I’ve been awake since two thirty am thinking about my grandson’s #JoshandArchieMcKay after having a long conversation with my daughter about them earlier in the day. Sleep is always hard to find for me when my daughter is so distressed by how much she misses her two boys.
My oldest grandson Josh will be 11 years old tomorrow, it is another year where we will not help him celebrate this birthday because we have been denied access to him for so long now that he has been so brainwashed into thinking his mum and the rest of us are such bad people.
At this stage I want to write about how some mums can and do lose their children to the evil that is Parental Alienation, it is a fact of life you do not learn about until it is too late.
There is a common thread of thought that parental alienation only ever happens to dads, this is not the case, if it were I would not be sitting here at almost 4am now writing this. People assume that because mums in general have the overall care, or the day to day care, as it has been put to me, that the courts do not realise the importance a dad plays in his child’s life, thus they ‘always’ award custody to the mum, ergo a mum never loses custody or faces the issues of parental alienation from her child.
There are no real statistics out there of how many mums or dads gain or lose custody of their children, none that I am aware of, and certainly none that I have been able to find, (please feel free to send me this data if you have it) but, it is obvious to me, and to the many other mums I speak with, including my own daughter, that women do go through this process of being alienated from their children in the same way that men do.
Many of the mums I speak to do not wish to make the fact known that are being alienated from their children because of the possible repercussions, at the same time they want their children to know that they are being thought of, missed and are still loved, each and every day, they do not speak of it because of the abject shame and humiliation they feel at being separated from their children, they feel that society will judge them and there have been many times when I have spoken to a mum who has said to me that the Law and or Social Workers just ignores their plight, something I am very familiar with in my daughters case.
Many alienated mums stay silent, forever in their grief, to avoid the blame and shame game, and with such complicating factors as those who work within the current Social Work system and who unequivocally denounce that parental alienation exists; it is even harder for women (and men) to seek the support they need. All too often Social Workers and Court officials get bogged down in trying to determine whether the problem is real or not, rather than trying to focus on how to resolve the alienation of the child, and this is where such experts as Karen Woodall and the work she does at her clinic is paramount to court cases where parental alienation is a major factor.
I now recognise that any alienating parent needs three things all of which I have spoken of before.
Those three things are:
- Direct daily access and contact with the child
- Already considered and well thought out strategies of how they will undermine, devalue and destabilise that child’s relationship with the other parent, and,
- The narcissistic tendencies to carry these actions out.
I have now discovered that there are many other smaller groups in the UK, just like mine who are now discussing parental alienation and the toxic effect it has on relationships between children and absent parents.
People are slowly coming to the realisation that if they do not band together there will be no way to fight this evil that blights the lives of children separated from their other loving parent, there is no longer any gender divide on this issue from what I see happening in these groups, members no longer claim that it just happens to one sex, they now see that this is a road that both mums and dads travel.
When a parent comes to me and tells me of the parental alienation they have endured it brings many emotions to the surface for me, I feel angry for them, sad for them, lost with them, left scratching my head with them about how our current systems and procedures or policies set by Government or by local authorities continually let them down, time and time again. Some parents or grandparents just like me feel motivated to become advocates and do something about the current system, but many others become physically, mentally and financially depleted and ask the question they never want to ask;
‘When do I let go’……..
For many of these parents it is as if their child has died, yet they know they are still alive, it becomes a living grief and the sorrow never, ever ends. They find themselves going through the five stages of grief.
- Denial, if you deny it exists then it doesn’t and it is a way some parents deal with parental alienation. Denial of such stressful situations is a defence mechanism; it is of course a maladaptive and inappropriate mechanism, but it easier to deny that a situation like parental alienation exists and is happening to you, than it is to deal with the fact that you will never see your child again even although you know they are alive.
- Anger is another stage of the grieving process, underlying anger is the hurt and loss of control over a situation or event in your life something that we all feel at times and without question alienated parents or grandparents become very angry at the almost instant dismissal of their claims of parental alienation.
- Bargaining, some alienated parents will ask God a favour, promising to find religion and go to church each and every Sunday, any parent suffering from parental alienation will try anything they can to bargain for access to their child.
- Depression, something that 1 in 4 people suffer from, but for parents of alienated children this manifests itself in the guise of self-blame, it is all their fault, hopelessness at their situation of continued alienation and then despair, all engulfing and all encompassing, despair, despair at the thought of never seeing their child again, despair at what that child is going through, despair that no one is listening to them or taking any sort of action to support them or help them to remedy the situation.
- Acceptance, clearly and obviously the parent of the alienated child feels rejected, lost and forgotten, they are very unhappy at their situation but do not see any way out of it, rejected parents do not just happily accept their plight, but some get to the stage where they are forced to give up their fight to see their child, I have heard this from many rejected parents since I began this blog about our own fight with parental alienation.
It is important to consider what letting go of the fight actually signifies. In the action we take of letting go we are not disconnecting from the alienated child, we are in fact disconnecting from the abusive behaviour being exhibited by the alienating parent, it is about accepting that we cannot control the behaviour of others, and that in letting go we are not denying but accepting. The absent parent is also accepting that their alienated child may in fact, in the future, blame them for their rejection of them.
Within that acceptance we begin to realise that the alienating parent has absolutely no plans to co-parent under any circumstances because some alienating parents are looking to turn their child against the absent parent forever and they will stop at nothing to achieve this goal.
Choosing the time to let go is important for many reasons. First of all this is a very personal and emotive situation to find yourself in, but as the parent of an alienated child you may feel that that there is no longer any other viable route or options to having contact of any type with your child, however that does not mean that we should all start waving the white flag of surrender, only when every single avenue has been explored, and every legal option exhausted should we consider this.
In the seven hours that have now passed since I began writing this particular blog, I have come to the conclusion that anyone who comes into contact with a parent who has alienated children should not first of all judge them as useless parents who must have done something so abhorrent as to deserve the loss of their child.
These parents are grieving for their lost children; the mother who cared for, carried and nurtured that child within her womb for nine months is grieving so badly she is torn apart by it and each and every day, and any rejected parent father or mother, will be displaying their own unique feelings of grief in different ways, some may feel anger, some may feel discouraged and unable to continue with the mammoth task of trying to have some form of contact with their child, these parents have endured the most gut wrenching feelings of rejection in it’s harshest form.
So remember the next time you see a parent who has been removed from their child’s life do not be so quick to judge them on the hearsay of others and do not always be so quick to believe the stories being told about the rejected parent by the alienating parent, there are always two sides to a story and no matter what your affiliation with the alienating parent is, no matter how loyal you feel you need to be to them, remember that you are actively participating, whether intentionally or not, in the plan of the alienator to totally remove that child from the absent parents life.
These absent parents deserve the recognition for what has happened to them, they deserve to be heard, they deserve our empathy and support, not our rejection and recrimination and until that happens I would encourage anyone to educate themselves on the issues of parental alienation, co-parenting is now and always will be the only right way to raise a child.