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Ex Partners and Parental Alienation Syndrome

By: Additional Article - Updated: 12 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Divorce Children Parental Alienation

At its heart, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is where one parents attempts to turn the children against the other parent. Where divorces are less than amicable, it’s sadly not uncommon, and generally used by mothers in an attempt to ensure little or no contact between their exes and children.

Done subtly, it can be hard to prove, and at its worst it can produce Allegations Of Child Abuse Against The Fathers. Even when not pressed to those extremes, it causes anguish for thousands of men (which isn’t to say fathers haven’t used it against mothers, but in general it’s mothers who are the perpetrators).In court the result can be devastating, resulting in minimal or no contact for fathers.

How it Works

PAS is a kind of brainwashing. If the parent with custody can convince the child that he or she doesn’t want anything to do with the father, that carries weight in court, since one of the factors taken into account regarding contact is the wishes of the child. For obvious reasons, it works better with younger children, who are more easily swayed and subject to emotional pressures. In difficult situations, they naturally want to please the parent they’re with.

It can happen for any number of reasons, from fear of losing the children to the other parent to revenge. Sometimes trying to establish the root cause can be impossible.

Is it Legal?

If it could be proven that a parent had used PAS, there could be legal repercussions. In practice, however, establishing that can very difficult. Using it on a child is a form of abuse in medical terms, and legally it becomes a type of coaching, both of which are illegal.

What would tend to happen, though, is that the custodial parent’s assertions of the child’s wishes would end up being ignored when it came to contact. A few courts might order family therapy, but would be unlikely to prosecute beyond that. That said, authorities do recognise it happens.

What Can the Victim do?

For the victim, generally the father, to prove PAS is very difficult. You’ll need a good solicitor, a Child Welfare Officer who’s willing to go beyond the surface to investigate your side of the story, and the willingness to pursue this, probably at County Court level, which means expense.

You’ll need extensive notes on conversations with the other parent, a diary of time spent with the children, and their excuses for not spending time with you. Note instances where the other parent has gone to schools or clubs to say you should have no contact with your children there (if that has happened), or if the other parent has stopped the child communicating with other members of your family.

The stronger the body of evidence you can build, the greater your chances of proving PAS and re-establishing contact. The problem, though, is that eventually the children can believe it really is their wish not to see you.

Where there is a contact order, try to make sure you see your kids. It keeps a line open, and acts as assurance that they don’t really hate you. It also opens the door for more contact. If it’s possible to Keep Communication With The Mother – which in many cases it won’t be – then do so; minds can change, and it all becomes more ammunition if you have to go to court.

Divorce Resource

This article is taken from our sister site: www.DivorceResource.co.uk. For more information on access rights, child support and looking after your dependants following a split, take a look at this section on divorce resource.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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I am feeling the effects and understand your pain Ally.I attempted suicide three weeks ago after a sudden alienation of my 12 year old son.I was married to his father for 17 years he was controlling and emotionally abusive. I tried to leave him on multiple occasions. He convinced me that I ‘ pushed his buttons!’I divorced him 7 years ago and am not happy with a loving new partner. I road has been tough and my ex has dragged me back and forth to court over finances.I settled on the minimum in the hope that he would leave me alone however this hasn’t happened.I have two older children age 21 and 17 , both boys.They all get on well with my new partner who they consider as there step dad.We had a religious blessing ceremony two years ago ( after my new partner had a diagnosed long term serious health condition.It was a beautiful day that my boys and family and friends loved.My ex has repeatedly told my youngest son not to take any notice of my partner and that he will never be his step dad.While my older boys where around during there weekend visits we just about kept on top of this emotional manipulation however my sons behaviour dramatically deteriorated two months ago when his brother left to go to college.He has now said he hates my partner and wants to live with his father.My ex ( his father has limited phone contact and totally brainwashed him.I have texts and emails to say he is cross and angry with me.My son came out as gay before Christmas last year and his father is homophobic . My son is aware of this and has been subject the negative comments.My ex husband told my son that if he ‘ had evidence of him poncing ‘about then he would take me to court to stop being able to take him to Musical Theatre classes.My partner and I have always support my son and his creativity and preferences and encouraged him to be himself.My son has expressed to both my partner and I that he wanted his father to accept him for who he is.We have encouraged him to maintain contact a keep up visits dispite some difficult times.I know wish I hadn’t as the situation has been turned on us and I have lost my son. I am so concerned for his mental and emotional wellbeing as I know he will have to mask his true personality. My ex husband is so controlling.I have evidence that this is financially motivated . My ex told me he would ruin my life and me financially when I told him I wanted a divorce.On the last contact I had with him when attempting to talk to my son he told me I should wake up and take responsibility for my actions and reminded me that I was still living in the marital home. ( I worked really hard in a job I hated to remortgage the house to pay him half of what I owe him . The court agreement was until youngest child was 18.He has done this to stop child maintenance and force me out of our home .He has no care for me only hatred.He has shown no thought at all for my extreme upset.My sons school and social servic
Fay - 12-Jun-19 @ 6:44 PM
I lived with domestic violence, mental abuse and coercive control for 40 years at the hands of my husband, the situation became serious that I had to leave, I left July 2018 my 15yr old son and 13yr old Daughter had already being brainwashed by their narcissistic, abusive father in preparation for a split knowing I couldn't. exist like this for much longer. He has since controlled, isolated them from me, their 2 older brothers 2 nieces and 2 nephews, this is serious abuse but the system has let my kids down, they say because of the ages of the kids and they are saying they dont want contact with me or their brothers, that the court has to listen to them. The judge did say that this WAS parental alienation and said it was extremely distressing but failed to do anyting about it..........THIS SYSTEM IS FAILING OUR KIDS!!!!! heartbroken mother.........Ally
Ally - 12-Jun-19 @ 3:36 PM
I think my son's dad is trying to alienate my son, my son's not allowed to speak about me y he's in his care and my son doesn't dare he says it makes daddy mad, he's got a folder of everything that has happened and all conversations that he's told my son when he's old enuf he will see how stupid I am, he's now saying my son wants to live with him and that there must be something going on at home for my son not to want to come bk to me, yet we have no problems at home and my son is perfectly happy iv got to the point I don't no what to do Can anyone help at all please
Hi - 29-Apr-19 @ 6:37 PM
My said something to me once she said I feel sorry and now I just pity you because she kicked me out off my (own place bye police )and I had to say at her boyfriends place there was a (brawl that night )my father and best mate was right about her I should have (listened).the thing is I feel sorry for her and pity her that’s gods truth she is a messed up person the whole family can’t stand her .now remove my surname she won’t (what a loser )and her (big bad men )won’t come and sort me out (come on big fella I heard you want to rip my jaw off )ha ha you have my address twinkle toes (how does it feel paying for my leftovers my scraps ha ha ).i bet he is not that bright ?
Chris - 5-Mar-19 @ 12:27 AM
Hi just reading this now my partner suffered terrible with his ex partner who is sorry to say it a complete horrible nutter who has used 2 children and wrecked thier lives, she cheated on my partner and then when he left told the young children he left to be with me which is untrue, she stopped him seeing the children and would phone and say give me more money and i will let you see the kids, we ended up going to court but she had a solicitor which we couldnt afford at the time she then later done a runner without paying him but thats another story, the courts and cafcass are against dads they from the start made massive mistakes in reports and had to be replaced by other workers whilst all the time the mother was alienating the kids, the lies that where told where beyond belief eventually my partner got contact for one day an night but was hard as kids came with an attitude from the mother took hours to get them to be normal then we would have a great day an leave on a high note then have to repeat the week later my partner would drop them at school she would send them with dirty uniforms an shoes an without homework etc she eventually wore my partner down to a mental breakdown he ended up on anti depressants, 9 years on we have our own family together but she is still using the kids who are now in 20s and late teens messaging treatening etc its pathetic really shes done her damage shes got what she wants wish she would jst move on with her life an same goes for the grown up Kids now they need to grow up they have made their decisions now although always bought things up until last christmas still the vile comments come how badly done to they are still coming from the mother through the kids. People please think before mentally abusing your children and using them as weapons
Happy life - 4-Mar-19 @ 9:21 PM
Hi just reading this now my partner suffered terrible with his ex partner who is sorry to say it a complete horrible nutter who has used 2 children and wrecked thier lives, she cheated on my partner and then when he left told the young children he left to be with me which is untrue, she stopped him seeing the children and would phone and say give me more money and i will let you see the kids, we ended up going to court but she had a solicitor which we couldnt afford at the time she then later done a runner without paying him but thats another story, the courts and cafcass are against dads they from the start made massive mistakes in reports and had to be replaced by other workers whilst all the time the mother was alienating the kids, the lies that where told where beyond belief eventually my partner got contact for one day an night but was hard as kids came with an attitude from the mother took hours to get them to be normal then we would have a great day an leave on a high note then have to repeat the week later my partner would drop them at school she would send them with dirty uniforms an shoes an without homework etc she eventually wore my partner down to a mental breakdown he ended up on anti depressants, 9 years on we have our own family together but she is still using the kids who are now in 20s and late teens messaging treatening etc its pathetic really shes done her damage shes got what she wants wish she would jst move on with her life an same goes for the grown up Kids now they need to grow up they have made their decisions now although always bought things up until last christmas still the vile comments come how badly done to they are still coming from the mother through the kids. People please think before mentally abusing your children and using them as weapons
Happy life - 4-Mar-19 @ 9:18 PM
Our family has gone through one of the worst parental alienation. We are now 6years down the road. My son’s daughter is nearly 13.We see her every fortnight although this involves a 60 mile round trip, we have retired near our son, and share the driving as this is exhausting for all on a time limit.Our son is married now with a one year old son.His daughter is desperate to spend more time with us all and cries asking when she is old enough to make decisions.She realises if she chooses to see us there is a price to pay with her Mother.So her usual phrase is she doesn’t know when asked anything to do with contact.Not to put pressure on her obviously but contact is all on her mum’s terms and dates are changed frivolous appointments are made and plans, activities decided on contact days.I would appreciate advice we are fortunate in that no matter what is said our granddaughter still wishes to see us all.She has had her friends add us on social media to keep contact.
Bev - 31-Dec-18 @ 12:40 PM
@bellabee.i am super strong .i will see my daughter when she is a (adult )plenty time in the future .I need to Focus on myself and (carry on with my life and make it the best I can and do the best I can with what I have )i went though something( I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy )I can’t explain it .but everything is going to be alright it was meant to be this way. I needed go to that dark place and face the reality and the demons of my situation and truth is there is a lot worse off then me .my mind is clear I have my drive back (I have hope )I will see my daughter as a adult .there is a lot of positives in my life I have full time employment found my true identity and I am hard as a f ing rock I am buttet proof the real McCoy .peace and god bless.
Happy days - 14-Dec-18 @ 9:30 PM
Hi Thinks, I hope you have managed to make progress with your girls. I am sorry you had to go through so much it is an extremely painful for any parent to be alienated against your child or children.I strongly believe in 50/50 parenting should always be a priority and everything else should just be background noise to the child. It is a painful grieving process that a lot of Mums and Dads both go through due most of the time the other parent being twisted narcissist they also make great pathological liars too. Whilst they are headset on destroying you they forget the damage they are planting long term into the child. I'd you have any communication at all with your kids then keep showing them love and happiness. Lovewill eventually conquer all even if bit takes years.I have not seen my Child in three years, I just can't mentally be on the same level as my ex. It is a internal killer for all parents in the same position, so I would recommend when you can try to love yourself too and remember you are stronger than you think as you are still standing and surviving. It is okay too carry on and make happy memories and stories ready to share with the child in adulthood when they are ready to understand.
Bellabee - 13-Dec-18 @ 5:57 PM
@rooster, yes she does but how do you explain that she messaged the day before my birthday to say neither of them wanted to see me didn't hear a word on my birthday then got a message day after my birthday she a said she forgot not sure I believe that. @hen parlour, I have a new partner and have never been treated so good it's hard to get used to. Thing is we all grow up and change doesn't make anything that happened in your past a bad person it's a learning curve x
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 7:30 AM
@rooster , thank you, friends say oh get on with it etc, I would like to see how they coped if they were in my situation. Thing is he's a great manipulator and led me to rely on him for years because he said I couldn't cope with my kids which is rubbish. Thanks for letting me share x
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 7:27 AM
Sorry last thing I want to add, I was beaten by my first husband I have 2 children with him 18, 20 who are also brainwashed by my ex and no matter how much I hated the man and believe me I did I told him when I moved, parents evening, productions because he is their parent my feelings don't count it's the kids I don't understand why anyone would do this what we're all going through to anyone x
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:55 AM
@rooster. Thank you for accepting me I won't but you all too much if I do tell me to get lost. It's so common for dad's and that's all I found on Google was dad's my situation is rare
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:52 AM
Ok, I ended my marriage last August should of been over years ago but I finally got the guts to end it and keep it so! We had split twice before 1st in 2013 2nd 2016, the 2nd time in think although he denies that he was having an affair mum's at the school and his family can't all be wrong?! Anyway at that point I lived a single parent life we had to live under the same roof it's council joint tenancy. That wasn't too bad it was always ne and girls with my friends and their kids. Anyway my ex is literally the laziest person you could meet suddenly he was buying my girls affection getting off his backside and doing stuff it was that behaviour change that caused my nervous breakdown i was in a really bad way I presented to my gp shaking and crying she advised me to move out as it was making me so ill so I did. Hands up I messed up I had a mass ball of emotion in my gut it stopped me seeing my girls I didn't want to be a mum so I'm sure that's played a part. Cutting loads out cos I could go on forever! I came home from holiday 6 weeks ago to find he had moved himself and the girls out the family home and in with his girlfriend without saying a word I rang the police and child services neither were interested he can do what he wants cos of being on birth certificate. I message my 13 year old every day she reads on what's app and never replies, my ex said they are scared of me no idea why my friends all think he's turned them against me but it's so hard to prove I don't know what to do I'm still really ill and spend a lot of time crying. He told me he doesn't get notifications on his phone cos it's broken and can only email me from work which I don't believe, he's lied about me to the council and he won't admit that. He works at the school my 9 year old goes to he moved her there and he sold it to me by saying "well look at it this way it's good for you because you won't have to do school run" 1st time I saw it myself, he said that because one as starting to get ill at that time. Ask any questions I'm not ashamed I'm happy to talk or type about it. @rooster thank you ??
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:50 AM
@tinks.we are waiting you are the first women to ever come to us for advise .by the the way I respect a women with manners .
Rooster - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:48 AM
@rooster thank you it's appreciated ?? it's long so I'll get started
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:36 AM
@tinks.no not the wrong territory we are equalopportunity site We are all ears please tell us your story ?
Rooster - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:35 AM
Wasn't until I commented that I thought maybe I'm in the wrong territory don't want to butt in if not wanted ??
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:30 AM
@tinks.share away darling open your little heart up to us .we are here to help I no this site is designed for men but we will make an expection for you .tell us your story ?.
Rooster - 25-Oct-18 @ 6:23 AM
Hi, I'm an alienated mum who misses her girls terribly. No disrespect to you dad's but in Google nothing for mum's I know it's rare and I don't know what to do anymore I've tried everything the police, child services and nothing it's killing me literally any advice would be great. If you want to know my story I'm happy to share. Thanks for reading
Tinks - 25-Oct-18 @ 5:14 AM
I split with my ex partner when my son was four. Since the break up my ex and her parents have led a systematic campaign to turn my son against me and to discredit it to all and sundry within the locality even going so far as to say that I committed fraud and because of it was sacked from my teaching job even though it was from depression this situation and a head teacher using it to his advantage that caused the depression and I decided to leave and was never sacked. My ex parents told my son awful things that weren't true sbout me and told him I didn't want him as did his Mother. I spent what meagre savi he I had to gain contact through court but even though I have won and been back to court subsequently the alienation has continued. It has got to a point now where my son (now 15) treats me awfully despite doing as much as I can for him and with him. If I give him boundaries and demands to go home and tells me his Grandfather is a far better father than me!
Burtnick - 22-Oct-18 @ 5:32 PM
Had the PSO removed at first attempt I was meant to add
Stingrayslammer - 20-Oct-18 @ 12:49 PM
My ex is strongly engaging in PA as I keep winning my case against her and successfully had a false PSO put on me, now accusing me of emotionally abusing my son and saying in court he doesn't want to go, I've started keeping a record and copies of when she stops contact claiming he's I'll and continues to demand reduced contact and supervised contact, I've done a lil bit of research and pointers I found literally all apply and tries to stop me from speaking to medical and educational authorities about him n makes false allegations in court to get contact stopped, twice now n both she lost
Stingrayslammer - 20-Oct-18 @ 12:47 PM
My ex is in Middlesbrough I'm in colne she has had me locked up for going to see my daughter and I didn't do anything I have been to see my daughter since but now she doing what uver people are telling her to do and she is listening to them and her new partner rings me giving me abuse now I cannot see my daughter at alldont know what to do it kills me knowing my daughter is calling someone else dadits not right can someone give me some advice
Karlos - 10-Oct-18 @ 9:00 PM
Hi people I need some advice. I am certain that my fiances ex wife has this syndrome as she has manipulated my partners children aged 12 and 15 to the point were they no longer want to have any contact physically or even through social media they have cut him off completely and believe me when I say that he has literally done nothing wrong. Other than try and instil morals and advise them on life issues that they have. His ex wife through their 15 year old out twice and my fella took his son in and encouraged him to maintain contact with his mother as she was bombarding my fella with text messages and emails everyday to ask their son to message her. And now his son has gone home he has blocked his dad on everything and he is absolutely distraught as he has no idea what is going on with the kids and his ex will not help him and is encouraging the kids to stay away from their dad. Please please help me is there any advice or system in place for help for dads in this situation.
stevesgirl2016 - 9-Sep-18 @ 9:54 PM
I get that many men feel that this happens to them...maybe it’s been “proven”, but I feel that’s debatable.I’m going through this with my ex husband and his entire family!He has shut out my daughter since she was 12, because he was abusive, and she refused to see him any longer after we first split up.That’s when the alienation first started.He told his family they weren’t allowed to see my daughter any longer; that the lawyers said no (what lawyer would ever say no to grandparents and uncles and aunts seeing a child?).I tried to help them see and make visits but they refused.They took away her post secondary education money, and cared nothing about her after that.How anyone could do that to a child they loved is beyond me. My ex was abusive, so I did have a restraining order in place.Every once in a while he’d ramp up, like hurricane season.One day he came into my work and tried to get me fired, then he tried to get my manager fired.He finally got arrested.You guessed it: this was MY fault.He told my kids this, showed them the police reports, his parents even brought them to the court house to see daddy in handcuffs...to see what mommy is doing to daddy.Then the judge got angry about that (I wasn’t even there or even aware), and the judge told grandpa to take them to me.Guess what?!Grandpa told them that was MY fault too! Fast forward to today: my daughter lives with me, my eldest daughter STILL doesn’t speak to him, and my son, well, he’s brainwashed to think I’m a bad person even though I’m continuously trying to make things right, trying to encourage visitation, trying to do activities with my ex.I feel like he’s at his house, sabotaging everything I am doing.Just yesterday, he told my daughter that she sounds like me, and if he wanted to talk to me, he would call me, so stop talking like me or she can go home.She’s 12!!! Anyway, I’m tired of hearing how it’s ALWAYS the woman.My ex goes to TOWN with that.I wish all you good dads lots of luck.I know you’re not all like that.
9sodapops - 5-Sep-18 @ 10:55 PM
Tony - Your Question:
Me and my partner split up in in october and from day 1 my ex has made it difficult for me to see my 11 year old son.She even hide him from me for the first week while I had no idea where he was (and all she would say to me was I dont need to know where he is) I reported this to the police which was no good at all just not interested.Xmas I contacted her beginning of Dec to tell her that I had got all the items to my son had asked for and was agreed I would see him on the 27th as she was away for xmas come my day and shes 4 hours late then she texted me to say I cant see him and all those thing I got him for xmas hw wont want as she had got them all for him knowing that I had got them ie xbox one then she wouldnt let he see him untill mid February.I have turnt up to pick my son up and she has said if you dont pay these 3 bills average one was for £1500 then I couldnt see gim as his ill I piad the bill then she would bring him out and he was fine blackmail. Now I dropped my son off to morrisions carpark as she has moved and this is where I have to pick up and drop off.Dropped him off on the 31 may and we were as usual fine with each other then on the 10 june I got a text from my son's phone saying that because I had lied to him he doesn't want to see me anymore and he needs time to think ok isent a text bsck saying ok fine thats what you want I am here waiting for you when ever you want me and that I loved him and that I had not lied to him.I have texted him each day since but have got no reply.I have got a solicitor and going to court which iam just waiting for a date now.And the worst thing is that we had all got visas to move to Australia which she has said she is going to take my son there to live.Really am at my whits end now dont know what to do the best.I fear she has worked her magic on him and he really does now hate me all due to her vile mouth and poisoning him against me.If anyone has any good advise would be greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Hopefully, the matter will be resolved through the court process. In your case, the Separated Dads Forum may work better for you as many of our dads have been through a similar situation before and can advise from personal experience.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jul-18 @ 10:18 AM
Me and my partner split up in in october and from day 1 my ex has made it difficult for me to see my 11 year old son. She even hide him from me for the first week while i had no idea where he was (and all she would say to me was i dont need to know where he is) i reported this to the police which was no good at all just not interested. Xmas i contacted her beginning of Dec to tell her that i had got all the items to my son had asked for and was agreed i would see him on the 27th as she was away for xmas come my day and shes 4 hours late then she texted me to say i cant see him and all those thing i got him for xmas hw wont want as she had got them all for him knowing that i had got them ie xbox one then she wouldnt let he see him untill mid February. I have turnt up to pick my son up and she has said if you dont pay these 3 bills average one was for £1500 then i couldnt see gim as his ill i piad the bill then she would bring him out and he was fine blackmail. Now i dropped my son off to morrisions carpark as she has moved and this is where i have to pick up and drop off. Dropped him off on the 31 may and we were as usual fine with each other then on the 10 june i got a text from my son's phone saying that because i had lied to him he doesn't want to see me anymore and he needs time to think ok isent a text bsck saying ok fine thats what you want i am here waiting for you when ever you want me and that i loved him and that i had not lied to him. I have texted him each day since but have got no reply . I have got a solicitor and going to court which iam just waiting for a date now. And the worst thing is that we had all got visas to move to Australia which she has said she is going to take my son there to live. Really am at my whits end now dont know what to do the best. I fear she has worked her magic on him and he really does now hate me all due to her vile mouth and poisoning him against me. If anyone has any good advise would be greatly appreciated.
Tony - 18-Jul-18 @ 10:47 AM
@OMG - how can you cope with that? Have you taken it to court? Have you tried to get your daughter back? How old is she? How awful :(((((
VV - 29-Jun-18 @ 1:44 PM
This is happening to me right now I’m lost without my children I never did this to him it’s was him who ended the marriage out the blue we been separated about 6 years and my boy turned 13 and then my daughter went one weekend and never came home
Claireboo - 29-Jun-18 @ 12:25 AM
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