I recently had a wonderful chat with Benito Vergotine, on The Honest Truth, on SmileFM Radio, about Mother’s Day. We discussed practical tips for divorced fathers to help their children celebrate their mother as well as ways for a divorced mother to teach her children how to celebrate such a special occasion without the help of a spouse.
Thank you Benito, for the opportunity to help families who are going through the life changes of divorce!
Here is our June Give-Away!
Herve G-Wery, author of WE LOVE YOU No Matter Whathas generously donated two autographed copies of his book, one of which will be kept in our Library and the other will be given away in a lucky draw. To enter the draw, please click the link provided below. The draw will take place at 12:00 (SAST) on Friday, 8 June 2018.
Herve G-Wery‘s divorce was a catalyst for this project, as he aims to help families, particularly children, cope with separation. For most people this means the end of love, but for Herve it didn’t end with his divorce, because the love he and his ex-wife shared for their daughter was stronger. Herve crafted a special book to tell his daughter about their separation. In her book she discovered her parents story, her story – a love story.
Organised like a photo album, it guides a child through the family story of where the parents come from, events such as how they met, the wedding, the decision to separate and the future beyond that. There is also a Declaration of Commitment for parents to sign at the end of the book.
The Second Annual Global Fair Divorce Day,
is on Monday, 25 June 2018
Participation is World-wide and FREE.
Join the event on Facebook
Divorce Can and Should be FAIR!
Join us in fighting all unfair divorce tactics and creating awareness of fair ways to divorce. There is no need for separating or divorcing couples to be at war with each other until everyone involved are devastated. There are alternative solutions for parting ways or dissolving a marriage in a civilised manner. Let us inspire families to integrity, compassion and honour.
If you have any experience of divorce, whether as a child of divorcing parents, divorcing your spouse, as family or a friend of a couple going through divorce, a colleague of someone in divorce, a new partner of a divorcee or you witnessed the traumatic effects of the unfair manner in which divorce is conducted, you should join this cause. Even if you are happily married and want to support those who have suffered through divorce, you are welcome to join.
In celebrating Global Fair Divorce Day, we commit ourselves to Fair Conduct in good times and in bad. We wear blue on our left arm, hand and particularly the left ring finger, to show our undeniable commitment to distinguishing ourselves from the majority of people who fight and destroy lives through divorce, by loving one another, having empathy and being as fair as possible.
We believe that being Fair during the divorce process is noble. Blue is a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness, despite the trauma of divorce and getting through this life-changing event with our dignity in tact.
On 25 June, we all wear something blue on our left hand or decorate our left hand in any blue manner and post a photo on our Facebook Event page to show our support. Then we share this with our friends, colleagues & families. Be creative and have fun! Help us make the whole world aware that divorce can and should be fair!
This issue is far beyond that of a contact dispute and far beyond that even of conflict or disharmony between parents, it is one which interferes with the right of any child to grow healthily, in the right place in the hierarchy of the family. Suffering an alienation reaction causes children to suffer the loss of a beloved parent, it creates a psychological defence mechanism of splitting and it interferes with the brain development of the growing child. All of these things are tragedies for children in my view and as devastating to them as physical or sexual abuse. That there are few people who understand this but legions of people who disregard or dispute it, continues to fascinate and horrify me in equal measure. I cannot help but wonder whether Alice Miller’s views, that we collectively accept the generational march of abuse of children, because we ourselves are alienated from what it is to be healthy and whole, applies here.
I was reading this week, as part of my research work, an article about psychological splitting and the impact of this on the child’s developing brain. I have written before about the neuroscience of alienation and I hope to write more about it as my research work develops. This is a field which is giving us huge amounts of information about how children develop in the relational world and about how attachment processes work and why they are so important. I cannot help but wonder how the brains of the children I am working with are affected over their lifetimes. Working as I also do, with adult children who were once alienated, I witness the struggles they have to maintain a secure and balanced sense of self. Trusting one’s own self, when that self was built using defences against the incoming hostility in the relational world, is an almost impossible task.
Because it is the case that every time a child faces the covert or overt instruction to reject or not love or hate a parent, that child is handed a disadvantage in terms of trust, belief in the world as a benign place, belief in adults to care and know better than them and in the wiring and firing of the neurons in the brain. Every single time a child faces the dysfunction of a parent acting out their own dislike or distrust or simple dismissal of the other parent as a valid person in the child’s life, they add another disadvantage to the wall of defences that causes them eventually, to split their world into good and bad. Add up those disadvantages which are bricked into the child’s mind like a dividing wall between the two sides of a child’s relational world and what you are left with is a child who is damaged, dysfunctional and condemned to a lifetime of either acceptance of the situation as if it were the truth or a mammoth task of taking down that wall brick by brick to find a way through it.
Children in recovery from alienation tell me that they feel as if they do not know how to trust or who to trust. Children in recovery tell me that they didn’t want to be part of the war between their parents or be party to the anger and hatred of one parent against the other. Children in recovery tell me that all they want to do is be a child and have the grown-ups in their lives do the grown up work of sorting everything out. Those same children who, before recovery, were telling me how bad one parent was and how perfect the other one was, tell me that they never wanted to say those things, they simply had no other way of managing the landscape they were trying to navigate. Children in recovery want someone to act on their behalf and make it all better again for the adults around them. The drama of the alienated child is that they are travellers in a landscape they do not belong in and do not want to be in. As practitioners it is our task to Shepard them through to a safer place, a childhood place where their troubles, carried on behalf of adults, are behind them.
Someone once said to me, ‘suffer the little children and as adults they still do,’ the drama of the alienated child is that this is the absolute truth. In working with children once alienated who are now adults, the suffering that I see is immense, it is more, so much more than the loss of the relationship with a parent, it is the fundamental growth of the child in an environment which prevents health and which prunes the brain and primes it for addiction to trauma and drama. Trauma addicted children, whose only way of feeling alive is to be in the midst of drama and conflict are regularly seen in the psyche of adults who were alienated as children. Changing that takes hard work and concentration, it requires focus on the emotional, psychological and physical self, for the way that trauma addicted children become embodied adults can be seen visibly.
I work in this field because I care about children. I work in this field because I am a mental health professional and not because I am a parental rights advocate. I do this work not because I care about the rights of one parent or the other but because I care about the relational world of the children who are affected by family separation. As part of that I write and talk about the politics of family separation and the institutionalised rights and wrongs of the field. In reality however, I know that parental alienation is a psychological issue which goes far beyond the rights of parents to have a relationship with their child. Parental alienation is a child protection issue and children have the right to be protected from it.
One day, that is the way we will all think about it. Until then, the drama of alienation remains that which lies beneath the collective consciousness. When enough of us wake up and realise what has been done, I hope that change on the biggest scale possible, will come.
Dr Karyl McBride, Ph.D, author of Will I Ever Be Free of You?has generously donated two autographed copies of her book, one of which will be kept in our Library and the other will be given away in a lucky draw. To enter the draw, please click the link provided below. The draw will take place at 12:00 (SAST) on Thursday, 26 April 2018.
Karyl McBride’s book, Will I Ever Be Free Of You, provides clear guidelines to determine whether your partner is in fact a narcissist and if so, how to proceed with a divorce from such a problematic personality. She offers valuable insight and advice on breaking free and healing from the debilitating impact thereof.
This Lucky Draw is closed
Karyl McBride, Ph.D., LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Denver, Colorado with thirty-five plus years of public and private practice. She specializes in treating clients with dysfunctional family issues. For the past many years, Dr. McBride has been involved in private research regarding parental narcissism and the debilitating effects of narcissism in relationships. She has treated many adult children of narcissistic parents in her private practice.
Effects of Alcoholism on Families: Many people call alcoholism a family disease. Alcohol addiction does tend to run in families, but that’s not why it’s called a family disease. It has that reputation because one person’s addiction to alcohol affects the entire family.
Alcoholism causes physical and emotional health problems. The person with alcohol addiction experiences the brunt of the physical problems, but people who are close to them often share the emotional side effects of the person’s addiction.
Family members of alcoholics can experience anxiety, depression and shame related to their loved one’s addiction. Family members may also be the victims of emotional or physical outbursts.
A person addicted to alcohol may try to shield their family from the impact of alcohol abuse by distancing themselves. Unfortunately, isolation does little to protect family members from the financial and emotional side effects of alcoholism. Neglect can also have a negative impact on loved ones.
How Alcohol Affects Family Relationships
Alcohol abuse has the potential to destroy families. Research shows that families affected by alcoholism are more likely to have low levels of emotional bonding, expressiveness and independence. Couples that include at least one alcoholic have more negative interactions than couples that aren’t affected by alcoholism, according to research from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.
Relationships are built on trust, but many alcoholics lie or blame others for their problems. They’re often in denial about their disease so they minimize how much they drink or the problems that drinking causes. This deterioration of trust damages relationships and makes family members resent one another.
Substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, is one of the leading reasons couples seek counselling, according to the Research Institute on Addictions. Alcohol problems are also associated with lower marital satisfaction and it’s one of the top reasons for divorce in the United States. When both spouses have problems with alcohol, they’re less likely to divorce than when one spouse drinks more heavily than the other.
Alcohol addiction can make parents impulsive and unstable. Their parenting skills diminish as the disease progresses. Alcoholics tend to interact with children in inconsistent ways, sending mixed signals to children, according to a 2009 study published in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal. One example of mixed signals may pertain to acceptable alcohol use, increasing the risk of underage drinking.
Children of alcoholic parents tend to have more academic problems than children without alcoholic parents. Divorce and parental anxiety stemming from alcoholism in the family may hamper a child’s emotional functioning and lead to psychological disorders. Adult children of alcoholics may be impulsive, have trouble forming intimate relationships or be more dishonest than they need to be.
Addiction is an expensive disease. Depending on the type of alcohol a person drinks and how much they drink, a person addicted to alcohol may spend between $300 and $1,000 on alcohol each month. That can be a major drain on a family budget.
Other financial problems may be the indirect result of alcoholism. An arrest for driving under the influence can cost thousands of dollars in fines, court fees and car insurance increases. A car accident can make a person incur tens of thousands of dollars in health care or vehicle replacement costs.
The biggest hit to a family budget may occur when an alcoholic loses their job because of their disease. Even a temporary loss of income can have a devastating impact on a family.
Domestic Abuse Caused by Alcohol Misuse
Alcoholism can inflame relationship stressors, such as financial difficulties and child care issues. All of these factors can lead to emotionally abusive communication.
Types of emotional abuse that may be caused by alcoholism include:
Insulting or demeaning comments
Threatening physical abuse
Humiliating actions or statements
Intimidating comments or acts
Blackmailing or manipulating
In addition to emotional abuse, drinking problems are associated with intimate partner violence. Some studies suggest that alcohol makes the frequency and severity of domestic violence worse, according to the World Health Organization. It’s unclear if alcohol abuse is a cause of domestic violence or a risk factor.
However, it’s clear that alcohol disrupts critical thinking skills and reduces self-control. These side effects inhibit healthy and constructive communication that can be used to resolve conflict.
How Families Can Find Help for Alcohol-Related Issues
Problems caused by alcoholism don’t resolve themselves, and solutions to family problems usually require buy-in from all family members. Most of the time, family counselling is required to help families recognize the causes of problems and develop healthy solutions to resolve them.
The primary solution usually involves the person with the alcohol use disorder seeking treatment. It can be difficult to convince alcoholics to seek help. However, numerous resources are available for people seeking help for alcoholism and for family members affected by alcoholism.
Supporting the Alcoholic
Whether your loved one goes to alcohol rehab or they attend support group meetings, family members can support alcoholics while they’re trying to recover from alcohol addiction. Help from friends and family is a major component of recovery from alcoholism.
Help for the Family
Sometimes the person with the alcohol addiction refuses to seek treatment. For example, families of a high-functioning alcoholic may be unable to convince their loved one to seek treatment because the person hasn’t experienced obvious consequences of their addiction yet.
Family members shouldn’t give up and do nothing. There are several ways of dealing with an alcoholic. Support groups or counselling can benefit family members affected by someone else’s alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can have devastating impacts on families. Spouses of people with alcohol problems may be at an increased risk for emotional or physical abuse. Children of alcoholics may be at risk for academic and psychiatric problems. Therapy and counselling can aid families affected by alcohol abuse issues.
This article, written by Chris Elkins, originally appeared on www.drugrehab.com and is published here with permission.
Posted by Sinta Ebersohn, (Creator of www.fairdivorce.co.za – Cape Town RSA)
What happens to alienated children is a malfunctioning of what could and should be empathic attunement to the individual needs and feelings of a child. It is a disruption of the child’s right to grow to feel their own feelings and an imposition of adult responses to the world onto a vulnerable, virtually helpless being.
This week I have been re-reading the Drama of Being a Child by Alice Miller. For any readers not familiar with her writing I would urge you to find out more about her thinking, which is rich in empathy and full of close observations about the inner world of children. Additionally, Miller writes widely about how we become alienated from our true selves by everyday parenting practices. When I read her writing, I become ever more conscious that what happens to alienated children is a malfunctioning of what could and should be empathic attunement to the individual needs and feelings of a child. It is a disruption of the child’s right to grow to feel their own feelings and an imposition of adult responses to the world onto a vulnerable, virtually helpless being, which makes me angry and then sad, at the way in which normalised parenting practices trample on the growing child’s mind. In our world of institutionalised beliefs about children and parenting, it appears to me that guarding a child’s right to grow freely, like a flower to full blossom, is not protected by our legislation and not promoted by our family services. In fact quite the reverse in so many cases.
According to Miller our true selves are buried under layers of solidified defences against the way in which we all were/are, as children, brutalized by ordinary parenting practices. These practices, which are about civilising the child and preparing them for entry into society are about normalising what is in effect cruelty. Leaving a child to cry for example, in the belief that this teaches self-soothing, telling a child that they do not feel something that they are clearly trying to express and demanding conformity to what are essentially adult needs rather than children’s, are all designed to remove from a child the agency that a growing child needs to feel in order to become an individuated and independent person in the world.
Little wonder some children are so easy to alienate from one half of themselves. By the time they are able to speak they are likely to have become alienated from the whole of themselves and attuned to the needs of one of their parents in a corrupted relationship in which the adult imposes their needs upon the child. Children involved in these relationships do not have a sense of a real self because that has never been allowed to develop. What they have is a false persona, developed in the mirror of the parental dysfunction, which is now malleable and under the control of that parent whilst the other parent stands by helplessly witnessing this drama.
It is the case that many alienated children are likely to have grown up in this type of family pattern and if you go back to the previous generation and the one before that, the same kind of enmeshment, claustrophobia and dysfunction can be seen in the primary relationships. This pattern is seen most often in mothers and their daughters, but I have also seen it occur in vertical cross generational patterns between sons who are enmeshed with mothers who support their sons to alienate children from their mother in order that the son and his mother provide primary care. I have also seen it in horizontal cross generational patterns in which aunts have assisted in the alienation of children from their mothers, taking over the role of mother with assistance from other members of the family. In all of these cases, the children’s susceptibility to being alienated is assisted by the presence of the child’s lack of access to a sense of true self. The child’s ability to know feelings and how to express them having never been truly developed, leaving only a fragile persona which is vulnerable to the command of others who want to control.
The drama of the alienated child in this family pattern is therefore two fold. It is first the prevention of the child’s ability to develop a normal sense of self and it is second the manipulation of the child to obey the commands to sever connection with half of the false conscious self. Underneath, the child floats in limbo, unable to understand what is happening and unable to resist it or challenge it. This is why so many children who are alienated remain in such serious and sustained stances of rejection, they lack the capacity to do the emotional and psychological work of change and cling instead to what they know, pleasing the person they feel the safest with in order to get the care they believe they have to have in order to survive. This for me explains why young people who are in the process of being liberated from the control of their alienating parent want to hang on so tightly to them. When all you know is the security of the false self which is enmeshed with the parent who has had all of the control, being suddenly exposed is terrifying and can feel almost life threatening. This is why removal of children straight to the rejected parent is, for me, essential. When a child is exposed and vulnerable what they need is the healthy parent to give them anchor and safety. At least then the internal development of a sense of self can begin, which, however late it is, is what will help the child to grow to health and wellbeing post alienation.
Healthy relationships for children are those which help them to identify their feelings and express them from as early an age as possible. Helping a child to understand that their feelings are welcome (though they may not drive everything in the world) is a way of proofing them against manipulation by others. Allowing a child to feel is a critical stage of their development, facilitating tears, anger, frustration and fear as well as the wide range of positive feelings allows a child to know its own mind. And knowing your own mind is a valuable protection against manipulation by others across the life cycle.
For anyone interested in the family drama of child alienation, Alice Miller provides incredible insight and learning about those things which cause it and those things which help to heal it. Her writing, which I first encountered thirty years ago, is a relevant today as it was back then. We are all alienated from our selves, particularly those of us born before children were actually recognised as individual and valuable human beings instead of trainable miniatures without feelings of our own. Reading Miller is like being given the keys to your own psychological cage. Read her and let yourself weep.
This article, written by Karen Woodall, is published here with her permission.
Posted by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za, Cape Town – RSA)
When I went through the devastation of my own divorce, I often wished there was one central place I could go, to get all the information I needed.
If only, there was a one-stop-divorce-shop that could tell me…
where to start
all the aspects I had to consider
how to protect my children from the tragic impact
what are my options
how to deal with the emotional stuff
where to get the best professional help
what other support is available etc.
… I wouldn’t have felt so terrified, anxious and depressed about the desperate position in which I found myself.
After being ship-wrecked by an acrimonious sea of litigation, I founded Fair Divorce in 2015. Since then, I have been networking locally in South Africa as well as globally, with Mediators, Mental Health Practitioners, Social Workers, Family Advocates, Attorneys, Coaches, Organisations and other professional service and product providers for divorce. At the same time, this educational website for families going through divorce, have been growing to serve more than 21 500 unique users in more than 160 countries world-wide to date.
In order to serve this niche market even better, I founded an exclusive Fair Divorce Practitioners Group, who provide online divorce services and products. There are literally thousands of people all over the world, who are too private, too afraid or too ashamed to approach someone for help with their divorce, but they appreciate and value this online platform, where they can learn and find support discreetly and even anonymously where necessary. Not to mention the thousands of people who openly and actively share their divorce experiences and what they discover on this website. Furthermore, most find it hard to find the time to consult a professional or research divorce related topics during working hours or parenting time, so being able to get help after hours or at a convenient time in a flexible schedule, makes perfect sense. We already reach people across time zones and other boundaries on this platform.
If you offer webinars, courses, tools, programmes, workshops, discussions, broadcasts or anything else online, you are invited to apply to join this group as a founding member. As a subscribed member, you will benefit from
A member listing on the website (photograph, short bio & link)
Advertising your online offers on the website & social media, subject to approval
Contributing your own articles, subject to approval
Listing your services & authored books in the various directories
Offering specials & give-aways, subject to approval
Displaying the Fair Divorce Practitioners logo & link, on your website
Networking with other members
Participation in & exposure at exclusive online events
Joining the Fair Divorce Practitioners Facebook group
Receiving the Fair Divorce Newsletter
Apply now to add your name to a discerning group of individuals, who believe in honourable and fair divorce practices, leaving families well-adjusted to the changes, established in a healthy new family dynamic and excited about their future! Founding Member subscription is $10 per month.
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