Saturday, August 25, 2007

Maternal Alienation is Parent Alienation with a twist

I know that anyone that really knows me is positive that I believe this whole alienated parent thing is personality driven opposed to gender driven.

I do not for a min believe that Parent Alienation Syndrome is used as an excuse by abusive men!

I firmly believe that a parent or other that alienated an innocent child from someone they love has issues, big fat hairy ugly issues that may be to deep for even a psychiatrist to handle..

(Sociopaths- FYI many Dr's refuse to deal with them)

I firmly believe each case is individual and the driving force behind the need for these challenged adults ( Severe -alienators) is also different.

So in this blog only I'd like to take a min to look into Parent Alienation Syndrome from another angle. A very sick angle, an alienated child is an alienated child no matter what you chose to call it.

That said, in the instance where a true abuser is alienating for the purpose of sexually abusing the children I've found the following article..

It was very interesting reading..

What is Maternal Alienation-
Sometimes a man who is violent within his family alienated his children from their mother as part of that abuse.

He often isolates his partner from any sources of support, and is skillful at convincing her family, the neighbors, the children's school and any professionals involved with the family, that she is mad or bad. This type of abuse has been called Maternal Alienation by Ann Moris Senior Project Officer of the Maternal Alienation Project.

It generally occurs within a context of violence against women and/or children, and is a term for both.

+ The range of tactics used by men to deliberately undermine and destroy the relationship between a mother and their children to

+ The profound and often lasting alienation created in the relationships between mothers and their children by the use of those strategies.

Maternal Alienation

+ Is simultaneous abuse of women and children

+ Is a form of emotional abuse

+ Occurs within both domestic violence and child sexual abuse

Men who alienate children from their mothers usually manage to convince the children and all those involved with the family that they are blameless and misunderstood, and the mother is to blame for all the problems. In this way, maternal alienation successfully hides the man's responsibility for the violence and abuse, and directs peoples attention towards the so called bad mother. The man who uses these tactics remains "invisible".

What is the evidence for it?

...In the area of child sexual abuse

A number of researchers and practitioners in the 1990's researched the tactics used by child sex offenders to isolate and entrap the child he was abusing. They found that the offender's greatest concern was to break the child's trust in his/her mother.

"The most common tactic acknowledged by (sex offenders) was that of dividing mother and child" 9Lang, 1000, 147).

The abusive man had appeared to take over the child, drawing her into secrecy surrounding the abuse and excluding the mother" (Hooper, 1992)

"The offender's actions create a context in which the mother and child are blind to his role in creating the difficulties in their relationship"

(Lang & Kamsler, 1990, 169)

Children's descriptions of the victimization process illustrate the way in which such "special" relationships are constructed, with abusive men manipulating children's estrangement from pontential sources of support.. study of abusive men show's they are fully aware of this process" (Hooper, 1992, 38)

..In the area of Domestic Violence

Recently there has been concern about the damaging effects of domestic violence on children, and some understanding of the manipulation of the mother-child relationship by men who use violence and abuse.

"Many practitioners and women commented that the undermining of the relationship between women and their children is a common behavior perpetrated by men who are violent" (Irwin, Waugh &Wilkinson, 2002, 129)

Maternal Alienation is deliberate and intentional. This element of intention has long been recognized as an aspect of violence against women.

Gender violence is intentional and patterned, and aims at achieving certain outcomes (Dobash & Dobash 1988, 141; Ptacek, 1998, 150)

Through instilling of fear, the humiliation, the degradation, the assault on her idenitiy as a woman", (Ptacek, 1988, 147), to perpetrators of violence set out to punish, to inflict injury, to silence, to isolate and to maintain dominance against women, in a form that is directed also against her relationship with her child.

..From 1999 Research on Maternal Alienation

In 1999 a research project was carried out in notth of Adelaide to investigate what had been perceived as an aspect of violence against women and children, This phenomemon had not received adequet recognition, and during research, the term maternal alienation was coined to name it (Morris, 1999)

The research identified a number of tactics commonly used by men to destroy the mother child relationship. These were based on both<

+ Denigrating the mother as a figure to be despised

+ Elevating the father as both a victim and a hero (Morris, 1999, 1990/2000) Maternal

Alienation is a powerful strategy of abuse, Its power is drawn from the tendency in our society to trust and believe what men say over and above what women and children say. Its power is also drawn from the tendency to give more credibility to those who appear logical and calm, over those who seem distressed. People who have been traumatised usually convey their testimonies in emotional and apparently incoherent ways, and what they say isoften painful to hear (Herman).

On the other hand, those that use power and control over others often speak logically and articulately, and so many be more likely to be believed. Thus professionals and non professionals alike may take up a man's explanation that the mother is to blame for the problems in the family, while he has been misunderstood and wronged.

Indeed, the research found that, lacking an understanding of maternal alienation, service providers accross many services and sectors tended to believe the man and often acted to exacerbate the family situation (Irwin et al; Morris, 1999).

When and where does it occur?

It appears that maternal alienation is a common element of domestic violence, as well as a part of child sexual abuse.

The men who perpetrate maternal alienation may not be the fathers of the children involved, but are the perpetrators of abuse against that woman and her children.

In some families, men use maternal alienation as one of the modes of abuse that is ongoing in that family, so that children grow up continually exposed to these denigrating messages about, and behaviours to, their mother.

In other cases, maternal alienation begins when a couple separates, and a man may use maternal alienation as a strategy to gain control of the children, and to isolate and punish his ex partner.

Involvement in court processes such as those to determine contact and living arangements is one major forum for the use of these tactics.

It is also common when maternal alienation is used at these times, for a man to attempt to turn a woman's family and friends against her as well as her children, and to try to involve other services such as Child Protection against her as well.

This next part is called

"Dont Women Do It Too"

Here is a part I disagree with, like I'll say until the day I die; alienation IS NOT GENDER SPECIFIC!

So therefore I am posting this as the full article but making it clear that I FIRMLY believe a narcissist or BPD WILL ALIENATE a child for their own personal gain..

Sad part is that men and women are spending so much time arguing the validity of Parental Alienation Syndrome that our children are being destroyed.

Is it that hard to understand ALIENATION IS NOT GENDER SPECIFIC? If anyone were to combine this article with info from Parent Alienation Syndrome articles and combine them, maybe just maybe they would figure out it's BOTH!

(1) It CAN and IS being used by abusive men, who are using similar tactics for sexual abuse of the child. AS WELL AS...

(2) It CAN and IS being used by abusive women also who want the child for themselves for again personal gain, perhaps not for sexual abuse of the child, but for abusing their husband or to ensure they are the custodial parent as to not pay C.S. or simply to lock in C.S. from their husbands.

Once "they" wake up and combine Maternal Alienation and Parent Alienation Syndrome and admit that both sexes have been guilty of alienating, there will be hope.

(Men reading this keep reading- there's a but in here somewhere in RED)

That said here's the rest of the article..

which by the way can be found in its original PDF by clicking the TITLE of this blog

Dont women do it too?

Most Domestic Violence and child sexual abuse is perpetrated by men (Irwin and Thorpe).

Similarly, most "successful" perpetrators of parent-child alienaton are men. When women try to alienate their children against their father, societal structures and beliefs make this difficult for women to achieve successfully.

(Now here in the next sentance I agree) People are more ready to hear and act on negative and blaming stories about women than about men.

(Therein lies the biggest problem with children being alienated IMO- once DV is personality specific not gender specific- the next generation has a chance)

These views can be reflected by service providers that become involved with family members (Irwin et al; Edleson; Morris, 1999; Humphreys).

Below, I agree with this comment somewhat- IN MY UNPROFESSIONAL OPINION - once again it is personality specific I feel this study must have been done with truly abused women who are usually like their male alienated counterparts, doormats aka yes people aka what I want need comes after what makes YOU happy aka Co -Dependent/Co Narcissist personalitys we are/were more willing to be the nice guy, the one that does everything right- the one who only wants whats fair and just- the one who is willing to scarfice for their child- the peace maker. The one who was alienated the TARGET!

(I honestly don't feel they included any Borderlines (BPD) or female narcissists in this study.)

Important message - (Anything in RED should not be taken as medical or legal advice since it's only MY OPINION.)

Also making it less likely for women to act as alienators is their concern to support their children's relationship with their father, even at a cost to themselves.
(Irwin et al; Mullender et al)

The recent study by Mullender and colleagues reported that :

"What was remarkable ..was the extent to which mothers were willing to maintain a varity of forms of contact between the children's wishes and interests than their own saftey.

This finding is consistent with that in earlier studies..thus demonstrating a patern in women's decisions about contact that is at odds with what the courts frequently assume" (198)

My opinion on the above issue is..teach children in the JR High school years not to be "victims" of any kind. Teach assertiveness, teach personality disorders as part of the mandated cirriculum. As adults we need to make sure no child goes into H.S. not knowing what to watch out for in abusive relationships!

For those of us that are/were abused men and women, have others that have learned the difference between assertiveness, agressive behaviour, and door mats try to teach those that are comfortable in abusive/abused positions that until they change the nice guy, or the I come second attitude, things in their world will always be same ole same ole, and then they have no right to whine about it! Once someone is aware of the abusers tactics, and they themselves stand up and say OK ENOUGH, the abusers will walk all over you! Yes I learned this lesson the VERY HARD WAY!

I feel this information below is also the case in Parent Alienation when the abuser is the Female against the male..

Who is affected?

As maternal alienation is simultaneous abuse of children and women, both children and women are affected by it.

The effects can last a lifetime. Effects on the Children:

+ Children are divided from their mother, and are blocked from acccessing her as a loving nuturing parent + Children's trust in loving relationships is undermined

+ Children are affected in many ways by being used as "pawns" in the man's long campaigns against the mother and/or the child.

+ Children are trapped in a world created and controlled by the abuser + Children are often coached into perpetrating abuse and violence against their mother- and this may affect their later relationships with other women.

+ Children are punished for not participating in abuse against their mother.

+ Children often cannot heal from the effects of being subject to abuse while that are forced to adopt the "realities" of the perprtrator.

+ Children are caught up in primary relationship with a parent who is incosistent. tyrannical and puts his needs above those of his child. He may continue hsi abuse against the child.

+ Children often take up the role of the carer for their father, and subjugate their needs to his.

I feel this information below can be read as "effects on the victim" , and him and her after that can also be interchangable, but for the intention of "this article" I wont get into this part any deeper.

Effects on women:

+Women often blame themselves, and see themselves as the person others see them as-that is, as the person portrayed by the man who abuses her.

+Women are isolated and alienated from their family and community- sometimes for the rest of theier life.

+ Women feel enormous grief at "losing" their children.

+ Women find that they have little room to "move"- whatever they do, their words and actions are re-interpreted by the abuser (to children, family, community, professionals)

+ Women are traumatised by continual emotional abuse and the undermining of their relationships and attempts to communicate.

+ This constellation of effects impacts on a women's ability to represent themselves well in fourms as thej Family Court.

(My opinion once again - if the measures of assertiveness I mentioned earlier coupled with education in law- one has a better chance at defending oneself anywhere, if the card's aren't stacked against you with corruption or connections- But that stands with either sex)

I feel this can and should be used for both maternal alienation and Parent Alienation Syndrome..

What is being done about it?

Maternal alienation and it's devastating effects on children and women need to be understoof by more people. If more people and more services to families recognised it, something could be done about it.

These people and services include:

+ Families

+ Neighbors

+ Schools

+ Police

+ Community Health Workers

+ Jusges and Magistrates

+ Lawyers

+ Family Court Officials

+ Child Protection Workers

+ Child Care Workers

+ Child Health Workers

+ Domestic Violence Services

+ Religious Leaders People and services involved with the mother and/or childrencan make a positive difference if they

+ Support the mother to help her rebuild her realtionship with her children. This enables her to support and protect her children in the future, as well as helping her over come the effects of violence and abuse herself. The latest research points out that good practice for better child protection should be built on supporting the mother, (Irwin, Waugh &Wilkinson, 2003; Mullender, Hague et al 2002) not blaming or punishing her further (Edleson, 1998)

+ Understand and make visable the role of the man who uses abuse in this way. The invisablity of the perpetrator of abuse is an unhelpful, even dangerous tendency(Edleson, 1998) and is a strong factor in services not being able to address his continuing campaign against the mother and child.

A project called Maternal Alienation Project was set up in Adelaide in August 2002 to inform professional workers about maternal alienation and develop tools for addressing it's effects on children and women. This projectis set up as a partnership between Northern Metropolitan Community Health Service, Women's Health Statewide and University of Adelaide.

My last opinion on this subject is that if we can only bring this to America and incorperate it into everything I've mentioned above, Family Courts and CPS would be out of busniess and we all know that wont ever happen. But if my sharing this is able to help anyone- then it was worth all the work it involved.. in bringing it to you.

For more info on Maternal Alienation please see the link TITLE where I took all this info from to bring it to you- in hopes of saving at least one child!


Cecile said...

I like your Pages. I and so many others are Disgusted with the system as well. It makes me sad to think of all the children who are forced to grow up missing a parent or both parents due to a corrupt court system and CPS. We will fight this together and make them hear our voices.


Louise said...

Yes we will Cecile,

I think Washington was a GREAT place to start coming together!

Hopefully soon enuff everyone screwed by the system will unite and become ONE VOICE for our children!

Anonymous said...


I hope that the county (Richmond, New York) where your case is now supposed to be heard takes seriously this problem. The Administrative Judge of that county needs to educate himself about this problem and take immediate steps to see to it that you and all other litigants who may have been targeted for alienation are assigned an insightful equally well informed judge. Let's think as in King Solomon and not a Gerald Garson or Jacqueline Silberman for that matter. No more wasted time, money or energy spinning wheels or going backwards with the horrific imprint of the alienation on the kids getting more entrenched all the time. You need a judge who will take responsibility and start with all of this essential knowledge and information about maternal alienation as a subset of parental alienation syndrome in his or her head to begin with. Certain individuals operating within the court system have in no uncertain terms greatly harmed you and your children is time the system began to make amends and create the healing space for your children and for you with an effective plan for restoration of relationship and leverage against further alienation or realienation.

Anonymous said...

There are some WONDERFUL FATHERS OUT THERE. Unfortunately, our society believes that the mother is the best caretaker. In my husband's case, his ex-wife is the alienator and is NOT a good mother. Please remember: Not all mothers are good mothers. Just like not all fathers are good fathers. It's a case by case situation. Fact is, though, most alienators are the mothers.

Amy Mischler said...

I just found your website. Its very informative and on target.

My ex husband, an attorney has filed to EPO's against me. The first he alleged that I was going to abuse him in the future. The second I was convicted; I marched in public with a sign. The judge has ex parte communications with my ex's counsel and was forced by Chief Justice Lambert to recuse herself.

A new judge vacated the order. But by then, my ex also had me arrested for custodial interferance, an felony because I voluntarily returned the children to him late. At that point, the ex parte judge ordered supervised visitation and the judges after that, (there has now been three) refuse to have a hearing on it for various reasons.

I did get the criminal charge against me dismissed, although my ex friend the Pike County Commonwealth attorney keeps taking me before the Pike County grand jury. (yes, its perfectly legal to do that with dismissed charges).

AND if all of that isn't enough; my ex had the Pike County social workers make findings of child abuse against me without ever telling me. My name was on the child abuser database for months without my knowledge. I have went the administrative appeals and have had it overturned. But its been a huge ordeal.

Not only is CPS taking children out of homes illegally; they are purposely abusing their office by making findings to support one parent over another in custody battles.

This crap has to stop!!!!

rene said...

I am a father of two alienated daughters and come from the jurisdiction who invented Maternal Alienation. The author, Anne Morris claimed she "discovered" this type of abuse, even though it's quite clear, she got the entire concept from Parental Alienation. The problem arises from the fact that Matenal Alienation was financed by the government here and hence is the only reference authorties adhere to.

Even the author admits in other reports she has written, that Maternal Alienation has been merely created because she doesn't like gender neutrality and as such is opposed to Parental Alienation.

Louise Uccio said...


I am so sorry that as of YET they havent accepted that BOTH parent alienate- and I also agree that some parents should NEVER have contact with their children however alienating them ISN'T the answer. We need to come to a common ground globally! Best of luck educating them in your country, it's been hard here in the U.S.