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Parental Alienation & Cyber Rejection: I Cannot Click I Like You. Favored Parent Frowns.

Parental Alienation & Cyber Rejection: I Cannot Click I Like You. Favored Parent Frowns.

I Cannot Openly Love You

Dear ( Mom or Dad)

There is something I  want to say, but not sure how. I probably will never mail this letter to you; it is awkward. See, I love you. I really do. But it is like you just gave up. Did you? I do not want to hurt you, but if I list you as a parent on my face book or my space page, well, it feels like betrayal. It is not like the other parent outright gets mad. It is just like they don’t seem  happy. You know, a shifty mood. If I delete you off my friend list, or refuse to comment to your responses, they treat me better by allowing me stay out really late—sometimes all night!! And well, if you are like you used to be, you will get mad but sometimes they treat me just like an adult! I get to do everything they do! Sorry, I am just telling you like it is.

Anyhow, It is really weird cause’ they seem happy if I make comments to all Dad’s side of the family. I think they are jealous that I might love you. Sometimes I think they want me to actually hate you, but I am not sure because it is not like they would come right out and say that—that is just creepy. It kind of reminds me of those bullies in junior high. They all get together and  tell me what to do. I feel pulled in a thousand different directions. It is not like they have said, “do not love your mom” it is more or less goes like this: If I say something positive about you or talk about what we did together,  they roll their eyes. Sometimes, it is just tacky comments, like “oh your mom thinks she is better than us”  and if I ask them to please stop (like I did when I was little) they won’t stop. I guess it worked better when I was little, cause of the crying.  They never stop.

 I am so confused.  Now, that I am older, they just talk about you in another room. Loudly too—making sure I can hear. I am dying inside! I wish you could do something!!  This has gone on for a long time. Now, it seems unnatural to show affection for you. I can only love you through private e-mail. They disapprove of you. What did you do? I mean, the way they used to talk about you, and at times, still do… I cannot help but wonder. It is burned into my memory, one in particular, “Your mom has changed” Geez, how did you used to be? I thought change was possible? I thought people could grow and change—you know better themselves. I think I was about seven when they said that.  Please do not become upset when I post comments on their pages and ignore you (that is why I private message you). I remember reading something in school about cults. Mom, it is similar to that. They do some good things for me and help raise me. But they do not want me to be close to you. I feel suffocated. It is not acceptable to openly love you.

Sincerely,

 Alienated Child

Categories: Parents

Offsetting Parental Alienation: Teenagers & Tactics

Offsetting Parental Alienation: Teens & Tactics By Monika Logan, LBSW   

 Dealing with Parental Alienation is tough. As noted by author of Divorce Poison, Dr. Richard Warshak, alienated parents have to develop a thick skin. There is  not  an easy answer. What works for one situation, will not work for another. Yet, keep in mind that   other disorders  also lack  clear-cut answers. A few contributing  factors are:   personality, temperament and affinity. Still, there are shared commonalities; age counts.  So does time. Time is  vital . The longer a parent hiked on the high-road, the harder the terrain will be. Exhaustion may  arrive–a little too early. Passivity may have replaced healthy activism. While we have not quite resolved the entire issue of PA, silence does not work. Silence (aka the high road) leads to dead ends, long dry spells, and boulders that will knock nearly all parents down—even those with the best preparation & territorial gear.  

 If you are a rejected parent and have contact with your alienated teenager, you probably discovered that reasoning and logic does not work. One tactic that may prove beneficial is your teens’ friends. They may possibly offset the programmed black & white thinking. Get ready. Open up your home. Grab junk food, turn up the latest hip-hop tunes and rent a couple of movies. Love others. While your own kid may dismiss you, other kids will not. In no doubt, your teen might manifest alienated behaviors such as, in your face defiance, destroying property,  or running up your water bill  just for fun;  there is nothing like an outsider thinking you are an okay parent.  

 An un-brainwashed teen frequently detests both their parent’s odd mannerisms. On the other hand, an alienated teen, views one parent as fault- free and the other as appalling. The so-called all bad parent did not have to do anything to deserve their low life status. Similarly, the favored parent did not have to do anything to earn their angelic standing. The truth is, their glorified status was achieved through shoddy tactics such as buying the teen unnecessary items while simultaneously shucking responsibility. The ex-spouse, may also have frequent pity parties making the teen feel guilty. Or, perhaps, allows the teen to blow off parental rules, values and exploit boundaries.    

Rejected parents are painfully aware that PA looks hopeless but it is not. God is bigger than parental alienation. Not long ago, a rejected mother shared what could be called a shock factor. The alienated mother is not perfect. She is average. The mother loves her teen and goes about day to day performing normal parental duties. The difference is, parenting an alienated teen is triple the pressure compared to non-alienated teens. She, like many others, lives with a spy . She also resides with a teen that disrespects her beyond the level of typical teens. One day, like many others, her teen demanded an after school meal, in his normal demeaning tone. Yet this time, the teen had a friend visiting. The mother, astonished, shared a needed assertion. The teen’s friend remarked, “I wish my mom was like yours.” The alienated mother noted that the look on her teens face was priceless. She later noted, she overheard the friend say, “Your mom is nice; you should not be so disrespectful.” And, “is she really as bad as you say?” A seed was planted.  

Without a doubt this mother was pleasantly surprised. Slowly, this mother’s teen left the house for school and actually said have a nice day, vs. slamming the door. Household items were no longer given to the ex spouse. The teen talked a little more, participated in family time, and even said thank you a time or two.  Definitely the teen was still somewhat blinded by the favored parent, but a seed was planted. The rejected parent cannot force an ex-spouse that is clearly capable of responsibility, to grow up. The rejected parent cannot rid their ex-spouses tote bag of entitlement, but it will have less impact. This story demonstrates how typical teen behaviors, such as loud music and asking for extended curfews may evolve.  

Some alienated parents use the aid of family. If the family understands alienation and does not undermine efforts, change is possible. Unfortunately, certain families follow common societal mentality. They mistakenly think if a child rejects a parent, the parent must be at fault. They believe if a teen acts nervous around a rejected parent, the parent must have done something to warrant the anxiety. The family member may, make the situation worse due to a  lack of insight. They fail to realize that if a favored parent has brainwashed a teen (starting at a young age, with the help of extended family) the teen will come to believe mom should be shunned. Accordingly, a fear response  will follow.  An outsider, another  teenager, offers random uncensored comments at unexpected times. Possibly, your teen may be shocked into thinking that maybe, just maybe, both parents are not perfect. And, given enough uncensored and un- planned comments, the teen may start to question the disrespect they dish out and the lie that one-sided family loyalty is necessary. Children should feel free to love both parents without the burden of guilt  or feelings of betrayal.

This article is not intended for any form of advice or therapy.
Categories: Parents

Alienated Parents: The Serenity Prayer, Extended Version for Rejected Parents by Monika

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

 God I cannot stop  manipulative behavior from an ex-spouse. Neither I nor the courts cannot make my ex-spouse, in the privacy of  (his or her) own home,  stop the chronic denigration. I cannot control the years of emotional abuse my children have endured. I cannot control the distorted black and white thinking my children (or adult children) now have. God they see me as all bad and the other parent as fault free. I only seek balance.  I cannot force my kid(s) to stop telling me they hate me, or what a bad (mom or dad) I am. I am only human. And  God, while I know they have been taught to reject me–the words still hurt. It is painful to hear you are only being used for your money–that you are not loved.

God I am hurt for the life my children could have had. God please give me peace. I try not to worry about their futures, but I do. God please allow for wisdom; open my ex-spouses eyes.  Thinking (he or she) is above the law, by outright defiance of all court orders, does not set a good example for the kids.  God please allow my ex-spouse to see that placing the kids in the middle only hurts them. God please give my kids peace; it is okay to love both parents. God please allow insight; my ex-spouse will not stop telling the kids information that is beyond (his or her)  years to hear.  Some things about a parent, teens should not know.

God please allow my adult child  to see that mocking a parent is not your will.  God please allow for justice. There are times when custody has been placed in the wrong hands. Please give judges the wisdom to know the difference. Please God allow Parental Alienation to be recognized as a serious form of emotional abuse. God it is not good for society when kids defy laws, defy parents and reject extended family–for no good reason. Please God clear the minds of those that do not understand Parental Alienation and allow them to see that it is emotional abuse; it is not to be viewed as a diversionary tactic.

God please provide wisdom to those in positions to help children and families.

Amen

Categories: Parents

Long Island Judge Gives ‘Up Close and Personal’ View of Parental Alienation

June 10th, 2010 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

This article tells us that a Long Island judge has found Lauren Lippe (pictured in insert, right)  in contempt of court for alienating her two daughters from their father, Ted Rubin (pictured) (New York Post, 6/8/10).  The judge, Robert Ross, has scheduled a hearing to decide whether to change the couple’s custody agreement that gave primary custody to Lippe.  Lippe is to spend six weekends in jail this summer. 

To all those who pretend, in the face of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary, that parents don’t attempt to alienate children, please read this article which gives more of the details of the judge’s findings (Law.com, 6/8/10).  Suffice it to say that the contempt hearing took 23 days to complete. 

“The extensive record is replete with instances of attempts to undermine the relationship between the children and their father and replace him with her new husband, manipulation of defendant’s parenting access, utter and unfettered vilification of the defendant to the children, false reporting of sexual misconduct without any semblance of ‘good faith,’ and her imposition upon the children to fear her tirades and punishment if they embrace the relationship they want to have with their father.” 

Lippe seems to have started with garden-variety alienation. 

During the hearing, Mr. R. testified to dozens of occasions in which his ex-wife either interfered with his visitation rights or purposefully alienated the children from him. 

The judge described about a dozen such incidents or patterns in his eight-page decision. 

In the winter of 2007, for example, Ms. R. prevented Mr. R. from seeing his daughters for six weeks, Ross wrote. 

“I observed the plaintiff smirk in the courtroom as defendant emotionally related how he was deprived of spending Hanukkah with his children, and was relegated to lighting a menorah and watching his daughters open their grandparents’ presents in the back of his truck at the base of plaintiff’s driveway,” the judge wrote. 

Her evident pleasure at causing her ex-husband pain was powerful enough that she couldn’t control it in the courtroom before the judge who was to make important decisions about her immediate future and later the custody of her kids.  But that was small potatoes; Lippe soon moved on to far more serious allegations which Judge Ross called a “crescendo.” 

“Allegations that defendant had injured the child were found to be baseless and, by making such allegations, plaintiff needlessly subjected the child to an investigation by Child Protective Services, placing her own interests above those of the child,” Ross wrote. “This report was not made in ‘good faith’ — rather, the investigating agency warned the mother not to re-utilize the allegations and her children in her custodial litigation with the defendant.” 

In other words, Lippe ignored the pain and stress she was causing her children.  This was found to be true not only by Judge Ross, but by CPS as well. 

It’s worthwhile to look closely at what parental alienation really means, and this case, and Judge Ross’ findings allow us to do just that.  Above all, parental alienation is an attack on children.  It is an attack on their relationship with the other parent.  It is a sustained effort to deprive children of the love, affection, security, guidance and protection of the other parent.  If it succeeds, the child will not only miss those things, he/she will be afraid of the other parent who can provide them.  Beyond that, the child loses the many benefits of the extended family of the alienated parent.  Thus, paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. will also be denied to the child. 

That’s what Judge Ross meant by saying Lippe placed “her own interests above those of the child.”  What long-term damage has been done to the two girls by their mother’s campaign against their father won’t be known for some time.  With luck, Ted Rubin nipped that in the bud by virtue of his refusal to give up in the face of the most humiliating tactics employed by his ex-wife. 

There are those who like to claim that parental alienation doesn’t happen, or, if it does, that it has no effect on kids.  But that’s ultimately a losing argument.  Cases like that of Ted Rubin and Lauren Lippe show it all too clearly.  And daily, there are others like it.  Each one adds to the mountain of evidence on parental alienation of children.  Psychologists deal with the problem every day; so do courts.  Those who want us to believe that parental alienation doesn’t happen stand on the train tracks of history. 

Categories: Parents

Alienation, Affinity, and / or Aversion? Poor Parenting and Child Preferences. I Just Like Mom.

Alienation, Affinity, and / or Aversion?  Poor Parenting and Child Preferences. I Just Like Mom. By Monika Logan

 (I just like Mom can  be substitued for I just like Dad).

Children continue to endure emotional abuse and parents remain distraught.  Nomenclature, nonsense and naysayers unite to prevent agreement. Nevertheless, one aspect remains stable; the description of parental alienation.  Bernet,  Boch-Galhau , Baker & Morrison(2010) defines alienation, “when a child allies himself or herself strongly with one parent (the preferred parent) and rejects a relationship with the other parent (the alienated parent) without legitimate justification. Similar definitions are provided by Johnston. She described this unhealthy bond as a, “‘strong alignment” [sic] meaning that the child consistently denigrated and rejected the other parent. Often, this was accompanied by an adamant refusal to visit, communicate, or have anything to do with the rejected parent.”   Drozod and Olesen (2004) clear up another issue, the absurd notion that the phenomenon is only used as a diversionary tactic.  Drozod and Olesen provide a lucid understanding. They note,”…if there is abuse, there can be by definition, no alienation.” They go on to show that the term alienation is used only in non-abuse cases. Why then, is parental alienation hard to comprehend? What is the reason for controversy?

Two issues contribute to a parent’s misfortune and a child’s unreasonable rejection to be discredited. First, a child has affinity towards one parent. Some findings indicate it is not possible to decipher and establish natural, age appropriate parental preferences from unwarranted loathing. Secondly, if you are a target parent you are responsible (in part, maybe a large part) for your child’s rejection. That is, you should know how to respond properly to most derogatory remarks. If you respond wrong and continue to do so, you may be part of the problem.   Unlike domestic violence, where we do not believe the victim deserved the maltreatment; this is not the case in parental alienation.

 Drozod and Olesen (2004) point out that after separation and divorce many parents are angry and make inappropriate statements. Common sense tells us that parents do make negative remarks about an ex-spouse. Yet, is it not possible that a handful of parents save remarks for a good friend? When the kids are gone? Maybe a priest? Sound too farfetched?  It is rational that some parents will stop the remarks after they realize that defamation  may lead to demise. Likewise, some parents will not stop. Drozod and Oleson (2004) describe a few disparaging remarks as situational.  It seems safe to reason that situational remarks are not what the entire PAS commotion is about. The occasional remarks as they describe, “are understandable at the beginning…”  True, emotions run high about a year after the divorce. When though, does the beginning come to an end?   Perhaps we should decipher the difference between occasional remarks and chronic remarks.  We remain baffled by the chronic cases and deem children’s pain a normal reaction to divorce.  

Occasional remarks, in most cases, are forgotten by the child. Yet, as a reminder, parental alienation is not “most cases.”   Yes, there are parents that emotionally move on.  They realize disparaging comments are not good for his or her child. Drozod and Olesen (2004) identify what parents all over the world have been trying to name as ” PAS”, PA or some other acceptable or non-acceptable description. It is what may be described as  –on the other hand. “On the other hand, there certainly are cases in which a very hurt and angry parent vindictively continues the alienating behaviors in a pervasive and ongoing pattern. When such a pattern develops the parent doing the alienating, over time, may end up contributing to the severing of the relationship between the child and the other parent.” The authors also point out that some parents may benefit from education and intervention; others will not. They report that a few parents are not aware of his or her alienating behavior. This unaware group of parents  would benefit from education. Drozod & Olesen report that the parent’s alienating behavior may be from personal history and psychopathology. Then, on the other hand, as alienated parents describe; some ex-spouses do not care. They denigrate the other parent with malice and forethought. The badmouthing never ends. It is chronic regardless of the target parent’s efforts.  I wonder if these parents also suffer from psychopathology?  A history of chronic badmouthing may stem beyond “personal history.” Either way, the alienating parent probably will not seek help. Anyone in the helping profession knows court mandated clients are difficult to work with compared to voluntary clients.

  Our concern should be alienated children. It is ideal to get the alienating parent to stop. The concept, in ” theory”, sounds great, but it  is not realistic. We need to be reminded of the fact, “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).  Critical thinking skills are vital. Yet, it is obvious, alienated kid’s heads are filled with distorted cognitions. They view one parent as all bad and the other parent free from any human error. Lastly, the concern of affinity; some kids prefer one parent over the other. Like it or not, it is a fact of life. This same “liking” occurred, perhaps unnoticed, during ones marriage.  A preference towards one parent will be perceptible during particular developmental stages. As an example, my disposition is similar to my fathers. When I was five, I wanted to be around my dad. At age14, even with my father’s nature, I enjoyed time with my mother. However, affinity is not an excuse for alienation. A parent and child that share a similar disposition are acceptable. Alienating parents may not vocalize this bond, but they feel the bond. They also exploit the bond. They teach the child to ridicule and despise the other parent for trivial differences. Affinity is acceptable. Using likeness for taught aversion is unacceptable.

Categories: Parents

Parental Alienation: What Would I Think, How Would I Act? The Alienated Child by Cindy L. Corsi

Parental Alienation

 What Would I Think, How Would I Act?

The Alienated Child

By Cindy L. Corsi

 

Parents abuse their children emotionally by working to prevent or break the bond the child has with the other parent. In today’s society, both fathers and mothers are the perpetrators. Sometimes both parents manipulate the child, but often it is only one trying to pull the child onto their side while the other parent is left trying to hang on to the relationship. When children are subjected to this type of abuse early on, they lose their childhood. They become reporters, spies and alienators themselves. Entitlement and dangerous empowerment are weaved into their character. The ill-minded behavior of the twisted parent (and others associated with) manipulates the child to join their intense campaign against the other parent. The stress this puts on the child is immense. They begin to suppress feelings for the parent they are being torn from (target parent) resulting in them joining the campaign. Many parents have lost their children forever as a result. This is not the result of a fight or conflict between the parent and the child; it is a result of brainwashing!   Because of the pressures associated with alienation, it has been reported that some children have committed murder and suicide.  

Put yourself in the shoes of this alienated child who has been denied to feel and accept the love of her mother and to be able to give her love. Please read it all.

If I were this child and saw my stepmother had crossed off my mom’s name from my kindergarten folder what would I think…

If I was a small child at the age of three and my father was walking me up my driveway to mommy’s house saying “Just two more days here then you are back with us,” what would I think?

If I was a four years old and heard my father blame my mommy because I caught a cold at preschool, what would I think?

 If I was this child who was put in the bathtub right after I was picked up from my mommy’s house, what would I think?

If I was this child that was told I could not bring my belongings to my mommy’s house because they would get dirty or ruined, what would I think?

If I was this child and heard my step mother tell a friend of the family that my mommy was dirty, what would I think?

If I was this child and was told that child support money should be spent on whatever I wanted, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was told to call my daddy and step mom while at my mommy’s house in the wintertime to ask them how I should dress to go outside and play, what would I think?

If I was in first grade and my daddy, step mom, and extended family told me at the age of 12 I can choose to live with them, what would I think?  How would I act?

If I was this child and my daddy told me that if my mommy did not have me at the meeting place on time she would be arrested by the police, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this child being mouthy to my mom and she squeezed me behind my neck, I told my dad and I heard my dad tell her that if she ever touched me again he would have me arrested, what would I think, how would I act?

 If I was this small child and my mommy asked a neighborhood mom to watch me for a couple hours while taking a college class and my step mother told me she did not trust my mommy because she got a babysitter “all of the time,” what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this child and  my daddy told me that my mommy did not attend my school play, did not care about me, even though when I asked mommy about it, she said she was there and even knew what I was wearing that night, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this child who learned that complaining about my mommy pleased my daddy, step mom and their family and they all joined in with me, even rewarded me, what would I think, how would I act?

If my mommy and I had a special beauty day in the form of hair cuts, then my daddy and step mom told me my bangs were crooked, what would I think,  how would I act?

If I was this child excited to show my father a Halloween costume my mommy made and he commented, “There is glue on the wing,” then bought me a different costume to wear, what would I think?

If I was a child and my father told me to call my mommy after a school function and lie to her about something the principal never said, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this child and went to the store to pick out a new book bag with my mom, then went to my dad’s and they took me to buy another one, what would I think; how would I act?

If I was this child and my daddy and family bought me a new bedroom set, a TV, a phone, game boy, clothes, a mini bike and more for Christmas, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this child and my daddy and step mom sent food and drinks with me to my mommy’s house, what would I think?

If I was a child and told my father that I went to a different church and he told me it was not a church, what would I think, how would I act? (even though he had never been brought up in faith as a child)

If I went to the dentist with my mommy and was the best little patient, getting my first tooth pulled but then my father and step mom took me to another dentist and told me that the dentist mom took me to did not know what he was doing, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this child and my mom called my dad’s house to see how I was feeling and my step mom answered the phone and in a very angry voice said, “Your mother’s on the phone,” what would I think, how would I act?

 If I was a teen told to cut the grass with mom’s supervisions and right before I did it my dad called and said my foot was going to get cut off, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was a teen asked to find out my mom’s income tax information right before a support hearing, and I did, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this young teen and my dad took me to the court house for a child support meeting, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was this teen and was told that my mom made me change schools even though the conciliator made the decision after examining the facts, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was a child, when with my father, ignored my mom (at stores, soccer games,) but then when at her house had friends over, bonfires, etc… , how would this affect me, what would I think?

If I was a teen and got in trouble at school and my dad supported my harassing behavior toward another teen girl by taking my side and joining in on the name calling, what would I think,  how would I act?

If I was a teen mouthing off and swearing and my step mom told my father not to scold me because she said, “that is how she was raised,” what would I think, how would I act?

If I was a teen and every time I did not get my way I complained about my mom and I then was allowed to hear him cal her and yell at her,  what would I think, how would I act?

If I complained to my father and stepmom that there was not the right kind of cereal at HER house and they brought me a bag of groceries for her house, what would I think?

If I was this teen and witnessed the stepmother back her body into my mom then accuse my mom of hitting her, what would I think, how would I act?

If I was driving age and about to enter college and in order to have my car I had to live at my dad’s house, how would I act?

If I was this child, no doubt I would put in my mind to mistrust, even hate my mom because my dad and step mom and their family must know what they are talking about, for they love me. I would eventually succeed at pulling away from my mom because I know that some day I will not have a relationship with her for I have been told that I will be able to choose not to and the courts feel I am old enough to run away from what I have been brainwashed not to like.  I would build walls to protect me from the hurt when this happens and I would remain loyal to the ones who give me everything and remain in my court no matter what I do or say. .

 

If I was this child I would create conflict with my mom so she would want to give up and let me go live where I am suppose to live. I would set the stage as often as I could and even go as far as bump into her and then call the police to say she hit me to prove that she is no good like they say. For I would help them prove it.

 

If I was this child I would tell my mom” you deserve to be arrested,” after knowing my dad called to threaten her. Why not feel this way; it is exactly how my dad’s mom feels about her, my paternal grandmother.  

 

If I was this child, when my mom picked me up for her time with me I would not sit in the front with her, nor would I walk beside her if I saw my dad and stepmother in public.

 

If I was this child, I would demand material items from her because my dad gives her money. I have even been to the court house and even though the time I was there my mom cut the support in half, I still think she is nasty.  I would have an un-grateful heart for the things she buys because none of it is from her anyway. I would continue to receive but never give, including special occasions. It is all about what I get. The universe revolves around me at my dad’s house and always will.

 

If I was this child, I would not allow my mom to hug me and I would never tell her I love her again. Loving her would mean I am disloyal to my dad and stepmother. I would also not share anything fun or special that happens at my mom’s because that is not what I have been trained to do or say.  

 

If I was this child, I would not try not to touch things at my mom’s house, I would put toilet paper on the seat, wipes my hands if I accidentally touched her and not sleep on the sheets that are on the bed that once belonged to her.

 

If I was this child I would not receive calls from my mom at my dad’s in a welcome manner. I would be snide and nasty, and say, “What do you want and why are you calling here, you are wasting my time!” then understand that she does not care because she does not call while I am at my dad’s very often. And when I call her I will not refer to her as “mom.”  

 

If I was this child, I would block out any joyful, happy memories from the past and prevent any in the present, for that would be a violation. I would limit extra information to her, including school, getting my period, friends, dances and more.

 

If I was this child, I would resent my mom for making me change schools, because my dad and family told me it was her fault. I would have a hard time truly enjoying my school experience because deep down I would be holding onto resentment that has been planted there.

 

If I was this child it would be to my benefit to keep feeding my dad and step mom what they want to hear. It would become natural to me to do this because of their feedback, similar to Pavlov’s dog experiments.

 

If I was this child I would often deny that my mom is my mom. I would not acknowledge Mother’s Day, her birthday, Christmas or any other day that offers a chance to care. I would take from her and her family but never give in return.

 

If I was this child the message that she does not provide for me would come in loud and clear.

 

If I was this child, I would begin to hate the rest of my mom’s  family, even my older brother and my grandmother who took care of me and loved me all throughout my life. For when I have mentioned them in the past, my paternal family knows that they are also no good.  Pushing them away in a hateful manner will only make the separation easier in the future. No real loss for me.

 

If I was this child I would feel empowered but then feel confused. The confusion could lead to drugs or promiscuity, obsessive behaviors or even violence. I would not understand why I felt so much conflict inside.  I would spend a large portion of my life depressed.

 

If I was this child, I would hang onto hate and un-forgiveness, for that is what I have been taught through words and actions by people who are suppose to love and guide me in the right direction.

 

If I was this child, their antics would in fact work on me but it would cost me a lot because it would be based on emotional abuse and until I sought help to understand why people that are suppose to love me acted this way, and until they admitted they were wrong, I will struggle with relationships with myself and others.

 

If I was this child, even though I witnessed my stepmother trying to set my mother up, I would find a way to blame my mom for the incident, for my truth is truth.

Parental Alienation is un-like physical abuse because it is pre-meditated. The motive is to sever a relationship(s). Parents who emotionally abuse their children in this way often talk themselves into believing that they are acting in the best interest of the child. They convince themselves, the child, and even the courts that the other parent is incompetent or even dangerous.

Parental alienation is child abuse. Parents who continually brainwash their children need help. It is an addiction that scars a child for a lifetime. When judges, mediators are uneducated in the damaging effects of PAS on a child, and condone alienating behavior, they become part of the child abuse. They have the power to help but……..

The only solution as I see it is, like any addiction, the alienating parent  must get the proper help, admit he or she was wrong,  then openly confess to their child their destructive motives and behavior.   Then and only then will the child have a chance to heal.” _______ Cindy L. Corsi

 

Books:

“Divorce Poison” by Dr. Richard Warshak

“Adult Children of Alienation Syndrome,” by Dr. Amy Baker

“A Kidnapped Mind,” by  Pamela Richardson

Web Sites :

 http://www.parental-alienation-awareness.com/awarness-letters.asp

hugstoheartbreak.com    helpstoppas.com

Other  People  to Search:

Dr. Michael Bone           Dr. Amy Baker         Dr. Richard Warshak

Categories: Parents

Parental Alienation Questions for Dr. Warshak June 18, 2010, 7-10 PM

On Friday, June 18, 2010 at 7:00 PM EST, Dr. James Wardner, a Florida dentist was charged with parental kidnapping. He has never spoken publicly about his PAS (parental alienation syndrome) incident. For the first time, Dr. Wardner will tell “His side of the story. Internationally renowned keynote speaker, authority on divorce and the psychology of alienated children, media guest expert, and clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Warshak has consulted at the White House, written 2 books, and more than 45 professional articles.

Call-in Number: (347) 539-5024

Categories: Parents

Tennessee moves to split custody evenly in messy divorces

A Tennessee bill that would evenly split child custody in contentious divorce cases is drawing national attention and dividing groups along gender lines.On one side is an alliance of women’s groups, some judges and the Tennessee Bar Association, who say the change would make divorces tougher to settle and give abusive ex-husbands leverage they shouldn’t have. Spending half of the time with each parent would also impose impractical schedules on kids, they say.

 On the other side are fathers’ rights groups who say kids get deprived of full relationships with both parents. Courts have too long ignored laws calling for custody decisions to be made in children’s best interests, they say, and judges are overly influenced by notions about the mother-child bond.

 The state’s House Children and Family Affairs’ Family Justice Subcommittee is scheduled to meet today to review divorce-related data it requested from the Tennessee Bar Association, as it works to determine whether to send the bill to a second committee that could send it to the full House.

 Other states, including Missouri, start from a presumption of an even custodial split unless there has been abuse, said Janet Richards, a law professor at the University of Memphis who specializes in child custody matters. Tennessee would be alone in requiring clear, convincing evidence that one parent is unfit before dividing custody unequally, she said.

 “This law sets up a standard of proof that’s just short of the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt,” Richards said.

 Committee hearings on the bill have drawn standing-room-only crowds full of mothers wearing saucer-size lapel stickers that read “Vote no on HB 2916” and fathers wearing everything from military fatigues to business suits.

Right now, parents divorcing in Tennessee — or unmarried parents trying to work out custody arrangements — are urged to work out a plan with a mediator. Under the pending bill, courts automatically would divide children’s time equally between moms and dads who are unable to agree unless one parent can prove the other utterly unfit.

The way Eric Kyle sees it, he hasn’t been able to properly father his children since his 2005 divorce.

Kyle, who lives in Davidson County, Tenn., wanted his son and daughter to split their time equally between him and his ex-wife, who lives in Williamson County, Tenn. But when Kyle sought an attorney willing to try to negotiate that kind of arrangement, one after another told him the same thing.

“You either have to dirty up your ex and do whatever you have to to get full custody, or you accept what I understand is a pretty standard 80-20 time split,” he said. “Of course, it’s dads that get the children 20% of the time, in most cases.”

Rep. Mike Bell, a Republican and the bill’s key sponsor, said he introduced the bills after constituents’ complaints and hopes it might encourage more parents to reconsider divorce.

“It’s a concern that children are being deprived of one parent or another in most cases in a custody battle,” said Bell, who has been married 25 years and has five children.

Opponents want to scare the public with claims about children being shuttled back and forth and attending multiple schools, said Mike McCormick, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based American Coalition for Fathers and Children.

“I say — with the recognition that there is nothing like (this bill) in the country — all it would actually do is require parents to be on equal footing in courts of law,” McCormick said. The bill ignores the problems some families have, said Kathy Walsh, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Some parents divorce after years of the kind of controlling, domineering or even violent behavior by one party that doesn’t go away just because the relationship ends, Walsh said.

She said the bill could prompt victims to stay with their abusers so they don’t have to leave their kids alone with the other parent.

Monica Gimbles said she doesn’t think the bill is realistic. She is in the process of finding an attorney to work out custody arrangements for her 5-year-old daughter with her onetime fiancé.

“This is the kind of idea that people come up with when they haven’t ever actually taken care of a child, a small child that needs a lot of care and takes a lot of time,” Gimbles said. “It just makes the child’s life topsy-turvy.”

Categories: Parents

Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre

Parent Alienation Syndrome: Its Time has come by Dr. Andre

Posted by Monika Logan, LBSW

Published in The California Psychologist ‐ included with permission from The California Psychologist and was first printed in the Sept/Oct issue 2005.  

Most psychologists agree the least understood ‐‐ and often most destructive ‐‐ type of child abuse is emotional. Considered the most difficult abuse to diagnose and prevent, its scars are not physical but invisible, with profound, far‐reaching consequences. There is growing interest in a less‐well‐known type of emotional child abuse known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). “PAS is a serious form of child abuse” (Cartwright, 1998) with a general consensus regarding the most prominent behavioral symptoms (Gardner, 1989; Rand, 1997; Darnall, 2001; Kelly and Johnston, 2001; Warshak, 2001; Major, 2004; Andre, 2004) defining the mental illness. This article seeks to increase awareness of PAS as a mental illness form resulting from emotional abuse, and to suggest PAS’ inclusion in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders‐V (DSM‐V).

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME (PAS)

History

PAS has been referenced by concept in the literature for at least twenty‐five years. Wallerstein and Kelley (1980) first noted a pathological alignment between an angry divorcing parent and his/her child. Gardner (1985) further delineated this problematic alignment as occurring between a brainwashing parent with a contributing child, naming the alignment Parental Alienation Syndrome and articulating its symptoms.

Symptoms and psychological dimensions

In its mildest form, PAS may be observed as a child’s reluctance to visit a parent. In its severest form, PAS children “use extreme oppositional behaviors to reject and denigrate the previously loved parent. … The children’s perceptions are black and white. The targeted parent …is hated for seemingly small or ridiculous reasons” (Andre, 2004). PAS alienators lie about their brainwashing while empowering their children to behave irresponsibly toward the other parent. Alienators attempt to mislead evaluators, using deceitful accusation tactics to deflect intervention. Discerning an alienator’s true intent requires a trained professional. Just as child sexual predators “groom” their child victims, so alienators groom children by testing for compliance. Common themes are the other parent is crazy, bad, or to be feared (Clawar and Rivlin, 1991). The child endures scenarios in which “correct” responses are rewarded and “incorrect” responses punished. Children aligned with alienators are taught to tell half‐truths and lies. Bone and Walsh (1999) state PAS childrens’ lies are “survival strategies that they are forced to learn to …avoid emotional attacks from the alienating parent.” Clawar and Rivlin’s (1991) research indicates alienators use persuasive techniques and brainwashing tools to isolate children from other family members. Alienators promote denial of the child’s other parent by deliberately refusing to acknowledge the other parent at social events or in the child’s presence. Alienators also rewrite history, causing the child to doubt his/her perception of reality, making the child more vulnerable to the alienator’s distortions.

PAS is emotional abuse

Cartwright (1998) stated, “PAS is a serious form of child abuse.” When an alienator isolates a child from another parent through programming techniques and control, harm and symptoms of mental illness result. Emotional abuse results when an alienator controls a child’s beliefs through rejection and fear. Bone and Walsh (1999) state “healthy and established parental relationships do not erode naturally of their own accord. They must be attacked.” It is emotional abuse when an alienating parent attacks the other parent‐child bond intending to destroy it.

Emotional abuse’s consequences

Childhood abuse’s emotional effects are well documented. Consequences include perpetuating abuse into the next generation for those who remain unaware, low self‐esteem, self‐destructive behaviors, anger, aggression, cruelty, depression, anxiety, and post‐traumatic stress. Emotionally abused children affect society’s structure. They risk becoming mentally ill adults who hate, fear, lie, and engage in antisocial behavior. Kraizer (2004) writes, “Evidence is mounting that child mistreatment is the precursor to many of the major social problems in this culture.” The U.S. Advisory Board (1990) suggests our society’s survival depends on protecting children from harm. Clawar and Rivlin’s (1991) research indicates even mild PAS cases need intervention and “have significant effects.” Traditional talk psychotherapies are ineffective in severe cases, which require deprogramming therapies for successful intervention.

Occurrence

Conservatively, there are potentially 50,000 new PAS cases annually with half a million new children under age 18 experiencing or being at risk for PAS (Andre, 2004). Interventions lacking Despite the large number of divorce program interventions available in the literature, few are PASspecific. The number of intervention programs tripled between 1994 and 1999 (Arbuthnot, 2002), suggesting rapidly growing interest in PAS.

PAS AND THE DSMV

One reason for few PAS intervention programs may be its lack of inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM‐IV), an important diagnostic tool for naming disorders, determining differential diagnosis and diagnostic validity, and providing research uniformity. Because PAS is not in the DSM‐IV, there is no uniform diagnostic criteria or even an agreed‐upon name. Rand (1997) pointed out there is a “body of divorce research and clinical writings which, without a name, describe” PAS.

DSM exclusion leads to misunderstanding

PAS’ exclusion is sometimes considered evidence of its nonexistence by those lacking understanding of the DSM’s evolution. Since its first publication in 1952, the DSM has undergone four major revisions, each attempting to reflect the time’s accepted thinking. However, PAS’ exclusion from the DSM does not mean it doesn’t exist (Warshak, 2003).

Its time has come

Cartwright (2002) stated there were “133 peer reviewed articles, and 66 legal citations from courts of law” recognizing PAS. Articles continue to be added to the professional literature; there may already be a comprehensive database from which to answer a DSM‐V workgroup’s questions.

Conclusion

PAS is a form of child abuse with potentially severe consequences. A substantial body of peerreviewed literature indicates PAS is a valid and distinct disorder. Inclusion in the DSM‐V would provide the legitimacy PAS warrants, and clarify the conceptual framework, as well as the psychological and behavioral dimensions for diagnosis, research and treatment. The American Psychiatric Association DSM‐V Prelude Project committee has a website, http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx, for the user community to submit suggestions for the next DSM. We must ensure our nomenclature systems reflect current understanding of mental illness by asking a workgroup review PAS for inclusion in the DSM‐V.

References

Arbuthnot, J. (2002). A call unheeded: Courts’ perceived obstacles to establishing divorce educationprograms. Family Court Review, 40,371‐382.

Andre, K. (2004). Parental alienation syndrome. Annals of The American Psychotherapy Association, 7, 7‐11.

Bone, J.M. and Walsh, M.R. (1999). Parental alienation syndrome: How to detect it and what to do about it. The Florida Bar Journal. 73.44‐48 [Retrieved electronically;

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/walsh99.htm%5D.

Cartwright, C. (1998). Brief to the special joint committee on child custody and access. [Retrieved from] http://www.education.mcgill/ ca/profs/cartwright/papers/pasbrf01.htm.

Cartwright (2002). The changing face of parental alienation. Paper presented at the symposium: the parliamentary report for the sake of the children. Ottawa.

Clawar, S. and Rivlin, B. (1991). Children Held Hostage. Chicago: American Bar Association.

Darnall, D. (1998). Divorce Casualties.Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing.

Duryee, M. (2003). Expected Controversies: Legacies of Divorce. Journal for the Center for Families,Children and the Courts. 149‐160.

Gardner, R. (1985). Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. Academy Forum. 29, 3‐7.

Gardner, R. (1989). Family evaluation in child custody, medication, arbitration, and litigation.

Cresskill, N.J.: Creative Therapeutics.

Gardner (2001). The empowerment of children in the development of parental alienation syndrome. [Retrieved electronically; http://rgardner.com/refs/arl4.lml%5D.

Kelly, J. and Johnston, J. (2001). The alienated child: A reformulation of parental alienation syndrome. Family Court Review. 39, 249‐266.

Kraizer, Sherryll (2004). Online; http://www.safechild.org/abuse.htm.

Major, J.A. (2003). Parents who have successfully fought parent alienation. [Retrieved electronically; http://www.breakthroughparenting.com/PAS.htm.1‐15%5D.

Rand, D. (1997). The spectrum of parental alienation syndrome (part I). American Journal of Forensic Psychology. 20,5‐29.

Wallerstein, J. and Kelly, J. (1980). Surviving the break‐up: How children and parents cope with divorce. NY: Basic Books.

Warshak, R. (2001). Divorce Poison. NY: Regan Books.

Warshak, R. (2003).Bringing sense to parental alienation. Family Law Quarterly, 37, 273‐301.

About the author

Dr. Katherine C. Andre is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Lakeport. She chairs the Lake County Mental Health Advisory Board, is a Diplomat in The American Psychotherapy Association and in Division 12 of The American Psychological Association. For 10 years she worked as a Lake County Superior Court family mediator, where she encountered PAS firsthand.

Categories: Parents

Parental Alienation: Refined, Reformulated & Rationalized: You Might Be An Average, Okay Normal Parent.

Parental Alienation: Refined, Reformulated & Rationalized: You Might Be An Average, Okay Normal Parent.

Pray for Alienated Children and their ParentsIt is an unfortunate time we are in when mental abuse of children remains disregarded. Parental Alienation has been described in the literature for at least 60 years (Bernet, 2008). I hope that for the sake of children all over the world, another 60 years will not pass.  The media has distorted Parental Alienation; extremist groups have made attempts to divide the issue into gender wars. I agree with Fidler & Bala (2010), “…the feminist advocates who, in the name of helping women, deny that alienation exists, do a disservice to not only the many mothers who are unjustifiably alienated from their children, and often by abusive men, but more importantly do a disservice to the children.”Probably the nastiest misrepresentations are those that relate Parental Alienation solely to the person who coined the term, Dr. Gardner.  

It is regrettable that many cannot read past Gardner’s finding during the tender year’s presumption and his studies of high-conflict custody cases. It is also fateful that there is not a consensus among professionals; nevertheless, I concur with Bernet (2008) that the proposal should not be rejected due to a lack of consensus. He notes that, “the history of psychology and psychiatry is full of disagreements over causation.” Luckily, there is an agreement that parent-child alienation is a common and serious problem for some [italics added] separating parents (Jaffe, Ashbourne, & Mamo, 2010). This group designated as “some”, is the group I would clearly identify as high conflict. According the Center for Divorce Education, this group of divorcing parents consists of 10%. These authors also point out, that the current debate is centered on extreme cases. Commons sense tells us these extreme cases merit attention. It seems reasonable that Parental Alienation is considered “high-conflict.” I am not aware personally, or in literature reviews, of divorced couples that co-parent affectionately while simultaneously slandering each other in the presence of their children.

Out of a response to criticism, Parental Alienation has been refined, reformulated, and at times, rationalized. I am appreciative that professionals in the field are working on this dreadful issue. Nevertheless, in light of all the connotations, an extensive review of the literature reveals that Parental Alienation has been conceptualized similarly by different researchers. Although, as a caveat, most do not openly acknowledge their findings are analogous to Gardner’s. Parental Alienation, as described by Wallerstein & Kelly (1976), is when a child living with one parent who irrationally rejects the other parent and refuses to visit or have contact with that other parent .Explanations come back to Gardner’s original definition of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Gardner in 1985 discussed this high-conflict group and noted, “It is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming parent’s indoctrination and the child’s own contribution to the vilification of the target parent.”  And here is where the problem begins. All of these conceptualizations’ entail what many consider as black and white thinking.  

Is irrational alienation possible? Is it probable for one parent to trigger a campaign against an ex-spouse and align his or her child? According to Fidler and Bala (2010)”this is not an either/or proposition; there are abused children and there are alienated children.” The authors additionally note that to portray rejected parents as victims is to resist “scrutiny of the conduct of these parents.” Clearly, I agree there are alienated children and abused children. And, I suggest, that both issues  should be taken very seriously. These issues however are separate considerations. True abuse and neglect should be ruled out before giving a diagnosis of parental alienation disorder. Gardner and other researches include criteria for differentiating between Parental Alienation and Bona Fide abuse-neglect. It seems likely that experts can differentiate between abuse and Parental Alienation. “Gardner’s definition is clear enough for psychologists to reliably diagnose PAS from case examples” (Rueda, 2004). It also is possible that one parent can develop animosity because of the input from one parent. Without a doubt, …”[sic] it is common for each parent to express negative sentiments about the other parent…” (Fidler & Bala, 2010). However, I think it is possible that one parent can vent to a friend, counselor, or another adult while the alienating parent “expresses negative sentiments about the other parent to the child.” Who do you vent to?

Clearly, educational efforts are needed as some parents do not know that voicing frustrations to their child may not be in their best interests. On the other hand, there are actually parents who appreciate that disparaging remarks about an ex-spouse is not a good idea. But, we ponder, let us get the bottom of our ex-spouses pain, “The real issue which needs to be addressed is the conflict between the parents that prevents the children from enjoying a meaningful relationship with each of their parents post separation” (Jaffe, Ashbourne, & Mamo, 2010). I do not know about the reader, but to get to the bottom of my ex-spouses anger, I would have had to stay married.   Some parents cannot move on past the pain of a divorce, “It is the embattled parent, often the one who opposes the divorce in the first place, who initiates and fuels the alignment (Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980). What about you, do you as a rejected parent have serious parenting deficits? No worries, you may be average with regular parenting faults, similar to the married population that regularly making parenting mistakes.

Is it not possible that the parent who opposes the divorce could start a campaign of denigration? I know when I initiated my divorce, I was told, “if you leave I will make your life a living hell.”  It is also an immense error to assume that all rejected parents cannot be victims. To think that all rejected parents must have played a role, renders that rejected parents get what they deserve. (Warshak, 2003).  Intent or no intent, some parents spew venomous words and poison the mind of his or her child. I agree that some parents could benefit from parenting educational programs that teaches about children’s developmental stages, birth order, gender identification and the adverse outcome of badmouthing. As a caveat; one has to care. Kelly (2010) points out, favored parents often are noncompliant with court orders. What about your ex-spouse, does he or she comply with court orders? Should valuable workshops that offer services to severely alienated children offer programs for the favored parent? According to Warshak & Otis (2010), favored parents often deny they have a problem [sic] and are unmotivated to change. Years ago after my divorce, I suggested joint counseling, but the suggestion was ridiculed.  What about your ex-spouse? Do they want [italics added] to change?

Do not be surprised if you ex-spouse does not change nor desire to change. A shrewd college professor recently reminded me, of the old adage; leopards do not change their spots. Findings indicate this may be true. As noted by Jaffe et al. (2010), “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.”  If you are a target parent hope remains. Some research indicates that being an adequate loving parent might be good enough. It may be that rejected parents simply have a difficult ex-spouse. And do not worry; you may also be psychologically healthy (although, getting a little mad at this point is understandable). Contrary to what might easily be assumed by professionals, findings by Hedrick & Dunne, (1994) suggest that PAS does not necessarily signify dysfunction in the rejected parent.  Gordon, Stoffey & Bottinelli (2008) also had comparable findings. They noted that target parents were similar in dynamics to an “average parent”. Target parents,   if you find yourself distressed by your children refusing visitation, sudden hatred, or reporting ideas and notions beyond their years; you may be normal.

There is power in hope; and in knowing you are not alone.  “We consider Parental Alienation Syndrome as a childhood disorder caused by an alienating parent…” (Gordon et. al). Lastly, the magnification of this problem is realized, “if a child begins to develop racial hatred, many reasonable people would consider this a problem worthy of attention. When children suffer from irrational anxieties that interfere with functioning we do not ignore the suffering with the hope that eventually the fears will be overcome” (Warshak, 2003). Once I was reminded that hatred by a child towards one parent is similar to prejudice, and that parental alienation is a social problem.   Divorce is a social problem; creating and instilling fear in the hearts and minds of innocent children and turning them against a once-loved parent is pathological. Which lens do you wear? As I recall, not all social problems resolve without intervention. And please, do not think silence is always golden. Nor is it helpful to count on your case of Parental Alienation resolving by the time your child turns 18; this may not be the case. The fact is, some social problems are internalized [italics added] and subsequently develop into disorders. Without recognition and intervention, Parental Alienation will adversely affect generations to come.

Categories: Parents
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