This has been a somewhat tumultuous week on this blog and elsewhere on social media as my posts about alienated children appear to have stimulated some anxiety, confusion and yesterday some aggression projected towards me.
I want to be clear about the work that I do, this blog and why I write it and how, in my view, rejected and targeted parents are not helped by having the world that their children are attempting to survive in, divided into good and bad by practitioners or experts who blog as I do about this subject.
I realise that there are thousands of parents around the world who follow this blog. The web stats show that there are more readers in the USA than the UK now and that daily there are well over a thousand unique visitors from all over the world. Amongst those visitors there are legal people, mental health practitioners, grandparents and without doubt a silent readership of parents whose children are aligned to them and refusing to see the other parent. I recognise that in writing this blog I have a duty to all readers not just those who comment and that in providing my thoughts on the work that I do, I am also drawing negative transference from some quarters.
Negative transference in a therapeutic setting, is when someone behaves towards me as if I am someone else in their life, someone who has hurt and angered them. Some rejected parents project a belief that I am the only person who understands their situation. Then, because of the loneliness and horror of surviving as a rejected or targeted parent, when I begin to speak about children’s needs coming first, the rage towards the other parent, which is buried under the hurt, is projected at me. I recognise that vulnerable parents who are doing their best to survive, will struggle at times with things that I am writing. And that when they do, I have a duty to absorb the strong feelings and help parents to process them. Which is what I try to do when I respond to comments.
Yesterday however was a little bit different. I found my frustration leaking out because of people’s assumptions that when I say I am a child advocate, it must mean that I am blaming rejected parents. What also became apparent to me was that whilst I have written thousands and thousands of words supporting alienated/targeted/rejected parents on this blog over the years, the relationship that many readers have with this blog is in the here and now. Couple that with the fact that when I write, I write as me, the person who does the work of reuniting children with their parents, it is clear to me that I have a duty to readers to hold the negative transference and work though it to help parents to understand what makes me a child advocate not a parent advocate.
In short, I recognise the investment that many parents have placed in this blog and my writing and I accept the duty of care to ensure that my words are understood by all as much as possible. I will unpack much of what we have been touching upon this week in upcoming blogs, some of which I will repost from the past because in the archives there are thousands of words written in previous years on how to help alienated children, staying safe and well as a rejected parent, the horrors of the alienator and more.
And in doing so I will hope to lead readers to the place where there is a better understanding of the concept of the alienated child and why it is such a powerful route to assisting children and their parents.
In doing that however I am going to make a rule today, which is that I will not tolerate threats of harm towards me or any kind of bullying behaviours towards me or anyone else including other practitioners in this field. Yesterday, I read a comment from someone which, if it had not been left in what I know to be a heated state of mind, would have caused me serious concern because of its threatening nature. Earlier in the week I had spent time engaging with another angry father who ended up telling me that my professional integrity was in question because I did not agree with everything that Dr Childress says. This is not ok. It is so not ok in my view that it makes me want to walk away from this work and never look back. I say this not with any real meaning but when I turn on my computer in the morning and read threats against me on this blog, it makes me wonder what the point is.
I began to write this blog in 2009 because I was frustrated with the injustice in the family court system, the domination of family separation by the women’s rights lobby and the impact on children of losing a parent, which I witnessed too regularly. I went on to write about a whole range of related issues over the years, sharing my development of my thinking and my practice as I went along. Latterly I have focused purely on parental alienation and have shared with you the ups and downs of being a practitioner in this field, including the campaigns against me as well as our successes. In everything that I do and have done I am me, an ordinary person who happens to do this work because I understand it, I have lived a lot of it and I have practiced in this field for many years. An ordinary person who is affected by threats of harm and coercive assertions that I lack professional integrity because I will not give in to demands that I think or act or write a particular way.
Working in this field is not easy for any practitioner. In doing what we do we face personal and professional attack, we have to stand up to intense cross examination in court, our credibility is called into question in public and at the end of all that, we have to work with incredibly angry, vitriolic and damaged children to help them into a better place. I don’t write as an observer, I write as someone who spends my days doing this incredibly tricky psychological work in the midst of a war zone. And if I didn’t do it and write about it, there would be a space where knowledge and experience should be and the boundaries which we are pushing would remain firmly in place.
And for that reason I feel I deserve to be safe in this space that I have created and free from the threat of harm.
And so, as I unpack some of the subjects which have been raised this week and address some of the anxieties which have emerged, the disappointments and the confusions and the anger and the hurt, I am asking everyone who comes here to think before they comment and consider others before making threats of harm. The world is not divided into wholly good and wholly bad as your children have been forced to believe it is and discussion in this space before defensiveness, is what will help everyone to understand more about the world that your children live in. A world which they did not create and which they cannot change without help. Your help. Help which is better informed when we talk together. Help which is better received in an open state of mind not a vengeful angry one.
I am speaking to a minority of readers when I write this and they know who they are. Their comments are not being posted publicly but they have been archived and will be kept as evidence should there be a repeat of this in the future. I will not tolerate any further threats and I will not tolerate bullying of any kind either from parents to practitioners or from practitioners towards me or anyone else. This field is difficult enough to work in without having to dodge bullets in the safe space that I created to share with parents the knowledge I gather from my work with children.
This is my space as much as it is anyone else’s and I will keep it safe for all so that we can continue to develop our thinking and understanding together.
Thank you for reading.
Readers may be interested to know that I will be appearing on the Belgium TV News Programme ‘De Afspraak’ at 7pm European time Wednesday 7 June 2017. I will be talking about the work of the Family Separation Clinic in London and parental alienation including residence transfer and reunification programmes and our new partnership with Huis Van Hereniging in Belgium where I will be delivering training next week.
This work will link into the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners which will raise awareness of the issue of parental alienation around Europe and which will standardise practice, provide support and training and protect practitioners to ensure that there is a growing provision of services for families in member countries.
Karen, keep going!
You said, “I began to write this blog in 2009 because I was frustrated with the injustice in the family court system, the domination of family separation by the women’s rights lobby and the impact on children of losing a parent…”
Strikes me that’s as valid now as it was then. I am certain your work is very appreciated.
And that remains the heart of the work that I do Denbeigh, it never leaves me and never will. K
Extremely disappointed that you even needed to write this blog. The vast vast majority of target parents gain so many insights from your work. This is your safe space & we hope you will continue to provide the helpful information that improves how target parents can help themselves & in turn help our children. Big supportive hugs from Australia xxx
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thank you Fiona, gratefully received x
Karen, you and your husband as well as all the staff in your clinic help desperate alienated Parents and Grand Parents. Anyone who complains about your work clearly does not understand Parental Alienation and the fact Parental Alienation is pure child abuse.
Never stop blogging Karen as it helps so so many Parents suffering in agony, please keep training more practitioners and eventually our stupid politicians will accept the damage Parental Alienation does to children and the alienated family members.
I wrote to David Cameron and sent four emails to Nicola Sturgeon, all a waste of time.
Please everyone caught up in the cancer of Parental Alienation stand up and tell the world of its dangers and yes Parental Alienation is growing and flourishing in Great Britain.
I wish you well Karen at your conferences.
`thank you anonymous, we keep going and always will.
Thank you Karen for your perseverance.
The simple rule of thumb is – what is in the best interest of the child? (a loaded phrase as there is no definition of best interest).
If someone is doing something with an intent to hurt the other parent, then, very simply, that is not in the best interest of the child. It’s not about a parent’s right to see/spend time with a child – its about that child’s right to have both parents actively and positively in their life (barring any real identifiable danger).
Keep on keeping on.
That is absolutely it CG and in ensuring that child’s right I am someone who will override their protestations when `I know them to be from an alienated position. When I am being used as a hired gun however or to further an agenda of coercive control I will say so. There is a massive difference in how children in those different circumstances present, which is why the concept of the alienated child as a diagnositic indicator is so powerful. Understand the difference so that you know you are acting from the right place and then override the child’s protestations and like magic the alienation is gone. I make no apologies for taking responsibility for doing that differentiation work and I know you know more than many what that entails x
Karen when all this happened to me I KNEW what I thought and felt but I needed someone to tell me it wasn’t all in my head/my imagination/I’d made it all up. YOU helped me to understand at a time when I thought I was going crazy. You gave me a voice. One of the ‘comments’ you referred to in your post above dropped into my email by way of notification of a new post. I was utterly shocked not only at the attack on you but the language that was contained in the post. I am amazed and very grateful that there are people like you who spend their free time writing such blogs to help and inform others because you are so driven to help. The trouble is, one or two awful posts can negate all the others. I guess that’s life.
Keep going Karen. Your work is of huge value in helping us to understand and to educate the world.
Oh dear Willow, I must have approved one of the comments before I properly read it, which of course will notify followers. That’s a shame but it is an example of what kind of things can come my way or anyone’s way when they do this work to be honest. I didn’t mean for it to go out but it concerns me that there are people who feel that they have the right to behave in this way and I won’t tolerate it because it harms everyone, including other parents. I am used to it but this week has been particularly unpleasant. We carry on, we always carry on, it is what we all do x
Keep up the good work Karen
I will DF x
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Your incredible work is becoming well known all over the world! As people learn of your work, more people will become affected by your words. Most people will be able to reflect on what you say, but there will be some who will never be able to and will attack. I’m sure this isn’t the first time and I think you know it will not be the last.
You have helped me to truly understand what my children have been and are going through as well as what my part was in that process. You are doing incredible work for the children around the world and I am very hopeful for the children of the future. Thank you for all you do!
Thank you so much Caron I really appreciate that x
The more discussion blogs there are about this, sad and shameful issue, the more society will begin to learn that both morally, spiritually, psychologically and legally with have to readdress this whole debacle. To enable families and all members to engage and be responsible adults to their children, then for the faster the parental and family alienation will be extirpated (apart from those parents who wish to act more like squabbling babies at play group). The best interest of our children and all in their families should be the goal of all in our society.
I completely agree da and I always appreciate your ability to debate with me with respect, it matters. K
Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..
Just do what you do Karen this is too important
I will keep on keeping on d1
hi karen – the unfortunate truth is that, as a ‘children’s advocate’, you also end up stirring negative childhood emotions within some targeted/rejected parents. where this occurs, the big question is whether our opinions, primarily, address our children’s emotional needs OR the needs of the child within us (as an adult parent).
contrary to popular opinion, ‘being right’ rarely makes anyone happy for long……especially, in the pit that is the unhappy PA world
keep up the good work, karen.
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Your work with Alice Miller is percolating beautifully ehfar, how true your words are and I must always be aware of the children inside the adults. It is hard to do this therapeutic work on such a forum but, I have had some light bulb moments this week about how negative transference must be drawn carefully. I am going to divide up my writing for different audiences for a start – more soon. Kx
Maybe that’s something readers of the blog can help you with going forward…..sharing key stages of our journeys and, in particular, how we’ve developed and increased our understanding of PA, such that we’re better place and able to help rescue our child(ren) from the prison of the Cult they find themselves in.
To the uneducated eye, it seems (to me) that your support of alienated parents will, inadvertently, cast you in the role of ‘surrogate therapist’ for many and those unaware of the degree to which their own childhoods have contributed to their subsequent life choices and PA will (as a coping strategy) unknowingly reenact their past trauma with you, via transference.
AM sums this up when she says (in Thou shalt not be aware…..) “As a result of the support he receives, the patient now becomes able to express his aggression. Initially, he will express it in the same form in which he experienced it as a child. He may threaten the analyst just as he himself was threatened in early life without being able to remember it. Because he cannot remember, he reenacts the trauma, assigning the role of the child he once was to the therapist”.
Me thinks you need to send him/her a bill for professional services rendered 😉
My dear Karen, you are my life line. You speak my language and you understand it so well. Whom can I turn to? I found you and I have found a gem. I was left desolate and without any support system; everything was taken away, but most important is my children. The court system, the lawyers, the domestic violence center, and the alienator a combination of a lethal situation and unimaginable to survive. As a target parent I confess I have done many mistakes, but I did not know at the time how to cope with the situation and did the best I could. At times I did not think I would make it this far. But I have been spoon fed by your work and writings; your explanation and your kindness. I am still here after 13 years and who knows where the road will take me. But most important I am learning about parental alienation, myself and my children. By the grace of God I have made it and against all odds.
I know your work is an advocate for the children. But please also understand that I as alienated parent do not have advocates and I was stripped of everything. When I spoke I was perceived as an abuser as the alienator made me to look. I was humiliated and shamed and defeated. I was thrown to the wolves. No one cared what would happen to me. The more I spoke to support my children and myself the more I was perceived as a horrible person and not worthy of my children by the cohort. I fought a good fight regardless in the face of all odds. But it was hard because every step I took there was a hundred of lashes against me from the alienator. I felt beaten literally. With no money and no support system, I had to shy away and hide. I feel like there is really no advocates for the alienated parents and they are perceived and judged wrongly. No one knows how it feels when you are put in such a horrible situation. Sometimes the worst of us comes out when we are defending ourselves when we are wrongly accused and defending our children.
I come here to and I find solace and understanding. I am at peace. I read and think and try to come of solutions to reunite with my children. I try to understand how they might be feeling so I can respond to their feelings. I have hope that one day that one day it will work out.
In short please never stop writing Karen as it helps so soooooooooooooooo many parents suffering and in agony. I write from the USA.
Anonymous-mother of three
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I send you my very best wishes and care MOT, I know from the deepest part of me how difficult this is for everyone affected xx
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Many of my thoughts have been well spoken in the existing comments, but know you are also supported across the pond in small town, Canada, Karen. Saying and doing the hard things is a hero’s journey and, for what you do for the children, you have been one of mine since I found your blog a couple of months ago.
Know that your words and your work eases the pain for many and that, because of the magnitude of it, it will anger those who don’t have (and have never had) their children’s welfare first.
Stay strong, Karen and reach out when you need to, to take care of you. It seems to me that you have built a community that cares deeply.
I think this community is a wonderful group of people Donna and even those who become angry and worrying are counted amongst those I consider to be welcome here providing they are doing no harm and seeking to learn and assist others rather than coerce or force their views upon me or others. What I know is that this group of families, all across the world are harmed and hurting and need help. I am glad that so many get that help here. We can’t always be loving towards each other but we can fundamentally care where so many do not. X
Reblogged this on Parental Alienation.
Ditto to all of that & the comments above.
I (we, I include my partner in this) have learnt so much & been challenged to identify what it going on & our reaction to it. It is an invaluable education about protecting/retrieving the most precious of things…the childhood of our children.
Yes please do repost from your archives, particularly any hints about how to handle early signs of alienating behaviours, so that the children become resilient.
I have learnt a lot from others’ comments and also your replies. And the fact this blog is so interactive only adds to its value. But there must never be threats, abuse or even rude behaviour. You do not deserve that. You deserve a medal if truth be told! Ive changed an industry in my professional role & it’s very, very hard work!! Working to change this sector with its many stakeholders, complexities & emotive issues is a huge challenge. But we know you are making immense progress & that’s continuing.
Please keep on keeping on.
I will ally and I will do some work to curate some of the past articles so that they are more easily accessible too x
Karen outstanding blog post. Your work is magnificent and needs to continue. I hope it wasn’t an American who made that comment. In any event threats are never appropriate especially from your audience. Your wok is very much appreciated. God bless
Thank you Dr Bob, that means a lot to me, it wasn’t anyone from the US and the senders were hurting and I have thought about them all day long and hoped they are ok. I never really stop caring about anyone who is affected about this be they alienated or alienating parents or children or wider family. I am grateful for your comment. Very best Karen
Karen, I just want to say that a couple blog posts back I was one of those who disagreed and got steamed reading it, decided I was going to set you straight in the comments, but I held off and didn’t post . . . and I remembered your genuine response and open-minded reconsideration to my comment about Islam recently, and thought I should do the same. Anyways, rereading and more reflection of your controversial post has been invaluable to me in pointing out some uncomfortable truths about my attitude, even while I don’t agree with 100% of it at this point. I’m still digesting it, but want to echo comments above, you and your work are really our treasure, Karen. Keep at it with the focus you have on the child, you’ve really helped us. From one of your Sacramento fans.
Thank you David that means a lot to me. I know things get heated and a forum like the is not always the best way to discuss but I do listen and try hard to understand always. I look forward to more of the same x
It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, that as PA and your work gets more recognition and widespread acknowledgement, so does the level of vitriol.
As you have known and are currently evidencing with my kids and I; your work and field of expertise is so so deep, complicated and delicate.
I thought this part of my particular journey would be easier than the preceding estrangement from the children and police bail / investigation, but it’s challenging to say the least.
I have absolutely no idea how you manage and deal with several cases at any one time, navigating your client’s minds and providing such meaningful work.
I’m not one to offer advice, but for me, a person (in whatever field) knows they are doing something right when they experience positive and negative feedback. That’s pioneering.
Keep up the great, great work, you know there are many re-united and unfortunately estranged mums, dads and children taking great solace from your posts.
You live and die by your achievements.
You know as I do PWUTH that me plus the rejected parent and then the rejected parent with me in the background can work wonders for children. I learn so much from you and yours, so much to share but also so much which is just about you and they and how special you all are and always will be x
This work is so difficult, and sometimes the professional just has to remind himself/herself to do the best work that can be done with integrity, and let the pieces fall where they will. I have no doubt that is exactly what you do, and you cannot control how others may perceive it as they have their own lenses, many of which may be full of pain and distortions. Keep it up, Karen.
I think that phrase let the pieces fall where they will is wonderful for me to hear Amy, thank you for such a perfect phrase for this part of my journey x
Where we don’t want our children to see an world that’s only black and white, we, therapist and others should not project this on the parents.
I do agree erna, k
Hi Karen, Cant you get the police involved??? It should be quite easy for you to trace where this threat came from on your system. I have sytems in place as I often have stalkers on my site up to no good!!!! Sad disturbed world. We all need more education on this topic to be able to move forward with or without our children. Looking foward to your next post. X
Hi Linda, if I thought there was real danger to my person or anyone else’s I would but I recognise the rage and where it comes from. Learning to say no, you will not force me any further than here in situations where I do care about someone’s well being is what I have to do. And ensuring that what I know to work and be true is heard regardless of the efforts to shout me down is also important. I have filed the comments and if it doesn’t stop I will take action. I dont write this blog for any other reason than I know what the systems do to broken families and I know there is too little help. It’s a really demanding, draining and thankless world I work in at times but every time I see a child recover from an alienation reaction I know I cannot stop doing this work. I am teaching others how to do it now too and that feels right to me because when there is a critical mass of people who ‘get it’ we will reach the tipping point. x
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C. Your anger and frustration, your rage and indignation are heard but you cannot send messages in the manner that you have done and expect me to simply suck it up. I am a person too and whilst I absolutely recognise your pain and your suffering, you have a responsibility to other people not to pour your built up negative feelings out towards them.
I did and do feel threatened by your language, your rage towards me and your personalisation of an issue which is one which we should be able to differ on. I do not agree and never will that parents come before children, that changes on the day a child is born and my work, which is primarily with children aged 5 – 16 is focused upon their needs first. That is my practice and I good at what I do. I don’t care about your allegations of complicity or corruption, they are your projections onto me which are simply untrue.
Handling you has been something that I have done for several years and I have done it with care and understanding because I genuinely am concerned and understanding of the situation you are in. But your responsibility in any relationship is also to be an adult, someone who is able to navigate and negotiate differences without exploding into rage or becoming domineering. Your posts are not ok with me because of the personalised rage you project at me, that is what makes them threatening and if I didn’t tell you that then I would be failing in my responsibility to you.
I accept that in writing this post the risk is that you will assume that I am gathering a clan around me to protect me from the attacks. Yours is not the only attack I have had on me this week however and far from gathering people around me to protect me, I wrote this piece to make this place be safe and stay safe, because if I do not feel safe here then no-one will feel safe here because I moderate this place, I engage with people in this place and I do what I can to help people in this place. If I cannot do that because I do not feel safe from such attacks as yours and others, then this place closes down and many will lose out because a few could not stop themselves from raging.
I do not have a problem with anger, I do not have a problem with disagreements, I more than anyone know that I can be a strident, determined person who speaks in absolutes at times, my journey in life is shared openly on here however and people know that there are many different sides to me. They also know that the primary person I am on here is the psychotherapist who works with families and that psychotherapist has to be able to hold a lot of difficult feelings from a lot of people all at once. When someone starts raging and personalising then to feel safe I must redraw the boundaries, which is what I did yesterday.
`I have listened to the voices of alienated parents for well over two decades, I understand the pain and the suffering. You forget in your raging accusations, that I too have lived much of this. In writing about understanding parental alienation from a child’s perspective I have come to understand this week that the pain for some alienated parents, of not having their experience upheld first or not having it at least a focus which is equal to the child’s experience, is more than they can bear. I will take that into account and will unpack much of my thinking and my work with children so that parents can get a greater understanding. But I will not be bullied or coerced into changing my belief that parental rights are not a helpful stance in working with alienated children and their families, that is based on evidence not simple assertion and it is based upon a decade of work alongside parental rights groups.
I will willingly do what you say in your last message to me this morning but I do so with this final word to you. What you believe I think about you is far from the truth. I have not ever done anything to you to cause you to feel that the way you describe yourself is the way that I think about you. Neither have I ever done anything other than be here when you have raged at me in the past and then returned. What you feel about me is not borne out by my actions towards you which have always been positive and helpful. You forget that I am a real person too.
Karen, thank you for your work – it has been enormously helpful to me both as a mental health practitioner and as a stepmother to an alienated child. While I intellectually understand and agree with everything you are saying, emotionally I struggle with some of it. When I am applying these concepts to the case of a child in my work, I can be detached; but when I apply them to my situation with my stepson, I get blinded by emotion and can’t see the forest for the trees. I understand that deep anger targeted parents feel toward the alienating parent; but I agree that must be managed and one has to find a way to see the alienating parent as a person and not an evil monster, for any real healing to take place. It’s hard work, though, especially in a climate where targeted parents feel blamed by virtually everyone that touches their situation in real life, while it seems alienating parents are rewarded for their behavior. But threatening you is beyond ridiculous, when you are trying to help and have proven that your work DOES help children overcome alienation. And I agree, you have shown much support and compassion for targeted parents.
You answering questions and helping all of us understand has been a big source of healing for me – so thank you again. Please don’t stop blogging.
Cara your presence on here has always been wise and you have helped others with your learning. Your place in the family dance is an incredibly difficult one and watching someone be hurt by the actions of another who hurts a child to achieve their aims is deeply painful, I know, I’ve been in that place. Be sure I understand and I will unpack more in the coming weeks too. Very best k X
Thank you, Karen, that means a lot to me. I hope to some day help make changes in the parental alienation situation in my area; but I know I first have to be in a good place emotionally about my own situation and I’m not there yet. For now I use your concepts to help the therapists I supervise understand parental alienation better so at least we can minimize the harm we do.
Your original, incisive blog has provided me with many years of intelligent well thought out presentation of this difficult and poorly understood subject.
Your are a beacon of light in a fog of chaos that surrounds unlucky children drowned by the wretchedness of two people who put them into this life.
May your clear words continue to flow on your blog, with the flack of stricken, unenlightened minds popping and exploding around you, your level flight to progress children’s lives assuaged.
I hope to tune into your De Afspraak gig this week. Good luck with our fellow Europeans.
So sorry to hear you have been threatened by people. You say there will be an appearance on Belgium TV. I have been searching, and found it on Canvas, but at 8.30 pm Euopean time, 7.30 UK time…
On another note I wanted to ask if autisme is something that you encounter often in alienated children and their parents?
Mum looking for answers
Karen, shame that you have been threatened……you have brought many of us back from the brink and I include myself in that list!!
It is hard at times when you’ve been an abused parent and watched your children abused to be told that it’s for the good of the children to stay on friendly terms with the other parent (mother or father)! I think my last comment on a previous blog even stated that in hindsight if I’d known this would be the outcome I would have stayed!! I’ve since spoken to my GP who has travelled this journey with me and he stated that not only would I have not survived staying with my ex, but that the situation for my 2 wonderful children would be considerably worse!
So, my alienated son stays with daddy and my daughter visits him on a Sunday and comes home to me!!
It truly makes me feel guilty. But as you have said every situation is different!!
I hope those who have felt the need to threaten you take a step back and realise their children are your priority!!
Thanks as always!
I think that the guilt of separation is something we have to live with as adults who make choices Frankie. If we carry the guilt and the negative feelings then our children do not have to. I think your GP is right and that your son, when he is old enough, will emerge from this alienation intact. Sometimes children have to align to survive. It doesn’t matter what people say about children being hard wired to be attached, the reality is different for children in separated family situations where the people they are trying to stay attached to are floating like they are on a shipwrecked sea. In those circumstances children will hang on to whichever parent they feel needs them the most and will do so by splitting their psychological selves for as long as they need to or the parent who has caused it needs them to. I have lived with the guilt of bringing up my daughter as a single parent whose dad was absent in her life by choice (he is not absent now that she is a young woman and I am grateful for that) and then as a step parent to children in a shared parenting arrangement in which everything seen here was once present. In living with the guilt but continuing to parent I learned a lot about what children need and how to help them survive. It was never easy and still isn’t but in remaining a parent who carried the pain so that they didn’t have to, their emergence has been evident and I hope that their lives have been protected and their children’s lives too. I don’t have all of the answers but I have a lot of them and my work gives me the information I need to build responses to what are actually problems with human faces. This blog is really just my sharing of what I know but recent days have made me decide that in future I will share less and curate more, I will keep some of what I know for practitioners rather than parents who I think perhaps need different thinking. I have considered stopping writing this blog to concentrate on clinical work in recent days, today particularly has been difficult as I watch what is happening in London from Belgium where I am working this week. I think I have realised that people have invested something in me which is perhaps not the full reality of who I am and that it is time I started to think more carefully about this blog and how I share thoughts about what I do. I don’t know, things will evolve and emerge, we will see. I am certain though that I do not want to go down a route where I am being the scapegoat for people’s furies and fragilities on this blog because I work 14 hour days already in my day job and coming on here to be treated badly because I am trying to share information which could help people is more than I really want to have to deal with. We shall see, I will let things percolate and emerge as usual, perhaps I am tired and sad about what has happened in London and conflict in this space makes my heart sink. All children are my priority if I am honest, alienated and otherwise. They are the hope of the world and helping children and being with them has been my joy for many years. xx
Your last 4 lines says it all….and also answers why we need you!
Sometimes we possibly forget you’re just human too!!
You must continue to post Karen as your views are really important and supportive.
One thing I would say is that I reached out to you over a year ago via twitter after reading your blogs. You asked me to write to you and said you would give me some guidance based on what I wrote.
I never heard from you. That, when someone is lost and vulnerable and feeling as though there’s no way forward, hurt.
That is a shame James, I am sorry for missing responding to you. All I can say is that I work 14 hour days most days of the week and as those who know will tell you, when I am not working I am writing this blog or writing for the book or working on my research project. I get so many emails and so many requests for help every day that I find it hard to keep up and some do slip through the net, I am sorry that yours was one of them. Please don’t think that it was a personal thing, I don’t have an assistant, I do all of the work myself and sometimes it simply does become overwhelming. I hope you are doing ok and I send you my very best. K
Well Karen, I missed reading your blog for a few days and find a storm had hit……I’m sorry you have faced such a storm on top of all your day to day work. I’m minded of the saying ” You can’t please all of the people all of the time “.
I’ve picked up on something said by Cara above “It’s hard work, though, especially in a climate where targeted parents feel blamed by virtually everyone that touches their situation in real life, while it seems alienating parents are rewarded for their behavior.”. So many excruciatingly painful emotions to face, handle and work through, often alone ….it’s little wonder a bewildered parent is defensive and less able to see things objectively and from other view points and in such a position it’s easy to fall back on ” attack is the best line of defence “. Until the parent has had the time and space to work through their own emotional storm, it may simply be a step too far at that stage to expect them to be able to take on their children’s pain…..it’s not about being inadequate, selfish or uncaring, it’s about being overwhelmed and beyond distraught. When consumed with emotional pain it can be hard to recognise and differentiate the fine line between ‘blame’ and ‘responsibility’. Sometimes I feel we need to remember we are only human, with all the flaws that entails….
Karen, your insistent message that parental alienation is a child protection issue, not a parental rights issue, can be hard for us rejected parents to take sometimes (not that that in any way justifies abuse and threats). But you are absolutely right to put the child’s needs first. Thank you again for all that you do.