Stop Parental Alienation!
Parental Alienation is KIDNAPPING - Part 1
What is a "Parentectomy?"
A "Parentectomy" is the removal, erasure, discounting, diminution or slandering of a caring parent in a child's life, following separation or divorce. Parentectomies are typically waged by bitter scornful women who use a father's child or children as "pawns" is a war that ultimately devastate the child/children of divorce.
example of a Parentectomy
is when one parent moves away - or is "driven away" from his
child/children through a failed family court system used by bitter ex-wives and
"mothers" just as they use parental alienation. Parentectomy
covers a large range of parent removal from partial Parentectomy
including "you can visit your Daddy on every other weekend" to the total
and complete Parentectomy
which is the complete absence or removal of the child's Dad. Again, the
ultimate victims of a Parentectomy
are the children as well as the dads whose love can never be replaced or
substituted for. A Parentectomy
is the most cruel infringement upon children's rights to be carried out against human children
- typically by "mothers" using the tactic of parental alienation and
family courts to achieve their evil "victory." Parentectomies are psychologically lethal
and devastating to children and
their dads (and moms - when this happens in reverse to them).
The following letter is found on the internet from the grown child who was a victim of a Parentectomy in Montreal, Canada.
Having been raised in a home with divorced parents, I am thrilled to have an opportunity to share with the Yated readers a happy ending to a sad an unfortunate childhood. I have, Boruch Hashem, finally reunited with my alienated father and now we, and his new family, have established a warm, solid relationship together.
I am now 20 and happily married.
I was a product of parental alienation by my mother, who kept me away from my father. She fed me a host of lies, false allegations and sheer drama, and thereby robbed me of a relationship with him due to her selfish personal war that she waged with him all the years. It was almost an obsession to completely blot him out of our lives. She should have sought help for herself, since this was about her own selfishness and not about what was right for her child.
It is only fair to mention that I had a loving mother and I have many fond memories growing up, but despite all of that, there was a steady sprinkling of lies relating to my fatherís whereabouts, which left me quite confused.
How I finally sorted things out is a story too long for this column, but when I started dating, issues about my father kept creeping into every conversation with shadchanim (matchmaker) and I was stunned to discover that my father was, in fact, an outstanding human being, quite well known and respected, with a loving family. I set into motion a plan that ultimately led me back into his life.
The grief he suffered is indescribable. He shared with me his own journey with rabbonim (rabbi), dayanim (senior rabbi), friends and family who were all equally helpless in effecting some sort of visitation due to my motherís relentless compulsion with revenge.
Unfortunately, rabbonim (rabbi) are not equipped with much to enforce agreement. Despite their best efforts to reason with my mother, pointing out the wickedness of such alienation and the impact on my childhood, nothing changed.
What she caused, a parentectomy of sorts, is unforgivable. The emotional manipulation I suffered for nearly 20 years will take me a lifetime to make sense of. Couldnít she have seen that this would backfire?
I am happy today beyond words. I have a new family, siblings and grandparents who embraced me and my husband. I am trying to make up for lost time. I am trying very hard to focus on that and not on the resentment I have for my mother who caused so many individuals so much pain. She is now suffering the backlash, the wrath of her child, for having precipitated this enormous loss, because our relationship today is cold at best. In time, I honestly hope things will improve on that front too, but for now it comes down to my own personal healing experience and my new found happiness.
It is my sincere hope that by sharing my story, I will encourage others in similar situations to seek professional help to try, at all costs, to avoid a lifetime of unresolved pain and regrets to their children.
Name withheld, Montreal, Canada
Deadbeat Moms * Hostile Aggressive Parenting * Malicious Mother Syndrome
Alienation Syndrome *
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They're "Monsters," NOT "Mothers"
"Parentectomy" is the removal, erasure, discounting, diminution or slandering of a caring parent in a child's life, following separation or divorce.
Parentectomies are typically waged by bitter scornful women who use a father's child or children as "pawns" is a war that ultimately devastate the child/children of divorce.
These truly "evil" women will make up incredibly vicious lies and stories - and coerce the child/children and others such as her parents and other family members to assist her in "brainwashing" the father's child and to inform others about these lies in an attempt to turn a father's child/children against him.
When these evil women believe the child/children has the made-up story of abuse memorized, these vindictive women then get CPS or teachers/schools involved in an attempt to get the CPS teacher(s) or school on "their" side.
Typical fairy tales used by these sick women include various forms of child abuse, including sexual abuse, "locking children in closets for not eating their vegetables" and even telling teachers at school the father doesn't feed the child breakfast - even when the father just so happened to videotape a very happy and enjoyable breakfast between him and his daughter, on one of the dates he took his daughter to school - who then told the school counselor she was "starving" as her daddy (again) didn't feed her breakfast and the school nurse gave her Pop-Tarts that the evil mother left with the counselor in an attempt to also coerce the counselor into believing this bizarre story.
"Evil" and very sick/emotionally-disturbed women after divorce masquerade as "mothers" but are really "monsters" who are driven by their hate toward the father of the child/children, and are anything but a loving, nurturing parent.
These truly evil monsters pretending to be mothers, hate their ex-husbands more than they love THEIR children. Driven by their scorn, these women make-up fairy tales of abuse & false allegations - coercing and brainwashing THEIR children and others into believing their evil lies. This is all done in their attempts to get their children to hate their dads and to no longer want them to be a part of their dad's lives.
The emotional and psychological damage inflicted by these monsters on children of divorce is significant, life-changing and LIFE-LONG with horrific repercussions to our society. The lives of these innocent children that were damaged by these monsters, will never be "normal" as they will always be wounded by the abuse, lies, fairy-tales, brainwashing and being taught to hate their own dads, was "not" in the child's DNA. These wounded children of divorce carry their wounds for the rest of their lives and to the detriment of all of their relationships as well as to our society.
Dad: Is your ex-wife abusing your children emotionally, physically or psychologically by denying them - and you - the custody you were awarded and the time with your children that they deserve, want and need?
Increasingly, more and more family courts are Acting to Stop Parental Alienation by Dads who are successful in their efforts to Reverse Custody back to Dads when "Malicious Moms" and "Deadbeat Moms" are Found to be Psychologically Abusing Children of Divorce.
What is "Parental Alienation?"
Parental Alienation has been called by many the worst form of child abuse. It's culmination is called "parentectomy" which is the intentional and deliberate removal of a parent from the child's or children's life/lives. It's a vile tactic overwhelmingly used by women (female parents) against fathers.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Parental Alienation Syndrome has also been called a mental condition in which the child or children of divorce, or pending divorce, are subjected to emotional abuse, coercion or "brainwashing" (usually by the female parent) forcing the child/children to "ally" the child/children with the female parent, and to reject a relationship with the other parent, without legitimate justification. In fact, these "mothers" go so far as to make up outrageous lies against the fathers, and attempt to make the child/children believe them, and then when the child/children begin to believe these lies, then use psychologists, child protective services or other 3rd parties, including police, to lodge these false lies in an attempt to completely terminate the father-child relationship and bond. These "mothers" (as well as any father or grandparent) that would do this to an innocent child are nothing less than evil.
As Parental Alienation Syndrome has such a devastating and life-changing trauma on the children as well as their fathers and their families (paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) the American Psychiatric Association is now considering adding Parental Alienation Syndrome to the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to be published in May 2013.
What are the Best Interests of the Child?
A child's best interests are to be loved, unconditionally, by their dad and mom, who love each other and are in a Christ-centered, Ephesians 5 marriage and places their family and each member of their family, above everything else - while keeping everything else - i.e. jobs, school, etc. - in a healthy balance.
When this is not possible due to divorce, the child/children need have their interests placed above the animosity of his/her parents, and to try and keep the child/children's life/lives normal and healthy, and that they know their dad and mom will always love and care for him/her/them, despite the broken family.
Millions of children of divorce have been abused by the "mothers" (actually, these people give "real" mothers a bad name, and should be referred to as "the female parent) over the years, with a cast of characters playing supporting roles in the abuse of these children as judges, attorneys, family courts, child protective services. Most of these have an "anti-Dad" or anti-Father bias, thinking the only things Dads are good for is a paycheck. These prejudices have destroyed the lives of millions children and caused the estrangement of the fathers of their children, who have LOST a lot of LOVE as well as a sense of who they really are, or could have been, had they not be denied of the love of their fathers. These children who were abused by the abusers of this anti-father, "feminist" agenda, including the family courts and Child Protective Services with their radical anti-father, anti-family, pro-feminist agenda, have been, and are continuing to destroy not only the children and fathers of the children of divorce, but the very fabric of America's society.
The solution to destroying the lives of children and their dads is "5050 Custody."
Every child of divorce DESERVES EQUAL/50-50 AMOUNTS OF TIME WITH BOTH OF HIS/HER PARENTS! How will a child know who he/she is WITHOUT 50-50 time spent with BOTH parents?
5050 Custody solves a huge number of problems. 5050 Custody will also help reduce or eliminate the millions of children that were ABUSED and VICTIMIZED by judges, attorneys and courts that USED children of divorce as "pawns" is a "game" to determine which divorcing parent "won" them. It will also help reduce or eliminate the millions of children that were estranged from their dads, as the "mothers" were awarded an UNFAIR and INORDINATE of "time" with the father's child/children, and MANY of these "mothers" used this time to DESTROY the father-child relationships through "Parental Alienation," Hostile Aggressive Parenting, and/or "Malicious Mother Syndrome."
What is a Deadbeat Mom?
1. Emotionally, a deadbeat mom is a "malicious mother" that alienates a father's child/children from him and attempts to destroy the father-child relationship through tactics such as parental alienation, denial of custody or communication access to through the mail, phone, email, etc. Emotionally-speaking, a deadbeat mom is on a mission (vendetta) against the child's/children's father because the woman hates the child's father more than she loves the child/children.
2. Financially-speaking, some studies indicate there are twice as many Deadbeat Moms that fail to pay child support to dads who have sole/primary custody.
Family courts and judges are equally responsible for the emotional abuse of children when they do not order "equal time for both parents" and are inviting women to alienate children from fathers when they fail to award equal custody.
We Support "50-50 Custody" for children of divorce to end the emotional abuse of children by deadbeat moms, and malicious mothers.
Interference with Child Custody
"Interference with Child Custody" is a 3rd degree Felony in many states, and is a common ploy used by "deadbeat moms" to alienate a child or children from their father.
Parental Alienation destroys children's lives and they grow up without knowing who they really are, and they lose out on the love only a father can provide.
Interference with Child Custody should be prosecuted, like any other Felony, by the District Attorney's office. All too often, prosecutors who aggressively and relentlessly pursue "deadbeat dads" for failing to pay financial support for their children, turn a blind-eye to the the "deadbeat moms" who deprive children from the "emotional support" by interfering with child custody.
Now, Dad's Against Discrimination, has a tool in its arsenal to expose prosecutors who fail to do their jobs by enforcing the "emotional support" orders of the court as it relates to child custody. Dad's Against Discrimination has acquired the website:
and we will begin exposing prosecutors who deprive children of their rights to the emotional support of their Dads, by failing to prosecute deadbeat moms for "Interference with Child Custody" - in Texas, this is a 3rd degree Felony and found in the Penal Code under Texas Penal Code 25.003
a Dad's Love from His Child's Life
Through Parental Alienation By "Malicious Mothers"
are Destroying Children's Lives and
Children's Hopes for a "Normal Life."
Abusive behaviors used by "mothers" lawyers and the Courts, and by anti-child "feminists" that abuse the Laws across this land in Divorce Related issues.
Simply having a vagina, two ovaries, one uterus, and two breasts no longer qualifies that person as the better parent for courts to automatically award her custody of the child/children of divorce.
Dads are quite capable of providing the love, nurturing, care and support children of divorce need. Why is it that dad's still only get awarded primary custody in less than 20% of all divorces?
Why are our courts, attorney's and judges still living like we're in the 19th century through the "automatic" awarding of children to the "mother?"
These individuals have caused major psychological and emotional trauma on the innocent children of marriages that have ended in divorce, and prevent a loving Dad that wants to co-parent his child/children, but are prevented and thwarted due to the "evil" inflicted by an un-forgiving ex-wife and "mother" on their children.
Women have always been "automatically" awarded custody of children in divorce cases. They have their "equal rights."
When do the innocent children and loving dad's get "equal rights" and custody, and when are the courts going to wake up to the serious emotional and psychological harm that is being done to America's children of divorce, by these "malicious mothers"?
time for America to join the 21st century and for courts to start awarding
custody to Dad's in at least 50% of all divorce cases where each parent is
equally qualified, and STOP ending their discrimination against men and their
Malicious Mother Syndrome
by Ira Daniel Turket, PhD
With the increasing commonality of divorce involving children, a pattern of abnormal behavior has emerged that has received little attention. The present paper defines the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome. Specific criteria's are provided with abundant clinical examples. Given the lack of scientific data available on the disorder, issues of classification, etiology, treatment, and prevention appear ripe for investigation.
A divorced man gains custody of his children and his ex-wife burns down his home. A woman in a custody battle buys a cat for her offspring because her divorcing husband is highly allergic to cats. A mother forces her children to sleep in a car to "prove" their father has bankrupted them. The actions illustrate a pattern of abnormal behavior that has emerged as the divorce rate involving children has grown.
Today, half of all marriages will end in divorce (Beal and Hochman, 1991). The number of children involved in divorce has grown dramatically (e.g., Hetherington and Arastah, 1988) as well. While the majority of such cases are "settled" from a legal perspective, outside the courtroom the battle continues.
The media have spent considerable effort raising public awareness about the problem posed by divorced fathers who do not provide court-ordered child support payments. Hodges (1991) has noted that less than 20 percent of divorced fathers provide child support payments three years after their divorce. Research on the decline of womenís economic status following (e.g., Hernandez, 1988; Laosa, 1988) has contributed to recent legislation to address the "Deadbeat Dad" problem.
While the media correctly portray the difficulties imposed upon women and children by the "Deadbeat Dad" phenomenon, the cameras have yet to capture the warfare waged by a select group of mothers against child support paying, law-abiding fathers. Everyday, attorneys and therapists are exposed to horror stories in which vicious behaviors are lodged against innocent fathers and children. Unfortunately, there are no scientific data on the subject. Similarly, the clinical literature has relatively ignored the problem..
A noted exception can be found in the clinical writings of Gardner (1987, 1989) who has provided excellent descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Here, a custodial parent successfully engages in a variety of maneuvers to alienate the child from the non-residential parent. Once successfully manipulated, the child becomes "Öpreoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated" (Gardner, 1989 p. 226). In the typical case of Parental Alienation Syndrome, both mother and child engage in an array of abnormal actions against the father. Gardner views "brainwashing" as a concept "too narrow" (Gardner, 1989) to capture the psychological manipulation involved in turning a child against his/her non-residential parent.
While Gardnerís pioneering descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome provide an important contribution to our understanding of divorce-related child-involved hostilities, the present paper is concerned with a more global abnormality. As noted in the examples provided in the beginning of this manuscript, serious attacks on divorcing husbands take place which are beyond merely manipulating the children. Further, these actions include a willingness by some mothers to violate societal law. Finally, there are mothers who persistently engage in malicious behaviors designed to alienate their offspring from the father, despite being unable to successfully cause alienation. In sum, these cases do not meet the criteria for Parental Alienation Syndrome. Nevertheless, they portray a serious abnormality.
The purpose of the present paper is to define and illustrate this more global abnormality with the hope of generating increased scientific and clinical investigation of this problem.
The present section provides a beginning definition of the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, which has been derived from clinical and legal cases. As in all initial proposals, it is anticipated that future research will lead to greater refinement in the taxonomic criteria.
The proposed definition encompasses four major criteria, as follows:
A mother who unjustifiably punishes her divorcing or divorced husband by:
a. Attempting to alienate their mutual children from the father
b. Involving others in malicious actions against the father
c. Engaging in excessive litigation
The mother specifically attempts to deny her child(ren)
a. Regular uninterrupted visitation with the father
b. Uninhibited telephone access to the father
c. Paternal participation in the child(ren)ís school life and extracurricular activities
The pattern is pervasive and includes malicious acts towards the husband
a. Lying to the children
b. Lying to others
c. Violations of law
4. The disorder is not specifically due to another mental disorder, although a separate-mental disorder may co-exist.
this section, I will provide clinical illustrations for each criterion using the
reference numbers provided above. As criteria 1-3 are behavior specific to
the Malicious Mother Syndrome, I will provide a series of clinical examples.
The fourth criterion which addresses the relationship of the proposed syndrome
to other mental disorders, will be discussed more generally.
Is CHILD ABUSE!
Criterion 1A: Alienating the Children
The range of actions taken by a mother to attempt to alienate her children from their father is impressive. For example:
One mother lied to her children that she could no longer buy food because their father had spent all of their money on women in topless bars.
A doctorís wife forced her 10-year-old son to apply for federally funded free school lunches to delude the boy that his "daddy has made us poor."
A woman who for years was very close to the children in a custody battle, was asked by their mother to give up neutrality and join her campaign against the father to "dance on his grave." When the friend refused to give up her neutrality, the mother falsely informed her children that their father was having an affair with this woman.
These behaviors, if successful, could lead a child to not only hate the father, but perhaps go years without seeing him. As Cartwright (1993) has noted: "The goal of the alienator is crystalline: to deprive the lost parent, not only of the childís time, but of the time of childhood." (p.210).
Criterion 1B: Involving Others in Malicious Actions
The second component of the first major criterion where the mother attempts to punish the husband, involves manipulating other individuals to engage in malicious acts against the father. Examples of this kind are as follows:
During a custody battle, a mother lied to a therapist about the fatherís behavior. The therapist, having never spoken with the father, appeared as an "expert" witness to inform the Judge that the mother should be the primary residential parent and that the father needed to be in therapy.
One angry mother manipulated teenagers to leave anonymous threatening notes at the ex-husbandís home.
A mother who had lost legal custody of her children, manipulated a secretary at the childís school to assist in kidnapping the child.
In the above examples, it is important to note that the person manipulated by the angry mother has, in a way, been "alienated" against the divorcing husband. Typically, the individual "duped" takes on a righteous indignation, contributing to a rewarding climate for the mother initiating malicious actions.
Criterion 1C: Excessive Litigation
There is little question that either party in a divorce or custody proceeding is entitled to appropriate legal representation and action.
Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, however, attempt to punish the divorcing husband by engaging in excessive litigation.
A belligerent and unreasonable mother verbally attacked her ex-husband whenever she saw him. Over time, his response was to ignore her. She then took him to court, asking the judge to require the ex-husband to talk with her.
One mother told a judge that her daughter was not really her divorcing husbandís child
One woman refused to stop attacking her ex-husband through the courts, despite numerous attorneys being fired or voluntarily leaving the case. Over a three-year period, seven different attorneys were utilized.
Data exist which can help in determining the range of excessive litigation. For example, Koel et al. (1988) report on the frequency of post-divorce litigation in a sample of 700 families. Their data indicate that only 12.7% of families file one post-divorce petition to the court, whereas less than 5 percent file two or more petitions (Koel et al. 1988); less than one percent file four or more petitions.
Criterion 2A: Denying Regular Visitation
Experts are in relative agreement that regular and uninterrupted visitation with the non-residential parent is desirable and beneficial for children, except in extreme circumstances (Hodges, 1991). In fact, some states, such as Florida, have laws written to reflect this view (Keane, 1990). Unfortunately, even when the father and children have legal rights to visitation, individuals with Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome continue to interfere with it.
A mother who previously attacked her ex-husband physically during visitation transfers of the children, refused to provide the children when the ex-husband had the police attend to monitor exchanges.
When one divorced father arrived to pick up his children for visitation, the mother arranged for her and the children to be elsewhere so that the father could not visit with the children.
One mother had her physically intimidating boyfriend assault her ex-husband when he came to pick up his children for visitation.
The President of the Council for Childrenís Rights (Washington, D.C.) notes that such alienation is considered a form of child abuse (Levy, 1992). Unfortunately, the police typically avoid involving themselves in such situations. Furthermore, unless a victimized father is financially capable of returning to court on an ongoing basis, there is little that can be done to prevent such mothersí behavior. Finally, even when such cases are brought to trial, the courts are often inadequate in supporting fathersí visitation rights. (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992).
Given the physical absence of one parent, the telephone plays an important role in maintaining the bond between child and non-residential parent. Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome engage in an array of actions designed to circumvent telephone access.
A father called to speak to his children and was told that they were not at home when, in fact, he could hear their voices in the background.
When one father called to speak with his children, the mother put him on "hold," informed no one, and then left him on hold.
Knowing that the childrenís father was away on vacation, one mother encouraged them to leave several messages on his answering machine to call back immediately only if he would like some additional visitation time with his children.
Some fathers find the alienation attempts so painful and fruitless that they eventually are extinguished from calling their children; they simply "give up." Placed in a no-win scenario, the fatherís "abandonment" (Hodges, 1991) unfortunately achieves the precise result aimed for by the individual suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
Criterion 2C: Denying Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities
An integral part of the process of maintaining oneís bond with oneís child is to participate in activities that one did before the parents separated. School plays, team sports, and religious events are just some of the type of activities of importance. Malicious Mothers frequently engage in maneuvers designed to prevent participation in these activities.
One father was deliberately given the wrong date and time for an important event for the child. The child was asked by the mother, "I wonder why your father didnít want to come to see you today"?
One mother refused to provide the father with any information about any extra-curricular activities in which the children were engaged.
Prior to a childís soccer game, one mother told many of the team parents disparaging falsehoods about the visiting father. When he came to watch his sonís soccer game, many of these parents looked at him with angry eyes, refused to talk with him, and walked away when he moved toward them.
Malicious Mothers who engage in such behaviors rarely have to face penalties for such actions. Judges, attorneys, and policemen cannot involve themselves in every instance of blocked paternal access. Furthermore, most fathers cannot afford the financial requirements involved. As such, the cycle of access interference perpetuates itself.
Criterion 3A: Malicious Lying to the Children
Given their developmental status, children in a disputed divorce situation are quite vulnerable. When one parent decides to attack the other by lying to the children, examples of this type of malicious behavior may include some of the following:
One divorcing mother told her very young daughter that father was "not really" her father, even though he was.
An eight-year-old girl was forced by her mother to hand unpaid bills to her father when he visited because the mother had falsely told the daughter that the father had not provided any economic means of support to the family.
One mother falsely told her children that their father had repeatedly beat her up in the past.
These examples of malicious lying can be contrasted with the more subtle maneuvers typically seen in Parental Alienation Syndrome, such as "virtual allegations" (Cartwright, 1993). Here, the mother setting up a Parental Alienation Syndrome may hint that abuse may have occurred, whereas the individual suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome falsely claims that abuse has actually occurred.
Criterion 3B: Malicious Lying to Others
Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may engage a wide range of other individuals in their attacks upon the ex-husband. However, with this particular criterion, the individual with Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome specifically lies to other individuals in the belligerency against the father. Some examples include the following:
One furious mother called the president of the (1500 employee) workplace of her divorcing husband, claiming falsely that he was using business property for person gain and was abusing their mutual children at his work locale.
One woman falsely told state officials that her ex-husband was sexually abusing their daughter. The child was immediately taken away from him and his access to her was denied.
During the course of a custody dispute, one mother falsely informed the guardian, who was investigating the parenting skills of each parent, that the father had physically abused her.
Snyder (1986) has reported on the difficulty imposed upon legal authorities when confronted with someone who is an excellent liar. Consistent with research on the inability of "specialists" to detect lying (Ekman and OíSullivan, 1991), a skilled fabricator can be a compelling witness in the courtroom (Snyder, 1986). While sometimes seen in borderline personalities, Snyder (1986) notes that pathological lying (Pseudologia Fantastica) is not restricted to that particular character disorder.
Criterion 3C: Violating Law to Attack the Husband
Individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, have few, if any boundaries in their campaign against the divorcing husband. Violations of law are common in many cases, although the laws broken may be relatively minor. However, in some cases, the violations of law may be quite serious.
One woman deliberately drove her automobile into the house of the ex-husband where their mutual children resided.
In the midst of a custody battle, one woman broke into the residence of her divorcing husband and stole important business papers.
An angry divorcing mother called a Christian evangelical television station and pledged $1,000, giving the name, address and phone number of her divorcing Jewish husband as the pledge.
The above descriptions may remind the reader of certain personality disorders (e.g., antisocial, borderline, sadistic) but these behaviors may be demonstrated by individuals with Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome who do not appear to meet official diagnostic criteria for an Axis II disorder. Further, in each of the four examples provided above, none of the Malicious Mothers involved was sentenced for such behavior by a Judge.
Criterion 4: Not Due to Another Disorder
In assessing the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, it is important to note that many of the above clinical examples seem to have occurred in individuals who had no prior mental disorder diagnosis or treatment. In fact, one mother who engaged in extreme maliciousness toward her divorcing husband had several mental health professionals testify that she was not suffering from any type of mental disorder.
In the authorís experience, for each mental disorder that might come to mind to account for some of this behavior, an exceptional case presents. For example, in some cases, an Adjustment Disorder might seem an appropriate diagnosis, yet one woman still denied her ex-husband visitation 10 years after the divorce. Other cases might suggest a possibility of a personality disorder diagnosis, yet one woman who repeatedly violated the law in attacking her ex-husband, received no personality disorder diagnosis despite being evaluated by masters level and doctoral level examiners. In some instances, Intermittent Explosive Disorder might be considered, yet the anger for many of the mothers does not appear to be intermittent.
Finally, the reader should appreciate that while diagnostic accuracy for certain psychiatric difficulties is not as good as one would like (e.g., the personality disorders, see Turkat, 1990), the problem is compounded in family law where incompetent mental health examiners sometimes become involved in the judicial process (Turk, 1993). Clearly, the relationship between Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome and other mental disorders is a complex one which requires significant investigation.
The above description of the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome raises a variety of important clinical, legal and scientific issues.
From a clinical perspective, families that involve a Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome are subject to serious episodes of stress and distress. Yet, there is no scientific evidence on how to treat this phenomenon. It is particularly compromised by the fact that many of these cases that appear to meet the proposed diagnostic criteria deny that there is anything wrong with them.
An additional difficulty is that many therapists are unaware of this pattern of malicious behavior (Heinz and Heinz, 1993). As such, there are malicious therapists who are "fooled" by such cases and, as noted earlier, will come to court testifying that there is nothing wrong with the mother involved.
From a legal perspective, there are some attorneys who may unintentionally encourage this type of behavior (Gardner, 1989). On the other hand, there are some attorneys who deliberately encourage such behavior as the financial rewards for them are time dependent. In other words, the more involved the litigation process, the greater the profits for the attorney. (Grotman and Thomas, 1990). However, even for the subset of attorneys for whom this may be true, there is a point of diminishing returns. Furthermore, independent of economic considerations, many who become involved with family law courtrooms find that these types of cases are not handled well (Greif, 1985; Levy, 1992).
The woman who is not disturbed "enough" to lose custody of her children in the courtroom will not have money denied to her because she engages in this behavior; nor will she go to jail. Thus, many clients report significant frustration when they and their children are exposed to this type of behavior, and the courts seem to do little.
In a review of pertinent law literature on bias against men in family law proceedings, Tillitski (1992) concluded that there is widespread discrimination. This is well illustrated by one family law Judgeís statement that, "I ainít never seen the calves follow the bulls, they always follow the cow; therefore, I always give custody to the mamas." (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992, p. 741). Similarly, it is noted that visitation rights of fathers are not enforced as rigidly as are child support orders (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992.) Such bias against men in family law proceedings results in a unique group of fathers who unintentionally become relatively helpless victims of the system (Tillitski, 1992). This situation would seem to reinforce much of the vicious behavior displayed by women suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
The issue of sex distribution of the disorder certainly needs to be addressed. The overwhelming majority of custodial parents are female (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Gardner (1989) has noted that Parental Alienation Syndrome appears most commonly in females, although it is possible for a male who has custody of the children to engage in the same type of alienating behaviors. The authorís experience with Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome is similar to Gardnerís. However, the present writer has yet to see a case of a father engaging in all of the criteria listed. This does not mean that it is not possible for there to be a "Malicious Father" Syndrome. In fact, Shephard (1992) reports that there is significant abuse of some custodial mothers by non-residential fathers. On the other hand, it should be noted that there are females who are required to pay child support, but we have yet to hear about "Deadbeat Moms." Given at the present time that a case in which the father met all of the criteria for Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome has yet to be documented, it appears advisable to await scientific evidence to guide issues of nosologic labeling.
How prevalent is the Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome? The answer is unknown. Gardner (1989) reports that approximately 90 percent of all custody battles involve some aspects of parental alienation. Further, Kressel (1985) reviewed data indicating that up to 40 percent of maternal custodians denied visitation to the ex-husband in order to punish him. Relatedly, Arditti (1992) reported that 50 percent of a sample of divorce fathers (N=125) indicated that visitation was interfered with by the mother. While aspects of parental alienation may be common, it is highly unlikely that such a percentage of maternal custodians would meet all of the criteria for Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
In regard to incidence, it would appear through the title of this syndrome that the malicious behavior is precipitated by the divorce process. However, this is clearly an empirical question. While the malicious actions may first be noted during a divorce process, it is possible that maliciousness may have been present earlier but undetected. Research on pre-divorce parental conflict (Enos and Handal, 986) supports this speculation. Relatedly, it may also be that there are some cases of pre-existing mental disorder that have not been discovered until the stress of the divorce itself unfolds.
Finally, it should be noted that research on the nature of post-divorce family functioning is beginning to emerge. Some data exist on the role of parental conflict in childrenís post divorce functioning (e.g. Frost and Pakiz, 1990; Furstenberg et al., 1987; Healy, Malley and Steward, 1990; Kudek, 1988), but studies have yet to appear on the more extreme cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
The Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome represents an important societal phenomenon. The disorder affects children, parents, attorneys, judges, guardians, mental health professionals and others. Until this phenomenon is explored more thoroughly in the scientific and clinical literature, the problems imposed by individuals suffering from Divorce-Related Malicious Mother Syndrome will continue to plague us. Hopefully, the present manuscript will stimulate research so that clinical and legal management guidelines can be developed.
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"50-50 CUSTODY" Laws and Legislation
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hours/month with Dad
and 360 hours/month with Mom)
50-50 Custody, the PROVEN Way to
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