The Domestic Violence of Parental Alienation

I was housecleaning some of the writing files on my computer and I came across an essay from 2011 that I started and never finished… five years ago.  That’s how long this has been waiting.  I read through it and decided it was time now to finish it.  In fact it’s overdue.

This essay is now on my website, buried up toward the top because there are just too many writings piling up on my website.  I need to do some housecleaning on my website too, but there are so many things calling for my attention.

The direct link to this essay is:

The Domestic Violence of Parental Alienation

The pathology of “parental alienation” is psychological child abuse.

The pathology of “parental alienation” is domestic violence; spousal abuse.

These are facts.  The pathology of “parental alienation” is the manifestation of a narcissistic personality psychopathology within the family.  The narcissistic/(borderline) spouse-and-parent is using the child as a weapon, as a narcissistic object, to inflict suffering on the other spouse for the rejection of the divorce.

The time for recognizing the pathology of “parental alienation” as domestic spousal abuse is long past overdue – long past overdue.  I deeply apologize that I have been delayed for so long, but there was much to accomplish.  But it is time now to fully and completely recognize the pathology of “parental alienation” as a severe and heinous form of emotional-psychological domestic violence, and to respond accordingly.  Professional psychology must recognize this extremely destructive form of psychological child abuse and this emotionally violent form spousal abuse.  Professional ignorance and collusion with the domestic violence, the spousal abuse, and the psychological abuse of the child is abhorrent and can no longer be tolerated. The pathology of “parental alienation” is domestic violence, pure and simple.

And it needs to stop.  Today.

Mental health professionals, ALL mental health professionals need to begin routinely assessing for the three diagnostic indicators and twelve associated clinical signs of the pathology when there is an evident disturbance to the child’s attachment bonding motivations toward a normal-range and affectionally available parent following divorce.

When a severe disturbance to the child’s attachment bonding motivations toward a normal-range and affectionally available parent is evident in the child’s symptom display, failure to properly assess for the potential domestic violence and psychological child abuse of a narcissistic/(borderline) spouse-and-parent would represent a violation of Standard 9.01a of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association which requires that all psychologists – ALL psychologists – base their diagnostic statements on “information sufficient to substantiate their findings.”  If the psychologist does not even assess for the pathology, then they have not based their diagnostic findings on “information sufficient to substantiate their findings” and they are therefore in violation of Standard 9.01a of the ethics code of the American Psychological Association.

If they do not know how to assess for the domestic violence and psychological child abuse pathology of a narcissistic spouse-and-parent, then they are likely practicing beyond the boundaries of professional competence in diagnosing and treating this form of pathology, in violation of Standard 2.01a of the ethics code of the American Psychological Association.

If harm then accrues to the targeted parent and child as a result of the domestic violence and psychological child abuse that was not properly assessed and diagnosed by the mental health professional, then this would likely represent both a violation of Standard 3.04 of the ethics code of the American Psychological Association regarding avoiding harm to the client, and a failure in the psychologist’s “duty to protect.”

Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting

Violations of Standards 9.01a, 2.01a, and 3.04 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association and the psychologist’s “duty to protect” may warrant administrative review by the licensing board of the psychologist regarding the possibility of sanctions on the license of the mental health professional.

This is not a “new theory” of pathology. It is the diagnosis of psychopathology.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

7 thoughts on “The Domestic Violence of Parental Alienation”

  1. Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    “The pathology of “parental alienation” is psychological child abuse.

    The pathology of “parental alienation” is domestic violence; spousal abuse.

    These are facts. The pathology of “parental alienation” is the manifestation of a narcissistic personality psychopathology within the family. The narcissistic/(borderline) spouse-and-parent is using the child as a weapon, as a narcissistic object, to inflict suffering on the other spouse for the rejection of the divorce.”

  2. Thanks, Dr. Childress. As always, your incites and your writing help to explain and understand what I have experienced. It helps to know that (1) I am not alone, (2) I don’t deserve what has been done to me, and (3) perhaps there is hope that the underlying phenomenon will some day be addressed by our legal system.

    Best regards,

    Dion Kenney

  3. My ex-husband was so emotionally unavailable to my oldest son, Eli, that Eli asked me why dad didn’t like him.  He had no self-confidence, didn’t feel enough initiative to invite himself along with kids at school; was achingly lonely.  I became his friend, his mom and dad, to best end I could.  Our dinner table talks began with, “Your problem Eli, is that…”  “The problem with you, Eli, is that….”  He had ADHD but was in second, third grade; having serious social issues, with letters and meetings I documented.  I wanted medication but dad thought he was too young.  Finally, Ritalin, Adderral, Concerta were tried to no avail, at times making things worse.  Months later, the psychiatrist suggested Vyvanse.  It worked the day Eli started it.      While he slimmed down, achieved well, and blended in, Eli still felt achingly lonely.  He’d never bonded with the kids he’d gone to school with and now it was sixth, nearing seventh grade.  He was unusually tall, unhappy, my heart cried for him.  My spouse and I had argued about what was best for Eli many times, and I admit I wanted to believe everything would be all right, while every instinct inside me raged against what wasn’t being said and done.    Eli did everything he could to gain his father’s approval, but never did.  He tried every hobby, every interest his dad ever had, just to get that arm around his back, hear an “I love you, son.”  He almost begged his dad to give him the “Birds and the Bees talk,” but dad wouldn’t.  Eli thought he’d at least teach him to shave, but my brother did that, buying him his first razor.     We became estranged from each other.  I wondered how I’d live in this marriage the rest of my life.  I had an affair, not for the physical part but for the connection.  He found out, did not want to work to repair, and the family imploded.  Eli was 15 when he learned that dad was really mad at mom because she cheated, but dad didn’t tell him.  I was the one who crossed the boundary.  His first reaction was to call me a fucking whore.  I pulled over to the side of the road and told him to get out of the car.  He was already bigger than me, and refused to.  After that, he began smoking marijuana, dealing it…he went to treatment for two years, but never dealt with his feelings, just the symptoms.  He finished high school in his aunt and uncle’s town, instead of coming back home and re-establishing – or working to – a bond with his family.  He never reconnected.  He continues to hate both of us, his parents; his ADHD medication has never increased despite his almost 12-inch growth due to recovery having a bias against medication.  Now he’s old enough to make his own decisions and despite observations to the contrary, he claims not to need for than the original 20 mgXR Adderral.  His judgement and perception are sorely unhinged.  He blames others for his problems, faults, everything; takes no responsibility for anything; is too impulsive to track cause and effect of behavior; to remember dates/commitments; lies easily and often.       I’ve been emotionally available, but he’s made a practice of cruelty.  He splits, dissociates….He’s kept a record-perhaps a 12-step kind of  thing–of the numerous, numerable women he’s seduced, as if proving that we’re all “fucking whores.”   If I’m strict, he rebels and disses me.  If I’m emotionally available, he runs the other way, as if emotion sickens him.      He refuses therapy, refuses to show gratitude, etc.  I’m afraid of more serious psychosis.  Family-based genetics.  What can I do???     Sign me, Desperate !!!!!!!

    From: Dr Craig Childress: Attachment-Based Parental Alienation To: ellenlazar@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 1:57 AM Subject: [New post] The Domestic Violence of Parental Alienation #yiv2963499426 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2963499426 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2963499426 a.yiv2963499426primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2963499426 a.yiv2963499426primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2963499426 a.yiv2963499426primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2963499426 a.yiv2963499426primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2963499426 WordPress.com | drcraigchildress posted: “I was housecleaning some of the writing files on my computer and I came across an essay from 2011 that I started and never finished… five years ago.  That’s how long this has been waiting.  I read through it and decided it was time now to finish it.  In” | |

  4. Goodday Dr Childress. Thank you for all the work you do to save our children, If it wasn’t for you and Dorcy, your books you have written and your continuously research we would never be able to take on the law system and to be able to understand what had happened to us as targeted parents and our children. Thank you again. Yolinda Thomas, George, South Africa. http://www.paaosa.co.za

  5. Thank you for this great post. It makes sense to me now even after 18 years past .I knew it then in my heart and soul and you have validated all that is true. Question is why did he feel like destroying me when it was his desire to divorce and left me for a mistress 13 years older than our child? Money?
    He married me for my father’s money and got nothing. Yet spent 7 years suing me for 1 million for custody . I refused to pay a dime. He called it sanctions. Finally a judge declared his suit frivolous, forced him to drop it and gave me 50% custody. By then it was too late for my daughter hated me. She was 10 now 27 . It cost my father 85,000 in legal fees. I was destitute. He’s still trying to get my father’s money but he no longer has anything left after a divorce to my mom 5 years ago in their 80s. I have a retarded sister and mom got everything that his mistress did not. They, my ex and daughter don’t know this. I’m due to inherit but will not be mentioning my daughter in my will . My lawyer said that her last email asking for me to never have contact with her ever again voids herself to any entitlement after my death if she wants nothing to do with me during my life. It’s a matter of safety.
    What I leave for her are memories not money. He will just take it from her inheritance anyway.
    Unless she changes in the future of course .
    Sad what we have to do. I need to provide for my sister .
    My daughter can’t even contest my will. Her words not mine . I’m sure her dad is not aware of the law. He never was. Idiot. My father was a lawyer and taught me well.
    He divorced me. Why punish me? Because I gave him the divorce he wanted? I don’t understand why.

  6. Tricia, I was deliberately alienated from my Mom from birth to the age of 49 years when I had gone through enough therapy to finally see her through my own eyes. I am turning 51 this year and my Mom is my Queen, my Hero and my inspiration. I cannot describe to you how enraged I was when the spell that my dad cast over me was broken. His insidious and heinous campaign to isolate me from attachment to my Mom cause me 4 decades of eating disorders, attempted suicides, seeking comfort from psychopath men and severe PTSD. But, with the hrlp, which I constantly sought from therapists in South Africa, Italy and Canada and thousands of dollars on educating myself about PA and pathogenic parenting, the scales fell off my eyes, and continue to do so. My Mom and I now talk everyday through text or Skype. She is in South Africa, I am in Canada. We have not seen each other for 16 years. I have spent 16 years on and off in the Supreme Court of British Columbia fighting to protect and free my own daughter from a man who was diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder but because the Judge accepted a psychologists opinion rather than the diagnostic evidence, he was given custody of her and has done his very best to break her spirit and murder my soul through his abuse of her. He hasn’t won and he won’t- I have lost everything, my mother lost all her assets, property and finances helping me free my daughter. Now, we have no money and no lawyer- but we have each other, and the strongest love and attachment you could imagine that grows each day- I am speechless to recognize that my mothers strength through all those years of being alienated from me and yet always loving me and being there, finally won the battle against my fathers insecurity and alienation tactics. I know, that with my beloved Mom at my side and in my heart, with the support I have from a loving man at my side, a few good friends and Dr. Childress, justice will prevail because I’m not giving up until my daughter is home safe with me. She too has special needs and will require years of therapy to overcome the aftermath of what that disturbed individual has done to her. I would be happy to hear from you and encourage you if you would like to chat. You may reach me at lisa@fortunamedia.ca
    I wish you only the best in life and I pray that your daughter is released from that spell so that she may see you as the loving Mom you truly are and know the joy and strength of your love. Take care, Lisa

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