Sunday

The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent. A Sign of Parental Alienation

The scholarly work Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Child From Parental Alienation (Darnell 1998), leading author and child psychologist Dr. Douglas Darnell listed some of the clustering signs of commonalities that form what has become known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS has striking similarities to NPD and the Stockholm Syndrome (Rawlings et al., 1994, pp. 401– 417), where the “victim sees world from abuser’s perspective” and “denies or rationalizes violence by the abuser.” 
The following are adapted from Darnell et al in relation to Parental Alienation (Syndrome): 
  • They have a relentless hatred for towards the targeted parent(s)
  • They parrot the obsessed alienator
  • The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent
  • Many of the child’s beliefs are enmeshed with the alienator
  • The beliefs are delusional and frequently irrational
  • They are not intimidated by the court
  • Frequently, their reasons are not based on personal experiences with the targeted parent, but reflect what they are told by the obsessed alienator.
  • They have difficulty making any differentiations between the two 
  • The child has no ambivalence in their feelings; it’s all hatred with no ability to see the good
  • Victim identifies, enmeshes and aligns through the abuser and the abuser’s allies. Seeing things from the perspective of the perpetrators
  • They have no capacity to feel guilty about how they behave towards the targeted parent or forgive any past indiscretions 
  • They share the Obsessed Alienators cause. Together, they are in lockstep to denigrate the hated parent
  • The children’s obsessional hatred extends to the targeted parent’s extended family without any guilt or remorse
  • They can appear like normal healthy children until asked about the targeted parent that triggers their hatred (Darnell, 2003, 33–34)
These signs not only assist us in understanding Parental Alienation, but also help therapists identify children whose narcissistic and alienating parents drive them to a campaign of hate. Sandy Hotchkiss, author of the book on this most prevalent personality disorder: Why Is It Always About You? The Seven Sins of Narcissism, sums up a root cause of this mentality in America:
The ‘pseudomature’ child is the one who seems to have skipped right over childhood. Both the ‘pseudomature’ child and the ‘entitlement monster’ are bi-products of narcissistic parenting. The latter is held captive in a parent’s narcissistic bubble, while the former is forced out prematurely and forms a false Self that appears more competent than it actually is.
Both fail to separate from their emotionally bankrupt mothers, and they become what Mother, or Father, needs them to be rather than whom they truly are. (Hotchkiss, 2003, pp. 56–57)
In his scholarly work Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex, Dr. Richard Warshak eloquently listed the areas like “corrupting reality,” which the NPA is especially renowned: “. . . To intervene effectively in a campaign of denigration, we must understand exactly how the child’s view of reality is being manipulated. Below is a summary of some of the most common strategies for distorting the child’s perceptions, beliefs, and memories of the target” (Warshak, 2001, pp. 202–203).
  • Manipulating names to disrupt children’s identification with the target 
  • Repeating false ideas until: they are assumed to be true and are embedded in memory 
  • Selectively directing the children’s attention to negative aspects of the target while ignoring positive aspects
  • Dropping the context of a target’s behavior
  • Exaggerating the target’s negative behavior
  • Telling lies about the target
  • Revising history to erase positive memories of the target
  • Claiming that the target has totally changed
  • Suggestions that convey in a covert manner negative messages about the target
  • Encouraging the children to exploit: the target
  • Projection of the brainwasher own thoughts, feelings, or behavior onto the target
  • Rationalizations that hide the perpetrator’s real motives and make the target look bad
  • Self-righteous tones intended to ward off careful scrutiny of the programmer’s reality distortions
  • Denunciations cloaked in religious dogma
  • Associating the label “the truth” with the programmer’s implanted scenarios
  • Overindulging the children with excessive privileges, material possessions, and low expectations for responsible behavior to buy their allegiance
  • Encroaching on the children’s time with the target and sabotaging their enjoyment of special activities
  • Instructing children to keep secrets from, spy on, and lie to the target
  • Conspiring with others to reinforce the programming
  • Programming the children to resist attempts to undo their indoctrination

    Narcissistic children often become like their narcissistic alienating parent, but one should wisely keep in mind that “narcissistic traits may be particularly common in adolescents and do not necessarily indicate that the individual will go on to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, p. 660).

For some therapists, identifying a NPA is beyond their skill-set and may themselves join in the bad-mouthing of target parents whom they have never met. Some uninvited therapists become involved as the NPA’s activist and go so far as to write inflammatory and/or defamatory letters to courts containing fictitious claims, diatribes and false histories based upon the NPA’s fabrications and those of a disturbed child.
NPAs often do not perform background checks, and may even knowingly choose some individuals to represent them or the child, because of their naivety and easiness to be manipulated, or their reputation as a hired-gun.
NPA choices for legal and mental health representation, for example, may include individuals with previous warrants, or who willfully commit perjury in court, or who misrepresent their case histories on a website, or even live with a cross-dressing partner with gender issues while allowing their own children to remain in such an environment. It is imperative for target parents to complete a thorough check with the state licensing board, the courthouse or the bar association before agreeing to an attorney, therapist, or evaluator to represent their child which can often save thousands of dollars in the long run.
Regarding chronically alienated children, it is estimated that up to 40 percent develop an alignment with the alienator and have no problem over and over again to denigrate and outright reject the other parent and everything they say. These children tend to loose the spirit and soul that once nurtured a love for the NPA’s target as they refuse to bite the hand that feeds them by nurturing unwavering hatred. These children are psychologically abused by the alienator and inanely believe the target parent to be evil and horrible, when in fact; it is the NPA who qualifies for that status.
Research studies should be performed regarding NPAs, to assist unskilled therapists to identify the real abuser instead of inadvertently advocating NPA deception and blaming the target parent. Even an experienced or renowned therapist is quite capable of being bamboozled to breach ethical standards and professional objectivity by treating and performing a custody evaluation with the child simultaneously.
When narcissistic parents are too absorbed with their own preoccupations to spend time with their kids, they often raise narcissistic children, or at least children with profound narcissistic vulnerabilities, such as shame-sensitivity and the inability to manage intense negative feelings or to control their own aggressive impulses. 
Several years ago, a study of elementary-school-aged boys showed that those who were already identified as aggressive were less skillful than their more docile peers at accurately interpreting the behavior of others their age and were more likely to read intentional hostility into an ambiguous situation and respond with a preemptive strike. (Hotchkiss, 2003, p. 99)
Often, years pass with exploitative and repetitive brainwashing, denigration, and manipulation of the child against the target parent, and that, as the child matures into a teenager or adult, they become truly incapable of making sound and healthy choices, because irreversible damage has occurred. Few parents maintain the financial and psychological endurance against narcissistic abuse or have the skills to uncover the pettifoggery, before the child’s mind is completely altered and initiated into the alienator’s cult of parenthood. Experts and courts need to appreciate that time is of the essence.
Inexperienced therapists, evaluators, and often judges do not take into account when a child or teen has been subjected to years of poor behavior by an NPA prior to divorce or custody disputes and who have imposed such unbalanced and warped ideas on their offspring. When a teen claims to take their own stand on making mature adult choices, such a thought pattern needs to be addressed and corrected. Haven’t we all seen enough parental and juvenile dysfunction increase in the news over the last decades?
The rates of teen violence and peer crimes are on the rise because so many NPAs are never home to parent (often out on “business” dates, using drugs or alcohol) and they refuse to allow the target parent to assist. Often these types of NPAs will veil their paramour under the guise of being a friend or babysitter and then further deceive their former spouse and professionals by remarrying that individual with the hidden intention to cause further hurt to the target parent through the purchasing of the “synthetic replacement.” It is not uncommon for the NPA’s extended family to contribute to the alienating process by participating in concealing such facts.


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