Archive for the ‘mind control’ Category
Caught Between Parents/ Supporting children through the challenges of divorce-by Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D
Mindfulness as a Tool
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. 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 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 charge 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 the piece, the term parental alienation or alienation may be used.
Mindfulness is defined as a state of being present and open to the moment by moment experience of your life. It means engaging in your life as a fully awake and aware person and as much as much being attuned to the people with whom you interact.
Mindfulness can be particularly helpful for the targeted parent because it could:
…help you remain clear and calm in times of stress through awareness of and attunement to your own state of mind and body. You can also gain clarity and calmness through breathing and meditation practice.
… help you be present when interacting with your children rather than being consumed with and distracted by thoughts and feelings about the past or present which can take you away from appreciating and engaging with your child.
…help you accept the imperfections in yourself and the world so that you are not overwhelmed with feelings of shame in your own limitations or with feelings of frustration and anger at the injustice of your situation.
…help you forgive your children for betraying you and themselves so that you can keep your heart open to them despite their engagement in behaviors that hurt or sadden you.
…help you make more active and conscious choices in your parenting in order to avoid discipline that could entrench the alienation against you.
… help you engage in active listening of your child which can deepen and strengthen your relationship.
As a co-parent “under fire” you will need all the help you can get to remain calm in the face of attack and insult, to remain generous of spirit and true to your best self, and to cultivate compassion in your child and you. Consider mindfulness one source of that help.
In the aftermath of Mackenzie Phillip’s shocking revelations of long term incest with her father, “Papa” John Phillips of the sixties’ singing group, the Mamas and the Papas, some people are wondering why the actress allowed the incest to continue for ten years– into her twenties.
The assumption is that since she was a young adult, she could have stopped it. The reality is that she was not able to due what is known as the Stockholm Syndrome, in which people form what is called a “trauma bond” with their oppressors. Because survival depends upon the good will of the oppressor, the abused become infatuated with and bonded to them. The kidnapped heiress Patricia Hearst was a notable example of this. The trauma bond is common to victims of abuse, be they incested children or battered wives, as well as among prisoners of war, cult members, and victims of torture to name a few.
Traumatized people have traumatized brains which Phillips described on the Oprah show when she alluded to having “flashbacks,” unwanted, repeating inner images, which she attempted to compartmentalize and block out. A traumatized brain does not respond or bounce back so easily. Drug use, also part of her family’s behavior helped to annihilate awareness of the sexual episodes, the resulting emotional pain and the unwanted, intrusive memories– that occurred later.
In the book, Traumatic Experiende and the Brain, author David Ziegler, the director of a treatment program for abused children, writes that “I have often noticed that the degree of loyalty from a child to an abusive parent seems to be in direct proportion to the seriousness of the abuse the child received. In this counterintuitive way, the stronger or more life-threatening the treatment, the stronger the loyalty from the child.”
This is due to the way trauma imprints the brain. It’s a misunderstanding when people with normal development and limited experience of abuse, incest, or drugs assume that someone with a very different experience would be able to think, function, or act as they do. In addition, a child, who like Mackenzie Phillips is initiated into brain distorting drug use at an early age will have different brain development than a person whose brain has not been tainted by drugs early in life. Moreover, in the Phillips family it appears that drug use was a kind of family pastime. Craving the sense of belonging that most people, and certainly all children feel, a child like Mackenzie was inducted early on into a unique family culture, one that was inherently isolating and further increased the dependency on powerful parents since neither their values, lifestyle, nor behavior were shared by other people.
Further, Mackenzie Phillips reported that John Phillips’ philosophy was that he and his family were somehow special and beyond the normal rules of behavior to which others adhered. Until she began her long hard climb to independence and maturity, this was the only frame of reference, young Mackenzie had. Until she began that climb, the distorted, possibly sociopathic mindset she learned from her father was part of her entrapment.
Although I’m concerned that recounting her trauma on Oprah could potentially retraumatize Mackenzie and threaten her fragile discovery, I would hope that the rest of us can accord her the respect she deserves for her courage, and take to heart the implications of the morality tales she offers– that abuse should be acknowledged even when the abuser is powerful, charismatic, and famous.