Why does so much PA advice describe water to the drowning?

I once heard parent alienation, where one parent has to get through each day with a living bereavement, poignantly described as “drowning in a sea of hope being hit by endless waves of grief.”

If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to see someone actually struggling in water, they are literally consumed by a largely alien, hostile world and they flail wildly trying to latch onto anything that will keep their head from going under.

Yet what people who can swim know is that your lungs are natural buoyancy aids. Keep calm, think, fill those lungs with air and employ economy of effort and your chances of survival increase hugely.

Presumably experts in parent alienation understand this metaphor. Because we assume they have earned the label as a consequence of observing dozens of targeted parents and their children and wider families suffer at the hands of a system that is less the RNLI or emergency services and more the dark rocks of danger or a cruel riptide.

So why is it that there are so few parent alienation experts appearing with buoyancy aids?

So why is it that there are so few parent alienation experts appearing with buoyancy aids, like emotional and procedural lifeguards during the worst times of trouble? Better still, why haven’t they joined forces after such a passage of time to build a lifeboat station or even erect a lighthouse to warn parents of the perils ahead? At the very least why aren’t they pulling together to bring disaster relief when increasing numbers of people encounter tragedy where they thought they would find help?

We started Peace not Pas because we had suffered too much and kept bumping into people with similar stories but few positives to report about support.

Yet they are also paying to be abused:

  • family lawyers charge day rates north of £1,000
  • barristers cost much more and usually attend WITH a referring solicitor
  • mediators employ an hourly charging system
  • court fees vary but the £hundreds quickly run to thousands
  • counselling costs at least £30 per hr, per “patient”
  • courses and workshops are not inexpensive
  • psychology reports and assessments cost £100s
  • so-called PA consultants charge rates comparable to solicitors

And yet none of these “professionals” are held accountable for outcomes or results.

It is not inconceivable that a parent, if not both parents, will have to utilise all 8 of these so-called support mechanisms. And yet, as the “experts” suggest with mis-placed glee, even if the target parent is successful in obtaining an order to see THEIR OWN CHILDREN, they still remain at the mercy of the resident parent. Because, if the resident parent refuses to comply, the court will do nothing to enforce their own order in 99 out of 100 cases. And the target parent could easily have spent £20k plus for that outcome.

Even then, however, the PA grief counseling commercial machine will still attempt to pick what’s left of their pockets. It is an absolute scandal.

Meanwhile, our international network talks daily of  ongoing acts of immeasurable cruelty and vindictiveness with former partners deploying their own children as weapons; of a legal system seemingly unable to help and which makes matters worse and of a so-called support system that wants more money from them, not to fix the problem and re-connect them with their kids, but to help them live with their grief. Yet when they feel that third parties have been a large part to blame for the cause of that grief and the pain is all they have left of their kids, grief counselling is frankly a tricky sell.

This is not an exact science but if we presume that parent alienation, or the act of one parent, probably the resident parent, abusing the extra time they have with the kids to turn them against the other parent, rejecting and then blocking them from their lives, has been going on since the 70s, at least, that’s half a century of child abuse taking place in clear sight. Yet despite the proliferation of experts and specialist services, the system has changed very little. And yet the ill effects of parent alienation on society are very well documented.

So how can it be, that in all of that time, not a single so-called PA specialist has managed to successfully highlight root causes with conviction and challenge and change the broken machine when even judges acknowledge it is not fit for purpose? Yet so many specialists exist, advertise their wares, argue with each other, take money from the cash strapped and the broken and contribute to reports and papers that reek of ego and a grieving industry. Why?

People, by which I mean children and adults, who are being subjected to this very deliberate form of abuse don’t need reports describing their symptoms, stages of grief and the harm it is causing unless those facts are being used to bring about change.

Parents thrown overboard by “due process” are not looking for vengeance or retribution, they simply want to honour the primal instinct any of us has, to protect our children, nurture them and shield them from harm. And they expect the experts in this field to rise with a common voice and not to undermine each other over petty turf wars that so often replicate the abuse within the system they’re all supposed to be battling.

We need proper help and support that not only challenges but changes the system so fewer people suffer in future

With that in mind, we need proper help and support that not only challenges but changes the system so fewer people suffer in future but which helps us remain afloat and become stronger swimmers.

The very last thing we need are more people joining the crowd on the beach describing the state of the water to the drowning while they rifle through our clothes for the last of the loose change.

So if you’re one of the professionals and are not only passionate about what you do but open to constructive feedback on how to help yourself and others become more effective, then get involved with this movement.

When a system is as rotten as this is, change is not optional or a nice to have but a moral obligation.

When a system is as rotten as this is, change is not optional, or a nice to have but a moral obligation and if we can’t look to the experts to save us all from drowning, then I guess we are going to have to ignore the cynics and do it ourselves.

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