Battling for Total Reform

Why the Lack of Public Discussion of Parental Alienation?

Even if you don’t follow celebrity news, it would still be incredibly difficult to avoid the recent news stories regarding Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and their very public custody battle.

Type ‘Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Judge’ into Google and approximately 26,400,000 results suddenly become available. The results from Google highlight the incredibly high number of news outlets that are currently reporting on this very public custody dispute.

All five of the first results from various news outlets use terms such as custody battle, custody dispute and divorce battle.

However on further inspection of this very public story, in my opinion it has all the makings of a case of parental alienation.

For the uninitiated, parental alienation is a set of abusive behaviours; whereby one parent (in most cases the resident parent) attempts to damage, and in some cases destroy the previously healthy loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent (the non-resident parent). This damage can be intentional or unintentional on the part of the alienating parent. And it is factors such as this that aids professionals that understand parental alienation how to classify it. For a more detailed description of parental alienation see here.

According to the numerous news reports released today, the court Judge has ordered and stated the following:

“It’s harmful to the children if Angelina continues to restrict access to Brad.” The Judge is reported to have stated this regarding Pitt’s lack of contact with his children.

Another article informs us that the Judge has ordered Jolie to allow Pitt to have the children’s telephone numbers.

In addition to the above order, the Judge has reportedly stated that Pitt should be able to call and text each child at will. The order also included the statement that Jolie should allow these to be facilitated without her monitoring the conversations/texts.

It is also reported that Jolie has been ordered to be nicer about Pitt in front of their children.

Jolie has been ordered to tell their children that the “court has determined that not having a relationship with their father is harmful to them,” that they are “safe with their father,” and that having a healthy relationship with both parents is “critical.”

Now, lets take a step back and apply some straight forward critical thinking to the above reports.

As I have already hinted at, I am finding it difficult to ascertain how this can be viewed as a straight forward custody battle. Nor does it present itself as a custody dispute. And as for the term divorce battle, this is clearly more than a battle regarding the divorce. It appears to me, that Pitt is simply battling to have a relationship with his children.

Even if Pitt did lose his temper with his children, even if he did have a drink problem, no one is perfect. I am certainly not condoning any of his allegedly reported behaviours that subsequently led to Jolie filing for divorce. Even if the reports regarding Pitt’s behaviours were true, should this equate to Pitt having to battle to have a relationship with his children. Ultimately the judge involved in the case must have had enough evidence to put the above-mentioned orders and directions in place regarding Jolie’s current behaviours.

This raises a somewhat obvious question. Why does Jolie need to be ordered to conduct herself in such a way that is not jeopardising or even damaging the relationship between Pitt and his children?

If she were not ordered to change her behaviours what would happen? Well as already stated above, according to numerous reports the Judge stated “it’s harmful to the children if Angelina continues to restrict access to Brad.”

So as somewhat of a self-taught expert on parental alienation, this situation between Jolie, Pitt and their children appears to me to be a clear and obvious case of parental alienation.

However, this in turn raises another question. Why is this not being reported by the incalculable number of news outlets as a case of parental alienation?

The conduct of such public figures are constantly over-judged by the paparazzi that watches their every move. I would imagine the Hollywood paparazzi are not keeping a watchful eye on this sad state of affairs in the best interests of the children. They are simply looking for a story; plain and simple. They are not interested how they present the story. The terms they use to sell their stories are irrelevant to them. They just want to get their stories out there.

“No amount of money takes away the pain of being an alienated parent.”

However this appears to be a very public and personal battle by Pitt to simply have a relationship with his children. I would imagine there are individuals out there that would put forward the argument that at least Pitt as the financial resources to take this matter to court. My response to this would be, yes he is fortunate enough to be able to afford to take this to court. However, regardless of income, should a parent have to pay extortionate amounts of money in what is essentially a battle to have a relationship with their children? Another point of mine would be that I would imagine no amount of money takes away the pain of being an alienated parent.

“What if the public were made more aware of parental alienation due to the reporting of this story?”

While writing this article I continued to struggle with the misrepresentation of this case by reporters and there misuse of various terms. If only they were more well informed about parental alienation and the harm that it does. If only something positive came from this tragic story; what if the public were made more aware of parental alienation due to the reporting of this story?

This point continued to play on my mind while attempting to bring this article to a close. So I had a more in depth search online regarding this story.

I came across an article online by People Movies. Their headline rather frustratingly included the term custody case! The article then begins with the term custody battle! Just as I was about to carry on searching elsewhere I came across the following content in the article:

Family law attorney David Glass, who is not associated with the case, tells PEOPLE that it “is extremely rare” to see a court intervene in this way, though they typically do so after extensive evaluation and to prevent children from being alienated from one parent.

David Glass then goes on to talk about the difference between estrangement and alienation. Although he does not use the term parental alienation he does use the term alienation cases.

David Glass’ input on the article ends with the following statement “the schedule worked out by the court is the typical post-alienation reunification schedule.”

The question for me still remains; why the lack of public discussion of parental alienation?

btg dad


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7 replies »

  1. My son and I are victims of parental alienation. My situation is the reverse of how it is commonly seen. My son’s father was the noncustodial parent and he has been grooming my son to work against me (formerly custodial). The legal system failed. The judge gave no reason as to why I was not allowed to show the mounds of evidence I had to support the parental alienation. I am now noncustodial, my abusive exhusband is custodial. No one understands. Parental alienation is not given enough attention. It is real.

    • As much as I may not have a solution for, I do wholeheartedly appreciate the tine you have taken to show support for the complety misunderstood form of abuse that is parental alienation. Pls feel free to engage as much as you can.

  2. Excellent question! My own view is that the term “Parental Alienation”, in the mind of the general public, is virtually synonymous with “estrangement”. As such, there is unfortunately a leaning toward assuming that there is some reasonable justification for such action. Moreover, probing to find out the precise reason strikes everyone as a risky invasion of private matters, so most people don’t go there. This case shows how nobody really knows whether there is any validity to the accusations of domestic violence, resulting in nobody really knowing whether this is estrangement or alienation.The precise definition of parental alienation is lacking. Of course it should be known that one parent alienating the other parent is GRIEVOUS psychological abuse of the child AND the other parent that is PERMANENT. Heat of the moment lapses in composure and mild physical transgressions would need to become routine to achieve anything like the same damage.