To lose a loved one under any circumstance is undeniable one of the most painful tragedies one can imagine, and yet it happens. People, young and old, die due to illness, accidents, or sometimes, murder.
Imagine the same agony and the same feeling of loss, except for the awareness that your loved one is alive… somewhere – imagine being a parent who wonders day and night whether their child is happy, or hurt, or hungry, or cold; imagine being a child who wonders why their mom or dad is not part of their lives, and questions whether they’ve done something wrong that made their parent leave.
Imagine being a child who always thought they only had one parent and suddenly they discover there is another parent out there, somewhere, one that was kept away from them like a disease.
These are a few feelings that many parents and children have to endure, for no other reason than that one parent, for one reason or another, did not stand by their for-better-or-worse vows.
Since Richard A. Gardner proposed Parental Alienation Syndrome in 1980, based on his clinical experience with the children of divorcing parents, mental-health professionals have debated the definition of Parental Alienation, and whether it is a clinical ‘syndrome.’ Though it lacks a single definition, few disagree that the problem exists in family courts.
In my view – and many of my readers know it – Parental Alienation is seated on the same bench with the most horrifying form of child abuse.
I have read The Motherless Child Project by Robin Karr and Janie McQueen.
The story is seen through the eyes of Emily Amber, a 16-year-old girl whose mother has been absent all her life. Ember, as her brother nicknamed her, is your average next-door-neighbor worried only about issues associated with adolescence. However, a song she heard in church called, Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, changes her worry-free world forever. When she questions the circumstances of her mother’s disappearance, she uncovers that she is not just her father’s daughter and that she is someone else’s daughter. That somewhere, she has a mother, perhaps looking for her. That last bit turns her world upside down and inside out, and the very fabric of her existence, is shredded to pieces. The most trusted people in her life turn out to be nothing but liars.
Though the novel is fiction, the plot is based on current issues in family courts. The raw emotions and aftermath consequences, are real problems that plague thousands of women and children who are separated by abusive and controlling fathers, across the country, and around the world.
Although the book touches a lot of important points, it is only a mild version of what, in fact, happens in family courts and inside these families who are unfairly separated by fraudulent court orders – it is a mere scratch on the surface of the actual pain and suffering of a parent who watches professionals, who are paid to work for the best interest of the child, slowly rip their innocent child from their arms.
These parents witness the suffering, the effects, the impending doom, yet they are powerless to do something about it, because most of them, especially mothers, come from abusive situations and simply can’t afford to go against high-priced lawyers working for the other parent.
Nonetheless, the book is well researched, and it touches a few of the most important facts about Parental Alienation, such as ignorance among community, schools, professionals in the legal and health departments, and most of all, the myth that if a parent loses custody heshe must be unfit. While that may be true sometimes, in the vast majority of cases is not and regardless of whether the courts and authorities want to admit it, the best interest of the child has fallen through the cracks of who has more money.
I recommend this book to anyone who is going through such situations, but I have a feeling that the authors have written it especially for children who find themselves caught in the crossfire of their separated parents, or have questions about a mysterious, disappearance of one parent. The book is written in a language they will understand.
“Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child. It has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child.” – Honorable Judge Gomery –