A hallmark of all domestic emotional abuse is the methodical isolation of the victim. In this case, the unstable parent teaches the child that anything associated with the alienated parent is undesirable. This includes siblings, extended family, long-term friends or familiar coworkers and neighbors. Because the child learns that appropriate language and supportive behavior for the abusive parent is the condition of acceptance, they often claim that it is their desire to cut ties with these supportive parties, which ensnares them more firmly in the cycle of abuse.
It’s important that social workers, caregivers, and legal actors recognize these symptoms as a form of parental emotional abuse. Rather than placing the impetus for the alienating speech or behaviors upon the child, therapists must examine the care-giving parent. They must carefully evaluate the legitimacy of their claims, which often cite non-existent abuse or failings of the other parent. A clearer understanding and broader acceptance of Parental Alienation would prevent the loss of time and resources alienated parties spend fighting for their children in court and forestall the psychological damage done to children.