I'm father to three grown up boys, two teenage girls, one of which I see little of due to the parent alienation created and enforced by my ex wife. Even though i have a court order to allow me to have my daughter fornightly, she has been brainwashed into staying with her.

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.

© 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 “


Dear reader,

Apologies for not writing for a while but have been working.

I am reminded of the old story of King Solomon and his decision. The story recounts that two mothers living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son, came to Solomon. One of the babies had died, and each claimed the remaining boy as her own. Calling for a sword, Solomon declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother did not contest the ruling, declaring that if she could not have the baby then neither of them could, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!”

The king declared the second woman the true mother, as a mother would even give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life. This judgment became known throughout all of Israel and was considered an example of profound wisdom.

The point of the story is that it is a wise thing to give the child to the parent that cares, rather than the parent who didn’t contest the ruling. If we now come forward many thousands of years, it appears that the court system has changed again. It now appears to favour one parent instead of both parents. If we look at the story, considering Parental alienation, it appears courts are happy to give children to the half of a relationship that doesn’t care and is willing to use a child as a tool to punish/subjugate/control the other parent. I find it interesting that after all this time, the expressions “splitting the baby” or “cutting the baby in half” are sometimes used in the legal profession for a form of simple compromise: solutions which “split the difference” in terms of damage awards or other remedies (e.g. a judge dividing fault between the two parties in a comparative negligence case). But if the courts can divide fault between two parties, why is it that they appear unwilling or unable to defend either party when the other party appears to blatantly disregard the solutions they arrange? I paid for a court order to allow me access to my child, on a fortnightly arrangement. This was to have all been arranged, but the “parent with care” (how I HATE that phrase!!), uses their time, energy and the resource of time, to manipulate the child to not want to go to their fathers, and forcing them to choose. They raised the metaphorical sword, stating that you can take the child if you want, but you can stop the crying.

So I ask, when the parent who cares says “no its ok you don’t have to come with me”, why does the courts not help the true parent? Why are the rules that the courts are so happy to charge you for, not re-enforced? Why are we happy to allow abuse to continue to happen as often as it does?

Every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents. To be denied that right by one parent, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is itself a form of child abuse. Since it is the child who is being violated by a parent’s alienating behaviours, it is the child who is being alienated from the other parent. Children who have undergone forced separation from one parent — in the absence of abuse — including cases of parental alienation, are highly subject to post-traumatic stress, and reunification efforts in these cases should proceed carefully and with sensitivity. Research has shown that many alienated children can transform quickly from refusing or staunchly resisting the rejected parent to being able to show and receive love from that parent, followed by an equally swift shift back to the alienated position when back in the orbit of the alienating parent; alienated children seem to have a secret wish for someone to call their bluff, compelling them to reconnect with the parent they claim to hate. While children stated wishes regarding parental contact in contested custody should be considered, they should not be determinative, especially in suspected cases of alienation.

Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child; it has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child. Alienated children are no less damaged than other child victims of extreme conflict, such as child soldiers and other abducted children, who identify with their tormentors to avoid pain and maintain a relationship with them, however abusive that relationship may be.

So although alienated parents are often forced to make “Solomon’s Choice”, and the law system appears to reinforce this decision, it is fundamentally wrong. How many more thousand years will it take us to learn?

Why are we incapable of choosing wisely?



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The Peace Not Pas Team

Dear reader,

It occurred to me today to think about parental alienation from a different angle. How do people become the person that stops one person from being involved in their child’s life when they are divorced?

Perhaps its stems from problems they already have? Please don’t think for one moment that I’m condoning their behaviour; I’m not, but by knowing the enemy you have a better chance of out manoeuvring them right?

I started doing some research and came up with this – gatekeeper parenting. My understanding of this is that one parent, normally but not exclusively, in first time parent situations, ends up taking control of the family unit.

A gatekeeper parent exhibits the following behaviors:

  • Criticizes the way the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse parents
  • Creates unbending or unrealistic standards in order for the other parent to spend time with the children
  • Demeans or undermines the other parent’s efforts at being an authority figure in the child(ren’s) lives
  • Controls all the organizing, delegating, planning, and scheduling in the home
  • Becomes reluctant to let go of some of the responsibility for caring for the family
  • Needs a great deal of validation of their identity as a parent, both from the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse and from outside the marriage or parenting relationship
  • Believes in the traditional roles assigned to husbands and wives
  • Views the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse as a helper and not an equal when it comes to household chores and child-care responsibilities
  • Asks the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse for help and then gives explicit directions on how to accomplish a task

Inside a marriage, the characteristics and symptoms of a gatekeeper may already be apparent, with one parent being relegated to second tier status and disenfranchised with regard to their parenting skills or their ability to practice and nurture their own set of skills. This lends itself to the dominant parent taking complete control of the household, and it causes severe resentment and sense of helplessness in the other parent’s relationship with the children.

In a post-divorce situation, the gatekeeping parent may limit contact between the other parent and the child(ren), abuse the child verbally and psychlogically, or utilise derogatory remarks regarding the other parent, including threats in order to maintain control.

This would explain a lot of some of the behaviours that have happened to a lot of the parents, in a lot of the cases of divorce!

In 2013, the National Office of Statistics in Britain stated that of the 114,720 couples that divorced, 94,864 had children involved.

Being an optimist, but also trying to make the math easier, I generalised that of the 94 thousand couples with children, half would be reasonable and try to sort something out with each parent. That leaves 47,432 possibilities that didn’t work out, and that could be subjected to parent alienation.

That works out at five children, every hour of every day of every week of the year. That works out to just one child every ten minutes.

This takes me back to the title of this blog ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. This means that one parent every ten minutes or so, is effectively locking their child away in the dungeon of their construction, gatekeeping their interactions with the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not suggesting that they might be dragons (God forbid!), but from their perspective they may well be looking after their children, just like Smaug did the goblins hoard. And we all know what happened to him!


Perhaps these gatekeepers need to look towards the film Tangled. If you keep someone locked away from their natural curiosity, all you will be doing is just prolonging the inevitable. They will find out for themselves what you have done and you will lose them for ever.

Take this as a clarion call; work with the parent you have disenfranchised from the child you BOTH created. Or else you too could end up like the woman from Tangled, losing everything you’ve ever worked towards. The choice is yours…

Written by


Please do visit psychman’s blog at


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

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

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


The Peace Not Pas Team