From: Help Stop PAS Inc [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wed 5/11/2005 4:06 PM
To: Mathis, Donald E.
Subject: RE: Why We Will Win
Your rationalizations are pretty much on the money.
There is a strong correlation between parental alienation and borderline personality disorders (BPD) such as egocentrism, narcissism, and histrionics. The common theme seems to be a lack of concern for the emotions of others, very little empathy, a belief that the rules of society do not apply to themselves and severe and sometimes violent mood swings resulting in rage. Combine varying degrees of these types of personality disorders with divorce and custody issues and you can imagine the devastating results. Parents who are unconcerned with the emotional or mental health of their children, who rely on their children for emotional support rather than supporting the kids, who blame all the problems on their spouse, and who think they deserve everything including all of the love and devotion their children have to give.
People with BPD's seem like normal, average people. It is during ties of emotional distress that these disorders show through. In divorce it means doing anything they can including lying, cheating, or stealing to get what they think they deserve. I just posted an article in the "parents lounge" forum about a woman who tried to fake the appearance of her ex husband sexually abusing her daughter by "rubbing her bottom hard" and "Stuck her finger in the child's bottom".
In many cases of severe alienation there is a history of alienating behavior before the parents separate. When dad says, "Here is some candy, but don't tell mom", or when mom says, "I'll let you spend the night at your friends but you have to tell dad you're doing homework" it is the start of alienation. This may be unintentional and the parents may be totally blind to the influence this behavior is having on their children, but when parents actually separate it becomes much more serious.
It is thought to be much easier to alienate the parent that moves away than the one who stays with the children. The reasoning behind this is that children already feel somewhat abandoned by the parent that left. It's not "Mom left dad", it's "Mom left us" to the children. This sensitive period of adjustment for the children makes it very easy for adults to manipulate them. It is not unusual for parents to have a fear of child abduction during this time, but when they spread that fear to their children it becomes a way to break down the relationship with the absent parent. Suddenly a parent that the children have loved and lived with their entire lives becomes a threat or someone to fear. Some parents take it a step further and make an "abduction" plan with the kids so in the event that mom or dad does not bring the children back they can call 911 or get help. Imagine how this would make you feel.
Dealing with alienation is difficult because each person and each child react differently and must be treated individually. There are many things that a target parent can do to make the situation worse, but only a few things that can make it better. A target parent should never try to say negative things about the other parent, and getting angry with the children will only make things worse. When a child is repeating things that the alienating parent has said one of the best things to do is to let the child know that it is OK for them to tell you about it and express their feelings, and that you are sorry that they have had to hear all of those bad things. There is no need to address the allegations or accusations individually because by not addressing them at all you are making a statement that they are false. It should be made clear that these issues are not for the children to deal with.
As always, when dealing with PA or PAS professional help should be sought out. It is important to find a professional who has knowledge and understands the dynamics of PAS and preferably extensive experience. Receiving treatment from someone who does not understand PAS can make the situation even worse.
I hope I have given you some insight. Let me know if I can be of any more assistance. We have been getting so many requests for psychological and legal referrals it has made it very time consuming to process all of them. As always, names and addresses of professionals you know that have dealt with PAS to add to our free resource list are always appreciated.
Judy Jones, Director
Help Stop PAS Inc.
3141 FM 528 Suite 348-155
Friendswood, TX. 77546
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