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THURSDAY-Smyth hatred

by

Bruce Smyth

on 9 October 2017

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Transcript of THURSDAY-Smyth hatred

When love turns to hate after separation:
Setting the scene

"HATE-WORK": RESPONDING TO PARENTAL HATRED

Even small reductions in incidence can yield large gains in outcomes, time and effort ... and free up valuable resources

No quick fixes – Staying with conflict (Mayer, 2009)

Conflict resolution? How can we help parents to prepare to engage with conflict over time?
WHY PARENTAL HATRED?
ARC Future Fellowship: High-conflict shared-time post-divorce family
How do shared-time parents stuck in high-conflict after separation make their arrangements work – practically, emotionally, financially?

Methods
CATI survey – separated parents (N=800: 4 x groups of 200)
13 Focus groups: Sydney; Melb; Adl; Cbr
28 'phone interviews
Online survey of family law system professionals (N=330)

Recruitment
Hate?
HATRED BOTH REWARDS & PUNISHES ITSELF
Upside:
To hate is to feel something (better than feeling empty/purposeless/swamped by anxiety)
Energize; creates sense of power & self-efficacy
Feeling of vindication
Psychological defense: response to being hurt, forgotten, ignored
Project inner conflict outward onto another
Acts as a substitute for love: reunion/proximity behaviour
"Loving hate": effort to destroy while at same time desparately needing
Downside:
Under considerable strain of own inner turmoil
All consuming=lose perspective --> children's needs get lost in desire for revenge

WHAT'S HIGH-CONFLICT?
Term used to describe wide array ppl/sitn (cases, people, div etc)

USA: 10% take up 90% of resources [Aust: 60% take up 70%]

No consensus; used vaguely to describe different types of cases

Lack of defn'tl clarity impede early ID/better case mgmt?

Different dynamics going on for small group of separated parents?

High-Conflict
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
1. Passion of the heart
2. Global negative assessment
3. Thought disorder
4. Willing to incur costs
5. Long-term attitude
6. All consuming
7. Culture of hatred
8. double edged
9. Serious & dangerous
Entrenched hatred stems from a deep-seated negative attachment to a former partner.


Demonstrated by relentless unforgiving negativity involving:
(a) global assessment of former partner as bad or evil – deserving of no respect person/parent;
(b) persistent bitter feelings, mistrust, accusatory thought, & destructive impulses;
(c) steadfast inability to self-reflect, see other perspectives or change, coupled with re-directing (‘projecting’) internal conflicts away from self and onto another; and
(d) a willingness to incur harm to oneself and one’s children in service of harming/destroying other.
CORE INGREDIENTS
ARGUMENT
'High-conflict" oversimplifies some family dynamics

Need to discriminate b/w diff types of high-conflict

'Interparental hatred' needs to be named / responded to: hate-driven conflict potentially key r/ship dynamic

At least 2 types of hatred: 'reactive' & 'entrenched'

'Entrenched hatred' valuable analytic frame worthy of explorat'n=new leads for research, practice & policy

hate?
DEFINITIONS OF 'HIGH-CONFLICT': PRIOR WORK

Johnston (1994)
'verbal & physical aggression, overt hostility, distrust'

Levite (2005)
'high levels of anger, hostility, distrust
inability to communicate
continuous legal fights'
DEFINITIONS OF 'HIGH-CONFLICT': LAWYERS/MEDIATORS
"Everything's a fight"
"Win at all costs"
"...oppositional & polarized stance of parents"
"Deep mistrust of other parent"
"Parents more interested in the fight than outcome"
"... a war zone [for children]"
"Use of children as weapons"
"Children lost to the dispute"
"Focus on revenge"
"Unending crusade against the other parent"
"Frozen in time – committed to their story"
SOME QUOTES TO GET US GOING...

Hate is a force of attraction. Hate is love with its back turned.

Sometimes when you win, you really lose.

So much of life is about knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

Let go or be dragged.

It's not hatred that's important, it's the desire to annihilate.

WAYS FORWARD?
Shift
to an 'irrational, self interest model'? (Rogers/Gee)

B/c love sits in the shadows of hate, possible in some cases to turn things around?

Time to explore more lateral therapeutic interventions backed by force of the court?

Willingness to acknowledge & work with less rational & darker side of human behaviour. Small gains=big gains

Bottom line: need high levels of (interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary) cooperation & coordination
Full transcript