PA Denied: The Abandonment of Alienated Mothers

As the two biggest network of organizations promoting and protecting the rights of women and children, we have observed with grave concern that the safety and wellbeing of women and children are increasingly compromised. The legitimization of “parental alienation” discourses deflect attention from the importance of assessing and reducing the risks of further abuse children and their mothers are exposed to in family violence cases. This is happening despite extensive evidence about the lack of scientific credibility of the concept of “parental alienation” and the harm the associated so-called ‘remedies’ cause to children.

In light of this evidence, outlined in detail in the Collective Memo, we fully support the recommendation to remove all references to “parental alienation” and related concepts in ICD-11.

(Statement from WAVE -Women Against Violence Europe – to World Health Organisation on inclusion of Parental Alienation in ICD-11)

This week I have continued to observe the efforts of the women’s rights lobby groups to push parental alienation out of ICD-11 the World Health Organisation’s classification of diseases. Parental alienation is currently proposed as an index term for child- caregiver problem and in my view this is the right place for it because it is properly recognised as a mental health problem.

False news about parental alienation abounds everywhere and correcting this wherever we see it is vital. Because it is in the crucible of the belief that parental alienation is ‘pseudo science’, that the risks to children who suffer the problem of psychological splitting after family separation are maintained.

A child’s unjustified rejection of a parent after family separation is settled science now and is evidenced by the vast amount of peer reviewed evidence, much of which can be accessed by anyone in the world here.

Contrary to claims made recently in the UK by a senior member of CAFCASS that there are no obvious emotional and psychological markers of alienation (at 11minutes 30 seconds into the Philippa Perry Programme on Radio 4 accessible here) these are well known and obvious to the experienced practitioner.

Whilst I accept that to the untrained eye and those who are of the belief that the child’s voice should always be listened to, the clinical markers may NOT be obvious, the reality is that with careful differentiation, justified and unjustified rejection is starkly defined by the behaviours seen in the child and the parent to whom they are aligned.

If we begin with the eight signs of alienation which are set out below, (which now seem almost old fashioned given the work that has been done to develop understanding in the field of children’s rejecting behaviours recently), and work through recent research to the concept of psychological splitting, we see that all evidence points to the reality that a child who is unjustifiably rejecting a parent will use psychological splitting as a defence mechanism and will demonstrate a lack of empathy for the parent they are rejecting as a result of that.

The 8 Clinical Markers Of Parental Alienation are

  • Denigration. The campaign of denigration is when the child repeatedly complains about the parent over and over again. …
  • Frivolous rationalization for the complaint. …
  • Lack of ambivalence. …
  • Independent thinker phenomenon. …
  • Automatic support/Reflexive support. …
  • Absence of guilt. …
  • Borrowed scenarios. …
  • Spread of animosity.

Steve Miller MD reduces those to two

  • Psychological splitting
  • Lack of empathy

William Bernet et al,examined the use of the Parental Acceptance and Rejection Questionnaire (PARQ) as an objective measure of psychological splitting in their article here.

For those who are interested, here is a conservative list of the literature which covers the concept of the emotional and psychological markers of parental alienation.

Andritzky, W. (2002). Behavioural patterns and personality structure of alienating parents. In W. v Boch-Galhau, U. Kodjoe, W. Andritzky & P. Koeppel (Eds.), The parental alienation syndrome (PAS): An interdisciplinary challenge for professionals involved in divorce (pp. 283-314). Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung.

Baker, A. J. L. (2005). The long-term effects of parental alienation on adult children: A qualitative research study. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 33, 289-302.

Baker, A. J. L. (2006). Patterns of Parental Alienation Syndrome: A qualitative study of adults who were alienated from a parent as a child. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 34(1), 63-78.

Baker, A. J. L. (2010). Adult recall of Parental Alienation in a community sample: Prevalence and associations with psychological maltreatment. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 51(1), 16-35.

Baker, A. J. L., & Sauber, S. R. (Eds.). (2013). Working with alienated children and families: A clinical guidebook. New York: Routledge.

Baker, A. J. L., & Verrocchio, M. C. (2013). Italian college student-reported childhood exposure to parental alienation: correlates with well-being. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 54(8), 609-628.

Baker, A. J. L., & Verrocchio, M. C. (2016). Exposure to parental alienation and subsequent anxiety and depression in Italian adults. American Journal of Family Therapy, 44(5), 255-271.

Bala, N. M. C.,Mitnick, M., Trocme, N. & Houston, C. (2007). Sexual abuse allegations and parental separation: Smokescreen or fire? Journal of Family Studies, 13 (1), 26-56.

Balmer, S., Matthewson,M. & Haines, J. (2018). Parental alienation: Targeted parent perspective. Australian Journal of Psychology, 70, 91–99.

Ben-Ami, N., & Baker, A. J. L. (2012). The long-term correlates of childhood exposure to parental alienation on adult self-sufficiency and well-being. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 40(2), 169-183.

Bernet, W. (1993).False statements and the differential diagnosis of abuse allegations.Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 32(5), 903-910.

Bernet, W., Gregory,N., Reay, K. M. & Rohner, R. P. (2017), An Objective Measure of Splitting in Parental Alienation: The Parental Acceptance–Rejection Questionnaire. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 63 (3), 776-783.

Bernet, W., Wamboldt, M. Z. & Narrow, W. E. (2016). Child affected by parental relationship distress. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(7), 571–579.

Blush, G. J. & Ross, K. L. (1987). Sexual allegations in divorce: The SAID syndrome. Conciliation Courts Review, 25 (1), 1–11.

v Boch-Galhau, W. (2013). Parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome/disorder: A serious form of psychological child abuse. Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung.

Campbell, T. W. (2013). Sexual abuse allegations in the context of custody and visitation disputes. In D. Lorandos, W. Bernet & S. R. Sauber (Eds.), Parental alienation: The handbook for mental health and legal professionals (pp. 163–189). Springfield IL: Charles C Thomas.

Celani, D. P. (2010).Fairbairn’s object relations theory in the clinical setting. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Fidler, B. J., Bala, N. & Saini, M. A. (2013). Children who resist postseparation parental contact: A differential approach for legal and mental health professionals. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Friedlander, S. & Walters, M. J. (2010). When a child rejects a parent: Tailoring the intervention to fit the problem. Family Court Review, 48 (1), 98-111.

Garber, B. D. (2004).Parental alienation in light of attachment theory, Journal of Child Custody, 1 (4), 49-76.

Garber, B. D. (2011).Parental alienation and the dynamics of the enmeshed parent–child dyad: Adultification, parentification, and infantilization. Family Court Review, 49(2), 322-335.

Gardner, R. A. (1985).Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. Academy Forum, 29(2), 3–7.

Gardner, R. A. (1991). Legal and psychotherapeutic approaches to the three types of parental alienation syndrome families: When psychiatry and the law join forces. Court Review, 28 (1), 14-21.

Gardner, R. A. (1992). The parental alienation syndrome: A guide for mental health and legal professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

Gardner, R. A. (2002).The empowerment of children in the development of parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 20(2), 5–29.

Gordon, R.M., Stoffey,R. & Bottinelli, J. (2008). MMPI-2 findings of primitive defenses in alienating parents. American Journal of Family Therapy, 36: 211-228.

Gottlieb, L. J. (2012).The parental alienation syndrome: A family therapy and collaborative systems approach to amelioration. Springfield IL: Charles C Thomas.

Harman, J. J. & Biringen, Z. (2016). Parents acting badly: How institutions and societies promote the alienation of children from their loving families. Fort Collins, CO: The Colorado Parental Alienation Project.

Harman, J. J., Leder-Elder, S. & Biringen, Z. (2016). Prevalence of parental alienation drawn from a representative poll. Children and YouthServices Review, 66, 62-66.

Jaffe, A. M., Thakkar,M. J. & Piron, P. (2017). Denial of ambivalence as a hallmark of parental alienation. Cogent Psychology, 4(1), 1-15,

Kelly, J. B., & Johnston, J. R. (2001). The alienated child: A reformulation of parental alienation syndrome. Family Court Review, 39, 249–266.

Lowenstein, L. F.(2010). Attachment theory and parental alienation. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 51(3):157-168.

MacKay, T. (2014).False allegations of child abuse in contested family law cases: The implications for psychological practice. Educational & Child Psychology, 31 (3), 85-96.

O’Donohue, W., Benuto, L. T. & Bennett, N (2016) Examining the validity of parental alienation syndrome, Journal of Child Custody, 13:2-3, 113-125.

Poustie, C., Matthewson, M. & Balmer, S. (2018). The forgotten parent: The targeted parent perspective of parental alienation. Journal of Family Issues, 39(12), 3298-3323.

Sher, L. (2015). Parental alienation: The impact on men’s mental health. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 29(3), online. DOI:
Vassiliou, D. & Cartwright, G. F. (2001) The Lost Parents’ Perspective on Parental Alienation Syndrome, American Journal of Family Therapy, 29:3, 181-191.

Wiley, F. (2016). Serious parental alienation: The approach of the courts and practitioners in 2016. Family Law Week. Retrieved from

Woodall, K. & Woodall, N. (2017). Understanding parental alienation: Learning to cope, helping to heal. Springfield IL: Charles C Thomas.

Despite the evidence, the women’s rights lobby groups argue that parental alienation is ‘pseudo or junk science’ which is being legitimised and present the issue as one which puts women and children at risk of harm. This is based upon the denial of parental alienation as a concept and the propagation of the idea that children only reject parents when there is a good reason to do so. But as Philippa Perry said in her interview with Paul, a parent who had been subjected the most appalling false allegations – she had always believed that there was no smoke without fire and now she understands that sometimes – there is!

The argument therefore, that parental alienation is being legitimised, is based on reality and the reality is that this is settled science. The science is concerned with the way a child is induced to use the psychological defence of splitting in the post separation landscape and that to cause that to happen through parental behaviours which trigger it, is child abuse.

That is not to deny that sometimes there are allegations made that a child is being alienated when they are not. Just as sometimes there are false allegations of abuse against a parent who is being rejected as part of a campaign of denigration to eject that parent from a child’s life.

In this minefield of allegation and counter allegation, the truth of how children come to unjustifiably reject a parent lies not in the claims made by the parental lobby groups but in the evidence of what parental alienation is and is not and the signs which tell us that it is causing rejection in a child.

The problem with the denial that parental alienation exists and the claims that it is ‘pseudo science’ which are spread widely around the internet by the women’s rights lobby groups, is that if those things are true, how do the women’s groups explain the rejection of mothers by their children after family separation? What do we say to those mothers whose children make powerful claims of abuse which are unsubstantiated alongside complete rejection of them?

Are we to say that those children are also telling the truth and that those mothers are the cause of their child’s rejecting behaviours, or are we to say that this is domestic violence by proxy? And if we are to accept the notion of  domestic violence by proxy, how come those children who make those claims, are displaying the exact clinical markers shown in the research to be signs of induced psychological splitting, aka parental alienation?

We can’t have it all ways round. Parental alienation cannot not exist when it comes to mothers alienating children but exist when fathers alienate. Either it exists or it doesn’t, either children can be psychologically manipulated after family separation or they can’t and the overwhelming evidence around the world demonstrates that they can and are being manipulated by both mothers and fathers.

Parental alienation, induced psychological splitting, attachment disruptions caused by pathological alignment and rejection, all are different ways of describing the same thing. A child’s unjustified rejection of a parent in divorce or separation which is caused by intolerable psychological and emotional pressure upon the child which comes from somewhere in the family system.

In cases of parental alienation where allegations are tested and found to be untrue and the child is showing the signs of psychological splitting which are  also accompanied by a range of other identifiable clinical markers, alienation is the diagnosis.

Previously abusive behaviours in a parent are one of the core signs that a child is not unjustifiably rejecting a parent and when that evidence is coupled with the lack of psychological splitting in a child, alienation is simply not the diagnosis.

It is the proper differentiation of a case which determines whether a child is or is not alienated and those who argue that the subject is controversial or ignore the reality of the vast amount of peer reviewed literature and evidence from practice which exists, are simply attempting to take the subject back in time to the parental rights fight where it does not belong.

Denying it exists, on the basis of acceptance would put women and children at risk, just does not hold up to scrutiny, because the reality is that properly differentiated cases of parental alienation simply do not place children with parents who are known abusers. Tangling up the evidence, as Victoria Derbyshire has recently, with cases of actual abusers of children being given access to children who in the most tragic of circumstances, they go on to kill, helps no-one. Not the families of children who have been killed by abusive parents and especially not those mothers who are alienated from their children, who are also women who have experienced domestic violence and thus are in desperate need of the support the women’s rights lobby purport to give to abused women and children.

Because whilst the women’s rights lobby fogs the reality of PA, alienated mothers, those very women who should be recognised and supported by those groups, are blamed, shamed and their experience is denied.

It is a ghastly consequence of an orchestrated campaign to slow up progress being made in identification, response and recovery support for all families affected by a child’s use of psychological splitting, which causes immense suffering around the world to mothers as well as fathers and their children.

Parental alienation is a mental health issue which has long lasting impact on children and families and that is why it belongs in the ICD-11.

Denying the established evidence base doesn’t make it go away.

34 thoughts on “PA Denied: The Abandonment of Alienated Mothers

  1. I just sent your article to the National Organization of Women in the US. I had inquired their position on PA and this is what they wrote … very similar to the European entity. Their response …

    “Thank you for reaching out to the National Organization for Women. In 2012 the NOW Foundation sent a letter to the American Psychiatric Association objecting to the inclusion of Parental Alienation Syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual V (DSM-V). This so-called psychiatric condition was being used in child custody cases to remove custody from protective parents (usually mothers) and often awarding custody to an abusive parent (usually fathers). DSM-V did not end up including parental alienation as a recognized psychological condition.

    At our conference this past summer, one workshop entitled “Child Custody Courts: A Solution to End the Family Court Crisis” covered the following topics: Addressed the issue of pervasive discrimination in family courts which often results in fit mothers losing custody of children, following separation or divorce. Judges frequently ignore documented evidence of domestic violence or child abuse and award custody to the perpetrator. Women become victims of a fake psychological syndrome, “Parental Alienation,” used in court to declare them unfit.

    These two actions are the only times that NOW has taken action in regards to PAS. We hope you find this information helpful.

    NOW Staff”

    They have no idea how many women they are alienating!

    Again, many thanks, Karen


  2. I just sent your article to the National Organization of Women in the US. I had inquired their position on PA and this is what they wrote … very similar to the European entity. Their response …

    “Thank you for reaching out to the National Organization for Women. In 2012 the NOW Foundation sent a letter to the American Psychiatric Association objecting to the inclusion of Parental Alienation Syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual V (DSM-V). This so-called psychiatric condition was being used in child custody cases to remove custody from protective parents (usually mothers) and often awarding custody to an abusive parent (usually fathers). DSM-V did not end up including parental alienation as a recognized psychological condition.

    At our conference this past summer, one workshop entitled “Child Custody Courts: A Solution to End the Family Court Crisis” covered the following topics: Addressed the issue of pervasive discrimination in family courts which often results in fit mothers losing custody of children, following separation or divorce. Judges frequently ignore documented evidence of domestic violence or child abuse and award custody to the perpetrator. Women become victims of a fake psychological syndrome, “Parental Alienation,” used in court to declare them unfit.

    These two actions are the only times that NOW has taken action in regards to PAS. We hope you find this information helpful.

    NOW Staff”

    They have no idea how many women they are alienating!

    Again, many thanks, Karen


    1. NOW is useless. No ERA no CEDAW and now giving patriarchy the means to own family. Parental alienation is INCLUDED in WHO- nightmare junk science word salad that is used to abuse women and children. Making access for pedos easier. Abusers tend to alienate all of their own. The other parent doesn’t need to help.


  3. Hi. I’m very surprised that, in today’s age of voiced desire for equality, an article such as this has been written in this gender bias mentality. My experience has been of alienated father’s, mothers using the law and general bias against men to keep their children from their father. I actually haven’t personally winessed a single case of alienation of a father who tries to keep a mother from their children, yet I have seen, with my own eyes and experienced for myself in my life, alienation committed by mothers multiple times. I’m not being gender biased myself, I am speaking of my literal experiences. My own children’s mother has been practicising alienation for almost as long as we have shared children, starting 2 years before I left our marriage. I have watched and listened to mothers plan how they will alienate the father of their children, and even experienced the nightmarish scene and crazed laughter of one mothers who think it’s just a big game.

    Why would you write an article such as this in this style? Do you honestly believe that it is an abuse only mothers go through? Have you never heard of, or experienced, a father being alienated? This single piece of evidence (this article) tells me you are as much a part of the problem that families face now as the mothers themselves. Most of the mothers I have seen alienating their children have trauma from various sources, and could conceivably use that as a defense. Sadly so do most of the father’s in the cases I have witnessed, and their trauma goes untreated and unknown (even by themselves sometimes!) but is multiplied when their children are poisoned against them. Even to the point of ending their own lives. Isn’t that sad too? Don’t you want to see all families happy and healthy? Take another moment to rethink your point of view, please…


    1. Jason I think you need to read more of what I have written in the past ten years before making demands that I rethink my views. If you understand what I have written in the past you will understand what I am writing in the present – nothing to do with rights, nothing to do with fathers or mother, all to do with equality. If you take some time to read you will see how much work I have done for fathers over the last decade. You have jumped on this one article without thinking to read more of what I have written, take the time to do so and you will understand more about the work I do. K

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Jason, I understand your pain as an alienated parent. I too am an alienated parent and I am a Mother. There are many followers of Karen who are also Mothers. I am wondering if you misunderstood the quote at the beginning of this post as I did when I first read. I thought this quote was from Karen in support of removing parental alienation from DCI, but no as I read to the end and reread Karen is in support that parental alienation stay in the DCI as because as Karen has consistently stated this is not a parental rights issue, nor a feminist rights issue or a father’s right issue and as Karen discusses the Feminist group actually doing harm to alienated Mothers to whom they state they represent. The statistics in all the contemporary literature of PA show that both Mothers and Fathers alienate in equal numbers. Meaning the perpetrators of alienators are 50/50 Mums and Dad’s and is gender neutral. There is no statistical slant to one gender over the other. In Karen’s list here of the articles you will find these facts. What is interesting though is there does seem to be a statistical concurrence of how a Mother alienates then to how Fathers alienate. Again the literature in this article and others describe this in detail. As Karen has consistently discussed this is a child abuse issue not parental rights issue. However, some cases like mine the alienation is ongoing domestic violence of coercion control that I endured in the marriage. So from my perspective as a Mother who is alienated and still being exposed to domestic violence post-divorce. The advocacy from ‘Women’s against violence’ group to have parental alienation removed from the ICD is DEVASTATING. but it is also devastating to you as an alienated parent too. PA is gender neutral as is Karen’s own professional stance in all her writings.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Totally agree with you – read it again Jason Powell!
        Karen’s writing and commitment to creating change of this insidious abusive behaviour is paramount. Without her persistence in standing up for the children who go through this appalling damage to their emotional health and wellbeing, we would be so far back into the dark ages.


    3. Jason, I am an alienated mother and now grandparent. I have lived with this pain and distress for 14 years!

      My ex separated me from my daughter within 24 hours of telling him I wanted a divorce. He was ably assisted by a woman who had been my friend before I even met him. He was also supported by my ex sis in law, now his ex sis in law, who I now believe to be doing this to his brother!

      My ex sis in law rang me up three weeks after I told him and yelled at me down the phone that I was not fit to be a mother and that she was taking over my mothering duties and added ‘by the way, you don’t have a niece and nephews anymore!’ This woman used our family as her ‘model family’ when she was doing her nanny training. I have known her since she was five years old and she has been a part of our lives since she was eight years old!

      Within that time my daughter went from a loving helpful 14 year old to become a snarling viperous teenager that I did not recognise.

      When I nearly died, my close friend offered to bring my daughter to the hospital to see me, she refused to come and wished me dead, we had only been apart less than a year. This is the child that had always been so close to me, so loving and supportive and had had so many adventures with me and told me that she loved me forever. The child that loved to cook with me. The child that loved to walk the dogs with me. The child that loved visiting family with me. The child that loved being creative with me.

      I now have proof that various people bad mouthed me along with my ex and my daughter was soaking it all up. I also have proof that she was encouraged to bad mouth me and tell lies about me, as she was encouraged to back up the adults who lied about me. She has continued to lie about me to her husband and his family, people I don’t know and who don’t know me. I am judged by her and my ex’s words when all I did was leave an alcoholic abusive man after 22 years of abuse. These people ganged up on me on Fb and slandered me without even having a shred of evidence to back up the slander.

      My ex’s 2nd ex wife is now a friend, she approached me for support during her divorce. They did to her what she witnessed them do to me, she became suicidal. My gut told me I needed to support her and when we met and spoke she validated me for the 12 years of abuse that I had endured to that point. I stopped her committing suicide more than once.

      My ex bro in law has a new lady in his life since Sept 2018, divorced in June 2017, but she is being painted as the other woman, she didn’t know him when they divorced. I have never met her. She approached me for friendship when she saw me abused when their mother died this March, she witnessed the abuse behind my back. She was appalled and felt that I did not deserve the behaviour that was meted out to me.

      What does that tell you about my ex?

      It happens to many women, hundreds and thousands of them, as it does with men! It is not gender specific, it is abuse, pure and simple. Psychological abuse to the child and familial abuse to the family that the child has been separated from.


  4. Karen, there is a group of mothers in Spain at present who appear to be having some issue’s. SAP have you read about them?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent article. Thank you for your work and for the very thorough reference list. Those who attack this as “pseudo science” clearly either have an agenda to protect or have not seriously explored the realities here. The lobby groups who deny alienation are actually promoting abuse of men, women, and children. The solution requires public awareness of work such as yours. Please don’t be deterred by those who attack you because of their agenda, or because they simply misunderstand.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The tactics used by alienators should be taught and taught again to professionals involved in these separations.. Narcissistic Personality Disorders alienate.. and that is where the focus should also be on.. the parent should be stopped BEFORE it gets to the point the child is rejecting.. this again is where the focus should be on, personality disorders.. More knowledge of these disorders is a must with forensic mental health professionals and as it stands their knowledge in these areas is 0.0% .. Parental Alienation is Narcissistic Abuse.. the child is simply being triangulated against the other parent just like narcissists do with other parties to abuse their targets just like they do when no children are involved.. the child is being made into a flying monkey through psychological abuse..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Phew. I was beginning to get a complex!
        If you find the three missing posts, please leave them and don’t post 🙂
        Best Wishes, Willow


      2. I can’t see them Willow, I will have a hunt around now in case they’ve gone into spam!! I will keep a better eye on things from now on! xx


      3. Ah, you found my conversation with a social worker friend. Cheers Karen

        Feeling worried because , having gone through all this with my own husband who took my daughter from me within an intact marriage (He decided he preferred her to me when she was 15 and I stayed in the marriage because I knew for certain that if I left him I’d never see her again…………. he told me that when she was three.) I am almost 100% certain that my niece’s ex is trying to do the same with their four year old. She’s fraught.

        He’s had their four year old on holiday in Crete for a week but has continually refused to say anything other than ‘he’s fine’ when mummy asks her ex (pleads with him) to tell her how her little boy is getting on. All she wants is SOMETHING but he won’t give her anything, nothing at all. Ex says she’s ‘hard work’. (She’s not)

        I had cause to contact my ex last week and asked how my daughter is (she’s now 38 and had no contact with me for almost five years – I left ex four years ago). He told me a whole sentence about her dog but all he said about daughter was ‘she’s fine’. (she’s his secret, HIS BLOOD, nothing to do with me ………….she’s fine) It’s exactly the same with niece’s ex and there’s not a blind bit I or anyone can do. Little boy’s mum knows about you but she’s still ‘young’ (also 38) and thinks that by treading on eggshells she can ‘deal’ with her ex and keep it under control – she can’t. The only saving grace is niece’s mum, my sister, is a rock for her and her son. The only trouble is, my sister has been in bits trying to keep her daughter going while her son has been away.

        Why don’t these men (or women) realise that all we need is to be included and not shut out but then I think we all know the answer to that one – power and control!


      4. you had ended up in Spam willow with some other regular commenters, no idea how that happened, apologies – glad you asked !! xx


    1. Every case is different. The case in Vienna, is a father controlling the his ex partner and his children. A doctor who does everything to make things his way.
      I personally, think it’s very sad, that anyone needs to control at the cost of another’s freedom.
      I have personally experienced one of my grandchildren having difficulties in another country, when a member of my family got caught up in a bad relationship breakdown.
      I think there are too many comments by ill equipped people, to deal with a simple solution to the problem. Where the law says share, share!
      Someone wishing to change the equilibrium, for their own gain is reminded very quickly and stopped.
      Mediation does work, counselling is another option. The relationship is over and no further pay backs to the ex partner accepted!


  7. Well said Scott McMillan.
    But how on earth “the parent should be stopped BEFORE it gets to the point the child is rejecting” is a real problem especially when it’s so hard as a targeted parent to see what’s happening in the very early stages. I had no idea that there was such a thing as Parental Alienation until I left my husband and started searching for answers, all I knew was that he was excluding me and making our daughter his surrogate wife because she adored him and his relationship with her was far simpler than his relationship with me. She asked nothing from him. It was too late by the time the penny dropped even though I’d been living with him throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Karen, you know how long this issue has been going on for. The problem is its been allowed to become a problem. Mother or father, family members have been allowed to control a situation.
    I’m writing in simple terms, it’s wrong. In Spain this group of mothers finding justice eludes them. Wherever the reasoning, if it’s legal to ask for the right to be with your child then, it should be. It’s not democracy.
    I know personally, the workings of alienation.
    I also know, I’m not prepared to argue the rights and wrongs of different beliefs in the subject. Purely, the legal aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What I understood about the relevance of this article is that women’s rights groups don’t believe in parental alienation because it stops them seeing “parental alienation” cases as “domestic violence” ones.

    Women are “winners” in all domestic violence cases. That’s why they don’t want this “parental alienation” nonsense to disturb their cosy little nest. All men are “mad bad and dangerous” is a power/control mechanism that enables women to assert authority over the situation and invoke pity from others.

    Women’s groups assert all domestic violence is the responsibility of men (that is irrespective of whether perpetrated by men or women). Ref: Duluth model.

    This is the sort of biased nonsense that is being taught in Humanities Departments across all western societies.
    In short, if she accuses you of domestic violence then you won’t see your kids.
    If you accuse her of domestic violence you won’t see your kids. (Because for your Ex to be violent towards you, you must have done something to upset her)

    At worst she will get a little help from the “family support officer” and you will get jail and/or domestic violence perpetrators course. The course will tell you how you should behave towards women and expect you to be guilt ridden and endlessly apologetic, admitting the error of your ways.

    No surprise to me why the reality of what children need is abandoned because it doesn’t match what Mummy or Daddy want


    1. That, sir, is nonsense. My abusive husband won custody…the judge told me plainly that “whoever has the most money, wins”…the judge was his FRIEND and nothing I said could change it–cuz I was “crazy”. Funny, working as an RN while hubby hasn’t had a job in 30 years but…

      Yes, men are most often the perps. But sure, women do this crap, too. To deny that women aren’t at a disadvantage in regards to their relationship with ‘men’ is just blindness.

      My children are adults now. They learned all the techniques from their dad…projection (check), gaslighting (check), word salad (check) and withholding love and affection as punishment. I was shocked when my youngest son demonstrated his skills–he is BETTER at it than his dad.

      No one loves you like your mother…


    2. 1) if she accuses you of domestic violence then you won’t see your kids.
      2) If you accuse her of domestic violence you won’t see your kids. (Because for your Ex to be violent towards you, you must have done something to upset her).

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m a completely non-violent father who was accused of domestic violence in custody court. Never beaten wife nor children, yet was hit by ex-wife on several occasions, even in front of kids! Despite being physically assaulted, my responses were always verbal, never physical. Court did not care.
      EQUALITY URGENTLY NEEDED. Fathers love their children as much as mothers do. Shame on anyone to claim the opposite. Those who make that claim have no idea what equality looks like: they want gender equality in male-privileged areas, but are not willing to give up their areas of female privilege, such as child custody.


  10. I’ve spent the morning at our favourite hotel by the lake, four friends and four dogs, a lovely morning. Also been talking to one of the friends who is a social worker – working with familes, abused children and foster carers.

    I bought up Scott’s point ” “the parent should be stopped BEFORE it gets to the point the child is rejecting” because it happened within my intact marriage and I cannot for the life of me see HOW it could have been “stopped BEFORE it gets to the point the child is rejecting”. She said that there’s no money so social workers would not become involved at that stage, it would be up to CAFCASS if it went further and then you’d have to prove it……….. wherein lies the problem.

    She then went on to say a LOT of things about CAFCASS and not many of them good.

    The frustration of knowing or sensing what’s happening but having no where to turn until it’s too late is overwhelming. What on earth can be done ……………

    (off topic really, but I’d love to know the answer. Is it education, is it only about money, WHAT is it?)


  11. I thank Karen Woodall for calling attention to this horrible form of child abuse. Yes, Parental Alienation can seriously injure children and the alienated parent – It can scar them for life and breed PA to the next generation. Sadly, I’ve seen this cancer grow in my own family for decades. PA, like many other forms of abuse relies on hiding certain key behaviors. But I imagine that most people mistakenly believe that child abuse only involves things like neglect, emotional/verbal, physical or sexual abuse. But they probably have no idea that PA can even exist – which is exactly what Parental Abusers WANT. I therefore applaud Karen and all the responders to this blog for calling constructive attention to this very important subject. Like all who want to protect children from abuse, I would like for this subject to be highlighted in all schools, many other websites, social media, radio, TV and the subject of a major Hollywood movie. Most people would be surprised and disturbed by know about PA but parents, neighbors, friends and children – everyone – should be on the lookout just as they should be for any other form of child abuse. Our first defense is knowing that PA exists. And if you see something, do something. Expose it and don’t keep it hidden!


  12. I am one of the many mothers in the US who have fallen victims to the courts siding with perpetrators/abusers. It’s been 8 years since I’ve custody was inexplicably given to my ex husband and 2 years since I last seen or spoken to my children. My family hasn’t seen or spoken to my children since he has had custody either, not for lack of trying. There isn’t any legal reason for my ex to do this. During the 8 years since the change in custody, I’ve gone years without seeing them. Though I have visitation, there is always an excuse or just flat out being ignored.

    While reading more about PAS earlier today, this response was given to a lawyer’s blog posting from 2018 regarding Parental Alienation. I think it sheds a new perspective that I did not consider not had read previously when discussing what we go through. I also copied the link to the article.

    “What we call parental alienation is really a form of domestic violence by proxy, wherein a coercively controlling abuser uses the children to control and punish the other parent. If the abuser fails to alienate the children from the other parent, he will frequently punish them for disloyalty and to illicit an estranged response, which he then uses to make false parental alienation accusations. In reality, he is the one doing the alienating, but with reverse affect. Either way, the children end up in the hands of the abuser. Both PA and false accusations of PA are forms of DV by proxy. So how can the courts distinguish between them? The current framework for identifying PA is flawed in that it assumes PA in every case a child resists a parent. The more the nonabusive parent or child complains of abuse, the more they are viewed as alienating or “coached”. Children are ending up in the hands of the abusers. I would suggest instead that we look for signs of coercive control –domination, lack of regard for the rights or boundaries of others, manhandling or physical restraint, isolation, authoritarian or alternatively, overly permissive parenting styles, lack of previous involvement in the childrens’ lives, history of abuse or violence, etc. Regardless, in no event should children be completely and drastically removed from a parent they are attached to. No parent who truly loves their child would subject their child to such trauma such to punish the other parent. Unfortunately, the courts, lacking understanding of the mechanisms of domestic violence, frequently reverse custody in favor of the abuser.”


  13. This is brilliant! I joined a parental alienation forum on Facebook and was AMAZED how many mothers there were. I thought this was a problem for dads.

    I thought the same thing – what a disservice women’s rights agencies were doing to the mothers who were suffering from parental alienation. Tragic!

    Hopefully time will show who was right on this issue and that all genders should be behind fighting the horror of parental alienation.


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