A qualitative retrospective study was conducted on 40 adults who experienced parental alienation as a child. Individuals participated in one-hour, semi-structured interviews. Audiotapes were transcribed verbatim and submitted to a content analysis for primary themes and patterns. Findings pertaining to the process of alienation from the targeted parent were analyzed for this article. Results revealed three distinct patterns of alienation
(1) narcissistic alienating mothers in divorced families,
(2) narcissistic alienating mothers in intact families, and
(3) abusive/rejecting alienating mothers and fathers.
Each of these patterns is described in detail along with five additional notable finings:
(1) Alcoholism, maltreatment, and personality disorders co-occurred in most of the alienating families,
(2) parental alienation occurred in intact families,
(3) parental occurred in non-litigious divorced families,
(4) some of the targeted parents appeared to play a role in their own alienation, and
(5) the alienation was not always completely internalized.
The clinical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.