I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One Out Of Four Children Involved In A Divorce Undergoes Parental Alienation Syndrome

ScienceDaily (Jan. 23, 2008) — One out of four children involved in a divorce and custody litigation undergoes the so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), consisting of the manipulation of children by the custodial parent, who incessantly tries to turn them against the other parent by arousing in them feelings of hatred and contempt for the target parent, as explained in the book Marital Conflicts, Divorce, and Children’s Development by professors José Cantón Duarte, Mª Rosario Cortés Arboleda, and Mª Dolores Justicia Díaz, from the Department of Evolutionary and Educational Psychology of the University of Granada.

In the 1980’s, PAS was defined by scientist Richard Gardner of Columbia University. Men are usually the target parent, since in most cases the mother has custody of the child.

According to Mª Rosario Cortés, “the so-called alienating parent is the one who has custody and uses it to brainwash the child, turning him or her against the alienated parent”. In most cases, the process is very subtle the custodial parent stating such things as “if I just told you some more things about your father/mother…”, or by making the child feel sorry for “abandoning” every time he or she visits the alienated parent.

As pointed out by the group of researchers of the University of Granada, there are many other factors which influence PAS apart from the unacceptable attitude of the custodial parent, such as children’s psychological vulnerability, the character and behaviour of parents, dynamics among brothers, or the existing conflicts between the two divorced parents. Very often children not only reject their father, but also his

family and close friends. Grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and the new partner of the non-custodial parent are also affected by this syndrome, and children undergoing PAS can even “expel them from their life.”


Among other symptoms, Professor Cortés points out that children tend to find continual justifications for the alienating parent’s attitude. They denigrate the target parent, relate negative feelings unambivalently towards that parent, deny being influenced by anyone (pleading responsibility for their attitude), feel no guilt for denigrating the alienated parent, or recount events which were not experienced but rather came from listening to others.

The authors of Marital Conflicts, Divorce, and Children’s Development, which was first published in Spanish in 2000 and is coming soon in a new updated edition, state that PAS is more frequent among children aged 9 to 12 than among teenagers, and that there are no relevant gender differences in PAS.

According to Mª Rosario Cortés, the Parental Alienation Syndrome occurs most frequently in cases where parents are involved in divorce litigation, while it is not usual when the decision to seek divorce is mutual. The professor of the UGR underlines that in every case of PAS, “the family must be provided with a family-mediation programme for equal treatment of all members affected by this problem, which is increasingly more frequent.”

Adapted from materials provided by Universidad de Granada http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122110040.htm

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chapter 100 ~ Parental Relationships & Parenting 101

I learned recently from a relative of the ex that her Mother died sometime in 2007. I always got along OK with her Mother and when I talked to her last she couldn't understand what was going on in her daughter's head about taking off. They were estranged for most of the ex's adult life and seldom saw each other. The ex's personal history document indicates there was no closeness when she was younger as well lamenting about how her Mother wanted the ex to be her friend rather than be the Mother. The same scenario is now being acted out only this time it is the ex wanting to be the friend to Piegi, my 12 year old, rather than be a Mother. Piegi is the most alienated of the girls and the ex has to placate her or the game is over for her if Piegi doesn't get her way, thusly, my 12 year old wields a great deal of power.

As it turns out the ex didn't go to her Mother's funeral. That is a bit of a surprise as I brought the subject up last spring when I discovered her Mom was ill. I suggested she go down and visit, given the prognosis wasn't good and I would look after the girls. I explained I would need very little notice given the circumstances. She didn't go to visit her Mom even though she knew the illness was likely terminal. Evelyn, her mom, was at Ross Memorial Hospital, in Lindsay, Ontario at the time so it was within a 7 hour drive. She could have taken the bus or gotten one of her female friend(s) to help out with transportation I'm sure. She puts a lot of stock in her association with the females in the support groups so surely someone could have helped with transportation. I even offered to do it over a weekend and the girls could go with us. There was no reasonable excuse for her to not attend.

What kind of person doesn't attend the hospital when her mother is terminally ill? What kind of person doesn't attend her mother's funeral? This is the same person who didn't attend her oldest brother's or father's funerals. What kind of dysfunctions does this display within a family? Her oldest brother and father may well have been directly involved in the incestuous molestations she suffered over a 7 year period from age 7-14 so one can understand she would have no interest in going to their funeral yet she also has written as recently as 2003 about how she missed her father during her personal crises' and was sorry she didn't make any contribution to even getting him a grave marker. What kinds of social impairments would have been present, with the knowledge of the family, when the ex's mother, the ex and her brother do not even get the father a grave marker? This is the person the family court has entrusted with my children and has shunted me aside whenever I brought forth a motion for changing custody. Indeed her lawyer even convinced a judge my motions were frivolous! Such is the state of family law and justice in this jurisdiction. The ex gladly took any money from her mother's estate but she didn't care one iota about paying any respects. What makes a person like this "tick"?

She has stated she has "moved on". How can anyone possibly think they have "moved on" when they have left so much detritus in their wake? How can someone who still carries around her own childhood baggage and major parental/family/male (misandry) emotional complexities in the quantum she has possibly be fit to raise two children as the courts have deemed, even if only temporary? No one can "move on" in an appropriate manner with this kind of debris floating around in their head confusing the thought process without, heaven forbid, even including any consideration of the 4 mental health disorders she has written about that are layered onto her traumatic upbringing in that family environment. My observations of her behaviour, especially having been victim to it over and over and over (I am not a masochist but can be patient to a fault coupled with being an optimist hoping things will change) are consistent with her own diagnosis. For diagnostic criteria from the world standard DSM-IV and others relative to Aspergers Disorder (syndrome) click here. In section "A" I have seen all four behaviours from time to time. She never hugged her children until Peigi was 7, she didn't hold out her arms to receive Peigi when she was born, eye to eye contact is difficult for her, she has no empathy for others, she does not understand what impact her criminal and other behaviour has on others. Even now if she looks you directly in the eye to try and overcome her problems she may stare at you longer than normal, sometimes not even blinking, making you feel uncomfortable because she does not have any natural cues as to when it is appropriate to avert her gaze, hugging the children is a learned ritual rather than an activity based on "feelings" of warmth or affection in the same manner as taking your just born child in your arms out of love. She does not feel these emotions in the same manner we do or know naturally how to express it with her body.

Given these diagnostic criteria are for use by professionals one has to be careful with the information as it is not a recipe book, but I have over 30 years hands on, up close and personal experience of careful and systematic observational/experiential, empirically derived information stored in my head and consider myself well qualified to agree with her own conclusions. I come from the John Locke school of learning . "Locke held that our understanding of reality ultimately derives from what we have experienced through the senses." Asperger's is only one of the four she has written about with some being hereditary found in her genealogical research but it is the most pronounced and complex in her (and others including me) daily life. Her belief she is perfect comes from the Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) "that is characterized by a general psychological inflexibility, rigid conformity to rules and procedures, perfectionism, moral code, and/or excessive orderliness." The moral code one is a puzzler to me. She has no apparent moral compass but she is "born again" but I can't quite get the relationship. She does have the other disorders and I believe there may be dissonance caused by competition between disorders. The DSM-IV indicates there must be a certain number of symptoms present, not necessarily all of them, in order to obtain a diagnosis.

The orderliness also manifests itself in such activities as packing items in boxes or elsewhere. She is one of the best organizers of things I have ever seen whether it be in closets, cupboards, boxes, etc. One of the reasons I suggested back in 1994 she look at managing a Mail Boxes Etc. Franchise was her capabilities at packing. She is the best. Packing and shipping was one of the big profit centres at those locations. She is also incredibly inflexible (her mother used to describe it as stubborness) and despite my offer to give her all the assets to try and help our children she can't deal with it. She has her lady friend, and possibly other sexual partners, and doesn't want to change. I even made an offer that included her keeping her partner but she hates me so much it couldn't penetrate her mind and create flexibility. Yet she cannot take stress and it creates further havoc in her thinking process and behaviour. She walks out on the children when they are beating each other up - or rather the much bigger and stronger Peigi - is pummeling her much smaller and lighter sister causing bruises on her back as one of the more recent serious instances of child neglect. See the incident below where her Asperger's (it is a less severe form of autism at the high end of the autistic spectrum) kicks in and her social awkwardness coupled with a low tolerance for stress won't allow her to answer a phone or door because she knows there is the potential for having to deal with her child's behaviour which, in her mind, might have been problematic.

She has had a tragic life and despite my obvious dislike of her behaviour therein also lies the reason why I am periodically empathetic toward her and would take counselling to see if any wounds could be healed. I have an honest belief she, in many respects, cannot help her behaviour combined with the knowledge her thought process can lead her to be a cold, calculating, crafty, clever, cunning, highly intelligent foe. Unlike me the ex's mental health prevents empathy or in the words of the DSM-IV Criteria "A) 4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity". I believe it to be an understatement that my life and feelings toward this woman I had spent more than half my existence in a relationship with are complex. I still have to spend the rest of my days as a co-parent and that worries and frightens me, for the children's sake, a great deal. One of the reasons is as follows but it is typical of her behaviour and goes on frequently according to stories making the rounds in her neighbourhood. All I can do is shake my head with worry and agree with the speaker that not all is right in her thinking process and conduct.

I got an earful from the mother of one of Delia's friends last weekend about a recent incident where parental responsibility took a back seat to cowardice by the ex. Keep in mind her mental health disorders explained above. Over the Christmas holiday Delia was staying overnight at a friends house one street over from the ex. My nine year old and her friend got in an argument, as children periodically do, sometime just before 10:30 pm on this night and Delia left, ostensibly to go home. The supervising mother of Delia's friend found out a short time later when her daughter told her Delia had left the house. She was worried as she was responsible and called the ex. The ex would not answer her phone. This has also happened to me many times as well and increases a persons worry quotient more. The ex knows who is calling as she has caller ID. The ID would have showed it was Delia's friend's home phone calling. If Delia was present with her she would also have known why the call was coming in. The worried mom then went to the ex's house and knocked on the door but the ex would not answer. The worried mom was frantic as she did not know with certainty if the ex was home or of Delia's whereabouts. She should have called the Police. I certainly would have. How can someone be that irresponsible and cowardly? The ex runs from pressure or chooses to not deal with it frequently and in this case as with others in the past it is to the detriment of the children and concomitantly with their relationships with friends. Delia does have relationship difficulties but does not get appropriate and timely guidance from the ex on the correct way to deal with her conflicts. I make attempts to offer help but Delia will often retort it is none of my business as she did over the weekend when I found out about it. Once she gets into this frame of mind I cannot get through to her. The ex, over time, has convinced the children it is none of my business. The ex's behaviour only serves to exacerbate the relationships as other parents have second thoughts about their children being friends with my nine year old.

We also saw Peigi at the mall on Friday night with friends. She hasn't wanted to see me since October with the exception of Christmas when she came to get her gifts. I smiled at her and said hello. Her response was a "smart-alecky" did you stare enough" as she kept on walking with her friends. We saw her a little later near the movie theaters where it appeared the father of one of the girl's was picking them up but when she saw Delia she had a look of hatred on her face and gave her the middle finger salute. Delia called her a loser. Their sibling rivalry issues don't appear to be mending at all despite the ex's assurances she "now knows what to do." Click here to see Chapter 89 for the history of this statement. I remain a worried Dad on a daily basis.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chapter 98 ~ A note on Cardio Vascular Exercise – one of my therapies - (and letters to legal firms)

I've been meaning to go and check out new jogging shoes in the last while and finally got into the local "Sportscheck" on Sunday after dropping off Delia from our skating session. My Nike Air Max's are getting older but still have life left in them. I had intended to buy Nikes which I've used forever and lost track of the quality and innovation by other manufacturers.

The store staff were steering me toward Asics (I couldn't even pronounce their name – although I had seen their ads and read about athletes who used them when I subscribed to "Runners World Magazine" back in the 70's.) I was a keener and even had a written Runners World daily diary. Bill Rodgers was one of my heroes who could win the Boston Marathon with a sub 5 minute pace. How was this possible I wondered? He is about I year younger than me. Canadians shouldn't have any trouble because the store staff said it is pronounced AAAAAYsics rather than AHsics. In any event they had a pair of 2110 full Gel versions on at half price. I tried them on and they felt great – light as a feather compared to my Nikes and very flexible. I was troubled though about such a bold switch with a brand whose name I only just learned to pronounce and pondered a pair of Nike Air Max's, also on sale. They felt heavier but sturdy consistent with my past and current experience.

It just so happened that one of my customers, who also happens to be a very fit fitness instructor – and looks the part - was in the sports store with a male companion who was looking for a model of Asics I new nothing about. They overheard my conversation with store staff and reinforced everything I was being told about Asics. Given they actually used them in their fitness business I was convinced I should take advantage of the half price sale and bought a pair.

Now here's the thing! I use my daily treadmill workout to get back in shape as an intrinsic personal goal and as part of my therapy process for the divorce and the upcoming civil action against the ex and other named parties. It works and I'm in good cardio-vascular condition while losing weight. I can easily outrun my 12 and nine year old daughters and their friends. The weight loss is extremely satisfying and I'm looking better than several months back. I recall my Mom saying back in the early 70's I was starting to lose my looks when I, for the first time, ballooned up to 180 lbs. I took a good look at some photos of before and current and had to agree with her. My face was pudgier. I went on what Dr. Atkins then called his high protein diet and quickly lost 20 lbs. He would eventually write a bigger book and the low carb movement was born. The real challenge, as it always is, was to keep it off and so in 1977 I started serious jogging. I still remember my first night out in Severn Bridge, Ontario in the deep cold of winter doing my first half mile and felt like I was going to drop from exhaustion. The ex and I had moved in together in the fall of 1977 after building a house. I was still at a good weight then but knew I had to work on my cardio-vascular system. Each successive day after that though I could go a slightly further distance until I was doing 10 KM's on some days in the early 90's. That is how I succeeded in getting to the 10k distance by very small increments measured over time as goals achieved. I could reward myself to reinforce reaching my objectives.

Then word of the ex's criminal activities arrived in 1994 and my world fell apart and so did my desire to excel. I carried on after that intermittently but my soul was crushed and I eventually succumbed to a darker force that was taking me into an abyss I would not start climbing from until 2003. It was a terrible time although I never felt depressed but certainly sadness was present. I was gradually losing my emotional attachment to the ex until I had divorced her emotionally in 2002-2003. After 2003 I seldom even spoke to her unless it involved the children's well being or was a special day such as the Children's birthdays or Christmas. We were shadows passing in the night, day, morning, and evening - 24/7. Even then I was only starting to take baby steps – but steps back to self directed behaviour never-the-less.

I've used the Asics 2110's for two days now. Yesterday I did 2.83 miles which is at the high end for my 30 minute workouts. My goal is 2.7 miles as a base line. My previous best before that was 2.86 miles but this distance was the exception rather than the rule. I felt winded at the end of the workout but I did not do anything different other than wear the shoes. This distance was excellent in terms of my efforts and previous accomplishments. The shoes are definitely lighter and seem to create less friction on the treadmill mat allowing it to travel at a higher average speed. The support system also seems to be superior – kind of like built in orthotics but I'll give this a little time to see if it holds up. This morning, however, was interesting as hell. I did 2.93 miles (4.7 KM's.) and felt winded as on Monday but good at the accomplishment. My body will adapt to this greater speed overall if I can maintain it. For me, at my stage of this exercise regime, that is monumental. For those of you who are veterans of course it is nothing but for a 61 year old man who has only gotten back into it over the past 6 months that is closing in on a 10 minute per mile pace. My goal was to be at that pace by years end and then gradually improve time and distance to one day achieve a life long goal and run a marathon. A ten minute pace for a marathon is about a 4.4 hour duration. I'd be happy with that in my first race but that is down the road in a couple of years in all probability. It is something good to shoot for over the longer term. I think the feeling of just finishing a Marathon will be pretty nice. I know the best feelings I've ever experienced were the births of my 4 daughters and another one was getting accepted into university. I still remember the day well. The Marathon will be somewhere below my absolute emotional high points when my four princesses of Ireland were born but rank highly with my acceptance into University and graduation from Wilfrid Laurier University. Why was acceptance into university so good, you are asking perhaps? I was from a poor working class family where the notion of post secondary education was never discussed because it was not on any one's radar. My father made good money but he was an alcoholic and drank most of it away every night of the week. We were left with little. Perhaps it will be like the feeling of watching my first born daughter gleaming after she got her degree from the University of Western Ontario. That was a hell of a grand day - I was lustrous and beaming with pride as well given my own very humble roots.

I am pleased with the shoes so far but time will tell. (I do not own shares or even know where such things are traded for Asics and offer my initial opinion only because it might be useful and I have a good feeling after my "sterling" distance this morning)

I will be writing to the Minister of Justice and the Minister responsible for the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) later and the letter will be reproduced in the next chapter advising them the CRA will become a defendant in the law suit against my ex. In this country the Minister of Justice has to be served when a lawsuit is commenced against the federal government. Their treatment of me with the malicious prosecution for tax evasion (subsequently dropped), garnisheeing my pension for $12,000.00, their investigative techniques which caused a drop in customers, all based on the ex's handiwork and the current "dogs breakfast" I face deserves to be heard before a jury of my peers.

The letters to the legal firms are all faxed out. I hope one of them can help me out with this agonizing war with the ex. I also wish there was a better way for us as I do not want to do this.