Beware Family Court Doublethink and Newspeak

Bandy X. Lee
7 min readMar 8, 2024

“Alienation” — “Reunification” — “Best Interests of the Child”

Consider the most unthinkable, heinous human crime: to torture, maim, and murder innocent children. Then consider this happening to hundreds of new cases of children every day, year after year, for decades, all across the country. And this happens not in a single state or a few states, but all fifty U.S. states. Then, the organizers of these massacres are not given death penalties and life imprisonments but awarded with promotions and multiple billions of dollars a year.

How is this possible? Family “Courts” are able to do it through the perversion of legal mechanisms; through the abuse of judicial authority; by exploiting the public’s belief that, “It can’t happen here!”; and by encouraging a cottage industry to sprawl around them, helping them to claim that up is down, black is white, good is bad, and abuse is the best thing for the child. It is a well-oiled racketeering, corrupt organizational machine, and everyone is in on it: Child Protective Services, law enforcement, lawyers, schools, and hospitals — because if you are not, there is an entire system in place to shut you up and break you down.

Hence, beware when entering the gates of Family Court. If you are the innocent party in a domestic abuse situation, you are about to lose all your Constitutional rights, your children, your assets, your home(s), your profession(s), your reputation, and your dignity — no level of exemplary past behavior, years of successful parenting, millions in the bank, or number of prestigious degrees matters. In fact, no truth matters. You will come to experience what life is like in a totalitarian state.

George Orwell’s 1984 is Here — and It Actually Arrived around that Year!

Richard Gardner, a proponent of pedophilia and misogyny who killed himself in 2003 by overdosing on multiple drugs, slitting his throat, and stabbing himself twenty-three times with a steak knife, was the child psychiatrist “expert” in greatest demand in Family Court. Since the 1980’s, while women were enjoying some newfound freedoms and children were increasingly growing up without fear, he provided violent perpetrators a “way out.” He labeled sexual abuse awareness campaigns a “national hysteria,” and claimed that sexual abuse was exceedingly rare, occurring at a rate of one in two million (the actual rate is closer to one in five, according to the most comprehensive epidemiologic study to date by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). Unable to publish with reputable peer-reviewed journals or publishers, he formed his own company to self-publish more than two hundred articles and more than forty books over four decades, while serving as an expert witness in over four hundred cases on child custody and sexual abuse.

His recommendation was almost always to award custody to the alleged abuser, even in cases where the child vehemently resisted seeing that parent — in fact, all the more so in such cases. None of his theories went through any standard scientific method of research, and by his own admission, his conclusions were all based on personal experience and personal bias. Yet, because of his strategic usefulness, concepts and characteristics that would be denounced as despicable in all other sectors, including other courts, were almost deified in Family Court. Through his ideas, Gardner almost singlehandedly transformed Family Courts into a sanctuary for some of the most violent offenders, who can carry out their fantasy denials of culpability and their toxic pseudo-masculine agendas with full support of “the law.” Below are the elements of their Orwellian playbook.

Family Court Newspeak: Any Report of Abuse is ‘Alienation’

Even though Gardner’s “parental alienation syndrome” was rejected by all legitimate diagnostic systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), variations of this “medical sounding” label — such as “parental alienation” or “alienation” — remain the front of an abuse industry. The goal is to switch custody from the nonabusive, custodial parent to the noncustodial, abusive parent, through the claim that a child’s fear or rejection of a parent is never from actual abuse but from the other parent’s “programming” and “coaching” of the child. This, of course, is nothing more than a naked play on a perpetrator’s psychology to “DARVO” (“Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”) — so that Family Courts may engage in actual predatory alienation and actual malicious programming of the child to accept the abuse.

Once the Scarlet Letter of “alienation” is branded on a mother (rarely a father), Child Protective Services (CPS) usually stops investigating the father, and the mother is scrutinized in her every move. For example, no amount of evidence is “enough” — in one case, a positive rape kit, venereal disease, and four medical professionals confirming rape in a four-year-old was declared to be “not enough evidence.” And an agency that is typically unresponsive to anything less than broken bones, much less psychological abuse, finds “alienating behavior” — thoughtcrimes — in the mother’s every move. If she seeks medical confirmation of abuse, she is “encouraging the children’s fears of the father,” and the more medical experts agree with her, the more she will be diagnosed with, “Munchausen’s by proxy” (making up symptoms), and labeled as, “doctor-addicted.” Other Court-appointed actors or experts could be even worse, since Family Courts choose them specifically to “rubber stamp” their predetermined verdicts (and “guardians ad litem” with no qualifications and poorly-trained “experts” who may not find employment elsewhere are paid exorbitantly for fraudulent “reports” — in one case, a non-psychiatrist “expert” charged over twenty times my rate!).

Family Court Doublethink: Children who Resist Their Abuser Need ‘Reunification’

The mechanism for switching custody is “reunification”. Any healthy child, naturally, will resist or reject a parent who physically, psychologically, or sexually abuses them. In the upside-down world of Family Courts, the stronger the resistance, the more evidence it is of the other parent’s “alienation”. Therefore, the children need to be separated from the “alienating” parent and be “reunified” with the parent they are resisting. Recent Insider investigations into “reunification” camps such as Family Bridges or Turning Points for Families exposed that, since 2000, Family Court judges sent at least six hundred children to “reunification” programs that enforced temporary exile from their bonded, trusted, and protective parent to “reunify” them with nonbonded, rejected, and dangerous parent. Thug-like transport agents may seize children by force, essentially kidnapping them. While the programs suggested a “no-contact period” of ninety days with the trusted parent, this term was routinely extended to years — if not until the child “aged out” at eighteen. As is well-established in the field of child psychiatry, such abrupt separation from the primary caregiving parent, and extraction from their stable home, is inevitably traumatic. Indeed, it is perhaps one of the most traumatic experiences a child could endure — for even when there is abuse, the presence of trusted primary supports can be mitigating, but here it is the first thing to be stripped away. In the context of being isolated from the trusted parent, the next most essential component for healing is the ability to tell the truth about what happened, and this is taken away, also. Like the rest of the “alienation” industry, “reunification” programs pretend to have a scientific basis for effectiveness, but their every aspect is antiscientific and antithetical to all therapeutic principles, and would never meet the standards for admission into any courtroom — except in Family Court, where this is a very requirement.

Using classic “brainwashing” techniques as described in Robert Jay Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, “reunification” program participants are typically verbally abused, physically deprived, and psychologically terrorized with further torture if they resist. Unsurprisingly, children in the program deteriorate acutely, becoming depressed and suicidal, as several former participants disclosed. One thirteen-year-old girl got so distressed, that she banged on a hotel wall and screamed for help; others calling the police got her to a psychiatric hospital, but the one thing she cried out for — to see her mother — a court order prohibited. Many others were similarly psychiatrically hospitalized, according to Insider investigations. In addition to camps, “reunification” therapists, counselors, and mediation specialists are proliferating everywhere (Family Bridges charged 25,000 dollars for the first four days in one case, and a Family Court-mandated “therapist” with barely a non-social work master’s degree once charged 28,000 dollars for thirty sessions).

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and All This is for ‘the Best Interests of the Child’

Family Courts may “fix” the evidence and eliminate whistleblowers, but the statistics bear witness to their atrocities: one hundred sixty children per day are newly sent to their abusers by Family Court; one child is murdered every six days under Family Court; and countless loving mothers (and occasionally fathers) die from grief, suicide, cancer, heart attack, or “broken heart syndrome,” who might still be alive if not for Family Court. Probe into any (ex-)spousal murder, child murder by parent, murder-suicide, or even patricide, and the likelihood of Family Court involvement is high — since they overwhelmingly create the conditions.

The final, most Orwellian step in this dark world of total control and total destruction of loving child-parent bonds is to declare that all this is being done for “the best interests of the child.” In the final step to becoming an unperson, the child not only has no voice, no rights, and no longer a life, but cannot even define that what happened to him (or her) was wrong. And we have a taste of what comes to be when lunatics are in charge of the asylum and criminals are in charge of what we call, “Family Court.”



Bandy X. Lee

Forensic psychiatrist, violence expert, president of the World Mental Health Coalition (, and New York Times bestselling author.