Why can’t we just drop everything we’ve said?

All I want is a peaceful night in bed… 

Without these bizarre thoughts all runnin’ through my head

Sometimes you make me wish I was dead…

I Know It Is Hard” describes the experience of Domestic Violence by Proxy/Alienation from the broken heart of a teen.

The powerful words of the rap song “I Know It Is Hard” were written and performed by a teen who has been physically alienated from a parent and used as a weapon since the age of 14.

The video was posted online after being sent to a targeted parent in 2012.

 

Karen Woodall, a specialist working with families affected by Parental Alienation, shares insights on how alienation affects a child, and what they may be experiencing from a deeply personal level.

Through her experience, and skill, Woodall gives voice to the traumatize and wounded children who can not speak for themselves.
“The mind of the captured child would, if we could look inside it, appear not as we expect it to be, but would appear to be almost empty. This is because the doors to the unpleasantness that these children direct towards the parent they are rejecting, remain firmly closed when that parent is not around. Put simply, when they are not busy rejecting, these children do not want to think about the parent they do not see because it brings up too many painful feelings for them.”

Woodall also advocates establishing a multi-model support system to help children recover, and heal from alienation. Woodall says, “The mind of the captured child can only be freed when the power dynamic around them changes and someone is willing to intervene.”

To Learn More, Please Read: Rescuing the mind of the captured child

Karen Woodall

Those of us working in the field of parental alienation spend a lot of our time thinking about and working with, children whose minds have been captured by a parent’s emotional or psychological reactions to significant change.  As someone working regularly with children who reject or resist a relationship with a parent after separation, I spend more time than most in the company of such children.  I find them to be both fascinating as well as terrifying and somewhere in between, deeply troubled.  For these children, the task of coping with the schism in the sub and unconscious mind of the families they are torn between, can be impossible. Helping them to escape from the pressures that this brings to bear in their lives is what our work is all about.  Helping to restructure the power dynamics around the family is part of that process.

My fascination with alienated children…

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Title: “Helping Your Child Survive a Difficult Divorce” by Lynne Namka, Ed. D. (Tucson, Arizona: © 2000)
Description: “A Psychologist Who has Dealt with the Pain of Many Children Whose Parents Act Irrationally During Divorce Tells It Like It Is!”
Link: http://www.angriesout.com/kids4.htm

In the article “Helping Your Child Survive a Difficult Divorce”, psychologist and author, Lynne Namka shares insights on how the behavior of parents during or after a divorce impacts the children who are caught in the middle. Children are hurt when parents war against each other, or when one parent displays “negative behavior” towards the other during or after divorce. This article offers positive solutions to identify problematic behavior, tips on healing from divorce, and tips on how to identify your motives and behaviors so you can co-parent more effectively.

Lynne advises, “Do not let your child be a witness to your anger at his or her other parent. Belittling your child’s mother or father is a form of child abuse that can affect your child’s self esteem permanently. Your child is half of the other parent. If you criticize your ex, your child will feel ashamed of half of him or herself. You WILL hurt your child if you habitually yell at your ex, trash talk about them, if you are self righteous in explaining how wrong their point of view is or if you try to evade the legal custody arrangement.

“Helping Your Child” also explains how one parent’s efforts to exert power and control over the other parent can escalate to emotional and psychological abuse.

Seeking power and control over the parent is commonly motivated by:
· A parent’s need to control the person they are divorcing
· Anger towards the other parent
· An abuser may try to avoid their own feelings of powerlessness by exerting power and control over another person
· The need to be right, at any cost
· Avoiding responsibility for their actions in the marriage, in combination with a sense of guilt, may also cause a parent to cast blame on another parent
· Inability to let go of the past or living in the past
· Avoiding your own feelings of anger, hurt and resentment by dumping or venting them onto the ex partner

Lynn says that the maturity level of a parent affects how they deal with the divorce, and with their own emotions. A parent who is able to control their emotions is better able to co-parent, and in turn the child experiences more stability.

If you are dealing with anger towards another parent, Lynne advises seeking therapy, finding a support group or taking a divorce recovery or anger management class. She says, Make your goal to get a working relationship with the other parent of your child. If you are willing to see how your angry actions affect your child and do something about it, your child has the best chance for a happy future. The pain of the divorce can start to heal for everyone.

If your ex partner is engaging in abusive or harmful behavior, and you feel that your safety or that of your child is at risk, seek help from an experienced professional or domestic violence organization. In relationships where domestic violence is present, the most dangerous time for the victim is when leaving the perpetrator, as that is when the abuse escalates. Abusers may also use the child as a pawn to control, dominate or seek revenge against the other parent (domestic violence by proxy) or engage in alienation tactics.

“Helping Your Child” also offers a list of do’s and don’t’s for parents co-parenting after divorce, and some helpful resources, for parents to identify problematic behavior and find positive ways to change.

The article ends with a statement called “The Rights of a Child in Divorce”, which I will share here. When you talk about the “best interest” or “doing what is best” for a child the message and intent can get confused, or enmeshed with what the adult is seeking. “The Rights of a Child in a Divorce” offers both a perspective from a child while also offering a guide for parents.

The Rights of a Child in a Divorce
· To be told that my mother and father still love me and will never divorce me.
· To be told that the divorce is not my fault and not to be told about the adult problems that caused it.
· To be treated as a human being—not as another piece of property to be fought over, bargained over or threatened.
· To have decisions about me based on my best interest, rather than past wrongs, hurt feelings, or parent’s needs.
· To love both my parents without being forced to choose or feel guilty.
· To know both my parents through regular, frequent involvement in my life.
· To have the financial support of both my father and mother.
· To be spared hearing bad hurtful comments about either of my parents which have no useful purpose.
· Not to be asked to tell a lie or act as a spy or messenger.
· To be allowed to care about others without having to choose or feel guilty.

“These tears that I cry, ain’t worth it,
This circle around my eye, ain’t worth it,
These bruises that I feel, in the mornin’ time,
ain’t worth it,
But I’m worth it…
And His love is all I need,
And His love, it never hurts me,
And His love, loves unconditionally,
So I don’t need you to love me…

“His Love” by Tiana Leandra is a powerful video that combines statistics about domestic violence with a faith-filled message about what real love is (versus abuse, power and control).

Known for her humble and graceful presence, Tiana has embraced the hearts of many people. She sings contemporary Christian/Gospel music that is focused on God’s power working through real life situations, and encouraging messages to uplift, and inspire.

ALLEEO MUZIK/TMG presents: Tiana Leandra “HIS LOVE”
From Debut Album ” MY HEART’S DIARY”

Tiana Leandra YouTube Channel

Tiana Leandra Facebook

Tips for Practitioners Working with Families Experiencing Parental Alienation.

Insights on what an Alienated Child is experiencing, and how their perception of reality, and themselves, has been damaged by alienation.

When the mirrors reflect not your own self but that of the alienating parent and when the words which are spoken jar horribly with the language that the body of the alienating parent is speaking, the brain and the mind becomes used to responding to the ‘truth’ and not the lie which is heard. Of course the ‘truth’ is the lie and the lie is the truth in this world and keeping that firmly in the foreground of the mind as a practitioner is a critical element of successful practice.

Article by Karen Woodall

Karen Woodall

This week I have been working on several projects concerned with increasing parental awareness of what is happening to their children when alienation strikes.  All this alongside working with parents whose children are alienated and children who think that the parent they have rejected is quite simply horrible. I have also been working with parents who are so indignantly determined that their version of why a child no longer sees a parent is correct, that they will go to any lengths to ‘prove’ it.  The world of children’s rejection of a parent is indeed a world in which everyone is concerned about what they know. And of course,  everyone believes that what they know is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Working in the midst of this can feel a little bit like being down the rabbit hole with Alice, I half expect the mad hatter…

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Do you feel “stuck” in your marriage? Is there a nagging sense that something is wrong between you and your spouse but you don’t know what? Have you tried “everything” to “fix” your problems but still, nothing seems to change?

Dave Willis tackles the 7 common patterns of dysfunction that wreak havoc on his marriage in an article on Family Share: The 7 Types of Dysfunctional Marriages

These are the most common patterns, but it does not limit the other types of problems that may exist. Willis is not a therapist; this article is based on his experience as pastor who has interacted with other married couples from all over the world. Willis is also married.

In brief, the common types Willis mentions includes (there is more detail in the article):

1) The Scorekeepers – Who keep score of the other partner’s behavior and use that to control or manipulate.
2) The Fantasizers – Live in a fantasy life, not reality.
3) The Outsourcers – Escape into other people, careers and personal pursuits at the expense of their marriage.
4) The Blamers – Blame their partner for anything and everything that is wrong.
5) The Separatists – A marriage where both people are living two separate lives, and have lost the togetherness and equality that marriage requires.
6) The Deceivers – A marriage that lacks trust and is troubled with secrecy and lies.
7) The Quitters – A partner that quits when things get tough.

The article does not talk about domestic violence (which includes emotional abuse, a strong theme in these patterns of dysfunction) but I think the warning signs should be mentioned to raise awareness of the possibility, in case abuse is happening in the relationships. Early detection of domestic violence is crucial in helping a victim be safe, and get needed help.

Power and Control Wheel: http://fultonfvtaskforce.com/

Warning Signs of Family Violence (Fulton Co. Violence Task Force)

You do not have to live in chaos or dysfunction! Recognizing there is a real problem in your marriage is the first step to getting help. You do not have to make these choices alone, nor do you have to be trapped or stuck in a situation that seems out of your control, there is help and support available to break free from the dysfunction, and live the life you were meant to have.

— EJ, 2015

211 is a free and confidential phone line for people in North America to find local community resources. Open 24/7: 211 Resources

Crisis Call Center: 1-800-273-8255 or 775-784-8090. Or, text “ANSWER” to 839863.
Staff and volunteers are available 24/7/365. This is a confidential and free service. Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour crisis line is here to provide safe, non-judgmental support for individuals in any type of crisis. In addition to our 24-hour crisis hotline, we also offer crisis intervention through text messaging. Text “ANSWER” to 839863.
Crisis Call Center

Crisis Text Line serves anyone in any type of crisis, providing them access to free, 24/7 emotional support and information they need via the medium they already use and trust: text. Here’s how it works:
Someone texts into CTL anywhere, anytime, about any type of crisis.
A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly.
The specialist helps the person stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL’s platform.
Crisis Text Line

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

________________

Sept 2012: True Story of Justice in Family Court

In Orange County, California, a Family Court Judge wrote a 10 page opinion that concluded with a Protective Mom being awarded sole legal and physical custody because the father was found to have “severe and unresolved anger and hostility”, that often was projected onto their 12 year old son. The child suffered from the emotional abuse he endured.

The father made various false allegations of child abuse against his ex wife (the mom) in court, and to law enforcement. The Court took away nearly all of the father’s visitation, including overnight visits.

Attorney for the mom, Orange County divorce lawyer, B. Robert Farzad, partner at Farzad & Mazarei comments on the case: “We were not mother’s first attorney on the case. When we came into the case, we were disappointed with what we saw had occurred prior to our representation. Therefore, we pushed the case forward and to trial immediately when settlement discussions failed. This was an emotionally difficult trial for my client but, in the end, justice was done and this young boy was protected.

The false allegations and emotional battering extended the length of litigation. The Court also awarded the Mom $60,000 in attorney’s fees.

B. Robert Farzad encourages other parents facing abuse and legal challenges to keep fighting to keep their children safe, “It takes courage for a parent in a family law case to defend false allegations and take the case to trial. A parent falsely accused has the choice to fight or surrender. Many don’t have the will to take the case to trial when the other parent won’t relent. Our client did and, with our representation, her son is now protected from further abuse and she is protected from more false allegations against her.”

Source:
“A Father Who Made False Allegations of Child Abuse in Orange County Family Court Against His Wife Loses Custody and Visitation of His Son” by B. Robert Farzad, partner at Farzad & Mazarei. 9/19/2012. http://www.prweb.com/releases/orange-county-divorce/lawyer-robert-farzad/prweb9908677.htm

Lady Justice