As The Cornerstone Community Alliance Support Team (CCA) we are the support wing of The Cornerstone Community Alliance. Our aim as The CCA Support Team is to provide support and advice to all those that have been adversely affected by parental alienation.

Another thought provoking piece from ‘lost dad’. Glad to see ‘lost dad’ back, well and writing once again.

LOST DAD

Why is parental alienation not more widely known? why does it still exist after so many years, and more importantly, why isn’t anything happening to stop it?

Let’s take a somewhat different example that can be seen in every newspaper these days: Transgender discussions. Without going into any of the detail in the different arguments, or groups involved, let’s just take a figure: The UK assume that the number of transgenders in the population is around 0.1%, the United States says it is around 0.3%. Taking the figure to mean the entire population of the United Kingdom, that means that there are around 68,000 transgenders in the UK.

Why I am mentioning this?  Because this is the number at any one time. How many do you think are suffering from parental alienation at any one time? Children, absent parents, grandparents, etc.  Given that in 2012 according to the office of national…

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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

 


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

For the regular followers of our movement, you will probably be aware that we recently wrote an open letter to The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) CEO, Anthony Douglas.

We also emailed him the letter directly to him.

This initial communication of ours with Anthony Douglas can be found in the following link:

Open Letter to Anthony Douglas, CEO, Cafcass

Anthony Douglas did indeed reply to our email.

Due to overwhelming demand we are publishing his reply below:

Dear Peace Not Pas Team,

Thank you for your letter, which expressed your concerns about the impact of parental alienation on children and their families.

We recognise parental alienation and our primary focus is the child impact of alienating behaviours when they are identified, including when they are present alongside other risk factors within a family, such as domestic abuse or high conflict. Our practitioners are aware of the potential for children to be influenced by parental views and remain live to this issue throughout the assessment and progression of a case. The focus is always on the safety and wellbeing of the children.

We are currently working on finalising an evidence-based assessment framework to help our practitioners assess the complexity of alienating behaviours. Thank you for your kind offer to meet in person but we have already met with and received input from a range of knowledgeable groups, including the judiciary, lawyers, academics, and men’s and women’s groups. The issues raised in your letter have been noted and will be considered along with the feedback already received.

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Douglas CBE

 ReplyFromCafcassCEO_PeaceNotPas

The above reply raised more questions for us. So we replied back.

Although already published the reply can be found in the following link:

Our reply to Anthony Douglas, CEO, Cafcass

We still await a response from Anthony Douglas following our second letter.


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, as is the case above.

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.

The Peace Not Pas Team

Dear Mr Douglas,

Thank you very much for your prompt response to our recent letter acknowledging that you will now take on board our points as part of the reform process.

However, unfortunately you haven’t addressed any of our concerns. While we again appreciate your reiteration that “we recognise parental alienation,” you haven’t explained why:

  • There is no evidence of this on the front-line, where your employees are contradicting you.
  • It is taking so long to engage your staff with this, re-train and re-calibrate the culture and practices there.
  • It is taking so long to develop the measures to combat parental alienation.
  • Shared care isn’t recommended in the majority of cases.
  • There has been no mention of re-unification of alienated parents with their children
  • There are no target change dates and milestones.

You may well have noticed that our 21 point document has started to circulate around social media, including Linkedin, where the issue is attracting the attention of a number of media contacts as well as organisational change and leadership commentators and experts.

As we stated in our letter, enough is enough.

We are aware of your own personal background so know that you will be able to appreciate the incredible distress this issue is causing a great many people.

With that in mind can we please ask you to expand on your generalised statements about the assessment framework and provide very concerned parents with more clarity and reassurances about the other change pathways and measures you alluded to in your press releases last year?

Given the number of people involved and scale of this growing issue, this is every bit as serious an issue for Cafcass as similar challenges presented to CEOs of organisations of a similar size; not least the Windrush scandal at the Home Office, VW’s emissions problems or even the culture change issues at Carillion. Arguably, parental alienation affects many more people, especially children.

The fact there is a plethora of evidence that this form of abuse has such a lasting negative impact on both the short and long term mental health of the effected children should make the urgency of any reforms that much more a priority for the numerous stakeholders/agents of change involved. There are also detrimental effects on the mental health of the targeted families. We are proud of our gender neutral stance, however with 97% of residencies being given to mothers by the Family Court in the UK, (Kielty, S., University of East Anglia, 2006) this forces those fathers that don’t get granted residency  into the highest risk group within the UK for suicide rates.

We can count amongst our numbers several well-respected leadership and change consultants who have worked with director’s general of senior government departments, including the Cabinet Office. They are appalled by the lack of apparent urgency, absence of collective responsibility and clear disconnect between your enlightened view and front line service user experience. Look at what Starbucks has just achieved on the back of a single race-related incident, having mobilised mass training and communication in under a month? Yet they are only entrusted to sell coffee, not influence children’s lives and their profit margins are considerably less than the money spent in Family Court, daily.

Please don’t take this as negativity or hostility on our behalf. We want to do all we can to help you bring about expedient change. But we do hope you can appreciate the seriousness of our concerns, the extent of our desperation and the strength of will to resolve the most important issue we all face, the future of our relationships with our children.

This will in part be decided by your next actions.

We trust you are able to reply with reassuring specifics about what you as CEO of Cafcass and your leadership team and board will deliver this year and when we can expect to see positive change in the practice of your front line staff.

We look forward to your response, ideally within the next seven days.

Yours sincerely,

Peace Not Pas

Another guest post from another courageous parent speaking up about abuse so others may not have to:

I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole narcissism theory. For me people tend to be a great deal more nuanced than that and if we accept a polemic then all empaths are essentially doomed while society tears itself apart.
Granted, living with parent alienation, life can seem like that at times.
However, I have followed the tweets of Sarah Squires (look her up  ) and they have been interesting and informative, especially when she described the characteristics of the so-called Vulnerable Narcissist which certainly got me thinking.

She describes them as:

“presenting as a victim who needs rescuing who then takes complete advantage of your kind nature by systematically obtaining more and more control over you until you are completely powerless in the relationship.”

When I first got together with the mother of my children, we had worked together for a number of years. I was in a pretty senior role, she was initially in a relatively junior role but I had been fascinated by her ability to somehow get herself into key decision-making meetings. I was busy on the front line and missed how it happened but suddenly she was making hiring or firing decisions, until I called my partners on this and accountability was restored.

The business went through a very difficult patch and I had to work with her again, this time more closely and, although not noticing at the time, she was suddenly perpetuating a victim narrative about her seemingly abusive relationship. She was so successful at this that I personally took it upon myself to step in and have a word with her then boyfriend who she accused of sexually assaulting her. He left.

I was living with a lovely person but we were at different stages in life and I reluctantly transitioned from that relationship and before I knew it, had somehow invited this needy person into my home. I had my doubts but “hey, it was my house and…”

One day I came home from a meeting to find that she had been going through my personal finances. She was accountancy trained and made some excuse about “rationalising accounts for ease of management”. She had an incredible habit of not lying, just not telling the truth, as if that’s not as bad.

Then the neighbours knocked on the door complaining about having a row with her. Later others did the same. I put this down to their sour-grapes at the departure of my former partner, defended her vociferously and left it at that.

However, I then realised that she had gone through my contact books and removed anything to do with former partners and friends she didn’t like from contact details to photos and momentos. She had also thrown out every scrap of anything related to former partners.

I know this sounds like I’m sort of pushover. I was certainly stressed at work and needed support. But I’m no wallflower I promise you.

I confronted her with the latest revelations, front, centre and frank, as is my preferred way. She immediately lapsed into what I now call her hyena mode, where her body language closes and she becomes theatrically upset and submissive.

But she knew she had pushed things too far. I then helped her pack and held the door for her and she drove off sobbing in her crappy car.

At midnight, however, she re-appeared on the doorstep begging for another chance and blaming her ex etc. Somehow I opened the door.

Having then committed I made up my mind to do whatever it would take to now make this work and before I knew it we were selling the house and starting afresh. Despite our high relative status as a couple, however, she was always complaining about people in our “posh” village making her feel inferior. Wherever we seemed to go she had issues with people,something I could never comprehend given she was very well educated and now comparatively well off, with a decent career and I certainly had no problems getting on with people.

In the next house, despite a quick pregnancy, the same behaviour toward the neighbours repeated itself. There were daily dramas and she fell out with every surrounding household. We even received a police visit for one physical attack on a man for parking his car inappropriately. At 7 months pregnant I had to pull her off the back of another woman she took a disliking to.

Despite all the concerns from friends and family, I stood by her and upped my contribution to compensate, literally doing everything in the house and outside and being the sole income driver. I even used my capital to create an online business for her in the hope it would cheer her up and give her a more fulfilling and empowering focus.

Gradually my family were alienated as well. Her parents, however, oddly, became our best friends, travelling from 200 miles away to stay with us virtually every other weekend and accompanying us on holidays. I stopped playing the sports I enjoyed, few of my friends came to the wedding and we focused everything on our new family.

I realise now how absolutely ridiculous this looks. Gradually my control over my own life was being eroded. But you know what they say about hindsight?

Needless to say, I came home from a very stressful client site one day, on my birthday, to an empty house.

She had colluded with her mother, in particular and emptied the accounts and removed everything of value as well as the passwords to all the financials and control over the accounting process. They had forged my signature on various documents and taken the cars.

That was over a decade ago.

I have fought, kicked and scratched with every ounce of everything I have while simultaneously doing everything I can to co-parent and continue to give my amazing children a father. But I’ve been outnumbered, out-gunned and undermined at every step.

Despite the perpetual and, at times, filthy abuse, I have succeeded in being there to influence the children’s most impressionable years and we are seeing those dividends coming to fruition in their performance at school and in their extra-curricular activities.

But, of course, their mother has deployed every trick of control in the alienator’s handbook. Every one, starting with the “non-harassment” gagging clause covertly slipped into my orders through to the “grey rock” refusal to communicate while she ignores the orders, conveniently flipping the ridiculous court support process to make it somehow appear that the controlling narcissist is actually me, despite the clear fact that I have no power in the process whatsoever, not even the guarantee that the simplest of commitments will be honoured, like a plan or a date.

True to form she has inserted herself into key positions within the community she returned to, where they now live, with the help of her extended and complicit family, from a school governor’s role to secretary of the local and influential sports and social club and the partner of the law firm representing her is now “a close personal friend”.

Let this be a salutary lesson to anyone setting up home with a partner. Whether or not you buy into narcissism theories, consider at least that there are two forms of aggression:

  • the active and overt kind (shouty, ranty and worse)
  • the passive aggressive kind (controlling, manipulative, lying).

If there’s a lot of either in your relationship and I mean EITHER, then you both have an issue and need help.

Do not introduce children into a relationship where control is an issue…or quite soon you’ll find you have none at all. That is a terrifying place to be, most especially for your children as these people will transfer their issues onto your children.

Parental alienation its all about control.

Having not heard a thing from my beloved children for too long, caught tight in her abusive clutches, I certainly understand that now.

Yet I can do nothing, it seems, to seize any sort of balanced parental control back, other than to decide what happens to me. And that is a terrifying position for our children to be placed in by the impotence of our legal and family support systems.


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

In the previous two posts on the theme of re-unification and re-connection, we showcased some of the expertise of the children’s social work team by focusing on the case study of Will and his son Zac.

Complementing and enabling this work, by helping to remove the legal barriers erected by the alienating parent, was one of our network of McKenzie Friends, a much more cost-effective alternative to using a solicitor and a lot less daunting than representing yourself in court.

In this blog, Amanda outlines the nature of her interaction with Will and his son that paved the way for the reunification of father and son:

I became McKenzie Friend for Will after, disillusioned and around £30k less well off, he found himself needing to apply for enforcement.

He was referred to me and we met so that I could hear what had happened in his case. His 6 year old son Zac was living hundreds of miles away, following separation, and he had literally run out of money to deal with the relentless obstructions that the mother was placing in the way of their relationship.

At our first meeting, I viewed his paperwork and heard the story in his words. I could hear that there were most certainly elements of alienation here. When a parent has to return to Court time and time again, despite Court Orders, that is a big clue and whilst I had no criticism of the work that Solicitors had done for Will and Zac to date, it always concerns me when parents are “forced” to spend tens of thousands just to get Court Orders to spend time with their children with no guarantee of enforcement. Will had the money, and could have continued to pay for representation.

What about all the thousands of parents that don’t. Who helps them?

In any case, Will had decided that he wanted to give self-representation a go. And so we made the application, and forged onwards.  A good Mckenzie Friend will give loads of support and advice for free, which when dealing with high conflict or alienation cases, can be invaluable, and so we talked often and at length about what to do and what we needed to be asking the Court for.

It was very clear from the outset that the mother in this case was not going to comply with the existing Order, and we immediately asked the Court to appoint a Guardian under Rule 16.4, which they did. This then led to various interventions, including a third party organisation called Core Assets, attempting to work with the family.

They made a few attempts to work with Zac, whom the mother said had suddenly become afraid of his father (this had been said before), due to a whole host of allegations which included things that had happened when the child was very young (and had previously been dealt with by the Court and Cafcass), and new allegations, such as ridiculous assertions that Will had eaten the child’s food, and had returned him muddy and wet.

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It was observed by Core Assets that the mother would not leave Zac for them to hand him over to Will, and at one stage she was overheard telling him quietly that he “didn’t have to go.”

This is something we see time and again, the coercive control and manipulation of little minds.

At one very memorable meeting, with the Guardian, Core Assets, the mother and the mother’s partner, the hostility towards the father was palpable from both the mother and her new partner and it was at that stage that Core Assets said that there was nothing they could do, that the child was simply too anxious and mother too implacably hostile to work with.

At the next hearing, we made a Part 25 Application, for a report by a psychologist, and were lucky enough to get our preferred expert. Navigating such applications as a litigant in person is never easy, and we needed the support of both the Guardian and the mother’s solicitor to get this done and again I cannot stress as the financial burden was Will’s alone. Had he not had those available funds (in the region of £6,000) I am unsure that he would be spending time with Zac to this day.

The expert report was amazingly detailed and clearly identified alienation, along with a recommended action plan which included reunification work which then paved the way for us to further propose an Independent Social Worker for  to carry out the action plan.

Our preference was to use Alison (who features earlier), knowing how experienced she was in cases like this, but the Guardian was cautious due to the distance between her and the case. Again, the father’s willingness and ability to fund this work and cover the majority of the cost ensured that he secured Alison’s support.

As a McKenzie Friend, this case was one of my longest running, with proceedings from Enforcement Application to conclusion lasting just over 2 years. I continue to support Will, and he will call for advice, guidance and coaching on all aspects of co-parenting which I give for free, and currently things continue to go well for him and Zac.

I certainly hope we never see a return to Court.

I must stress that there are many, many parents that I work for as a McKenzie Friend who do not have the money to pay for my minimal fees, let alone a solicitor or a barrister and for whom the costs associated with a Part 25 Application such as the one Will made would be completely unaffordable.

It is one of the absolute scandals of our age that people are denied justice and a relationship with their children as a consequence of financial hardship, especially when this has been caused by the divorce process itself.

We hope we are able to provide a much more affordable and cost-effective alternative to trying to deal with alienation all alone.


Please Note:  The issues we deal with in this blog are distressing. If you feel you need support over and above the resources available, we will gladly refer readers to professionals within our team, such as those mentioned, who can help deliver results and who 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 as you will observe.

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.

The Peace Not Pas Team