COPMI

Children of Parents with Mental Illness

Promoting better outcomes for children and
families where a parent experiences mental illness

VIDEO: Ryan Thomas Speaks

From Alienated Child to Reunited Son.
Does Your Alienated Child Love You?

SUPPORT


Dads in Distress               Australia wide
Relationships Australia     Australia wide
Dad’s Landing Pad            Perth, WA

Stand Alone                      UK

"Keep loving your kids, keep living your life & never give up.

Keep being the fun loving parent your child will always be attracted to" Amanda Sillars

USEFUL LINKS:

Family Relationship Advice Line call  1800 050 321

Monday to Friday - 8 am to 8 pm

Saturday - 10 am to 4 pm (local time), except national public holidays.
International callers: +61 7 3423 6878


The Family Relationship Advice Line is a national telephone service established to assist families affected by relationship or separation issues.
The Advice Line provides information on family relationship issues and advice on parenting arrangements after separation. It can also refer callers to local services that can provide assistance.
The Advice Line complements the information and services offered by Family Relationship Centres. It ensures that people who are not able to attend a Centre can be helped.

IMMEDIATE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Beyond Blue - All calls and chats are one-on-one with a trained mental health professional, and completely confidential.

Support, Advice, Action

Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

1300 22 4636

Suicide & Crisis Support

LIFELINE 13 11 14

For parents experiencing the results of the separation-related Psychological Abuse of their kid(s) (parental alienation), the combination of emotions is often overwhelming:


  • Profound grief at the loss (imminent or actual) of a child and of your ability to contribute to the potential of your own offspring. But an unusual form of grief – one with no resolution, no finality, for the child is still alive. It’s something few others can imagine;
  • Despair about what to do, about what should have been done, or about what is happening - ironically made worse, often, by the hope that things may get better: the court may recognize child abuse and order a change of parental care; you may see your child soon, or one day. As the evil “Bane” says in Batman’s “The Dark Knight Rises”: “There’s no true despair without hope”;
  • Anger or intense frustration at the many injustices that may make, or have already made, the seemingly impossible outcome - of losing a relationship with your own kid - a reality;
  • Powerlessness in the face of bureaucracies or individuals who are failing repeatedly and blatantly to protect your own children, despite that being their supposed, primary role; and perhaps even
  • Shame or embarrassment that you are being, or have been, effectively judged responsible for the demise of the relationship with your own kid(s).


Rarely does such a constellation of extreme emotions all come together, and often all at one of the most stressful times of your life - during prolonged, arduous legal proceedings in unfamiliar and intimidating court-rooms.

For those in Australia, or who know the film Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Dark), it could almost be termed “Lindy Chamberlain Syndrome”, after the mother who was wrongly imprisoned after her baby was taken by a dingo at the famous landmark Uluru-Ayers Rock. Just imagine, at the worst time in your life, when you're trying to deal with the grief of losing a loved child (or, worse still, the torture of knowing that you’re about to lose your child but there’s still a glimmer of hope), imagine being judged responsible for that loss. Imagine that this happened because of a series of egregious injustices. And then, as if that isn’t bad enough, imagine that your refusal to accept responsibility and your denial of your alleged role in causing the loss of your child only makes the judgment against you harsher.


Imagine that, on top of all of that, your every action and reaction is constantly scrutinized as to whether or not it matches expectations of how someone, of how everyone should behave when losing a child, or when confronted with an allegation that you’ve caused the loss of your own child. That’s without mentioning the intense stress of financial upheaval, or even imminent bankruptcy, that may be accompanying prolonged legal proceedings.

For some parents whose child is refusing to see them as a result of separation-related Psychological Abuse by a custodial parent, this is what the experience is like.


The Impact of Parental Alienation on Parents

by Dr Edward Kruk [02 May 2013]

The key to engaging alienated parents is to validate their parental identity, and combine advocacy efforts with counseling focused on enhancing their role as active and responsible parents.


There’s much that can and that needs to be done:

  • To show kids that they’re still loved, even if not seen;
  • To stay strong and true for one’s kids for the long-term; or, in some cases,
  • To make sure that the kids are never lost in the first place.



"Your kids need you more than ever, even if they can’t yet tell you that."



The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

Undermining Loving Parent-Child Relationships as Child Maltreatment
by Dr Edward Kruk [25 Apr 2013]



We’ve been through mountains of academic and legal paperwork to provide easy access to some of the most useful legal documents, works in psychology and other resources to try to help you through the legal minefield and the psychological nightmare…​


​WHAT TO DO NOW

Whatever stage of this process you’re at:

  1. Look after yourself: stay fit, eat well and get outdoors in the fresh air.
  2. Always be loving and patient towards your kid(s). Keep conversations light & loving.
  3. Keep living your life.. socialise & keep enjoying time with friends & family. Don't feel guilty for doing so. Your child can hold onto guilt from stopping you.
  4. Make sure you have someone like a counsellor or psychologist that you can talk to for support. Don't feel bad to tell friends or family who want to talk about your situation every time you see them that it's very upsetting and right now you would rather talk about more uplifting subjects, unless you do want to talk about it.


There are often days where you feel like you cannot cope. Remember that your kid(s) needs you and you need to stay healthy minded. The situation can change with the right intervention.


​Coping with the Trauma of Parental Alienation
by Craig A Childress Psy.D. [03 Apr 2015]

FOR PARENTS