Protective Mothers' Alliance International

family court abuse/corruption

Common Responses After Losing a Child (for Protective Moms)

with 11 comments

A list of common responses/reactions after losing a child in a family court proceeding

I feel it is important to distinguish the loss and being related to family court proceedings because often times the process involves factors that re-traumatize the family and prolong any possibility of stabilizing the family. In essence, there is a distinct type of grief that follows losing a child due to unjust proceedings that villify a parent trying to protect their children.

Mothers who loose their children in family court proceedings often experience (and report):

 * Character assination and/or emotional abuse of the mother (who may be labelled as having “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or “Malicious Mom Syndrome”)

* Minimizing past abuse and its affects/Minimizing the current danger

* Legal proceedings that deny a mother of her legal rights

* Feeling threatened or coerced by court personnel

*Expensive legal or court costs, often resulting in severe financial hardship (I have heard of mothers losing their home and being forced to work several jobs, in which their contact with their children becomes even more limited)

* Re-traumatization

* Inability to protect children combined with valid concerns the children may still be in danger

* Children forcibly removed from the home (a majority of these mothers were primary caregivers)

* Mothers denied contact with children–these children are oftn abruptly, and without warning removed from their homes, their community, their friends and any connection to the mother

* Mothers being compelled into supervised visitation to see children, and may be exposed to other abusers (I have actually heard of a woman who took the bus to supervised visitation, and was stalked by an alleged abuser when leaving the premisis)

* Inability to get help or support for herself. Mothers may have their medical and psychological records subpoened by the court and/or their abuser, in which she degraded or labelled based on the findings and then forced to “prove” she is a fit mother. Mothers may also become isolated because they feel others do not understand their situation. It is common for people to feel overwhelmed hearing these stories and then to be unable to provide support. The financial depletion caused by family court may also limit a woman’s ability to seek help. Not to mention the woman may be so overwhelmed that she does not have the energy to get the help she may need.  

* The abuser manipulating the children, or using them in ways to hurt, intimidate or harass the mother (Ie using children to send messages to the mother, telling the children false information about the mother, threatening to harm the children, threatening to take the children, etc..)

Mothers who loose their children in this way often experience:

* Physical Illness (including but not limited to headaches, ulcers, vomiting, fatigue and exhaustion)

* Anxiety/Panic Attacks

* Depression

* Guilt/Shame/ Self-Blame, particularly around issues that they failed or could not protect their children

* Flashbacks (The court proceedings may trigger memories of abuse, or legitimate fears)

* Binge Eating and/or Lack of Appetite, Nausea

* Insomnia

* Shock (A combination of all these factors, feeling numb, unable to perform daily tasks, feeling as if she is living in a fog, lack of memory/concentration, tremors/trembling, hot flashes etc)

* A surge of emotion/adrenaline

* Hyperventilating

* Post Traumatic Stress

* Avoidance (Especially around areas that remind them of their children. It would be common to even avoid social places and friends)

* Withdrawl

* Anger

* Fear

* Fits of Crying — There are often triggers. (When I lost my child, I remember avoiding the grocery store because I would pass my child’s favorite treats, think of my child, and start to cry. It got to the point where I could not even remember what I wanted in the grocery store because I was so upset.)

* Memory Loss/Concentration Difficulties

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE MOTHER IS MENTALLY ILL OR UNSTABLE, these are typical responses to the loss of a child in combination with the extreme stress of being involved in family court proceedings that are perceived as unjust, and which a mother has no control over. It takes time to work through the grief and emotions of losing your child, and being involved in family court proceedings–these response may emerge and change as the mother processes what has happened.

I found it helpful to be part of a domestic violence group, hosted by a battered women’s shelter. The group is confidential and does not keep records. I was able to talk with other women and learn tools on how to cope, and rebuild my life. There is hope–Stay stong.

Blessings ~ EJ Perth, PMA State Chapter Leader & PMA Healing & Prayer Network

If you have anything to add to this list, please add a comment. Please keep remain respectful. Any derogatory language will be deleted. Remember PMA is a NO ABUSE ZONE! Thank you for keep it friendly 🙂




Unfortunately, courts may apply psychological pressures that keep women tied to their abusers. “Friendly parent” statutes ask courts to assess each parent’s willingness to co-parent when making custody decisions (Zorza, 1992). Despite their reasonable reluctance to co-parent, battered women may end up being labeled “uncooperative,” with an increased risk of losing their children.” –Child Custody and Visitation Decisions in Domestic Violence Cases: Legal Trends, Research Findings, and Recommendations. By Daniel G. Saunders (October 1998).


Abusers are smooth talkers who are good at manipulating situations to their liking, she said, even with law enforcement. When officers first respond to a domestic call, the victim is often hysterical while the abuser is calm and cool, and so he sometimes makes a better impression on officers.” –Statistics on domestic violence tell a sobering tale, Crookstone Daily Times.  By Natalie J. Ostgaard, City Editor (10/31/08).



11 Responses

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  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the
    book in it or something. this is excellent blog. A fantastic read.
    I’ll definitely be back.


    April 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm

  2. This is all to familiar…… it with many others


    April 5, 2013 at 1:49 am

  3. It’s been 10 years since my children were stolen and place with their abusive father. The question is how do you recover? The years lost with the children, the financial devastation, the criminal record, and ruined reputation?


    April 6, 2013 at 11:25 am

  4. I was very emotional after losing custody to a sick father & grandparent. I was accused of being unstable for crying in Family Court.


    April 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

  5. I certainly love reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the stories coming. PMA is a excellent organization.


    April 11, 2013 at 5:57 am

  6. great post, great site. Keep it coming!


    April 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm

  7. Excellent blog, Excellent organization.


    April 15, 2013 at 3:43 am

  8. Reblogged this on amississippimom and commented:
    ty so much for this post.. in all my searching this is one topic that I’ve never come across and it’s necessary to share. All that a protective mother has to endure and cope with, in addition to the suffering she endures in whatever visitation agreement has been imposed upon her just to see her children. The shock of it all is excruciating and the worst part of it is that in most cases it is only the beginning … most mothers are forced to battle for years to have any place back in their own children’s lives.


    May 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm

  9. Reblogged this on The Story of my Twin Boys , Oliver and Oscar Ferreira and commented:
    This is the same for dads , that I can promise you

    Phill Ferreira

    May 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

  10. This is what I went through. I thought I was the only one who had these feelings, thoughts and reactions. I wish I would of asked for help at a domestic violence shelter. My kids are now adults but the scars are still with me and my kids.


    August 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

  11. I went through 15 yrs of being put through hell by an unjust court system. I lost my son to his felon dad and his deranged mother. I was accused of PAS. My son is 18, we have no relationship at all. He was brainwashed against me starting at age 3. His dad is a convicted felon, the paternal grandmother lied for her felon son repeatedly so that they could take my children. I have a daughter, who is still with me. She is 17 now. They couldn’t brainwash her against me.
    She just told me today, that she feels like she needs to mourn her brother . . .
    We have scars and wounds from the trauma of this unjust and corrupt family court system that I don’t think will ever heal.
    The judges, court-appointed advocates, GALS, etc do no give a damn who they hurt.


    February 1, 2017 at 7:24 pm

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