Category Archives: Parent Alienation

To the fathers who have been alienated

I imagine that Father’s Day is an excruciating day for alienated fathers, just as Mother’s Day is for alienated moms. Today, my heart is with you, all of you fathers who cannot be with your beloved children.

I have seen your pain. I saw you in Boston and New York and on the pages of your blogs and in the messages you put out for your children, hoping that they will read them. I saw the tears in your eyes and felt the love in your heart.

You only want the chance to love them.  How could anyone believe you are unworthy of this? It makes no sense. I know you are treated as the disease, the outcast, the dangerous one. And I know that is a lie- the most destructive lie that can be told to a child.

This pathogen is the disease, the virus, the destructive force.  Your child has been conditioned to confuse the two. Your child treats you as the disease to be avoided, the “bad parent”, the dangerous entity . And many of those around your child, influenced by the alienator, has  fallen into that trap as well (more on this in my upcoming podcast).

But love is on your side, and you are not alone. So many of us understand your heart.  We hear you. We see you. And we are moving forward with you.

I understand all too well the vicious pathogen that has taken your children from you. Your children are victims too, believe me.

Keep loving them from afar. On some unconscious level, they will feel this. And someday, they may come back to you.  The truth is a powerful thing. Don’t ever give up.

Awareness and education about the pathogen of “parental alienation’ is spreading far and wide.  There is more hope than ever before for aliented children and their parents to be reunited!

Statistically speaking, as an adult alienated child, I should be a drug addict, or alienated from my own children, or a depressed alcoholic, or at the very least have gone through a traumatic divorce of my own. But none of those scenarios are true for me. Any of them could have been and I can look back on my teen years and young adulthood and recognize those pivotal moments when I could have jumped off a cliff, metaphorically speaking, but something saved me.  What if there was a reason I was given the strength to begin to heal and remember, and know the truth? What if I knew the truth all along, and that is what saved me?

I am one of the lucky ones and that is not lost on me. I refuse to waste this.  I know exactly how parental alienation happened to me and happens every day all over  the world, and I have no good reason whatsoever to stay silent.  I have every good reason to speak up.

So Happy Father’s Day to the father’s who simply want to love their own children and are not able to share that love freely.  Many of us see you and we are on your side!  Together, we can move mountains. Stay strong. Be healthy. We have work to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast on behalf of alienated children

I am going to start making podcasts as a way to educate people on “parental alienation” from the perspective of the alienated child. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite a while now, and recently I’ve had both an alienated dad and an alienated mom ask me to go forward with it.  They have found that many people, even those who want to be supportive of them, do not quite understand the dynamics of this psychological warfare.  This often leads to these same people unknowingly supporting the aligned parent, or at best, standing by as the child’s mind is held hostage.

So I will start with a one that can be shared with friends, neighbors, relatives, and the wider circle of society. It may also be useful for therapists who are seeing children in this situation, but the goal of my initial podcast will simply be to produce something that can be shared with anyone.  Education and awareness are key.  Ignorance is dangerous. The more information we all have, the better.

Subsequent podcasts may be directed toward the targeted parent, the alienated child (I will have to get clever with a title for that one!) and if I am feeling really optimistic, the aligned parent.

If a child is kidnapped, a search goes out for them. But in the case of “parental alienation”, the child is kidnapped, both in mind and body, and no one seems to be rescuing them. I’ve been there, and this is not okay.  Target parents just want their children back. Children want their authentic selves back, the self that loves their other parent, the self that they have no choice but to suppress until they are helped. We have to save the children.

I am going to make it very clear what the child is going through. I have not forgotten what it is to be there.  The scars remain. The memory is crystal clear.  At times, though rare now, the feelings are just beneath the surface, decades later; the fear, the anxiety, the grief, the powerlessness.  The only way I know how to save the children who are experiencing this today, is to write and speak about my own experiences.

Onward….

 

 

Suggestions for alienated parents

I recently spoke at a support group for alienated parents, PAS Intervention. It was heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time, to meet so many wonderful parents. If their children could be freed from the alienating spell they are under, I am certain they would want to run back to these loving parents.

I was given a list of questions to address and here are my notes.  They are based on my own experiences. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

What goes through a child’s mind?

*It is not a conscious choice to reject a parent; it feels like an automatic survival mechanism

*Repression of true feelings (love for the targeted parent) and therefore repression of authentic Self.

*An entire new persona can be built around this inauthentic self, especially in the case of the very brainwashed child. (In my case, I “held onto” my own mind but felt anxious/numb/powerless)

What can a parent say or do to help a child who is a minor?

*Get help/find a trusted, PA- educated professional & If possible, do not allow them to skip visits.

*Let them know you sympathize with their position & will always love them.

*Opportunities to interact w/out telling the alienating parent

What can a parent say to a young adult child?

*Let them know you sympathize with their position

*Opportunities to interact w/out telling the alienating parent

*Encourage them to think for themselves; contradict the alienator through your actions.

*Give them fact based information

*Tell them you love them and will not choose to “go away”.

Anything that might help a parent to find ways back into their child’s life:

*Maintain contact in “nonthreatening ways”

*Encourage trusted acquaintances keep contact with your child if possible-people who would speak highly of you.

*Take care of yourself: show confidence and health and stability and love and self-respect. The alienator is coming across as “all knowing/all confident/all powerful” to the child. You must top that with authentic power.

Anything that might help a parent stay in their child’s life:

DO stay in touch however possible but try not to overwhelm them w/ steps that are bigger than what they are capable of handling at this time. They would need an absolute guarantee of protection from the alienator and/or enough time completely away from him/her in order to ‘deprogram’. Until then, it does not feel safe to reconnect with you. This is true whether they are five years old or twenty years old.

 

The Stories We Tell

Published in 1995, The Liars’ Club dramatically revived the art of memoir. Mary Carr’s command of the English language, along with her honesty, grit and courage left me in awe. I read Carr’s other memoirs as well and by the end of the last one I actually felt a sense of grief parting with these real life characters I had gotten to know so well.

Pat Conroy’s The Great Santini is fiction that reads like memoir. Like a lot of fiction, the author’s real experiences are on the page. Calling it fiction allowed his father, the tyrant in the story, to temporarily deny its truth. Conroy offers up his angst to the page, one scene at a time. Like Mary Carr’s, his words do not convey self-pity, but rather a detached yet descriptive unfolding of his history. In the end, his father owned up to the truths in the book, and the two men redeemed their relationship.

I considered writing my book as fiction, but have made my choice to call it what it is, a memoir. Still, I definitely understand Conroy’s choice. To call a true story fiction is an act of self-protection, or maybe of protection of others as well, to offer them up the possibility that it was all made up. It’s just a tale, something from nothing, no big deal, we can all go home now. I do see the appeal in that.

My own memoir-in-progress tells the story of being alienated from my mother after my parents’ volatile divorce, when I was four.

Secrets and suffering are ingredients of nearly every memoir.  Mine is no exception.

My father threw my mother out of our home when he discovered her affair, and capitalizing on her shame and her already low self-esteem, he essentially bullied her out of my life completely. My mother, a broken woman after five years of marriage with a man who intimidated her, after some struggle to maintain contact with us, slipped away quietly.

My father remarried soon after and insisted we call his second wife “Mom”.  He convinced himself he had put life back in order and he never mentioned my mother again.

The absence of truth is usually a lie, and in the case of family tragedy, pretending to the outside world that all is well leads the most introspective amongst us to take notes, both literally and metaphorically speaking. My memoir is the accumulation of all my mental notes. They started when I was four.

I know something of that need to bring “the thing” to light by way of the written word.  The desire is compelling, and almost beyond choice.  Most memoirists have suffered greatly before they craft their story for the public. But many suffer even more afterwards, or so I hear. That part is scary and surely tests the desire to offer the story up to the world.

From the outside, my family was ordinary by anyone’s standards.   But the loss of my mother was extraordinary and therefore I must write it.

As I am nearing the end of it, I imagine my father’s response to my words.  He somehow had convinced himself that erasing my mother was excusable, even necessary.  To face 250 pages from the lens of my loss is not going to sit well with him. But it is also quite possible that he will never read it.

And I understand that- the not wanting to read it- or even needing to deny that it is written. I empathize with the pain of being exposed, and the vulnerability.

And in the depths of my soul, I know that we are all vulnerable.  My father has been my teacher and the lessons have been hard, really hard. But I believe in something of a soul agreement, chosen before we even come here to this this side of the veil.  It helps to believe that I actually chose my particular lessons, and that  I needed my father to help carry them out. We all have our lessons, and my story just happens to contain mine.

I hope I am learning to speak up for myself and make up for the betrayal of childhood; to dig through the rubble and reach authenticity, even when it hurts like hell.  I hope I am learning truth and courage and forgiveness too.

I have written what I have lived, my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my words.  And that’s all a writer can do in the end, is just to say it is the truth, her truth, and hope others can understand that  it had to be told.

Parental Alienation Support Group in Massachusetts

Parental Alienation – Parent Support Group (free)
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
   6:30 – 8:45 PM
Location: Walpole Public Library Children’s Programming Room 143 School Street, Walpole, MA 02081
Agenda: Voluntary attendee sharing and educational strategies.
Previous session comments:  “I no longer feel that I’m alone in this.”, “I had become hopeless and now I feel better.”, “It was great to hear ideas of what works.”, “Thank you very much, I hope you will have more sessions for me to attend.”
or  helpingparents123@yahoo.com  (Brian) for questions, to receive info and meeting updates
This will be our 3rd session.  FYI – the previous sessions were 75% Moms and 25% Dads.  I (Brian) started these sessions because my children and I suffered the effects of Parental Alienation (PA) several years ago, and I felt helpless and frustrated by the lack of PA knowledge by schools, therapists, lawyers, and courts.
This support group provides parents with empathy, education, shared experiences, & skill building ideas that will empower you to be more effective responding to PA.

Memoir Update

20160617_074548In my last post, I wrote about my intention to discuss the alienation (from my mother) with my father, and to include mention of my memoir-in-progress.  https://wordpress.com/stats/insights/thefourthagreement.wordpress.com

Shortly after writing that, my father experienced a health crisis, which he is now recovering from. I am waiting until he is fully recovered from this before I initiate this overdue conversation with him.

In the meantime, I am continuing to edit my memoir, and am remaining open to a new ending.  I have received some encouraging responses to my writing, but the search for a literary agent continues. I have been told it is somewhat of a numbers game, and that as long as the proposal is the best we can make it, we have to be willing to send it to many, many agents before finding our match. Memoir is a tough genre, but it is the one I have been called to write in, so onward I go. I am trying to find a balance between searching for the next literary agent to send my proposal to, and spending my time polishing my memoir. In addition, I suspect the conversation with my father, once it finally happens, may change the ending of my book.

Although I know it can be a long, arduous process, I am very hopeful that my book will eventually be out into the world. It feels very purposeful to me, and at the risk of sounding mystical, I believe that our souls are not given authentic desires without also being given the means to achieve those desires. It is a matter of doing our best, persevering even when it is very difficult, and having faith in the timing of things.

In addition to completing my memoir, and finding a literary agent and publisher, I plan to create a website which will contain my articles, blog and other information all in one spot. I would like to combine my passion for simplifying, which I write about on my other blog, Musing Simplicity, with my work on “parent alienation” issues.

Although the two topics seem to be vastly unrelated,  they are not. I believe it is by clearing out the clutter in all its forms, that we are able to reach our authentic selves. It is this Self that carries our wounds as well as our strengths. Clear the clutter, face the wounds, find your strength. It is that simple and that difficult.

So that is my goal: in the spirit of simplicity, one website, one blog, with my name on it. Choice by choice, and word by word, and day by day, I hope I am always moving forward. To harness the lessons of the past and shine them on the present-perhaps that is the best we can do.