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FAS Family Alienation Syndrome

Parents are not the only people who are affected by an Alienation Syndrome. This is something that has been neglected when there are older siblings involved. Sure, there are many Alienation Syndromes that are not addressed but should. Instead of PAS (Parent Alienation Syndrome) it should be changed to FAS (Family Alienation Syndrome). This can happen with uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents etc. This is why we should re-coin the Acronym to FAS (Family Alienation Syndrome).

I know from personal experience regarding Uncle Alienation Syndrome where my sister became mad at me because of my parents will. My parents being old world left everything except half the bank accounts and insurance to me. Now before you judge I was brought up old world and this meant that I as the oldest son was to receive everything and distribute it accordingly and fairly. This was my intention. The SNAFU came in because she wanted her money NOW. Worst of it is that my sister helped my wife clean out my parent’s house after a year. My then dog was really well-behaved and never dug in the garbage. He oddly chewed on the garbage bag outside and pulled out the will after my sister was gone and I came home from work. My sister said she did not find the will but it was in her garbage bag. My dog had it in his mouth. Now consider that if there was not will the state at that time would have taken 1/3 of the assets so it was better that there was a will.

I offered to make her monthly payments to equal the rest of the half because I was getting the house, after all she had one. This was not good enough. I found out why after the wake brunch. A few friends told me my brother-in-law was already talking to people and drawing a sketch of the house and 5 acres of property with two streams running through it that he wanted to buy. They could not get the loan and the loan officer would not accept my letter of payment. Long story short (too late LOL) my sister sued me for the money so she could get it all up front. She won!?! This means of course that wills are not worth the paper they are drafted upon. I tried to explain to the judge that there was a will and I was left everything (except half the bank accounts and life insurance) and did not have to promise her anything let alone taking a loan to pay interest on assists that were by all rights mine. He did not want to hear it and ordered me to get a loan to pay my sister. Bottom line is that I now was not receiving my fair half because of the interest and had to pay interest on was mine in the first place. (NOTE: my brother-in-law threatened to send me to jail for forgery if I did not get a loan. He said this because I signed my parents checks to pay their bills and bury my father for the short time after dad died and before mom died. He could not do that but I did not know that at the time. I had no intent to defraud anyone and what I did was perfectly legal.)

This is what separated me from my nephews and nieces. The older ones ended up contacting me when they could drive and visited as frequent as possible. It was not easy and still bothers me that I was not able to get closer to my younger nieces and nephews and for the cousins my children and hers to be closer.

Now for a story about a girl at work; She is suffering badly from Sibling Alienation Syndrome (because this event is much more recent to her than my situation which is decades old). Her mother and father divorced some time ago. Dad fought for and eventually won custody of her, and she was (though not legally able to make the decision) in agreement with the arrangements and in fact desired them. One could argue that her mom is suffering from PAS **BUT** I know better. She is old enough to be out on her own now and old enough to have been able to reflect on what has happened during her life and between her parents.

What is sad is that she is having issues with mom, since the girl that I work with is recently on her own and not only wants but needs her own space. Basically she told her mom who called her one day and said that she was going to visit every day, the girl said no because she wanted to get settled. Her mother took great offence. Now the girl’s siblings have sent her text messages stating that she no longer text them because mom will become angry if she finds the messages on their phones. The mom does not want the older sibling to have contact with the siblings that live with her (the mom) any more. This is a classic case of FAS if I ever heard of one. Because mom is mad at sibling #1, she (the girl) cannot contact sibling’s #’s 2 & 3.

Why do I relay these stories? We need to attempt to recognize and remedy all the aliments of family in America to make things better for coming generations. Also PAS is just the tip of the iceberg and we should consider FAS because it more clearly defines the tremendous extent and devastation that is the Alienation Syndrome.



23 Responses to “FAS Family Alienation Syndrome”

  1. Thank you for starting this conversation. I am now understanding that there are so many different situations that can be catagorised as Family Alienation Syndrome. I am happy to now have a label for my situation. After my mums death, my dad remarried. His new wife made it quite clear she wasn’t happy with my dad having a relationship with any of the females in his family and has one by one instigated situations to alienate each one of us. I was thrown out of their house when she started an argument with me. This was five years ago. She has deleted e-mails I have written to my dad and when I am nearby he has to come to meet me in a local cafe for his allotted 30 minutes. He’s always so distracted that it’s usually not enjoyable before he has to run back home. You know what makes this even more upsetting? I live in the USA, they live in England!!! How could she ever see me as a threat?

  2. I think FAS is a very complex issue. It is not correct to assume that the person to perpetuate the act of alienation is wrong and the one distanced is the victim. In my case, I stopped speaking to my older sister for the past two years. But the situation was different. I was feeling battered and persecuted.
    It is the familiar problem of the pecking order where older siblings and mothers run a life long campaign of control. Naturally,by the time I reached the age of 30 I was all set against anything my mother/sisters say.They were , are still highly critical of everything I say or do.(your clothes are inappropriate, you should be marrying first and not thinking about your career, you should not be having so many men friends, should have an arranged marriage) The main reason I stay away from my sister is that she has ruined my relationship with my mother. My mother will take my sister’s word that I am a slut rather than find out for herself.

    I hold my moral reputation very dear to me and am extremely responsible when it comes to my behavior in public. In the past year I have not had one single conversation with my mother when she did not abuse/belittle me. Every second day she calls me a whore and that I am an embarrassment to her in her social circles because I did not marry on time and am living alone!
    Fact is I have been struggling to finish grad school, find a job in the economic crisis and keep a roof over my head while I do so. I do not have a husband to support me like they all had . I have also been trying to get married and no man wants to commit unless he knows I am with job. They are also annoyed that I would rather clean tables than lean on them for support. If they do not see that as responsibility I believe there is something seriously wrong with them

    My understanding is that since I am the first female in my traditional indian family to have lived alone in a foreign country, I tend to have a mind of my own.My sister may be concerned that I should make choices the way she did. However, how she expresses and articulates herself affects our family dynamics negatively. Add to this, just because I am a single woman and do not have somebody to stand up for me , my family think its ok to abuse me (to keep me on the straight otherwise I can “stray”) . None of my sisters were ever beaten except during growing adolescent years. I was hit so hard and slapped when I was 30 yrs old (4 yrs ago). That was it. I kept her out of my life for until I settle down financially and gain some self confidence. I will not speak to her until she learns to respect my life and my choices. As my sister she has done all she could to ruin my health and peace of mind.

  3. I am glad to know I am not the only person dealing with family alienation.

  4. Glad that this helped even if only letting you know that you are not alone.

  5. When $$$$ is involved… Controlling people are involved.. There is going to be family alienation of one parent or the other by children or a parent.
    When your kids “favor” dad… Because they want his $$$ . Mom may get in the way of the father donation even at 34 that they have in mind.

  6. This has been interesting to read. FAS seems to be the closest thing that I have been dealing with within my own family. I have had so many different curves come at me since I was a toddler. My parents divorced and my father got custody of myself and my brother when my mother left. He then handed us back to my mother on request and followed us to another State to continue visitations. He remarried, had children (my 2 half brothers), when I was 13 my mother dumped me on my fathers’ doorstep again (with my brother), so I spent a lot of time with my half brothers growing up. Many years later, after marriage etc., my step mother spent a lot of time putting a wedge between myself (& brother) and my 2 half brothers. The youngest will acknowledge when he needs to, but the eldest half brother does not communicate at all, even though I have sent gifts etc. to his children.

    The step mother died in 2011 from cancer and since then we have had NO communication. I feel very alone sometimes and also very critical of myself as to not being worthy of associating with anyone. I find it extremely difficult to be positive and to keep on top of things, after 48 years of family issues. You really can’t pick them and it is very upsetting, especially when I see the lovely appreciation of others in other families. My own mother is alive, but that is a different story again, she has had her live dictated to her through a ‘known’ religious cult, which has also been known to alienate family members if they do not join. I have to shake my head and wonder why I hadn’t lost it well before now. I don’t like confrontation and that might be the only thing that has kept me sane. You can only give so much without recipacation.

  7. Heather,

    I am so sorry to hear about your issues. I am not an advice columnist and it would be seriously amiss if I said differently. I am however a human being that has shared experiences. All I can say is that as you can see here YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This may be a sad commentary on people but at least you know you are not alone and it is not you.

    You are right. A relationship is 50 – 50. Sometimes it is 80 – 20, 20 – 80, and 100 – 0 BUT in the end on average it must average 50 – 50 or you are not treating yourself right. If you do not treat yourself right, no one else will. Being selfish is not necessarily a bad thing it is called protecting yourself. Besides there are degrees of being selfish and wanting a 50 – 50 relationship is a healthy selfish.

    I hope this helped. Keep the faith.


  8. I’ve been alianated from my family periodically throughout my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that they are indeed sociopathic and me trying to appease them is pointless. I am the only one who makes any effort to make contact with my siblings, rarely will they make any effort to be social with me unless they want something, whether it be a money loan or something else.

    I’ve come to learn that there are many people in this world who have families not for pro-creation reasons, but to be in a position fof control and to manipulate someones life. My mum spent the most part of my early life alianating me from my dad, always bad mouthing him painting him in a particular light, all becaue she would be mad with him because he had better places to be, like work. My mum is a vindictive cold hearted sociopath and my siblings are not much different and because of these obstacles I’ve faced since birth, my life is pretty much screwed, I’m 34 and I’ve never lived independently, never had a girlfriend and probably never will because I’m so afraid to let anyone into my heart for fear it will just be ripped apart again.

    The most gut wrenching aspect of all this, is after my dad died of pancreatic cancer a few years back, my mum has tried painting their relationship as rosey and perfect when I know different. This is the thing with sociopaths, they live in a fantasy of their own making. If I could just move away from it all I might be able to rebuild my life, but instead I am stuck here, under her roof, living in her screwed up reality. It makes me cringe watching her trying to feign human emotions

  9. Wow! I still struggle with family issues… People can be so vindictive. It has been my experience over the last just to name a few (10 years give or take) My family thought alienating me was what was going to get their point across. Wrong! Instead it has made me stronger. I have lived in their world for so long, till one day I decided to move forward with my life. In a more positive direction.
    I got engaged and … moved home. Last place I ever though I’d end up. :)When I did my mother stopped speaking to me for up to about a year and a half throughout the engagement. Years before, she (my mom) remarried and the guy had issues of resentment from his own endeavors with family, but is a nice guy. My father in and out of my life growing up did the same. Never paid one ounce of child support and married many times over. Both parents always made promises they never kept… always left disappoint in every direction known to man kind.
    My brother who I raised while, I graduated from HS, with high honors, worked somehow two jobs and supported us never said thank you sis! I never even got an I love you either! He never appreciated anything. After my parents split years before, we became the ping pong ball. Needless to say it was a very competitive blood match. I was the only one there to shelter my brother so I did what I had to do. I had to become the stronger sibling. Mom, dad and sister to!
    Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have much of a childhood but, I over the years mentored people and tried to stay tuned in with more reality by being logical. I also learned to conquer your enemy, self confidence. In the end I have learned to also, use these experiences in my life to a more positive aspect…. I learned from them and chose not to let them over come me….
    Time passed and due to the stress of my mother, father, brother and dads side of the family wanting to control and dictate my life caused me to miscarry my first. Mom wanting so bad to be part of my fathers family never willing to cease and let go, caused ruckus everywhere! Issues out of the Whhazzoo! Dad and her always fighting and they weren’t even married and hadn’t been in so long. LOL.
    My mother and father never realized or said I’m sorry. Maybe they finally realized my grief after years later. I finally, told my mom what happened and leveled with both of my parents… I realized then that they knew … and it wasn’t worth losing a child over. All I ever wanted was a family of my own and to live comfortable and peaceful. Not alone….
    My mother told me one day in a very touching phone call that, “She was proud of me.” She said, “You are stronger than I ever was, and I am sorry.” She said, “I should have been stronger, if I had only had the confidence you do.” ….Then I explained how I became confident over the years.

    People used to ask me, “How did you stay so sane?” The truth is, not everyone has a mind for the dramatic. I still don’t, but, truthfully, believing that things don’t have to be their way and not giving up is what I saw at the end of those terrible times. It’s been right at 15 years and I still struggle with family in my own way, silently.
    It will always be there but, you have …to be … stronger (the stronger one)… and remind yourself what’s done is done! No turning back!!!!
    Remember DO NOT LET IT INTERFERE WITH YOUR OWN FAMILY!!! IT STOPS WITH YOU!!!! 🙂 There is “No” turning back!
    The truth of the matter is, it has also taken a long time to over come a lot of grief and when you open up about it, life evolves. It’s better for you and it could change them for the better!!! It makes all of the difference. Maybe not in the way you want it to,… but in a way that is much, much better. It’s about self confidence and being logical with yourself and others; it’s healthy. There is a gap in generations here.
    Someone messed up somewhere, we’re the one’s it depends on to fix it.
    Sometimes if not now, eventually, things will get better. You have to keep the faith and I promise that eventually, it all will. There is always a better alternative, than losing it and going off the deep end or worse.
    My brother is now married with a child and he has married one doozy! She is selfish and jealous and it fits his character at times. It’s his life and although, we have taken them groceries, helped with bills, given them money, just being good neighbors, the wife wants nothing more to do with us and come to find out my brother takes up for her and condones everything she says and does. She has made it clear before the baby was born the she doesn’t wants my children, my husband or myself to have nothing to do with my brother and niece.
    About a few months ago. I called to tell my brother I loved him and I never not wanted to be family. Never said anything derogatory towards him or about his wife or child. I was never given the chance and I have tried to have things to do with them… all positive things. He thinks I owe his wife and apology. When I told him “NO”! He didn’t care. He cussed abusively non stop and I said, “No more, I love you, but Good-Bye.”
    Now he can learn to deal without a sister who always stood by him.

    After but before all this I gave his wife a huge expensive shower, trying to show her and him that I wasn’t like what I was being made out to be. She didn’t even want the shower, but we had it! This was sad because it was beautiful.
    Her family the day before told me that they understood what she is capable of and that she treats them like dogs non stop. Standing up was in the best interest, everyone was just thinking about the child she was pregnant with at the time. This WAS NOT HORMONE RELATED! She was like this before pregnancy and apparently, my brother had no idea what he was marrying into. Now, he has to deal. If he’s happy were happy for him.
    I thought she was a nice girl! Nope not a very nice person.
    So, my guess is that running their mouth about me and my family was hard to swallow during the process of the shower. Especially, when I did nothing wrong. All I have done is given.
    No more!
    His wife even went so far as talking ugly about my fathers side of the family and my own children and husband. When my son was deaf and couldn’t hear, had tubes put in the Dr. didn’t know if they would work. She degraded us to my mother at the time and the whole town after a teacher in PK put her hands on my child and we decided to homeschool for both reasons.
    Needless, to say that I didn’t give in and he is so much better for it, now! He’s reading, doing math, etc. Need I say more.
    When I see my own little faces, it’s a blessing!!! They and my husband are my rainbow! 🙂
    Now after losing our first, I realized how important your family should be and they are very worth protecting. As for my father we DON’T have anything to do with. My mother occasionally. From here please listen closely!!!!!

    “You DO NOT have to put up with anything. Block it out and turn away. When and if they want to visit let it be on your terms, not theirs. Let them be shown how your life is and then let them remember the good times and even the bad. You don’t have to remind them because they already suffer more inside than you’ll ever know from their own deceit.”

    Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!

    Life is to short to let things linger. You don’t need therapy. You need a little common sense and everyone around you to see a point. Then you are moments away from achieving new steps! 🙂 Good luck!

  10. I was watching a programme tonight that mentioned PAS, this led me on my quest as it resonated with past experiences. I did feel it was not just parents who inflicted this, thus goggled FAS !

    What I have read is mind-blowing, I have been the victim of both PAS and FAS! My parents had an embittered divorce during my teens, my father subsequently mounted a hate campaign my mother and his children. We were vilified, denigrated and ostracised because of his vindictive campaign, because as he said, ‘If it took the rest of his life, he would destroy my mother.’ He subsequently disowned his children because we did not agree with his actions.This psychological torment continued for nearly 20 years.

    He emigrated and we were not told where he lived and his family and friends collided with him. It was only when he was dying, did he want a reunion, however his sentiments had not changed, but rather an opportunity to bad-mouth me.

    While this was going n, we had internal family problems/ My older sister, who had always been controlling and dominant fell out with my mum, and began t display the same hostile traits as my father. She brainwashed my two younger brothers. I could see history repeating itself, and because I would nt agree with her actins, my siblings have cut me and my two daughters out f their lives. Leaving me to support an already broken mother. This was over ten years ago, and three years ago, my younger brother came back into our lives, with the pretext of contrition, the reality has been he still under the control of my sister and continued t persecute and bully my now elderly mother. He has been the victim of PAS, but it was my sister who brainwashed him.

    I feel I have gone through this cycle three times in my life, my father, my siblings and my brother. It has had a profound effect n my own psychological well being, and up until tonight, felt I had be cursed! and the problem was me. It is such a relief to know there is a name for this, and hopefully now I can find peace and hopefully LIVE!

    Thank you.

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