guadagno is clear about this. Ruling last week in the Sean Goldman case, the judge calls the behavior of Sean’s stepfather and family “contemptible” for filling the child’s head with false information aimed at undermining his love for his dad.

Referring to the “continuous efforts at parental alienation” begun by the boy’s mother and continued by his stepfather and maternal grandparents, and their “attempt to implant false memories and erase Sean’s true memories of his father,” the judge wrote, “It is difficult to conceive of a more dramatic example of emotional abuse of a young child.”

What is self-evident to this judge is incomprehensible to a cadre of naysayers who deny the reality of this form of abuse unless the perpetrator is a violent man. These deniers fear that the term parental alienation is merely a tool for abusive men to deflect blame for their children’s rejection of them. As advocates for victims of domestic violence, they must acknowledge that some men exact revenge against former spouses by poisoning the children’s affections for their mother. When children become alienated from a mother who is a former victim of domestic violence, they call this domestic violence by proxy.

The Goldman case, though, highlights what is wrong with dismissing all cases of parental alienation except those that fit the pattern of violent man against woman. In this case, the perpetrators of the abuse are male and female. Neither has been accused of domestic violence. They have been accused of alienating a boy from his father — parental alienation. And, no court has found that David Goldman is an abuser.

Unless we deny the reality identified by three court-appointed Brazilian psychologists, the Brazilian court, and the New Jersey court, we must conclude that Sean Goldman has been harmed by parental alienation, not by domestic violence by proxy.

Can an abusive parent invoke the concept of parental alienation to blame and discredit a protective parent? Yes. Courts must exercise great care before accepting allegations of alienation as true, or they will mistakenly place children with physically and psychologically abusive parents. But this concern must not keep courts from protecting children against the cruelty of being manipulated to disown a good and loving parent.

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  1. Steve
    February 28, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    I thank you for keeping me apprised of these new developments. I only wish this court decision came down in Arizona. My case could be the case that brings Parental Alienation Syndrome to light in arizona.

  2. Gary
    February 28, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Agreed… we need more common sense judges like this one.I pray that judges get there heads out of the sand and stop putting money ahead of our kids!!

  3. Jen
    March 1, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    This is a sign that awareness is beginning to take hold. I’m sure there will be many similar cases very soon. Not soon enough, but soon.

  4. Natalie
    March 2, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    How many cases of parental alienation is it going to take to make the general public and those in positions of authority (judges) realize that parental alienation and PAS do exist and is one of the worst kinds of abuse against children. How do you think your child would do if he/she thought you did not love them, you were a bad person with no redeeming qualities? Currently those parents (mothers and fathers) that commit this type of abuse go unpunished for their actions. The child and target parent on the other hand live with all kinds of pain as a result of the alienation. Judges and all those in a position of helping correct this injustice need to send a message to alienating parents that it is NOT OK and for those that do alienate there will be repercussions.

    • May 23, 2012 at 4:39 AM

      Natalie: there appears to be some progress. I have come across cases in which parents have been jailed and in other cases, custody has been reversed. Still, there is work to do–too many court orders are ignored. Alienating parents know they can get away with such behaviors as consequences are lacking. I am not sure how many cases it will take. I suggest we have enough.

  5. May 22, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I’ve just lost a long and lengthy cusotdy battle with my ex-wife. From the age of 2, my son as been living with me due to the abuse both he and I have been put through by her. I’ve been called a liar by social services, the police and cafcass who have all taken it upon themselves to call me this and say I’ve made up malicious allegations in order to keep my sons cusotdy, which destroyed the court case. In the case, I had a psychological evaluation on my ex-wife in 2009 which clearly states she is not fit to look after our son and that it was in his best interests to reside with me. It also recommends she seek professional help which she hasn’t done, even to this day. Instead last friday the magistrates through my evidence out of court calling it nitpicking and awarded cusotdy to my ex-wife by saying shes turned her life around but quite clearly is still showing signs of mental problems, attacking people randomly due to her condition and most importantly still abusing our son. My son quite simply cannot bare to spend time with her because of what shes done in the past and to this day. He states that he wishes she was dead and that he doesn’t want to see or speak to her at all. Yet the courts have now forced a situation where a 5 year old boy now has to live with his abuser, completely against his wishes and fears. Please help, I do not have grounds to appeal to the decision and in 4 weeks he will be taken from me and placed into my ex-wife’s care. Any information, advice or support will dearly be appreciated. Thank you for your time in reading this.

    • May 23, 2012 at 4:31 AM

      Please visit http://www.paawareness.org/ also, Dr. Richard Warshak has an excellent book, titled Divorce Poison–it is a must read. Also, he has a video that is helpful:”Pluto.” Finding a support group in your area may be beneficial. Some parents have found a local therapist to cope with the emotional toll. Best of luck to you.

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