Moms Discredit Themselves by Denying Parental Alienation

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There are probably thousands or more mother’s rights groups around the world. The web is replete with their sites such as Justice4Mothers and Rights for Mothers. Generally they are irate about being deprived of contact with their kids and being financially and emotionally destroyed by family law courts. I certainly understand that as it has happened to me, too, as it has to many other parents. Unfortunately, some of these moms have gone off the deep end into sexism and gender warfare that is both counterproductive to their cause and to the interests of their children. A very obvious sign of this is the many mother’s rights web sites that issue blanket denials of the existence of parental alienation, a form of emotional child abuse that is common in divorces and troubled families.

Kids Need Both Parents

Mothers deserve to spend time with their kids, just like fathers do. In almost every case, aside from extreme abuse and neglect, kids benefit from significant time with both of their parents and their parents’ extended families. That judges in family courts across the United States and in many other nations use child custody as a means to encourage conflict and thereby increase workload, revenues, and relish in their own power as family dictators is a disgusting display of tyrannical behavior that must be stopped.

If the family law courts of which I am aware are even remotely similar to those in other parts of the United States, the many abusive family law judges in this country are a far worse threat to the safety and security of the typical American child than Al Qaeda 9/11 terror attacks and BP oil spills combined. In opposing the tyranny of the family law courts, I support these mother’s rights groups in regards to their intent to stop the abuses of the government and its war on families. I have similar opinions of the father’s rights groups in this regard.

Abusive Ex-Spouse Encourages Dislike of Ex’s Gender

As a father with an ex-wife who has pursued an agenda of totally eliminating me from our children’s lives using abusive behaviors and illegal tactics including perjury, harassment, defamation, very serious false criminal accusations, lying to police, and much more, it sometimes takes effort to avoid falling into the trap of regarding all women by default as evil, spiteful creatures intent on harming men.

Our children don’t fear me and don’t dislike me despite their mother’s years of continuing viciousness that seem to have started with their very birth, perhaps something to do with hormones or psychological problems stemming from her childhood, or perhaps related to the affair she had while she was pregnant.

Despite their lack of fear and dislike, they still repeat the defamation and attacks they hear from their mother. Their mother cannot bring herself to stop her hateful behaviors that are hurting our children. For this, she is perversely rewarded year after year by the abusive family law courts. She has been taught that lying and false accusations gain child custody with zero chance of penalty. She continues to help keep the judge busy with conflicts, arguments, and false accusations. In return, the judge pays her off with rewards. There is no justice in this system, nor any intent on following the law.

Certainly not all women are so vicious and aggressively manipulative, yet it is sometimes hard to remember this when one’s life has been smashed to bits by a woman who didn’t honor her marriage and still will not stop the psychological violence even many years after the divorce she initiated. Although I cannot help but feel afraid of women in general after what I have experienced and observed regarding lying women playing victims as a tactic to gain power and rewards, I know that not all women are like my very sick ex. Sadly, some men are like her, too.

In more recent years, I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who is the polar opposite of my ex-wife — rational, caring, fair, responsible, and free from the ravages of personality disorders and other mental health problems.

Yet despite this, or perhaps because of it, my ex even spreads her defamation to attack my wife. She has clearly tried to involve our children in this, yet the kids like their step-mom a lot. They can see she is genuinely a wonderful person who cares for them a great deal and does not demand them to ignore or disrespect their own mother, contrary to their own mother’s false claims. They can see this clearly with their own eyes. They enjoy spending time with her and me despite their mother’s alienation efforts.

As added reminder that not all women are the aggressors, over the years I have come to know of women who have been put into destructive situations similar to my own, both deprived of contact with their children and terrorized by the family law courts. Often these are for insane or illegal reasons, even going so far as what looks like backroom deals with judges and their attorney friends who represent the fathers. They have been harmed just like I have. Sometimes it is the fathers acting just like my ex-wife who caused most of the damage, but far more often it is the family law courts trying to bolster their revenues and job security by picking winners and thereby creating many more losers. Many of these judges believe in a zero-sum game in which the courts rape and pillage families for fun, profit, and job security.

Gender-Based Parental Rights Groups Hurt Family Law Reform Cause

While I support both the mother’s and father’s rights groups in their battle against the tyranny of family law courts, I fear they are both doing a great deal of damage to their own causes because of the gender polarization they create. As I discussed in my previous article Gender Polarization Impedes Family Law Reform, they create an “us versus them” mentality which contributes to gender-oriented bickering and attacks and thereby hinders progress at halting the human rights abuses in tyrannical countries such as the United States.

For those not experienced with juvenile and family law courts, please realize that the United States truly is a tyranny for many who have found themselves thrown into the hell of domestic relations courts that deprive children of loving parents and strip parents of their children, homes, incomes, assets, and freedoms for months or years, often rewarding false allegations and illegally avoiding the safeguards of due process and equal protection under the law. The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution is routinely violated by these courts. Among the judges who control them, there are many family dictators who relish their power over children and parents who do whatever they wish, often with reasons of no more consequence than a whim or a prejudice. Based upon their rulings, it would not surprise me if some of these judges determined case outcomes based upon the day of the week, the phase of the moon, what they had for breakfast, or whether they slept with one or both of the lawyers in front of them. Their rulings are so frequently arbitrary or biased that it is impossible to have any respect for such judges.

There is seldom any way to appeal their decisions, even when they are based upon factual errors and extreme bias. For one, the law often fails to restrict their ability to wrongfully interfere with families and strip people of their rights. Furthermore, after the courts have terrorized a person for months or years, they seldom have the financial resources and physical and mental health to mount a battle to defend themselves and their family. The government has sucked the life out of them, just as these judges intended. In the process, the judges have created more work for the courts and their many friends who are attorneys, psychological evaluators, or employed in some other related job that exists due to the courts. “Abusing kids and parents for fun and profit” seems to be their mantra.

Those in government who support tight control over the lives of children and parents want the gender warfare to continue. It weakens the opposition to their tyranny and abuse. As they want to continue to abuse children and parents for profit and job security for themselves and their friends, anything that weakens the opposition is likely to be good for them. They are ever so pleased to see gender-oriented groups making fools out of themselves and creating more divisiveness.

Anybody who is seriously committed to human rights reform and court reform should be pushing hard for both the mother’s rights and father’s rights groups to drop the gender warfare.

By this, I do not mean that there is no room for pointing out bad dads and moms. I mean there should be no room for sexist and inaccurate blanket statements that all moms are parental alienators, all dads are abusers, and other such drivel.

Parental Alienation is Child Abuse, Defamation, and Harassment In One

In case you need a refresher on what parental alienation is, its essence is unnaturally disrupting and damaging the relationships between a child and a parent and that parent’s extended family. Researchers who have studied it have often broken down the behaviors that contribute to it to include denigration as well as access blocking.

Denigration, often called badmouthing and sometimes perhaps more accurately called defamation, involves inaccurate depiction of a parent and often relatives of that parent as being horribly flawed, evil, vile, stupid, foolish, lazy, or many other types of insults. Often it is based upon a sliver of a truth that is blown up into something very distorted for effect. For instance, maybe a parent likes to drink wine with Friday evening dinners. An alienating parent might try to spin that into the parent is a drunk, drives drunk, wastes all of his or her money on alcohol, and habitually uses illegal drugs, too. The children may come to believe this is all true, even though the target parent’s total alcohol consumption is far less than the typical person in his or her socioeconomic peer group and the parent has never had a traffic ticket or any other problem with the law over the use of alcohol or drugs.

Alienating parents often involve their friends, family, and social groups in the abuse. These people often are disturbingly gullible and prone to repeat the defamation of the alienating parent both verbatim and in alternate forms in front of the children. For instance, a church pastor involved in this sort of abuse might comment to a young child about “drinking and driving is bad, just look at your father’s car accident” as he’s been told the father was drunk driving. In reality, the father was not drunk or on drugs. He was stopped at a stop light and was rear ended by a garbage trunk that crushed his car and has left him unconscious and on life support in the hospital for weeks, unable to defend himself from the mother’s lies. The more people the child hears repeat these lies, the more likely the child will be to believe them. Thus an alienating parent strives to involve many other people in the alienation campaign.

Access blocking generally consists of restricting contact between a child and a parent and that parent’s extended family. Phone calls are not answered, child custody exchanges are blocked, visitations are not allowed, mail and gifts are intercepted and hidden or destroyed, children are kept out of school to keep the other parent from picking them up on visitation days, and so forth. A child subjected to this comes to believe that the alienating parent’s parents statements about the target parent are likely true because there is so little contact to disprove the lies.

Parental alienation is widely regarded as a form of emotional child abuse. Like other forms of child abuse, many of the perpetrators grew up as abused children who were taught that these kinds of behaviors are not only normal but are expected in a parent. Alienators can be mothers or fathers. Most research suggests that parents with significantly more custody and contact with the children are more likely to engage in parental alienation than those with little contact.

In extreme cases, children can be made to not only believe that things which never occurred did occur, but they can even be duped into joining in attacks on the target parent. They often internalize the defamation being spewed on them by the hateful alienating parent in the absence of contact with the target parent that might help them to have a more balanced view of reality. Such children have been known to steal and destroy the property of a target parent during their infrequent contacts or even to murder the parent, as in the case of Texas doctor Dr. Rick Lohstroh who was murdered by his 10 year old son firing a gun into his back in August 2004 due to parental alienation abuse inflicted by mother Deborah Geisler.

Parental Alienation is Common

Having seen my own children, those of other parents in supervised visitation and exchange centers, and the children of the former marriage of an in-law whom I know to be a good parent all display the earmarks of parental alienation abuse, I am confident from personal experience that parental alienation is real and is happening to a large number of children. While it is commonly associated with divorce, parental alienation can occur within intact families, also. Parental alienation often starts during a marriage, before the divorce.

The target parent is often damaged severely, something the alienating parent is glad to see. Yet the damage to the children often lasts a lifetime via mental health problems such as depression, diminished financial well-being and even poverty, elevated divorce rates, and increased drug and substance abuse. Further, children who are victims of parental alienation tend to enter into relationships that result in more alienated children. A parent who alienates a child truly does not care for that child in any responsible way. The child and any grandchild the child may someday have are all markedly harmed by the actions of the alienating parent.

The damage may often be more serious than even moderately severe cases of physical or even sexual child abuse. That is in part due to the extended duration and repetition of parental alienation. The lack of readily visible scars that show up in medical exams means that an alienator can easily get away with the abuse even if it is committed over an entire childhood.

Abusive Judges Worsen Damage from Parental Alienation

I remind myself that as evil as my ex-wife’s behaviors are, it is the family law courts and government that have created most of the damage to our children and our family. The same is true for many victims of the family law Gestapo, regardless of gender.

In particular, courts are apt to quickly reward false accusations and other alienation tactics with increased custody for the false accuser, often completely cutting the falsely accused parent out of children’s lives for months or longer. This sets up children to be surrounded by parental alienation attacks with zero opportunity for them to see the target parent and understand that the attacks are baseless.

In a very real sense, judges who do this are child abusers. They aid and abet emotional child abuse. Often these child abusing judges will at some point then use their actions to justify continued abuse. For instance, a judge who strips time away from a parent due to child abuse allegations may a year later, when the allegations have been conclusively disproven, rule that the children have done so well with the falsely accusing parent that the target parent will continue with little to no contact even though the court acknowledges the allegations to have been made falsely and the children to have been coached to lie by the dishonest parent. This makes absolutely no sense morally or legally, yet child abusing judges do exactly this.

The essential problem is that the courts and government have so far overstepped their legal and moral bounds that they are effectively family dictators who use divorce and child custody battles to suck the financial lifeblood out of millions of families while so badly damaging them that they create a perceived need for millions of government jobs, particularly in courts, social services, and law enforcement. If this system was overhauled and restrained like it ought to be, the moms and dads who are suffering from deprivation of contact with their kids would likely no longer be in such a bad place.

Avoiding Counter-Alienation

Our children deserve to grow up knowing both of their parents and their parents’ extended families and to not be subjected to the alienation and mind games that abusive parents use on children. They know they can call their mom when they are with me or answer a phone call from her. Their mother refuses to do likewise, and they comment on this. They can put up pictures of her, and indeed I have provided some myself. They can make cards and artwork for her and talk about her as they please. They can do all of this without hearing attacks on their mother in return, seeing their artwork disappear or be destroyed before they can give it to her, or being exposed to other mind games alienating parents like to use to abuse their children. That’s because I am consciously making an effort to not counter-alienate them. It is not always easy, but I believe we are doing a good job of avoiding counter-alienation.

Yet it is difficult to figure out how to respond to their many comments about their mother’s latest false criminal accusations, comments about how she wants to put me in prison, or claim she needs them to protect her from me. Such claims are especially ridiculous as she is clearly either delusional or a liar given that she makes efforts to create opportunities to have contact with me by breaking rules and schedules and then tries to spin them into some horrid fantasies about how I’m an abusive nutcase who is stalking her or excuses about why the children shouldn’t see me. The children are clearly uneasy about her doing this.

I remind them that they have to make up their minds about people on their own, that it is OK for them to love both of their parents, and that kids should be able to see both of their parents. They seem to understand their mother is so busy with her hate that she has an inability to tell the truth. I hope that realizations like this are indicators that they will avert the worst of the damage that parental alienation could cause to them.

Gender-Based Parental Rights Groups Hurt Kids

Both mother’s rights and father’s rights groups that push gender warfare are hurting a lot of people. Father’s rights groups sometimes try to promote the illusion of fathers being perfect parents by denying the existence of physical and sexual abuse against children. This is nutty as these things really do occur. Furthermore, it is not infrequent that mothers are committing such abuses against children. Denying that such abuse occurs simply makes those who do this look like lunatics.

Yet in the mother’s rights groups, I see an even more disturbing tendency to distort reality to hide very serious problems that are hurting many children, likely far more than the number that are really being physically or sexually abused. In particular, I am very alarmed that so many of these groups deny the reality of parental alienation and how it harms children. It is not infrequent that fathers are engaging in parental alienation against mothers. Child abuse is equal opportunity regardless of gender.

Many of us who are fighting the war against the tyranny of family law courts can see this problem, but few verbalize it. Perhaps it is because they don’t want to draw attack from these groups as some of them can be quite nasty, mounting widespread defamation campaigns against people they don’t like. Justice4Mothers, for instance, managed to get itself banned by WordPress due to repeated harassment and defamation.

While I’m sure I’ll get some negative comments and even attacks about being sexist scum for writing this article, I believe it’s important to point out how the rabid mother’s rights groups are doing a lot of harm to a lot of people, including themselves, by denying the reality of parental alienation. Perhaps someday they will realize that if they are to achieve any real success for themselves and for children and all good parents, they must change their attitudes significantly. I hope this article might accelerate this change in attitude. It is not meant as an attack on the groups, rather as a strong statement that promulgating irresponsible positions borne out of dogmatic agendas is hurting them and hurting all of our children.

Denial of Existence of Parental Alienation is Lunacy

When mother’s rights groups deny parental alienation is real, they become enablers of child abuse. They make themselves look like lunatics who are so out of touch with reality that it puts doubt on every other argument they raise. Virtually every child of divorce or a troubled marriage knows from personal experience that one or both of their parents have been very nasty and even dishonest about their other parent at times. They didn’t like it, and they can see how if it is pushed to an extreme that it can cause harm to children just like it caused to them.

Cindy Dumas Denies Parental Alienation is Real

The case of Cindy Dumas is a prime example of how the denial of reality of parental alienation casts serious doubt on other statements. This San Diego mother has been alleging for years that her former husband, Eric Moelter, sexually abused their youngest son. She even abducted their three sons and disappeared with them for three years, ostensibly to protect them from their father.

Dumas has many criticisms of the San Diego family law courts that are valid. It is easy for many people to feel sympathy for her and her kids given what the San Diego courts have done to them.

While some point to experts involved in the Dumas v. Moelter case being biased or incapable of evaluating the accusations and that this means their conclusions there was no sexual abuse are simply false, I don’t agree. That is in part because Dumas also spews nonsense that parental alienation is not real and that any child who shows fear or dislike for a parent must have been abused by that parent. This is completely at odds not just with my own personal experiences and observations, but also with the experiences of millions of parents and children who have gone through divorces.

Furthermore, it contradicts large amounts of well-designed research by reasonably neutral and reputable people such as Dr. Jayne Major and Dr. Amy Baker. Baker in particular has investigated the effects of the abuse long after the abused children have become adults, and it is clear the children themselves recognize their own experiences as being indicative of parental alienation. Her book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind reports on 40 cases of adult children who were victims of parental alienation as children. After reading this book, I cannot believe that any honest and rational person would be issuing blanket denials of the reality of parental alienation.

Dumas and mothers like her would be far better served to deny that they are parental alienators but to acknowledge that parental alienation is a real phenomenon that is hurting children. These are entirely compatible statements. The failure to portray parental alienation this way just reinforces the image of Dumas as showing the black-and-white thinking typical of many personality disordered aggressors in family law cases. She destroys her own credibility by her extreme blanket statements regarding issues that many other people can see are blatantly false.

Moms, Stop Denying Reality!

Mothers who are victims of the family law Gestapo and especially of an abusive ex-husband may find it hard to do anything but male-bash and issue blanket denials related to whatever they were accused of doing that cost them child custody. It’s not so hard to understand that being victimized tends to create a strong desire to stop the victimization. However, this pursuit of an extreme dogmatic agenda so far from reality doesn’t help stop the tyranny, it merely prolongs it. It is hurting all of us who are trying to save our children and ourselves from the tyrannical courts. Mother’s rights groups, please find a more effective way to argue your cases!

Recommended Books

Further Reading

Custom Search

Gender Polarization Impedes Family Law Reform

Parental Alienation Can Happen to Adults and In Marriages

Deadly Divorces: Bonnie Hoult, Bruce Pardo, and Many More

Breaking Mental Illness, Violence, Divorce, and Murder Cycles

The Gregory Mantell Show: Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Lohstroh Case: Articles published from August 27 to November 2004

Eric Moelter Speaks Against Cindy Dumas Distortion Campaign

Nassau County judge jails mother who falsely accused ex of sex abuse and alienated him from kids

  1. June 21st, 2010 at 04:42 | #1

    Frankly, your long-winded spiel did not impress me. Nowhere on my site do I say all fathers are bad or that they are all abusers, nor do I say that all mothers are saints. It is websites like yours that try and turn this into a gender war. This is about abusers (male or female), the court whores that support them, and the judges that enable them. And most importantly, the children who suffer because of it.

    WTH do you mean that both parents should have access to children except in cases of EXTREME abuse? An “advocate” in a midwest state last year blamed a mother for her own death when she went to get a protective order against her abusive husband. Three days later he broke into the house and stabbed her to death in front of their two children, this being on Father’s Day. The “advocate” said she was practicing “parental alienation” for getting a protective order, and that even though he was an abuser (and murderer), she should have been allowed full access to the children. Why, so they could be stabbed too to hurt the mother. We all know that happens a lot now.

    The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has warned judges not to accept claims of parental alienation syndrome or parental alienation because of it’s well known use by abusers to get children. The American Judge’s Association and the National District Attorney’s Association also have stated this and have debunked the use of PAS in courts. These are not “rabid” mothers groups, but professionals that see what is going on. Hundreds of mothers who have had this scam pulled on them in court to lose their children were in front of the White House on Mothers Day last month. Just Google it…it was very successful. Many meetings were held over the following weeks with government officials and progress was made on this. None of us whose children are now in the hands of abusers are going to shut up or go away, and it is finally paying off.

    So really, don’t waste your time making this a gender war. Or is it that you supporting abusers that don’t “extremely” abuser their children?

    • June 21st, 2010 at 17:43 | #2

      Nancy, you’re so stuck in your own dogma that you can’t see it. It’s hurting your own cause and situation.

      You go on and on about fathers using false parental alienation allegations to strip custody from mothers. Yet how is making a false accusation of parental alienation any worse than making a false accusation of physical child abuse, domestic violence, or child sexual abuse?

      We’ve clearly discouraged people from making false accusations to gain child custody. Parents and their allies who make false accusations to destroy the other parent and disrupt the children’s relationships with them should be held accountable for their crimes. Yet it seems that the “mother’s rights” extremists will not ever say this for some reason. Reading between the lines, I think most of us can figure out why.

      It’s a fair question what I mean by “extreme” child abuse.

      By extreme abuse, I mean a single action that threatens life or a pattern of multiple continuing actions that threaten life, safety, or create clearly evident trauma.

      CPS and courts are removing kids from their homes for all sorts of reasons that they label as abuse or neglect but which are not extreme abuse. This should stop.

      For instance, mommy finds solid proof that daughter stole $50 from her wallet, slaps her on the face when she lies about it, and then locks her in a closet for an hour as punishment. That’s something which could be labelled as child abuse and used as a reason to prevent the child from seeing the parent.

      If this happened once or twice (or even once or twice per year), do you think that splitting up this mother and child totally is reasonable? Even though I don’t think this is great parenting, I don’t think such an extreme reaction is reasonable.

      Even if it is agreed that it is abusive, there are better ways of dealing with this problem than removing the child from the home and maybe, if some judge is feeling generous, instating two hours per week of supervised visitation at $100 per hour into effect. Put the mother and child into conjoint conflict resolution therapy for three months with a qualified therapist and order the therapist to write a progress report for the court, for instance.

      Replace the mother and daughter in that scenario with father and son or any combination thereof and the argument still stands. Things which some people consider abusive and many others do not should not be used as excuses to inflict far more damage on children and parents. It is the “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” argument.

      Losing a parent by court or government action over something that did not clearly pose a continuing threat to the health and safety of a child is an abuse in and of itself, and further is an abuse of a far more serious nature. That is at least in part because the government is supposed to deal with this after careful consideration, unlike a parent who may be acting in the heat of the moment in a situation in which clearly some action is appropriate but the parent made a poor choice or simply because the parent is having some very difficult times. Divorce, job loss, death of a family member, etc. can all cause people to have problems in other areas, such as appropriate parenting, that might lead them to act in more extreme ways than they usually would.

      American government, media, and extremist groups have tried to turn nearly everything they dislike into a crime that can be used to justify cracking down on their political opponents. It is getting so bad that it will not surprise me if there are soon many cases of parents who express political opinions disliked by the government having their children removed from them or even all contact banned supposedly because speaking against the government is abusive.

      Political persecution of parents who express views the government does not like is a growing problem in the United States. Besides the obvious example of the San Diego courts engaging in political persecution of Cole Stuart for his role in opposing the corrupt and abusive San Diego courts, there are other examples. Read Cole Stuart Considers $10M False Arrest Suit Against SDCBA in case you haven’t already. Cole Stuart and many others involved with CCFC, even including some who doubt your friend Cindy Dumas, have signed the Dumas petition to recall Judge Lorna Alksne. Alksne is the same judge who is the nemesis of your friend Cindy Dumas, and she strongly appears to have been involved in this illegal persecution and abuse of power. Many believe that Alksne is an abusive tyrant who does not belong on the bench and certainly should not be supervisor for the entire San Diego family law court, but there are far more reasons for this than Cindy Dumas and her supporters mention.

      As another example of political persecution of parents, there are people who appear to be reasonable parents who have not committed any serious crimes except for the “thought crime” of openly advocating legal access to marijuana. Because freedom of thought and speech is often being subverted by the government in the United States, they have had their kids removed from them apparently as a form of political persecution. Go read Police: Teaching Kids to Mistrust Government Makes Couple ‘Unsuitable’ Parents to see what I mean.

      I’m not a fan of marijuana, have never used it, and certainly don’t condone illegal drug sales. But regardless of my opinions of marijuana, I don’t think it is reasonable to strip parents out of their kids’ lives like this over what is clearly not extreme abuse and is very arguably not abuse at all.

      Should American revolutionaries who opposed British abuses have had their children removed from them because they said something the redcoats didn’t like? It is the same kind of question. Today, in a tyrannical America, the government frequently comes down on the side of political persecution.

      I never mentioned PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome). That’s because people just argue endlessly about the semantics and create more animosity in the process.

      Parental alienation is child abuse, whether or not you agree on the definition of PAS, or even its existence.

      Furthermore, there are parental alienators who are fathers. By denying the entire problem of parental alienation, mother’s rights groups are simply making it more likely this abuse against children will continue. It is hard to see how they have the best interests of children, including their own, in mind with such a ridiculous position.

      You argue against any acceptance of parental alienation because false parental alienation accusations have been used to deprive children and healthy parents of contact with each other.

      If you were intellectually consistent, you would be arguing against the acceptance of any domestic violence and child abuse accusations whatsoever because false accusations in those realms have been used to deprive children and healthy parents of contact with each other.

      As I believe in being intellectually consistent or questioning my own position if I see I’m being inconsistent, you don’t see me arguing that all parental alienators should be banned from access with their children. Most parental alienation does not rise to the level of extreme abuse for which such a ban would be appropriate. That’s not to say it could never happen. What was done to Rick Lohstroh’s son to motivate him to murder his father does reach that level of extreme abuse. Unfortunately, because of groups such as yours that fight to hide and whitewash this form of child abuse, it is likely there will be more cases of parental murder caused by parental alienation.

      The single-minded focus on denying the existence of parental alienation exhibited by people like you is evident reason to question the motives, accuracy, and legitimacy of everything else you write. That is why I strongly urge you to revise your thinking and positions on this. You are correct that the courts are abusive and reform is needed, but many people have trouble agreeing with you on anything when you clearly cherish a ridiculous belief that is harmful to many children and parents, including many mothers despite your professed “rights for mothers” monikers and comments.

  2. June 23rd, 2010 at 20:11 | #3

    Nancy Carroll is a notorious feminazi.

  3. GOOD DAD
    August 8th, 2010 at 00:52 | #4

    Chris:
    Another outstanding article, and follow up comment.
    Other than the first consideration should be “the best interests of the child” (which you reference in your comment), I have nothing to add.

    • August 8th, 2010 at 04:18 | #5

      Thanks for the compliments, GOOD DAD.

      The “bests interests of the child” standard is far too vague as it is currently being used. It leaves judges able to do exactly the opposite, often pursuing their own interests of punishing people they don’t like and making decisions that will demonstrably harm children.

      Family law judges as a group tend to be very poorly suited to deciding anything regarding children. They view conflicts in zero-sum game terms, with winners and losers, and are usually completely lacking in training and understanding of the psychological problems that drive conflict and trauma. Further, there are far too many corrupting influences at work in family law courts compounded by no means to reduce their influences due to a lack of peer juries in child custody decisions.

      Trying to pick the better parent is something judges simply cannot do well. They lack the knowledge and insight, even if somehow they do have the training in psychology which the vast majority do not have. They get it wrong more often than they get it right. And even if they do get it right, realizing that a mentally ill or alienating parent is causing a lot of damage, they seldom can understand or predict what the impact on the children from their decisions will be.

      Family law judges are either unwilling or believe they are unable to implement family support systems featuring continuing support and the “incremental refinement” that are needed for ensuring that kids get significant time with both their parents while conflicts and damages are gradually minimized. In most of these high-conflict cases, there need to be intermediaries to ensure that conflicts, questions, accusations, etc. are resolved early, before the conflict and damage becomes severe. Intermediaries are also needed to monitor for truly excessive behavior that may require corrective actions and then to put into place those corrective steps necessary without overshooting in some punitive fashion that will do more damage than good.

      Kids who are caught between warring parents, even if there is only one parent doing the warring, are going to have to learn how to deal with the mentally ill thinking typifying many of these people. They need exposure to both healthy and unhealthy ways of thinking along with support mechanisms to help them deal with the confusion and conflict that comes from these experiences. As they will have to deal with both of their parents for a lifetime, failing to educate them on how to manage difficult personalities, set boundaries, and protect themselves from emotionally abusive behaviors simply sets these kids up to be another generation of traumatized emotional abuse victims who are likely to abuse their own children in the future.

      Trying to pick “the better parent” and doing nothing to implement the necessary support systems more often than not results in children ending up spending a considerable portion, often even the majority, of their time with the parent primarily responsible for causing troubles without the healthy experiences and counseling and support they require to make it through this mess without suffering a plethora of their own psychological problems as a result.

      If a parent is truly irredeemable, and I believe that very few really are, that will show up over time and can be much better ferreted out over a few years with support systems in place. This also allows the chance for emotionally abusive and alienating parents to recover from the abuses they probably suffered themselves and to stop abusing their own children. Many of these people were severely abused as children so it is no wonder they have great difficulty with relationships.

      There is also a distinct flavor of sexism in many of these decisions that shows that judges are not being fair and unbiased. Simply looking at statistics, if parents were truly being treated fairly, there should be something around a 50/50 gender split on primary custody of children. It is nothing near this, primary custody the vast majority of time is assigned to the mother and often fathers are being treated as nothing more than sperm donors and slave labor with their incomes paid to the mothers. Sometimes it happens the other way around, but not often. Either way, it is virtually never justifiable given the blanket total failure to meet the very high “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” evidentiary standards that should be required for stripping people of their human and civil rights.

      Very few parents are so messed up that they should be allowed no time with their children. But today, the standards for determining this are so weak and vague that often capable parents are banned from contact with their children simply because the other parent is so vocal and good at manipulating others that they get sole custody rulings that make absolutely no sense. Often a capable parent is put into no-win situations in which the parent cannot figure out what to do because every option is bad because the other parent has so manipulated the circumstances and they have no resources on which they can rely to help them avoid the traps being set for them.

      The courts cannot be trusted to get custody decisions right and more often than not are effectively “convicting” capable parents of “crimes” used to justify depriving them of rights and depriving their children of contact based upon perjury and manipulations of an abusive parent who is adept at looking like a victim. So many people have experienced this directly or indirectly, via friends and relatives, that it is far more likely that a jury, rather than a judge, would be able to cut out much of the inappropriate use of very slanted time assignments. Today, the courts are nearly always assigning one parent “primary” or “sole” custody when that isn’t appropriate.

      In the end, the law must be changed to ban judges from deviating from 50/50 custody except in cases in which there are criminal convictions regarding behaviors that would significantly affect the children. If there are no such criminal convictions, then no deviation from equal shared parenting should be allowed without agreement from both parents unless there is a jury put into place to evaluate the case. The changes should go so far as to eliminate the notion of primary custody — custody should truly be shared equally in most cases.

  4. Lori Cosgrove
    August 15th, 2010 at 14:24 | #6

    I’m curious Chris…how would you feel if some guy beat your daughter up and then won joint custody or sole custody in a court of the kids and used the arguments the father’s rights groups are using to get it? Do the fathers who promote such ridiculousness as to spout that a majority of abuse charges are nonsense think about what if it were their daughters?

    • August 16th, 2010 at 23:33 | #7

      Lori,

      If there’s proof of assault, prosecute the accused criminal in the proper court. Handling of crimes belongs in criminal courts, not in family law courts.

      If there is no evidence or it is not convincing, there is a significant chance of the allegation being false.

      Furthermore, statistically it appears if there is violence in one direction there is a significant chance there is violence in the other direction, too.

      International studies of physical partner violence show that about half of violent couples engage in mutual violence, about one third are women on men violence only, and about one sixth are men on women violence only.

      These studies were conducted by researchers who formerly bought into the “men are violent, women are victims” propaganda. My recollection is that Murray Straus, University of New Hampshire, Harvard University, and other reputable researchers and institutions were involved in these studies.

      Violence often comes from attempts to control one partner via manipulation and threats that constitute psychological violence. The partner being controlled often reacts to psychological violence with physical violence. This was a consistent finding in these studies and was independent of gender.

      Even if you don’t believe any of this, consider how emotionally abusive and manipulative some women can be, particularly those who were formerly abused by their birth or foster families. Children of abuse tend to become abusive against others later in life at a much higher rate that children who were not abused. This applies to both partner abuse including physical and psychological violence and also abuse against children. Many women argue that females are the primary abuse victims, yet even if this were so in one generation, being an abuse victim drastically raises the odds for becoming an abuse perpetrator.

      No reputable father’s rights groups of which I am aware condones violence.

      While I think the gender wars and including gender-specific words in group names both serve to hurt efforts to reform family law courts and to come up with lasting remedies for abuse and violence in families, there is no question there are some groups with “father” in their names that are working very hard to address problems in one or both areas. Fathers & Families is one of those which come to mind. If you truly examine what they write and publicize with an open mind, it is difficult to see how anybody can legitimately conclude they are a sexist organization or are advocating anything other than gender-neutral law and changes to allow fathers to have a fair chance to be parents.

      I would expect daughters to be protected similarly to sons. Gender should not enter into determination of guilt or parental rights.

      Chris

  5. one of thousands
    August 18th, 2010 at 17:02 | #8

    A good question Lori. I’d like to respond.

    First, Chris is entirely accurate: no knowledgable psychologist, academic, or professional in the field will deny that family violence, when it unfortunately occurs, is usually “mutual.” Meaning someone slaps, the other pushes, and often tragically it escalates.

    Further, literally dozens of studies show that women “initiate” physical violence equally as often as men.

    No one condones violence. Women’s groups, men’s groups, lawyers, judges, professionals. Not one. Even the perpetrators, eventually perhaps, recognize it’s wrong. If they don’t, they’re sociopaths.

    But this is a path of back and forth that is not fruitful. The questions are not “who’s to blame”–but “how to heal.” Blame is backward-looking and punitive. “She hit me, take away her kids.” Well that doesn’t help her to heal and hurts the kids. “He screamed at me, take away the kids.” Ditto.

    Family court is populated by smart people. Some don’t use those smarts, but they have them. They should use them to help parents find solutions–not win or lose battles. Only hurts parents and only hurts kids. Dumb.

    And they have abundant resources for doing so. It’s just set up wrong. When you enter a divorce lawyer’s office you’re told “Fight to win.” Bullshit. Fight and you’ll just start a fight. But then again, if you don’t fight, you may get your head handed to you on a platter by an angry ex.

    It’s simply wrong. Why? Because most lawyers have been trained to work in a conflict environment. Winners and losers. Judges are lawyers too. Most of them former DAs who threw people in jail.

    What if—just imagine—there were no “divorce court.” Instead if you got so sick of the person you fell in love with years ago (you picked him b/t/w) you could go to a place that didn’t require you to think in a “win/lose” scenario, but to help you plan the rest of your life with your kids (the kids you conceived together) and clean up the finances? And what if you could go there for free? Instead of encouraging you to assassinate your ex, they encouraged you to politely make peace, wish each other well, work out a mutually-agreeable support plan for a reasonable period of time, take care of the kid’s needs for the future, and move on with your lives.

    For free.

    Sound impossible? Nope. It’s already available with widely available resources such as Bill Eddy’s group, uptoparents.org, and others. Money spent on attorneys, psychs, courts, deputies, reporters, coordinators, filing offices—it’s an enormous budget. Convert it to more healthy alternatives and you have abundant resources to generate far, far more productive outcomes.

    Granted—those borderline personality disordered, narcissistic, or bizarrely vindictive sociopaths who want to assassinate their ex, punish their ex, or don’t really want a divorce but only to change their ex or “prove a point” will lose a tool to wreck havoc in their ex’s lives. I’m sure we’re all disappointed about their loss.

    Why don’t we have those tools? Easy—money, thirst for power, and lack of political will.

    Money: Avarice is a biblical deadly sin, but it’s abundant in family court. Lawyers, courts, court reporters, etc. etc. etc. make literally billions per year off conflict. They get to step into the lives of others, take their money to earn a salary, and in some cases can have an effect on where the kids go, who’s “right or wrong” etc.

    Power lust: It’s a biblical sin, but oddly (for me at least) some people get a hard-on telling other people what to do. It’s called fascism, totalitarianism, Nazism, whatever, but it’s absolutely and completely opposite to the principles of freedom and liberty this country was founded on.

    Lack of political will: Since I’ve slammed judges, lawyers, and beauracrats heavily, only fair to slam you too. You’re too damned passive (or lazy, or ignorant, or you just don’t give a shit) to use your own brain to wake up and make a change. I’m speaking here to the general public—if you’ve read this far you obviously care. But tell this to your friends: You’re asleep at the wheel. This sh*t is in place because you’re not paying attention, and it’s destroying our children, our families, our communities, our cities, and our nation. Thanks for that.

    People—wake up—you’re enslaved to a terrible system because you’re allowing yourself to be enslaved. You’re taking advice from a system designed to consume you and your families.

    Ships change course only when the captain changes his mind, or when new captains come aboard. Old captains rarely change their minds.

    Good luck and Blessings to all.

  6. one of thousands
    August 18th, 2010 at 17:36 | #9

    Lori:

    To address the specific point you made regarding “Parent hitting kid”—clearly that’s a serious problem. Parents should never hit their kids (or anyone else for that matter), period. Personally I don’t even believe in spanking—just not necessary and encourages violence in the kid down the road.

    If a parent uses violence against a kid, the parent needs help. The parent is clearly unable to restrain the emotion that caused the act.

    But the solution isn’t a custody switch—it’s perhaps separation for safety while the parent obtains education, therapy, training, or whatever the parent needs to be a better parent. Perhaps monitoring for progress by courts, psychs, etc.

    But custody switch is not the answer—no professional—not one—denies that kids need healthy relationships with both parents. Kids also need safety, and if that cannot be achieved, perhaps a more permanent custody switch is in order. But the goal should not be who “wins” custody because of one or the other parent’s problems—it should be to >heal< a parent with a problem and re-establish the relationship.

    There is no such thing as “winning” a “custody battle.” If you don’t recognize this >you’re< the problem. Your child needs both a mom and a dad. Sure, step-parents can be helpful substitutes, but kids necessarily identify with their biological parents.

    It’s this clumsy, clearly harmful concept of “winning” custody that drives parents to do things in court that harm their kids (and themselves). It’s driven not by care for the kids (though that may be one motive), but by hate, vindictiveness, jealousy, or some other harmful emotion directed at the ex. An emotion which is, after all, just another out of control emotion that harms the child and must be addressed by education, therapy, etc.

    Why do parents buy into the concept of “winning” a divorce? See my previous post.

    Good luck and blessings.

  7. Keith
    October 24th, 2012 at 01:54 | #10

    I read a lot of “call to action” but no direction in where to focus those efforts. I had thought at one time that there might be a political power over the judicial system and pleaded to political leaders. Through this I found out that the political system has no bearing over the judicial system. It seems like there is an evergrowing distrust with the judicial system. However, nobody knows what to do about it or how to change it. Does anyone reading this have any answers about how we can call to action a change to fairness and accountability in the judicial system?

  1. August 10th, 2010 at 06:39 | #1
  2. August 20th, 2010 at 08:40 | #2
  3. September 2nd, 2010 at 22:11 | #3
  4. October 2nd, 2010 at 04:38 | #4

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