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Peace Not Pas

A Parent's Story of Battling Parental Alienation

Page 11 of 14

The Denial of Depression

Anyone that has ever experienced depression may well be guilty of it. Family and friends may have witnessed their loved ones guilty of it. As the title suggests I am exploring the denial of depression.

In the beginning of 2017 I experienced a severe period of depression, lasting approximately three months. My marriage broke down the previous year. And since then I have been denied any contact with my three young children by their mother. This form of contact denial is known as parental alienation. The discussion and definition of this form of abuse is beyond the scope of this article. See blog page entitled What is PAS? for more details.

“I myself succumbed to the denial of depression.”

My depression was triggered by the contact denial regarding my children. I had never experienced any form of depression before. I am still battling the contact denial while at the same time managing my depression, but the depression is no longer severe. I am a psychiatric nurse, therefore I am all too aware of the signs and symptoms of depression. However, despite this I succumbed to the belief that I was not depressed. I myself succumbed to the denial of depression.

At that time a work colleague respectfully challenged my denial of being depressed. I attempted to reassure her with a certain amount of misplaced conviction, that I was not depressed, I was simply sad. Despite both our clinical understanding of the difference between sadness and depression, I remained relentless in my denial of depression. At the time of my denial I was pushing myself to my absolute physical and mental limits. I was working long days and sometimes six or seven days a week.

This period of relentless exertion, denial and lack of insight lasted a couple of months until the depression hit me fully like a sledgehammer. As mentioned above I witness depression in others every single day. But to experience it for myself was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

It is incredily difficult to describe the nature of depression to those that have not come across it or experienced it themselves. Sadness can be defined as a sense of unhappiness and discontentment. Depression however is akin to a feeling of nothingness. A complete and utter lack of purpose. It is almost as if depression works as an evil force in pushing you away from loved ones, friends and family. It forces you to close in on yourself. It is all consuming and mentally and physically taxing.

DenialofDepression

As soon as the depression hit me, the denial was no more. I could no longer justify the denial to myself or others. The onset of severe depression for me was obvious. I had simply denied any correlation between my life’s stressors at the time and my impending and inevitable fall into depression. I now recognise my own reasons for such denial; I needed to work as much as possible to earn money for legal fees to pursue contact with my children. If I had allowed myself to recognise that, or even admitted it to my employers, they would have prevented me from working longer hours in the interests of my own well-being.

On reflection I have come to realise that there is another reason I was in denial. I thought I was stronger than I was. I thought I could carry on unaffected by the stressors that were having such a negative impact on my mental health. I thought I could shut them out, even dismiss them for a later time. I attempted to use work as a distraction and a money machine, instead of seeking the appropriate help and support. I believe I remained in denial for good intentions. But at the same time I felt that I did not want to let anyone down, especially my children, who I am still pursuing contact with through the courts.

“There is no shame or harm in admitting that one is unable to cope with certain life stressors.”

However from this I have learnt several valuable lessons. We all have our battles in life to fight. But we are unable to fight them unless we take care of ourselves first and foremost. We are unable to fight life’s battles unless we allow others to help and support us through tough times. There is no shame or harm in admitting that one is unable to cope with certain life stressors. Stress, anxiety and depression by their very nature are such subjective concepts. We all react to them differently.

To conclude, individuals reacting to them differently is not necessarily the issue. However refusing to recognise them to the detriment of our own mental health is the problem.

Stephen Fry the English comedian, actor and writer once said the folllowing of depression. “Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

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Have you heard the joke about the parent who complained to Cafcass!

For those readers not familiar with my blog I have now not seen my three beautiful children for over 13 months. This is due to my ex-partner and mother of my children breaching numerous Court Orders and ‘successfully’ denying me contact with my children. Like so many other alienated parents out there, my case is one of severe parental alienation. For those unfamiliar with this form of abuse see here for a more detailed definition.

So in returning to the subject of this particular post I recently put in a complaint to Cafcass (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service). Cafcass is a government run body that claims to look after the interests of children involved in family proceedings.

First I would like to present the reader with some context. As stated above I have not seen my children for 13 months. Cafcass have evidence that my ex-partner is emotionally abusing my children by alienating them against me and Cafcass are failing to protect my children from this abuse. Cafcass lack the expertise, clinical knowledge and experience to deal with such cases. They continue to view such cases as child custody issues as opposed to child protection. They continue to believe such cases should be managed by social workers as opposed to mental health practitioners. Anyway these arguments are for another day.

And so, with my increasing concerns for the welfare of my children combined with Cafcass’ increasing incompetence and negligence I took it upon myself, several weeks ago to email the Senior Service Manager of my local Cafcass office with the following questions via email. In the interests of confidentiality and professionalism I will refer to the Senior Service Manager as Groucho Marx:

Dear Groucho Marx,

Could you please provide me with answers to the following questions please.

  • Can someone from Cafcass please explain why there is such a difference between theory and practice that has allowed this alienation to go on unchallenged for just over a year. 
  • Can someone from Cafcass please explain why Cafcass practitioners are clearly not knowledgeable enough to recognise parental alienation.
  • Could you please explain to me your professional understanding of the difference between acute, significant and chronic harm
  • Could you please explain the criteria, assessment process and formulation used to differentiate between these different forms and degrees of abuse.

Kind Regards

btg dad

GrouchoMarxComplaint

Groucho Marx


I left it a couple of days. Suffice to say I received no reply from Groucho Marx. I emailed it again directly to Groucho Marx. I left it a couple more days, still no reply. I left it another couple of days and sent it yet again to Groucho Marx. Totally predictable I know, but guess what, still no reply.

So I then put in an official complaint to Cafcass politely inquiring as to why Groucho Marx, or anyone for that matter was unwilling or unable to answer any of my questions. One would think that was a reasonable question to ask considering the complexities of my case. The following is my reply from the Cafcass Complaints Department about 5 days later:

Dear btg dad,

Thank you for your email dated #############.

We note your comments, however, we have nothing further to add.

Kind regards,

Customer Services Team


So I found myself sitting in front of this email thinking to myself, who the fuck does this organisation think it is. An organisation that claims to look after the interests of children involved in family proceedings, my arse!

So there and then I decided to telephone the Cafcass Complaints Department directly.

The following is not simply my own recollection of the numerous conversations, but a transcript as I took the liberty of recording all the phonecalls:

Phonecall No. 1:

Me: I explained the situation and put my point across that the emailed response from the Complaints Department was completely unacceptable.

Call Operator No. 1: “Have you actually received a response from us regarding your complaint?”

Me: “Yes I have had a response. But the response doesn’t help me in anyway. It doesn’t answer any of my questions. I find the response not actually answering any of my questions. The response actually implies that the complaint is now shut down.”

Call Operator No. 1: “But sounds like you’ve got some kind of response.”

Me: “But what’s the response though? I’ve asked them several questions and they haven’t answered any of them.”

Call Operator No. 1: “Let me see if I can speak to that team.” [She puts me on hold and then puts me through to a different person.]

Call Operator No. 2: “I just want to clarify that you have actually received a response from the complaints team?”

Me: “Yes I have had a response, yes. Because my case hasn’t had a case manager for over six months I have been in contact with Groucho Marx. He recently made some comments that I want to clarify, discuss further and get some questions answered.” [I then give another long winded account of my current circumstances. Then I read out the email response to her I received from the Complaints Department]. “The response is astounding because i dont really know where to go with this as Cafcass are supposed to be helping me.

Call Operator No. 2 attempts to interrupt me at this point.

Me: “Please let me finish, I then received a further email stating that this response has been quality assured” [I know what you’re thinking, this shit is unbelievable right!] I continued with my point… “It is unbelievable that the response from the Complaints Department that didn’t answer any of my questions has been quality assured. So I emailed back to the Complaints Department stating you still havent answered any of my questions!”

Call Operator No. 2: “We have heads of departments that oversee the complaints we receive. Each complaint comes in centrally to one location. There are a team of customer service managers that respond.”

Me: “So is it that my complaint has now been closed. No one’s going to answer these questions, or is it still open? Someone is clinically  able to make certain statements but when questions are raised in response to these questions it feels like they are just not able or willing to answer any of these questions.”

Call Operator No. 2: “I just want to clarify the these questions that you asked Groucho Marx, are they just questions or are you raising a complaint?”

Me: [I tell her the same story again.] “I have clinical questions about Cafcass. I am a service user of Cafcass I have the right to ask clinical questions about the practice of Cafcass. But no one is being supportive of this request.”

Call Operator No. 2: “We have a one step process in terms of dealing with complaints. Once we have dealt with a particular issue we will not revisit it again.”

Me: “But you haven’t dealt with the issue that I’m raising have you? I’m not leaving this phonecall until someone answers these questions.”

Call Operator No. 2: “What I can advise you regarding this particular call is that I’m not going to be able to answer these questions for you.”

Me: “So can you put me through to someone that can…”

Call Operator No. 2: [She then starts to talk over me] “This is is what’s going to happen. I’m going to take these questions and send them to our ‘enhanced service manager’ and actually get them to look at the complaint that is on file and then come back to you. And that will be done by email.”

Me: “When should I expect a reply and are they going to be able to answer my questions.”

Call Operator No. 2: “I can’t advise you what the response is going to be, I’m telling you that I’m going to forward this information on.”

Me: “So you’re saying you’re not sure they are going to be able to answer the questions but hopefully they can?”

Call Operator No. 2: “I can’t guarantee what the level of response will be. Thank you very much.”

Me: “Please don’t hang up on me.”

Call Operator No. 2: “Thank you goodbye.” [She ends the call.]

I then call the complaints department straight back again. I repeat my story of my current circumstances and get put through to someone from the Complaints Department yet again.

Call Operator No. 3: “You will get a response today responding to your complaint, it will be via email.”

Me: “Ok, but will they be able to answer my questions?”

Call Operator No. 3: “They didnt go into any detail?”

Me: “The problem is that we just go round in circles. Ive already had…” [I start to tell her the same story again, she interrupts me at this point.]

Call Operator No. 3: “So it will be in response to your conversations today.”

Me: “So will they be able to answer my questions then?”

Call Operator No. 3: “They will respond by email.”

Me: “If they respond by email, and still don’t answer these questions then nothing is achieved. The frustrating thing is that I dont actually get to speak to anyone that can help me.”

Call Operator No. 3: “If I was you I would just wait and see until you get the email.”

Me: “But I just want to speak to someone who can help me.”

Call Operator No. 3: “Well you spoke to someone earlier didnt you?”

Me: “Yeah but they were unable to help me. I still get no answers to my questions.”

Call Operator No. 3: “I would just wait for the email, and it should be the response that you want.”

Me: “Well that’s highly unlikely. And then if it isn’t the response, as in answers to my questions, do I then need to do all this again tomorrow?

Call Operator No. 3: “Well all I can say is just wait for that response.”

Me: “So if they continue to not answer questions I have been asking for over a month do I just keep going through this procedure?”

Call Operator No. 3: “Well you could call the complaints call centre again.”

Me: “But the point is no one is able to answer the questions I am asking. I’m just wondering when I will actually get to speak to someone who is qualified enough to answer my questions.”

Call Operator No. 3: “Im not sure becauses I’m in the call centre.”

Me: “So do I just need to do this again tomorow when I get an email response that will probably not answer my questions. Is that what you are saying I should do?

Call Operator No. 3: “Yes I would advise calling the call centre again.”

Me: “Well that’s the whole point. I’ve done that before and it doesn’t get me anywhere.”

Call Operator No. 3: “I think you just need to be positive and wait for the email. Thank you.” [She ends the call immediately after her sentence.]

Now, I am an incredibly patient and determined individual. So I thought, lets call them back again!…

Me: [I give the same story, get put on hold then get put through to someone else.]

Call Operator No. 4: “I can give you the number for the ombudsman.”

Me: “But the ombudsman isn’t going to be able to answer my questions.”

Call Operator No. 4: “There is nothing more I can do for you I am just in a call centre.”

Me: “So I need to go through an ombudsman to get answers about Cafcass?”

Call Operator No. 4: “We have already sent our response.”

Me: “But it wasn’t a response, I asked questions and no one answered them.”

Call Operator No. 4: “Okay, but that was the response they sent to you.”

Me “But that response is insufficient.”

Call Operator No. 4: “Ok this is somethng you need to bring up with the ombudsman.”

Me: “There must be someone there more senior I can speak to. Cafacass are supposed to be an organisation that safeguards children, I have concerns but I’m not able to speak to anyone directly about these concerns.”

Call Operator No. 4: “Because we have sent you a response there is nothing more we can do.”

[At this point I then hear a faint male voice in the background instructing the call operator to end the call.]

Me: “Can I speak to the person that is speaking to you in the background?”

Call Operator No. 4: “Theres nothing more I can do I’m afraid.”

Me: “You didnt answer my question, can I speak to the person that I can clearly hear in the background?”

Call Operator No. 4: “Unfortunately you can’t.”

Me: “I just find this whole process incredibly frustrating…” [she interrupts me.]

Call Operator No. 4: “Okay there is nothing else I can do” [I can clearly hear a male voice in the background telling her “end the call, end the call.”] Call Operator No. 4 then says “thank you for your call” [and then she hangs up on me.]

I then call back again, believe it or not:

Call Operator No. 5: “How can I help you?”

Me: [I explain yet again my circumstances.]

Call Operator No. 5: “I understand sir that you have recently spoken to my colleague and I cannot give any further information.”

Me: “I know what youre going to say. People keep hanging up on me. I’m not being aggresive, I’m not agitated, I’m not getting irritated. The last person I spoke to wouldn’t let me finish my sentence and cut me off.” [Call Operator No. 5 attempts to interrupt me]Can you please not interrupt me, can you please let me finish my sentence?”

Call Operator No. 5: “Certainly sir.”

Me: “Can you please put me through to my Case Manager?”

Call Operator No. 5: “No you need to speak to the ombudsman sir. That is your next point of call and I need to be quite firm in that. There is nothing we can do here. I am unable to put you through to anyone.”

Me: “Okay, lets forget the complaint, can I just speak to my Case Manager about the welfare of my children?”

Call Operator No. 5: “Just give me a moment and I will see what I can do. [Puts me on hold] “Well that request is outside of the complaint. Let me see if I can put you through.” [Puts me back on hold]. “Her line is busy sir, but what I can do is email the person you are requesting to speak to and ask them to call you back.

What else can I say! What a bunch of idiots! And the sad and tragic point is that this organisation’s aim is to safeguard children.

The American writer Walter Dean Myers once said “idiots don’t know they’re idiots, which is unfortunate.”

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

Say Hello to Heaven

Since Chris Cornell’s death on 18th May 2017 I have been considering whether to write about it or not. I decided to reflect on this decision for a while and consider what it was I actually wanted to express, discuss and disclose.

As a music fan I first came across Chris Cornell as a musician with my purchase of the self titled album Temple of Dog which was released in 1991. This album blew my mind, Temple of the Dog is without doubt one of my all time favourite albums. The sheer quality of the songs, the vocal arrangements between the two vocalists is phenomenal, along with the underlying message of the album itself.

ChrisCornell.jpg

Credit: Central Mo News

The album was a tribute to Andrew Wood, the former lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. Andrew Wood died in March 1990 due to a heroin overdose. Having been a close friend of Andrew Wood, Chris Cornell gathered together musicians to form Temple of the Dog. The line-up included former Mother Love Bone members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. Soundgarden and later Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron was also involved. Newcomers Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder were also included due to their involvement with a project with Ament and Gossard, a project that would become Pearl Jam.

“As with any suicide the Cornell family are seeking answers.”

What went through the mind of Chris Cornell on that fateful night, only he knows. Cornell’s post mortem toxicology report notes that there were seven different drugs in his system, including a significant dose of the anxiety medicine lorazepam (Ativan). However “these drugs did not contribute to the cause of death” was the statement of the medical examiner.

As with any suicide the Cornell family are seeking answers. They have previously blamed the rare side effects of lorazepam, that includes suicidal thoughts. However the medical examiner noted that the level of lorazepam in Cornell’s blood was not high enough to suggest a correlation between the drug and the possibility of such side effects. Chris did on occassions talk openly about his depression. But for those unfamiliar with the complexities of mental health, the obvious question may arise “why would someone, in one of the biggest bands in world, married with three beautiful children want to kill themselves?”

I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m just a humble mental health nurse that works on an acute psychiatric ward. My own understanding of intentional suicide is simple but tragic. For whatever reason, an individual finds themself in a deep, dark and despairing state of mind. At this point the individual has lost all hope of recovery. The pain is all-consuming. This pain is so intense, so immense, that the only way out is to end their life.

The writing of this article has prompted me to reflect on a past experience at work. Sometime ago we had a particular patient with us for a number of weeks. This patient was so acutely unwell, that he was absolutely determined to kill himself by whatever means he could find. Suffice to say this individual was placed on what is known as an arms length constant. There is one particular incident regarding this patient that will always stay with me. On this particular shift this patient attempted to ligature himself to death (as he attempted to do on a daily basis). An alarm was pulled by staff and additional staff immediately responded. Once the immediate risk had been managed I found myself in the company of the patient and two nursing assistants, in an attempt to continue to de-escalate the patient’s obvious anxiety.

“Fuck that bullshit, such academic bollocks is irrelevant in such extreme circumstances.”

Now I’m normally quite articulate with my words, but it is incredibly difficult to describe in words the compassion, empathy, kindness and overall unconditional positive regard these two nursing assistants showed this patient. Now I have a first class honours degree in mental health nursing. Fuck that bullshit, such academic bollocks is irrelevant in such extreme circumstances. I learnt more from the way those two nursing assistants spoke to that patient than I could ever have hoped to learn from my nursing degree. Their overall approach, demeanour and care for this individual on that particular day will stay with me forever. I am honoured to count these two members of staff as close friends of mine. And they in turn have been there for me in recent times, and I am eternally grateful for their love and support.

So in returning to Chris Cornell we still have no answer. All too often suicide occurs due to our ability to put on a brave face that dangerously hides any or all of the pain and torture being experienced.

To conclude, I think we all need to be talking about mental health more. Whether that be in a public or private capacity. Stating the obvious, the more we are there for each other the better.

The lyrics from Say Hello to Heaven speak for themselves:

“And he hurt so bad like a soul breaking, but he never said nothing to me.”

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

Parental Alienation, Happiness and Personal Growth

All too often I find myself reflecting on recent events in my life. Arguably, this could be called pro-crastination, but I prefer to see it as self-reflection.

During such a recent period of self-reflection (okay, lets call it pro-crastination for arguments sake!) I considered the recent positives in my life that have come out of this ongoing battle of mine against parental alienation. This in itself presents itself as somewhat of a paradox. The very idea that a physically and mentally draining battle to simply be a father to my three beautiful children has provided me with beneficial opportunities that I would otherwise have not been presented with.

“Although the tragedy of losing a child was never really minimised, there was in fact a personal gain within the loss itself for many of the parents.”

I recently read an article that informed me that the above idea I was reflecting on is known within psycological terms as post-traumatic growth. This term was coined in 1995 by Richard Tedeschi, PhD and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD to focus on the concept of one growing as a result of managing trauma. This term came from a decade long study of theirs regarding bereaved parents. Their findings were that although the tragedy of losing a child was never really minimised, there was in fact a personal gain within the loss itself for many of the parents.

Tedeschi and Calhoun found that some of the parents in their study chose to extract meaning from their loss. These parents found themselves moving towards and engaging in activism and acts of compassion and altruism that they wouldn’t have otherwise found themselves engaging in had they not experienced their trauma.

Targeted parents affected by parental alienation often describe their suffering and trauma as that of grieving for children that are still alive. As such I can see a clear parallel between Tedeschi and Calhouns’ observations of their grieving parents altruistic behaviours and that of the behaviours of alienated parents I have come across. There is an incalculable number of alienated parents across the developed world passionately campaigning, advocating and pleading online for some kind of social change that will effectively challenge the abuse that is parental alienation. They also ultimately showing, providing support for others in similar cicumstances. I have covered this subject in more detail in a previous article entitled The Awe-Inspiring Online Community of Parental Alienation.

In returning to the discussion of positive opportunities that present themselves from traumatic events, it could be argued that we have some kind of influence on our environment and in turn can often maximize our odds of a favorable outcome with good information in any given situation. However due to the very nature of life itself there will always be a chance factor. Trauma can occur to anyone of us and invariably it will be unexpected. In such cases we have little to no control over such events.

“The key component in attempting to maintain a realistic level of stability with regards to our own happines, is our ability to adjust our expectations.”

We can, however, to some degree control our responses. In such situations we are faced with two options: We can choose to respond with a sense of acceptance and seek meaning and growth. Or alternatively, we ultimately give in to such circumstances. In essence the resulting response will be the difference and all too often a pivotal point in one’s life. At the risk of stating the obvious how we respond will affect the way we feel. And how we feel will ultimately determine whether or not we are unhappy with our life overall.

The argument I’m putting forward here is that the key component in attempting to maintain a realistic level of stability with regards to our own happines, is our ability to adjust our expectations. The point being that we can attempt to limit our unhappiness by cultivating our ability to constantly adjust our internal expectations.

Any resulting feeling that we experience in response to an event will generally fall into two categories: good and bad. Over time, good feelings will collectively nurture and encourage conditions for what we define as happiness. And obviously too many bad feelings are the cause of unhappiness.

An easier way of viewing this last point is to view good and positive feelings as sensations and emotions that occur when reality meets or exceeds our internal subjective expectations. And with that in mind, the point is that bad and negative feelings as sensations and emotions occur when reality falls short of our internal subjective expectations.

So in essence, it all comes down to our internal subjective expectations. Many of those that subscribe to this point of view often allow themselves to come to an all too easy conclusion. And that is that the key to happiness is to have low expectations. With this point of view the objective reality almost always meets or exceeds internal subjective expectations. And on the surface, at least, it should make sense.

However, here in lies the problem. Living a life with low expectations is just not feasible. For example. If a professional football player started every match not expecting to play to their best, they likely wouldn’t stay a professional fotball player for much longer.

“Periods of unhappiness are required for true happiness to be much more appreciated.”

Therefore the argument shouldn’t be to eliminate happiness, but in actual fact to limit it. In reality, elimination of happiness would just not be sustainable. And more importantly, periods of unhappiness are required for true happiness to be much more appreciated.

So therefore, arguably the secret lies in our ability to modify and adjust the level of our expectations when such a shortfall presents itself to us. In simpler terms, we must allow ourselves to be flexible in how we manage and navigate our perception as and when various scenarios present themselves to us.

Most of us are aware that having meaningful relationships, purposeful work and gratitude are all key to a happy enough life. And all available research informs us that the way in which we perceive, understand and work towards happiness is very much driven by our genetic make-up. However the vast majority of us, attempt to pursue happiness in whichever way we believes suits us best. However my point here is that far too many of us don’t understand, comprehend or simply know enough about minimising happiness.

In order for anyone of us to have a good enough chance of reaching a reasonable level of happiness we must first familiarise ourselves with the strategies and actions that limit dissatisfaction in our lives.

“I used to see my three beautiful children every single day. I have now not seen them for over a year.”

And this is where I would like to re-introduce the link between the above discussion and managing the trauma that is parental alienation. If someone had told me in 2016 that my then partner and I would separate resulting in her denying me any contact with my children and then attempt to abduct them abroad, well of course I would not have believed them. However this is not the point I’m trying to make. The point is this, since 2016 I have had to, like so many other alienated parents deal with, manage and live with the traumatic fallout of the emotional abuse that is parental alienation. I used to see my three beautiful children every single day. I have now not seen them since 2016.

I fight day in and day out against a judicial and legal system that is out-dated, misinformed and ultimately not fit for purpose. This trauma, again like so many other alienated parents, has taken me through a severe depressive episode. However I now find myself in a different state of mind. I do not love my children any less. I do not miss them any less. I am no less motivated to fight to be a part of their lives. However, I have had to modify and adjust the level of my expectations regarding my ongoing battle against parental alienation. Either consciously or subconsciously I have become flexible in managing and navigating my own perceptions as and when certain battles are won or lost, regarding fighting parental alienation. The harsh reality is that I have had to accept that for the foreseeable future, however long that may be, that I no longer have the privilege of seeing my children everyday. In actual fact I do not see them at all. This is just one of the many harsh realities I have had to accept in order for me to have and maintain a certain amount of happiness in my life. During my severe depressive period I had no happiness at all. Obviously that was not sustainable in the long term.

To conclude, in order for me to cope and manage with the acceptance of such harsh realities, I have found myself extracting some kind of meaning from my loss. And this in turn is where we return to the theory of post-traumatic growth. Like so many other alienated parents I have found myself drawn towards and engaging in activism and campaigns for social change. I have also found utlising unused skills and even drawing on skills I was previously not aware of being in possession of. Despite my ongoing loss, there has been a personal gain, I have exponentially grown more as a person than had I not been dealt the cards I were given.

John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars writes “Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

Promoting Awareness of Parental Alienation

During my various meanderings on the internet, as part of my ongoing battle against parental alienation I have come across and networked with numerious people and groups. However most recently an opportunity to promote awareness of Parental Alienation has presented itself to me. For those unaware of what parental alienation is see here.

I have become friends with a Birmingham based (btw that’s Birmingham, UK) author by the name of Colin Ward.

He is about to release book, a crime thriller entitled To Die For. One of the story’s themes is that of human depravity. How we allow hatred to drive our thoughts and feelings and subsequently how we treat one another. Another key theme of the story is Parental Alienation which Colin is incredibly passionate about.

ToDieFor

For more details regarding the book see Colin’s most recent promotional article here.

As all those affected by Parental Alienation know, this is a misunderstood, easily dismissed and ultimately evil form of abuse. And is in desperate need of being brought into the public domain for further discussion.

And this is where the anti-Parental Alienation online community come in. Not only should we be promoting and aiding a UK based novelist in promoting his new book, but also a book that has the subject of parental alienation as one of its core themes.

The paperback version is due out Mid-late August. Digital formats are available on

Amazon
iBooks
Google Play
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

There is also a book launch event at the Gunmaker’s Arms in Birmingham on 21st October later this year, Colin has asked me to give a talk on Parental Alienation.

For anyone passionate about writing, supporting local writers and of course promoting awareness of parental alienation please, please show your support by sharing, liking, retweeting this post. If you are able to make the event on the 21st that would be even better. Thank you and stay posted for more details.

Colin can be contacted/followed by the following means:

Twitter

Facebook

Medium

Colin’s dedication in his novel resonated with me, particularly in the context of parental alienation. For all those voices silenced by hatred, in the hope that one day they might be heard again by love.”

btg dad

(Photography use by kind permission from David Sturchley, Fluid Arts and Gary S. Crutchley)


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

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Does Thinking About Your Children Less, Mean You Love Them Less?

Before discussing this question, please allow me to put this into context for those readers that may not be familiar with this blog.

I am what is known as an alienated parent. Following the breakdown of my marriage my ex has ‘successfully’ prevented me from having any contact with my three beautiful young children for what is now a year. She has ‘brainwashed‘ them against me, and openly defies numerous Court Orders advocating direct contact me, with no legal consequence for her actions. She is in fact, as confirmed by the authorities involved, inflicting emotional abuse on my children on a daily basis.

This is the sad and tragic nature of parental alienation, for a more in-depth definition see here. I am one of an incalculable number of alienated parents out there. We all have our own story, but ultimately we are all fighting the same battle.

ThinkingLessPeaceNotPas.jpeg

An alienated parent will invariably find themselves being dragged through a multitude of emotions. Personal reflection is somewhat of a double-edged sword as one attempts to process and manage the associated thoughts and feelings.

One particular emotion that I myself find difficult to manage is guilt. The Oxford English dictionary defines guilt as a feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation. Within the context of psychology guilt is viewed as a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realises (accurately or not) that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct.

“However as a loving parent this advice presents itself to me as somewhat of a paradox.”

During the last twelve months and on the advice of several healthcare professionals, I have tried  numerous coping mechanisms in an attempt to keep myself mentally well. Some were effective, some were ineffective. Ultimately the advice is to distract myself from the thoughts that bring me down, namely thinking about my children. However as a loving parent this advice presents itself to me as somewhat of a paradox. And this is where the feeling of guilt comes in.

I am a mental health nurse, so I am all too aware of the importance of distraction techniques and keeping myself mentally and physically well. However, regardless of how much I reflect on it and how irrational it sounds, thinking less about my children makes me feel that I am failing some way in my obligation as a loving father. The feeling that creeps up on me is that I have somehow compromised my own standards as a loving parent.

So, does thinking about your children less, mean you love them less?

Perhaps the answer can be found from Ayn Rand, the American-Russian novelist, philosopher and playwright who once said “the worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

Given to Fly

In 1998 Pearl Jam released their fifth studio album Yield. It marked a return to the band’s earlier straightforward heavier approach to albums. The stand out track is the soaring epic Given to Fly, a song that carries underlying themes of existence and rebirth.

A subtle, yet sublime guitar riff from Mike McCready opens the song. The track slowly builds into a majestic cacophony of a chorus, before returning to McCready’s opening guitar riff. With each return to the chorus the song builds in both intensity and energy.

“Not becoming bitter and reclusive, not condemning the whole world because of the actions of a few.”

It is reported that Eddie Vedder penned the lyrics to represent a man blessed with the ability of flight, who hopes to share it with others only to be greeted with violence. Vedder talked further about the meaning of the song to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1998. “It’s a fable, that’s all. The music almost gives you this feeling of flight, and I really love singing the part at the end, which is about rising above anybody’s comments about what you do and still giving your love away. You know — not becoming bitter and reclusive, not condemning the whole world because of the actions of a few.”

Pearl Jam have always stated that their songs are open to interpretation, and that the fans should take part ownership and make them their own.

GivenToFly_PeaceNotPas

I interpret this song as a tale of overcoming adversity. Both lyrically and musically the song easily lends itself to the feeling of a wave that slowly builds in strength. The building crescendo of each musical bridge that carries the listener from verse to chorus evokes in me the rising and subsequent breaking of a wave. The arrival of each chorus conjures up in my mind the image of waves violently crashing on a shore. Each crashing wave, represents for me a metaphorical barrier to escaping adversity. I view the final wave as the wave that the character is able to overcome and escape from, due to his ability to fly. I see the flying away of the character as the ‘rising above’ of the negative perceptions and comments of others.

I have never tired of listening to this song, and I hope I never will. As encouraged by Pearl Jam I have taken part ownership of this song. It has been a part of me during both good and bad times. I have seen it performed live twice, which is an incredibly awe-inspiring experience in itself. I even have Given to Fly tattoed on the inside of my right arm. So this song really does go everywhere with me. I certainly feel I have earned my part ownership of this song.

And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved
And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly 

 

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

A little plan to raise awareness of parental alienation. Help needed!

Like many other alienated parents I have taken to the internet to vent, give and receive support and ultimately attempt to raise awareness of parental alienation.

And also like many other alienated parents out there I have a blog. This humble little blog of mine is simply a cathartic narrative of my journey of fighting parental alienation.

As somewhat of a subconscious distraction technique of missing my children I am very often thinking of ways to raise further awareness of parental alienation.

A short while ago, while in conversation on Twitter, @ColinWardWriter introduced me to a website called medium.com.

“Medium.com reported 60 million unique monthly readers in May this year.”

Now, by no means is this a shameless attempt at promoting my medium publication and writers profile. My point is that medium is a place for writers and bloggers. Anyone can create a profile and, or a publication. It is completely free to join. Anyone that can write a blog can do the same on medium.com. Medium.com reported 60 million unique monthly readers in May this year.

On medium.com I searched the term ‘parental alienation’ and the results were as following:

  • Three publications (one of which is mine!)
  • Eight profiles that return with some association with parental alienation.
  • Parental Alienation as a ‘tag’ only has 12 followers.

I implore, beg, request all those affected by parental alienation to check this website out. For those of us with blogs, such articles can be posted on medium. For those without blogs, simply joining medium.com and reading and supporting parental alienation related articles would surely increase awareness.

Basically what I am proposing is for as many people as possible who are affected by parental alienation to check this website out. And ultimately write, engage, network and increase the discussion and awareness on a website that has 60 million unique visitors in one month alone. We could network and support each other to raise awareness.

A good introduction to medium.com can be found here.

Our medium publication is here. Our medium profile is here.

Lost-dad from Twitter, his medium profile can be found here.

A big thank you to @ColinWardWriter for introducing me to medium. Colin’s medium profile can be found here.

Thank you.

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

Now, I’ve met some idiots in my time, but seriously!? 


To those unfamiliar with this blog, this is a cathartic narrative of my numerous experiences in battling parental alienation. See here for a definition of parental alienation.

In writing these numerous posts I tend to veer away from going into too much detail of the numerous conversations I have with services and so called “professionals” as most are uninteresting and tedious to read.

“If we can’t laugh in the face of adversity when can we?”

However very recently I received an email from a ‘professional’ that works at my children’s school. This was in response to a request for help I have been making since May this year. I wish to share these comments with others for two reasons. The sheer astounding nature of the comments made and ironically, for entertainment purposes. If we can’t laugh in the face of adversity when can we?

But first if I may l would like to give the reader some context. Unknown to me at the time, sometime last year my ex went to my children’s school and made a number of false allegations against me. The school were led to believe that following our separation, my whereabouts were not known and that I had abandoned my children and no longer wanted anything to do with any of them. For extra drama it had also been reported to the school that I had stolen the family savings. Suffice to say, none of these claims are true.

However this is the nature of parental alienation. Such seeds of negativity planted in the minds of ‘the right people’ are an invaluable tool for the alienating parent. These ‘claims’ aid and support the alienating parent in tarnishing and undermining the character and reputation of the targeted parent. So, lo and behold when I approached the school to request help for my children they were and still are cold, clinical and aloof. Their approach, they claim is to ‘remain impartial.’

During one of several visits to the school last year I engaged in a lengthy conversation with the ‘professional’ who is the subject of this article. In the interests of maintaining a level of both professionalism and confidentiality I will hence forth refer to this ‘professional’ as Ms Clown. I opened the conversation by talking about the nature of parental alienation. Ms Clown however immediately attempted to challenge my understanding of parental alienation by firmly informing me that “we must be careful when talking about parental alienation!”

Clown_PeaceNotPas

During the same conversation Ms Clown disclosed to me that my ex had actually made the false claims to her in person. Bingo! I thought to myself. What a valuable nugget of information. Since then I have been politely but relentlessly asking Ms Clown for a written statement regarding my ex’s false allegations made to Ms Clown.

Unsusprisingly Ms Clown has ignored my numerous emails over the last couple of months. In response to this lack of reply I took a somewhat firmer and evidenced based approach. I challenged the school’s lack of support for my children in attempting to minimise the emotional abuse being inflicted on them. I also politely and appropriately highlighted the school’s lack of knowledge of both emotional abuse and parental alienation.

The following is an excerpt from Ms Clown’s reply to my above mentioned comments:

With T’s (my son, aged 11) permission, I passed on his wishes and feelings to you, which clearly stated he did not want contact with you, and that this was his own choice and not a decision made for him by his mother.” This was Ms Clown’s attempt to reassure me that she had been giving me appropriate help and support, as per my requests. Ms Clown appears very confident in her judgement that this was T’s own choice and “not a decision made for him by his mother.” At this point I would like to point out that somewhat remarkably Ms Clown is actually the Mental Health Liaison worker for all the schools in the local area.

With regards to her above comment, she clearly felt that she had not highlighted her ignorance of parental alienation enough. Therefore she then went on to make the following comment. “I hope you are able to resolve your feelings of parental alienation.”

“Please Ms Clown there’s no need to go on and make yourself look even more stupid!”

I know what some readers may be thinking. “It’s okay Ms Clown, we now understand how ignorant you are of parental alienation. Please Ms Clown there’s no need to go on and make yourself look even more stupid!” But no, she did not stop there! She was absolutely determined to provide further evidence of her complete lack of comprehension regarding parental alienation with the following comment:

“T (my son) was clearly upset about some of the things that had allegedly happened, for which he was encouraged to keep an open mind and to be aware of being drawn into adult issues. I feel this must have been understandably very difficult to hear and seems to have further fuelled your thoughts that his mother is preventing the contact.”

In terms of entertainment value this last comment is my absolute favourite. Ms Clown appears to be astoundingly comfortable making such a flippant and biased assumption that her handing over of such information to me is “fuelling my thoughts that his mother is preventing the contact.”

Well, what more can I say? She has certainly put a lot of work into convincing me that she knows absolutely nothing about parental alienation. It’s a shame that such a work ethic can not be employed supporting my children who are being emotionally abused on a daily basis at home by their very own mother.

The Lebanese-American financier Ziad K. Abdelnour once said, “Always remember, rumours are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.”

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

Parental alienation, one year on. What have I learnt? 


It is now a year since I have had any contact with my three beautiful young children.

My ex continues to deny me any contact with them.  My ex continues to take advantage of a flawed system. A system that enables her to ignore and breach court orders for contact and engagement in interventions, with no legal consequence.

I do not claim to be an expert in parental alienation. My story is no worse than any other of the incalculable number of alienated out there.

The following is certainly not intended to be viewed as some kind of checklist to battle parental alienation.

I have simply reflected on the last year and compiled a list of what I have learnt during the last twelve months.

  • Normalising the sense of sadness and low mood one will invariably experience as an alienated parent is okay to do.
  • Allowing this sadness and low mood to spiral out of control is a slippery slope.
  • Professionals that claim to be experts should always be challenged.
  • Reading and learning as much as one can about parental alienation is an integral part of fighting this battle.
  • Connecting with other targeted parents, be it online or in person is incredibly important. Invaluable for emotional support, sharing of ideas, information and advice.
  • Complaining to services and institutions with a dignified, articulate and well informed argument is key. You may not feel you are making a difference, but every bit of ‘chipping away at the system’ helps.
  • It took me far too long to realise that the way people treat me negatively, says more about them than me.
  • Professionals and friends have told me numerous times to engage in activities that will distract me. It is not always possible. As such I found a distraction that was connected to the issue at hand but also therapeutic, for example this blog.
  • I have realised that keeping myself well, mentally and physically is key to this battle.
  • I no longer feel guilty when I find myself thinking of my children less. This is simply a coping mechanism.
  • I have learnt that this does not mean I love them any less.
  • I do not need to feel guilty for what is happening to my children. There is absolutely no justification for the abuse that is being inflicted on them.
  • I have learnt who my real friends and family are.
  • I am way stronger than I thought I was.
  • I have learnt from others the true meaning of love, compassion and kindness.
  • I have learnt how much I love my children.
  •  I will never give up.

Please feel free to comment or add what you have learnt below.

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the current injustice of the family justice system.

We will gladly signpost individuals to professionals within our wider network who 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 such professionals for any referrals made.

We offer a completely free Support Line. To find out more prior to booking click here. To book a call from one of our dedicated Support Line Volunteers click here

The CCA Support Team

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