"The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband." ~ Honore de Balzac

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Alienation occurs when one parent gives the child permission to break the other parent’s heart.


Rights of Grandparents Differ In Florida and Alabama

This medallion is usually near Richard DeBlase. It has pictures of his grandchildren, Natalie and Chase.
“Unless you see a face sometimes, names mean nothing,” said Richard DeBlase. Also close–a stack of papers detailing is efforts to try and get a grandparents bill of rights reinstated in Alabama. Natalie and Chase DeBlase were murdered in 2010. The children’s father, and Richard’s son, John DeBlase was convicted of their murder last year. This year another jury convicted Heather Keaton of murder–making her the first woman from Mobile County sentenced to death. In the months leading up to children’s deaths, Richard DeBlase says they tried to see the kids but their parents always kept them away.
“I would have had the right to be able to see them physically and that was something I never could do,” said Richard DeBlase. Florida enacted its own laws for grandparents’ visitation this summer. While welcomed by advocates the grandparents rights law only applies to a select group in the sunshine state–if the parents of the children are both dead, missing or in a vegetative state–or if one parent meets any of those criteria and the other convicted of a felony.
Alabama passed its own grandparents visitation act years ago, but it was eventually overturned in 2011. The state Supreme Court saying the law violated the rights of parents to decide who their children can see. Richard DeBlase is hopeful something can change.
“Anytime you enact laws and legislation to help the kids, it helps everyone involved,” said DeBlase. ~~  By 

Lost Parents: When High Conflict Divorce Leads to Parental Alienation

The space of time sandwiched between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can bring unique anguish for people whose children have become alienated from them through a high conflict divorce.
Parental alienation happens when a child becomes enmeshed with one parent, strongly allying himself or herself with that parent, and rejects the other parent without legitimate justification. These children are encouraged by one parent, the favored parent or alienating parent, to unjustly reject the other parent, the targeted parent. The children can fall prey to the alienating parent’s tactics as a means of escaping the conflict.
According to psychiatrist Dr. William Bernet, professor emeritus of Vanderbilt University and a researcher into the phenomenon, “Almost every mental health professional who works with children of divorced parents acknowledges that PA—as we define it—affects thousands of families and causes enormous pain and hardship.” (Parental Alienation, AACAP News, Sept 2013, pp. 255-256.)
Bernet and other researchers refer to eight criteria for diagnosing parental alienation, including a campaign of denigration against the targeted parent, the child’s lack of ambivalence, frivolous rationalizations for the child’s criticisms against the target parent, reflexive support of the alienating parent against the target parent, the child’s lack of guilt over exploitation and mistreatment of the target parent, borrowed scenarios, and the spread of the child’s animosity toward the target parent’s extended family or friends.
These criteria sound academic but their effect is exquisitely awful in the most human and primal way. The child basically constructs an alternate reality where the parent is some kind of monster. There’s no longer any sense of the parent as a human being with the ordinary nuances of the gray scale, or as a good-enough parent; the parent’s actions and statements are twisted, distorted, and massaged to “prove” that the parent is unworthy of contact.
Children will adamantly maintain that they themselves have compiled their list of rationalizations for the parentectomy in progress. This is called the independent thinker phenomenon.
For a parent who would willingly give his or her heart or liver to a beloved child who needs it, it’s a nightmarish turn of events. The pain is surreal, and it’s frequently heightened both by outright viciousness on the child’s part and by the child’s complete lack of remorse about the way he or she has treated the targeted parent. The child feels entitled to demonize the targeted parent and justified in doing so, and therefore entitled to behave with extreme nastiness toward the parent.
Amy J. L. Baker, PhD, one of Bernet’s research colleagues, writes about seventeen primary strategies used by the alienating parent to foster conflict and psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent.
These include poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent in which he or she is portrayed as unloving, unsafe, and unavailable, such as, “your mother is a rage monster who shames you”; erasing and replacing the targeted parent in the heart and mind of the child, “you can trust mommy, she doesn’t judge and malign you like daddy does”; encouraging the child to betray the targeted parent’s trust, “how bad was daddy this weekend?”; and undermining the authority of the targeted parent, “your mom’s rules don’t apply, you don’t have to listen to your mother, do whatever you want.”
The targeted parent can feel bewildered when witnessing the alienating parent’s strategies, because the distance itself is so unthinkable. It doesn’t feel real in the context of a history of a normal loving relationship with a son or daughter. It’s shocking and heart-rending when those toxic tactics succeed. “Alienation occurs when one parent gives the child permission to break the other parent’s heart,” Baker notes.

Older children can be particularly eloquent and cutting in their reasons for rejecting a parent while simultaneously insisting that the parent has rejected them. A parent trying with the greatest love to effect rapprochement can find older children completely recalcitrant.
“They must choose between the pain of self-inflicted alienation and torture on the one hand and the hard work of life: working it out with people with whom you should work it out. Free will. It is their choice,” said one psychiatrist. But do they even know they have a choice, after having basically been brainwashed to despise a parent?
In an extensive program of research, Baker has found that children exposed to the 17 primary parental alienation strategies and those who become alienated suffer in the long run, as do their parents. “To turn a child against a parent is to turn a child against himself,” she says.
Some groups oppose the concept. Some advocates of victims of domestic violence and child abuse claim that there is no such thing, that children reject a parent only when the parent has been abusive. Dr. Richard Gardner, a psychiatrist who formulated a specific theory of parental alienation syndrome, was roundly criticized. To this day, parental alienation per se has not been incorporated into the DSM-5.
Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of Bernet, Baker, and colleagues, the spirit of parental alienation recently made its way into the DSM, even if the exact term “parental alienation” has not. There are now diagnoses that reflect the mental illness of this terrible phenomenon, in particular parent-child relational problem and child affected by parental relationship distress.
Of child affected by parental relationship distress, Bernet writes, “It is an important new diagnosis used ‘when the focus of clinical attention is the negative effects of parental discord (eg, high levels of conflict, distress, or disparagement) on a child in the family, including effects on the child’s mental or other physical disorders.’”
To study this sad phenomenon and to educate the public, Bernet founded the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG). PASG is an international, not-for-profit corporation with about 220 members – mostly mental health and legal professionals – from 32 countries. PASG members are also interested in developing and promoting research on the causes, evaluation, and treatment of parental alienation.
For a targeted parent, it can help to know that there is support. In addition to the PASG website, there are several books, some good ones written by Baker herself. There are therapists and coaches who can offer compassionate support and strategies for responding to the alienating tactics without becoming engulfed in anger or despair.
Alienation can last for many aching years but reconciliation is a possibility. There’s no making up the lost time, but the parent sometimes is found again.

Gorcyca: Parental alienation is issue in Bloomfield Hills divorce case


Maya Tsimhoni, center, talks with supporters outside of Judge Lisa Gorcyca Oakland County Circuti Court during a break in the hearing for Maya, who had her three kids taken away from her. Maya who is divorcing her husband Omer, had the children sent to Children's Village because of their relationships with their father. Friday July 10, 2015. Tim Thompson-The Oakland Press 
The two buzz words that came out of an Oakland County divorce case last week were “kids” and “jail.”
When Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca sentenced three children to the Oakland County Children’s Village maximum security youth facility those words garnered the headlines. Two other words are more significant in family courts these days - parental alienation.
Gorcyca and other people involved in the Tsimhoni case acknowledge that alienation has become a significant issue within the divorce. Their parents, Maya and Omer, are now in their fifth year of trying to work out a feasible situation for everyone involved.
State and local officials have been sounding off on the case since Gorcyca made her ruling on June 24 and subsequently reversed it on July 10 and sent the children - ages 14, 10 and 9 - to a summer camp.Friday’s order to release them to summer camp
The backlash the case has received is based on the apparent drastic action taken by Gorcyca.
“No child should be jailed for trying to stay safe,” Mary Keefe, Executive Director of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCEDSV) said the day after Gorcyca’s ruling. “It is equally outrageous and telling that the children’s father has left for a trip to Israel and the children remain in juvenile custody. The court seems to rely on the long debunked theory of parental alienation as a rational reason for the detention.”
The judge was looking to have the children sit down and have a meal with their father and when they refused, all three opted to go to Children’s Village.
Based on court documents, all of the rancor and animosity in the case appears to stem from an incident at a West Bloomfield park in August of 2010.
A scheduled visit with their father devolved into two of the children being locked in a car to protect themselves from him. The third child avoided him while perched atop a piece of playground equipment and later claimed that the father threatened to kill him if he did not get down.
Police reports were filed after one of the children called 911 from inside the car and their mother claimed that the father struck her outside of the vehicle.
A West Bloomfield police report found no probable cause to make an arrest at the time, but the father later admitted that he took his son down by force in order to put him in a time-out.
Reports throughout the case files claim that that incident, along with the fact that the children felt abandoned when their father took a job with General Motors in Israel in late 2009, are at the heart of the children’s fear and animosity toward their father that the courts have been trying to rectify for the past four years.
Ms. Tsimhoni filed for divorce in December of 2009.
Multiple supervisors, visitation sites, communication alternatives and therapists have rotated in and out of the case since then and left Gorcyca frustrated.
Gorcyca voiced her opinions on how severe the parental alienation was during a February 2012 hearing by explaining things to Ms. Tsimhoni, the alleged blockade to the children having a relationship with their father.
“I see kids who have been physically abused, tortured, raped, that still want to talk to their father; that still respect their father,” she said after reading a report by a parenting time coordinator on the case. “Your kids have none of those things.”
Last Friday, Gorcyca again let it be known that every other avenue had been investigated before handing down her contempt ruling.
“Every alternative presented to this court has been exhausted,” she said. “This is a custody arrangement that has become completely harmful to the children’s well being.”
Gorcyca pointed out at her July 10 hearing that the children were not sent to the maximum security section of Children’s Village, but rather to Mandy’s Place. That area of the facility is billed as short-term housing for kids who have been removed from abusive homes.
A representative of Mandy’s Place reported that the children were making “slow, but hopefully steady progress.”
Meanwhile, Gorcyca has said that Mr. Tsimhoni has had no criminal charges filed against him, no warrants issued and according to the judge has “moved mountains to be a part of these children’s lives”.
On the other hand, despite her claims after the judge’s ruling on July 10 to transfer the children from Mandy’s Place that none of the claims of hindering the process of allowing the children to have a relationship with their father were true, Ms. Tsimhoni agreed to spend a day in detention back in March and spent time volunteering at an animal shelter for violating Gorcyca’s orders.
Although some believe the term “parental alienation” to be an unsubstantiated clinical term, it has been prevalent in this case.
Court documents show one psychological evaluation did not go as far as formalizing “Parental Alienation Syndrome” as a specific diagnosis, but did state that “the Tsimhoni children are alienated from their father”.
Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm, Rockind Law, expressed opposition to Gorcyca’s decision to send the children to the county’s juvenile detention center for contempt of court.
“Regardless of whether the children want communication and a relationship with their father, they are still children and learned their behaviors from one or both parents,” Rockind said. “The key point, though, is they committed no crime.”
Murray Davis, Board President of the National Family Justice Association Midwest Office in Southfield, does advocate for the use of the term.
“Court records appear to indicate the children are the victims of tenacious parental alienation against their father by their mother,” he said in a statement.
Davis is also one of the few who stood by the decision to temporarily take the children away from not one, but both parents.
“She (Gorcyca) should be praised and respected for attempting a just resolution that permitted both [responsible] parents to exercise their rights to be actively engaged in the lives of their children despite their acrimonious divorce,” he said.
The case is set to go back to court for a review on July 20.

"In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same." ~ Albert Einstein

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"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." (Tecumseh).

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