court hearing in advance. The victim witness was advised against getting professional support or legal guidance - to ensure she gave undiluted emotions in court, and to avoid cross examination saying she was coached. Unprepared she faced the normal but awful court processes including the "you're making it up aren't you?" stuff. How much more terrifying would this be for young children or partners facing their own close family in court having brought abuse charges at a time of family breakdown? Abusers (and their families) are often desperate and expert at covering up their abuse and intimidating their victims with the help of the underlying love and trust. They may be skilled at presenting as innocent or pillars of the community. Some of them may seek the cover of organisations that genuinely represent the good. Here is Rachel Pain's report on Everyday Terrorism. But note Denise Hines careful showing that this pattern can be done by women on men. And leading feminist researcher, Evan Stark, says in his key book Coercive Control (p 92): "However uncomfortable this may make feminist-oriented researchers, it is incontrovertible that large numbers of women use force in relationships, including the types of force classified as severe or abusive." See "Some Very Difficult Thinking" below for more on the difficult gender debate around family abuse with a glossary of terms.
WE WISH IT WASN'T TRUE ... BUT HERE'S
THE WORST OF IT IN A NUTSHELL:
Obviously providing information and literature like this needs to be supplemented by organisations and networks of people in Scotland moving everything forward here in more practical ways.
Here Nick apologises that he cannot contribute more to building such a network. However he will update and add good ideas to this web page. He invites anyone who wants to use the Contact box here to feedback and make suggestions about how the information linked here can be improved, and any other suggestions for Scotland to do next.
IDEAS FROM "CHANGING THE CULTURE"
Please note that Nick is an enthusiast not an expert.
He is not able to be an expert witness.
BEST RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
1. Let Nick know of anything better than the stuff you find here - of other people or websites or networks; other literature that is missed out.
2. Suggest what Scotland should now be doing and how to articulate that constructively. Use the box above. This webpage should only be an interim stage before something better emerges.
SUMMARY OF NICK'S IDEAS
These images come from Linda Gottlieb's website: End Parental Alienation. Click the pictures to get there. Linda is an American Family Therapist, author of the highly regarded textbook (2012) The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Family Therapy and Collaborative Systems Approach to Amelioration. Charles C Thomas: Springfield, US
1. A quick glimpse of the complexity (diagrams from Child Alienation paper, click here). Multiple systemic factors. A continuum of children’s relationships with separated parents with PA at one end.
3. Genders may be reversed or different (eg LGBT couples). Relationships are fraught. Hurt upset or scared Mum wants to distance and protect herself and the kids from contact with an angry upset maybe abusive or risky Dad while the child has mixed feelings in the middle, resists contact maybe, and often just wants her parents to stop arguing. Although the Dad may throw in “PAS” this is not PA. It gives PA its bad name. PA is typically more like this >>
2. Parents both love their child and each collaborates with the other for her sake. Their child has a relationship with both and knows they love her. Contact works fine. See Relationships Scotland's leaflet
4. Again genders may be reversed or different. Relationships are polarised into aligned and rejected. Mum is a woman with a very negative inner self esteem hidden inside an overpoweringly controlling strong outer difficult personality. This may be the only solution she knows to hold onto attachments. In the literature, she gets called Narcissistic or worse. Actively or intentionally she programmes her child to side with her to resist contact with a caring safe and previously loved Dad. The child can only resolve the split by devoting herself to her Mum’s needs and develop the denigration of her Dad. The child’s voice gets amplified by the unintended help of the family court process into a powerful choice.
The video was produced by Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT). This is the anecdotal equivalent of Amy Baker's book (see below). The main point here is to validate that alienation can happen and that children suffer long-lasting effects. The strength of PACT and this video is that it is entirely child focused. It is not systemic. It does not tell us the parents' stories and wider reasons. It does not help us know why this happens or how to stop it. But it happens!