Yesterday, the ‘collective memo of concern’ authored by Linda Neilson and signed by people opposed to parental alienation being included in the ICD-11, was reposted on that site in an effort to influence removal of the words parental alienation.
I re-read that collective memo of concern and noted the names of the people who oppose the inclusion of parental alienation. Many from the UK are familiar to me as they are feminist academics with a long standing influence on the lives of families in divorce and separation. These people have sought to prevent a closer examination of the experiencing of loss of a child after family separation for all the time that I have been working in this field. I wondered why there is such vehement rejection of the reality that a child who is rejecting a parent after family separation without having been harmed by that parent, is a child at risk.
The answer of course is something those who come here to read are well aware of. I have been raising this red flag for all the time I have been doing this work. In the field of divorce and separation, the promotion of children’s needs as being synonymous with women’s rights has been the driving force behind the lack of attention paid to alienated children and their families. The focus on women first and children as part of that campaign has led to generations of children around the world not only being denied a relationship with a healthy father after separation, it has also led to children being denied relationships with their healthy mother.
Parental alienation does not respect gender, when it occurs it happens as often to mothers as it does to fathers (the Family Separation Clinic disaggregates cases by gender and in the decade 2009 to 2019 the balance of work with alienated mothers and fathers was 46% mothers and 54% fathers). In line with other evidence of parental alienation as a non gendered issue, this tells us that the problem impacting on families is far more complex than the feminist academics would have us believe. In fact it is so complex that the very women that the denial of parental alienation is supposed to support, are not only being alienated from their children, their experience is being ignored or dismissed.
Alienated children’s experiences are simply invisible in this landscape and have been for four or more decades since the divorce laws changed in the western world in the seventies. Since then, children’s needs have been enmeshed in policy and practice with the rights of their mothers and the result has been a holocaust of loss in terms of relationships between children and one side of their family.
The experience of children suffering from induced psychological splitting which is also known as parental alienation is truly ghastly and its impact on their lives and that of their family is beyond conceptualising in words. The longer I have worked with alienated children the closer I have come to their lived experience and it is truly, in my view, a scandal that this has been allowed to go on for decades without any real attention being paid to their needs.
Alienated children suffer from the induced defence of psychological splitting which places them at the centre of a family in crisis in which they, as a child, are burdened with the horrific responsibility of resolving it.
In this landscape the rejected parent is a helpless bystander whilst the parent to whom the child becomes aligned, plays out their own unresolved issues through the distortion of the parent/child relationship. The child in the midst of this is induced to utilise a defence mechanism which triggers the fracturing of the self and the parents into good and bad. Now the child is in charge, omnipotent and weaponised to deliver the most devastating impact upon the parent who is the recipient of the projected shadow side of the fused parent/child idealised dyad.
In this trauma story, parent and child are now set against the demonised parent and what follows, based upon the design and delivery of a feminist workforce around the family, is a truly ghastly witch hunt process of blame, shame and institutional ignorance of what is really happening to the child.
The collective memo of concern simply reinforces that ignorance and seeks to shift the focus away from children and back to women. It also seeks to demonise parental alienation and skew the argument towards the idea that seeking to understand why a child rejects a parent in the post separation landscape is akin to child abuse because it validates violence against women and girls. It does not, here’s why.
Parental alienation is a catch all phrase for a child’s unjustified rejection of a parent but at its heart it is not about the rejection of a parent, it is about the child being induced to use the defence of psychological splitting. The rejection of a parent is simply a by-product of that, it is not the cause.
Neither is high conflict the reason a child rejects a parent who has been shown to be loving and healthy, although it may appear that conflict is part of the landscape where a child rejects. Many children live through high conflict divorce without being induced to use the defence of splitting. The conflict seen in cases of alienation arises largely from the desperate attempts by the rejected parent to flag, stop or tell someone about what is happening to their child.
In my experience, induced psychological splitting in a child arises because the child is exposed to unhealthy behaviours in one parent which threaten the child with abandonment if they do not align their views and which enmeshes the child into a pathological pattern of behaviours which are about as close to that of coercive control as described by Evan Stark (signatory to the collective memo of concern), as it is possible to get.
Coercive control is when a person with whom you are personally connected, repeatedly behaves in a way which makes you feel controlled, dependent, isolated or scared.
When we examine the ways in which children in divorce and separation suffer abandonment threat by parents who are unhealthy or unable to contain their own emotional response to the crisis of separation, we can begin to understand how this pathological presentation, which looks like love and devotion, is actually child abuse.
.As Kerig suggests –
when parent-child boundaries are violated, the implications for developmental psychopathology are significant. Poor boundaries interfere with the child’s capacity to progress through development which (…) is the defining feature of childhood psychopathology.’ Kerig (2005)
Imagine the scenario of the child whose parent is dependent upon them to keep them stable after divorce and separation. A child whose parent is keen to surround them with love and devotion but at the same time conveys the message that unless the child takes care of their emotional needs they may abandon the child. The messages in this situation need not be even verbalised, the abandonment threat is there in the intention conveyed in the intra-psychic, the silent but powerful communications which occur between parent and child.
The message which is given to the child is ‘I depend upon you to keep me stable, don’t leave me, don’t betray me.’ To which the child can only respond in one way, which is to seek proximity and to submit to the parent, at the same time having to compartmentalise any feelings of anger and frustration at having to split off parts of themselves in order to conform to the demands.
As Janina Fisher, former supervisor at the Bessel Van Der Kolk Centre tells us
When attachment figures are abusive, the child’s only source of safety and protection becomes simultaneously the source of immediate danger, leaving the child caught between two conflicting sets of instincts. On the one hand they are driven by attachment instincts to seek proximity, comfort and protection, on the other they are driven by equally strong animal defence instincts to freeze, fight, flee or submit, or dissociate before they get too close to the frightening parent. Fisher (2017)
My worry about the feminist academics who signed the collective memo of concern to the WHO is that they are driven not to understand the experiences of children who reject a parent but to ignore those and regard them as being immaterial to the overall project of protecting the rights of women. My other worry is that even in that drive to protect the rights of women, alienated mothers are simply thrown under the bus by the feminist denial of parental alienation. Which means that alienated children and mothers and fathers who are rejected, are all discarded in this distorted vision of the world.
Fortunately, around the world, the increasing understanding that this is an urgent, hidden, child abuse issue, will not allow the silencing of those concerned with children’s needs and their right to healthy relationships any longer. There are too many of us who know the truth of what has happened to children in divorce and separation in decades gone by to stop the shift towards recognition and treatment of children and families who have suffered this abuse.
Alienated children are ignored and invisible no longer and ideology has no part to play in the future development of work with these families. That is the message, that is the task, that is the road ahead practitioners in this space are travelling.
John Cornwell Lecture – Family Mediation Association Annual Conference – October 3rd 2019 in London.
I will be giving the John Cornwell Lecture at the FMA Annual Conference this year, where I will be speaking about the mental health risks to children of divorce and separation and our work with alienated children and their families over ten years.
EAPAP 2020 – Parental Separation, Alienation and Splitting: Healing Beyond Reunification will be held on 4/5 June 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia.
This conference will bring together practitioners in the field of child abuse, trauma and attachment to explore the ways in which existing therapies and models of understanding of abuse and trauma can be translated into work with abused children of divorce and separation. Taking place over two days, the conference will deliver intensives in different aspects of parental alienation to present a cohesive set of standards for international assessment, differentiation and intervention.
This is a practitioner only conference, streaming of parts of the conference will be available for parents and a parents Q&A session will be co-ordinated on day two.
Family Separation Clinic Training Schedule 2020
We will be delivering the following training and conference presentations in 2020
February – Republic of Ireland in conjunction with Irish Practitioners – details here shortly.
February – Germany in conjunction with German practitioners – details here shortly.
June – EAPAP 2020 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Summer – Reunification Training in Conjunction with Colorado University – details to be confirmed.
Autumn – For Family Access – NC. USA 4/5
You are missing decades and decades of research on parent child relationships and child adjustment. Parental alienation is not a scientific construct and has no foundation in scientific psychology. If a child rejects contact with a parent it can be understood and evaluators are obligated to use respected and empirically validated measures of parenting behavior. Alienation was made up and promoted by self published, self-reviewing ‘scholar/advocates’
Kelly M. Champion PhD
American Board Certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Yes Kelly, for those who choose not to look closer, parental alienation is junk science and can be dismissed. Fortunately there are many who choose not to be ignorant and who seek to look closer. When we do we see the reality of what is happening to the child. As for the self published, self reviewing scholar/advocates, I am not self published, the books I have written are published by Little Brown and Charles Thomas and the next one will be published by a reputable publisher too. As for empirically validated measures of parenting behaviour, I am sure that the tests used by the Clinical Psychologists we work with to assess all of the range of psychopathology seen in cases where children reject a parent are equal to any such measures. Far from missing decades of research, our work is based upon that very research. But I am not here to persuade you, I am here to write about my work with alienated children and families and based upon that experience, where I have observed severely rejecting children resolve the deep psychological splitting they have been induced to suffer, that hidden abuse (the forcing upon a child of a defence mechanism which is unnecessary), is what I am concerned to assist children and families to resolve. You must work to whatever belief system you choose, if you can live without looking closer, that is between you and your conscience. K
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I wish I hadn’t come back to this page and read the comment from Kelly Champion. It was like a huge slap in the face, a complete denial of what my husband did that caused my only surviving daughter to turn against me just because he no longer liked me and decided to use her as weapon from the age of 15 onwards. (She is now 38 years old and still being photographed with daddy’s arms draped around her, yes he is proud of her, but he makes her his trophy)
Are you, Kelly, saying…………. as HE did ……………. that I brought all this on myself? (he continually told me that while I begged him to SEE and STOP what he was doing to me)
My husband, I am now certain, is a covert narcissist. He was always, always right. He saw himself as a victim. I dared to answer him back when I disagreed with his cutting remarks and that was all it took for him to turn on me and, after years of opting out of any responsibility as father, he managed to make my daughter feel sorry for him and he showered her with attention by making her his surrogate wife.
I am astounded (but hardly surprised) that attitudes such as Kelly’s exist. I’d also love to know HOW she would explain the dynamics of my family and what happened to my daughter.
Since I left him (long after he started the alienation – which did not happen after divorce or separation – he told everyone who mattered that I left him because of ‘a fallout with my daughter and because of my obsession with her dog’. The truth of why I left him was that he was emotionally and verbally abusive, dismissed and belittled my feelings and flaunted his relationship with our daughter in front of me. His smugness had to be seen to be believed. But all the time he acted the innocent party. It was like living in a crazy world that I could no longer cope with. If I hadn’t left him I may well have jumped off the nearest cliff.
Seems there running scared and hate the fact that PA is getting some recognition, as it rightly deserves
On the Court steps at the entrance to the halls of justice stood a rep for Diablo Solicitors. He was offering friendly advice to parents who approached the Family Courts; where the balance of probabilities would determine their fate.
All advice given was secretive, and necessarily, fathers and mothers were given different recommendations.
But why? protested John who had come to secure time with his children.
You want to win, don’t you? said Diablo
It’s not like that said John, nobody wins, I want to make arrangements to suit us all.
It doesn’t work like that said Diablo, with the kind of assistance your Ex is getting you’ll need to be sharp, ruthless and quick.
Oh! How so?
She’s going to accuse you of domestic violence. She makes a long list of all your sins going back to the year nought and the Judge will tell her to cut it down to her best six; that should be enough to nail you.
Her policy advisors will be slowing down the process with delays as much as they can so she can establish her new settled relationship with the kids.
There will be a section 7 report carried out by the social engineering team and you will be crucified using case law to compare your personality to less savoury males who may have committed foul deeds against women and children.
You will be humiliated in Court, you won’t see your Ex who will be grinning from the other side of a screen feigning fear.
She may lose her temper in Court, but that’s entitlement and should not be confused with your temper which signifies aggression and oppression.
Your guilt is proven before you enter Court, the system is here to interview you and tie up a few loose ends.
I don’t like what I’m hearing said John. You want me to go in there with a win or lose mentality it all seems so destructive, what do I do?
Well, your Ex, she’s not very good, is she? Not perfect but then none of us are.
I want to put all the arguments behind us reasoned John.
Then you’ll lose and only have yourself to blame.
Not very good at her job? queried John.
Does she drink, smoke, pick the kids up at the right time, attend to medical and emotional needs of the children, are there flaws in her character, is she wonder woman?
Then she is an unreliable alcoholic with a drug addiction who only thinks of herself; I think we have something we can work with. You will have to get the social engineers on your side, Mummy’s brigade. No chance if you have chosen the DV route, that’s entirely of your making.
Why is the DV route so dangerous? Because it is strictly men only and when you’re on the course you must admit to your sins and show remorse and contrition otherwise you are a liar. A male who doesn’t admit to being violent is in denial and that’s yet another nail in your coffin. Whether or not you lost your temper and slapped her because she was bating you or abusing the children is the presiding factor that will end your relationship with your children.
Social engineers? Yes, they’re the ones who carve up your emotions, best not to show them, it’s a weakness. These are the people who crucify you in their report and are given the task of going to the losers house to explain when the kids reach adulthood they can do as they please, in the meantime you can communicate once per year via email to your Ex who won’t pass it on to your kids, it might upset them. It won’t be your Ex’s email of course, she must be protected.
Protected? queried John
Yes, safeguarded, got to keep the threats away.
Now do you understand said Diablo.
I think so said John.
The family court has nothing to do with the welfare of children. It is a place where parents go to justify why they should be allowed to continue parenting. The Courts are quite happy to ignore the emotional and psychological needs of the children in favour of what a woman wants.
Exactly, bingo! that’s why we should undermine the perfect female, let’s dish the dirt.
John was back outside the Courts of Justice, I was going to say pearly gates because they might well have been. John had a gaunt and haggard look about him. He was tired and depressed, he had taken to anti-depressants but managed to avoid a psychiatric diagnosis because he thought his Ex might be able to use a label such as “paranoia” against him in the family court.
He had more questions for Diablo, who seemed to be avoiding him.
In a few months’ time I won’t be here he said, they are closing you down completely.
What do you mean? Said John.
Politics replied Diablo with conviction.
There will be no entrance for you at all in the family courts, I think my job may be at stake.
It’s the equality laws that are coming through, these will determine outcomes.
But I thought equality laws were all about fairness and justice.
Well they are, but the fairness and justice are only applicable to those who wish to promote themselves.
I’m confused said John, why does the law ban me from coming to Court, stopping me from presenting my side of the story, that’s not democracy.
Call it what you like, said Diablo, there’s nothing you can do about it unless you take them on politically.
How could this possibly happen?
Young girl she was abused from an early age, tragic, used by a pimp and then decided she would have his baby. But she didn’t want him to be the father, so she went to Court and got him banished.
That’s tragic said John, but what’s that got to do with my Court case?
Diablo, looked at John with his sunken eyes and taut face, almost feeling sorry for John in his naiveite and ignorance.
The women in this Country need to feel safe from horrible people like that pimp so the Equality have decided to ban all men from going to Court who are accused of domestic violence. I guess it’s a super special Equality for special people.
Like I said, you think there’s injustice now, wake up all Hell is coming.
If you want my advice, go grab the children after school, drive to the coast, jump on a private boat (you may get a deal from refugees coming the other way) and cross the channel to Calais. Then make your way overland to somewhere you can be worth something.
Have I just been slapped (again) by nongenderbias9 or am I misunderstanding her/his post?
Personally I agree on the point (I think) is being made about solicitors but feel I have been slapped re the DV link. My husband never hit me (though he pinned me up against the wall a few times and spat verbal diarrohea at me) but he took every opportunity to tell daughter what a horrible person I was and that she was an adult (at 15) and perfectly entitled to her opinions about me. If that was not a version of DV I don’t know what it was that I lived with for decades while I tried to keep my daughter in my life – after he told me when she was three (after the death of our first child) that if I ever left him he would fight for custody of our not yet three year old and he would make sure he won.
I would have never left my husband if we could have been a family and I would never have denied him his daughter. I hear the stories of women who have been with truly violent men and many of them tell of husbands trying to denigrate the mother to the children and turn them against her after divorce. Is that not PA? And I am well aware that women can be as bad as men – some women and some men.
The problem of DV and PA is all too real to those of us who have lived it . I’m hoping the posts above are about the huge problems with the family courts (which I have no experience of) maybe I am get super sensitive not to say triggered. (and I find the story approach confusing nongenderbias9, sorry)
my comment has got lost again 😦
Karen, have you any idea why when I post anything (usually following any recent post I’ve posted and has accepted) my second/next post shows as waiting but then disappears and, why, sometimes when I message to say it’s vanished again does the original ‘pending’ show again only to vanish later………… if you see what I mean.
If some of my posts are getting through but then not the following ones it seems very odd………..
I don’t know what is going on willow, I’m posting everything that I can see. I’ll keep an eye on things x
The meeting could have taken place on cloud nine, but it might well have been the Styx. John had never met Sheila, but he was nevertheless sympathetic to her story, her struggle.
She was recounting the time, called “handover”, one of those Biblical moments when the formerly married meet to facilitate the “child exchange mechanism”.
A deal had been struck in Court whereby the children, pawns in a game of who dares wins, were passed from Dad to Mum and vice versa.
It seemed as if all the tension that had mounted from the great unresolved were unleashed through the behaviour of her twelve-year old son, Toby.
It had been made clear, rubber-stamped by the Court, that dates and times, allocated holidays, specific anniversaries, even Grandparents and extended family time were to be respected. The mechanics of a favourable outcome had been thrashed out.
None of this accounted for the derision in which Sheila was held by her former partner, nor the shear formidable force of his side-kick, the woman who now replaced Sheila, the one who was fast becoming the surrogate mother of her children.
Sheila had often said that she was willing to compromise, let bygones be bygones, but there was no such reciprocity from the other camp.
Sheila didn’t deserve this, and Toby, well Toby, what was he to make of it all? Did he have a choice? It was obvious sooner or later he would end up in either one camp or the other. Life would never be the same, his childhood had gone, he had been robbed.
Sheila doesn’t remember exactly what happened at the changeover, but it was very stressful, she endured unfair criticism from her Ex’s new Beau as her Ex looked on smugly; Toby was angry and resistant at changeover insisting he didn’t want to go to his Mum’s and verbally abusing her. (I wonder where Toby learned to talk like that?). He lashed out at her, but Sheila managed to bundle him into the car, taking a blow to the nose for her troubles. On the journey home after venting his anger some more Toby began to sob profusely, uncontrollably. Once at his Mum’s he ran straight upstairs and barricaded himself in his room.
It was three and a half hours before his Mum could lure him out of his room with warm cocoa and a sticky bun. As she comforted him Toby seemed to relax. Not so much a relax but a collapse of fatigue, how much longer could he endure passing through the gates, the sheer drain on his psyche as he was forced to express feelings that were not his; they were the emotions of troubled adults.
Then what happened? said John. Did Toby decide to live with you because you were the kinder parent?
That was the last time I saw him wept Sheila. I haven’t shared anything positive with him since that visit. He sent me a couple of abusive texts, then shut me out of his life completely. The whole process of handover became too much for him.
Yes, but why did he choose your Ex over you, you are the warm-hearted sensitive parent who is willing to share and even put up with some unpleasantries, differences. You compromise and your Ex doesn’t?
My Ex has a rule book and he’s carved out a new life for Toby, he just seems to have taken control, I am insignificant in his eyes, my role has been taken over by his Beau. I am the enemy. I feel disempowered, undervalued, worthless and yet I promised so much, what went wrong? Toby was thrown out by his father, but he always went back to him as if drawn by a magnet, he didn’t want to lose his Dad. In a funny sort of way, I think Toby is looking after his Dad even though his Dad makes all the rules. My Counsellor says it’s called coercive control and isn’t healthy.
I wish I could help Toby somehow.
I am sorry Willow. I did not mean to upset you or anyone experiencing parental alienation. I was illustrating the workings of the Institutional framework in which parental alienation flourishes. Not just the Law Courts, politically and educationally too. Some of the attitudes that are portrayed in the media are wrong and misguided. Somehow we fail to see the experience of the individual, sometimes tragic, and supplant them generalised preconceived notions, that are prejudicial.
Divorce is traumatic, I get that, and adults can behave irrationally as a result but we have to analyse the individual’s experience within the family dynamic and see this from the child’s perspective. The true issues are often clouded, obscured by people wanting their rights upheld based on group identity (whether that be men, women or porcupines!). In western society we are hell-bent on eradicating nasty, bullish , self-serving men and this is a politically motivated desire which is causing untold damage. Women, porcupines, sharks and zebras are all just as capable of being upset, angry, vindictive or whatever as men. It is not a gender thing, not a race thing, not a colour thing, it is a mental health thing. That mental health thing sits somewhere within the family dynamic. If we are to help people we have to find out what is going on within the family, ponder a while in the child’s shoes, Who is hurting? Who is controlling? What is the nature of that control?
Apologies once again if my stories are upsetting. I am trying to express some thoughts, based on bits of real life stories, and their tragic outcomes.
Is it possible parental alienation is used by an absent father after 36 years? My son had brain cancer surgery and his father showed up taking advantage of my son’s need for approval and acceptance at the time of his life threatening disease. Since that time my son has enforced two estrangement periods lasting over three years. It’s as if he had to reject me to have his father’s acceptance.
Thanks for any thoughts and comments.
Quoting nongenderbias9 : “In western society we are hell-bent on eradicating nasty, bullish , self-serving men and this is a politically motivated desire which is causing untold damage. Women, porcupines, sharks and zebras are all just as capable of being upset, angry, vindictive or whatever as men. It is not a gender thing, not a race thing, not a colour thing, it is a mental health thing.”
I totally agree that it is a mental health thing. Healthy people, healthy parents, do not do this to their children or to each other. They do not set their children up and they do not use their children as weapons against the other parent (while sitting back and shrugging ………. what can I do about it, it’s nothing to do with me, it’s your behaviour and child’s free will). Unhealthy parents can and will do this – how much of a part does narcissism play I wonder.
I fully support the fact that this IS NOT a gender issue.
Maybe I am naive (or ultra sensitive) but there seems to (quite often) be an underlying theme of quote: ……….”In western society we are hell-bent on eradicating nasty, bullish , self-serving men and this is a politically motivated desire which is causing untold damage.”………. and therefore it seems to me that there is an emphasis (??) on almost protecting men as though they need more protection (I’m struggling to find the right expression here) and a big emphasis on how women (and porcupines) can be just as bad as men.
If this is TRULY a non gender issue, why do these absolute facts – that both men and women can be alienators – have to be continually pointed out to the extent that I (in my hypersensitive case) feel that the ‘mental health issue’ (fact) is in danger of being taken over by …………… a declaration of the very gender issues being denied. Strange …
(I also get the feeling that once domestic abuse is mentioned it is straight away swept away in a rush of defence of men in general …….. by someone pointing out that women can be as bad as men – I have nothing at all against men, not even my husband, but I cannot do other than despise what HE did. Neither do I believe all men are abusive or all alienators.)
This is all so scary. It is abuse against children by a parent and when you have seen it and the alienating parent has a solicitor who aids and abets it to play the system (as non gender bias highlights) it is truly frightening. You are incorrect Kelly Champion. Abuse of a child by a parent is a crime, whatever gender that parent is.
William Collins has published a short (remarkable, for him!) article to help people fight against this “memo of concern” signed, it seems, mostly (not entirely) by ideologues and those who earn from keeping families at loggerheads.
I advise anyone who is willing to spend a few minutes as a ‘keyboard warrior’ to see William’s article on Parental Alienation (Backlash Prevention) at http://empathygap.uk/?p=3092
I do not need anyone to tell me there is no such thing as PA – emotional abuse of children to be aligned with one parent against another. I have lived it, and know it for its truth and many of the cases will be lost in the system not to be seen as social workers, lawyers and judges do not understand this phenomenon. If you haven’t lived it or actually understand it you won’t believe the depth of hurt and emotional trauma that this causes. I only reallised what was happening 9 months after it started- reading an article on a lawyers website. Before this I thought I was living a nightmare not understanding why my once loving children suddenly turned on me. I was a stay at home mom, driving the kids around being their primary caregiver during marriage and this happens! Dad has obviously not been diagnosed but having lived through 21 years of marriage with him I finally figured out he was a covert narcissist with anti-social problems. This does not help me, as all everyone else sees is a quiet man and I am the marked woman who is suddenly deranged. So people who do not understand the concept I understand that because if I had not lived it I would not have believed it myself. But psychologists, social workers and anyone in the system that wants to ignore it enables child abuse and in my opinion is as evil as the perpetrator of this abuse.
Empower yourselves with the knowledge of this phenomenon and tools to determine how to distinguish it as you know narcissists are very good manipulators so you need to find a way to find the truth for the future of our children and their emotional well being.
Thank you for your post. I have experienced everything you have written about and I too am pretty certain my husband is some kind of narcissist with attachment issues stemming from his childhood where he was regularly coming home from school to find his mother lying on the floor after yet another (only just failed) suicide attempt – she finally succeeded one year after we got married and within a month my husband’s sister had also killed herself. . It took me a long time to figure out what was happening in my marriage and in my family, but I always had a gut feeling, an instinct. I called it being excluded and boy was I being excluded! I remember how and when it first started when my daughter was 15 and I too became (quoting you) ” the marked woman who is (was) suddenly deranged.
Today is not a good day for me – usually I cope well – four years ago this week I discovered via Google that my daughter had got married. No one bothered to tell me though my husband’s cousins (who attended the wedding) sent me a couple of photos after the event (and after I contacted them). They told me that my husband had explained my absence by telling them I had left him because I’d fallen out with daughter over her dog ….. He was denying everything he’d done to the bitter end.
God complex much, Kelly? Very upsetting and defeating to see people outright deny a form of child abuse. Just sickening and very sad. Thank you, Karen, for this insightful article and for helping to drive awareness.
DSM or not, PA is real. It has real psychological consequences. My daughter is the living embodiment of a victim who fought her way out of the cage her father tried to keep her in. Without any guidelines, her own attorney didn’t see it… and I had zero recourse despite my unending efforts. She eventually saw through the lies about me and our family, and now refuses to see him until *maybe* his death bed. She blames him for stealing away her childhood with her family, her brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, and so many more. She has regret that she is still working on forgiving herself for. Anyone who attempts to even talk to her about him, is cut out of her life. She has gotten much better with therapy and a lot of loving family time.
It absolutely tears me up that if there were more recognition on this sooner, if people like Kelly were more open-minded, then our family wouldn’t be going through this. We all wouldn’t have had to endure decades of abuse and neglect just because people refused to expand their vision beyond what their own minds could grasp.
So yes, Kelly’s comments are sickening to the core.