The scholarly work Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Child From Parental

Alienation (Darnell 1998), leading author and child psychologist Dr. Douglas

Darnell listed some of the clustering signs of commonalities that form what

has become known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS has striking

similarities to NPD and the Stockholm Syndrome (Rawlings et al., 1994, pp.

401–417), where the “victim sees world from abuser’s perspective” and “de-
nies or rationalizes violence by the abuser.” The following are adapted from

Darnell et al in relation to Parental Alienation (Syndrome):

They have a relentless hatred for towards the targeted parent(s)

They parrot the obsessed alienator

The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent

Many of the child’s beliefs are enmeshed with the alienator

The beliefs are delusional and frequently irrational

They are not intimidated by the court

Frequently, their reasons are not based on personal experiences with the

targeted parent, but reflect what they are told by the obsessed alienator.

They have difficulty making any differentiations between the two

404 D. M. Summers & C. C. Summers

The child has no ambivalence in their feelings; it’s all hatred with no ability

to see the good

Victim identifies, enmeshes and aligns through the abuser and the abuser’s

allies. Seeing things from the perspective of the perpetrators

They have no capacity to feel guilty about how they behave towards the

targeted parent or forgive any past indiscretions

They share the Obsessed Alienators cause. Together, they are in lockstep

to denigrate the hated parent

The children’s obsessional hatred extends to the targeted parent’s extended

family without any guilt or remorse

They can appear like normal healthy children until asked about the targeted

parent that triggers their hatred (Darnell, 2003, 33–34)

These signs not only assist us in understanding Parental Alienation, but

also help therapists identify children whose narcissistic and alienating parents

drive them to a campaign of hate. Sandy Hotchkiss, author of the book on

this most prevalent personality disorder: Why Is It Always About You? The

Seven Sins of Narcissism, sums up a root cause of this mentality in America:

The ‘pseudomature’ child is the one who seems to have skipped right over

childhood. Both the ‘pseudomature’ child and the ‘entitlement monster’

are bi-products of narcissistic parenting. The latter is held captive in a

parent’s narcissistic bubble, while the former is forced out prematurely

and forms a false Self that appears more competent than it actually is.

Both fail to separate from their emotionally bankrupt mothers, and they

become what Mother, or Father, needs them to be rather than whom they

truly are. (Hotchkiss, 2003, pp. 56–57)

In his scholarly work Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond

from a Vindictive Ex, Dr. Richard Warshak eloquently listed the areas like

“corrupting reality,” which the NPA is especially renowned: “. . . To intervene

effectively in a campaign of denigration, we must understand exactly how

the child’s view of reality is being manipulated. Below is a summary of some

of the most common strategies for distorting the child’s perceptions, beliefs,

and memories of the target” (Warshak, 2001, pp. 202–203).

Manipulating names to disrupt children’s identification with the target

Repeating false ideas until: they are assumed to be true and are embedded

in memory

Selectively directing the children’s attention to negative aspects of the target

while ignoring positive aspects

Dropping the context of a target’s behavior

Exaggerating the target’s negative behavior

Telling lies about the target

Unadulterated Arrogance 405

Revising history to erase positive memories of the target

Claiming that the target has totally changed

Suggestions that convey in a covert manner negative messages about the


Encouraging the children to exploit: the target

Projection of the brainwasher’s own thoughts, feelings, or behavior onto

the target

Rationalizations that hide the perpetrator’s real motives and make the target

look bad

Self-righteous tones intended to ward off careful scrutiny of the program-
mer’s reality distortions

Denunciations cloaked in religious dogma

Associating the label “the truth” with the programmer’s implanted scenarios

Overindulging the children with excessive privileges, material possessions,

and low expectations for responsible behavior to buy their allegiance

Encroaching on the children’s time with the target and sabotaging their

enjoyment of special activities

Instructing children to keep secrets from, spy on, and lie to the target

Conspiring with others to reinforce the programming

Programming the children to resist attempts to undo their indoctrination

Narcissistic children often become like their narcissistic alienating parent,

but one should wisely keep in mind that “narcissistic traits may be particularly

common in adolescents and do not necessarily indicate that the individual

will go on to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder” (American Psychiatric

Association, 1994, p. 660).

For some therapists, identifying a NPA is beyond their skill-set and may

themselves join in the bad-mouthing of target parents whom they have never

met. Some uninvited therapists become involved as the NPA’s activist and go

so far as to write inflammatory and/or defamatory letters to courts containing

fictitious claims, diatribes and false histories based upon the NPA’s fabrica-
tions and those of a disturbed child.

NPAs often do not perform background checks, and may even know-
ingly choose some individuals to represent them or the child, because of their

naivety and easiness to be manipulated, or their reputation as a hired-gun.

NPA choices for legal and mental health representation, for example, may

include individuals with previous warrants, or who willfully commit perjury

in court, or who misrepresent their case histories on a website, or even live

with a cross-dressing partner with gender issues while allowing their own

children to remain in such an environment. It is imperative for target parents

to complete a thorough check with the state licensing board, the courthouse

or the bar association before agreeing to an attorney, therapist, or evaluator

to represent their child which can often save thousands of dollars in the long


406 D. M. Summers & C. C. Summers

Regarding chronically alienated children, it is estimated that up to 40

percent develop an alignment with the alienator and have no problem over

and over again to denigrate and outright reject the other parent and every-
thing they say. These children tend to loose the spirit and soul that once

nurtured a love for the NPA’s target as they refuse to bite the hand that feeds

them by nurturing unwavering hatred. These children are psychologically

abused by the alienator and inanely believe the target parent to be evil and

horrible, when in fact; it is the NPA who qualifies for that status.

Research studies should be performed regarding NPAs, to assist unskilled

therapists to identify the real abuser instead of inadvertently advocating NPA

deception and blaming the target parent. Even an experienced or renowned

therapist is quite capable of being bamboozled to breach ethical standards

and professional objectivity by treating and performing a custody evaluation

with the child simultaneously.

When narcissistic parents are too absorbed with their own preoccupa-
tions to spend time with their kids, they often raise narcissistic children,

or at least children with profound narcissistic vulnerabilities, such as

shame-sensitivity and the inability to manage intense negative feelings

or to control their own aggressive impulses. Several years ago, a study

of elementary-school-aged boys showed that those who were already

identified as aggressive were less skillful than their more docile peers at

accurately interpreting the behavior of others their age and were more

likely to read intentional hostility into an ambiguous situation and re-
spond with a preemptive strike. (Hotchkiss, 2003, p. 99)

Often, years pass with exploitative and repetitive brainwashing, denigra-
tion, and manipulation of the child against the target parent, and that, as the

child matures into a teenager or adult, they become truly incapable of making

sound and healthy choices, because irreversible damage has occurred. Few

parents maintain the financial and psychological endurance against narcis-
sistic abuse or have the skills to uncover the pettifoggery, before the child’s

mind is completely altered and initiated into the alienator’s cult of parent-
hood. Experts and courts need to appreciate that time is of the essence.

Inexperienced therapists, evaluators, and often judges do not take into

account when a child or teen has been subjected to years of poor behavior

by an NPA prior to divorce or custody disputes and who have imposed such

unbalanced and warped ideas on their offspring. When a teen claims to take

their own stand on making mature adult choices, such a thought pattern

needs to be addressed and corrected. Haven’t we all seen enough parental

and juvenile dysfunction increase in the news over the last decades?

The rates of teen violence and peer crimes are on the rise because so

many NPAs are never home to parent (often out on “business” dates, using

drugs or alcohol) and they refuse to allow the target parent to assist. Often

Unadulterated Arrogance 407

these types of NPAs will veil their paramour under the guise of being a friend

or babysitter and then further deceive their former spouse and professionals

by remarrying that individual with the hidden intention to cause further hurt

to the target parent through the purchasing of the “synthetic replacement.” It

is not uncommon for the NPA’s extended family to contribute to the alienating

process by participating in concealing such facts.