Do The Courts Over-step their bounds?
So you are slated for court and have been waiting years to get your chance to correct a serious wrong that is causing psychological abuse to your children. But two weeks before the case, the courts notify your attorney that the other side needs a postponement. What does this mean? It means that the courts are allowing the other party to delay the case so they can have more time to prepare. In most cases, this would be understandable. But when you are dealing with the psychological abuse of children who are being alienated for no justifiable reason from the other parent, this is a serious issue.
For every day that these children continue to be abused and kept from the other parent, is another day of trauma and sadness. The children are NOT allowed to express how they really feel. They are only allowed to project what the alienating parent feels. And if they do attempt to speak up about not having the other parent in their lives or wanting to see them, they are punished and thrown out of the alienators little group or clique.
When the courts enable the alienator to continue keeping the children from the other parent any longer than is necessary, the children suffer immense damages. Why, because it gives the aggressively hostile parent more time to brainwash and programming the children to hate the targeted parent. This in turn, makes stopping this abuse and reversing it, even more difficult.
When a parent cannot understand that their emotions and feelings are theirs and theirs alone, not the children's, they are crossing over the natural normal safe borders and boundaries that divide a child from their parent. Murray Bowen, Jay Haley and Salvador Minuchin, who are all family theorists, believed that this type of behavior caused pathological, destructive, obstructive triangles, which I would liken to cult-like behavior of hatred or discrimination against another person and/or family.
I have my own name for this. It is Borderless Boundaries. What do I mean by borderless boundaries? Basically, the offending parent does not see any difference between themselves and their children. They see their relationship as one entity and not two different and separate beings with individual thoughts and feelings. The normal boundaries that should be present between a parent and child are borderless. That is, they meld together and it is difficult to see where one starts and the other begins. In other words, the parent and the child/children are almost as one and there is no differentiation (Bowen) between the two.
This is most notable when a child parrots the offending parent’s comments, thoughts and actions. The child does not differentiate from this offending/aggressive parent or themselves. Whatever this offending parent is or how they believe, is exactly what the child is and believes. If one were to draw a picture representing this relationship, it would look like two exact images of each other, just one is a smaller version of the other. And, in this mental state, the child believes they are an independent thinker and that all these thoughts are their own, because they cannot distinguish between their thoughts and the thoughts of the offending parent.
This independent thinker idea is used often in court to claim a child knows what they want. And, according to Dr. Baker, empirical evidence shows that individuals do not become completely independent thinkers until they are in their 20’s, because they are still influenced by their peers and family. (Baker, A.J. , Adult Children of PAS) For some, this independent thinker ability never happens, because they always need to follow someone else who can be their leader, (i.e. Jonestown and all those adults who willingly poisoned themselves because the cult leader told them to.) But a trained specialist should be able to see all sorts of red flags if the child’s words, thoughts and feelings precisely parallel the offending parent’s words, thoughts and feelings. In fact, if the child has no thoughts of his own regarding the Targeted Parent and parrots all of the opinions of the offending parent, it should be a huge red flag. This also applies to the child’s opinions of the TP’s extended family. Unfortunately, in this case, the child is not an independent thinker and is depending on the offending parent to tell them how to live, love and be in the world.
So how do we break through this and get the courts to understand that any relationship between a parent and child that seems too close, too controlled, or too enmeshed is probably too good to be true? First, try to expose that the child is a parrot or puppet of the offending parent. This requires a developmentally appropriate approach. Children, usually from age’s toddler to 8 or 9, have limited understanding of complex scenarios pertaining to why parents hate each other. In these small children, this is much easier to diagnose as they are considered too young to be independent thinkers. These children will literally parrot the exact words that the offending parent uses. They do this because, quite often, they do not totally understand what they are truly saying and thus cannot translate it into their own speech. A teenager or older child, who is more articulate, might be able to do so. Obviously, there are exceptions with young children who are more precocious and aware and can articulate things. Child Protective Services has, in many cases, actually determined that in cases with younger children, the offending parent has fed everything the young child knows or says to them. CPS can do this by using phrases and questions designed that are age appropriate for the children.
For teenagers, this might be accomplished by asking and posing the proper questions that determine whether the child has any personal thoughts or ideas of their own that are different from the offending parent’s ( i.e. not similar to the offending parent.) For example, a normal teenage child’s musical tastes should not be exactly like their parent’s, nor should their clothing tastes. In addition, a normal teenage child’s choice of television shows and games should not be exactly like the offending parents. In both these cases, 9/10 year olds and up should be beginning to emulate peers and idols they have in the outside world. They should have different opinions and experiences about the TP and their family, which are different from the AP’s. If every commentary made by the child about the Targeted Parent seems similar, if not exactly the same as the offending parent’s commentary, this should be suspect. This is especially true if these thoughts, feelings and behaviors are inappropriate for their age or experience.
Also, and very important, is their negative statements. If they sound exactly like the offending parent, that should be a red flag, especially with no real reason or motive for this hatred and negativity toward the Targeted Parent. Maybe asking the child if there is anything that the AP, offending parent, and the child disagree on; or asking the child if they ever have a difference of opinion with the AP, like they do with the TP. Normal teenagers, in particular, should have many ideas and opinions, if not a book of ideas and opinions that express disagreement with both parents on many issues. If the child, insists, instead, that they and the AP never fight and always get along, no matter what, you are looking at a red flag.
For a smaller child, this might mean watching the words that they use. Are the words too big for them or are their statements too mature? Is the subject matter something way over their heads? The point is, if a child seems to mimic the offending parent to a point that their similarities are uncanny then brainwashing and programming or an unhealthy enmeshed relationship should be suspected. This is a sign that the parent has crossed over the boundary between child and parent and now it is borderless with no division between the child and the parent’s personality and self.
A child who emulates inappropriate thoughts, feelings and behaviors that seem to be similar, if not exactly like the offending parent, should not be considered an independent thinker but instead, a follower in a cult of hatred toward the Targeted Parent. Think Stockholm Syndrome, also known as the Patty Hearst Syndrome. These children are identifying with the aggressor to protect themselves from the same wrath that the offending parent enacts against the Targeted Parent. The same thing occurs in families of physical abuse. The abused will defend and protect the abuser, because they fear losing the abuser’s love and fear being harmed again.
Once the enmeshed and borderless boundaries of the relationship between the offending parent and child are established, then the evidence can be presented to the courts to show how unhealthy the relationship is to the point that the child does not even have a pure thought or feeling of his own. It will be quite apparent that the only thoughts coming from the child/teenager will be the ones that the parent has programmed into them and the child has been brainwashed to believe that these are their thoughts and feelings, not the offending parent’s thoughts and feelings. This does not make an independent thinker but one controlled by a cult leader or Alienating Parent. This should show how the parents have violated the normal and natural boundaries that make a parent a parent and a child a child. When this boundary knows no border, we have proved that the parent has programmed and brainwashed the child.