Archive for the ‘DV by Proxy’ Category
Asheville, N.C., Sept. 9, 2016 – Seth Willis Pickering stabbed his 6-year old daughter Lila to death in front of two park rangers along the Blue Ridge Parkway. When arrested, he said, “Now they will never be able to take her away from me.. She’s happier now.. it’s what she wanted.”
Pickering was involved in a custody dispute with ex-wife Ashley Pickering. Ashley left the relationship because he was abusive towards her. Ashley, who now lives in Florida, was fighting in the courts for the return of her daughter, “I went to leave and a cop was supposed to send Lila with me, and he didn’t, and I’ve been fighting with the courts and DSS.” Ashley claims that Lila was soon to return to her care.
Lila was placed in protective custody with the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) after being removed from her father’s care, due to his violent behavior towards another woman. Lila was placed with a local family, who she knew well. The family offered to take the child in to avoid foster care. Pickering was allowed supervised visitation.
On September 9th, Lila was picked up at the home by her father, without permission, and taken to a remote camp site. Park rangers discovered Pickering with Lila, and before they could intervene, he has stabbed her to death.
Pickering is charged with first degree murder.
Lila Pickering is described as being a happy child with a beautiful smile who nickname was “Rescue Ranger” because she was willing to help anybody. Lila would have celebrated her birthday on October 1st, there will be a celebration of her life at the local elementary school where she attended. A Go Fund Me has been created by the family to help raise money for funeral expenses.
Cindy Dabil, Lila’s grandmother says Child Protective Services in Florida and in North Carolina should have done more to protect Lila. She hopes Lila’s tragic death will serve as a call to action to better protect children from abuse, and to make changes to improve the safety of children living in state care
“The mother has to comply with a court order and send her child to be alone with an abusive, violent man.
This is torture for her, and for the child, when they find themselves in a frightening situation, taken from their protector and forced into contact with a man, whom they may have witnessed seeing him beat their mother or who has been abusive to them.
This is abuse by Family Court.”
“Domestic Abuse by Proxy, Family Court Abuse: Failing to Protect Children and Mothers” is a powerful and informative video released on Youtube by Family Court Abuse (UK).
This video describes how abusive ex partners will use the family court system, and manipulate the legal process, to gain control, and inflict further harm of their victims. Abusers also seek custody to cause the most damage to a former partner; by attacking her love, and maternal bond, with her child. An abuser attacks by taking a child away from their mother, and destroying their relationship. Children are also used as pawns by an abuser in other ways designed to terrorize, hurt and harass their victim.
The legal system is a minefield for an abused woman.The process of how the family court system can perpetrate and enable domestic violence to continue is also described in this video. Family court judges and professionals often lack training in domestic violence, and do not recognize the abuse. Or, the judge and professionals have been so indoctrinated in parental alienation theories, and other prejudices, that they mistake signs of abuse for parental alienation syndrome and discredit legitimate concerns. Or see the mother’s attempts to get help as a sign that something is “wrong” with her. Domestic abuse advocates and experts are rarely consulted by the court system, and a judge has the discretion to disallow or ignore evidence presented by a mother (evidence of abuse, and expert testimony is commonly discredited by judges after a mother has been falsely labelled). Obtaining legal representation is also difficult, most women go to court without an attorney because they can not afford one. An abuser with an attorney has a powerful advantage over her, and gains an ally in the legal system.
The lives of children are also endangered when Courts work to give an identified abuse custody and/or unsupervised visits. The video mentions that the Courts order “more contact than would be usual, to enable the child and father to ‘quickly establish a relationship’“. This means there is less scrutiny, and less care given to how these decisions are being made, and the effect on the child involved.
This video will be familiar to those who have experienced family court, and offers validation to what you have endured. It is also a powerful teaching tool to educate, and raise awareness, of how the family court process fails to protect victims of domestic violence and their children.
Note: The end of the video offers suggestions on how to raise awareness of family court injustices by using social media as a platform. PMA International does not offer legal advice or professional services. Reposting this video does not constitute advice or suggestion of any kind. Please use discretion, and take reasonable care, when making decisions. If you need help or legal assistance, please contact a qualified professional and/or organization.
“The child’s misidentification of authentic sadness is being created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. The child’s authentic sadness and grief are being transformed by the manipulative pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent into “anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes.” Dr Childress
I am working as hard and as fast as I can to bring this nightmare of “parental alienation” to an end – for all children and for all families. My next blog post will be significant in moving our fight for your children forward. In the meantime, I was asked by a targeted parent if I could write a letter to the children explaining things to them. So I did.
For a variety of reasons, I can’t actually write a specific letter to your specific child in your specific family. But I can write a general letter to a general child in a general family. And this is what I did.
I wanted to speak directly to the child (an adolescent between the ages of 13-17), so I had to make four versions of the letter, one for a daughter who is rejecting her mom (A Letter to Mary) and one for a son who is rejecting his mom (A Letter to Jason), one for a daughter who is rejecting her dad (A Letter to Jessica), and one for a son who is rejecting his dad (A Letter to John). They’re all the same, but it simplifies the use of pronouns. I think of this as my “Letter to Mary” series, since this is the one I started with.
Until we can protect your children we cannot ask them to reveal their authenticity. They have to survive in the psychologically dangerous upside-down world of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, where night is day, and black is white, where truth and reality shift with the needs of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
Fundamentally, though, the problem for the child is a misidentified and unprocessed grief response (the famed attachment theorist, John Bowlby, referred to it as “disordered mourning”). The child’s misidentification of authentic sadness is being created by the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent. The child’s authentic sadness and grief are being transformed by the manipulative pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent into “anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes.”
From Kernberg (1975): “The [narcissist’s] need to control the idealized objects, to use them in attempts to manipulate and exploit the environment and to “destroy potential enemies,” is linked with inordinate pride in the “possession” of these perfect objects totally dedicated to the patient.” (p. 33)
From Kernberg (1975) “They [narcissists] are especially deficient in genuine feelings of sadness and mournful longing; their incapacity for experiencing depressive reactions is a basic feature of their personalities. When abandoned or disappointed by other people they may show what on the surface looks like depression, but which on further examination emerges as anger and resentment, loaded with revengeful wishes, rather than real sadness for the loss of a person whom they appreciated.” (p. 229)
In normal-range divorces, parents help their children understand and process the children’s sadness and grief surrounding the divorce. This is what parents are supposed to do. But the pathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent has no empathy for the child, and instead manipulates the child’s authentic sadness into anger, into blaming and resentment toward the other parent in order to exploit the child’s anger as a weapon against the other parent.
About the only thing I might be able to do for the child caught in the loyalty conflict imposed by a narcissistic/(borderline) parent is to do for the child what a normal-range parent should do, help the child understand his or her authentic hurt, and sadness, and grief beneath the anger and blaming. So that’s what I tried to do in these letters to the children. It may not be successful and it may not help. But it’s the most I can do until we are able to protect the children from the psychopathology of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
The four versions of the letter are up on my website, down at the very bottom. Direct links are:
A Letter to Mary (mother/daughter):
A Letter to Jason (mother/son):
A Letter to Jessica (father/daughter):
A Letter to John (father/son):
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857
Kernberg, O.F. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism. New York: Aronson.
I am an alientor. You know me well. You lived with me once and you witnessed my behaviour patterns but you did not spend time studying and internalising them. I know your behaviour patterns better than you know them yourself. I know how to measure you, test you and control you. I know what your hooks are and I know that the depth of the love for your children is a weakness I can exploit. I am an emotional terrorist. I will terrify you into submission. You will do as I tell you to do, if you do not, I will take your children away.
I am an alienator, you didn’t notice that when we lived together but I began my work long before we went our separate ways. I created fissures and fractures within our family and I managed and manipulated reality, though for a long time you did…
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Battles are chaotic. That’s to be expected. In July, I raised the battle flags of our assault on the citadel of establishment mental health. In August we are mustering our forces on the battlefield. In September and October we begin our focused assaults. Leadership is beginning to emerge from within your ranks and I’ll be working with that leadership in the days and months ahead. They will help and support you. Follow their guidance.
Our goal is to achieve a paradigm shift.
Gardner’s model of PAS took us down a wrong road in proposing a “new syndrome.” In order to achieve a solution, the pathology of “parental alienation” must be defined within standard and established psychological principles and constructs to which all mental health professionals can be held accountable.
An attachment-based reformulation for the pathology as described in Foundationsaccomplishes this.
Foundationsdefines specific professional domains of knowledge necessary…
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Joe R. Barrow has created one of the best dramatizations explaining Parental Alienation Syndrome, this adapted from a Hollywood production. START VIEWING AT BEGINNING
As PMA International has posted before, we prefer the term DV by Proxy to explain the manipulations an abuser parent uses to teach the child to reject the protective parent. We prefer this term because;
1. In our opinion ,it more accurately depicts the actions taken by the abuser parent towards the child
2 There has been a lot of misinformation about parental alienation circulating the internet and beyond.
3.The term parental alienation and /or parental alienation syndrome has been use as a legal defense for abusive dads in family court. Most often this term has been used by the attorneys of dads who sexual abuse their children. This legal defense is used – most often- by attorneys in family court , for the purpose of deflecting blame from the criminal actions of their client onto the protective mother.
4 The result of the above has frequently been, abusers winning custody due to this misuse of the term. Because the term is so emotionally charged for protective mothers, and for all the reasons above, we feel DV by Proxy is a better choice. Please keep in mind others still use the term Parental Alienation. Since PMA International did not author this piece, the term parental alienation or alienation may be used.