Our adversary is not a person.
Our adversary is not your ex-spouse, the alienating narcissistic/(borderline) parent.
Our adversary is not a system.
Our adversary is not the mental health or legal systems.
Our adversary is a pathogen.
A pathogen is like a virus. The pathogen we fight is not a physical virus, like polio or small pox. It is a psychological pathogen, infecting the information structures of the attachment system (the “meme-structures” of the attachment system).
And understand this: We have only one enemy – ignorance.
I will explain why later, but it is important that we end the process of taking “sides” – your side – my side – it needs to stop. We are ALL on the same side.
Splitting into polarized “sides” is a manifestation of the pathogen. If you see “sides” forming work toward synthesis. In the upcoming battle for mental health, the pathogen will try to create splitting within mental health, and perhaps even within our own ranks. Be alert for splitting. It’s a clear sign of the pathogen’s presence infecting the dialogue. Work for synthesis in dialogue. Be alert for polarized extremes. Avoid (and be alert for) unnecessary hyperbole.
The pathogen will try to distract the focus away from the pathogen by creating “sides.” We cannot allow this to happen. We must avoid polarized sides. Our goal is “synthesis” not “victory.”
Be kind. Be nice. But be resolute and relentless. Do not fight, but do not flee. Stand your ground, with resolute gentleness, and continue to move relentlessly forward.
There are NO sides. There is only ignorance and knowledge.
We ALL want the same thing. We all want to support the healthy emotional and psychological development of children. Them, us, everybody.
We ALL want to stop child abuse in every single case. 100% of the time.
That’s true of everyone in mental health, that’s true for all targeted parents, that’s true of everyone in the legal system.
We are all on the same side. This is critical. I will explain why later.
We have only one enemy. Ignorance.
I know this pathogen better than anyone on this planet. I have spent the last seven years analyzing each and every nook and cranny, each and every “meme-structure,” of this pathogen. I know exactly what it’s going to do, and I’m (hopefully) ten steps ahead of it.
That’s what has taken me so long. Preparing for exactly this day, for exactly this battle, forging exactly the right weapon for you to use to recover and rescue your children.
We are ready. It is time for you to unsheathe your weapon, and let’s set about the task of rescuing your children… All of your children.
The time has arrived. Not one more day will we tolerate the psychological abuse of your children. Not one more day.
So let me explain our adversary, to prepare you for the coming battle; the “battle for mental health.”
I know this pathogen better than anyone on the planet, and let me assure you (as if you didn’t already know) that this is the most malignant, vicious, and dangerous psychological pathogen I have ever encountered. And mind you, I’ve worked with children in the foster care system. I’ve seen all the various forms of child abuse pathogens up close and personal. And this one is the nastiest I have ever encountered.
I’m not going to spend time now going into the details of why I know what I know, I’m just going to assert this information and you’ll have to trust that I know what I’m talking about. Later, once we have achieved our goals, once your children are back in your arms, then we will have the leisure of sitting around the fire telling war stories, and I can explain how I know what I know about this pathogen. But for now, you’ll just have to trust me on this one… I know this pathogen.
On a related note, if any division within APA wants to extend me an invitation to submit a proposal for a presentation on “The Meme-Structure Analysis of the Parental Alienation Trauma Pathogen” I guarantee you, I will knock your socks off. Guaranteed phenomenal.
What makes this pathogen so particularly malignant and dangerous is that it has a very sophisticated defensive structure. In all my years of providing psychotherapy, I’ve never seen a pathogen’s defensive structure this sophisticated, and dare I say, elegant. The defensive meme-structure (information structure) of this pathogen is extraordinary.
There are three components to the defensive meme-structure of this pathogen
The pathogen hides by projecting the focus of blame. The two major projections of blame are,
1) Onto the child; (“It’s not me, it’s the child that… xyz”)
2) Onto the other parent (“It’s the other parent who is the source of the problem.”)
It’s in this latter projection of blame onto you, the other parent, where this pathogen truly excels. Absolutely masterful defensive manipulation of blame onto you. I describe this in Foundations. This defensive meme-structure can reach truly masterful levels of interwoven manipulation and exploitation.
Throughout the alienation process, which can span years of continuing alienation, the pathogen is consistently able to keep the focus of external scrutiny on the parenting practices of you, the targeted parent. And even though you are entirely a normal-range and loving parent, no one ever believes that you are.
Why is that?
It’s a defensive meme-structure of the pathogen. I know what it is and I can describe it in detail. And we will be disabling it. The pathogen lays hidden in the shadows, in the dark recesses. We will be exposing the pathogen to the light.
The pathogen also stays hidden behind the child (that’s, in part, how it keeps the focus on you). It is essentially using the child as a “human shield.” No one sees the pathogen because they naturally assume the child is authentic. No. When this pathogen enacts the pathology, it steals the authentic child.
The child is caught in a role-reversal relationship with the narcissistic/(borderline) parent and is being used as a “regulatory object” to regulate the emotional and psychological state of the parent.
If you don’t know the meaning of what I just said, for goodness sake would you please read Foundations.
If you try to fight this pathogen without arming yourself with the words-of-power from Foundations, this pathogen will eat you for breakfast. This is the meanest, nastiest, strongest and most dangerous pathogen I have ever encountered. Do not underestimate it. Do not go into battle unarmed.
You will absolutely 100% need to read Foundations. You cannot battle this pathogen without being armed with the words-of-power.
The pathogen remains hidden behind the child.
When other people, including therapists, assume (falsely) that the child is authentic, this then redirects the focus of external attention onto you. By remaining hidden, the pathogen is safe to enact the pathology.
When someone is able to penetrate the veil of concealment that hides the pathogen from view, and so sees the pathogen directly, this exposure of the pathogen threatens the ability of the pathogen to enact the pathology. In response to threat, a second level of defensive meme-structures are activated; ATTACK
ATTACK – Viciously
When the pathogen is seen, the person who has exposed the pathogen becomes a threat to the pathogen’s ability to enact the pathology.
The pathogen needs the pathology. The pathogen requires the pathology. This need to enact the pathology is at the level of a neurologically imposed psychological imperative. There is no other alternative for the pathogen. It MUST enact and maintain the pathology.
Again, if you don’t know why, for goodness sake, read Foundations. Our enemy is ignorance. There is no excuse for you to be ignorant when we are fighting ignorance.
When you become an ex-husband, it is an imperative imposed by the structure of the pathogen that you also become an ex-father. There is no other alternative for the pathogen. This MUST occur. When you become an ex-wife, you must become an ex-mother as well. This is a neurologically imposed imperative for the pathogen. There is no other alternative possible for the pathogen.
The pathogen NEEDS the pathology. It requires the pathology.
When someone penetrates the veil of concealment and sees the pathogen, this threatens the pathogen’s ability to enact the pathology. The response of the pathogen to threat is to attack with incredible viciousness and a complete disregard for truth, accuracy, and reality.
Truth, accuracy, and reality will offer NO defense against the pathogen. The attack is not designed to destroy you (in which case truth, accuracy, and reality would provide a defense). The attack is designed to disable you, to nullify your threat, to nullify your ability to interfere with the enactment of the pathology.
The attack is to put you on the defensive, and to put the focus of attention onto you, and thereby take it off the pathogen. Whether the attack succeeds in harming you is secondary to its defensive role of putting the threat posed by the other person on the defensive and thereby nullifying the threat.
Here’s an important point in the upcoming “battle for mental health.” I see the pathogen. I therefore represent a tremendous threat to the pathogen’s ability to continue to enact the pathology. There is no doubt, that once the pathogen becomes aware of me, once you join this battle, this pathogen is going to attack me with all the viciousness and venom it can possibly muster.
This will occur with 100% certainty, because it is part of the defensive meme-structure of the pathogen. Stay hidden. If exposed, attack, and attack with incredible viciousness and without regard for truth, accuracy, or reality.
Right now, the pathogen is slumbering relative to me and an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.” You have yet to activate an attachment-based model to cleanse the pathogen from mental health, so it’s not noticing that I see it. Once it knows I’ve seen it, it will attack, with 100% certainty.
When this happens, don’t worry. I’m expecting it and I’m ready for it. I’ve got defensive meme-structures in place, including what I’m doing right now by exposing the pathogen’s process. I’m optimistic that I’ll be okay.
That’s why Foundations needed to be so complete in it’s theoretical formulation. It has to be prepared to withstand the certain attack which the pathogen will launch against it, and against me (through the allies of the pathogen).
When this attack on me occurs. Ignore it. Don’t defend me. I’ve got it covered. That’s my battle, not yours. Trust me on this. Keep your eye on YOUR battle to recover your children. Don’t worry about the brew-ha-ha that’s swirling around me. The goal of the attack is to distract the threat that you pose to the pathogen. Do NOT be distracted. I’ll be okay.. I think. I’m expecting it. I’ve done some preparation.
Don’t worry about defending me. Use your weapon, use Foundations, keep going forward.
I’m putting myself out there as your lightening rod. As long as the lightening rod is grounded, there’s no effect. I’m ready, I think. I’ll pull the attack for you. That becomes my battle, not yours. Yours is for the children.
To rescue your children, you must clear the influence of this pathogen out of mental health. It has infected mental health, you must cleanse the influence of the pathogen from mental health. Once you do that, the attack on me will stop. Don’t lose focus, don’t be distracted. Keep going. When the pathogen attacks, it means it’s recognized your threat.
Allies: Binding Sites of Ignorance
The third defensive meme-structure of the pathogen is to seduce and employ allies. It exploits allies to both enact the pathology (primarily the ally of the child, but also at times extended family such as step-parents or grandparents), and also to disable threats that might interfere with the pathogen’s ability to enact the pathology.
Because it seeks to remain hidden as its primary defense, the pathogen seeks “binding sites of ignorance” which don’t see the pathogen, and which it can then turn into allies to enact the pathology or disable efforts to interfere with the pathology.
The pathogen uses the ignorance of others as its primary means to remain hidden.
Our primary weapon is therefore knowledge, which we will use to expose the pathogen.
Exposing the pathogen is why you need the words-of-power that I provide you in Foundations.
In my case, when the pathogen launches its attack on me, it will turn to its established allies in mental health to launch the attack. Because it has been sleeping relative to me, it’s not yet aware of the threat posed to it by an attachment-based reformulation of the construct of “parental alienation,” so the initial attack will be as if I am advocating a Gardnerian PAS model.
Ally of the Pathogen: “How dare Dr. Childress empower targeted parents to action based on such a flimsy theoretical structure as parental alienation.”
Dr. Childress: You’re talking about a Gardnerian model of “parental alienation” aren’t you? Oh, I would absolutely agree with you, if that was what I’m doing. But I’m NOT talking about a Gardernian model of PAS, I’m talking about an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.” Have you read Foundations?
Ally of the Pathogen: “No”
Dr. Childress: Oh, then I really suggest you do. Because until you do, you don’t really have anything relevant to add to the discussion. Once you’ve read Foundations, then come back to me and we can talk. But until then, what you have to say really isn’t relevant because you have no idea what we’re talking about.
So let’s take a moment to talk about how to handle the “criticisms” of “parental alienation”
Criticisms of Parental Alienation
When you are marching and fighting under the Field Banner of Foundations (i.e., of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation”), you have made ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” irrelevant.
Because ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” are based on a Gardnerian model of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) – and we’re NOT talking about Gardnerian PAS, we’re talking about an attachment-based re-conceptualization for the construct of “parental alienation.”
That’s why I have been systematically distancing myself from the Gardnerian PAS model. In one fell swoop we are going to NULLIFY ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation.”
All of them. Every single last one of them. Not one criticism of parental alienation left. By making all of them irrelevant.
We are not going to fight that battle. It’s a pointless and unnecessary battle. Been fought for 30 years. Where’s it gotten us. Here. Well that’s no good.
We don’t need to fight that battle.
Just say to the Gardnerian critics,
Response Part 1: “You’ll receive no argument from us. We will concede ALL of your criticisms. We will concede that all of your criticisms of Gardnerian PAS are correct.
Response Part 2: “But we’re not talking about a Gardnerian PAS model, we’re talking about an attachment-based model. So all of your arguments that are critical of a Gardnerian PAS model are…. well… completely irrelevant.
Response Part 2: So unless you want to talk about an attachment-based model, please go away because you have nothing relevant to add to the discussion.
It’s as if they want to talk about Middle East foreign policy. While that’s very interesting, and they may well have wonderfully insightful views on Middle East foreign policy, that’s not really relevant to the discussion we’re having about “parental alienation.” So unless they have something relevant to say, politely ask them to go away until they have something relevant to say.
I spend the Introduction to Foundations setting up this response of yours to the critics of “parental alienation” (the allies of the pathogen”). In the Introduction I make ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” irrelevant. I have entirely cleared the battlefield for you of all the mines that were out there. All the criticisms of “parental alienation” are gone. Evaporated. All of them.
There is NO criticism currently expressed regarding an attachment-based model. They may emerge, but God help ’em if they try, because I’m gonna kill it.
“You want to take me on? Really? After reading my blog posts. After reading Foundations. Is that really what you want to do?
“Okay. Let’s do it. Let’s have an online public debate. Dr. Childress and critic. You and me. Moderated debate. 2 hours. And we’ll post it online for everybody to see.”
As you enter the battle for your children, there are NO, zero, criticisms of “parental alienation” – none – when you march and fight under the Field Banner of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation.”
When I first began distancing myself and the attachment-based model from Gardnerian PAS I drew criticism from the Gardnerian PAS experts, “Why do you have to be so hard on Gardner? Can’t we co-exist peacefully? It’s not good to create division within our ranks. We need to stay unified.”
I made a mild effort to explain it (“What advantage does a Gardnerian PAS model offer?”), but I didn’t expend much effort because it was too hard to explain to them. They’re too stuck in their model. They need to see why.
Now, for this moment, is why.
By separating from a Gardnerian PAS model we entirely nullify ALL of the arguments against “parental alienation.” You don’t have a single obstacle standing between you and your children except ignorance. I have nullified ALL of the criticisms of “parental alienation” for you.
Go forth and get your children back. First, the battle for mental health. We are going to clean the pathogen from mental heath. Then we use the power of our new ally of mental health to turn the legal response into what is needed (i.e., an efficient and limited cost means to obtain a protective separation). Once we turn the legal system to be able to efficiently acquire a protective separation of your child from the pathogen of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent, then we can treat and restore your children’s healthy authenticity. And that means their authentic love for you, their authentic moms and dads who have loved them, and fought for them.
That’s what we’re going to make happen. That’s what YOU are going to make happen.
But this means you MUST march and battle under the banner of an attachment-based model. You CANNOT bring Gardnerian PAS with you. If you bring Gardnerian PAS into the battle, the pathogen will eat you for breakfast and pick its teeth with your bones.
To recover your children we must relinquish the Gardnerian PAS model. I recognized this early on, and I made the decision that your children are far more important than professional egos about being “right.” If we can rescue and recover your children, and restore them to you, by conceding defeat over Gardnerian PAS. Works for me. Let’s do it.
I don’t care one whit for who’s right and who’s wrong in our professional debate. I don’t care one whit for professional egos. All I care about, the ONLY thing I care about is retuning your children to your embrace. If it takes relinquishing Gardnerian PAS to do that. No problem… AS LONG AS YOUR CHILDREN ARE RETURNED TO YOU.
But let me be abundantly clear on this… we will not compromise on the return of your children. Under NO circumstances will we endure another day of your children’s psychological abuse by the pathogenic parent. It stops. Today.
We are not “asking” for professional mental health to become competent. Oh no, no, no. We are EXPECTING professional mental health to BE competent.
In Foundations I have made you dangerous to ignorance. That has been my goal all along. To empower you. To make you dangerous.
The pathogen locates allies through binding sites of ignorance. By making you dangerous to ignorance, I have given you a weapon to separate the pathogen from its allies.
It was a trade. In order to make you dangerous, I needed to relinquish the Gardnerian PAS model. The criticism of the Gardnerian PAS model was that it was not based in established science. Okay then, challenge accepted. And I set about developing an alternative model that is based entirely within standard and established scientific foundations. I’ve done that. It’s described in Foundations.
Foundations makes you dangerous to the binding sites of ignorance.
Read Foundations to acquire the words-of-power. Then pay particular attention to Section 4: Professional Issues. This section is the weapon forged from the Foundations.
In becoming dangerous to the binding sites of ignorance, you have become empowered to rescue your children. There is a specific meme-structure on the pathogen that seeks to dis-empower you. Pretty effective isn’t it. This meme-structure exploits allies, the binding sites of ignorance. This is where the pathogen is vulnerable. Cut it off from the binding sites of ignorance, and it can no longer dis-empower you.
You are about to live into your power.
If you have not read Foundations, shame on you. There is NO WAY for you to engage in this upcoming battle for your children unless you become armed and dangerous to ignorance.
You CANNOT march into this battle under the banner of Gardnerian PAS. There will be NO Gardnerian banner on this battlefield. If you march under a Gardnerian banner, there will be no place for you in this fight. (Don’t worry, I am certain that Gardner would approve if it means defeating this pathogen. And we’ll come back to honor his courage and insight once the fight is over).
You MUST march into this fight under the banner of the attachment-based model. If you march and fight under the attachment-based model, you will be victorious. I know this pathogen better than anyone on this planet. The attachment-based model is specifically designed to disable this specific pathogen.
In my upcoming YouTube videos I will lay out the strategy in detail. In two weeks, join me to go over our plans for the coming “battle for mental health.” In the meantime, arm yourself with Foundations. Become dangerous to ignorance.
In the coming battle for your children, we are not going to be “asking”… the stakes are too high. We are fighting to recover a healthy and normal-range childhood for your children. In the battle for mental health, we are not “asking“ for professional competence, we are expecting it. In Foundations, I have made you dangerous to ignorance.
You are stronger and more powerful than you know.
Like an earthquake under the ocean, the attachment-based model described in Foundations is like a tectonic shift in the earth that creates a tsunami.
The ocean is swelling, even as we speak, and the full power of this tsunami is headed to shore. But on the surface of the ocean, there is no evidence of the power that is building beneath it in a mighty wave. Beginning in July of 2015 this wave – you, the child’s authentic parent – will begin to reach the shores of professional mental health, and when you do, you will become an unstoppable force.
Foundations is the earthquake. Become the unstoppable wave. Find your power.
But hold no illusions. The pathogen is extremely powerful. Look what it’s done to you for 30 years. You will need all the power you can muster. Alone, you are one. Join together and you become a tsunami. You are unstoppable.
In historical times, armies marched into battle under banners of the various clans or nobles or nations. I would suggest that you consider doing the same.
I notice that many targeted parents make use of Internet memes to express ideas. I would encourage you to develop Field Banners with emblems of your clan or country. As many and as varied as you like. March and fight under the Field Banner you choose.
There is no more fierce animal than a mother bear defending her cub. What a wonderful symbol. Perhaps a ferocious bear protecting a child’s stuffed teddy bear.
Or perhaps another animal of power, or favorite animal, a lion, or wolf, or a griffin. Or perhaps a sheep or newt for all I care, as long as it’s a fierce and absolutely determined battle sheep, or battle newt. (ahhh, the feared “battle sheep.” Sets me to trembling just thinking about it.)
Or perhaps your child has a favorite toy or activity, and you would like to make this the symbol of your battle. As many battlefield heralds as there are of you. Each clan, each family.
But more broadly too, come together under your nation’s battle herald. Australia, England, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa. Do you need a single national banner? Absolutely not. Who cares. This isn’t for them. It’s for you. It to rouse your heart and set your will.
What is the Field Banner of Foundations, of an attachment-based model of “parental alienation?” I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.
But let this be clear. From this day forward, under NO circumstances will we tolerate your children’s psychological abuse at the hands of the pathogenic alienating parent.
It stops. There is no alternative.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857