4 Reasons Divorcing Parents File Allegations of Sexual Abuse with Child Protective Services

Some people look at a child and don't see a child

Some people look at a child and don’t see a child

“Dad has a big penis” Sweet Bee says giggling and pretending her hand is a penis, while we are horse playing on the bedroom floor.

“EXCUSE ME!” I blurt out.

“Yeah, and then he does this and this” Muppet joins in.

WHOA SILVER!

and then

WHAT THE FLYING F%$# ??????? (Excuse my language)

This completely caught me by surprise and I wasn’t sure what to think of this. So many questions and concerns were racing through my head. On the one hand, kids don’t come up with this all by themselves, there is, at a minimum, a foundation of truth. On the other hand, despite all that is ‘wrong’ with Ex, I highly doubt he would sexually abuse the girls.

I quickly changed the subject as I had to think about this and how to approach this delicate problem. Because it is a problem.

It is a huge problem.

The Department of Justice reports that as many as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused in childhood. That is horrendous. It is also a problem, because it is very controversial, delicate and tricky subject in Family Court.

So why do parents file allegations of sexual abuse with Child Protective Services?

1. Allegations are true

Unfathomable, but a sad reality. Some people look at a child but do not see a child. Unfortunately, approximately 47% of sex abuse occurs by an immediate or extended family member; parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles/aunts, cousins.

Talking with local and national experts, the anecdotal consensus seems to be that about 90% of the allegations of sexual abuse at the onset of divorce are true. These truthful allegations surface at the divorce proceedings because;

  1. The non-offending parent finds out about the sexual abuse and immediately files for divorce.
  2. There is long-standing sexual abuse that is revealed only in the context of divorce. The child finally feels ‘free’ to disclose the abuse and the perpetrator will have a much harder time to maintain the secrecy.
  3. Sexual abuse is triggered by the marital dissolution. A parent either starts to sexually abuse the child to retaliate against the divorcing spouse or because the stress of the divorce results in more impulsive and regressed behavior.

The anecdotal consensus is that the further out from the filing of divorce the parents are, the less likely it is that the allegations are true.

2. Misunderstanding the child, and/or misunderstanding normal child development

The stress of divorce have us on edge, and parents are much more sensitive, even hypersensitive, to the slightest deviation of ‘normal’ and it is easy to take things out of context.

When a 5-year-old girl comes home from Dad with an irritated vagina it raises eyebrows from Mom. However, 5-year-old girls are notorious for not wiping their booty properly and urine is irritating and can cause redness. A pre-schooler does play with his/her private parts, they are on a road of discovery.

A parent involved in a high-conflict child custody dispute, may be ready to jump to premature conclusions without full facts, or fully understanding the development of a child. Alarmed, the suspicious parent, may ask suggestive and leading questions to the child and inadvertently reinforce the suspicion of sexual abuse. And because of the level of hostility, distrust and anger it is easy for a parent to believe the worst about their former spouse.

3. Repressed sexual feelings and desires of the accusing parent

Psychological repression is the psychological attempt by an individual to repel one’s own desires and impulses toward pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one’s consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious.

The problem with repression is that it has to find an outlet, and the individual with repressed feelings will ‘act out’. They know, are very aware, that abusing a child is wrong and will not do so themselves, but they are obsessed with the possibility that the child has been or may be sexually abused.

Such a parent may question the child repeatedly, examine genitals following visits with the other parent, and repeatedly take the child to doctors until some professional affirms the suspicion.

4. Mental illness and/or Personality Disorder of the parent

Several researchers have published various studies about the incidences of false allegations of sex abuse and the personality traits of the accuser (Charles V. Ford, K. Ross, G. Blush, H. Wakefield, G. Underwager, etc.). They found that parents making false allegations during divorce proceedings are likely to have personality disorders and/or other psychiatric problems. Approximate 74% of the parents making false accusations had a personality disorder diagnosis, 3% had another mental health diagnosis, while 24% was not determined or free of psychopathology.

In contrast, 70% of the falsely accused were assessed as normal (sound familiar?).

The personality disordered parent is obsessed with hatred and hostility toward an estranged or former spouse. This parent does whatever he or she can to hurt the spouse, and their child becomes a pawn in the ongoing battle. They foster a false accusation as a way to get custody, as a way to punish a former spouse.

The personality disordered parent has blinders on, sometimes not even aware of their hatred, and convinced they are absolutely, undoubtedly right; the abuse is taking place. They are unable to accept that there may be other explanations for the child’s behavior, or the circumstances. In true cases of sexual abuse, the accusing parent often explores all possibilities.

bathroomSo what really happened?

After my initial shock, I had to make a plan to discover what was really going on. I had to weigh my options and approaches. I had to balance between calmly finding the truth and fiercely wanting to protect the children.

Turns out both girls ‘regularly’ walk in on their father when he uses the bathroom and he sometimes walks around the house naked. This is by all means inappropriate behavior, considering the girls are 4 and 8, but not new behavior. With a previous girlfriend, he would walk around her house naked, in front of her then 7-year-old son.

Personality disordered parents are egocentric and have poor boundaries. They can not distinguish between their own emotional, psychological and physical needs, and that of the children.

This was a stressful situation. Protecting the child is also finding the truth in a calm manner, not just immediately calling Child Protective Services. If a parent is over reacting or fabricating an allegation, the child’s emotional health is also threatened. Bresee et al. assert that an allegation of child abuse is clear evidence that the child is at risk, whether or not the allegation can be proved. Wakefield & Underwager (1988) believe that a parent involved in developing a false allegation may not be qualified to be a custodial parent. Many states have (case) laws reflecting this opinion.

True or False?

Here I want to put in a word of caution. There are many studies out there that investigate the incidence of false allegations; some use small samples and some use large samples. None of these studies distinguish between the time of filing the report and the time of filing the divorce.

The smaller, and often anecdotal, studies report high incidences of false allegations. The larger studies report 2-8% of the reports made are deemed false. In approximately 50% of the allegations are found to be true, and 40+% to be ‘undetermined’.

And ‘undetermined’ is just that, they can not find conclusive evidence, it was not properly investigated or even investigated at all. ‘Undetermined’ doesn’t mean there was no sexual abuse, nor that it was a false allegation. It means there is a child in trouble, because abuse is taking place; either by a parent sexually abusing the child, or by a parent jeopardizing the psychological wellbeing of that child by making false allegations.

You Speak an Infinite Deal of Nothing

“You speak an infinite deal of nothing.” ― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

6507071701_87013c3949_o Ah, yes, those emails, we’ve all received them. They make you scratch your head, thinking ‘Did I just really read that?’ Emails that make absolutely no sense, emails that have nothing to do with reality, or are completely irrelevant. Yet at the same time, those emails can be very telling. I have received some true gems in the past, and the following snippets are part of another great one. Grab a cup of coffee (or any beverage of choice) and read along with me.

“It has come to my attention that Muppet has not been attending school most of the days that she is with you…”

You mean daycare? Lets call a spade a spade, because that is what it is. Muppet is 3 years old and signed up for daycare while at Dad’s. When the girls are with me, I make sure I’m with them. As in, I actually use my parenting time to be a parent.

Shocking!

I know. I prepare their food, make sure Sweet Bee gets to the bus on time, does her homework, we do fun stuff together, dentist appointments, doctor’s appointment. You know, the usual parenting things. Apparently the child being with the Mother is an issue. It is preferred that the child be in daycare while the other parent is available.

“I had no idea the magnitude of this issue until I looked at Muppet’s attendance records… “

Oy! Houston, we have a problem! Should we send out first responders? Apparently not attending daycare but being with a parent is a real problem. The ‘magnitude of this issue’ certainly implies we are dealing with a catastrophe here! Does it surpass world hunger, wars etc? Immediate action required!

 “This is doing an incredible disservice to Muppet.  I am copying ‘Parenting Coordinator’ on this email so she can schedule a meeting for us ASAP to discuss and resolve this issue.”

Thank heavens, the legal first responder has been called. I have to admit that was a huge relief to me. Now she could read herself the crazy I’ve had to deal with. Previously I would be pointing out behavior patterns, and it was perceived that I was just trying ‘to make the father look bad’. A clear case of ‘shooting the messenger’. It is easier to discard solid evidence as misgivings from a scorned spouse, then accepting that there may be truth to it. Now it came straight from the ‘horses’ mouth’, there is no denying it now any longer. This is just how Ex is. This is not me trying to make him look bad, this is him showing his true colors.

“I would be more than happy to keep the girls more time during the week if that is what it takes to make sure they get to school.”

HD20812 There we go. Jack popped out of the box!

I was waiting for it. I knew it was coming. I’m continuously on edge waiting for another attempt at getting a change of custody. Ex can’t help it. That is part of the definition of a personality disorder; a persuasive pattern. He will continue till the end of times. Our CPS investigator said it the best; I can only hope it will subsides when the youngest turns 18.

The pattern is pretty evident. We’ve had false reports with CPS, we’ve had false criminal charges, we’ve had Ex show up during my access time with the sheriff’s to claim custodial interference.

Yes, I’m not kidding. During the divorce proceedings Ex would show up on my weekend with law enforcement, and I would have to show them the custody order to proof that it was actually my access time. Talk about really trying to sour and interfere with the other parents relationship with the children.

And that is really what it is. This email is another good example of Parental Alienation at its finest. I previously wrote about delusional parental alienators. I wrote about how they misconstrue reality to suit their perception of ‘the best interest of the child’. Here Ex thinks it is better for the child to be in daycare then be with the mother and he wants to go to bat for it.

I can only scratch my head.

But there is more. When it is his access time, Ex is not available. He puts the children with babysitters.

Alienators choose third parties over the targeted parent to care for the child when he/she is ill and/or not in school, regardless of the targeted parent’s availability and willingness to care for the child. The alienating parent will use every opportunity to keep the targeted parent from having the chance to parent the child regardless of the wishes of the child or targeted parent so at times the alienating parent will hire a babysitter or choose a family member in preference to allowing the targeted parent to care for the child.” – Prof Amy Baker

To top it off, Ex does not consistently use one and the same babysitter, no, he gets whom ever is available. He goes to great length to find somebody, anybody, as long as it is not the mother.

Less than a mile away, on the other side of the block, the mother (me) is readily available to care for the kids. Yes, I’m at home, I’m available and the girls know it. By putting the children with random babysitters he is sending the non-verbal message that anybody is better than being with the mother.

And that is sad.

Ex’s feelings towards me supersede what is truly best for the kids; a relationship with the other parent. It is more important to posses the children, then for them to be with Mom. The delusional alienator can not differentiate between their own wants and needs and that of the children.

And Ex doesn’t have a clue, he does not see how he is harming the children with this behavior. It is his reality. That is why it is called the delusional alienator, they egocentrically confuse their own issues with what really goes on and they can’t ‘snap out of it’, they are not sensitive to reasoning. They refuse to see it any other way than their way.

And so the story will continue. Part of a personality disorder is that history will repeat itself. Over, and over, and over, and over………

Ad Infinitum, ad nauseam.

 

Happy Easter! What’s in a Name?

Happy Easter!

goddessostaraweb

Easter is my favorite holiday! Winter is over (though this year I’m not so sure), and there is a whole new beginning.

Ostara is the pagan goddess of Spring, fertility and the Earth Mother. She symbolizes renewal after the death of winter. Or rebirth after the death and struggle of divorce.

Though very few people know about her, she is very entrenched in our society.

People used to celebrate her on the day of the Spring Equinox, which is pretty much the day we celebrate Easter. Her fertility is symbolized by the Hare, which always accompanies her. Today we call him the Easter Bunny. Rebirth is symbolized by the eggs.

Ostara has many names in the different regions of Northern Europe. In Old German she is referred to as ‘Ostara’, ‘Eostre’ and the month of her celebration ‘Eostremonat’ (Easter month).

Linguistically, not only the word Easter is derived from her name, but also ‘estrogen’; the female fertility hormone.

She has a beautiful lullaby that is sung to children, and which I hold dear to my heart;

“Sweet Child, sleep speedily
Do not cry

Truth forcefully
Fends off the murdering wolf

May you sleep until morning
Dear man’s son

Ostara for the child leaves
Honey and sweet eggs

Mother Earth for the child picks
Flowers blue and red

Bountiful the morrow sends
White little sheep

and One-Eye will protect, swift, hard spears.”

Enjoy your Easter Sunday. I hope it will symbolize to you too that there is life after divorce, that everything will renew.

 

If I Can’t Have the Kids, then Neither Can You! Child Homicide during Custody Disputes.

“Ostara, Ex thinks you are seriously going to hurt the children”

“Excuse me?” I say dumbfounded.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Yes, Ex said that not only is he afraid you are going to hurt the children, but also that when Sweet Bee was an infant, you called him on the phone when he was on the other coast and threatened to snap her neck,” the custody evaluator said.

I was shocked, completely shocked and absolutely horrified. It was like lightning at a clear blue sky. What the heck was this about? I don’t believe in spanking, never have spanked the children. I believe in redirecting negative behavior and age appropriate expression of right from wrong. I was stunned where Ex would get this from. This is opposite of who I am, that I didn’t even know what to say at first.

And then I got angry, really angry. How dare he not call his parents, who only lived 10 minutes away to assure the safety of the child if this really happened. How dare he not call the cops to assure the child was not harmed. How dare he not call Child Protective Services. And why on earth did he not catch the first plane home if that phone conversation really took place?

What a horrible false accusation to make! Reading the story about the father, on his first unsupervised visit, throwing his 3-year-old son of a high-rise in New York City, and then jumping off himself, reminded me of this particular, however just 1 of many, false accusation.

It is hard to fathom, but yes, parents do kill their children. However, mothers and fathers tend to do it differently. They have 1 thing in common though, and that is the existence of severe psychological disturbances at the time the murder(s) take place. It doesn’t come out of the blue, there are warning signs and courts should be aware of that. The legal standard is ‘The Best Interest of the Child,’ yet knowledge about the psychological dynamics in child custody is almost non-existent. Family court failed the murdered child and it could have been prevented with knowledge.

What is concerning is that the US was ranked 1st in the developed world in child homicide for children in 1997 across all age groups (0-17 years). That is disturbing. That should be a warning sign, we are not doing enough to protect our children. More updated information with regards to those statistics were not available.

In the US, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 30% of child homicides are by the mother, 33% by the father, 28% by the partner, 7% by family, 2% by strangers or unknown.

Why do parents kill their kids? What are the characteristics of parents who kill their kids?Bourget and Gagné classified filicide, or the killing of children by their parent, in 5 different categories;

  • mental illness of the parent; psychosis, exacerbated schizophrenia, etc.
  • fatal abuse; shaken baby syndrome etc
  • retaliation; custody situations (if I can’t have the kids, neither can you)
  • mercy; severely ill child
  • other/unknown

Mothers who kill

So what are the characteristics of mothers who kill their child(-ren)?

Mothers are more likely to kill the younger child. Different studies come to slightly different conclusions; scientific global studies put the average age between 3-4, some even younger. Almost all neonaticides (killing of infants less than 24 hours old) are by the mother and the result of unwanted pregnancies.

The mothers are often younger, with the average age in the 20s and have a history of mental health problems, unemployment/poor economic prospect and substance abuse. Postpartum psychosis, exacerbated by intense fluctuating hormone levels, is often diagnosed. Some studies suggest at least 50% of the mothers suffer from acute psychosis or psychotic depression when they kill their children.

The majority of the mothers kill their children for altruistic reasons (a suicidal mother doesn’t want to leave the child motherless) followed by psychotic filicide. Much less often the death of the child is because of fatal abuse, where the death was not anticipated or desired, and unwanted filicide where the mother doesn’t want the child. The rarest of all cases is the retaliatory filicide.

Of the rare cases I could find of mothers killing their child(-ren) during custody disputes, there were consistent factors; prior to the killing there had been accusations of sexual abuse which had been deemed ‘unfounded’. All the mothers had prior serious mental health issues (delusions, psychosis, schizophrenia) and if the suicide was unsuccessful entered a plea of not guilty by insanity.

Fathers who kill

Fathers are more likely to kill older children. Most studies only include children up to age 12 and give an average age of 5-7 years old. When teenagers are included, the average age goes up dramatically.

Fathers are usually a bit older than mothers who kill, with average ages reported in their late 30s. Fathers often did not have a history of mental health problems. About 25% of the fathers are diagnosed with psychosis, whereas 67% of the fathers were diagnosed with a personality disorder.

The most common cause of a child’s death by the father is fatal abuse. The fathers are more likely to be intoxicated when this happens. The 2nd most common scenario is during custody disputes, followed by mental illness or rarely altruistic motives.

In the first scenario there is evidence of intimate partner violence prior to the fatal abuse of the child, it is not a stand alone incident. Many of these cases already had prior involvement for abuse with Child Protective Services.

Because of the frequency of fathers murdering their children during custody disputes, a separate category ‘retaliation killings’ was made in the filicide classification. Common consistent factors are that the father had made threats to kill the children, there are prior reports of intimate partner violence, there is economic abuse of the mother and anger/jealousy towards the mother. These fathers rarely have a prior history of mental health issues. The child homicide during custody disputes by fathers is also of a more violent nature, with shooting the most predominant.

The sad reality

Every child that is murdered is 1 too many, yet it happens way to often in our modern-day society. It is really horrendous to know that there are parents who actually kill their child(-ren) during custody disputes. This intentional infliction of harm, this ultimate revenge against the ex spouse, is despicable.

Allegations of threatening child homicide should be taken very seriously. When fathers make this allegation, the mother’s mental health history is a red flag. When we exclude mothers murdering their babies within the first 24 hours, the likelihood of filicide during child custody disputes by mothers is small. For a mother to overcome the natural instinct and mother-child bond, she has to have serious mental health issues. Mothers who kill within the first 24 hours of birth have not developed the mother-child bond and the pregnancy was unwanted and thus the child already rejected. However for a mother to kill a child that she already has bonded with, she must have severe mental health issues.

Fathers are much more likely to murder their children during custody disputes. While there are fathers who have a mental health history, most fathers do not. This does not mean it comes out of the blue and can not be prevented. There are several red flags that the courts and all involved in child custody decisions should be aware of; incidences of intimate partner violence, death threats to child and/or mother, economic abuse (both during the marriage and divorce proceedings) and anger/jealousy towards the mother.

In all cases of child murder by the father, the mother had repeatedly requested the courts to intervene to safeguard the children. They repeatedly came with the same allegations, they didn’t ‘switch’ or ‘alter’ allegations, as often happens in false allegations. Interestingly, they were often discredited because they still facilitated, or insisted on facilitating, a relationship with the father.

All the warning signs and red flags were present in this recent case in NYC. When making such important decisions as child custody, lack of knowledge is not an excuse. This court failed the child.

The Genetics of Psychopathy and Why it Matters in Child Custody

“The last scan in the pile was strikingly odd. In fact it looked exactly like the most abnormal of the scans I had just been writing about, suggesting that the poor individual it belonged to was a psychopath—or at least shared an uncomfortable amount of traits with one….When I found out who the scan belonged to, I had to believe there was a mistake….But there had been no mistake. The scan was mine.”

Oops.

psychopathbrain

Brain scans of Dr Fallon and family

You are a world leading expert on brain imaging for violent criminals and psychopaths and you find that your own brain image is that of a psychopath. YOU are a psychopath. That has to be hard.

Wrong.

That is what a normal person would think; we have empathy, we have emotions. The psychopath doesn’t, (s)he will look how to turn this into a personal gain. And so did Dr Fallon; without empathy for what this public knowledge would do to his immediate family, he turned his discovery into a book about entering the dark side of the brain of a psychopath, included his family history of violent murderers and psychopaths. To top it off he then sought publicity with a huge media campaign. Book sales = money.

And I’m hopping on the band wagon, because his story is of extreme importance for child custody and there are 4 reasons why;

  1. Psychopathy has a genetic link; it passes on from parent to child. A child of a psychopath is at risk.
  2. Psychopathy is in the brain, it is not curable. Forced joint custody, parenting coordinators, therapy, etc will not improve the situation.
  3. Hitler vs Dr Fallon; Society’s misconception about the violent vs socially ‘adapted’ psychopath.
  4. Make or break the child; Influences in the early years.

1. The genetics of psychopathy

Yes, psychopathy passes on from parent to child through genetics. Dr Fallon in his book talks about several violent (and infamous) murderers that are related to him. He has a very interesting family tree to say the least.

Research has shown that Antisocial Personality Disorder (psychopathy) has an about 56% genetic component to it. Just to compare, breast cancer also has a genetic component. Women who have the mutated genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a chance of getting breast cancer in about 55-65% or 45% respectively. Angelina Jolie in 2013 went public with her double mastectomy because she has the gene mutations.

That is a different perspective, isn’t it? They are in the same range.

Just because you have the breast cancer gene, doesn’t mean you get breast cancer. If you have the gene for psychopathy, doesn’t mean you actually become a psychopath. But your chances of becoming a psychopath or getting breast cancer are the same when you have the gene for it.

Kids get some genes from Mom, some genes from Dad, it is a mix. This means children of psychopaths are at risk. It doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to have the gene, but there is a considerable possibility they do.

And when the kids do have the gene, it takes outside factors for psychopathy to become present, just like it takes outside factors for a woman to develop breast cancer.

2. Psychopathy is in the brain

Well-meaning people will say: ‘O, it will get better, it just takes time’, ‘Why doesn’t he go into therapy, that will help’, ‘If he just realizes what is going on, he will change’. I’ve heard my attorney say it, I’ve heard friends and family say it and I have to admit, I was of the same mindset during the marriage as well. I believe in human goodness and thought it would get better. I now know better.

Looking at the brain scan of Dr Fallon is sobering. It is clear that certain parts of his brain are functioning differently than his family members do. Sure, I read the research that psychopathy is not curable, I talked to experts, I preached and told it. Yet deep down inside I hoped it would be different; for the children’s sake. When I saw the scan, reality hit.

A psychopath is not going to change, no therapy will cure him/her. Nothing can change their brain.

3. Hitler vs Dr. Fallon

When we think about psychopaths, we think about Hitler, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and perhaps even Jodi Arias, Ariel Castro or the Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza. We think of creeps, we think of violent criminals.

Certainly not of a well-respected neuroscientist, husband and father like dr Fallon.

And that’s where society and the judicial system go wrong. The world’s leading expert in psychopathy, Dr Babiak and dr Hare, wrote the book ‘Snakes in Suits‘ and as you probably guessed, it is not about violent criminals. The percentage of psychopaths in high-powered positions in society is similar to the percentage in prison.

However, not only is our view of psychopaths skewed, our perception of their ‘damage’ is also clouded. Violence and murder are tangible concepts. We see the horror. Psychological trauma is so much more difficult to grasp, especially when you are not the victim.

Caregiver behaviors …… negatively affect the child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and/or physical development. Psychological maltreatment has been linked with disorders of attachment, developmental and educational problems, socialization problems, disruptive behavior, and later psychopathology. American Academy of Pediatrics

Despite the fact that the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have policies in place that recognize the frequency and long-term injury of psychological abuse, family court dismisses or even fails to recognize its existence. Yet the psychological damage of being raised by a personality disordered parent is well researched in the field of psychology, this is an unmistakable and devastating disconnect for the child.

4. Make or break the child

So how is it possible that Dr Fallon turned out ‘reasonably well’ and others have gone off the deep end? It is the early years. It is the environment the child grows up in.

holdhandsinfant

Picture by Steve Corey (Flickr)

Nurture

Dr Fallon explains he was loved as a child. He was the first-born after several miscarriages. He was wanted. He was important to his parents, or at least by 1 emotionally and psychologically healthy parent. A parent who was able to form secure parent-child attachments. So there was at least a 1-way of love.

As I’ve written about before, psychopaths cannot form secure attachments, but the love of Dr Fallon’s parent(s) provided him with a cushion to soften the impact of his genetics.

Just like smoking can cause lung cancer, red food coloring can aggravate ADHD, so is lack of love a trigger for becoming a psychopath. A psychopathic parent per definition can not express love; they are incapable of having empathy and without empathy there is no love. And a parent without empathy can not teach a child empathy.

Love is a deep concern for the other. Love is caring for the other. Children of psychopaths often endure neglect at best, or worse, physical abuse. This environment encourages the next generation to be psychopaths when they are at risk.

Dr Fallon emphasizes over and over again that the timing of the emotional/psychological injury determines the effect on the brain and what type of psychopath you become. For the gene to be expressed, the child needs to be exposed to trauma before puberty. Having the gene and being exposed to violence, or child neglect, is the recipe for disaster. The more severe the exposure, the more violent the psychopath becomes later on.

Family Courts Responsibility

‘Best Interest of the Child’ is the legal standard, not what is fair to each parent, or what a parent would like. Yet the courts do not follow-up on this, they would rather cater to Parental Rights organizations and work on a compromise between the 2 parties as if the children are property that needs to be divided equally. The legal standard is blatantly ignored to favor what can be agreed upon, not what is in the best interest of the child.

First of all courts need to put aside their misconception that psychopaths are violent criminals and realize that ‘upstanding’ members of society can be psychopaths as well. All persons involved in child custody decisions need to put the child first, and not the glorified theory of coming to an agreement and divide the property equally. This is the wellbeing of the next generation decisions are being made about.

When a child is at risk because 1 parent is a psychopath it is particularly important one limits the environmental influence of said parent. This could be a tipping point for the child to develop a personality disorder. It is extremely important that the child be around the parent that can express love, values, care and empathy. That does not mean the psychological disordered parent should be eliminated out of the life of the child, but the influence needs to be managed appropriately.

I can not repeat this enough; conflict is the single most predictable factor for the worst outcome for children of divorce. Forcing joint custody is perpetuating conflict for children. It is making the situation for children who are already at risk even worse. The acrimonious behavior of the psychopath is not going to change. They can’t change, their brain is set.

It is the courts responsibility to protect and safeguard the child, failure to do so has long-term consequences for the child and society. It is time courts recognize and take appropriate actions when there is a parent with a personality disorder and not stick their heads in the sand to cater to parental rights organizations. Our children are not 2nd rate citizens, they are our future. 

You’re Evil! Combatting Badmouthing in Parental Alienation

“You’re evil, you’re evil, you’re evil”, Muppet sings while hugging, kissing and frolicking with

Photo credit 'wendyb104' on Flickr

Photo credit ‘wendyb104’ on Flickr

her big sister while I’m setting the table for dinner. I smile; her words and actions are clearly contradictory, so she is not aware of the meaning. Such a sweet little toddler.

Time to have the discussion about certain words we don’t use, I think to myself.

While I’m serving dinner, I start out “There are certain words that are not nice to say to people, and I don’t want you to use them. We don’t say ‘people are evil’, we don’t use the word ‘stupid’. I want you to respect others and show respect in the words you use.”

“But Dad tells Kelly, my sister and me that you are evil. That we get the flea bites at your house and that you give Muppet the booty rash.” Sweet Bee says.

RIP. MY. HEART. OUT.

How many target parents have heard similar words? How many target parents have felt the same feelings that were going through me?

Countless, but even 1 person having to go through this is too many, even 1 child having to be subjected to this is too many.

And it is not like I had not heard it before. During trial we entered into evidence and email from Ex to me where he calls my mother ‘the Devil’, because my mother held him accountable for not taking good emotional, physical and financial care of me and the kids. The pattern is only repeating itself, but now with me who is to be eliminated.

The most prominent alienation strategy was denigration of the targeted parent, informally referred to as “bad-mouthing.” — Baker, Amy J. L.  “Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind” 

Bad-mouthing the other parent seemed to serve the same function as bad-mouthing the “outside world” has for cults: promotion of dependency. — Baker, Amy J. L. ” Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind”

Parental Alienation is depriving a child from a valid loving relationship. It is about creating dependency on the alienating parent, not based on the truth and reality, but based upon subjectivity and persuasion.

Drama replaces reason.

And that is the ‘hook’ Reunification Therapists take a hold of. They work with the child to teach them to ‘figure it out’, to learn to discern between fact/reality and subjective distortion. The Reunification Therapist works to improve mental functioning by working on reality testing and mitigate the trauma by weighing evidence.

Most parents don’t know what a therapist does, but that doesn’t mean a parent can not do ‘supportive’ work while the therapist is not available. It is hard and can be difficult, but the parent has to calmly, objectively and non-emotionally clarify the reality which the child themselves can test.

So what is the evidence in the statement of Sweet Bee? Ex has a ‘rat problem’, rats carry fleas. The kids return from access with numerous bites, documented by 3rd party. I have dogs who are religiously treated with K9 Advantix. The kids leave without flea bites. Muppet has been returned from access with a (bleeding) diaper rash multiple times, diagnosed and treated within hours by dr.’s.

“Are you itchy right now?” I ask. “No” they answer. “Do you have any bug bites right now?” I continue. “No” they answer again. “When you are itchy and have bug bites where are you then?” “We’re at Dad’s, and he has no bug bite lotion” is the answer. They emphasize the lack of bug bite lotion. While that seems trivial, it is not. It means they (unconsciously) did a reality check. They had been looking or asking for bug bite lotion while at Dad’s.

I didn’t lash out and said Ex was a liar to the children. I calmly did a reality check. While dealing with the bug bites was ‘easy’, internally I was trying to figure out how to bring up the diaper rash. The dr.’s diagnosed it as being the result of prolonged exposure to urine and it extends down her leg(s). It is not normal for a 3-year-old to have this when she is fully potty trained. The last episode likely had to do with the fact that Ex left the children unattended in a car for periods of time without supervision, access to food/water or bathroom. ‘Inadequate guardianship’ is what CPS supervisor called it.

“Where does your booty hurt the most?” I ask Muppet. “In the front” she replies. Ok, good point, a good factual statement for a 3 ½ year old. “But when you are with Mom or with Dad?” I try to probe a little further. “Both” she innocently replies. And she is right, it is not like it is instantly over, and how am I going to explain to a toddler that it takes time to heal? How do I explain the cause and effect; prolonged exposure to urine = diaper rash?

And this is why parental alienation takes ground with younger children so much easier than older kids, teenagers or adults. Younger kids don’t have the same conception of reality, developmentally they are not ready yet. They still believe in Santa. They’ll believe anything a parent tells them.

Distorting reality for a child this young and depriving them from the other parents’ love, making them question the validity of this love is devastating and has long-lasting effects. It is cruel to the child.

But parents with this attitude do not solve problems by being rational. They have no internal conflict, it doesn’t bother them they are hurting the child. If a problem arises, it is always someone else’s fault. 

There is no protocol to fix the alienating parent—not legally, not therapeutically, and not by reasoning with them. It is also unlikely that they will ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation, because it has become a gut-wrenching survival issue to them! — Douglas Darnell, 2000

Courts are supposed to uphold the statue of Best Interest of the Child. It should protect the child from the harmful effects of Parental Alienation, which is considered psychological child abuse in the DSM 5. Fighting parental alienation is not about a mother’s right, it is not about a father’s right, it is about the children’s right. They are not 2nd class citizens.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776  

God bless our Veterans today. Thank you!