Knock, Knock! Child Protective Services Calling! Parental Alienation and Projections of a Psychopath

A while back I had started researching the (ab-)use of Child Protective Services in divorce proceedings by parents. weathering the stormI started talking to mental health professionals, parents who filed CPS reports and parents who had CPS reports filed against them. It is definitely a tricky subject and I was circling my thoughts on how to formulate my findings and opinions.

And then one evening last week there was the envelope on the front door from the ‘Child Protective Service Team Leader’.

Yes, a CPS complaint was filed against me.

I knew Ex was a diagnosed psychopath, didn’t realize how ill he really was. I never thought he would stoop this low in using the children against the mother. To sacrifice the integrity of the children to get his way in the divorce proceedings. Then again, his MMPI already showed that he has Anti-Social Personality Disorder and is a Parental Alienator, and his behavior patterns presented at trial underlined it.

CPS, Divorce and the truth

CPS investigators have the daunting task of finding the truth and protecting children against abusive parents. Innocent until proven guilty can be hard when they know that something is going on, yet can not formulate the evidence. These children are left hanging.

Talking with mental health professionals makes it clear that the timing of filing for divorce and making a report to CPS is significant for finding whether there is any truth to the allegations. Reports filed prior or at the start of the divorce proceeding hold more ground then the reports filed further down the road. Doesn’t mean necisarrily they are true, but they are more likely to be true. Likewise, reports filed to CPS later down the road are less likely to be true and more a tactic of a gruntled parent to get an advantage in the divorce proceedings.

CPS is inundated with cases where parents seek an advantage in the divorce proceedings. This clouds the issue and creates scrutiny when there are real issues of abuse. Divorcing parents who want to bring real abuse to light are vilified and children end up being awarded to their abusers at an alarming rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are parents who abuse the system.

Filing CPS reports as a Parental Alienating Tactic

Every time a CPS report gets filed against the target parent, the child gets interviewed about the target parent. While at first the child may not have a negative image of the target parent, after being questioned, even if it is about unfounded issues, the seed of doubt is created in the child’s mind.

This is a subtle, but very effective way of the alienating parent to remove the target parent from the child’s life. “See, it wasn’t me, CPS thought there was enough reason to investigate”. The alienating parent doesn’t tell the child the result of the investigation, which usually is ‘unfounded’ and the child perceives that persons of authority are questioning the ‘safety’ of the target parent. The security and love the child feels for the target parents slowly and subtly erodes.

True parental alienators have personality disorders, they will not stop until they have removed the other parent from the lives of the children. They will seek allies within friends and family, but also do not stop there, they will enlist law enforcement, the courts and CPS. Nothing new here.

Filing a CPS reports based on projections of the Phychopaths own behavior

Parents with personality disorders project their own behavior on the other parent. When I heard the allegations filed against me, I almost burst out laughing, the seriousness of the situation prevented me from doing so. One of the allegations was ‘unsanitary living arrangements with dog feces and garbage all over the house’. This comes from the man that has a rat problem in his house. Yes, you read that right, he has rats in the house. My attorney was present for the interview with CPS and he jokingly said: “Well, if he didn’t kill so many cats, he probably wouldn’t have a rat problem”. My house is clean, I showed the investigator the back of cupboards, which were organized and dust free. We live here, so yes, at the end of the day there are toys on the floor and dishes in the sink. But no rats.

The 2nd allegation was much more serious and gives much more food for thought, knowing that psychopaths project their behavior and deep inner thoughts on the other parent. “Mother takes pictures of the children in various stages of undress with the intent to distribute”.

Yes, basically child pornography.

Now why this worries me. The CPS investigator told me that the pictures he had seen had nothing of a sexual nature, but as it was reported in a phone call, he had to follow up. He agreed the pictures were from a parent taking snapshots of their child. Happy moments.

Ex’s family has a history of sexual child abuse. Within the family the grandfather has fondled the daughters, and brothers have coerced sisters to perform oral sex. Now, at this moment, I don’t believe Ex has had inappropriate relations with the children. However, the oldest is becoming of the age that sexual predators become interested in girls.

Is there anything I can do about this? No, nobody has been prosecuted for (unconscious) thoughts. We live in a free society. I have to let the CPS investigation run its course. I’m not going to muddy the water with more allegations that can never be proven.

It is absolutely vicious and evil how 1 parent tries to eliminate the other parent out of the lives of the children, over the backs of the children. When one makes such false allegations and uses the child as a weapon to disparage the other parent, you don’t really love your child.

Hug Me! Or What Makes Post-Divorce Child-Parent Relationships

RING RING” Phone Ringing!

(substitute with any fancy ringtone you desire)

Ostara: “Hello”

Ostara’s Mom: “Good morning. Listen, let me get right to the point. I just spoke with your Dad and he is trying to reach you. He just wants to know how you are doing, you should give him a call.”

Ostara: “Uhm, I’m 40, and supposedly an adult. I think I can manage my social agenda.”

Ostara’s Mom: “Well yes, but we are your parents, regardless of how old you are. Your Dad has not spoken to you for 1 week. Go call him.”

OK. I laugh.

If you had told me 14 years ago my parents would call each other on the phone to talk about their children, I would probably have thought you were crazy. Their divorce had just started and of course emotions ran high.

Ok, REALLY high. let’s not minimize it.

Fast forward to today. My parents each have their own lives and have successfully recovered personally from their divorce. It’s in the past. The present and the future holds their children and grandchildren. My parents support the child’s (although adults now) relationship with the other parent. Did they make mistakes? Of course! They are normal humans, not saints.

This phone conversation made me reflect about my relationship with my parents. Did it developed rather typically? Or did divorce change how I feel about each parent?

If I thought I would find an answer to this online easily, I was delusional. Enter the complicated research area of post-divorce social science. There 2 things I find problematic with a lot of the ‘popular and often quoted’ research; most studies do not take into account the developmental stage of the child and the emotional/psychological stability and health of the parent.

Both of these factors would influence the outcome or conclusions. Toddlers and teenagers act differently. As a toddler I worshipped my mother, as a teenager I did anything to defy her, which by the way, is completely normal  and healthy way of teenagers separating their identity and individuality from their parents. I would have skewed the data had I been a research subject. Children growing up with emotionally/psychologically unhealthy parents have a harder time with (maintaining) relationships too.

Ahrons and Tanner researched the child-parent relationship 20 years post-divorce and their findings are most interesting. They found that 62% of the now adult children reported the relationship with the father was better or stayed the same and 73% reported the relationship with the mother was better or stayed the same.

Gender had no influence on the change of relationship with the mother, but father-daughter relationships changed after remarriage of the father. The type of custody, joint/sole/split, or whether there had been a change of type of custody did not matter.

But wait. These numbers look familiar!

And they are. They are similar what attachment studies tell us about the child-parent relationship! Basically, about 61% of how an infant is bonded to a primary caregiver (non-gender specific!) is how they are bonded 20 years later if they had 1 or more traumatic life event.

These studies recognize that traumatic events like divorce, child abuse, loss of a parent and emotional/psychological health of the parent can change the level of bonding, or the child-primary caregiver relationship, but not in the majority of children/adults. It is the quality of the relationship prior to the traumatic event that is the determining factor.

Well, I guess my relationship with my parents is normal. That’s a relief. I had a good relationship with both prior to their divorce and today I still do. I love you Mom & Dad!

This topic is not done. While most children maintain a good relationship with their parents after divorce, there are children who do not. Emotional/psychological health may play a role, but what about Parental Alienation?