I was very interesting to recently come across a blog written by a victim of Parental Alienation who writes about regaining a sense of a “purposed life” by creating something new from something old and broken, specifically old wooden benches. The blog is an interesting mixture describing the pain and the hope of those suffering from alienation attempting to find solace and rebuild their lives.
Visit the site at http://www.free2flydesigns.wordpress.com/
People who have not been touched by Parental Alienation by a malignant narcissist can find it impossible to understand a victim’s suffering. Yet, victims find it difficult to understand why friends, family, Family Courts, etc. etc. If you are the targeted parent it is so clear and obvious what is happening to you and your child. But, the experience is so far beyond the normal relationship between parents and children that unaffected people find it almost impossible to comprehend it exists. So, they often inadvertently support the abuser by blaming the victim.
Victimized parents often withdraw from their own families and potential support groups. The abuser in these situations has succeeded in making the victim believe the problem with the affected child is his/her creation. The shame and guilt felt by victims drives them to an unwarranted lifetime suffering from the belief they have somehow been cruel or abusive or have even gone insane. They may not understand but some are manipulated to believe they have actually abused the children they so much love. Unfortunately, there are too few sources of professional support.
The lonely, painful isolation of victimized adults (and children) has resulted in the severe depression sometimes leading to suicide.
This process making an ex-spouse believe he/she is insane is often referred to as Gaslighting, an insidious strategy described in the great 1944 film, Gaslight. It is a beautiful depiction of a woman manipulated by her husband intent on convincing her she has gone insane.
Speaking of films, a nonprofit group on the West Coast is in the process of making a film called “Erasing Family.” Previously, they created “Erasing Dad.” Check out their website at www.erasingfamily.org.
I should have added in my previous post the film is also available on YOUTUBE.
I am re-posting a Facebook post of January 22 regarding the film “Just Ask My Children.” I have withheld the name and thread only out of respect for the author’s privacy. The film should be encouraging to anyone experiencing Parental Alienation or who doubts that children can be turned against parents. It is easier than most people think.
“If you have time, a good movie to watch is called, “Just ask my Children” It is a true story. It teaches us how easy it is to turn innocent children against loving caring parents. In the movie they show the strategies the alienator used to get CPS involved. They show how the police actually stormed in to the home and removed the children. The parents went to prison even after the child confessed they were wrong in what they had said. It does give you hope because there comes a point in the child’s life when he goes, “wait a minute I don’t think any of that happened I think we where just saying what people wanted us to say.” The child realizes this after he was in the military. It has been a long time since I have seen the movie (7yrs) but I remember after watching it I felt validated about what was happening to my kids and myself. I watched it before I had ever heard of the words Parental Alienation. Btw this actually happened in Bakersfield Ca where I live!! My lawyer at time actually told me that there is no way a child would turn against their mother and he had knowledge of this case for sure. What a nightmare!! Oh the movie is on Netflix.”
Note: Also available through Amazon.
I do understand that these posts may seem self-serving attempts to promote “Tears In The Rain.” But I hope anyone who reads them understands my goal is to increase people’s awareness that Parental Alienation not only exists but is a terrible epidemic spreading throughout the country. Too often the offense is committed by true narcissists who are extremely dangerous people but little understood and, until recently, not very well recognized and difficult to identify. I am including a recent review of the book written by a doctoral student in psychology specializing in family relationships. It supports the argument the book could be very helpful to people dealing with victims of narcissism and dysfunctional family relationships, including Parental Alienation.
“I was hooked after the very first chapter! I could hardly put it down, the few times I did, I couldn’t wait to pick it back up. As a doctoral candidate in psychology I believe that “Tears in The Rain” should be required reading not just for fellow students but anyone who works in the Family Court System, Law Enforcement, or with Victims of Abuse (of any kind). This book brings out our compassion and a primal sense of protection of our fellow man. It also brings to light just how manipulative the human race can be toward one another especially those who are Narcissistic. Narcissism is not new but has not been recognized until recently. The word is thrown around too often to describe those of self character but True Narcissism goes way beyond someone just being hateful to another. This book contains strong language that may be offensive to some but I believe the language is suitable considering the subject matter. I suggest getting your hands on a copy, reading it, and sharing it with your friends and family. The only way to help those that work with Abuse Victims is to stand together and stop abuse before it starts.
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.
My wife is a high school teacher and students often tell her they wish she was their mother. Yet, she has two daughters who will have absolutely nothing to do with her.
How does that make sense? It doesn’t unless you understand she, like the children, is a victim of a vindictive narcissist who relieves his anxiety and self-hate by manipulating them to share his hate. She has not seen, talked with, or received any communication from either for over three years. Yet, she leaves a message or text every day. She still cries at night although the last time she spoke with either she was told what a terrible person she is.
It’s very difficult to not blame yourself when you are a victim. But, she, like all victims, need to keep trying.
Just this morning we received this review for “Tears In The Rain” from Penny De Byl, an author, artist and book blogger. Thank you Penny.
“If the reviews on today’s indie author’s new book are anything to go by he (Len Myers) has a sure fire hit on his hands. Confronting and emotional, Tears In The Rain has hit the ground running. An amazon reviewer says, “A copy of this book should be MANDATORY READING for every Family Court Judge and Commissioner on the Bench. People who have not faced this problem in their lives, do not believe it is real. As a person who has, it is real, it is numbing, destroying, crippling and life changing, especially when most of the time all you can do is sit back and through tears watch the horror unfold.”
Tears In The RainIn The sits in one of the latest bestselling literary trends that examine life-and-death issues, such as suicide, rape and cancer. Editor, Laura Rennet (from Andrea Brown Literary Agency) suggests such works that deal with these subjects ‘demonstrates the voracious appetite that exists among teen, and a cross-over adult audience, for gut-wrenching fiction’. Not only that, but these issues are real and we all need to be made aware of them. We might not be personally experiencing them but chances are there’s someone you know that is. And its not an easy issue to talk about.
On a lighter note, today’s indie author, Len Myers, comes to writing with a background in technology and teaching. He has a house full of cats (well just 3, but that’s 3 more cats than I could bear ) and for some reason moldy cheese and raw squid in the fridge. Maybe he could whip us up a nice little fried calamari with blue cheese dressing!!
Humans have survived through the millennia largely because of the virtually unbreakable bond that naturally exists between mothers and their children. Research has revealed that, given the choice, even the most abused and neglected children are desperate to remain with their mothers.
But, what happens when this bond is interrupted, manipulated and intentionally broken by a vengeful, narcissistic father consumed with revenge and intent on destroying his ex-spouse? What happens when a child caught in a toxic divorce is used as a weapon to destroy her own mother?
“Tears In The Rain” is a story of revenge and redemption. It is a story of a mother’s heartbreak and of a teenage girl’s struggle to survive the debilitating stress of the manipulation that leads her to despise her own mother but, driven by guilt and depression ultimately seeks relief through suicide.
It is a story of a broken mother’s desperate attempt to survive and save her child while a sympathetic forensic psychologist, two police detectives, and a shadowy group called “Echo” work along the edges of the law to protect the child from both herself and the repeated abuse of her predatory father.
“Tears In The Rain” is a novel based on factual events. It is one tragic story among thousands that every year fly under the radar and are neglected by the very institutions mandated to protect vulnerable children.
Purchase your copy now:
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I often talk with victims of Parental Alienation who are tremendously frustrated by their inability to effectively describe PA. Friends, associates, and even family often find it extremely difficult to understand the alienation process and how it could possibly work unless the targeted parent was somehow to blame. It is beyond their understanding that a child could develop so much animosity toward a parent that actually loves them and has done nothing to deserve the hate and rejection. And, the fact that Family Courts tend to side with the manipulative parent naively lends more inaccurate evidence that the targeted parent is either abusive, neglectful, or simply a poor parent.
I have found that sometimes people can better understand if they think about parental alienation in the same context as a cult. As with a child, nobody wakes up one morning and decides to join a cult. Cults recruit members by identifying vulnerable individuals and methodically developing a relationship over a period of time where the cult replaces the family in fulfilling the targeted individual’s emotional needs. There are few individuals suffering greater emotional distress than a child caught in the middle of a toxic divorce. The mystery has always been how cult leaders and alienating parents do it.
In the 1930’s the sociologist, Max Weber identified the dynamic he called “Charismatic Authority.” An individual with Charismatic Authority is perceived by the target as a loving and sheltering individual who can relieve the fears, tensions and instability experienced by the child target/recruit. The target eventually learns to trust and rely on the charismatic individual and eventually becomes fully dependent on the leadership of that individual. Cult members truly believe what they are told and taught by their leader.
If we think of Parental Alienation as a process or dynamic exercised by a disordered parent it helps to think of the relationship as a mini-cult. Who has more inherent charisma or commands more love and respect from the child than a parent. The parent naturally commands charismatic authority with his or her own child. If he or she uses that charismatic authority to manipulate the child against the other parent the process is extremely similar to cult recruitment. All the techniques used in cult recruitment can be identified in the relationship between an abusive parent and a targeted child. Behavior such as “love bombing,” the promise of physical and emotional security, threats (even if implied) of withdrawal from the relationship or expelling the target, communicating hurt to the target if he or she expresses an interest to withdraw, so-called “Gas lighting,” and even sexual abuse are all tools used by both cult leaders and parents who choose to create a dependent relationship and turn their own children against the other parent. In both cases the target is a victim who often fails to recover to live happy or normal lives.
Many of us who have experienced Parental Alienation know that offenders are often people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Is there any doubt that cult leaders share this same disorder? A section of “Tears In The Rain” is devoted to the similarity of cults and Parental Alienation and the concept of “Charismatic Authority.”
For what it’s worth, I recommend that victimized parents become familiar with the process of cult recruitment. Not only can this familiarity help the victimized parent truly internalize that this terrible process is not their fault but it might also help friends, family, and associates better understand the process.
If anybody who reads this has any more insight I would ask you to please post it on this blog.