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50 thoughts on “Children with Attachment Based Narcissistic “Parental Alienation Syndrome”

  • June 23, 2016 at 1:57 am
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    Part of the problem when a situation like this hits the courts is that the legal system is not set up to investigate the problematic relationship between the Narcissistic parent and the child(ren). My experience is that the courts actually “hear” the loudest contender, which sadly is the Narcissist as their indignation and perpetual pointing the finger back at the alienated parent takes center stage. In my case, my two teens were telephoning in accusations of false abuses, all seeded and applauded by the other (abusing) parent. I eventually gave up the battle and let the children move to their dad’s house, 3000 miles away, and haven’t heard from them in 2 years. Although the 730 psych report and all the experts who knew the children all suggested for them to remain in my care, the alienated children became impossible to manage within our household. my husband and I were afraid of being jailed over false accusations, and our life became a living hell living with the children, AND we could no longer afford the court costs and frivolous claim after frivolous claim was filed. Now, 2 years later, I’m still on lots of meds for PTSD, depression, anxiety.

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    • June 23, 2016 at 2:07 am
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      When you fight with a narcissist, you may have the intention to come to a conclusion through mediation or compromise…but he comes to the negotiating table with a live grenade…

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    • May 12, 2018 at 10:55 am
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      I unfortunately have similar experience when my daughters were children
      I fought through the courts which did recognize that PLA was present but didn’t do much about
      No change in custody
      Unfortunately for me my two daughters are now aged 28 and 31 will not even speak to me
      This is a life sentence that criminals in jail dont even receive although good loving parents like myself receive this horrendous life sentence with very little help!

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      • August 4, 2018 at 8:43 am
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        I am in a similar spot my boys are 17.15 and feel there is still hope. Have you looked into the steps to take to hold the other parent criminally responsible for the alienation?

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    • January 24, 2019 at 2:08 pm
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      Same here. My grown girls are with their dad and I was able to be awarded custody of my granddaughter but haven’t seen my other girls in nearly 2 years.
      My x has them so conditioned that they both came to our divorce hearing and commuted pergury. They reflected a complete fabrication of how I was as a mother and although I had 30 letters disqualifying their claims it was now real to them. I not sure that waiting until they are ready to talk will ever happen.

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  • June 23, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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    I am glad I stumbled upon this website although I feel it is too late. I became a step-mother when my husband’s daughter was 9yoa. In addition to the bio mother being a text book alienator, she was hateful, envious and refused to co-parent unless all her demands were met. Unfortunately, we didn’t recognize the syndrome then. A year later and lots of research, we came to the theory of parental alienation. It all fit. We began desperately trying to get his daughter out of that environment. The more we fought for her the worse it got. Our last resort was to go to court. We live in Washington where there are laws against psychological abuse. Of course we found bias. Being the primary residence, Judges, attorneys, mediators and even counselors did not want to believe that this mother could be capable of abuse. After we lost our motion to change primary residence, my husband swallowed his pride and asked the mother to please put this child first. My stepdaughter was 12 when she “chose” to leave our home. Now 16, she wants to come back. Her mother can no longer handle her and has asked my husband to “fix” their daughter – but still inserts herself into our approach. His daughter is so screwed up! Drinking, drugging, bad grades, staying out all night, running away, disrespectful, confused, unrealistic, lying, defiant, manipulative, flakey and am sure sexually active. She has not completely broken away from her mother, still running back to her. All of this is what we predicted and tried to stop. We were able to get her into a good therapist but she chose to take that precious time to complain about how we were making her switch schools next year. This is what she had agreed to before moving in with us. This is another thing she does, go back on her word. We are doing what we can but this could have been avoided if the legislators, social workers and court personnel would give merit to the condition. This child did not need to endure this. Please share this information. It has been a nightmare.

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    • June 24, 2016 at 2:29 am
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      Have you studied attachment trauma or reactive attachment disorder? Many times when children have a parent which is incapable of “attunement” with their child, the child is emotionally wounded and displays the types of behaviors you’ve described. Narcissists are broken in the interpersonal aspect of their lives and so do not know how to properly attune or attach to other people. Usually, children with reactive attachment disorder are very manipulative and hurt the people who try to love them. My opinion is that she needs the strength and consistency of parents who will love her enough to not let her manipulations succeed. I raised a step-child with RAD and found it to be very challenging, but not impossible. I recommend constant self-care because it’s hard. They will hurt you where they know it counts.

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    • July 6, 2018 at 12:04 pm
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      “His daughter is so screwed up! ” Have more empathy there, step-mom.

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  • June 23, 2016 at 11:36 pm
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    Thank you Dr Stines, for this well-written and concise article. You obviously have a clear understanding of what is taking place in this dynamic.

    “…do not believe this problem will just go away on its own. It will most likely get worse.”

    Those are very, VERY TRUE WORDS!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if most readers think that children affected by a narcissistic parent in such a manner will “grow out of it” once they become an adult. I offer to you & your readers a personal example of the severity of this type of narcissistic abuse.

    Back in late 2002, when I announced my intention to end my 25-year marriage, I was taken aback by my son’s change in demeanor. In no time flat he began giving me the cold-shoulder. My sister suggested that my wife was likely poisoning his and my relationship. My naive response was that there was no way she would do such a thing. For that matter, I couldn’t conceive as to how she could do such a thing. You see, he was 19 at the time, and darn near out of the nest. Yet, within a mere ten weeks he confided in his older cousin that he hated me, and that he was having dreams of killing me! Thereafter, he cut off all contact with that cousin, as well as my entire side of the family. In his sparse communication with me from that point on, it was clear that he sat in judgement of me. His behavior was quite disdainful.

    Other than a near reunification with me when he got married in 2011 at the age of 28, repairing of our relationship has not yet taken place. It was at the beginning of that year that he had reached out to me, to invite me & my wife to his wedding. I was overjoyed! Unfortunately, the timing was such that court actions were already in motion, as I had to file court papers to request an adjustment in alimony, as I had just been forced-retired from my career. Apparently the drama that his mother created about the court action resulted in the withdrawing of the wedding invitation to us. Communication was sparse throughout the rest of that year. However, near the end of that year my son wrote to me, asking if I could either lend or give him money for his continuing college education. It was then that I came to realize that his mother had shared court discovery documents with him, as in his very last email, after I advised that we were unable to give/lend a large sum of money at that time, that he wrote, “I saw that you have a college fund for your new son.  Did I read that correctly?  I bet he is in your will too.  Am I correct?  I suppose there is no room for me then.  Can I be anymore forgotten?”  His sense of value had certainly diminished, and he most certainly felt victimized.

    All along I had been longing to have a close relationship with my son, but he couldn’t seem to allow himself to show any love for me, or allow himself to love both his mother and his father, simultaneously, since that fateful day back in 2002.

    Today he is 33. My decision to end my relationship with his mother over thirteen years ago resulted in my son completely rejecting me, as well as my entire side of the family. I became not only an ex-husband, but an ex-father as well.

    This past autumn I ventured to open my wounds, as I began analyzing what I, and my son, have been going through. I also recently began attending a support group. As I learn more about how this pathology is actually defined in currently accepted psychological constructs, I am astounded that the American Psychological Association still holds a 2008 Position Statement wherein they DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THIS PATHOLOGY!

    I encourage other targeted parents to join The National Alliance For Targeted Parents in demanding that the APA acknowledge this pathology, and do something about it.

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    • June 24, 2016 at 2:19 am
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      The APA doesn’t acknowledge a lot of different pathologies; and oftentimes when it does, diagnostic criteria are vastly different from the “real” symptoms. When I research Parental Alienation Syndrome I noticed that most of the resources were legal in nature, and that there is very little research on how to treat the actual disorder. In a way, it seems like a personality disorder all on its own.

      Anyway, it is obvious that your son had a psychic “split” somewhere along the way in order to cope with the emotional devastation that narcissism creates. He obviously had to split off his compassionate, empathic, and vulnerable self that needed the love and nurturance of an attached father. So sad. I am happy to hear you joined a support group and are doing what you can to heal.

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  • June 24, 2016 at 11:09 am
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    Thank you for this! This is exactly what is happening with my partner and his daughter who lives with his ex-wife. She claims to “not feel comfortable around her father” and think that “her father disregards her feelings” when she is with her mom but never acts that way or expresses it when she is with us. Meanwhile her mother refers to the 11 year old as “my clone” and has been encouraging male attention toward the young girl because in some twisted way she sees it as proving how attractive the mother is! The most incredible thing about all of this is that she actually says HE is the one with NPD and everything she does to him, she accuses him of doing to her. It’s tough to figure out whether or not she does this on purpose or is really that lacking in insight.

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  • June 25, 2016 at 7:57 am
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    Question. I was the wife of a narcissist. Two in fact. One of my children , my son, has always been close to me and defends me against my other child who identifies with her father, the narcissist. How do I deal with an adult child who treats me exactly like her father did? I can avoid her, or limit my contact with her, but I want to be with my 9 year old twin granddaughters. I divorced her father but don’t want to divorce my daughter.Nothing I do is right, yet I feel in her presence like I did with her father. I’ve come so far, I do not want to regress. Help please.

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    • June 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm
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      I would recommend getting a really good support system; your “A-Team” so to speak. I would build myself up prior to the meeting with my daughter by being around one of my A-Team members, so that I felt strong and affirmed. While with my daughter, I would not personalize any of her behavior, but I would define myself. I would “act as if” if I had to. I would memorize slogans in my head while with her and keep my eyes on the goal – a healthy relationship with my grandchildren. I would not argue with my daughter, but I would show her that I am strong, dignified, and capable of handling her. I would not act weak, because she has probably internalized that the narcissist was the strong one with the power in the relationship and that your apparent vulnerability was an unacceptable weakness. I would speak clearly and directly and walk with confidence. I would hug my daughter, tell her I love her, and tell her that I hope someday we can have a good relationship. After I leave my meeting with my daughter and grandchildren I would call or visit one of the members of my “A-Team” in order to debrief. Remember, growth is a process and takes baby steps. Take every encounter you have as an opportunity to practice self-love and healing.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 11:32 am
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    Great article and comments. As a male TP, I say it is refreshing to see the viewpoint of quite a few females; it helps to dispel ignorance. That PA is gender specific is one of myriad of “surface” explanations I hear when I try to explain this thing to “lay people.” Instead of appreciating the gravity of this devastating epidemic, this rationale tends to give people comfort in staying uninvolved and on the surface, believing that PA is not even a “thing.” It is a thing, a very pathological thing, and a child abuse thing to say the least–not a “Mars/Venus” thing.

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    • June 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm
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      Yes, I noticed that a lot of men have struggled with this problem, as well as women. It is sad either way.

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  • July 20, 2016 at 7:31 am
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    I think I am watching this right now between my daughter and her ex. My daughter has custody, but my grandchild is visiting the ex for the summer and all of a sudden there has been a full 180 degree change in demeanor. I mean drastic. The father calls and threatens constantly, the child is tattling on the mother for things such as having to go to time out which becomes this HUGE deal. The father pays no child support (court decision) so it isn’t about money. My daughter is now being accused of everything you can imagine and the child just retracted everything that caused the child to be placed with my daughter in the first place. Looks like she has to go back to court to defend the custody decision. She never used the child as a weapon, always supported visitation, and believes the child needs both parents to be a well adjusted child but this situation looks like revenge and is horrible. The only saving grace is that she does have custody, which means by court order she can control some of the manipulation; the bad thing is I believe the father will stop at nothing to destroy the relationship so that means making HUGE untrue accusations. Just shocking and so very sad for the child.

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  • August 21, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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    I live in Florida & my question is this: How do I continue to show my son unconditional love when his father has cut off ALL communication? I send him texts, emails, and no response. His father gave him a NEW phone and no one knows the number. He does not use the phone he has had for years. He has been cut off from me and my entire family, including his siblings. He has also been cut off from his best friend, church family, etc. I am waiting for a judge to order my son to counseling but again, what if he doesn’t? Up until this point, his father has said he will not allow him to go to counseling unless a judge orders him to. Noone in my circle of friends understands how my ex isn’t in jail for violating our timesharing agreement. I have not seen or heard from my son in 38 days. My son and I didn’t have a good relationship–we had an AMAZING mother/son relationship and shared so many interests. I should have seen the signs, but since he was diagnosed with depression during the divorce, I just assumed he was going through a lot.

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  • September 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm
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    Hello, first I must give credit to such a well researched, well put together article. Probably the most concise information that I wish I had come across before I read several books on this.
    My question is a personal one, how or where is the network that I can tap into to find a good PAS therapist or other professional. My son (oddly I have two children, and my daughter was not affected but my son was?) refuses to acknowledge my existence. He is 12, and it has been 203 days since I have seen him and I need to get him help, get him away from the other parent…. I live on the border of NH and MA, any suggestions on how I can do this, PLEASE pass this along to me! Thank You

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    • September 20, 2016 at 11:48 am
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      I am sorry to say that I do not know of any resources in your area. In my experience I usually try to “think outside the box,” and develop personal strategies to make an effect. Remember, there is more than one way to “skin a cat.” I would find a competent counselor in your area who understands personality disorders and children and get some assistance in making an inroad on your relationship with your son. As the father, I would assume you do have legal rights to some type of visitation or fair custody arrangement. You definitely need to assume your legal rights to have time with your own child, otherwise you will be unable to have any impact on his development. I would force this issue if need be and insist on 50-50 custody at bare minimum, or I would try to get as much visitation as possible. As far as obtaining counseling for your son, in CA I believe the parent with custody has the rights to approve or disapprove such services.

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  • September 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm
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    This is exactly what I am going through right now. I have 2 kids aged 12 and 14. I had a wonderful relationship with them. I’ve been separated for 4 years because my ex is being so difficult about the divorce. I went to court last Monday requesting for the children and the two of us to do re-integration therapy. The children were interview by OCL (Children’s Laywer). They said the kids don’t want to go and they should have to go. They said the kids were not happy with things I’ve said/done. They explicitly lied to them. The judge them agreed saying there is no need. I had so much evidence proving how he has been alienating the kids. I have texts, emails. I cross referenced it to journals and article on Parental Alienation and they said no. The way you explained the alienating parent in this article is exactly my ex-husband. I’ve even had CAS involved. They said he’s not doing anything illegal. The kids have been lying about me. They said I yelled at them to do the therapy and they were scared. I did no such thing.
    I’m at the end of my rope and don’t know what else to do. I fear I’m loosing my kids to this monster. I’ve spent over $150,000 fighting him. Is there anything anyone here can recommend?

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  • September 24, 2016 at 10:09 pm
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    I’m not sure why you are mixing up and confusing Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) with Attachment-Based Parental Alienation (AB-PA). The two are very different in every way. In fact the the only commonality between them is the phrase “Parental Alienation.”

    PAS was conceived by a man named Dr. Richard Gardener in the mid-eighties. He didn’t base it on any psychology, he just made it up from various “symptoms” that he saw. It’s been a thorn in the side of all targeted parents, even if they don’t realize it. It gives us somewhat of a description of our problem, but professionals and organizations haven’t taken it seriously for over 30 years, and there’s no sign that they will anytime soon. So it just dangles there in front of us promising nothing.

    AB-PA on the other hand is entirely composed of established and accepted psychological principles and constructs. Dr. Craig Childress started from scratch and spent seven years studying the work of prominent psychologists to define a proper diagnosis for and scientific explanation of our problem. He stayed well within the box and made up nothing. He based nothing on Dr. Gardener’s work, nor the work of any other parental alienation expert. You see, thanks to Dr. Childress’ work, “parental alienation” is solved. Done. Now it’s just a matter of how long it will take for the lightbulb to turn on for professionals. It’s also a matter of how long people are going to confuse AB-PA as “Yet Another Form of PAS.”

    Here is a link to the “Top 15 Things to Know About AB-PA”: http://bit.ly/top-15-things-about-abpa-pdf

    And here is a website I put together to have a single spot where people can find Dr. Childress’ online work:
    http://dr-childress-index.droppages.com

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  • January 29, 2017 at 6:12 am
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    Been going through this with my mother of 59 years. Didn’t notice until I had to jump into action for my /dad. He is 6 years older than her and just diagnosed with mild dementia. Just paid the house off. All of a sudden, she is afraid of me and him and had him whisked away to a retirement home against his will.
    I grew up hearing things like …wait till your dad gets home, don’t tell dad, you know how he gets etc. Meanwhile when I was 21, married with 2 children, I had to go to her job with her and save her job for her. She smoked behind his back for 30 years and I was taught to get my kids to lie for her as well.
    Looking back, dad was the real parent. He showed us the things he enjoyed like nature, camping hiking.
    Even though he has been stuck in there for 6 months, he is still telling her things but has me working on the other end to get him out. He is also dumbed down with the help of anti-psychotics.
    Yup, instead of divorce after 59 years of marriage, she has managed to get it all while he is stuck there.
    She was the one who I ended up with stitches in my head, beat me with an extension cord, taken 2 rocks to a nest of baby squirrels heads to kill them. She is sick but has everyone believing it is my dad and me.

    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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    • February 4, 2017 at 2:20 am
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      If I were you I would spend time with my father and make sure that I honored him with my words. I would make sure I said anything I had left unsaid over the years to him. I would let him know I was grateful for him and that he was a good parent. I would also keep a safe emotional distance from my characterologically-disordered parent, because these types of relationships breed toxicity.

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  • February 18, 2017 at 12:42 pm
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    Dr Stines,

    I am horrified to read your missive on Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

    Unlike #Jason Hofer (“I’m not sure why you are mixing up and confusing Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) with Attachment-Based Parental Alienation (AB-PA).”)
    I am very clear on why you appear to be mixing up two (mentioned by Jason) of the 7 or so models of Parental Alienation. It is because of the definition of the word, “Syndrome.” A syndrome is a group of symptoms which appear together and are coterminous, that is from the same cause. It is NOT a model of the process of alienation; it is NOT the strategies that the alienating parent uses; it is NOT the effects on the Targeted Parent, it is NOT the psychology behind the process.

    Dr Gardner has been criticised for decades for exactly the same reason, that other learned people forget that in any science words have a specific and discrete meaning.
    No-one seems to criticise Turkat who was a contemporary of Gardner, for his “Malicious Mother Syndrome” description of Parental Alienation. They both got it wrong saying that it is women who alienate children, when we now know that it is about 50/50. Gardner got other things wrong, like having his work published before working out what sort of therapy would work.

    Dr Gardner’s 8 Manifestations of Parental Alienation are exactly a group of symptoms in the children, and therefore it is exactly correct to use the term Syndrome. You will find these listed in all experts work, including Dr Craig Childress.

    1. A campaign of denigration against the targeted parent in which the child comes to hate and/or fear that parent, when there is no reason for these feelings. That is, the targeted parent has not abused or neglected the child.
    2. When asked to explain this sudden rejection of the targeted parent, an alienated child will provide reasons that are weak, frivolous, and absurd. The explanations for the rejection are often not of the magnitude that would typically lead a child to reject a parent, such as a parent not allowing a child to nap on the couch or serving spicy food to the child.
    3. An alienated child exhibits a complete lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent. The child demonstrates automatic, reflexive, idealized support of that parent. When asked to name one thing that is imperfect about that parent, the child will draw a complete blank.
    4. Even though an alienated child will give the appearance of being programmed or following a script, s/he will refuse to admit any outside influence on his/her behavior and actions. This is what is known as the “Independent Thinker” phenomenon.
    5. An alienated child will not appear to feel any guilt about the poor treatment of the targeted parent. An alienated child will generally behave as if the targeted parent has no feelings and is completely unworthy of common human decency. An alienated child may reject all gifts from the targeted parent or accept gifts but refuse to show appreciation by declaring that the targeted parent does not deserve it.
    6. The sixth manifestation of PAS is that an alienated child will always side with the alienating parent against the targeted parent even when there is no rational basis for doing so. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with inter-parental conflicts. The child concludes that the alienating parent is always right and the targeted parent is always wrong, even when there is considerable evidence to the contrary.
    7. When speaking about both parents, the alienated child will use phrases and ideas adopted wholesale from the alienating parent, even when the child does not seem to grasp the meaning of the words and cannot define them. This is referred to as the use of borrowed scenarios and is what gives parental alienation syndrome the appearance of brainwashing.
    8. The final sign of parental alienation syndrome is that the hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so too are this parent’s entire family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are suddenly avoided and rejected. The family is treated as if it has an infectious disease that is to be avoided at all costs. Alienated children have been known to avoid important family functions such as birthdays, weddings, and even funerals of relatives with whom the child had once been quite close.

    From;- What every father should know about taking the “high road”
    by Amy Baker – http://www.fathermag.com/0807/PAS.shtml

    Dr Stines, it is unbelievable how you can write this;-
    “The symptoms of PAS are:……………………………
    (2) The narcissistic parent covertly encourages, empowers, and rewards the children for this behavior. “

    That is a Strategy by which a parent commits the abuse, NOT a symptom in the child!
    Please see;- https://www.emmm.org.au/17-primary-strategies.html for 17 strategies.

    If you researched PAS without a grasp of the specific scientific meaning of Syndrome you will probably have missed Dr Darnall’s work. Specifically I refer to his non-diagnostic descriptions of Parental Alienation. http://www.parentalalienation.com/articles/types-alienators.html That PA is NOT all one thing is important because, while it takes Mental Health Professionals to treat it, the phenomenon rears its ugly head in Family Courts, where the professionals involved have no idea at all of how to even recognise the phenomenon, and that goes equally for GALS and CAFCAS in the UK. At long last CAFCAS has realised it is abuse. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/12/divorced-parents-pit-children-against-former-partners-guilty/

    IF it is seen at all, it is termed “intractable hostility” then the Judge will order Parenting Classes or Mediation for the couple. This is ONLY capable of working for Type 2 Alienators, the court will never see Type 1.

    If the Alienator is a Type 3, which you are talking about then traditional therapy including Family Systems Therapy is catastrophic. Hear Dr Miller on why this is;- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fgRJh26Jho&list=WL&index=46
    While Family Systems Psychology recognises the phenomena as Cross Generational Coalition there are ten reasons why traditional therapies must not be used;- https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rh5pjlrgucjfzz7/AACRPdZpFHjgDQmrkxCazop4a?dl=0#/
    It is a Forensic Psychologist who learns about personality disordered people and who is used to recognising the damage done by these people, not a Family Systems Psychologist.

    Type 3 Alienators are those with a Personality Disorder, usually the Cluster B, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder / Borderline Personality Disorder. Other Mental Health conditions have been known to manifest in Alienating behaviours such as Dissociative Identity Disorder.

    Everyone who works with children MUST learn about Parental Alienation as a CHILD PROTECTION ISSUE. If any alienation is even suspected in a Family Court then Child Protection MUST take precedence over any custody issues, and be sorted first. See APSAC’s position paper.- http://www.apsac.org/assets/documents/apsac%20position%20paper–revised%2013.pdf

    Parental Alienation IS IN THE DSM-5;
    http://psy-gradaran.narod.ru/lib/clinical/DSM5.pdf
    309.4 Adjustment Disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct
    V61.20 Parent – Child Relational Problem
    V61.29 Child Affected by Parental Relationship Distress
    V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse, Confirmed (pathogenic parenting)

    Dr Stines, this is just so wrong! – “It also may be impossible to remove the children from the narcissist’s life because, after all, the narcissist isn’t doing anything illegal.”
    Alienation is Child Psychological Abuse Confirmed. That is a Crime / Felony in any country. The problem is that it is not recognised by many Judges when the abuse is done over time causing the Family Court to collude with the alienating parent.
    Parental Alienation is Domestic Violence by Proxy;- http://www.pa-pa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=115
    With any serious abuse the treatment MUST be to separate the child from the abuser.
    The APA, which I am sure you know produces the DSM have a position paper on Child Abuse;- http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/10/psychological-abuse.aspx

    I must say that your guidance to Targeted Parents is almost excellent. Might I suggest you add a bit about drawing clear boundaries which a parent should expect from their child’s behaviour. Basic parenting, but many parents suffer the denigration from alienated children without knowing what to do about it.

    You can find my public page on Facebook by missing the hyphen out of my surname. My work experience is in the Notes Section of that page.

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  • March 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm
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    I need some help. I can’t find anyone who knows what to do, but maybe you will help me understand how to heal. I am the adult child of parental alienation. My dad was diagnosed with NPD, and told me my mother could not love me and was abusive among other things. He convinced me through punishment and rewards not to see her for seven years.

    When I was an adult, I returned to my mother and was very happy. Soon after returning she said that my father had sexually abused me and my brothers and encouraged me to do some pretty horrific things to my father. She said the reason I didn’t remember the abuse was because I was young. Last year I found out through my brothers that our father didn’t sexually abuse us.

    I have been alienated by both parents. I don’t know how to get over this. I have a very good therapist, but he’s never seen this before. Any concrete suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  • May 20, 2017 at 6:38 am
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    These stories break my heart not that it helps my situation, I’m so glad to find others going through similar. My ex left me 14months ago for another after 23 years of a difficult marriage. He was very controlling, emotionally and financially. When he left due to all the emotional stress I was under trying to work out what on earth was going on, I suffered an emotional breakdown. I was told by my psychiatrist that she believed my then husband to be a narc and advised the only health option for me was no contact. We have three teens now 19, 18 and 16. I had been a stay a home mum and helped out in our business but he left me with nothing. The only asset is the family home. He is a professional and fighting me for every penny. He tells our teens every little thing that goes on in the legal process and tells them it will be all my fault if the property has to be sold amongst other things. I try to be strong but it’s hard when you are being verbally abused constantly by your own children. The eldest one is at uni and no longer speaks to me. My son in the middle is ok and the youngest lives with me but abuses me constantly, repeats to me what her father is telling her. It wasn’t until tonight that I was researching and came across this site. Is it not enough that we have deal with the effects of the narcissist but also deal with its aftermath.

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  • September 16, 2017 at 7:18 pm
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    Thank you for this article and all of the information on this website in regards to being married to a narcissist and parenting children of a narcissist. I ended my 20 year marriage to a narcissist just about 2 years ago and now I’m seeing my son behaving in this manner. I also read your article about being the wife of a narcissist and see that I was that person. I also read the article on helping your children when the other parent is a narcissist. All of this resonates with me.

    Now that my daughter is off to college, my ex needs someone to manipulate. I have a good friend that has my son’s confidence and talked to him. My son told him that I am the one who abused him and he is very angry with me. All of the abuse that we suffered (my son, daughter and I) were at the hands of my narcissistic ex. I see myself in your articles – all the ways that I tried to protect and make up for his dad’s behavior. When I tried to protect him from his dad or when I couldn’t, I was there to pick up the pieces and be the stable loving parent. I journaled a lot during my marriage and it breaks my heart to read them because all the signs were there, but I was taught that marriage is work, marriage is for life, etc. My journals clearly indicate the abuse that we all suffered from my ex. But now, my son thinks that all that abuse was something that I did to him. Since his dad is still extremely angry at me for divorcing him, I can only conclude that he is twisting everything around to show me as the abusive parent. I know that the rules at my house are “crazy” according to my ex. Rules like asking to go somewhere vs. just telling me (my son is 15, so he should be asking permission). So I know that he is manipulating his son to believe that I am the bad parent. Your advice is good however, I will be going back to counseling to hopefully learn strategies and gain insight on how I can behave with my son in order to try to salvage our relationship. My son is adamant about not going to counseling so this is something that I will have to work on – modifying my behavior around him. Thankfully, I have a good support system – family, friends – that I can rely on as well. I believe and I have to believe that there is still hope for me and my son.

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  • October 27, 2017 at 12:07 am
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    Dr Stein,
    Is there a version of that disorder where the narcissistic parent manipulates the other parent to turn on their child? So in other words a non-narcissistic co-parent who has an attachment to their narcissist partner thus resulting in a type of Alienation Syndrome towards the child?
    This is the nature of the problem I’ve been dealing with in my household. My mother has gone into coalition with my narcissistic dad and I’m now being subjected to constant abuse by both of them. I recognize that there are other factors contributing to my mothers dysfunctional behaviour such as denial, disassociation and submission towards her narcissist partner, however this has now escalated and progressed to her actively engaging in hurtful behaviour and emulating similar tendencies to the narcissist parent.
    On a side note, if you were to apply the same reasoning to PAS, then how much of PAS may also be due to the child developing “disassociation and denial” in order to cope with the emotional devastation that narcissism creates?

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    • October 27, 2017 at 12:55 am
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      That is sad. I watched a Sam Vaknin video once about the routes people can take to cope with narcissism – one was to become co-abusers with one in order to not be the target.

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  • December 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm
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    Hi Sharie, I have yet to link up with you, as I know you are busy at this time, but I really want to connect with you soon. My husband was raised in a home where his mother accused her eldest daughter, while drunk, (she was an alcoholic), of coming between her and her husband, and beat daughter for it in the night, according to eldest daughter. I have seen the father focus intently on a baby to the exclusion of a previously focused on baby, such as to confuse the now-ignored baby. Children really love and vie for his attention. My husband used to tell our daughter all the time, even as a toddler, she did not have to listen to me, he whispered to her about me, undermined my parenting for no reason, but I wanted my daughter to have a good relationship with her father and over time realized that father would ignore needs of everyone but his daughter, but I was happy for her at least. He would also disappoint her dearly for no reason sometimes. Son and myself were ignored at the time. I had good men in my life as a child, father loved me, I wanted the same for her. When her father was on he was on, but he disappeared a lot. When he wanted to disappear he would use his issues with children as an excuse to leave. He refused to discuss anything. There were issues with him showing inappropriate visual content to children and causing them nightmares and bed wetting, which went away as long as I didn’t leave them alone with him. But when he was ready to do something with children again they seemed willing and happy to go with him, so I still valued his fathering. He was always an excellent public father, very fun. We unofficially separated, lived in separate homes, there was nothing in the marriage for me so i asked for a divorce and husband was reluctant but would also not change his ways. He controlled and was emotionally and financially abusive, threatening, always lying and manipulative. I could make no plans with him for me or for children or for our family. Father tried to separate me from children suddenly, but then told me one day he was going to take the home and the children from me by charging parental alienation, said it with a smirk. I had had them alone for three years and he came and went as he pleased, but refused to tell us when he would show up and would often disappear for weeks at a time. He was always abusive when he returned and I felt like he was always there, dreading his return. He had suddenly begun demanding children alone for longer lengths of time and it suddenly occurred to me he could ask for 50% custody, which he never would have wanted when they were younger, but he had begun to feel he could leave children alone and just disappear and didn’t feel they needed much parenting anymore even though they were only eight and eleven. He was demanding of daughter to do what he expected of me prior in the home. But I decided to ask children to cooperate with father asking for half of summer with children so he could not accuse me of alienation if we went to court, if he was finally going to divorce me. I was called by children because food was not being provided. Shows became inappropriate. Odd abusive things happened that really upset children and were hard for them to explain. I went back and forth cleaning and cooking, but then he demanded I leave them longer for my “interference”. I thought he would do everything right by them if he wanted a divorce and at first he did things that were great, filmed it, then he began being abusive, but it was confusing. He was suggestive with daughter and about girls her age and did very weird things with son that are creepy and starved children so that they begged for food, and son was begging and pinched himself to try to wake himself up from what he thought must be a very bad dream, a nightmare. Daughter became very ill. It did flash across my mind he poisoned her but I have never said that to anyone. He used to suggest I would do it to him and had said he was afraid his ex and her mother were going to do it to him prior. I do believe he thought of getting rid of me when I was pregnant prior, when he was under stress and he had threatened it since. He did not care if we drove in a dangerous car, but he had the best he could afford. I was afraid for years he might hurt our son to hurt me and not care if it hurt our daughter. Children were exposed to extremely violent pornography, hours of it on end. I could not reach them by phone. When I finally reached him and arranged to pick them up, not knowing what was happening, he disappeared with them so that they were not there, something he did randomly. When he finally had children get in touch with me, son was crying, asking me to get him. Children did not begin telling me of their experiences until they were safely home with me again, but were very quiet with father, both kept saying when they returned they were in their “safe home,” their “safe bed”, etc. Father asked for divorce officially as I was texting him what children were telling me. Father agreed to supervised visitation voluntarily with me, arranged by lawyers when daughter asked not to see him any other way. I did not think how bad that would be for me as he lied to court in an ex parte and denied threatening daughter to have son alone if she wouldn’t cooperate, etc. A therapist labeled me as the worst parental alienator in thirty years in the county when I refused to back down that he should not be alone with children. Originally, she called my husband a sociopath and a narcissist in front of the children and told me separately twice that if I had $130,000 she and a lawyer she worked with could keep my husband away from the children. I said did she think he should be and she said yes. But I told her I did not have that kind of money and she said then she would do what she could for us. But I could see she was quickly being charmed by my husband and I am not even sure I was not set up. When she described to my children that they probably saw women being hung by their ankles and sawed in half with a chainsaw, blood going everywhere, and I asked her if she had to talk like that to them, she said, “What? They’ve seen it all already!” She demanded to know of daughter why she didn’t just go grocery shopping if she was hungry. She tried to label me, after telling me in front of children and husband that if I wasn’t trying to divorce father, I would be there to shoo my daughter off the couch if my husband got sexual with her and that lots of mothers had to do that. She told the courts I was the worst parental alienator in thirty years. I swear that my husband is an antisocial person as well as a narcissist and it took me years to figure it out, his life was a lie and he had been in trouble with the law since very young and everything that you write about narcissism has been invaluable to me in understanding what i have been through. I was a very suffering person for a long time beforehand, not understanding what was happening and why. The fact we lived separately was the best thing for me, because it allowed me to take a step back and put things in perspective before the worst that he did to the children so i could look at everything with better perspective. I always thought on the one hand the children were exempt from his abuse, on the other hand thinking he might hurt our son to hurt me, on the other finding a way for him to relate to his son through appropriate gaming and so that he would not see his son as an extension of me, and when things were going well I believed they would continue that way, but things always went downhill. He cannot allow anyone to be happy, not even his children. He will do something good and then ruin it himself. He is destructive. There was no need for him to harm his children. Just as with pets, he knows exactly what to do when he wants to seem wonderful, but he can be just as cruel. But the worst part is he has studied parental alienation and set me up. Everything he says is a lie and a made up scenario. He is taking my person and making me him. I truly believe he is skillfully setting me up at every turn and I read all about parental alienation and I can see how i have been labelled but that is not who I am, at all, and it is so devastating to see that he tried to do that to me, is doing that to me, and for years he tried to isolate me from my children, but because he had too many distractions of his own he could never do it consistently, and then he harmed the children, showing them extremely violent pornography, hours of it, refusing to allow them to get away from it, and forcing children to do odd things for him, threatening them while starving them. But then he turns around and uses knowledge of parental alienation to label me. It has been heart-breaking. And I am scared for our children, what he is capable of. Children were scared what he might do to them and he has done scary things since and children have a lawyer who addresses it and he doesn’t do it for a short while and then it begins again. I am afraid he sees this as another thing he must win and he is in it for the long haul. He is just impatient. He was hoping we would all be labelled as crazy, children included, and he would be shown to be the long-suffering husband and take over all control, legally. I am still afraid this will happen because it is so hard to be perfect and not make a wrong move when everything you do can be misconstrued. I am defending myself and I am proud of who I am, knowing I am not the label, but it is such a taxing and financially and emotionally devastating situation and children have suffered so much, not being believed, simply because they appear as parental alienated children, not wanting contact with their father, they are afraid of him. I cannot believe anyone would think I could coach them to tell the depravity that they saw I have never seen. They are doing well otherwise, well-loved at school and by teachers and we are following court orders and I have walked them through the worst part of what they experienced without therapeutic support, a mother’s instincts to help them with what they have experienced. They will be getting therapy and daughter asked that the therapist not be influenced by father before the therapist gets to know the children. Children are now nine and thirteen. It is a process and i hope that with time the truth will be known, but I have read everything I can on parental alienation and it was always an accusation used as a threat by him and something he has been able to use to manipulate the courts. A parent can alienate themselves from their own children because the parent is threatening and abusive, and he was in fact the original alienator. With the number of family homicides that have taken place recently, that were committed by a parent, that had little physical abuse involved in the domestic violence prior, it has to be thought that there will be more psychological and other abuses perpetrated by abusers prior to the ultimate abuse, because it is known abusers are able to choose to hide their abuse and turn it off and on according to who is observing. I find it ludicrous that state mandated reporting of abuse can leave out domestic violence situations if it is thought they were only perpetrated against the parent and not against the child, that the abusing parent can still be considered a good parent, because whether the children observe domestic violence – which means the child is being abused – it causes trauma – or not, the abused parent will not be able to function as the best parent they could be in those circumstances, so it always harms the child. When a parent is harmed it takes life and opportunity from that parent to do for that child. And psychological abuse alone can obviously precede homicide. I hope and would greatly appreciate that people who research parental alienation will accept responsibility to make sure they caution against those who may take advantage of their research and use it to manipulate the courts to their advantage because that is just as damaging to the children involved and can be lethal. Thanks for listening. lisalee

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  • January 11, 2018 at 1:03 pm
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    What has complicated the matter is that a narcissistic father trained his daughter well. She is 31, cut off all communication 4 years ago and, following the symptoms, if a narcissist, too. I cannot fix this. When I reach out, it makes it worse. I offer…she refuses. I am silent and it is like I do not exist for her. She happened to let it slip one day, “You didn’t want me anyway.” Red flags went up. Did he tell her that? I assured her…she would not and does not listen. Does anyone have any suggestions other than to stand back and pray that God heals her and heals our relationship.

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  • January 29, 2018 at 6:50 pm
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    The beginning of this article so aptly describes what I’ve been going through with what I think is a malignant narcissist that is still so intractable even 15 years after the divorce that it is almost unbelievable even when confronted just will not respond to anything reasonable. I recommend the nearest reputable saint to deal with it and any amount of counseling in the meantime for support. Haven’t read the rest of the article but will and got so much out of the first part with the description it was just so absolutely what I have experienced but that none of the counselors seemed to pick up all during the years and so seems a subject that needs a lot more training for counselors to recognize it and God knows what the solutions to it are especially after the children are old enough they have not realized what has been done to them, nor in my situation did I because it was so covert and systematic lies were used for a very long time to cover it all up only to be revealed at the beginning of the separation by an unsolicited confession when I totally had given up on trying to figure out what was wrong just knew it was very wrong and unhealthy for my children and me. I read somewhere that sociopaths typically will eventually tell what they were doing because it is also sadistically satisfying to them to show that they were clever enough to have gotten away with something but they can’t enjoy that enough if no one really knows what happened, who did it nor how it happened.

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  • February 20, 2018 at 10:49 am
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    my wife of 20 years had an affair with a narcissist. she took my 14 year old daughter and moved in with him. we have 4 children 14 17 19 22 . me and my children have always been very close. we had a good marriage and me and my wife were always very close.since she moved in with him 5 months ago my wife has totally turned on me says she never loved me and i emotionally and psycally abused her and my children. i never have. i have only seen my daughter twice thaey have turned her against me. 3 of my 4 children wont talk to me my 14 and 19 year old say they hate me and i have psycally abused them and their mother they say to me and anybody else that will listen. my wife and her boyfriend are telling everybody that i beat and raped her for 20 years. he tells me she never loved me and he had to save her from my abuse so their affair doesnt matter. he was arrested for serving my daughter alcohol and pot he confessed and got a fine and two weeks in jail. they both were charged with educational neglect by child protective services. there are no police or hospital reports of any abuse comitted in my household the whole time we were together. i never abused anybody. my 22 year old son is not mine biologically he is hers.he is on my side and has been going to family court with me against her, i am trying to get custody of my 14 year old daughter. wifes boyfriend drinks alot and they all do drugs, 2 of his friemds have accused him of sexual abuse against my daughter. my wife thinks it was me that did it but they made statments to the state police who are investigateing it and believe its going on but cant prosecute unless my daughter gives him up,she wont. how is it possible for this man to steal my wife n break up my whole family and turn them all against me? they have rewritten our whole life together and it seems like they all believe all the lies, is it possible they do? me and my 22 year old son cant believe it. somtimes i think maybe i am crazy but i no i am noy. can you give me any advice. is this even possible for her narcissist boyfriend to do all of this?

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    • July 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm
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      John, look up Gaslighting. I learned that it is how a narcissistic person does their damage. It is crazymaking. Stay strong.
      If you learn about gaslighting many answers will be clearer. Sorry your having such trouble.

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  • April 7, 2018 at 10:45 pm
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    My daughter doing OK did you take my reactions a kid I protection I’ve never done a toric she threatened me and I feel sorry for her because he’ll scream at her if I call her she is then now he’s attacking me and putting video cameras he training videos of me crying after she questioned me and throwing making them break thing and trying to get people to think I’m crazy in my family and threatening to Baker act me even though she doesn’t know what it is because he heard it he has no conscience it
    make me sick and he doesn’t care father at all the years I’ve been to valued and the family leave literally suffering hiding in my room all day

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  • July 21, 2018 at 7:34 pm
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    This is exactly what we are going through with our grandson and his dad. The other grandmother has effectively destroyed their relationship. My son was deployed shortly after his son was born and for the past 10 years has tried to get his son to live in his home. The child has become violent towards his father so I know he needs counseling. He also hurt his younger cousin and had threatened to stab him on another occasion. But according to his maternal grandmother it is all his father’s fault. I asked this woman to stop cursing and screaming at the child’s parents, especially since she does in front of the child. She undermines the parents’ authority. Too sad.

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  • September 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm
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    Thank you for writing about this awful problem. I felt like I was the only one experiencing this hell and sorrow.
    I am in a good place now, only because I’ve come to accept the situation as it is. It was nothing I did or didn’t do. It was the machinations of the alcoholic narcissist.
    All four of my kids want nothing to do with me. Ages 25-34.It has taken me 22 years to see and accept this truth.
    While that has been painful, I really pray for their healing because it is them that have been extremely hurt by their father.
    I get to live my life as a free and happy woman and allow them to do the same.
    When I remember, God is in charge and desires only good for me and for others, I can be happy , joyous and free.
    Perhaps, they will see the truth as they become parents (experience life), but that is none of my business.
    If they do come around, I will be able to receive them with an open heart and open arms.

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  • December 29, 2018 at 9:26 am
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    Sharie: extremely well written article. My case is of the very extreme type of parental alienation syndrome as described by Gardner. I’ve read several of Gardner’s articles and although discredited by so many of his peers he describes my case so accurately.

    I am one of those unique fathers that fought to the end. The divorce was in 2004. The ex wanted to obtain full custody and started working on psychologically alienating our daughter. I finally obtained full custody in April 2016 and our daughter came to live with me and my new wife. My ex and daughter called child protective services 87 times in one year and 35 times police with a wide range of false accusations including sexual abuse, alcoholism, no food in my house…anything imaginable all of them dismissed by child protection, police and prosecutors. It was a hell of a year. Finally after daughter executed on instructions of the mother including pissing on the sofa, throwing glass at the walls, etc she ended up in a psychiatric club in for a couple if months and then in a group home. Our relationship started improving until her mother started influencing our daughter again as they communicated by phone. To make it short our daughter became 18 on October and now plans to leave the group home that has been such a good environment for her and go live with the mother. At this point I can’t do anything more and suspect the daughter will cut off all type of communication with me as she started to do recently. The goid news is I managed to be in her lufe up until 18.

    The question I have is do these adult children who have been intensely alienated ever come back to the targeted parent? Is there a boomerang effect on the alienated parent? How badly will all this impact our daughters life? I feel terrible I can’t do anything anymore since she is now an adult. I can only watch how her life unfolds for the worst under the influence of a narcissistic and borderline personality mother. It’s just amazing there is no mechanism to help a vulnerable child that became 18 years old and will now be emotionally abused. She already is not attending her 12th grade high school and the mother convinces her it’s ok.

    Based on what I have lived for 14 years I see the parental alienation syndrome as under the umbrella of a deeply enmeshed parent child relationship that carries other consequences in addition to the alienation. A good summary of what happens to these children under such sick parents is they grow like a bonsai tree rather than a fully grown tree.

    So very very sad to see this happening before my own eyes and not able to help in any other way.

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    • December 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm
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      Hi, While I did write this article, I am certainly not an expert on parental alienation – although I’m working on that. I hear about the type of case you’re describing every day. It never surprises me the level of contempt children are able to display towards their parents. I have heard of many cases where the children grow up and figure it out. This seems to be a 50-50 occurrence. Of course, I have not done a scientific study on this. I did write an article on the parents that are alienated and suggest that these parents do whatever they can to unbrainwash their children from this cult-like propagandism. It is definitely a war. I am writing a book on the topic and hopefully will get that published in 2019. Never give up.

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      • December 30, 2018 at 4:07 am
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        Sharie: i’m more than happy to provide 14 years ecperience to help you with your book. Contact me by email if desired. I have tried it all, if read all the expert advice: Dr Childress, Dr Baker, Dr Gardner, plus 20 more. My case is unique in its level of extremeness. Anyone professional (psychologist, psychisyrist, lawyer, thrrapist -many many) who has been in contact with this case has said this is a unicorn of a case: never seen anything like it and dont expect to see anything like this in the future.

        Two questions for you or readers: 1- very very difficult to de-program the child. I was one of the very few who reached the difficult advice of Dr Gardner: isolate the child from the influence of the mother and place her in a neutral place such as a group home. This was achieved by placing daughter in a very nurturing group home and having an order for supervised visitation and communication with the mother. Unfortunately although strong progress was obtained initially, with today’s technology the mother found a way to communicate directly with the daughter which resulted in total regression with the continued brainwashing of the mother. The courts issue a lot of orders with no consequences when orders are broken. The mother should have been placed already in jail after repeated contempts of court orders but nothing…2- I see a lot of advice to continue trying and never give up hope. That is what I have done for 14 years with no results after all this incredible psychological and financial effort -up to $1million so far: the child at 18 highly rejects me and believes wrongly I have been an awful father. Everyone that has seen this case opines i have been extremely loving, caring giving father. The thing is there is a limit after which one has to decide to take care of oneself. Its the self survival, correct and mature thing to do after giving your best try. Although I will keep the doors of my heart open for my daughter there is nothing more I can do and I will have to emotionally and psychologically forget about my daughter’s existence and erradicate her from my life. She will only call to ask for money and that is not right. Otherwise i will remain stuck for the rest of my life.

        I am extremely lucky to be one of the few that managed to be present in the life of my daughter up until 18 based on an extreme focus and dedication and by putting myself at great risk with unfounded accusations including sexual abuse of my daughter ( many psychologists and police advised to let go long time ago and avoid putting myself at risk with these unfounded accusations. They took their hat off since I pursued the case irrespective). Furthermore i am one of the very few who has managed to rebuild my life: I have a new adorable wife and 6 month old daughter who i love, and my plan is to provide a nurturing, healthy environment within a happy marriage for my recent daughter which was unfortunately not possible with my first daughter….

        The profound advice from a psychologist hired by child protective services to study the case is to be very very careful in choosing the mother of your child. Not easy: I was young and inexperienced when I met her in grad school. Furthermore people who have borderline personality disorder are so good at hiding their issues. I am now an expert at detecting people with these deep personality flaws but only after so much experience.

        Hopefully my story helps someone in this blog. Be careful who you marry and who you have a child with. Afterwards there is no return

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  • January 25, 2019 at 1:11 am
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    This article explains so much,I do not even know where to begin, except to say Thank you for connecting the dots for those who have been affected by this torture of the heart and mind. I would like to say to those who are dealing with this, that I hope it will get better and that your children will eventually make their way back through the darkness and evil of what humans can do, when they put their own selfish desires above others at ANY cost, even to sacrifice their OWN children on the alter of ‘SELF’ . There IS HOPE, this too shall pass, and one day, maybe not for even a long time you will have to be patient. And you will be rewarded, and they will come back to you. And remember this
    there IS a GOD , and HE remembers….

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  • February 12, 2019 at 9:45 pm
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    I’m 48 years old (the youngest of four) and am just now finally seeing the magnitude of the damage that my mother (mostly) and father did to our “family”. The big difference compared to most of the above comments is that my parents never divorced. That’s right, I got to live with each of them (mostly my mother alienating my father) doing this. My mother was/is a narcissist. I always knew what she did was wrong, but I was a child and didn’t have the courage to stand up to her. Everything was a “secret” from my father. Every time we went out I was told to lie to him about where we were going. I was taught to hate him by my mother, as well as my narcissist much older sister. I went along with it. I didn’t want to “rock the boat”. My mother even instructed us a few times that, “We had better not get him anything for Father’s Day, his birthday, etc.” understandably, my father was very hurt. He got in his digs against her too, but he was less hateful. I agree with when the author stated this is like breaking away from a cult. That’s exactly how it feels. When I was older and knew better, I still didn’t possess the courage to go against my mother. My father died when I was 31. He wasn’t the most wonderful father, but he certainly didn’t deserve to be treated like he was treated. I have lived 3-4 hours away from my mother/father the vast majority of my adult life. I have been married to a wonderful man for 24 years and we have two wonderful children. My mother and I maintained a superficial relationship after my father’s death. I still loved my mother and believed she loved me very much also. Our relationship was fine until I rocked the boat a year and a half ago. Actually, I capsized the boat, chopped it into little pieces, and the burned it. She did something that was the proverbial last straw. I snapped and verbally unleashed a lifetime of rage directed at my mother. There was no going back. We are now estranged. I offered to have her over to talk about our problems. She has twice refused. She said she can’t forgive me for writing a long document to my aunts.
    I was already estranged from my narc oldest sister when I was 40. My oldest sister and my brother are my mom’s flying monkeys. I am now estranged from my brother. He was involved with the happenings of the huge blow up. My other (relatively) normal sister has stopped talking to me. I have no idea where I stand with her. I don’t really care. She is not trustworthy and anything I say will be immediately told to all siblings and my mother. I sent my three aunts a long document explaining what it was like living in my house and what my mother was really like. I was accused of lying. I was told by one aunt (paraphrasing), “Suck it up. That’s your mother! She’s 85 years old. Give her a break. Nobody’s perfect.”
    I have no idea where I stand with my extended family. I do know I/my family were not invited to a recent family birthday party for one of my aunts.
    One of my cousins, who is one of my sons’ godparent, stopped acknowledging him on his birthday/Christmas immediately after the blow up.
    The crowning jewel of my mother’s dysfunction was the “Wall of Shame”. She would provoke myself and siblings until we were exasperated. We played right into her hands. When we would say something mean towards her to defend ourselves, she would write what we said in a black Sharpie and put it up on a bulletin board in her kitchen so she could “remember what you said/think of me” How’s that for odd?
    I’m doing much bettter now, but this was a lot to take all at once. I have a lot of positive things in my life and I am trying to move forward. I am finally free.
    Do whatever you need to do to get your kids away from these lying, abusive parent. Trust me. It wasn’t fun. I could go on and on with terrible things that went on between my parents/our family.

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  • July 20, 2019 at 8:59 am
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    I really appreciate this article. This has happened to me with my oldest daughter. It started before I left my abusive diagnosed narcissist husband. He’s been training her for years to disregard, disrespect, and make fun of me. She’s 18 now. She sometimes tells me things that is so surprisingly inaccurate and flat out lies. I realize it’s coming from him. I still have a relationship with her but she’s rude to me and distant. I’m doing the best I can to set boundaries with her but still show her love.

    I am doing research because I also have 2 younger daughters with him. He’s largely neglected them in favor of our oldest daughter. But now that she’s moved out he’s started with them. I am very close to them and do not want the same fate as my oldest daughter. It is sick the amount of guilt and responsibility he’s created for them to take care of his well being and they are only 10. They are very sensitive like me and they are caregivers like me. It’s so sad he exploits that in them. They come back from his house moody towards me and they confront me about things he’s upset about. It’s so sad he places them in the middle of things. I keep a positive attitude and am teaching them to recognize abuse and manipulation. I truly hope I can stop this with them. But I know how manipulative he is. I wish the kids didn’t have to deal with this.

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  • August 16, 2019 at 10:25 pm
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    So sad and true. Living like this exactly right now for three years. Courts have no idea how to deal with this. It’s traumatizing for the children to continue to live with this going on and the court trying to figure it out. So sad and disappointing that our system is failing our children.

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  • December 14, 2019 at 12:46 pm
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    Is there, by chance, a legal document that exists to identify that a person is actually alienating a child?

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  • January 5, 2020 at 11:46 pm
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    My ex attempted to turn my kids against me. I ignored it. I sent them Christmas and birthday gifts, knowing I wouldn’t be given credit. But I made photographs of the cards and gifts I sent them. My ex was always trying to create legal problems for me.

    Every gesture of kindness was used as an opportunity to exact vengeance. I had to be very careful what I said during my once-per-year phone call to her. I knew she was recording me. She’d try to bait me into saying absolutely anything she could contrive into justification to seek a domestic injunction.

    In 2014 I told her she needed a new car. She swore to an affidavit that stated “I fear for my safety because of what my ex-husband said.” I reminded her that her vehicle was unsafe! So, I thought, why ruin a good thing?

    I had kept in touch out of a sense of obligation to just check on things roughly once per year. But now I was getting a 4-year pass on that. Well, the judge quickly figured out it was all “feigned feminist hysteria”, and ordered that I limit the subject of my conversations to that of our minor children.

    There were no additional stipulations. Then, my ex went online, armed with her injunction, and requested that her personal contact information be omitted from search results and people-finder databases.

    Turns out she severely abused her credit, and wanted shelter from creditors. She also gave ‘my’ phone number as the best number to reach her. I didn’t appear at my divorce hearing, because I didn’t observe the authority of a court to sever the marriage an innocent and unwilling man. That gave me a distinct advantage.

    I severed all contact, and my ex responded with vengeance! She did serious damage to my kids, some of which they will not recover from. My daughter is a party slut. My son is a religious psychotic.

    But, my son sought me out. He had millions of questions. He wanted my version of my domestic abuse of his mother. I told him, “Mom is a die-hard radical feminist hell-bent on destroying all that is masculine! Her version of domestic abuse is marriage and family in which household tasks are not divided equally between spouses.

    She considers human reproduction to be sexist, abusive to women and greatly favoring men. But I never so much as raised a hand to her in anger. He went told his Mom all that and more. We txt’d on SMS a few times after that. But we haven’t been in contact for almost a year now.

    My ex must have taken his phone, and forbid that he see me. I’m going to resort to prayer again. It worked the first time. I’m convinced that we don’t require any more terms to describe ‘vengeance’. That’s all it is! Doing damage to your own children in the hopes it will hurt your ex, because he loves them. It’s the same concept as the real life example of a child who received third-degree burns over 60% of his body, by his father, to exact vengeance on his mother! The punishment should be the same also.

    I look at it this way, we are children of the Creator. Satan attempts to do us harm, because They want to hurt our Father. But He must not try to force us away from temptation and sin, because we would struggle and get hurt.

    In the same way, I am the loving father who has been storing up treasure for my beloved children, but they’re under their mother’s spell. When they turn away from her, I will give them everything they’ve ever hoped for! I will tell them the truth. The truth will set them free!

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