This article describes the parental alienation syndrome, its proposed characteristics and dynamics, and the methods used to document its presence. Research related to various tenets of the parental alienation syndrome is then reviewed. Finally, the syndrome’s utility for mental health professionals and courts in explaining allegations of sexual abuse in situations of divorce is evaluated.
the boy and girl had been “tortured” into making false claims, and said that their “minds were scrambled”.
A condition which in my experience, can be regularly seen in children who are influenced to say things and believe things that are not true about a once loved parent.
Whilst this case is extreme in its presentation, there are cases of false allegations which spiral up from innocent events in which children who are caught between warring parents or, in many cases, between one parent determined to eradicate the other. Children who are at the root of such situations, have often said or done something which has been taken by an angry parent who has misinterpreted what has been said as confirming their own deeply held beliefs about how bad the other parent is. When children are confronted by this parent’s reaction to what they have said, they can be brought to a place where they are scared of the consequences of not confirming what the parent assumes is being said. And it is at this point that a child can trip something that actually happened but which was not wrong and not damaging, into a full blown crisis. Once inside the family court system, staffed as it is with people who are largely trained to take the wishes and feelings of children at face value, this crisis will burn through the lives of all it touches like wildfire. The flames being fanned by the children who will, quite easily by now, embellish the original story and shift it and change it to meet the needs of the adults around them.
I’ve been reading so much about parent alienation these days and so many things my father did were classic of this syndrome. Is that what it is- a syndrome? Or the result of a personality disorder? I find myself wishing my sister Amy would read up on this because if she just educated herself then how could she deny what happened?
I feel conflicted, vacillating between being fully committed to writing down my story and fearful of the outcome. Some days I want to fast forward to the end and the resulting reactions of my father, stepmother, and sisters-to just get it over with. This place we’re in now feels like I’m playing their game, I’m allowing their denial to pollute my life, I’m shushing my spirit again and again, every time that I don’t say what I know is the truth. And yet I also feel that me not distupting the status quo is a requirement for the relationship. I reflect back on all the times I kept quiet because I knew my truth would be met with disdain, or at best dismissed.
I’ve been reading so much about parent alienation these days and so many things my father did were classic of this syndrome. Is that what it is-…
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