It’s the Most Difficult Time of the Year

We are coming up to Christmas. In London the lights are twinkling all around us and the music floating out of the shop doorways reminds me of my own childhood christmases (who would have thought that the pop songs of the 1970’s would be so long lasting).

For all families everywhere, wall to wall nostalgia and cosiness is being pumped out in a powerful marketing strategy to get you to buy stuff.  Everywhere you look, pictures of someone driving home for Christmas are persuading us that anyone who doesn’t have someone to see or somewhere to go this year is deficient or different or downright sad.

Christmas has become an annual shopping cum pretend festival of closeness and care, which from the inside stuns the brain and dulls the senses and from the outside makes some of those who are suffering the absence of a child still living, feel the injustice so keenly that for some it is too much to bear.

This year as in all other years in our household we will light candles for the people missing in our lives, those who have died and those who are still living and we will wish peace and love to everyone else who is doing the same.

My wish for all families who experience the loss of a child still living is that they will live to see another year and in that year they will see how much change is coming in the world for children and families of divorce and separation.

2018 was a big year of change.  2019 promises to be even bigger.

As we begin the run up to the most difficult time of year, know that you are not alone, that there are so many others around the world (including the 230,000 people who read this blog this year) who are seeking change in the world and that significant changes in awareness of the problem of parental alienation are already happening.

Keep your eyes on your own health and wellbeing.  Never forget that without you your children cannot find a path home or a future in which the use of splitting and estranging the self from others does not feature.  Remind yourself daily that you deserve to live and live well and let yourself laugh and find some kind of peace inside of your soul.

You are your child’s best hope for a healthy future.  I know how important you are because I watch children who are reunited with the parent they were forced to reject, grow and glow their way back to healthy and happiness when the splitting stops.  Never let anyone tell you anything different.

Do not let therapists or social workers or unaware people tell you anything different.  Do not submit yourself to the madness of unaware practitioners.  This year I have worked with a smaller group of children because I have been resting but each and every one of the children I have reunited with a parent this year has shown me the same thing, love never dies, when proximity to a parent is achieved whether that be through spontaneous reunification or forced through the court, love wakes up again and flows.

My top tips for surviving 2019?

  • Don’t fall for the hyperbole of internet experts.
  • Stay away from online forums in which self taught armchair psychologists dispense advice as if they are Freud or Jung, these people are not helping you they are defending their own wounds and listening to them will only lead you into places which belong to them not you.
  • Become an informed consumer, read, learn, observe and maintain your critical thinking skills.
  • If something sounds too good to be true it probably is – no-one in this field has a 100% record of success (including me).
  • Love yourself, appreciate yourself, give yourself the blessing of self care.
  • Be interested in the world around you, leave the world of parental alienation aside for the biggest part of everyday and feed your curiosity about what else is happening.
  • Find people who sustain you, interest you and excite you and spend more time with them.
  • Send love to your children in your mind everyday.  Write to them regularly.
  • Fill up the space which is excoriated by the pain, with love and interest in the world around you.
  • Give, share and celebrate your togetherness with the people you can be with, that is a protection against sadness and bitterness and loss which is sustainable and which will sustain you.
  • Do something physical every single day, exercise is good for every part of your self and soul.
  • Find ways to sleep well as often as possible, sleep routines, calming music, lavender sprays, loving meditations all help.
  • Let go and let a higher power than you lead the way.

As we move closer to the most difficult time of year know that you are not alone.

10 thoughts on “It’s the Most Difficult Time of the Year

  1. For all those children who suffer after these events we should remember. Not all relationships are roses round the door.

    I feel sorry for those who can hurt their own children. I read once about a young man of about thirty, he was taken by one of his parents and alienated at childhood. One thing was very upsetting to him, his teddy bear, he cried for a bear he was forced to leave behind many years previously. A young man of 30 years age old affected by the loss of his loved toy, so many years ago.

    Karen, this is just one outcome of these children, of course, there are more.

    Personally, I have experience of my own with a grandchild.


    1. Dear Helen.

      I have saved my son’s “Sunny” as he called his stuffed Sun. I have saved it and for my other son, I purchased another “Smilie” for him for the day he comes back. I know how important these things were/ are for them.


  2. Christmas has become a bittersweet experience in recent years; joy for the children we share it with, and crushing sadness for the child who is missing. I often wonder how it feels for the estranged child. To be missing out on the felt love of one parent and wider family. I hope for a more positive 2019 for my family and all families blighted by alienation and estrangement.


  3. Just wanted to say thankyou for such wise advice , most of which I put into practice. I reconnected with my daughter this week after over 8 years with virtually no contact. A trigger point did come n the form of a new bf and armed with your advice I seized the opportunity and she responded like a magnet. Our winter is over. Thankyou.


  4. I finally threw out the tree. Just this year packaged up all the ornaments and decorations and gifted them to others who would use them. Battling with myself just today whether to spend $7.99 for a wreath on the front door. Every day a struggle, but the holidays bring it into such a special focus. This will be the 7th year for me without my daughters. Daughters taken when they were barely teenagers. Who are they now? Who have I become? What a cruel passage of time it has been.

    But also so much good. I was done – done. But I find myself amazingly in love, with someone I have known for two decades, someone who did not need the exhaustive explanation of how I/we have wound up here. Do I have the trust left, the faith left, to accept this gift? I know I’ll try – so that – yes – I will be healthy and ready if and when the heavens rumble and miracles happen.

    Karen – your writing this time of year is so important. I took a trip back through your archives, to 2012 so far and I’ll look further. Nothing more important than the reassurance of hope when all seems so hopeless.

    Thank you.


  5. Karen,
    I have followed you for several years. You make sense in a world of craziness. My daughter is 16 now. We are estranged but I see her two times a month for an hour. She is forced by court so the hatred is viseral. I go back to court 12/20 for contempt of the other parent here in the USA. We have a Parent Agreement that states I get some custody back after she can tolorate me but the damaged done to her love for me are such that she doesn’t want any connection. The Parent Coordinator says we need time but we are 12 months past divorse with zero custody. What do I ask the court for? How can I change this? I tried traditional therapy for her. No one really believes this is PA nor how best to treat this in court. I am terrified for her. My heart is shattered over the last almost five years as is my wallet…


  6. Every day is a struggle they are the first thing I think of when I wake and the last thing I think of at night . I love my children dearly and will be here when they return xx


  7. As the years go by and the messages go unanswered, hope staggers…..steadily declines… I am but human after all. The days of actively being a ‘parent’ are all but a fading memory…..the child(ren) I knew are no more, growing older without me…. that has become their everyday reality……who have they become? I have no way to know. Cold is the distance between us……in truth what bond now remains for we have become strangers….love needs feeding, nurturing, action….not just a piece of paper that confirms yes, this person gave you life… are connected by blood, by genetics, by family history through generations…..yet the vitality of a living, breathing, warmth of parent / child connection, lies broken on the floor……the door opens into emptiness, chill wind for ever more.


  8. Hi Karen, Ive recommended you to so many hellped me in Wales with my twin boys and daughter. Im forever grateful for your help and I always adviae people going through separation, is never give up. My children are doing so well now and have no issues concerning that difficult time. But they dont see their father, we tried, but he moved away and nobody knows where. They have regular contact with the paternal grandparents. Thanks again.


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