What I would have done differently!!

Good morning everyone

This will be my last post for some time to come.

Someone posted the question recently “What would you have done differently?” which got me thinking!

1) I should have listened to my Doctor of 12 years who recommended that I should take the children away from the marital home and move far enough away for my ex husband (who he knew well) not to mentally abuse any more. He warned me that he would have an impact on the children in later years witnessing his behaviour.

2) Not to have paid the outstanding 2000 pounds arrears on the mortgage my ex refused to pay. I had to use the last of my savings to stop the house being repossessed. I still ended up homeless!

3) To have listened and believed his long-term friend from Harpenden who warned me what would happen, and to watch the knives in my back.

4) Not to listen to so-called village friends (who I had known for over 10 years) telling me to stay with my ex and put up with it because I had a very comfortable lifestyle. (How shallow) This is what the so-called friend decided to do many years ago.

5) Not to get solicitors, lawyers and social workers involved as they don’t understand the workings of a Narcissist using Parental Alienation against you for financial gain. They are only interested in making money!
6) Once you realise that you are dealing with Parental Alienation, read, learn and get expert help from people who know about PAS.

7) Do not believe that someone you have been married to for 14 years will do the decent thing, let you see the children, pay some maintenance until you find work etc. I was very naive and not dealing with a decent person!!!

8) Believe in yourself! Despite being told I was unworthy, unloved by everyone, and was not capable of getting a job and looking after myself, I managed to get a very good job, purchase a house and meet a wonderful man.

9) My biggest regret of all was not to leave him and take the children with me sooner. I was capable of looking after all three of us emotionally and financially. I am positive that I would have done a much better job than him, and my children would have been mentally and emotionally in a better place now, well equipped to deal with the world.

10) Drop every friend who has done nothing to help you gain contact with your children – they are not friends.

11) Do not let a narcissist stop the communications. Do every thing you can using letters, email, social media, phone, text etc to let your children/grandchildren know that you will always be their mother/grandmother and that you will always love them and be there for them.

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Off to plan my pilgrimage – 4-6 weeks –


Not One Of Them: A Story of Adoption, Alcoholism and Abuse

“I despise you Judith Ann, I curse the day we adopted you and your brother! We owe you nothing because you are nothing,” said Mother as saliva pooled at the corners of her mouth.

She began to recklessly punch her daughter about the face and head, that unprovoked outburst, resulted from nothing other than seeing her young 7 year old daughter in ‘her’ home. Exasperated as Mother was almost every single day.

“Go ahead say it Judith Ann,” and with that my clue was given, “I know Mother, I know I deserve nothing because I am nothing, and I am worth even less than that.”

I said it as vehemently as one tells a child they’re loved. My older adopted brother Jimmy, was in for it next. Although Mother never quite gave it to him in the same way. That didn’t mean Jim was off the hook, for that same evening Father would begin his violent alcohol induced rages that may land him bleeding and slumped in the corner of his own bedroom.


Parental Alienation: A Mental Diagnosis? – US News and World Report

Some experts say the extreme hatred some kids feel toward a parent in a divorce is a mental illness

From an early age, Anne was taught by her mother to fear her father. Behind his back, her mom warned that he was an unpredictable and dangerous; any time he’d invite her to do anything—a walk in the woods, a trip to the art store—she would craft an excuse not to go. “I was under the impression that he was crazy, that at any moment he could just pop and do something violent to hurt me,” says Anne, who prefers that only her middle name be used to guard her family’s privacy. Typical of a phenomenon some mental-health experts now label “parental alienation,” her view of him became so negative, she says, that her mother persuaded her to lie during a custody hearing when the couple divorced. Then 14, she told the judge that her dad was physically abusive. Was he? “No,” she says. “But I was convinced that he would [be].” After her mother won custody, Anne all but severed contact with her father for years.

If a growing faction of the mental-health community has its way, Anne’s experience will one day soon be an actual diagnosis. The concept of parental alienation, which is highly controversial, is being described as one in which children strongly attach to one parent and reject the other in the false belief that he or she is bad or dangerous. “It’s heartbreaking,” says William Bernet, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, “to have your 10-year-old suddenly, in a matter of weeks, go from loving you and hiking with you…to saying you’re a horrible, ugly person.” These aren’t kids who simply prefer one parent over the other, he says. That’s normal. These kids doggedly resist contact with a parent, sometimes permanently, out of an irrational hate or fear.

Bernet is leading an effort to add “parental alienation” to the next edition of theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association’s “bible” of diagnoses, scheduled for 2012. He and some 50 contributing authors from 10 countries will make their case in the American Journal of Family Therapy early next year. Inclusion, says Bernet, would spur insurance coverage, stimulate more systematic research, lend credence to a charge of parental alienation in court, and raise the odds that children would get timely treatment.

But many experts balk at labeling the phenomenon an official disorder. “I really get concerned about spreading the definition of mental illness too wide,” says Elissa Benedek, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a past president of the APA. There’s no question in her mind that kids become alienated from a loving parent in many divorces with little or no justification, and she’s seen plenty of kids kick and scream all the way to the car when visitation is enforced. But, she says, “this is not a mentally ill child.”

The phenomenon has been described for many decades, but it became a cause célèbre in 1985, when Richard Gardner, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, coined the term “parental alienation syndrome.” As more dads fought fiercely for joint custody, he observed a surge in the number of children suffering from a distinct cluster ofsymptoms, including a “campaign of denigration” against one parent that sometimes included a false sex-abuse accusation and automatic parroting of the other parent’s views.

But sound research supporting a medical label is scant, critics say. The American Psychological Association has issued a statement that “there is no evidence within the psychological literature of a diagnosable parental alienation syndrome.” What’s more, concern has grown that “PAS” could be invoked by an abusive parent to gain rights to a child who has good reason to refuse contact, says Janet Johnston, a clinical sociologist and justice studies professor at San Jose State University who has studied parental alienation. In teens, she notes, parental rejection might be a developmentally normal response. Anecdotal reports have surfaced that some kids labeled as “alienated” have become suicidal when courts have ordered a change of custody to the “hated” parent, she says.

In any case, divorcing parents should be aware that hostilities may seriously harm the kids. Sometimes manipulation is blatant, as with parents who conceal phone calls, gifts, or letters, then use the “lack of contact” as proof that the other parent doesn’t love the child. Sometimes the influence is more subtle (“I’m sure nothing bad will happen to you at Mommy’s house”) or even unintentional (“I’ve put a cellphone in your suitcase. Call when everyone’s asleep to tell me you’re OK”). It’s important to shield kids from harmful communication, says Richard Warshak, a clinical professor of psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and author of Divorce Poison. If something potentially upsetting about an ex must be conveyed, he advises imagining how you would have handled the conversation while happily married; how would you have explained Mom’s depression, say?

“The long-term implications [of alienation] are pretty severe,” says Amy Baker, director of research at the Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection

in New York and a contributing author of Bernet’s proposal. In a study culminating in a 2007 book, Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome, she interviewed 40 “survivors” and found that many were depressed, guilt ridden, and filled with self-loathing. Kids develop identity through relationships with both their parents, she says. When they are told one is no good, they believe, “I’m half no good.”

Now 23, divorced, and a parent herself, Anne has recognized only recently that she was manipulated, that her long-held view of her father isn’t accurate. They live 2,000 miles apart but now try to speak daily. “I’ve missed out on a great friendship with my dad,” she says. “It hurts.”

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This study was designed to explore how the experience of past parental alienation and current estrangement from adult child(ren) affected aging alienated parents particularly in the domains of depression and life satisfaction. This study also explored the link between past parental alienation and late-life estrangement from adult child(ren). The sample of 65 participants responded to an online survey after responding to a recruitment flyer posted on Craig’s List.

The results showed mild to moderate levels of depression and moderate dissatisfaction with life among the study participants. Higher levels of parental alienation were significantly associated with higher levels of depression and greater dissatisfaction with life. Participants also overwhelmingly reported that past parental alienation had contributed to their current estrangement from their adult child(ren).

Further research is needed on the impact of parental alienation on the well-being of aging parents.

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How a Narcissistic Dad can Affect Your Life

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm (that they cause) does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves”. ~ T.S. Eliot

You used to think that by the time you were in your twenties and definitely by your thirties you’d have your act together – you’d be establishing a successful career, have your own place, be in a committed and stable relationship, visit the gym enough to have the body you always wanted and your social life would be vibrant.

But, you’re nowhere near where you thought you’d be, and the tiny boxes next to the list of achievements that you’d hoped to accomplish are still unchecked.

As your confidence deflates, you look back on your own upbringing, and think about your father – Mr Self-Assured. He seemed to have it all – charm, success, popularity and he never seemed to be plagued by self-doubt, unlike you. He was the hit of the party, knew everyone and made things happen. You couldn’t get enough of him.

How Kids Experience Narcissistic Traits:

Come to think of it, did his confidence border on arrogance? Is it possible that you were raised by someone with narcissistic traits? And if so, why is it important?

We take our families for granted – it’s natural that we do. Each family is a miniature sociological experiment, with its own set of unwritten rules, secrets, and nuanced behavioral patterns. We take our mom and dad for granted; like this must be what it’s like for everyone. Your dad may have been narcissistic, but you just assumed that all fathers were like him.

Here are some signs that your dad had narcissistic tendencies or was an out-rightnarcissist.

  • Dad was self-centered and pretty vain. He had an inflated sense of self-importance that led him to believe he was superior and entitled to only the best.
  • Dad used people for his own good. He would take advantage of others, to the point of exploiting them when it suited him. Everybody seemed to cater to him, or at least he expected them to.
  • Dad was charismatic. Everyone wanted to be around him and he relished admiration from others. He loved being in the spotlight and the positive reinforcement that came from being the center of attention.
  • No one had an imagination like Dad. Grandiosity is alluring, and so were hisfantasies of success, prestige, and brilliance. He would often exaggerate his achievements, and his ambitions and goals bordered on unrealistic.
  • Dad didn’t take criticism well. Nothing stung him like criticism; he often cut those people out of his life, or tried to hurt them.
  • Dad’s rage was truly scary. Some people get mad and yell a lot. Dad could hurt you with his anger. It cut to the bone.
  • Dad could be aloof and unsympathetic. Narcissists often have a hard time experiencing empathy; they often disregard and invalidate how others feel. Of course, he was exquisitely sensitive to what he felt, but others were of no mind.
  • Dad wasn’t around a lot. He got a lot of gratification outside the family. Other fathers hung out with their families a lot more. Plus, he craved excitement and seemed to be more concerned by what others thought of him, rather then how his own kids felt about him.
  • Dad did what he wanted when dealing with you. Narcissists don’t step into someone else’s shoes very often. He did things with you that he enjoyed; maybe you did as well.
  • Dad wanted you to look great to his friends and colleagues. You were most important to him when he could brag about you; sad but true.
  • You couldn’t really get what you needed from him. Even if Dad provided on a material level, you felt deprived on a more subtle level. For example, you wanted his attention and affection, but would only get it sporadically, and only when it worked for him.

When you go through these traits, some may hit home; while others may not be relevant. Some may ring as very true; while others as less so. This is why narcissitic traits are not synonomous with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The Heuristic Problem of Personality Classification:

Narcissism is not a dirty word, in fact, narcissistic traits are commonly found in most of us. There’s nothing disturbed about that. The other extreme is the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a controversial, but often helpful label. For the record, our diagnostic categories are somewhat arbitrary and lack the veracity of harder medical diagnostic labels like a broken femur or glaucoma. These disorders are easier to document and study.Personality Disorders help us organize our thinking about an individual, but may fall far short of a truthful depiction of a whole complex person.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a person is narcissistic or merely has a healthy self regard. Narcissism isn’t about having high self-confidence; it’s a love for oneself that has morphed into a preoccupation. The term is based on Narcissus, the Greek mythological character who was so infatuated with himself, that it ultimately proved fatal.

Although it’s not actually fatal, narcissism can become so pathological that it satisfies the criteria, however faulty, of a personality disorder. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-TR) defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as

“A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts… as indicated…. by the following”:

  • wanting to be admired
  • having a sense of entitlement
  • being exploitative
  • lacking empathy
  • arrogance

Another characteristic typical of narcissists is a disregard of personal boundaries. Narcissists don’t always acknowledge the need for boundaries which is coupled with their failure to realize that others do not exist merely to meet their needs. A narcissist will often treat others, especially those that are close to him, as if they are there to fulfill his needs and expectations.

Now that you have a firm grasp on what a narcissistic father may be like, let’s take a look at how he might affect his kids. (We will get to narcissistic mothers another time.)


PAS: Disorder or Not?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the yardstick that mental disorders are measured against. But every disorder in this reference guide is meant for individuals, because that’s how doctors diagnose diseases and disorders.

So it would be ground-breaking if the working groups that are focused on revising the DSM suddenly decided that a disorder could be diagnosed not just in an individual, but in a set of people — such as two people in a particularly unhealthy romantic relationship (Co-dependency Disorder?) or family (Scapegoating Disorder?).

This is exactly what some folks wanted to do to make their paydays easier in divorce court. The proposed disorder? Parental alienation disorder. Its “symptoms?” When a child’s relationship with one parent is poisoned by the estranged parent.

Thankfully, it appears the working group charged with reviewing the research in this area and making a decision for the new draft of the DSM has erred on the side of keeping to the standard — that we shouldn’t be diagnosing disorders that aren’t contained within an individual.

‘‘The bottom line — it is not a disorder within one individual,’’ said Dr. Darrel Regier, vice chair of the task force drafting the manual. ‘‘It’s a relationship problem — parent-child or parent-parent. Relationship problems per se are not mental disorders.’’

Regier and his APA colleagues have come under intense pressure from individuals and groups who believe parental alienation is a serious mental condition that should be formally recognized in the DSM-5. They say this step would lead to fairer outcomes in family courts and enable more children of divorce to get treatment so they could reconcile with an estranged parent.

Among those on the other side of the debate, which has flared since the 1980s, are feminists and advocates for battered women who consider ‘‘parental alienation syndrome’’ to be an unproven and potentially dangerous concept useful to men trying to deflect attention from their abusive behavior.

read more

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extreme example of Parent Alienation:

My story is an extreme example of Parent Alienation: When I was four years old, my father discovered my mother’s affair and in a fit of rage he through her out of our home.  My mother, crushed by the force of my father’s control, did not fight for the custody of my sister and me, but rather slipped away quietly. Traumatized, but afraid to upset my volatile father, I submitted to his plan to erase my mother from my life.

via About.


Launching Living Losses

Launching Living Losses.


Measuring Loss – there is no measure

Measuring Loss..

The loss can never ever be measured.

25 years for my son since the age of 13

18 years for my daughter – with  7 year on and off contact.

3 years for my grandson

New baby grand daughter I have never seen and probably never will.

What a legacy my ex husband will leave behind.

I hope he is very proud of himself destroying the children he suppose to love!!!!!!




Measuring Loss.

25 years for a son, 18 years for a daughter and now 3 years for a grandson.The loss can never ever be measured.

Karen Woodall

How do we measure the loss to a child when a parent is removed through family separation by one hostile parent acting against the other.

Or the loss that happens when the court officer says ‘no contact.’

As a society we have been trained to measure it in ‘the best interests of the child.’  A phrase which alternately means prevention of conflict is best for the child and a child does not really need two parents to do ok.

In some cases that may well be the case.  Where a parent (mother or father) has harmed or could harm a child  and where there is a clear benefit to the child to remove them from conflict which is severe and unending (and in that case the removal should be from the parent causing the conflict, not the targeted parent, the one who is usually removed).

We do not measure loss…

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