June 8, 2009

Parental Alienation and The David Goldman Case: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

I have followed the David and Sean Goldman case for quite a while, and have wondered how it would end. Would it end well? And for whom? I hope it ends well for Sean Goldman.

If you are not familiar with the case, here is a summary: David Goldman takes his wife and young son to the airport. The wife and son are taking a vacation in the wife's native Brazil. After arriving in Brazil, the wife informs her husband she is not returning and their son will remain in Brazil with her. Permanently. For more information, see BringSeanHome.org.

Four years later, David Goldman is still trying to obtain custody of his now nine year old son.

David Goldman writes on his website he had no idea his wife was displeased with the marriage and he believed they were a typical, happy family. The wife is now deceased, having died in childbirth after re-marrying in Brazil, and cannot tell her side of the story.

Sean Goldman has lived in Brazil for approximately half of his young life. His stepfather has cared for him during this time. It is very likely Sean has no clear memory of his life in the U.S.

How does Star Trek's Let That Be Your Last Battlefield fit into all of this?

Anger and rage follow an injustice. Someone has to choose to stop the fighting and be a peacemaker. Having been wronged does not disqualify you from becoming a peacemaker. In fact, you may be just the one to do it.

I have some knowledge of parental alienation. It is a cruel injustice, beyond words in its power to hurt. People who engage in creating parental alienation are so wounded and so dysfunctional that there is no extreme to which they will not go to "carry the day", make their point, and prevail in a conflict. If you fight them on their terms, you have to live in the pit with them everyday. Forever.

In the Star Trek episode, two men from one planet carry their war into the galaxy. The fighting, the hatred, and the arguing are endless. They drag others into their conflict, unconcerned for the damage they are causing. After a long journey, they return to their home and find the entire population dead in the aftermath of a civil war. Undaunted, they reject all offers to live peacefully in a new world, return instead to their home planet, and continue the war. Each man is an army of one. The end.

There's a little bell in the back of my head that rings when I wonder if David Goldman is now more concerned about winning the battle than he is about what is best for his son. What nine year old wants to leave the only home he can remember to live in a "foreign country" where he knows no one, not even the father who is fighting to bring him back?

I believe David Goldman loves his son. I hope he loves his son more than he hates the people who stole Sean, brainwashed him, and are keeping him in Brazil.

On June 3, 2009, David Goldman experienced another legal setback when a Brazilian high court overruled a lower court and kept David from bringing his son back to the U.S.

I hope David Goldman will consider letting that be his last battlefield.

If you were looking for justice, David Goldman, perhaps it was expressed in your ex-wife's loss of life.

If you are looking for peace and a relationship with your son, perhaps it can be found in your temporary relocation to Brazil, the place your son calls home.

Is this a workable answer? I don't know. I know for sure that after a time, we can lose the thing we seek while fighting for it. It takes a lot of courage to say "If there were winner and losers, I guess I was the loser. Now, I will move on with life as it truly is."

Let that be your last battlefield.


Liesl said...

I have been following this case closely the last year or so. I do believe David Goldman has Sean's best interests in mind trying to rescue his son.

He has been granted visitation rights to his son and they were briefly briefly reunited just this past week. His son asked him if he could come visit him the day after.
The maternal family has been PREVENTING him to have contact with the child; they can't re-bond if they won't let them.

Sean is 9 years old and can fully readapt to his life in NJ. I'm sure David will not stoop to their level and cut off contact with the maternal family. Even though, if I were in his shoes, after all the damage they have done to the boy, I would.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...


Thanks for following this case!

It is definitely an important one!

I need to continue to read more discussions about it.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

P.S. I quoted you in my newest post! *smiles*

deborah evans said...


Thank you for sharing your perspective on this case. This is a difficult case because, in my opinion, the passage of time really has changed the possible benefits of bringing Sean back to the US.

Sean has a half-sister (his only sibling) in Brazil and has been enrolled in school there for quite some time. In addition, he has a stepfather and his mother's family there as well.

With the passage of time, it may be increasingly difficult for anyone to make the case that Sean should be uprooted from his life and brought to a country where he knows no one, especially if, as you suggest "I'm sure David will not stoop to their level and cut off contact with the maternal family. Even though, if I were in his shoes, after all the damage they have done to the boy, I would."

deborah evans said...

Thanks, Rev. Lisa, for stopping by and for the quote.

I will read your latest post tomorrow. I always allow myself "thinking and reflecting" time when I read your blog!