The ‘season of goodwill’ is one of many ubiquitous terms seen at this time of year, such terms conjure up memories and feelings of warmth that are synonymous with the coming Christmas period and in most induces a feeling of hope, a spirit of generosity and a kindly approach towards others.
In this day and age when people rightly allow themselves to enjoy Chistmas in their own way, be it religious, secular, commercial or all, we are all arguably dragged into this impending ‘season of goodwill’. Whichever way we choose to celebrate Christmas, the result is the same. If you are lucky enough to have a loving family around you, it will normally result in some time off work and time spent with loved ones. The giving and receiving of presents, cards and good wishes is common place for most at Christmas. It’s the time of year that people are smiling more, saying ‘merry Christmas’ to numerous shop assistants and relative strangers.
Charities receive more money over Christmas time than any other time in the year. Whatever Christmas means to you whether you are spurred on by commercialism, religious symbolism and phrases, Dickensian quotes or just nostalgic Christmas movies that are shown on television year after year; whether we like it or not, most of us will be encouraged to think of others more. This season induces in most, whether we admit to it or not, a spirit of generosity and kindness towards others, however small it may be.
However this is not the case for the alienating parent. The parent that chooses to prevent his or her children from seeing the other parent does clearly not ‘buy in’ to this ‘season of goodwill’. In fact the opposite is true, for the alienating parent this is a time of opportunity, but not in the context of ‘Christmas spirit’.
As is all too often the case in parental alienation cases, the resident parent, will make false accusations that the alienated parent harmed the children in the past . This in turn ‘kicks off’ a safeguarding referral and subsequent assessment and results in four to five months (in some cases more) of the targeted parent being prevented by the courts of any unsupervised contact with the children. This window of opportunity is key for the alienating parent. If they have not already done so at this point, this is where the alienating parent will all too often build a ‘psychological cage’ around the children, whereby the absence of the alienated parent is presented to the children as the alienated parent actively rejecting the children. The children will be told that the alienated parent has abandoned and rejected the children for a ‘new life’, when in fact the opposite is true. The children will be shielded from the outside truth. An additional key tell-tale sign of Parental Alienation is when the alienating parent prevents the children from having any relationship with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of the alienated parents side of family, this tactic is used to reinforce and secure the ‘false reality’ of what is the psychological hold the alienating parent has over the children.
So we return back to the subject of Christmas… One can only imagine the multitude of emotions the effected children must be going through as they approach Christmas with their unfounded, but potentially entrenched belief that they have been ‘abandoned’ by their absent parent. The absence of the targeted parent at such a crucial time of the year will be taken advantage of by the alienating parent. The ‘psychological cage’ provided by the alienating parent will enable them to continue with this denigration and hatred of not only the absent and alienated parent but also the alienated parent’s side of the family. Statistically speaking, personality disorders are at the core of parental alienation. As such there is no guilt or shame on the part of the alienator. There is only fear of the truth being found out. Unfortunately it is this fear of being found out that often drives such extreme behaviours.
So how do we as those effected by parental alienation compete with such damaging and abhorrent behaviours? In terms of coping and dealing with such alienating behaviours, the advice is that we do not compete or engage in conflict, but remain compassionate and kind. In essence a dignified approach in the face of overwhelming adversity. In the spirit of Christmas, it could be argued that we should simply allow ourselves to actively engage in the ‘season of goodwill’ with all its positive effects on ourselves and others. To conclude, we can be grateful for those around us and the love and support we provide for one another in such difficult and testing times.
When Charles Dickens’ character Scrooge, wakes up on Christmas morning, he realises he can make amends for his past cruelties:
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
– Merry Christmas. Peace, love and hope to all –