As we enter this fight to reclaim the citadel of establishment psychology as your ally I want to add a cautionary tone to the coming battle.
Our goal is not to hurt anyone. Our goal is to protect your children.
I did not empower you with Standards 2.01 and 3.04 so that you could seek retaliatory revenge on those who you perceived wronged you. I empowered you so you can protect your children.
Retaliation, revenge, and the expression of anger represent a narcissistic stance.
Be kind. Be relentless. Expect professional competence. But be kind.
When you interact with the world regarding our battle to protect and recover your children, you are a representative for all of us. If you are angry, judgmental, arrogant, and contemptuous, this reflect badly on all of us.
Be kind. Be relentless, but be kind as well.
Gandhi achieved independence for his country. He was a significant pain in the rear end for the British. But he was always kind. Gandhi fought relentlessly against injustice. But he was always kind.
Think Martin Luther King, Jr. He too fought relentlessly against injustice. He would not tolerate injustice. But he too was kind. The whites said sit in the back of the bus. Rosa Parks sat in the front. The lunch counter sign said “whites only,” so the black activists sat at the lunch counter. We too can fight injustice, can fight for your children, and yet we can also remain true to our values Our goal is not to hurt anyone. Our goal is to protect your children.
Contradict by Being
In therapy, the child and parent will sometimes have this exchange,
Child: “You never listen to me.”
Parent: “Yes I do. I listen to you.”
No you don’t. You didn’t listen just then. In the response, “Yes I do” you just demonstrated that no you don’t. You just made the child’s case behaviorally in your response.
Contrast that with this exchange
Child: “You never listen to me.”
Parent: “Really, you think so? Tell me more about that. What would you like me to know?
Home run. The parent just hit it out of the park. In this response, the parent demonstrated listening to the child. The parent just proved that the child is incorrect, that the parent does listen to the child; not by the words of the parent’s response, but by the actions of the parent’s response.
The narcissistic/(borderline) parent and child are trying to frame you as being the mean and “abusive” parent.
So do you counter this by being angry and arrogant, demanding professional competence and retaliating against people who don’t do what you say?
Or do you counter this by being kind? By dialoguing with others and expressing compassionate concern for your child? Do you counter it by listening and by being kind? Oh yes, and by relentlessly expecting professional competence.
Convince others that the narrative being constructed about you is false, not by your words, but by your actions. Be kind.
But be relentless in your struggle to protect your children. Neither Gandhi nor Martin Luther King, Jr. were pushovers. Both led heroic and successful struggles against injustice. Neither would tolerate injustice. They were tough as nails. And both were, at the same time, kind.
Those in mental health who are now adversaries, will soon be your allies. Be kind to your soon-to-be allies.
When you interact with the world – therapists, attorneys, the media – regarding “parental alienation” you represent all of us.
Control your anger and frustration. Do not seek retaliation, even as you expect and require professional competence. Be kind.
If you file a licensing board complaint you are threatening the livelihood of that person. You are threatening their ability to provide for their families. You don’t want to do that. Do it if you must in order to protect your children from continuing abuse as a result of mental health ignorance that colludes with the pathology. But don’t want to do it.
Up on my website is a Diagnostic Checklist handout for the indicators of attachment-based “parental alienation.”
Before becoming problematic for the mental health professional, kindly suggest that the mental health professional read Foundations.and provide them with this Diagnostic Checklist. Suggest that they “consult” with me. Make every effort to be agreeable and pleasant, short of allowing your child to be psychologically abused because the mental health professional is ignorant and entrenched in his or her ignorance.
Represent us well. Be relentless, and be kind.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857