Archive for the ‘divorce’ Category

Hope for the holidays

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

(This is part two of a two-part story highlighting how a formerly alienated child reunited with his Dad after parental alienation kept them apart for 18 years. Please scroll down to our December 15th entry for the first part of the story.)

When Oliver, Zach’s Dad, dialed Zach’s phone number on the dawn of the new millennium he didn’t know what to expect on the other end of the line. “I found out Zach’s Mom had separated from her second husband and left town,” Oliver explained, “so even though I hadn’t seen Zach in years I hoped the time might be right.”

Oliver’s hope quickly turned into disappointment when Zach refused to come to the phone.

“I was caught off guard and needed some time to digest things,” Zach said.

Zach often thought about his father growing up. As a teenager, Zach would get angry with his Mom and threaten to contact his Dad. “That would make her furious,” Zach recalled. “Then she would call Dad ‘the Devil’ and tell me to go ahead and contact him, but I never did. I guess I was afraid of the unknown. I also didn’t want to disappoint or betray Mom,” he added.

As it turns out, all Zach needed was about 30 minutes to make a decision. “Dad was shocked when I called back. I wasn’t sure what to say, but I was really excited. I was also really happy. I remember thinking, ‘Mom moved out of town so the pressure is gone,’” he recalled.

Oliver also remembers the conversation. “We talked for at least an hour. It was amazing. Zach sounded good. He was curious and also a little angry. I was flying high but cautious not to come on too strong,” he said.

Oliver and Zach began communicating on a regular basis. They also exchanged pictures – neither one knew what the other looked like. After a few months of emails and instant messages Oliver asked Zach if he could visit. “We were both excited to see each other,” Zach remembers. “The visit went really well,” Oliver added, “mostly because we had communicated so much via email.

Without knowing it, father and son followed a formula that many parental alienation experts recommend when a formerly alienated parent and child reconnect. Initially, Oliver and Zach focused on the present and did not address the reasons for their estrangement. As explained in A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, when a formerly alienated child is ready to discuss the past he or she will bring it up. Even then, however, targeted parents should remember that the conversation isn’t about them. The child is looking to understand what happened; and not, as many parents hope, validate Mom or Dad’s belief that he or she was treated unfairly.

Zach’s relationship with Oliver was back on track, but Zach still had one piece of unfinished business. “My first conversation with Mom was very uncomfortable,” Zach shared. “She was not happy. She tried to act like she was okay with it but I knew she wasn’t. But I was angry too. In fact, I think after I reconnected with Dad I was angrier that he missed my ballgames and school events than I was when I was young.”

Today, Zach is married and a father. He calls his relationship with his Dad “great” and his relationship with his Mom “rough.” “I still can’t say ‘I’m going to see Dad,’” Zach explained. “I have to say ‘I’m going to see Oliver.’” For his part, Oliver has also reconnected with his daughter even though repairing that relationship has been harder. They’re sharing their story to help other alienated children and parents avoid what they went through. “I’m here to tell alienated parents that miracles do happen,” Oliver said. “I would love to write a book or start a non-profit and reach people who are dealing with this tragedy,” Zach added. 

Spend Sunday night with Mike Jeffries

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will visit the Internet radio show Co-Parenting Matters, this coming  Sunday, January 23, at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Co-Parenting Matters is a collaborative effort between CoParenting101.org, founded by former spouses Deesha Philyaw and Michael Thomas, and WeParent.com, a site devoted to African-American co-parents, founded by Talibah Mbonisi. Co-Parenting Matters routinely discusses issues such as communication, single parenting, divorce, finances, custody, dating, wellness and stepfamilies.

“The biggest weapon in the fight against parental alienation is summed up in the title of program,” Jeffries said. “Co-parenting not only matters, but if you have effective co-parenting you won’t have parental alienation. I’m looking forward to giving listeners enough information so they can keep the focus on co-parenting and hopefully keep parental alienation out of their family dynamics.”

Listeners can tune in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/coparentingmatters/2011/01/24/parental-alienation-a-familys-heartbreak.

Mike & Mike on the radio

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will be the guest host on the internet radio program Family Matters on Wednesday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. EST. Jeffries’ guest will be Dr. J. Michael Bone, parental alienation expert and consultant.

Family Matters is a show dedicated to discussing parental alienation, a destructive family dynamic affecting countless children, parents and extended family members every year.

“I’m looking forward to asking Dr. Bone about many of the developments he has seen over the years with respect to how parental alienation is perceived in the courts and among mental health professionals,” Jeffries said. “His article,  Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect It and What to Do About It was one of the earliest and most concise, easy-to-understand descriptions of what I was going through with my family.”

Jeffries is sitting in for regular host, author and Parental Alienation Awareness Organization President Jill Egizii. “I’m used to being interviewed, so it will be fun to ask the questions for a change,” he added.

Family Matters can be heard at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/syndicatednews/2010/11/18/family-matters–hosted-by-michael-jeffries-author-. The call-in phone number is 347-539-5024.

Raising awareness of alienation at the AACAP

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Parental alienation professionals and advocates attended the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) annual meeting in New York City this week to discuss alienation with many of the 4,700 psychiatrists and physicians in attendence and explain why parental alienation belongs in the next edition of the profession’s DSM.

Dr.William Bernet, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the primary author of Parental Alienation DSM-5 and ICD-11, presented at the meeting and the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) raised awareness of alienation in an exhibit hall booth. The PAAO exhibit featured books, DVDs and volunteers to discuss parental alienation with conference attendees. PAAO President Jill Egizii, PAAO Vice President Robert Samery, Dr. Amy Baker, and Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, were all on hand to pass out literature and talk about alienation with mental health professionals from around the world.

Also attending the conference were members of the DSM Review Board — the professionals who will decide whether or not parental alienation is included in the next edition of the DSM. Bernet indicated that the Review Board is still considering alienation for inclusion in the updated diagnostic manual. The DSM-5 is scheduled for release in 2013.

Jeffries observed that while some professionals had never heard of alienation, many others were familiar with the family dynamic. Still other professionals saw alienation in their practices without realizing the behaviors had a name. “The conversations were all over the map,” Jeffries said. “Some attendees wanted to talk about their cases. Other professionals wanted to discuss under what category the DSM-5 could potentially list parental alienation. One psychiatrist was even looking for guidance on who should receive the diagnostic code — the alienating parent, the targeted parent, or the child.”

Not every person who stopped by the PAAO booth wanted to see parental alienation in the DSM-5. “There was one psychiatrist who made it clear he didn’t believe in parental alieantion but he never actually completed a sentence or allowed me to complete one,” Jeffries said. “He said ‘parental alienation is a diagnosis in search of a…’ and then his voice trailed off. When I tried to say something positive, he cut me off with another incomplete, negative comment. Then he did it a third time. I finally told him to enjoy the rest of the conference. With 4,700 open-minded, articulate professionals to talk to there was no need to waste time on him.”

Themes of the alienating parent

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Some mental health professionals and religious leaders empower parental alienation according to Dr. Abe Worenklein, a professor at Dawson College in Montreal. 

Worenklein made his comments at the recent Canadian Symposium on Parental Alienation Syndrome in New York City. The conference drew approximately 200 parents, legal and mental health professional interested in helping parents and children maintain normal, healthy relationships after divorce or separation.

“Sometimes mental health professionals who do not know how to interview parents and children and are unfamiliar with the themes of the alienating parent acutally end up empowering the children and reinforcing the parent’s position,” Worenklein said. “Furthermore, some religious leaders may focus on the parents’ degree of religiosity when telling one parent to limit the less-observant parent’s time with the children.”

Worenklein explained that the themes of the alienating parent are the words and actions a parent uses to damage, and in some cases destroy, the child’s previously normal relationship with his or her other parent. Some of the themes include:

  • Denying the existence of the other parent by never talking about him or her, destroying photos of the parent, changing the subject when the child mentions the parent, or not relaying the parent’s messages to the child.
  • Putting the child in the middle by asking him or her to spy on the other parent, remove possessions or take important papers from the parent and child’s home.
  • Attacking the parent’s career, interests, hobbies and family.
  • Saying things like, “I just don’t know what’s wrong with your mother/father.”
  • Threatening to withhold love or acceptance from child.
  • Scaring the child into believing the other parent isn’t capable of taking care of him or her.
  • Creating a new reality for the child that excludes his or her relationship with the other parent.

Worenklein told conference attendees how professionals can use different interview techniques to identify these themes. “Dr. Worenklein pointed out that asking a young child at the beginning of an interview if the child has anything he or she was supposed to tell the professional is a great way at getting at the child’s rehearsed or programmed answers,” said Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation and a conference attendee. “This not only allows the professional to see if the child’s answers were programmed, but after fulfilling his or her obligation to the alienating parent the child can relax and participate much more honestly in the interview,” Jeffries added.

Jeffries back discussing parental alienation

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will join Gianni Hayes on her New World Order Disorder radio program at www.americanvoiceradio.com on Wednesday, September 29 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

“The Canadian Symposium on Parental Alienation is October 2-3 in New York City and interest in parental alienation couldn’t be higher,” Jeffries said. “I can’t think of a better way to get ready for the conference than talking with Gianni and her world-wide audience about alienation and A Family’s Heartbreak. 

Hayes is a prolific author, with 14 novel and non-fiction books, plus hundreds of articles to her credit. She has appeared in Woman’s Day, Redbook, US, People, Brides, Parade and Writers Digest. 

Listeners can talk to Jeffries and Hayes by dialing 1-800-596-8191.

A Pointillist view of parental alienation

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Poin.til.lism (noun): a late 19th-century style of painting in which a picture is constructed from dots of pure color that blend, at a distance, into recognizable shapes and various color tones.

Let’s give credit to Attorney David Pisarra of www.mensfamilylaw.com for describing parental alienation both beautifully and accurately. In his recent review of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, Pisarra compared parental alienation to the style of painting made famous by French painter Georges Seurat.

“Parental alienation is a series of seemingly innocent miscommunication, or concerns for the well-being of a child; and it is only when the dots are connected that you see the complete picture,” Pisarra said in his review.

Pisarra also said A Family’s Heartbreak should be required reading for anyone involved in parental alienation cases. “For every man who is enduring this hell, for every lawyer who fights this form of child abuse, and for all the therapists who have to treat the collaterally damaged children, this book should be a first resource in their armament,” he said.

You can find Attorney Pisarra’s complete review of A Family’s Heartbreak at http://mensfamilylaw.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/a-pointillist-view-of-parental-alienation-one-fathers-experience/.

Television no place to address parental alienation

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Wanted: Popular television program seeks one parental alienation family — including alienating parent, targeted parent and alienated child — to reunite in front of a national television audience. No experience necessary. Dramatic presentation skills preferred. Responsibilities include condensing years of acrimony and mistrust into easy-to-understand sound bites that fit between commercials, following the advice of a person you’ve just met, and participating in post-show counseling that Courts have previously ordered and you’ve avoided. Compensation is non-existent, travel expenses are paid. To apply contact The Dr. Phil Show. 

Yes, The Dr. Phil Show is doing another show on parental alienation and Dr. Phil’s producers are frantically searching for a parental alienation family willing to appear on the program. While many targeted parents want to believe that Dr. Phil can reunite them with their children after the Courts, family members, friends and full-time mental health professionals couldn’t, Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, uses his latest Basil & Spice blog at http://www.basilandspice.com/love-and-relationships/category/jeffries-mike to point out that television can’t script a happily-ever-after ending to parental alienation.

Divorce Source Radio features A Family’s Heartbreak

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

What do you get when you introduce Mike Jeffries, the author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation to Divorce Source Radio host Steve Peck?

Just that most informative, enlightening discussion on parental alienation you’ll find anywhere, that’s all. You can access the interview at http://www.DivorceSourceRadio.com.

“Steve Peck combines his background in broadcasting with his interest in family and divorce to produce a quality program that could go head-to-head with interview programs anywhere on radio or television,” says Jeffries. “His knowledge of the legal, psychological and emotional issues surrounding parental alienation allowed us to present perspectives of parental alienation that I don’t typically get to explore in interviews. Listeners will find the information enlightening and extremely valuable.”

Divorce Source Radio produces free programs featuring both legal and emotional advice from respected professionals. The weekly streaming podcasts are listened to by thousands of individuals through the  iTunes store by searching “Divorce Source Radio” or on http://www.DivorceSourceRadio.com.

Home
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental Alienation Blog
FAQs
Resources
About the Book
Purchase the Book
Media
Contact Us
Purchase Hugs to Heartbreak
Hugs 
to Heartbreak Book 
Cover The true story of one parent's struggle to maintain a normal, loving relationship with his young son in the face of overwhelming odds.
Purchase now »
Copyright © 2009 A Family's Heartbreak. All Rights Reserved.