What we’re about
Scroll down for lots of info about parental alienation.
This group is for parents (moms and dads) who have been unreasonably estranged from their children due to "parental alienation" (defined below). Adult children who were affected by this are also welcome. Typically our ex-spouses, the allied-favored alienating parents, have some combination of borderline, narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder traits, often including sociopathy / psychopathy. We will share experiences, strategies and support each other. Meetings are approximately monthly
"Parental alienation" is a term which has been used to characterize a set of family dynamics in which a child is influenced by one parent into rejecting a relationship with the other parent, who is otherwise a normal-range and affectionally available parent. This typically occurs following a divorce, although the process can begin while the family is still intact.
The more accurate term for "parental alienation" is "pathogenic parenting" (patho = pathological; genic = genesis, creation). Pathogenic parenting refers to parenting practices that are so aberrant and distorted that they produce significant psychopathology in the child. In professional psychology, the term "pathogenic parenting" is most often used in the context of distortions to the child's attachment system, since the attachment system does not spontaneously or independently dysfunction, but only becomes dysfunctional in response to problematic and "pathogenic parenting" practices.
The correct clinical term for what has traditionally been referred to as "parental alienation" is pathogenic parenting involving a parentally induced suppression of the child's attachment bonding motivations toward a normal-range and affectionally available parent. An induced attachment system disorder.
At the same time as the child entirely rejects a relationship with the targeted-rejected parent, they show a corresponding hyper-bonding motivation toward the allied and favored alienating parent, along with a range of characteristic psychopathology and impairment of development, much of which has been ignored by most of the mental health and legal systems, which lack specialized expertise in assessing, diagnosing and treating this worldwide issue.
Pathogenic parenting is the issue of concern. The borderline / narcissist / antisocial parent is creating significant psychopathology in the child in order to meet the parent's own emotional and psychological needs. This is child psychological abuse, a child protection issue, not a custody issue.
Seminar & Support Group call info:
Note that calls listed on the above site as "Support Call for Parents of Adult Alienated Children" are closed unless you sign up and wait on a long list for your turn to be one of the five parents on the call. Other calls open to anyone.
December 2020 update:
"Don't take anything personally" - a hard but important lesson, here presented on pages 44-49 of a 90 page pdf: https://pdfkeep.com/en/personal-growth/The-Four-Agreements-Don-Miguel-Ruiz.pdf
One way to find additional support in COVID times: on meetup.com, search for "parental alienation," change the distance setting to "any distance," and you'll find some other groups elsewhere offering support via zoom or teleconference. Some of our members have come to this group via the same route.
November 2020 update:
on the importance of appearing emotionless and boring to your sociopathic ex:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/outsmarting-the-sociopath-next-door/202005/the-silver-bullet-in-custody-battle-sociopath - also google "gray rock"
check out this group: isnaf.info (International Support Network of Alienated Families) - they have monthly aupport group calls, a grief program and more.
a great new book: Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, Ph.D., 2020
March 2018 updates:
Live Facebook Video Chats with Director Ginger Gentile are back! How do we build a winning movement to reunite families?
Director Ginger Gentile shares lessons on how to build a global movement that will reunite families #erased by divorce courts. What has worked in other countries? How do we get people to support children's rights to have both parents in their lives?
Join us each Tuesday at 5pm EST 8pm PST on Facebook. You can ask questions live. Videos are always available on www.ErasingFamily.org and www.Facebook.com/ErasingFamily
an adult alienated child's website - includes podcasts: https://danalaquidara.com
February 2018 updates:
A couple of websites for those who had relationships / children with psychopaths:
Liane Leedom is a psychiatrist who married and had a son with a psychopath. Her book "Just Like His Father?" is about parenting kids who have a genetic risk for anti-social behavior, as well as ADHD and addiction.
A superb site with the top experts contributing; also has some great podcasts on the topic.
In October 2017 the Parental Alienation Study Group had its first open conference; you can watch the presentations by the experts here at the PASG youtube channel:
August 2017 updates:
Karen Woodall's long-awaited book "Understanding Parental Alienation: Learning to Cope, Helping to Heal" is finally available and has good advice for those who still have some contact with their child, also Karen was a former alienated child herself:
Erasing Family Documentary: learning about this upcoming film and help to support it:
Also at the link you can watch the director's previous film "Erasing Dad" (Borrando a Papa, spanish with english subtitles, produced in Argentina, available on youtube)
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has given an emotional UC Berkeley commencement address and written a book, "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy," about coping with devastating loss (her husband died abruptly two years ago), which are both inspirational and relevant to the situation of the target parent of alienated kids:
Mommy Interrupted Radio Show is a good listen, with host Kristi Beck, who was erased from her daughter's life. A variety of ways to access by internet, I get shows off youtube and convert to mp3, but there's sure to be a more direct way to get them.
Listening to the comments of adult children of alienation, who have returned to the long lost parent, is always good. In addition to Karen Woodall and Ryan Thomas, mentioned below, three others are
Dorcy Pruter http://www.consciouscoparentinginstitute.com/
Amanda Sillars https://www.emmm.org.au/
and an alienated daughter (don't know her name) who writes Mother Erased: a Memoir, which is a blog at https://thefourthagreement.wordpress.com/ She recently indicated that she will start a podcast on behalf of alienated children.
A word of caution about Dorcy Pruter: she has a valid message and important things to say, but also no formal training or education, is a former "life coach" and has chosen to monetize what she has to offer in a (to me) disturbing scam / multilevel marketing-type way involving absurd amounts of money charged for little substance. I've seen her in person and would say listen to whatever you can on the internet for free - there is value, but don't spend a dime (for example, there's a very good interview of her and Craig Childress on Mommy Interrupted Radio Show, 4/16/2017).
H.G. Beverly's book "The Other Side of Charm: Your Memoir" is a unique portrayal of intimate life with a charming psychopath for a spouse, through courtship and marriage, divorce, alienation of the children . . . written entirely in the 2d person voice ("you . . .") If you've experienced this, it's very insightful and rings true.
The blogs of Karen Woodall and Craig Childress remain my best daily source of inspiration and understanding on this issue:
Also Dr. Childress' website: http://drcachildress.org/asp/site/parentalalienation/index.asp
End of August 2017 updates
To start getting a state of the art understanding of what you and your children are really dealing with:
Karen Woodall has the best advice re: how to interact with these kids if you still have some contact. These 4 blog posts (on empathic responding) are some of my favorites:
The book "The Power of Validation" by Karyn Hall and Melissa Cook is also helpful for learning this, especially for those of us who were rarely validated ourselves as children.
These are two blog posts every target parent should read, about taking care of yourself in light of the trauma that is being inflicted on you:
(responses are great, too)
Karen's 2d blog (apparently discontinued, but still has good stuff up), described as for those:
"who are on the journey beyond where they can rescue their children and who are learning how to wait and hope and seeking to live a congruent life whilst doing so. . . . my journey on that road beyond the court process and into the world where parents wait for their children to get free. I will be sharing stories on here from parents whose children did get free and will be interviewing children as well as their parents about those things which helped them most. Here is where those who wait are welcome. Here is where we will not push the river but learn how to help it flow.
Ryan Thomas is an adult alienated child who eventually saw the light, reconciled with his dad and now coaches targeted parents:
Consider joining the National Alliance for Targeted Parents and becoming an informed part of the movement to end this:
Karen's advice to the mother of a completely alienated adult daughter who can't tolerate mom's presence rings true to me:
"From her perspective, she is likely to be under so much pressure/charm/threat/anxiety/distortion within her relationship with her father that she is unable to see anything any differently and that is the legacy her relationship with her father has handed to her. For now. Until one day the sense of cognitive dissonance she is currently able to bear, may fracture for one reason or another – his death perhaps, her contact with someone who challenges her, the coming to consciousness of the underlying dynamics he is burying with his controlling behaviours. In real terms, as she is an adult, there is little you can do other than to live well and healthily knowing it is not you, it is him and leaving all the possibilities for her return open without spending time by the door waiting for her. Your live must be lived and lived well. Her life has its own trajectory which will include, at some point, questions, anxieties, hauntings and other signs that she may follow one day. Alienated adult children who are convinced [the problem] is you can grow to become toxic, and protection from the double whammy of father and daughter ganging up against you is an absolute must in situations like yours."
The above quote is in the comments from this controversial post:
It's worth reading the post and all the comments. The claim that one's child has been alienated against you is sometimes untrue, or not fully true to that the extent the target parent thinks, as explored in the post.
Thanks for reading and feel free to message me with comments or questions.