Parental Alienation Discussed
As many of my cases deal with possible BPD and NPD-type disorders, I see traits of Parental Alienation Syndrome in alienating parents. These cases are very challenging...in part because there are kids being harmed by the alienation and by the pathology directed at them on a daily basis by the alienating parent. Further, the cases can be difficult to manage as the alienating parents are often skillful manipulators that have had some prior success through the years harming the healthy, non-disordered "target" parent's legal standing, through false accusations and false orders of protection (often easy to obtain on an ex parte basis). Many disordered parents obtain custody and control of children through manipulation of the court process. In the end, the non-disordered target parent suffers, and the kids suffer, perhaps more, emotionally and developmentally.
There are strategies to combat PAS in custody cases. The article below discusses PAS in some detail.
"Welcome to the Swamp." by Amy Johnson Conner
That's what a judge once told a client of a divorce attorney when accusations of parental alienation were leveled against the client in a custody hearing.
Parental alienation syndrome - a controversial diagnosis to describe a child who compulsively denigrates one parent in response to consistent brainwashing by the other parent - has become a not-uncommon theme in custody cases.
According to Richard Gardner, the psychologist who is considered the father of the syndrome, it typically manifests itself as a campaign of denigration by one parent against the other, which is accompanied by weak, frivolous and absurd rationalizations for the deprecation. As a result of this steady campaign of insult, the child reflexively supports the alienating parent and experiences no guilt over their own cruelty towards the targeted parent.
But the mental health profession is far from agreement about the existence of the syndrome. Noting the lack of supporting data, the American Psychological Association has "no official position on the purported syndrome," according to a statement in its website.
The legal community is divided as well.