By: Edward Kruk, Ph.D. Every day I receive emails from alienated parents and extended family members distraught over the suffering of their children as well as their own grief and frustrated by their powerlessness to protect their children from the egregious form of emotional child abuse that is parental alienation. In addition, I get numerous replies to my postings on […]
I didn’t see/have my son, Drew, for two Halloweens in a row…. Although I have regular access to my son and our relationship is tight, that wasn’t always the case. I was given the task of buying costume materials and making his costume by hand, but not ‘allowed’ to see him over Halloween, which is not my holiday. It’s still a trigger for me, and from what I have learned about C-PTSD, these triggers are something I have to learn to live with. The hyper vigilance, feeling unsafe… all of it…. it isn’t something that goes away at all… I can honestly say I am doing much better now that I was 60 days ago. About 4 or 5 months ago I was diagnosed with PTSD, it was horrifying and embarrassing. It also explained so much of my behavior that had never made sense to me. Holidays without my son are triggering, but knowing this, I am able to make plans to distract myself over the holidays or any special day/event in which the little guy in my life isn’t with me. How do I survive them? I let go of the every toxic thought in my mind. It’s easier said than done. I have had to learn to dial my stress factor down before I reach my anxiety threshold. As I have mentioned before, I got very sick just over a year ago…. I was worn out… I had nothing left in me…. I was so worried about the son I never had access to, that I landed in the ER and stayed for a while. My iron, potassium etc were depleted. Transfusions etc were necessary for an extended hospital stay.
I was so worried when baby daddy began making trouble for me and my 3 month old. A disgusting excuse for a human being he was, and still is. My son had a speech delay. I forced through a court order I wrote for weekly speech therapy, that’s how I parented in those days, by pushing my orders through the court system till they tired of it. With my handy fee waiver, I found I could get the court’s attention by costing them an arm and a leg. Don’t knock the method, it works, I’m living proof and so is Drew. I was constantly so worried that he was hurting and couldn’t express it. I almost worried myself to death with toxic thoughts. I imagined the worst… A life full of all kinds of abuse at the hands of a man who didn’t think twice about abusing me in several ways, repeatedly. It was killing me. My son was subjected to maternal deprivation and attempts at parental alienation. I wrote a court order for co-parenting therapy and despite his sickening attempts to pussy out of it with a fake CPO, the court no longer caters to him. Title 9 pays out only once moms, never fear. I got my co-parenting therapy orders upheld, and have been in co-parenting therapy for a couple of months now. My son’s interactions with me changed significantly. I bring my son’s behaviors to the attention of the counselor who exposes every email baby daddy sends her in our sessions. We have a no secrets policy. Everyone knows everything. This was not obtained easily. The sessions are annoying and I’d rather be anywhere else, but this is what is best for Drew, and for me, that is all that matters.
Toxic thoughts are caused by extreme stress. Stress comes at you in the form of predetermined custody evaluations, judgements and thoughts of your child feeling abandoned or alone. Without communication with your children, a parent often feels guilty for smiling and resents things and people that cause them to smile, as if being happy without your child is a crime. It isn’t. In fact, it will be the only thing to get you through it. If you’re case is anything like mine (and I’ll bet you a million bucks it is), the non custodial parent gets a report that describes the life of a rockstar. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. I was accused of dating someone weird while I hadn’t dated up to that point since my son was born. I was accused of everything under the sun, why? I had zero affection or feelings ever for this man. I was about to leave the country for work, he decided he couldn’t stand me being with anyone else or being happy. So he took the son he had blackmailed me to abort. It’s punishment, he once told the court, for the way she treats me. She doesn’t deserve to see her son. Yes, baby daddy is a total loser and no, he hasn’t had a single date since I walked out the door. I have no had quite a few, and even a relationship. Despite my custody trauma, I have a life. Creating that other life is the only thing that saved me. The ability to let go a little has given me much in return: my sanity. Toxic thoughts are ANY thoughts that rob you of positive feelings, thoughts that leave you feeling negative. In order to win your battle, you need to survive it first, don’t you? This isn’t an essay on how to be happy, it’s about why you NEED to be happy to survive. Like Mario Brothers (yeah, I’m THAT old), it takes a lot time, determination and perseverance to save the princess. You need friends, pets, games and laughs to get to the last level…. and even when you get to the final level (court trial) you may need a few more tries before completing your mission.
Repression or suppression of toxic thoughts is how we temporarily deal with the emotions that are generated by anger, loss, sadness or trauma. This gives your mind a chance to catch up with loss or trauma by experiencing a temporary amnesia. However, the toxic emotions that are repressed don’t go away. You can bury your emotions, but you need to know you are burying something that remains alive, and that is a horrible prospect. It’s not surprising that your mind perceives suppressed emotions as fear. That fear remains unless you deal with it. You can consciously decide to deny or reject an emotion that is uncomfortable, but once you have done so, it goes into your non-conscious mind in a process called automatization: you first do it consciously and then train yourself to continue until it becomes an automatic reaction. This is not the way your brain deal best with toxic emotions. Repressing them destabilizes your brain’s natural chemistry and disrupts the multiplicity of feedback loops that usually expels toxic waste. In fact, unprocessed emotions impede that flow of they naturally generate, often referred to as the ‘molecules of emotion’. When stress prevent molecules of emotion from flowing freely, the automatic processes (digestion, breathing, immunity and blood flow) that are regulated by the flow of peptide will collapse into a few simple feedback loops. This causes the suppressed toxic emotion to become an emotional stronghold, the magic trees of the mind, that changes cellular memory within the cells of the body. It won’t allow you to function well on any level, physical, mental or spiritual.
So how do you keep these toxic thoughts at bay? DILUTE THEM. If you’re like me, and chances are you are, your life revolves around your child. And when your child isn’t with you? It becomes about politics and policy, media and communication or like myself and a few others I know, it becomes about the laws governing our family courts and getting yourself an entirely new career. Who were you before you became a parent? What personal hobbies, interests and career goals did you have? Do you have a social support system? Not an emotional one, but a sociaone? This is going to be your most valuable asset in the war for your sanity. You need reality checks, confidence and loyalty; friends are the perfect people to give than to you. Friendships are give and take, as females, we know that our job is to listen and agree when needed. If he or she pours their heart out for an hour, you know you get that same hour in return. and unlike therapy, your friends will tell you what you need to hear to get moving in the direction you need to head in. In the last week, I have gone out 4 times. Dinner and a comedy show on 2 different evenings. Dinner with a friend on Halloween and a wine tasting and tour a few days ago. I knew Halloween would be difficult, I anticipated this and planned accordingly. Having these friends to be weepy with made me comfortable, and that lead me to hours of laughter during days that would have been spent feeling sad, miserable and angry. Thanksgiving is coming up. I don’t know who will have Drew for that holiday, but I have a small trip to San Diego coming up the week before, so if I have to wait till Christmas, I think I’ll survive. It may be smoke, mirrors and window dressing, but I’ll survive. I have to, you have to, we all have to in order to keep going and changing the status quo, I first have to be happy to be alive, that wasn’t always the case.
A snake asked a man walking up a steep mountain to carry him to the top.
The man said he couldn’t because the snake would bite him.
The snake promised to be good.
The man carried the snake to the top upon their arrival the snake immediately bit the man.
The man said you promised to be good.
The snake said you knew my nature all along and for some reason you expected me to not act in my nature, just because I promised. All things will act in their true nature unless it benefits them to hide their true nature. I lived up to my true nature when you were no longer of use to me…
At that the man, who was a survivor and tired of all the poison in this world, flung the snake off the mountain where he was crushed to death by the fall. The man then sought out help for the poisoned bite.
After a time the man made it to a first aid station where he recieved help from people who cared for other mountain climbers. Since they were brave enough to live in the mountains in order to help others the man would live and after some time would recover.
After his recovery he decided to always carry a snake bite kit with him in order to help anyone he may meet harmed by a snake.
I took an old proverb and added a happy ending. It is what I hope we alienated family members can start doing as we move through life. How many times have you overheard someone speaking ill of a non-custodial spouse? How many times have you remained silent, even if you knew the other party wasn’t the “BAD PERSON” s/he was being made to seem like? Vow to carry a snake bite kit with you, and to have the courage to toss the snakes off their mountains. Leah Talley
10. We know what it’s like to go through custody battles, and we don’t want to seal our kids to that fate by marrying the wrong person.
This past week I have been struggling about blogging my life. One of my kids says she hates reading about her family here… I know it hurts her and I know she probablly feels compelled to read anyway.
I feel I must continue blogging here because I run across so many people on a daily basis facing choices I once made; facing outcomes that might hurt all the people they love, and I think my experiences might help them avoid mistakes that can’t be undone mistakes known by experts in PAS & High Conflict Divorces (HCD) shown, known and proven to cause serious, sometimes PERMANENT, psychological trauma to kids and parents in high conflict divorce cases (HCD}.
If you’ve been reading here before then you know that I feel that sometimes a parent isn’t alienating the child/ren on purpose; sometimes they are just so full of pain over the break-up they can’t bring themselves to be respectful… Talking about the other parent in a positive light is actually impossible when one is hurting so badly… and alienation can occur subconsciously. However, once a parent understands that their behavior, comments, and preventing contact so that normal healthy parent/child relationships can continue to exist, is harming not just their ex, but also damaging the children, well then we move to a different level. We may be leaving kids in the care of a cruel and possibly dangerous person… One who doesn’t care about the child’s self esteem, or who places their own feelings above those others. This is the person who should face sanctions, possibly criminal charges for child abuse. That is EXACTLY what this behavior is; Child Abuse.
Signs of parental alienation include:
- Bad-mouthing the other parent to the children
- Limiting contact
- Erasing the parent from the children’s lives
- Forcing the children to reject the other parent
- Forcing the children to choose sides
- Creating the impression the other parent is dangerous (yes I just said the alternator is the dangerous one…)
- Belittling comments to the other parent in front of the children
- Calling the children to testify against the other parent
- Convincing the children the other parent is creating financial hardship on the family
- Spreading rumors and lies to community members which make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other parent to remain within the family’s previous shared community.
- Making criminal allegations to law enforcement causing legal issues and sometimes incarceration when there is no validity to the charges; or the charges emanate from legal activity prior to divorce or separation.
My son believes that I stole from his father, he says he was shown proof. I have asked to see this proof to no avail. I’m left to believe either it doesn’t exist, or may be easily refuted once I can see what was shown to him. Proving a negative is almost impossible. However making sense of documents, providing legitimate reasons specific papers exist, is quite simple. Showing a kid some stock trades or line item purchases without giving background, or dates, (perhaps a married couple decision to make a purchase, now being twisted into a theft by the outsider) whatever the case may be, if their was a CRIME COMMITTED then the District Attorney would file charges, a criminal trial would ensue, and the truth would come out because unlike family court, criminal court has due process and burdens of proof to satisfy. How is a child supposed to have the critical thinking skills required to question legitimacy of these types of accusations? S/he can’t s/he just believes it or not.
MY HIGHEST CRIME:
ONE DAY while I was still married I did something out of anger that I knew was wrong. I charged 100 pizzas to his card and had them delivered to his former workplace with a nice greeting. $500. is no felony. People enjoyed it and I felt a little less angry that day.
Yup I did that.
– See more at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/parental-alienation#sthash.bSissCTq.dpuf
Losing A Parent is Childhood Trauma
The popular press has reported many stories about adults who suddenly remember having been abused as children. Some media reports have emphasized the unusual circumstances or content of such recovered memories while other reports have declared that the “recovery” of memories of abuse is false for a variety of reasons. Little in the press, however, has dealt with the science relating to memories of childhood trauma.
is working on life affecting issues arising from trauma exposure of many origins. According to their research memories can not only be false, but they can be planted by others!
Q: Are Recovered Memories Always Accurate?
Scientists believe that recovered memories – including recovered memories of childhood trauma – are not always accurate. When people remember childhood trauma and later say their memory was wrong, there is no way to know which memory was accurate – the one that claims the trauma happened or the one that claims it did not.
Q: How Might False Memories Develop?
A great deal of laboratory research involving normal people in everyday situations demonstrates that memory is not perfect. Evidence shows that memory can be influenced by other people and situations; that people can make up stories to fill in memory gaps, and that people can be persuaded to believe they heard, saw or experienced events that did not really happen. Studies also reveal that people who have inaccurate memories can strongly believe they are true.
Q: Is it Possible to Forget Childhood Trauma?
People forget names, dates, faces and even entire events all the time. But is it possible to forget terrible experiences such as being raped? Or beaten? The answer is yes – under certain circumstances. For more than a hundred years, doctors, scientists and other observers have reported the connection between trauma and forgetting. But only in the past 10 years have scientific studies demonstrated a connection between childhood trauma and amnesia.
Most scientists agree that memories from infancy and early childhood – under the age of two or three – are unlikely to be remembered. Research shows that many adults who remember being sexually abused as children experienced a period when they did not remember the abuse. Scientists also have studied child victims at the time of a documented traumatic event, such as sexual abuse, and then measured how often the victims forget these events as they become adults. They discovered that some people do forget the traumatic experiences they had in childhood, even though it was established fact that the traumatic events occurred.
Q: What Makes People Remember a Traumatic Event after Such a Long Delay?
At the time of a traumatic event, the mind makes many associations with the feelings, sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch connected with the trauma. Later, similar sensations may trigger a memory of the event. While some people first remember past traumatic events during therapy, most people begin having traumatic memories out side therapy.
A variety of experiences can trigger the recall. Reading stories about other people’s trauma, watching television programs that depict traumatic events similar to the viewer’s past ex perience, experiencing a disturbing event in the present, or sitting down with family and reminiscing about a terrible shared episode – for some people, these kinds of experiences can open the floodgates of frightful and horrible memories.
CALLING All Women Whose Kids Were Taken Away & Given to Fathers: MainStreamMedia (MSM) Is Listening!
Many National Mainstream Media Investigative Journalists, both TV and print, have recently contacted Cindy Dumas, Director of The Women’s Coalition, about the epidemic of children taken from women and given to fathers, many of whom are physically or sexually abusive.
MSM wants to know the extent of the crisis so this social media event has been set up for all women to get their voices heard. Editors, reporters and producers will be reading the posts and comments so please let them know how this has negatively impacted your life!
There are three ways you can participate:
1. Join the event and post about your case.
2. Comment, Like and SHARE posts
3. Send an email to
with a one page or less summary of your case. Put MSM in the subject line. [TWC will keep name confidential if it is requested.]
NOTE: It can be very brief if you’re short on time, something like:
“I am my children’s primary bond, but they were taken away from me when they were 8 and 10 and sole custody was given to the father who was abusive to them. I have been restricted to supervised visits and have been bankrupted fighting for them. We have been destroyed by the system.”
If you sent one for the UN Complaint, you can use that summary.
If you want anonymity TWC will post it for you.
Use a photo for more impact.
WHO should participate: Any woman who was the primary nurturer of her child(ren) and lost primary custody to a father (whether he was abusive or not)–even if joint custody was awarded–without a fair hearing.
NOTE: One journalist is especially interested in Massachusetts cases and two are especially interested in cases where the mothers went into hiding.
ONE PAGE SUMMARY (optional):
• You were/are the primary nurturing parent
• How many children were taken
• What false accusations were used
• What kind of visitation you got, if any
• How long you went without seeing your kids
• What kind of abuse was involved, if any
• Whether your evidence was covered up or disregarded
• Whether you were coerced into silence; by whom
• Which officials involved: DA’s, law enforcement, social services, family court officials, psychologists, therapists, etc. (names optional);
• Whether you/your kids suffered trauma symptoms
• Whether you were financially devastated
• Whether your career was damaged or destroyed
• How you feel about what was done to you and your children
Please SHARE this event so MSM is deluged with cases!!
(bloggers opinion, this should be an issue of injustice regardless of sex)
Source: The Missing Years
Alienation is a cruel experience because it removes from a child or young person the opportunity to engage with all of the aspects of people who love them in ways that enable them to accept that people can do good and bad things. It causes children and young people to adopt coping mechanisms of cutting out or running off, of avoidance of conflict and of heightened self righteousness in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the brain of the child, the critical firing of neurons and synapses fails to take place and the opportunity to build conflict resolution skills, perspective and a strong sense of self is lost. The false self which emerges through the missing years when a child is alienated is a ghost like persona, fragile and uncertain, masking fears and anxieties and a sense of self which is both over inflated and crumbling all at the same time. What happens to children and young people who are pushed into an alienation reaction is that so much more is lost than the relationship with a once loved parent. That is why prevention of this harm done to children is so essential, those missing years steal more than love from a parent, they steal the very chance a child has to build a normal and secure sense of self.
I work with children who are being alienated, who are alienated and who are struggling to recover from alienation. I meet them almost daily in my work and I understand that what they are experiencing is a complex trauma which is deeply hidden from the outside world. So well hidden in fact that most of the children I work with do not know it is there and most of them would tell me and anyone else who asks them that they do not need help thank you very much, apart from help in removing the target of their hatred from their lives. Work in such circumstances is counter intuitive, it is against the grain of what we are taught in our society and what we believe about children. A child’s decision to eradicate a parent is often accepted on the basis that the parent must have done something bad or that the child needs to be protected from conflict. If we only knew what we were condemning children to when we allow this to happen, many more of us would work harder, strive longer and find more creative ways of keeping children engaged with the parent they have ‘chosen’ to be rid of in their lives.
There is increasing evidence which demonstrates that the underlying problems which arise as a result of rejecting a parent, leaves the child carrying a burden which grows heavier as they get older. Children who are allowed to reject a parent and pretend that the parent no longer exists, fail to learn many soft skills that are essential in life if one is to navigate the relational world successfully. Children who have been alienated grow up believing that only their perspective on the world is the true reality and that avoiding people who do not share their world view is a normal way to behave. As young people grow, those missing years of relationship with a parent means that they do not have the opportunity to learn that parents are people who provide boundaries and they miss the chance to respond normally to the differences which are eventually expressed between parents and their children on the road through to adulthood. This is why alienated children will eventually struggle. The vital relationships with provide them with the opportunity for healthy brain development which in turn gives them sound relational skills and capacity have been cut out of their lives. If only those working with families in these circumstances knew the extent of the damage being inflicted when a child’s ‘decision’ to reject a parent after separation is being upheld.
Recovery from being alienated is about being able to learn that people can behave in ways which are good and bad and that those behaviours do not need to trigger a defence mechanism of believing that bad behaviour means a person is wholly bad. This is an extraordinary task to achieve if the capacity of the brain is limited because a person has been using the coping mechanism of psychological splitting. There is evidence that people with personality disorders for example, do not have a well developed corpus callosum. This is a bridge which divides the two hemispheres of the brain and which is made up of a bundle of fibres which enable communication between the two sides of the brain. A well developed bridge assists with a balanced use of the brain, in studies however, people withborderline personality disorder are seen as having a less developed corpus callosum, as are those with high conflict personalities who lack the relational skills to see other people’s perspectives.
All of this evidence is convincing us at the Family Separation Clinic that what we see in children and young people who are attempting to reject or resist contact with a parent after separation are behaviours which will, if they are upheld, lead to longer term problems for the children concerned. Problems which will not be readily resolved because the missing years of that parental relationship and the lack of resolution of the child’s efforts to utilise a coping mechanism which is harmful, leads to a lasting gap in the child’s capacity to achieve positive and healthy brain function. Fortunately we also know that about the plasticity of the brain and its capacity to continue to grow and change. Which means that whilst those missing years can never be regained, there is a possibility for repair and recovery should the young person be enabled to resolve the splitting which prevents reconnection to the lost loved one.
Missing years, missing knowledge, missing opportunities to prevent harm being done to children in the critical years of their lives. Isn’t it time that someone noticed that the gap which opens up between parents after separation causes children to have to deal with something more than conflict?
This is another Huffington Post Blog for W/C February 15 2016
Click above for Castles Family Law Blog. It has a lot of good articles, I highly recommend it.
i simply adore this woman’s ability to convey, much more succinctly than I, what it is like for the kids! Yayayaya! Please mighty followers here, give the lady your kinship.