Given the damage that Parental Alienation causes not just the children caught in the middle and the targeted parents but also the alienating parents themselves, why would anyone engage in this strategy? Here are six reasons that clinicians have observed:
1. The parent develops inaccurate beliefs about key family relationships.
For instance, maybe while you were in the midst of divorce, the school called and reported that your son fell off the monkey bars and got bruised. The school might have initially suspected that you caused the bruises through physical abuse.
Although later evidence exonerated you — maybe a teacher came forward and said that she saw your son fall off the monkey bars — your ex-wife refuses to believe that evidence and becomes obsessed with the idea that you’ve been secretly hitting your son. As a result, she is now on a crusade to sever your relationship with him “for his own good.”
2. The alienating parent is mentally or physically ill.
For instance, a parent in the early stages of schizophrenia or a parent affected by bipolar disorder or borderline personality might develop delusional beliefs that you are a wrongdoer and that you need to be separated from your child at all costs.
3. The parent is lashing out at you because of a divorce or custody setback.
If the divorce has turned ugly, and the other parent worries that you might prevail at court and obtain certain treasured property or custodial rights, he or she might seek revenge by alienating your children against you.
4. Influence from a charismatic, persuasive figure might lead to alienation.
For instance, maybe you and your wife’s mother never got along. When you ended the relationship, the mother immediately badmouthed you to your ex-wife and convinced her that you were a threat to the children. In other words, one brainwashing can beget another.
5. Something unrelated to the divorce or custody fight triggers a reaction of anger, fear or hopelessness that inspires the alienation.
For instance, maybe your ex-spouse just got fired or got diagnosed with a scary health problem. She turned to alienating behavior to try to regain a sense of control over her life and her environment.
A drug or alcohol addiction can also fuel aggressive, alienating behavior. For instance, while sober, your wife would never think of badmouthing you to the child and would instead prefer to maintain a respectful (if formal) way of speaking about you. But drugs and/or alcohol could alter how she discusses you and the relationship.
6. The alienator fears losing the child to the targeted parent.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States became locked in a strategic stand off regarding the use of nuclear weapons. One big fear of many U.S. policymakers at the time was that the Soviets would “strike first” in order to gain an advantage in what they saw was an inevitable war.
Likewise, a similar calculus may be at the root of some cases of Parental Alienation. One parent might worry that the other will engage in alienation and thus decides to “strike first” with preemptive brainwashing.
For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 738-8404.