Unexpectedly, I received a reply letter from my father on Saturday. It took 1 day and a half to get from Greece to Germany, which is incredibly fast, especially because he only paid 0.90 cent to send it. I guess the world is trying to tell me how urgently I must cut ties with him […]
Divorced parents who “brainwash” their children against ex-partners are guilty of “abuse”, the head of the agency that looks after youngsters’ interests in family courts has said.
Anthony Douglas, chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), warned against the danger of “parental alienation”.
He said the deliberate manipulation of a child by one parent against the other has become so common in family breakdowns that it should be dealt with like any other form of neglect or child abuse.
According to Cafcass, parental alienation is responsible for around 80 per cent of the most difficult cases that come before the family courts.
I know how difficult it is to find the right therapist but I still believe that it is possible if you know what you need. So I try to answer here some questions that may encourage you to check the attitude of the candidate for your therapist; but please take this text as a draft and don’t hesitate to make comments or additions. (I decided to speak of the therapist as a “she,” but of course both genders are meant.)
- What do I need to overcome my plight?
- How can I know if a therapist is this kind of person?
- This idea scares me. Why don’t I dare to ask questions?
- I feel guilty because of my mistrust. If I can’t trust I will never find what is good for me.
- What do I risk by asking questions from the beginning?
- Which kind of questions am I allowed to ask?
- Is it a good sign if she tells me that she has read Alice Miller’s “Drama?”
- Am I not intrusive when I ask so many questions?
- With this position, am I then looking for an ideal that doesn’t exist?
The mistreated and neglected child is completely alone in the darkness of confusion and fear. Surrounded by arrogance and hatred, robbed of its rights and its speech, deceived in its love and its trust, disregarded, humiliated, mocked in its pain, such a child is blind, lost, and pitilessly exposed to the power of ignorant adults. It is without orientation and completely defenseless.
Its whole being would like to shout out its anger, give voice to its feeling of outrage, call for help. But that is exactly what it may not do. All its normal reactions, the reactions with which nature has endowed it to help it survive, remain blocked. If no witness comes to its aid, these natural reactions would enlarge and prolong the child’s sufferings. Ultimately, the child could die of them.
Thus, the healthy impulse to protest against inhumanity has to be suppressed. The child attempts to extinguish and erase from memory everything that has happened to it, in order to banish from consciousness the burning outrage, fury , fear, and the unbearable pain – as it hopes, forever. What remains is a feeling of its own guilt, rather than outrage that it is forced to kiss the hand that beats it and beg for forgiveness – something that unfortunately happens more than one imagines.
The abused child goes on living within those who have survived such torture, a torture that ended with total repression. They live with the darkness of fear, oppression, and threats. When all its attempts to move the adult to heed its story have failed, it resorts to the language of symptoms to make itself heard. Enter addiction, psychosis, criminality.
In her writings, Miller is careful to clarify that by “abuse” she does not only mean physical violence or sexual abuse, she is also concerned with a much more insidious form of abuse: psychological abuse perpetrated by one or both parents on their child; this is insidious because the difficulty of identifying and dealing with it lies in the fact that the abused person is likely to conceal it from themselves and may never be aware of it until some dramatic event, or the onset of depression, requires it to be treated. Miller blamed psychologically abusive parents for the majority of neuroses and psychoses. She maintained that all instances of mental illness, addiction, crime and cultism were ultimately caused by suppressed rage and pain as a result of subconscious childhood trauma that was not resolved emotionally, assisted by a helper, which she came to term an “enlightened witness.” In all cultures, “sparing the parents is our supreme law,” wrote Miller. Even psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and clinical psychologists were unconsciously afraid to blame parents for the mental disorders of their clients, she contended. According to Miller, mental health professionals were also creatures of the poisonous pedagogy internalized in their own childhood. This explained why the command “Honor thy parents” was one of the main targets in Miller’s school of psychology.
Miller called electroconvulsive therapy “a campaign against the act of remembering.” In her book Abbruch der Schweigemauer (The Demolition of Silence), she also criticized psychotherapists‘ advice to clients to forgive their abusive parents, arguing that this could only hinder recovery through remembering and feeling childhood pain. It was her contention that the majority of therapists fear this truth and that they work under the influence of interpretations culled from both Western and Oriental religions, which preach forgiveness by the once-mistreated child. She believed that forgiveness did not resolve hatred, but covered it in a dangerous way in the grown adult: displacement on scapegoats, as she discussed in her psycho-biographies of Adolf Hitler and Jürgen Bartsch, both of whom she described as having suffered severe parental abuse.
A common denominator in Miller’s writings is her explanation of why human beings prefer not to know about their own victimization during childhood: to avoid unbearable pain. She believed that the unconscious command of the individual, not to be aware of how he or she was treated in childhood, led to displacement: the irresistible drive to repeat abusive parenting in the next generation of children or direct unconsciously the unresolved trauma against others (war, terrorism, delinquency)., or against him or herself (eating disorders, drug addiction, depression).
Further work to categorise the type of alienation should take place when it is established through initial interviews with all family members, that it is present in the family system. Further categorisation, utilising the system developed by Bala (2012) involves determining whether the case is in one of the following groups:
Hybrid or Mixed – in which the conflict between parents and the extreme differences in parenting and personal ways of being, cause the child to be unable to relate individually to two parents who have parted.
Pure – In which a parent is deliberately and maliciously causing a child to become alienated from their other parent.
The category of pure alienation is further broken down into:
Pure and conscious alienation – where a parent knows what they are doing and will not or cannot stop.
Pure and unconscious – where a parent is unable to know that what they are doing is wrong because of a personality or psychiatric disorder.
Treating cases of alienation is dependent upon the categorisation of the problem and how it has arisen. Defining the difference between and Pure being one of the key steps that a practitioner must take in order to properly deliver an intervention. A case of Hybrid alienation will require a very different route to that of Pure alienation and a case of Pure and conscious alienation will often require a different approach to Pure and Unconscious.
The parents names are reported in the case because they are freely available to view on the Interpol website (the Daily Mail attended the hearing and sought that permission to name the parent, which was granted)
The City Council asked the High Court to declare that the child had been unlawfully removed from England under article 3 of the Hague Convention, not so they could get the child back from Northern Cyprus, but rather so that if the family set foot in any other bit of Europe, the child COULD be recovered.
From my Book – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist! @ A little more education with some of the MANY “proto-types” or descriptions of various avenues the…