Face it, if you’ve ever tried to explain parental alienation to anyone, you’ve quickly realized that explaining an alien abduction would probably be easier. Using words like “brainwashing” makes you sound not only crazy, but also childish and unable to grow up and deal with the other parent for the sake of your child. For all of these reasons and then some, I’d stopped talking about it. I was simply afraid of how others would view me. I’m a nurse in an operating room. I have a real job and real responsibilities, but somehow uttering the words “parental alienation” made me feel that my peers were questioning my credibility, and perhaps even my mental stability.
If you google the term “parental alienation,” the definitions that appear suggest a “psychological manipulation.” This results in certain behaviors such as “unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent or family member.” Other terms such as “bad-mouthing” or “brainwashing” may be used in conjunction. While all of those explanations are spot on and give the term credibility, Jack and I feel they don’t adequately encompass the magnitude, depth or gravity of what we have experienced. For this reason, we came up with our own working definition.
For purposes of this blog and our story, we will refer to parental alienation as “the intentional and strategic indoctrination of hate and/or guilt by one parent against the other, with the sole purpose of severing the bond spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically with the other parent, thus gaining total power over the child, and ultimately the alienated parent.” The word “parent” can be substituted with “stepparent” or “family member.”
The word “power” may seem very strong to you and perhaps this word doesn’t fit into your story. Jack and I have met many dads, moms, stepdads and stepmoms, just like you, experiencing parental alienation to a certain degree. In some cases, the alienating parent is just angry and wanting to vent, so the child is the one who takes the brunt of it. In other cases, the alienating parent is making the ability to have a relationship with the child difficult. In such cases, the alienator uses the child as the pawn with no plan as to the end goal but rather as a way to make the ex suffer. In our case, the alienator’s goal is to destroy any relationship or hope of reconciliation, thus gaining total power over the kids and ultimately us.
For eight years, Jack and I fought against parental alienation. On November 16, 2016, we successfully proved in court that parental alienation had occurred with his oldest daughter Kaitie. Because of this, he was granted sole legal and physical custody of Mary and Liam. For two years, we watched as Mary and Liam thrived. We naively believed that physically separating the kids from their alienator would prevent it from happening again. We were wrong. On May 31, 2018, Mary and Liam walked out the front door for their mother’s summer visit, and never came back.
Parental Alienation Speaks is a platform to share our journey through parental alienation. For 10 years, we watched as the alienator rewrote childhood memories; included the kids in rituals to sever bonds; used fear and manipulation to sabotage visitation time; enlisted the use of the police, DFS and other community professionals in order to advance the agenda… and so much more.
The purpose of sharing our story is to help you understand what parental alienation looks like and what may possibly be happening in your very own home. Who knows, you may be witnessing someone stealing your children from right in front of you.
For 10 years, I was a stepmother to Liam, Mary and Kaitie. I documented every detail. Maybe, by sharing those details, I can help you in your fight. I won’t stop until someone listens. Make no mistake about it, parental alienation should be a crime.