About

 My story is an extreme example of Parent Alienation: When I was four years old, my father discovered my mother’s affair and in a fit of rage he through her out of our home.  My mother, crushed by the force of my father’s control, did not fight for the custody of my sister and me, but rather slipped away quietly. Traumatized, but afraid to upset my volatile father, I submitted to his plan to erase my mother from my life.

Writing: I am the process of completing my memoir, which is my story of the decades long estrangement from my mother, and how we’ve come to reunite.  Excerpts of my memoir have been picked up by  Brain, Child and the Huffington Post (among other publications).

Speaking: My story took first place at a 2015 Moth Story Slam in Boston and I went on to retell it at the GrandSLAM in March of 2016.

I also speak at events that serve to bring awareness to the domestic abuse and psychological child abuse  that has been coined “parent alienation”.

My heart’s desire is to be a voice for the children, and to empower mothers (and dads) to reclaim the children who love them.  I can be reached at danalaq@gmail.com. 

 

38 thoughts on “About

  1. I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with this. It would be so helpful to estranged parents & kids if you could speak at colleges, high schools, in a Toastmasters International group, etc., or even a YouTube video. Mother Jones magazine and other publications will probably have a reporter such as Molly Redden interested in sharing your story. If you could add a LinkedIn and Reddit and Pinterest button, it might help spread your very important message. Thank you for being a voice in this silent horror.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I did state in the About page of my blog that I am interested in speaking opportunities. Although I have a facebook and twitter account, I have not shared my blog there due to the privacy of family members (my father, etc) I feel it would inhibit my writing to know certain family members involved would have access. I did share an excerpt in a magazine several years ago and and open to doing this again.

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  2. I want so much to share this with my 18 year old daughter, who has run from her dad but not responding to my quiet, but loving gestures. One never knows what to do or not do. It all seems wrong & painful. Prayers for you and your mom.

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    1. She is fortunate you are consistent with your loving (but not forceful)gestures, even if she doesn’t know this yet. It must be difficult deciding what to share, but it is always her choice to dismiss a piece of writing or information if she chooses. Best wishes.

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  3. I have not always been consistent — I have been too confused and traumatized and numbed much of the time. Weak. If it weren’t for others reaching out and blogging… How can I find your memoir?

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  4. First, condolences on your very painful situation. Thanks for speaking out!

    I am definitely super interested in connecting with anyone who is interested in speaking out about parental alienation. I plan to spend the rest of my life speaking out, and plan to make as many proposals for speaking as I can. Just yesterday, I made a proposal to a university to hold a panel discussion of adult children of parental alienation and alienated parents. No response yet.

    I know people who say “parental alienation cannot be true because a child would recognize if they were being manipulated”. You hold the trump card in helping these people. One problem, I am just trying to figure out WordPress and do not know how to contact you. You can contact me, Howie Dennison, on facebook.

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    1. I am an alienated mom too. My youngest daughter graduates from BU in May and I have never been allowed to share her college experience (regardless of the fact that I paid for over half of the cost). I do not even know where she lives. Her father told her that once she turned 18 that she didn’t have to tell me anything any more. He had primed her since she was 9 years old and finally managed to manipulate her from having any relationship with her older sister or myself through his lies and family support. They overrode every event in her life by circling around her and preventing me from celebrating with her. My side of her family live 3000 miles away. She was told that since his family drove over 100 miles that they had preference and I was left in the dust. Holidays, birthday’s, every life milestone was celebrated with his family and she didn’t want me to object because she didn’t want to upset him.
      Speaking at high schools and colleges would be very educational for many young adults who have been cut off from a loving parents and siblings. More importantly, the adults around children of divorce need to be educated to understand the issue of parental alienation.

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      1. Yes, I agree that speaking at high schools or colleges may reach some alienated kids/young adults. I am not sure how to approach this though; it is such a delicate topic and I don’t know if school administrators would be receptive. Also, it is not an easy thing to “awaken” to the alienation as a young adult, but the truth does set one free.

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  5. I was only able to read a few paragraphs above. I advocate speaking n the high schools and colleges and to groups of mental health providers. They providers often have group meetings and will accept speakers. Go to areas away from your area for now (I think I read that you were reluctant to do any speaking close by). Come to Erie, PA if you want or Meadville, PA. Is there a way to read the rest of your blog posts?

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  6. I shared this on my blog, in hopes that my children will someday see it. I was only able to ready the first few lines before the tears swelled up and I couldn’t read the words. Perhaps someday I won’t have so much pain. I’ve read a few of your other blogs as well. From a mother who has been alienated, your mom never stopped loving you. She thought about you everyday. And I am sure her heart breaks just as much as yours. Thank you for your strength to post your stories.

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  7. Thanks for speaking out about this horror of parental alienation and about your pain. I can offer you one speaking opportunity, and hopefully, more in the future. If you are interested, you can contact me, Howie Dennison, on facebook.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your heartfelt and honest words have so many familiar emotions that I imagine exist within a young child who finds their parent cut from their life. I am a close friend of a man who has been cut from his childrens lives by his ex-wife. She has achieved this through dishonesty and the reasoning of the legal system here in the UK. He struggles every day in severe pain and ‘if only’ reasoning, not knowing how to move forward to fight such apparent injustice and dead ends. Legal advisors tell him to wait for a better climate in which to continue battling. I tell him to trust in his children’s ability to sense dishonesty and trust in love to bring them together when the time is right – but in the meantime he is consumed by heartache and regret. He feels alone because his ex-partner continues to threaten to tarnish both his life and his childrens’ grandparents and extended family. It’s a new scenario for me – one I could have never known existed in what I would consider to be a developed western country. And yet the evidence is right here on the net – so many dads and mums suffering at the hands of one another and the documented bias of the courts. Causing so many children to loose.
    I’m so impressed by your blog. It’s a way to think outside the box – we are empowered by technology to self publish and form support and feedback. The power of many helping those who feel defeated and rejected. Do you think that an anonymous type blog like this – a narrative – an affirmation of feeling, would be a good thing to do from an ‘erased’ fathers point of view? with the hope that his children might stumble across it and recognise similarities? would you have liked something on the web from your mom if she could have?

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting and for writing. It is a terrible position for this father/your friend to be in and I’m sure your understanding will be so valuable. To answer your question, I think that if he gets any relief from writing about the position he is, whether publicly or not, he should do so. Also, there are other parents who do just that: create a blog in hopes that their children will find it. Some parents put their names (and sometimes their child’s name) on the blog, making it easier for their children to find them. And I believe that many children do look for these.

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  9. Apologies – just seen my typo above – should say ‘children to lose.’

    But also i want to say that these stories and consequences should be brought into education – I am a teacher and i knew nothing of these events prior to hearing someones story. Young adults can be carried along in a wave of love, getting married and having children – and this is the case for the fortunate. However, i think its our responsibility to inform children of all ages of what happens in the formation and possible breakdown in family relationships and what must be considered by each gender. Easier said then done i realise but I urge you dear ‘alienated daughter’ and other people in support to begin. I am going to try.

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    1. I agree that these stories- some awareness- should be brought into education. I think teachers and school counselors should be educated on parent alienation. Often, they may support the ‘shutting out’ of one parent, not knowing this is a decent parent who is trying desperately to maintain contact and a relationship. Also, I would like to speak at colleges at some point, if possible. I think this is an age in a young adult’s life when they may be ready to awaken to the possibility that they were wrongfully alienated from one parent. Typically in college, they have some distance from the alienating parent and may be more ready to see the truth. However, they should have support during this as it is has the potential to be a devastating realization.

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  10. Hi! I am documentary filmmaker working on a film about parental alienation called Erasing Family. It is a follow up film to Erasing Dad (Borrando a papá, Argentina, 2014). The follow up film will be an international documentary that will focus on how mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings are erased, and we want to tell it from the children´s point of view. I would love to speak with you. you can reach me at info@erasingdad.org and also find me on Facebook Ginger Gentile or our page Erasing Family https://www.facebook.com/Erasing-Family-629372210537955/. Thanks!
    ps you can watch the complete first film we did (in Spanish with English subtitles) and a short video explains the impact and why we want to make a follow up film. http://www.ErasingDad.org

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  11. Have you heard of Ryan Thomas? He is also the adult child of a previously alienated father. So much of what you say is similar to his stories. While reconciliation is never guaranteed, I think your stories gives us AP’s hope. It’s sad to me where there was no abuse, neglect, drugs or alcohol, the legal system still has a difficult time stepping in to help in these cases. Especially in my case where months before my ex filed papers claiming I was a horrible mother, I have emails from him wanting me back, emails where he asked for my help designing his kitchen, emails where he wanted us to vacation together. I simply politely declined, and then suddenly I am viciously accused of having a DUI (I have never even been pulled over on suspicion), of being dangerous and unhealthy for our son, even though not one family therapist corroborated these allegations. It’s sad that he would use our son to get back at me. I really feel for the children in these situations. You have no control and to be pitted against another parent for the sole purpose of revenge is heartbreaking. And when the children realize this some day, I can’t even imagine the pain they will go through. I really commend you for having the courage to speak up.
    Wishing you an amazingly wonderful holiday with your mom.

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    1. A belated Thank You for your message! Thank you for your understanding. I am so sorry you are going through alienation. Yes, I have heard of Ryan Thomas! The more I have researched “parent alienation”, the more I learn of the sameness of the motives and personality disorders of the alienating parents. Dr Craig Childress spells out the 3 diagnostic criteria that mental health professionals can use to uncover “parent alienation”. It is emotional child abuse, and it is a pathology. Unfortunately, few mental health professionals are recognizing their ability to uncover this.

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  12. I think until more children and victims of PA speak out, the less likely change will happen. While there are certainly some instances where it may be best for the child to not have a relationship with one parent, I can’t imagine those cases are the majority. So it should really be a call to the Family Court system to put more time and effort into getting to the bottom of these situations.

    While it would be easy to hate my son’s father for what he has done, I feel sorry for him. And I hope one day he recognizes what he has put our son through.

    Again, I can’t imagine having to walk the road of a child (or adult child) of PA, but I hope you find the answers you are looking for and find some peace in your heart. I look forward to reading your book/posts and again, grateful for your coming forward about this.

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  13. I am a mother whose daughter was given over to the exclusive custody of the father she reported and testified in court had molested her and she begged to live with me. That was when she 8. She is nearly 30 and has remained under her father’s exclusive control through the Conservatorship he has held since she turned 18. I no longer hear from her and she has discontinued our visits since a couple of days before last Christmas. I have no idea what to do. I know her dad has always wanted to erase me but now he’s apparently made progress. I am thankful that you are addressing erased memories and hope you will post what you learn.

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  14. This story breaks my heart but it also makes me realise I am not going mad, my daughter ran to her father on January 27, 2016, I have seen her a total of three times since, the first time at a school assembly, the second at her swimming carnival and the third at school when I went to take her for lunch. She cried the first time, the second time she embraced me and wanted to come home, the third she cried. I know her father is alienating her from me but I was unaware that there was a syndrome named specifically for this. I have spent the last three months in the depths of depression. I called her for her birthday on April 5, 2016 and she was distant and only whispered I love you?? I read your notation of your feelings at 10, my daughter is 11 now, I just don’t know how she is feeling and I sit everyday and contemplate as to how she could just erase me from her life. Mother’s Day is coming up in May and I know this will be the worst day of all. I am happy to see you still loved your mother but just were unable to convey those feelings to your father. It is interesting to note that a child will always stick close to the abuser, stands to reason. I have a very heavy heart but your writings gave me some light in what has been a very dark time, the darkest of my life. A Mother Erased, that is who I am. Thank you for putting some light onto this abhorrent form of child abuse.

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    1. Do not give up hope of reconnecting with your daughter. She has only been gone since January. You said she asked to come home the 2nd time you saw her- why didn’t she? It is not too late! Perhaps she will watch a youtube video of Dr. Childress which is directed at the alienated child? Please read his work! Your child needs your help.

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  15. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of alienated children and targeted parents. Any thoughts on how to handle holidays? What should a targeted parent be doing?

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    1. I know the holidays are especially difficult for alienated parents. Try to remember that to reach out or respond to you on a holiday would be especially hard for an alienated child. The children are much like prisoners and “escaping” on a holiday is highly unlikely. However, if there is any way for you to continue contact, even if it is one way and discreet, my opinion is that it is wise to do so. The average number of years it takes a child to “wake up” to the truth is twenty. Some day they will remember that you did indeed try to stay in touch. In the meantime, do nurture yourself however you can. Parent Alienation is traumatizing to both the child and the alienated parent. Your self care is of utmost importance and will connect you to your wisest self!

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