Parental Alienation Syndrome
False Allegations of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
This page was last updated on Saturday, July 06, 2013
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a collection of behaviors where one parent turns a child against the other parent. So when one parent deprives their child of a healthy relationship with the other parent, the child may experience chronic psychological distress leading to the deterioration of the parental relationship. Since distress can affect physical health, health care professionals must not overlook the possibility that the child has been subjected to abuse by the custodial parent.
Blocking or Inhibiting contact with the children - The custodial parent discourages and blocks the child’s contact with the other parent. The most heinous word in family law is 'visitation'. With this word, the non custodial parent and his (or her) children become mutual guests under the oversight of the custodial parent and the courts. Only a parent can imbue certain intangible qualities to the children. That is why children benefit most when their parents work and act together, rather than two biological parents in conflict acting separately. This is the well-known phenomenon of synergism where the sum of the efforts of persons working together is greater than the sum of each person working alone. Some people call this teamwork but it is really a result of synergism.
Berating the other parent in the presence of children - Comments such as, 'your mother is no-good' or 'your father has abandoned us' are degrading to the child who respect the parent. What the controlling parent is saying to the child is that their feelings toward the other parent are wrong. The controlling parent's intent is to berate and change the child's view of the other parent. This conflict between the controlling parent's demands and what the child knows and believes can lead to later conflicts in the child's life.
Threatening children with withdrawal of home, love, and support - J. Michael Bone and Michael R. Walsh came up with a simple statement. "My way or the highway." That says it all. What the controlling parent is saying is that the child must think the way I do, believe as I do, and feel as I do or else! The 'else' word is a threat.
Teaching or forcing the child to fear or reject the other parent - The most prevalent tactic is coercion. Through repetition, the controlling parent relates false accounts of abuse by the other parent. When repeated, this deception can become accepted fact that replaces the child’s own true experiences - my way or no way. This tactic is not acceptable. A similar tactic is that the instigator tells a child that they cannot have contact with the innocent parent unless the child admits that he or she abused them. This is a guaranteed losing strategy for the child and the innocent parents. So when the child is forced to admit that abuse occurred, then the child cannot have any more contact and this is Catch-22, or my way or no way. The following is an excerpt from Susan Kelly's abusive interrogation of a child.
Massachusetts vs. Lefave
There are so many examples in the evidence in this case of the improper procedures that it would take many, many days for me to go through them. But I have one example in particular that I wish to read for the record because it shows the unfortunate procedures that were done here, also related to the photographs that were ultimately admitted, or, not admitted but referred to by the Postal Inspector in the case. Pictures that were denied by the children consistently from the beginning.
For example, the question by Miss Kelley:
And it's inaudible.
"Did someone else take your picture?"
She shakes her head, "No."
"Did anyone ever take your picture?"
"No one ever, ever, ever took your picture?"
"What about your Mummy, did she ever take your picture?"
On and on; refusing to take 'no' for an answer and it's only one example of the overwhelming evidence in this case of how investigators, however well intentioned, just would not take no, and overwhelmed these kids. And it ultimately led to trial testimony about photographs from each of these kids and the admission of the testimony of a Postal Inspector.
So, the errors were grievous.
- Borenstein, Judge -
This was part of the evidence in the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Cheryl Amirault Lefave. Lefave, and her mother Violet and brother Gerald were convicted of child molestation at their family operated daycare center in the 1980's. The daycare center operated for some 18 years without any accusations and the Commonwealth presented no medical evidence that the children were abused or molested.
What had occurred were the children who made the accusations were subjected to suggestive and coercive questioning by police and other professionals? They repeated such interrogations until the child responded with the answer the interrogator wanted to hear. In other words, the prosecution’s investigators tortured these preschool children. The Attorneys for the defendants tried to reopen the case and overturn the convictions. Judge Bernstein ruled in favor of a new trial. However, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts overturned his ruling citing that the new evidence was discoverable at the time of the original trials (it was not). This court also said that the State had a compelling interest in maintaining "the finality of verdict doctrine," thus maintaining a presumption although it is false. So if evidence were discoverable, the state had to reveal it (ESN).
False Allegations of Abuse
The problem is that many courts ignore false allegations against fathers and men. False allegations of domestic violence and child abuse are common in family law proceedings and the person making the allegation (predominately female) far too often succeeds. This is a low risk tactic because the courts rarely hold false accusers accountable for their conduct. I have found that mediators, social workers, police and probation officers extensively quote the accuser while deliberately fabricating statements and then attributing them to their spouse or partner. The issue is that one spouse wants to control the other through child custody and the money and the property they gain to receive. A key factor in Parental Alienation Syndrome is that the controlling party is incapable of being truthful about their partner.
A false accusation can give an abusive woman exclusive control of the children, the property, a nearly insurmountable advantage in the legal system. Our courts often treat innocent males as the guilty party and do not require proof that an accusation be true. False allegations of abuse, though recanted can devastatingly affect the victim and the children. This can cause permanent physical, emotional, and economic effects. The problem is that the courts are part of the problem and not the solution.
With a stroke of a pen, a female can get her spouse out of her life and assure herself of control of the children. That power extends to her control of her husband, his earnings, and his property since the lawmakers have structured the support laws to account for household income rather than the former ex-husband’s income alone. So sharing a home only increases the amount that he has to pay.
The law has exacerbated this problem in states having high child support guidelines, high wages, and high cost of living. Higher wages bring higher tax rates yet most payers of child support cannot claim children as dependents. Moving to other states that have a lower cost of living is not an option for non custodial parents because court ordered child support payments remain unchanged. Worse, moving to another region with a lower cost of living may trigger a court review that increases child support payments.
However, custodial parents can often improve their living standard by moving to states or regions that have a lower cost of living. This means that they can still collect the same court ordered tax-free child support payments. More over, the courts often base child support payments on how much contact that the non custodial parent has with their child (or children). So false accusations and moving away are additional tactics that have exacted larger child support payments.
Computers do these calculations now. In turn, the network connects these computers to banks and other financial institutions. This means that an official can automatically transfer funds from a payer’s account and temporarily keep them in an interest-bearing account before they send the money to the recipient (payee). So these agencies and the courts that are using computers this way, are skimming money from the payer and cheating the payee.
Deterioration of the Parental Relationship
Far too often parents fail to agree in advance on issues about raising children. When spouses fail to agree or plan for a maturing relationship where roles and responsibilities change. When parents are in conflict about these issues, then Parental Alienation Syndrome can come to the forefront.
The public behavior of an abusive parent or spouse can be friendly but their private behavior is often quite different. Abusive parents and spouses use fear and reprisal to get their way. This means that this parent will place their interest in control rather than sharing responsibility, so the child’s welfare is left between a threatening and a caring parent.
When a young child has not had contact with the other parent for some time, they can be tentative and shy. None-the-less, shyness is one matter but fear is another matter. In a fear-based environment, the alienating parent attempts to demolish the child's sense of self-worth such that the child becomes a possession and not a growing living person. It does not take much thought to become a biological father or mother. Nevertheless, when mom and dad work together, their children flourish with abundance that comes from working together in parental synergism.
The motivations behind Parental Alienation Syndrome and contriving false allegations of child abuse, child molestation, and spousal abuse are nearly identical. Telling a child "my way or the highway" or telling a husband "I'll fix you" is wrong and clearly illustrates selfish, abhorrent, and threatening behavior. These behaviors have no place in the home.
A syndrome does not become a disorder by some arbitrary process
The National Organization for Women (NOW) has objected to the existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome because woman are usually the alienators. I have recently received a report that fifty mental health experts from ten nations are a part of a larger effort to authenticate Parental Alienation Disorder (PAS). The decision is based upon the major symptoms, the indicators that are essential to the diagnosis, and the minor findings that may or may not be present. So a formal description may specify the minimum number of major and minor findings required for the diagnosis. This means that persons exhibiting a particular syndrome have symptoms and behaviors that occur more frequently than what random chance would expect. Accordingly, others tried to add Parental Alienation Disorder to the 2012 Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Parental Alienation Syndrome is not a mental disorder. It is plan to alienate children from their father and this is where we figuratively cross the Rubicon.
The Reality of Parental Alienation Syndrome - House Concurrent Resolution 182, October 30, 1997
Before I begin, I want to explain what a concurrent resolution is and how it works. A concurrent resolution is much like a personal New Years resolution for there is no punishment for failure. It must be passed by both houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate but not presented to the President for approval or veto. So it does not have the force of law.
Years ago, March 13, 2002, I read House Concurrent Resolution 182 by Ms. Constance A. Morella of Maryland. According to the best information, twelve other representatives sponsored this resolution that Morella submitted to the House of Representatives (105th Congress, 1st Session) on October 30, 1997. Later, Mr. Davis of Virginia removed his support as cosponsor of the resolution.
The most common definition of a lie is that it is an assertion that is untrue and uttered with the intent to deceive. A lie is also the omission of some fact that is designed to deceive or mislead another in believing that something was so when, in fact, it was not. The elements of omission and deception are not exclusionary for lies can, and often do, consist of omission and deception.
Ms. Morella's House Concurrent Resolution 182 is a factual falsehood and an expression of her own view of herself (in her use of the imperial ‘whereas’, as that of an Empress). A copy of this resolution is on the Internet at http://thomas.loc.gov/. If available, please use this link to view the official copy. A copy of the HTML text version of House Concurrent Resolution 182 appears below without the navigation tags for they are not a part of the resolution’s text.
H. CON. RES. 182
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 30, 1997
Whereas domestic violence has serious detrimental effects on children, even when they do not directly witness such violence;
Whereas courts still hold women to higher standards of conduct than they do men;
Whereas gender bias still exists within the courts, particularly those making and affecting child custody determinations;
Whereas gender bias has long existed and still exists within the mental health system;
Whereas, as a result of this gender bias, many myths are that women make false allegations of domestic violence or child abuse, and most particularly of child sexual abuse, during divorce and custody proceedings;
Whereas false accusations by women are in fact rare, occurring no more often than do other false reports of crimes, such as bank robbery;
Whereas the myth that women make false accusations is so widely believed that many child protective service agents have policies of not bothering to investigate such allegations when made during the pendency (pending litigation) of divorce or custody proceedings or only superficially investigate such allegations;
Whereas there are many myths that fathers are discriminated against in custody proceedings, even though studies show that fathers fighting for custody actually win sole custody or joint custody in 40 to 70 percent of these disputes;
Whereas the American Psychological Association's Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family has found in a 1996 Presidential Report that Congress views as authoritative on questions of domestic violence, child abuse, and custody determination that--
(1) fathers who abuse their children's mothers are more likely to dispute custody and visitation than are fathers who are not violent;
(2) there is no reliable data to support the phenomenon of `parental alienation' syndrome, although courts and custody evaluators frequently use that term and other inappropriate terms to discount the children's fear in hostile and psychologically abusive situations; and
(3) psychological evaluators not trained in domestic violence ignore or minimize the violence and give inappropriate pathological labels to women's responses to chronic victimization, including `parental alienation' to blame mothers for their children's reasonable fear or anger toward their violent fathers.
Whereas many courts and professionals use the baseless parental alienation syndrome to force mothers into joint or shared parenting arrangements or to give custody to fathers, especially when mothers try to protect themselves or their children from men who abuse them or their children. Whereas almost every custody evaluator or judge recognizes how important familiar routines and objects are to a child, particularly in times of stress, but often fails to recognize the importance for the child of maintaining its living arrangement with the child's primary caretaker parent.
Whereas Congress never intended that the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act be used to (1) to encourage forcing shared parenting arrangements when it is not in the child's best interest; (2) to prohibit an abused or protective parent from protecting themselves or their child; (3) as a tool to punish a parent, without regard for the needs of the child, by removing physical custody of a child from a fit abused or protective parent; or (4) as a tool to punish abused or protective parents who act to protect themselves or their children;
Whereas when there is domestic or family violence or major discord between the parents, shared parenting arrangements, couples counseling, or mediation arrangements only exacerbate the difficulties of the children and give the abusive parent more tools with which to victimize the other members of the family;
Whereas children who grow up not seeing abusive parents clearly held accountable for their abuse are reinforced in believing that domestic and family violence are socially acceptable and effective means of behavior; and
Whereas every State has legislation or judicial decisions that base its custody determinations on what is in the best interests of the child: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that -
(1) for purposes of determining child custody, it is in the best interest of children to have a presumption that children should have their main physical residence with their primary caretaker parent unless that parent is unfit;
(2) for purposes of determining child custody, it is not in the best interest of children to (A) force parents to share custody over the objection of one or both parents or when there is a history of domestic or family violence; (B) punish abused or protective parents who protect themselves or their children; (C) presume that allegations of domestic and family violence are likely to be made falsely or for tactical advantage during custody and divorce proceedings; and (D) make `friendly parent' provisions a factor when there is abuse by one parent against the other or a child;
(3) child abuse and child sexual abuse allegations should be fully and impartially investigated regardless of when they are raised or whether the child has recanted the allegation;
(4) States should be far more protective of victims of domestic and family violence in custody and visitation determinations and not order mediation, couples counseling, shared custody, mutual orders of protection, unsupervised visitation, or other measures when they may endanger victims of domestic and family violence;
(5) States should provide training in domestic violence and child abuse, as they impact custody, child support and visitation determinations, to all professionals who interact with children and parents (including judges, attorneys, guardians ad litem, therapists, mental health professionals, custody evaluators, child protective services personnel, and court appointed special advocates).
Practicalities and Extortion
A resolution does not have the force of law. However, this resolution reveals the lies of the male hating anti-feminist movement lead by pernicious women and their servile followers. Authoritarian regimes throughout history have used this technique and they will continue to use it to enslave others and take credit for their achievements. It is much like a bully stealing another person’s jacket and bragging about what they did. This is the surest sign of their guilt. This is issue is about cash, the tax-free kind, where the payer of child support pays the taxes but cannot claim dependency or a deduction. It about the recipient of child support who pays no taxes on that money and still receives a tax deduction while the mother holds his visitation rights hostage.
According to reports, applied knowledge and research on Parental Alienation Syndrome in the United Kingdom is not at the level that is acceptable to the legal considerations. Moreover, some believe that this syndrome does not exist and that is why this behavior does not compel moral action in the United Kingdom. Many legal systems require that the views and wishes of the child must be considered and that is the problem. It presents several undesirable alternatives where a child is forced to choose, when this choice is not theirs to make, nor should it be.
This is why distress often leads to the deterioration of the parental relationship. Since it can affect physical health, health care professionals must not overlook the possibility that the child has been or is being subjected to these abuses by the custodial parent. Now imagine this, the estranged parent helps his child with some school work and then after that they spend time together on a pleasant outing. Yet when the child returns home, all havoc breaks out as the unfit parent treats the child as a possession. That is when alienation becomes cruelty.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is not a disorder. It is a group of behaviors where one parent turns a child against the other parent. So the child reacts in a conditioned response. Once others take sides, they have abandoned the best interests of the child. So the issue is not who is the better parent, in the United States, it is all about money, the tax-free, garnished kind. This phenomenon includes parents, relatives, and family friends. The problem is that once they take sides, they have abandoned the interests of the child who then becomes a mere possession and not a person. This reminds me of the biblical passage from ‘I Kings 3:26'.
A Conditioned Response
During the 1900's, Ivan Pavlov proved that dogs can become conditioned to respond to different stimuli. Normally a dog’s mouth would water when the animal smelled food but Pavlov rang the bell each time he was to give food to the dog. Eventually the dog salivated whenever Pavlov rang the bell and researchers know this as a conditioned response. Later (about 1913), John B. Watson, an American psychologist, proved that we could condition children in a similar way. He used a metal bar and a furry animal toy. Each time a child touched the toy, he would strike the metal bar that frightened the child. After a while, the child would become frightened by the mere sight of the toy animal. This led Watson to believe that if anyone could control a child’s environment, then they can invoke a particular response in a child, at will.
Edward Steven Nunes
End Notes and References
Bone, J. Michael and Walsh,
"Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect It and What to Do About It,"
The Florida Bar Journal, Vol. 73, No. 3, March 1999, p 44-48.
Burrill, Janelle, "Parental
Alienation Syndrome in Court Referred Custody Cases."
Ward, Peggy and Harvey, J. Campbell "Family Wars - Parental Alienation Syndrome - Composite Case from Actual Experiences."
False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse.
False Allegations and Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.