This is the fourth in a series of posts devoted to discussion of the four criteria found in cases where parental alienation is present.
This is the third in a series of four posts devoted to the four behavioral criteria that are all present in cases of parental alienation. These criteria were first described in an article authored by myself and family attorney, Michael Walsh. The article was first published in the Florida Bar Journal and then was republished as the lead article in the Minnesota Bar Journal.
This is the second in a series of four posts devoted to the four criteria that are found in parental alienation cases. As a reference point to this, I would remind the reader that this series of posts is related to an article authored by myself and a Florida Attorney, Michael Walsh. The original purpose of the article was to provide Family Law attorneys with a kind of template as to what to look for in these cases. It was written in such a way that one could potentially review the file and make a fairly good speculative guess as to the presence or absence of parental alienation.
This is the first of four weekly posts regarding the four criteria which are present in cases were Parental Alienation is present. These posts are derived from an article that was published in the Florida Bar Journal in 1999.
Persuasive Rhetoric refers to using language in an emotionally laden manner with the purpose of convincing the audience of some particular perspective.
Persuasive Rhetoric is a tool for selling ideas, beliefs and positions on a given topic or subject. It is unrelated to truth. It only refers to the spin, the story and the goal of winning over the audience. Nothing in the message requires truth.
In the case of Parental Alienation, this concept is useful in that it describes a favorite modus operandi that the alienating parent uses to vilify the targeted parent.
In this context, the alienating parent will allege something either entirely untrue or grossly distorted regarding the targeted parent. It is done with such emotion and tenacity, that the audience is typically drawn into its message. Then the alienating parent does the same thing with another listener. Now there is a group of three who all believe the same either untrue or grossly distorted thing.
There are now three voices in this chorus, and the intensity level tends to increase with the volume and the numbers of those involved. Then someone in this group of three relates this to another person, who questions it but is told that several other people told them the same thing, so it must be true. This new “convert” to the distortion then unwittingly spreads the distortion to someone else, and to someone else, and to someone else.
Socrates, the story goes, is approached by a man who wants to tell him some urgent news. Before he does this, Socrates stops him and says he would first like to ask him three questions before he tells his story. The man agrees.
The first question is, “do you know the person to whom this news occurred?”
Answer: “No, but I know someone who does know them. “
Question two: “did you witness the event yourself?”
Answer: “No, but I spoke to someone who was there.”
Question Three: ” Is the news good or bad?”
Answer: “It would be considered bad news.”
Socrates reviews accordingly, “You do not know the person to whom this happened, you only heard about it from someone who says they were there, and it is bad news. Thank you, but I think I would rather not listen to this news.”
Rightly or wrongly, we humans do tend to be herd animals. Due to our wiring and our evolution, when the herd is exposed to some message that is potentially dangerous or at least negative, we do tend to give it extra weight, and then pass it on.
This is a self-protective reflex that is easily exploited by the alienating parent in their mission to obliterate the targeted parent in Parental Alienation cases.
Since the words “Parental Alienation” were first uttered within a family court room, it comes as no surprise that the echoes emanating from adversaries within both the mental health and legal environments have blurred and tarnished the very concept and, at times, left it unrecognizable. The side opposing an assertion of Parental Alienation is tasked with discrediting, disputing and demeaning it, hoping to convince the court to ultimately reject it. The adversarial process within the family court will predictably batter the concept about a good deal. Consequently, much misinformation, partial information and outright untruths and fabrications emerge and begin to fester.
When one considers that arguing attorneys and family law judges typically learn about Parental Alienation via arguments, examinations and cross examinations in court, it should not be surprising that such understandings are usually limited to the facts of a particular case, and are not necessarily characteristic of specific knowledge acquisition. In other words, the understandings about Parental Alienation as born through litigation are anecdotal and unique, far from a balanced and complete instruction. Judges and attorneys may hear about Parental Alienation from expert witnesses who have essentially been hired to discredit it or to assert it, and their information may be distorted or contaminated by the need to persuade (i.e., biased). In other words, the adversarial environment where it is argued is ripe for distortions and partial truths. What is important to know is that there have been specific arguments created to discredit it that can be shown to be absolutely false. For example, the argument that it is not accepted by the professional community can be shown to be absolutely false. The argument about its presence or absence in the DSM-5 can be answered completely and affirmatively. The argument that it is “junk science” can be shown to be completely unsupported by the scientific literature.
The two day course offered by NAPAS is designed not only to provide a full and complete picture of parental alienation but to impart practical strategies to attorneys representing either a rejected parent or an alienating parent and the course material is supported by the scientific literature and professional consensus.
Source: The Tool Of Choice For The Alienating Parent | National Association Of Parental Alienation Specialists