I am going to focus my attention for a while on Parental Alienation Syndrome. I encourage comments and ideas from the readers.
(From Wikipedia):Parental alienation syndrome was a term coined by child psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner. He defines Parental Alienation Syndrome as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against the parent, a campaign that has no justification. The disorder results from the combination of indoctrinations by the alienating parent and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the alienated parent.”(ref:Gardner, RA (2001). “Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): Sixteen Years Later”. Academy Forum 45 (1): 10–12. Retrieved 2009-03-31.)
Parental Alienation is child abuse and a hate crime of the worst kind – with the consequences primarily going to the child that the alienating parent is trying to estrange from the targeted parent.
I can tell you, as the ‘target parent’ – the pain is deep. There is no words to describe it. There is such extensive damage done, to both the child and parent, that to heal seems impossible. Where do we start? How do we start to heal when the alienating parent (or grandparent in my case) still has control of the child, still alienates the child, and does not want anything to change? Now, my child isn’t even a child anymore – he is an adult. So he is no longer part of any custody agreements or court rulings. There is no custody modification possible. There is no reversal of court orders possible.
It is over. Or is it?
I waited ten years after I realized no matter what I did, how hard I fought, or what happened, I would not win custody of my son back. I had to give up eventually or it was going to kill me. I eventually had to accept that it would be his adulthood that I would have to wait for. So I did just that – I waited.
I imagined for years how it would go – his 18th birthday. I imagined what it would be like to have his birthday party take place, with his custodial family present and I show up – to their dismay- and how my son would run to me, because he could.
I imagined how after that day we would be best friends. How he would call me for advice or to share good news with me. I imagined how he would come to stay with me, and we would talk all night about the good times, and cry together over the bad.
I imagined so many things we could do together. I never imagined there would be silence on his end. I never imagined I would call on his 18th birthday and he wouldn’t answer. I never imagined emails would go ignored, chats would not be initiated. I never imagined he was so alienated from me that even though he’s old enough now to decide for himself, she still controls him.
The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome by Gardner, Sauber, and Lorandos, has become the standard reference work for PAS. The International Handbook features clinical, legal, and research perspectives from 32 contributors from eight countries.
I never imagined that my son might hate me – or that I would wonder if he really does hate me. My gut tells me he doesn’t, but I have not heard from him, so maybe I am wrong.
I never imagined this pain might last forever.
What do I do now? How do I reach him? Do I wait for him? Do I find a seminar to attend? Do I drag my entire extended family to some weekend camp retreat where we make clay sculptures and have group sessions about our dysfunctional family and how its come so far between me and my son that he’s out of control. I cannot believe or understand how my brothers, my child’s uncles, have allowed this alienation to take place, and now that the deleterious effects are shining through they are ‘washing their hands of it’ – frustrated at the results of their inaction. WELL WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN?
I have to fight the demon that tells me i want to commit suicide when I think about the idea that my son may hate me for real and we may never heal. I have to fight the demon that gives me so much rage that I cannot take out against anyone but myself. I have to fight to forget everything I don’t want to remember, but then I am afraid to forget too much. I don’t know anymore, I just want to know my son again. I want him to be okay.
How do we fix the damage that’s been done?
I am going to include articles about PAS that I found from around the web here, and ask that anyone out there who has something to say, please do. I need to know how to fix this. It hurts.