Halloween is just another seasonal celebration missed by those of us that are alienated from our children.

For those readers unfamiliar with the term parental alienation please see here.

I vividly remember helping my children each year carve out the Halloween pumpkins to be placed outside the house. I also remember every evening after nightfall being reminded by my kids to light the candles in the pumpkins. As if it was only yesterday I remember my little G saying to me one year “daddy, we need to light the pumpkins, can I help you light them today because it’s my turn tonight, remember?”

“Parental alienation, by its very nature is all about tricks and treats too.”

I remember my kids and I getting dressed up in our Halloween costumes each year to go ‘trick or treating’ round the neighbourhood. On returning home, the children’s faces full of joy as they emptied their Halloween bags onto the floor. All of them excited beyond words from the sheer amount of sweets they had each managed to acquire.

Halloween_PeacenotPas.2.jpeg

However it is not just Halloween that involves trick or treating. Parental alienation, by its very nature is all about tricks and treats too. Allow me to explain.

I now haven’t seen my three beautiful children for almost fifteen months. Their mother has tricked them into believing I no longer love them following our separation. Their mother has ultimately tricked them into believing they are better off without me.

In addition to this their mother has tricked them into being scared of me. She uses such abhorrent tactics as tricking them into believing I prowl around the house at night. Which of course isn’t true.

Their mother has also tricked them in the past into worrying about the idea of them possibly having to move house and schools because “daddy isn’t paying for the house anymore” which of course isn’t true.

As if all the above wasn’t bad enough, their mother has also tricked all our previously mutual friends into believing I used to abuse my children. Suffice to say their mother has ensured that all these ex-mutual friends have rejected me on this false information. They clearly weren’t real friends if that is their reaction without checking my side of the story first. These ex-mutual friends have now become what are known as enablers of parental alienation. Enablers are individuals that an alienating parent tricks into providing support for them. The alienating parent will also in many cases trick the enablers to turn against the targeted parent.

For a more detailed insight into enablers of parental alienation please see my article An Open Letter to Enablers of Parental Alienation.

My children’s mother also tricked one of the children’s schools into believing that my whereabouts were not known and that I had stolen money from them and therefore left them destitute.

“Having the financial resources to spend in excess of £10,000 in legal fees over the last fourteen months to continue to prevent me from having any contact with any of my children.”

Furthermore their mother also tricked the local authorities into giving her food vouchers due to her false claims of being left penniless and destitute following our separation. This is despite their mother somehow having the financial resources to spend in excess of £10,000 in legal fees over the last fourteen months to continue to prevent me from having any contact with any of my children.

At each court appearance, of which there have been many their mother regularly tricks the judge. She assures the judge she will engage in the next intervention aimed at encouraging contact between the children and I. This is despite their mother not engaging in any previous interventions at all.

So there you have it. These are the ‘tricks of the trade’ used by an alienating parent. There are many many more tricks, but I’m sure you get the idea.

But what about the treats? Once again, please allow me to explain.

The children get treated by way of numerous rewards for siding with their mother. They get treated with praise for helping her through the pain and hurt of separation. Clearly this is emotional transference from a parent to a child and completely inappropriate and unhealthy.

And then there is the previously mentioned mutual friends that have sided with the childrens mother. They are treated with validation and praise for helping who they believe to be someone who is penniless and destitute. Little do they know this mother is emotionally abusing her very own children and continuing to deny them contact with their father.

“Tragically the children have absolutely no idea that they are being constantly tricked and treated into rejecting and hating their very own father.”

So this year their mother will probably carve out the pumpkins with the children. And she will most probably take them trick or treating.

However, rather tragically the children have absolutely no idea that they are being constantly tricked and treated into rejecting and hating their very own father.

On a similarly tragic note these enablers are also clueless to the fact that they are being tricked and treated into supporting a mother who is emotionally abusing her very own children.

“The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them,” writes Criss Jami in his 2015 book, Killosophy.

btg dad


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

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

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

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

As regular readers of this blog will be aware I was recently invited to talk about parental alienation as part of a book launch.

Colin Ward (twitter.com/ColinWardWriter) the author of his newly published novel To Die For kindly invited me along to give a talk on the subject as parental alienation features heavily in his aforementioned new novel.

Over the last fourteen months I have become somewhat of a self-taught expert on parental alienation. As such I have subsequently become an avid online activist against the misunderstood and unrecognised form of abuse that is parental alienation.

However speaking in public about it was a whole new experience for me. As an online activist I have the privilege of writing under the online pseudonym of ‘btg dad’ and promoting the Peace Not Pas brand in the hope of promoting awareness of parental alienation.

Writing anonymously online is easy enough. Although one’s emotions are expressed through words, ultimately the cathartic process of writing about being an alienated parent is carried out in private. Followers of this blog will read my posts, but through writing I only reveal the emotions I choose to reveal.

However speaking in public is a whole different ball game. Prior to the event I sought advice from Colin. I asked him if I should inform the audience I have never spoken in public before. He adamantly advised me not to. I respect Colin, so I followed his advice and did not disclose this to the audience. Until now!

“I remember looking around as I spoke and seeing heads nodding in agreement as I talked about life as an alienated parent.”

As for my speech, if asked, I wouldn’t be able to recall what I said. It was as if I simply ‘zoned out’ and went into ‘auto-pilot mode’. However I can recall how I felt. I felt empowered, I felt I was doing something good. I remember looking around as I spoke and seeing heads nodding in agreement as I talked about life as an alienated parent. At the end I received what appeared to be a sincere round of applause.

“It took a couple of years for my son to get his kids back, but he done it in the end. So don’t you ever give up.”

As I walked away from the stage I passed an older lady who was sitting at a table nearby. She gestured to me to come over, which I did.

“You done really well. Good for you for doing that” she said in a very pleasant but assertive manner.

“Thank you” I replied.

“Let me tell you something” she said. “I was once an alienated grandmother. It was a horrible experience. It took a couple of years for my son to get his kids back, but he done it in the end. So don’t you ever give up.”

“No I won’t and thank you for your show of support. I really appreciate it.” I gratefully replied.

“Parental alienation is allowed to exist due to a flawed system.”

There was then a well-timed break where I had the opportunity to speak to numerous people affected by parental alienation. The general consensus was that parental alienation is allowed to exist due to a flawed system. Several of us managed to put the world of parental alienation to rights before the break ended and Colin’s event subsequently continued!

At the end of the event there was some live music to finish off what had been a lovely and thought-provoking event.

So in returning to the title of this post I have reflected on both the event and my speech and come to the following conclusions.

  • More should be done to promote awareness of parental alienation.
  • More should be done to provide support for all those affected by parental alienation, regardless of gender.
  • More should be done to promote and encourage education of professionals in understanding parental alienation.
  • More should be done to develop a credible working professional and academically recognised definition of parental alienation.

I could go on, but I won’t at this point in time. To conclude, I am incredibly grateful to Colin for inviting me along and giving me the opportunity to speak publicly about parental alienation.

I have since realised that evening was a pivotal point in my battle against parental alienation and has pushed me to want to do more. As such, myself and a small number of people have agreed to work together to try to make a positive change.

With this in mind this site is no longer me. It is now us. The point being is this blog itself will become just one of many components of our newly founded movement.

As a movement we will endeavour to work as hard as we can to make a positive change regarding the emotional abuse that we know as parental alienation. We believe that collectively we have the right skill set, motivation and knowledge to challenge the obstacles that lay in front of us.

We are currently in the process of finishing a final draft of our Vision Statement and a 7-Step Mission Statement that will identify what our plans for challenging change are.

All I can say for now is, watch this space!

It was Mahatma Gandhi that once said “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

btg dad


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

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

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

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

“Falling in love is not an act of will. It is not a conscious choice. No matter how open to or eager for it we may be, the experience may still elude us. Contrarily, the experience may capture us at times when we are definitely not seeking it, when it is inconvenient and undesirable.” Wrote M. Scott Peck in 1979 in his book The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth

I fell in love with a married man. I did not go out of my way to do this. We worked together. It was not an office job, it was a hands on job where our communication skills and our compassion were demonstrated daily. We had similar values, similar way of managing situations, similar musical tastes and most importantly we found laughter in all types of situations. So without any fault or any planning we were automatically drawn to each other and fell in love.

Friendly funny texts in our own time became a little flirty. He told me nothing would happen as he was married. I said I understood. I honestly did not think anything would happen; nor did I really want it to happen as he had children.

As time went on it was obvious we were meant to be together. Not a kiss or a handhold happened until one day he came to me and told me he had told his wife about me. He would not have an affair and came clean to his wife. He had too much respect for everyone involved to be untruthful and live a lie. The morality of his actions impressed me and made me respect and love him even more. This was a man who would always be truthful even in such difficult circumstances.

“She not only stopped him seeing his own children but also brainwashed them into hating their father.”

The outcome of this decision was disastrous for my now partner and his children. His wife told him that he would never see his children again if he left. She not only stopped him seeing his own children but also brainwashed them into hating their father. There appears no opportunity to challenge this because there was and still is no way he can get to his children.

All family who were supportive of my partner’s decision were also denied contact with his children. This woman, my partner’s ex-wife literally had all bases covered. No contact due to false allegations against my partner gave her time to effectively brainwash his children that their own father had abandoned them ALL and taken all their money too. These false allegations ultimately gave her enough time to sow the seeds of hatred in their minds towards their own previously loving father.

“The kids need time,” was a comment made by their mother to the professionals involved. These professionals were and still are clearly underqualified and unaware of such complex cases of contact denial. Sadly the professionals dealing with the case could see which parent was exhibiting the emotional abuse but remarkably bought into this “the kids need time” bullshit. Such lack of understanding by the professionals involved resulted in the facilitation of this needing of time being awarded to her. As such the children’s negative perception of their own father has become further entrenched. As anyone who knows anything about contact denial between children and loving parents, time apart is the worst thing possible.

What I have described above is known as parental alienation. Find out more by visiting the Peace Not PAS page What is Parental Alienation?

Many of us will have all come across it but simply do not know there is a name for it. Over the years I have so often heard people say their exes are useless or their dads didn’t care about them and they are better off without them. You don’t think about it – you take what they say as the truth. Why wouldn’t you?

FallingInLoveandParentalAlienation2.jpg

I remember as a child, my friend had one of those fathers who was always at the childrens parties and always playing with his children and involving himself in all the activities. One day he left.

My friend simply told me that her, her mother and brother were “fine on our own.” That never made sense to me and now I see the parallels of the two situations. The children’s mother would openly make disparaging remarks about the father to her friends in full earshot of the children. She would then scold herself and pretend she should not make these comments as they would influence the children. Rolling her eyes when his name was mentioned or reminding everyone who would listen that they were short of money and had to “go without” knowing this would reinforce the childrens beliefs it was due to their father’s departure.

She would inform others proudly that the children had made their own decision in cutting him out of their lives. They claimed they had high morals and would not accept the injustices they had had to suffer due their father’s “bad choice.” Comments such as “he’s the one missing out,” “he’ll regret this” wrongly make the child feel they are valued by at least one of their parents and their decision to cut the other parent off is the right thing to do.

“People are shocked that the judicial system and the services who are meant to safeguard children allow such abuse to continue unchallenged.”

How difficult it must be for any affected child to challenge these unkown false beliefs and potentially get hurt by the awful parent and risk losing the love and praise of the alienating parent.

Whenever my partner and I tell our story, people are shocked that the judicial system and the services who are meant to safeguard children allow such abuse to continue unchallenged.

Never have people said to us “you’re a terrible person and you should have stayed in that unhappy marriage” or you should have “left that married man alone.”

“As parents we are meant to protect our children.”

We live in an age now where we no longer have to stay in unhappy unfulfilling relationships. It’s acceptable and its common. People separate. Life goes on. But as parents we are meant to protect our children’s feelings throughout any difficulties.

As a mother I cannot imagine putting my son to bed knowing that he feels unworthy, abandoned and unloved by his other parent. Parents are meant to love their children. Imagine the thoughts and feelings in a childs head when they are wrongly informed that their other parent no longer loves them! I want my child to feel all the love in the world and raise him to feel loved and knowing he can achieve anything.

My partner is a great role model and definitely positive step-father material. He is responsible, kind, respectful and funny. Although very quickly a bond took place between them it took about six months for my partner to be able to play with my son. He spends time playing karate, lego and cars with him and although enjoying it I know that in his mind he wishes his children were with him too. Some days he will make a polite excuse as he is unable to play with my son. Children activities and parties are usually a no go-er although occasionally he may feel strong enough to come along.

Life is not black and white. Its grey and if you look out for them you’ll notice snippets of rainbow colours. Of course my partners ex can vilify and hate me as much as she wishes. To her I am a ‘skank’ and that is fine with me. I ‘stole’ her husband.

But ultimately she needs to deal with that in her own way. Drink, cry, exercise, join a group, take up a hobby, change her hair.

She should not let her ex’s decision negatively affect their children’s psychological wellbeing. His decision was not to leave his children; it was to leave the marriage as it was not working. It was his ex’s decision to put their children’s psychological wellbeing at risk and allow them to lose the wonderful man who loves them more than anyone else in the world.

Searching Google Images one will find thousands of quotes about mothers protecting their children. “Hell hath no fury like a mother protecting her children” is just one of many slogans to be found online.

However, tragically for my partner’s children their alienating mother is attempting to ‘buy into’ this parental stereoytpe by attempting to be seen by others to be protecting her children.  However, whether she knows it or not she is doing the complete opposite.

Written by

write4revolution


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 for the writer 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.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

When deciding to write about my story, I wondered where to start. Before all this happened to me I was just a mother, a mother in law and a grandmother. I worked in customer services for a well known company and life for me was good. I was happy that my children were all married and settled, with families of their own. I looked forward to their regulars visits and our family get-togethers. They were happy times.

And then just like that, it all changed. No one saw it coming, or maybe I did . Maybe I didn’t want to believe that my family was not perfect after all.

The marriage of one of my son’s broke down and that’s when the nightmare began. Couples break up often enough nowadays. I have have had friends over the years who have separated or divorced but their lives carried on as parents. These friends, although divorced or separated, helped and supported their children to cope with the separation. Children adapt as long as they know they have two parents who love them. With this knowledge children have more chance of remaining happy and secure despite their parents separating.

“How could I have known that once my son and daughter in law parted, that my son would be denied access to his own children.”

As sad as I was about the split between my son and his wife I thought they would co-parent and all our lives would go on. How wrong I was. How could I have known that once my son and daughter in law parted, that my son would be denied access to his own children. And then I in turn was also denied access to my own grandchildren. Not by the courts, but solely by their mother. I had done nothing wrong, why would she do this to me? Why would she do this to the children?

It is now almost two years since my son last saw his children and I my grandchildren. I cannot describe the pain of not having them in my life anymore. Or the pain of wondering  how hurt and lost they might be feeling each and everyday wondering why they are no longer a part of their grandparents’ lives. Having lost the two people from their lives who they thought would love them and be there for them for the rest of our lives.

MyLifeThenPA_PeaceNotPas2.jpeg

It has completely split my family. And the pain that I feel is unbearable. There is also the pain my son goes through every single day that he doesn’t see his children. I am a mother and grandmother, I  should be able to  protect my family. But I cannot do anything to  help ease their pain.

“I cannot describe the emotional pain, it is like a pain inside of you that never goes away.”

I am struggling myself, some days just getting out of bed, getting dressed and going to work is so very hard. I cannot describe the emotional pain, it is like a pain inside of you that never goes away. I have dear friends who are kind and tell me it will all work out. I know they mean well and that they are just trying to help. However  they do not really understand how hard it is to cope with every single day.

I have now found a  website where people do understand. People like me who are going through the same pain. We are able to support each other, as we are all alienated parents, alienated grandparents and alienated aunts and uncles.

Parental alienation was not a term I was ever familiar with. That was until it actually happened to my family. You have no idea that such a form of abuse exists or is even unchallenged by authorities and services that you believe are there to protect children from such abuse.

“It is simply child abuse to deny a child contact with a loving parent or grandparent.”

Tragically I have found out that it  does happen. And it continues to happen to thousands of parents and children worldwide, but why? Sadly their is no law passed yet to prevent this abuse. It is not even criminalised to help families or their children  who are subjected to this kind of trauma by an abusive ex-partner. How can that be? It is simply child abuse to deny a child contact with a loving parent or grandparent or any other member of their family who they have a loving relationship with. So we, the alienated grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, must  continue to  fight on  together for however long it takes to change this.  My son and I will  never ever give up the fight for his children. We will never give up the fight for my grandchildren.

Written by

pascampaigner


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

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

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

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

As the title suggests I recently represented myself in Family Court. I would like to share with others how I found the whole experience.

However I will not go into specific details due to both confidentiality and the fact my ex is threatening me with legal action unless I take down this blog. This legal threat is in addition to the fact my ex continues to alienate my children against me and emotionally abuse them despite numerous Court Orders and professionals ordering her to stop. I have now not had any contact with my children for just over 14 months. For those unfamiliar with the term parental alienation please see here.

In terms of representing myself I had no choice. I simply could not afford a barrister. I am in an enormous amount of debt and I have borrowed all I can from those close to me. In the context of parental alienation, fighting to simply be a part of your children’s lives is an incredibly costly affair. My ex and I have spent approximately £20,000 in legal fees between us (that’s 26,762 in US dollars).

“My ex’s aim is to totally erase me and my side of my family from the live’s of my children.”

My plan is to be a part of my children’s lives. I do not wish to shut their mother out of their lives. I simply want the abuse to stop and for me to have regular contact with my children. I will pursue a change of residence if my ex continues to refuse to change her approach. My ex’s aim is to totally erase me and my side of my family from the live’s of my children.

So I digress. On the morning of the court appearance I met up with a very close friend of mine who I shall refer to as G who also happens to be a McKenzie friend and a work colleague. An hour before the hearing we met for coffee. During this time we talked about anything and everything apart from the impending hearing. We talked about work, mutual friends and each others children.

RepresentingMyselfInFamilyCourt2.jpg

At this point I would like to take this opportunity to talk about friendships in relation to parental alienation. Over the last fourteen months I have really discovered who my real friends are. All previous mutual friends of my ex and I have abandoned me due to them believing me to be a cheat, a lier, a child beater and a thief. Obviously all of these are false allegations, but a parent that alienates, quickly aquires what is known as enablers. These enablers believe such lies and false allegations and as such knowingly or unknowingly feed, enable and encourage the alienating behaviours of the targeting parent. The subject of enablers is explored in more detail in an earlier article of mine entitled An Open Letter to Enablers of Parental Alienation.

“I have no time for so called ‘friends’ that desert those who need help and support at the most tragic of times.”

Numerous other friends and even members of my own family have fallen victim to my ex’s lies about me. I have no time for those that judge others unkindly. I have no time for so called friends that desert those who need help and support at the most tragic of times. I now surround myself with a small circle of positive, loving, caring and trustworthy friends and family and I am fortunate enough to count G as being part of this group of friends and family.

Let me tell you a bit about G. We have worked together within the same team on psychiatric units for several years. We have nursed people at their most lowest ebb in their life. I have witnessed G‘s unconditional compassion, kindness and care in the most challenging of circumstances. G is the kind of friend that would give you the shirt off his own back. Actually after I separated from my ex she cut up all my clothes, leaving me with no clothes at all. Within a couple of days G gave me one of his own shirts!

And so back to the story of my day at court. The pre-hearing meet up with G helped enormously. Then the time came to leave and walk down to the court which was just five minutes walk away. On the way and only on the way did we talk tactics regarding the hearing and my planned appoach.

Upon arrival at court we entered the main doors, and went through the obligatory security checks and made our way into the family court area and sat together in a private room that we managed to find.

With or without legal representation, I find the whole experience of going to court disempowering, uneccesarily formal and hierarchical. So there we were, G and I sitting in this room waiting. I felt apprehensive but confidently cautious with the approach I was planning to take. G kept me distracted and amused while we waited.

“Are you comfortable with representing and supporting someone who abuses their own children?”

Approximately 40 minutes later the court clerk knocked on the door and informed us that the Judge was ready to see us. With a tone of confidence that surprised even myself I informed the clerk “I’m not ready to see the Judge yet. I wanted to speak with the other side’s barrister beforehand.

Oh, okay, not a problem, I will go and get her for you.” The court clerk responded, with a sense of surprise.

Thank you” I replied.

Within a minute my ex’s barrister entered the room and introduced herself. Her overall demeanour was cold and overly formal. I gestured for her to sit down to which her non-verbal expression suggested she was being somewhat inconvenienced by such a request.

I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions before we went into court” I informed her, as she sat down.

Okay” she remarked in a somwhat aloof manner.

I asked her outrightly “Are you aware that your client is emotionally abusing our children and is also denying me contact with my children?

Today is not about the children matters, I am here today to represent my client regarding the divorce proceedings” she replied. Although she attempted to remain expressionless, by her non-verbal gestures she appeared to be taken aback by my question.

I accept that. However what I am asking is are you aware of your client’s alienating and abusing behaviours towards our children.” I tried yet again, a bit firmer in tone this time.

Like I said Mr btg-dad, I am not at liberty to discuss any matters regarding the children.” In turn, her tone became firmer and much more assertive.

I am not asking you to discuss any matters regarding my children. However your client’s current treatment of our children and the ongoing contact denial needs to be understood and taken into consideration regarding what each side is asking for from this divorce hearing.

Like I said Mr btg-dad, I am not at liberty to discuss any matters regarding the children.”  She was now beginning to sound like a robot.

Okay, I would just like to ask you one more question if I may. I’m not questioning your professionalism, this relates more to your own morals. Are you comfortable with representing and supporting someone who abuses their own children?” I did not expect an answer, but as an alienated parent, it was a question that I just needed to ask.

That’s an inappropriate question Mr btg-dad and I am not willing to answer it.” Her tone was now abrupt. She appeared to be insulted by what I was asking.

Well, I don’t think so, considering my children are being abused on a daily basis by your client and I haven’t seen them for over a year. I think I have more than earnt the right to ask someone like you such a question.” This I said in a slow, casual and soft tone so as not to be seen to express any agitation or frustration.

I think we should make our way into court now Mr btg-dad” she said as she stood up and left the room.

As she left the room I turned and smiled at G and said “right, that’s how it’s going to be then. Come on then, we better go and get this bullshit over and done with.

We both stood up and G gave me a supportive touch on the shoulder as we left the room and made our way to the court room.

Obviously I can’t go into detail about the proceedings within the court room. But I was pleasantly surprised by the way I represented myself in court. I kept a cool head, remained articulate throughout and felt comfortable cross-examining the other side.

In summing up the hearing, the Judge’s only criticism of me was that I kept referring to the ongoing concerns regarding the children. But even so, she said this was understandable.

So what have I learnt from representing myself in Family Court?

  • Take a trusted friend with you as a McKenzie Friend. There is a legal loophole (in the UK) that allows you to do this. If you are not aware of this and want details of how to do this, contact me here or Direct Message me on Twitter.
  • Representing yourself is not as dreadful as one might imagine.
  • No one knows your story more than you. The truth doesn’t have to be remembered.
  • Representing yourself and standing up for the truth is good for your self-confidence and increases your will-power and inner strength to carry on.
  • Definitely prepare your approach. Start at least a week before, so you have time to reflect and reconsider any planned questions.
  • Evidence is key to the whole proceedings. As time consuming as it is, evidence gathering is essential.
  • You can take evidence into Court with you if you have missed the deadline for submission of evidence prior to the court hearing.
  • I found it useful to type up a word document of questions to take with me. I left spaces in between the questions to take notes of salient points that may arise that relate to certain questions you may be asking.
  • At the end of the proceedings you will be asked to provide a verbal ‘summing up‘ (summary) of what it is you are asking for and back this up with a quick reference to any evidence you have provided. I completely forgot about this bit! So I just had to ‘blag it‘ as I went along.
  • Barrister’s talk a lot more bullshit than I initially thought.
  • Barrister’s are much more immoral than I previously thought.

 

The Dalai Lama once said “When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways. Either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” 

btg dad


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

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

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

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

“It’s not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy, you’re still young, that’s your fault, there’s so much you have to know.”

The opening lines from the Cat Stevens track Father and Son. I have always loved and admired this song, particularly the lyrics. Such poignant and touching lyrics easily evoking loving and reflective emotions in any given loving father.

Cat Stevens

I hadn’t heard this song for quite a while until a couple of weeks ago. It came up on a random Spotify playlist I was listening to and it immediately caught my attention and I instantly viewed the track and particularly the lyrics from a whole new perspective. Lyrically the song portrays an exchange between a father and a son. It is the son’s desire to break away and shape a new life. However the son cannot really explain himself. The storytelling within the song strongly resonated with me.

I am what is known as an alienated parent who has been denied contact with my three beautiful children since the summer of 2016. The mother of my children has effectively brainwashed my children into believing I no longer love them and that I have rejected them and that I no longer want to be a part of their lives. My children are being emotionally abused by their very own mother.

“I continue to fight to simply be a father to my children.”

The family courts and Cafcass are aware of both the abuse and contact denial on the part of my children’s mother. However due to a multitude of issues with Cafcass, a biased and outdated judicial system and many other factors (that are way beyond the scope of this particular article) I continue to fight to simply be a father to my children. My ex-partner is determined to completely erase me from my children’s lives.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term parental alienation please see here for a more detailed definition.

“My children are being forced to live a life without their father.”

So as an alienated father the opening lyrics to Father and Son take on a whole new meaning. “It’s not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy, you’re still young, that’s your fault, there’s so much you have to know.”

My children are being forced to make a change. My children are being forced to live a life without their father. Ultimately it’s not time to make a change. That change is being forced upon them.

“Just relax, take it easy.” As an alienated parent I am unable to protect my children. Even worse than that, professionals currently involved have confirmed that my children have been groomed into being scared of me by their very own mother. They are only children, and yet they are being groomed to be scared and anxious of their very own father.

“You’re still young, that’s your fault.” The fact that they are so young and easily impressionable is being capitalised on by a parent whose sole aim is to brainwash my children into believing I have abandoned them. Evidence shows that children that are fortunate enough to be reconciled with a former targeted parent carry a lot of guilt. Research shows that as part of the emotional fallout of the reconciliation, former alienated children invariably blame themselves for rejecting the former targeted parent. To my children, I would say your only fault is your young age. Which of  course is beyond your control and simply being taken advantage of in the context of the emotional abuse that is currently being inflicted upon you all.

“There’s so much you have to know.” With regards to this line, where do I start? If only you were allowed and encouraged to believe that I have not abandoned and rejected you. If only you knew the truth.

“Find a girl, settle down. If you want you can marry.” The emotional abuse currently being inflicted on my children, if left unchallenged will have a detrimental affect on their short and long term mental health. In particular with regards to their own understanding of what is deemed a healthy relationship. The emotional damage being inflicted on my children has been highlighted by numerous professionals to their mother. However she chooses to disregard and ignore all of these concerns.

“I fear being an old man when I hear a knock on the door.”

“Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.” I struggle with the thoughts and possible outcomes this line forces me to envisage. My biggest fear is that I will never be reunited with my children. I fear that too much emotional damage has been inflicted upon them already. A lesser fear, but no less worthy of mention is the fear of the amount of time lost between us if and when we are reunited. I fear being an old man when I hear a knock on the door.

“But I am happy.” This latter part of the aforementioned line is of huge significance for me. This relates to my recent struggles with my own mental health. It has taken me a long time to realise that I have the right to be happy in other parts of my life. In being so, this does not lessen the unconditional love I feel for my children. I have accepted that thinking about my children less does not equate to me loving them less. (This concept is explored in more detail in an earlier post of mine entitled Does Thinking About Your Children Less, Mean You Love Them Less?) Thinking of them less is simply a subconscious coping mechanism which is required to get myself through each day without them.

“I wish I could be there for my children now, as my father was for me.”

“I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy, to be calm when you’ve found something going on.” This line prompts me to reflect on my own childhood. I grew up with a loving father, who has been, and still does to this day continue to be such an important and integral positive role model in my life. My dad has helped me through so much in life, as loving fathers do as part and parcel of fatherhood. I wish I could be there for my children now, as my father was for me.

“But take your time, think a lot. Why, think of everything you’ve got, for you will still be here tomorrow. But your dreams may not.” This line evokes in me the idea that my children are being forced to not take their time in their thoughts. They are effectively being told what to think about me. “For you will still be here tomorrow.” I am fortunate enough that they still live a couple of minutes up the road from me. This is despite their mother attempting to abduct them abroad. However due to the enduring risk of parental abduction by her, there remains in place a travel ban on her and the children. As such I take some reassurance from the fact that they “will still be here tomorrow”. The line “but your dreams may not”, means to me that they are struggling with the separation of their parents. Separation is invariably difficult enough for children, even with the most amicable of speparations. However evidence has shown that their mother’s own anger and hatred is being transferred onto my children. In turn they are wrongly living and feeling her emotions for her.

FatherAndSon2

“How can I try to explain, cause when I do he turns away again.” This is a painful line for me. My eldest son claims he has no positive memories of me. We previously had a loving and healthy father and son relationship. It is reported that both my sons have blocked me so as not receive weekly emails I used to send them. Emails attempting to reassure them I have not rejected or abandoned them. Messages of hope, hope of reconciliation. Messages of positive memories. But the emails are reported to be either ignored or blocked.

“All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside. It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.” For me this line is very much what it means to be an alienated father who is denied access to his sons. I suffered from a bout of severe depression due to the cruel nature of being denied contact with my own children. I manage my depression well enough now. I have learnt not to keep everything inside. Everyday is difficult as an alienated parent, but it is so much harder to simply ignore these feelings of hurt and emotional pain. Arguably they are put to one side in order to cope mentally, however they are most certainly not ignored.

“A system that is ultimately protecting my children from the wrong parent.”

The song for me solemnly ends on the following line “now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away, I know I have to go away.” This particular line strikes a chord with my ongoing battles with an outdated, biased and ultimately draconian system that simply does not understand and recognise the complex nature of parental alienation. A system that is ultimately protecting my children from the wrong parent and continuing to fail to protect my children from the ongoing abuse being inflicted upon them by their own mother. I’ve very quickly learnt a lot about this flawed system and parental alienation in a very short space of time. I now know “there’s a way of dealing” with such a system in a much more effective way. It is difficult, exhausting and all consuming. However it is this system that is ultimately forcing me “to go away”. Unbelievably, such systems that are supposed to protect children are actually enabling my absence from children’s lives.

To conclude, “I know I have to go away.” But I will continue to fight on. And I have to hope that one day I will have a loving and healthy father and son relationship once again.

“No love is greater than that of a father for his son” as Dan Brown wrote in his novel Angels and Demons.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-7c4VNGOgU

btg dad


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

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

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

The Peace Not Pas Team

MenTellHealthRecently I had the pleasure of guest writing for Men Tell Health which is an organisation that aids and supports men that are affected by mental health.

As they state on their website if you’re not a man or don’t suffer with mental health issues that doesn’t mean you’re not welcome. Absolutely not. Maybe you’re a guy who cares for a partner, sibling or parent with mental health issues.

Perhaps you suffer with some form of mental illness yourself or simply love, look after or even just know a man who does, there will be something on their site for you.

Please show your support by visiting them at www.mentellhealth.org


Roles Vs Labels

We all fulfill numerous roles in life. Two of my many roles in life are that of being a father and a mental health nurse. I take pride in both these roles.

Click here to continue reading…

btg dad


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

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

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

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

In my experience of battling parental alienation thus far I have come to realise the following: It is generally not recognised by the judicial system, dismissed by so called professionals, and underestimated even when recognised and documented as minimally as possible with phrases such as “exhibits alienating behaviours.” It appears to only be known by those affected by it.

So we have a set of behaviours that result in both short and long-term emotional damage of alienated children. But tragically no Government institution in the UK officially recognises and manages parental alienation effectively. For those readers that may not be familiar with the term parental alienation, please see here for a detailed definition.

However for those of us that are targeted parents, it is real. It is something we live with every day. As a parent, there is no worse emotional pain than being denied contact with your very own children. Severe parental alienation involves the alienating parent brainwashing the children into ultimately destroying any previously loving relationship between the children and the targeted parent. The emotional pain for the targeted parent is often described as grieving for children that are still alive.

“In most cases personality disorders are at the core of severe parental alienation.”

So I guess, in line with the title of this article we arrive at the following question. What drives the targeting parent to behave in such an abhorrent way towards, not just the ex-partner, but also their very own children.

The available research and evidence on parental alienation identifies that in most cases personality disorders are at the core of severe parental alienation. And herein lies the issue on non-recognition by numerous Western governments. The Family Court and social workers dismiss parental alienation because they all too often view it as a child custody issue as opposed to a child protection issue. In addition to this, neither of these professional fields have any understanding of mental health. And as such will be unfamiliar with the mental health concept of personality disorders. For example, early on in my own case my Cafcass social worker advised me “trust me, I’ve been doing this job for years, your ex will cool down, and in a couple of weeks she will come around to the idea of letting you see the kids.” That was the in the summer of 2016. To this day I am still pursuing contact with my children through the courts. My ex has not changed her approach. She continues to breach any Court Orders that promote or would result in contact between my children and I.

Due to the nature of divorce, particularly where children are involved, very few are free from anger, conflict and hostility. And all too often with parental alienation, it is not until separation that the targeting parent’s personality traits are fully revealed. To the extent that the behaviour being exhibited is vengeful, malevolent, dangerous and abusive.

So what are personality disorders? They are conditions whereby an individual will significantly differ from an average person. This is particularly in terms of how they feel, perceive, think and ultimately relate to others. Symptoms or negative behaviours are known to worsen in stressful situations. The British NHS states that “there is no single approach that suits everyone and treatment should be tailored to the individual.” This evidence based statement is clearly not considered by the ‘one size fits all approach’ provided by Cafcass. The futile and misinformed approach from Cafcass is to send both the targeted and targeting parent on co-parenting courses with the intention of modifying behaviours. However in cases of severe parental alienation that involve the targeting parent potentially presenting with personality disorder traits, such interventions will have no effect  on the alienator.

The following types of personality disorders are most prevalent in terms of the alienating parent in cases of severe parental alienation:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder will present itself as an individual exhibiting grandiose beliefs about themselves, regardless of whether they are real or imagined. The narcissist is completely lacking in empathy for others. And is normally totally consumed with self-gratification. Available research suggests that this type of personality disorder is most common in terms of the alienating parent of severe parental alienation.

Sociopathic Personality Disorder generally presents itself as a flagrant  disregard for the rights and needs of others. In terms of parental alienation, this will normally present as the targeting parent brainwashing a child/children against the targeted parent, therefore engaging in psychopathic behaviour.

Psychopathic Personality Disorder in terms of the personal traits can be quite similar that of a sociopath. However where sociopaths appear more normal, psychopaths are believed to be born with behavioural differences such as impulsiveness and under-arousal. Such characteristics can result in a lack of fear, resulting in risk behaviours and a lack of recognition or understanding of social norms.

Antisocial Personality Disorder is often referred to, within psychiatry as psychopathy or sociopathy.  Individuals with this disorder tend to have a complete lack of empathy and exhibit contempt for others’ sufferings, rights and feelings. In most cases they present as arrogant. They also have a tendency to believe productive work is beneath them. They are also known to be highly opinionated.

Borderline Personality Disorder normally presents with very impulsive behaviours. A distinctive trait is repeating pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships. Individuals affected by this disorder tend to fluctuate between opposite and polar feelings and behaviours. In terms of parental alienation, it is typical for the targeting parent to become consumed with the manipulation of others. While at the same time taking measures to protect themselves against any threats against them, whether real or imagined.

GoodVEvil1.jpeg

So if we’ve explored what makes an alienating parent, it is only fair we look at what makes a targeted parent.

“The experience of being removed as a loving parent strikes at the heart of any loving parent.”

Targeted parents will be subjected to shame and stigma usually due to the character assassination implemented by the targeting parent and their enablers. The alienated parent normally has allegations of emotional, physical and sexual abuse made against them by the targeting parent. This is done to kickstart a safeguarding referral that invariably results in court ordered non-contact, while the allegations are investigated. However for the targeting parent this provides time for initial alienating behaviours on the children. It is worth noting that such allegations are virtually always disproved (Baker, 2005).

The experience of being removed as a loving parent from the life of one’s child due to a court order based on false allegations strikes at the heart of any loving parent. Statistically suicide rates are reported to be of epidemic proportions among parents going through such circumstances. This is of particular concern for fathers, who struggle to fight for a loving relationship with their children (Kposowa, 2000; Kposowa, 2003).

Parental alienation is arguably not a gender specific issue. However due to socio-economic reasons and a cultural and professional biased towards parental stereotyping, statistically (in the UK) most alienated parents are non-residential fathers. This in itself creates a separate issue. Research informs us of an alienated father’s most pressing need; their justifiable need to be involved with their children’s lives, remains unrecognised and unsupported across the professional field. The expectation and patterns of traditional gender-role socialisation creates a barrier in which fathers are not expected to acknowledge personal difficulties and request help. A pattern that all too often repeats itself across the field of men’s mental health. Even respectfully disregarding the suicide rates, such alienation all too often leads to the alienated parent giving up the fight for contact with their children (Lowenstein, 2007). This point is explored in more depth in an earlier post of mine Can there ever be any excuse for parental alienation?

“I had stumbled across an online community with an indescribable outpouring of support, advice and compassion for one another.”

From my own experience as an alienated parent and having sought out specific support, my conclusion is that there is neither support or recognition from any formal or government sanctioned services for alienated parents. So at this point I looked online for support and advice. And what I found was astounding. I stumbled across an incalculable number of alienated parents across the developed world passionately campaigning, advocating and pleading online for some kind of social change that will effectively challenge the abuse that is parental alienation. This was an online world I never existed. This is explored further in an earlier article of mine The Awe-inspiring Online Community of Parental Alienation.

Ultimately I had stumbled across an online community with an indescribable outpouring of support, advice and compassion for one another. This in turn provided me with an invaluable insight into what makes an alienated parent. The support, sharing of advice and overall feeling of camaraderie is astounding.

From my own engagement with other alienated parents, both on and off line I have realised the following. What makes an alienated parent is compassion, strength, resilience, empathy and ultimately support for one another. However in battling parental alienation, particularly when severe, both sides are just as determined as one another, but ultimately for different reasons. One for good and one for bad.

Mahatma Gandhi once said “when I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always.”

btg dad


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

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

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

The Peace Not Pas Team

For those readers not familiar with my blog I have now not seen my three beautiful children for over 13 months. This is due to my ex-partner and mother of my children breaching numerous Court Orders and ‘successfully’ denying me contact with my children. Like so many other alienated parents out there, my case is one of severe parental alienation. For those unfamiliar with this form of abuse see here for a more detailed definition.

So in returning to the subject of this particular post I recently put in a complaint to Cafcass (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service). Cafcass is a government run body that claims to look after the interests of children involved in family proceedings.

First I would like to present the reader with some context. As stated above I have not seen my children for 13 months. Cafcass have evidence that my ex-partner is emotionally abusing my children by alienating them against me and Cafcass are failing to protect my children from this abuse. Cafcass lack the expertise, clinical knowledge and experience to deal with such cases. They continue to view such cases as child custody issues as opposed to child protection. They continue to believe such cases should be managed by social workers as opposed to mental health practitioners. Anyway these arguments are for another day.

And so, with my increasing concerns for the welfare of my children combined with Cafcass’ increasing incompetence and negligence I took it upon myself, several weeks ago to email the Senior Service Manager of my local Cafcass office with the following questions via email. In the interests of confidentiality and professionalism I will refer to the Senior Service Manager as Groucho Marx:

Dear Groucho Marx,

Could you please provide me with answers to the following questions please.

  • Can someone from Cafcass please explain why there is such a difference between theory and practice that has allowed this alienation to go on unchallenged for just over a year. 
  • Can someone from Cafcass please explain why Cafcass practitioners are clearly not knowledgeable enough to recognise parental alienation.
  • Could you please explain to me your professional understanding of the difference between acute, significant and chronic harm
  • Could you please explain the criteria, assessment process and formulation used to differentiate between these different forms and degrees of abuse.

Kind Regards

btg dad

GrouchoMarxComplaint
Groucho Marx

I left it a couple of days. Suffice to say I received no reply from Groucho Marx. I emailed it again directly to Groucho Marx. I left it a couple more days, still no reply. I left it another couple of days and sent it yet again to Groucho Marx. Totally predictable I know, but guess what, still no reply.

So I then put in an official complaint to Cafcass politely inquiring as to why Groucho Marx, or anyone for that matter was unwilling or unable to answer any of my questions. One would think that was a reasonable question to ask considering the complexities of my case. The following is my reply from the Cafcass Complaints Department about 5 days later:

Dear btg dad,

Thank you for your email dated #############.

We note your comments, however, we have nothing further to add.

Kind regards,

Customer Services Team


So I found myself sitting in front of this email thinking to myself, who the fuck does this organisation think it is. An organisation that claims to look after the interests of children involved in family proceedings, my arse!

So there and then I decided to telephone the Cafcass Complaints Department directly.

The following is not simply my own recollection of the numerous conversations, but a transcript as I took the liberty of recording all the phonecalls:

Phonecall No. 1:

Me: I explained the situation and put my point across that the emailed response from the Complaints Department was completely unacceptable.

Call Operator No. 1: “Have you actually received a response from us regarding your complaint?”

Me: “Yes I have had a response. But the response doesn’t help me in anyway. It doesn’t answer any of my questions. I find the response not actually answering any of my questions. The response actually implies that the complaint is now shut down.”

Call Operator No. 1: “But sounds like you’ve got some kind of response.”

Me: “But what’s the response though? I’ve asked them several questions and they haven’t answered any of them.”

Call Operator No. 1: “Let me see if I can speak to that team.” [She puts me on hold and then puts me through to a different person.]

Call Operator No. 2: “I just want to clarify that you have actually received a response from the complaints team?”

Me: “Yes I have had a response, yes. Because my case hasn’t had a case manager for over six months I have been in contact with Groucho Marx. He recently made some comments that I want to clarify, discuss further and get some questions answered.” [I then give another long winded account of my current circumstances. Then I read out the email response to her I received from the Complaints Department]. “The response is astounding because i dont really know where to go with this as Cafcass are supposed to be helping me.

Call Operator No. 2 attempts to interrupt me at this point.

Me: “Please let me finish, I then received a further email stating that this response has been quality assured” [I know what you’re thinking, this shit is unbelievable right!] I continued with my point… “It is unbelievable that the response from the Complaints Department that didn’t answer any of my questions has been quality assured. So I emailed back to the Complaints Department stating you still havent answered any of my questions!”

Call Operator No. 2: “We have heads of departments that oversee the complaints we receive. Each complaint comes in centrally to one location. There are a team of customer service managers that respond.”

Me: “So is it that my complaint has now been closed. No one’s going to answer these questions, or is it still open? Someone is clinically  able to make certain statements but when questions are raised in response to these questions it feels like they are just not able or willing to answer any of these questions.”

Call Operator No. 2: “I just want to clarify the these questions that you asked Groucho Marx, are they just questions or are you raising a complaint?”

Me: [I tell her the same story again.] “I have clinical questions about Cafcass. I am a service user of Cafcass I have the right to ask clinical questions about the practice of Cafcass. But no one is being supportive of this request.”

Call Operator No. 2: “We have a one step process in terms of dealing with complaints. Once we have dealt with a particular issue we will not revisit it again.”

Me: “But you haven’t dealt with the issue that I’m raising have you? I’m not leaving this phonecall until someone answers these questions.”

Call Operator No. 2: “What I can advise you regarding this particular call is that I’m not going to be able to answer these questions for you.”

Me: “So can you put me through to someone that can…”

Call Operator No. 2: [She then starts to talk over me] “This is is what’s going to happen. I’m going to take these questions and send them to our ‘enhanced service manager’ and actually get them to look at the complaint that is on file and then come back to you. And that will be done by email.”

Me: “When should I expect a reply and are they going to be able to answer my questions.”

Call Operator No. 2: “I can’t advise you what the response is going to be, I’m telling you that I’m going to forward this information on.”

Me: “So you’re saying you’re not sure they are going to be able to answer the questions but hopefully they can?”

Call Operator No. 2: “I can’t guarantee what the level of response will be. Thank you very much.”

Me: “Please don’t hang up on me.”

Call Operator No. 2: “Thank you goodbye.” [She ends the call.]

I then call the complaints department straight back again. I repeat my story of my current circumstances and get put through to someone from the Complaints Department yet again.

Call Operator No. 3: “You will get a response today responding to your complaint, it will be via email.”

Me: “Ok, but will they be able to answer my questions?”

Call Operator No. 3: “They didnt go into any detail?”

Me: “The problem is that we just go round in circles. Ive already had…” [I start to tell her the same story again, she interrupts me at this point.]

Call Operator No. 3: “So it will be in response to your conversations today.”

Me: “So will they be able to answer my questions then?”

Call Operator No. 3: “They will respond by email.”

Me: “If they respond by email, and still don’t answer these questions then nothing is achieved. The frustrating thing is that I dont actually get to speak to anyone that can help me.”

Call Operator No. 3: “If I was you I would just wait and see until you get the email.”

Me: “But I just want to speak to someone who can help me.”

Call Operator No. 3: “Well you spoke to someone earlier didnt you?”

Me: “Yeah but they were unable to help me. I still get no answers to my questions.”

Call Operator No. 3: “I would just wait for the email, and it should be the response that you want.”

Me: “Well that’s highly unlikely. And then if it isn’t the response, as in answers to my questions, do I then need to do all this again tomorrow?

Call Operator No. 3: “Well all I can say is just wait for that response.”

Me: “So if they continue to not answer questions I have been asking for over a month do I just keep going through this procedure?”

Call Operator No. 3: “Well you could call the complaints call centre again.”

Me: “But the point is no one is able to answer the questions I am asking. I’m just wondering when I will actually get to speak to someone who is qualified enough to answer my questions.”

Call Operator No. 3: “Im not sure becauses I’m in the call centre.”

Me: “So do I just need to do this again tomorow when I get an email response that will probably not answer my questions. Is that what you are saying I should do?

Call Operator No. 3: “Yes I would advise calling the call centre again.”

Me: “Well that’s the whole point. I’ve done that before and it doesn’t get me anywhere.”

Call Operator No. 3: “I think you just need to be positive and wait for the email. Thank you.” [She ends the call immediately after her sentence.]

Now, I am an incredibly patient and determined individual. So I thought, lets call them back again!…

Me: [I give the same story, get put on hold then get put through to someone else.]

Call Operator No. 4: “I can give you the number for the ombudsman.”

Me: “But the ombudsman isn’t going to be able to answer my questions.”

Call Operator No. 4: “There is nothing more I can do for you I am just in a call centre.”

Me: “So I need to go through an ombudsman to get answers about Cafcass?”

Call Operator No. 4: “We have already sent our response.”

Me: “But it wasn’t a response, I asked questions and no one answered them.”

Call Operator No. 4: “Okay, but that was the response they sent to you.”

Me “But that response is insufficient.”

Call Operator No. 4: “Ok this is somethng you need to bring up with the ombudsman.”

Me: “There must be someone there more senior I can speak to. Cafacass are supposed to be an organisation that safeguards children, I have concerns but I’m not able to speak to anyone directly about these concerns.”

Call Operator No. 4: “Because we have sent you a response there is nothing more we can do.”

[At this point I then hear a faint male voice in the background instructing the call operator to end the call.]

Me: “Can I speak to the person that is speaking to you in the background?”

Call Operator No. 4: “Theres nothing more I can do I’m afraid.”

Me: “You didnt answer my question, can I speak to the person that I can clearly hear in the background?”

Call Operator No. 4: “Unfortunately you can’t.”

Me: “I just find this whole process incredibly frustrating…” [she interrupts me.]

Call Operator No. 4: “Okay there is nothing else I can do” [I can clearly hear a male voice in the background telling her “end the call, end the call.”] Call Operator No. 4 then says “thank you for your call” [and then she hangs up on me.]

I then call back again, believe it or not:

Call Operator No. 5: “How can I help you?”

Me: [I explain yet again my circumstances.]

Call Operator No. 5: “I understand sir that you have recently spoken to my colleague and I cannot give any further information.”

Me: “I know what youre going to say. People keep hanging up on me. I’m not being aggresive, I’m not agitated, I’m not getting irritated. The last person I spoke to wouldn’t let me finish my sentence and cut me off.” [Call Operator No. 5 attempts to interrupt me]Can you please not interrupt me, can you please let me finish my sentence?”

Call Operator No. 5: “Certainly sir.”

Me: “Can you please put me through to my Case Manager?”

Call Operator No. 5: “No you need to speak to the ombudsman sir. That is your next point of call and I need to be quite firm in that. There is nothing we can do here. I am unable to put you through to anyone.”

Me: “Okay, lets forget the complaint, can I just speak to my Case Manager about the welfare of my children?”

Call Operator No. 5: “Just give me a moment and I will see what I can do. [Puts me on hold] “Well that request is outside of the complaint. Let me see if I can put you through.” [Puts me back on hold]. “Her line is busy sir, but what I can do is email the person you are requesting to speak to and ask them to call you back.

What else can I say! What a bunch of idiots! And the sad and tragic point is that this organisation’s aim is to safeguard children.

The American writer Walter Dean Myers once said “idiots don’t know they’re idiots, which is unfortunate.”

btg dad


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

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

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

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team

There are numerous behaviours one can ‘get away with’ by being a Dad. No, I do not mean childbirth, nor do I mean parental alienation.

For example I love climbing trees, however it is not deemed socially acceptable for a grown man to walk over a forest alone and then proceed to climb trees, and hang upside in joyous celebration of such an achievement.

I have also never pretended to trip up ‘slap-stick’ style when only in my own company. Prior to being alienated from my three young children I would ‘trip up’ without fail every time I would serve them their evening meal at the dinner table. Each time would result in the same responses; my youngest child G, giggling loudly each time, appearing as if she would never tire of such tomfoolery. My eldest child B simply looking at me with dismay, refusing to show any acknowledgement that at his sisters age he had also found such idiotic behaviour funny. My middle child T rolling his eyes, while subtly grinning. “One of these days Daddy, you are going to fall over for real!” he would regularly exclaim. Not too long ago I attempted a ‘pretend trip’ while carrying someone, I nearly killed them! But that’s another story for another time.

PeaceNotPas_PeaceAtLast

It is also not socially acceptable for a grown man to read a children’s story out loud in character. This brings me onto the subject of bed-time story telling. Perhaps somewhat of a chore for some parents, particularly after a busy day. On reflection there may have been odd occasions, where my focus may have strayed. For example if there was perhaps a bottle of Merlot awaiting my attention downstairs. (Someone once told me, it doesn’t count as drinking alone if your kids are in the house). Anyway, I digress, I know of one crazy parent that reads their child four whole bed-time stories each night. Crazy fool!

One of my many favourite activities as a dad is the reading of bedtime stories. My absolute favourite children’s picture book is Peace at Last by Jill Murphy. This is the tale of a Bear family and Mr Bear who is having difficulties getting off to sleep one night. I would read this to my youngest child G very often, it was also her favourite bedtime story.

Mr Bear is unable to get off to sleep. At the turn of each page he is seen taking himself to different rooms and locations around the house in a futile attempt to get himself off to sleep. The kitchen is too loud with a dripping tap, the garden is too noisy with nocturnal animals scurrying around, you get the idea. In each location, upon the discovery of each annoyance that prevents him from going to sleep, Mr Bear exclaims “I cant stand THIS!”

PeaceAtLastBook.1

I would employ my strongest cockney accent for Mr Bear (for any non-UK readers out there, I am referring to a proper East End London accent). I would get into character as much I could; accent, mannerisms and gestures. G absolutely loved this story being read to her by me, her loving Dad.

“where may I ask did you draw the inspiration for such a challenging role as Mr Bear?”

As my mind wanders now, I imagine finding myself as a guest on Inside the Actors Studio. Being interviewed by none other than the show’s very own creator and host James Lipton, in front of a worshipful audience of students from the highly acclaimed Actors Studio Drama School. “So btg-dad” James Lipton starts to inquire in his own inimitable style “where may I ask did you draw the inspiration for such a challenging role as Mr Bear?” I look upwards, slowly stroke my chin, in deep contemplation. “Well James, the attitude I wanted to present to the audience for Mr Bear I drew from the work of Ray Winstone. In terms of delivery of the tone and intonation I was inspired by Danny Dyer. And as for the gestures and mannerisms I was heavily influenced by the character of Del-Boy Trotter from Only Fools and Horses.”

Right that’s enough of me talking rubbish! The point is G and I absolutely loved the bedtime story routine. At the end of each story, G and I had somewhat of a ‘slap-stick’ routine to work our way through to bring the story telling shenanigans to a close.

“I love you too Daddy, goodnight.”

I would ask G to close the book, and at that point I would over emphasise an attempt to lean in and give her a goodnight kiss. She would then pretend to close the book and get my nose caught in the closing book. This would inevitably result in a bout of uncontrollable giggling from G. While rubbing my nose ‘better’ I would be leaning on the side of her bed. At this point G would then ‘push’ my arm off her bed resulting in me ‘falling’ onto the floor. Further uncontrollable giggling would ensue. We would have a few more minutes of loveable and joyous banter then I would say good night.

“I love you so much G, have lovely dreams, goodnight” I would tell her before giving her a proper kiss on the cheek and giving her a combination of a hug and a proper squeeze. “I love you too Daddy, goodnight.”

 btg dad


Please Note:  We will gladly refer readers to true professionals who add value, deliver results and operate in line with our core principles. Should you wish us to refer you to an appropriate professional please contact us here.

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.

Thanks

The Peace Not Pas Team