parental alienation

Don't Call It Parent Alienation, Call It Trauma

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There is only one way to reform family courts and that is for the federal government to expect them to

be trauma-informed. 

High-conflict family court is more than one parent brainwashing a child to reject the targeted parent.  High-conflict family court is a cesspool of deadly trauma.  It is the synergy of the top sources of trauma in this country; parental mental illness, domestic violence and child psychological/emotional abuse. 

1. Parental Mental Illness - one parent abuses and neglects his or her family due to their narcissistic and/or borderline personality disorder traits. 

2. Domestic Violence - the mentally impaired parent uses coercive control  to terrify the targeted parent into not exposing his or her abusive behaviors.

3. Child Psychological/emotional abuse and neglect is also called psychological maltreatment.  This along with living with a mentally impaired parent, witnessing domestic violence, high-conflict divorce (that goes on for years), and losing a parent due to alienation, adds up to an ACE score of 6+ out of the top 10 Adverse Childhood Experience. 

On top of this, our children's only chance of recovery from trauma is through the loving safety of the targeted parent, who has been distanced, if not all together erased from the child's life by the erroneous decisions and judgments by those "professionals" in high-conflict family court.

The bottom line is that excessive trauma is prolonged and escalated by high-conflict family court and becomes deadly to our children. 

Children of high-conflict family court disputes develop mental and physical health problems that include, but are not limited to:

depression, anxiety, relational problems, including transmitting the trauma to the next generation (trauma reenactment), self-destructive behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse, and are at a 5000% increased risk for suicide, and educational and occupational problems. They also are at a high risk for developing cancer, heart and lung disease and dying 20 years earlier than without family court trauma.

Attachment Trauma Reenactment

The following are my interpretations of the chronological timeline of a narcissistic/borderline parent.  I made this 5 minute video a while ago, but I didn't like it, so I never worked on the additional modules.   It is still accurate though so take what you like and leave the rest.

Over time I've tweaked the timeline and separated out adolescence because that is the time a personality disorder becomes fixed, and so many adolescence are involved in these cases. 

This is an enlargement of the development of a narcissistic/borderline personality disorder.

You can see the integration of traits from both types.

This is the a visual of my proposed definition of

"parental alienation." 

Why Family Courts Fail.

Ever since Gardner made the first connections between parental alienation and custody, relational, and situational (divorce) issues, cases like ours of child psychological abuse by narcissistic/borderline partners have been doomed to fail in family court.  And as long as we continue to connect child psychological abuse with custody, cases like ours will continue to fail in family court.   

We shouldn’t be the least bit surprised that family courts consistently get our cases wrong or that they appear so out of touch with the seriousness or reality that child psychological abuse is so harmful.  They shouldn’t even have primary jurisdiction. 

It has been said that family courts often fail because of their adversarial nature but in our cases, the reason that family courts fail is because they focus on resolving family disputes.  The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), an organization of practitioners, researchers, teachers and policymakers that set the tone for family courts state that their mission is to improve “the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict.”  This is an honorable intent given that most people are hardwired to build, maintain and repair disruptions in their family relationships, MOST people.  Just not the ones we chose to marry and/or have children with.

 Whether they have been officially diagnosed or not, our (ex) partners display fixed narcissistic/borderline personality disorder traits, which make them emotionally deficient and abusive partners and parents.  During infancy and childhood, our ex-partners were deprived of the warmth and attention they needed to develop the ability to emotionally connect with others on a deep and meaningful level.  They have never been able to love, care or empathize, which is how they can abuse those closest to them without guilt, regret, remorse or grief.  In my opinion, only a parent with some type of emotional/mental deficiency can abuse their children.  This deficiency also makes them think that they aren’t doing anything wrong and therefore do not feel the need to participate in any type of family resolution efforts or change anything that they are doing.  

 In essence, taking our child psychological abuse cases to family court under the heading of custody and/or parental alienation is like bowling down the wrong alley; nothing we do counts. 

Why are we trying to manage child psychological

abuse cases in family court?

Child psychological abuse is not a dispute between the two parents (except that one parent is healthy and is trying to stop it).  Think of how absurd it would be if Family Court handled sexual abuse in the same way it handles psychological abuse. For this example I am going to use the pronoun “he.”

 A mother alleges that the father is sexually abusing their child.  Family court wants the parents to “work this out” because they are both play a role in the conflict where one parent wants the abuse to stop and the other parent doesn’t.  The court spends months or years deliberating on every new accusation that the abuser throws out to distract the court from looking in his direction; while he continues to sexually abuse the child.  Then, because neither parent will compromise, family court starts shuffling them off to mediation, family counseling, and co-parenting classes to help them work out their conflict issue for the sake of the child.

 Society would never tolerate this kind of blatant harm to come to a child.  The only reason society tolerates child psychological abuse, which is much more prevalent and damaging to children than sexual abuse, is because no one brings these cases forward. If society knew the harm that was being done to our children because of psychological child abuse and if they knew the 3 clinical symptoms, it would stop. 

 Child psychological abuse needs to be handled in the same way that our court system handles physical and sexual abuse.  Juvenile court not family court, decides whether children have been abused or neglected, as defined by State law.   Then they order services and monitor cases to ensure that interventions are effective.  Juvenile Court uses the expertise of CPS caseworkers, psychologists, mental health professionals, physicians, domestic violence specialists, educators, child development specialists and others to understand why the abuse or neglect occurred and why it necessitated court intervention.

 Gardner put a great deal of distance between the problem of child psychological abuse and the solution by calling it parental alienation and implying it was a family court problem involving custody.  We perpetuate that mistake by continuing to take our child psychological abuse cases to family court under “custody issues.”


The day we stop calling child psychological abuse

“parental alienation” and start calling it

child psychological abuse,

is the day the scales tip in our direction.

Bob part 1.1

I got this text message from "Bob" today.


I did not file yet, as my ex. and I had a pretty civil conversation on Tuesday and I was able to get him on Tuesday and Wednesday.  This gave me time to have a quality discussion with Dylan about his mother's condition.  I was very kind and gentle.  I made it very clear to him that I don't hate his mother and I am not going to say anything bad about her...ever,  but that he had to be aware of her condition and its harmful effects it has had on him that will continue to get worse.

Using Eddy's tips for teaching coping skills to kids with borderline parents, I told him that by working on these tips, it will protect him from anything his mother does that might not be good for him.  I reinforced that she wants only the best for him, but that - because of her condition - what she wants for him isn't always the best for him and might be even be bad. 

When we drove home that night after his birthday dinner, he brought up our conversation from earlier in the day and acknowledged his mother's erratic behavior and vicious mood swings.  To paraphrase what he said, "one minute, she can be as happy as can be and would say yes to anything.  But then the next minute later, she would act as though someone had stolen a million dollars from her and say no to everything."

When I return from my business trip, I will file a contempt  based on the email thread that I shared with you, as well as other examples of alienation, and try to get a court order for Christmas Eve as it is my year.  I am still struggling with figuring out what the right forms are from the xxxx County website.

Thanks again for listening, and for your generous support!

God bless,


This is Bob's story part 1.  We will follow Bob over the rough terrain of child abuse, domestic abuse, and mental illness. 

Bob contacted the Alliance through the website and left this message: 

Hi, I’m Bob.  I really need to talk to someone, I’m having trouble with my ex-wife. She’s keeping me from seeing my son.  I don’t want to make things worse, so I don’t know what to do.  I was thinking of going back to court for a second round of mediation.  Or, should I file contempt?

I don’t have any money left, can I do that myself?   I’m pretty new to this parent alienation thing but I heard that there are laws against parental alienation.  Please call me!  xxx-xx-xxxx.  Thank you.

 When Bob and I connected over the phone, I let him describe his situation while I took notes.

His tone was relatively calm and his voice only sped up when he talked about how his son’s attitude and demeanor towards him was changing.  Bob didn’t offer too much information about his ex-wife.  He listened quietly when clarified what he had said.  Bob never tried to cut me off, or tell me I was wrong (even if he thought so).   I asked him a few questions to fill in the blanks.  The following are the questions a summary of what I said related to his situation.  

How old is your son?  11.

Adolescence…the typical time for high conflict parents to triangulate a child into the ex-spousal conflict. Young adults think that they know everything.  The truth is that a child only knows what a child has been exposed to. Our brains do not make up knowledge out of thin air.  We learn through our mirror neurons.  Like the word suggests, everything a child says or does is a reflection of the most influential adults in his or her life.  For emotional issues, learning is mainly nonverbal.  This is why it is so easy for us to see our ex-partner  in our children.

How long since the divorce? 10 years

This got my attention. If this was a true case of narcissistic/borderline delusional persecution, then something had to have triggered it and it wasn’t the divorce.   I listened intently for something that might have triggered Bob’s ex to “melt down” or decompensate into persecutory delusion.   There are many issues besides divorce that will cause our partner’s to feel vulnerable to abandonment or losing their self-inflated status.  Malignant Motives, a chapter in Dr. Warshak’s Book Divorce Poison (2010), describes many reasons a disturbed parent might melt down; including revenge, validation, remarriage or custody litigation.  Whatever the reason, once they turn this corner, there is no turning back.

Have you always had contact with your son?  Yes. 

I have visitation one night a week and every other weekend.  I just accepted that from the beginning. 

Has your relationship with your son been close? 

Yes very, we…(he goes on to describe their time together and things they use to do).

Targeted parents need to have a detailed history with their child and continually document the things that they do right.  This evidence will neutralize the onslaught of false accusations of bad parenting or abuse.  If possible, play this card first using pictures, emails, school records, things your child made for you, etc.   It is critical that you establish that you had a healthy attachment with your child and that it was abruptly disrupted at a time that correlates with your ex’es malignant motive.  

Every state has laws against child psychological abuse.  They may call it mental or emotional abuse but the criteria for confirmation is that the child shows a substantial change in their cognitive, emotional, and/or behaviors, that are outside of the normal range for their age and stage of development.   Certainly the most obvious illustration of this is your child’s 180 degree change in emotional response to you, which is getting worse.  Your child’s increasing distain for you occurs during the time your ex-partner is actively trying to cut you out of the picture.

What are the legal parameters? 

The divorce decree has set visitation/placement and we have joint custody.  I pay child support.  This last September, I got the court to order mental health therapy, but my wife refuses to bring him.

Targeted parents sometimes get so wrapped up in keeping track of everything that the other parent said or did that they forget that the most important papers are the court orders.  Laws are either followed or broken.  Courts or mental health providers do not want to listen to parents complain about each other, or hear or see anything that doesn’t pertain to the motion, order, or treatment plan in front of them.   They will pay more attention to specific, relative  “evidence” whether it is true or not, and dismiss the truth if they think it is hearsay.  

High conflict people know how to manipulate the courts and mental health providers.  Initially, they fly below the radar by doing things to isolate or restrict communication between you and your child.  This usually starts with diminishing and ending phone contact.   In contrast, when the child is with the targeted parent, the child will increase their phone contact with the other parent and highly resist attempts to cut the umbilical cord.  Second, the abusive parent will schedule things that are important to the child during the time the targeted parent has placement.  Bob’s ex-wife scheduled Dylan for hockey on the night that he and his dad always had dinner. If Bob demands his placement time, then he’s not being a supportive dad.  If he tries to see Dylan on a different night, then he’s interfering with her placement.  Of course Bob considers going to hockey, but his ex-wife or Dylan won’t give him the schedule.  Bob’s wife has successfully cut Bob out of 2 of the 3 times he has contact with his son, and she has hardly raised a finger.  He can expect that she will take the next step to cut him off completely.

 Bob’s ex-wife called him and explained that it wasn’t her, but Dylan didn't want to come to his house anymore because it was abusive.   Bob talked to his son and explained that it wasn’t his decision to make.  Dylan replied, “So, I am just a puppet to you!”  and hung up.  Three things were very evident from this conversation. 1) Dylan has been triangulated into the spousal conflict.  His ex-wife made the point that; it wasn’t her denying him of placement, it was Dylan. This shows that she is pretty confident that Dylan will handle the fight for her.  2) Dylan acted out of his normal range of behavior by raising his voice, make false accusations against his dad and hanging up on him.  3) Someone has been talking about how Bob uses Dylan as a puppet, and that his house is abusive, because neither of those things would be in the normal range of behavior for his age and stage of development.  And, even if he did say those things, it is his mother’s responsibility to teach her son to respect his father and follow the court orders.  She herself said that it wasn’t her,  in saying that, both parents are agreeing that Dylan needs to go to his fathers.  Why isn’t he?

With Dylan as her side kick, Bob’s ex is  looking forward to him taking her back to court.  She will play up the idea that Dylan can decide for himself, that something is abusive, that Bob is being selfish, blah, blah, blah.  It’s a slippery slope now and time is not on the side of Bob or his son. 

But let’s not forget that the court ordered therapy too.  A pattern is emerging. There has been a restriction of communication, interfering with placement and refusing to comply with a court order for therapy.  The last that I heard, Bob, was driving to the court house to file contempt charges.  He may be able to turn the tables if he sticks to the plan also knowing that she is going to escalate.  He needs to be prepared for the abuse allegation.

Therapy for what? 

Dylan’s has some extreme anxiety and he appears to being trying to cut off the relationship.

Of course Dylan has anxiety.  Look at the state’s definition of child psychological abuse;

 “evidenced by one or more: anxiety; depression; withdrawal; outward aggressive behavior; or a substantial and observable change in behavior, emotional response or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child’s age and stage of development”.

The sad thing is that mental health providers will try to treat  anxiety or depression or whatever as an isolated condition when there is nothing isolated about it.  Ok, a child has anxiety.  Why?  Is that normal? No.  It has been well established for decades that child abuse causes a broad range of mental health problems and aberrant behavior (that’s why they wrote the statutes the way that they did).    Why do mental health providers look past the obvious?

That question is almost as nonsensical as the fact that we continue to take our children to therapy when we know that NO therapy, of any kind is going to help a child who is being abused.  Only when the child feels free of the abuser, can he or she begin to recover.  And they will recover.  But first, the child needs protective separation.  This will not happen in family court filing contempt, but that order can buy Bob some time to find a mental health provider who is knowledgeable enough to see Dylan and assess for child psychological abuse.

Do you have a lawyer? 

Not anymore, I can’t afford one.  But the last one I had told me that if I push for contact, it would make my son hate me even more.  I don’t have any money left; can I do that myself?   I’m pretty new to this parent alienation thing but I heard that there are laws against parental alienation.

Family Court can be funny about not having a lawyer, but Bob’s lawyer has not only given him bad advice, but wrong advice.

1.     Don’t push placement or your son will hate you more. (how many have heard this-crap?)

Alienated children do not hate their parents.  Even if a parent is truly abusive.  Their “hate” is a manifestation of the shared delusion with the abusive parent’s attachment trauma reenactment where they are the protective parent and the targeted parent is the abuser.  It is also a manifestation of splitting, and the misattribution of grief.    In other words, psychological abusers are really, seriously, disrupting your child’s healthy brain development and function.

2.     Mediation. Wrong.  There is no mediation with a high conflict parent, and it is a waste of time and money.

3.     Please let me know if your state has laws against parental alienation. 

Bob is better off without this guy

Tell me about your ex-wife. (his voice gets a little excited here).

I think she is bi-polar.  She lives with her parents, and I think her mom is bipolar.  It’s very dysfunctional. She hasn’t been in a relationship since the divorce (10 years).  She is a pre-school teacher and very good at what she does.  She scheduled Dylan to play hockey on my visitation night but she refuses to give me the schedule.  I’m sure she has something to do with why I can’t reach my son on the phone at night anymore.  She supports“Dylan’s” opinion that he is old enough to decide his schedule with his parents and that he doesn’t have to come to my house on Thanksgiving.  She said that Dylan told her that my house is abusive.  It’s getting worse. 

Bob's ex-wife is NOT bi-polar but she displays a pattern of behavior that includes narcissistic and borderline personality disorder traits.  Bipolar is a very different mental illness, and as far as I know, has not been correlated with child psychological abuse.  Here’s one of the kickers.  Your ex didn’t just start to be an alienator out of nowhere.  I always ask targeted parents about their exes family and if either or both of his or her parents had problems.  The answer is always YES.  Obviously.  Bob’s ex-wife didn’t develop her problems in a vacuum any more than Dylan is developing his problems without mirroring his mom, and his grandparents.  YIKES!





There Is Nothing We Can Do

“There isn’t anything we can do,” has to be the single most defeating statement that a targeted parent can hear.  I heard it a thousand times while I desperately searched for anyone to help me; help my children.   I kept thinking that there had to be someone, somewhere would understand what was happening to my family.  But whenever I reached out for help everyone replied, “I’m sorry. There isn’t anything we can do.”    Everyone… except Sandy.

 Sandy worked in the District Attorney’s office.  I met her when I filed my criminal complaint.  She could have blown me off, told me the DA doesn’t take my kind of case, given me a run around with paperwork, or used any one of million excuses people use to avoid getting involved.   But Sandy cared… she listened… she said she would do whatever she could. 

 Sandy was a secretary; she was overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated.  Still, she was willing to try and help me after I had been chased away by dozens of “professional” people.   Sandy typed up the paperwork, organized my file and put it on top of the files stacked on the DA’s desk.  If the DA put my file aside, she made sure it got back on the top of his pile.  Within three weeks, my ex-husband was charged with the first criminal case regarding  family court issues in our county.  Amazing.  A miracle.  A miracle worker.

 Everyday, targeted parents contact the Alliance for help.  They are desperate, wounded parents who don’t know where to turn.  I know how they feel and I don’t want to say, “I’m sorry. There isn’t anything we can do.”    However, providing individual support and coaching is not the purpose of the Alliance.  

 The Alliance is the big picture, game-changing site.  We need targeted parents to come together and give their time and energy for the good of the order.   Our purpose is to change the future for everyone by helping targeted parents hold the systems accountable.  But we can’t accomplish our goals if we spend most of the time on individual cases.

 These parents have gotten a lot of information and feedback from support groups, but now they need personal contact and help staying focused and applying what they know.  They need someone talk to, learn from and plan with. I’ve worked with some of these parents and I am surprised how successful we were.  It seems that the skills necessary to help targeted parents navigate this emotional minefield are; accurate knowledge, a good ear, and a little time to plan ahead.

 I am asking for the targeted community to take  ‘support’ up a notch and personally engage with someone who needs a friend and a confidant.  The Alliance needs to refer these parents back to the community that won’t abandon them, so we can back to doing what we are supposed to be doing.

 This week and next, I will post two more blogs, detailing what has worked for me when I took a fellow targeted parent under my wing.  It is a rich, rewarding experience. 

When you’re considering whether or not there is anything that you can do,

please, think of Sandy.




Filing A Licensing Board Complaint

Last week I received an email from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services; Division of Legal Services and Compliance.  Among other things it said,   

 The Marriage and Family Therapist Section screening panel will review and evaluate your complaint at their November 30th meeting and the Social Worker Section screening panel will review and evaluate your complaint at their December 16 meeting.  Each screening panel will evaluate all the treatment that your therapist provided and if the treatment fell below the minimal standard of care, then they can discipline that therapist.

 That’s all I needed to hear!  If either panel decides to discipline this therapist that will be the least of his concerns!  I’m going shopping for a malpractice lawyer!

Before I filed my licensing board complaint, actually long before my family ever  saw this therapist, I had checked him out pretty carefully.  I looked up his credentials and I had a good idea of what the standards of practice were for Marriage and Family Therapists in Wisconsin.  Then, I talked to him directly, explained my situation and my concerns and asked him if he thought he could help.  I even discussed his previous experience with my personal therapist. 

This therapist had had government contracts for providing intensive family interventions with the most troubled families in the inner city.  He told me that he subscribed toBowen’s family systems theory, and was a master at working with people who had narcissistic personality disorders.  I was pretty confident that I had found the best therapist in the area for our Family Court ordered intervention.  I couldn’t wait!

It had taken 4 years to get my ex-husband to participate in this intervention. He had never followed one family court order and masterfully sabotaged countless orders for therapy between my children and me.  However, by this time we were in criminal court, and that is an entirely different ball game.  The Judge ruled that my ex-husband had a choice of participating in this intervention or going to jail.  When my-ex-husband “swore on a stack of bibles” that he would make reconnecting my children and I his top priority, both the Judge and I knew he was lying.  I knew that he would get my children to burn me at the stake to get him off the hook.  They did.  I didn’t. 

This intensive family intervention was my very last chance to do something that would make a difference in my kids’ lives, and I had the probation officer alerted that I would call her if he didn’t show up. 

He did show up, flanked by a child on each side.  The intervention was more like a homecoming game for my ex-husband and I was the “away” team.  I’ve posted my complaint here,  but you really had to be there to believe it. 

I don't know if I will ever stop being

surprised by the bizarre events

that accompany a person with

narcissistic personality disorder. 

I have to give credit to Dr. Craig Childress for my back up plan;  filing a licensing board complaint.  I’ve never done anything like this before, but I felt confident. 

It helped that I understood the seriousness of this pathology and how the therapist would have to assess for it.  It helped that I knew that there must be substantiated evidence and a diagnosis. It helped that I knew that every therapist has to have a written treatment plan clearly indicating how the techniques to be used should resolve the problem and eliminate the symptoms (in a reasonable amount of time).  It helped that I knew that the therapist was supposed to have shared this with us and it helped that I knew the standards of practice that this therapist could be held accountable for.

 It really helped that I knew these things before we started the intervention, because I was able to immediately recognize which standards of practice were missing.

Knowledge is our weapon against all of the atrocities that come against us.  The Alliance is dedicated to providing you with the best, objective, accurate, and helpful knowledge to assist you in stopping child psychological abuse by narcissistic/borderline parents.  It's taking some time to get it out to the website, and we are in the process of "trying out" some things, but we are making good progress.  If you're looking for some information that you can't find, contact me here, I'll see what I can do.










Child Psychological Abuse: What Would You Call It?

An Introduction to Child Psychological Abuse

Part 1

What Would You Call It?

America has become mentally anesthetized and emotionally distanced from child abuse.  We’ve built our own inaccurate, but personally tolerable view, based on:

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil.

 In this series of blog posts, The Alliance takes off the blindfolds, takes out the ear plugs and takes the gags out of our mouths.  We are charged with stopping child psychological abuse in our family because no one else will.  That means that we must have an accurate picture of what child abuse is and be able to explain it to others.  After all, this is our area of expertise.


We are who we are because our (ex)-partners have and/or are

seriously abusing our children.  We need to stop the child abuse.

We need to separate our children from the abuse and from the abuser.


 What Is Child Abuse?

 When I googled “child abuse,” I found  countless  independent organizations trying to raise awareness.  I also found another group of organizations trying to provide some support for children who have gone through child sexual abuse.  I didn’t find anyone trying to stop the child abusers, except us.  

Just that little bit of googling "child abuse," raised 3 flags for me.

First, most of the organizations use the statistics cited by the federal government's  Children’s Bureau. Unfortunately, these statistics are woefully inaccurate and grossly underreported.  (But that’s another story).   Every site readily admits this, but oh well.  It’s as close as they can get right now.  The last report I read from the Children’s Bureau was the 2013 Maltreatment Report (the most recent, found here).  They stated that between 2009-2013 the overall rates of victimization declined, from 9.3 to 9.1 per 1,000 children in the population. This results in an estimated 23,000 fewer victims in 2013 (679,000) compared with 2009 (702,000).

§  Since 2009, overall rates of children who received a CPS response increased from 40.3 to 42.9 per 1,000 children in the population. This results in an estimated 145,000 additional children who received a CPS response in 2013 (3,188,000) compared to 2009 (3,043,000). States provide possible explanations for the increase in Appendix D, State Commentary.

§  Nationally, four-fifths (79.5%) of victims were neglected, 18.0 percent were physically abused, 9.0 percent were sexually abused and 8.7 percent were psychologically maltreated.

§  For 2013, a nationally estimated 1,520 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.04 children per 100,000. children in the national population.

Blah, blah, blah, blah.  Well, glory be!  Sounds like the government's got this thing under control except for…those accuracy and reporting problems I mentioned before.

Second, the sites that I looked at were almost exclusively focused on sexual abuse.  Sexual abuse can mean a lot of different things, according to our government.  All of which raise the hair on the back of my neck. Even Dr. Childress rates sexual abuse (or more specifically incest) as the worst type of abuse with narcissistic and borderline not far behind.   

 It isn’t the act alone that causes all the long term damage.  The most serious type of sexual abuse is when the sexual abuser is a parent.  These children become sexual prisoners in their own homes.  They are psychologically abused to allow this to happen without anyone finding out.  These kids are silenced by their terror and shame, paralyzed by their father’s (98% of sexual abusers are male) threats and have been psychologically groomed to protect him. 

A parent who can cross the generational boundary to have some type of sexual contact with their non-consenting child is someone we all need to be protected from.   Someone that, I would guess, probably demonstrates narcissistic and borderline patterns of behavior.   This is not bad parenting.

Third, I have a problem calling any of this child abuse. I googled the definition of  abuse and found this:

To use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse.

treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.

 I’ve never been one to nitpick words, especially in this case because  I am an animal rights advocate.   But I bet that some parents would take issue with the idea that child abuse is on equal footing with animal abuse (according to the definition).  I really think we need to be more specific. 

Child physical and sexual abuse are both contradictory terms. Generally, "abuse" differes from "violence" in that violence implies that the attack resulted in physical harm.  Obviously there is physical harm with physical and sexual abuse so these would be more accurately called child physical violence and child sexual violence.  Psychological abuse alone results in significant changes in the child’s physical brain, which affects a child’s growth, development and system functioning.  I don’t think anyone would argue that this isn’t physical harm.  In addition,  psychological abuse usually co-occurs with physical or sexual assaults making this violence even more devastating. Whenever a child shows symptoms of  external harm there will also be serious  internal harm.  That all counts as violence in my biology book.

The "googled" definition of abuse above does include 4 critical elements that all these assaults have in common; 1) the parent,  2) regularly and repeatedly, 3) uses our children, and 4) treats them with cruelty and violence.

Think about it and let me know.  What would you call it?












I am not going to go into all of the details about why this is true or important, but since so many people have spent so much time advocating for these words, I did want you to know why Gardner himself would carry this sign, if he were here today.

When Dr. Gardner first saw one parent trying to alienate the children from the other parent, he didn’t recognize the narcissistic/borderline personality disorder of that parent (sound familiar?).

Gardner didn’t know that divorce caused this parent narcissistic injury that it triggered a psychological “melt down” into persecutory delusions.  He saw the illogical dynamics but that wouldn’t have given him a clue that the mentally disturbed parent was reenacting his or her childhood attachment trauma.   Gardner described the symptoms of a child who was being coerced and exploited to enmesh with the parent who had no empathy for anyone else, and would do anything, like make false allegation of abuse, just to win.  He saw this dynamic over and over again.  He knew it was horribly wrong, he pointed it out and he called it, parental alienation.

But, Dr. Gardner didn’t have the big picture, like we do now.  If we stand back, we will see the same episode play out with every narcissistic/borderline parent at the time that they get a divorce.  This predictable sequence of events cannot be sliced away from the parent’s personality disorder, attachment trauma, or the abusive family systems strategies they use to severely harm their family.

Look what happened when we did. 

Mental health providers were unable to recognize narcissistic/borderline personality disorder, attachment trauma, delusions, or the painfully obvious severe child psychological abuse.   In family court, targeted parents were/are blamed or at the very least were/are considered partially responsible.   Some of us were/are found guilty of abusing our own children!  Innocent parents got/get blamed for the horrific child psychological abuse that can only come from a delusional parent with a narcissistic/borderline personality who is reenacting their childhood attachment trauma.  But we were blamed, we were re-victimized, we were shamed. And then we would watch and listen as the courts indulged the dangerous parent and listened intently to what the children wanted.  Children, who were so terrified of the abuser and so psychologically corrupted that they would say whatever the abusive parent told them to say.

It didn’t matter whether the courts only gave the abuser 50% placement, he or she had 100%, because we knew before we even left the court room, that we wouldn’t see our children again.   What did the courts base their decisions on?  Where was the proof?  Where was the evidence?  There couldn’t have been any.   None.

As loving parents we have been tortured beyond words, some of us to death, all of us to a point of irreparable harm.  We sacrificed everything to pay the professionals who wouldn’t listen to us.    We were slaughtered along with our children under the all-powerful authorities. 

Good bye parental alienation, you cannot hurt us anymore. 

Hello Attachment trauma reenactment, we are going to expose you, because, we know where you are.