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ASPC SMYTH - hatred Tues 3.10pm

by

Bruce Smyth

on 26 September 2017

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Transcript of ASPC SMYTH - hatred Tues 3.10pm

When love turns to hate after divorce:
Implications for policy

"HATE-WORK": RESPONDING TO PARENTAL HATRED
No quick fixes – Staying with conflict (Mayer, 2009)
Conflict resolution? How can we help parents to prepare to engage with conflict over time?
Shift to a '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?
Willingness to acknowledge & work with less rational and darker side of human behaviour.
Bottom line: need high levels of interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary cooperation
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
purposive from probability & non-probability
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

POLICY IMPLICATIONS

Epidemiology: even small reductions in incidence can yield large gains in outcomes, time and effort ... and free up valuable resources
Family court expensive system - re-litigation (r/ship problems?)
Child support assessment & compliance
Family violence – serious & long lasting consequences
Ripple effects: child and parent wellbeing

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

USA: 10% take up 90% of resources

No consensus; used vaguely to describe different types of cases

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

Something different 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 [5% of sep parent pop'n]


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 OF ENTRENCHED HATRED
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 – 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
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"
"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"
"Deep mistrust of other parent"
"Frozen in time – committed to their story"
"Hate is a force of attraction. Hate is love with its back turned."

"Sometimes when you win, you really lose."

"Let go or be dragged."

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