I was inspired to write this article following my own reading of Dr Childress’ latest blog entitled The Door of Empathy.
In this article of his, Childress explores the behaviour that an alienated child expresses when required simply to survive. In further understanding this, the targeted parent is more able to understand the importance of empathy and provide it for the child.
However, as Childress states:
“…not empathy for the pathology. The pathology is a delusion…instead…a resonant empathy for the authentic child alive beneath the pathology. An empathy that draws forth this authentic child, because we, through our empathy, we see the authentic child – and the child sees their own self-authenticity reflected in our empathy.(Childress, 2019)
Childress goes on to discuss the importance of emotional self-regulation for a targeted parent in displaying empathy for the deluded child.
It is this last point that prompted me to reflect on my numerous misadventures with the evil that is parental alienation over the last thirty months.
In particular, it prompted me to reflect on the unreasonable expectations placed on targeted parents by the various stakeholders and professionals within the family justice system.
Targeted parents start their navigation through the family justice system already at an incredibly disadvantaged position. In addition to this, they are expected to have and show the patience of a Saint, the virtues of Aristotle, the mental strength of a mighty warrior and the financial resources of a millionaire.
And what do the various professionals expect of the alienating parent, who holds all the cards? In my experience: very little. Below are some anecdotal examples of what several professionals have expected of the alienator and I – the targeted parent – over the last thirty months.
Cafcass identified in their very first Case Analysis that the other (resident) parent was identified as exposing the children to emotional harm:
“being of the utmost importance that this identification of such emotional harm is not allowed to let slide along as the children will continue to come to more emotional harm.”(Cafcass, 2016)
It was in the following year that, despite claims to the contrary, Cafcass clearly allowed my case to slide along. So, I put in a complaint against them in regards to what I perceived as their mismanagement of my case, and failure to safeguard my children from emotional harm. The response to my complaint was a telephone call from a Cafcass Service Manager, which I fortunately managed to record. The manager informed me, in a somewhat blasé manner, that “it’s difficult to know what to do when the damage has already been done” [to the children]. A remarkable, yet open statement of incompetence. And yet, nothing came of my complaint.
My ongoing concerns were further exacerbated by the following alarming statement of fact from another member of management within Cafcass: “Yes, I agree, btg-dad, this system is flawed.” I was also fortunate enough to take an audio recording of this telephone conversation. I can only suggest the manager made a Freudian slip during the challenging questions I posed to him.
Several months later into the case I encountered a social worker employed by the local Children’s Services. When I made a statement that the long-term aim for my children was to co-parent on a 50/50 basis with the other parent, she assertively replied “that’s an unreasonable expectation.” I queried her arguably biased, dismissive response, only to be told, “that is how it is!”
A District Judge once ordered the other parent to present me in a positive light in the eyes of the children, with immediate effect. She has never done this and continues to disobey his direction. Despite being aware, the Judge has taken no further action.
The structure of the family justice system does not permit complaints against judges. I have wondered on numerous occasions of sending my story to the press, be it local or national. However, disclosing any details of the case would place me in contempt of court. Ironic, and tragic.
At the risk of appearing naive, one would expect higher morals of such professionals, particularly those who work in the family court.
How is it that so many professionals within a flawed system are allowed to make such reckless decisions regarding these vulnerable children that are dragged through courts?
The following statistics show clear evidence of the family justice system that continues to fail in its remit to provide the best outcome for children, post-separation:
- 96% of all child arrangements order applications are made by fathers (University of Warwick, UK).
- 97% of residencies are given to mothers (University of East Anglia, UK).
- 50% of court orders are broken (University of East Anglia, UK).
- Just 1.2% of applications for enforcement of court orders are successful (Ministry of Justice, UK).
My only attempt at an explanation for the way system currently works – or doesn’t work – is the proverb of the Three Wise Monkeys. The image and proverb used in Western culture to refer to a lack of moral responsibility on the part of people who refuse to observe standards of honesty or integrity. People that simply look the other way, or feign ignorance.
I have no other explanation for the complete lack of moral fibre these people have.
“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Origin of proverb unknown.
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