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Peace Not Pas

A Parent's Story of Battling Parental Alienation

Tag: childrens rights (page 1 of 2)

Parental Alienation has Another Side

Parental alienation is a term that is becoming popular and for good reason. It describes a situation where a child exhibits unjustified hostility towards one parent. The general idea is that the child has been manipulated by one parent to view a capable and loving parent as bad. Of course this is nothing more or less than child abuse by the alienating parent and causes untold lifelong damage to the child. Courts and professionals that are supposed to protect children refuse to acknowledge its impact on the child.

However, there is another side to parental alienation that is entirely misunderstood and dismissed. There can be a situation, as in my case, where the child discloses very real physical and emotional abuse by one parent but the abusive parent falsely claims this is nothing more than parental alienation. Playing on the growing popularity of parental alienation they deliberately misuse it to claim that the child has been manipulated by the other parent to ‘tell stories’ that are untrue. Herein lies the danger of generalising such a complex issue. There are circumstances where the child’s hostility to what is in reality a child abuser is completely justified.

“There is not a judge in the land would give her back to her mum.”

In my case CAFCASS made a very lengthy report from an interview with my child that lasted around 2-3 hours. They concluded that my child was telling the truth about the abuse, that she was recounting real life events. Reading the report and seeing things I had witnessed from a child’s perspective as well as events I was unaware of broke my heart and left me in tears. My father read it and I could see the look on his face change as he turned the pages. I remember him saying “there is not a judge in the land would give her back to her mum.”

In a 9 page report there was a single line that the abuser picked up on and ran with. My daughter had a phone call from our abuser who said that she would “get her brain fixed.” My daughter had asked me about this and, trying to reassure her, I said that perhaps her mum would see the doctor and everything would be okay. In the CAFCASS report it stated that my daughter had said “my mum’s brain is broken, that’s what my dad told me.” To the abuser this was a green light, look here is proof that my daughter was manipulated, this is parental alienation. This was the first time I had ever heard this term.

To a family judge (don’t get me started) this was all she needed for the case to fit into her preconceived stereotypes. Dad is bad, mum is good. The judge decided that despite the CAFCASS officer advising supervised contact with the mother, there was no truth in the abuse my daughter told, it was all made up, and gave residency to her mum.

“She was brutally and instantly taken from the protective arms of her father and handed over alone to a violent and cruel child abuser.”

Apart from the ongoing and unmonitored violence that is happening right now as you read this, imagine the damage this has done to my daughter. She was brave enough to talk to a complete stranger about (excuse the French) some serious shit, yet in the end was not believed. She was brutally and instantly taken from the protective arms of her father and handed over alone to a violent and cruel child abuser. She has been taught that speaking up about abuse makes no difference, in fact talking about abuse has removed the parent she relied upon for protection.

So all this hullabaloo about parental alienation should not be taken lightly and should not be categorised into an all encompassing box. It is a complex issue and each case should be taken on its own merits. It can describe manipulation of a child which in itself is child abuse but it can also be used to discredit a child disclosing lived physical and emotional abuse.

Thank you for reading and i hope it opens some eyes.


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected, as is the case above.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The CCA Support Team

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Where is the Justice?

A couple of days ago I went for a mediation session. I am what is known as an alienated parent. Following our separation in the summer of 2016, my ex has continuously denied me contact with my three young children. She has brainwashed them against me; to the point of them no longer calling me daddy. On the odd occasion I come up in conversation, my children now all refer to me by my first name. They have been exposed to such a negative perception of me by their mother, they now ‘claim’ they no longer want anything to do with me ever again. I have not had any meaningful contact with them for 18 months. The above set of abusive behaviours is collectively known as parental alienation. For a more detailed description of parental alienation, please see our What is PAS/PA? page.

“Front line staff are untrained, misinformed and completely out of their depth when it comes to assessing, managing and effectively case-working situations of parental alienation.”

Both Cafcass and Children’s Social Services are heavily involved in this case. Cafcass’ Chief Executive, Anthony Douglas publicly states that as an organisation, Cafcass acknowledge parental alienation as a form of abuse that should be dealt with the same severity as any other form of child abuse. However as an organisation, Cafcass clearly have an organisational-wide issue when it comes to disseminating such an acknowledgement down to their front line staff. Their front line staff are untrained, misinformed and completely out of their depth when it comes to assessing, managing and effectively case-working situations of parental alienation.

On the other  hand, the other organisation heavily involved in my case, Children’s Social Services, explicitly state that they do not recognise or acknowledge parental alienation as a form of abuse.

My ex and I have attended mediation, co-parenting courses and attended numerous court hearings over the last 18 months. My ex continues to breach numerous court orders that instruct or promote contact between my children and I with no legal penalties or consequences for her.

A recent psychological assessment states that my ex presents with a number of personality traits that are indicative of a Cluster A personality disorder. The same assessment states that the children are being emotionally abused and living in a toxic environment that is damaging to both their current and long term mental health. The assessment also states that due to the Cluster A personality traits, there is little to no evidence to suggest that my ex will change her current abusive and contact denying behaviours.

So what was the latest futile response from Cafcass and Children’s Social Services I hear you ask? Well… Wait for it… They have suggested my ex and I return to mediation. What an absolutely groundbreaking proposal!

So earlier on this week I attended a mediation session. In the interests of confidentiality and professionalism I have changed the name of the mediator.

I was shown into a small room and introduced to the mediator who I will refer to as Harry Ball-Sax. We greeted one another, shook hands and we both sat down.

Harry Ball-Sax then asked me “what has happened since I saw you last time in 2016?”

I replied “nothing has happened, I still haven’t seen my kids, my ex is still refusing to allow my parents and I any contact with the children and the services involved haven’t got a clue what they are doing!”

“So it sounds like due to the acrimonious separation you are both still in the middle of an ongoing high conflict issue where neither of you can compromise.”

“First of all can you please not use the term acrimonious separation. I left an unhealthy relationship, my ex is punishing me for it. The word acrimonious is defined as involving anger and bitterness. I am not angry or bitter. Furthermore in terms of compromise, my ex is demanding I leave her and our children alone so they can all grieve for me! Now obviously I’m not dead. I am very much alive. So in terms of you labelling it an issue of high conflict, the conflict is not on my part. Should my ex suddenly wake up tomorrow having had an epiphany and agree to co-parent, I would happily do so with no anger, bitterness or animosity.”

With no response to my above comment and no verbal or non-verbal expression of empathy or compassion, Harry Ball-Sax then asked me “what are the current plans in place from services?” 

“They have requested my ex and I separately write an evidence based parenting plan and submit it to the Judge at the next hearing next week.”

“So what is your proposal?”

“I propose therapeutic input for the children, a structured and supported period of graded exposure and reconciliation with me that would gradually increase in frequency. With the long term aim being 50/50 shared parenting.”

Harry Ball-Sax then made the rather astonishing comment “If I were you I certainly wouldn’t mention the terms 50/50 or shared parenting.”

I unsurprisingly asked “why is that?”

“Judges will perceive this as the father trying to take possession and ownership of the children away from the mother.”

“I’m sorry, can you just say that again please!” I requested in disbelief at what he had just said.

“Judges will perceive this as the father trying to take possession and ownership of the children away from the mother.”

“But my evidence based proposal would explicitly state that that would not be my intention! And furthermore, I have been asked to put forward a long term plan.”

In response to this he rather dismissively and with a clear and visible non-verbal attempt at avoidance, he moved his head to the side and shrugged his shoulders.

“Can you please explain why you believe Judges would perceive this as the father trying to take possession and ownership of the children away from the mother?”

Harry Ball-Sax then stated “this conversation is beyond the remit of this mediation session.”

“Be that as it may, you have just made a statement and I am asking for clarification so as to be as well informed as possible when writing my proposal.”

“You should seek legal advice on this matter.”

“But I represent myself. I just want you to elaborate on what you said about Judges and what appears to be you stating that Judges have a somewhat gender biased approach to fathers when the term 50/50 or shared parenting is used; despite there being a huge amount of evidence that informs us that shared parenting is in the short and long term best interests of the children.”

“Like I said, this conversation is beyond the scope of this mediation session.”

And so the session ended. My ex will be invited for an initial session such as the one I attended. She may or may not attend, who knows!

The above mediation session took less than twenty minutes and cost me £110 (that is $155 for any readers from the US). I left frustrated at the injustice of ‘the system’ and £110 poorer.

I have since reflected on this further. I work for the National Health Service (NHS) as a psychiatric nurse. I absolutely love my job and I truly believe that my colleagues and I make a positive difference to our patients’ lives. I earn less than £14 per hour (just under $20). Harry Ball-Sax charged me £110 of my hard earned money for twenty minutes of his time. However the service he provided made no discernible difference to my ongoing problem of being denied contact with my children. Where is the justice?

Eli Wiesel the Romanian-born American novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor once said “there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

btg dad


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

Today Was a Tough Day 

Today was a tough day for me. Today it was my birthday. The day I would have loved to have shared with my grandchildren, but I couldn’t. The reason why? I am an alienated  grandmother, that is the reason why.

For those of you unaware of what parental alienation actually is please see here for full details.

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I missed seeing them on my birthday, I missed hearing them shout “happy birthday nanny!” I missed watching  their faces as I open the presents they would have got me. I missed reading the birthday cards with their handwritten messages in.

I missed them so much today, but then I miss them every day of my life. I wonder if they miss me, I wonder if they would have remembered today was their Nanny’s birthday. I wonder if they thought of me, as I thought of them. I like to think they did. I have to believe they did or how else will I go on.

“These are the moments, hours, days of their lives and mine, that we can never recover.”

I hope they know how much I love them. Then there are their birthdays, which  I can no longer share with them. Yet again this is because I am an alienated grandparent. I don’t know how this came about. I have done nothing wrong. My grandchildren have done nothing wrong. So why are we not allowed to share these special days together anymore?

I am missing seeing them growing  up. These are the moments, hours, days of their lives and mine, that we can never recover. That we will never get back. And that is what breaks my heart. So today has been extra tough.

I have to hope tomorrow will be a little easier as this is the life of an alienated grandparent.

Written by

pascampaigner


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected, as is the case with the above writer.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

Dungeons and Dragons

Dear reader,

It occurred to me today to think about parental alienation from a different angle. How do people become the person that stops one person from being involved in their child’s life when they are divorced?

Perhaps its stems from problems they already have? Please don’t think for one moment that I’m condoning their behaviour; I’m not, but by knowing the enemy you have a better chance of out manoeuvring them right?

I started doing some research and came up with this – gatekeeper parenting. My understanding of this is that one parent, normally but not exclusively, in first time parent situations, ends up taking control of the family unit.

A gatekeeper parent exhibits the following behaviors:

  • Criticizes the way the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse parents
  • Creates unbending or unrealistic standards in order for the other parent to spend time with the children
  • Demeans or undermines the other parent’s efforts at being an authority figure in the child(ren’s) lives
  • Controls all the organizing, delegating, planning, and scheduling in the home
  • Becomes reluctant to let go of some of the responsibility for caring for the family
  • Needs a great deal of validation of their identity as a parent, both from the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse and from outside the marriage or parenting relationship
  • Believes in the traditional roles assigned to husbands and wives
  • Views the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse as a helper and not an equal when it comes to household chores and child-care responsibilities
  • Asks the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse for help and then gives explicit directions on how to accomplish a task

Inside a marriage, the characteristics and symptoms of a gatekeeper may already be apparent, with one parent being relegated to second tier status and disenfranchised with regard to their parenting skills or their ability to practice and nurture their own set of skills. This lends itself to the dominant parent taking complete control of the household, and it causes severe resentment and sense of helplessness in the other parent’s relationship with the children.

In a post-divorce situation, the gatekeeping parent may limit contact between the other parent and the child(ren), abuse the child verbally and psychlogically, or utilise derogatory remarks regarding the other parent, including threats in order to maintain control.

This would explain a lot of some of the behaviours that have happened to a lot of the parents, in a lot of the cases of divorce!

In 2013, the National Office of Statistics in Britain stated that of the 114,720 couples that divorced, 94,864 had children involved.

Being an optimist, but also trying to make the math easier, I generalised that of the 94 thousand couples with children, half would be reasonable and try to sort something out with each parent. That leaves 47,432 possibilities that didn’t work out, and that could be subjected to parent alienation.

That works out at five children, every hour of every day of every week of the year. That works out to just one child every ten minutes.

This takes me back to the title of this blog ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. This means that one parent every ten minutes or so, is effectively locking their child away in the dungeon of their construction, gatekeeping their interactions with the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not suggesting that they might be dragons (God forbid!), but from their perspective they may well be looking after their children, just like Smaug did the goblins hoard. And we all know what happened to him!

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Perhaps these gatekeepers need to look towards the film Tangled. If you keep someone locked away from their natural curiosity, all you will be doing is just prolonging the inevitable. They will find out for themselves what you have done and you will lose them for ever.

Take this as a clarion call; work with the parent you have disenfranchised from the child you BOTH created. Or else you too could end up like the woman from Tangled, losing everything you’ve ever worked towards. The choice is yours…

Written by

psychman

Please do visit psychman’s blog at

psychmansite.wordpress.com


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

A Birthday, an Alienated One

Today, October 15,  my daughter turns five.

I will call her using my tablet, that’s our channel.

I hope the tablet is turned on.

If the tablet is on, I hope she hears it and is allowed to answer.

It’s been like this since February. A period after which the terrible and sinister powers of parental alienation descended upon us.

I feel sadness and more importantly, I feel for my two children. Who are the true victims, knowing they wish to see their father  yet their mother has other plans… Vindictive plans I must make clear.

Nothing justifies this, nothing.

Written by

Mito


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected, as is the case with the above writer.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

An Alienated Grandfather’s Thoughts

It has been since the summer of 2016 that I have struggled on as an alienated grandfather. I have the memories still fresh in my mind of the happy and treasured times I once had with my grandchildren.

For those of you unaware of what parental alienation actually is please see here for full details.

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“It breaks my heart seeing them, thinking how sad, disillusioned and upset they might feel.”

It hurts so much, seeing other grandparents being able to enjoy being with their grandchildren like I once used to be. I have glimpsed my grandchildrens’ faces sometimes on their way to school. It breaks my heart seeing them, thinking how sad, disillusioned and upset they might feel by the hate, poison and lies forced onto them by their so called mother.

Parental alienation is not right or fair. If you watch any of the news channels on TV of the world gone mad; places like Syria, Iraq, I sometimes think to myself how is it possible to survive in such places? Yet during any cease-fire that occurs, amazingly children in such places are seen playing games, playing football. Ultimately doing things children should be doing as children.

“To all those that inform me that my grandchildren are happy. You, like my grandchildren are being used and lied to.”

The point I am making is my beautiful grandchildren over a period of time have arguably been more mentally destroyed than children in such war ravaged countries. People are outaged at the vulnerability of children in these war zones and rightly so. However not enough people appear to be outraged about the emotional abuse that is parental alienation.

To conclude, may I say something to all those enablers of parental alienation, to all those that like to inform me not to worry. To all those that inform me that my grandchildren are happy. You, like my grandchildren are being used and lied to, enough said.

Lets hope one day that the powers that be, recognise that parental alienation is child abuse.

Written by

Albert Glover


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

My Life, then Parental Alienation

When deciding to write about my story, I wondered where to start. Before all this happened to me I was just a mother, a mother in law and a grandmother. I worked in customer services for a well known company and life for me was good. I was happy that my children were all married and settled, with families of their own. I looked forward to their regulars visits and our family get-togethers. They were happy times.

And then just like that, it all changed. No one saw it coming, or maybe I did . Maybe I didn’t want to believe that my family was not perfect after all.

The marriage of one of my son’s broke down and that’s when the nightmare began. Couples break up often enough nowadays. I have have had friends over the years who have separated or divorced but their lives carried on as parents. These friends, although divorced or separated, helped and supported their children to cope with the separation. Children adapt as long as they know they have two parents who love them. With this knowledge children have more chance of remaining happy and secure despite their parents separating.

“How could I have known that once my son and daughter in law parted, that my son would be denied access to his own children.”

As sad as I was about the split between my son and his wife I thought they would co-parent and all our lives would go on. How wrong I was. How could I have known that once my son and daughter in law parted, that my son would be denied access to his own children. And then I in turn was also denied access to my own grandchildren. Not by the courts, but solely by their mother. I had done nothing wrong, why would she do this to me? Why would she do this to the children?

It is now almost two years since my son last saw his children and I my grandchildren. I cannot describe the pain of not having them in my life anymore. Or the pain of wondering  how hurt and lost they might be feeling each and everyday wondering why they are no longer a part of their grandparents’ lives. Having lost the two people from their lives who they thought would love them and be there for them for the rest of our lives.

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It has completely split my family. And the pain that I feel is unbearable. There is also the pain my son goes through every single day that he doesn’t see his children. I am a mother and grandmother, I  should be able to  protect my family. But I cannot do anything to  help ease their pain.

“I cannot describe the emotional pain, it is like a pain inside of you that never goes away.”

I am struggling myself, some days just getting out of bed, getting dressed and going to work is so very hard. I cannot describe the emotional pain, it is like a pain inside of you that never goes away. I have dear friends who are kind and tell me it will all work out. I know they mean well and that they are just trying to help. However  they do not really understand how hard it is to cope with every single day.

I have now found a  website where people do understand. People like me who are going through the same pain. We are able to support each other, as we are all alienated parents, alienated grandparents and alienated aunts and uncles.

Parental alienation was not a term I was ever familiar with. That was until it actually happened to my family. You have no idea that such a form of abuse exists or is even unchallenged by authorities and services that you believe are there to protect children from such abuse.

“It is simply child abuse to deny a child contact with a loving parent or grandparent.”

Tragically I have found out that it  does happen. And it continues to happen to thousands of parents and children worldwide, but why? Sadly their is no law passed yet to prevent this abuse. It is not even criminalised to help families or their children  who are subjected to this kind of trauma by an abusive ex-partner. How can that be? It is simply child abuse to deny a child contact with a loving parent or grandparent or any other member of their family who they have a loving relationship with. So we, the alienated grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, must  continue to  fight on  together for however long it takes to change this.  My son and I will  never ever give up the fight for his children. We will never give up the fight for my grandchildren.

Written by

pascampaigner


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

Father and Son

“It’s not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy, you’re still young, that’s your fault, there’s so much you have to know.”

The opening lines from the Cat Stevens track Father and Son. I have always loved and admired this song, particularly the lyrics. Such poignant and touching lyrics easily evoking loving and reflective emotions in any given loving father.

Cat Stevens

I hadn’t heard this song for quite a while until a couple of weeks ago. It came up on a random Spotify playlist I was listening to and it immediately caught my attention and I instantly viewed the track and particularly the lyrics from a whole new perspective. Lyrically the song portrays an exchange between a father and a son. It is the son’s desire to break away and shape a new life. However the son cannot really explain himself. The storytelling within the song strongly resonated with me.

I am what is known as an alienated parent who has been denied contact with my three beautiful children since the summer of 2016. The mother of my children has effectively brainwashed my children into believing I no longer love them and that I have rejected them and that I no longer want to be a part of their lives. My children are being emotionally abused by their very own mother.

“I continue to fight to simply be a father to my children.”

The family courts and Cafcass are aware of both the abuse and contact denial on the part of my children’s mother. However due to a multitude of issues with Cafcass, a biased and outdated judicial system and many other factors (that are way beyond the scope of this particular article) I continue to fight to simply be a father to my children. My ex-partner is determined to completely erase me from my children’s lives.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term parental alienation please see here for a more detailed definition.

“My children are being forced to live a life without their father.”

So as an alienated father the opening lyrics to Father and Son take on a whole new meaning. “It’s not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy, you’re still young, that’s your fault, there’s so much you have to know.”

My children are being forced to make a change. My children are being forced to live a life without their father. Ultimately it’s not time to make a change. That change is being forced upon them.

“Just relax, take it easy.” As an alienated parent I am unable to protect my children. Even worse than that, professionals currently involved have confirmed that my children have been groomed into being scared of me by their very own mother. They are only children, and yet they are being groomed to be scared and anxious of their very own father.

“You’re still young, that’s your fault.” The fact that they are so young and easily impressionable is being capitalised on by a parent whose sole aim is to brainwash my children into believing I have abandoned them. Evidence shows that children that are fortunate enough to be reconciled with a former targeted parent carry a lot of guilt. Research shows that as part of the emotional fallout of the reconciliation, former alienated children invariably blame themselves for rejecting the former targeted parent. To my children, I would say your only fault is your young age. Which of  course is beyond your control and simply being taken advantage of in the context of the emotional abuse that is currently being inflicted upon you all.

“There’s so much you have to know.” With regards to this line, where do I start? If only you were allowed and encouraged to believe that I have not abandoned and rejected you. If only you knew the truth.

“Find a girl, settle down. If you want you can marry.” The emotional abuse currently being inflicted on my children, if left unchallenged will have a detrimental affect on their short and long term mental health. In particular with regards to their own understanding of what is deemed a healthy relationship. The emotional damage being inflicted on my children has been highlighted by numerous professionals to their mother. However she chooses to disregard and ignore all of these concerns.

“I fear being an old man when I hear a knock on the door.”

“Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.” I struggle with the thoughts and possible outcomes this line forces me to envisage. My biggest fear is that I will never be reunited with my children. I fear that too much emotional damage has been inflicted upon them already. A lesser fear, but no less worthy of mention is the fear of the amount of time lost between us if and when we are reunited. I fear being an old man when I hear a knock on the door.

“But I am happy.” This latter part of the aforementioned line is of huge significance for me. This relates to my recent struggles with my own mental health. It has taken me a long time to realise that I have the right to be happy in other parts of my life. In being so, this does not lessen the unconditional love I feel for my children. I have accepted that thinking about my children less does not equate to me loving them less. (This concept is explored in more detail in an earlier post of mine entitled Does Thinking About Your Children Less, Mean You Love Them Less?) Thinking of them less is simply a subconscious coping mechanism which is required to get myself through each day without them.

“I wish I could be there for my children now, as my father was for me.”

“I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy, to be calm when you’ve found something going on.” This line prompts me to reflect on my own childhood. I grew up with a loving father, who has been, and still does to this day continue to be such an important and integral positive role model in my life. My dad has helped me through so much in life, as loving fathers do as part and parcel of fatherhood. I wish I could be there for my children now, as my father was for me.

“But take your time, think a lot. Why, think of everything you’ve got, for you will still be here tomorrow. But your dreams may not.” This line evokes in me the idea that my children are being forced to not take their time in their thoughts. They are effectively being told what to think about me. “For you will still be here tomorrow.” I am fortunate enough that they still live a couple of minutes up the road from me. This is despite their mother attempting to abduct them abroad. However due to the enduring risk of parental abduction by her, there remains in place a travel ban on her and the children. As such I take some reassurance from the fact that they “will still be here tomorrow”. The line “but your dreams may not”, means to me that they are struggling with the separation of their parents. Separation is invariably difficult enough for children, even with the most amicable of speparations. However evidence has shown that their mother’s own anger and hatred is being transferred onto my children. In turn they are wrongly living and feeling her emotions for her.

FatherAndSon2

“How can I try to explain, cause when I do he turns away again.” This is a painful line for me. My eldest son claims he has no positive memories of me. We previously had a loving and healthy father and son relationship. It is reported that both my sons have blocked me so as not receive weekly emails I used to send them. Emails attempting to reassure them I have not rejected or abandoned them. Messages of hope, hope of reconciliation. Messages of positive memories. But the emails are reported to be either ignored or blocked.

“All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside. It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.” For me this line is very much what it means to be an alienated father who is denied access to his sons. I suffered from a bout of severe depression due to the cruel nature of being denied contact with my own children. I manage my depression well enough now. I have learnt not to keep everything inside. Everyday is difficult as an alienated parent, but it is so much harder to simply ignore these feelings of hurt and emotional pain. Arguably they are put to one side in order to cope mentally, however they are most certainly not ignored.

“A system that is ultimately protecting my children from the wrong parent.”

The song for me solemnly ends on the following line “now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away, I know I have to go away.” This particular line strikes a chord with my ongoing battles with an outdated, biased and ultimately draconian system that simply does not understand and recognise the complex nature of parental alienation. A system that is ultimately protecting my children from the wrong parent and continuing to fail to protect my children from the ongoing abuse being inflicted upon them by their own mother. I’ve very quickly learnt a lot about this flawed system and parental alienation in a very short space of time. I now know “there’s a way of dealing” with such a system in a much more effective way. It is difficult, exhausting and all consuming. However it is this system that is ultimately forcing me “to go away”. Unbelievably, such systems that are supposed to protect children are actually enabling my absence from children’s lives.

To conclude, “I know I have to go away.” But I will continue to fight on. And I have to hope that one day I will have a loving and healthy father and son relationship once again.

“No love is greater than that of a father for his son” as Dan Brown wrote in his novel Angels and Demons.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-7c4VNGOgU

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

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

A Living Death?

Another well written article by lost-dad, incredibly poignant. Please read and share to raise awareness of the evil that is parental alienation.

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