As we discussed earlier, psychologists generally recognize three “classes” of alienators. The most challenging type of parent is known as the obsessed alienator. Typically, the parent views his or her quest in moral, absolute terms, invests tremendous energy into the manipulation of the child, recruits others (such as relatives, friends or even credulous therapists) into the crusade, often refuses to go along with court decisions and orders and remains entrenched in negative beliefs about the targeted parent, even after being presented with contrary evidence.
So what should you, as a targeted parent, do to neutralize the obsessed alienator’s behavior?
Dr. Douglas Darnell, a respected academic who’s studied this topic in depth, recommends the following strategies:
• Journal what happens in your relationships as much as possible. Save emails the parent sends you. Write down the details of any awkward conversations you have with him or her immediately after they occur, including time and date stamps. You might even want to journal or record what goes on in a typical visit when your child comes over. The more objective, concrete documentation you have, the better.
• Avoid retaliating against the obsessed parent. When you’re angry, frustrated, depressed or feeling lost, find a productive, safe outlet to vent those emotions. Do not send angry emails or leave mean messages. Talk to a therapist. Go to the gym. Scream into a pillow, if you have to let out the feelings. But avoid any tit-for-tat behavior.
• Avoid alienating the child in kind; stay positive and supportive. Along the lines of the previous point, you may find it quite tempting to “give as you get.” Resist that urge and be the bigger person.
• Consider seeking a court order mandating therapy to heal what’s happening with the family. Reversing the brainwashing can be a complicated, delicate task. Discuss how to handle this process with your family law attorney.
• Keep going to pick up your children at the appointed time. It can be painful and humiliating to be rejected by the child or for the other parent to show up late, if at all. But unless the court changes its order, stick by the plan, and document what happens. Unless you stand accused of abuse or neglect, in general, the other parent must cooperate and honor your parenting time. Keep compliant with court orders; ideally, you want the court to be sympathetic to you.
• Be on the alert for allies that the obsessed alienator might conscript. For instance, the other parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend or his or her parents could participate and create extra pressures on your relationship with your child.
For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 738-8404.