Michael Jeffries’ memoir, A Family’s Heartbreak – A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, describes his transition from beloved father, to exiled provider. It is a painful, yet engrossing read. The book is part ‘Dear Diary’, part window into the therapist/patient relationship, and part academic treatise on the various neuroses and personality disorders that led to the living hell that Jeffries experienced, and in some ways is still living.
Like a pointillist painting, where the further back you stand, the clearer the picture becomes, Parental Alienation is a series of seemingly innocent mis-communications, or concerns for the well-being of a child; and it is only when the dots are connected that you see the complete picture.
Jeffries went from the American Dream of wife, and two loving boys, to the nightmare of Parental Alienation, which is a situation where one parent, usually the mother, actively works to destroy the relationship between the other parent and a child. The at one time loving son, was turned against him by an ex-wife whose own fears of abandonment and insecurities destroyed the relationship between father and son.
When Jeffries decided it was time to move on from his marriage, he unknowingly tripped a trigger wire for his ex-wife’s emotional imbalance which led her to enrolling their youngest son into her psychosis. It started with her having the 11 year old boy sleep in her bed, and continued to the point that the father/son bond was strained to the point of breaking.
In distressing detail, Jeffries lays out the progression of his son’s conversion from loving juvenile to emotionally exhausted teen who simply cannot tolerate the ongoing pain of contact with his father. In remarkably clear language, Jeffries explains the transformation of his son, and the tactics used by his ex-wife to create the transformation.
By detailing out the seemingly innocuous actions of a concerned parent, Jeffries is able to connect the dots of how one mother turned her son against his father. He paints a picture of the impotency of the court system to help him, based on the inherent bias of the courts in mother’s favor, and the difficulty in attacking what appears to be nothing more than a mother’s concern for the welfare of her children. No one wants to believe a mother could be so devious, deceitful and dangerous, but she can be.
This book is an excellent exploration into the “Wonderland” twistedness that is Parental Alienation. The lies, the deceits, and the volcanic eruptions of anger for seemingly minor transgressions, these are the battles in a war with no winners.
For every man who is enduring this hell, for every lawyer who fights this form of child abuse and for all the therapists who have to treat the collaterally damaged children, this book should be a first resource in their armament.
In clear, concise language, Dr. Joel Davies and Michael Jeffries explain both the real-world effects and the underlying sub-conscious motivations for this form of abuse.
These are hard cases to try, because on the surface everything looks essentially normal. It is only when you connect the dots, that you can see the whole picture. As stories like Jeffrie’s are made public, awareness will grow, and hopefully, fathers and their children can be reunited, or better yet, never separated.
The book is available at http://afamilysheartbreak.com/