Mind control (also known as brainwashing, reeducation, brainsweeping, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought reform) is a controversial pseudoscientific theory that human subjects can beindoctrinated in a way that causes “an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of beliefs and affiliations. In this context, brainwashing refers to the involuntary reeducation of basic beliefs and values”.
Theories of brainwashing and of mind control were originally developed to explain how totalitarian regimes appeared to systematically indoctrinate prisoners of war through propaganda and torture techniques. These theories were later expanded and modified by psychologists including Margaret Singer and Philip Zimbardo to explain a wider range of phenomena, especially conversions to some new religious movements (NRMs). The suggestion that NRMs use mind control techniques has resulted in scientific and legal debate; with Eileen Barker, James Richardson, and other scholars, as well as legal experts, rejecting at least the popular understanding of the concept.
|Brainwashing children is a crime executed by a dysfunctional parent willing to strip children of their self- esteem to accomplish their own revenge against an ex-lover. Those of us impacted by Parental Alienation know that memories can be changed. We have seen it happen. We have helplessly watched as our children’s self-identity is vengefully pulled from them, twisted, manipulated, and reprogrammed until a new person emerges that is consumed by hate.
Parents and children are both victims of mind manipulation by an ex-spouse obsessed with revenge and a burning need to assuage their injured ego. They are motivated by avenging their sense of abandonment and their narcissistic need for adoration.
We have lived with our children and powerlessly experienced the deterioration of our loving bonds. But, we rarely know why and how hate replaces the familial love that had always defined our relationship. The complete reversal would seem unimaginable if we had not suffered the pain of being victimized. Instinctively, we know that our children have been brainwashed. But, how? What is the mechanism or combination of mechanisms that enable one parent to accomplish such damage?
My research combined with my personal experience has convinced me that the process of brainwashing children proceeds in a somewhat different manner than traditional methods exemplified by the model reportedly used on American prisoners during the Korean War. These traditional methods typically require isolation of the victim combined with real or threatened violence.
These tactics are typically not used in cults; nor are they commonly used brainwashing children. Children are inherently more vulnerable to different strategies because the abusive parent is betraying a child who loves and trusts them. The parental betrayal is a most heinous form of child abuse. Brainwashing children can be achieved effectively over time without the use of physical forms of coercion and control precisely because the abuse is performed by a trusted parent.
How Do They Do It?
How do parents actually accomplish brainwashing children? Perhaps my conclusions are largely drawn from my own personal experiences. But, I have been frustrated in finding answers that address the questions surrounding the actual mechanisms typically employed by an alienator parent . Are the tactics conscious, overt, carefully designed attempts to manipulate or are they the result of an automatic response by individuals with severe personality disorders who unconsciously are reacting to a highly toxic situation that is terribly threatening to their sense of self?
One thing seems certain–the offending parents seem to be devoid of empathy so they can neither understand nor be concerned about the devastation done to either the ex-spouse or their children. They use their delusion of love for a child to destroy an ex-lover they have come to hate.
Not all children can be turned against a targeted parent no matter how hard the would-be alienator tries. So, what are the dynamics?
I have tried to identify how several significant circumstances and personality traits intersect to enable the parent actively involved in brainwashing children. The following are my own observations and conclusions drawn from both extensive research and personal experience. I hope they help others trying to make sense when there really is none.
Programming A Child
- A child’s brain is very malleable and the alienator is both a loved and trusted parent. So, brainwashing children does not require isolation or violence ( although physical abuse is probably commonly involved. ) Therefore, if the parent displays the right personality traits and disorders it is fairly easy to negatively influence a child. Some children will respond fairly quickly while for others the process may take years. Although there may be preexisting issues between the child and targeted parent I am referring to parent-child relationships that, prior to the alienation, were very normal and loving.
- When one parent attempts to alienate a child from the other parent, they are essentially teaching the child to hate and fear the other parent. Hatred of the targeted parent is the end goal or program. It’s like installing computer software—there are directions, procedures and instructions for how to organize information. For example, the targted parent is late for a scheduled child visitation pick-up. The programming parent comments, “A good parent who really loves his/her children would be on time.” This is a set of instructions that translates to: “Your father/mother is a bad parent who doesn’t love you.” This is a negative interpretation of what is most likely a neutral event, but the set of directions from the offending parent don’t allow for neutral interpretations like heavy traffic, a flat tire or being held up at work.