By Matt Allen
Pamela Richardson spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and 12 years in court witnessing first-hand the dangerous effects of parental alienation.
Her story of the “struggle, the hope, the missteps and all the agonizing drama along the way” formed her book, A Kidnapped Mind.
Richardson and her husband separated when their son Dash was 4 ½ years old. What followed was an all-too-familiar nightmare with one parent – in this case, the father – systematically eliminating the other parent from their child’s life through parental alienation.
The book is a reminder of so many of the stories we hear about on a continuing basis from divorced fathers because whether it’s the mom or the dad acting as the alienator, a common theme is apparent in all of them: parental alienation is a form of child abuse and it must be stopped.
Richardson answered some questions about her experience with parental alienation. She also provided to DadsDivorce.com an excerpt from the book.
DadsDivorce.com: What was the motivation behind sharing this extremely personal experience?
Pamela Richardson: Two things motivated me. One, I hoped by writing about what our family lived through I could help others and bring awareness to this insidious form of child abuse.
Two, it was my last gift to my beautiful, brown eyed little boy who did not deserve to live the way he did.
DD: Why do you think parental alienation is a form of child abuse?
PR: When children have a reciprocally warm, loving relationship with both parents before a divorce and one parent uses custody to isolate the child (children) and the relationship changes between the child (children) and the other parent, and usually all that parents’ family and friends, what do you think could possible happen to cause such a dramatic change?
Firstly, most parents capable of creating parental alienation have a number of their own pathologies because no healthy parent would put their own selfish needs above those of a dependent child.
Secondly, because the techniques used by alienating parents to break down the bond and attachment between the child and the alienated parent create serious mental health issues within the child.
Unlike the battered child syndrome, there are no visible cuts and bruises. Instead the wounds are hidden deep inside making the case of child abuse a difficult pill to swallow.
But it is child abuse and in my case it became extremely dangerous. Dash’s emotional spiral was directly related to his entrenched Parental Alienation Syndrome induced by his father.
DD: What was it like watching the transformation in your son’s personality and his attitude towards you?
PR: It is no different than watching a terminally sick child slowly fade away.
I was helpless to do anything even though I tried so hard for so many years. It was always too little too late. The damage had been done.
Sadly, Dash’s father had done his job well. As you know, after a period of time of using cult-like techniques, the child takes on the denigration of the other parent all on his/her own and the alienating parent can honestly say, as in my case: “I do not interfere with Dash’s decision to see his mother. Dash tells me he just doesn’t want to visit her.”
The most important thing here is to realize that it is not the child’s fault and as difficult as it is at times you must never give up trying to see your child.
Note: Read an excerpt from the book A Kidnapped Mind.