Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A Summary of Studies on Barriers to Physicians’ and Patients’ Discussion of Abuse

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Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Can of Worms? Pandora’s Box? Divulging Your Dark Secrets

What I regularly tell clients with such fears is that if they’re not yet ready to bring something up, then—by all means—don’t. But I also assure them that chances are that when they’re ready to disclose their zealously guarded secret, they’ll likely discover they’re actually not opening a can of worms at all (and certainly not some evil-saturated Pandora’s Box!). That is, I let them know that their willingness to divulge something which up till now has felt too dangerous to go public with, will probably defuse it. That the toxic energy so long attached to it will probably be released—at long last, discharged.

Almost invariably, when clients do evolve the mental and emotional strength to share the narrative of that which has saddled them with exaggerated feelings of anxiety, sorrow, guilt, or shame, the residual negative impact of that situation is greatly reduced. For they can then be helped to understand what they did—or what happened to them—in a new, more realistic, and substantially more favorable light. And once that event (or series of events) has been freshly illuminated, its wounding to their sense of self can begin to heal. Now they can recognize how their original, negatively distorted interpretation of what transpired seriously compromised their self-image. Continue reading “Can of Worms? Pandora’s Box? Divulging Your Dark Secrets”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Judith Lewis Herman > Quotes


“..[The] disclosure of the incest secret initiates a profound crisis for the family usually…the abuse has been going on for a number of years and has become an integral part of family life. Disclosure disrupts whatever fragile equilibrium has been maintained, jeopardizes the functioning of all family members, increases the likelihood of violent and desperate behavior, and places everyone, but particularly the daughter, at risk for retaliation.”

― Judith Lewis Herman, Father-Daughter Incest: With a New Afterword

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The incestuous family

“Through an intensive clinical study of forty incest victims and numerous interviews with professionals in mental health, child protection, and law enforcement, Judith Herman develops a composite picture of the incestuous family. In a new afterword written especially for this edition, Herman offers an overview of the knowledge that has developed about incest and other forms of sexual abuse since this book was first published. Reviewing the extensive research literature that demonstrates the validity of incest survivors’ sometimes repressed and recovered memories, she convincingly challenges the rhetoric and methods of the backlash movement against incest survivors, and the concerted attempt to deny the events they find the courage to describe.”–Jacket Continue reading “The incestuous family”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Judith Herman

Judith Herman is best known for her contributions to the understanding of trauma and its victims, as set out in her second book, Trauma and Recovery.[2] There she distinguishes between single-incident traumas – one-off events – which she termed Type I traumas, and complex or repeated traumas (Type II).[3] Type I trauma, according to the United States Veterans Administration’s Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, “accurately describes the symptoms that result when a person experiences a short-lived psychological trauma”.[4] Type II – the concept of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) – includes “the syndrome that follows upon prolonged, repeated trauma”.[5] Although not yet accepted by DSM-IV as a separate diagnostic category, the notion of complex traumas has been found useful in clinical practice.[6]

Herman equally influentially set out a three-stage sequence of trauma treatment and recovery. The first involved regaining a sense of safety, whether through a therapeutic relationship, medication, relaxation exercises or a combination of all three.[7] The second phase involved active work upon the trauma, fostered by that secure base, and employing any of a range of psychological techniques.[8] The final stage was represented by an advance to a new post-traumatic life,[9] possibly broadened by the experience of surviving the trauma and all it involved.[10]

Herman was interviewed by Harry Kreisler, Executive Director of the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, for his ongoing series Conversations with History at the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley.[11] She is currently working on a study into the effects of the justice system on victims of sexual violence, with a view to discovering a better way for victims of crimes to be allowed to interact with what she perceives as an ‘adversarial’ system of crime and punishment in the U.S.[12]



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Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Effect of child abuse on the stages of behavioural development


Infancy is a critical period in a child’s development. During infancy, the brain, which is approximately one-quarter of the size of the adult brain, is one of the most undeveloped organs and it is highly susceptible to both the positive and the negative effects of the external environment. For instance, shaken baby syndrome, a result of physical abuse, damages the brain structure, which can have severe consequences for the health of an infant—namely mental retardation, hearing problems, visual problems, learning disabilities, and cognitive dysfunction. Some studies show that physically abused children have structural brain changes, including “smaller intracranial and cerebral volume,” smaller lateral ventricles, and smaller corpora callosa. The consequences of abuse might not manifest clinically until later in life. For example, the outcomes for infants who suffer brain damage from shaking can range from no apparent effects to permanent disability, including developmental delay, seizures or paralysis, blindness, and even death. Survivors might have substantially delayed effects of neurologic injury resulting in a range of impairments seen over the course of their lives, including cognitive deficits and behavioural problems. Recent Canadian data on children hospitalized for shaken baby syndrome showed that 19% died; 59% had neurologic deficits, visual impairment, or other health effects; and only 22% appeared well at the time of discharge. Data also indicate that babies who appear well when discharged from hospital might show evidence of cognitive or behavioural difficulties later on, possibly by school age.

High cortisol and catecholamine levels, which increase as a response to stress that results from abuse, have been linked to the destruction of brain cells and the disruption of normal brain connections, consequently affecting children’s behavioural development. Sleep disturbances, night terrors, and nightmares can be signs of infant abuse.

Toddler age:

By the second year, a child will usually react to stress with a display of angry and emotional expression. Stress accompanying any kind of abuse causes children to feel distress and frustration. The excessive anger is displayed in the form of aggressive behaviour and fighting with caregivers or peers. This form of response is intensified more with physical abuse.

Preschool age:

At this stage, children have similar reactions to the different types of abuse as younger children do. However, by ages 4 and 5, children might express their reaction to abuse through different behaviour. Boys tend to externalize their emotion through expression of anger, aggression, and verbal bullying. Girls are more likely to internalize their behavioural attitudes by being depressed and socially withdrawn, and having somatic symptoms such as headache and abdominal pain.

Primary school age:

At this age, children develop through peer interaction. Abused children often have difficulties with school, including poor academic performance, a lack of interest in school, poor concentration during classes, and limited friendships. They are often absent from school.


Adolescents who have experienced abuse might suffer from depression, anxiety, or social withdrawal. In addition, adolescents who live in violent situations tend to run away to what they perceive to be safer environments., They engage in risky behaviour such as smoking, drinking alcohol, early sexual activity, using drugs, prostitution, homelessness, gang involvement, and carrying guns.,, Psychiatric disorders are often seen in adolescents who have been abused.,, In one long-term study, 80% of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least 1 psychiatric disorder by the age of 21.


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Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

What is emotional abuse?

Any child, from any background, can be at risk of emotional abuse. But some are more vulnerable than others.

Children who are emotionally abused are often suffering another type of abuse or neglect at the same time – but this isn’t always the case.

When a family is going through a tough time, parents and carers might find it difficult to provide a safe and loving home for their children. This can happen when families are experiencing:

Worried about a child?

If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, contact our helpline to speak to one of our counsellors. Call us on 0808 800 5000, email or fill in our online form.

Continue reading “What is emotional abuse?”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Potential indicators of psychological abuse

It is important not to jump to the wrong conclusions too quickly, but the following may be indicators of many different problems:

  • ambivalence about carer
  • fearfulness, avoiding eye contact, flinching on approach
  • deference
  • insomnia or the need for excessive sleep
  • change in appetite
  • unusual weight loss/gain
  • tearfulness
  • unexplained paranoia
  • low self-esteem
  • confusion, agitation
  • coercion
  • possible violation of human and/or civil rights
  • distress caused by being locked in a home or car
  • isolation – no visitors or phone calls allowed
  • inappropriate clothing
  • sensory depravation
  • restricted access to hygiene facilities
  • lack of personal respect
  • lack of recognition of individual rights
  • carer does not offer personal hygiene, medical care or regular food or drinks
  • and/or use of furniture to restrict movement.

Continue reading “Potential indicators of psychological abuse”

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The ten types of abuse

There are many different types of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.

It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst cases can result in death.

A short video which highlights the different types of abuse from the Ann Craft Trust is available by clicking HERE. 

Information on the ten types of abuse:

Use the links below to navigate to information on the ten types of abuse:

Continue reading “The ten types of abuse”

Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

How A Parent’s Inappropriate Emotional Behavior Could Be Hurting You

Emotional incest is a dysfunctional emotional intimacy between a parent and their offspring. Another term for it is “surrogate spouse syndrome.”

Unnatural intimacy would include:

  • Confiding in a child about relationship problems they are having with a spouse or partner.
  • Talking about emotional problems, or their sex life, or other adult subjects with a child.
  • Turning a daughter into a surrogate wife and mother when becoming a single parent.
  • Turning a son into a surrogate husband and father or “man of the house” when becoming a single parent.
  • Leaning too heavily on an adult child when they have other options.
  • Avoiding other relationships with other adults who are peers while treating child like a peer.

This is not to say that a child should not take on additional responsibilities when times are difficult. Children can sense when parents are struggling, and it can improve their self esteem and self reliance to help their families when there is a need.

Continue reading “How A Parent’s Inappropriate Emotional Behavior Could Be Hurting You”