Book Review: My Children, His Victims by Ica Iova

26 01 2013

Some books are hard to read because the gravity of their subjects is so weighty. Some books are difficult to read because the characters are so raw and vivid, that all heartaches that the characters feel resonate in your breast. Some books are hard to read because they make you realize a horrible truth about human nature. Ica Iova’s book, My Children, His Victims, is a hard book to read for all of these reasons.

I was very happy to review this book when Ms. Iova asked me to a few months after her author interview. It is a great book: well written, unbelievably real, and a story of triumph. But when I sat down to re-read it, I almost couldn’t. I didn’t know if I could travel with Johanna as her beautiful marriage turns to open hostility and then divorce from her husband Louis. I didn’t know if I could re-read the painful details of how Louis bitterly and cruelly fought for custody of his children and how he attempted to turn their impressionable young minds against their mother. It is hard to watch Johanna’s life be destroyed and not be able to do anything to help her succeed.

What is most heartbreaking is how scenarios just like this happen every day. We have all seen a friend destroyed by divorce and embittered by the slow, capricious ways of divorce court. We have seen someone have to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of their past life and forge ahead. Some never do get the strength to move on and start a better life. I think what is truly remarkable about this book is that Johanna’s happily ever after is not a guarantee. In this book, art does imitate life; we are sated at the end: Johanna does get custody of her children but it is a long road. She makes mistakes, she is railroaded by the court, her children are put in jeopardy, and her children won’t love her with as much innocence as before the divorce.

My Children, His Victims hopes to illuminate people about Hostile Aggressive Parenting which is a serious form of child abuse that can occur during custody battles. Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) is defined as: A general pattern of behavior, manipulation, actions or decision-making of a person (usually a parent or guardian) that either directly or indirectly. Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is most apparent in child-custody disputes and is used most often as a tool to align the child with one of the parents during litigation over custody or control of the child.  Hostile-aggressive parents will use the child as a weapon against the other spouse and family members. Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is considered by many health care and legal experts unhealthy, anti-social, abusive behavior which is emotionally damaging and contrary interest of a child. At the end of My Children, His Victims is an appendix which explains HAP more completely and explains what to do if you observe the symptoms of HAP.

My Children, His Victims is a lyrical novel that hopes to educate readers about a serious issue. Reading this book will be difficult but rewarding. I highly recommend reading this book (with some tissues) and learning more about HAP.

To buy this book go to www.xlibris.com.

Read the interview with Ica Iova about My Children, His Victims and her other books here: http://charleshenryeditingblog.com/2012/11/05/interview-with-ica-iova/

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Author Interview with Ica Iova!

5 11 2012

This week I talked with Ica Iova children’s advocate who educates others about Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP). Her novel: My Children, His Victims offers a fictional portrayal of a family going through a divorce and HAP. Iova is currently working on her second novel, I Never Got to Say Goodbye and an autobiography entitled The Rocky Road to Dream Land.

1. Can you explain what Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) is for our readers?

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is known as a pattern of behavior, decisions, manipulations, of one parent intended to interfere with the relationship between the child and the other parent, fact which promotes unfairness in parenting, and ongoing and unnecessary conflict between the parents. Although it commonly refers to the behavior of one parent, it is not limited to the biological parents however. It applies to any guardian – grandparents, extended family members, daycare providers and to any other person who may be involved in caring and rearing of a child. Whereas it is mostly used as a tool to align the child with one of the parents during custody litigation  it can be present wherever two or more people are at odds with each other over the rearing of a child. Hostile-Aggressive Parents are most often identified as individuals with controlling and bullying personalities, or those with mild to severe personality disorders.
My personal opinion of Hostile-Aggressive Parents is that they are selfish, narcissistic individuals, with a strong sense of entitlement, arrogance and lack of compassion for others. They think of their children as a personal possession rather than a living, breathing being, who needs the love of both parents equally. The signs and symptoms, by which hostile parents can be identified, can be easily mistaken for caring parents who are simply seeking to take control of the daily structure of the child’s life because they had “proven” the other parent unfit.

A hostile parent is easily able to manipulate professionals that are highly qualified and trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of HAP. Some of those professionals are unwilling- or sometimes willing- participants in helping the hostile parent in his/her vengeful crusade against the friendly parent. It is important for everyone to know and recognize not only the signs and symptoms of HAP, but the red flagging behavior of a child raised in HAP environment so an intervention can be done before the child’s psychological well-being is completely shattered.

Since the day a child is born, there is a natural bond between the child and his/her parents. Any constellation of behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, that could evoke a disturbance in the relationship between a child and the other parent, any interference meant to break the bond between a child and one of the parents I consider malicious and a horrible form of child abuse.
Although Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is often confused with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), they are not the same. HAP refers to the behaviours, actions and decisions of a person, whereas, PAS relates to the psychological condition of the child. In the vast majority of cases HAP is the cause of PAS.

2. What growing up was like due to the abuse of HAP?

I had the privilege of growing up with both parents in my life; so did my own children; however seeing my grandchildren going through several years of hostile parenting and attempted parental alienation, seeing the pain and anguish on their little faces and their emotional state of mind it was heart breaking and impossible to fully describe in words. My daughter is one of the strongest people I know, and I thank God every day for giving her the strength to deal with it, but there were times when we all felt absolutely hopeless and helpless, there were times when we thought that the whole world was against us and I realize now that anyone could be easily overcome with feelings like that, because an honest individual is no measure for the unscrupulous hostile parent who will stop at nothing in order to achieve what he wants- mostly power and control. What many hostile parents refuse to acknowledge is that in a child’s eyes both parents are equal, and by being unkind to the other parent they hurt the children first and foremost.

3. What event made you decide to speak out against HAP?

Although I had occasionally come across HAP long before there was a name attached to it, my first close encounter with HAP was a few years ago, when my daughter went through a high conflict divorce. It was astonishing to see the extents to which her husband went to, for no other apparent reason, than retaliation. Without going into too many details for the simple fact that I don’t want to “awaken a somewhat dormant fire”, it was then, that I realized how damaging HAP could be to a young child. Time and time again, I had witnessed my grandchildren panicking every time the parents crossed paths in anticipation of a new argument, shouting, name calling, etc. When I started researching the issue, I realized that there are a lot of other people in the same situation. That intrigued me even further and that was about the time when My Children His Victims started taking a life of its own. I realized how easy it is for two people-who once loved each other- to get caught in high conflict litigations, absolutely oblivious to the end -results it has on their most precious God-given gift-their children. It was then, that I decided to be one more voice out there, trying to bring awareness about this world-wide spread issue. If my voice, or my actions, will help spare one child from the unnecessary torment and suffering as a result of hostile parenting, I will consider myself successful.

4. What advice would you give to people suffering under HAP?

My advice to the hostile parent (They are sufferers too -of their own spiteful behavior that is eating at their souls) : Don’t-for a split second- think that you are more important to your child than the other parent. Remember that although you are living apart you are still a family-your child’s only family, and the more you try to replace the other parent with your new spouse, the more resilient your child will be and will see your new spouse as an intruder.
And last but not least- Love your child more than you hate your ex-spouse, your children are human beings who deserve to be loved by both parents.

My advice to the friendly parent is first and foremost: Don’t let the hostile parent drag you into his twisted mind games. Don’t ever think that you will be able to change the behavior of a hostile parent; the only behavior you can change is that of your own-as harsh as it sounds it is the truth and the sooner you accept it the easier will be to deal with the hostile parent. Keep assuring your children that you love them and as difficult as it seems, never stop fighting for them. When they grow up, they will not remember how much money you had in your bank, but they will remember that you never gave up.

My advice for close family and friends: Don’t be a passive onlooker and turn a blind eye on hostile behavior. Be a voice for those who don’t have a voice-the children.

My advice for grown-up children of HAP: Believe in second chances. The reason you became alienated from one parent could be, not because that parent did not love you enough to fight for you, but perhaps, because he/she was not strong enough to withstand the deceitful behavior of the hostile parent.

5. Is your novel My Children, His Victims autobiographical?

My Children, His Victims is a fiction book inspired by the highly disputed topics of Hostile-Aggressive Parenting and Parental Alienation.

6. By the end of My Children, His Victims what hope is there for Johanna and her children?

Johanna realized that she needed to take some responsibility for her part in the situation and most importantly she knew that the only way to stop Louis, his mother and his lawyer (who seemed to have transformed the situation into her personal vendetta) was if she fought back with everything she got, and with the love and support of her entire family, that’s what she did.

7. Are there redeeming qualities in Louis?

There is always hope if we are willing to open our minds and our hearts.
No one is all bad, just like not everyone is all good. However, Louis is consumed by the sense of abandonment and the need to punish Johanna, and his own malicious behavior will bite him in his rear end.

8. Tell us about your second novel I Never Got to Say Goodbye.

I Never Got to Say Goodbye is also a fiction book-a crime story- about a young couple’s life. Throw in an affair, a jealous husband with controlling behavior, and you have a recipe for disaster.

9. Tell us about your autobiography The Rocky Road to Dreamland.

The Rocky Road to Dreamland is my story-the dreams of a young Ica Iova and what it took to achieve those dreams, first in a communist country, and later in an adoptive country with entirely unfamiliar grounds, language and culture.

10. What are your upcoming projects?

I am the founder of Broken Home Society- a brand new Non-profit organization which will be working with divorce families and families of domestic violence providing them with Educational Programs about HAP, Parental Alienation and Domestic Violence, counseling services, and open group programs.

Broken Home Society will be extremely valuable especially for families with a lower socioeconomic status.

We are in the final stages and I am hoping that we will be able to have our grand-opening before Christmas.

I also plan to keep on writing- something I’ve always wanted to do, but given the circumstances it only became possible recently.

To learn more about Ica Iova, please read her bio on Xlibris:

http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0117226003/My-Children-His-Victims.aspx

Follow her twitter account:

https://twitter.com/icaiova

If you are interested in being a featured author on our blog, email carolyn@charleshenryediting.com to set up an interview time. Please visit http://www.charleshenryediting.com for your editing needs and follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/CharlesHenryEdt.





Promotional: Author Interview with Ica Iova.

4 11 2012

Charles Henry Editing is interviewing Ica Iova, author of My Children, His Victims which is available through Xlibris, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her book My Children, His Victims is about Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and the psychological damage it inflicts on a family, especially the children. She is currently working on another novel, I Never Got to Say Goodbye, and her true life story The Rocky Road to Dreamland. She also writes parenting articles for examiner.com.

Iova experienced the behavior of a HAP, which contributed to her determination to raise awareness on how traumatic, exhausting, and disturbing HAP actions are to everyone around them. She especially wants to emphasize how damaging that conduct could be to a young child.

To learn more about her go read her bio at Xlibris:

http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0117226003/My-Children-His-Victims.aspx

Follow her twitter account:

https://twitter.com/icaiova

If you are interested in being a featured author on our blog, email carolyn@charleshenryediting.com to set up an interview time. Please visit http://www.charleshenryediting.com/ for your editing needs and follow us on twitter:https://twitter.com/CharlesHenryEdt.








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