I have lost contact with or have been Alienated from One of My Parents

I am an Alienated Child
I am an Adult Child of Parental Alienation
I have lost contact with or have been Alienated from One of My Parents

And now, if you are reading this, you are probably wondering why? How? What can you do about it?  Maybe you have realised that one of your parents has lied to you, used you  against the other parent, used you to support them in their needs when they should have supported you as you developed.  Maybe you are realising that not everything you have been told or even what you thought of the parent whom you have lost may be true.  In fact, you may not even  be sure  how you even arrived at the views you have of the parent whom you have lost from your life!

Maybe you have had a precipitating event, something as happened in your own life, a relationship, a relationship breaking up,, children, a crisis in your life that has brought all this to a head.  If you are at the stage where you have already had children of your own, then how will your children know their grandparents?  Your partner may have a rich  and full  life with his or her extended family.  So what of your own rich and full life with your extended family? What about that opportunity to your children?

You may wonder about this strange hole, this vacancy that you might feel in yourself.

Not surprisingly, you might be sad, angry, confused about the situation.  You may even feel ashamed of some of things you have said and done to the parent whom you have lost, especially when you are now questioning  just how valid are your views of your lost parent.  A way to think about is that a part of you has been lost, a part of you has been taken from you.

Remember, that  while you may have done or said certain things, you may also have been told  to say  for you.  One of them has been and they have endured  the other one has not.

Sometimes is not that clear, sometimes both parents are at fault in their own ways.  It is incumbent upon both parents to be able to face their children, especially when they are adults and acknowledge their part in your pain.  One of them may do this more and better than the other and you will know who that is.

You may also have suffered quite significantly in your own life as a consequence of your parents actions and of the awful situation in which you found yourself as a child.  Children brought up in high conflict relationships who have to traverse a war zone to go from one house to the other, or feel forced to abandon one parent in favour of the other do not necessarily feel all that confident about themselves, may not have a high opinion of themselves, not value themselves very much and may have difficulty in their own relationships when they become adults.

They have a higher risk of choosing the wrong partner,  a partner suspiciously like at least one of their parents.  They have a higher risk of reproducing in their own lives and in the lives of their own children, the very high conflict and alienation that they suffered as children.

Depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, poor self-esteem,, poor self-confidence stalk adult children of parental alienation.  Sometimes adults like yourself who have been children in alienation circumstances feels strange vacancy, like a hole inside them.  Those of us who studied parental alienation or have direct experience of themselves sometimes put this down to a feeling of  loss, loss of a parent who you may have always loved and who always loved you.  As a children, we need that love to become a fully functioning confident adults who can develop a sense of purses mission and focus in their lives, to end up a successful lasting relationships with children who love them and they love.

This could be you and while it is not your fault  the choice and responsibility lies with you to do something about it in your life and in your children’s lives, whether that means being in contact with the parents from whom you are alienated or not.

So if you have come this far in reading this is possible that you want to do something about?  Do you want to understand how we came about to forming a view is that you have?  You want to work through any guilt or shame you might have about your involuntary involvement?  Maybe you even want to reconcile or at least meet again to parent and you have lost.

Or maybe you want it to be different to yourself and your family.

The choice is yours, I have been through it and I am also a professional who understands it.

Over to you…


Caring and Sharing

Have you Been Accused of Being an Alienating Parent?

Have you Been Accused of Being an Alienating Parent?

Are you wondering why your children are acting the way they do, particularly against the other parent?

Are you worried about what might be happening to your children caught up in the conflict between you and your ex-partner?

Are you wondering why  accusations of alienating behaviour are being made against you?

It is of course entirely possible that such accusations are false and that you are being a protective parent by removing a child from an abusive situation.  If that is the case you do not need to read any further.

If a false accusation of parental alienation has been made against you, then, like any other false accusation is best if you take a stand against this and refute it.  The most powerful way refuting this is simply not behaving in a manner of which you are accused.  In this respect, it is no different from the way target parents should deal with false accusations of abuse.

Something terrible must be happening  if you are engaging in behaviour where the children are acting out, or that such accusations are made against you.  Perhaps you can recognise how angry and hurt you are about what your ex-partner has done to you and how they have shattered your world.  They have their own issues with this that they will have to deal with.  However, at least one of you has to have the children at the centre of their attention focus and concern.

Having said that, you still have to find a place in you for yourself  to deal with the issues that led you to use the children against the other parent or at least to say and do things that make their lives difficult with the other parent when in fact they love both parents.  You may not even realise you are doing this and most people like you become horrified once they realise what their children are going through!

Emotional pain, hurt, rejection, abandonment, anger and grief and all the complex mixture of experiences, especially with the intense provocation of an ex-partner that come with a relationship breakup can distract us from the fact that we have to hold ourselves intact for our children. It is highly likely that somewhere in your past history and at a formative time in your life, the prototype of the behaviour you are exhibiting now was the displayed to you and you learnt to do it yourself. This is what you may have to deal with.

Parents engaged in alienating behaviour are more often unaware of the effects of their behaviour.  They are not malicious in their actions, they simply do not recognise that what they are doing is affecting the children.  Sometimes, alienating parents are reacting emotionally to the circumstances in which a relationship ended, one which may have ended quite badly and left them in all sorts of difficulties.  It can be a superhuman effort not to react!

However, who is in charge here you, your emotions or your ex-partner?

The children have been lost from the centre of your attention.  And this is what we would work together to regain. This is the only way the children’s love for you will endure and the only way you will remain in your children’s lives because eventually, the chances are alienated children may turn against you later on in their lives.

Most extreme alienating parents who display borderline narcissistic and paranoid personality predispositions usually know exactly what they are doing but do not know why they are doing it.  They may not recognise the effects of what they are doing.

The following are summaries and vignettes of alienating parents I have worked with.  It is important for you to draw your own conclusions as to what is relevant to you.  All I will say is that , yes, even alienating parents can change.  However, if we demonise them and make them evil, they are unlikely to seek help.

For the purposes of confidentiality and the provisions of family law, no names have been used and case details have been changed.  If you see yourself here in these examples, then it is possible it is a coincidence and that I have dealt with many cases like yours before.

Or it is possible that you really do see yourself here-if you know what I mean.



Aftermath of Parental Alienation


Yet, it is a little-known fact that children who are abducted by one parent and alienated from the other are likely to suffer emotional and psychological damage that impacts their entire lives. Rather than being perpetrated as a desperate act of rescue by one parent from another, most parental abductions are the manifestation of hatred. One spouse is so desperate to inflict pain upon the other estranged spouse that they are willing to prevent the hated spouse from enjoying the love of their child.

However, in order to successfully accomplish this act of hatred, the abducting parent must alienate the child from their estranged spouse. This requires a measure of psychological manipulation that convinces the child their other parent is a monster who will do significant harm to them – even kill them – if they don’t flee and hide.

Ten years ago, the estranged wife of producer/director Glenn Gebhard abducted their twin toddlers – Glenn and Shannon – and fled to Germany. Although there are laws that would ensure the return of the children, Germany (and many other countries) have refused to intervene on behalf of the parent from whom the children were abducted. In an effort to find support for his quest, Gebhard located PACT (Parents and Abducted Children Together) a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom that was created by Lady Catherine Meyer, wife of the British Ambassador to the US. Lady Meyer’s children had also been abducted by her first husband and taken to Germany.

Rather than tell the story of the parents who are left behind, Lady Meyer helped find a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to fund the documentary to explore the subject of what happens to the children when they grow up. Through PACT, Gebhard was able to locate three adults who had suffered through this ordeal as children. This is their story – but it is the story of millions of other children.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 1999 – the last year for which statistics are available – 757,500 children were reported missing in America. 203,900 were victims of family abduction. In other words, in the ten years since Gebhard’s children were abducted and alienated from him, more than 2 million other American children have suffered the same terrible fate. In the decades prior to this, millions more have endured the trauma and are living adult lives that have left them with extreme psychological trauma and emotional dysfunction.

This is new information on a topic that has never before been explored. It is only available now because these three subjects trusted the filmmaker. They are not looking for their 15 minutes of fame. They do not want to be the new reality-celebrity. They agreed to participate in this project because they wanted to help Gebhard and Meyer understand what their children were going through and to reveal the essential truth of this crime.

This is a ground-breaking study of a topic that can change lives. It is the filmmaker’s sincere hope that any parent that is thinking of abducting and alienating their child will understand the ultimate ending of the story and reconsider their options for the sake of their children – and for themselves.


Caring and Sharing

An interview with a Victim of Parental Alienation

The following interview appeared in McKenzie Magazine (issue #87, 2009, UK) which graciously granted permission to post it here. Sarah’s responses make it clear how much is irretrievably lost when a child succumbs to divorce poison.

McKenzie: Now an adult mother, Sarah was alienated from her father by her abusive mother and did not see him from the age of 7 to 21. Julius Hinks interviewed Sarah and she spoke of her experiences from childhood onwards, describing the damaging effects of parental alienation, and also of not dealing with it correctly. Her message to parents is “don’t ever give up” and her story pays inarguable tribute to this.

How old were you when your parents separated and can you remember what your relationship was like with your father?

I was seven, and we got sent to our auntie’s in Mapplethorpe for six months while they were sorting the marriage out – supposedly. One day out of the blue my uncle and my mother turned up in a car, got us and went down to London and that was it.

My relationship with my father beforehand is difficult to remember. He was a milkman. I can remember him coming home on his milk float. I can remember going to the park with him. We always used to have fun. It was happy. It’s when I look back after he left and my step-dad moved in that there were bad times. So I have better memories when my dad was there.

What was your mother’s attitude to your father after they separated?

This is where my mind starts to get muddled because we were told of all kinds of things: “your dad used to hit you”; “your dad used to do this…” You don’t remember any of this happening but you start to believe it because otherwise why would anyone tell their children that?

Then – that was it. No contact. She took the relationship away out of spite against him. She had the biggest weapon of all and she used us against him.

What do you think you missed out on?

I missed out on a lot. I have a youngest sister, Paula, from my dad’s second marriage who’s just turned 19. I see him with her in a really close relationship. When I got back in touch with him at 21 she was about six years old – probably around the same age I was when my parents split up. I used to see him teaching her how to ride her bike. Her mum worked in the city so he used to be with her all the time. They are very close and we’ve not got that. I can’t call him dad. I can say that he’s my dad but, to his face, I find it very difficult to call him dad because he hasn’t been a dad. Not necessarily through his fault, but I’m very uncomfortable with that word.

“She had the biggest weapon of all and she used us against him.”

How did you find out that what your mother was saying about your Dad wasn’t true?

Once my step-dad moved in it was a very violent house. There was drink. There were lots of beatings. I haven’t spoken to my mother for 15 years and you don’t stop talking to your mother for no reason. I didn’t have any bad feelings toward my Dad and I know what she said about him was lies. He says what she accused him of never happened, and my older two sisters said it was untrue; her trying to turn us against him.

As well as the beatings, do you think that her lies contributed to the breakdown in your relationship with your mother?

Definitely. I used to see other friends with their family and think that their kissing and cuddling was wrong because we never had any of that. I had a lot of resentment against her for what she did for no reason except to hurt him.

I think a lot of mothers do that nowadays. After being pregnant, and in the majority of cases, always being there for the child, a mother can feel she has a move powerful role in the child’s life and feels that she can use the child against the father. But nobody has the right to do that. A child has two parents and has the right to see them, whatever their problems. Using kids as a weapon shows you’re not thinking about the child. You’re just thinking about how to hurt the father. It’s just spite, sheer nastiness.

For how many years did he try to see you after the marriage broke up?

He tried for a few years and he took tranquilizers for depression which he ended up addicted to. After three years he remarried and packed his bags for the honeymoon and his wife had taken tranquilizers away. She spent her honeymoon with him going cold turkey. I tried for a couple of years to see him but he had a new life and moved on. He let a lot of years go by.

He says to us that he used to send cards and presents on our birthdays and Christmas. None of us ever got any of those. Maybe they came and we were stopped from having them but he then says that he stopped doing that after a couple of years because he wasn’t getting anything back and assumed that we weren’t getting them.

When Paula turned 18 she had a savings account of money that they had built up for her. He knew he had five other children. Why could he not have opened an account and put five or ten pounds in on each birthday and Christmas? There was nothing stopping him doing that to show us that he’d been doing something.

How is it when you spend time together nowadays?

Back then I think he’d pretty much given up. He’d been to the courts and back then it was hard to get any visitation rights at all. It was like he gave up and waited for us to go to him. If we wanted to come back one day then we would and if we didn’t, we didn’t – that seemed to be his attitude. I suppose that was his way of dealing with it but it does make it very difficult now. It’s not even the same as seeing other family members. When I go up to Lincoln at Christmas to see my husband’s family we have a laugh and a joke. With my dad I always feel a bit more on edge because he doesn’t know who I am really and he doesn’t put the effort in that I feel he should do.

I haven’t seen him since February last year and I’ve heard from him once since then. He doesn’t just phone up for a chat and I got to the point where I wasn’t going to be the one putting in the effort. What happened with the marriage wasn’t down to me and I don’t think that he should have left it.

When you and your dad got back into contact, initially how did you both try to rebuild your relationship?

My sister Gemma had been seeing him and she used to tell me he’d like to see me again. I was very nervous walking to his house and when he opened the door I remember feeling very awkward that he was my dad but I didn’t know him.  You’re sat on the edge of your chair not knowing what to say. My little sister with her dolls was a distraction but there were awkward silences and as the years have gone on he’s put no effort in.

He doesn’t phone up just to say hello. He doesn’t remember my kids’ birthdays – and they’re his grandchildren. I know it must be difficult for him because he had all those years taken away but it was like he gave up trying, which is the worst thing you can do.

I don’t bother phoning him now at Christmas because I think “why should I be the one?” He only lives two hours away, and a phone call isn’t difficult. I wanted to try and see if I could build some sort of relationship with him. You have this romantic idea in your head that you’ll be able to get something back but the reality is you can’t get those years back. You can’t force a bond if contact is so minimal that you can’t build on it.

“Even if you think you’re going nowhere, don’t ever give up.”

Would you say that your relationship with men have been affected because of you being alienated from your Dad?

I think trust is a big one. I don’t let people in easy. But I think the main way that it affect me is when I got with Stanley, which was 15 years ago, I saw that his family were the complete opposite to mine. His mum and dad are still together. He dotes on his mum; he always gives her a kiss and a huge. The whole family is very close and I couldn’t deal with that. I was very, very uncomfortable. My brothers and sisters and I find it embarrassing to be like that with each other because we weren’t brought up in that way.

With other people I can be like that. I’ve accepted that you can give your friend who’s upset a hug and it doesn’t mean that you’re some kind of freak for doing so. I’ve had to discover that outside of the family I grew up in.

Do you have a message for a father who’s being alienated from his children and his tempted to give up?

Never give up – because you’re giving up on that child. You’re giving up on your relationship with that child and if you do that you can’t get it back. If you can’t see them, one way of showing that you do remember birthdays and Christmas is to set up an account for that child and keep putting the money in. Even if it’s just a bit, you’ve got an account there, stamped, dated, to show that you remembered.
Never just try and move on. You can’t start a new life thinking that when they’re ready they’ll come back because it’s gone by then and the damage is done.

Do you feel that that government makes strong enough law, the judiciary are effective enough or that the professionals are strong enough to protect children?

No. I don’t think they try. If they feel the child’s in a safe home they don’t really bother. My brother-in-law was told on October 9th by the court that his ex’s solicitor has to set up weekly contact with his baby at a contact centre and he’s still had nothing. Surely the courts should be phoning up her solicitor and saying “get it sorted now!” They don’t think about the children. They might say they do but they don’t actually sit down and talk to the kids and actually understand.

I think as well that there’s a belief that kiddies don’t need their dads, which I completely and utterly disagree with. A child definitely needs both parents. But I think that a lot of these people think that a child’s better off with their mother. Well I know that I wasn’t better off with my mother.


winners and losers

Parental Alienation & Victimhood

Parents that try to peel a child’s love away from an ex all have something in common: they view themselves as victims in the failed marriage or relationship. A parent who is going through a divorce or just went through one can either pick up the pieces, shoulder the hurt, and move on… or they can view themselves as an aggrieved party. The former tend to keep talk about the ex to a minimum, no matter what he or she did wrong or even maliciously.

The latter, however, set the stage for hostile action against their ex which includes turning the child on him or her. Called Parental Alienation Syndrome” by most professionals (I’ve never liked this term, as a lie that one parent is not worthy of love is abuse– not a “syndrome”).

There is a direct correlation… the more a parent sees himself or herself as a victim, the greater the possibility that he or she will go after the child’s relationship with ex. And once they do, there is often no limit to their efforts. They will falsely accuse and malign everything associated with their ex, and will manipulate the child like a puppet. In short, they have little to no boundaries. They will spill anything damning– both truths and lies– into the child’s soul. So can you blame the child, who loves this parent unconditionally, for believing the messages being heard?

Sadly, there is no short term solution to you, the alienated parent. Sitting your child down and speaking factually about yourself and what’s going on will, in fact, usually backfire (except with teenagers, but you have to be careful). Long term, instead of using words, be yourself and use your actions to allow your child to see who you are. Over the course of a few years and long summers together (especially important for noncustodial parents), all the vicious lies and stories will begin to be questioned by the child. Consciously, subconsciously, or both. But you have to be patient– this is going to take years! But once this happens, the reversal of their hardened heart towards you will begin…


Most often, the children don’t even realize the alienation is taking place.

Most often, the children don’t even realize the alienation is taking place..

Warning signs of Parental Alienation

Warning signs of Parental Alienation.

Don’t Jump into the Quicksand with your Alienated Child. Stand Firm and Reach out Your Hand Instead.

Don’t Jump into the Quicksand with your Alienated Child. Stand Firm and Reach out Your Hand Instead..

No Brain, No Courage, No Heart