Thursday, May 14, 2009

Build bridges to resume contact

from Mike Murphy
sender timeSent at 10:42 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 10:43.
date14 May 2009 10:42
subjectColumn re : Build bridges to resume contact

Ms. Burrows. I made the following comments on my blog dealing with Parental Alienation with respect to your advice re : Build bridges to resume contact

We have here a professional psychotherapist offering excuses for an abusive parent. Political correctness knows no bounds. If it had been a dad doing the alienating one could be certain Ms. Burrows wouldn't be saying "he's protective". As long as people like her are providing these kinds of answers we'll still have lots of enablers of child abuse, particularly mothers, who seem to be able to get away with pretty much anything under the guise of "protection." Also note Burrows was of absolutely no help to the Grandmother but made lots of effort to defend the mother's actions. Most of these therapists know, abuse not being a factor, and in this case how could it be, alienating parents have a high probability of mental health disorders.

Its a shame because the main victim is the child first and all of the dads extended family. What would she say if the complaint was about physical bruising rather than psychic bruising. Yes, call the Child Protection Agency and the Police. Its a disappointment these so-called professionals still try to cover up this abuse.

Mike Murphy

Special to The Windsor Star

Barbara Burrows

Dear Barbara: I've been following the discussion on PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) and would like to tell you about my son's child - who is forbidden access to his father by the mother - a women my son was never married to. I know of others with similar situations.

For awhile, I was on good terms with the mother who allowed the boy to come to spend two days/week with me and he had a good relationship with me and my daughter.

My son is a good person, gainfully employed, pays child support and has friends. It breaks our hearts that he can't see his son.

At one point, I told the mother that it wasn't right that she not let the child see his father and the boy's time with me ended - in fact - she called the police.

My husband and I have sent e-mails, cards for special occasions etc. - but there is no response at all.

There are a whole group of children who are suffering because one parent has control and keeps the child from the other. Grandparents have no rights in Ontario.

I realize that this is not a black and white issue, but as desperate as the parents are, it is the children who need help.

Have you any suggestions?

Dear Grandmother: You must be feeling very helpless.

What comes to my mind is that there was a time that your grandson's mother felt comfortable enough to let you spend time with him.

My thinking is that you may be able to rekindle that positive connection if you can figure out how you were able to establish it in the first place. My guess is that you somehow were able to put aside your hurt, critical feeling and likely anger towards the boy's mother and maintain some neutral, low-key civility.

Mothers are usually intensely protective of their children and this is where situations can get out of hand. For some reason, they become extra sensitive and perceive that the father is a negative influence.

I suppose it is possible that parents intentionally withhold the children to punish the other, but my experience has been the withholding parent truly believes it is in the child's best interest - in fact - that the child needs protecting from something in the other parent. This is often a distortion - but the overprotective parent cannot see it.

This mother will never see your son as you do - simply accept that - and see what you might need to do to secure her trust so that you may have an opportunity to continue to build a relationship with the boy.

I believe you will have to call her directly and say you are missing the boy very much and ask if you could please come and talk with her.

You need to find a way to find out what has upset her and see how this can be resolved so you can resume your relationship with this child. Perhaps inviting her out for lunch or coffee - into neutral territory might help the discussion.

If you can build a bridge to your family, the chances of your son connecting with his son will be much greater.

Barbara Burrows is a psychotherapist who works with a group of professional advisers to address the questions sent to her by concerned parents. Her column appears Thursdays. Questions or comments can be sent to Visit her website

© The Windsor Star 2009

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