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Baldwin Book Rails Against Courts

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In his new book, Alec Baldwin says "Parental Alienation Syndrome" almost forced him to commit suicide. He says dads around the world are suffering at the hands of the judicial system.

alec baldwin
Divorce is ugly enough. Add kids into the mix and you've got yourself a big mess. Now, how about one spouse blaming the other for turning the kids against them? It has a name: "Parental Alienation Syndrome" -- and it's the focus of a new book by Alec Baldwin.

In his new book "A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce", Baldwin recounts his contentious divorce from Kim Basinger -- and how the brutal custody battle almost destroyed his relationship with his 13-year-old daughter, Ireland.

Baldwin discusses how after the now infamous voice mail was released (when he called Ireland thoughtless little pig), he nearly lost his will to live. He writes, "Driving up the Taconic Parkway, heading to an inn in the Berkshire Mountains, I began to think about what little town I would repair to in order to commit suicide - what semi-remote Massachusetts state park could I hike deep into and overdose there? When I returned to New York, the thought of jumping out the window of my apartment was with me every night for weeks."

As for his estrangement from Ireland, Baldwin says, "When you lose custody of your child, so much of what is magical and priceless in this experience is taken away from you. The moments still occur, but you are no longer there to share them. You find yourself constantly wondering what your child is doing now. An overwhelming pain comes from the knowledge that she is learning life through so many people's eyes, but least of all your own."

The actor is attempting to recast himself from bad dad to celebrity crusader for fathers' rights. The book discusses so-called "Parental Alienation Syndrome" and how many men are being railroaded in the judicial system by their bitter exes who use the children of relationships as pawns.

"Unfortunately, there are thousands of children like Ireland," says Dr. D. Lorandos, a psychologist and practicing attorney for Parental Alienation cases. "Parents' anger toward one another is tearing these children apart, and judges don't understand how to recognize when one parent is poisoning the child against the other."

Critics say Parental Alienation Syndrome is a cop-out. Some men are just aren't good fathers -- and keeping them at a distance protects their children.

So which is it?

next: Could Acne Lead to Teen Suicide?
40 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lori September 23, 2008, 6:05 AM

Any man who would call his daughter a “little pig” is obviously out of control. No matter how difficult the relationship gets, it’s the adult’s responsibility to treat the children appropriately. Alec Baldwin is a pig.

Natalie September 23, 2008, 7:43 AM

I don’t think we can judge anyone because we don’t know the whole story. Everyone makes mistakes, no one’s perfect. I think that it’s hard enough getting divorced, but add to that being a celebrity where everyone’s getting into your business, and it makes it 10 times harder.

Rosalind Sedacca September 23, 2008, 9:14 AM

Creating a gender war over PAS is not the answer. Unfortunately parents of both genders make serious mistakes during and after divorce and their children are the victims. We need to educate parents to move beyond their own egos and emotional feelings about their exes to see what is in the best interest of their children, who in most cases love both mom and dad.

Let’s focus on creating a child-centered divorce to minimize divorce scars for our children. Find free articles, support and other resources at

Best wishes to all,
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT
The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce

Anonymous September 23, 2008, 10:10 AM

I do not think it’s ok that he called his daughter a little pig. I do, however, understand how a dad could be driven to rage by an ex-wife poisoning the kid against him, because the sad reality is that it happens all the time.

I am a product of divorce and my mom did everything she could to alienate us towards our dad. Thing is, he didn’t care - he was happy to be rid of us.

I believe that Alec Baldwin genuinely cares about his daughter and wants to have a relationship with her. And I believe that Kim Basinger was pissed and humiliated when it was discovered that he was cheating on her and she probably couldn’t control her own anger and began poisoning her child.

I also agree with Rosalinda. It’s not a gender thing.

It’s sad when parents - divorced or not - choose to bring kids into this world and then don’t put them first. Pathetic in fact.

Mike Murphy September 23, 2008, 11:16 AM

Parental Alienation is the most emotionally heartbreaking traumatic event the target parent will undergo in their lifetime. Mr. Baldwin’s anger and frustration got the better of him but as a stay-at-home dad of 10 years, also working from home, I know how it feels to have your children emotionally kidnapped from you.

More research is required on what the gender balance is but current research shows more females do it than males. Men do it as well and no matter who does it it is abuse and anyone who believes it does not exist is indirectly enabling the abuse to occur in the same manner as defending an alcoholic by saying “he/she doesn’t drink that much.”

Louise Uccio September 23, 2008, 11:34 AM

First let me say .. I DO NOT condone what Alec Baldwin did when he called his daughter a pig- that was out of line- unacceptable and uncalled for.

However, Parent Alienation =
Is usually done by a parent/nonparent that has a personality disordered/entitled attitude -
that is willing to turn the children against the other parent during a divorce- (alienates the children by bad mouthing the other parent) is VERY REAL, very very frustrating on the left out loving parent and usually that parent’s entire side of the family.

As well as the results =
Parent Alienation Syndrome
which is what the children all suffer from—
a new found—unrealistic hate for a parent that was once loved dearly

Is also VERY REAL!

I am a survivor of Domestic Violence, when I left my abuser he had been undermining my relationship with my children right along.. so to him it was natural to keep up the hate campaign against me with the children.

He then falsely called child protective services and got me falsely labeled a dangerous drug addict and got the children away from me..

He continued his hate campaign while he had exclusive control over the children by this false allegation and false finding.. and now my children BELIEVE they hate me!

So don’t let any of those groups with an agenda tell you that PA/PAS is junk science.. it is VERY VERY REAL!

Sadly more and more survivors of domestic violence are being alienated.. so many of us know the groups of survivors that are swearing they are only protecting the kid may in fact be partially telling the truth..

(Some MAY very well be protecting the children— but there’s more to the story than that)

However the rest of us survivors KNOW that either male or female can and will alienate and use the excuse that they are protecting the child!

We need REAL reform and understanding that PA/PAS is real and needs to be identified as the child abuse it is.

We need these Dr’s to start looking at the problem as one that begins with an adult that feels entitled (personality disordered) enough to alienate and FORGET GENDER it plays NO ROLE IN THIS!






This needs to be decided on a case by case basis not a blanket concept.

And lastly I and many others involved in the courts agree with Alec on one issue —-


Dawn September 23, 2008, 12:27 PM

The actions of parents during a divorce, male/female, are very real. Both sexes can be of little reason when they feel slighted. The problem is when the adults cannot focus on the fact- divorce between man and wife- does not and should not constitute divorce between father or mother and child. The court system and the attorneys involved in it hold a great deal of blame for the state of affairs because it is all a game- hit him/her here, say this or that. No—we don’t want that really- but we have to try to get that, paint a picture, in order to ‘win’ our case. That is the standard discussion in the lawyers office- you know it- and the good lawyers know the ‘system’- they work it. This judge likes to favor the parent with custody if he hears this or that, this judge will not give primary custody to either unless he hears this or that. Every court in every county in every state- has good and bad and they and the laws they are sworn to interpret and uphold should carry some of the buden of blame. No- Alec should not have screamed at his daughter- he too may need some counseling- but so would you when you have been terrorized and destroyed not only in the media, but in your home- the place that should be most sacred, the one place where you should be able to go and lay your head at night when the rest of the worls is going crazy. When your home and the people in it turn on you- you do not always think and act appropriately. For those of you who have gone through this or had family members go through it- you understand- for those of you who have not, please withhold judgement- because I can assure you - you do NOT know how you will react when pushed to the extreme! Alec and Ireland and Kim- we wish you allll the best and hope you can all become reasonable and work to repair your family- it is not too late- but it does require all of you to get onboard.

LH September 23, 2008, 12:28 PM

I feel for AB. Though he obviously should not have behaved that way, the fact that KB made the tape public is ten times worse. She chose to put “the fight” and herself before her child. I have been through a divorce where I settled for much less just so I wouldn’t have to go to court. I was fortunate that my ex and I did not fight over custody—I truly believe that kids need both parents unless one is physically or emotionally hurting the child—I also think it is really important that girls have good relationships with their fathers, as this relationship helps define how they see men going forward. Divorce attorneys exacerbate conflicts and try and draw out the process, so THEY can profit. At the end of the day, it is our children who get hurt by this!

Shay September 23, 2008, 12:41 PM

The critics sound the same as the courts. I agree with Louise.

Sonja September 23, 2008, 2:47 PM

I see some hope in the way the courts are handling divorce and custody these days. PAS was more typical of the situation ten or 15 years ago, when someone had to give up the kids and someone had to lose. Now, if you want to get divorced they tell you it’s going to cost time with your kids — 50-50 custody is the norm.

I think this is a very possibly a good thing. One couple I know saw what the reality was for divorce today and went back together. And after all, with everyone hating the courts so much, there is an option, don’t go there.

My ex and I divorced with kids without appearing in court or hiring lawyers.

Vicki September 24, 2008, 9:16 AM

I totally understand his rage. Of course he shouldn’t have said it, but…..My husband went through all that stuff with his ex. She worked very hard to turn his girls against him. I worked for a long time.

In the last two years we have developed a relationship with the girls and their husbands. It all started with our 2nd grandchild. We didn’t see this first one until she was three.

Anyway, when number four was born,(by his youngest daughter) no one even told us about her until she was 12 days old and then only because we called to check on her.

Well, come to find out, her biological father (my husband knew it was possible that she was not his. However, he stayed, was in the dilevery room and did all the diaper and raising duties) decided it was time to enter the picture. My stepdaughter is slowly edging us out of her life and it breaks our hearts.

We have not changed one thing about the way we treat her or her family. We still and will always love her as ours. For some reason, she doesn’t believe she can have all of in her life.

It’s too bad bio-father didn’t step up to pay any child support.(that is my bitterness talking). He gets credit in the birth annoucement though.

Oh well, we will continue to include her and her’s in our lives as much as she wil let us. We love them.

cara September 24, 2008, 10:12 AM

I feel that everyone is being pompus and self rightous in their holier than thou act about him laying into his daughter. I mean, are you people being so passive with your kids that you don’t ever call them on their sh*t and lay into them real hard? Sometimes people need to hear that they ARE acting like “thoughtless little pigs”. He was probably right, and you know what….he was WAY more creative in his word usage than I could or would ever be, especially in the heat of the moment, hell, I just curse at my kids.

I think you who are slamming him as being a bad dad for that phone call are full of sh*t and if we put microphones and hidden cameras in YOUR homes, we’d probably find much worse.

Robert Gartner September 24, 2008, 11:42 AM

Whatever is revealed about Alec or Kim, I can speak from experience about PAS.

The group Justice for Children that rejects it existence outright ‘helped’ my daughter’s mother take my precious daughter from me. Mom was out committing three felonies while getting their free help via the law firm Fulbright and Jaworski, Llp.

Dangerous are the courtrooms today as they behave with a progressed state of addiction. Read Anne Wilson Schaef, When Sosiety Becomes An Addict, Harper and Row, 1986. This is not a gender issue and PAS cannot be flouted.

The epidemic of PAS is only fueled and supported by sick systems that refuse to examine their own internal workings.

Anonymous September 24, 2008, 12:04 PM

I’m still waiting for him to leave the USA.

amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D September 24, 2008, 1:03 PM

There are many misconceptions about PAS out there including that it has been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. Neither is true. While it is possible that some abusers make false claims of PAS in order to hide/escape their own guilt, that does not in itself make all claims of PAS false. Both occur and both are tragic. What is needed is more research into this issue and more training of mental health and legal professionals.

Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D.
Author, Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind (WW Norton)

proud mom of 2 September 24, 2008, 4:15 PM

I have to add my 2 cents here as I have/am living both sides of this. I was a single mother to my 2 sons since my first son was 3 months old, and I never married my 2nd sons father, so We have always been a single family. BUT, I never said a bad thing about their fathers in front of them, in facy I made sure I told them all the good things about them. When they didn’t want to go see their dads on the weekends, I made them go, when they didn’t want to call their dads, I made them and I would never ever let them disrespect their dads in any way. Now, they are older and living together and in school and working full time jobs. Now that they are on their own, I live with my boyfriend who after 23 years of marrage is divorced. His wife is totally different in the way she handled her divorce and the kids, who are 27, 21 & 16 (he was divorced 2 years ago) because of her resentments, she has made the kids feel the same way. How you ask, by bad mouthing him, by putting them in the middle where they feel like they have to choose (and are afraid to choose to see their dad for fear or hurting their mom) She has really confused and destroyed the relationship that they had with their dad. Its so horrible to see that they never call or come to see him (unless its x-mas time) they never return his calls and blame him for the divorce in which they have no clue as to why it even happened. Mothers DO NEED TO STOP DESTRYING THEIR CHILDREN BY STICKING THEM IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR PROBLEMS! Now his kids are old enough to make their own decisions/conclusions, but they all still live with mom and her boyfriend! (yes, even though the son is now 27, he still lives with mom) It is really sickening to watch what some mothers do to “get even” with their divorced spouse’s, they don’t see that they are ruining these kids live’s to ever have a happy, healthy relationship with anyone (ps, She got the divorce) It really braks my heart that my kids call or come to see me everyday and they also have a VERY HEALTHY relationship with their dads. and they also treat my b/f like a 2nd dad, but it breaks my heart to see his face when the boys tell me they love me when we talk on the phone or they leave my house because, I know his heart is just breaking to hear the same from his children. So people, please think twice about what you say or the way you treat your spouse/ex-spouse in front of the children, you are not just that relationship but also the childrens ability to have their own happy. healthy relationships in their future!!

Roberta Stark-Monahan September 24, 2008, 6:44 PM

Hopefully with Alec Baldwin’s notoriety and fame he can expose the fact that there are many parents who are fighting for their constitutional right to be a parent to their children. Family court judges and lawyers are running a racket to ensure their pockets are well-padded while they systematically destroy families. They don’t seem to have any conscience when it comes to robbing children of financial and emotional support. The thousands upon thousands of dollars being spent on court fees and attorneys could be better utilized to benefit the children instead.
Parental Alienation is an epidemic which does exist. The damaging effects that Parental Alienation is causing to our nation’s children is disgusting and appalling. So Mr. Baldwin, be our national spokesperson, tell the world how Parental Alienation is driving some to commit murder and suicide. Yes, ordinary people do snap! Everyone has a breaking point. The question is, will they ever get to that point? Most of us don’t, but some do, when they feel backed into a corner, desperate and can’t see any way out of this nightmare. There doesn’t have to be one single ounce of previous abuse. It happens!

Our children are enduring serious emotional damage that will take them years to overcome, if they ever do. Why aren’t the courts protecting our children? Why can’t the courts see that children have the right to have a relationship with both of their parents?

Instead the courts are allowing our children to be used as weapons to inflict pain upon their own parent, with the assistance of lawyers and court-appointed evaluators. The guilt these children are sure to feel one day when they realize what they have done; it is an unfair sentence to render upon these innocent victims who are caught in a war between the people they love. And what about the time and memories lost forever? Who pays the price for that loss?

A BIG thank you to Mr. Baldwin for having the courage to overcome opposition and bring this behavioral form of child abuse to the mainstream. His heart-wrenching experiences relating to the inalienable right to be a father to his own child is felt worldwide.

suzy garfinkle September 24, 2008, 8:26 PM

One of the defining characteristics of the Personality Disorder of “Narcissism” is the inability to take responsibility for one’s own behavior.  A Narcissist is simply compelled to create scenarios in which everyone else is at fault for anything that goes wrong in their life.
“PAS” gives narcissists the ability to blame someone else for the inevitable results of their own self-absorbed behavior regarding their children.  That is why it is most often a complete travesty of justice.

And, yes, of course, either gender can be guilty!

Pam September 24, 2008, 8:53 PM

I saw Alec Baldwin on The View, which by the way, I no longer watch. He seemed like he had anger issues and didn’t impress me at all with his explanation. I adored my Dad and was his little girl til the day he died. I was a grown Mother of two. There is no excuse whatsoever to call your daughter those ugly, ugly words!

Ted Spear September 24, 2008, 10:32 PM

As an alienated Father, I completely understand what Alec has been though, and understand the damage that is done to the children through the anger and bitterness of an ex spouse. These people are narcissistic animals, more interested in themselves than their children’s well being. My 17 year old son was killed drunk driving, and I lay the blame on my ex and the system that allowed her to take them out of my life and damage them mentally and emotionally. Thank you Alec for brining awareness to the crisis that today’s children face.

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