On being used

“Like most people, we do not like being used as pawns to achieve someone else’s agenda…”

This was part of an email I recently received from the Thomas More Law Center that caught my attention, causing me to pause in thought. This post is not written to comment about the content of that email but merely to highlight this particular sentence; it curiously struck me as having significance to the issue of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and its sister pathology, Parental Alienation (PA).

“Like most people, we do not like being used as pawns to achieve someone else’s agenda…”

Throughout this section of my blog site, Divorce and PAS, I have written extensively about the inherent problems associated with high-conflict divorces, the children involved in them, and the criminal interference that often occurs between once loving children towards an alienated or disfavored parent due to the brainwashing attempts of the other parent used to divide and destroy that once healthy relationship between those children and now hated parent.

As I age, one of the things that has caused anger to flash into my psyche, causing angst, is the realization of how often I have been lied to throughout my life. For example, the religious indoctrination and brainwashing I received as a small child enrolled in a Catholic school.

It’s not that I regret the high standard of scholastic education I received at the hands of the nuns and teachers, nor necessarily the religious training (though I broke with the Catholic Church while a child and never returned to that particular flavor of Christianity) I received.

What bothers me is I was never given the chance to formulate my own rational viewpoints of that religious upbringing nor encouraged to think critically about what I was taught. Catholicism was presented to me as inviolable truth that was never questioned or doubted.

I could go deeper into this but now is not the time, but the central issue is this: my anger at being lied to, of being used by others to deceive me into following, adhering to, and never questioning a particular path presented as being the essence of truth and reality.

I was not raised in an environment of questioning skepticism nor trained to think critically about issues. The first introduction I was fortunate enough to have in training my mind to look dispassionately at two different perspectives in any given matter was when I entered journalism as a sophomore in high school. Here, the idea of keeping an open mind while gathering needed facts on a particular subject was planted within me, a process that, to this day, I’m still trying to perfect and increasingly incorporate on a consistent basis.

“…[T]he central issue is this: my anger at being lied to, of being used by others to deceive me…”

On the contrary, my lifelong religious indoctrination was presented as eternal and unchanging truth with no hint that its teachings might be wrong or the creation of man’s clever imagination. The clear message from Christian teachers throughout my life was “it’s the Bible’s way or the highway to hell, darkness and damnation.” This is the reason for my anger: I was unduly influenced to believe something as truth with no regard to believe otherwise. It took me 61 years of my life before I finally was able to “wake up” and see what happened to me and the straight jacket that religion had smothered me in.

Children affected by PAS/PA are being used in the same way: by someone with an agenda. In this case, those children are being used by the most unlikeliest of sources: the alienating parent whom they believe has only their best interests at heart.

And what is the agenda this psychologically disturbed parent is seeking to dupe their own flesh and blood into accepting? In a nutshell: revenge and hatred for the other parent, their one time spouse. And these disturbed, alienating parents are using their own children as weapons of revenge and malice in this macabre war they have embarked on against this other parent.

Sadly, most alienated children fail to “wake up” and understand what has happened to them and how they have been expertly duped, brainwashed and manipulated by their other parent. The malice they hold against their other parent has so imprisoned their minds and wills it prevents them from contemplating they might be in error on how they view this other parent: they are as effectively “in prison” as if they were literally held within a tiny, concrete and metal barred jail cell handcuffed to the dirty walls.

Fortunately, some children do wake up from their brainwashed state. Exactly how this process occurs is a subject of particular fascination because I have three children who have been alienated from me for almost twenty years. From my perspective, they are no closer to “waking up” from their hopeless indoctrinated state as adults as when they were first being brainwashed by their psychotic mother when they were children.

What process do alienated children undergo in order to eventually wake up and understand they have been used and abused by the very parent they once wholeheartedly believed loved them? Is such a transformation—if it happens—instantaneous, or a slow process of years and decades, with the layers of deceptions and lies they have been fed giving way slowly to the realities of truth gleaned only after painful introspection?

If such children do manage to wake up, there is little doubt they will experience intense and hostile feelings against the individual(s) who used them and took advantage of their developing and immature years; there are few emotions so strong and raw than discovering you were expertly betrayed by someone you wholeheartedly believed loved and wanted only what was best for you.

Such a revelation does not come easily; betrayal is perhaps the most emotionally jarring of all human emotions. And make no mistake: a parent who purposely turns a child against an innocent and loving parent has betrayed and wounded that child on a scale that can never be adequately understood nor measured. The damage inflicted upon such psychologically maimed and innocent minds may never be completely healed and why I have repeatedly claimed that PAS/PA is criminal in its very nature.