We all know that it’s not uncommon for children to be weaponised by a parent and against another post separation/ divorce. Sometimes, such weaponization is done deliberately, as part of a coercive and abusive campaign to exclude an otherwise safe and loving parent. Sometimes, it’s done unconsciously and unwittingly, through poor attitudes and behaviours which, if they can be understandable perhaps (given the acrimony and resent brought about by many divorces) remains nevertheless conducive to very negative and harmful co-parenting strategies. What is certain, though, is how detrimental such alienating strategies are, both for the targeted parent and for the children being thus coached and manipulated.
'it’s not uncommon for children to be weaponised by a parent and against another'
Catherine Laylle, now Baroness Meyer, is a mother who went through such ordeal, the nightmare of being cruelly and unfairly severed from the lives of her sons and following her divorce. As she recounts in ‘They are my Children, Too’, her ex-husband, a controlling man raised in a domineering family, decided indeed to punish her for leaving him by abducting the children to Germany, his country of origin. He then manipulated them into believing that she was a bad mother, uncaring, and unsafe.
Children being easy to manipulate, especially by a trusted parent and while the other is, crucially, being deliberately deprived of contact that is, of any opportunity to challenge and disprove the lies and coaching, her sons (9 and 7 at the time) ended, predictably, by believing their dad. Ultimately, then, they turned against her. As such, Baroness Meyer had not only been a victim of child abduction; she was a victim of parental alienation too.
'He then manipulated them into believing that she was a bad mother, uncaring, and unsafe'
There is, of course, no word to describe the pain, distress, engulfing despair and anger mixed with anguish that alienated parent can experience. We have already blogged about a father who went through such trauma (here). Baroness Myer felt no different.
In her book, she wrote about how her sons ‘would be transformed into puppets on a string, commanded by their father’s hands.’ She wrote about how they ‘would be taught to fear their mother, to wipe all thoughts of her from their minds.’ She wrote about her mental health being seriously impacted as a result:
‘I am no longer the woman I was: I have lost my sense of self-preservation and can no longer hide my feelings. I am in despair (…) How can I go on living when a part of me has been torn away?’
She wrote about how cruelly disempowering the alienating strategies in place were to exclude her:
‘my letters are censored, my phone calls blocked, my words twisted.’
She wrote about the agony of being a loving, safe, dedicated parent yet whose distress cannot begin to be comprehended by those who haven’t experienced such ordeal:
‘I agonised about my sons’ well-being, grieved at their loss, and was tortured by the thought of what was being done to them.’
She wrote about the hell of the family courts, German in her personal case but those Kafkaesque functioning will resonate with many who had to go through them, merely to have access to their own children:
‘I had been dragged through complicated legal procedures…. I had sat through hearings I was unable to follow. I had watched people I had never met testify against me, staring at me with hatred. I had been accused of things I never did, had not been allowed to submit my evidence, and had my life and that of my sons destroyed by these people. I had been blamed for everything I did or did not do.’
She wrote, most importantly, about how such alienating strategies had transformed once kind and loving children into unrecognisable, innocent monsters displaying angry, resentful behaviours and that can range from screams and tears to downright violence and aggression; as she recounted when remembering a court hearing, and when she met them for the first time again after several months not seeing them:
‘My boys… I left my seat and hurriedly approached them. I knelt on the floor to kiss them. Alexander’s face was hardly recognisable – angry and tense. I bent forward. ‘Hello, Alexander,’ I said in French. He did not look at me and started to hit me with his arms and legs. I was flabbergasted, shocked, staggered…. What had they done to my children? I turned to Constantin, tears in my eyes: ‘Tini?’ he turned his head to the side to avoid looking at me… I ran out of the courtroom, sobbing.’
And then what?
'I ran out of the courtroom, sobbing’
Because of the successful parental alienation campaign launched by her ex-husband, she ended up effectively being erased from the lives of her sons. She will, in fact, be reunited only when they reached adulthood. And yet…
And yet, Baroness Meyer never gave up. More, she decided to put her experience at the service of other parents going through such crushing ordeal too. One of the co-founders of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, and the founder of Action Against Abduction, she has, since then, be tireless in her fight to bring such barbaric injustice to light, besides pushing relentlessly and courageously for our archaic, inadequate, counter-productive laws on such matter to change. Back in 2021, for example, she proposed an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill then being debated and updated, and so that parental alienation could finally be recognised for what it is: abuse.
Has she been successful?
'she proposed an amendment (...) so that parental alienation could finally be recognised for what it is: abuse'
The first sentence of this post was: ‘We all know that it’s not uncommon for children to be weaponised by a parent and against another post-separation/ divorce’. But: do we? Really?
The coercive, controlling, manipulating use of children constitutes, of course, a form of post-separation domestic and child abuse. The problem, though, is that, in our society, domestic and child abuse are still wrongly (very wrongly) accepted as being ‘gendered crimes’ that is, where men supposedly make for the vast majority of perpetrators while women and their children supposedly make for the vast majority of victims. We already debunked such ideological claptrap in other posts (here, here, or again, here). What matters, here, is the obnoxious impact that such ideological claptrap has upon the parental alienation debate. How so?
This gendered claptrap goes like this: domestic abuse is motivated by male authority in their households and is rooted in a patriarchal mindset whereas men feel entitled to control women. Because women are economically and politically disempowered, and because male authority and a patriarchal mindset are the sole reasons to explain domestic abuse, women, then, cannot be as abusive as men when in a relationship. Of course, this certainly doesn’t mean that women cannot engage in abusive behaviours. What this means is that, when they are doing so, theirs can only be 'out of self-defence’, either against an abusive man, or, symbolically, against the patriarchy itself. Likewise, since men, as the embodiment of the patriarchy exercising power and control over women, cannot possibly be victimised (if they are so, it’s because they must have done something to deserve the abuse melted upon them -again: hers is ‘self-defence’), then every form of abuse which can, reportedly, affect them cannot possibly exist. As parental alienation reportedly affects fathers too, many being cruelly cut off from the lives of their children by coercive, controlling, abusive ex-wives, then parental alienation, therefore, cannot exist. More: since women can only abuse out of ‘self-defence’, those mothers engaging in such negative, harmful, alienating and abusive forms of co-parenting must be doing so out of ‘self-defence’ too only that is, to protect their children from a patriarchal abuser. As per such logic, then, the invoking of ‘parental alienation’ can only be but a con, used by abusive, patriarchal men to further control women.
If this sounds like a circumvoluted mumbo-jumbo stemming from misandrist prejudice and downright demagoguery (the patriarchy seen as some sort of ‘conspiracy theory’ explaining everything wrong happening to women) that’s because, of course, it is. Sadly, though, precisely because such gendered demagoguery and misandrist mumbo-jumbo has been fully embraced by the main lobbies campaigning for women’s rights (as we have exposed here), it’s a mumbo-jumbo which has been underpinning our policies and legislations on the matter. This has led, not only to the carrying on of such forms of domestic and child abuse, but, also, to the institutional abuse of even women themselves. How so?
'a circumvoluted mumbo-jumbo stemming from misandrist prejudice and downright demagoguery'
In Britain, the most powerful such lobby when it comes to women’s rights in matter of domestic violence is Women’s Aid. Women’s Aid, in fact, has not only been hijacked by such obnoxious ideologues, and in complete betrayal of what the women’s shelters movement purported to originally be (again: here). It, also, remains a powerful organisation, those self-serving studies are mostly performed by dogmatic theoreticians who have never shied away from insulting, gaslighting, and otherwise bullying and abusing critics if ever challenged (other academics of course, but, also and far more concerningly, and perniciously, women victims themselves -as we have exposed here).
What this means, then, is that while Baroness Meyer had clearly been a victim of parental alienation (in her case, resulting from the abduction of her children) and was now campaigning for the issue to be legally acknowledged, simply because the likes of Women’s Aid and its accomplices in the gendered campaigning field (from uncritical mass medias up to the upper echelons of sycophants politicians and public servants) deny such horrendous form of abuse, her ordeal, struggle, and advocacy for vulnerable victims have, not only been unsupported, but rubbished too.
As the Domestic Abuse Bill was being debated, what unfolded indeed was to prove highly disturbing, and ought to have seriously alerted us as to the shocking hypocrisy of ‘feminists’ claiming to support women, while in fact being solely concerned about the preservation of their gendered dogma. What happened?
'her ordeal, struggle, and advocacy for vulnerable victims have, not only been unsupported, but rubbished too'
Baroness Meyer had been a clear victim of abuse, yet no one cared about her stance. Far from that, while she battled on to raise awareness as to such injustice, Dr Charlotte Proudman, a family barrister describing herself as being a ‘glam feminist’, was happily and uncritically handed a full platform, by and in The Guardian, in order to rubbish her stance as being, on the contrary,' the single biggest threat to the credibility of victims of domestic abuse, and to the voices of children’! You’ve read that right. Here was a mum who had been a decade-long victim of abuse, had endured the hell of the family courts to access her children (an institution for which, incidentally, Dr Proudman works for), was now campaigning for other victims of abuse, yet whose battle was shamelessly, publicly, dragged into the mud and with the complicity of the press as being supposedly ‘a threat to the credibility of victims of abuse’! If this won’t smack us as being downright crass and completely inane, then what will?!
Revoltingly, though, the mediatic dragging into the mud to sycophantly and propagandistically cater to ‘glam feminism’, being given here a prominent soapbox while victims not fitting the gendered narrative were -again- purposefully ignored, didn’t stop there. Like many of her other ‘colleagues’ in the profitable gendered industry and parental alienation denying field, Dr Proudman is no stranger to gaslighting either. She, in the same article, went as far as claiming that Baroness Meyer’s view ‘gives validation, power and control to perpetrators’.
Shocking, this might be. Sadly, though, because Women’s Aid relentlessly campaigned to make damn sure that the coercive and controlling abuse of children being alienated against one of their parents remains staunchly negated by the law, and because, in our uncritical climate, it has become absolutely impossible to challenge Women’s Aid without attracting slurs (if not inviting career suicide) such gaslighting, re-victimising, and re-traumatising of victims went widely unbated -and unchallenged. Dr Charlotte Proudman, in fact, was certainly not the only one to indulge, as the gendered propaganda machine then went in full swing.
'such gaslighting, re-victimising, and re-traumatising of victims went widely unbated -and unchallenged'
Claire Waxman, London Victims’ Commissioner and whose mandated job it is to protect all victims (although, clearly, not alienated parents and their alienated children -is she fit for her role?) gave her full support to such radfem-gone-mainstream demagoguery, and remains one of the most prominent parrots for Women’s Aid toxic brand of feminism at political and institutional levels. Recently, for example, while anyone concerned about children’s welfare can reckon the crucial importance of positive co-parenting after divorce/ separation, if only to avoid the negative attitudes of some parents to turn into full blown alienation (let alone many of the unwarranted adversarial approaches paying some family barristers' salaries) she denounced active measures to encourage just such positive co-parenting.
The mass medias, an institution which, especially in Britain, has been plagued by all sorts of malpractices and has been denounced otherwise for sustaining what’s been dubbed ‘churnalism’, are, of course no less corrupt. Louis Tickle, for instance, ran a documentary on Channel 4 Dispatch and where she not only completely disregarded the experiences of alienated mothers and their children (she had, of course, absolutely no care whatsoever for men and fathers) but framed parental alienation as being in fact a tool used by paedophile men to further abuse their ex-partners and children. Like when they peddled the ‘MMR-causes-autism’ balderdash (that too, then pushed through by self-interested and deceitful lobbies with dubious ideological motivations) the British press now wants you to believe that children turned against parents, including fathers, is a unicorn. But…
But what does that tell us?
'the British press now wants you to believe that children turned against parents, including fathers, is a unicorn'
We must, here, be very, very clear: when it comes to violence and abuse, the manipulative flipping around of victims to label them instead as being in fact ‘perpetrators’ bears a name. It’s called DARVO, an acronym for Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.
We have seen how and why feminist ideologues, researchers, campaigning outlets and lobbies, helped by a whole establishment trailing in behind that procession, ‘deny’ parental alienation. We have seen how, although in another post (here) they ‘attack’, through silencing and blocking campaigns, straws, and gratuitous insults and slurs akin to bullying, anyone -and victims especially- daring to question their stance. What we are seeing now, is the full ‘reverse victims and offenders’, and this peddled by people who make absolutely no qualm nor secret about their ideological allegiance.
That DARVO has thus become a common tactic among part of feminist academia, family barristers, Victims’ Commissioners selecting of victims, and the campaigning sector relying on it is bad enough. That the medias, far from questioning it, have become its full complicit and flying monkeys ought to seriously alert us as to the extend and impact of such collusion going on behind closed doors, and affecting from public understanding to political priorities and dealing of the issues.
This, here, is everything but ‘glam’. The spreading of misinformation rooted in radical feminism, as much as it is in misandrist prejudices and junk science sustaining a negationist approach within our family courts, is downright shocking, immoral, and, in the case of the press, ought to raise serious ethical questioning when it comes to practice, transparency, and accountability pertaining to the spreading of prejudicial populism -sexist or else. When it comes to Women’s Aid and the public servants acting as its sycophants, it also raises serious ethical question as to what motivates such lobbying, especially given that here’s a lobbying that has so successfully driven itself at the core of our establishment that it has also acquired statutory power.
In the end, then, make no mistake: Baroness Meyer was a victim, and so are the alienated children and parents that she has been fiercely and courageously representing over decades, and this, against a malevolent gendered dogma having counter-productively gone mainstream. Make no mistake either: those among the establishment who have deliberately misrepresented her campaigning in the name of their own bogus, yet very profitable, gendered claptrap are nothing but enablers to such form of post-separation and child abuse, besides displaying all the attitudes otherwise common among abusers themselves (from throwing slurs and gaslighting to DARVO). And again: that these ideologues, self-righteously yet deceptively, claim to support women victims while doing absolutely nothing of the sort (Baroness Meyer having had to bow down to their misinformation being evidence if needed) ought to seriously point to the need for such people to be shamed and ashamed. Most importantly, though, is the remaining question: what is the rest of us going to do about it?
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe -if you haven’t done so already! And, above all: SAPERE AUDE!