In Children Held Hostage, Stanley Clawar and Brynne Rivlin use important new research involving over 1,000 families to demonstrate that children can and are being used by parents in the divorce battle. Their research shows how negative actions by parents toward their children show up in court proceedings where children testify or are questioned by mental health professionals. The major issue in confronting this problem of programmed and brainwashed children has been identification of a child alienated by one parent against the other; proving it in court; and then finding a solution that not only works, but that a court will buy into. The updated edition of Children Held Hostage explains these issues in detail, with practice-focused explanations on every step in the process. The authors offer further insights into gender issues and differences. Other new material includes a social-psychological profile of programmers and brainwashers; identification of the most commonly asked questions by judges, target parents, lawyers and children; an expanded social explanation to the causes, impact, and interventions; development of an abductor profile; charts to visualize key findings and processes; and much more.
“Hi, I took a study and found out I am a covert narcissist. Do you think there is anything I can do about this to change or is it hopeless? You can be honest.”
This question was asked of me by Anonymous (on tumblr). It’s not the first time someone has asked me something along these lines. In fact the main reason I started blogging about narcissism is due to a question like this.
A friend told me that their therapist had suggested that they may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and this friend wanted my opinion on whether I thought they could be a narcissist. They asked me for my opinion because I had spoken about my parents being narcissists. They also asked me to be honest…
Being honest with this friend proved to be a turning point in my life.
However being honest with them…
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Following one of my reader’s requests for case studies of work that I have done with children who have reunited with a parent after alienation, this is a short collection of stories from my case book. Publishing case stories is not straight forward when one is working with families affected by alienation, as their privacy is vital and I am bound by confidentiality in both my work in the court process and my role as a therapist. Following good practice therefore, I must heavily disguise the identity of the families and their children with whom I have worked. I cannot identify anything within the case stories that could lead to anyone recognising themselves or others and I cannot give details of any cases within the court process that could lead to the same. What I can do is occasionally publish stories which are written by parents themselves and I can…
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On November 21, 2014 from 10:00-12:00 Pacific Standard Time I will be presenting an online seminar through the Masters Lecture Series of California Southern University regarding the Diagnosis and Treatment of an attachment-based model for “parental alienation.”
This seminar is offered free to the general public and the seminar will be recorded and made available online through California Southern University’s Master Lecture Series for later viewing.
Registration for this online seminar regarding the Diagnosis and Treatment of attachment-based “parental alienation” is at:
This Diagnosis and Treatment seminar is a follow-up to my earlier online seminar regarding the Theoretical Foundations for an attachment-based model of “parental alienation” that I delivered on July 18 through the Masters Lecture Series of California Southern University, and which is currently available at:
My hope is that these two companion seminars will provide foundational information for mental health professionals in understanding, diagnosing, and…
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But then I realise I’m asking myself the wrong question.
The question I should ask is………do I want them back?
In my heart the answer would be no, not if the relationship was going to be on a master and slave basis again.
I can see from some of the other posts on groups I’ve seen recently (I don’t look very often) that this is now where the stalemate is.
‘You really aren’t alone. My inbox is full with messages from many parents all with similar stories.
These are good, decent, devoted parents who have made many sacrifices for their children only to find themselves now cut off and rejected.
I do believe that in some ways, those children who have been given so much love and devotion, have grown up to believe they’re not only ‘entitled’ to have their demands met but that they’re invulnerable too.
They haven’t felt pain yet and so they don’t feel or see the pain they’re putting their parents through when they cut them off.
You didn’t do anything wrong.
We were told how to be parents and we were faced with the wrath of the higher ups if we failed to treat our children as precious and valued individuals. The children themselves were made aware of their rights and how they were ‘entitled’ to have their rights met. They learned to have overly high expectations and they learned to manipulate too.
And so now we have a generation of ego charged, invulnerable, demanding young adults who find it easy to break their family ties if their ego’s aren’t satisfied or if we offend them in some way. This is a generational issue of the parents being subservient and the slave in the relationship while the child is the master.
This is the legacy of children’s rights gone awry. The saddest thing is that at some point, these adult children will have no one to turn to when life teaches them that their ego and high expectations don’t get them far in life.
I think rather than try and change things in the short term, which is unlikely, the point needs to be made that this current situation is a very big failure created not by parents, but by society and those ‘experts; who dictated at the time, how we should parent our children.’
On the occasional forum, I observed a handful of posts written by shy parents fearful of the shame of being judged if they opened up and poured their hearts out.
In only a year, how things have changed. The floodgates are open as parents who have been cut off by adult children now openly tell of the daily heartbreak and pain in which they exist. Their bonds cruelly severed after being disowned, cast out and left out in the cold by the very people they gave birth to, the ‘tribe’ to which they belong.
Greeted by only an invisible wall of silence, they are cruelly and dismally left emotionally stranded. Uninvited to all the important occasions a parent looks forward to but are made painfully aware of through social media such as Facebook, they are unable to collect their natural heritage of precious memories. Excluded from the essence of family life, deprived of any sense of belonging, they are denied the opportunity of being part of the family they gave birth to. This often includes grandchildren as the aggrieved adult children force their own children to live their grievances, deprive them of belonging to a wider family and also deprive them of knowing their own gene pool. The long term consequences of such action can only be disastrous for all concerned especially for the grandchildren who by nature will at some point want to reconnect with their own roots.
At first it’s easy to imagine that this newly emerging social ill only exists as a result of divorced families, but it’s more than apparent that estrangement affects even the most solid, nuclear married families too. Alienation and estrangement are not biased, they can arrive within seconds of any kind of dispute where the word that lands out of a loving parent’s mouth has been NO or ‘I don’t agree’.
Stories of endless sacrifice where parents often did two jobs to cover the bills, gave up careers, borrowed money to pay off their adult child’s debts, paid for them to attend university and gain degrees, free childminding service, taxi service, free banking, loans that never got paid back, undisputed accusations, character assassinations, emotional blackmail, threats, discrediting their lives and achievements when the answer was still NO and then creating a smear campaign to make the parents look wrong to cover up the adult child’s reasons for ‘unfriending’ and casting out a devoted parent or parents into an emotionally bleak existence.
After years of servitude and sacrifice, magical Christmas mornings, birthday parties, trips away, never a forgotten special moment, estranged parents in their 1,000’s now face Christmas and birthdays alone without a card or any kind of explanation.
Meanwhile, all over the internet, messages abound, ‘stay away from toxic people’, ‘walk away from negative people’, ‘don’t give a care for anyone but yourself’, ‘only YOU matter’.
It’s easy to see where the attitude of selfishness and the right to be ‘right’ lays. The influence to be ‘your own individual and ignore everyone who dares to offend you’ is mind blowingly clear. Yet human beings rarely succeed as individuals on their own. They always operate better when they feel connected within a group.
But things are changing. A new voice is emerging and it’s an angry voice. It’s the voice of a responsible public, many are parents who have given their best only to find themselves rejected when they can no longer live up to the expectation of their adult children. They want to know what happened to loyalty, compassion, tolerance, discussion, and most of all, they want to know why?
No longer are the experts laying the blame at the door of the parents. There are too many of us. Something else in our modern world is blatantly wrong.
Why does the word ‘rights’ not equate to responsibility? Why is the word ‘entitlement’ one sided?
Why is estrangement a secret? Who wins from being estranged? What will happen to our adult children in the future when they wake up and realise they have chosen to make themselves orphans disconnected from their roots?
The parents will and are coping by coming together in their masses to share their stories and support each other. We’ve all been through loss and chaos before, we have coping strategies. We know how to survive the curved balls life has so often thrown at us. We’re surviving now.
But we’re not even concerned with ourselves. Our hearts still look out for our children. Their behaviour is guaranteed to bring them nothing but failure in future years. Estrangement is failure.
While they may believe their actions are justified in their 20’s and 30’s, what happens when they meet life in their 40’s and 50’s? They’ve trashed their family connections, blown up their bridges, burned their parents in anger and rage because of some perceived injustice that they just can’t get over and ripped the family apart till it no longer exists.
What then for our adult children?
Written by Nina Wornham. Copyright 2014.