Family Disharmony Hurts Kids

It does not matter whether they are married, separated or divorced, hostile parenting of the children creates an emotional roller coaster & disaster. This is Child Abuse.

Are You Helping Fuel the Anger and Rage of someone else?  Are you unwittingly helping another parent destroy the relationship between the other parent and their children? 

Sometimes when a relationship ends, the grief of this loss can be overwhelming for either partner.  Grief is a very real emotion that has several basic stages, such as denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. 

Though this is not necessarily the order that one goes through it, many times a person gets stuck in the anger phase of this process.  They often cannot move forward and become filled with rage and hatred. This rage and hatred though directed at the ex-spouse/partner can often manifest itself in the children of this relationship as well as the extended family on either side. 

This angry parent will do anything and everything to make sure that no one likes the targeted parent (TP).  They rage and spew anything that will make sure that the TP has no friends, family but most importantly, that the children are removed as painfully as possible from their lives.  When this happens, the targeted parent becomes a victim of bullying to satisfy the grief, anger, hurt and rage of the other parent.

Remember not all people show grief the same way.  Some are masters of disguise do to their sociopathic tendencies while others are more on the manic depressive end. 

Either way, these grief stricken ex-partners will do anything to make the TP suffer and hurt as much as they do. Including creating false stories and lies to get the children and other extended family members and friends to hate the TP.  When this happens, the damage to the children, the target, the aggressor/angry parent (AP) and even the innocent bystanders who have been pulled in, is terrifying. 

When a person is filled with this much anger grief that they are stuck, it becomes a tragedy for all involved.  Their mental state is in jeopardy.  Their sense of reality becomes skewed.  They actually become so fanatical about the hatred and rage that the stories they tell become their reality, a false reality that makes it impossible for them to ever heal. 

They may appear sane, normal, a pillar of their community, but in reality it is just a façade. They are so damaged by their inability to move forward and get past the grief of the failed relationship that they literally will start to deteriorate.  No one is exactly the same, but sometimes they cannot hold down a job or keep true friends. 

In other cases, they are so sociopathic that they come across as the perfect parent and person, who could never do any wrong. But in the end, the truth is that they rely on terrorizing the children to follow them until the children are finally brainwashed to fear or hate the other parent. And they often rely on others to help them perpetrate their anger and hatred.

Examples of Alienating Behavior:

From Dr. Warshak’s DVD, Welcome Back Pluto

  • Restricting Contact by impeding visitation and communication
  • Discouraging Good Feelings & Memories of the other parent
  • Badmouthing/Bashing of the other parent
  • Selective Attention by only looking for the negatives and mistakes, and never seeing any   positives in the other parent
  • Referring to the other parent by their first name and not as Mom or Dad

What Happens to the Victims of this Deceit?

For the children, they are consumed with fear that the angry parent will also be angry with them if they do NOT hate the other parent. These children become riddled with guilt and sadness, until they can take no more, and become either just as filled with hatred and anger, or become self-destructive. These children want to love both parents but know they cannot without risking the love of the angry parent. The children are caught between the Favored vs. Rejected Parent (Dr. Richard Warshak, 2010, Welcome Back Pluto DVD).

For the extended family and friends, they are duped into believing these stories about the TP because they cannot believe that someone could really go to this length to make something up this horrendous. In the back of their minds, they think, well it has to be true because they are no longer together or because of some past vague memory that the AP has warped and used as evidence and besides the children are saying it. These people are so convinced that the TP is bad, that they do not even question it nor ask for the TP’s side of the story

For the TP, they are forced to hurt silently for fear of breaking in two. They know that no matter what they do, the AP will find a way to twist it to look bad, leaving them no way to rectify the damages. The TP knows that as long as the AP has followers in their cult of hatred, they will always be made to suffer. Often their only choice after years fighting for their kids is to just move on themselves, so that the kids are spared any more emotional pain.

The children and extended family/friends become pawns of the AP’s anger and rage.  They actually become unwitting warriors in the battle to continue the AP’s rage and hatred campaign against the TP. 

The saddest part of all is when these people finally do find out the truth, they are mortified, and the guilt they have is incredible. Those that are strong enough will apologize and hope for forgiveness, but those that are weakest, such as the children, the damages are lifelong, resulting in relationship issues, trust issues, substance abuse issues and even suicide.

For the AP having others to corroborate their hatred and anger just helps to fuel it.  In fact, it causes the AP to continue in this very unhealthy lifestyle and mental state.  The AP’s can never truly be happy, because their happiness is based on hatred and revenge.  They are never able to move on with their lives because they still live in this world consumed with anger, hatred, rage and revenge. 

Imagine living with nothing but anger, hatred and rage, year in and year out.  One’s mental state does not get better but actually worsens.  Especially having all of these victims to feed the ego.  In reality, these children and extended family/friends are unwittingly helping to further desecrate the AP’s mental health by following along. 

What Can be Done to Help the AP?

So what can be done to help the AP’s to move on and not continue to hurt themselves and the people around them?  It starts with the victims learning about this type of mental illness.  It is a form of depression related to grief and the inability to move on. 

It also involves extreme low self-esteem, where by the AP believes that if they are not perfect, that they are not lovable and if they are not lovable that they will be abandoned, which leads to the terrifying fear of being alone.  This is Parental Alienation.

Once someone can understand it from this point of view, then one can instead of following the AP’s anger, revert it by helping the AP to see that being a perfect parent is impossible and not even necessary.  That there are no perfect parents because parenting is not an exact science as no two families are ever completely alike. 

Also, by helping the AP to grieve in a healthy way and stop them when they fire off assaults and attacks against the other parent, helps to stop fueling their agenda of revenge.  When the AP has no one following their “orders” or believing their tales, then they have no choice but to learn how to move onward and upward. They have no choice but to look for a different way of life and future.

It is very important for the children and extended family/friends to not be pulled in to the AP’s rage and anger campaign against the TP.  To do this means that they must learn to think critically for themselves and question whether the stories being told are true or being said out of hurt, anger and rage. 

Being able to differentiate between the truth and things said out of anger is key to not getting dragged into this vicious circle.  It also helps the AP because if no one is listening and following what they are saying, then they no longer have control.  The control we are talking about is control of their out of sync emotions of grief that have festered into anger, rage and hatred. 

AP’s believe that if they do not have total control, then they will be disrespected and left behind.  They believe control of everyone and everything will prevent them from being abandoned and alone.  They are actually obsessed with being in control.  If we can take this away and help them to see that control leaves no room for growth, and progress, then maybe we can get them to let go of the anger and need to have revenge too.

Instead, the AP needs to be helped to move forward in the grief cycle.  They need to be helped to move on and finally get to an acceptance stage that the relationship may be over, but their life is not. 

The AP needs to be helped to see that being perfect does not mean they will not be loved or will be left behind.  Not being perfect is part of being a person and it is part of how we learn in this life.  The AP needs to find a positive in this experience instead of seeing it as all negative.

To see it as a positive, the AP has to realize that the relationship falling apart now gives them some freedoms and the chance to make changes or do things they could not do while in the relationship.  Such things as maybe going back to school, traveling, meeting new people, starting a hobby, getting out more often, reading more books and so on.

Life goes on and can be very productive and happy, if we can get the AP to leave their grief behind.  And once the AP leaves their grief, then their need to control can be released. And as they do this, they start to gain respect for themselves and with that respect comes a newfound level of positive self-esteem. And just maybe their pain, anger, rage and hatred can be left to the wind as they grow into a new mentally healthy and sound person to be around.

Parental Alienation Support & Intervention (PASI)
320 North George’s Hill Road, Southbury, CT 06488 203-770-0318 www.PAS-Intervention.com PASIntervention@aol.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brenda Jayne Cimakasky June 06, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Joan, You are a very smart Mother and Woman!! Your words about what PAS really is, are dead center bullseye. I am an alienated mom, pas started when my daughter was 11. My daughter is now 22, I have seen her for 2hrs and 20 minutes in the last 9 years, and still to this day has nothing to do with me. It has been a very long road, one which I still travel daily. I was very fortunate in that after 10 years of trying to deal with this on my own, I came across a support group called PAAO which is in several states including mine Pa. This has been a huge turning point for me, as I am looking to start an extention group here in Northeastern Pa. to support parents and educate people on how to counteract this abuse, I still remember the day back in 2001, I was beside myself surfing the web looking on family court sites to try and figure out how in the name of God my husband was able to keep my daughter from a visit with him in FLorida, which is where he moved to after leaving (me) his wife and daughter in upstate New York. Then I stumbeled onto a site, Bill Kirkendale from Santa Margarita Ca. who stated I have not seen my daughter LeeAnn in 4,634 days. He went on to tell about what was happening in his life, with his once loving daughter, who was now telling him she hated him and never wanted to see him again. I remember being in shock as I read this mans story..OMG there is a name for this????? Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Fran Hopkins June 06, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Joani, what a thorough overview of this subject! I've posted it to my Facebook page and will tweet it too. I hope that the Southbury Patch makes your blog posts available to other local Patch sites too so that as many people as possible can become informed about PAS.
Cindy Smith June 06, 2012 at 06:40 PM
As always, right on target information!
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 06, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Brenda: I am glad that this article was so powerful to you. I think you would find that our International Yahoo Support groups will help you with the PAAO group that you would like to set up. We have so many wonderful people in them, helping each other out and teaching each other ways to handle and manage the kids and the exs. We work an awful lot of critical thinking and how we can get the ex's court ordered into specialized counseling. Please go to www.PAS-Intervetnion.com and then click on the link for Free Online Support Groups. You can also read the first 6 chapters of my book by clicking on the link under books for "Where Did I Go Wrong?..." There is also a book there written from the contributions of victims just like yourself called Broken Family Bonds. All of the revenue from these books goes to PAS Intervention, a federally tax exempt charitable organization. Have to go to a doctors appointment, but you can email me and pick my brains any time.
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 06, 2012 at 10:21 PM
In order for it to me posted on other Patches, I have to create hundreds of accounts for every single town. Not sure what to tell you, because I agree that it would be great to have this posted in other places. But that being said, you can start a blog for your area and copy this over with my name and a link back to Southbury Patch.
Pam Landry June 07, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Joan your blog has been cross-posted to 13 other Patch sites.
Bill Keane June 07, 2012 at 08:29 PM
One temptation for the Targeted Parent is to strike back via the children... No need to go into the results of that strategy. But, apart from instrinsic love and concern for the children, another reason not to sink into the same behavior as the Aggressor is that children grow up, and they remember. They remember what the Aggressor parent was doing, and they will remember if their other parent did not put them through an abusive response. Children get older and then can make their own choices and renew relationships once poisoned and broken. There is very real hope. Great post. Thank you.
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 07, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Pam: I luv you!!! Thanks so very very much. I am sure that all my members thank you too.
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 07, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Bill: You are so right. And I will be posting more from all my research and work since 1996. Alienators are mentally ill people who are stuck in the anger stage of grief, unable to control their impulses related to their anger. They also have extreme low-self-esteem. I will post more on this issue shortly.
Bill Keane June 07, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Thanks for your work. It's enormously valuable.
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 08, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Bill I am glad. I will continue to add information here for you. By the way, my book is available at the Southbury Public Library if you are a CT Resident. They have the 1st edition and I am going to drop off a 2nd Edition today.
An Honest Observation June 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Joan, your dedication to the topic of Parental Alienation has been a life saver for so many families. Thank you for the invaluable information that you continue to give us. Prayerfully, change is happening and families will get re-united. No good parent deserves to be ripped out of their child's life.
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Thank you, An Honest Observation. I am actually working to raise funds for families so that we can help them as well as get more educational awareness out to the professionals and more. On Saturday, July 20th, we are having a huge Charity event called Dance To End Child Abuse. I have so many prizes and things planned for that day. Cost is really minimal to get in, Adults $20 and Children $10. You can find out more at www.Dance2EndChildAbuse.org and then click on upcoming events. I hope we can have a huge turn out so that we can do so much more than what we are doing right now.
Joan Kloth-Zanard June 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Thank you, An Honest Observation. I am actually working to raise funds for families so that we can help them as well as get more educational awareness out to the professionals and more. On Saturday, July 20th, we are having a huge Charity event called Dance To End Child Abuse. I have so many prizes and things planned for that day. Cost is really minimal to get in, Adults $20 and Children $10. You can find out more at www.Dance2EndChildAbuse.org and then click on upcoming events. I hope we can have a huge turn out so that we can do so much more than what we are doing right now.


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