Archive for August, 2012

Why exercise self-restraint; tips to reverse alienation by Dr. Warshak

Posted on August 28, 2012. Filed under: books, story | Tags: , , , |

In Dr. Warshak’s book “Divorce Poison“, he tells alienated parents to use self-restraint. Why?

1) Your children are being manipulated to express the alienating parent’s hostility. Don’t punish your kids for the alienating parents behavior.

2) Your kids are looking for reasons to justify their dislike for you. Don’t help them.

3) Your loss of temper will play directly into the hands of the alienating parent. One lapse in judgement can be used over and over in court to exaggerate how you treat (mistreat) your kids. Your behavior will be seen as the cause of the alienation instead of an isolated reaction.

Dr. Warshak also offers suggestions on how to maintain your relationship with your children and how to reverse the alienation.

1) Don’t counter what your children say. “If you don’t want to see me then I don’t want to see you.” On some level they will be hurt and feel abandoned. It will only deepen the alienation.

2) Develop a thick skin. Remember children are the victims.

3) Don’t talk about the reasons for the hatred.

4) Concentrate on having pleasant experiences with the children. Introduce your children to people who treat you with respect and hold you in high regard such as (aunts, cousins, friends, and children who are friends with your children). Observing people valuing you will help off-set the negative image that your kids have of you. Plus it will be difficult for your children to treat you rudely if they are in a positive environment where everyone sees you in a positive light. In return your kids behavior may improve.

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Five questions Dr. Warshak asks parents to think about before sharing divorce related info with kids

Posted on August 28, 2012. Filed under: books, story | Tags: , , |

When parents divorce they sometimes share more information with their children than they need to. In Dr. Warshark’s book Divorce Poison“, he asks parents 5 questions. These questions are designed to make parents think before sharing potentially harmful information with their children. The 5 questions are as follows:

1) What is my real reason for revealing this information to the children? (Will they benefit from the information?)

2) Are my children being harmed by the behavior I am about to criticize? Or are they being harmed by not having the information?

3) How will it help the children to hear what I am about to tell them?

4) Do the possible benefits of revealing this to the children out-weigh the possible risks?

5) If I were still happily married to my spouse, and I wanted to protect our children’s relationship with him/her, how would I handle the situation?

Dr. Warshak uses an example of a woman having an affair. She becomes pregnant. She leaves her husband and 3 kids to have her new lovers baby. She moves to another town. How does the father explain why mom moved away? Dr. Warshak’s suggested response is “I was not able to make your mother happy enough to stay in the marriage”.

(I am sure my answer would be different, but I get the point. It is important to think before answering. Speaking impulsively could hurt the kids. Tact is needed in this situation. Unfortunately most people when angry speak without thinking.  This leads to problems that are so common in many divorces.)

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Halle Berry’s Custody Tactics Bring Out Her Dark Side

Posted on August 27, 2012. Filed under: story | Tags: , , , |

August 24, 2012 by Georgialee Lang (Candian Divorce Lawyer)
If ever there was a primer on how parents should not deal with child custody, Halle Berry and her former common-law spouse, Gabriel Aubry, are in the running for first prize, albeit Aubry appears to be a coerced participant in the fight over their four-year-old daughter, Nahla Ariela Aubry.

The obvious question is how can a woman who is so beautiful on the outside, be so scheming and vindictive on the inside? Yes, Halle Berry fans…that’s how it appears to me, and I bet she is just livid that she agreed to use Aubry’s surname for her daughter when they were still in the throes of love.

Halle Berry’s litigation tactics are “classic” in high-conflict custody cases, and that’s part of
her problem. Most judges have not just fallen off the turnip truck, they have seen it all.

At the time of their uncoupling Halle raved that Aubry was as an “amazing” father and the three of them “were going to be together forever”. But since she connected with serial philanderer and sometime actor Olivier Martinez she’s abandoned her earlier sentiment. Or was it Aubry’s short fling with Kim Kardashian that changed her mind?

For someone who says she only wants to protect her daughter, she has an odd way of going about it. She has desperately tried to remove Aubry from Nahla’s life, with little success. She resisted paying him reasonable child support, even though they share custody. In a drawn out court battle, Ms. Berry was ordered to pay Aubry $20,000 per month.

She must have felt happily triumphant when Nahla’s nanny accused Mr. Aubry of pushing her while she held Nahla. Aubry was relegated to supervised access and no overnight parenting time for a while, but after a thorough child protection investigation by California authorities, he was completely cleared.

Her latest ploy is to convince the Court that it is in Nahla’s best interests to move with her to France with her fiance, Olivier Martinez. Her reasons? She says she is being stalked in California. I guess she was really p-o’d when she recently learned that mental patient Robert Dewey Hoskins, who also harassed Madonna, was arrested and recommitted to a locked psychiatric facility.

She is also urging the Court to favourably consider her pending nuptials with Martinez and the new family she has created. As far as any stability as a result of her relationship with Martinez, I am very skeptical.

If Berry actually marries Martinez, it will be her third marriage. Mr. Martinez has never been married and no wonder….His flings usually are of short duration, from one-night hook-ups to four years. He has bedded model Rosie Huntington Whitley, singer Kylie Minogue, model Sara Givati, actress Michelle Rodriguez, actress Mira Sorvino, actress Juliet Binoche and actress Goya Toledo.

But what is going to really sink Halle’s ship is the expert report before the Court that warns the judge that separating Nahla from her very-involved father will be detrimental to her well-being.

I still don’t get it…when will mothers learn they don’t “own” their children?

http://lawdiva.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/halle-berrys-custody-tactics-bring-out-her-darkside/

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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Children Should NOT Be Allowed to Drive the Visitation Bus

Posted on August 27, 2012. Filed under: story | Tags: , , , |

 by Linda Gottlieb

To any rational, mature, objective parent or professional, the reason for this declaration could be justified by merely pondering the following question: “How reassured would you feel if you were standing trial for a crime, and your jury was comprised entirely of 18-year-olds?”

 

The reason children should not be empowered to make a decision about visitation with a parent is as obvious as why no one would feel comfortable having only 18 year olds sitting in judgment of us. A child’s judgment, insight, perception, reality testing, and emotions only barely reach maturity by the END of adolescence. One only has to read the epistemological research and studies undertaken by Jean Piaget, philosopher and developmental psychologist, who wrote the “Bible” upon which educators rely to understand the cognitive development of children. Children do not have the emotional and cognitive abilities do evaluate for themselves what is in their best interests; to theorize what it would be like to have a parent eradicated from their lives; to be able to discriminate what is rational, truthful, and moral amidst all the information their parents and other adults impart to them—especially about the malicious, fabricated, and fanciful data from the alienating parent. Children, for example, think very concretely until the age of 8; that is why they actually do believe, “Step on a crack, break my mother’s back.” Not until much older, can they discriminate reality from fantasy, which is why they should not see horror shows until much older.  The ability to think abstractly starts at the beginning of adolescence and is still insufficiently mature by 18. Children lack wisdom! And children further do not have the emotional wherewithal to contradict the alienating parent—-if that parent is the residential parent—-as they are so dependent upon that parent.

 

So to placate the alienated parent regarding the visit refusal, the court sanctions it by making an ineffective order for the child to undergo a course of individual therapy in the hopes of readying the child for a relationship with the alienated parent. Every time I hear the unsubstantiated platitude for the therapist, “to prepare the child for contact with the alienated parent,” I want to erupt.  Because of their immature cognitive and emotional abilities as previously discussed, children do not possess the facility for abstraction. They cannot participate in a theoretical discussion about what an appropriate relationship entails; nor can they comprehend a desire for something in the abstraction. A child, therefore, cannot have a  discussion about desiring a relationship with someone who is in the absentia—-especially a brainwashed child; nor can a child participate in determining what to expect from the relationship with that “someone.”  That “someone” needs to be concrete, in person, in the flesh and blood.  The therapist cannot, therefore, prepare the child through intellectualism and abstraction for the re-building of a relationship with someone else.  To be able to do this is a fantasy perpetuated by an adversarial child custody system in order to appease the parties and deceive one another into believing that the alienation is being addressed. Individual therapy will not be able to resolve this.  To do is also a fantasy perpetuated by the mental health community—-partially out of ignorance, partially out of an opposing belief system from this therapist’s about the power of the therapist and about how people change, and partially to assure our continued employment. I have lost count of the number of preposterous requests I have received asking me to treat a child whom I have never met in order “to ready them to reunite” with a parent, whom I have also never met and know nothing about.  I am being asked to treat a relationship without having observed and examined it!  Would a doctor diagnose for a disease without observing/examining the patient?

 

But why is therapy necessary at all to connect a child to a loving and formally loved parent?  The PAS-aware professional must educate the judicial system that PAS children’s expressed hatred for and refusal to visit with the targeted/alienated parent are not their true feelings—-no more than these were the feelings of the thousands of foster children with whom I had worked with during a period of 24 years: not a single foster child ever expressed a hatred for her/his parents or a refusal to visit. Indeed, the two most frequently asked questions were, “When can I go home?” and “When is my next visit with my mommy and daddy?” You have to be carefully taught to hate and fear—-especially a parent.

 

PAS children are caught and trapped by their feelings and position: on the one hand, these children love and crave their relationship with their targeted/alienated parent; on the other hand, they are terrified of betraying their alienating parent by expressing their true feelings. The professionals which impact child custody—-especially the judge—-must release these children from their trap by relieving them from making the decision about whether to visit or not. The professionals who impact child custody and visitation must assume the responsibilities for which we were charged when we were licensed by our respective professions; that is, we must assume our responsibility of guaranteeing the PAS child’s right to a meaningful relationship with both parents—-that starts with the enforcement of the visitation rights of the non-residential parent.

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The Difference Between Estrangement and Parental Alienation Syndrome

Posted on August 17, 2012. Filed under: story | Tags: , , |

Have your children been alienated or did you behave badly?

By , About.com

Parental Alienation is defined as the deliberate attempt by one parent to distance his/her children from the other parent. An example would be the mother who shares too much information about the father’s affair with the children in a covert attempt to cause the children to harbor ill will toward the father.

A mother or father may wish to alienate the children to pay back for the pain experienced due to an unwanted divorce. They may attempt to alienate the children due to mental illness that keeps the parent from putting her/his children’s best interest before their own. The reasons parents participate in Parental Alienation are numerous and costly.

On the other hand, estrangement follows multiple conflicts and blowouts between parent and child, says relationship expert Irina Firstein. “There are extremely hurt feelings,” she says. “There are feelings of betrayal and of disappointment.”

The father who leaves the family for another woman, neglects time with his children and dismisses the harm done to his children is likely to become “estranged” from them. It is fair to say that no one responds positively to poor treatment, least of all children.

PAS results from a parent actively working at causing hard feelings between a child and parent. Estrangement results from a parent behaving badly toward his/her children which, in return causes the children to cut off contact.

It isn’t uncommon for a parent who is estranged from his/her children to blame the other parent of PAS. It is easier to blame others for bad behavior than to accept and acknowledge bad behavior.

How does one tell the difference between a parent who is a victim of PAS and one that is estranged due to bad behavior? The behavior of the parent during the period of alienation or estrangement is a good indicator of what is truly going on in the parent/child relationship.

Behaviors Common to an Alienated Parent:

A parent who has been alienated from his/her child will continue to pursue a relationship with the child. The parent will attempt to communicate on a regular basis, will send emails and cards. The same parent will use the court system to fight the alienating parent and retain their legal rights to a relationship with their child.

The alienated parent is not a parent who gives up or gives in. David Goldman is a good example of what an alienated parent will do in response to the alienating parent. His son was taken to Brazil by the mother who refused to return to the United States and pursued a divorce in Brazil.

The Brazilian courts gave the mother custody of the son and David’s ex wife remarried and her, her family and new husband used their status and influence to keep David away from his son. David spent five years fighting in the Brazilian courts and finally regained custody of his son. No battle was too big, no expense too great for this father who had been alienated from his child.

Behaviors Common to an Estranged Parent:

The parent who is estranged from a child due to his/her own bad treatment of the child has a “wait and see” attitude. They don’t pursue a relationship with the child because in their mind the child is the one responsible for mending the relationship.

The estranged parent will find it hard or impossible to view the situation from their child’s perspective. They don’t see their own behavior as playing a role in the problem; they feel entitled to behave badly with no repercussions.

More often than not it is the estranged parent that I come into contact with in my business. These are people who go months at a time without contacting their children because they are wrapped up in an affair and spending time with the other man/woman or busy building a new life post divorce. They don’t understand why their children aren’t waiting with open arms when they do find time to fit them into their schedule.

One man in particular comes to mind. He never went to a school function, refused to enter into counseling with his children when the therapist suggested and spent six years with minimal contact with his children. According to him though his ex-wife is guilty of parental alienation.

His words when asked about his children’s anger toward him were, “it is what it is, I can’t change it, I can only hope they come around one day.” The truly alienated parent would be jumping through hoops to try and reconcile with his/her children. The estranged parent can’t do such a thing because doing so would mean admitting and taking responsibility and the relationship with the child is not worth the discomfort that would come from acknowledging the damage they did to the parent/child relationship.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is dangerous to the emotional well-being of children and the continued parental bond with a parent. It is too often used as an excuse by bad parents to justify to themselves the results of that bad parenting and hurtful behaviors toward their children.

In both cases innocent children suffer due to the inability of a parent to put the needs of their children before their own needs and if, as a parent you can’t do that then maybe you don’t deserve a relationship with a child who is only looking for what any child has a right to expect, love, consideration and valuation from a parent.

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Dr. Glenn Ross Caddy on Family Matters Blog Talk Radio

Posted on August 13, 2012. Filed under: Family Matters Blog Talk Radio | Tags: , , , , |

Dr. Glenn Ross Caddy is a clinical and forensic psychologist and specialist in behavioral medicine. He’s published over 5 books and authored over 100+ professional refereed journals. He works out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and consults nationally herein the U.S. but internationally as well. Board certified in Clinical psychology, forensic psychology, behavioral medicine and human sexuality. He holds fellowship status in three of the four boards. Also certified as a national custody evaluator. He is available for consults for families, attorneys or forensic work.

His email is: glenn.caddy@gmail.com and his phone number is:      954.547.5100

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/syndicatednews/2012/03/21/dr-glenn-caddy-on-family-matters–syndicatednewsnet

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Linda Gottlieb on Family Matters Blog Talk Radio

Posted on August 13, 2012. Filed under: Family Matters Blog Talk Radio | Tags: , , , , |

Linda has an extensive background in providing treatment services to families of varying compositions and orientations, from all cultural backgrounds, and presenting diverse issues.  She has had 30 years of experience handling a variety of problems and symptoms and routinely provides crisis intervention services to families and couples.

She has expertise in adoption and foster care situations having worked for 16 years in New York City’s foster care system as a psychiatric social worker and subsequently for several years as Assistant Director of Foster Care and Adoption for Nassau County, New York.

She designed, implemented and supervised at South Shore Child Guidance Center, Freeport, New York, Pathways, a home-based, crisis intervention program to prevent psychiatric hospitalization of children.

Since 1996, Linda has been in private practice as a Family/Relationship Therapist.  In addition to providing direct treatment to families and children and to couples, she provides supervision to family therapists who are in private practice.

Linda gained her expertise in family and relationship therapy by studying for 9 years at the Minuchin Center for the Family.  She was personally trained by Dr. Salvador Minuchin, the world renowned, highly respected child psychiatrist.  After completing her training at the Center, she joined the faculty, where she has served for four years.

LMFT =  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

LCSW = Licensed Certified Social Worker

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/syndicatednews/2012/08/08/linda-gottlieb-lmft-lcsw-on-family-matters-aug-8-2012

 

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Books about Parental Alienation

Posted on August 12, 2012. Filed under: books | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Three Types of Parental Alienators

Posted on August 12, 2012. Filed under: story | Tags: , , , , , |

Copyright 1997 by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.

 

Alienation and the degree of severity

Parental alienation varies in the degree of severity, as seen in the behaviors and attitudes of both the parents and the children. The severity can be of such little consequence as a parent occasionally calling the other parent a derogatory name; or it could be as overwhelming as the parent’s campaign of consciously destroying the children’s relationship with the other parent. Most children are able to brush off a parent’s offhand comment about the other parent that is made in frustration. On the other hand, children may not be able to resist a parent’s persistent campaign of hatred and alienation.

Parents must be cautioned not to conclude that all parent-child relationship problems are caused by alienating behavior. When there is true abuse, it is natural that a parent will feel protective towards the children. This is not alienation. On the other hand, the parent is expected to cooperate with investigators and consider alternative explanations that would explain the allegation. Alternative explanations explaining a serious parent-child problem can include a failure to bond, punitive punishment, insensitivity to the child’s needs or a failure to understand development issues. Sometime a competent evaluation is needed to determine how alienation may contribute to the problems between the targeted parent and the children. This is a complex process that requires a court order and the participation of both parents and the children.

Who Uses Alienation?

We are frequently asked the question if someone other than a parent can alienate the child? The answer is an emphatic yes. Grandparents, stepparents, family friends and even attorneys and therapists can alienate or contribute to the alienation.

Frequently an alienated parent will surround themselves with people that support alienation, believing that the child needs to be protected or saved from the targeted parent.

Learning to Recognize Types of Alienation

Preventing or stopping alienation must begin with learning how to recognize the three types of alienation because the symptoms and strategies for combating each are different. The three types should not be considered a “diagnosis,” but instead are a heuristic (i.e. considering possibilities) way of understanding alienation.

Three Types of Alienation

Naïve alienators are parents who are passive about the children’s relationship with the other parent but will occasionally do or say something that can alienate. All parents will occasionally be naïve alienators.

Active alienators also know better than to alienate, but their intense hurt or anger causes them to impulsively lose control over their behavior or what they say. Later, they may feel very guilty about how they behaved.

Obsessed alienators have a fervent cause to destroy the targeted parent. Frequently a parent can be a blend between two types of alienators, usually a combination between the naïve and active alienator. Rarely does the obsessed alienator have enough self-control or insight to blend with the other types. These three patterns of alienating behaviors are not intended to be used as a diagnosis. The types have not been validated sufficient for litigation.

Keep in mind that the source of alienating behavior can come from mothers, fathers, stepparents, relatives, and even babysitters, “best friends” of the parent, the parent’s attorney, or a therapist.


Further Information about Each Type of Alienator

Type One: Naïve Alienator
“Tell your father that he has more money than I do, so let him buy your soccer shoes.” 

Most divorced parents have moments when they are naive about their alienating behavior. These parents mean well and recognize the importance of the children having a healthy relationship with the other parent. They rarely have to return to court because of problems with visits or other issues relating to the children. They encourage the relationship between the children and the other parent and their family. Communication between both parents is usually good, though they will have their disagreements, much like they did before the divorce. For the most part, they can work out their differences without bringing the children into it.

Children, whether or not their parents are divorced, know there are times when their parents will argue or disagree about something. They don’t like seeing their parents argue and may feel hurt or frightened by what they hear. Somehow, the children manage to cope; either by talking out their feelings to a receptive parent, ignoring the argument or trusting that the skirmish will pass and all will heal. What they see and hear between their parents does not typically damage the children of the naïve alienator. They trust their parent’s love and protection. The child and the parent have distinct personalities, beliefs and feelings. Neither is threatened by how the other feels towards the targeted parent.

The characteristics of naïve alienators are:

  • Their ability to separate in their minds the children’s needs from their own. They recognize the importance for the children to spend time with the other parent so they can build a mutually loving relationship. They avoid making the other parent a target for their hurt and loss.
  • Their ability to feel secure with the children’s relationship with their grandparents and their mother or father.
  • Their respect for court orders and authority.
  • Their ability to let their anger and hurt heal and not interfere with the children’s relationship with their mother or father.
  • Their ability to be flexible and willing to work with the other parent.
  • Their ability to feel guilty when they acted in a way to hurt the children’s relationship with their mother or father.
  • Their ability to allow the other parent to share in their children’s activities.
  • Their ability to share medical and school records.

Naïve alienators usually don’t need therapy but will benefit from reading “Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children From Parental Alienating,” because of the insight they will gain about how to keep alienation from escalating into something more severe and damaging for all. These parents know they make mistakes but care enough about their children to make things right. They focus on what is good for the children without regret, blame or martyrdom.

 


Type Two: Active Alienators
“I don’t want you to tell your father that I earned this extra money. The miser will take it from his child support check and that will keep us from going to Disneyland. You remember he’s done this before when we wanted to go to Grandma’s for Christmas.”

Many parents returning to court over problems with visitation are active alienators. These parents mean well and believe that the children should have a healthy relationship with the other parent. The problem they have is with controlling their frustration, bitterness or hurt. When something happens to trigger their painful feelings, active alienators lash out in a way to cause or reinforce alienation against the targeted parent. After regaining control, the parent will usually feel guilty or bad about what they did and back off from their alienating tactics. Vacillating between impulsively alienating and then repairing the damage with the children is the trademark of the active alienator. They mean well, but will lose control because the intensity of their feelings overwhelms them.

The characteristics of active alienators are:

    • Lashing out at the other parent in front of the children. Their problem has more to do with loss of self-control when they are upset than with a sinister motivation.
    • After calming down, active alienators realize that they were wrong. They usually try to repair any damage or hurt to the children. During the making up, such parents can be very comforting and supportive of the child’s feelings.
    • Like naïve alienators, they are able to differentiate between their needs and those of the children by supporting the children’s desire to have a relationship with the other parent.
    • Like naïve alienators, active alienators allow the children to have different feelings and beliefs from their own. During the flare-ups of anger, however, the delineation between the child and parent’s beliefs can become very blurry until the parent calms down and regains control. For the most part, older children have their own opinions about both parents based upon personal experience rather than what they are told by others. To keep peace, the older child usually learns to keep their opinions to themselves. Younger and more trusting children become more confused and vulnerable to their parents’ manipulations.
    • They have the ability to respect the court’s authority and, for the most part, comply with court orders. However, they can be very rigid and uncooperative with the other parent. This is usually a passive attempt to strike back at the other parent for some injustice.

    Active alienators are usually willing to accept professional help when they or the children have a problem that does not go away. They are sincerely concerned about their children’s adjustment to the divorce. Harboring old feelings continues to be a struggle, but active alienators continue to hope for a speedy recovery from their pain.


    Type Three: Obsessed Alienator
    “I love my children. If the court can’t protect them from their abusive father, I will. Even though he’s never abused the children, I know it’s a matter of time. The children are frightened of their father. If they don’t want to see him, I’m not going to force them. They are old enough to make up their own minds.” 

    The obsessed alienator is a parent, or sometimes a grandparent, with a cause: to align the children to his or her side and together, with the children, campaign to destroy their relationship with the targeted parent. For the campaign to work, the obsessed alienator enmeshes the children’s personalities and beliefs into their own. This is a process that takes time but one that the children, especially the young, are completely helpless to see and combat. It usually begins well before the divorce is final. The obsessed parent is angry, bitter or feels betrayed by the other parent. The initial reasons for the bitterness may actually be justified. They could have been verbally and physical abused, raped, betrayed by an affair, or financially cheated. The problem occurs when the feelings won’t heal but instead become more intense because of being forced to continue the relationship with a person they despise because of their common parenthood. Just having to see or talk to the other parent is a reminder of the past and triggers the hate. They are trapped with nowhere to go and heal.

    The characteristics of an obsessed alienator are:

    • They are obsessed with destroying the children’s relationship with the targeted parent.
    • They having succeeded in enmeshing the children’s personalities and beliefs about the other parent with their own.
    • The children will parrot the obsessed alienator rather than express their own feelings from personal experience with the other parent.
    • The targeted parent and often the children cannot tell you the reasons for their feelings.
    • Their beliefs sometimes becoming delusional and irrational. No one, especially the court, can convince obsessed alienators that they are wrong. Anyone who tries is the enemy.
    • They will often seek support from family members, quasi-political groups or friends that will share in their beliefs that they are victimized by the other parent and the system. The battle becomes “us against them.” The obsessed alienator’s supporters are often seen at the court hearings even though they haven’t been subpoenaed.
    • They have an unquenchable anger because they believe that the targeted parent has victimized them and whatever they do to protect the children is justified.
    • They have a desire for the court to punish the other parent with court orders that would interfere or block the targeted parent from seeing the children. This confirms in the obsessed alienator’s mind that he or she was right all the time.
    • The court’s authority does not intimidate them.
    • The obsessed alienator believes in a higher cause, protecting the children at all cost.
    • The obsessed alienator will probably not want to read what is on these pages because the content just makes them angrier.

    There are no effective treatment protocols that have been validated for either the obsessed alienator or the PAS children. The courts and mental health professionals are sincere in wanting to help these families but their efforts frequently fail.

    The best hope for children affected by an obsessed alienator is early identification of the symptoms and prevention. After the alienation is entrenched and the children become “true believers” in the parent’s cause, the children may be lost to the other parent for years to come. I realize this is a sad statement, but I have yet to find an effective intervention, by anyone, including the courts that can rehabilitate the alienating parent and child. There can still be hope in that spontaneous reunification can occur, usually in response to a crisis that causes the alienated child to reach out to the rejected parent.

    In the past year, however, I am seeing examples of successful reversal of parental alienation syndrome.  This may not be true, though, for the obsessed alienator.

    If you have a success story about how you were able to overcome the alienation caused by the obsessed alienator and are now reunited with your children, I would love to hear your story. Please send me e-mail so I can learn from your experience. Perhaps you have something important from your story.

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Parental Alienation Is A Pattern of Severe Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Posted on August 12, 2012. Filed under: story | Tags: , , |

 

 

by Dr. Randy Rand

PARENTAL ALIENATION IS A PATTERN OF SEVERE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL CHILD ABUSE

Work product prepared by Dr. Randy Rand – January 27, 2005
Parental Alienation is a severe form of psychological abuse: Psychological maltreatment is a pattern of adult behavior, which is psychologically destructive to the child, sabotaging the child’s normal development of self and social competence. The following are 6 types of psychological maltreatment involved in parental alienation:
Rejecting: The children’s legitimate need for a relationship with the hated parent and the family of the hated parent are rejected. Rejecting involves behaviors that communicate or constitute abandonment. Who the children are as developing young people is rejected.
Ignoring: The children feel neglected and abandoned by the alienating parent’s emotional unavailability. The children have to take care of the alienating parent. The alienating parent is so absorbed in hating the rejected parent and manipulating the children’s loyalties by selectively withholding love and attention and approval. Feeling insecure about the anger the alienating parent has toward hated parent, the children seek attention and approval by saying bad things about the hated parent.
Isolating: The alienating parent isolates children by restricting normal social relationships so children won’t foster autonomy and independence.
Terrorizing: The children are verbally assaulted by the alienating parent, who creates a climate of fear, bullies and frightens the children, making them believe the target parent is hostile and a threat. The alienating parent makes the children believe that the world is capricious and hostile.
Corrupting: The children are mis-socialized by the alienating parent, reinforced for manipulative, deviant or aggressive behavior that serves the PAS agenda, even to the point of being destructive to self and/or others. In false allegations of abuse, the children are barraged with deviant behavior, taught to lie about the other parent and actively participate in perpetuating the deception. Corruption to the extent of lobbying for the legal system to sever and reject the target parents relationship with the children.
Interference with Social Competence and Self-Esteem: The drive to master interpersonal competence and work through interpersonal conflict gets squelched. This deprives the child of learning healthy self-esteem, that of knowing oneself, being accountable for one’s actions, and acting responsibly toward others and self. Instead the child learns maladaptive patterns of manipulating and acting aggressive towards others. The child fails to learn empathy, a critical condition for successful adult functioning. Instead they learn to be paranoid and adopt the pathology of the alienating parent.
Damage to the alienated children
· Pathology – a life of maladaptive patterns of thinking, behaving and relating.
· Anti social stance, don’t need to respect authority or conform to social rules.
· Can’t defer immediate gratification for long term goals, do what feels good and do it now. They become conflict avoiding or adopt an aggressive bullying
strategy for winning over conflict.
· Absence of shame or guilt.
· Absence of empathy or sympathy
· Impairment of the ability to form stable human relationships.
· Deceitfulness: Lie with a straight face. Accepting antisocial life stance
· Manipulation and aggression versus negotiating and interpersonal skills.
· Irresponsibility, disloyalty and betrayal, are what the alienated children live with.
Children are eager to have a relationship with both parents in a divorce.
· Longitudinal studies reveal that children in alignments are less psychologically healthy compared to those children who are allowed to maintain their affection for both parents.
· Aligned children are angrier, less well adjusted, and less able to conceptualize complex situations.
· They express self-confidence because they are taking a stand but it is a false sense of confidence based on anger and rejection.
· The children who reject one parent and refuse visitation are the most noticeably disturbed children and their alliances are usually with the more psychologically dysfunctional parent.
· The alienated pre-adolescent and adolescent children do not reunite with the target parent, and the estimated small number that do seek out the target parent during young adulthood, do so with lots of excess baggage because they come to it with a false history.
· Sibling relationships are usually permanently damaged when the oldest child influences the youngest toward the alignment and rejecting one parent.

WHAT DOES THE ALIENATION PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
The steps in the alienation process:
“Brainwashing” was defined as the interactional process by which the child was persuaded to accept and elaborate on the program. Brainwashing occurs over time and involves repetition of the program, or code words referring to the program, until the subject responds with attitudinal and behavioral compliance.
According to Clawar and Rivlin, the influence of a programming parent can be conscious and willful or unconscious and unintentional. It can be obvious or subtle, with rewards for compliance that were material, social or psychological. Noncompliance may be met with subtle psychological punishment such as withdrawal of love, or direct corporal punishment. The Clawar and Rivlin study found that children might be active or passive participants in the alienation process. The nature and degree of the child’s involvement in the PAS may change over time.
This study identifies the influential role of other people in the child’s life, such as relatives and professionals aligned with the alienating parent, whose endorsement of the program advances the brainwashing process. In a general way, these findings appear to replicate Johnston’s research on high conflict divorce which identified the importance of third party participants in parental conflicts. Rand noted the influence of so-called “professional participants in Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse which in divorce can overlap with PAS.
Clawar and Rivlin identify eight stages of the programming- brainwashing process, which culminates in severe Parental Alienation Syndrome (7). Recognizing the power imbalance between parent and child, they view the process as driven by the alienating parent who induces the child’s compliance on a step by step basis:
1) A thematic focus to be shared by the programming parent and child emerges or is chosen. This may be tied to a more or less formal ideology relating to the family, religion, or ethnicity;
2) A sense of support and connection to the programming parent is created;
3) Feeling of sympathy for the programming parent is induced;
4) The child begins to show signs of compliance, such as expressing fear of visiting the target parent or refusing to talk to that parent on the phone;
5) The programming parent tests the child’s compliance, for example, asking the child questions after a visit and rewarding the child for “correct” answers;
6) The programming parent tests the child’s loyalty by having the child express views and attitudes, which suggest a preference for one parent over the other;
7) Escalation/intensification/generalization occurs, for example, broadening the program with embellished or new allegations; the child rejects the target parent in a global, unambivalent fashion;
8) The program is maintained along with the child’s compliance, which may range from minor reminders and suggestions to intense pressure, depending on court activity and the child’s frame of mind.

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