Robert Gougaloff ‘s Parent Alienation Blog

A blog about Parent Alienation

My Story

Robert Gougaloff

Robert Gougaloff

I am a father of two young children and I AM a “Target Parent”! I have gained a considerable knowledge and insight about PA/PAS and HAP (Hostile Aggressive Parenting), but I was confident enough that this would never happen to my children. I never thought that these loving children would turn one day and exhibit all of the symptoms and behaviors I had read about in countless books and publications. I actually always had the subconscious suspicion that most of the accounts I read were laced with exaggeration and self-pity. I thought my children were safe. Today, August 30, 2008, I am starting a Blog on Parent Alienation and the devastating effects it has on children.

I don’t exactly know when everything started – my divorce is probably a good starting point, although my emotional problems started much sooner than that, probably many years prior to my marriage. I was born in Berlin, Germany and moved to the U.S. in 1984. I completed my college and post-graduate (professional) education and I loved living my life. Then something changed. I don’t know what it was, but I became terribly depressed. I could not find that feeling of inner satisfaction and balance anymore, which I was blessed with for most of my life. I tried everything: expensive cars and toys, a nice house, substance abuse, travelling to exotic destinations, but none of these helped. I also tried marriage. I had high hopes, like everybody, I suppose, but this wore off rather quickly too. The only difference was that I had another person in my life that I had to attend to and keep happy (yes, I was a people pleaser – a stage that children normally leave behind by the time they are 7 years old). Add to this the pressures of living up to societies’ definition of success as well as the pressures to propagate, and you can imagine what a recipe for disaster was coming together for me. Well, I was definitely blessed with the birth of my twin boys. That was truly an uplifting emotional experience. The depression did not go away for good however and in fact, became even stronger to the point where I started abusing pain medication as a means for emotional escape.

Nine months after the birth of my children we filed for divorce and what a divorce it was! Modern guerilla warfare is bleak by comparison. The amount of financial attrition was astonishing. My divorce was in the truest sense of the word a high profile divorce. The first two years were horrible and stressful. However once I started taking parenting classes (more or less based on the recommendations of my attorney and the petitioning of my ex-wife), something changed dramatically. The more I read on developmental psychology and child development, the more I learned about myself. This was probably the most introspective time of my life and eventually evolved into a complete re-organization of my life and a “re-mapping” of my inner emotions. I started living a life of compassion, forgiveness and understanding instead of resentment, fear and anger. The results were nothing short of astonishing. I found my “inner balance” back and live a very satisfied life. I now deal with challenges with rationality and focus on my goals rather than on my fears.

I am currently in the fifth year of my custody battle and in the last couple of months, and the devastating symptoms of Parent Alienation have manifested themselves in my children as a result of some very hostile-aggressive parenting activities by my children’s mother. I don’t think it was coincidence that this started happening around the time when we are coming to an end of this conflict with the final trial date only a few months away and a major shift in custody distribution at stake. The symptoms I observed are an exact match with the symptoms described in the countless publications on this issue. I was only surprised about how quickly this can actually happen to a child.

It is my sincerest hope and goal that this blog evolves into a place where people can share and discuss their experiences. This is a very wide-spread and mostly unrecognized problem which ultimately will harm the children. We can only try to learn from each other and embark on a quest to educate others.

Robert Gougaloff

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