Folie a deux

Behaviour of children who have been alienated (brainwashed) are often:

  1. they express the same hostility as does the custodial parent, hence the “folie a deux” analogy;
  2. they identify with and imitate the alienator;
  3. they do not wish to visit or spend time with the absent and alienated parent;
  4. the child’s views of rejecting the absent parent is virtually identical with the programming of the custodial parent;
  5. the children suffer from the same delusions and the irrational beliefs as the alienator in regard to the non resident parent (this occurs because the children have totally identified with the custodial parent);
  6. the children feel themselves to be powerful due to their alliance with the controlling and powerful alienator;
  7. they are not frightened (albeit they claim to be) by the absent parent or the court;
  8. the children have no valid reasons for rejecting the alienated parent, but will often manufacture these reasons, or exaggerate events for the purpose of rejecting alienated parents;
  9. they can see nothing positive or good about the absent parent and even the absent parent’s family, indeed they claim not to be able to remember anything of a positive nature in the form of memories about the absent parent;
  10. they have difficulties in being able to distinguish between what they are told about the absent parent and their own recollections of that parent;
  11. they appear not to feel any sense of guilt about the way they treat the absent parent if and when there is contact;
  12. they appear to be ‘normal’, yet appear also no longer to have a mind of their own being totally obsessed with the custodial parent and his/her implacable hostility towards the absent parent and frequently his/her extended family.

folie a deux, folie a plus de trois, folie a pluisieurs

Cartwright (1993) indicates that “time is on the side of the alienator”. The alienator practices various ploys to prevent good contact between the child and the absent parent. Such delaying tactics are unscrupulous and unfair, but they are effective. In time and after numerous efforts to gain good contact through the courts, the alienated parent sometimes gives up. The odds are stacked against him/her ever having real positive contact with her child and this gives the alienator the pathological chance to continue the alienation process. One may well ask: “Is this real justice?” It is not only ‘folie a deux’ or the folie a trois that has won the day but ‘folie carré’, to coin a new phrase with the third person in this case being the encased therapist and the fourth party being the court of law. Eventually all favourable recollections the child has had about the relationship with the absent parent disappear. This is again a reflection of how the alienator feels about the former partner as they both enact their ‘folie a deux’ pathological delusions.

One is often asked what effect this has on the child now and in later life. This has been discussed more fully by Lowenstein (2006a). To summarise, the child grows up relentlessly reenacting what it has experienced in its own life. Not only does the hostility perpetuate itself towards the targeted parent but it perpetuates itself in the life of the child as he/she becomes an adult. The child as an adult has difficulties very often in relationships with a partner and reenacts what has been learned by perpetuating the cycle of the paranoid delusions and hostility resulting in PAS.

Sometimes a child as an adult or mature adolescent will consider what has occurred and how he/she has been used by the alienator. This sometimes results in a change of thinking, due to therapy or in conversation with intimate friends. Then follows an active seeking for the lost parent. Unfortunately there is no research as to the frequency of this happening. The conjecture is that it is relatively rare. As Cartwright (1993) states:

“The child’s good memories of the alienated parent are systematically destroyed and the child misses out on the day to day interaction, learning, support and love, which, in an intact family, usually flows between the child and both parents as well as grandparents and other relatives on both sides.”

In many cases what occurs is that the now lost parent may no longer be available and the grandparents have undoubtedly died. Additionally the more mature child does sometimes turn against the alienator in the realization of what has been done.

Turkat (1995) calls this disorder “malicious parent syndrome” as the parent is usually but not always the mother, who engages with the ‘folie a deux’ child a relentless and multi-faceted campaign of aggression and deception against the ex-spouse. Sometimes other people are involved in this ‘folie a deux’ scenario and it may well be called ‘folie a plus de trois’. This includes family members and friends and even neighbours who will back the alienator. Each will support the alienator, without a qualm. They fall into the trap of attacking the absent parent and thereby prevent that parent playing any role in a child’s life. Sometimes they will go so far, without first hand evidence, to claim that the absent parent is a sex or physical abuser. Both mothers and fathers have been responsible for such totally false allegations being made. Children will be encouraged or even pressurized to lie about sex abuse or physical contact of some kind in order for the innocent parent to be eliminated totally from having contact with the child. Hence the alienators delusions are imposed not only on an innocent child, but many others, in a form of ‘folie a pluisieurs’ or madness or delusion of many.

Folie à deux

  • Folie à deux (/fɒˈli ə ˈd/French pronunciation: ​[fɔli a dø]; French for “madness of two”), or shared psychosis,[1] is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusionalbelief and sometimes hallucinations[2][3] are transmitted from one individual to another.[4] The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à troisfolie à quatrefolie en famille, or even folie à plusieurs (“madness of many”).

Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV – 297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name. This disorder is not in the current DSM (DSM-5).

Folie imposée

  • Folie imposée is where a dominant person (known as the ‘primary’, ‘inducer’ or ‘principal’) initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the ‘secondary’, ‘acceptor’ or ‘associate’) with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to his or her own devices. If the parties are admitted to hospital separately, then the delusions in the person with the induced beliefs usually resolve without the need of medication.

Folie simultanée

  • Folie simultanée describes either the situation where two people considered to suffer independently from psychosis influence the content of each other’s delusions so they become identical or strikingly similar, or one in which two people “morbidly predisposed” to delusional psychosis mutually trigger symptoms in each other.[6]

 

Folie a Deux

The Honourable Judge Gomery of Canada put it wisely:

“ Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child. It has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate the other parent, represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child”.

Would it were that more judges would share such a view in the UK. It would prevent many injustices to children and alienated parents who are sidelined (usually but not always fathers). Such parents have limited contact with their children, if any contact at all. Some have no direct contact. These parents suffer both humiliation and sadness and more importantly the children also suffer both in the short and long-term (Lowenstein, 2006a). One does not always know from the child’s behaviour that there is anything amiss. Their behaviour is anything but hostile towards the absent father initially, but only later, after a period of considerable brainwashing or programming does the hostility occur, and it eventually becomes an implacable hostility, difficult to reverse.

Behaviour of children who have been alienated (brainwashed) are often:

  1. they express the same hostility as does the custodial parent, hence the “folie a deux” analogy;
  2. they identify with and imitate the alienator;
  3. they do not wish to visit or spend time with the absent and alienated parent;
  4. the child’s views of rejecting the absent parent is virtually identical with the programming of the custodial parent;
  5. the children suffer from the same delusions and the irrational beliefs as the alienator in regard to the non resident parent (this occurs because the children have totally identified with the custodial parent);
  6. the children feel themselves to be powerful due to their alliance with the controlling and powerful alienator;
  7. they are not frightened (albeit they claim to be) by the absent parent or the court;
  8. the children have no valid reasons for rejecting the alienated parent, but will often manufacture these reasons, or exaggerate events for the purpose of rejecting alienated parents;
  9. they can see nothing positive or good about the absent parent and even the absent parent’s family, indeed they claim not to be able to remember anything of a positive nature in the form of memories about the absent parent;
  10. they have difficulties in being able to distinguish between what they are told about the absent parent and their own recollections of that parent;
  11. they appear not to feel any sense of guilt about the way they treat the absent parent if and when there is contact;
  12. they appear to be ‘normal’, yet appear also no longer to have a mind of their own being totally obsessed with the custodial parent and his/her implacable hostility towards the absent parent and frequently his/her extended family.

These reactions are both pathological and unfair towards the targeted parent and harmful to the perpetrator of such behaviour, that is, the child. The result is a refusal of contact with the formerly close and even loved parent (Rand, 1997). Now they feel dread, anxiety and a virtual phobia when being requested to visit that parent (Lund, 1995, Lowenstein, 2006b). If forced to do so they will physically resist, threaten to run away and actually do run away from the alienated parent back to the alienator. The child totally shares the animosity and paranoia with the programming parent. That parent will insist that they have done nothing to cause the child to behave this way. They will claim that they have encouraged contact, but it is the child who rebels so vehemently against visiting the absent parent.

Sometimes this is influenced by different rearing approaches between the two parents. The indulgent parent is usually the programmer, and this is usually the mother. The programmed parent often seeks to guide the child in a certain way and may appear to the child to be more authoritarian and demanding. This is usually the absent father. The child is being used to do what the programmer wants and will resent the parent who directs and guides (this is usually as already stated the father) Lund,(1995).

Sometimes it is the father who is over-indulgent while the child is in his custody. The absent mother fares similarly if she attempts to discipline or direct the child. The warring parents create a climate where the child feels insecure. Instead of unity there is the opposite. The child feels it has to make a choice and chooses usually that parent who had custody to whom to give his/her loyalty. In so doing the child feels inclined to reject the absent parent because that parent has so little power compared with the parent with whom the child resides more or less full time.

Therapists or mediators who seek to resolve parental alienation or parental alienation syndrome may antagonise the child as well as the custodial parent when efforts are made for encouraging the child to have contact with the absent parent. If the therapist goes along with the child’s wishes of rejecting the non custodial parent, and many do, then the parental alienation becomes all the stronger and more difficult to reverse. This means the therapist has fallen into the trap of the alienator who will claim that it is the child’s wishes not to have contact, or only minimal contact with the alienated parent (folie a trios). The courts follow suit by backing the therapist who considers the status quo best for the child. This demonstrates quite clearly how the system of parental alienation works.

Here it becomes imperative that the therapist has the basic principle of “the child needs both parents” firmly in mind. It is important that the therapist is not manipulated either by the alienator, the child, or the current unequal and pathological situation. The therapist must work in order to prevail in getting the child and the alienator to see the value of contact with both parents. As I have so often said, failure to do this, reduces the likelihood of little or no subsequent contact with the absent and alienated parent. “Absence does not make the heart grow fonder”. Absence in fact creates a greater likelihood that the absence will be permanent. Little contact results eventually in no contact.

This allows the alienator to continue his/her work of indoctrination, virtually unchallenged having received the backing of the court. It takes both a wise and courageous judge to seek to see beneath those ‘shenanigans’. There are still too few psychologists whose principle is “the child needs both parents” when such obdurate opposition from the alienator and the child exists.

http://www.parental-alienation.info/publications/41-paraliduetoashapsydisfoladeu.htm