Whether the alienator is the mother or the father, most determined alienators threaten the judicial system under whose aegis they seek revenge against the absent parent. They are totally dedicated towards shutting out or eclipsing the non custodial parent from contact with the children. The reason for this is due to the pathological and viciousness they feel towards a parent who at one time had a close and loving relationship with the child/children.
Such action by the alienator is most cruel and unjust. Everett (2006) describes this well: “..as a destructive family pathology because it attributes a quality of evil without cause or foundation to a parent who once nurtured and protected the same child that has now turned against her or him.”
It is vital that courts be aware of what the “game plan” is of the alienator, and why they carry out the actions they do. Such alienators are also extremely crafty and are aware of what courts are likely to do. Only in extremely rare cases do courts act both justly and decisively when, after a prolonged undermining alienation and failure to respect the court ordered contact, the court will change the custody of the children. This change of custody will only occur after a prolonged and sustained period of going against court ordered contact arrangements.
Sometimes, even when this occurs, judges are reluctant to change the custody of children because of the “short term” concerns of this decision and the impact this may have on the children. The Judiciary is rarely concerned about the long term results on children who have been emotionally abused by a vindictive custodial parent. Two illustrations will follow, one involving a father, the other a mother. The author is aware that there is concern in many women’s organizations that the diagnosis of parental alienation tends to favour the father and often vilifies the mother. This is because there is a ratio of approximately 3:1 with mothers more often being the alienator than fathers. Both alienators whether fathers of mothers consciously employ similar tactics. They are:
- To vilify the absent parent subtly or openly thus influencing the child/children to feel and think similarly to themselves.
- Claiming to be doing everything to get the child to have contact with the absent parent while doing all they can to undermine that objective.
Claiming the child does not want contact with the absent parent and claiming to be “helpless” to change the child’s attitudes and behaviour in regard to the child’s adamant rejection of the absent parent.
Fathers can be just as vicious and controlling as mothers in brainwashing children against their mother. The reverse also being the case. Following the two illustrations of alienation, there will be provided a two-step court action approach which the author feels is essential in order to overcome the devious “game plan” of the alienator, be it the father or the mother. The current consultant psychologist has been involved in more than 85 cases of what can only be termed parental alienation, arising from the implacable hostility of custodial parents. Now follows an example of a father and mother being an alienator.
Illustration 1 – the father as an alienator
Mr Y had been given custody of a son aged 16 and a daughter aged 14 mainly due to the fact that the mother had suffered from depression. Mr Y was a highly controlling individual who did all he could to influence the children against a caring and loving mother. The divorce had been highly acrimonious. The mother Mrs N accepted that she suffered from depression but this was some time ago and was now under control due to the medication she was receiving.
After leaving hospital, she tried unsuccessfully to communicate with her children and to have contact with Mr Y, but he had totally brainwashed the children against the mother stating she was a “crazy, unpredictable and violent woman”. Father also made it clear to the children that should they wish to have contact with their mother they would no longer have a home with him, they must choose one or the other. The children therefore never responded to telephone calls, emails and letters from the mother who pleaded to have the chance to be with them. The father had inculcated a fear of insecurity, if the children wished to have contact with their mother.