I have posted a few replies to comments on my recent Huffpost article. Learn more.
Please don’t give up on us PAS parents. What these people do to us, to our children, our communities is truly horrible. There is so very little support for us. People don’t believe you or think you are exaggerating when you try to tell them what is happening. I’ve looked to our parish priest–my ex-husband has gotten to him too. Once the alienator has talked to the people around you, you can tell, they look at you differently–like you are the problem, like you are crazy. I have to remind myself that I didn’t make any of it up and continue to document, as best is possible, what is happening for the courts.
Our court system is too slow to deal with PAS effectively. Once an alienator has decided on this approach, they go full bore. My children look beaten down, confused, anxious–and they do not feel like they can come to me for comfort. It breaks my heart and I do not know if we will ever be able to repair the damage this person, this once-trusted, much loved person has brought to our lives.
I have been researching and writing on this problem for more than a decade and have no intention of giving up. Parents who have walked in your shoes know exactly what you are writing about. I think divorce poison is the most prevalent under-recognized and misunderstood serious form of mistreatment of children in our society. I expect that years from now people will look back on our times and wonder what made it so difficult for society to acknowledge this problem and help parents protect their children from suffering the unnecessary loss of a parent.
Once the court anoints one parent as primary custodian most community members involved with children and parents, including clergy, fall in line behind its choice as a matter of propriety: it’s not always that they “don’t believe” the other parent, as that it’s that they stick to the `official’ narrative to avoid controversy or criticism of themselves. The lower ranking parent is quite generally treated as having little real responsibility for the child and not worth dealing with on serious matters concerning the child.
While it’s very worthwile to keep good records for your own reference, most of what some people advise parents compile as `documentation’ never gets used in court. The courts are very slow, but the main problem PA parents usually have is that the framework judges use to decide cases—mostly in how it treats intra-parental conflict—accords alienation very little weight, when it doesn’t encourage it as a winning strategy for a parent positioned to take advantage of the option.
Annette: I hope soon your comment, ” People don’t believe you or think you are exaggerating when you try to tell them what is happening” will change. As I see it, alienated parents are victimized twice–once by the rejection of their children, and again by society, the law, and sometimes even their own family. It is a fundamental flaw to assume that a child’s outcome (alienation or estrangement) is “always” the result a parent’s disposition or some other so-called shortcoming. Sometimes priests and other individuals in the community are in dire need of education. Dr. Warshak, through Pluto, Divorce Poison and his other work, is helping overcome the error of attributing blame. If possible, it may help to provide individuals in your community a copy of his book or a copy of Pluto. Also, there are many support groups. Being a rejected parent is a painful plight. However, rejected parents do not have to endure the heartache alone.
More education regarding parental alienation would certainly be helpful, but the immediate barriers that must be broken through first are in a sense political. Special interests are suppressing even considering or discussing parental alienation, not by advancing arguments that it’s a bogus concept, which the public is finding persuasive, but by exercising their power and making denying PA the party line, that must be towed under threat of punishment.
It’s not that it’s believed that aversion to a parent expressed by a child invariably signals the parent is abusive, but rather that if you dissent, however conscientiously, from this conventional wisdom you are accused of endangering women, quite possibly mortally.