Capturing and silencing the masculine and feminine : an exercise in absolute alienation

I have been thinking this week about the drivers of the feminine and masculine principles, namely the need to care for and the need to protect. Now these two drivers are, I accept, stereotypically attributed to men as protectors and women as carers and in this gender fluid world we live in we are so not allowed to talk about this.

But I am going to.

I am going to because I consider that the two things are very much overlooked and I consider that the alienation project, which is to eradicate a parent from a child’s life, is undertaken  most effectively by using these twin principles.  This is how.

When fathers are alienating mothers they most often concentrate upon the stereotypical feminine qualities of caring. They allege that the mother is not a naturally maternal woman and that her caring capacity is questionable. They often insert their own mothers into the role of primary carer into the life of a child and on closer examination it is possible to see that they are often in thrall to an idealised image of their mother as the embodiment of maternal care. It is not unusual for alienating father to be in an enmeshed relationship with their own mother and for the paternal grandmother in these circumstances to be controlling. Boundary violation, in which the paternal grandmother is seen to question the mother’s femininity, for example if the mother works outside of the home, is common in these circumstances. Thus the concept of the feminine role being that of the caring parent is core to many alienation cases where dad is the alienator.

Running parallel to that is the concept of father as protector and the way that this is used by mothers who are intent on alienating a father from a child’s life. The task for the mother who is alienating is to turn the positive masculine drive to protect and turn it into a negative drive to control. This is done by sleight of hand and support from the women’s rights dominated sphere of family services. An action which is seen as protective in one environment, can so easily be turned into one of control in another and the landscape of family separation is fertile for such actions to take place.

I was considering these drivers of care and protection when I listened to a wise and battle scarred father talking about the way in which men are completely unconscious of the reality of what happens to them after separation.  He spoke of how men are utterly bewildered when their drive to protect, which he felt was an instinctual driver which is kicked into action when a child is born, is silenced by the women dominated family services surrounding separated families. He spoke of the way in which men are castrated from their power to protect their children by the separation protocols which are woven invisibly into the fabric of our family separation legislation. And he left me with the dawning recognition that what I see in so many separated fathers, is the severance of their sense of self in relationship to their children and an alienation from their internalised experience of being a father.

Consider this. A child is born, the hormonal reactions throughout the birth of the child cause the attachment process to be triggered between the child and mother and the child and father if he was present at the birth.  Down the line, hormonal reactions and mirror neuron activity plus a strong cultural as well as instinctive driver to care and protect your child kick in.  One day someone comes and plucks that child out of your arms and tells you that you will not see them again until someone other than you decides that can happen.  Mother OR father, you are going to hurt are you not? (never mind what it does to the child). And yet we are routinely allowing this to happen to parents and children and we are routinely aiding and abetting it through the absolute lack of understanding of what is happening in our family services.

I work with dads who alienate mums and mums who alienate dads and I know that alienation begins not after separation but beforehand in the relationship as it is set out almost from the start. I also know that to alienate a parent fully you have to strip them of their belief that they have the right to parent. So many of the parents I work with (but dads in particular) are utterly divested of their sense of fatherhood. Lost and bewildered souls who spend a lot of the early days wandering around looking as if they have been hit by a bus. They have.

The first thing that happens to many fathers who end up alienated from their children is that their drive to protect their children is reinterpreted by the mother as being a drive to control. Reinterpretation of a need to protect as coercive control places all of the control into the hands of the mother. In this way all subsequent services and all subsequent outside practitioners, will view the father as controlling and the mother as vulnerable. From that point it doesn’t matter how much a dad wants to care for his child (or protect him/her either), when you are down on the list as a controlling dad, you have pretty much begun the downward slide into alienation from your fatherhood.  And the double bind that you are put in is that the more you deny your desire to care and protect your child is about trying to control, the more you are viewed as a controlling father who cannot show remorse. It is clever, it is silencing and it is alienating behaviour right from the off.  Fast forward three years and these dads are those who are without a relationship with their children.

And it works in reverse too because the family services which surround the separated family, which are so steeped in the political ideology of women’s rights first, are more likely to fall for the notion that a mother who works outside of the home is somehow not a real mother.  And if children say they don’t want to see their mum then she must have done something really really bad, mustn’t she? Popular stereotypes about absent mothers are that they are drug addicts, they have mental health problems, they are cold and uncaring and cruel.  What they most often are are alienated, forced into the position of targeted parent by the cunning use of stereotypes which play on the belief systems of practitioners.

Just like the deadbeat dads who are anything but.

I know I go on about this kind of thing a lot but honestly, alienation begins early in families and our beliefs about what good men and women do play a powerful part in aiding and abetting it.

Alienating the drivers of caring and protecting children is one way of achieving it. How that is achieved by alienating mothers and fathers is different but it plays on stereotypes of what makes a good mother and what makes a good father (and in the case of fathers, it turns what is felt and experienced as a positive driver by so many men into a negative trait so that the very role of fatherhood is in question right from the off in separation).

It is all about power and control, who has it, who wants it and what each parent will do to get it and hang onto it.

Because the hand that gets to rock the cradle, most definitely rules the world of alienation.

14 comments

  1. Luke Matthews · September 18, 2015

    Another insightful article

    Like

  2. daveyone1 · September 18, 2015

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

    Like

  3. frankiebird · September 18, 2015

    Welcome to my world!! A mother experiencing this exact scenario for over 2 years!! People don’t believe it happens! Thank you!

    Like

  4. CitymanMichael (@CitymanMichael) · September 18, 2015

    Absolutely correct. I would add to the “protect” issue the “provide” issue, which fathers/men naturally feel.

    It is so easy for an alienating mother to make financial demands which she knows cannot or will not be met. Or turn a question of what the money is to be used for to a “he doesn’t want to look after you” etc.

    Like

  5. lonsb65 · September 18, 2015

    Missing from the above is the underhand insertion and use of s2(4) Children Act 1989 which states:

    “(4)The rule of law that a father is the natural guardian of his legitimate child is abolished.”

    Thus ending natural guardianship in the UK and the link to natural law in child matters. Mothers never did have natural guardianship. The protector of children is the state. God help them.

    Requests to reveal who and why this malign provision was slipped in has brought blank answers.

    The result is that, if fathers genuinely think themselves to be protectors, they have no support for that role in law. The role does not exist and cannot be recognised. So if they present with protective behaviours, they must in law be doing something else, like ‘controlling,’ due to the removal / absence of alternative explanation.

    Another example of how the pseudo-intellectual hermitage of child legislation drafting ensures the continued pathological drift of related law away from its natural purpose.

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  6. Pingback: An exercise in absolute alienation | PARENTS HEALING FROM ESTRANGEMENT- #PAS
  7. daddyhardup · September 20, 2015

    “Reinterpretation of a need to protect as coercive control places all of the control into the hands of the mother. In this way all subsequent services and all subsequent outside practitioners, will view the father as controlling and the mother as vulnerable.”

    I recently saw the “Power and Control Wheel” of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project reproduced in a book on masculinity (“Manhood”, by Steve Biddulph). Applying it to my experience of marriage, it struck me that seven of the eight segments described ways in which my wife (now ex-wife) coercively controlled me. The only one which really applied to me was “using economic abuse”, in the sense that I was not always good at sharing financial resources with her, particularly in the early stage of our marriage when I was the sole earner. In part, though, this was because this was one of the few levers I could grasp to defend myself from a dominating spouse. Also, my wife had expensive tastes and I was concerned to keep spending under control so that we didn’t fall into debt. In this respect my behaviour could be interpreted as protective rather than coercive and controlling.

    If I had been forced to go on a Duluth-style programme it would have put me completely at her mercy…

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  9. PapaMissingKids · September 21, 2015

    Why why why can Family court Judges not become aware of this? They are intelligent enough to grasp this pattern, yet continuosly rely on CAFCASS and the Social Services – who I can understand are unable to grasp it because they may not be intelligent enough….hold it – but then why are they doing such an important and critical job? Cause intelligent people like Judges put them there….but then are the Judges et al that intelligent? And if they are not that intelligent, then why are they doing the job they are doing?

    I know, they are all intelligent and we are the stupid ones – cause they are on big bucks salaries which can only continue whilst us guys are there to keep needing them! Aha! that’s it! It’s all a conspiracy … see I knew I was intelligent!

    But then why am I not earning the big bucks to keep my children’s mum happy? hmmm maybe I’m not intelligent, but she is cause she has hundreds of thousands of pounds give her lawyers and ensure I get emotionaly abused by not just my children but all mutual “friends” and the community and the legal system – yes, that’s it! She’s the intelligent one… Cause she has too much money.

    I knew I’d figure it out one day!

    How about a campaign that every family court judge HAS to do a course on family therapy so that they become aware of what is needed.

    (sorry Karen if I have got carried away with this one – having been through it all it’s sometimes difficult to stay intelligently sane! Of course no offence taken if you don’t put this one up)

    Like

  10. Anonymous · September 21, 2015

    Definitely something we should be talking about in the media, and in public because if we don’t our lives will be consumed by the endless drive of self-interest. The family as we traditionally understand it will weaken still further.

    It is only when cracks appear in the adult relationship and the children get caught up in the maelstrom of parental disagreement that the children’s minds become distorted by prejudices born of fear and mistrust.

    The other night I watched as Sandi Toksvig on “Question time” who told us how her membership of the political party of women’s equality was so important. I don’t want to live in a world run by women’s equality no more than I want to live in one run by men’s equality. I am far more interested in finding ways in which the family links can be fostered, maintained and nurtured.

    There is nothing wrong with being single but once you have children then there is a huge responsibility to be aware and respectful to all those related to the children and the law needs to defend this premise. The law fails because it makes false assumptions about the roles of the mother and the father. On daytime TV Judge Rinder speaking to a father who had been separated from his children said, “You should pay for mistakes”. I find this reference to someone’s children as “mistakes” when talking about a father’s relationship to his children horrendously offensive (but sadly typical) especially when coming from a Barrister; clearly someone in need of education. The children you bring into the world don’t become “father’s mistakes” just by virtue of father separating from mother and then mother coming to court looking for money. Father loves his children just as much as he did before he separated from his partner. The mother had come to court looking for back payment on unpaid child support. Typically as in many of these cases the father had started off with a 50:50 shared care arrangement which had subsequently broken down.

    As if further evidence were needed of the institutionalised prejudice against the nuclear family you don’t have to look far to see how the single parent syndrome has infiltrated society as a matter of woman’s right or choice; not tragic circumstance. I remember the stunned look on the faces of Cafcass officers when I ended my contribution to the meeting by saying, “then we all believe in the family, don’t we?”

    Kind regards

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    • woodman1959 · September 21, 2015

      Loved it!

      It would be interesting to know to what extent family therapists really believe in the likelihood of a powerful male presence in the family – as being beneficial?

      The picture is mixed, isn’t it? The two sisters in this instance below are clearly from an Asian background where the males (at least widely in the past) have been extremely domineering. Perhaps the sisters have chosen to go solo without involving a man directly at all – in order to prevent this from happening?

      On the other hand there are situations like ours (and quite possible there could be an element of that here) where the situation has completely flipped and instead it is a known males who have been targeted, manipulated and exploited from the very start.

      Judges need to be aware that domination from either side – could be in place…and perhaps they do?

      The biggest problem may actually be the “training” that I’m sure that Judges must receive on this issue – which I suspect is basically that ‘the worst thing for a child to experience – is to witness conflict between the parents’.

      What I’m absolutely sure the Judges are NOT taught – is that the removal of a loving father will be 100x more damaging to the child than the witnessing of verbal disagreements – because malectomy is what is most often prescribed for this ‘social ill’.

      The situation is therefore like one of placing a loaded gun in the hands of those women who happen to be the less mature of the two conflicting parents. Women more or less everywhere have got the message. “Just create conflict – that’s all you have to do – we’ll take care of the rest”.

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  11. Kat · September 22, 2015

    I think you are quite right to bring up the women nurture, men provide stereotype. We like to think we live in a modern society, where such things no longer apply, but you do not have to scratch much below the surface to find the notions alive and well.
    Recently a colleague of mine divorced and a group of us had a general discussion on how to arrange things with children after divorce. This was a group of women all working, all with good careers and all sharing the care of their children with the dads and regarding dads as important in their children’s lives. Nevertheless there was a strong belief that the mother has carried the child so she must be the primary carer for the children.
    Likewise another colleague of mine was expecting his first child. He was keen to be involved and wanted to attend some of the midwife appointments. He quickly learnt that he was not welcome, not because his wife did not want him there but because it was frown upon by the professionals. I remember soon after the child was born he sounded a little disillusioned in his verbalization that in reality he was the provider and his wife was the carer.
    Now if these are the thoughts of couples and ex-couples who share care of the children, it seems to me that it is very easy for alienating parents to simply tap into these stereotypes and exploit them. The fact that the stereotypes are largely denied as we are supposed to be modern and equal makes it all the easier to exploit them.

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  12. NickB · September 22, 2015

    The problem with these stereo types is the ground has shifted underneath them. Eighty years ago a framework existed almost guaranteed for children to experience mother and fathers in their upbringing. Yes stereotyped and constrained for sure but valued roles for both genders with family at it’s apex seen and handed on to children inturn.

    The old stereo types remain but underneath the ground has shifted – economic independence open to women and supported by gender segregation by social services, the Courts, schools and the medical profession. The link connecting half the population with family life removed. It deserved to be reinstated with the recognition of the shared roles in most family’s lives. It didn’t happen instead the unthinking prejudice of old labels. Undervalued unsupported and unrecognised and half the population better get used to the idea. The right to be a parent is decided today simply by crude genderists.

    Unintentional consequences- This is a new destructive labelling of babies feet. Exactly like race, colour or religion. It’s a large impact with 4 million children living in one gender households. Those children’s normality is of one gender raising children the other irrelevant (apart from conception) that is likely to repeat within their own lives.

    The half of the population becoming more marginalized will need a new aim. Maybe the people who purport to support children by using the oneway gender conduit can explain to those children (if male) how today’s policy of taking away family life is good for them and what role will take it’s place?

    Like

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