What is parental alienation and why should I care?

Updated: 2 days ago

It is basically estrangement, only it's done purposefully and without warrant to a helpless child to separate him or her from other family members and/or society in general. The reason why a parent would do this to their own child? The answer is to control the child's mind and thus the child's body and actions.

I follow the case of Patricia ("Patty") Hearst from time to time. Patricia is the granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst, one of five daughters. Patricia was kidnapped by Donald DeFreeze at 19 years old from her apartment where she lived with her fiancé, Steven Weed, as a sophomore at the University of Berkeley. Donald was the leader of an organization called the Symbionese Liberation Army. Donald told Patty to "accommodate" her mind to think like theirs after being confined in a closet for weeks and threatened. So she did. She was given daily duties which included accommodating being raped. She was taught how to use weapons and called Tania. Within about two months of being taken, Patricia was caught on video holding a semi-automatic gun while helping her captors rob a bank. A month later, she was seen shooting up the storefront of a Mel's Sporting Goods located in Inglewood California to let one of her captives, William, escape after being caught by the manager for theft. She then helped hijack a car in order to abduct the manager and another employee. That same month, Donald was shot dead by dead by police but Patricia stayed with her captors. Less than 20 months after her kidnapping, Patricia was located by the FBI. Patricia told the FBI, "Don't shoot, I'll go with you" and was booked into jail facing one state and two federal cases for five counts of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit murder, four counts of robbery, three counts of auto theft and two counts of kidnapping. Her comment? "Tell everybody that I'm smiling, that I feel free and strong and I send my greetings and love to all the sisters and brothers out there" Her appearance? She had dropped to 87 pounds, was tested with low IQ, smoked heavily, and acted lethargic "like a low-affect zombie". There were huge gaps in her memory and she had repeated nightmares. The jail doctors drugged her, which is always the easy solution, right?

The federal case was the United States of America v. Patricia Campbell Hearst, No. 74-364 in front of Judge Oliver Jesse Carter who slept during parts of her trial, convinced of Patricia's guilt before the trial even began. Patricia was guilty of horrific crimes, like so many other alienated children and most of them, by that time, no longer care about their own life but they are angry for what happened to them and for the failure of the ones who claimed to have loved them; to protect them. We repeatedly remind people that Adam Lanza shot and killed his own mother before driving her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School and opening fire, then committing suicide. This was only two years after being completely separated from his father and brother due to his parents' divorce; often left home alone by his mother. Adam purposefully got some revenge against his absent brother by using his ID at Sandy Hook Elementary and pretending to be him, before committing suicide. At Patricia's federal trial, her cousin, William Randolph Hearst II was there for her, on the verge of tears for most of the trial. They had been close friends less than 20 months earlier. So many alienated children need extended family members who the alienator didn't cause their mind to reject, when the rest of their extended family was targeted by the abuser. Patricia was only 21 years old when she was found guilty and sentenced to 35 years by Judge Carter. However, he had died before the final sentencing, and she was given 7 years by Judge Orrick, Jr.

Where is she now and is she maintaining relationships with her family? In 1979, President Jimmy Carter commuted her prison term. Patricia initially continued to reject her family and married her bodyguard which is not uncommon for alienated children to find trust in strangers that rescue them and give them control over their own lives again. Patricia's husband died of cancer and their two daughters are now adults. Patricia is the vice president of corporate security for the Hearst Corporation and a proud grandmother.

Obviously, Patricia's story is unique but the message is not. It is not difficult to take control of a young child's mind and convince them to reject the love and commitment of a parent. It is even easier to do this if their survival depends solely on the abuser. A parent that wants to take this even a step further and destroy the other parent by using the child? Horrific consequences that can last for generations to come. What is RaiseYourRights doing to combat parental alienation? Step number one is to keep both sides of the family involved in a child's life by giving parents in California jury trial rights as a layer of protection to keep custody of their own children. A parent that loses legal rights to their children as a result of our family and juvenile dependency courts? The visitation that remains is fragile and the ability to be there for the child when it is needed, is restricted. For more information from a doctor who calls it an epidemic, and why he is correct, please click HERE

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