The following is an anonymous contribution from a very courageous alienated parent.


I have four children. Two daughters first, followed by two sons.

Our story began 19 years ago. At the time, my eldest child was 13, and the others were close in age, at just 12, 10 and 6.

I could write a whole chapter on how I was messed about, but that’s for another time. I think I was at the forefront of changes yet to take place. I suffered domestic violence, humiliation and all forms of mental coercion and abuse. This escalated to stalking, and even being held hostage. The police were called out on 27 occasionsby this time I felt mentally under siege. Advice was given by a solicitor, who informed me that it was not unreasonable for my husband to use violence against me as I was the adult seeking separation.

Fastforward to my youngest child turning 8, where I no longer lived in the same residence. Although still attending school, it was noticed he was falling asleep in class, and was regularly wet, dishevelled and smelly. I attended all appointments wherever they were, and tried to take care of my children, even though the Cafcass centre had noted distinct coercion to ignore requests from me. I was heckled and verbally abused before, during and after attending the contact centre, and on many occasions in between meetings.

It was all affecting my ability to stay focused. I was crying for much longer and even the simplest things were becoming increasingly difficult. Even sleeping, and then trying to wake up, was a challenge.

I changed my solicitor and requested set times to be able to see each of my children. I was laughed at and told that my eldest was in a position to defy court action. To add to that, I was told nothing could be put in place for the three eldest children. My youngest was placed with me permanently on the grounds of neglect.

Even though I lived just a street from my exhusband, he never asked about, or called to see our son. It got to a point where my son said he wanted to spend the weekends and part of each school holiday scheduled to be with his father halved because he didn’t want to miss being part of a family unit.

Things for the other children at the family home were dire, with no feeling of structure or function. They were upset and constantly fighting each other, frustrated with the lack of attention or responsibility from their father. I had to routinely step in to solve problems and support them, especially when they were left alone to fend for themselves by my ex-husband.

I was still struggling, mentally. I had started university but increasingly needed mental health support. When a position became available for me to attend a psychotherapy unit, I took advantage of the opportunity.

Things did not really improve in relation to contact with my children. Their father had maintained that he was not one to make his children do anything they didn’t want to. In my opinion, that was just a cop-out.

When my youngest reached 13, I asked my sons to accompany me on a house move some 250 miles away. My eldest boy was 16 at the time and, unbeknown to me, had not attended school for almost a year. How did I not know about this? His father had told the school that our son resided only with him and made himself the first contact. I have no understanding why the school didn’t follow this up and check.

I did move. My daughters were 20 and 18 and living at home with dad. I had totally forgotten to investigate school placements before moving and was told that the local school would not take on any more pupils. I didn’t know the area and was prepared to settle for the nearest possible school. However, both boys decided they wanted to return to what they knew, and so I had to let them to go back.

“It broke my heart.”

I saw my youngest in his holidays and at halfterm, but never spent another holiday, halfterm, Christmas or birthday with any of my other children again, despite my youngest saying he wanted to live with me once he left school.

Fastforward to present day my youngest became a father aged 21, and my eldest became a mother at 28. I have no contact with my youngest son or daughter, despite us being a close family. I feel there has been deliberate intent to keep me from being a family member. My eldest son is the only person in regular daily contact.

My children are now all in their twenties and thirties.


I have always taken a gender neutral approach to parental alienation.

However as much as I am proud of my gender neutral approach, this should not prevent me from showing my support for International Men’s Day today.

Anything less would not be equality. The unnecessarily contentious issue that is gender equality is discussed in more detail in my blog post The Inequality of Fighting for Equality.

Returning to this post, take a look at the following statistics:

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These statistics speak for themselves. Another statistic that is not in the above image is that suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK. And the most high risk age range of suicide amongst men are those that are middle aged. So in the interests of equality, please recognise today for what it is. An acknowledgement of how important it simply is to look out for each other more.

Lets try and do this without any preconceived gender stereotyping. Lets do this because it is the right thing to do.

Carys Afoko in her article in The Guardian published today entitled I run a feminist group, but today I am celebrating International Men’s Day writes the following: “Women are not all delicate emotional flowers who need to be protected and rescued. Men are not all violent and sexually aggressive brutes who are only after one thing. Some people don’t even identify as women or men. All of us are living in a culture that puts us into boxes based on old-fashioned ideas that are well past their sell-by date.”


Dear Reader,

Apologies for not writing for a while. As an alienated parent, debts still have to be paid, so I have been working towards this end.

I am writing today about a song that I have recently had to come to terms with. A couple of years ago while driving in my car, when she loved me, by Sarah McLachlan, came up on my playlist. Without thinking I sang along, and the usual lump came to my throat and I stopped singing for a second. My youngest daughter, who is used to my singing in the car, asked if I was alright. I said that I was and carried on.

It made me think about what had happened. For people that don’t know, the above mentioned song is the one played in Toy Story Two ,and referred to as Jessie’s song. It was written by Randy Newman, who writes amazing songs, and this was designed to tug at the heart strings. Unfortunately, when Randy sang it for Pixar Studios, it didn’t have the desired effect. Sarah McLachlan was asked to sing this and the rest is history.

I mention this because for some people the connection between the song and an alienated parent will jump into your mind, and not so for others.

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© Pixar

Let me explain. In the film Toy Story Two, Jessie talks to Woody about why she doesn’t see her owner anymore

When somebody loved me
everything was beautiful
every hour spent together
Lives within my heart

And when she was sad
I was there to dry her tears
and when she was happy so was I
when she loved me

This talks about how loved and special she felt; for me it reminded me of the special relationship I had with my daughter, and how every day, every hour spent together lives within my heart.

Through the summer and the fall
we had each other that was all
Just she and I together
like it was meant to be

And when she was lonely
I was there to comfort her
and I knew that she loved me

This talks about the relationship Jessie had with her owner; the relationship I had with my daughter, was different to the one she had with her mother. Her mother had a child so that she didn’t feel left out by her friends. It meant that we talked about all sorts of things, we did all sorts of things, together.

So the years went by
I stayed the same
But she began to drift away
I was left alone
Still I waited for the day
When she’d say I will always love you

Lonely and…

Lonely and forgotten
Never thought she’d look my way
And she smiled at me and held me
Just like she use to do
Like she loved me

When she loved me

This part refers to when Jessie is found by her owner after being forgotten under her bed for a while. For me this is the hardest part of the song. My relationship with my daughter has been hijacked by her mother; the person that didn’t really want to do anything with our daughter, now does everything and forces my daughter to make decisions based on emotional blackmail.

Her mother buys my daughter’s affection with things, rather than spend time with her. She has over time, convinced her that Daddy is bad, and that we should be angry at him.  For me, I have had to put up with all sorts of barriers and boundaries to spending time with my daughter. I have fought to keep phone contact, as this was all I was allowed. This has meant that as my daughter has started to grow, she has started to think for herself. I have never lied to my daughter, and have always told her everything, even if it doesn’t put me in a good light. I have been no angel and freely admit this, but this shouldn’t prevent me from being a part of my daughter’s life. Her mother is happy to take child maintenance from me, but would happily cut me from her life if she could.

When somebody loved me
everything was beautiful
every hour spent together
Lives within my heart
when she loved me

This part speaks more to, me than anything. Dearest daughter, just to make you aware, this passage isn’t about how I need to be loved. It refers to the fact that I love you dearly, always have, always will.

It doesn’t matter to me what anyone says to me, the time we spend together will always live together in my heart. I hope and pray (and I am not even religious!!) that at some point our time together will mean as much to you as it does to me.

I will never stop trying to have a relationship with you, in whatever way, shape or form, you want. Know that I have never stopped loving you, despite what others may say, and this will never change.

I still listen to this song. Tears don’t roll down my face as they used to, but it does remind me of what I miss and what I hope to look forward to in the future.  “When she was happy, so was I. When she loved me “


 

[The following is an anonymised experience contributed by an alienated parent. This yet again highlights the flawed system that is the Family Justice System.] 

Approximately a week ago I emailed the Senior Service Manager of my regional Cafcass Office. I asked him three or four questions by email. By far the simplest question I asked was the following:

“Is it really fair, ethical and morally right for my # year old daughter to be prevented from seeing me?”

The manager’s response was “there are complex dynamics at play, which professionals and the Judge have commented on.”

I then replied via email with the following response:

“This is not a competency based question. It is an ethics based question. I have the right to have an honest answer to this question, from the very organisation who is responsible for the well-being of my children while they go through the family court process.

It should not take you a whole day to answer this very simple question. It is either a yes or no. I can not make it any simpler for you to answer.

Is it really fair, ethical and morally right for my # year old daughter to be prevented from seeing me? Yes or no?”

At time of writing I have still not received a response to this very simple question. The lack of response to such a simple question, actually raises the following questions regarding Cafcass’ approach to the safeguarding of children that find themselves going through the Family Justice System.

  • The initial answer to the question (there are complex dynamics at play, which professionals and the Judge have commented on) was clearly avoidant. Why would such an organisation avoid answering such a simple question? What are they avoiding?
  • The above mentioned Senior Service Manager is also rather astoundingly a member of the local Safeguarding Children Board. So as a professional surely the answering of such a ethics based question should be driven by the individual’s own values and ethics? Not any protection of his professional reputation within a flawed system, where the toxic organisational culture clearly does not appreciate the disclosing of any truth?
  • Why are Cafcass not committed to the effective safeguarding of children going through family court?
  • Is it that Cafcass do not want to be held accountable for complex cases such as parental alienation?

So if anyone has any ideas or questions regarding my above points please feel free to leave your comments below.

Thank you.


To my beautiful children. Regardless of whether you all currently think you love me or not. Regardless of whether you all actually miss me or not. Regardless of whether you all feel your hearts’ are broken or not. Regardless of my absence in your lives; I would like to tell you a story of one of two creatures who became my best friends. I strongly believe they had a big part of saving my life.

[To those that follow this blog, I am an alienated parent. I have now not seen my beautiful children for more than two years. For those of you that ask the most simple question of why, the answer is simple. The other parent of my children has effectively brainwashed our children against me. They are led to believe a false narrative of events. They are led to believe I no longer love them. They are led to believe I have rejected them all. This set of abusive behaviours is known as parental alienation. The parent that ‘facilitates’ the false narrative is known as the alienating parent. The alienating parent will effectively and actively promotes false and toxic beliefs that effectively turn the affected children against the targeted parent. This set of abusive behaviours is known as parental alienation. Due to the current flawed system, there is a financial incentive for the targeting parent to increase the alienating behaviours. The less the targeted parent is ‘allowed’ by the targeting parent to have contact with the children the more child maintenance the targeting parent receives!]  

Anyway, lets return to the narrative of this story. So, to my beautiful children this is a recent insight into my life (that you are unfortunately excluded from) that I would like to share with you.

A couple of years before the publishing of this post, within the context of my new life (which I so wish you were all permitted to be a part of) I adopted two dogs. One was from Romania, the other from Spain. Both were rescue dogs, taken from a life of depravity and abuse.

The latter sentence does certainly not equate to any entitlement of recognition on my part. In fact the opposite is true. What I and my new life got from these two dogs was unbelievable; unconditional love, devotion, attention and most valued of all, companionship, mutual trust and friendship.

As strange as it may sound kids, these two dogs gave me something that was lacking in my inner self as an alienated parent; an inner purpose, a sense of self, a sense of responsibility.

Kids, the Spanish dog in my opinion had the same grace, maturity and mannerisms of the dog ‘Shadow’ in the movie Journey Home. The very movie we all used to watch numerous times together. This very dog of mine that reminded me so much of ‘Shadow’ had many other endearing and cute mannerisms which I would rather tell you in person (one day I hope).  As for my Romanian companion, like his Spanish counterpart, he is unlike any dog I have ever known before. He gives hugs! My God kids, how much you would love him. He actually gives hugs, proper hugs! He places his paws on your shoulder and snuggles his head in.

So kids why am I telling  you such a story about two random rescue dogs I took under my wing as part of my new life? Allow me to explain. I know you all love animals as much as I do. As such please allow me to elaborate on my relationship with these two dogs and what, I feel we all get from our connections dogs as companions, friends and dependants.

I do not wish to dwell on the period of my life that I am about to discuss. Suffice to say, in the recent past I have experienced some very, very dark times. Maybe the language I am using is too ‘grown-up’ should you be reading this post now. However should you find yourself reading this content in several years time I would imagine you know what I mean by the phrase “I have experienced some very, very dark times.”

So to continue kids, in such times I would be alone, feel isolated and feel hopeless. Of course this was in the context of being an alienated parent. By the way, allow me to make this clear; none of this is your fault. I simply struggled with being denied the opportunity of being a part of your lives. As I continue to do so now to this very day.

However in such dark times who did I depend on (be it not exclusively)? Yep, you guessed it kids, my furry four legged friends.

Many an isolated, lonely afternoon I would unashamedly wallow in self-pity and sorrow, listen to music and cuddle up to my two furry friends.

During these dark days, these two furry friends of mine never appeared to judge me. They never appeared to ignore me. They never seemed to be fed up with providing me with love, attention and companionship. They felt to me to have a bottomless pit of such emotions. They would greet me with such enthusiasm when I returned home. They would even display the same enthusiasm if I had only taken the rubbish out!

During some of my darkest days I found myself listening to the song ‘Song for Zulu’ by Phosphorescent while cuddling and curling up next to my two furry best friends.

So what is the connection with the lyrics of this song and my two new furry friends? At the risk of repeating myself, allow me to explain.

“You will not see me fall, nor see me struggle to stand.” In my capacity as an alienated parent the above lyric resonated with me profoundly. Maybe one day I will explain it to you in person.

However the above lyric also resonates with me in relation to my furry Spanish friend, Buda. This song reminds me of these dark days and my furry friends beside me.

There was something special about Buda. Poor Buda had been born into a kill station. He was severely mistreated as a young dog. He was then rescued and that’s when Buda came into my new life.

Tragically, several days ago was the last time I saw my good friend Buda alive. I had seen Buda earlier that day struggle to get through the morning.  Following his rescue from the kill station he had a couple of years in an incredibly loving home. And then his life was cut tragically short by an incurable disease.

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Miss you Buda

Kids, all of you would have immediately fallen in love with Buda, as most people did when they met him. I feel Buda would have benefited from having you kids in his life. How much I would have loved you all to have been a part of Buda’s short life. You all would have most definitely have benefited from such a friendship with Buda. I am sure Buda would have loved you all too. He was a special, loving dog.

Maybe one day you will all meet Buda’s housemate Thor. As much as you kids would have loved Buda, you would all equally love Thor. Who wouldn’t love a dog that gives human-like hugs?

The lyric from the following song resonates with me for many reasons. Reasons that I would prefer to disclose to you kids, in private, one day.

Love, Daddy

“You will not see me fall, nor see me struggle to stand” Matthew Houck, 2013.