APA – There’s Urgency Here

Hey, APA… you do realize there’s an urgency here?

Every day – every single day – more and more families are being sacrificed to the pathology of a narcissistic/(borderline) parent. 

Every day – every single day – more and more loving and beloved targeted parents are witnessing their beloved children being “killed” by the pathology of their narcissistic/(borderline) personality ex-spouse.

And that’s exactly what this pathology is – the killing of children.  The authentic child of the targeted parent – the beloved and loving child – their authentic child – is being killed by the angry-vengeful pathology of a narcissistic/(borderline) personality parent.

The grief of the targeted parent as their beloved child is killed right before their eyes is profound and deep – enduring grief and suffering.

And day-after-day, more and more families are being sacrificed to the pathology – to the suffering.  Childhoods are stolen – and these lost childhoods are gone forever.  Once lost, childhood can never be reclaimed. 

Bonds of love between child and parent are being destroyed, and the years of childhood love and bonding to a beloved parent, once lost, can never be reclaimed.   Future restoration is possible – but the lost childhood is gone.

There is only a year of the child being 10.  There is only a year of the child being 12.  This time of childhood is fleeting, and once lost it is lost forever.

And with each passing day, more and more families are being sacrificed to this pathology while the APA stands by and does nothing – inert an impotent in protecting children.

Hey, APA… you do realize there’s an urgency here?

It’s been over half a year since you announced plans to form a “working group” to “study the research” and you still have not announced the working group membership.  That’s over half a year of lost childhoods – over half a year of profound parental suffering and grief from watching their beloved child be killed right in front of them – while the APA does nothing to stop it.

You do realize there’s a urgency here, don’t you?

And all you’re actually going to do is just appoint a “working group” to “study the research.”  You’re not actually going to do anything to stop the immense suffering of these families.

Really, APA?  You need to “study” the research on the attachment system?  You don’t already know the substantial research on the attachment system? 

You really need to “study” the research on narcissistic and borderline personality pathology?  You don’t already know the substantial research on narcissistic and borderline personality pathology? 

You really need to “study” the research on family system therapy?  You don’t already know the substantial research on family systems therapy?  Really?

Here, let me help.   For starters, I”d suggest:

Attachment System

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss. Vol. 1. Attachment. NY: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss: Vol. 2. Separation: Anxiety and anger. NY: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Vol. 3. Loss: Sadness and depression. NY: Basic Books.

Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1989). Attachments beyond infancy. American Psychologist, 44, 709-716.

Personality Disorder Pathology

Beck, A.T., Freeman, A., Davis, D.D., & Associates (2004). Cognitive therapy of personality disorders. (2nd edition). New York: Guilford.

Kernberg, O.F. (1975). Borderline conditions and pathological narcissism.. New York: Aronson.

Linehan, M. M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder.  New York, NY: Guilford

Millon. T. (2011). Disorders of personality: introducing a DSM/ICD spectrum from normal to abnormal. Hoboken: Wiley. 

Family Systems Therapy

Bowen, M. (1978). Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. New York: Jason Aronson.

Haley, J. (1977). Toward a theory of pathological systems. In P. Watzlawick & J. Weakland (Eds.), The interactional view (pp. 31-48). New York: Norton.

Minuchin. S. & Nichols, M.P. (1993). Family healing: Strategies for hope and understanding. New York: Touchstone.

Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and Family Therapy. Harvard University Press

Titelman, P. (2003). Emotional cutoff in Bowen family systems theory: An Overview.  In Emotional cutoff: Bowen family systems theory perspectives, P. Titelman (ed). New York: Haworth Press.

Start there.

You know what, let me make this a little easier.  Since we’ve already lost so much time that can never be recovered in the lives of these suffering children and families, let me give you my personal reference lists.

Dr. Childress Personal Reference List for AB-PA

This reference list contains some of the particularly relevant quotes from some of the sources for my ease of reference surrounding particular issues.

Dr. Childress Personal Reference List for Psychological Control

This is my reference list (extracted from the general AB-PA list) for just the construct of parental “psychological control” of the child.

Dr. Childress Personal Reference List for Dark Triad Personality

The parental personality pathology we’re dealing with is called the Dark Triad (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian manipulation).  These are my references (extracted from the general AB-PA list) for the personality pathology of the Dark Triad, the “core of evil” (Book, Visser, and Volk, 2015).

There, that should help seed your review of the research literature.  Notice that NONE of the research I use to support AB-PA is research on “parental alienation.”  It’s all standard and established stuff.

But, APA, can you please get a move on – please… children and families are going through such immense and continual suffering of the highest order, and the level of professional ignorance and incompetence that these families must endure is so utterly profound and appalling.

All we need from you, APA, is a statement that the pathology exists – call it whatever you want – and a statement that these children and families represent a “special population” requiring specialized professional knowledge and expertise to competently assess, diagnose, and treat.

That’s not a major statement.  That’s simply upholding Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code.   It shouldn’t require exhaustive “study” to simply issue a statement upholding Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code.

If the hang up is about acknowledging that the pathology exists – and if it would help move things along – just refer to the existence of “attachment-related pathology and personality disorder pathology.”

Here, I’ll even write the statement for you if that helps move things along (because these families are suffering such immense grief and emotional trauma – day-after-day without end – there’s an urgency here).

Statement on High-Conflict Divorce: Attachment-related pathology and personality disorder pathology exists and can influence family relationships following divorce.  The inter-related family issues can be complex to diagnose and treat.  Children and families evidencing attachment-related pathology surrounding divorce represent a special population who warrant specialized professional knowledge and expertise to competently assess, diagnose, and treat, consistent with Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code.

There.  Now was that so hard? 

I’m doing everything I can to make this easy for you, APA.  But you’ve got to make an effort.  Your impotence in responding to the immense pain and suffering of these parents as they are forced to watch – day after day – as their beloved children are being killed before their eyes, and your tolerance of the profound professional ignorance and incompetence surrounding the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of this pathology is sacrificing more and more families – with each passing day – to this terrible-terrible pathology.

Do something.  Make it stop.  Require professional competence in the attachment system, in personality disorder pathology, and in family systems constructs consistent with Standard 2.01a of the APA ethics code.

That’s not a lot to ask.  So why is that so hard for you to do, to end the suffering of these parents and families?

Lost childhoods can never be recovered.

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

7 thoughts on “APA – There’s Urgency Here”

  1. We should start a campaign with a slogan and hashtag, … like .#love drought or something?.. everyday my children…
    Everyday we are invalidated is another day that:

    And then subjective?

    Like maybe, :

    “Is another day my four year old believes that the world is a dangerous place”

    “Is a day my preteen son is told that he’s not worthy of a mother”

    Is a day that another fathers sorrow and inner torment and grief has no bearing anywhere.

    Is another day that our children, our parents and our society are forgotten and neglected by an officialdom too busy to put our values, basic needs and our humanity first.

    Is another day bearocracy serves only as an embodyment in impassive and arid statements that say nothing, and no child is important, yet adversely affect everything, every child and everyone.

    We are crying, hurting, screaming for attention, compassion, humanity, validation, and our voices are hourse and rough, despite us sharing our drive to love without fear of drought.
    APA, we are YOU, and YOU are US. What is stopping you from fighting for YOURSELVES?
    Have you not grown from infancy? Have you not born any children ? Have you not cried from sorrow? Have you not screamed in joy?

    Why are you invalidating your own humanity, as it’s directly shared with us?
    APA There’s more that brings us together as human beings then there is tearing us apart through beaurocracy.

    Why are we waiting still? Why are you waiting still?

    Another day of beauracratically funded love drought is another day you fund your OWN dehydration


    Purple prose? Bit much?


  2. In light of this, i used my mindfulness project to make this 🙂

    I made it for us target parents and alieneted children

    And also as a message
    Message to the APA

    Share, repost

    The APA
    Is swemingly enabling torture !

    When you take the leadership role
    APA We all follow in Canada and England and everywhere!
    why don’t you start the process!
    . If you felt the pain of our children and of ourselves, you’d be angry with yourselves for ever letting one minute go by knowing and feeling the abuse of the pathogenic parent !


    Im wiping tears away when making this little video ..and next… I was laughing… because it’s funny and motivational.. and just important to find bits of joy in silli easy ways. Laughing is the best for healing in my experience

    .. Make time for you. If you don’t, you’ll drown in your own traumatic grief and cortisol… Our kids need us.

    Lastlythe APA indifference is not only affecting American children may bit all children. You set the bar

    It’s everyone




    Its always steange to have to fight for your children!

    How is it ever acceptable?

    It’s our Children!

  3. I am dumbfounded that the APA is delaying its response I got a letter from the APA over a year ago at acknowedging receipt of my request for a position statement. What will it take? Does the pathology of AB-PA have to strike their own families for these gatekeepers of the mental health standard of competence and ethics to take this horrifying human problem seriously?

    Nora Renzulli, Esq.

  4. Dear Dr. Childress, I deeply honour your invaluable service in seeing the grief and emotional trauma of the families that have to endure the pathology you mention in this post. I am going through deep grief, which BTW started on June 9, 2016 when my child of 15 years old and with an epilepsy diagnosis was taken from me by a corrupt judge in Mexico City and given to his narcissistic father, without further psychological assessments (I was the only one who submitted to those); because my son died last May 27 alone from a big seizure in his father´s house while he and his wife had left 8 days before to New York city on vacation, leaving my son unattended. In its worth pointing out that my son’s narcissistic father never accepted my son with his epileptic condition, blaming me that I treated him as disabled.
    This pathology has literally “killed” my son and no more children and families should go through such suffering and trauma. The normal grief is even harder to live in view of the context and trauma it entices.
    My question to you is what behaviour could I expect of the narcissistic parent with my older daughter who is 20 years old? What in your opinion is the effect of my son’s death in his narcissistic father? Although I haven’t seen my son’s narcissistic father since the funeral, he is playing the victim with everyone and even telling more lies.
    I would greatly appreciate your professional response.
    In admiration and gratitude,
    Paola Bustamante

  5. Catherine Hogarth, who came from a cultured Scots family, married Charles Dickens in 1836, the same year he began serializing his first novel. Together they traveled widely, entertained frequently, and raised ten children. In 1858, the celebrated writer pressured Catherine to leave their home, unjustly alleging that she was mentally disordered-unfit and unloved as wife and mother. Constructing a plotline nearly as powerful as his stories of Scrooge and Little Nell, Dickens created the image of his wife as a depressed and uninteresting figure, using two of her three sisters against her, by measuring her presumed weaknesses against their strengths. This self-serving fiction is still widely accepted.


  6. I have lost four once-loving and normal children to this horror of Attachment-based Parental Alienation — or whatever you want to call it. A poisonous weed is a poisonous weed, by any other name. This is my second family lost to this absolute horror that we call Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Inter-generational. I had a parent with what I now recognize as NPD, and subsequently siblings who followed in those footsteps, whether by inheritance or lack of attachment themselves. Like Dickens (see above) triangulating the sisters of his discarded wife into his Parental Alienation scheme, my NPD husband did the same. Funny, the way all Narcissists seem to follow the same manual. I do understand why. I have been the family Empath for two generations. Like all Empaths, I lose, forever and always. I am alone this Christmas, despite having brought up two large families. God help us all, because there will be none from any other source in my lifetime.

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