Monday, September 22, 2008

Alienated children as victims of a psychopathic parent

Whew, what a title!

I have been thinking a lot as to why a so called parent could encourage a child to disrespect a parent, to have ambivalent feelings and to lie about the other parent. This campaign can even evolve so the child eventually wants nothing to do with the other parent. I keep asking myself, who could do this. Unfortunately the answer is the other parent.

This does not have to happen and most certainly should not be happening, but it does over and over again. This happens usually in high conflict divorce cases involving the custody of the minor children. The children should be having the benefit of a relationship with both parents. In cases where parental alienation is present, the children do not have that healthy relationship with both parents and usually the parent who is the unhealthy parent ends up controlling the minds of the children. This is a sad, but real statistic.

One would deduce that the controlling parent or alienating parent is not normal. I also question what defines normal. Everyone has their own little quirks, beliefs and idiosyncrasies, but does that make one a bad parent. It does to the alienating parent and they will use anything and everything they can to find fault with the target parent. The alienating parent does everything in their power to undermine the relationship the children have with the other parent. Children are suggestible and can eventually succumb to the relentless brainwashing from the alienating parent towards the target parent. The alienating parent exhibits bulling behavior and I believe that alienating parents are takers not givers in any relationship and if they give something it comes with strings attached. They talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

Children can become angry with a parent as it is just part of growing up. The alienating parent seizes this as an opportunity to escalate the problem into something greater than it is. The alienating parent is always right, never wrong and will never admit any fault to any problem. It is the belief that someone else caused their actions. They make up stories which are a lie, but tell them so convincingly that many believe it as truth. They also project onto others lies as well. If they are abusing the child, they will convince others that it is the target parent who is abusing the child. These lies and circles of so called explanations can and do convince others that they are right.

So where does the word psychopath fit into my entry today? These are some recognized characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior.

glibness/superficial charm
grandiose sense of self worth
need for stimulation/prone to boredom
pathological lying
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow emotional response
callous/lack of empathy
failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
many short term relationships

Well that describes my ex quite a bit. He is charming, charismatic, manipulative, and the life of a party. He deserves more than what he has and has done things in the past to achieve this although not legally. He of course was not caught due to his manipulative ways and lies told. He is always right and of course these problems were due to actions of someone else. He has several marriages now with several extramarital affairs as well. Of course these affairs were the result of whatever current wife he had and the problems she created. Not one of his divorces are because of his actions. He has financial problems from time to time, but as usual those are not from his actions but from someone else. I think many can understand my point.

Alienating parents will profess that they have the best interests of the child at hand, but they are incapable of acting in the best interests of the child. It really takes a very disturbed and obsessed individual to harm a child by brainwashing them and to remove a loving parent from the child's life.

Parental alienation is child abuse. Stop the abuse.


  1. My daughter was turned away from me as early as the age of 2 years. Her father was a control freak, frequently violent and abusive towards me. I now believe, after many years of thinking that I was a bad mother, that he was actively coaching my daughter to think of me as the 'bitch'. At such a young age my daughter would not have been able to think about such things rationally, she was systematically abused by hijacking her emotions and focusing on me as the bad parent. Take heed anyone who feels that there has been a long term problem with a relationship with a child - it's not always your fault.

  2. Hello,

    I can empathize with you and understand what you are going thru. The words or arguments that these children can produce have to be looked at in a rational manner. There are concerns and or words used by these children or the so called independent thinkers cannot articulte based on their age, mentality (ability) or experience.

    Yes these children are coached, their minds are hijacked and kidnapped and they are rewarded by the alienating parent to peform this way.

    No it is not our fault, we are just lead to believe that it is our fault.

    I had just posted a new entry and hope that you read it.

  3. Oh My Gosh!!!
    I have to agree 100%.

    I have a little different scenario...My parents stayed together. My Mom made my Dad her main victim. She alienated us children from him. And she didn't stop there. She also kicked out my Dad's family and his friends. He was a cradle Catholic and did everything in his power to keep the marriage together. Us kids were brainwashed into believing we were not worthy of love and that we were the problem, not them. On my Dad's death bed he had so many regrets. He asked me to write a book, which I'm in the process of doing. I have a blog that is excerpts from the book...I find the subject fascinating. How could I have not known the truth for 47 years? She actually had me believing he was the problem…The writing is putting all of it into perspective. Stop by my blog and say hello. I'd love to hear more about your situation.

    You have one thing going for are out. Learn everything you can about these will help you predict their behavior and get a step ahead. You can save your child from a lot of heart ache. Just be smart about it... study the traits and the behavioral patterns of the person. With Mom, I now know when she repeats herself over and over, it’s most likely a lie she trying to turn fiction into fact..if she repeats it enough, you eventually begin to believe it. I could list a number of things she does, but you’ll get the just of it when you read my blog…I have listed her traits..many more than you can imagine.
    When these people are exposed they become extremely evil in their ability to get revenge. They stop at nothing. When I confronted my mother, I was shocked at how she reacted and how she tried to turn my siblings against me. Well she actually succeeded with my brother and oldest sister.
    I wish you luck.
    By the way, my name is Debbie.

  4. Debbie, I took a look at your blog today. All I can say is wow, brings some memories back to me that I have been trying to deal with. My lack of posts have been for my realization that alienation did not first begin with my ex, but it began in my childhood. My mom could be very well considered an alienator. Even though I came from an intact family without divorce, my childhood was not the picket fence, 2 kids and a dog family. We were not the Ward & June Cleaver family. it is a long story and I feel my break through with my son has helped me. I just have to deal with my own childhood in this mess of alienation.

    We should talk sometime.

  5. Good morning,
    Thanks for your response. I just found your blog. Actually I am new at this. My Dad’s request for me to write a book sent me on this journey. Luckily I resigned from my position as a Quality Director over a year ago and have plenty of time to write. This is a good time in my life for this project.
    I can’t get over how much I have learned from this process. As an adult child from a dysfunctional home, I am finally able to deal with life on life’s terms. My sister who is writing with me, was almost destroyed by our mother. At age 50 she went to bed for a year. No kidding, she thought her life was ending – she had given up. My mother had assassinated her character to the family, with only her lies. And she eventually was able to kick her out of the family during Dad’s end stage disease and refused to call her to visit Dad on his death bed. Even though he asked her many times for Sue, Mom refused. Instead she told him he could dictate a letter to Sue and she would write it and make sure she received it after he passes….can you believe it?
    My Dad asked to see me alone. During that conversation he asked to see Sue. When I brought her to his bedside he cried. He thanked me and said “I knew you would help me”. My mother went crazy. Crying hysterically for days saying “who comes to see their father and doesn’t let their mother know”. (funny thing was, she never once cried about my Dad, her husband of 57 years). She was trying to convince my siblings that Sue was the problem. When the truth was she made up lies about why she kicked Sue out. The reality is that Sue did nothing. Absolutely nothing other than ask questions about Dad’s illness.
    She wanted to destroy Sue and if I had not stood firm and betrayed my mother(not sure if betray is the right word to use), she would have succeeded.
    She ended up torturing him in the end, refusing all comfort meds. He was suffocating and his heart rate was out of control. He asked everyone for help. She had him in her home and chased people out by saying he is tired or he’s having a bad day. Or her famous “he had a bad night” comment even though she refused to get him a sleeping pill. She never let us have a private moment with him.
    The night before he passed she bragged to my oldest sister (the one she has since turned against us) and said “Just look at him, he’s suffering just like Christ did on the cross. There’s no difference”. She was satisfied and callused. My sister said she felt like she was going to vomit.
    His last day alive, it got so bad that she was fired by Hospice. My brother ratted her out to the nurse and told her she’s refusing to medicate him. A crisis nurse was called in to take over all responsibility for his care. She threw one of her tirades and called him a liar. (By the way, he’s the other sibling she has since turned against me). That’s how powerful the undeserved loyalty is.
    There’s much, much more. I am just touching the surface here to give you an idea of what a monster she is and how she worked her game. I have so many regrets about how he died. What he went through and how she was able to manipulate us into thinking he was a monster all of our lives, when it was her. She lied to him about us too and he thought we were “terrible kids”.
    I wish there was something (a law) that would have prevented her from sleeping at the hospital, taking all control of his decisions (without a living will and him having a sound mind) and bullying the hospital staff and Hospice team. She was out of control. Even with us children there, he suffered terribly. He needed protection. Hind sight for me creates regret. I wish a professional could have brought some of this to light for me before it was too late for him.

  6. The psychopathic parent is like an unspoken subject for people to talk about in society and the lenghts most people, and even the media go to in order to pretend the problem does not exist always amazes me. This is another interesting article on the same issue:

    I am sick and tired of these sanctimonious types who act like just having a child is in of itself a proof of one's moral perfection. Especially these "super parents" and "new age dads" running around with a newborn on their chest making sure everyone can see what an "involved father" he is. The child is almost like a prop to make him look good.

    I see this kind of thing all over these days. I bet in many cases their children will have very different stories about what kind of parents these types really were like behind closed doors.

  7. I am dealing with this very situation in Court. The Judge in my case has refused to do anything to stop my ex-wife from abusing the Court to destroy me. Her and her family have paid over $750,000 to keep me from my children after I found out her father(the children's grandfather) was convicted of murder and also admitted to heroin trafficking.

    I am seeking any cases or legal precedent for using psychopathy or a personality disorder to modify custody or to even lose custody.

    The evidence of psychopathy is overwhelming in my case. I am planning on asking the Court for a Guardian Ad Litem based on her psychopathy. Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated.

  8. My children had a Gguardian Ad Litem. Unfortunately, he met with my ex twice before he ever met me. My ex had the GAL convinced that I was evil. So the alienation continued.

    Make sure that if at all possible, you see the GAL first. You don't need to badmouth the other parent. But you do need to be truthful about the other parent and what they will do & say to turn the GAL against you.

  9. To say that this rings a bell is a gross understatement. As a father, I have been the target of intense, sadistic, malicious Parental Alienation for over two years.

    What it has taken to get help for my son has been extremely expensive, very painful, often maddening and deeply damaging to my son's young psyche.

    Trial starts next Monday.

    I now have a family counselor who has identified my ex as brainwashing our son, sabotaging the father/son relationship and leaving my son with the choice to tell her what she wants to hear or lose her love. She has trained my son to lie to me, lie about me, lie to others about me and do it all with a clear conscience. My son's conscience is now greatly compromised to the point that I do not have the skills to restore it and genuinely fear it may never return. That is seriously scary as a father.

    I have a psychological evaluation from one of the foremost experts in our state identifying "classic Parental Alienation" and strongly insisting that measures be taken "immediately" to help my son heal.

    Yet my ex refuses to submit and insists on an expensive hearing, which she isn't having to pay for. And she surely intends to place my son on the stand and solicit his negative testimony against his own father. How dark does a parent have to be to train a child to turn against his own parent?

    To her, it's not about what's best for our child. It's about venting her spleen for my defiance of her alleged perfection. Nobody tells her no and gets away with it. Nobody, that is, but me. Well, and now the counselor and evaluator -- AND our G.A.L.

    So this does indeed strike a deep nerve with me. I know what it's like to have my son go from running into my arms with loving joy to telling me he hates me and wants me to abandon him. From deeply, reverently respectful to disdain and animosity and wilfull insolence.

    To call it crushing is a terrible understatement. I've lost two years of the regular access we long enjoyed (until her 5th infidelity), and my son's heart has been hardened considerably toward the only father he will ever have.

    You can have many step parents, but only one father. Because she replaced me in her mind (with a cowardly wimp who is too gutless to stand up to her), she insists that my son do the same. Only I'm still breathing, so that's not going to happen.

    IMO, people who do this do not deserve any legal parental rights and in fact belong in either psychiatric rehabilitation centers or prisons. It is, truly, EVIL.

  10. As I read your blogs, my heart and soul is very deeply moved. My husband was victimized by an alienating mother before age 9; I marveled that this beautiful, caring, love of my life could have turned out so very normal, in spite of his Catholic parents' refusal to divorce because of the status of their family name in a really small town in those days.
    I met him when we were in our mid-forties and we married in 2004--his first marriage. He vacillated between loyalty to his father, a truly decent man who taught him the Christian charity for which he was most beloved, and a spiteful, vengeful mother who has never failed to denigrate her husband, even accusing him of trying to murder her by splashing a bit of water on the bathroom floor, with the intent of causing her to slip and break her neck. My husband was willing to help anyone, no matter how much the same one failed to repay the kindness and, even worse, repaid the kindness with venemous betrayal.
    At his wake, the line stretched from the chapel, through the lobby, and out the main door of the funeral home. I greeted and grieved with a procession of his and our friends, who formed a seemingly never-ending, 4-hour line.
    He always introduced me as "the love of my life, his best friend, and wife." However, his mother once announced for his father's entire family to hear that she was "his first love." Her daily--and often multiple--phone calls to him upset our household more often than I care to remember. When I encouraged him to "just let it go--she considers negative attention better than no attention at all," he responded, "She's my mother; I have to love her."
    Suddenly, after 12 wonderful years, almost 8 of which we were married, he succumbed to the demons of his childhood, indulging in multiple drug abuse and constant drinking. He told his friends I was cheating on him; that I was going to divorce him; that I was addicted to meth, cocaine--you name it--and that I needed to go into rehab. His behaviors became bizarre and violent. Even his closest friends from childhood were torn by his sudden, unexplicable personality changes. Worst of all, they believed the false accusations he laid at my feet.
    On My 18, 2012, I came upon police cars and a hearse about 1/2 mile from home. I muttered under my breath what my beloved husband remarked whenever we encountered such a scene: "Someone is having a bad day."
    An overwhelming sense of terror gripped me and, sure enough, the cop cars were in my driveway. My beautiful husband decided to get on his Harley with a body full of Darvocet and enough alcohol to register .218 upon death.
    I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. I don't blame anyone, but I do know the circumstances that haunted his psyche. He often told me that I am his best friend; that he has told me things he has never told anyone.
    I am retiring in February--we had so many plans! He always remarked, "People make plans; God makes decisions." If only he had been so fortunate to have the healthy, loving family that I had as a child . . .

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. As I read your words, I feel compelled to state that the alienation I experienced with my son was not my first experience. I feel as if your spouse and I were raised in the same home. My own mother was controlling and very hateful to my father. Unfortunately I have no relationship with them. I recall her telling me how my dad cheated on her throughout the years. I highly doubt this. I saw her alienate people in her life. I walked on eggshells growing up, so I would not make her mad. She could be happy in the morning and hateful at night. It was difficult to say the least living like this. I left my home when I was 17 and struggled for years to maintain a healthy relationship with my mother. I have not seen my parents in over 12 years. I do love my mother, because I was taught you love and honor your parents, but I can not have that discord in my life. I feel bad that my son does not have a relationship with his grandparents, not because I forbid it, but because she refuses to have anything to do with anyone who is part of me. In fact she has no relationship with any of her grandchildren.
      Best of luck to you.

  11. I don't think it is right to make children to feel about other parents. It is wrong for your children , for their childish feeling and by doing so you are harming your children so its my request to parents to avoid such kind of hate thinking in your and as well as your child mind San Diego Mediators