Peace Not Pas

A Parent's Story of Battling Parental Alienation

Author: cca-support-team (page 1 of 4)

How Much Abuse Should a Child Have to Take?

This post was prompted by the tragic circumstances of one of many alienated parents I come across their three-year battle to have a relationship with their children.

Joe* had a harrowing time of navigating his way through the family justice system simply to have a healthy and loving relationship with his children, as it had been prior to separating from their mother. His story is a somewhat typical example of unrecognised, mismanaged parental alienation. At the heart of this were his children being left open to significant emotional harm by a flawed system.

Joe’s relationship ended with his partner three years ago. She immediately made false, unsubstantiated historical allegations that Joe had physically and emotionally abused her and the children. As a result, Cafcass got involved and secured an order for no contact between Joe and his children while these claims of harm were investigated. It took three months to reach the conclusion that Joe did not pose any safeguarding issues regarding his children.

However, during this time, his ex-partner – the ‘resident parent’ – had taken the opportunity afforded by the slow progress made by Cafcass to alienate Joe’s children against him.

The Cafcass Case Manager at the time composed a report which found that the ‘resident parent’ was exhibiting “alienating behaviours.” Furthermore, the children were being exposed to emotional abuse, and that it needed to stop.

However, as the case continued, Cafcass were unable to provide any effective means to stop the harm being inflicted on the children, despite their own findings. Quite remarkably, rather than taking any pro-active approach to minimise the abuse, Cafcass went into great detail outlining the long-term detrimental effects on the children should the abuse be allowed to continue.

It took a whole year for a psychological report to be requested and the whole family was assessed over a period of several months.

The report was a damning indictment of the resident parent’s emotional abuse of the children. The clinical psychologist’s findings were that the children were being exposed to significant emotional harm in the toxic home environment with Joe’s ex-partner. The psychologist made reference to the term ‘significant emotional harm’ no less than seven times in the report.

The psychologist also stated that the resident parent presented with personality traits indicative of a Cluster A personality disorder**. As such, there was little evidence of the abusive parent being willing or able to change. Cafcass failed to understand this in the context of mental health and parental alienation.

Children’s Services became involved for a further year. They wrote several reports which minimised the findings of the clinical psychologist and came to the conclusion that the children did not meet the criteria that would identify them as being exposed to significant emotional harm. Their findings were that the children were in “emotional turmoil.”

Let’s explore this by highlight the following:

We have three parties:

  • Cafcass
  • Children’s Services
  • Clinical Psychologist

Each party has different parameters when it comes to quantifying the level of harm being inflicted on children. They also have different thresholds regarding what they deem as being labelled as emotional abuse. Furthermore, they each have their own approach when assessing and classifying different levels or severity of “harm”.

The result, in Joe’s case, is that we ended up with three different findings, each from a different clinician or service.


The role of this government body is to promote the welfare of children and families involved in family court.

Cafcass identified that Joe’s children as being exposed to ‘alienating behaviours’ and ‘emotional harm’. (Since their initial assessment, they also stated that Joe’s case is in fact one of parental alienation).

Psychological Assessment

A psychological assessment is a court ordered, clinical diagnostic, and a request for one is informed only by the evidence available to the court at the time. Such requests are made if the court believes it is in its best interests to gain further information from a qualified professional.

The findings detailed in Joe’s case were that the children had been exposed to ongoing significant emotional harm. It also detailed that there appeared to be little or no evidence of the abusive parent changing their behaviour.

Children’s Services

The role of Children’s Service is to be responsible for supporting and protecting vulnerable children.

As stated above the findings from Children’s Service is that the children are only experiencing emotional turmoil, but not were not victims of “abuse.” This conclusion was reached despite various concerns raised by the two previous assessments.

Joe has since told me that Children’s Services say they are not able to intervene unless the children start to present with the following risky behaviours: self-harm; alcohol/substance misuse; any identification of physical or sexual harm.

Children’s Services have also told Joe that due to his absence, and their ongoing emotional turmoil, the children will remain at high risk of vulnerability to abuse. However, they will wait for signs of abuse to present themselves before they intervene.

To conclude, from what I know of the numerous cases of miscarriages of justice within the family court, there appears to be no pro-active, early intervention, or preventative approaches for child abuse being applied by any of the various parties that are involved in such cases. Therefore, we currently have a Family Justice System that knowingly fails to safeguard our children.

*Names have been changed for confidentiality.

**[Definition of Cluster A personality disorder]


International Men’s Day 2018

I have always taken a gender neutral approach to parental alienation.

However as much as I am proud of my gender neutral approach, this should not prevent me from showing my support for International Men’s Day today.

Anything less would not be equality. The unnecessarily contentious issue that is gender equality is discussed in more detail in my blog post The Inequality of Fighting for Equality.

Returning to this post, take a look at the following statistics:


These statistics speak for themselves. Another statistic that is not in the above image is that suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK. And the most high risk age range of suicide amongst men are those that are middle aged. So in the interests of equality, please recognise today for what it is. An acknowledgement of how important it simply is to look out for each other more.

Lets try and do this without any preconceived gender stereotyping. Lets do this because it is the right thing to do.

Carys Afoko in her article in The Guardian published today entitled I run a feminist group, but today I am celebrating International Men’s Day writes the following: “Women are not all delicate emotional flowers who need to be protected and rescued. Men are not all violent and sexually aggressive brutes who are only after one thing. Some people don’t even identify as women or men. All of us are living in a culture that puts us into boxes based on old-fashioned ideas that are well past their sell-by date.”


A Simple Ethical Question!

[The following is an anonymised experience contributed by an alienated parent. This yet again highlights the flawed system that is the Family Justice System.] 

Approximately a week ago I emailed the Senior Service Manager of my regional Cafcass Office. I asked him three or four questions by email. By far the simplest question I asked was the following:

“Is it really fair, ethical and morally right for my # year old daughter to be prevented from seeing me?”

The manager’s response was “there are complex dynamics at play, which professionals and the Judge have commented on.”

I then replied via email with the following response:

“This is not a competency based question. It is an ethics based question. I have the right to have an honest answer to this question, from the very organisation who is responsible for the well-being of my children while they go through the family court process.

It should not take you a whole day to answer this very simple question. It is either a yes or no. I can not make it any simpler for you to answer.

Is it really fair, ethical and morally right for my # year old daughter to be prevented from seeing me? Yes or no?”

At time of writing I have still not received a response to this very simple question. The lack of response to such a simple question, actually raises the following questions regarding Cafcass’ approach to the safeguarding of children that find themselves going through the Family Justice System.

  • The initial answer to the question (there are complex dynamics at play, which professionals and the Judge have commented on) was clearly avoidant. Why would such an organisation avoid answering such a simple question? What are they avoiding?
  • The above mentioned Senior Service Manager is also rather astoundingly a member of the local Safeguarding Children Board. So as a professional surely the answering of such a ethics based question should be driven by the individual’s own values and ethics? Not any protection of his professional reputation within a flawed system, where the toxic organisational culture clearly does not appreciate the disclosing of any truth?
  • Why are Cafcass not committed to the effective safeguarding of children going through family court?
  • Is it that Cafcass do not want to be held accountable for complex cases such as parental alienation?

So if anyone has any ideas or questions regarding my above points please feel free to leave your comments below.

Thank you.

Why isn’t Parental Alienation being taken seriously?

Another thought provoking piece from ‘lost dad’. Glad to see ‘lost dad’ back, well and writing once again.

My Best Friend Saved Me From Suicide

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

I used to have two boys in my life. Now i have just one. And the one I have left is my best friend. And this best friend of mine helped me through the darkest time of my life. I think he probably saved me from taking my own life.

I am an alienated dad. A couple of years ago I returned home after a couple of days away at work to discover that my now ex-wife had locked me out of my own property that we previously lived in together.

Within a couple of days I then found out that my ex had the guy from the local liquor store move into my house. They had apparently been seeing each other for over six months. Within six months of him moving into to my house, according to his mom my seven year old boy Jack was now calling my ex’s new partner dad. His mom made sure I was aware of this. She would email me and text me to let me know.

“His mom had clearly brainwashed him against me.”

During this same time period she would also take photographs of hate letters she claimed were all written by Jack and make sure she emailed or texted them to me. In these letters Jake would write that he hated me. He also wrote that after what I had done to his mom he no longer wanted me as a dad. His mom had clearly brainwashed him against me.

At that point I had no idea what parental alienation was, I also knew very little about mental health. I had nowhere to live and nowhere to go. I am self employed, so if I don’t work I don’t get paid. I spent about a week living in my pick-up truck, while still working. That week was tough, but little did I know that I had darker times ahead.

My ex had effectively stolen my son away from me. But she had not managed to take my other boy away from me; my dog Murphy. A rescue dog, with the look of The Littlest Hobo, the Canadian TV show from the 70s and 80s.

Murphy never leaves my side. He comes to work with me. Hence he is still with me despite me being locked out of the family home. So Murphy was by my side throughout that tough first week.

A friend of mine helped me out by allowing me to rent an apartment of their’s for half the price. I had confided in him about my situation. I will always be grateful for him helping me with accommodation. Although he simply didn’t understand what I was going through.

When  I moved into the apartment, although things were tough, I found work a healthy distraction while I began to get my head adjusted to the situation I now found myself in.

“As for me I’d given up on myself.”

However as the weeks progressed I became more and more unmotivated. I didn’t know it at the time but I was beginning to fall into a depressive episode. Within a month or so I was not going to work, I was behind on my rent, and I spent much of each day simply laying on the couch, with the TV on, but I was just laying there feeling hopeless, feeling lost. Feeling heartbroken due to the severing of the loving relationship I had with my boy Jack. However throughout this whole time Murphy was by my side, on the couch huddled up next to me.

Murphy was by my side throughout this whole time. I made sure Murphy was fed and walked. However as for me I’d given up on myself.

My mood became darker. I don’t mind saying now, I was beginning to have suicidal thoughts. As the weeks progressed, these thoughts turned into a plan in my head. These thought processes were all consuming. There was a local woods I would walk Murphy in every day. In those woods I had identified a tree I would hang myself from.

Every day while out with Murphy when I walked past this tree, this plan of mine became more entrenched in my mind. On some walks with Murphy I would walk him as quickly as possible so I could back to the apartment and just lay down. But I would always make a point of walking past this particular tree.

Weeks became months. I continued to spend the majority of my days on the couch cuddling Murphy. There wasn’t a day he didn’t cuddle himself up to me. He was all I had.

“Who would take care of my best friend Murphy?”

However I still continued to have these active thoughts of suicide and yet there was one thought that remained in the back of my mind. “Who would take care of my best friend Murphy?” I know it may sound silly to some people that are not dog owners. But Murphy was all I had, and if I ended my life, what would happen to Murphy?

I remember on numerous occasions, during my darkest days holding Murphy, while laying on the couch and crying in complete despair, not knowing what to do. Would I ever have a relationship with Jack ever again? How would I battle my ex and her partner? Should I just end my life to end the pain? If I ended my life, who would care for Murphy? My ex had never had any time for him. Murphy and Jack used to love playing together. All throughout this dark time, it was as if Murphy was intentionally supporting me in some kind of way.

After about three months, I was completely penniless, I owed my friend even more money for rent and I continued to feel hopeless and suicidal. My friend that owned the apartment gave up trying to persuade me to go and see a doctor. One day he just took Murphy and I. That day was pivotal.

Fast forward two years later. I am now in a better place mentally. I am not ashamed to admit that I am on prozac daily to help manage my depression. I now have an understanding about mental health. I now understand parental alienation for what it is.

I still don’t have contact with my Jack. But I am no longer hopeless. I can’t afford to be. Some days are better than others. But I am continuing to pursue contact with Jack through the courts. I now represent myself, that is how much more stable I am. I have also returned to work and now have a regular income once again. I will be eternally grateful to my friend that helped me out. I now also attend a monthly group that supports fathers in my situation. I get a lot of support from the group.

What about Murphy? He continues to go everywhere with me. He never leaves my side. We are inseparable. We are and always will be best buddies. Murphy probably saved my life.

Parental Alienation; the Other Day I Challenged a Flying Monkey…

Another anonymous contribution from an alienated parent and their recent experience of challenging a flying monkey.

[Please note the following content contains some expletive words.]

The other day I ended up unintentionally challenging a flying monkey. There may be some of you that are not familiar with the term flying monkey within the context of parental alienation.

Flying monkeys are the alienating parent’s minions, enablers. The alienating parent will use their flying monkeys to spread their smear campaign (which will be against the targeted/alienated parent) to a far wider audience.

Some flying monkeys don’t even realise what they are doing and the damage that they are causing. On the other hand some flying monkeys know exactly what they are doing and in my opinion such individuals are emotionally unstable themselves and benefit from the praise and recognition they receive from the alienating parent for aiding and abetting in the smear campaign.

So where was I with my brief story?

So I rang a family member the other day. I did not ring with the intention of challenging anyone. However while I was talking to said family member I could hear in the background words to the effect of “tell that fucking cunt to fuck off!”

People around me say that I am very laid back. Maybe it was these qualities that initially attracted my ex to me; who has subsequently alienated my children against me. Anyway, as laid back as I am, I will also always stand up for myself.

So I asked the family member who had picked up the phone, if they could please pass the phone over to the individual who was swearing at me. They understandably asked why. My reply was that the individual that was verbally abusing me clearly wanted to say something to me, and I would be able to hear them much better if I was actually speaking to them directly on the phone.

So the phone was passed to this individual and we engaged in a dialogue. The following is a small extract of said dialogue:

Flying monkey: “What the fuck do you want pal?” This was said it a very hostile manner.

Me: “Well you clearly indicated that you wanted to talk to me from what I heard you shouting just now. So here I am. What would you like to say to me?”

Flying monkey: “If you wanted to walk out on your ex and kids, that’s your business. I grew up without a dad. Good luck to your kids mate.” The tone was very sarcastic.

Me: “Okay, so if it is my business and not yours why do you have to verbally abuse me about it?”

Flying monkey: “I used to have a lot time for you Joe. I used to respect you. But after what you did to your family, no way mate, I don’t want anything to do thing you, you can just fuck off as far as I am concerned.”

Me: “Okay I have a question for you; where did you get this version of events from that I walked out on my family?”

Flying monkey: “Janet told me.”

Me: “Okay. Next question; did you hear the second version of events that came from Janet? What I mean by this is, Janet believed a false narrative of events. It wasn’t her thought, she was told this by my ex. However she subsequently found out the true version of events. What I am asking is are you aware of the true version of events concerning my separation?”

Flying monkey: “I don’t give a shit to be honest. I know all I need to know. I’m not interested in any other version of events. You’re a cunt and you simply need to fuck off.”

Well at this point in the dialogue I remembered how futile it is trying to challenge an idiot.

I do recall this individual calling me a “gob-shite” and various other delightful things before I decided to end the call.

So what have I learnt from the above?

  • Flying monkeys are picked to be flying monkeys for a reason.
  • As an alienated parent, people can call me whatever they like. I simply don’t give a shit.
  • An idiot will always be an idiot.

Parental Alienation & the Ultimate Dilemma

The following is yet another anonymous contribution from a parent’s experience of battling a flawed system that fails to effectively challenge cases of parental alienation. 

I wonder how many of you share this particular moral dilemma?

If you are 100% alienated and your child(ren) are confined to a life enmeshed with only pathogenic parenting involving encapsulated persecutory delusions that paint you as dangerous, and contaminate developmental progression to adulthood, how large are your desires and responsibilities to ‘rescue’ your child?

Large enough for you to pursue a legal solution? Yes! Did that.

Large enough to pursue psychological examination to support the legal case? Yes! Did that.

Large enough to make huge compromises and acquiesce to outrageous demands in every effort to keep a foothold in the lives of your child(ren)? Yes! Did that.

Yet, the shortcomings of the legal system, and the psychologists combined to leave your child(ren) entirely entrapped with a psychologically abusive parent. All to no avail.

First, heartbreaking though it is, we can live without seeing our child(ren), indeed most of us have already seen nothing for half a decade. Second, heartbreaking though it is, we can live knowing that our child(ren) have the mistaken notion that we are dangerous monsters. We can skip the injustice of that slander and wonder just how much such a thought hurts our child(ren) and damages their self identity. Third, knowing that today is yet another day of distorted parenting, throwing an almighty spanner into healthy developmental nurturing and progression to adulthood, we can just about manage to retain some hope that enough of the emotional core of our child(ren) will pull through to allow a later restoration of authentic self.

“How do we look back over our record of responsibility?”

But fourth and finally we have to be realistic about the ruined long-term outcomes for our child(ren). Realising through the research of say Amy Baker, or simply from the many despairing narratives online, that our once beautiful child is now neurologically canalised in an emotionally unwholesome way, and that repair would take a lifetime or longer . How do we look back over our record of responsibility?

Surely we were right not to act rashly at the outset. That though, was when we had faith in the legal system of family justice! We were right to examine the psychological factors at play. What we discovered was deeply unsettling. Moreover, that shockingly the courts, court psychologists, CAFCASS, and social workers had not discovered it yet, was immeasurably alarming.

“We feel foolish, and completely inadequate as a parent to have ever trusted the system.”

Of course we see that the system has let our children down. Now we feel foolish, and completely inadequate as a parent to have ever trusted the system. What we had no way of knowing 5 years ago is that acting rashly wouldn’t have turned out to be rash at all! If only we had nipped this whole thing in the bud! Of course if we had done something illegal, everybody would have thought us reckless, but look how it has turned out! They would have been wrong, no matter that they would never have realised it. How could we have been so naively trusting? Not to act! Call yourself a parent? What kind of parent lets their child(ren) be discretely damaged, destroyed?

We all had that conversation when we were happy with our exes, before they turned ‘Hitleresque’. You are on a small boat. You are a strong swimmer, unlike your ex and your child. A freak wave washes all three of you into the water. Who would you choose first (and maybe only) to save? The child of course. It has a right to reach adulthood. Not only that, either one of the parents would gladly give up their own life if that meant securing the life of their child.

Now you have to balance two thoughts. On the one hand, just how damaged has your child become? On the other, how much more damaged will the child become given its present exposure? The other calculation is easy. Your child has its whole life ahead of it, whereas your ex only half, and in any case already permanently psychologically pulled out of shape. Do you have a moral responsibility to free your child(ren) even if that means eliminating the ex? Eliminating yourself? It would not be cold-blooded murder!

There is a category of crime of passion that recognises ‘slow fuse’ provocation. Fuses don’t come much slower than 5 years! It’s justifiable. It’s honourable. Not a sacrifice for your country, but for your child(ren)!

A hundred years ago women’s groups were ridiculing men who would not ‘serve their country’. This is at least comparable. Are you a real man? Well then! But still you do nothing.

Is this because you are a decent citizen? Because you haven’t the guts? Because you are too selfish to spend the rest of your life in prison? Because you are kidding yourself that the damage to your child will one day be repairable? Because you know your ex is goading you to do just this? It is all of these, but most of all it is because you are a good parent and want your child to know it.

You hope at some point to be there for your child(ren) to help steer them away from otherwise troubled distressing lives, not to be among those significant numbers destroyed by alcohol, drugs, and suicide. You model sustained gradual improvement.

But you will always be nagged by the thought that this type of good is, in some measure, cowardly.

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; It was my Little Boy’s Birthday a Couple of Weeks ago…

The following is yet another anonymous contribution from a parent’s experience of battling a flawed system that fails to effectively challenge cases of parental alienation. 

As the above title states, it was my little boy’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. I have no idea what he actually did on his birthday. I have no idea where he went on his birthday. I have no idea what gifts he got. I have no idea whether he had a lovely birthday or not.

“I have now not had any meaningful contact with my son for over two years.”

To the non-regular readers of this blog I am what is known as an alienated parent. In the briefest of definitions parental alienation is a form of abuse whereby the alienating parent (in most cases the resident parent) purposely damages, and in some cases destroys the previously healthy loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent (the non-resident parent). That is what has happened to my son and I after his mother and I separated. For a full definition of parental alienation see here.

I have now not had any meaningful contact with my son for over two years. His mother breaches every single court order that would otherwise result in contact between my son and I.

My son’s mother has created a false narrative around her and my son. She has made numerous false allegations about me. She has claimed I used to emotionally and physically abuse her and our son. She has also claimed I am a Class A drug user; this was her unsuccessful attempt to damage my professional care. She has also claimed I stole the family savings. She informed my son’s school that I had abandoned my family, left them destitute and my whereabouts were unknown.

This false narrative of hers has enabled her to create an un-impenetrable ring of toxic allies that ‘protect’ my son from the truth. His mother will do whatever it takes to protect our son from the truth.

My ex is not behaving the way she does in the best interest of my son. She is behaving in this abusive manner to take revenge on me. I left an unhealthy relationship. She always told me that if I ever left her she would make sure I never saw my son again. She has informed my son that I deserted them, that I no longer love him and that I don’t deserve to have a relationship with my son.

“She has groomed him into hating me.”

She has effectively groomed my son into rejecting me. She has groomed him into hating me. My ex does not have the insight to understand the long term damage she is causing my son regarding his long term well-being and overall mental health.

A psychological assessment stated that my ex presents with personality traits indicative of a Cluster A personality disorder. It also stated that there is little to no evidence to suggest she will ever change her approach. The assessment also states that she is unable to prioritise my son’s emotional needs above her own. The assessment also stated that she is unable to meet my son’s emotional needs.

Despite a wealth of evidence that states my ex is emotionally abusing my son, Cafcass and the Family Court turn a blind eye. Judges are blindly guided by the advice of Cafcass. And Cafcass relentlessly continue with their one size fits all approach of stating words to the effect of “as parents you two need to work together!”

From my lived experience of battling parental alienation thus far my firmly held belief is that Cafcass take the approach of attributing equal blame to both parents for one reason and one reason only. For as long as they project the blame on both parents, they also place responsibility firmly on the shoulders of both parents. And by taking this approach they leave themselves free of any accountability regarding the emotional harm being inflicted on children in such cases.

My strongly held belief is that Cafcass know exactly what they are doing, but they simply don’t care. Their ill-informed front-line staff simply do not care. It is simply just a job to them.

And so returning to the subject of my little boy’s birthday;

I love you my beautiful boy. I think of you every single day.

Whatever you have been told about me, I will always be your daddy.

Whatever you have been told about me, I will always be here for you.

You know I live only five minutes away.  I will always be here for you.

I love you so much, I miss you so much,

All my love, forever and ever,

Your Daddy


Can I Just Ask, Are You Recording This Phone Call?

The following is a parent’s experience of battling a flawed system that fails to effectively challenge cases of parental alienation. Where names may appear I have changed them to protect the identity of the anonymous contributor of the following post.

I am a nurse. I work for the UK National Health Service (NHS). I am just one of millions of people that passionately work for a service who’s aim it is to make people’s lives better. Ultimately to take care of people when they need it.

I am very passionate as a healthcare professional, how we, as professionals communicate with the family and carers of our patients. Not a day goes by when my colleagues or I do not answer the phone and on the other end of the phone is a family and/or loved one of one of our patients. These family members are in most cases worried about their loved ones. They wish to know how we as healthcare professionals are going to do our best to help their loved ones, our patients, get better.

When the loved ones of patients contact our hospital ward their queries and questions are valid. A fundamental part of our role as healthcare professionals is not only to care for our patients but to provide reassurance, compassion, commitment and also to actively listen to the family, loved one.

However imagine if you will the following scenario: One day a worried family member of one of our patients telephones the ward. I answer the phone, I provide no warmth or compassion in my communication and early into the conversation I then ask directly in a very matter-of-fact way “can I just ask, are you recording this phone call?”

They reply that they are not recording this telephone conversation. My response is to say, very abruptly, “I don’t believe you. You will do what you have done in the past. You will take what I say and use it against me.”

So what the heck has the above scenario got to do with parental alienation? Please allow me to explain.

I am an alienated father of three children. I have been denied contact with all my children by their mother for what is now just over two years. Social Services have come and gone. Cafcass have reluctantly stated that this is clearly a case of parental alienation.

However the mother of my children has continued to breach numerous court orders that would either promote or result in contact between my children and I. However there are no legal consequences for such breaches of numerous court orders. Cafcass and a Family Court Judge have both stated that the mother of my children is emotionally abusing my children and that these abusing behaviours of hers must stop. However the mother of my children ignores all advice, recommendations and court orders. The system is ill-equipped to effectively manage cases of parental alienation and the emotional abuse being inflicted on my children continues.

So in returning to the subject of how appropriate, effective and compassionate conversation is towards family and loved ones of any given service user I would like to explain the outcome of my last telephone conversation with Cafcass.

In essence, the theme was the same as the above scenario; I directly telephoned the Deputy Service Manager of my local Cafcass office. This Deputy Service Manager is fully aware that I have been denied contact with my children by their mother for over two years. He answered the phone and engaged in conversation with me, with absolutely no warmth or compassion. And as in the scenario above, early into the conversation he asked me in a very cold and clinical manner “can I just ask, are you recording this phone call?”

Allow me to give you some context, regarding this question of his. In the Spring of 2017 I had a telephone conversation with this same Deputy Service Manager. However on this previous occasion I was indeed recording the phone call. I was admittedly asking him numerous questions regarding the fact that Cafcass have and continue to fail to safeguard my children against emotional abuse. He was clearly becoming frustrated with his inability or unwillingness to answer my questions in an open and transparent manner.

“This is a flawed system Mr Smith.”

I have since come to learn that the organisational culture of Cafcass simply does not allow it’s staff to answer such questions in an open, honest and transparent manner.

In his frustration he explicitly stated “this is a flawed system Mr Smith.” This Deputy Service Manager then went on to somehow justifiably allude to the fact that due to this flawed system, not much else could be done to safeguard my children.

Approximately a month later, back in 2017 I was also engaged in a telephone conversation with the actual Service Manager of my local Cafcass region. This was due to me having raised my ongoing concerns and was continuing to seek answers as to why Cafcass were continuing to fail to safeguard my children against the ongoing emotional abuse. This phone call was also being recorded.

“Mr Smith, it is difficult to know what to do when the damage has already been done.”

As was the case with his aforementioned colleague, the Service Manager appeared to also become frustrated with my reasonable requests for answers that he was either unwilling or unable to answer in an honest manner. In his frustration he stated the following “Mr Smith, it is difficult to know what to do when the damage has already been done.” What a completely astounding and uncaring statement to make to a parent that is being alienated against his children by the other parent.

Regarding the first phone call with the Deputy Service Manager, I was subsequently informed by one of his junior members of staff that he was now denying having made such a statement. However following some email exchanges the Deputy Service Manager has since changed his stance; he is now stating that he may of made such a statement, but he does not recall doing so.

Strange thinks me! First denying it, then stating he could not recall having made such a statement, but he may have done! As you can see the lack of professional integrity and avoidance of responsibility is incredibly clear for all to see.

Regarding the telephone conversation with the Service Manager, I have since emailed him asking him if he still stands by his statement “Mr Smith, it is difficult to know what to do when the damage has already been done.” 

Unfortunately I have not yet received a reply. I have been battling this flawed system long enough to not expect a reply.

So I would like return to the question asked by the Deputy Service Manager “can I just ask, are you recording this phone call?” As already stated above, he was concerned thatwill take what he says and use it against him. 

But ultimately I was only asking him for the truth regarding my case. However he clearly appeared to have been fearful that I would be using the truth against him!

So what does that say about Cafcass? An organisation who’s job it is to protect the welfare of children through the family court process.

Parental Alienation; I Never Knew My Mum

The following is an individual’s experience of growing up with parental alienation. I have changed the individuals’ names in the following post.

I never knew my mum. According to my dad and my two older brothers, she walked out on us all for another man when I was only three years of age.

I remember as a child my dad only ever talking about my mum occasionally. And even when he did it was in an incredibly negative way. And this narrative was backed up by my brothers.

“As a child I never questioned this.”

They also never referred to her as mum. They would only ever refer to her by her first name, Jackie. As a child I never questioned this.

I was told by my dad that ‘Jackie’ was an alcoholic, a drug user, a serial cheater and that she was someone that did not deserve to be called a mother.

“I never questioned this narrative. Why would I?”

I never questioned this narrative. Why would I? This story was also backed up by my older brothers who, according to my understanding at the time would have been old enough to at least have remembered Jackie.

Once again, according to my father, shortly after Jackie left us, he met a new woman who he claimed was everything that Jackie was not. Her name was Sandy. My dad encouraged me and my brothers to call her mum, which within a couple of months of Sandy’s arrival became quite natural to us all.

As I got older and naturally became more curious as to the exiting of Jackie from our lives, my dad would simply repeat the same narrative. He would not elaborate any further regarding Jackie’s abandonment of us. With my father’s same response with each inquiry I eventually stopped asking about Jackie. I simply resigned myself to the fact that my birth mother was simply a very horrible person. My dad made me feel that I should be grateful for Sandy being more of a mother to me than Jackie.

However as I entered my teens, there was a change of dynamics in the household. Although on reflection, perhaps it wasn’t so much a change of dynamics, but more a new awareness of the family dynamics that I had previously not been aware of. At around this period of time one of my older brothers had already moved out. My remaining brother started being very isolative within the family home.

Around this time my remaining brother began arguing regularly with my mum (Sandy) and dad. I remember these arguments making my dad be very hostile and domineering over my brother. I felt very intimidated by my dad’s aggressive behaviours during these arguments. I wished I had  had the courage to stand up for my brother. There was something very unfair about my dad’s overbearing demeanour towards my brother, who was actually the more sensitive of my two brothers. My dad appeared to turn into someone else during these arguments.

Within a year my remaining brother left the family home and moved in with a friend. I was then left living alone with my mum and dad. As much as my dad had always been somewhat of a drinker, at around this time he began drinking every day.

“I started to find his behaviours more and more domineering, controlling and intimidating.”

The relationship between my dad and Sandy steadily deteriorated. At it’s worst, they were literally arguing with each other every day. My dad also became very controlling of both Sandy and I. He would always want to know where I had been, even if I returned from a night out with friends, even just five minutes later than I said I would be home. I started to find his behaviours more and more domineering, controlling and intimidating.

After another couple of months I also moved out. I went and lived in a different part of the country and moved in with a good friend of mine named Georgie, who I had known from high school.

As much as we had been good friends at school, it didn’t take long for us to become best friends. We both had dead end jobs; however we didn’t care. We were both living life as we had never lived it before, freely.

There was one particular night I will never forget. We had come back to our grimy little apartment after a night of cocktails. As we did quite often after returning from a night out, we stayed up all night talking. However on this occasion Georgie started talking about my biological mother. At first I insisted she refer to her as Jackie. Which she respectfully did.

“Most of them were spineless bastards and didn’t have the balls to speak out.”

However she went on to say something that would prove to be a trigger for a number of life changing decisions. I will never forget what it was she told me “you do know that most of the people in our hometown knew what really happened between your mum and dad? But most of them were spineless bastards and didn’t have the balls to speak out.”

Initially, I didn’t quite comprehend what it was she was saying. It made no sense to me what Georgie was telling me.

Trusting Georgie as I did, I reluctantly agreed for her to elaborate on what she had just told.

Georgie then went on to tell me words to the effect of “so basically your dad was cheating on your mum for years with Sandy. No one dared say anything though cos everyone in town was pretty scared of your dad. They all knew what he was really like. They all knew that he chucked your mum out in the middle of the night and basically told her to fuck off! He threatened her. He said that if she did not disappear he would make her disappear. So she left, she was heartbroken, but left because she feared for her life. Your dad used to beat your mum up. Everyone knew that. Everyone knew what really happened except for you kids [my brothers and I].”

I remember replying to Georgie’s above statement with something along the lines of “what the fuck are you talking about?”

However we continued to discuss this subject through to the morning. We both retired to bed at about four or five in the morning. Apart from waking up the next day with an obvious hangover, I remember feeling incredibly confused, conflicted and for some reason unknown to me at the time, very afraid.

That day Georgie and I spent the whole day together. In a state of sobriety we went back over the conversation of the night before. I vividly remember Georgie constantly apologising for what she had said. But ultimately there was enough evidence, my trust in Georgie and ultimately my gut feeling that allowed me to believe that everything Georgie had told me was true.

On further inquiry from me Georgie disclosed to me that my biological mother’s sister lived on the outskirts of town.

Within a few days Georgie and I had contacted my aunt, who’s name was Jean, and we arranged to go and meet her.

Given my father’s negative accounts of my biological mother’s general disposition and approach to life, Jean was not what I expected at all.

Jean warmly welcomed us into her home. She had never married. She lived quite modestly. She had a stall in a local market and rescued dogs from shelters to keep her busy and motivated. She immediately struck me as someone that was incredibly kindhearted, open and honest.

We invariably got on to the subject of my mother. Jean talked about Jackie with such warmth and love. Jean told us that Jackie had somehow ended up getting in with the wrong crowd at school and ended up starting a relationship with the ringleader of that group of kids. This of course was my dad. Jean stated that she never liked my dad. However she somehow had the ability to articulate this without actually talking overtly negative about my dad. She managed to be honest and open about how she felt about my dad, but did it in a respectful manner.

We then got on to the subject of the circumstances that lead to Jackie leaving her husband and three children. With an unintentional devastating effect on me, Jean confirmed Georgie’s account of events.

“Your mum understandably never got over losing you kids.”

This invariably lead to me asking the following question, “so where is my mum now?” As I said this question out loud I became acutely aware that it had been years since I had felt comfortable referring to my real mum as mum.

Before answering my question Jean came and sat next to me and took my hand in hers. She then told me “your mum understandably never got over losing you kids. Even though she realised within a couple of years she had married the wrong person, you kids were everything to her. She loved you kids more than life itself. She was prepared to stay in an abusive relationship rather than be chucked out to the street and potentially never see you kids again. This was the life she had resigned herself to. However it all changed when Sandy arrived on the scene. Your dad, being the kind of person he was simply discarded your mum. She never got over it. She came to live with me for a couple of years and then that was it.” 

This then naturally lead to me asking the next question “what do you mean that was it?”

I felt a tightening of Jean’s grip on my hand before she answered my question. “Your mum lived with me for a couple of years. I supported her as best I could. However I was no substitute for her children. She had tried to fight for contact through the court, however she simply run out of money at some point. She was ill-advised by an attorney who was clearly more interested in taking her money than supporting her to have a relationship with her children. Your dad would have known she fought as much as she could to get to see you kids. However I would imagine he never informed you of this”

Jean then paused before continuing. “As if your mum was not going through enough, about two years after spending the last of her money on attorneys she was diagnosed with lung cancer.”

I sat there frozen in time. I was inconsolable at the realisation of the reality of my mother’s life and that of my own took hold of me. With an overwhelming amount of compassion and empathy Jean informed me that my mum was no longer with us.

Several hours later my aunt Jean handed me a bundle of letters written by my mum and addressed to me and my brothers. Maybe one day I will have the courage to share them in a forum such as this.

I would like to end my post with the following statement, “I may not have known what it was called at the time. I may not have known what was being inflicted upon my mum, my brother and myself by my very own father. However I now understand that many people label it as parental alienation. Whatever we decide to call it, it is abuse and destroys not only relationships, but ultimately lives.”

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