Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Is It, and Who Does It?
What kind of parent lies to turn their kids against the other parent?
Posted Feb 01, 2018 on Psychology Today
A narcissistic alienating parent uses the children as weapons, pawns in his/her battle to destroy the other parent. They claim to be protecting the children against the evil other. In fact, by using the children in their perpetual fight to hurt the other parent, they show little capacity for taking into consideration what is in the best interests of the child.
Kids need both parents. They do not however benefit, and indeed are harmed, when one of their parents portrays the other in a relentlessly negative light. They do not need parents who fight their way through divorce and post-divorce. They are harmed when parents put them in the middle of their power battles. They are harmed when a parent uses them to accomplish their own angry agenda, ignoring the needs of the children.
In addition to getting emotionally aroused too often, and too intensely, people with this disorder often have difficulty self-soothing. Their distress thus tends to be longer-lasting than the distress that most people experience. In this regard, they have deficits in emotional resilience, in the ability to recover once they have felt frustrated or disappointed. They become at risk therefore for developing a victim self-image, blaming others for whatever goes wrong—which in turn enables them to victimize others. "I'm a victim so I have a right to victimize you."
Borderline disorders become evident in the way that an alienating parent twists reality. They offer trumped up accusations against the healthier parent, accusations that actually are projections of how they themselves are. “Your dad is selfish,” says the actual selfish parent. Or “Your mother is crazy,” says the dad who is himself emotionally unhealthy.
Alienating parents typically also engage in another quintessential borderline pattern, a habit that therapists refer to as splitting. They enlist others to join their side in fighting against the supposedly evil other, splitting the family into us against them.
Individuals with borderline personality features get mad when someone of import to them won't give them what they want—e.g., a spouse who has decided to leave the marriage, generally because the alienating partner was not capable of healthy, loving and collaborative partnership. Their goal then becomes to destroy the other parent's relationship with the children. They corral in the children to join them in this battle as a fighter for their side. They do all they can to deprive the other parent, their enemy, of being able to continue to be a parent.
Feeling perpetually angry at your spouse or ex-spouse? Anxious about your co-parenting relationship? Depressed about the situation?
Better check out if either of you is involved in trying to turn your children against their other parent. If so, think again.
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Do you really want to cause major psychological damage to your off-spring? Change is possible. Go for it. Starting today.
Parental Alienation Resources
National Association of Parental Alienation Specialists
Family Access - Fighting for Children's Rights
Professionals Familiar with Parental Alienation
Note: Not responsible for the content, claims or representations of the listed sites.