Parental Alienation

Love Gone Bad

I am the victim of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). In my forthcoming book, “LOVE GONE BAD: Surviving the loss of your children through Parental Alienation Syndrome,” I walk you through the two parts you need to know to protect yourself and your children (even grown children). First, you need to know that it can happen to you, no matter how good you are as a parent. Second, the tools you need to survive are rooted in what I call Radiant Empathy. You need to be smart — fight smart — and that depends on the type of resilience that only comes if you have Radiant Empathy. You may lose a few battles with an unethical and abusive Ex, but there is hope if you stay the course.

Have you ever seen children who relentlessly belittle and insult one parent without cause? This is so heartbreaking, yet is becoming more common. It can get so bad that they even view that parent as evil. A person is most likely to see this situation during high conflict divorces where children become pawns in the battle between mom and dad.

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. While not all on the Autism Spectrum will engage in Parental Alienation Syndrome, the underlying empathy disorder is still an issue in any divorce.

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 afftection, and
  • Belittling and limiting contact with the extended family of the targeted parent.

This painful issue of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” causes many to fear divorce. I did. I stayed for too long in a disastrous marriage that only got worse over time. When I finally chose to leave, the cards were stacked against me. I describe the decade long war I fought to protect my children, my livelihood and my sanity in my book “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you.”