UKAP’s contention is that PA cases are all very similar, and could almost be said to run off a standard ‘template’.
Here is the template (P1 denotes one parent, P2 the other parent, C child) – to be stressed here is that both genders alienate and are targeted.
P1 and P2 live together, are married, or have a relationship of some kind. It doesn’t much matter for present purposes. A child is born. All are happy. Both parents look after and care for the child, probably taking in turns to babysit for the other parent. At some point P1 and P2 fall out. Maybe one of them is unfaithful, or whatever. It does not matter. At all events, P1 leaves.
P2 is unhappy and resentful. He/she tries everything to get P2 back. Nothing works. All she/he can do now is to hurt P1 as much as he has hurt P2. And the best way to do that is to use C as a tool, a weapon. This is a familiar story, isn’t it?
Contact is stopped or severely curtailed. So begins stage one, the Brainwashing Stage
P1 applies to the court for contact. The judge insists that they try mediation first but this is a wate of time. P2 does not engage with the process. Why should he/she? She/he has all the cards – the kids…So P1 goes back to court and asks for a contact order.
P2 makes sure that the child knows everything. P2 ‘over-shares’. The child gets all the information. He is given a sense of empowerment, though he is only 12 years old. He is treated like an adult by P2 (for these purposes anyway). Indeed, (s)he puts all of her anger and resentment and weakness out there in front of the child so he can’t ignore it. The child is now the grown-up in this new little ‘family’. C has to support P2, because (s)he portrays her/himself as a victim, and P1 as a monster, or simply as someone that really isn’t too bothered about seeing her/his child.
P2 may do this in a very obvious way (“Dad/Mum just doesn’t love you any more”), or just ensures that the child overhears unflattering conversations about P1. Or P2 deliberately takes C to the wrong meeting point for contact and tells the child that P1 just doesn’t care or isn’t bothered when (s)he (unsurprisingly) doesn’t turn up. Allegations are usually made against P1, typically that P1 has sexually abused C, or has been violent towards P2 or C, or some such. Note here that P1’s alleged bad behaviour starts only after the separation…
P2 makes sure that the child sides with him/her and feels sorry for P2. The child is ‘recruited’. The child becomes P2’s protector. The child is punished if he gives a good account of contact with P1 and rewarded if he complains about P1. Pretty soon, the child sees the lie of the land. Kids are clever like this! A child work out very quickly the behaviours that will earn it the wrath of the toxic parent, and the behaviours that will be smiled upon. Good behaviours will earn treats, affection, food, and so on. ‘Bad’ behaviours will earn ‘the silent treatment’, a screaming fit or whatever. Pavlov would have been proud!
So, to earn his treats, and avoid his punishments, the child rejects P1. He goes along with stories about P1 being abusive, or will give the kind of weak rationalisations that Gardener talks about… “Mum/dad wears stupid shoes”. The conditioning is complete.
Now comes stage two (the Cowardly stage). P2 will protest to anyone who will listen, that (s)he is trying to promote contact with P1 (notwithstanding his/her previous hideous allegations against P1!). But, P2 says, the child will not go to see P1. So now P2 hides behind the brainwashed child (s)he has created and recruited. Nice.
Not very complicated is it? And this pattern is repeated daily, more-or-less, in courtrooms throughout the land.
CAFCASS come in and do a ‘wishes and feelings’ report which, unsurprisingly, indicates that the child does not want to see P1. CAFCASS take this to mean that C does not want to see P1. And they conclude, as a necessary corollary of that, that it is in the child’s best interests not to see P1. They simply repeat the words of the child, who simply repeats the words of P2.
Back we go to court. And the judge just follows what CAFCASS says. So now, we have the judge simply repeating P2’s words! And time marches on. P1 and C do not see each other. The alienation deepens.
Years go by as the courts fail to grasp the nettle. Fail to punish P2 when (s)he breaches Orders, or, as with mediation, simply refuses to engage with the process. All they do is express ‘hopes’ that P2’s behaviour will improve. Yes, they give P2 a really good telling off…but DO nothing. Review after review yields no change in P2’s behaviour. Long after everyone else has worked out that P2 is an alienator, is obstructing contact and wrecking the relationship between P1 and C, the courts are still posturing…and doing nothing…
P1 eventually gets sick of this and at last appeals to the Court of Appeal. The CA sees through P1 and orders a change of residence to P1.
But C refuses. He is now so alienated that he simply refuses to go – he is now aged 15.
The relationship between P1 and C is broken.
C learns that courts are a laughing stock, that authority generally can safely be ignored. He learns to hate the half of himself that is P1. He drops out of school and may turn to a life of crime, has kids and alienates them from their mother. Well, it works, doesn’t it?
And the cycle begins anew.