Illusory truth In high conflict divorces, sometimes, one parent uses the illusory truth effect leading the child to believe they do not want to see or talk to one of their parents or convince the child their parent does not care about them. In actuality, the rejected parent is eager to cultivate the parent-child relationship. Instead, the child is embroiled in a bitter battle called the illusory truth effect by the alienating parent. The illusory truth effect is a concept evolving from a 1977 study.
This is important in high conflict divorces because repetition supersedes prior knowledge.
The child may recall a close and loving relationship with their parent yet; the illusory truth effect means the child perceives the repeated negative statements as the truth. Negative comments, albeit false, are replacing what the child knows to be true by the erroneous reports they are hearing. In essence, constant exposure to the harmful facts becomes the child’s new reality.
Research in 2008 found when the child is experiencing high stress due to abuse, physiological changes may affect memory storage and the illusory truth effect may be more intense. A child in the throes of a high conflict divorce may experience distress making the child more vulnerable to the ‘facts’ directed at them, therefore exacerbating an already volatile situation. Utilizing the illusory truth effect is emotionally destructive
and traumatizing to the child.
Quotes from children on shared parenting
Ages 4-7: “This is all very confusing. I am soooo confused.”
Ages 8-12: “Dad couldn’t be as bad as mom says he is.”
Ages 13-18: “…I had to face betrayal, abandonment, loneliness, and my family is
now divorced.” Continue reading “Identifying parental behaviors- NAAP”
NAAP Founders and Directors
We accuse you adults!
We accuse you adults! Where were you when our parents tore us children apart, in their mad
divorce war, which lasted for 12 years and really was a war?
Where were the judges and social workers, and the experts, who interviewed us a dozen times, but never made any changes, although our father always had the right of custody!
And you, grandparents, what did you actually do? We were never allowed to see our father’s
parents, they died without ever really knowing us. But my mother’s parents: you knew them, didn’t you? They were kind! You wanted us all to your-selves, you never told your daughter that she was trampling all over our human rights. Did you not teach her any morals? You never stood
up for us grandchildren, not once.
Where were the godparents who, at our christening, had promised to look after us? Who didn’t
demand from our mother that she’d let us see our father just once a fortnight for a short weekend. We wanted to see him without any pressure, without suffering the punishment of her migraines, without her pinched lips, without thundering silences, without threats to kill the cat next time we wanted to see our father… Without the mean refusal by our mother to feed the rabbits just for those few days, which almost broke my little sister’s heart … Her father or her rabbits? Life or death? Because she was only seven and she loved her pets more than anything. And loved our father just as much.
Where were the crèche nannies, who are supposed to be so fond of children? And the nursery teachers? Why weren’t they there for us children, didn’t take our side, defend our right to see all our relatives? They preferred to stay out of it. Cowards, that’s what they were, nothing else. And the teachers? Surely they must know that divorced parents do not pass on letters, it happened with ten children in my class. They must have known from the files that he had the right of custody. They never told our father when we had a school party and I played a brilliant part in “Peter and Anneli’s Journey to the Moon”, or my sister danced in the ballet, so father could have seen us. He would’ve been so proud – and would’ve told us so, as he always did.
Introducing NAAP Co-founder- Andrew John Teague
Over a year on and the idea has become a reality and I am honoured at the people who have participated in making this report become a reality. Over 2 years ago, having gone to a meeting for a group that has been in existence over 25 years, it
seemed to be very, very little about the children, so I made a vow to go out and be the voice for the children.
During that period, whilst opening the support group D.A.D.S, I have worked with hundreds of parents who explained the true horrors of being in family court.
I have met some amazing people but one who was very inspirational to me was Liz Archer, who after meeting for a coffee, has kept in close contact since and indeed has also put into the report with many others such as Karen Woodall, Sue Whitcombe, Ruth Nicholls, a Social Worker, A McKenzie Friend, and others who will be credited when the report comes out.
We set up NAAP to have the level to challenge the system on some identified problems therein and will work for a happier brighter future for children.
Again, a big massive thank you to everyone who has helped to bring this report to fruition and bring awareness out there. Watch also for our educational DVD in the near future.
No-one is immune to what goes on behind family court doors and it is only right that we bring awareness on what to expect. The small changes that are needed in family courts would make a massive difference. Until then we will keep supporting the many healthy parents that are brought to their knees, and the true feelings and wishes of the children and bring their voices out through us.
Andrew John Teague. Co-founder of NAAP