High Conflict Court and Therapy

Narcissistic (borderline) parents manipulate family courts to keep their focus on the child’s rejection of the targeted parent.  As long as the courts think that the “problem” in high conflict cases lies in a damaged relationship between the child and targeted parent, they are likely to order therapy.   Even when one parent has been diagnosed with narcissistic (borderline) personality disorder, the courts don't order the untreated, seriously mentally ill and abusive parent to therapy.  The narcissist/borderline is again, left completely unaccountable. 

Family courts order the targeted parent and the psychologically abused child to therapy

to “fix” the problem;

but that never happens.

Even targeted parents want the court to order therapy.  They know that the "problem" is the manipulation and control of the narcissistic (borderline) parent but targeted parents are so grief stricken that they will do anything that might relieve some of the pain from being emotionally and physically separated from their children. 

Targeted parents believe that therapists will recognize the impact that narcissistic personality disorder has on the family and report it to the court so they will stop it;

but that never happens.

Therapy cannot “fix” the problem because the problem is the only member of the family who is NOT meeting with the therapist.  Neither the child nor the targeted parent “has” a mental illness or any other identifiable issue.   They both suffer from the traumatic effects of chronic psychological manipulation and abuse by the narcissistic (borderline) parent.  In addition to the suppressed attachment and the inverted hierarchy where the child believes that he or she is above the targeted parent, other symptoms of trauma may appear as depression, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, withdrawal, ADHD type concentration problems and lack of communication skills. 

As long as the court continues to allow parents with NBPD to psychologically control their children and traumatize the targeted parents, nothing will change until the children “awaken” once they are old enough to get out from under the control of the narcissistic (borderline) parent on their own. 

Sadly, family courts continue to order therapy while the manipulating parent still has unsupervised placement.   Children cannot recover their authentic selves or their secure attachment to the targeted parent while they are still accountable to the controlling parent.  Therefore, not only will therapy be unsuccessful and a waste of time and money, it actually further entrenches the psychopathology.  As Dr. Childress so eloquently puts it, the child becomes the psychological battlefield between the therapist’s goal, which is to restore the relationship between the child and the targeted parent and the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s goal, which is to keep the relationship disrupted.

In summary, ordering therapy while the child is still enmeshed with the abusive parent further harms the child in 3 ways.

1. Therapy is a distraction from the real problem, which is the child’s exposure to the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s psychological abuse.  This abuse will continue to negatively impact the child’s developmental tasks.

2. The narcissistic (borderline) parent will use the child to sabotage therapy while giving the child another audience to project the narcissistic (borderline) parent’s delusions about the targeted parent.

3. The narcissistic (borderline) parent will escalate his or her control over the child as the child’s mind becomes the psychological “battleground” between the therapist’s treatment goal of “reunification” and the abuser’s goal to continue to use the child to devalue and discard the targeted parent.