Archive

Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Mildly Alienating Parents Can Sometimes Be Helped To Stop Abuse, Steps You Can Take To Help Your Kids

August 1st, 2012 2 comments

If you’ve read books or other publications on parental alienation, you may have the impression that divorced parents who are alienators are unlikely to stop this form of abuse for any reason. There are a couple of common misconceptions here. First of all, even though parental alienation is usually discussed in the context of divorce, the fact is that parental alienation often starts long before a divorce or separation as the psychological factors that drive the most severe alienators include life-long personality disorders that were present long before the children were born. Secondly, it turns out that not all alienating parents are incurable. This is particularly true of mildly alienating parents who are angry but are not personality disordered. Often these mild alienators are prone to nasty verbal remarks about the target parent but do not engage in false abuse allegations and extreme interference in contact with the kids. If this is the pattern you see in your situation, there is some reason for hope. With appropriate teaching and enforcement of rules and boundaries, you can help your kids resist alienation. In mild cases of alienation, you may even be able to help your ex stop his or her behaviors. Even if you cannot get the ex to stop, taking appropriate steps early with your kids can often inoculate them sufficiently to prevent their alienation from becoming severe even in the face of a very nasty ex who is constantly badmouthing you.

Douglas Darnall, Ph.D., is a psychologist who works with many children suffering from parental alienation and is the author of Divorce Casualties: Understanding Parental Alienation. His analysis is that there are three types of alienating parents:

  1. Naive alienators
  2. Active alienators
  3. Obsessed alienators

Darnall contends that all parents occasionally are naive alienators who carelessly drop a remark here or there that puts down the other parent. Some may inadvertently slip into using alienating language as they struggle to counteract the badmouthing the children are hearing about them and behaviors the children have engaged in to support the alienating parent. These alienators generally do not cause extensive damage to kids because their alienation behaviors are sporadic and the kids continue to have enough contact with both parents that they can see for themselves what each parent is really like. Some of them, particularly those who are target parents trying to cope with difficult problems who just don’t have the skills and practice needed to stay completely away from judgmental language, they don’t really qualify as alienators in my view. However, Darnall tends to categorize this group more by words than by intent or context.

Active alienators know what they are doing and may know what they are doing is wrong, but do it anyway because of how angry they are. Darnall claims some of them may even feel guilty about it later. The children suffering from an active alienator generally show signs of harm, but it may not be obvious what that harm is at a casual glance. Often these kids miss some of their time with the target parent because of interference by the alienating parent. This makes them more susceptible to the distorting influence of what is an active alienation campaign.

Obsessed alienators are another matter entirely. These parents are focused on destroying the other parent and giving the children no choice but to hate that parent. They don’t care if what they are doing is wrong, and frankly they generally mistakenly believe it is right. Often these obsessed alienators are suffering from a personality disorder that results in them showing behaviors across the board that indicate they believe they are above the rules and the law. The children of obsessed alienators often show marked harm with behavioral problems, insecurities, eating disorders, substance abuse problems, poor performance in school, and other obvious signs. Frequently they echo the alienating parent’s complaints about the target parent and may actually believe what they are saying, in part because they are often denied much of their time with the target parent and therefore are highly influenced by the streams of badmouthing and distortions coming from the alienator.

Mild Alienators May Be Helped By Appealing To Their Self-Interest

I would clump most of the naive and and some of the active alienators into the category of “mild alienators” who are sometimes upset enough to trash the other parent but in general are not engaging in extreme forms of alienation including false child sexual abuse allegations, extensive community-wide distortion campaigns, frequent malicious violations of court orders, and other severe behaviors that you see nearly all of the obsessed alientors use in their alienation campaigns.

Some of these mild alienators can be helped to realize that their behaviors are harmful not only to their children, but to themselves, as well. Children who are subjected to parental alienation often become adults who avoid or turn against the alienating parent. When a angry but mildly alienating parent is confronted with information like this and shown there are better alternatives, many of them are capable of change. The book The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce by psychologists Elizabeth Thayer and Jeffrey Zimmerman has practical advice on how to restructure the relationship between the parents to be business-like contact that is about simple logistics (schedules, school events, medical and therapy appointments, etc.) and what is best for the kids. If you read this book or another title like it and can get your mildly alienating ex to read it, too, there’s a chance that she or he will turn around and start to behave more reasonably.

If your divorce has resulted in nasty words and a mild lack of cooperation that is affecting the kids but has not involved false criminal and abuse allegations, extensive perjury, and systematic harassment against you and your family, this strategy of using a good book to help bridge the communications gap and reduce the conflict may be useful to you.
Read more…

Alienated Moms Have It Bad Due to NOW’s Support of Child Abuse

July 17th, 2012 1 comment

Parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse that occurs when one parent teaches the children to fear, disrespect, and/or avoid the other parent. It’s a common problem in divorces, but unknown to many alienation often gets started in marriages well before a divorce.

Studies of parental alienation show that alienators are almost exclusively parents with sole custody of the children. Statistics on child custody arrangements show that around 80% to 85% of children of divorce in the US end up in the sole custody of their mothers and that this has been the case for multiple decades despite changes in family law and society. These two observations combined mean that parental alienators are predominantly mothers and the parents they are teaching the children to hate are primarily fathers.

Alienators are emotional child abusers, often in more ways than just by teaching the kids to hate the other parent. Many alienators suffer personality disorders and also engage in emotional parentification (also known as emotional incest) by inappropriately using their children as emotional crutches for themselves.

To deny the culpability of these mothers who are child abusers, feminists belonging to groups such as the National Organization of Women (NOW) deny the very existence of parental alienation. They usually offer statements that there is “no scientific evidence that parental alienation is real” and “parental alienation is an excuse for why children do not like child abusing fathers.” Richard Gardner, a psychiatrist who was among those early in describing and defining Parental Alienation Syndrome (commonly abbreviated as PAS, it is a severe form of parental alienation in which the child aligns completely with the alienating parent), made it clear that alienation was not at work if the child disliked a parent who was truly being abusive to the child. But the feminists, in their zeal to treat all women as victims and trash all men as abusers, completely overlook that fact.

There are a growing number of alienated moms in which the child abuser in the family is the father. Typically this occurs in families in which the father has a narcissistic personality and has some advantages such as:

  • He is more wealthy.
  • He has more education.
  • He has professional certification such as a doctor, lawyer, judge, or law enforcement officer.
  • He is more politically connected.
  • He is a native operating in his own culture and the mother is an immigrant.

These advantages for a narcissistic man often aid him in reversing the usual anti-father bias in family courts, generally producing an anti-mother bias in these cases. Although anti-father bias is clearly wrong, it is disgustingly ironic that often when the bias becomes anti-mother it is happening in cases in which the fathers actually are behaving abusively.
Read more…

Sociopaths In Our Midst Hate the Truth and Its Advocates

November 12th, 2010 63 comments

What is the one thing a sociopath does not want other people to know? The truth. More specifically, sociopaths do not want the truth about them to be known as they are insecure, malicious, and devious people. Beyond being embarrassed by the truth of their behaviors and thoughts, they have a deathly fear of being exposed and rejected. That’s in large part because they use lies, manipulations, and distortions to control other people and get what they want. If others were to know about their true nature, they realize that most would want nothing to do with them. They would lose the support networks of malicious minions they control and incite to abuse other people. Therefore sociopaths have a strong motivation to attack, discredit, harass, and ruin anybody who presents arguments and facts that might tend to raise questions and doubts about their behaviors and their false statements.

Many sociopaths are so insecure and malicious that they feel similarly motivated to go on the offensive, perhaps with lesser severity, in reaction to people who might embarrass them with obviously nasty (to them) comments like “Is that lettuce stuck between your teeth?” or “Your car is filthy! There’s a $3 carwash special across the street.” If that gets them unhinged, just imagine what being exposed as a child abuser, false accuser, liar, or thief will do.

Sociopaths Experts At Blaming Others, Greatly Fear Being Blamed

Nobody likes to be blamed, but a responsible person will accept blame for something appropriate. Sociopaths don’t like to accept blame for anything, even if it is well-earned. While part of this is likely from their typically narcissistic “I’m better than you” and “rules don’t apply to me” attitudes, there’s more to it than that. They may realize that blaming is how they control others to harm the targets they viciously attack, often family members or former love interests. They understand both the destructive and defensive powers of blaming and make regular use of both.

Sociopaths may be especially cognizant of the risk that people whom they have used to abuse others might even turn against them, especially those who might be greatly angered by how they were manipulated into participating in destructive and harmful activities against others. People like to blame others. While sociopaths do it with extraordinary intensity and dishonesty, the people they manipulate are likely to do it, too. After all, a sociopath was able to manipulate them into unjustly attacking a former partner, a child’s other parent, teacher, doctor, counselor, therapist, or some other party the sociopath doesn’t like and that clearly demonstrates they are the sort of people who are into blaming others. Who is to say they won’t turn and attack the sociopath when they realize how they were used?
Read more…

Dr. Richard Warshak Launches “Plutoverse” Parental Alienation Blog

November 4th, 2010 No comments

Dr. Richard Warshak, noted child psychologist and creator of such helpful titles as Divorce Poison New and Updated Edition: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing and a DVD entitled Welcome Back Pluto: Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Parental Alienation, has launched a new blog he is calling Plutoverse. He’s initially focusing on the impact of parental alienation on children and families, particularly from the angle of psychology and his personal treatment experience working with children and parents suffering from the damaging effects of alienation, but expects he’ll be covering other topics, too.

In his introductory email, he explained his motivations for the site:
Read more…

Southern California Parental Alienation Conference on November 13, 2010

October 5th, 2010 No comments

Karen Lebow of the Southern California Parents of Alienated Children’s Network has announced that an all-day conference on parental alienation is planned for Saturday, November 13, 2010, from 8am to 5pm, at California State University as Northridge near Los Angeles. Admissions prices range from $60 to $75.

The keynote speaker is Amy Baker, Ph.D., author of the acclaimed book Dr. Amy Baker entitled Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind.
Read more…

Dr. Amy Baker On Parental Alienation, PAS, and Helping Your Kids Resist Both

September 29th, 2010 2 comments

Dr. Amy Baker is a researcher studying and reporting on parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome. As she explains, parental alienation refers to the behaviors and tactics used to cause children’s relationship with a parent to suffer. Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) refers to the effects on the child, especially when they become so severe that the child doesn’t want to spend time with a parent and expresses disgust and dislike for that parent without a valid reason.

In her book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, she discusses many case studies of parental alienation and presents summaries that show common alienation tactics and the long term damage to the children and the target parent.

The video below features Baker talking with WABC TV host Ken Rosato in 2009. She discusses what motivated her to study parental alienation and some of her findings on common alienating tactics and effects on children.
Read more…

Marriage Rates At Record Lows, Are Americans Realizing Marriage Isn’t Safe?

September 28th, 2010 2 comments

The US Census Department revealed that marriage rates in 2009 were the lowest in more than 100 years. While they attribute it to the economy, those of us who have seen what it is like to have children and marital conflict in the US know that the government’s anti-family and victim-persecuting policies are major disincentives to marrying.

Given the lack of psychological education for children, many suffer badly from child abuse with no help coping. Many of these abused kids go on to become abusers themselves.

Few know how to identify these abusive adults until after they marry them and discover they are being emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically abused on a frequent basis. It is far too easy to inadvertently marry a sociopath.

Even when you figure out you have married an abusive person, the courts will often, perhaps even usually, not protect you from these people. Instead, they take the abuser’s side and help them commit even more abuses. “Take the kids, take the house, it’s your reward for terrorizing your spouse” is the common refrain of the black-robed bandits in American family law courts.

Is it any wonder why more and more people are wondering whether marriage in America is even safe any more?

Further Reading

Donald Bren’s $3 to 9 Million in Child Support Enough, Says Jury

Escaping Sociopathic Abuse Almost Impossible When Children Are Involved

American Judicial Terrorism May Lead to Widespread Violence

Stopping Parental Alienation Requires Family Court Reforms

Census data: Weddings in 2009 at record low level

American Parents, Family Policy, and Courts Contribute to Poor Student Performance

September 26th, 2010 3 comments

The recent release of Davis Guggenheim’s film Waiting for Superman has contributed to a flurry of discussion over how to fix failing American schools. I’ve read quite a bit on thoughts regarding school reform and find that there is a striking absence of discussion of American family policies and the abusive family law courts as major contributors to poor student performance. Yet studies show that divorce has a major negative impact on student performance.

(from More Studies Show Divorce Hurts Kids’ Education)

Adverse impact of divorce upon education has skyrocketed as divorce has been more common. Divorces in 1920 caused a 3.6 month loss of education, but since 1970 they have blown up to about a year in lost education. This timeframe roughly corresponds with the rise of “no fault divorce” in Western nations.

Multiple divorces had an even worse impact on high school graduation rates. While students who parents stay together average a 78.4% rate of graduation from high school by age 20, one divorce drops the graduation rate to 60%, about the same as for children whose mother or father died. Divorce and remarriage did not significantly change the graduation rates for children versus divorce with no remarriage. But with divorce-remarriage-divorce (two divorces), the graduation rate drops further to only about 40%, half of that for children whose parents remained married.

Parties as diverse as social scientists, economists, and national security experts point out that America’s under-performing educational system is a threat to the future of the nation. The United States has long maintained the economic and military superiority over its adversaries that lead to a secure and prosperous nation in large part due to the educational opportunities available to American children. Universal K-12 education means every child is supposed to have access to the knowledge and skills needed to get a start in life. American universities attract the best and brightest students from around the world. The inventiveness of these students is immense. They often become scientists, entrepreneurs, and other major contributors to the advancement of knowledge and wealth of the nation.

America’s academic performance has been on a steady downward slope for decades. This decline parallels the destruction of families via no-fault divorce that has made divorce far more common as well as the laws and court behaviors that create conflict and place children into traumatic and contentious custody battles. Often these children are stripped of most or all contact with one of their parents due to wrongful sole custody decisions and the courts enabling and encouraging parental alienation child abuse. The two phenomena of poor school performance and poor family life are directly related. While parents do make their own share of mistakes, failed government policies are the glue that binds together these interconnected disasters into a destructive spiral.
Read more…

Parental Abductor Melinda Thompson Arrested in Amsterdam

September 12th, 2010 17 comments

Melinda and Andrew Thompson

On September 9, 2010, law enforcement finally caught up with parental child abductor Melinda Thompson, formerly Melinda Stratton. On April 24, 2008, she had disappeared with son Andrew Thompson after leaving Australia to go to Germany on a Singapore Airlines flight from Sydney to Frankfurt. Her professed intent was to keep the boy away from his father, Ken Thompson of New South Wales, Australia. After more than a year searching for his son, in mid-2010 he traveled to Europe to do a bike tour across the continent in search for his son. He biked over 3000 miles across nine countries raising awareness of his missing son. He wore clothes covered with pictures of Andrew.

Ken discussed in an interview with BBC news about how he discovered Andrew had been found. He had stopped cycling in Germany between Nuremberg and Stuttgart to check his email. There was an anonymous message stating that Andrew had been found and Australian authorities would contact him.
Read more…

Donald Bren’s $3 to 9 Million in Child Support Enough, Says Jury

August 28th, 2010 No comments

California billionaire Donald Bren had two children with former girlfriend Jennifer McKay Gold. They had a 13 year long affair, but they never married and he had little involvement with the children. Gold claims that Bren promised he would be involved in the children’s lives and that his failure to do so is a violation of agreements between them. Therefore Gold and the children, David Bren, age 18, and Christie Bren, age 22, decided to sue Donald Bren for $134 million in back child support.

Donald Bren is Rich

Bren is very secretive and media-shy about his life, income, and assets. Estimates are that his assets may be worth around $12 billion, largely derived from real estate development in Southern California. Forbes Magazines has placed him 16th on its list of the 400 richest Americans.

He and his attorney claim he paid about $10 million in child support, vacations, cars, and other payments and gifts to Gold and the children during their childhood. He felt obligated to ensure they would receive advanced education through graduate school if they wished, received luxury German cars when they started to drive, and live in an upper middle class standard of living well beyond that of most of the US population. Clearly these children were not in need of more money.

Is Gold a Golddigger?

Gold disagrees on the amounts. She and the children also claim that he owes far more because he didn’t stay involved in their lives.
Read more…