“Shame and Stigma” and the “Mean-Spirited Cultural Response” That Efforts to Cast Them Off Provoke: Procedural Abuse and Parental Alienation

Posted on April 1, 2015


“Parental alienation is the ‘programming’ of a child by one parent to denigrate the other (targeted) parent, in an effort to undermine and interfere with the child’s relationship with that parent, and most often occurs within the context of a child custody conflict. This includes the ‘legal abuse’ of parents who have been disenfranchised from their children’s lives subsequent to sole custody and primary residence judgments. Within an adversarial legal process, non-custodial parents are often subjected to shame and stigma, lack of access to their children, and devaluation of their role as parents. And those who speak about the pain and woundedness in their lives are subjected to a mean-spirited cultural response, where their talk of woundedness is mocked.”

Edward Kruk, Ph.D.

Here’s child and family social worker Edward Kruk corroborating that parents may be the targets of “legal abuse”; that they’re subjected to shame and stigma, and to alienation from their children; and that they’re ridiculed and regarded with contempt for complaining about it: “The Impact of Parental Alienation on Parents: Post-traumatic Stress in the Rupture of Parent-Child Relationships” (2013). There are mothers who endure this, make no mistake, but as Dr. Kruk observes, “Most alienated parents are non-custodial fathers.”

Members of both genders (parents and non-parents alike) have reported on this blog that they’ve experienced (or are in the throes of) PTSD consequent to abusive legal contests, and it’s not the intent of this post to discount the plaints of mothers who face this torment. It must be emphasized, however, that the “mean-spirited cultural response” Dr. Kruk notes is predominately, if not exclusively, directed at men, and it’s because fathers’/men’s plaints are so roundly and effectively denounced and dismissed that mothers’/women’s plaints also lack a sympathetic audience.

(Feminists would prefer that female victims of legal abuse quietly recede into obscurity and accept the role of martyr for “the cause.”)

The “mean-spirited cultural response” is broad but includes highly influential voices, including law professors and esteemed advocacy groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has equated men’s and fathers’ rights representatives with hate groups, asserting that they’re on a par with the Ku Klux Klan.

No kidding.

To vehemently complain about being treated prejudicially by the courts and alienated from your kids is to be caricatured as a racist wearing a bedsheet and brandishing a torch. (Few in the mainstream press, moreover, scoff at this rhetoric.) For moms (and women in general) who’ve been victimized by legal abuse to be heeded, the demonization of men’s and fathers’ advocates as mere “misogynists” must first be controverted.

Last year, a post on this blog reported the award of a $500,000 grant to a female law professor to “debunk” the claim that court procedures are abused to alienate parents from their children, and it’s this sort of (government-funded) social science research that marginalizes voices like Dr. Kruk’s.

It provides fodder to bloggers and other commentators, and it’s used to “train” judges how to rule.

The selective orientation of feminist social science ignores competing (and compelling) findings like these Dr. Kruk cites:

Suicide rates are reported to be of epidemic proportions among parents, fathers in particular, who are struggling to maintain a parenting relationship with their children (Kposowa, 2000; Kposowa, 2003); and legal abuse has been noted as a key factor in these cases.

A recent post on this blog referenced the suicide of a father who’d undergone years of legal hell and couldn’t face any more. He bled out—emotionally, morally, and financially. Feminist advocates stress the consequences and “rampancy” of domestic violence—focusing narrowly on female victims—while denying that the effects of legal abuses are grave. They trivialize those effects and often deny legal abuses occur to any extent worthy of attention or redress.

The devaluation of family and the curtailment of lives aren’t trivial.

Copyright © 2015 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com