What is it?
This is the definition of PAS as described by R.A. Gardner who discovered the syndrome and has become an expert in dealing with the issue.
Gardner’s definition of PAS is:
“The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.” (Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.) http://www.paskids.com/
Basically, this means that through verbal and non verbal thoughts, actions and mannerisms, a child is emotionally abused (brainwashed) into thinking the other parent is the enemy. This ranges from bad mouthing the other parent infront of the children, to withholding visits, to pre-arranging the activities for the children while visiting with the other parent.
In my case, it wasn’t only my ex-husband, it was his mother who alienated. I would have to say especially her. She used to tell my children I did drugs. And that I was too stupid for _____ or _____. It didn’t matter that my children had seen me doing whatever it was that I was apparently too stupid to accomplish.
For years, every time I called, the children were not at home. Then, their time was too scheduled to allow time for me. To this day I don’t know how many cards, letters or presents may have gotten to them.
I do acknowledge that this is partially my fault. I wasn’t strong enough to stop it. I have an idealistic view of people most of the time. I believe that everyone has a basic goodness and that goodness will ‘win out’. I failed to act accordingly and now I pray it’s not too late.
My daughter is not a part of my life. Because of PAS she believes that I was not a part of their lives by choice. That it was my actions and decisions that caused it and that I must now just live with it.
More than anything, I would like for her to come to understand that PAS is inexcusable. NO parent should ever alienate the other. Its abuse. Plain and simple. I would ask her to look back critically and come to see for herself what happened.
Because of PAS my son will not speak to me. He has a hatred of me that is nothing short of frightening in its fanaticism. He has written to me recently, to threaten legal action and a restraining order should I continue to try and establish contact.
I wonder, can I blog from jail?
This is my story. This is my pain. I will no longer hide my pain. PAS exists, I’m proof of that. What is the most horrible part of all of this, is the abuse my children have suffered because of it. Physical abuse you can see, but emotional abuse is much more serious in that its beneath the surface, there are no obvious bruises for us to see and to get the child help.
This post isn’t here to make my children feel worse. Its there for me to “put it out there”, to finally get it out of my head and begin to move forward. There is nothing I can do to change the past, but I pray everyday that my future will include BOTH of my children.