Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Knowledge is power

I am a strong believer in that knowledge is power. While I am far from an expert on parental alienation, I feel that I have gained quite a bit of knowledge about the subject and I continue my learning even today. 

When I first became aware of parental alienation, I did not know what the word meant. I remember sitting in the office of a child psychologist when I first heard that term.  You may ask how I knew to go there.  I didn’t at first. What I did know was I always had a loving and close relationship with my son and that relationship changed basically overnight. My son was visiting his father during the summer and the plan that was hatched was one where I would be eliminated as a parent to my son.   This was not a pre-teen trying to establish a sense of self identity either. I was completely cut off from contact. When I was finally able to appear in court a few weeks later, receiving notification after the court date, I would was overwhelmed by allegations made and the number of people appearing in court as possible witnesses. I recognized my ex’s brother and wife, but I had not seen nor heard from them since our divorce.  The other people I saw, I had no clue who they were, but they occupied two rows in the court room.  I remember sitting towards the back of the court room with my attorney feeling very alone and feeling a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach.  He told me not to worry about the people there if I did not even know their names. His confidence far exceeded mine that day. 

I achieved a victory that day in court by having the court order the return of my son to my home and for further court proceedings to take place in my county.  Little did I know that this victory was the start of a living hell.  If I thought the three weeks prior to the victory court proceeding were distressing to me because I could not contact by phone, the numbers were changed to private numbers.  Trips to the home were futile as well; it always appeared as no one was home. I was ill prepared for what would lay ahead.  

I spoke to a family friend who did some counseling and asked if I should see a counselor and if they had suggestions.  They gave me a few names and I picked one out and made the appointment.  As I sat in his office talking my son sat in the waiting room, most likely texting his dad about the event.  The counselor wanted to talk to both of us, but separately. He asked if I would mind having my ex attend some sessions and I agreed. I gave him the contact info so he could speak with my ex. Needless to say; my ex was against this quackery. It was during my visits with the child psychologist that I learned the words parental alienation. He suggested reading some books as well.  The sessions with this child psychologist ended soon afterwards due to my ex petitioning the court claiming I was brainwashing my son.  While I am guessing my ex was hoping that no counseling would ever take place again, it was ordered but he and his attorney got to pick the counselor this time. We attended perhaps four sessions and then my ex refused to attend. 

Over the years I have read numerous books, reread portions of those books, read numerous blogs about parental alienation, and read numerous writings about it as well. I have communicated with parents experiencing parental alienation. I also have listened more intently to other parents of divorce speak about their ex’s whom do not believe in such a thing, think it is hogwash and vehemently hate their ex and do not want them to be any part of their children’s lives. I have formed my own opinions, whether right or wrong, but feel most of the motivation behind parental alienation is a combination of some form of a mental and or personality disorder and an irrefutable need to have power over the lives of those they have a relationship with. This control is not of the form of some friendly advice or help, but of the type of my way or the highway. They are never wrong, you are. They know how to do things correctly, you do not.  The several examples of the divorced parents that I have listened to that exhibit these rigid stands against their ex also are controlling, demanding and inflexible.  They almost seem to take joy and pride in ridiculing their ex and explaining why the children hate the other parent. They also find ways to voice their opinion without provocation into a conversation.

While the majority of cases of parental alienation consist of one parent campaigning against the other parent and getting the children to align with them, realize other relatives can also do this such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. The severity of the alienation varies from case to case as well. Reversing alienation can be done, as I am testament to this. There was no plan or one method that I used. What worked for me may very well not work for you. This is where I believe that reading everything you can get your hands on is helpful. I also think revisiting the books and articles is helpful as well. The information I gained from a book read seven years ago was great, but I have noticed when I reread the book I gained new knowledge and perspective. 

I would like to offer a few suggestions of books. My wish is that if you have not read any of them, perhaps you will consider reading a few and you will gain some knowledge and insight as well. These are just a few books, there are many,many more to be found.