How Parental Alienation affects generations

By Erica Morse
Publisher, Victims News Online
Updated 7:30 a.m., March 25, 2024

If you have never heard the term ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’ (PAS), consider yourself lucky. While only brought to the forefront of child custody cases in 1985, parents have been fighting for the rights of alienated children since the 1940’s.

Described by The American Bar Association as a “mental condition in which a child—usually one
whose parents are engaged in a high-conflict separation or divorce—allies
himself or herself strongly with an alienating parent and rejects a relationship
with the ‘target’ parent without legitimate justification

In simple terms, Parental Alienation is present when a child has been turned against one parent — by the other — resulting in a strained relationship, and an unhealthy misunderstanding of the other parents’ efforts to remain in a child’s life.

I happen to know a thing or two about PAS, having grown up in a situation that could make me — and my siblings — poster children for the Syndrome. When I was about nine years old, I learned I had an older sibling — a sister — whom I never recalled meeting. Once the cat was out of the bag, I asked a million questions, including, “Why can’t I play with my sister?”, and “Why doesn’t she love me”? My father, a man who worked long and hard hours to provide for his family, would simply put his head in his hands, and tell me he tried ‘everything’ over the years to establish a rapport with his eldest-born child.

PAS causes the child to withdraw from one side of the family, but that is a vanilla explanation, from my point of view. The real damage isn’t learned until years later, when the child becomes an adult, and has the option of reunifying with his or her estranged loved ones. Over the years, the child is programmed to hate: the other parent, other siblings, and often leads to feelings of jealously from the estranged child, who has been told they were “unwanted” by the other parent.

On her 18th birthday, my sister showed up on our doorstep — unannounced — and it was the first time I had more than five minutes with her in my entire life. I was 12. That was the best day: hugs were plentiful, photos were taken, and — for the first time in my short life — I saw all the pain and trauma fade from my father’s face.

A few months’ later, as I began to exchange written letters with my sister, who was now on a ship in the middle of Alaska, one of her letters had a nasty tone to it, which has now continued since that day. “You were the princess Dad chose to keep, while I was the piece of trash he threw away like garbage”.

I had no idea, at my young age of 12, that Parental Alienation Syndrome had occurred, what it even was, or that I had just been the recipient of that phenomenon.

Our relationship never recovered, from what I can tell, although I was far too young to understand she had been turned against me, and we would never have a healthy, meaningful sibling relationship.

Fast-forward into adulthood. My sister and I have barely spoken over the years, which is probably for the better. I’m tired of being hated simply for being born, and I never deserved the anger she has spewed at me. Neither did my father: a man who buried his face in his hands every year on her birthday, and who cried at the remaining presents under the tree every Christmas Eve. He fought hard to get her back when she was young, prayed she would show up one day to mend fences, but also understood that the damage caused by his ex-wife would destroy his current family, if given the chance to do so.

So, as you can imagine, I was infuriated last week, upon reading that my own sister — a woman who never bothered to get to know ME — has decided that my work in the world of the missing & murdered is fraudulent — meaning, I’m a fraud (according to her) for working with families whose loved ones’ whereabouts are unknown. Imagine my surprise — and quite frankly, the final straw — when my own sister threatened to “go public” to my clients, media connections, and anyone else who will listen, to PROVE (her words) that I am defrauding the families of the missing and murdered for what she claims is fame and fortune.

I say to my sibling — a woman who has hated me since my birth — bring it on. But first, understand what you will be asked to provide as said PROOF of my story being fraudulent:

You will be asked to provide documentation showing you lived under our roof during your childhood.

You will be asked to show doctor’s records listing our father as an emergency contact.

You will be asked to provide school records with our father’s name on them.

You will be asked to produce one, singular photo of our childhood — together — after you were taken from Dad at the age of 6.

None of those can be produced, because those things do not exist. Because whether my sister wants to accept it or not, she WAS a missing child – to our father, and to me. Her whereabouts were unknown, we looked for her, and were unsuccessful. One does not spend her senior year of Spring Break knocking on doors in Sarasota, Florida, if she knows where her sister is located.

So bring it on, Sis. Come after a career I built helping families, many of whom comment on how much I empathize with them, and then after hearing my story – understand why I get it. It was Robin Wells Burton of Missing & Homeless — along with Stephanie Coplen, Founder of Media for the Missing — who coined the phrase, ‘Missing to Me’, and helped me understand that my scenario was one of thousands of uncategorized situations, where a loved ones’ whereabouts were simply ‘unknown’. No missing persons’ report existed (because in the 1970’s, it was a ‘civil matter’). It was Jan Smolinski, mother of murdered Billy Smolinski, who helped me understand that I, too, had a right to grieve a sibling relationship that was never meant to be.

I am grateful to those women: Robin, Steph and Jan, for helping me face the knowledge that I no longer had to be ‘ashamed’ of a situation into which I was born, and was far too young to comprehend or change. They also helped me understand it is the reason why I work so hard for other families…because I know what it feels like, even if my own flesh and blood disagrees.

So, Sis — if you want to take me on, I’m ready. Just be prepared to learn a lot about your own life, and the lengths your mother went to in order to keep you from our father. If you want to dredge up this part of your life in order to ruin my career, understand that effort will be met with the truth.

I watched our father suffer for years, because of the stunts your mother pulled. I was a recipient of many of them, actually, things you probably never heard about. But the one thing I do know is that our father, who was an incredible man, wanted nothing more to be your Dad, and that opportunity was stolen from him by a vindictive woman with a documented mental illness. If you want to go back and bring it all to the surface, prepare yourself for what you may learn as a result. And also understand that I will speak more loudly every time you accuse me of being a fraud, simply because YOU grew up in a house full of lies.

I also noticed you waited until all the adults were dead to pick this fight, Sis. However, I promise, Dad left behind plenty of documentation, in anticipation that you held the same hatred for me that your mother held for him. Dad knew this day would come, and he prepared me for it, just as a loving parent should do. Eighteen years after his death, Dad is ready for this story to be told if that’s what it takes to clear the air — so get ready. Take this public. I’ll be right there on the other side with the truth in my hands.

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