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Parent Alienation and the Reluctant Hero

Last weekend I caught up with a group of old friends, a mixed group including happily married mates, happily divorced ones and the worryingly large percentage trudging through the #PA or parent alienation quagmire.

Our group also included Ian Buckingham, the relatively high-profile consultant and writer, an advocate for shared parenting rights and gender equality at work and at home who recently diversified from writing business books to writing children’s fiction.

As some people will know, he recently launched the first in a fantasy trilogy, a book called Legend of the Lost filled with positive messages about enduring family love and the power of reconciliation. It’s set in a supernatural context and is a great read for all ages.

He was relaying the positive feedback to date, including school visits and book signings, joking about how adults are often the actual main readership group and showed us photos on the related social media accounts of parents and their kids reading the book in remote and interesting places.

All really warm, positive news.

heros-journey_story

However, the only relatively negative response came from an odd source. It was someone connected with the marketing of the book whose daughter gave the book an unfavourable review.

Seemingly at odds with everything else fed-back to date and given their connection to the project, he inquired, politely, wanting to understand more as he’s now finalising the second in the series.

It didn’t take long to piece together a background of alienated child, alienating mother , lots of negativity and aggression and a coven of similar adult friends.

Given his understanding of PA, Ian gently explored the issue with the mother who, amid an outpouring of abuse, claimed the book  “didn’t fit with (her) view of parenting as s single parent with a deadbeat former partner”.

Surprised, he pointed out that the book was a fantasy fiction, out of the key characters, most of the leading figures are female and that only 1 of the 5 central children are boys. He also pointed out that the villains throughout the series are, where they can be identified, both male and female but most importantly, that the key message is about reconciliation and ending a family feud that had lasted centuries.

It was positive.

It soon became clear that she hadn’t bothered to read the book. But it didn’t stop her voicing an opinion, openly and abusively.

Fortunately, later that day, several readers and their parents sent photographs and stories of their children, girls and lads, enjoying the book and the volume of great feedback now grows daily on the social media sites.

But while it is perfectly fine for people to genuinely have differing experiences of  any art form, based on their preferences and tastes, this incident also shows how depressingly negative the behaviours associated with parent alienation can be.

For, just as hundreds of children are enjoying a magical experience, exploring a fresh and creative storytelling journey that they can hopefully relate to in some way, that woman’s daughter is clearly so unhappy at home that even an innocent story about a reconciling family is a source of negativity for her.

And why?

Because her role models, in this case her mother, and their close network of friends, her flying monkeys, have launched a narrative of hate that they are clinging to like a leaky raft of ill will that is slowly drowning them all.

Our personal mythology, our family stories, our fairy tales are powerful. Most children’s books involve an element of jeopardy that removes one or both parents, if you think about it, it’s what gives the kids the room to and license and courage to take risks and explore.

Not many involve cosy nuclear or extended families as adversity is often the pivot.

Let’s hope more and more people realise that they have to become the heroes for their kids and that heroism is judged by what you do for others, not just yourself. That means both parents taking responsibility, despite adversity for filling children’s heads with the right, positive values, not divisive nonsense and negativity.

If the trials of your journey are weighing you down, as they do us all from time to time, pick up a copy of the first in the Legend of the Lost trilogy. Do check out the website for inspiring shots of children and parents enjoying a great read.

If you contact Ian, the author, as several parents have done, he will sign and dedicate copies (while initial stocks last).

It is also available in soft copy/Kindle format now if you need a quick fix of inspiration and positivity!

 

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9

Alienation is no myth…but neither is reconciliation

As time passes and awareness increases, we’re slowly seeing a shift away from having to prove the existence of Parent Alienation or PA as a tactic of abuse and enforced parental estrangement enacted largely by resident parents. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s a modern social disease and has been spreading fast.

The CEO of Cafcass has clearly and officially acknowledged its existence, as has Lord Justice Munby and many MPs.

So we now enter the “what to do about it” phase. That’s an even tougher task and one that alienated parents are understandably very impatient about given the extent of the abuse they and their children continue to suffer at the hands of self-centered people who clearly show nothing but contempt for shared parenting or the court.

While the anti-PA community has respect for the pioneering work of the more father-focused groups like F4J and FNF, established with a mandate focused on the woefully neglected area of father’s parental rights, we all recognise that PA, while mostly targeted at fathers, is not entirely gendered.

PA largely stems from the imbalance created when one parent, post separation, is empowered by being granted resident parent status (or simply takes it), dominates the finances and the children’s time and activities and then has both the power and opportunity to erase the other parent from the lives of the children.

Largely by manipulating the narrative, they literally re-program the children’s perceptions of the other parent in order to get them to reject them and to take everything for themselves.

Journey

 

The outcome, while convenient for the alienating parent, is severe psychological trauma for the children, damaging them for life and unimaginable suffering for the targeted parent and their extended family and new partner.

They are forced to face a living bereavement, are dangled on the end of an alienator’s puppet strings, enduring rolling grief with no idea if or when it will end given reunification can be the only antidote and that is the last thing the abuser will tolerate.

People find different ways to cope.

One is to reach out for support via social media, the online community, led by groups like FNF, the PNP movement of which we have been a pivotal part, NAAP, grandparents groups and committed individuals.

Some of the most vociferous include:

@fatherscontact; @sasquires3006; @JaneEjackson; @daddyduwsf; @DivorcePioneer;  @JoJoWAR_DRUMMER ; @Bgrandparents; @Peace_not_PAS; @mick_ogden; @stopalienation.

The extended anti-PA network includes “woke” social workers, legal and reconciliation experts and offers invaluable and informed support for affected parents, children and extended families.

So please do follow them on twitter and join in the awareness-raising conversations and protesting online.

One of the parents who has been instrumental in striving for change, by continually challenging the institutions and organisations to address the out-dated leadership, processes and culture problems that are allowing PA to creep into the cracks between agencies, has been transformation consultant Ian Buckingham. He has featured here before  in the ongoing Cafcass dialogue and change debate.

Ian champions the use of storytelling both at home and at work as a means of making sense of the challenges we face.

He reminds us that myths, legends and stories have long been the way of engaging with and educating children about the values and behaviours we hold dear; that life’s rocky road of adventure is never straightforward and that we need to be resolute in adversity and humble and balanced in moments of success.

Along with the business books, Ian has just published the first in a series of children’s fiction books. They are described as entertaining escapism, first and foremost, intended to entertain adults as much as children in the Blyton, Lewis or even Rowling tradition.

heros-journey_story

But as with the best children’s books, there is a clear moral undertone. Overcoming estrangement and adversity in order to forgive, re-focus and re-unify is the over-arching theme.

As you might expect, given they’re aimed at children 7-11 and young adults, the message is conveyed with the help of changeling children, mermaids, were-creatures, pirates, incredible magical items and a cast of thousands of animals who come together to save parts of the planet along the way.

If you are lucky enough to have anyone to read them to, or know a special young person who enjoys a cracking read and would benefit from a bit of escapism with an important message, then do grab a copy or two of Legend of the Lost, the first in the trilogy.

They are available online for orders now and will be in the shops the end of August.

As a special favour to our parent network however, Ian does have a limited number of advance copies of the first edition available.  He will be happy to personalise a message for you/someone special.

If you know a special someone who will benefit from that sort of message in an uplifting tale of overcoming adversity and reunification , then contact him via the website related to the books.

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Reunification Case Study III: An alternative to a solicitor

In the previous two posts on the theme of re-unification and re-connection, we showcased some of the expertise of the children’s social work team by focusing on the case study of Will and his son Zac.

Complementing and enabling this work, by helping to remove the legal barriers erected by the alienating parent, was one of our network of McKenzie Friends, a much more cost-effective alternative to using a solicitor and a lot less daunting than representing yourself in court.

In this blog, Amanda outlines the nature of her interaction with Will and his son that paved the way for the reunification of father and son:

I became McKenzie Friend for Will after, disillusioned and around £30k less well off, he found himself needing to apply for enforcement.

He was referred to me and we met so that I could hear what had happened in his case. His 6 year old son Zac was living hundreds of miles away, following separation, and he had literally run out of money to deal with the relentless obstructions that the mother was placing in the way of their relationship.

At our first meeting, I viewed his paperwork and heard the story in his words. I could hear that there were most certainly elements of alienation here. When a parent has to return to Court time and time again, despite Court Orders, that is a big clue and whilst I had no criticism of the work that Solicitors had done for Will and Zac to date, it always concerns me when parents are “forced” to spend tens of thousands just to get Court Orders to spend time with their children with no guarantee of enforcement. Will had the money, and could have continued to pay for representation.

What about all the thousands of parents that don’t. Who helps them?

In any case, Will had decided that he wanted to give self-representation a go. And so we made the application, and forged onwards.  A good Mckenzie Friend will give loads of support and advice for free, which when dealing with high conflict or alienation cases, can be invaluable, and so we talked often and at length about what to do and what we needed to be asking the Court for.

It was very clear from the outset that the mother in this case was not going to comply with the existing Order, and we immediately asked the Court to appoint a Guardian under Rule 16.4, which they did. This then led to various interventions, including a third party organisation called Core Assets, attempting to work with the family.

They made a few attempts to work with Zac, whom the mother said had suddenly become afraid of his father (this had been said before), due to a whole host of allegations which included things that had happened when the child was very young (and had previously been dealt with by the Court and Cafcass), and new allegations, such as ridiculous assertions that Will had eaten the child’s food, and had returned him muddy and wet.

shadow

It was observed by Core Assets that the mother would not leave Zac for them to hand him over to Will, and at one stage she was overheard telling him quietly that he “didn’t have to go.”

This is something we see time and again, the coercive control and manipulation of little minds.

At one very memorable meeting, with the Guardian, Core Assets, the mother and the mother’s partner, the hostility towards the father was palpable from both the mother and her new partner and it was at that stage that Core Assets said that there was nothing they could do, that the child was simply too anxious and mother too implacably hostile to work with.

At the next hearing, we made a Part 25 Application, for a report by a psychologist, and were lucky enough to get our preferred expert. Navigating such applications as a litigant in person is never easy, and we needed the support of both the Guardian and the mother’s solicitor to get this done and again I cannot stress as the financial burden was Will’s alone. Had he not had those available funds (in the region of £6,000) I am unsure that he would be spending time with Zac to this day.

The expert report was amazingly detailed and clearly identified alienation, along with a recommended action plan which included reunification work which then paved the way for us to further propose an Independent Social Worker for  to carry out the action plan.

Our preference was to use Alison (who features earlier), knowing how experienced she was in cases like this, but the Guardian was cautious due to the distance between her and the case. Again, the father’s willingness and ability to fund this work and cover the majority of the cost ensured that he secured Alison’s support.

As a McKenzie Friend, this case was one of my longest running, with proceedings from Enforcement Application to conclusion lasting just over 2 years. I continue to support Will, and he will call for advice, guidance and coaching on all aspects of co-parenting which I give for free, and currently things continue to go well for him and Zac.

I certainly hope we never see a return to Court.

I must stress that there are many, many parents that I work for as a McKenzie Friend who do not have the money to pay for my minimal fees, let alone a solicitor or a barrister and for whom the costs associated with a Part 25 Application such as the one Will made would be completely unaffordable.

It is one of the absolute scandals of our age that people are denied justice and a relationship with their children as a consequence of financial hardship, especially when this has been caused by the divorce process itself.

We hope we are able to provide a much more affordable and cost-effective alternative to trying to deal with alienation all alone.


Please Note:  The issues we deal with in this blog are distressing. If you feel you need support over and above the resources available, we will gladly refer readers to professionals within our team, such as those mentioned, who can help deliver results and who operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers. Any wish to remain anonymous will be respected as you will observe.

 

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Ten Steps to End Parental Alienation

It has been well over a year since the CEO of Cafcass, Anthony Douglas, openly acknowledged that his organisation recognised the existence of Parental Alienation or PA and were taking steps to adapt their internal processes, procedures and staff protocols and training to help address it.

At the start of the Summer, I composed a letter with a select group of well-informed parents, requesting an urgent update and progress.

We were sent a polite, but clearly “holding” reply, although we were assured that our suggestions would be factored into the improvement work.

Since then we have seen little practical change. We have learned that Anthony Douglas intends to retire in March yet no commitment has been made regarding the outstanding work. Although worryingly, it has been suggested by certain commentators, that people see the change work taking around ten years.

A decade.

A childhood.

Sad Dolly.jpgOur network includes lawyers, doctors, social workers, entrepreneurs and management consultants. So we asked shared parenting advocate Ian Buckingham, a respected change management and organisation culture change specialist who has spoken out about PA in the past, for his views on the position and what could and should be done to address an issue now affecting millions of children and parents in the UK alone.

“I’ve worked on change programmes with organisations across sectors from investment banks and oil companies through to charities and government departments and the first point, which should provide some comfort to suffering parents enduring this abuse, is that change starts when a senior leader has both the conviction and drive to lead it.Mr Douglas clearly has the conviction, but now he’s leaving, the drive is going to be questioned.

The second point is that a problem as deep rooted as this needs to be addressed upstream nearer the source, not just downstream where the symptoms present. With this in mind, PA is not solely the responsibility of Cafcass. It’s pointless blaming them. Many agencies contribute to the root cause, from the legal profession and police through to social services generally.

A cross-agency approach to finding a lasting solution is clearly required. And  special interest groups like mothers and father’s groups don’t always help. They can entrench positions, if not careful. We are trying to change gender stereotypes and that isn’t easy because they have become ingrained in norms.

But to give people some sense of reality, you can change a corporate culture within 18 months. However, it requires cross-functional working between departments and the organisation needs a clear strategy. It must take a consistent systems and behaviours approach and implement it thoroughly and professionally with external support to keep the top team accountable and focused.

So, given the importance of the issue and the fact they have been aware and have acknowledged the problem, in terms of their sphere of influence, I would expect Cafcass to be most of the way there by now. I would also expect to see their CEO promoting a cross-agency solution, with the support of MPs. We have seen some signs of that. But progress appears to be very, very slow.

With regard to PA in the wider context, I believe the joint-working, cross-agency approach needs to bring about the following ten things:

  1. A law change to bring the same rigor to family law that we see now in employment law, where gender discrimination is illegal. This should mean 50/50 rights and responsibilities for both biological parents, meaning they both have to work out how to care and provide financially for their child and ensure that both parents have the security and stability to do so. This should be part rebuttable based on capability and fitness to parent based on hard evidence not conjecture or accusations.
  2. “No-fault” divorce to minimise acrimony and an exaggerated adversarial narrative.
  3. A law change to make shared parenting an absolute obligation, ensuring that biological parents have to work together to co-develop thorough child arrangement plans.
  4. Role of lawyers to change dramatically, with 1 lawyer appointed to a family and to focus on the needs of the children in the short and longer term based on the shared parenting and 50/50 premise and the child’s right to a relationship with both parents. This will take away much of the adversarial, winner-takes-all approach that currently creates acrimony and lasting harm. I would also expect to see different and better training of family lawyers to accommodate this.
  5. Much more support provided upstream for the family unit in the form of:
    1. marriage, relationship, grief and couples counseling
    2. facilitation and coaching to help parents move on respectfully and complete their shared parenting plans constructively
    3. child-centric mediation and conflict management
    4. child-centric courses and workshops
    5. mentoring and advocacy for family units
  6. Legal-aid available to family units, not individuals to help finance and ratify the agreements not prolong acrimony
  7. Court to ratify and finalise shared parenting only once these steps have been completed and to insist on a sliding scale of enforcement options.
  8. Enforcement to be a last resort, but to include:
    1. financial penalties (costs met by the defendant not litigant)
    2. community service
    3. modification of the financial arrangements and shared parenting plan
  9. Third party to provide a secure and confidential communications platform for couples to communicate about the child arrangements and to act as a permanent record, replacing contact books and the slew of ad-hoc data.
  10. An independent body (like an OFSTED) to own and review the process, continuously improve it and handle complaints.

Of course, the elephant in the room is that there are a great number of vested interests at play. Family law and its aftermath is a multi $£billion industry. However, resisting change for self-serving reasons renders complicit parties as guilty of contributing to child abuse as malicious parents. It is clear that unless the various government and other parties change, they will become obsolete. Witness the rise in LIPs and mounting talk of a class action by alienated parents.

The trade-off with this solution is that it is still likely that a similar quantity of funding will be required that currently trickles into the pockets of law firms and grief counselors downstream. Only, service providers who adapt to the upstream support model, however, will be able to fund their services. not as litigation specialists and enforcers, but as coaches, mentors, mediators and advisers upstream, preventing problems rather than creating or sweeping up after them.”

sadironman

Interesting food for thought from someone who knows about culture change and how transformation works within organisations.

But perhaps Ian’s final words are the most pertinent.

“Of course, multi-agency change is more complicated than just changing 1 organisation. But assuming Cafcass is on track, I see no reason why PA shouldn’t become as extinct as institutional racism or sexism within 2 years, provided the reformers get the right people in the “room.

After all, if this were an oil company with a leaking pipeline, it would be sorted by now,. Yet arguably PA causes much more damage. We just don’t have the same photos of impacted penguins to grab the attention of the world’s press. “

There is now a very strong wind of change blowing, motivated by the passion of millions of voting tax payers clearly being widely bullied and abused, as their children are, by a system oddly no longer fit for modern purpose.

And what’s more important than our children?

The right change shouldn’t be so hard, should it? But the big question is, what do the people currently responsible for child protection and family law really care about:

  •  reforming to end the bullying and abuse?

or

  • maintaining the lucrative status quo?

Very interested in your comments on this blog either by posting below or contacting us. Please do share this far and wide as we need to continue to raise awareness as, if you’re not affected, the odds are you soon will be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alienated? You just don’t have the magic genitals!

First and foremost I want to say that parent alienation is not always gender-specific.

Although predominantly something resident mothers do to non-resident fathers here in the UK, where 97% of single-parent families are female led, there are exceptions and their pain is every bit as bad as the alienated father’s.

In the US in particular I know that access to attorney power, costing $$$ can often be the factor to determine residency. And as we all know, residency means time, control and stability, increasing the risk that the non-resident or target parent will soon become an inconvenient irrelevance to a parent looking to move on, especially if they are challenged in the “personality  and ethics departments”, shall we say?

However, despite those anomalies, the rank sexism in family courts is still so pronounced that I have coined the term “magic genitalia” as a sarcastic way of describing the Mom bias. For, when you take two parents, equally educated, with similar jobs protected by gender equality legislation, sharing the care of the baby and toddler or child and yet, somehow, courts choose to grant the mother resident parent status and gift her the house, assets and an income for life from the father, even though he may have introduced most of the capital, what else but rank sexism is at play?

Magic genitalia! It must be a thing, right?

Despite the sexism surrounding the gender stereotyping we hear about men being from Mars and women from Venus etc, most of it is quack psychology. It’s obvious that men and women of current child-rearing age are very different to the 40s and 50s stereotypes, largely because they worked hard to be more enlightened.

Don’t believe me when I talk of the magic genital phenomenon? Well perhaps you’ll buy into the GU or Golden Uterus theory of someone much cleverer than me, relationship therapist Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD who, for a decade or so has been helping people understand and free themselves from abusive relationships.

For the good doctor, the GU Mom displays the following characteristics, some of which you may recognise, ( I most certainly do):

1. GU and child are one and the same. The golden uterus child isn’t allowed to have his or her own feelings and opinions.

2. GU and child are a two-fer. If you want to have your child in your life after you separate or divorce, the GU believes she’s a part of some twisted package deal. The GU is allowed to move on with her life. You’re expected to remain on ice.

3. Disobedience is abuse to the golden uterus. If the children, father/husband/ex-husband doesn’t heed her demands, the GU perceives it as abuse. If you don’t parent the same way the GU parents (or mis-parents); you’re a bad parent. If you challenge the GU’s decisions, she’ll punish you by denying you access to the kids or taking you to court. “A GU believes that because she gave birth, she has exclusive rights to all decision-making related to said child, no matter what anyone else (including the courts or the father)

This applies to the children, too.

4. GU exceptionalism. Even though humans have been procreating since human history began, the GU believes her pregnancy and childbirth are the most special pregnancy and childbirth ever.

5. Boundaries are for everyone else; boundaries don’t apply to the GU. You must respect the GU’s boundaries, but you’re not allowed to have any boundaries. If you have healthy boundaries, the GU will accuse you of being controlling, withholding, abusive, unresponsive and, naturally, a bad dad.

6. All other child caregivers are irrelevant. Fathers are walking ATMs. A father’s role is to financially and emotionally support the mother (i.e., be her emotional punching bag/doormat and listen to her complain about how hard it is to be a mother). That’s it. Fathers get no real input into how the children are raised.

Step-mothers are less than non-entities. They are to act as servants to the children.

7. Once you have sex with a GU, she owns you for life. The golden uterus believes that if she gave birth to your children, you are “connected for life.” She should always come first (even if you’ve both remarried) and YOU OWE HER until death you do part.

This also applies to the children. GUs wield guilt over their children with staggering virtuosity. “I am your mother. I carried you for 9 months. No one will ever love you like I do. No one will ever break our bond. No one will ever come between us. I CARRIED you in my WOMB for NINE months. YOU can NEVER do that for me.

When the children become adults, the GU still believes she should come first in her adult children’s lives and take precedence over their spouses and children. A GU’s children owe her because she is their mother.

8. GUs like to take kissy duck face make-out photos with their children.

Social media addicted GUs like to post kissy-duck face-make-out photos with their child(ren).

It’s rather like manic, digital age pietas. “Look at meeee and my child who loves meeee! See! We’re so close we’re more like best friennnnnds!” Boundaries, shmoundaries.

These photos are similar in nature to the photos drunken college girls take of themselves with their arms wrapped around each other and their faces pressed together. Whenever I see a photo of a mother with her child in a lip lock-bear hug with a Joker smile, I think: ENMESHED GU.

9. Golden uterus mothers are “feelers.” The golden uterus believes that her emotions are reason enough for any action, no matter how despicable. In fact, the GU’s feelings often trump what’s really in the child’s best interests.

For example, “I’m angry with your father” means the children are denied access to their father. Cutting the other parent out of a child’s life is rarely in the child’s best interests. However, the GU is feeling angry, wronged, ignored, disrespected, challenged, etc., so that becomes her justification to attack and/or punish others—even if her actions violate a court order.

10. Once the GU gives birth, her job is done. “GUs believe that simply birthing a child is all they’re responsible for as a contribution to the parenting, raising and welfare of their child. From the moment the child emerges from her hallowed trough, it is solely on the father to provide all for both her and the child” (anonymous source).

Once a GU gives birth, she has her own little foot soldier to weaponize and use as a control device over the child’s father and family. This is when many of these women choose not to return to work. By giving birth, the GU essentially has her husband over a barrel. She knows it and she uses it.

11. Children are possessions; not their own persons. “The GU views the child as her possession. The GU will take all the kudos for birthing a child, but none of the responsibility. If someone tries to point out the discrepancies, the GU will will heave out emotional garbage to cover up their horrible parenting. The GU only views the child in context to herself.  Everything is about her” (anonymous source).

12. The GU uses motherhood as an excuse. “Becoming a ‘mother’ is the GU’s excuse for EVERYTHING. She can’t work because ‘mothers don’t work.’ My husband HAS to give her all of his money because she’s the mother of his ONLY child. She lost all identity as a woman and used becoming a mother as her free ride in life” (anonymous source).

Even after their children are in school full-time, GUs still use the kids and being a mother as an excuse not to work outside the home and often not to work inside the home. “You have no idea how stressful it is being a mom.” Um, the kids are in school all day. What do you do with your time? “You always minimize all the hard work I do. YOU HAVE NO IDEA.” Um, the breakfast dishes are still in the sink when I get home from work in the evening. The laundry is piled up and the kids haven’t done their homework. What did you do all day? “HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT ME. I’m THE MOTHER OF YOUR CHILDREN!”

13. GUs are self-appointed parenting experts. Despite the fact that her parenting behaviors should be used as an example in  How NOT to Parent 101, “the golden uterus believes that having birthed a child makes them better and more knowledgeable than others; e.g., the “Well you don’t have kids so how would you know anything?” woman (anonymous source). If you should dare challenge the GU’s parenting skills and superior authority, see number 3 above.

14. Motherhood is a title and a power trip. “The golden uterus views mothering as a title rather than a relationship and a set of behaviors. Mothering requires selflessness at times. It requires sacrifice at times. It requires paying attention to the child and putting your time and energy into meeting their needs, which also requires seeing the child as a unique and separate individual from yourself, not a mirror of your own thoughts, feelings, and needs. A golden uterus mother fails at mothering and instead uses her title to extort things from others ‘in the name of the child.’ Essentially, they use their offspring as a way to get their own needs met” (anonymous source).

15. The GU is never wrong. “The golden uterus seems to expect that they get a total free pass on accountability for their own behavior. I have often told my husband that his ex lives on a one way street paved in double standards. Her own bad behavior is to be overlooked. Yet she will attempt to crucify him for any and all perceived weaknesses or ‘failures.’ She is judge and jury and quick to condemn my husband (and me, for that matter) yet she can do no wrong.

Well?

What do you think?

That certainly made a lot of sense to me when I first read it and sits rather neatly alongside my golden genitalia GG theory.

It has also given me an idea for handing out tiaras as prizes for the GUGG of the month. Nominations in the comments section please. But just to structure your expectations, this month’s tiara has already been awarded to the person I’m picturing in a range of “duck faced” pictures with my children currently doing the social media rounds. And when I last checked, no, sorry, my poor pecker’s decidedly flesh-coloured.

As for my uterus?

Well, still working on that.


 

This blog deals with a disturbing subject, the alienation of a parent from their own children, a form of child abuse and bullying. If you need to reach out for help, we’ll be happy to connect you with people who can offer practical support.

If it will help you to share your personal PA story, then please do contact us and we’ll see what we can set up for you, using this awareness-raising platform.

 

 

0

Sadly football isn’t coming home…and neither are they!

We have been in the grip of football fever here, as “soccer” fans the world over celebrate the rise and fall of the roller-coaster ride that is the process of investing emotions in the fate of your national team.

England fans, in particular, have had a tough time down the years. So many of us are brought up on the fading memories of our only success in the World Cup, back in 1966. And fathers desperately want to share rites of passage like these with their children. So for fathers separated from their children, “rite of passage” moments like these are especially hard, as they are moments you shared with your own father and dreamed of sharing with your children too.

So they become bittersweet times., as reflected in these touching series of tweets from one of the dads in our network, sent in the aftermath of the Eng/Colombia game. He co-parents some of his children, but is cruelly separated from the others and can feel the weight of  the alienator’s relentlessly cruel, divide and conquer tactics:

Last night was great. I have waited my entire adult life for moments like that. I fell in love with football in 1990 with the run to the semi finals. It has been a huge part of my life ever since.

Last night I watched with my teenage & primary school kids. My eldest could barely look. It has always been that way. I used to go to football with all my children. My eldest went to her first game when she was 18 months old she loved it and fell asleep on me. We have been to away games together. She was always closer to her mum but we always had that bond.

mackenziethorpe

I stayed in a marriage that was not good because I did not want to be a weekend dad or not be in their lives at all. Football maybe means too much to me. But moments like last night do not happen often & leave me on such a high. But they will always be not quite perfect as I know 3 hours drive and 120 miles away my eldest daughter is hating me.

Believe it or not liking or disliking football has become a test of loyalty for my ex wife. If you like daddy or football you are disloyal to her. The irony is our teenager living with me was not that into football, sort of grew out of it. She is much more now & I’m sure it’s because she wants to show her loyalty towards me.

I live with a split family after my now after two of our children were handed over to my care via email when they were 11 & 3. I have been threatened to be run-over, have been scratched punched & kicked all for trying to keep all of the children together and in contact. But they are my children I am their dad. I do not own them but I have a responsibility to them as they are my children.

For all this the police have told me they can’t make people be nice to me and told me it was a civil matter. Yet accusations against me are fully investigated with police interviews of me. When my ex claims to scared a police escort is provided. But when she assaults me or her husband swears at me & threatens to beat me up in front of my children I’m told nothing can be done.

So, our children have been split at her behest. My eldest 2 each hate one of their parents & I have 2 in therapy. Ridiculous. But all my fault, apparently. In the end, this football has reminded me who I am & helped me keep going so next time someone says it’s just a game it is so much more than that in our house. It is something that binds us.

My story is repeated all over the world. This mess is what happens when we allow someone to make false allegations, be violent & break court orders with little or no punishment, give large amounts of government funding to groups that are gender hate groups, allow politicians to laugh at the high male suicide rate with no punishment.

I do get it I am a white privileged male who went to public school & had a comfortable upbringing. But think about this I was fortunate that my family in the shape of my mother supported me to see the legal fees through. Think of people less fortunate. Even then I have not seen my eldest daughter in 2 over 2 & half years. I work full time and bring up 2 children with no help from the state or my ex wife.

But on Saturday I will be watching the football but it will be alone as I don’t break court orders and I will take them to their abusive mother’s despite what she has done, because it is right that she sees them. If England win there will be nobody happier. The roar coming from my house will be one of the loudest. But I will watch alone & when it all calms down I will look around & realise I’m not watching with the ones I love and really want to share with. Uncontrolled Parental alienation does this. I can no longer enjoy something I completely love.

We can never be completely whole again because they are not here. And, like the football, despite living in hope, I have a very bad feeling that they are never coming home.


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This blog deals with some difficult subjects.

If you need support in fighting for your children or just a platform from which to speak about your alienation, then please do contact us and we will do what we can to help.

2

“I saw the light die.” More PA terror.

This disturbing post features two stories from two different parents who have contributed here before.

The tales will upset some people as they show PA for the raw abuse it is.

Unfortunately, as our growing network tell us, incidents like this are happening daily.

If these parents behave like this toward the other parent and family, imagine what they do to the children:

I saw the love-light die in their little eyes

When she left to live near her Mum, the very “ground zero” where the root alienator dwells, the concerted campaign to destroy my loving relationship with our precious children started.

That was ten years ago!

EVERY pickup since then, every two weeks, was a masterclass in drip-fed bullying and abuse.

She would say nothing about the progress of the children in-between. Nothing about health, key decisions, events, school, nothing. She was in her 40s and allegedly a proper grown up, but would make all the decisions…with her mother. They used to brag about “stonewalling the narcissist”, as if I was actually the problem when I was simply but desperately trying to hang on to my parenting role.

The alienating duo would make me drive to car parks, service stations, garage forecourts and dank places to collect our children. Here I would see other fathers going through the same misery, waiting with a mixture of fear and anxiety that you could almost taste.

She would eventually drive up like in a scene from a cold war era spy-swap and, despite a very clear agreement to be positive and helpful, she would inevitably start attacking me verbally in front of the kids, telling me what I could and couldn’t do and how useless I was at everything.

Yet, regardless of the abuse, it would all be worth it as the smiles on the faces of our babies made it all melt away as soon as we got back on the road and they opened their special packed lunches and presents and we started singing together and telling stories.

I thought she would improve over time. But she never did.  Even after other men arrived and swiftly left. It actually made her worse. They clearly confirmed her own suspicions about herself and I was her punch bag because I wouldn’t go away.

child-crying-sad-sorry-upset-depressed-alone

There were far too many incidents over the years to recount, but one of the worst was when I turned up expecting to take the children on holiday, as per the court order. We had planned it for months, when she finally communicated which of the Easter weeks I would be “allowed” that is.

The signs were worrying when she was an hour late. Then, when they finally turned up, the kids ran over all excited to see me and the dogs and we started talking about the drive to Wales.

It was at this point that she wandered over and dropped the bomb:

“They have been invited to a party. I have said they can go. It is in three days. You can’t take them unless you say, on record, you will have them back by then.”

She was clearly late as she had been discussing “tactics” with her flying monkeys at the school gate.

I was naturally upset and not a little angry, but asked her, calmly, to come and discuss how we were going to solve this like parents and adults. But she said “No”. She then did something that has become a metaphor for PA ever since. She screamed “No” again and then picked up our eldest and held her in front of me:

“Tell her why she can’t go” she screamed at me.

“Tell her you selfish prick.”

Naturally both children then started crying.

I was stunned.

All I could think to say was:

“We will sort it out girls. We will go to Wales AND the party.”

As I then strapped the girls into their seats and started thinking about the emergency packing, sleepless night and drive ahead for 2 days away instead of a week, I felt something hit me on the back of my head and turned to see that she had spat at me.

I’m no pushover, trust me, But I just couldn’t think what else to do so decided to get into the car and get away. She then started waving her phone at me saying:

“I have you on recording. Get back here when I say or the police will be round. I know where you’re going to stay”.

When I ignored her and drove off, she ran after us, pulled the rear door open and tried to get into the car screaming so much she nearly went under the rear wheels.

It took most of the “holiday” to calm the children down.

I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered.

When I raised her behaviour in court, the judge simply said “this is a very difficult situation”.

Without any form of rebuke, ever, her behaviour has never changed. It got worse. She now believes she is above all court orders and she sneers at the process.

As a result, I have not seen my children for two years now.

They found it all too distressing and if I’m honest, so did I.

Not seeing them has nearly killed me, It still might.

But I had no choice but to stop as she was hurting us all so much.

It is impossible to recover from seeing the innocent love-light die in the eyes of your children. It is soul destroying that you can’t defend yourself yet there are no consequences for the abusers. Instead, they are lauded like icons of someone’s screwed up idea of empowerment by the enabling communities within the services supposedly set up to protect us.

It is plainly and simply calculated abuse.

Tale II: My Valentine’s gift

The situation was so messed up that at first, my ex had actually said we could still live together but separately.

I was at this point just saying “yes” to everything for the sake of the kids.

Then she said that I could go out to work and her and her new boyfriend could bring up the children and I would be allowed to live there too. Pressing every emotional button she could,  she said she knew I still loved her and that I was  her back up plan in case it went wrong with him. She said she always had a back up plan.

I just lost my temper at this point, said I no longer loved her and was not agreeing to that.

Then the real abuse started.

child picture

My car, Blue, had broken down because the battery got old. I replaced it but my ex refused to drive it anymore. So I agreed to take on Blue and she could have the other car.

The children had been with me as agreed. But my ex kept interfering by calling every 5 minutes  – no exaggeration. I took them home but I said I was banning mobile phones when with me because I could not get any time with the children without a call or text.

She then started screaming at me and started hitting and scratching me. When she slapped me in the face I decided to leave and turned and said I would be back at the agreed time for the children. At this point she tried to hit me with her recording device. This became her new tactic. She would create an argument get me shouting then start recording. Ironically when I didn’t react in the required way she would become more violent.

I quickly left the house feeling that I was losing control of the situation.

I made it to Blue and locked the door.

Just as I started to back out of my space I saw her charging towards the car. She started knocking on the window and screaming at me that “(I )was not taking that fucking car while she had the girls”. I shouted back that “I had spent money on it based on our agreement and it was tough.”

I should point out my mum and my step dad said I needed to stand up to her, I’d been tiptoeing around her up to this point, this was my chance to be firm but fair.

She then proceeded to unlock the door of the car with her key. She then shoved me in the face and started to try and take my key out of the indignation. When I stopped her she said she “wanted (my) keys for (her) car”.

I started to take the keys off for her and asked her for the key to my car. Out of the blue she punched me in the head and then threw both sets of my keys into my face.

While I tried to get myself together, she took the car seat from my car saying I could “have the shit one from her car”.

I let her swap them over, avoiding saying anything ass I was stunned, not sure what to do. I was in pain from being hit in the head, was upset and concerned for the kids.

Ironically, I’d booked a table for Valentines day ages before this and bizarrely this now flashed across my mind.

Then I suddenly realised she was taking the change from the middle of the car. Well to get to my mum’s its easier to cross at the toll bridge so I had put the 40p in the middle so that I had it. For some reason my brain kicked in that point and I said that “I needed that to get back to my mum’s”.  She told me “I was stealing from the children but I could keep my fucking money”. She came to the front of the car and started throwing the coins at me.

As the coins hit the window, I started the engine and tried to leave.

At some point my middle daughter had come out. My legs were shaking I got my feet muddled up and ended up revving the engine by mistake.

I left with my eldest looking out of the sitting room window and my middle daughter being grabbed by her mum.

The morning I was due to have the children my sister received a phone call saying the “children were scared of me because of my violent tendencies and my temper”. When I called her she started putting all these conditions on me seeing the children.

She had an obsession with my sister and my nieces and kept trying to involve them, as if the “sisterhood would get it”. I decided at this point that this was not fair on anybody so I refused. I phoned my solicitor who told me to go straight over, which I did with my mum.

I was denied access to the children. She had her car already packed and when we headed over, to my amazement, she left and went straight to the nearest police station claiming assault.

Fortunately I had recorded part of the incident or I would probably have been sent down.

Worse still, when I finally accessed the house, the children had been living in the sitting room, presumably because of her lover staying over. It smelt of poo and the bedding was wet and smelt of urine. It took 3 days to make the house habitable.

The police did nothing about the Valentine’s day incident as she claimed I tried to run her and my middle daughter over.

The police then tried to force me to leave the house I had bought and paid for. They also interviewed me for assault but didn’t charge me.

I was covered in cuts and bruises whilst they talked to me. But they treated me like a criminal. I may have shouted and I may have lost my temper but I did not touch her and tried to leave that situation and never could. I have never been physical other than in a limited defensive way.

We somehow still manage to share time with the children between two households, but it is a constant battle and hugely unsettling to deal with her.

I am sadly finding myself becoming an angry and disillusioned white middle aged man desperately trying to keep the peace for the sake of our kids.

Next time you see one of my kind, please don’t judge the book by its cover because there’s a reason and it isn’t to do with being aggressive or macho.

It’s quite the reverse.


This blog deals with some troubling subjects.

If you find yourself struggling and needs some support, then we’ll be glad to refer you to our reconciliation and legal support team. They will be pleased to listen and if they can help in some way, they will.

Alternatively, if you would like a platform to share your battle with parent alienation, then contact us and we’ll see what we can do.