Is Your Family Suffering From Parental Alienation?

Sandy Beaches By Sandy Beaches, 12th Apr 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Divorce

What is Parental Alienation? Is your child being used as a pawn in divorce? Are you an adult child who was turned against one of your parents? Read the symptoms, causes, and support that comes with Parental Alienation.

What Exactly IS Parental Alienation?

Parental Alienation is when one parent (the alienator), psychologically manipulates their child to unjustifiably turn against the other parent (the target parent). Parental alienation most commonly occurs during a divorce, but can last for decades.
Richard A. Gardner was the first to coin the phenomenon back in the 1980s. Through his research, he discovered an increase in the frequency of children who had been brainwashed against one parent by the other.
Since loving and wanting both parents is a natural instinct, the tactics used to program children are persistent.

Some of these tactics include:

- Isolating the child from peers or family
- Regularly bad mouthing the targeted parent over time
- Lying to the child about the targeted parent
- Withholding affection from the child if the child longs for the targeted parent
- Encouraging the child to become dependent financially/emotionally/socially so that the child is then forced to agree with the alienating parent or fear lack of survival
- Guilting the child by crying or using blame whenever the child expresses concern for the targeted parent
- Putting the child in a position of ‘power’ so that the child feels equal to the alienating parent, thus able to emotionally take care of the alienating parent
- Making the child feel as if he/she is the only one who understand the alienating parent’s grief
- Threatening harm if the child does not resist the targeted parent
- Repeating disrespectful sentiments about the targeted parent in hopes of wearing the child down until he/she agrees

According to Dr. Craig Childress, a psychologist specializing in parental alienation, most alienating parents suffer from extreme narcissism. Those with narcissistic personality disorder and those with borderline personality disorder often end up manipulating the child when parental alienation has occurred. The anxiety over inadequacy and abandonment is often too much for the alienating parent to handle. Instead of focusing on becoming healthy, they often try to resolve their issues through their children creating a highly dysfunctional and emotionally incestuous dynamic. Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse that can impact the child well into adulthood.

How to tell if a parent is abusive or alienated

When a child vehemently dislikes one of their parents, it is hard to tell if they have
been manipulated by an alienating parent or if the parent in question has done something wrong.

Here are some of the common signs of a child suffering from the consequences of parental alienation:

- Constant denigration of the targeted parent. Often times children use language that is inappropriate for their age to demonstrate a hatred that isn’t natural for their development
- When asked what is so awful about the targeted parent, the child may offer weak or frivolous reasons that do not seem to match the extent of their anger
- The child is 100% sure of themselves. They see the alienating parent as completely right where as the targeted parent is completely wrong
- The child protects the alienated parent’s feelings
- The child demonstrates little guilt over harsh words or actions against the targeted parent
- The child hates everything to do with the targeted parent including other family members
- When asked about positive memories, the child will deny having any from the targeted parent
- The child may have trouble with healthy boundaries
- The child expresses worry for the alienating parent and feels a need to take care of him/her

How to find help

The mental health issues for adult children who have experienced parental alienation are well documented and researched by Amy Baker in her book, The Ties That Bind. Addiction, depression, low esteem, paranoia, the inability to trust his/herself, isolation, and social withdrawal are all common outcomes. Stemming from lack of trust, adult children may look to their romantic partner for a strong opinion. They may be more easily manipulated than most, finding it easier to trust others than themselves.

Amy Baker’s site can share more insight on parental alienation at:

In addition to therapy, here is a list of helpful books:
The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Conceptual, Clinical and Legal Considerations by Richard A. Gardner, Richard S. Sauber, Demosthenes Lorandos
The Look of Love by Jill Egizzi
The Custody Revolution by Dr. Richard Warshak
A Family’s Heartbreak: An Introduction to Parental Alienation by Mike Jeffries
Fragmented Families: Patterns of Estrangement and Reconciliation by Ellen Sucov
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner

The vast amount of information and online forums available for those going through parental alienation are for targeted parents. Help for adult children who have lived through parental alienation can be difficult to find, but specialized help does exist.


Children, Divorce, Emotional Abuse, Mind Control, Parental Alienation, Personality Disorders, Psychological Abuse, Psychology

Meet the author

author avatar Sandy Beaches
I've been writing for over twenty years. I've published in a variety of mediums (newspapers, journals, books). I am especially interested in psychological issues and current events.

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