Posted in Alienation


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 “denies 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
run. 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.