Asociación Gallega de Padres y Madres Separados

Ayuda práctica, jurídica y psicológica padres, madres, separados, divorciados e hijos

Medically PAS is considered by many to be a form of emotional child abuse, but it is not currently recognised as abuse in the legal system.

This is a commentary on the article further below discussing Parental Alienation awareness.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/euro-dads/message/28567

I hope Lisa doesn't mind me discussing this and showing a different if allied perspective - raising awareness about parental alienation is also probing what these words really add up to.

The piece further below that she has sent seems an excellent commentary and includes many of the key points.

It is good to see analysis of the inequitable distribution of income for the poorest separated families looking after children and the accurate description of the living hell the courts have placed so many family members in.

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This comment can be picked up on:

"Medically PAS is considered by many to be a form of emotional child abuse, but it is not currently recognised as abuse in the legal system."

If PAS is to be considered a form of emotional child abuse, then most judges and lawyers are emotional child abusers - they facilitate it and create the conditions which encourage it to spread. They give very clear precedents by their individual decisions to provide conditions which lead to or consolidate parental alienation. For example, they may stand in the way of staying contact with one of the parents, or there may be an entirely unbearable delay, or they may choose not to attach enforcement measures to a contact order, especially at times of critical relational uncertainty. All these cause a distance to be established between child and parent - they are direct causes of this, not merely indirect, people are supposed to obey the law they make.

The judiciary, many academics, politicians and opinion formers have great responsibility for the emergence of the whole social pathology - and as they know this, they fear the consequences of a change in the law, and wonder about how to get back on the strait and narrow without anybody noticing. The acts of the judiciary, particularly in private family law, have often been barbarous and fundamentally unjustifed, being based on entirely and observably false premises. The children and parents they have treated so disgracefully, in their thousands and millions, are alive and kicking today.

We never were criminals, just separated parents. Our family lives should always have been treated with respect by the courts - it has been their mistake not to do this, not ours.

So it is scarcely surprising that nobody who has had policy responsibility for this calamitous social evil of our days wants to recognize it as a syndrome, although there are plenty of equally questionable theories that they will give time to.

If the official responsibility in creating the conditions for parental alienation is so heavy, that may be the real reason for scientific reluctance to classify it as a discrete syndrome. In most cases, parental estrangement is simply the by-product of an alienation or estrangement strategy sanctioned (or not countered) by the courts and other official bodies. It's intense, because children and their parents are often deeply bonded with each other, and what is being threatened and then carried out is the destruction of this bond. It is a disgusting thing to do to people, which is why many such acts of denial of parent-child relationships are legally determined to be criminal.

It doesn't have to be implemented by parents themselves, hostage-abductor psychology or orphan psychology are just several points along the same emotional continuum, in one of its dimensions. So, funnily enough, I am on the judges' side of the debate on inclusion of PAS in the DSM-V (US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fifth Edition), precisely because it is not so much parents as officials who are primarily responsible for unleashing such noxious social patterns on us. It is officials who have wreaked havoc on individual relational lives through their highly predictable decisions to create inequitable residence and contact presumptions.

They are in effect the puppetmasters, even if the fingers of the puppets twitch by themselves on occasion.

It is good to see it being stated that parental alienation is not a gender issue. In fact, the growing number of cases of alienation from a mother bear this out. To me, alienation seems a learnt pattern of fear of loss requiring immediate action, it ripples through families and the whole social sphere of those families as a learnt behaviour pattern, children are forced into becoming actors in determing their own relational fate in the face of abject adult failure to realise that they need support for their security with both parents, together or apart, if both parents are to have a basis for coordinating what they do.