I had the ambivalent experience of reading a Court Order in a case with clear cut Parental Alienation. The Court ordered a Custody Evaluation by a forensic evaluator with deep experience with parental alienation. The report was very thorough and the recommendations were very clear.
In this article I outline the foundation of what I believe is a very helpful set of Parental Alienation coping strategies designed specifically for targeted parents. Targeted parents, after all, live in perpetual states of reactiveness.
The Targeted Parent is chronically left to respond to attacks, accusations, provocations and various slanders of all descriptions by various accusers. This enormously difficult psychological environment is a recipe for the development of either acting out behaviors and/or depression.
I frequently receive email requests for Parental Alienation expert witnesses in a given case, in a given town. The basis of the request is that if one has the right expert, the case is done. This is simply not the case. While having the right expert is an essential part of any case, it is only part of the puzzle.
Persuasive Rhetoric refers to using language in an emotionally laden manner with the purpose of convincing the audience of some particular perspective. Persuasive Rhetoric is a tool for selling ideas, beliefs and positions on a given topic or subject. It is unrelated to truth. It only refers to the spin, the story and the goal of winning over the audience. Nothing in the message requires truth.
Parenting, when Parental Alienation is present, requires super-human strengths and the patience of Job.
Parenting under the best of circumstances, is challenging. It creates the greatest joys of life as well as its deepest agonies. It is, to say the least, challenging. When you add Parental Alienation into the mix, the word “challenging” becomes pale and weak.
Increasingly, even as we become better and being clearer and more precise as to what will help remedy a Parental Alienation court case, it appears to be the case that Judges often hesitate to follow such recommendations.
I am typically contacted by parents who find themselves in the throes of parental alienation. Occasionally, I am contacted by a Family Lawyer, but primarily it is parents who reach out to me.
After I have some sort of consultation with a new parent and we both decide that my help is indicated, that parent will contact their lawyer, if they have one. It is at this point that my involvement can become derailed.
Some may wonder: Why is it helpful to have a consultant in addition to my attorney in a case involving parental alienation? There are several reasons. A few are listed below.
First, cases involving parental alienation virtually always find the targeted parent being falsely vilified in some manner. Experience has taught that if this is not properly dealt with, these false allegations never tend to “go away.”
You don’t know what you don’t know. Let me repeat that. You don’t know what you don’t know.
At first glance, this would appear to be a truism, or an obvious statement. However, while it is obviously true, it far from obvious.
In fact, as we move through the minutes and hours of our days, we encounter countless ambiguous or unclear situations and circumstances. In an effort to understand the many ambiguous piles around us, we sort them and stack them into orderly piles by making specific assumptions about their meanings, so as to make them sensible to us.
This is an automatic cognitive reflex for us humans and we do it thousands of times daily. In the process of doing this, the assumptions that we use become the building blocks of the edifices that we construct that then forms our reality.
The Eight Symptoms of Parental Alienation: The Spread of the Animosity to the Friends and/or Extended Family of the Alienated Parent
This is the eighth in a series of eight posts devoted to discussion of the eight symptoms originally described by Richard Gardner, MD in 1985. As a quick sidebar, I would like to also point out that while Gardner’s model has drawn some fire regarding the use of the word “syndrome”, much of such objection is smoke and mirrors, in my opinion.
J. Michael Bone, PhD.
Dr. Bone is an experienced consultant for cases involving Parental Alienation and has spent over 25 years working with high conflict divorce as a therapist, expert witness, mediator, evaluator and consultant, both nationally and internationally.