Psychiatrist, Richard A. Gardner coined the phrase, “Parental Alienation Syndrome” to identify this behavior. He describes it as…
“A disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.”
How and why does Parental Alienation Syndrome happen?
Many attorneys and marriage counselors suspect that high conflict divorces involve at least one partner with ASD (or another type of empathy disorder). This is because of the Empathy Disorder. Lack of empathy, unregulated emotions and a desire to control the outcome can lead to alienating the children, without regard for the serious damage the children suffer.
What are some alienation techniques that are used? The magazine Psychology Today lists the following behaviors:
- “Bad-mouthing the other parent,
- Limiting contact with that parent,
- Erasing the other parent from the life and mind of the child (forbidding discussion and pictures of the other parent),
- Forcing the child to reject the other parent,
- Creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous,
- Forcing the child to choose between the parents by means of threats of withdrawal of affection, and
- Belittling and limiting contact with the extended family of the targeted parent.”