The Courage and Strength to Keep Going

Life isn’t easy at times and one thing I have come to know is that things change and life bowls all sorts of balls at us in an effort to make us stand up straighter and grow stronger.

Right now I face some deep life challenges and finding the strength to keep on keeping in the face of those is about knowing that whatever happens, the truth and integrity of who I am and what I do will stand firm in the face of everything which comes my way.  Doing the right thing and being honest about who I am is the only way to live life when the going gets tough and in this field of work it gets tough on too many occasions.

But it is not as tough as watching your children be drawn into battles which are not theirs and it is not as tough as watching innocence be corrupted.  Knowing your children are being hung over a crocodile pit in plain sight and no-one but you can see it,  is about as tough as it gets.  Which puts everything into perspective when the going gets tough for me.

I didn’t come into this work for any other reason than to help families and protect children from what I know to be an insidious and deeply damaging form of child abuse.

Children of divorce and separation need more help than they currently receive and my life long focus in my work has been to fight to get that help to them.

I see what divorce and separation does to children. I see the way that their once united internal world is fractured and I see the harm that does to them. I see their vulnerabilities, I see their efforts to adapt and survive (many of them heroic in their efforts to maintain stability for themselves and their families) and I see what happens when they fail in that endeavour and instead decide to reject a parent in favour of alignment with the other.

I see the adult children survivors of parental alienation in my office, I see the children who are doing all they can to hold onto the two very different realities in their lives and I see the children who have let go and given in to the alienation reaction.

I see the ignorance about this problem all around me, fortunately now peppered with shining lights of hope as professionals with power wake up to the problem.   But it is still a dangerous arena to work in, scapegoating and blame still abounds and anyone like me who is willing to put their hand up and disagree with the status quo is still going to be in the firing line for revenge attacks.

Because like it or not this issue of children’s unjustified rejection of a parent in the post separation landscape is still one which vested interest groups are going to fight over. It is still one where the personal feelings of professionals with power will influence a case for better or worse and it is still the case that blame and shame and threats against anyone who does not conform abound.

This is an area of settled science.  The field of parental alienation (induced psychological splitting) is growing apace. Debate and discussion is moving this field on and developments in research and practice are collaborative (in the main).  The continued portrayal of this issue as controversial is simply a tactic used to delay the inevitable, which is that one day very soon parental alienation will be recognised, treated AND prevented.

And so on parental alienation awareness day 2019.  As parents march in London and rallies are held all over the world, I have this firmly in the forefront of my mind.

People change people and people change the world.  Against all of the naysayers and the odds, against all of the incoming attacks the personal and professional challenges the strength that comes from doing the right thing will carry us all through to the finish line.

We may be exhausted when we get there, we may be burned out, worn out and old but we will get to the finish line which is coming into view even as I write.

A river cuts through a rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.

One movement with many hands.

The scandal of children and divorce and separation being left to get on with it alone will one day soon be at the forefront of our consciousness.

It is our collective strength which will put it there.

 

 

14 Comments

  1. Not only is it settled science but it is also settled law which court professionals have been sweeping under the carpet for almost two decades. This is now about people that have not kept abreast of case law which informs their practice and they’re desperately in need of excuses and scapegoats.
    Frankly, they have let children and families down. When in a hole it usually pays to stop digging. If they want to carry on then I think we should let them and throw them a bigger shovel!

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  2. I hope that one day it will be possible to say the words ‘parental alienation’ and the public at large (which includes everyone I’ve ever met in my life) will KNOW and UNDERSTAND and won’t (need to/ever) question what it means or look at ‘you’ as if you’ve made it all up (by ‘you’ I mean all affected parents and grandparents! Keep up the good work Karen.

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  3. I wish you love & peace with your own personal challenges at the moment, but be very sure that you have helped so many other children & parents with how you have progressed awareness in the field of parental alienation. Stay strong x

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  4. “But it is not as tough as watching your children be drawn into battles which are not theirs and it is not as tough as watching innocence be corrupted. Knowing your children are being hung over a crocodile pit in plain sight and no-one but you can see it, is about as tough as it gets. Which puts everything into perspective when the going gets tough for me.”
    Bless you to the end of your days, Karen, for today’s message. You have redirected my focus to the right place: not my own sorrow, but that of my brave adult daughters, doing what they can to get on with life.
    They have survived a particularly vicious alienation and manipulation campaign – in a broken, tumultuous, abusive marriage – by their severely personality-disturbed father during their tender teenage years. I was too trauma-bonded to break away, caught up in a cycle of emotional, sexual, and economic abuse; sleep deprivation; low self esteem, guilt. I was like a zombie, a marionette, with him pulling the strings to keep me functioning as his emotional punching bag, emotional energy supply, and highly lucrative cash cow.
    My oldest daughter in particular suffered greatly from his spousification of her and him forcing her into emotional incest. He cannot relate as a mature, adult man to a mature, adult woman – he replicated with my daughter and her two sisters what he previously had with his mother and two sisters. Female relatives sympathising with him and blindly adoring him without him having to do the hard yards necessary to maintain mutual respect, love, and support in a mature relationship, are all he wants and needs to be content. Mommy issues at their worst.
    My daughters have seen him emotionally abuse me over the years with, amongst other strategies, contempt, sarcasm, disdain, snide and spiteful criticism, they have seen him metaphorically kick me when I was down and emotionally shattered after a stress-induced heart attack.
    (That’s the day my usefulness as cash cow ended, the financial stress started, I broke off intimate relations, and I emotionally detached from him – and he finally openly discarded me. Nothing like a near-death experience to wake up an abused wife.)
    They live with the knowledge that they did the same – that they turned on me and helped him abuse me when I was at my most vulnerable. They aligned with him and rejected and excluded me completely and in their own confused way, rebelled against it, tried to ameliorate the emotional pain with alcohol, drugs, promiscuity.
    Somehow they managed to stay on course and obtain professional qualifications and they live good, productive lives today. Albeit with deep neuroses, severe anxiety, and depression that are not always mitigated by their mental health medications. I believe it was the love and stability I gave them when they were younger and still receptive to it (before they caught his eye as weapons against me) and the feelings of emotional safety I represented deep down in their souls, that carried them through these terrible years.
    He was successful in stealing them from me for a season, but eventually he showed his true colours and the “cult” ended with me divorcing him in 2017, him having squandered all our family’s wealth in ways still unknown to me, him losing his professional licence due to fraud and theft, and him then fleeing the country disgraced and humiliated, creditors hounding him, with his tail between his legs. His own hubris and reckless arrogance, so to speak, bit him in the *ss.
    It was a tremendous wound to my daughters, seeing their omnipotent, all-powerful god tumble off his pedestal, but it opened their eyes. They are emotionally still enmeshed with him, but it will be more difficult for him to maintain his dangerous influence on them from another country and I believe they will cut the cords to the minimum in time. It truly will be better for them to have a limited relationship with him – he is simply too toxic and sick. And I think they are realising it themselves; they are in their 20s now and are not as naive and unexperienced any more. So it will be their own decision.
    They are putting out olive branches to me now. If not for you, and your wise words, I would have gone completely “cold” on them with pain and resentment and a desire for revenge, because of the death by a thousand cuts that broke and froze my heart. I remind myself they are blameless in what happened. It took me three decades to fully realise who and what he is, despite being an intelligent, mature, well-read, well-travelled, well-educated woman from a similar birth family background. How can I then hold them accountable for falling under his spell as youngsters? He is a cold, unfeeling, master manipulator with clear psychopathic tendencies.
    However, rejected and useless as I feel, I keep in mind what you said: imperfect as I am, I am their only hope of a safe landing place. Consequently I mostly manage to refrain from trying to make them feel guilty, I keep things low-key, and simply love them and take with joy whatever they offer me. I hope that in time they will come to me and we can talk about this – our present modus operandus is to pretend nothing has happened, sweeping everything under the rug as per their father’s example. They still exhibit some of his behaviours towards me – exasperated sighs, dismissive of my feelings and needs, contempt for my human condition – but they are trying to “keep me sweet” again, and that is a good start.
    I am back on the playing field. I cannot kiss them better any more, they are adults and must take responsibility for their own healing journey, but I can love them through it. And as God is my witness, I do it in any way they let me. After 33 years of soul-rending abuse, I am still standing, I am working on not only surviving, but thriving, and I will show them the strength of the feminine principle, I will show them the strength of the mitochondrial DNA I passed on to them. I found the strength to let go, and let God.
    Thank you, Karen. Let your integrity continue to lead you in the work you do, let it remain your compass, do not let detractors deflect you or cause you doubt or heartache. Keep on doing what you are doing, for it is good and inspired work. God bless you.

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    1. Jenny, I send you my love and my strength, what you have in your soul is what your children need and they will survive because of you – imperfect as our mothers are, in the end they are our mother and that, in the end, is good enough. I so appreciate your words, keep your light bright because your children need it badly. Sending you my very best Karen x

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    2. Beautifully written, thank you for sharing your story, and as such, some of mine. Of my 4 children, 2 remain somewhat under the spell. She is just 16, our youngest. I desire her and her 21 year old brother to understand that I do not nor ever will hold the m responsible. How I desire that somehow, someday they can understand from our perspective what happened to them and that they were never at fault, regardless. My second oldest has a 12 step program as do I and we have broken through to happiness and clean connectedness. Her moving to another state and becoming a mother has been a wonderful catalyst to healing. I pray the 2 youngers gain from watching their sister break through the fog. Everyday, hope. Peace, and truth prevail. They exist on a higher, stronger vibrational plane. I send you all love, patience and courage. Love yourselves!

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  5. Dear Karen, in reading your blog posts I have had so many tears…..some happy and hopeful ones and some very sad ones but you have informed me more than you can know. I think that you may feel like you are banging your head against a very thick wall but you have helped me endlessly. I have quoted your words to many and I have a large group of people that understand Parental Alienation because I have used your words and your analogies. I hope you can find strength, Karen, in knowing that you have helped me. There are many, many more but you have helped me in so many ways and I have been at very low points. I hope you can rise up and feel love from all of us that have been following your words, your wisdom!!!!! I have not seem my children in many, many, many years and one of my four children was married last year. That was incredibly difficult to not be invited but I survived and I believe they will come back to me. I am living a reasonable life due so much from your assistance. Thank you and all the best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am heartened and lifted by your message LED and I am so glad that what I write helps you and others around the world, it is honestly and genuinely meant from my own life experience as well as my work with families. I send you my best and my thanks which are warmly appreciated and helpful indeed. Sending my very best Karen x

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  6. Karen,

    Your words continue to help me to heal and grow. In the last year since I found your first article, attended EAPAP2018 and had the privilege of meeting and talking with you and continuing to learn from and share your wise words, I have grown personally from a grieving parent to one who has an understanding of the pain that my adult child is living each day! The damage her father has done has left her in complete denial and all I can do is create the safe landing pad that she will so sorely need when she does ‘see’ what happened. This is something that you have helped me to do.

    The work that you do, the voice that you so gallantly and consistently share, the children both young and adult that you have helped, along with the countless parents that you have supported through this minefield of disbelief at the situation they find themselves in, is insurmountable. The change you are bringing to the system itself is immense!

    For me, this journey has been 14 years and counting and I understand now from your writings that I have been through so many of the stages. In the learning that I have taken from you and your many peers, I am now on the path to retrain as a Grief Therapy Specialist, so that I can support others through the many layers of grief that I have successfully risen above over all of these years. I could not be more grateful to you for helping me to find in myself the strengths that I am now able to share more fully with others.

    I am sending you positive supportive healing energy to sustain you through your challenges. If I can do anything practical to assist then it would be my honour.

    With warmest regards to you,
    Debi

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  7. Thank you for those words of understanding and the motivation to go on and reach the end when I feel like giving up. Seeing our pleasant lovely boy turn into a monster in a few days after being fed untruths about us and the effect it has had on him, believing the untruths while seeing normality here – it must be completely head-messing. And all because he had fun on holiday with us. I was close to tears tonight and really did want to give up. But you are right, we need to persist.

    It is heartening to know so much work is being done, but I wish there was an easy way to prove all this to the courts.

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  8. Dear Karen,

    You have given so much of yourself to us; this lost legion of victims past, present and future.

    So maybe it’s time for you to draw down a little strength from us?

    You don’t need me to remind you about the importance of self care, but as therapists we sometines need to appreciate that helping others is a bank account we pay into with our hard work and dedication.

    The interest on our investment is the often silent gratitude of those we help – along with the reward of seeing them learning to cope and live better lives.

    I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I’m sure that my best wishes and love to you is in resonance with the rest of us.

    We ARE legion and now we stand beside you and around you at this time in YOUR life.

    The circle is complete x

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