Advertisements

Peace Not Pas

A Parent's Story of Battling Parental Alienation

Author: btg dad (page 1 of 9)

Parental Alienation & the Three Wise Monkeys

I was inspired to write this article following my own reading of Dr Childress’ latest blog entitled The Door of Empathy.

In this article of his, Childress explores the behaviour that an alienated child expresses when required simply to survive. In further understanding this, the targeted parent is more able to understand the importance of empathy and provide it for the child.

However, as Childress states:

“…not empathy for the pathology. The pathology is a delusion…instead…a resonant empathy for the authentic child alive beneath the pathology.  An empathy that draws forth this authentic child, because we, through our empathy, we see the authentic child – and the child sees their own self-authenticity reflected in our empathy.

(Childress, 2019)

Childress goes on to discuss the importance of emotional self-regulation for a targeted parent in displaying empathy for the deluded child.

It is this last point that prompted me to reflect on my numerous misadventures with the evil that is parental alienation over the last thirty months.

In particular, it prompted me to reflect on the unreasonable expectations placed on targeted parents by the various stakeholders and professionals within the family justice system.

Targeted parents start their navigation through the family justice system already at an incredibly disadvantaged position. In addition to this, they are expected to have and show the patience of a Saint, the virtues of Aristotle, the mental strength of a mighty warrior and the financial resources of a millionaire.

And what do the various professionals expect of the alienating parent, who holds all the cards? In my experience: very little. Below are some anecdotal examples of what several professionals have expected of the alienator and I – the targeted parent – over the last thirty months.

Cafcass identified in their very first Case Analysis that the other (resident) parent was identified as exposing the children to emotional harm:

“being of the utmost importance that this identification of such emotional harm is not allowed to let slide along as the children will continue to come to more emotional harm.”

(Cafcass, 2016)

It was in the following year that, despite claims to the contrary, Cafcass clearly allowed my case to slide along. So, I put in a complaint against them in regards to what I perceived as their mismanagement of my case, and failure to safeguard my children from emotional harm. The response to my complaint was a telephone call from a Cafcass Service Manager, which I fortunately managed to record. The manager informed me, in a somewhat blasé manner, that “it’s difficult to know what to do when the damage has already been done” [to the children]. A remarkable, yet open statement of incompetence. And yet, nothing came of my complaint.

My ongoing concerns were further exacerbated by the following alarming statement of fact from another member of management within Cafcass: “Yes, I agree, btg-dad, this system is flawed.” I was also fortunate enough to take an audio recording of this telephone conversation. I can only suggest the manager made a Freudian slip during the challenging questions I posed to him.

Several months later into the case I encountered a social worker employed by the local Children’s Services. When I made a statement that the long-term aim for my children was to co-parent on a 50/50 basis with the other parent, she assertively replied “that’s an unreasonable expectation.” I queried her arguably biased, dismissive response, only to be told, “that is how it is!”

A District Judge once ordered the other parent to present me in a positive light in the eyes of the children, with immediate effect. She has never done this and continues to disobey his direction. Despite being aware, the Judge has taken no further action.

The structure of the family justice system does not permit complaints against judges. I have wondered on numerous occasions of sending my story to the press, be it local or national. However, disclosing any details of the case would place me in contempt of court. Ironic, and tragic.

At the risk of appearing naive, one would expect higher morals of such professionals, particularly those who work in the family court.

How is it that so many professionals within a flawed system are allowed to make such reckless decisions regarding these vulnerable children that are dragged through courts?

The following statistics show clear evidence of the family justice system that continues to fail in its remit to provide the best outcome for children, post-separation:

  • 96% of all child arrangements order applications are made by fathers (University of Warwick, UK).
  • 97% of residencies are given to mothers (University of East Anglia, UK).
  • 50% of court orders are broken (University of East Anglia, UK).
  • Just 1.2% of applications for enforcement of court orders are successful (Ministry of Justice, UK).

My only attempt at an explanation for the way system currently works – or doesn’t work – is the proverb of the Three Wise Monkeys. The image and proverb used in Western culture to refer to a lack of moral responsibility on the part of people who refuse to observe standards of honesty or integrity. People that simply look the other way, or feign ignorance.

I have no other explanation for the complete lack of moral fibre these people have.

“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Origin of proverb unknown.



Advertisements

‘A Christmas Carol’, Scrooge & Parental Alienation

Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge. A protagonist that is initially presented in the above tale as a cold-hearted, bitter individual.

Scrooge’s persona has resulted in the use of his name in the English language as a byword for cruelty and misanthropy.

The Story

On a bleak Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley. Jacob informs Scrooge that he has been condemned to spend eternity experiencing an “incessant torture of remorse.” Jacob attributes this punishment being due to a life spent obsessing over money and mistreating those less fortunate.

Jacob tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits and warns Scrooge to listen carefully to each of them. It will be Scrooge’s only chance to avoid a much heavier punishment than that currently being inflicted upon his late business partner.

The first spirit to visit Scrooge is the Ghost of Christmas Past. Scrooge to numerous scenes of his childhood, including when his one-time fiancé ended their relationship. Scrooge’s neglect of her and his obsession with money were the reason. Scrooge is then taken to a scene that depicts the same woman married with a large and happy family on Christmas Eve. Scrooge is upset by what he sees and demands the ghost remove him from the scene.

Scrooge is then visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present who takes him to see various scenes in an attempt to prompt the old miser to repent. However, Scrooge declines these numerous prompts.

The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, takes Scrooge to a Christmas day in the future, revealing a number of scenes. They visit the funeral of a disliked man where the apparent mourners are only there due to the offer of a free lunch. The final scene that the ghost shows Scrooge is that of a tombstone bearing Scrooge’s name. The grave is very neglected. On seeing this, Scrooge weeps and promises to change his ways.

The following morning Scrooge awakens a new man. Throughout the day he engages with many characters from the story in a compassionate and kind way, visiting family, and gifting the largest turkey to his poor colleague’s family. Dickens presents Scrooge’s new behaviour and zest for life as an embodiment of Christmas spirit.

Scrooge and Parental Alienation

How does this tie in with parental alienation? How does it compare with a parent being denied a loving relationship with their own child? For a detailed definition of parental alienation see here.

Dicken’s tale has several parallels with the dynamics of parental alienation, particularly at Christmas time.

I view the character of Scrooge being incredibly similar to that of an alienating parent. Both characters require a cold-hearted, bitter view on life.

When visited by the first spirit Scrooge selfishly demands he be removed from the last scene due to the upset he felt. He did not appear to reflect on his past behaviour that had upset those around him. As anyone adversely affected by parental alienation will know, the targeting parent will always put their own needs above those of others; even their very own children.

When Scrooge was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, he refused to repent. Such is the same response for alienating parents. They not only out-rightly refuse to change their ways, they will also all too often project blame out onto those they despise. Rather callously, they will reward those that support their negative and abusive behaviours.

The visit by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is where the parallels end. Alienating parents are unable to envisage the future. They are unable to comprehend the emotional damage they are inflicting on their children by denying them a loving relationship with the targeted parent. Alienators simply do not have the insight needed to understand the long-term damage they are doing to their children.

Tragically, unlike Dickens’ Christmas tale, all of us adversely affected by parental alienation know that alienators are not capable of any such epiphany. Ironically, like Scrooge’s former business partner, who is destined to experience eternal torture, in the most severe cases it is the children that will be left to experience the emotional torture; not the perpetrators, the alienating parents.

“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!” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.


I Have Four Children

The following is an anonymous contribution from a very courageous alienated parent.


I have four children. Two daughters first, followed by two sons.

Our story began 19 years ago. At the time, my eldest child was 13, and the others were close in age, at just 12, 10 and 6.

I could write a whole chapter on how I was messed about, but that’s for another time. I think I was at the forefront of changes yet to take place. I suffered domestic violence, humiliation and all forms of mental coercion and abuse. This escalated to stalking, and even being held hostage. The police were called out on 27 occasionsby this time I felt mentally under siege. Advice was given by a solicitor, who informed me that it was not unreasonable for my husband to use violence against me as I was the adult seeking separation.

Fastforward to my youngest child turning 8, where I no longer lived in the same residence. Although still attending school, it was noticed he was falling asleep in class, and was regularly wet, dishevelled and smelly. I attended all appointments wherever they were, and tried to take care of my children, even though the Cafcass centre had noted distinct coercion to ignore requests from me. I was heckled and verbally abused before, during and after attending the contact centre, and on many occasions in between meetings.

It was all affecting my ability to stay focused. I was crying for much longer and even the simplest things were becoming increasingly difficult. Even sleeping, and then trying to wake up, was a challenge.

I changed my solicitor and requested set times to be able to see each of my children. I was laughed at and told that my eldest was in a position to defy court action. To add to that, I was told nothing could be put in place for the three eldest children. My youngest was placed with me permanently on the grounds of neglect.

Even though I lived just a street from my exhusband, he never asked about, or called to see our son. It got to a point where my son said he wanted to spend the weekends and part of each school holiday scheduled to be with his father halved because he didn’t want to miss being part of a family unit.

Things for the other children at the family home were dire, with no feeling of structure or function. They were upset and constantly fighting each other, frustrated with the lack of attention or responsibility from their father. I had to routinely step in to solve problems and support them, especially when they were left alone to fend for themselves by my ex-husband.

I was still struggling, mentally. I had started university but increasingly needed mental health support. When a position became available for me to attend a psychotherapy unit, I took advantage of the opportunity.

Things did not really improve in relation to contact with my children. Their father had maintained that he was not one to make his children do anything they didn’t want to. In my opinion, that was just a cop-out.

When my youngest reached 13, I asked my sons to accompany me on a house move some 250 miles away. My eldest boy was 16 at the time and, unbeknown to me, had not attended school for almost a year. How did I not know about this? His father had told the school that our son resided only with him and made himself the first contact. I have no understanding why the school didn’t follow this up and check.

I did move. My daughters were 20 and 18 and living at home with dad. I had totally forgotten to investigate school placements before moving and was told that the local school would not take on any more pupils. I didn’t know the area and was prepared to settle for the nearest possible school. However, both boys decided they wanted to return to what they knew, and so I had to let them to go back.

“It broke my heart.”

I saw my youngest in his holidays and at halfterm, but never spent another holiday, halfterm, Christmas or birthday with any of my other children again, despite my youngest saying he wanted to live with me once he left school.

Fastforward to present day my youngest became a father aged 21, and my eldest became a mother at 28. I have no contact with my youngest son or daughter, despite us being a close family. I feel there has been deliberate intent to keep me from being a family member. My eldest son is the only person in regular daily contact.

My children are now all in their twenties and thirties.


 

To my Beautiful Children; Story #1

To my beautiful children. Regardless of whether you all currently think you love me or not. Regardless of whether you all actually miss me or not. Regardless of whether you all feel your hearts’ are broken or not. Regardless of my absence in your lives; I would like to tell you a story of one of two creatures who became my best friends. I strongly believe they had a big part of saving my life.

[To those that follow this blog, I am an alienated parent. I have now not seen my beautiful children for more than two years. For those of you that ask the most simple question of why, the answer is simple. The other parent of my children has effectively brainwashed our children against me. They are led to believe a false narrative of events. They are led to believe I no longer love them. They are led to believe I have rejected them all. This set of abusive behaviours is known as parental alienation. The parent that ‘facilitates’ the false narrative is known as the alienating parent. The alienating parent will effectively and actively promotes false and toxic beliefs that effectively turn the affected children against the targeted parent. This set of abusive behaviours is known as parental alienation. Due to the current flawed system, there is a financial incentive for the targeting parent to increase the alienating behaviours. The less the targeted parent is ‘allowed’ by the targeting parent to have contact with the children the more child maintenance the targeting parent receives!]  

Anyway, lets return to the narrative of this story. So, to my beautiful children this is a recent insight into my life (that you are unfortunately excluded from) that I would like to share with you.

A couple of years before the publishing of this post, within the context of my new life (which I so wish you were all permitted to be a part of) I adopted two dogs. One was from Romania, the other from Spain. Both were rescue dogs, taken from a life of depravity and abuse.

The latter sentence does certainly not equate to any entitlement of recognition on my part. In fact the opposite is true. What I and my new life got from these two dogs was unbelievable; unconditional love, devotion, attention and most valued of all, companionship, mutual trust and friendship.

As strange as it may sound kids, these two dogs gave me something that was lacking in my inner self as an alienated parent; an inner purpose, a sense of self, a sense of responsibility.

Kids, the Spanish dog in my opinion had the same grace, maturity and mannerisms of the dog ‘Shadow’ in the movie Journey Home. The very movie we all used to watch numerous times together. This very dog of mine that reminded me so much of ‘Shadow’ had many other endearing and cute mannerisms which I would rather tell you in person (one day I hope).  As for my Romanian companion, like his Spanish counterpart, he is unlike any dog I have ever known before. He gives hugs! My God kids, how much you would love him. He actually gives hugs, proper hugs! He places his paws on your shoulder and snuggles his head in.

So kids why am I telling  you such a story about two random rescue dogs I took under my wing as part of my new life? Allow me to explain. I know you all love animals as much as I do. As such please allow me to elaborate on my relationship with these two dogs and what, I feel we all get from our connections dogs as companions, friends and dependants.

I do not wish to dwell on the period of my life that I am about to discuss. Suffice to say, in the recent past I have experienced some very, very dark times. Maybe the language I am using is too ‘grown-up’ should you be reading this post now. However should you find yourself reading this content in several years time I would imagine you know what I mean by the phrase “I have experienced some very, very dark times.”

So to continue kids, in such times I would be alone, feel isolated and feel hopeless. Of course this was in the context of being an alienated parent. By the way, allow me to make this clear; none of this is your fault. I simply struggled with being denied the opportunity of being a part of your lives. As I continue to do so now to this very day.

However in such dark times who did I depend on (be it not exclusively)? Yep, you guessed it kids, my furry four legged friends.

Many an isolated, lonely afternoon I would unashamedly wallow in self-pity and sorrow, listen to music and cuddle up to my two furry friends.

During these dark days, these two furry friends of mine never appeared to judge me. They never appeared to ignore me. They never seemed to be fed up with providing me with love, attention and companionship. They felt to me to have a bottomless pit of such emotions. They would greet me with such enthusiasm when I returned home. They would even display the same enthusiasm if I had only taken the rubbish out!

During some of my darkest days I found myself listening to the song ‘Song for Zulu’ by Phosphorescent while cuddling and curling up next to my two furry best friends.

So what is the connection with the lyrics of this song and my two new furry friends? At the risk of repeating myself, allow me to explain.

“You will not see me fall, nor see me struggle to stand.” In my capacity as an alienated parent the above lyric resonated with me profoundly. Maybe one day I will explain it to you in person.

However the above lyric also resonates with me in relation to my furry Spanish friend, Buda. This song reminds me of these dark days and my furry friends beside me.

There was something special about Buda. Poor Buda had been born into a kill station. He was severely mistreated as a young dog. He was then rescued and that’s when Buda came into my new life.

Tragically, several days ago was the last time I saw my good friend Buda alive. I had seen Buda earlier that day struggle to get through the morning.  Following his rescue from the kill station he had a couple of years in an incredibly loving home. And then his life was cut tragically short by an incurable disease.

Buda_CCASupport

Miss you Buda

Kids, all of you would have immediately fallen in love with Buda, as most people did when they met him. I feel Buda would have benefited from having you kids in his life. How much I would have loved you all to have been a part of Buda’s short life. You all would have most definitely have benefited from such a friendship with Buda. I am sure Buda would have loved you all too. He was a special, loving dog.

Maybe one day you will all meet Buda’s housemate Thor. As much as you kids would have loved Buda, you would all equally love Thor. Who wouldn’t love a dog that gives human-like hugs?

The lyric from the following song resonates with me for many reasons. Reasons that I would prefer to disclose to you kids, in private, one day.

Love, Daddy

“You will not see me fall, nor see me struggle to stand” Matthew Houck, 2013.


 

The Dad Take Over

On Saturday 22nd September I had the pleasure of being one of the public speakers at an event called The Dad Takeover.

The event took place in London. It was organised by Priscilla Appeaning. Priscilla is the founder of The Step Mums Club.

“I set up this initiative to debunk the ‘wicked stepmum’ stereotype and give support to this growing community of mothers with their journeys.” Read more about Priscilla’s reasons behind creating her movement here: Why I Launched The Step Moms Club.

The event started with a panel of four laypeople up on stage. All of them fathers that gave different, interesting and unique insights into modern day fatherhood. This was well received by the audience and rightly so.

The next stage of the event involved a Family Law Solicitor, named Tejal and I going on stage.

Tejal introduced herself, her professional role and then spoke about the family court process regarding cases of divorce and separations. Tejal advocated for self representation and signposted the audience to where they could find the relevant forms online. It was refreshing to hear a family law solicitor advocating for self-representation. Tejal’s talk was clear, concise and helpful.

After Tejal had finished, I then took the microphone and introduced myself. First of all regarding my profession; I explained I am a Charge Nurse on an acute psychiatric assessment unit. I then introduced myself in a personal capacity; an alienated parent of three children, who I have not seen for over two years.

Staying within the event’s broad topic of modern day fatherhood I then went on to explain what parental alienation is. How it occurs, the long term effects on all those affected by it and the flawed legal system that enables it to go unchallenged and fails to protect an incalculable number of children from emotional abuse.

I was then bombarded (all be it appropriately) by numerous questions from the audience about parental alienation. There were many more people there that had/are experiencing parental alienation first hand. Some of these audience members were aware that it had a name, some did not.

There was then a brief break where I had another opportunity to speak with numerous parents and step-parents that are currently battling parental alienation, all at different stages.

After the break there was a general Q&A session. Such topics discussed involved the Child Maintenance Service, fathers legal rights, fathers mental health and society’s perception and expectations of modern day fatherhood.

The Q&A session invariably turned into a debate. However, as is always the case in such circumstances, the event simply run out of time.

After the last Q&A session there was enough time for all attendees to discuss with one another the various topics highlighted in the day’s event.

I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to many people that have been and/or still are affected by parental alienation. I was also fortunate enough to meet a member of The Cornerstone Community Project; one of many attendees that engaged in the lively debate.

From my own experience I know how emotionally difficult it can be to disclose your own personal story of parental alienation to someone you have just met. With this in mind I would like to say a big thank you those people that shared their stories with me. It is such shocking stories that fill me full of motivation and energy to use Peace Not Pas to continue to raise awareness of, provide support for and lobby for reform regarding all elements of parental alienation.

Thank you so much for having me Priscilla. I am very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to talk publicly about subjects that I am incredibly passionate about; parental alienation, mental health and last but not least the importance of shared parenting post separation.

Priscilla Appeaning’s Step Mums Club can be found on Instagram and Twitter.

btg dad

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela.


New call for openness in family law

Louise Tickle’s second blogpost of her Open Family Court project. Thanks Louise for raising awareness of the issues that are caused by an overly private Family.

Parental Alienation; is change on the horizon?

Regarding the raising of awareness of parental alienation I believe change is on the horizon. I am not naive enough to believe it will happen overnight. However, very much like the general public’s past lack of understanding of mental health, parental alienation is now starting on that same journey.

Last week parental alienation was reported on the BBC national news here in the UK.

Understandably this was shared across social media by the thousands upon thousands of alienated parents out there. It felt to me that the online anti-parental alienation community shared it with a somewhat cautionary sense of relief; that as much as we are sill denied reform, finally something so unjust as parental alienation is now being discussed on prime time national news here in the UK.

On the same day as the above reporting, the BBC also published the following related article on their BBC News website written by their Education Editor Branwen Jeffreys; When a Child Won’t See One Parent.

In her article Jeffreys explores the nature of parental alienation, all be it briefly, but at least, once again this form of abuse is on it’s way to reaching the attention of a much wider audience.

The article finishes with comments from Professor Liz Trinder, from the University of Exeter. Trinder makes the statement “the idea of parental alienation as a pattern of behaviours needs to be treated carefully, because the courts have a duty to consider the child’s best interests.”

Trinder then goes on to state “the problem with the alienation concept is that if your premise is the child has been brainwashed, it means you can’t trust what the child is saying to the court. So if you make an accusation of alienation it almost automatically casts suspicion on anything the child might say.” Even though Trinder appears to be coming from a cautionary perspective, she has clearly and unintentionally hit the nail on its head when she states “it almost automatically casts suspicion on anything the child might say.”

Anyone that knows anything about parental alienation knows that children are simply paraphrasing the alienating parent regarding their expression of negative views of the rejected parent. We all know alienated children have been coached and groomed into hating the other parent. Trinder conveniently chooses to omit that statistically children do not naturally reject a parent or care-giver. Even in cases of where the child is aware of the abuse, children remain attached to that parent. Children are hard-wired to remain attached to their parent(s).

In the above news report footage, Sarah Parsons (Principal Social Worker, Cafcass) makes the following statement “their [the affected children] only way of staying safe is to side with one parent and reject the other.” This view from Parsons, even by Cafcass’ standards is clearly the opposite view of Trinder’s regarding her call for services to be cautious with potential cases of parental alienation.

On 5th February 2018 Martin Daubney wrote an article entitled UK Dads are being airbrushed out of existence by family courts favouring and bankrolling Mums for the i Newspaper/website.

Daubney reminds us that free legal aid was stopped following the implementation in 2013, of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012. The only exception in terms of who would still be entitled to free legal aid was women who claimed domestic abuse, which leads to the application for Non-Molestation Orders.

Daubney then goes on to highlight the astonishing fact that in the year following the introduction of this Act, applications for LASPO boomed by 300%.

Daubney then reminds us that prior to the implementation of LASPO, the legal aid split was roughly 40% v 60% to men and women. Post-LASPO it is now 15% v 85% respectively. Daubney rightly argues that the change in these figures is clearly more than coincidental.

On 21st November 2016 parental alienation was also discussed on the Victoria Derbyshire news show on the BBC.

There is, in the following footage an all too familiar and disturbing interview with an anonymous child victim of parental alienation. The discussion in the studio that then subsequently takes place includes Anthony Douglass (CEO, Cafcass), Joanna Abrahams (Head of Family Law, Setford Solicitors) and Greg Mulholland (Liberal Democrat MP). Around the eight and a half minute mark Douglas is struggling to answer reasonable yet challenging questions from Mulholland.

It is incredibly important that those of us that have the time and resources to do so, to continue to chip away at this flawed system. It is incredibly important that we also continue to do all we can to actively raise awareness of parental alienation.

The above are just a few examples of the increase of discussion of parental alienation in the public domain. However despite the above examples, the current low level of public awareness of parental alienation remains unacceptable.

I do believe change will come. However like all past instances of social change, it is only ever pushed and forced on governments from the grass roots level of society; by the very people that are effected by the much needed social change. And this time, those people are us; the hundreds of thousands of alienated parents, grandparents and step parents.

We can do this, change will come. It is definitely time for the sun to set on this outdated and flawed system.


Is ‘Parental Alienation’ the New ‘Mental Health?’

What I mean by the above title is that twenty or so years ago mental health was simply not discussed in the public domain the way it is now. Be it via television reports, shows, documentaries or social media, mental health is now discussed and reported on across numerous mediums in a much more positive light.

My point is that as a modern day society we appear to be collectively much more comfortable in our skin discussing mental health. Now I am by no means stating that there is no prejudicial opinions of mental health still out there, nor am I stating that the positive changes made are enough. Of course they are not. The progress made in challenging the stigma against mental health has come a long way. However it is and must still remain a work in progress.

Regarding parental alienation, I view this contentious subject being where the concept of mental health was ten or twenty years ago. Arguably parental alienation is now beginning to be brought to the attention of the masses.

For those unaware of what parental alienation is, it is a form of abuse whereby one parent (in most cases the resident parent) deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys the previously healthy loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent (the non-resident parent). For a more detailed description see our page What is PA?

Why is it so contentious if it is a form of abuse?

Why is it simply not criminalised?

These are the questions no doubt asked by the incalculable number of alienated parents, grandparents, step-parents out there. It is not just viewed as contentious, it is also viewed as controversial by it’s opponents.

These opponents, in their most extreme views put forward the argument that parental alienation is used by abusive fathers to gain access to their children. For example, their flawed argument is that following separation a mother is most probably denying her abusive ex-partner contact with their children to protect the children from further abuse. These opponents of parental alienation, with flimsy evidence based arguments claim that this scenario happens in most cases of parental alienation.

Now I am certainly not stating that such scenarios never occur. These are and should be viewed as false allegations of parental alienation. We know that false allegations of rape occur. However this does not and should never be an argument to not continue treating rape as a criminalised form of abuse.

Statistics inform us that parental alienation is perpetrated against fathers more than mothers. I accept there exists a gender bias within the family court system. However parental alienation can and does happen to either gender. Just because it happens against one gender more than another, does not make it a gender issue. That is simply not equality. This topic is explored in more detail in one of my recent posts The Inequality of Fighting for Equality.

In When a Child Won’t See One Parent (published 12th September 2018) Jeffreys states “there is no consensus and not a great deal of research.” However there is a plethora of evidence out there that informs us not only of the prevalence of, but also the the long term detrimental effects of parental alienation.

We currently have a flawed system that is struggling to understand the complexities of parental alienation. While this system plays catch-up it is also tragically and knowingly avoiding accountability and knowingly allowing this abuse to carry on unchallenged.

Alienated parents around the world spend huge sums of money returning their cases to court again and again. Tragically not all alienated parents have the financial resources to do this, so they are left with little choice but to give up. This flawed system financially profits from alienated parents simply fighting to have a relationship with their children.

Should a parent have to pay thousands upon thousands of pounds to fight to be a parent?

Despite it’s opponents, it’s complexities and the fact it is a money-making machine embedded in a flawed system, parental alienation appears to be coming to the attention of a wider audience. Much the same as the subject of mental health did ten to twenty years ago.

Like so many social changes that have come about in the past, they are not pushed or promoted by those in power. They are almost always pushed, promoted and fought for from a grass roots level. By the very people directly effected by the needed social change. As was the case with those effected by mental health and demanding social change, this time, in terms of parental alienation, it is us. The affected parents, grandparents, step-parents, the list goes on.

We the effected, are fighting for social change, for reform. Not for ourselves, but for our children.

On the same day as the following report was broadcast on the BBC’s national news programme.

The BBC wrote the following regarding the above reports:

Are you affected by any of the issues raised above? Share your experience by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

WhatsApp: +44 7555 173285
Or Upload your pictures/video here
Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international)

Regarding the above statement from the BBC, if you are affected by parental alienation and it is safe and appropriate to do so, please consider sharing your experience to help raise awareness.

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” (Cesar Chavez, 1984)


The Times They Are a Changin’

Anyone that is aware of parental alienation will know, there are an incalculable number of alienated parents, grand-parents, step-parents etc. out there. As alienated individuals we are to some degree either victims or survivors of parental alienation.

However the real victims are not us. It is tragically the alienated children out there. Across the globe there are children that are denied a loving relationship with their loved ones.

Parental alienation is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. How else should we label a set behaviours whereby one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys the previously healthy loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent?

Parental alienation is emotional abuse, which in turn is rightly recognised as illegal, as is the case with other forms of abuse.

However, as is the case with so many aspects of our so-called modern societies, many of the laws that we as citizens of our respective governments that are legally obliged to abide by, are outdated and not fit for purpose.

And to make matters worse, these laws at times are completely incongruent with the moral code of many aspects of any given society. Furthermore these laws and the systems and institutions they are invariably connected with have another aspect that makes ethically based reform difficult; financial incentives to remain unchanged.

For example, as we are discussing parental alienation lets look at the family court, it’s associated services and the legal regulations that underpin and reinforce this system.

Some might say that the current family court system, particularly in the context of parental alienation is flawed, corrupt and unethical. Anyone that has ever attempted to navigate their way through this flawed system will no doubt agree with this perspective. And as alienated parents etc., all we are asking for is a fundamental right of our children; for our children to have a loving relationship with both parents.

However, conspiracies aside, this system is arguably most certainly fit for purpose for those that financially profit from the unchallenged abuse that is parental alienation. The current family court system encourages an adversarial approach from the separating parents. On both sides, any legal advice or representation costs money. And we all know it’s not cheap. The system also encourages continuous returns to court. Who benefits from this, the legal profession or the children stuck in the middle.

As for the so-called professionals, front-line staff from Cafcass/CPS take very few risks and the legal system allows them to have minimal responsibility and accountability placed on their shoulders. And in turn judges within the family court are ‘guided’ by the ‘findings’ of Cafcass/CPS and in most cases will take the same approach as Cafcass/CPS. How many times has a targeted parent, fighting a severely alienating parent been told “you two need to work together!”

This term you two need to work together, has come to me to define how the family court and its associated services work. You two need to work together is a blanket term that appears on the surface to be a well intended piece of advice to the uninitiated. However this term is simply a call to action for all those within this flawed and corrupt system to attribute equal blame on the shoulders of both the targeted and alienating and abusive parent. By doing this the system is then not accountable for the abuse that they are all too aware of. And as such they are not responsible or accountable for an abusive set of behaviours (parental alienation) that they so clearly do not understand.

However, I personally believe times are changing regarding the challenging of this flawed system.

Type ‘parental alienation‘ in to Google and one will be presented with 1,170,000 results. #PAS on Twitter reaches an audience of 2,107,036 twitter accounts.

Amongst the online anti-parental alienation community there are a number of established and up and coming campaign groups advocating and fighting for a children focused reform of this flawed system regarding parental alienation.

Here are just a few amongst many:

Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) is a human rights group that advocates equality for all members of society. They rightly state that inequality can affect anybody and should be everyone’s concern.

Erasing Family, a U.S based organisation. The producers of the 2014 Argentinian documentary Erasing Dad. They are planning on releasing their follow up documentary in 2019.

Families Need Fathers, is currently the UK’s leading charity supporting mothers, fathers and grandparents to have meaningful relationships with their children following parental separation.

The Voice of the Child, is a UK based team of researchers and associated members. This group frankly and rightly states that they will continue to challenge Cafcass; an organisation that is supposed to safeguard and protect children within the UK family law system.

The Cornerstone Community, is an up and coming UK based community that aims to bring all family rights campaigners, support groups and charities together under one roof. Their intention is to enable real-time collaboration with all campaigners/groups working towards common goals.

Come mothers and fathers, throughout the land
And don’t criticise, what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters, are beyond your command
Your old road is, rapidly agin’.

(Bob Dylan, 1963)

Author’s Note: It is not the author’s intention to purposely exclude certain campaign groups or individual campaigners. The above groups are simply a small snapshot of the incalculable number of individual campaigners and groups out there. There is no financial gain or vested interest for CCA in promoting the above groups. The aim is simply to inform the reader that there are many voices out there that are challenging this flawed system. And as a movement we strongly believe change will come.


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team

Parental Alienation; Ethics and the Family Court

The word ethical derives from the Greek work ethos; meaning ‘moral character.’ Within the world that we live in most people, most members of society would agree that a moral character describes the characteristics of an individual whose overall behaviour is right in a moral sense; honest, fair and truthful.

In it’s simplest definition ethics are a system of moral principles. These moral principles influence how we make decisions and lead our lives.

Past philosophers have put forward the argument that ethics entirely influence the way people behave. They have argued that if an individual comes to the realisation that a potential behaviour or response is morally good, then it would irrational not to do so.

And then there is also the concept of moral ambiguity. Some individuals struggle with this concept as they may want there to be a simple and straightforward answer to ethical dilemmas or questions, but there may not be one. For those that struggle with moral ambiguity it may force these individuals to take ownership of their own behaviours and choices in the absence of simply falling back on conveniently placed customs or rules.

So this then brings me onto the topic of the institution that is the Family Court. This institution is defined as being a court of law that hears and makes legal decisions involving issues such as child custody and divorce.

As we know there are many services and institutions that ‘work’ alongside the family court. Services such are Cafcass here in the UK, CPS in the US and Children’s Social Services for example, to name just a few. These additional services are viewed by the Judge as their eyes and ears. These services should be gathering information, evidence from numerous sources and collating this ultimately into a portfolio of evidence from which the appointed Judge will be expected to make a legal decision on.

So moving onto a typical, genuine textbook case of severe parental alienation the following factors, dynamics will most probably be in place:

  • One parent (in most cases the resident parent, known as the targeting parent) will be denying contact between the children and the non-resident parent (known as the targeted parent).
  • The targeting parent will constantly denigrate the character of the targeted parent in the eyes of the children.
  • This denigration of character will also be underpinned with a false narrative of events being fed to the children by the targeting parent. For example a skewed account of the circumstances of separation, false allegations against the targeted parent etc.
  • In most severe cases the targeted parent’s family are also excluded from the lives of the children.
  • All of the above actions normally result in the alienating children unjustifiably completely and utterly rejecting the targeted parent.

Now in returning to the concept of right or wrong, here in the UK Cafcass CEO Anthony Douglas publicly states that parental alienation is recognised by his organisation as a form of abuse. Furthermore Douglas goes on to state that this form of abuse should be treated with the same severity as any other form of abuse. So in terms of ethics, so far so good!

In addition to the above statement from Douglas it is worth noting that in the same interview it is stated that according to Cafcass, parental alienation is responsible for around 80 per cent of the most difficult cases that come before the family courts. In my opinion, that figure coming from an organisation as inept and ineffective as Cafcass is more likely to be much higher.

Due to the nature of our campaign/support group we are privy, almost on a daily basis to overwhelming evidence of the continuing nature of biased, misinformed, prejudicial and evidence omitting reports that are being written by Cafcass Family Court Advisors (FCAs).

Now, lets imagine if  you will, that we live in a world where Cafcass FCAs do not write biased, misinformed, prejudicial and evidence omitting reports at all! I know it’s hard to imagine and that in the real world, such professional conduct from Cafcass FCAs is rare, but please bear with me.

So in this imaginary world we have fine upstanding Cafcass FCAs handing in well-balanced, well-informed and well-evidenced reports to the family judge in all cases of parental alienation.

Now at this point the judge will be informed by the FCAs that there is overwhelming evidence of alienating behaviours being exhibited by the targeted parent (as highlighted in bullet points above).

The judge will be informed that the children are being emotionally abused by the resident parent. The judge will also be informed that it is not in the children’s best interest to be denied a relationship with the targeted parent. There may well be a psychological assessment that informs the judge that there is little to no evidence of the abusive parent changing their approach.

Such scenarios have in most cases been returned to court numerous times already. This is due to the abusive parent having already breached numerous contact orders that would have lead to contact between the children and the targeted parent. So this is the evidence that the judge has before them.

At this incredibly pivotal point the judge is required to pass a judgement that will effect the future well-being, future mental health etc, of both the alienated children and the targeted parent.

Now lets return to the subject of human ethics. Lets imagine another scenario, we grab an honest, fair and truthful average person off the street and present them with the above moral dilemma.

Now would this average person see the above scenario for what it is? Would they see it as one parent emotionally abusing the effected children? Would they also see it as the targeting parent attempting to erase the targeted parent from the lives of the effected children? Would they see that there is no justifiable reason for these effected children to absolutely reject their other parent, who they had previously had had a loving and healthy relationship with? Would they see that a swift, robust, pro-active decision needed to be made in the best interests of the children. Would they see that the emotional abuse being inflicted on the children must stop. Would they see that these children need to be protected?

Perhaps you the readers could answer the above questions yourselves. Presented with the above ethical dilemma what would you do in the best interests of the children? Is it even a dilemma at all?

Or is the answer to all of the questions, obvious to any given person of ethical, moral character?

I myself am an alienated parent. I continue to battle to have a relationship with my children. I continue to navigate my way through a flawed judicial system. I get knocked down. But every single time I pick myself back up, I dust myself down and I carry on. I don’t carry on fighting for me. I carry on fighting on behalf of my children.


« Older posts

© 2019 Peace Not Pas

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑