By guest writer PAMELA RICHARDSON
What does Parental Alienation Syndrome mean? In my case, it meant losing a child. When Dash was 4 1/2 years old his father and I broke up. I dealt with the death of our marriage and moved on but Peter stayed angry, eventually turning it toward his own house, teaching our son, day by day, bit by bit, to reject me. Parental Alienation Syndrome typically means one parent’s pathological hatred, the other’s passivity and a child used as a weapon of war.
In the foreword to A Kidnapped Mind, Dr. Reena Sommer, an expert in divorce and custody issues, talks about alienators as a new and emerging class of dysfunctional parents that “do not fit the stereotype of the deficient and ill-equipment parent. Instead, these parents are generally articulate, resourceful, and competent in all other aspects of their lives – except in the realm of parenting. In fact, these individuals might easily be mistaken for ideal parents, except to the properly informed, because they profess love and concern for their children. What sets these individuals apart from other dysfunctional parents is their overwhelming commitment to meeting their own needs first. In doing so, they destroy the relationship their children have with the other parent – at whatever cost.”
I spent a quarter of a million dollars and twelve years in court, at first trying just to see him and then trying to get him help, so I never had the time to break down. I didn’t even have time to get mad. From the margins of Dash’s life I roused those who were in a position to help him. A Kidnapped Mind is the story of our struggle, the hope, the missteps and all the agonizing drama along the way. I fought for Dash every day of his life, knowing in my heart that I could still make a difference.
I wrote this book as the last gift to my wonderful, brave, brown-eyed son, Dash.
Dash committed suicide at the age of sixteen.
The Dash Foundation was formed by my husband and I to increase awareness of the damage done by this insidious and oftentimes invisible form of hideous child abuse.
The Dash Foundation has been created in the hope that no other child will suffer the psychological abuse and emotional neglect of an alienating home.
PAMELA RICHARDSON has hosted television’s The Saturday Show and The Vancouver Show, and written and produced pieces for magazines and other television programs. Today she is a full-time mother to her two teenaged boys and lives in Vancouver with her husband, David. She continues to work with many school and community organizations, speaking at private and public events, meeting with legal professionals, counselors, other parents whose children have been alienated from them, as well as the media and other groups, bringing a much-needed awareness of the damage that can be done by alienating a child from a once-loved parent.