Saturday, April 4, 2009

Barbara Kay: Turning children into tools of hate

My comments made on the National Post site with respect to Barbara's column follow. Those I have referenced appear after the article.MJM

by MikeMurphy
Apr 01 2009
4:48 PM

@by Stew88, Rect

Barbara's example of Pamela's nightmare is well documented. Anyone the least familiar with Barbara Kay knows full well she does not pander to females. She, in fact, is a brave and courageous journalist fighting in an arena that most male journalists cannot. Their editors won't have it and the men will surely be pilloried by hateful gender feminists. I know as it happens to me all to frequently through the internet.

Google my name and parental alienation and it will take you to sites you thought section 13 of the CHRA should be invoked if I were one to whine and complain. Many sites are offshore outside the jurisdiction of Canada in any event. I am hated and reviled by the deniers that PAS exists. It, for me, is a badge of honour to have been selected as an enemy because these deniers are Luddites and through their denial are enablers of child and spousal abuse.

I was fortunate to attend this historic symposium and I am a male veteran in the war against this cruel punishment of children and the target parent. It was, in the beginning, according to Dr. Gardner, a female only instrument of child abuse against a dad primarily in custody wars to get the advantage in court. Today it is still a predominately female weapon but many dads also use it. The Turnbull decision in 2008 was made against a dad. Gene Colman's original research presented at the conference show a significant number of female abusers and a significant bias in favour of females in court decisions. I believe most of us knew the latter through our own observations. That females end up with custody in a 9-1 ratio whether it be contested or signed off by a judge is telling.

As a veteran of these battles against a biased justice system and a mentally ill parent who uses children as allies I can tell you to be assertive. Do not be passive when it comes to dealing with PA. The more time the alienator has the more the child will be in her/his camp. I developed a strategic plan to deal with it, one component of which is a media plan. Covering up abuse by remaining silent, even if the court admonishes you, is not an option. My ex took me to court 3 times to have my blogs removed and my ability to speak openly. Courts, lawyers, CAS, mental health workers, and welfare workers are all complicit in enabling this abuse.

You will need to be strong and resilient because you will be vilified by the gender feminists and their sycophantic allies. The one thing that will keep things on course for you will be to see your children realize you do care about them, you do try to see them, and you are fighting for the return of the love you had with them. I can attest a strategic approach does work but your movement will be in millimeters not meters but it can work. Be patient.

The most important job you will have ever been given is that of a parent. Stay the course as best you can. I am still in the middle of my battle against all the forces that work against a dad in the Family Law (FLAW) system but I shall never give up on my children until I take my last breath. Nothing else has more importance nor significance. Nothing else matters. I am nearly bankrupt but I made the decision in my planning that money isn't as important as my children. I will continue to learn how to represent myself and if I pass from this earth my writings will be testament to the effort I made to be a parent to my daughters not a visitor. It will attest I made every effort possible to stay in their lives despite my ex repeatedly telling them "I did not care about them."

Posted: April 01, 2009, 12:26 PM by NP Editor

Last weekend, I attended the Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), Canada’s first international conference on a form of child abuse that can be as bad as, or even worse than, sexual and physical abuse.

For the “show, don’t tell” version of what the presentations added up to, read A Kidnapped Mind (Dundurn Press, 2006), by former model and journalist Pamela Richardson, who spoke at the symposium.

Richardson wrote the book after her 16-year-old son, Dash Hart, neither drunk nor drugged, threw himself off Vancouver’s Granville Street Bridge on New Year’s Day, 2001.

Although Richardson was unaware there was such a syndrome until well into a 12-year custody ordeal as a “target parent,” her detailed chronicle of a remorseless campaign to “disappear” her from Dash’s life by his narcissistic father is the human face behind the evils described in the PAS literature.

The late psychologist and researcher Richard Gardner said of PAS, the term he coined in 1985, “I have introduced this term to refer to a disturbance in which children are obsessed with deprecation and criticism of a parent — denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.”

PAS goes far beyond the moderate alienation that frequently accompanies high-conflict divorce. The denigration of the target parent in PAS is not sporadic, impulsive and reality-based (“Your mother is such a flake”), but a vicious, consciously sustained and materially baseless campaign.

For example, in his presentation, Montreal psychologist Dr. Abe Worenklein, a specialist in PAS (he has testified at 600 trials), cited the case of a brainwashed boy who, witnessing in court, could no longer recall a single activity he’d ever done with his mother, but “knew” she’d given every man on their street a blow job. To the alienator, the child is a weapon. Hatred of the ex always trumps the child’s rights and mental well-being.

PAS-level alienators — whether male or female, the pattern of behaviour is identical — are typically so pathologically consumed with anger triggered by rejection, that they are beyond the reach of reason or moral suasion. More than just punishing, they wish literally to wipe out the target parent’s existence.

To this end, alienators will cut the target parent’s face out of family photos, banish all mention of his name or refuse to speak of him as “dad” (soon the child “de-parents” this way, too). Alienators exhibit an overwhelming sense of entitlement with no fear of courts. In Richardson’s case, her ex blithely ignored all access orders. During one year when she was supposed to have “joint custody,” she saw Dash for exactly 24 hours.

Alienators show the children court documents (a divorce no-no) and enmesh them in the legal process (“Should we ask for sole custody?”). They intercept messages and gifts from the other parent, then deny they were sent. They shun the target parent at school and sports events. They isolate the child from extended family and friends of the target parent, imputing fictional sins to all and sundry associated with her.

Critics of PAS fret that the syndrome is being exploited by abusive parents as a ploy to enforce visitation or custody of justifiably resistant children.

However, abused children present a notably different affect from the alienated. An abused child is reluctant to discuss what has been done to him and must be coaxed to reveal his secret. Even then, he doesn’t express hatred of the abusing parent, as he longs for a healed relationship.

By contrast, a PAS child exhibits classic symptoms of brainwashing, acting in robotic alignment with the alienator. (At 12, Dash wore his father’s clothes to court.) He is eager to badmouth the target parent. But he uses locutions and accusations obviously uploaded into him by an adult. Dr. Worenklein recalled four alienated siblings who parroted the exact same words in their baseless denunciations of their target parent.

Removal of the child from the alienator for a period of time — even three months, ideally a year — can effectively begin reversal of the brainwashing effect and restore a relationship with the target parent. Nevertheless, time does not heal the wounds left by the theft of the lost years.

PAS is a crime of calculation and opportunity, but alienators need enablers in the legal and social service systems. And they get them, as Dash’s father managed to do, time after time. Yet legal consequences for access order violation could be the single most effective deterrent to marginalization of the target parent. Since alienators will never compromise, custody should revert to the parent most willing to co-operate with the other parent on time spent with the child.

Happily, Canadian case law is trending toward acknowledgement of the syndrome. PAS has been part of the decisions in 74 cases since 1987, 53 in the last eight years.

One PAS-responsive judge wisely noted: “Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child. It has to be taught.”

If teaching hatred of the other parent had been written into B.C. family law as grounds for a reversal of custodianship in 1987, Dash Hart would be alive today. His martyrdom should count for something. The sobering message I drew is that vigorous advocacy for alienators by legal and social service professionals in the divorce industry is complicity with child abuse. If the “best interests of the child” is not to remain an empty mantra in the family law system, it must stop.
National Post
For more information on PAS, visit:

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by Tossed Salad
Apr 01 2009
12:48 PM

It is is unfortunate that you did not site statistics on which gender uses this tactic the most. With gender pandering judges making misandric custody decrees I will give you three guesses.

by chuck80
Apr 01 2009
1:31 PM

Male or female, those parents who use children as weapons in such a context are the scum of the earth.

"PAS is a crime of calculation and opportunity..." Yes, and therefore, it should incurr criminal charges, not simply "Removal of the child from the alienator for a period of time."

by rossbcan
Apr 01 2009
2:49 PM

A very good discussion of custody / support issues occurred on this thread:

The bottom line is we live in an action precedes consequence reality. Fraudulent professions ("experts") would have us believe that matters such as abuse, PAS... are due to flawed human nature.

The shrinks provide a collection of adjectives, stating that persons are of fixed nature, as opposed to responding to carrots and sticks in their environment. These are just excuses, with shrinks rationalizing in support of the side that pays them.

PAS is a CONSEQUENCE of the ACTIONS of the alienator(s). The system tries to rationalize the why's (motivation) in terms of fixed human nature of the parties. One good, other evil.

The truth is that because equality under law is no more, litigents are manipulated by environmental control, with different rules for each. It is not flaws in the law as written (by our lawmakers), it is judicial discretion, twisting and misrepresenting law. If a woman pretends abuse, she wins or at least is not sanctioned for perjery. If one of the parties is prosperous, litigation does not end until all parties are impoverished, with legal aid (your taxes) providing non-repayable (free) legal resources to the "needy".

Divorce is a protection racket, enabled by judicial corruption which has rationalized the law from "social instrument relating action to consequence" (after the facts are in) to "preemptive justice" based on "expert opinion" (speculation) which will not allow equality in terms of rights and responsibilities between parents, as true law demands.

The system treats divorce as a lottery and children as the prize (property) with major support financial value. The winner gets major financial value, the loser, eviction from their children's lives and slavery. Since children's opinions are considered, it is in the interest of both parties to manipulate children against the other. PAS is an extreme symptom, a consequence of abusive acts, encouraged by corrupt legal and psychiatric "professionals", placing parents at risk from an extremely corrupt legal "system".

Here's a pertinent excerpt from above thread:

Before y'all start speculating what the law should or shouldn't do, consider this:

We live in an action precedes consequence reality. The law is an instrument of social accountability, reacting to illegal actions.

According to true law, the law is bound to treat all persons equally. So long as a parent is actually caring for their children properly during their half time, the law is powerless to interfere. We should ALL be able to walk away from our ill chosen, loser spouses, care for our children half time with ZERO support payable. So long as we, as parents fulfill our parental obligations, true law is powerless to intervene. If our spouse is a deadbeat and unwilling or unable to fulfill their parental obligation, then, they, not the responsible parent deserves lawful retaliation.

Contrast this to years of litigation (abusing children by conflict) with corrupt professions speculating on the future and "children's best interests".

You are judged by what "experts" think of you, not your actions. Judicial treatment of males is exactly the same as so called "niggers" were treated by racists, enslaved.

We're all Black now. Time to collectively turn on our overseers.

by Stew88
Apr 01 2009
3:04 PM

Your article panders to social bias to hatred of fathers. this is a particularly dreadful state affairs in "family-law" and deeply rooted in provinces like Ontario. The tone and exclusion of relevant evidence makes it appear that men are responsible for parental alienation syndrome, when in fact, that is not at all true. You are guilty of odium paternus, and your article is a form of parental alienation syndrome by making all fathers look like ogres by misrepresenting the truth with the use of omission of fact. Your article is dreadfully insulting to fathers.

by Rectificatif
Apr 01 2009
3:43 PM

Every case I've seen (who doesn't know a divorced/separated family??) has the mother alienating the kids, not the father. So that should be stated more forcefully. Wives are already, wildly, favored by the courts, and we don't need more anti-father fuel for hate.

The article is well-intentioned, though. But the statement, "If teaching hatred of the other parent had been written into B.C. family law as grounds for a reversal of custodianship in 1987, Dash Hart would be alive today" is irresponsible and even cruel. No one can say that for certainty, so the word "might" should replace "would," with a lot more modifiers.

by fischerville
Apr 01 2009
4:09 PM

Stew88: you're evidently not familiar with Barbara Kay's writing, as she has written quite a number of articles decrying anti-male bias.

by rossbcan

Apr 01 2009
4:15 PM


I must strongly disagree with your opinion regarding bias by Barbara.

Further, if you bother to do a little research on Barbara Kay, you will find that this is one of her pet issues and she is all over injustice against men and children.

Just because she uses some examples of male malfeasance in this matter does not tar her as non-objective nor anti-male.

It is not a general matter of male good female bad. There are slimy individuals of all genders, biological or chosen.

This is the largest crime of law, refusing to deal with individual acts and facts and dealing with gross social generalizations and mythology such as "females nurturing victims", "males abusive oppressors". The reasons for this range from judicial ignorance and laziness to generating income for the legal "profession" by creating and profiting from conflict.

My opinion regarding why government tolerates this flagrant rationalizing away of law, as written is that many people have been socialized to dependency and, the real deadbeat parents (those who choose to exist on child support, be lazy) is that this is a sick game of "pass the parasite".

If the prosperous parent is not evicted from their children's lives and enslaved by "child support" based solely on speculation, then these deadbeats suck on social services, pissing off voters.

Its politics as usual. Make a promise of entitlements using the pretext of "fairness" and demand someone else pay. Recent social history says voters are not happy with the concept of paying taxes to support those who do not contribute. So, use the divorce courts to relieve this entitlement burden at the expense of slavery for prosperous parents (who can only react by being less productive) and insulating children from the evil values of "work ethic", "personal responsibility", etc.

These children will grow up and demand the same entitlements and "fairness" that they were socialized to. This is GREAT, it increases the political demand for the welfare state which we can no longer afford. No matter, social / economic unrest will lead to the "police state".

Governments do not care what they do, so long as they have the power and perks to do something, anything. The law used to protect us from state predations. Now, the law has devolved to the biggest predator of all.

by Rick11
Apr 01 2009
5:22 PM

Great article Barbara.

The few who freak when they don't see an explicit finger pointing to a female or male are usually in the throngs of an injustice. Forgive them. It's hard to think rationally when you're on fire. I know.

One thing you wrote really stands out for me is "The sobering message I drew is that vigorous advocacy for alienators by legal and social service professionals in the divorce industry is complicity with child abuse". So true on many fronts.

My ex's lawyer rambled off instructions on how to get around a positive drug test and in fact told her how to produce a negative drug test. The way it mater- of-factly rolled off her tongue tells me that it was one of her habitual tools to get the kids back. While I was on fire, I certainly wanted to see her burn. Now that my fire is out (meh..), I can bring it to the attention of her peers who will hopefully leave her with only the tools necessary to sign affidavits or do real estate deals.

Hatred is not the only thing that can be taught. Dirty tricks (illegal?) that can and do kill children are also taught and in fact encouraged.

Keep up the good fight Barb.

by rossbcan
Apr 01 2009
5:29 PM


Since you are still dealing with this. strongly suggest you visit my site again and review the thread I linked above. You may be able to improve your strategic plan.

And, sounds like you have further evidence that this whole matter is artificially created conflict, a protection racket by a very corrupt legal "profession" and criminally complicit judiciary, profitting from the avails of child abuse and "slavery using false pretexts".

I really hope you are able to help your daughters understand that they are in no way responsible for this madness, lest they be severely damaged by blaming themselves. In my situation, this required a lot of persuasive effort.

The best way to "win", if anyone but lawyers ever do is to be totally uncooperative, placing your oppressors in the position that it is clear that it is they who are initiating aggression. Keep your actions squeaky clean, peaceful, beyond reproach.

by CanaPol
Apr 01 2009
6:33 PM

There are many dads like mikemurphy who have to go through hell - er I mean the justice system, just to give children like his the right to have, love and respect BOTH parents in their lives.

The courts and a number of lawyers make it impossible to deal with divorce in a non-adversarial way. Here in Alberta, where there is a petition for separation/divorce, mediation is afforded to couples with children. A good mediator will help couples sort out the emotional issues before they must go through the adversarial judicial process.

Judges and lawyers are too focused on what either parent wants/deserves. I happen to believe that in each divorce case, the court should be providing children of said divorcing couples their own counsel. When the law TRULY starts looking after the best interests of children, they will scrutinize each parent, get psychological assessments done, and base opinions as to what arrangement would most benefit the child's all-around well being and happiness. There should also be severe consequences for a parent who flouts any such agreement to the detriment of that child.

Mike, as I mentioned before, I've a great deal of respect for a parent (male or female) that puts their kids first, and I wish you continued support in your endeavour to stand up for your kids' right to their dad.

by Sparky28
Apr 01 2009
6:49 PM

My husband and I were estranged from his daughter for 5 years. Classic PAS with plenty of help from the mother's lawyer and an idiot social worker who conducted a psychosocial assessment and concluded that while it was clear her mother had given her most of her ideas, they were hers now. Needless to say, we were less than impressed. And we were left to wait and wait.

We've since reconciled but only after my stepdaughter was given no choice but to speak to her father directly if she wanted anything.

Hearing about what happened to her during that time was so painful. She was told that her father would try to kidnap her, she was made to call the police and file a complaint against him for harassment after we came by to tell her she was going to be a big sister (calling the police was the lawyer's idea), she had her memories rewritten to remove her father from her past, she was given her own lawyer even though she neither asked for nor wanted one, she acted out sexually with older boys and engaged in self-mutilation, she missed out on the first 4 years of her little brother's life.

We need to change the current system to get children out of harm's way right from the beginning. Mandatory shared parenting is essential. Parents who violate custodial agreements should be arrested, fined, and perhaps jailed after multiple offenses. We need to add PAS to the criminal definition of child abuse. We need to find a way to hold lawyers responsible for the role they play in encouraging and feeding their clients' hate. I know my husband's ex would never have done half the stuff she did if she didn't have a lawyer giving her ideas, pulling stunts in court and helping her keep my husband away. Every lawyer who does this is an accessory to child abuse.

Most of all, we need PAS survivors to talk about their experiences so that the issue can't be hijacked by special interest and lobby groups. I stop myself from sending emails to my husband's ex's lawyer all the time because I want her to know what she was responsible for. But it would be more powerful and more difficult for the lawyer to deny if my stepdaughter spoke up.

We'll never get the time back that we lost and I'm so grateful that my stepdaughter has emerged from the experience as the happy, poised, remarkable young woman that she is. But there are so many that aren't so lucky. And that fact that these children are forced to live through hell because it suits the purpose of feminist lobby groups is disgusting. We need change and we need it now.

by adadincanada
Apr 01 2009
7:01 PM

I must also disagree with Stew88 about Ms. Kay's article misrepresenting men. The alienating of a child is child abuse and spousal abuse and should be recognised as such. It is irrelevant which gender commits the abuse, the abuse is real and long-lasting. In too many cases, it can be at least as serious as other forms of abuse such as sexual abuse of children -- which is also not a gender-specific crime.

The one example in the column is a well-documented, tragic case and one of the few specific cases that was discussed in detail at the conferene (and her book made available), so it provided a solid illustration.

Rather than changing the issue into the gender wars, let's focus on the point of it all: it is time to protect our children from those who would use them as the weapons of family wars. Attempted alienation, by a parent or anyone else, needs to be recognised in all levels of law as at least child abuse and the long term damage that has been shown to occur is definitely not in the interests of any of our children. As Mr. Kay does discuss, a child's reaction to severe alienation is radically different from the reaction to actual abuse.

by Rick11
Apr 01 2009
7:01 PM

The vast majority of custody cases could be resolved properly if the judges simply looked at past behaviours. Being on one's best behaviour during a divorce or custody dispute, while trying for some, is common, misleading, and suspect at the very least.

by rossbcan
Apr 01 2009
7:32 PM


Nope, they got that one covered. Due to inherently abusive husbands, any bad past behavior is rationalized as reaction to past male abuse and therefore, irrelevant to how a mother will behave once "stresser" evicted from her and children lives, except for role as inexhaustible wallet.

Been there, done that. Courts interpreted my and witness documentation (including her own family) of ex's past behavior, neglect and irresponsibility to be "abuse" on my part. Tried their best to smite me.

What seems to be missed here, is, the systemic abusers are immune to fact, law and reason. They are sociopaths interested solely in creating conflict they can pretend to "help" with, to fatten their "professional" bank accounts or careers, as political hacks - the judiciary. Period.

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