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.