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Help for Victims of PAS -- Parental Alienation Syndrome

What to Do if You Suspect Parental Alienation Syndrome

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Parents who suspect PAS, or Parental Alienation Syndrome, must take action to prevent further damage to their relationship with their children, while also working to document and report the behaviors which limit their access to their own children. In particular, victims of PAS should:

Continue to do everything that you can to maintain your relationship with your child. Even if you suspect that your ex is intentionally creating PAS, continue to call your child and attempt to adhere to the agreed upon visitation schedule. Even if your ex is withholding visitations, do not allow him or her to claim you are making no effort to see your child.

Do not blame your child. Separate your child's actions, which are hurtful, from the child himself. What is happening is not your child's fault. He or she did not initiate or cause what is happening. As frustrated as you may feel, it is critical that you do not take your frustrations out on your child in any way.

Document, document, document. Keep a detailed record of the behaviors you associate with PAS, as well as all canceled visits and missed phone calls. Share this information with your lawyer.

Consider working with a mental health professional. It is imperative that you work through your own feelings about what is happening. A qualified professional can provide you with necessary tools for mediating the effects of PAS and restoring your relationship with your child.

Keep a journal of writings to your child. If contact with your child has been completely cut off, consider keeping a journal of letters to him or her, with the hope of sharing them in the years to come. This can be extremely therapeutic and healing for you, and it also provides your child with some documentation of your continued love even during times when you were kept apart. You may not be able to change what is happening in the present, but keeping a journal of letters would allow your child to be able to look back later, as an adult, and see the situation from your point of view. A lot of healing an awareness came come from that.

Never give up hope. Right now you feel like your relationship with your child has been stolen from you and the future is out of your control. However, your child will eventually have the opportunity to think for himself or herself. In the meantime, you must continue to be a person of integrity and do what you can to keep the lines of communication open, firmly believing that when your child begins to question all that he or she has been taught to think, you will have the opportunity to share your perspective.

Resources:
  1. Andre, Katherine C. "Parent Alienation Syndrome." Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association 7.4 (2004): 7+. Questia. 24 Apr. 2007 [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5008549755].

  2. Gardner, Richard A., M.D. "A Brief Introduction to PAS." rgardner.com. 31 May 2001. 24 Apr. 2007[http://rgardner.com/refs/pas_intro.html].

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