Book Review From Penny De Byl

tears-2Just this morning we received this review for “Tears In The Rain”  from Penny De Byl, an author, artist and book blogger. Thank you Penny.

“If the reviews on today’s indie author’s new book are anything to go by he (Len Myers) has a sure fire hit on his hands.  Confronting and emotional, Tears In The Rain has hit the ground running.  An amazon reviewer says, A copy of this book should be MANDATORY READING for every Family Court Judge and Commissioner on the Bench. People who have not faced this problem in their lives, do not believe it is real. As a person who has, it is real, it is numbing, destroying, crippling and life changing, especially when most of the time all you can do is sit back and through tears watch the horror unfold.

Tears In The RainIn The sits in one of the latest bestselling literary trends that examine life-and-death issues, such as suicide, rape and cancer. Editor, Laura Rennet (from Andrea Brown Literary Agency) suggests such works that deal with these subjects ‘demonstrates the voracious appetite that exists among teen, and a cross-over adult audience, for gut-wrenching fiction’.  Not only that, but these issues are real and we all need to be made aware of them.  We might not be personally experiencing them but chances are there’s someone you know that is.  And its not an easy issue to talk about.

On a lighter note, today’s indie author, Len Myers, comes to writing with a background in technology and teaching.  He has a house full of cats (well just 3, but that’s 3 more cats than I could bear :) ) and for some reason moldy cheese and raw squid in the fridge. Maybe he could whip us up a nice little fried calamari with blue cheese dressing!!

Unbreakable Bonds

girl-in-the-rainHumans have survived through the millennia largely because of the virtually unbreakable bond that naturally exists between mothers and their children. Research has revealed that, given the choice, even the most abused and neglected children are desperate to remain with their mothers.

But, what happens when this bond is interrupted, manipulated and intentionally broken by a vengeful, narcissistic father consumed with revenge and intent on destroying his ex-spouse? What happens when a child caught in a toxic divorce is used as a weapon to destroy her own mother?

“Tears In The Rain” is a story of revenge and redemption. It is a story of a mother’s heartbreak and of a teenage girl’s struggle to survive the debilitating stress of the manipulation that leads her to despise her own mother but, driven by guilt and depression ultimately seeks relief through suicide.

It is a story of a broken mother’s desperate attempt to survive and save her child while a sympathetic forensic psychologist, two police detectives, and a shadowy group called “Echo” work along the edges of the law to protect the child from both herself and the repeated abuse of her predatory father.

“Tears In The Rain” is a novel based on factual events. It is one tragic story among thousands that every year fly under the radar and are neglected by the very institutions mandated to protect vulnerable children.

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ISBN:    1530177553 

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Cults and Parental Alienation

koresh1I often talk with victims of Parental Alienation who are tremendously frustrated by their inability to effectively describe PA. Friends, associates, and even family often find it extremely difficult to understand the alienation process and how it could possibly work unless the targeted parent was somehow to blame. It is beyond their understanding that a child could develop so much animosity toward a parent that actually loves them and has done nothing to deserve the hate and rejection. And, the fact that Family Courts tend to side with the manipulative parent naively lends more inaccurate evidence that the targeted parent is either abusive, neglectful, or simply a poor parent.

I have found that sometimes people can better understand if they think about parental alienation in the same context as a cult. As with a child, nobody wakes up one morning and decides to join a cult. Cults recruit members by identifying vulnerable individuals and methodically developing a relationship over a period of time where the cult replaces the family in fulfilling the targeted individual’s emotional needs. There are few individuals suffering greater emotional distress than a child caught in the middle of a toxic divorce. The mystery has always been how cult leaders and alienating parents do it.

In the 1930’s the sociologist, Max Weber identified the dynamic he called “Charismatic Authority.” An individual with Charismatic Authority is perceived by the target as a loving and sheltering individual who can relieve the fears, tensions and instability experienced by the child target/recruit. The target eventually learns to trust and rely on the charismatic individual and eventually becomes fully dependent on the leadership of that individual. Cult members truly believe what they are told and taught by their leader.

If we think of Parental Alienation as a process or dynamic exercised by a disordered parent it helps to think of the relationship as a mini-cult. Who has more inherent charisma or commands more love and respect from the child than  a parent. The parent naturally commands charismatic authority with his or her own child. If he or she uses that charismatic authority to manipulate the child against the other parent the process is extremely similar to cult recruitment. All the techniques used in cult recruitment can be identified in the relationship between an abusive parent and a targeted child. Behavior such as “love bombing,” the promise of physical and emotional security, threats (even if implied) of withdrawal from the relationship or expelling the target, communicating hurt to the target if he or she expresses an interest to withdraw, so-called “Gas lighting,” and even sexual abuse are all tools used by both cult leaders and parents who choose to create a dependent relationship and turn their own children against the other parent. In both cases the target is a victim who often fails to recover to live happy or normal lives.

tears-2Many of us who have experienced Parental Alienation know that offenders are often people with Narcissistic  Personality Disorder. Is there any doubt that cult leaders share this same disorder? A section of “Tears In The Rain” is devoted to the similarity of cults and Parental Alienation and the concept of “Charismatic Authority.”

For what it’s worth, I recommend that victimized parents become familiar with the process of cult recruitment. Not only can this familiarity help the victimized parent truly internalize that this terrible process is not their fault but it might also help friends, family, and associates better understand the process.

If anybody who reads this has any more insight I would ask you to please post it on this blog.

The Unbreakable Mother-Child Bond


There are few, if any, natural forces among mammalian life on earth than the bond between a mother and child.  When this bond is broken it is almost always a result of an intervening and unnatural  dynamic. In the case of toxic divorces and potential Parental Alienation, Family Court judges and Mental Health Professionals should interpret a broken bond between mother and child as a red flag that a disordered narcissist might be pulling apart a family and victimizing both the mother and child. Yet, over and over and over again we hear and read how this glaring phenomenon is missed by those people mandated to protect children. These “professionals” should all be familiar with the research conducted in the 1950s by American psychologist, Harry Harlow.

Harlow separated infant rhesus monkeys from their mothers several hours after birth. The monkeys were isolated inside cages, and then raised by dummy mothers.  In each cage, Harlow place two dummy mothers. One was made of metal wires, and was fitted with a milk bottle from which the infant monkey could suck. The other was made of wood covered with cloth, which made it resemble a real monkey mother, but it provided the infant monkey with no material sustenance whatsoever. It was hypothesized that the infants would cling to the nourishing metal mother rather than to the baron cloth one. To Harlow’s surprise, the infant monkeys showed a significant preference for the cloth mother, spending most of the time with her. When the two mothers were placed in close proximity, the infants held on to the cloth mother even while they reached over to suck milk from the metal mother. Harlow suspected that perhaps the infants did so because they were cold. So, he fitted an electric bulb inside the wire mother, which now radiated heat. Most of the monkeys continued to prefer the cloth mother.

Follow-up research showed that Harlow’s orphaned monkeys grew up to be emotionally disturbed even though they had received all the nourishment they required. They never fitted into monkey society, had difficulties communicating with other monkeys, and suffered from high levels of anxiety and aggression. The conclusion was inescapable: monkeys must have psychological needs and desires that go beyond their material requirements, and if these are not fulfilled, they will suffer greatly. Harlow’s infant monkeys preferred to spend their time in the hands of the barren cloth mother because they were looking for an emotional bond and not only for milk. In the following decades, numerous studies showed that this conclusion applies not only to monkeys, but to other mammals, as well as birds.   (Thanks to Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind )

Research has shown that human children deprived of the bonding relationship with their mothers suffer the same long-term consequences and experience extremely difficult,  emotionally disturbed adult lives. Why are the courts so blind? Children need both parents so long as both parents desire a relationship with  their child.

“Tears In The Rain” describes the mother-child bond and how it can be broken through the manipulation of a narcissistic father seeking revenge against the mother but ultimately punishing the child.

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Drain the Family Court Swamp


Donald Trump shouted from the mountains it was time to “Drain the Swamp.” Let us all hope he starts with the swamp called Family Courts who have systematically awarded sole custody of abused children to the abuser, thus condemning them to lives of confusion, unhappiness, manipulation, abuse, drug abuse, mental therapy, broken relationships, and the deprivation of their constitutional rights of free choice.
Let’s hope that somehow the courts will receive a mandate to become educated about narcissism and parental alienation. Let’s hope they will learn to take the time to understand the problem. Let’s hope they find a way to intervene when a child is young enough to be saved. Let’s hope they can learn to intervene before a child is so manipulated he or she is unable to actually make a free choice. Let’s hope they learn to promote dual custody and recognize the numerous cases where a parent demanding sole custody is a red flag worthy of further investigation. Let’s hope they get trained to recognize and understand the subtlety of this scourge.
A pipe dream? Perhaps. But, if there is truly a populist movement underway than let’s target Family Court.

Mr. Trump, drain the swamp of negligent judges who do not have the time or interest to learn about narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The Narcissist Anglerfish

tears-2People unaffected by Parental Alienation are often hard-pressed to understand the toxic relationship between a narcissist parent and a victimized child. In “Tears In The Rain” the relationship between a male and female Anglerfish is used as a metaphor illustrating the dynamic where a child’s essence is fundamentally replaced by the narcissist parent. It’s not a perfect metaphor but I hope it helps affected parents surrounded by disbelievers.

…Staring out from the wall was a creature straight from the mind of H.P. Lovecraft on a bad LSD trip or whoever created the creature in the movie, “Alien.” The fish was dominated by a huge bulbous head with a mouth filled with numerous, murderous, curved thin daggers designed to mercilessly impale victims. They appeared so long they would prevent the fish from closing its mouth. An overly large eye glared back at the observers, needle like spikes extruded from its head and tiny back and its lower jaw extended well below its upper making it look either malformed or as if it had been pulled halfway out of its head. A small tail fin seemed to be directly attached to its head eliminating any space for a body. A long fleshy appendage ending in a small bulbous growth extended from the top of its head.

Bradshaw exclaimed, “Holy shit, is that real?”

Winslow answered, “Well, Ron, you’re not going to see it in the grocery store but, yes, it is real, very real. And, it is even more interesting than it looks.

“The Anglerfish is rare and lives thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface in complete darkness where few creatures can survive and none are concerned about aesthetics. Because life is so scarce the Anglerfish has evolved several weird adaptations that enable the species to survive. Not only does it have the spike teeth and the giant head, but its stomach can swell to twice the size of the fish itself which enables it to capture and swallow prey twice its size. That’s a very useful adaptation since food is so scarce at that depth. The fleshy appendage jutting off the top of its head is essentially a living fishing rod. The bulb at the end is luminescent and lights up to attract curious prey. What a surprise it must be when hungry predators attack the light only to become the Angler’s dinner. But, that’s not why I am showing you this image.”

“This is an extreme example of sexual dimorphism. The female is forty times larger than the male and there is absolutely no physical resemblance. And, they have a very strange relationship.

“Life is so rare at these depths the odds of a male and female encountering each other are extremely remote, similar to the odds of any individual human sperm finding and fertilizing an egg. So, this physical adaptation helps ensure that should a male and female defy the odds and find each other they will remain together the remainder of their lives.

“The male will actually bite the female and lock his jaws in her flesh. Once securely established his head will actually fuse with the female and the remainder of his body will totally disintegrate leaving only his testicles which will fertilize the female’s eggs on demand. What’s left of him derives all its nourishment from the female. You could say he lives but no longer exists. They are two individual organisms that have become one. They are the female.”

“Now, you’re probably asking yourselves what has this to do with narcissism. It is a metaphor, not perfect but it demonstrates how one organism’s life essence can disappear and be totally absorbed by another. Basically, this is what happens in a narcissistic relationship. The narcissist sucks the life out of the victim, leaving him or her alive but with no individual essence. The physical being remains intact but the victim becomes an extension of the narcissist. His or her beliefs, thoughts, loves, hates, and behavior all derive from the will of the narcissist. Victims basically sacrifice their lives and are left with nothing resembling free will. Their own personality disappears and they act totally within the boundaries established by the abuser. This is what happened with Ms. Webster.”

Bradshaw interrupted, “Wait a second. There is a biological connection with the Angler. What you’re talking about here would have to be totally mental.”

“Yes, and no. We’re really talking about an emotional connection. It works very nicely in adult-child relationships. But, the coercive persuasion can assume physical dimensions. Real or threatened physical and sexual abuse are common and often part of the formula.”

“Coercive persuasion?” Bradshaw asked.

Winslow answered, “Yes, coercive persuasion is just one tool in the narcissist’s bag of tricks.”