Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A fatherly punch to the face?

In a comment to my last post, asking my readers to put on the judge's robes and offer their own rulings on the Alec, Ireland & Kim debacle, an anonymous contributor offered:
"Without hearing all of the evidence presented in the case (or even every media story on the case) I have to ask: Does it occur to anyone that Kim has been denying visitation to Alec for a reason? Like maybe she gave us a glimpse in the phone call?"
Well, if you read around a bit, it clearly occurs to a great number of people. In fact, it is the most commonly the reflex reaction, especially without hearing all the evidence, and it is extremely damaging. Why would it be any less appropriate to wonder if Alec is being an asshole for a reason? Why is a flawed reaction to prolonged provocation considered to be pathological, but baseless accusation and ostracism, not to mention repeatedly defying court orders, perfectly acceptable?

My correspondent would argue, perhaps, that the reaction suggests the accusations are not baseless and thus the ostracism acceptable. But there is nothing to tell us that this reflects the true sequence of cause and effect, and plenty to imply the reverse. That the inappropriate reaction is the consequence of sustained disregard for the rights of a loving father and a unilateral decision to usurp him is not relevant. We live in a fundamentally prejudiced time in which the slightest misbehavior in a man is something to immediately condemn while apparently failing to even see much worse behavior in a woman. The only acceptable man is a saint, the only unacceptable woman a drug addict or a criminal.

Recently, we have heard that Kim is "very, very pleased" about the result of some court hearing. We don't know what that result is, now that she's very, very pleased, she's also keeping her trap shut. Given the history, we can be pretty sure that Alec is very far from pleased and that Ireland is "safe" from him. Anyone who's been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment can see right through it to the destructive core beneath. The vast majority of the human race assumes that where there's what she calls smoke, there must be fire.

What can Alec do? Nothing. They've got him by the balls. He can't even get out of his contract and work to fight an injustice which has so affected him it has disrupted his commitment to a lifetime career and I'm sure many of my readers will relate to that.

Some of the media reactions are instructive. Take Connie Schultz, who modestly calls herself "The Plain Dealer of Cleveland":
"It's the rare woman who can't conjure up memories of her own pre-adolescent insecurities - my own list could wrap around the Earth and end in a bow - and at that moment I wanted to hit the delete button before Baldwin's daughter could check her calls. An irrational response, of course, but you don't call any female a pig and expect logic to reign."
And there we have it. Call a female names and reason goes out the window, pre-adolescent insecurity takes over. She goes on:
"Someone needs to point out that steering wheel in Baldwin's hands and remind him that he's the one who took the U-turn off the high road. No matter how cruel an ex-wife gets - and some ex-wives rival the spawn of Satan when it comes to cruelty - no one can drive a father to badger and belittle his little girl. He makes that trip on his own."
What steering wheel Connie? Kim's got the kid and, if we're to give Alec's claim the same weight as Kim's (we have no reason not to, nasty phone messages or not), it's Kim that's steering her, not Alec. Note the double standard so extreme it's almost invisible: Alec calls Ireland names and logic abdicates, but Kim torments Alec with the cruelty of the "spawn of Satan" and he'd better stay on an absolutely even keel or else.

Others are still less reasonable. George Tchirkow seems to think that Baldwin's language is worse that physical violence apparently preferring "a fatherly punch to the face", which may be about the most oxymoronic, not to mention patriphobic, idea I've heard all year, making me wonder if George knocked even two brain cells together before he touched fingers to keyboard.

David Permut, who supposedly introduced the two love birds, is said to be calling Baldwin a bully and claims he'd rather be homeless than work with him again. Permut should perhaps be treated to similar behavior at the hands of his own wife, then maybe he'd revise his ideas of what constitutes bullying.

All this puerile rubbish aside, however, the story is still shining a bright light on parental alienation, and not a moment too soon I'm sure many of us will be inclined to agree. Demosthenes Lorandos, clinical psychologist and lawyer, refreshingly declares "The people who are screaming and hollering and advocating (against PAS) wouldn't know science if it bit them in the butt". And there are much less visible and far worse examples of parental alienation just pouring out of the woodwork. For example, "Rick" tells us:
After they separated, he said his ex-wife didn't answer his phone calls for two years. "Not one. [I was] just calling to say hi to the boys." He later had mandatory answering incorporated into a court order, but said it is still not followed. He's back at court for the fourth time trying to enforce and increase his parenting time. (He only sees his boys every other weekend). He estimates that he's spent "100 grand, easy," in legal fees.
Soldier on, comrades.


Anonymous said...

Superb commentary, as always.

Your observation about 'cause and effect' is spot on the money, and struck a particular chord with me: I know - from painful personal experience - that the moment Dad puts a foot wrong, context and perspective are thrown out of the window: history, in the jaundiced eyes of a family court, begins from the day when you rise to Mother's bait.

It doesn't matter how much evidence you adduce (and I produced plenty, much of it written in her own hand) of her violence, mendacity, and control-freakery: the court will always see her as the vulnerable victim of a manipulative bully - indeed, the very act of seeking to counter the allegations against you is regarded with dark suspicion.

In my own case, I didn't fare too badly (these things being relative, of course): the judge actually awarded me more 'contact' than Mother had previously 'afforded' (her lawyer's term). In his final judgement, he characterised her as 'a woman of nervous disposition' (that's Judgespeak for 'fruitcake'); but it didn't stop him giving her a residence order - 'primary custody', I think, in Transatlantic terminology.

Within four months, she announced that she was relocating to the other side of the country: until that moment, I had no idea how much worse things might become...

Anonymous said...

My parents put me through a horrendous divorce when I was 18. My mom involved me and my sister way too much in the divorce because she was blindsided by it, and involving us gave her a back the illusion of a little control in her life again... I've been dealing with my anger towards her for the last few years. Yeah, my dad is a true nutjob that had the extreme mid-life crisis, but I would have been much more emotionally stable as a young adult if she hadn't forced my involvement in her divorce. It became "Our divorce", and that is horrible. I hate it that normal dads get put through the wringer this makes me unbelievable angry that some mothers would deny their children the presence of a loving father, when I would have given anything to have my dad want to be with me.

I wanted to let you know, that as someone who has been affected by divorce, I appreciate what you are doing. Don't give in...