When I first started my mental health nurse training several years ago I used to hate the lectures that aimed to teach us how important research is.

I found both the subject and the lectures boring, dull and at the time I didn’t really understand the importance of research. On reflection, I now realise that because I didn’t really understand research, I was fearful of it.

However my course was degree based. And as such I had to learn the importance of research and the importance of evidence based practice in order to write my much dreaded dissertation.

“Little did I know back then how valuable my eventual understanding of research and evidence based practice would be in battling parental alienation.”

I now understand the importance of research. To this day it continues to inform and underpin my clinical practice as a mental health nurse. However, little did I know back then how valuable my eventual understanding of research and evidence based practice would be in battling parental alienation.

Cafcass’ initial response to my particular case of parental alienation was to give my children time. However this is the complete opposite to all the available research and evidence based practice in terms of approaching parental alienation.

At the risk of sounding pompous and somwhat gradiose, I softly and appropriately challenge every single professional’s opinion that attempts to dismiss parental alienation. I am a thorn in the side of many professionals from both Cafcass and Children’s Social Services.

I do not overly challenge them in meetings. However I challenge them via emails, so everything is documented.

It was my presentation to Cafcass of evidence based practice that I highlighted they were not following, that resulted in them backtracking and re-working with my two older children.

It was my presentation to Cafcass of evidence based practice that I highlighted they were not following, that resulted in Cafcass undertaking a psychological assessment. This assessment subsequently confirmed my suspicions; that my ex presents with Cluster A personality traits.

These are just two examples of how I have used my understanding of research and evidence based practice to challenge the relevant authorities in terms of me battling parental alienation.

Here at Peace Not Pas we aim to provide support to all those fighting parental alienation.

However this also includes attempting to encourage, enable and support people to become more well-informed about parental alienation. We should not have to fight against parental alienation. However, until such a time that it becomes officially recognised and managed with the same severity as any other form of abuse we have to continue to fight it. We simply  have no choice.

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This is why as Peace Not Pas we feel understanding the importance of research and evidence based practice is an integral part of battling parental alienation.


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The following is a brief beginners guide to the reading and understanding of research articles. Particularly with regards to battling parental alienation:

  • A research article might appear intimidating for some at first. Even thinking about reading a research article can be fearful itself for some. However, trust me, it is not as bad as it seems.
  • Before you even start reading a paper or document, take a look at the authors and their institutional affiliations. Are they credible? Some institutions/authors are well-respected; others may appear to be legitimate research institutions but some may be driven by a certain agenda.
  • My advice is to begin by reading the title, abstract and conclusions first, before deciding on whether to read the whole article.
  • The Title: Like the title of a book which will attempt to attract a potential reader, the title of the article is the one thing which will attempt to attract a reader. A good title should fully inform the potential reader a great deal about the study to decide whether to go ahead and read it or not.
  • The Abstract: This is the part of the article that should help the reader to determine whether he or she should be reading the entire article or not.
  • The Introduction: The purpose of this is to provide the reader with a rationale for conducting the study.
  • Materials and Methods: This section explains to the reader how the researh was carried out.
  • Results of the study: In this section the researchers will give details about the data they have collected.
  • Discussion: This is the most important part of the article. This is where the answers are answered.
  • The Conclusion: Although I advised reading the conclusion at the beginning, it is prudent to read it again at the end to confirm whether what we had inferred initially is correct.

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Different Types of Research Articles:

Literature Reviews Articles: Theses articles are basically a critical evaluation of studies of previously published research. For example in the case of parental alienation, a literature review will ultimately critically evaluate a number of previously published studies on parental alienation.

Case Studies: These will include reports of case materials of an individual, group, community, or an organization. For example, this could be the experiences and results of a number of alienated children going through psychological interventions and the subsequent results.

Quantitative Research Articles: The aim of these articles is to measure/quantify
variables for individual participants based on individual scores. For example, this could measure the number of people afflicted with mental health issues due to being children affected by parental alienation

Qualitative Research Article: The aim of this type of research is to focus on observing and understanding participants’ behaviors and attitudes. Researchers will then write a reports describing the phenomena under study. For example this would be presented as more of a narrative of peoples experiences of a given intervention to minimise the detrimental effects of parental alienation.


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The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all the different types of aresearch articles. And I sincerely hope I have not scared anyone away from the topic of research!

My aim was to attempt to get across the importance of reading and informing ourselves as much as we can about parental alienation. And the importance of research and it’s relation to evidence based practice.

While I was writing this I was at the same time engaging in an online conversation with other members of the Peace Not Pas Team. We were discussing how, in the absence of any official recognition of parental alienation how as targeted parents we must play the system.

And this playing the system brings me to my conclusion of this post. From the above advice I am not by any means advising every single one of us attend every single meeting arguing at every opportunity with every professional about the injustice of parental alienation. My advice is simply this:

Arm yourselves with as much information as you can. Become confident in reading and understanding research articles. Learn the skill of picking out the most pertinent points.

Look for gaps and deficits in the services involved. And with the aid of information garnered from as much research as possible, point out where and when these services are not abiding by evidence based practice and appropriately challenge them.

In terms of your approach be as determined as the alienator. Agree to every single intervention offered. Agree to attend every single meeting. Agree to do whatever it will take for the services to see that you are co-operating as much as you can.

Over time, as saddening and as frustrating as it is, at some point the services will see the alienator for who they really are. And throughout this time inform yourself as much as you can about parental alienation.

Please do make full use of our ever growing list of articles on our Research Articles Page.

“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz.

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

[Warning: Once again the following paragraphs contain a disproportionate amount of sarcasm!]


I attended yet another meeting today. I was told, yet again it was a really important meeting. I was also told it was about the welfare of my children. I was also told it was imperative I attend, in order for my opinions and views to be heard.

“Welcome to the wonderful world of parental alienation!”

For those that read my last article I attended a meeting earlier today, I apologise for the feeling of repetition in the above opening paragraph. However today’s meeting was a really important follow up meeting to the aforementioned meeting.

All I can say is, welcome to the wonderful world of parental alienation; where every single important professional loves a meeting. But no single important professional takes any accountability in any of these meetings.

For those of you unfamiliar with my writing, I am what is known as an alienated parent. Due to contact denial by my ex, I have now not seen my children since summer last year (2016).

For those of you unaware of what parental alienation is, please see here for a more detailed description.

“So what happened in today’s really, really important meeting?” I hear you all ask?

Well, for a start I asked the eighth social worker I have come into contact with a number of questions. (Yes that right folks, you heard it right the first time, eight social workers!)

My first question was, “do you, as Children’s Social Services recognise parental alienation?”

“What do you mean by parental alienation?” Was the somewhat astonishing reply from the aforementioned social worker.

“Parental alienation, as a set of behaviours, not a syndrome. Parental alienation, as is recognised by Cafcass, do you recognise it within Children’s Social Services?” This was my simple response, beit a question.

At this point I did not feel the need to elaborate on the fact that Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive of Cafcass recognises parental alienation, but that his actual Cafcass practitioners do not. (I thought I would leave this battle for another day).

Evidence of Anthony Douglas’ recognition of parental alienation is in the public domain for all to see in his interview with The Telegraph, dated as recent as 12th February 2017. The full article can be found here.

“That article that I emailed you, did you have a chance to read it?”… “I read some of it.”

So in returning to my inquiry, an assistant practitioner who was present at the meeting interjected and asked me “what do you mean by parental alienation, as a set of behaviours?”

I directed the following reply back to the social worker “that article that I emailed you, did you have a chance to read it?” (A few days previous I had emailed the Social Worker Sue Whitcombe’s article entitled Parental alienation or justifiable estrangement? Assessing a child’s resistance to a parent in the UK.) This article is available for download on our Research Articles Page here. Alternatively, the direct link to the article is here.

The Social Worker’s reply was remarkable to say the least. “I read some of it.”

On further direct questioning from myself regarding Children’s Social Services lack of recognition of parental alienation, the aforementioned social worker stuck her neck out and went so far as to say “we recognise parental alienation as a term.”

“The level of potential malpractice and lack of recognition evidenced from today’s really, really important meeting was there for all to see.”

[I sincerely apologise to you the reader for my forthcoming expletives]. 


“Thank fuck Children’s Social Services recognise parental alienation as a term! Otherwise all us thousands of alienated parents out there would be well and truly fucked!” I thought to myself.

So there we go reader. The level of potential malpractice and lack of recognition evidenced from today’s really, really important meeting was there for all to see.

I did not inform the attendees at the meeting that I am actually an incredibly proud co-founder of Peace Not Pas. Nor did I inform them that as an organisation we have engaged with a recent Westminster debate that took place only two weeks ago with the aim of legal reform.

One of the key questions within this Westminster debate was ‘where there is no “evidence” of the non resident parent being a risk to their child, why can’t the courts – “the system” – order the re-establishment of contact within a matter of days?’ See here for full details of the aforementioned debate.

The affiliated organisation OnlyMums & OnlyDads are well worth a visit here. As Peace Not Pas we contributed to the debate. Our contribution can be found here.

Dear readers, I apologise for the disproportionate amount of hyperlinks in the above paragraphs. However as someone that will continue to fight this battle, I firmly believe that being as informed as possible is an intergarl part of challenging such a flawed systems.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela.

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

I have been touched by the cruelty of parental alienation. Perhaps from a distance but enough to have made me actually cry last Christmas. And enough for me to get so frustrated at the futility of the battle that I could explode!

“These young children were brainwashed, denied the truth and denied their father.” 

You see, my sister’s partner has been fighting to see his children for a very long time. At first, it appeared to be a kind of hell hath no fury like a woman scorned scenario, anger from the ex, torn clothes etc.

But it wasn’t long before the children become her weapon, her way to attempt to maintain power and control. These young children were brainwashed, denied the truth and denied both direct and indirect contact with their father. All this emotional trauma, facilitated by their very own mother.

The reason I write this is because I was once in the same position as this woman. I am a mother with a young daughter whose father, my then husband left me and said he didn’t love me anymore. I had all the typical feelings; hurt, fear, anger, bitterness. I felt like I wanted revenge and wanted to  make him suffer for hurting me! I did feel out of control like my future was uncertain and there was invariably a fear of being alone.

But and this is a big but. This is what separates me from a pissed off woman feeling scorned, compared to an alienating parent. I knew that my little girl loved her daddy and he loved her. They did things together, just the two of them.

“It is against a parent’s inherent natural instinct to not encourage the other parent to spend time with their own child.”

Being six years of age at the time, it was difficult for her to understand life without her parents being together. As much as I felt I hated him I had to remind myself that he still loved our daughter deep down. It is against a parent’s inherent natural instinct to not encourage the other parent to spend time with their own child.

That is why I cannot understand a woman who would deprive a loving father of their children. Empathy from being a parent myself surely makes you understand?

When you create little humans together one parent doesn’t have precedence over the other; it is equal, call me old fashioned.

If old fashioned is happy healthy children knowing they are loved for by both parents separated or not – then bring it on!

Written by

suzzymom


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

[Warning: The following paragraphs contain a disproportionate amount of sarcasm!]


I attended a meeting earlier today. I was told it was a really important meeting. I was also told it was about the welfare of my children. I was also told lots of important professionals would be attending. I was also told it was imperative I attend, in order for my opinions and views to be heard.

For those of you unfamiliar with my writing, I am what is known as an alienated parent. Due to contact denial by my ex, I have now not seen my children since summer last year (2016).

My children claim they no longer want anything to do with me. My ex has effectively brainwashed my children against me. She allows them to believe I left them, and that I no longer want anything else to do with them.

It has been evidenced by numerous professionals that she is exhibiting alienating behaviours. It has also been evidenced by numerous professionals that she is effectively emotionally abusing them day in and day out.

She has been ordered to stop by numerous Judges, Court Orders and some really important professionals. However she continues to put the work in and my children remain alienated against me, all thanks to her unrelenting alienating and brainwashing behaviours.

For those of you unaware of what parental alienation is, please see here for a more detailed description.

Anyway, back to this very important meeting. My friend and I were escorted into the meeting room at the same time as my ex and her friend. Then all the very important professionals entered one by one.

“The poor grammar and punctuation gave the impression of either someone being rushed, not giving a shit or both. Who knows!”

The customary round the table introductions was facilitated in such a manner that it reminded me of being at a funeral wake. Even though all these very important professionals were clearly attending this very important meeting, they all appeared to have the same dull facial expression and uninterested overall demeanour. That of someone that appears to have something much more important to do with his or her time.

A social worker then read out his concerns from a report he had been required to write, of which we had all been supplied copies. The poor grammar and punctuation gave the impression of either someone being rushed, not giving a shit or both. Who knows!

I requested to interject as it clearly became apparent to me that he had misquoted me in his report. He would not relent, he was adamant I had said what I said. We were asked to agree to disagree and move on.

“Why don’t you both just grow up!”

Anyway readers I will spare you any further details, for reasons of confidentiality and so as not to bore the hell out of you all.

As we started to conclude discussions, each of these really important professionals were given the opportunity to give their final statements and findings. My particular favourite comment from one of the professionals (whose remit I will not disclose) was, “why don’t you both just grow up!” Wow, what an incredibly supportive, insightful, professional and compassionate comment to make, I thought to myself. But wait it gets worse…

A short while later, my ex’s friend (who was sitting next to me) made the following comment to me, “this is all about what you want as a father isn’t it!” This comment presented itself to me as an incredibly misplaced sense of loyalty to her friend; the victim mother in this situation.

However this friend, who was previously a mutual friend of mine too, prior to her turning to the dark side of parental alienation, appeared completely oblivious to the role she was now playing as an enabler of parental alienation.

Please see an earlier post of mine entitled An Open Letter to Enablers of Parental Alienation. This article highlights the key role enablers play in the tactics of an alienating parent.

In response to her above comment I replied “that’s a strong statement to make.” To this she replied, “well, that’s my opinion.” I said nothing further in response, what is the point I thought to myself.

When it got to my turn to make any concluding comments I started to inquire about parental alienation and which organisations recognise it and which don’t. This inquiry was not deemed relevant by the Chair. She quickly moved proceedings on to the next person.

“Nevermind, this is only about the welfare of three young children!”

“So what was the outcome of this very important meeting today?” I hear you all ask. Effectively nothing! My children remain in an abusive environment and that’s it.

Oh shit! I almost forgot, there was an outcome I forgot to mention. We have another meeting planned! But we have no goals or aims to work towards in readiness for this next meeting. Nevermind, this is only about the welfare of three young children!

GeneralMelchettPeaceNotPas

In honour of all the important professionals that attended today’s meeting and their overall conduct I would like to finish with a somewhat fitting quote.

The character of General Melchett who is the incompetent World War I General featured in the British comedy show Blackadder Goes Forth makes the following statement: “If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”

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

There are many people in our society who are narcissistic in their nature, and even though few would be willing or able to admit to, most of us have certain tendencies that come from a similar place.

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Vanity is in us all

Vanity itself has its roots in such behaviour, but in some contexts it is merely identified with a preoccupation with self image. Society has indeed placed such behaviour at the forefront of our daily lives for centuries. It’s just just Hollywood actors or the world’s “Top Models” who are guilty of poisoning us with physical ideologies that are far beyond the reach of most of us. As much as we try to blame self-image and self-esteem on the prevalence and bombardment of body image in the media, we must recognise that such issues always come from some level of insecurity within. Otherwise everyone consuming the same media would succumb to its terrible potential, and we know that isn’t the case.

There is also the more recent obsession with taking “selfies” which seem to be an extension of the age old habit of constantly checking on one’s looks in a shop window. We don’t to do that any more because we all carry not only a small mirror in our pockets, but one that can take a picture of our outer beauty, but it can also instantly share it with the world. Literally: the world. For some people this is just a spot of occasional or holiday fun – “Look where I am today…” – but for others this can spiral into a habit of astonishing and worrying regularity.

However, when we start venturing into the realms of mental health and psychological disorders the world begins to get more complex. More dangerous. Above all, it becomes more likely that not only will some people finally succumb to the effects of a disorder, those around them – and especially those close to them – will be caught in the emotional shockwaves. Anorexia, Bulimia, obsessions with plastic surgery, and all other forms of body dysmorphia don’t simply affect the individual, they take hold of relationships, entire families, friendships, and sometimes even entire communities.

It is unfair to lay blame on those who suffer from disorders simply because they have an illness. We are so ludicrously behind the treatment of physical illness when it comes to mental health. Indeed, we are still woefully behind recognising, or even accepting it, let alone treating it. Our prejudice is rooted in our everyday culture and language, and we casually use self-affirming phrases that worsen prejudice rather than address it.

The Lunacy of Language

Most of us will recall Walt Disney “Loony Tunes” with great fondness, and there never was anything sinister in their creation. But when you just hop back a little along the etymology scale it doesn’t take much to link “looney” with “lunatic.” A little thought further takes you to the word “lunar” – of the moon. Now think of all the things we associate with the moon, such as Werewolves. The idea that madness stems from the presence of a full moon is ingrained in our thoughts. Everyone from teachers, to doctors and nurses, and the police, will attest to an increase of “mad” behaviour when there is a full moon.

Many theories have tried to support this; many have debunked it. The moon makes the oceans change, so surely its power on humans should be expected, right? Well, maybe. But the motions of the Earth and the Moon, and their magnetic fields, are really why the seas move. As for increased criminal behaviour, some more cool-minded people have pointed out that a full moon provides more natural light to carry out late night crimes, making it more a pragmatic solution than a sign of some “lunacy” affecting behaviour.

Image result for full moon mad

What about women? They are to blame for all out madness, aren’t they? Even dating back to the writing of the Bible, we can see that it was eve who bit that apple and led to all the troubles. The ancient Greeks believed that Prometheus created Man first, and it was only upon the creation of woman – Pandora…yes, her – that we ended up with all of man’s ills being brought down upon the Earth. Hardly surprising, therefore, than madness becomes associated with women, and given the fact that they have a tendency to go “slightly mad” every month (roughly as often as a cycle of a moon…funny, that), and proceed to shed blood at that time, we can hardly blame the medically untrained from centuries ago from making the association between woman’s madness and her womb.

That’s where we find the word “hysterical” – linking to the rather horrendous cure being a hysterectomy. It all made sense to medical practitioners back then who had to assume a physical reason for a mental anomaly. We barely understand the brain these days, let alone back then. (By the way, it is well worth researching “hysterics” and the etymology of the word, the history of science and mental health, and so on.) Take a moment to wonder at scenes in our history of drama. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a story of male ambition being misguided by witchcraft and madness. It was a disguised attack on James I of England (James VI of Scotland), who was famed for his obsession – his own madness – with hunting and killing witches. Witches, who come from the Pagan faith, which was governed by the motions of the moon – true lunatics – commanded Macbeth into acts of madness. This madness took over his wife, who ended her days obsessed by spots of blood on her hands … well, I hope you can see where I am going with this.

So, when we describe someone laughing hysterically, we’re really referring to the notion of the loss of control to emotions. Women are associated with this madness, and this had a huge bearing on the horrific use of the Sanatoriums – the old name for mental health institutions that derived its name from the Latin “sanus-“ (“well, healthy”), and therefore “sane.”

Gender Politics in Parenting is Madness

Here’s where some thought should be put into the concept of mental health in parenting. We spent centuries in our society with a film belief that women were the “fairer sex”, far more susceptible, and possibly even the root cause, of so much “madness” in society. Connect this the gender imbalances, particularly in the west, and especially under Christianity, the learning, rules, governance and ownership of everything was left to a firm patriarchy. Everything pointed back to the church, which was run solely by men. Everything followed the word of God – which was written by men, who were also virtually the only people able to read what was written. Even when education and schooling began, it would take decades, or centuries before girls were given an semblance of equality in being educated (and they still aren’t in some countries of the world).

Image result for mad woman hysteria

By the time we reached the 19th century and Victorian times, our society was so split by economic factors. Previous understanding of madness – and women being at the core of it – would definitely inform the medical profession. As would marriage, which was a business of the church, and therefore at the behest of the patriarchy. Children were born after a couple were married (this is not the time or place to go into the alternative) and therefore they belonged to that bond. A bond signified by the man’s “ownership” of his wife – symbolised by the wedding ring he put on her finger.

If a divorce was to happen, a marriage to end, it would be the ownership of the woman that would be ending. Since the children were conceived in the marriage, they still belonged to the man. Hence why – in middle class family politics at least – if a marriage ended, the woman would probably be leaving the home on her own. And she’d struggle to have much of a “custody battle” because the law was based on the word of God, as written by men, and practised by men. Well, after all, if a woman wanted to leave a marriage, there was surely only one explanation. Madness – right?

Maybe this should give us pause for thought above just how far back the behaviour of Parental Alienation goes. We should also be very careful with any assertions of gender being any part of the mental health of children requiring, merely by a means of genetics, the parentage of both parents, just the mother, or just the father. Especially since so many children in such middle class family structures were brought up more by a nanny and the house staff then their own parents.

We might imagine a total reversal of such family dynamics in the poorer families where all members of the family would be working themselves to the bone just to survive, and the main reason most poor people left their families was because…they died. In those days, most people had long died before they had the chance to go on Jeremy Kyle for a DNA test.

As gender politics became transformed throughout the twentieth century, the dynamics of the family did too. The obliteration of massive proportions of men in two world wars, coupled with a baby boom in the post-war era, shook up the whole structure and approach the creating and sustaining a family. Women had more rights – and rightly so – more independence, and society was many exciting moves in all corners of modernisation. Rock music poisoned the youth (apparently), and the hippy culture probably caused an untold level of STIs to prevail. LGBT politics finally starting getting a long overdue voice, and now we not only have gay marriage, we also have openly gay parents, fostering and adoption.

We should be revelling in a world of astonishingly successful, rounded family structure and success. But amongst the many reasons why we aren’t, there is still one facet of mental health and psychological disorders that takes a hammer to safety that should be the family: narcissism.

Parental Alienation is Everyone’s Problem

I recently saw Stephen Fry live on stage in Birmingham, performing an amazing monologue of and about the stories from Ancient Greece – Mythos. I have written my own blog, The Mythos Masterclass, on the fantastic evening, but I wanted to focus on the ending of his retelling of the Narcissus story. Fry gives a brilliant and eloquent explanation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) which anyone who has come across Parental Alienation (PA) will recognise:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, much talked about these days, is marked by vanity, self-importance, a grandiose hunger for admiration, acclaim and applause, and above all an obsession with self-image. The feelings of others are railroaded and stampeded, while such considerations as honesty, truthfulness and integrity are blithely disregarded. Bragging, boasting and delusional exaggeration are common signs. Criticism or belittlement are intolerable and can provoke aggressive and explosively strange behaviours.

Stephen Fry

FryMythos

Fry’s definition would be scary enough if we were only considering how adult narcissists affect other adults. But when it comes to PA the main issue is that the true victims of the “railroaded” and “stampeded” emotions are children. Having worked with children of all ages for well over fifteen years – many who, with hindsight, were definitely victims of PA – I’ve got a very clear image in my mind of what an emotionally weakened and fragile child looks like.

In an ideal world, when relationships end they would do so amicably and without the animosity that results in the needs for solicitors and courtrooms. Understandably, sometimes that cannot happen. In fact, sometimes the relationship itself is such a destructive force – and continuing it would be harmful to the children – that separation is the only answer. We’re all mature adults here, right? We can accept that, can’t we?

No. Someone with NPD cannot. And the more they are challenged, the more they are even invited to accept at least part of the responsibility for the breakdown of the relationship, the more their NPD bites back. And it bits back hard. They will go to any lengths to fulfil their self-image and any threat to that will be challenged. Even railroaded.

That is why it has to be the responsibility of everyone involved in the welfare of children to be alert to the effects of PA. If we don’t all atop worrying about our rights and start focusing on our responsibilities, there is only one possible result.

The Death of Hope

Even their own children are used, way beyond their understanding or cognitive ability to process what is going on. It leaves them hurt, confused, scared. But worst of all – it leaves them silenced. They cannot say to a social worker: “help me, I believe I am a victim of Parental Alienation.” That means they rely on us to see it – and be prepared to do something about it. To be ready and prepared to help them, not matter how uncomfortable that might be for the parents.

What angers me most is how so many people will claim that the NPD ex-partner managed to manipulate everyone. Where I do not doubt that, what I do find abhorrent is how so few people will stop and look a child right in their eyes.

That look in a child’s eyes. The look that says ‘please’. When they can’t express what they think or how they feel, but they no longer want to hide it. And their shoulders sag under the terrifying weight of the world as they inhale their words. Quiet, uncertain, punctuated with anger, flickering with desperation. Their gaze drops down, slips to the side as if the answer is written somewhere just out of reach. Until suddenly their eyes fix on you and their soul threatens to spill down their face, slipping through their fingers as they lose grip on their thoughts. Through burning-red rage, or the stone-cold silence, you know, you feel, that gaze screaming ‘help!’ The window to the soul; the gateway to the heart. Those eyes, that look … saying ‘help me’.

from No Smoke*

ChildEyes

The extract above is from I play I wrote and staged in 2014. It isn’t about PA, but it is about false allegations of child abuse and how children get dragged into them. It’s also about when the false allegation isn’t based on the fact the abuse isn’t happening, it is because the abuse is happening where no-one has cared to look.

The link here is that when it comes to Family and Custody law, the lengths the parent with NPD will go to in order to get what they want, no matter what, can and does leave a terrifying trail of emotional destruction in its wake. In their blinkered pursuance of hatred towards their ex-spouse, and their obsessive need to control the situation, and make the world hate them, their NPD stampedes and railroads the feelings of the child. The damage is profound and worsens with time. The longer the abuse is allowed to continue, the more their hope of ever being saved dies.

When Pandora opens that jar and lets out all the terribly things that will punish, harm and kill humanity, the only thing she is able to trap inside the jar by closing the lid, is hope.

If that is the only thing left for our children to cling onto, as they are left on their own to suffer the abuse is figurative and often literal darkness, with the lid firmly held on, how long can they survive? How long can their own mental health survive before it suffocates and dies alongside hope, trapped in the darkness of hatred?


*No Smoke, by Colin Ward (Act II, Sc. vi), 2014. Publication pending.

The Mythos Masterclass, blog by C Ward.


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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 CCA Team

I wish this was the beginning of a bad joke, but it is not. I wish it was the beginning of an article informing it’s readers of some good news, regarding our movement’s battle against parental alienation. But unfortunately, it is not this either.

I have now not seen my alienated children since the summer of 2016 due to parental alienation. For those readers unfamiliar with the term parental alienation, please see here.

This is an ongoing and relentless battle against a flawed system that enables my ex-partner to continue to deny me any contact with my children, with no legal consequences against her.

“How many social workers does it take to protect a child from parental alienation? Clearly seven social workers is not enough!”

Since 2016 I have seen and been in contact with the following professionals and government departments: Seven social workers, (yes you heard that right the first time, seven social workers!) Two of which are in senior management positions within Cafcass. I have also spoken to a clinical psychologist, my local Member of Parliament and have also been in touch with the Ministry of Justice. I have also spoken to numerous support workers that deal in supporting families after divorce. I have even been ordered by the local family court to attend a co-parenting course, despite being prevented by my ex the chance to co-parent!

So with the above information in mind I would like to return to the question; How many social workers does it take to protect a child from parental alienation? Clearly seven social workers is not enough!

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So in attempting to answer this question lets first explore the media’s discussion and presentation of this form of child abuse within the public domain.

“I think the way you treat your children after a relationship has broken up is just as powerful a public health issue as smoking or drinking.”

Cafcass social workers are not permitted to use the term parental alienation, as this form of abuse is not officially recognised by any government body within the UK. However Anthony Douglas the Chief Executive of Cafcass has publicly contradicted this in an interview he gave to The Telegraph on 12th February 2017. The article is entitled ‘Divorced parents who pit children against former partners ‘guilty of abuse’. In this interview he stated “it’s undoubtedly a form of neglect or child abuse in terms of the impact it can have,” said Mr Douglas. “I think the way you treat your children after a relationship has broken up is just as powerful a public health issue as smoking or drinking.”

In the same article it is also stated that “according to Cafcass, parental alienation is responsible for around 80 per cent of the most difficult cases that come before the family courts.” So it begs the question, why is this form of abuse not being recognised by the sheer number of social workers that can potentially be involved in such cases?

In order to explore this further we need to understand the psychological profile of those parents that severely alienate their children against the other parent. Statistically the proponents of severe parental alienation normally have some kind of underlying undiagnosed personality disorder. This theory is explored in more detail in a previous article of mine entitled Parental Alienation, Good Versus Evil.

In terms of my case, the mother of my children presents with a number of Cluster A presonality traits, which came from the findings of a psychological assessment. According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) this cluster is known as the odd and eccentric cluster. It includes Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, and Schizotypal Personality Disorders. These disorders are dominated by distorted thinking.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

This disorder is characterised by a pervasive suspiciousness and distrust of others.

  • People with this disorder assume that others are out to take advantage of them, harm them, or humiliate them in some way.
  • Such individuals put a lot of effort into protecting themselves and keeping their distance from others.
  • Individuals with this disorder are known to preemptively attack others whom they feel threatened by.
  • Such individuals tend to hold grudges, are litigious, and display pathological jealously.
  • Distorted thinking is highly evident in this presentation. They do not confide in others and do not allow themselves to develop close relationships.
  • Their emotional life tends to be dominated by distrust and hostility.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

This particular presentation is characterised by a pervasive pattern of social detachment and a restricted range of emotional expression. Therefore such individuals with this disorder tend to be socially isolated. They don’t seem to seek out or enjoy close relationships.

  • Such individuals almost always choose solitary activities. They also seem to take little pleasure in life.
  • These “loners” often prefer activities that involve little human interaction and appear indifferent to both criticism and praise.
  • Emotionally, they seem aloof, detached, and cold.
  • Such individuals present as oblivious to social nuances and social cues causing them to appear socially inept and superficial.
  • Their restricted emotional range and failure to reciprocate gestures or facial expressions (such a smiles or nods of agreement) cause them to appear rather dull, bland, or inattentive.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Individuals that present with this disorder are characterised by a pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal limitations. They have a reduced capacity for close relationships and experience acute discomfort in social settings. As such, these individuals tend to be socially isolated, reserved, and distant from those around them.

  • Unlike the Schizoid Personality Disorder, they also experience perceptual and cognitive distortions and/or eccentric behaviour. For example perceptual abnormalities may include noticing flashes of light no one else can see, or seeing objects or shadows in the corner of their eyes and then realising that nothing is there.
  • Individuals with this type of Personality Disorder have odd beliefs, for instance, they may believe they can read other people’s thoughts, or that that their own thoughts have been stolen from their heads.
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder tends to be found more frequently in families where someone has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

So in the previous paragraphs we have explored Cafcass’ contradictory public statements regarding parental alienation. We have also explored Cluster A personality traits. So are we any closer to answering the question, how many social workers does it take to protect a child from parental alienation? 

I feel we are, please allow me to explain. I am a mental health nurse. I work on an acute admissions ward within a local psychiatric hospital. A large proportion of the patients we admit, assess and attempt to treat are individuals with personality disorders.

“Not even one of our assessing team members is a social worker. And this is my point.”

We are a nurse-run team. We are all qualified and experienced in the field of mental health. We are equipped with the relevant skills and clinical knowledge. And along with the use of evidence based practice we are able, as a team to assess and diagnose a broad range of mental health issues and disorders. And this is where I lead up to what I feel is a pertinent point. Not even one member of our assessing team is a social worker. And this is my point.

My aim is to not belittle or undermine the important role social workers have within their field of expertise. However my argument is social workers simply do not have the clinical experience or expertise to recognise and identify personality disorders, particularly within the context of parental alienation.

At the beginning of my case, back in 2016 I attempted to highlight my concerns of a possible personality disorder presentation, regarding my ex-partners emotional abuse of our children. But Cafcass (who are essentially social workers) dismissed my theory.

So to conclude, I now need to present the reader with the answer to the question: How many social workers does it take to protect a child from parental alienation? 

My argument, in answering the above question is influenced by several factors. My role as a father and my own experiences within this previous relationship. Also relevant and influential are the many months I have navigated my way through the failed system that is child protection. However I feel the most significant influence is my role as a mental health professional.

So therefore my answer is as follows: It is irrelevant whether a suspected case of parental alienation involves seven or seventy social workers. My argument is that none of them, within their remit of social work, have the clinical experience or expertise to recognise, assess and highlight a severely alienating parent that may be presenting with certain personality traits. Social workers will all too often describe contact denial (which is arguably parental alienation) as a child custody issue. They do not recognise such issues as child protection cases. And even when they do, such as in my case, the damage has already been done.

I would like to close this article with two quotes. The first is from my Cafcass Case Manager back in 2016. I was trying to get the point across to him that my ex-partner’s presentation was indicative of an individual with a possible personality disorder, that he himself had failed to identify. He dismissed my argument and simply stated “trust me, I know what I’m doing. I’ve been doing this job for many years.”

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The second quote is from William Robertson Davies, the Canadian novelist, playwright, journalist, and professor, who once said “the eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

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

Depression is defined as a long lasting low mood that affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure, or take interest in activities. Depression can affect people of any age. It is the most common mental illness. Definitions aside, for those that suffer from depression, the effect and experience is uniquely different for everyone.

Depression can occur for many differentt reasons. Some people are unfortunately more susceptible to it than others. There are numerous types of depression. To explore them all in detail is simply beyond the scope of this article.

I personally see depression as a battle. Some people are fortunate enough to overcome it. Some people are tragically overcome with the darkest of thoughts and ultimately take their own lives due to the enduring emotional pain and ultimate loss of hope. While others live with it and manage each day at a time.

“I am one of the lucky ones… Some people have to endure it their whole lives.”

I suffer from reactive depression due to my continuing battle to gain some kind of contact with my children following my divorce. I have been denied contact with them by their mother. I last had contact with my children fifteen months ago. This form of contact denial is known as parental alienation. For those unfamiliar with the term parental alienation please see here.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am able to manage my depression most days. I have only been managing my depression for fifteen months. Some people have to endure it their whole lives. As mentioned above, some people tragically succumb to suicide, as the emotional pain is simply too much to endure.

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With regards to my reactive depression in the context of parental alienation it is the metaphorical equivalent of the alienating parent standing in front of you. They then proceed to tear your heart out, tear it in two and refuse to ever give the other half back to you. As those affected by parental alienation will know, you can try and dismiss it all you like; however it is all too obvious that the alienating parent (the contact denier) somehow enjoys and revels in the pain they inflict upon the targeted parent.

So what’s this got to do with drumming? Well I have recently re-acquired my drum-kit following my divorce. And I recently played the drums for the first time in over fifteen months. And this leads me to distraction and coping techniques in terms of managing depression.

When I played them I was so focused that my mind was prevented from wandering and ruminating. I was in what is known in psychological terms as being in Present Moment Contact. This concept works within the same way as mindfulness. I have discussed this concept in more detail in a previous article of mine entitled Under Pressure.

My point is that with depression it is incredibly useful to find a coping/distraction technique that works for you. I fully acknowledge that even when a successful distraction technique is found, one will not always be able to engage with it. I am sitting next to my drum-kit right now, as I write. However at this moment in time I couldn’t bring myself to play them, not right now. But there will be times when I will play them and they will help me.

Finding a positive distraction technique will help. We all know there are plenty of maladaptive ways to cope with depression. However such maladaptive ways just mask the issue. Equally, not being able to find a positive distraction technique should not be seen as a failure.

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If possible, simply talk to someone you feel comfortable enough speaking about how you feel. Look online for appropriate support groups. But most of all always try and keep some hope, even in the darkest of days.

I normally conclude my articles with a quote. However on this occassion I would like to end with a lengthy statement made by Stephen Fry the British comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and activist:

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

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