Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
Parental alienation occurs when efforts are made to discourage a child’s attachment to a parent. This often occurs during acrimonious divorces, when one parent discourages the child/children from having a relationship with the other. Mechanisms often used to alienate the child/children are extremely harmful to children and include the following:
- Slandering the other parent. This involves making deprecating statements about the other parent repetitively. This often includes fabricated information.
- Showing disapproval or objection to the child being with the other parent or enjoying time with the other parent.
- Interfering with the other parent’s time with the child/children. This is sometimes done by scheduling events during time with the other parent or making the child feel guilty for being with the other parent or enjoying it.
The Link Between BPD and PAS
Some common symptoms of BPD make parental alienation more common in acrimonious divorces, the most damaging of which include the following:
- Fear of abandonment: The divorce process often leaves individuals with a sense of abandonment. Those who are particularly sensitive to these fears grab onto others to mitigate the loss of a spouse, which often results in being possessive of the children.
- Idealization and devaluation: The tendency to see others as either close friends or mortal enemies often results in angry and vengeful feelings towards the other parent. These feelings are sometimes acted out by alienating the children from the other parent.
- Intense anger that they have difficulty controlling: This makes it difficult for them to suppress angry thoughts and expressions, resulting in frequent disparagement of the other parent.
Daniel S. Lobel Ph.D. (Psychology Today)