Crossing the toxic sea, in a sail boat made of sand.

This week I have been thinking about the way in which children at risk of alienation make transitions to and from their parents.  I have been thinking about how, when parents separate, their first psycholgocial reaction is to retreat back to their family of origin how this, if it is an unhealthy environment, becomes the crucible for developing an alienation reaction.

For our family of origin, our tribe, our primitive sense of identity and belonging, is the place where we learn to be who we are.  Who we are, in relationship to others, is driven by the messages and the teachings we received in the bosom of our family, however that was constructed around us.

When we enter into a relationship with another, our task, after the biological business of falling in love and bonding is done, is to find a way to weave together the two sides of our family narratives. For when we are together and especially when we create a child, we are bringing together a new narrative, made of the strands of our individual learnings about self and security to create a new family story which is all our own.

Not many people go into the business of making a baby with that knowledge at the forefront of their minds.  Which means it is little wonder that so many find it a hard task, when the baby is born, to determine how this new narrative will be shaped.

Most of us just stumble along trying not to bugger it up too much and most of us, eventually, rub the corners off the other so that the new family narrative begins to emerge, trial and error like, into the consciousness of the growing child.  This narrative is made up of all of the elements which each parent finds acceptable and useful and sometimes the odd element which, if not acceptable is at least tolerable.   For others however, the attempt to create this new story for their child fails miserably, leaving the child with a fractured sense of who they are and an inability to weave the two sides of their heritage together. This renders children vulnerable to becoming infused only with one story, one narrative, one side of who they are.  The danger for children then is that losing that story leads to loss of heritage, loss of continuity and loss of the ability, when they become parents, to weave another story for another generation.

And it is not difficult to eradicate this in a child, not difficult at all.  All it takes is the inability to weave two different narratives together, given that none of us are taught how to do this by anyone other than our own parents and grandparents, is it any wonder that generation after generation, children now do not receive those building blocks for relational life?  This lack of ability to weave narratives is so common now I fear we may lose it all together if we do not talk about it.  This then, is how it happens.

Monika marries Martin.  Monika comes from Sweden and Martin comes from Macclesfield.  In Monika’s childhood, her mother and father were intensively involved in all aspects of hands on care and she grew up without any consciousness of there being much of a difference between her dad cooking and cleaning or changing nappies and her mum.  In Martin’s childhood, his mum was at home all day as she did not go out to work and his dad was a miner out all day from dawn til dusk and exhausted when he got home.

In Martin’s childhood, pride in the traditional family was high and his father taught him that love means always being able to provide for your family no matter how tough that was for a man.  In Monika’s childhood, mother was just as likely to be absent after school as father and pride in the family rested upon sharing responsibilities for every aspect of home care, child care and provision for the family.

Monika found in Martin, in the early days at least, the greatest sense of security. Here is a man who will take care of me, who will feed the hunger in me for the masculinity which makes me feel very safe and secure in the world.  Martin found in Monika a route to the part of himself unexpressed thus far in his life, the tenderest parts, the ways in which she valued his gentle soul as well as his traditional expression of masculinity.

For a time, each filled up the empty parts of the other and balance and harmony was reached.

And then their first child was born.

On the morning of the arrival of his daughter Marianna, Martin experienced the most acute sense of anxiety he had ever encountered.  As he held his tiny child in his arms, he found himself promising her that he would always look after her, always love her and always provide for her.  On that morning, Martin encountered the most powerful internalised driver in his unconscious self, the need to provide because loving your family means providing for them.

On the same morning, Monika woke from her sleep after giving birth to Marianna and laid quietly thinking of all the things she and Martin would do for Marianna together.  She imagined the road ahead as being just as it was in her childhood, a seeingly seamless partnership in which Marianna would rest in the comfort of two parents working perfectly as a team.  Loving your family, in Monika’s world is about sharing every aspect of life together.

The divorce papers, when Martin received them, stated irreconcilable differences.  Monika’s horror of the differences which opened up between them in parenting Marianna, translated into those two words – irreconcilable difference.  Monika’s narrative however, fanned by the flames of her family of origin, was more toxic than that.  Martin had failed to be a good father because he had failed to be like her father, rendering her attempts to be like her mother, in the parenting relationship with Martin, impossible.

Martin on the other hand was simply bewildered.  His efforts to love (provide) for his family had been rejected, his attempts to change and share the tasks of care and provision had produced such anxiety that he had become unwell and now he faced the allegation that, having failed to prove that he was a good father, he could not and should not share the care of his beloved daughter Marianna.

Monika, despite all of her cultural beliefs and her upbringing, could only see failure in Martin.  Martin, despite all of his efforts to love his family, could only see cruelty and control in Monika.  Their families were horrified by the way in which the other family (tribe) had behaved so badly. Sabres were rattling, blame throwers were in operation, Marianna, in the middle of this, was somehow forgotten.

In a sail boat made of sand, this little girl set out to cross this toxic sea every Saturday morning.  On Friday evenings, her maternal grandmother would arrive and baby sit her, talking anxiously to her about how her daddy should be looking after her more and how her mummy was so worried.  The next morning, whilst granny wept at the window, Marianna would put on her back pack and walk uncertainely to the car with her mummy, whose face was etched with anxiety and whose lips were pursed in a tight frame of fury.

Marianna climbed into the car each Saturday morning with a weight on her back which was not in her back pack. Each week it felt heavier and heavier.  When she arrived at the other edge of the toxic sea, she could see her daddy waiting for her in his car and her heart began to beat faster because this was the hardest part of the crossing, the part in which the little sail boat she was riding in began to crumble, like a sand bank when the tide is coming in.

Martin had set out that day trying his hardest to calm his mother who was angry about how Monika was treating him. ‘Be a man’ were the words his mother used and they rang in his ears as he drove to collect his daughter.  As he saw the car roll around the corner, Martin gripped the steering wheel hard. How much love he felt for his daughter, how much he desperately needed to protect her, care for her, love her, provide for her.  Martin climbed out of the car with his mirror neurons* closed down and his reptilian brain on fire.  He did all he could to contain his feelings of frustration.

Monika climbed out of the car with her mirror neurons closed down and her defences high. Her mother’s anxiety and the sense of injustice that Martin had failed her, drove her anxiety into overdrive.

Between these two people who made her, Marianna set off to cross the toxic sea, in the last vestiges of her little sail boat made of sand.

On the toxic sea, Marianna’s mirror neurons were trying their hardest to find those flashes of responding that would tell her she was safe.  Her mother and father glared at each other and in the silent storm between them there were no lights twinkling to guide Marianna on her way.

Her little heart was beating fast, she hoped that she would make it. In the roar and the crash of the waves all around her, the only family narrative that she could hear was that loving two parents is an impossible dream.

 

 

* Mirror Neurons, those little lights in our brains that flash and twinkle when we love someone, it makes us mirror the other’s behaviour and builds empathic bonding. When they are closed down, attachment is impossible.

The information about Mirror Neurons and attachment  comes from the research upon which, Penelope Leach bases her decisions that children under five should not make transitions to and from each parent.  Surely, knowing the importance of fathers and of family narratives, the right thing to do, the human thing, the thing that creates a healthier, child focused world post separation, is to teach parents how to manage their mirror neurons so that the sea is not so toxic and the twinkling lights on either side can guide their children back and forth. I simply do not understand why, if we have that knowledge, it is not made available to every single parent in the land. My mission is to make it available, so that parents, not preaching experts, can guide their children home.

 

15 Comments

  1. Heart warming to hear someone who wants to make good rather than exacerbate a split.

    I love the easy to read style of the Faber & Mazlish books.

    They describe how through a series of classes a group of parents learn strategies about how to improve their parenting techniques.

    I feel a handbook with a similar format for parents separating would be a good way of helping them feel that a better solution is attainable. I like the cartoon style adopted in their books. (A picture is worth a thousand words).

    I feel good personal accounts of individuals and couples who use the proven techniques to help their children is essential. Couples need help to re-focus on considered empathic parenting and purge themselves of the desire to fight and contest with one another.

    Kind regards

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  2. Hmm…no-one wishes to be the first to comment here…

    Well, for the Woodman the narrative was/is like this, but somewhat the reverse. Although we both had more traditional backgrounds, it was I who had adopted the ‘shared care’ model, and it was my wife who was the one that was furious that I did not succeed at the ‘provider’ role.

    (Although had I done that – I am 100% certain that I would have been shafted anyway).

    Anyhow, as it happens, of course, I have encountered fury and rejection from BOTH families of origin.

    I know you are making it it your life’s work to help children in these difficult transitions, and that is SO important – but at the same time, can I make another plea that actually, the bulk of our energy needs to be expended towards preventing separation in the first place?

    The very simple straightforward measure that I explained last time around in response to Penelope Leach has not been given any consideration at all so far.

    Implement that requirement for having executive control of the children, and the majority of parents would realize that they would, if anything, have to work even harder to accommodate the other parent after separation – than before…that genuine psychological separation was virtually impossible anyway, once children were in place, and that one is stupidly banging one’s head against psychological reality to attempt it…so that really…what was the point?

    It would be better to work at the relationship in situ (once there’s a will – it’s strange how there’s always a way) than at arms length with the complications of competitive other partners to have to juggle as well.

    There are other far, far more mature options for personal fulfillment and personal development that do not involve separation and all the trauma to the children. The drive toward separation – is largely a cop-out from growing up…from accepting that we are all likely to experience the need for a number of close intimate attachments during our lives, rather than one…and finding ways to accommodate this reality instead of destroying those around us in our desperation to cling to an infantile model of relationship.

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    1. i have lst count of the dads who come to me saying ‘I wanted to share care, I moved near to her so I could share care but she wouldn’t do it, didn’t want it to happen.

      In a society in which women who are considered weird/odd/questionable if they are not the primary carer, a society which is largely driven by feminist doctrine of women s carers and men as providers (oh the irony!!!), in a society where 92 percent of child benefit is paid to mothers – becaus it was designed to go to mothers and it a ts as a gateway to primary carer benefits – in a society in which women control social policy around fhe family…..why would mothers NOT resist sharing care….when the downside to doing so is so clearly spelled out to them.

      Until the benefit of shared care for women is allowed to be spoken about by feminist social policy wonks and until the shaming of mothers who are not primary carers stops…

      Resistance will remain and men can whistle in the wind for fhe shared care they seek.

      As for working on relationships….why not ask fhe Marriage Guidance council aka Relate their views on that…(and whilsf you are at it, ask Relate what their views on shared care are….and whether they were signatories to the campaign to stop the section 11 of the children act being enacted (oh yes they were..)

      And then ask a few men who have been through relate counselling their views on how they were treated.

      Relate receive millions from government for their so called Relationship counselling…which consists of mostly telling men how deficient they are and stabbing men in fhe back by being signatories to campaigns to stop any measures towards shared parenting to be enacted.

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      1. I just thought you might like to know, Karen, about a short book I’ve just been able to read – by a little known author Betty Steele – from Canada. She’s probably quite elderly now, but been a fantastic journalist who has written a couple of other books I haven’t had the chance to look at, one about restoring more traditional male/female relationships and the other a celebration of volunteer culture, all from her conservative perspective.

        The book in question is called “The Feminist Takeover: Patriarchy to Matriarchy in Two Decades”.

        I was shocked to realize that this book was written…in 1987!!

        Betty Steele personally interviewed Betty Frieden, often credited with instigating the 2nd wave Women’s Movement in America with her 1963 book “The Feminine Mystique” in 1985, as B.F. now despaired about much of what this movement had become. Betty Steele feels that Betty Frieden accepted that she chose unfortunate parallels to express her own frustrations as a housewife and exaggerated the extent to which other women might be discontented with their lives.

        Whilst myself (obviously!) not being a “conservative” – I do absolutely agree that we need to retain the best features of the past, and this makes me deeply sympathetic to many of the perspectives put forward. Of especial interest is the deep insight into the nature of the women’s movement as being essentially matriarchal. The title of the book might as well have been the “Matriarchal Takeover”, but then she is taking a deeply and openly “anti-feminist” perspective.

        The 2nd chapter is entitled “Hate and Vengeance in the Women’s Liberation Movement” for example. Remember that this was written in 1987. All these issues were transparently clear THEN.

        Canada is the society in the world which most took on the “women’s rights” agenda, and where men sat back, stupified and paralysed out of exaggerated feelings of guilt – and allowed the takeover to happen. It is where Karen Straughan (Girl Writes What) lives, and explains her strident anti-feminism. It is a shame it has taken so long for such a voice to appear. Betty Steele mentions the beginnings of Families Need Fathers here in the UK, and the equivalent voices in Europe.

        Yet the fact that so little progress has been made in the subsequent almost 3 decades!…I think – is down to the fact that we have not properly recognized the nature of the threat.

        We have to understand that Feminism and Matriarchy are two FUNDAMENTALLY opposite things, that may have been confused and conflated by default…but are totally irreconcilable. By putting so much energy into fighting “feminism” we simply alienate all those who do want women to be all that they can be, and associate ourselves with a conservatism which is seen to wish a return to a bygone age.

        Betty Steele is the single voice I have been able to identify in the last 30 years who has correctly shown that the agenda all along was not in fact equality, at all, but female dominance. The women rule, not only at home, but at work too…and we men, are just to be the “boys” who are to run around doing as we are told.

        Imbalance of power either way invites oppression and corruption.

        That is it…everyone…THAT is what we are fighting!

        No way…ever…is that feminism!!!

        I don’t know how many of us would support a return to Betty Steele’s vision of a society where women demurely devote themselves to caring for children, men and the home, and refuse to compete with men within the world of work, only taking such positions as they can after having raised their children – and where domestic issues always take priority over external ones should there be any clash.

        I don’t think this will ever have any widespread traction.

        The future…the solution, has to be something NEW.

        From my perspective, we have hardly seen feminism yet – that is…true equality between men and women. That IS something worth fighting for. It belongs to the future – not the past. If we don’t have a clear goal then it can never be achieved. This is why we have stalled since 1987.

        We cannot continue to assume the matriarchal dictat (unchallenged by Penelope Leach for example) that separation is essential. Something like my simple suggestion for reorganizing the basis on which we accept separation has to be the basis for that…so that power is now distributed equally in the fundamental building block of society.

        That would be real feminism in action, but would also satisfy the conservative agenda too!

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      2. Thanks woodman, I will take a look at her work. I can see how much investigation you do and how hard you try to look at things fromm all perspectives, but why are you so hung up on the word feminism as being the only way of decribing equalities? It interests me how difficult it is to ket go of that label. K

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      3. Hi Karen,

        I’m sure Betty might at first be inclined to agree with you, but the tremendous power of her own argument seems to count against that!

        I’d love to talk it through if she is still with us, but it’s hard to find out about her. From the point of view of equity feminism…why on earth should we give up the term just because other people have misused it? What Betty and yourself object to is actually NOTHING to do with feminism…WE feminists hate matriarchy as much as you do.

        In fact, to me, the only three possible realizable positions that we can take for ordering society are; Patriarchy, Matriarchy & Feminism.

        Y’ pays yer money – and y’ takes yer choice, I think.

        I’m a practical guy…living on my level of income you have to be…I have to do my best to repair old things that other people have discarded/don’t see the value of. So yes, I have a deep “conservative” side…as well as being a visionary and liking the latest things too, where possible.

        Using the term feminisim honours all those people who have to varying degrees given of their lives to the genuine article. Yes, over the last 50 years the term has been utterly dragged through the mud, but the amazing thing is the way pure gold does not tarnish…can even survive thousands of years of being buried and come up almost like the day it was made.

        It is time to wash of the muck (polite term) that has stuck to it of late. It will take some high force/high temperature hosing to do so…but at the end of the day…when the true article is revealed…all thoughts of the stench that covered it are forgotten.

        The only word that has come up that could mean anything like feminism is equalism…but honestly…trying to get that to stick would be like climbing a Teflon mountain. At least all we need with feminism – is a pressure washer.

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  3. Thank you for this post Karen.

    Besides offering an explanation for some of the possible mechanisms underlying the development of an alienation reaction upon separation you have also given an insight into tensions that can develop when children are reunited with their formerly alienated families.

    When one family has been vilified and the other glorified it is vitally important to nurture an environment that gives children permission and the opportunities to learn that they are not polar opposites. They are simply different.

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    1. Simply different? I’m not so sure about that. I would wager that an alienating parent is likely to be doing a LOT of things wrong, and that an alienated parent – may well be alienated largely because they do a LOT of things right.

      The thing is to try to acknowledge whatever the alienating parent IS doing right, whenever possible. Not easy, because this seems to affirm (at least in the immediate term) the alienating parent in general, and thus actually support their alienating behaviour as well.

      Alienation needs to be challenged as much as whatever positive parenting is there – supported. It is this non-existence of challenge to alienating behaviour which is the heart of the problem.

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      1. Hi Woodman. Firstly I apologise for not being clearer. My statement “simply different” was written from the child’s perspective and it is coloured by my own situation which is not antecedent to alienation or during it but, almost a year after the restoration of contact: And, I’m still sorting through the wreckage but I’m now looking for the bits that were flung a long way from the crash.

        I think that Karen’s descriptive writing and simple portrayal of often-complex interactions, is both elegant and beautiful. Here she describes some of the neuroscience behind transitions and the choice of language is deliberate. The contrast between the warm and welcoming “twinkling” guiding lights and the cold, foreboding looks as the parents “glared” is poignant.

        Previously, Karen has talked about “sowing seeds of doubt”- done patiently, carefully, lovingly and then nurturing the seedlings to encourage them to flourish. Karen has not spoken about trans locating mature trees with heavy plant and flooding them daily with gallons of water. No, emerging from an alienation reaction and sustaining the recovery calls for an altogether gentler approach. The choice of words is again deliberate and the message is consistent.

        The emphasis is very much upon tempo and sensitivity. With hindsight I see this easily. But, at the time nothing happened quickly enough. I felt that people were, dragging their heels, not seizing opportunities, not challenging etc. For someone that is normally “hands on” it’s deeply frustrating to watch because the process runs counter intuitively to the way I’d expected to. But, a month or so later I was seeing my daughter again.

        I dread to think what would have happened if I’d been given my way. Too much, too soon heaped onto a very vulnerable child would have been the equivalent of a rabbit being caught in the glaring beam of headlights. They freeze, and then take flight to safety. I would have failed my daughter and myself miserably. I have needed to change and adapt quickly and I now realise that sometimes what you do is less important than how you do it.

        They were right, I was wrong

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      2. And I hope Padrestevie that you might write about your experience soon for us on here because what worked for you was so beautifully done and you are so able to articulate it that I think it would help other people to understand it from your perspective.

        Today I have been writing a dandlebear story for your little girl, it’s called Sometimes I feel cross but I don’t know why dandlebear.

        I hope the dandlebear stories will be published and ready for Christmas this year, we are working on them.

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      3. Hi Padrestevie,

        Yes, I see what you mean now. But when my eleven-year-old (now seventeen) first told me that she had “one gentle parent, and one rough one” (before aligning herself with the rough one) she, in her straightforward but meaningful way was outlining far more than a simple difference – she was making a profound moral judgement as well.

        There’s a lot more wrapped up in those two contrasting words – “gentle” and “rough”.

        I agree that we have to be gentle in how we go about undoing alienation, if at all we can. I look forward to some more details of your journey, as Karen has suggested you might be able to give.

        I am busy tying to undo the last 5 years of alienation, too, after the train wreck that happened to me and my eldest daughter almost two years ago. Yes, I agree, it will take time.

        At the same time, when it comes to preventing potential alienation, I think it may be that we have to act with lightning speed and fury. I had to cope with my youngest daughter in hysterical tears this week insisting that she did not want me to come to the final school play of her Primary Years – though she could not come up with any reason except that she was embarrassed.

        I was gentle and patient in insisting that I had been invited to the school (by chance!) and that there was no logical reason for me not to attend, that I would video her performance and that she would be delighted that I had.

        I simply wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

        That’s exactly what happened – and though I felt very lonely and awkward on one side of the hall with her mother on the other…she got her video for posterity – the record of which would otherwise have been gone for ever.

        Had her mother succeeded in intimidating me through our daughter’s extreme distress of the moment NOT to go then this would have consisted of a precedent setting in motion further alienation, I can be absolutely sure. As it is I seem to have headed off an alienation attempt and hopefully inoculated my youngest daughter against future such attempts which I certainly have been expecting to start to begin in earnest at this time.

        I could hear the snarl in my wife’s voice as she cut me off even more abruptly than usual tonight, registering her fury at her failure to succeed in her alienation attempt this week.

        So when alienation has happened, I would suggest, be gentle…but in prevention…be very, very forceful and assertive. I was calm, and quiet towards my daughter (not to my wife, though I might add!) and perhaps, Zen like…we can turn our opponents attack to boomerang back against them.

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  4. Dear Woodman

    You yearn for a correction that you hope might sort it all out and prevent couples from separating in the first place. You say we have an infantile model of relationships and hope that someone somewhere can give you something better. You want your former partner to understand that 50:50 is the most reasonable and sensible and caring route for all concerned. You want us all to turn the clock back and make it work while we are still together as a family. You want your good opinions as the alienated parent given precedence over the alienating parent. These are admirable intentions, honest and reasonable. I agree that would be good. But it could just be fantasy.

    There would still be the same emotional upsets, the same annoying opinions that others have that you would still have to deal with. You could be in the same house as your partner and she would hate you and wish you were not there. How would this reflect on your children? If you were unable to find a reasonable way forward that includes your partner and her point of view life would be hell for your children and all those in the same household.

    After separation, like it or not, life has moved on. The best we can do is to maintain a steady path for our children. When all the shouting has left you hoarse, when all the tears have dried up, when all the insults and denials have gotten you deeper into trouble with the law, when all the retribution that can be delivered to you has spent its course, when all the placards adorning the street posts that protest your grievances have been ignored, when all the decrees made in high places have been flouted, when all the futility of miss-spent ill feeling is done……………..what way then?

    Where do we go in a world that does not want to deliver our desires, our logic, and our sense of fairness?

    We look at ourselves, our very own behaviours and the way in which they have an effect on others. We take measures to recover ourselves from the toxicity of our separation which has had such an immobilising and disabling effect on our personality. We take time to look after our children’s needs in every department, emotionally and practically.

    After reconsideration although we may continue to be bombarded with actions and deeds that formerly we found irksome and cause for complaint, we now find ourselves accepting and even giving a wry smile in situations where previously we would be thinking of counter measures to prevent such heinous crimes. We find ourselves building bridges and making amends, because it makes us feel good about ourselves. We find that complimentary words about our former partner helps our children settle into the pattern where both Mum and Dad are accepted in spite of their obvious differences. The photo of your former partner in happier times on the living room wall; the positive messages that make time with each parent a stable one for the children.

    And if our children are teenagers and moving away from the family nest we support them, we know their interests, their fears and their aspirations, we watch in admiration as they learn how to manage themselves at work, studies and in relationships.

    In our relationships there is no place for logic nor for opinion, but there is a place for support, security, understanding feelings and needs, empathy, sensitivity.

    I can sympathise with the World you describe that treats you so unfairly, but we all live in the same World governed by the same rules. We all live in the same quagmire.

    All that is left is ourselves and the way we behave within that World, there lies the power to change.

    Kind regards

    Like

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      thank you for a detailed post, but can I make a plea to de-anonymize? It’s frankly very frustrating trying to relate to various anonymous figures.

      We all have our varying situations…but one thing I do know, that the vast proportion of the time, i.e. for most of us, separation is bad thing for the children. We ourselves are in the situation, then, of making the “best of a bad job”…I accept that – but as a healer for 30+ years, I can promise you that prevention is far more important than cure…and that we need to be thinking about all the families where the ‘shit hasn’t yet hit the fan’, as much as for our own dilemmas.

      A lot of families…probably most families…experience problems in their relationships – it’s pretty much a given. We don’t get any training for this in advance, do we – yet we just assume that whatever initial romance or connection there is will just carry people along. It doesn’t, as a rule, for all that long. Almost all of us will need help to follow things through…yet almost always…that support is absent. No wonder our relationships are failing all over the place.

      How we put that support into place, and what it consists of, is an open question…but an absolutely vital one. Some churches have started to do this…as even they realize they have been greatly affected…but how do we do this for the majority secular society?

      However for me, the main issue is that we have been paralyzed by not addressing the fundamentals of the relationship issues. Do we simply accept that separation/divorce are essential and inevitable for the majority of relationships involving children? Do we consider that it is pretty much impossible for most people to sustain a relationship for more than about 10 years, if that?

      In this case, it hardly matters which partner it is that is pushing for the separation – the anguish for the children is not much different. Is all we want to manage the inevitable separation in as civilized a manner as possible? I’m sorry, but if so, are we not simply institutionalizing child cruelty?

      Of course I’m concerned for my own situation – but I see similar problems everywhere. We need to have a significant debate about what to expect from relationships…instead of keeping on blindly hoping for things to be better without thinking about what is going wrong, as well as working on the coping strategies that are necessary to deal with devastation most of us are having to deal with.

      That’s all I’m saying – and it’s something men and women have to do together…although we can make a start by being honest about how we feel about this, separately.

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  5. Hi Karen
    Hopefully i will shortly be able to this and i’d be glad to.
    My daughter is very excited about the new dandlebear story in fact we’re both looking forward to it.
    Here’s a link to today’s instalment of woman’s hour.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047wnyk
    Penelope Leach was “wheeled out” for a phone in. And yet again she back peddled, only to be given the last word and the opportunity to misquote research in a slightly bullish face saving effort.
    There was a bit about alienation towards the end when two mothers phoned in. One claimed that if the dad had eased up with insisting on contact then his children might have been more inclined to want to see him. The other was acting in her kid’s best interests by not facilitating contact. It was chilling to listen to them both. They were so convinced they were acting with virtue.
    They spoke to a dad but after he’d gone off line the panel were somewhat less supportive than they had been towards him.
    All in all i felt let down by the sickening bias on show from this job creation scheme and organ for the sorority.

    Like

    1. Coming up tomorrow Padrestevie, will post on here and send yu a copy too, I have asked my daughter also to do a couple of pictures of dandlebear which I hope your daughter will critique and advise us on as she already has her own dandlebear I believe x

      Like

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