The word ethical derives from the Greek work ethos; meaning ‘moral character.’ Within the world that we live in most people, most members of society would agree that a moral character describes the characteristics of an individual whose overall behaviour is right in a moral sense; honest, fair and truthful.

In it’s simplest definition ethics are a system of moral principles. These moral principles influence how we make decisions and lead our lives.

Past philosophers have put forward the argument that ethics entirely influence the way people behave. They have argued that if an individual comes to the realisation that a potential behaviour or response is morally good, then it would irrational not to do so.

And then there is also the concept of moral ambiguity. Some individuals struggle with this concept as they may want there to be a simple and straightforward answer to ethical dilemmas or questions, but there may not be one. For those that struggle with moral ambiguity it may force these individuals to take ownership of their own behaviours and choices in the absence of simply falling back on conveniently placed customs or rules.

So this then brings me onto the topic of the institution that is the Family Court. This institution is defined as being a court of law that hears and makes legal decisions involving issues such as child custody and divorce.

As we know there are many services and institutions that ‘work’ alongside the family court. Services such are Cafcass here in the UK, CPS in the US and Children’s Social Services for example, to name just a few. These additional services are viewed by the Judge as their eyes and ears. These services should be gathering information, evidence from numerous sources and collating this ultimately into a portfolio of evidence from which the appointed Judge will be expected to make a legal decision on.

So moving onto a typical, genuine textbook case of severe parental alienation the following factors, dynamics will most probably be in place:

  • One parent (in most cases the resident parent, known as the targeting parent) will be denying contact between the children and the non-resident parent (known as the targeted parent).
  • The targeting parent will constantly denigrate the character of the targeted parent in the eyes of the children.
  • This denigration of character will also be underpinned with a false narrative of events being fed to the children by the targeting parent. For example a skewed account of the circumstances of separation, false allegations against the targeted parent etc.
  • In most severe cases the targeted parent’s family are also excluded from the lives of the children.
  • All of the above actions normally result in the alienating children unjustifiably completely and utterly rejecting the targeted parent.

Now in returning to the concept of right or wrong, here in the UK Cafcass CEO Anthony Douglas publicly states that parental alienation is recognised by his organisation as a form of abuse. Furthermore Douglas goes on to state that this form of abuse should be treated with the same severity as any other form of abuse. So in terms of ethics, so far so good!

In addition to the above statement from Douglas it is worth noting that in the same interview it is 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. In my opinion, that figure coming from an organisation as inept and ineffective as Cafcass is more likely to be much higher.

Due to the nature of our campaign/support group we are privy, almost on a daily basis to overwhelming evidence of the continuing nature of biased, misinformed, prejudicial and evidence omitting reports that are being written by Cafcass Family Court Advisors (FCAs).

Now, lets imagine if  you will, that we live in a world where Cafcass FCAs do not write biased, misinformed, prejudicial and evidence omitting reports at all! I know it’s hard to imagine and that in the real world, such professional conduct from Cafcass FCAs is rare, but please bear with me.

So in this imaginary world we have fine upstanding Cafcass FCAs handing in well-balanced, well-informed and well-evidenced reports to the family judge in all cases of parental alienation.

Now at this point the judge will be informed by the FCAs that there is overwhelming evidence of alienating behaviours being exhibited by the targeted parent (as highlighted in bullet points above).

The judge will be informed that the children are being emotionally abused by the resident parent. The judge will also be informed that it is not in the children’s best interest to be denied a relationship with the targeted parent. There may well be a psychological assessment that informs the judge that there is little to no evidence of the abusive parent changing their approach.

Such scenarios have in most cases been returned to court numerous times already. This is due to the abusive parent having already breached numerous contact orders that would have lead to contact between the children and the targeted parent. So this is the evidence that the judge has before them.

At this incredibly pivotal point the judge is required to pass a judgement that will effect the future well-being, future mental health etc, of both the alienated children and the targeted parent.

Now lets return to the subject of human ethics. Lets imagine another scenario, we grab an honest, fair and truthful average person off the street and present them with the above moral dilemma.

Now would this average person see the above scenario for what it is? Would they see it as one parent emotionally abusing the effected children? Would they also see it as the targeting parent attempting to erase the targeted parent from the lives of the effected children? Would they see that there is no justifiable reason for these effected children to absolutely reject their other parent, who they had previously had had a loving and healthy relationship with? Would they see that a swift, robust, pro-active decision needed to be made in the best interests of the children. Would they see that the emotional abuse being inflicted on the children must stop. Would they see that these children need to be protected?

Perhaps you the readers could answer the above questions yourselves. Presented with the above ethical dilemma what would you do in the best interests of the children? Is it even a dilemma at all?

Or is the answer to all of the questions, obvious to any given person of ethical, moral character?

I myself am an alienated parent. I continue to battle to have a relationship with my children. I continue to navigate my way through a flawed judicial system. I get knocked down. But every single time I pick myself back up, I dust myself down and I carry on. I don’t carry on fighting for me. I carry on fighting on behalf of my children.


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team

The following has been published with the kind permission of David Shubert (Founder of iWasErased) and Lynn Steinberg.


Lynn Steinberg PhD, LMFT, is a Therapist, Mediator and Expert Witness in the field of parent alienation and sexual abuse. Dr. Lynn Steinberg is a skilled and highly trained psychotherapist, specializing in the field of Parent Alienation as well as being an expert witness at court.

Over four decades, she has helped thousands of individuals and families with other interpersonal issues. Trained in the Family System Model, Dr. Steinberg works with families, couples, groups and individuals. For 30 years, she ran therapy groups to treat people who have been abused as children.

As an expert witness at court, Dr. Steinberg has worked on cases such as rape, child and sexual abuse, and sexual abuse in the workplace.

Dr. Steinberg is also a trained mediator, and worked with Superior Cases, private divorces as well as Malpractice cases.

Parent Alienation: Dr. Steinberg is collaborating with people all over the country (U.S.) to change the child abuse law, to include parent alienation as child abuse. In high conflict divorces an estimated 62% of cases, children are poisoned against one parent by the other parent. Many professionals who interact with these families in courts, the mental health area, the department of Child Protective Services (CPS) are untrained in this area. They fail to recognize the counter-intuitive nature of parent alienation and prefer a child’s testimony of abuse at their own parents’ divorce.

The tragedy of alienated children/ parents is witnessed in cases of suicide and homicide worldwide.


I recently had numerous conversations with a close confidante who is as passionate about lobbying for reform regarding parental alienation as I am. This friend of mine  raised a pertinent point during one of our most recent discussions. A point that I have reflected on several times since we spoke about it.

He brought up the topic of egalitarianism versus equality. From my point of view this was not something I had ever thought about or considered up until now.

The word equality in the Oxford English Dictionary is defined, the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.

The definition of the word egalitarianism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the doctrine that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Now some of you may have missed the subtle but incredibly important difference between these two definitions, but I will return to that shortly.

Now lets consider the contentious issue of the abuse that in most cases is referred to as parental alienation. To the uninitiated, parental alienation is an umbrella term used to describe the emotional abuse inflicted by one parent (in most cases the resident parent). The alienating parent will deliberately damage, and in some cases destroy the previously healthy loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent (in most cases the non-resident parent). Despite it being a very real form of abuse, it is still very much a contentious issue.

On the one side we have those that have been adversely affected by parental alienation; former alienated children, alienated mothers, alienated fathers, alienated grandparents, the list goes on. It is these people that I imagine would wish first and foremost to be reunited with their alienated loved ones. Secondly, I would also hazard a guess that these victims want the emotional abuse that is parental alienation to be recognised as a criminal offence; for it to be recognised as an official form of abuse and as such be treated with the same severity as any other form of abuse.

On the other side there are the opponents of parental alienation. There are groups and organisations out there that dismiss this form of abuse as a made -up theory. They firmly  believe it should not be recognised as a form of abuse. For example The Feminist Family Law Movement makes the claims that abusive fathers often employ accusations of parental alienation as a way to wrest custody from protective mothers in family court.

Lets also look at The National Organization for Women Foundation’s (NOW Foundation) stance on parental alienation. Several years ago they made the following alarming statement about parental alienation, “proponents of parental alienation are predominantly right-wing ‘fathers’ rights’ groups.” On their homepage the NOW Foundation makes the following bold statement, “The National Organization for Women Foundation (“NOW Foundation”) is a 501(c) (3) organization devoted to achieving full equality for women through education and litigation.”

“We don’t diagnose rape. We don’t diagnose domestic violence. So why does Fortin believe that we should be diagnosing parental alienation?”

Jane Fortin a professor of law at Sussex University had an article published in the UK newspaper The Guardian on 29th November 2017. The article was entitled Crackdown on Parental Alienation Could do More Harm Than Good

In this article, despite Fortin being a professor of law she makes some very discriminatory and sweeping statements. She writes “hopefully it [Cafcass] is considering carefully the extreme dangers of mistakenly diagnosing parental alienation.” As a mental health nurse I would like to ask Fortin why she holds this somewhat misguided belief that there is even a need to diagnose parental alienation. By it’s very meaning, to diagnose something is to identify the nature of a given medical condition. We don’t diagnose rape. We don’t diagnose domestic violence. So why does Fortin believe that we should be diagnosing parental alienation?

Parental alienation, plain and simply is emotional, psychological abuse of children. Why would we need to diagnose such abuse? Such a statement from Fortin is a clear indication that she simply does not understand the complex nature of parental alienation.

As stated above parental alienation is an umbrella term used to describe the emotional and psychological abuse inflicted on children.

“Why is she making the assumption that the victimised parent would be a mother, as opposed to a father?”

In the same article Fortin also goes on to state “after all, failure to establish the real reason for a child’s resistance to contact may lead to abuse and/or domestic violence being overlooked, and, worse, to the child being removed from a victimised mother seeking only to protect her child.” I personally find this comment quite concerning; why is Fortin bringing gender stereotypes into her debate? Why is she making the assumption that the victimised parent would be a mother, as opposed to a father?

So I would now like to return to the concept of egalitarianism versus equality. The Feminist Family Law Movement, The NOW Foundation and journalists such as Jane Fortin clearly appear to be writing under the banner of equality. However such individuals and organisations are picking and choosing who they are fighting for regarding equality.

“They are unashamedly excluding all women who are adversely affected by this form of abuse.”

Allow me to explain. The anti-parental alienation camp, by their very opposition to the emotional and psychological abuse that is parental alienation they are unashamedly excluding all women who are adversely affected by this form of abuse. So that then begs the question, where’s the equality in their ongoing campaigning for equality? As stated above The Now Foundation informs us on their homepage that they are “devoted to achieving full equality for women.” However they are clearly not interested in achieving full equality for the incalculable number of alienated mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers that are alienated from their loved ones. And then there are of course the female children that are emotionally and psychologically abused by parental alienation.

So lets move on now from the somewhat unethical, immoral and gender biased notion of claiming to be fighting for equality but actually picking and choosing who you are actually fighting for.

“All people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.” 

And this is where I would like to return to the term egalitarianism. For those that did not pick up on the subtle difference in definitions between equality and egalitarianism, here it is. The definition of egalitarianism is defined as the doctrine that ALL people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. 

The definition of equality ironically does not include the word all, whereas the definition of egalitarianism clearly does.

So that begs the following question, with such a contentious issue as parental alienation, why are we all not taking an egalitarian approach?

“Until you treat everyone one as an equal, you have no right to complain about the treatment you receive from anyone.”

btg dad


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team

If you haven’t yet been made aware or don’t follow me on social media, I work with victims and professionals on the subject of personality disorders and parental alienation. It is a personal passion and it has driven me to take some huge action steps which I wanted to share with you.

In October this year, I am hosting a couple of conferences on parental alienation.  One in Lincoln and one in Havant.

I have been educating professionals for a while now on narcissistic parenting and parental alienation, which is great and really helping to spread awareness in my locality, but I wanted to do more.

For me the conferences fulfil four main purposes:

  1. Education
  2. Awareness
  3. Multi-disciplinary approach
  4. Numbers

EDUCATION

I believe, from professional and personal experience, that children and family workers have not been adequately trained to deal with this level of severe parental mental health (see my blog post).  

As a social worker there was one module of mental health in my degree training and it was very generalised. We covered:

  • Values and ethical mental health
  • Social work practice and mental health (what is mental health, the medical model)
  • Legal and political context
  • Working with vulnerable people (adults and children)
  • Multi-disciplinary working

It certainly did not go in depth on personality disorders and their impact on others.  And I understand why but I am merely illustrating a gap in education. Today’s social work degrees do not include a mental health module at all.

Post qualification we do the NQSW (New Qualified Social Worker) training but this focuses more on assessment and practice than specific service user issues.  Additional to this is in-house training which, whilst really interesting and insightful, never once covered personality disorders. Even the Sexual Offending workshop didn’t delve into this complex area.  And again, I understand why.

Social work is just that – social.

Personality disorders (assessment, diagnosis and treatment) are medical.

Equally the legal profession know the law. They are experts in that area.  But they do not understand attachment theory, family systems theory or personality disorders.  They rely upon others who equally lack that knowledge.

Therefore these families tend to fall through the cracks despite the fact that evidence PROVES that mental health impacts families and children MORE THAN any other parenting capacity factor.

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(from Cleaver et al (2001) Children’s Needs – Parenting Capacity, Department for Education)

 

SlicingUpTheElephant_InfoGraphic1_PeaceNotPas

 

So my aim for these conferences is to bridge that gap.  To provide education for those professionals who need it in order to protect vulnerable children.

AWARENESS

Parental alienation is not new.  Agencies have been talking about it for a while now and lots of noise is being made.  But change is still coming too slowly in my eyes.

I actually believe the solution is really simple.  But without raising that awareness, it has become a kind of huge elephant in the room. We know it’s there but have no idea what to do about it and so it is largely ignored.

But the truth is parental alienation is CHILD ABUSE.

And we are all responsible for safeguarding our children.

These conferences will help to raise that awareness not just in professional circles but also the wider community.

They will also  raise awareness that there ARE solutions.  We don’t have to be scared of tackling this.

MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH

Everyone is coming at it from one perspective only – either legal, social or medical.  

And sadly this is a huge part of the problem, in my eyes, with the failure to get a real grip on parental alienation despite the fact that some experts have been working in this area for 30 years.

As stated above, social work is social and uses one model.

Legal uses another.

Medical uses a different one.

Parental alienation requires one model from all these approaches and that is relatively new.  And thus far un-designed. But I am working on it!

These conferences will give all children and family workers from a multitude of disciplines a chance to come together in professional curiosity to be part of the solution. That is my tag line for my training business – Be part of the solution.

NUMBERS

Let’s face it, it’s a numbers game!

My training is more intense and in-depth but I can only train up to 15 people at a time. Whilst that is invaluable in the solution, it is also slow.

But these conferences will bring together 75-100 people all at one time.

And it works the other way too.

Delegates will get to hear from 5-6 expert speakers in one day.  That is exceptional. And a very rare opportunity.

I genuinely believe that these conferences have the power to take the elephant and slice it up into bite sized pieces, making what looks initially like a huge problem, into something much more manageable.

I have kept the price down as much as possible so that only costs are covered for us organisers and delegates get real value for money.  Most full day conferences cost well over £100. These are just £75. You get CPD points and a printed brochure to take away. Oh and we might throw in some refreshments!

The conferences are in Lincoln and Havant and all you have to do to register is click either Lincoln or Havant (or both, we have different speakers at each one) and you will be directed to my website with more details.

Even if you can’t attend or chose not to, PLEASE help us spread the word by sharing the details (this post and my posts about the conference)

Many thanks for reading and if you are coming along, I really look forward to meeting you and please do come and say hello.

Sarah Squires

AKA The Nurturing Coach and Director at NAPARRC Consultancy Ltd

Follow me on:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team

The following is an individual’s experience of growing up with parental alienation. We have changed the individuals’ names in the following post.


I never knew my mum. According to my dad and my two older brothers, she walked out on us all for another man when I was only three years of age.

I remember as a child my dad only ever talking about my mum occasionally. And even when he did it was in an incredibly negative way. And this narrative was backed up by my brothers.

“As a child I never questioned this.”

They also never referred to her as mum. They would only ever refer to her by her first name, Jackie. As a child I never questioned this.

I was told by my dad that ‘Jackie’ was an alcoholic, a drug user, a serial cheater and that she was someone that did not deserve to be called a mother.

“I never questioned this narrative. Why would I?”

I never questioned this narrative. Why would I? This story was also backed up by my older brothers who, according to my understanding at the time would have been old enough to at least have remembered Jackie.

Once again, according to my father, shortly after Jackie left us, he met a new woman who he claimed was everything that Jackie was not. Her name was Sandy. My dad encouraged me and my brothers to call her mum, which within a couple of months of Sandy’s arrival became quite natural to us all.

As I got older and naturally became more curious as to the exiting of Jackie from our lives, my dad would simply repeat the same narrative. He would not elaborate any further regarding Jackie’s abandonment of us. With my father’s same response with each inquiry I eventually stopped asking about Jackie. I simply resigned myself to the fact that my birth mother was simply a very horrible person. My dad made me feel that I should be grateful for Sandy being more of a mother to me than Jackie.

However as I entered my teens, there was a change of dynamics in the household. Although on reflection, perhaps it wasn’t so much a change of dynamics, but more a new awareness of the family dynamics that I had previously not been aware of. At around this period of time one of my older brothers had already moved out. My remaining brother started being very isolative within the family home.

Around this time my remaining brother began arguing regularly with my mum (Sandy) and dad. I remember these arguments making my dad be very hostile and domineering over my brother. I felt very intimidated by my dad’s aggressive behaviours during these arguments. I wished I had  had the courage to stand up for my brother. There was something very unfair about my dad’s overbearing demeanour towards my brother, who was actually the more sensitive of my two brothers. My dad appeared to turn into someone else during these arguments.

Within a year my remaining brother left the family home and moved in with a friend. I was then left living alone with my mum and dad. As much as my dad had always been somewhat of a drinker, at around this time he began drinking every day.

“I started to find his behaviours more and more domineering, controlling and intimidating.”

The relationship between my dad and Sandy steadily deteriorated. At it’s worst, they were literally arguing with each other every day. My dad also became very controlling of both Sandy and I. He would always want to know where I had been, even if I returned from a night out with friends, even just five minutes later than I said I would be home. I started to find his behaviours more and more domineering, controlling and intimidating.

After another couple of months I also moved out. I went and lived in a different part of the country and moved in with a good friend of mine named Georgie, who I had known from high school.

As much as we had been good friends at school, it didn’t take long for us to become best friends. We both had dead end jobs; however we didn’t care. We were both living life as we had never lived it before, freely.

There was one particular night I will never forget. We had come back to our grimy little apartment after a night of cocktails. As we did quite often after returning from a night out, we stayed up all night talking. However on this occasion Georgie started talking about my biological mother. At first I insisted she refer to her as Jackie. Which she respectfully did.

“Most of them were spineless bastards and didn’t have the balls to speak out.”

However she went on to say something that would prove to be a trigger for a number of life changing decisions. I will never forget what it was she told me “you do know that most of the people in our hometown knew what really happened between your mum and dad? But most of them were spineless bastards and didn’t have the balls to speak out.”

Initially, I didn’t quite comprehend what it was she was saying. It made no sense to me what Georgie was telling me.

Trusting Georgie as I did, I reluctantly agreed for her to elaborate on what she had just told.

Georgie then went on to tell me words to the effect of “so basically your dad was cheating on your mum for years with Sandy. No one dared say anything though cos everyone in town was pretty scared of your dad. They all knew what he was really like. They all knew that he chucked your mum out in the middle of the night and basically told her to fuck off! He threatened her. He said that if she did not disappear he would make her disappear. So she left, she was heartbroken, but left because she feared for her life. Your dad used to beat your mum up. Everyone knew that. Everyone knew what really happened except for you kids [my brothers and I].”

I remember replying to Georgie’s above statement with something along the lines of “what the fuck are you talking about?”

However we continued to discuss this subject through to the morning. We both retired to bed at about four or five in the morning. Apart from waking up the next day with an obvious hangover, I remember feeling incredibly confused, conflicted and for some reason unknown to me at the time, very afraid.

That day Georgie and I spent the whole day together. In a state of sobriety we went back over the conversation of the night before. I vividly remember Georgie constantly apologising for what she had said. But ultimately there was enough evidence, my trust in Georgie and ultimately my gut feeling that allowed me to believe that everything Georgie had told me was true.

On further inquiry from me Georgie disclosed to me that my biological mother’s sister lived on the outskirts of town.

Within a few days Georgie and I had contacted my aunt, who’s name was Jean, and we arranged to go and meet her.

Given my father’s negative accounts of my biological mother’s general disposition and approach to life, Jean was not what I expected at all.

Jean warmly welcomed us into her home. She had never married. She lived quite modestly. She had a stall in a local market and rescued dogs from shelters to keep her busy and motivated. She immediately struck me as someone that was incredibly kindhearted, open and honest.

We invariably got on to the subject of my mother. Jean talked about Jackie with such warmth and love. Jean told us that Jackie had somehow ended up getting in with the wrong crowd at school and ended up starting a relationship with the ringleader of that group of kids. This of course was my dad. Jean stated that she never liked my dad. However she somehow had the ability to articulate this without actually talking overtly negative about my dad. She managed to be honest and open about how she felt about my dad, but did it in a respectful manner.

We then got on to the subject of the circumstances that lead to Jackie leaving her husband and three children. With an unintentional devastating effect on me, Jean confirmed Georgie’s account of events.

“Your mum understandably never got over losing you kids.”

This invariably lead to me asking the following question, “so where is my mum now?” As I said this question out loud I became acutely aware that it had been years since I had felt comfortable referring to my real mum as mum.

Before answering my question Jean came and sat next to me and took my hand in hers. She then told me “your mum understandably never got over losing you kids. Even though she realised within a couple of years she had married the wrong person, you kids were everything to her. She loved you kids more than life itself. She was prepared to stay in an abusive relationship rather than be chucked out to the street and potentially never see you kids again. This was the life she had resigned herself to. However it all changed when Sandy arrived on the scene. Your dad, being the kind of person he was simply discarded your mum. She never got over it. She came to live with me for a couple of years and then that was it.” 

This then naturally lead to me asking the next question “what do you mean that was it?”

I felt a tightening of Jean’s grip on my hand before she answered my question. “Your mum lived with me for a couple of years. I supported her as best I could. However I was no substitute for her children. She had tried to fight for contact through the court, however she simply run out of money at some point. She was ill-advised by an attorney who was clearly more interested in taking her money than supporting her to have a relationship with her children. Your dad would have known she fought as much as she could to get to see you kids. However I would imagine he never informed you of this”

Jean then paused before continuing. “As if your mum was not going through enough, about two years after spending the last of her money on attorneys she was diagnosed with lung cancer.”

I sat there frozen in time. I was inconsolable at the realisation of the reality of my mother’s life and that of my own took hold of me. With an overwhelming amount of compassion and empathy Jean informed me that my mum was no longer with us.

Several hours later my aunt Jean handed me a bundle of letters written by my mum and addressed to me and my brothers. Maybe one day I will have the courage to share them in a forum such as this.

I would like to end my post with the following statement, “I may not have known what it was called at the time. I may not have known what was being inflicted upon my mum, my brother and myself by my very own father. However I now understand that many people label it as parental alienation. Whatever we decide to call it, it is abuse and destroys not only relationships, but ultimately lives.”


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team

Continuing with our current theme of guest posts by former alienated children, the following is an individual’s experience of growing up with parental alienation. We have changed the individuals’ names in the following post.


I don’t know where to begin really. I guess like the telling of any story, one should start at the beginning.

I grew up in a one parent household. I was the youngest of two siblings. I can’t quite remember how young I was when I realised that my sister and I lived with just one parent, instead of two; like the majority of the community in our small village in North Wales.

I can’t really recall any memories of my father as a young child, prior to him leaving us. However I do recall very clear memories of how my mother and older sister felt about my father. They didn’t talk about him often, however on the rare occasions that they did, they would tell me how much of a bad person that he was, that he was a bad dad and that he did not deserve to have us in his lives. They also told me that he had decided to leave us one night unannounced.

And so I was brought up believing that my father had cruelly abandoned, not just my mother, but also both my sister and I.

“You are definitely better off without him”

As I entered my late pre-teens I became more aware of my one parent status within our close-knit community. I remember our neighbours and friends always providing moral and emotional support for my mother with comments such as “you do so well for a single mum,” “you are definitely better off without him,” “you are doing such an amazing job bringing up your two little girls after what he put you through.”

“All I hope is that I have done my best to protect them from what he did to me.”

I remember my mother replying to these numerous comments with replies such as “thank you so much, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this without your help,” “I try my best and all I want is the best for my two girls,” “all I hope is that I have done my best to protect them from what he did to me.”

As I entered my teens I became more aware of these comments and conversations between my mother and the family and friends around us in our village. I strongly believed, as did my older sister, that my dad, who we now referred to as Jack, had indeed left us all due to him having met another woman. My sister and I strongly believed for numerous years that our father had no longer wished to be either a husband to our mother or a father to either of us. It was this strongly held belief that would turn into hate. I hated my father for what he had done, not just to me, but also my mother and my sister.

This hatred made me doubt the intentions of most of the male figures that were coming into my life at the time, as my social circle grew and grew. I now realise that in my mid to late teens I was at my most mistrusting of men in general. I strongly believed that what had so easily happened to my mother could also so easily happen to me. It genuinely scared me. I simply did not want to go through what my absent father had put my loving mother through.

“I have always been there for you, you just don’t know it.”

One or two years later I went off to University, which took me away from home for the first time in my life. My confidence grew, however this mistrust of men always stayed in the forefront of my mind.

Approximately a year and a half after settling into University life I received a letter:

To my beautiful Hannah,

Whatever you have been told about me, whatever you may believe about me, please allow me to tell you the following.

I have never stopped thinking about you every single day. I have never stopped loving you every single day. The same goes for your sister Maria.

I have missed you both more than words can describe.

I would love to meet you. If you say no, I will respect your decision. 

However please remember this, I have always been there for you and Maria, you just don’t know it.

With all my love,

Dad

I was initially angry; really angry. Almost hateful.  My first thought was how dare you, after everything you put me, my mum and my sister through. Who do you think you are trying to worm your way back into my life?

A couple of days later I struck up the courage to confide in my best friend at the time Tara and showed her the letter. Her response was not at all what I expected. She went on to tell me a story of a family she once knew in her home town.

The story went that a single mum with two sons, was left deserted after her husband had left her and her two young children for another woman. The friends and family of this mum were horrified as her husband had been such a hands-on dad, always around, always at the school gates, always at children’s birthday parties etc. To the outside world this father had on the face of it appeared to be a loving and doting dad. However the mum’s friends and family were horrified at what they believed her husband had done. Tara explained to me that it later transpired that the mother had been lying.

“These two small boys ended up hating their dad for what they falsely believed he had done.”

The truth was that the dad had not left them all at all. The mother had thrown him out, having met another man. The mother denied her husband any contact with the children and effectively brainwashed the two boys against their dad. The result of this brainwashing was that these two small boys ended up hating their dad for what they falsely believed he had done.

Tara told me it was rumoured the father had spent the next couple of years attempting to see the children with no success. Tara did however know that the father took his own life approximately two or three years later after succumbing to depression and heartbreak. His two sons never knew the truth. They were left to grow believing their father had abandoned them.

Following this unexpected response from Tara I allowed myself to reflect on her story for several days.

The next time I met up with Tara we spoke at great length about the potential options open to me regarding how to respond to this letter from this man claiming to be my father.

Despite my conflict of emotions I was unable to shut myself away from the heartache, such as I had done as a child.

Words can’t describe how glad I am that several months later I decided to meet up with my dad.

“I now know I had no reason as a child, to hate my dear dad.”

In terms of the present day circumstances I now speak to or text my dad on a regular basis. We now have an amazing, loving relationship. He is also now a proud and loving grandfather to my own children.

I now know I had no reason as a child, to hate my dear dad. I was lied to as a child by my very own mother. My mother worked very hard in ensuring I missed many years with my dad. When the truth finally became apparent I initially hated my mother for what she had done to my dad. However, life is too short for hatred.

I guess the love I have for my mother is out of obligation and nothing else. I am unable to feel any emotional attachment to my mother now.

Regarding my sister, we have somewhat of a challenging relationship. My gut feeling is that even to this day she is still trying to come to terms with her ongoing conflict of emotions. But I will always be there for her, as my dad was always there for me.

As for my dad, I love him because he is and has always has been there for me, even when I didn’t realise it.


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team

The following is an anonymous contribution from a former alienated child that approached us, wishing to share her experience of growing up with parental alienation. We have changed the individuals’ names in the following post.


I am a former alienated child and I would like to share my story for two reasons. First of all (in no particular order) I would like to raise awareness of the damage and impact parental alienation has on all those effected by it. The second reason is to give alienated parents out there hope.

“I was supposed to be a daddy’s girl wasn’t I? It just didn’t make sense to me.”

When I was aged around 11 years of age my parents separated. Thinking back it did not seem an acrimonious split and subsequent divorce. All I can remember from back then was that one day my dad was present in my life and the next thing I know, he was suddenly no longer in my life.

At the time I really didn’t understand why my dad would walk out on my mum and I. After all, I was supposed to be a daddy’s girl wasn’t I? It just didn’t make sense to me.

My older brother, who was 18 years of age at the time left shortly after my parent’s divorce and he went to go and live with my dad.

This also didn’t make sense to me. First of all my dad had left my mum and I and then my older brother, who I had always looked up to, then went on to abandon my mother and I.

“Very quickly I took on the belief that my father and brother were bad people for abandoning my mother and I.”

I don’t remember feeling sad for too long following my father and brothers’ exit from my life. However what I do remember is that these feelings of sadness were replaced very quickly with feelings of anger towards my father and brother. My mother’s version of events were that my dad wasn’t the dad he pretended to be and neither was my brother for leaving us to go and live with my father. I do remember my mother constantly commending me for staying with her. She would always reinforce the idea that I had made the decision to stay myself and she would very often commend me for “sticking with her.”

And so, very quickly I took on the belief that my father and brother were bad people for abandoning my mother and I. As I went through my adolescence I can recall not only hanging on to these feelings of anger, but I also remember them increasing in there severity. At times they were all-consuming. I would go round friends’ houses and see their fathers there with them, I would also see older siblings and particularly older brothers. On such occasions I vividly remember feeling really angry and bitter inside due to the fact that my father and brother had left me and my mother.

Looking back on this period of my life I can also recognise that I had a constant need to please my mum. I became more dependent and even overly-compliant with her strict parenting style simply because I was afraid she may abandon me too, just like my father and brother had done.

Fast forward to the age of 19; I had got myself a boyfriend named Adam, (who would go on to become my husband). In the early days of our relationship I remember Adam asking why I was not in touch with either my father or my brother. At first I was dismissive and would shut down such inquiries from Adam.

“How do you know what you have just told me is completely true?”

However as we became closer I remember Adam asking again and again about the lack of contact with my brother and father. On one of these numerous conversations I must have felt comfortable enough to disclose what ‘had happened.’ Adam’s initial response was to simply listen. By simply listening I gave him the full account of what I believed had happened within our family.

I will never forget his initial response, once I had stopped telling him. “How do you know what you have just told me is completely true?”

This comment of Adam’s did not have an immediate effect on me. I accept we talked about this subject a little longer that day, however I did not feel that my beliefs had been sufficiently challenged.

However over the next couple of months, Adam and I found ourselves talking about this more often. The more we talked about it the more I allowed myself to consider the idea that my mother’s version of events may not have been the entire truth.

Fast forward once again to almost a year later; I had met up with my father for the first time in almost nine years. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say that over the course of a couple of months my father and I reconnected. It was tough at first. I felt conflicted, I felt unsure whether to trust my own father.

However at no point throughout this period of reconciliation did my father ever talk about my mother in a negative manner. He was able to speak about their marital difficulties with such candour and respect.

Several months later I went through the same process of reconciliation with my brother Anthony. This time it was much easier, compared to my re-connection with my father. I do not attribute this to any negative aspects of my relationship with my father. I feel that it was simpler as it was, after all the second act of reconciliation I had undertaken. I now realise that while reconciling with Anthony, my mind was now more receptive to having my mother’s false narrative challenged.

I now understand and accept the real version of events; my father left my mother because he was incredibly unhappy. Their marriage had been loveless for many years beforehand. My mother told my father that if he ever left her she would make sure he never saw me or Anthony ever again. My father stayed put in this loveless marriage for another couple of years. He stayed until such a time he felt Anthony and I would be old to understand what was happening and ultimately with this, he believed he would continue to have a relationship with both Anthony and I, post separation.

However my father was gravely mistaken. Following their separation my mother immediately brainwashed me against my father. She also brainwashed me against my brother. During the time of the separation Anthony knew the truth; as much as he did not take sides, he simply chose to go and live with my father.

“I now know that what my mother did to my father, my brother and I was parental alienation.”

I ultimately went through almost nine years of my formative years with an absent father and brother. I now realise my mother completely brainwashed me at the age of 11 into believing a completely false narrative regarding my father and my brother not being in my life. I now know both my father and brother attempted to be a part of my life immediately following the separation. My father sent me regular letters, however my mother simply threw them away without me knowing.

I now know that what my mother did to my father, my brother and I was parental alienation.

I currently have somewhat of a minimal relationship with my mother. I no longer trust her, but she is still my mother. I forgave her a long time ago.

Despite the lost years I now have a loving, healthy and close relationship with both my father and brother.

I will never get those lost years back. But I will always make the most of the time I have left with both my father and brother.


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles; contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The CCA Support Team

The following is an anonymous contribution from an alienated parent that approached us, wishing to share his experience of parental alienation. We have changed the individuals’ names in the following post.


I recently found out that I am not just John, a primary school teacher from Northern England. What it was that I recently found out was that I am also what is known as an alienated parent.

I will give a very brief synopsis of the circumstances leading up to me becoming an alienated parent.

Five years ago my marriage broke down. As is so often the case with separation following long relationships, we were both at fault. I have no issues with admitting that I made mistakes.

The divorce was incredibly acrimonious, adversarial, expensive and I was left hugely in debt. However in the grand scheme of things money is only money.

However I subsequently paid a much higher price for my acrimonious divorce than I could have ever imagined. The price I ultimately paid was the severing of my previously loving relationship with my two children, Josh aged 8 and Toby aged just 6.

Immediately after our separation my ex denied me and my whole side of the family any contact with my two sons. She also made numerous false allegations against me. Due to the allegations the Family Court did not permit me any contact with my sons until these accusations were disproved. Lo and behold four months later Cafcass, who by that time were involved, confirmed that their were no safeguarding issues regarding me and my children.

However by this time my ex had managed to effectively brainwashed my boys against me. My two loving sons were given a toxic and false version of events regarding our separation. They were told I had cheated on their mother, which I hadn’t. They were told I had left all of them and stolen the family savings, which of course I did not. They were also told toxic lies about their paternal and elderly grandparents.

Their mother, on numerous occasions has encouraged my loving boys to write to me; in what can only be described as in an extremely hateful manner to me. In these numerous letters my beautiful boys have told me they hate me. They have told me I am a really bad dad. They have also told me that I do not deserve to be their dad. They have also written to me saying that they do not want to see me anymore. In their last letter they wrote to tell me that they now have a new dad, who is so much better than me. They ended their letters by informing me that they now call their new dad, daddy.

The emotional pain such toxic messages of hatred inflicts on the heart of an alienated parent are beyond words.

I do not consider myself to be overly academic. However I consider myself to be a somewhat well-read and learned individual. As a primary school teacher I see on a daily basis the damage such emotionally abusive behaviours have on children.

The more I read about parental alienation in an attempt to understand the legal system, the remit of Cafcass and Children’s Social Services the more I am made aware of the complete and utter miscarriage of justice that is parental alienation.

I can no longer afford to legally pursue through the family court my children’s’ human rights to have a relationship with me their biological father.

Their mother has breached every single court order that either promotes or would result in contact between my children and I.

Children’s Social Services have come and gone. They do not recognise parental alienation as a form of abuse. Their findings were that all my ex and I have to do is work together! Cafcass have been involved since the very beginning. Their very own CEO tenuously states publicly that as an organisation they recognise parental alienation. However the Cafcass appointed Children’s Guardian does not feel it is in my boys’ best interest to continue to pursue contact as it runs the risk of causing more trauma to my two boys. This is despite Cafcass stating in numerous reports that “mother is exhibiting extreme alienating behaviours that will cause long term emotional harm to the children.”

All throughout my numerous telephone calls, meetings and court hearings with them I have asked Cafcass numerous questions. All of which were reasonable, proportionate and appropriate. All the questions related to my wish to understand why Cafcass are not protecting my children from harm. I am not a hot-headed man. I simply want to understand. However Cafcass have repeatedly been unable to give me sufficient answers to my questions.

So I would like to conclude this post with a question; “Cafcass, why do you not care?”


Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by parental alienation.

We will gladly signpost individuals to true professionals within our wider network who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. Contact us for more details. 

We pledge to never request payment from such individuals, nor request a finder’s fee from these professionals for any referrals made.

The Peace Not Pas Team