Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hurting the Heart of a Child: Parental Alienation is Child Abuse

Karen Woodall

I continue to work with children in recovery from parental alienation, this is the bulk of my current work and as such it puts me in prime position to understand at the most fundamental levels, the harm that parental alienation does.  Close examination of how children recover from alienation is the subject of my doctoral research which, now that our book is being readied for publication (looks like end July folks), I can now spend more time on.

This week I heard the hurt of a child who has been harmed by the psychological splitting that comes with parental alienation. It was a visceral experience which took me straight to the core of the problem caused for children by parents and other adults who cause a child to reject a loved parent.  Overwhelming guilt and shame and the utter bewilderment that comes when a child blames themselves first.  Because being…

View original post 1,025 more words

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….

 

 

Erasing Family Documentary Events in Boston and New York

I am looking forward to attending and speaking at both the Boston and NYC Erasing Family documentary fundraising events in June.  I feel grateful to be part of the growing awareness of parental alienation. This awareness is critical in saving the children from the abuse of parental alienation.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to save a child. I believe that village is growing.

Parental Alienation Event

Parental Alienation – Rod McCall author presentation – Friday April 21st – Doors open 5:30 PM – 9:00PM

Grace Episcopal Church, 76 Eldredge St. Newton .02458

We are less than a week away from learning from Rod about his tragic story and then education, inspiration, and a panel discussion with empowering methods to reduce parental alienation.

40 people have registered already, including Doctors, therapists, lawyers, mediators, GALs, parents, and more.

Agenda:

  • 5:30 Pizza and refreshments
  • 6:30 Rod’s presentation followed by discussion and Q&A
  • (late arrivers always welcome)
  • 7:40 10-minute break
  • 7:50 Panel Discussion and Q&A with:
  •       Rod McCall, PA parent, author, speaker
  •       Dana, a writer who was alienated from her mother at age 4
  •       Joan Kloth-Zanard,  PA expert, therapist
  •       Heather A. O’Connor, a MA Attorney with PA custody trial experience
  •       To Be Announced, a Parental Alienation expert
  • 8:45 Methods to grow PA awareness
  • 9:00 Program concludes

FREE admission but Eventbrite Registration required (Privacy respected) – Donations at the door encouraged to cover costs and PA awareness.       Sponsored by 2 Non-profit Charity 501(c)(3), PAS Intervention,  www.pas-intervention.org.  AND the National Parents Organization (NPO)  “Preserving the Bond Between Parents and Children”  www.nationalparentsorganization.org

FYI – A “once-in-a-generation” 2-day event in Boston:  International Conference on Shared Parenting (ICSP) 2017, under the theme; “Shared Parenting Research: A Watershed in Understanding Children’s Best Interest?”  48+ sessions organized by the National Parents Organization and the International Council on Shared Parenting.  Starting on Memorial Day May 29 – 30, 2017 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel,  Boston, MA  See the website for http://npo-icsp2017.org/

Immediately following the ICSP conference on Tuesdy evening, May 30th, Brian will be hosting an event in Boston (at a Boylston Street location) that will include fund raising for the completion and distribution of the follow-up documentary, “Erasing Family”.  http://erasingfamily.org/

We also host monthly Parental Alienation Parent Support Group Sessions at a variety of Boston area locations. For information and an invitation, please email Brian at helpingparents123@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

Moth GrandSLAM story: Reconnecting

I told this story live at the March 2016 Boston MOTH GrandSLAM.  After decades of being alienated from my mother, this is a window into our attempts at reconnecting. 

***

When my mother called me last September, I was surprised by how easily I still recognized the sound of her voice.  When I was four, my father had thrown her out of our home and out of my life.

My mother became like a family myth, an outcast who people only whispered about when they thought I couldn’t hear.

I saw her once when I was a teen. I didn’t dare tell my father.

I saw her again when I was in my twenties, a mother myself. She met my daughters who were babies then. For the next year we engaged in an awkward attempt at reconnection. We looked so much alike, yet we were strangers.

I had no idea how I would integrate her into my life, the life that did not include her, that in fact was very much built on her absence.

Besides, my father was still in my life and I didn’t know how to tell him I was reconnecting with my mother.  I could not find the words.

So I had pushed my mother away, because this seemed like the safest thing to do.

Devastated, she said “I think your father is controlling you just like he controlled me”.

“Well you’re the one who left me with him”, I snapped back.

Not long after this aborted attempt at a reconnection, she moved to Arizona

And then twenty years slipped by, just like that.

 

But last September she flew up to Massachusetts because her mother, my grandmother, was dying.

On the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend, she called me.  I asked about my grandmother and about my mother’s flight from Arizona.  I was eager to settle on a day that I would come see her, knowing this might be our last chance to reconnect. If not now, when?

I offered to drive to my grandmother’s house the very next day, on Cape Cod where my mother was staying.  She agreed, and then we hung up.

The next morning I went through my closet…what does one wear when they haven’t seen their mother in twenty years?

It was a beautiful, sunny day driving to my grandmother’s house. When my mother answered the door, I thought how lovely she still was.  And she was real, not a myth, not my imagination, Not someone to forget. She is my mother.

I saw my grandmother that day too, and my aunt, also casualties of my parents’ divorce; that whole family had been erased from my life.  Now they embraced me, welcomed me as if I had finally come home.

My mother and I walked and talked of the weather and of my grandmother’s end of life. We talked of my daughters, all grown up now, and of family resemblances and of the ocean and of her quiet life in Arizona.

I wanted to talk about the stolen years, to face everything head on, but I knew that even after all this time, her pain was still raw; I saw it in her eyes that filled with tears at the slightest mention of the past.

I can feel her regret that is so vast it could swallow her; I think her grief might turn her to particles, to the dust in the desert she lives in.

I want to say I wish you would move back to Massachusetts. I want to spend spend time with you, to make up for all the lost years.  I want her to know my husband and our daughters.

I want my mother back.  I don’t want her to live two thousand and five hundred and seventy-two miles away for one more day.  But I don’t say this.  Instead I ask “Don’t you miss the ocean?”

When it was time for me to go, we hugged goodbye and both said how happy we were to have had this day.   We agreed that we both wanted to stay in touch, but we made no promises, no unrealistic mention of all the time we would spend together, knowing she would fly back to Arizona, to her life there.

*We talk on the phone sometimes now.  We are still getting to know each other.

I usually keep the conversation light, because I know that’s what she needs.

But the last time we talked, I did bring up the past. I told her I needed her to know something. I said “I know you meant to bring me with you when I was four. I know that was your plan. You told me so back then. You were preparing me to leave with you; I remember”.

..There was a long pause…and some tears.  She was relieved that I knew this .

I love you she said. I always have.

I say I love you too. And then I ask about her day.