After six and half months of no contact with my three children due to severe parental alienation, after overcoming unfounded safeguarding concerns against me and after spending in excess of £5,000 in legal fees, a couple of weeks ago I had a planned visit to a Contact Centre, with the plan to see my youngest child, my daughter for one hour. As stated above, at that point I had not seen any of my children for 6 and a half months. I am continuously led to believe via their mother’s solicitor that none of my children want to see me ever again.

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During the week or so building up to the visit, it was with a huge amount of guilt that I tried to put the visit at the back of mind and attempted to distract myself with work and spending time with loved ones.

This coping strategy worked to some degree until the day before the visit, when a volunteer member of staff from the Contact Centre telephoned me and informed me that the planned visit the next day could not go ahead due to certain points ‘not being clear enough‘ in the Court Order. Despite my polite protest to his claim, he would  not allow the visit to go ahead. I was then at a point where I had seek input from my solicitor. My solicitor intervened at my request and informed the member of staff at the Contact Centre that there were no concerns with the arrangements in the Court Order and that we should proceed with the planned visit the following day.

“My solicitor charges me more than £180 per hour. I am a mental health nurse working for the NHS earning approximately £12 per hour. Just consider that for a moment.”

In addition to this there were also attempts by my children’s mother to sabotage the planned visit. Details of which I cannot go into. Suffice to say this also required input and ‘advice‘ from my solicitor.

Now, lets put these obstacles into context without going into too much detail. My solicitor charges me more than £180 per hour. I am a mental health nurse working for the NHS earning approximately £12 per hour. Just consider that for a moment…

…So the day arrived and I drove into the car park of my local community centre. I observed numerous cars with men sitting alone in each car. I sat there reflecting on the past days obstacles and the attempt by my children’s mother to sabotage this planned visit. With this in mind I drove out of the car park and ‘hid’ the car around the corner and then walked back.

I entered the community centre and was greeted by some incredibly friendly staff members. I signed in and was shown into the main area where I observed five other fathers. Each man had a table and several chairs and there were a selection of toys and games available. Three of the fathers already had their children with them, and the warmth with which each of these fathers engaged with their respective children was both beautiful and saddening at the same time. Some more children turned up, leaving one father sitting alone with no children arriving. I overheard a staff member inform him that staff had contacted the mother of his children, but that she had “forgotten the visit was today and she would be a bit late”. He was advised by staff to wait. His children never turned up.

“Words cannot describe what it means to be a parent and to cherish every moment you have with your children.”

A short while later my daughter arrived. Within ten minutes into the visit my daughter and I were emotionally attached to one another, hugging, kissing and giggling to each other. Being unable to go into any further detail, the visit was a complete success. On reflection, and particularly after 6 and a half months of no contact it was one of the most surreal, amazing times of my life. Words cannot describe what it means to be a parent and to cherish every moment you have with your children. That hour appeared to be the quickest one hour of my life.

At the end of the visit my daughter and I kissed and hugged each other. I helped her put her coat on and she told me she wanted to see me again. She was then escorted out of the room by a member of staff.

After each child is taken away, fathers are required to stay in the room for fifteen minutes before being permitted to leave.

During this time a father who had just waved goodbye to his son approached me. “Is this your first time mate?” He asked me. From his overall demeanour, he appeared to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. “Yes it is, how about you?” I replied. “It’s my third, and before you ask, it doesn’t get any easier.” He did not say this with any malice, but simply in a sad and resigned tone. “Why is it only dads here?” I asked him. “Dunno mate, you tell me” he said as he shrugged his shoulders and looked to the floor. “You take care mate” he said as he walked off to sit at his table for the required fifteen minutes.

While I sat at my table for the required fifteen minutes, a member of staff approached me and asked how I felt the visit had gone. I informed him that I had had an amazing time with my daughter and couldn’t wait to see her again and that it had made me incredibly happy that she wanted to see me again ‘next time’. He informed me that all the staff had noted how much she had enjoyed spending time with me. Interestingly enough he then informed me that my daughter’s mother had clearly not been happy with me being present when she arrived (despite this being normal procedure that fathers arrive first). He then went on to tell me that she had requested from staff that the visit be stopped immediately and that our daughter be removed from me and returned to her immediately. I expressed to the staff member my sincerest gratitude and thanks in declining her request.

The staff member and I engaged in small talk until the end of my fifteen minutes, and with my mind filled with worry and trepidation around not only the overall welfare of my three children but the next planned visit, I thanked the staff and left the building.

btg dad


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The Peace Not Pas Team

As we enter another year and are once again confronted with the somewhat culture expectation to make New Years resolutions, some of us will see  this annual cycle for what it is. A way of invoking a ‘new beginning’, an attempt to implement some positive changes in our lives.

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It could be argued that this is a parallel for how some of us approach life. Worrying about the unimportant things in life, being allowed to be consumed by what others think of us. This does little for our general well-being and even less for the impact we leave behind in this world.

“There are far too many elements that are out of the control of an alienated parent.”

So what the bloody hell has this got to do with coping with parental alienation? This is how I see it… I have now not seen my three beautiful children for over six months and their mother continues to work very hard to prevent me and my side of the family from seeing them. I cannot control her alienating behaviours. I cannot at this stage change the unfair and overly biased legal system that does very little in challenging her illegal and emotionally abusive behaviours towards our children. I cannot make up for the time so far that I have missed out with my children. I cannot take away the pain that my family and I feel due to the children being taken and alienated against us by their mother. Simply put, there are far too many elements that are out of the control of an alienated parent.

“True happiness comes from cultivating compassion and by eliminating anger.”

However in terms of coping strategies it is incredibly important to value and appreciate the elements that are, in such circumstances, in one’s control. The Dalai Lama says “true happiness comes from cultivating compassion and by eliminating anger.”

Lets first look at anger, which alienated parents will invariably experience. To keep from being overwhelmed by such a negative emotion, many parents detach from the situation. It is important to remind oneself that this is an act of self-preservation, not an act of selfishness. In many cases guilt invariably follows, as the parent feels uncomfortable in engaging or re-engaging in hobbies or pastimes. It is important to remind oneself that this is simply a distraction technique, not a substitute for or preference over the children.

Now onto compassion, which is defined in the Oxford English dictionary, as ‘sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others’. The Middle English word is thought to have originated from Anglo-French and in turn from the Late Latin word compassio, meaning to sympathize, to bear, suffer. In numerous philosophies and almost all of the major religions, compassion is ranked as one of the greatest virtues. Furthermore the ability to be able to identify with another individual is a key component of what makes us human. Mirrored behaviours start in early infancy, with the mimicking of facial expressions and body movements of parents and carers. Such behaviours are highly related to the concept of compassion.

However the idea that a parent can alienate their own children against the other parent is difficult to understand and comprehend. To engage in such behaviours requires a complete lack of compassion on the part of the alienating parent. Divorce and separation is all too often painful and emotionally difficult and children invariably suffer to some degree. However as much as some parents are antagonistic towards one another, most if not all attempt to shield, to some degree, their children from the emotional and psychological fallout from the breakdown of a relationship. This is not the case for parents that alienate, narcissistic traits are what drive alienating behaviours, along with a nonsensical need for revenge and/or control.

“It is virtues such as compassion that drive us to continue in the most difficult of situations.”

Such circumstances allow you to find who your real friends are. These scenarios can bring the alienated members of the family closer together, and an outpouring of compassion to one another occurs. Extraordinarily, it is with compassion that the victims of parental alienation at times examine the emotional make-up of the alienater, looking for answers, trying to understand why someone would behave in such an uncompassionate manner, with such devastating effects on all those around them.

In my humble opinion, I feel that it is virtues such as compassion that drive us to continue in the most difficult of situations. It is compassion that allows us to persevere in the face of adversity.

And so I return to the subject of New Years resolutions. For the alienated parent, a new year could be used to invoke a new way of coping, a renewed vigour. Perhaps a new found appreciation and love for those that matter the most. Although the alienated parent at times will have feelings of despair, sadness and grief, compassion in its simplicity counts for a lot.

As the Dalai Lama says “if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

btg dad


Please Note: We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. 

We are also more than happy to feature quality content by writers; any wish to remain anonymous will be respected.

So if you align with our vision and ethos, have someone to recommend, are someone we would recommend or have something to say on the subject of shared parenting and parent equality in either a personal or professional capacity and would like a platform to have your say or contribute in some way to our cause, please contact us.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team