I have often thought that if I knew then what I know now I could have intervened and prevented the total rejection of my wife by her own daughter. Unfortunately, I failed to recognize and understand that people afflicted with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder completely lack empathy. They can fake it very well and deceive their target while they clandestinely work their scheme to manipulate a child and punish their ex. They are very good at deceiving social workers, judges, and even child psychologists. But, the bottom line remains the same: they lack empathy and do not care about their victims. They only care about preserving or rebuilding their fantasized, grandiose self-image. By the time the targeted parent decides to seek help the damage is often done and neither the courts nor the mental health community can either understand or intervene.
In my opinion, it is essential to involve an independent FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST as soon as it becomes apparent a child is conflicted and caught in the middle of a toxic divorce or separation. Why? Because the child may begin displaying behavior that would erroneously lead a parent to believe the child needs therapy. Parental alienation is not so much a psychological problem as it is a dysfunctional family dynamic that will typically be missed by most child psychologists who practice “play therapy.”
A forensic psychologist practices at the intersection of psychology and the law. They are much more likely to recognize and understand the nature and legal implications of emotional child abuse and the dynamic that exists between the narcissistic parent and the victimized child. Forensic psychologists command respect in the courts who tend to rely on their expertise.
My recommendation is to demand a family evaluation by a forensic psychologist as soon as the targeted parent suspects an issue. The narcissist will probably object and resist but that, in itself, should be a red flag to a judge that something is very wrong. Hopefully, if this evaluation is done early the presiding judge can be objective and better protect the child and targeted parent.
Always remember that an NPD is incapable of empathy so do not be seduced by apologies and promises. An NPD is accomplished at deception and manipulation. He/she is incapable of mercy and will use your own compassion against you.