Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of the psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent or extended family members.
The construct of “parental alienation” represents the child’s triangulation into the spousal conflict through the formation of a cross-generational coalition with a narcissistic/(borderline) parent. This cross-generational coalition of the narcissistic/(borderline) parent with the child is directed against the other parent, causing a breach in the child’s relationship with the targeted parent. In this cross-generational coalition, the child is being used by the narcissistic/(borderline) parent in a role reversal relationship as a “regulatory object” for the regulation of excessive parental anxiety triggered by the divorce. - Dr Craig Childress
Divorce is never easy, especially if there are children involved. Occasionally there will be a tale of divorced couples where one parent alienates a child from the other.
Examples of parental alienation are:
Dr Craig Childress, a US psychologist and expert in the field of parental alienation explains parental alienation as a situation in which one parent consciously or subconsciously turns their shared children against the other parent, through various means of manipulation. It often involves the premise that one parent falsely accuses the other of abuse and indoctrinates the child into believing that abuse took place, whether it be mental, physical, sexual, or a combination.
While there are many true cases of abuse, what is key according to Dr Childress is to look at the child’s behaviour. “It’s the child’s behaviour that need to be observed. Unnecessary levels of anxiety or fear of the alienated parent can be a sign.” Eventually, children can become so indoctrinated and eager to please who they view as the “powerful parent,” they may start hating or abusing the targeted parent themselves. According to Dr Childress, parents who indoctrinate children into alienating the other parent are linked to narcissist borderline pathogenic parenting. The symptoms of narcissism include: grandiosity, entitlement, absence of empathy, haughty, arrogant behaviour and delusional belief systems.