Letter of support, written by Dr. Craig Childress

The underlying psychological themes expressed in this “parental alienation” variant are:

“Now aren’t you sorry you divorced me. I’ve taken your children from you. I’ve killed your children. You don’t have your children anymore because you’re such a bad and inadequate person (spouse). You’re sorry now, aren’t you. You deserve to suffer for leaving me. You deserve this.”

 “I’m not the rejected parent (spouse/person), you are. You’re the inadequate parent (spouse/person) not me. I’m the ideal and all wonderful parent (spouse/person). The children have chosen me, and they’ve rejected you because I’m the wonderful and ideal parent (spouse/person) and you’re inadequate and you deserve to be rejected.”


The children are incorporated into the cross-generational alliance (called a “perverse triangle” by the preeminent family systems therapist, Jay Haley) through a variety of manipulative communication and relationship techniques employed by the narcissistic personality parent. Essentially, the children are placed into a loyalty conflict by the narcissistic parent in which the children must choose sides. If they choose the mother’s side (typically this domestic violence “parental alienation” pathology is expressed as a narcissistic father and targeted mother), then the narcissistic father retaliates against the children with displays of cold and hostile rejection and contempt which can be displayed in a variety of contexts but that carry the subtext. “Displease me and I’ll make you suffer.” If, on the other hand, the children surrender to the desire of the narcissistic father that they display hostility and rejection toward the targeted mother, then the children are rewarded with parental displays of narcissistic charm from the father and with narcissistic indulgences of expensive gifts and adult-like privileges because they’re “good children.” The pathology of this covert “parental alienation” domestic violence is an incredibly horrific form of violence against the targeted spouse (typically the mother). In retaliation for the divorce, the narcissistic husband is essentially killing the mother’s children. Prior to the divorce, she was a loving mother with loving children. After the divorce and the “alienation” of her children, she has lost her children, she no longer has her children. The children (supposedly) no longer want to have visitations with her because of her supposed inadequacy (the narcissistic theme of the father), and when they do visit with her, their attitudes are of open contempt and hostility (the narcissistic themes of the father).

This  for one of his clients, explains the impossible position the children are put in during the alienation process. http://drcachildress.org/asp/admin/getFile.asp?RID=115&TID=6&FN=pdf

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