Parental Grief Syndrome (PGS)
Parental Grief Syndrome is a psychological disturbance in a person which is similar to Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but is directly related to the significant loss or the complete severing of a person’s relationship with a child by an HAP parent often with the support or interference of the family court or criminal justice system. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) may or may not be present at the same time. PGS may also be referred to by some as Involuntary Child Absence Syndrome. PGS is a condition which primarily affects parents but can affect others, such as grandparents and siblings, but usually in a less significant manner.
One essential feature of Parental Grief Syndrome is the development of characteristic symptoms in a parent following the loss of custody and/or the loss or reduction of parenting time as the result of the legal process. The effect of PGS on a parent can range from mild to severe. In the severe category parents may kill others in order to protect their children or to get revenge on those who they feel may have caused the interference or severing of their relationship with the child.
It is known that human beings have an instinctual need to love, nurture and to protect children. When this instinct is frustrated by outside forces, serious emotional problems can occur. For example, historical records suggest that this was the case within the slave population wherein the forceful breakup of the family was considered one of the worst forms of repression related to slavery. There is overwhelming evidence of a strong inborn need for parents, both men and women, to fight to protect their children and in many cases to kill for them.
There have been many cases involving murder and suicide over the years since the family court system has taken a greater role custody disputes since the 1960’s. A number of these cases involve the forceful separation of children from their parents and many times false allegations are used in the legal process. One well published case in Ontario Canada involved the case of Ralph Hadley. In this case, Mr. Hadley after being separated from his child and kicked out of his own home by the family court process, murdered his wife and then killed himself. He left a suicide note in which he indicated that he had killed the mother of his child in order to protect his child from the mother’s HAP behaviours. It was reported that one of America’s most infamous killers, John Allen Mohammed, the sniper who killed a number of innocent Americans, was heading towards his former partner who had his children before he got caught by authorities. Some experts have claimed that Mr. Muhammed had been dehumanized, driven into destructive mental state and turned into a cold-blooded killer after being torn from his children by an improper family court process. One US psychologist, Dr. Robert Palumbo, Ph. D., in letter on November 13, 2002 to the then United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, stated that there has been at least one suicide per month in the NY metropolitan area wherein Parental Grief Syndrome was implicated.