Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of it’s face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.
The mind is a curious and sometimes furious thing. Linked to our endocrine system, what we imagine in our mind is made manifest in our body. which means that the mind games of parental alienation, create an outpouring of cortisol, which in turn unbalances the hormones which regulate the body. Managing the mind is a critical task for anyone who faces the loss of a child after family separation, especially when false and fabricated allegations are involved and especially when unskilled and unaware professionals are in charge of a case.
As a practitioner in this field, mind control is my business. To begin with I am working with children whose minds are being controlled as well as with rejected parents whose minds are in the chaotic state which comes when one is aware that a child’s mind is being controlled. Making sure my own mind is not being controlled is one of the core concepts of self care I practice. Having just done a ten day digital detox, to reduce my dependency on the dopamine spikes which come from online activity, I can attest to the benefits of getting out of the virtual world for regular periods.
I can also attest to the benefits of meditation, a practice I have been following on and off for many years. Currently I am using guided mediations to keep my mind clear of the fog which comes from being bombarded with external information. Going into a thirty minute meditation every day has given me the capacity for deeper thinking and reflection as well as clearer insight.
Parents whose children are being alienated can and sometimes do, go mad with the horror of knowing what is happening but not being believed. Preventing parents in these circumstances from descending into this particular hell is one of the goals of our coaching service at the Family Separation Clinic. Using our differentiation routes, we work with parents to help them to understand how their child became alienated and what might be done about it. We set all of this within the cultural context of the country the child and family lives in. There is no one size fits all approach to liberating children from parental alienation and all guidance has to be set within the concentric circles of –
a) the family the child is currently living with
b) the skill set of any professionals the family is in contact with
c) the legal and mental health system of the country the family is resident within
Each one of these layers of influence will, at some point or other, interact with the alienating parent and will either trigger escalation of the problem or reduce it or do nothing at all, depending upon the way that each concentric circle touches the lives of the child involved.
Parental alienation is first and foremost a problem which is located in the mind of the child. That is not to say that the child has a mental health problem but that the child manifests the problem within the family. This manifestation of the unspoken problems within the family is displayed as the eight signs of alienation which were first curated by Gardner. Regardless of what anyone in the world says about these signs, they are the outward manifestation of the internalised dysfunction of the family and as such, they are the door through which we as practitioners must step before we do the deeper work of assessment and differentiation. If a child is rejecting a parent but is not manifesting these signs, it is unlikely they are alienated but are justifiably rejecting the parent, this is phenomenon which is real and which is regularly seen at the Family Separation Clinic, where we also work with abused children whose parent believes they have been alienated. To protect children, we use the eight signs to determine whether alienation may or may not be present and when we recognise that it is, we go further through our assessment protocols to differentiate the type, category, strength and route into the alienation reaction. Our assessments take around 30 hours of time, after which we are ready to reunite the alienated child with the rejected parent.
We don’t wait to reunite children, we do it as quickly as we possibly can. We do so because we know that children who are alienated will never be able to say ‘I am ready’ due to the psychologically split mind, itself a defence mechanism which sits at the heart of the problem. Instead we build what is called the covert therapeutic alliance with the child, demonstrating to them that we are in charge and will take responsibility for them seeing the parent they have rejected so that they do not have to. This covert alliance will often feature a child who says ‘no I don’t want to’ but who will comply with requests to see the rejected parent. Most children who respond in this way are moderately alienated and under the age of ten.
Doing this work however is tricky. It is particularly tricky when one is managing not only the mind control of the alienating parent but the mind control of other professionals who are unable to see the reality of an alienation reaction in the child. These professionals, often social workers with disproportionate power in cases, are so fixated upon the concept of the ‘voice of the child’ that they deem any decision to override a child’s expressed wishes as being child abuse. In these kinds of cases, the concentric circles of the family, surrounded by the professionals, become infected with the alienating parent’s use of the professionals’ anxiety to escalate the reaction in the child. Getting this infectious form of mind control under control in such circumstances can be impossible, especially when there are additional professionals such as Guardians without knowledge or skill in working with alienated children.
As a rejected parent in such a scenario it is vital that you get your mind under control and that you become as alienation aware as you possibly can be to offset the risk of being drowned in the anxiety of the professionals around you. Those parents who do well in such circumstances, are those with clear set minds and a vision of one’s own health and firm foundations. Keeping healthy is essential, exercise is a must and knowing how the infection of parental alienation spreads is essential.
Keep in mind the following reality if you are being alienated
- The core manifestation of the problem is your child’s division of feelings into all good for one parent and all bad for the other. This is accompanied by the eight signs of alienation, when they are present, know that the alienating parent is able to influence not only the child but others around the family too.
- Do not be pulled into the traps set for you by the alienating parent who will use the anxiety of other professionals to escalate the children’s outright rejection of you if it is possible to do so.
- Common traps are as follows a) portrayal of you as angry/violent by baiting and taunting you. b) false allegations which are framed upon real life events but which are blown out of proportion. c) portrayal of you as attempting to alienate the children. d) unreasonable behaviours designed to create the impression of conflict.
- Unaware professionals who treat you as if you are contributory to the problem are likely to be influenced by the alienating parent and the alienated behaviours of the children. Do not fall into the trap of becoming angry and frustrated with these professionals as they are likely to believe that this means that you are the person who must be fixed.
- At all times, when in the court process, be polite, be straightforward but be firm in your understanding of what is happening. Be clear in your communications, brief and absolutely to the point. Maintain a clear mind in what you are seeking to achieve in the court process.
- Do not be influenced by the alienating parent’s portrayals of you or the professionals lack of understanding, stay clear and focused the whole way through.
In parental alienation, the parent who is being rejected is the parent who is the child’s healthy parent. The ‘choice’ to reject the healthy parent is made by children who have no other choice to make because of their dependency upon the unwell parent. Whilst the reasoning for this rejection can take many forms, most children will say that a parent has done them harm. This in itself can send you in a tail spin of anxiety and indignation when you know that this is not the case. Do not let it. Recognise it for what it is and stand firm in your knowledge of your own healthy self.
Preserve yourself by working on the fear in your mind first. Parental alienation feeds on fear and anxiety, it grows in the darkest places of the mind and is encouraged by manipulation of injustices. I cannot think of anything more crazy making than knowing your children are being harmed under your nose without any power to prevent it. This is a particular form of cruel and unusual torture and no parent should have to endure it.
The control of your mind begins when you take charge and wrestle the power back from the others who seek to hold it over you.
The windmills of your mind belong to you and to you alone.
Let no-one else take control of them.