One vivid example I recall from many years ago was a young man who, through the manipulation of the Family Court system, was allowed to testify as to why he did not wish to see his father, who was sitting some 10 feet away from him with his lawyer. The young man stated that he hated his father, that he never loved him, that his father disgusted him and that if his father died suddenly, that he would not attend his funeral and would be happy about his demise. The father, who had spent untold money, time and energy in the attempt to maintain a relationship with his son, was understandably crushed at hearing these cruel messages, all delivered in a cold and hateful tone. The judge commented on how this young man’s delivery and overall demeanor during this exchange was actually chilling.
Interestingly, some months later, I learned that this young man had reached the age of majority, had moved out of his mother’s home and was now living with and working for his father. Obviously, in spite of the cruel and chilling speech in the courtroom, once the environment changed, this young man was able to essentially become himself again.
I frequently tell parents who have received such cruel treatment that underneath all of this is most likely an entirely different child.