Three Types of Parental Alienators_Parental Alienation Syndrome

Type Three: Obsessed Alienator
“I love my children. If the court can’t protect them from their abusive father, I will. Even though he’s never abused the children, I know it’s a matter of time. The children are frightened of their father. If they don’t want to see him, I’m not going to force them. They are old enough to make up their own minds.”
The obsessed alienator is a parent, or sometimes a grandparent, with a cause: to align the children to his or her side and together, with the children, campaign to destroy their relationship with the targeted parent. For the campaign to work, the obsessed alienator enmeshes the children’s personalities and beliefs into their own. This is a process that takes time but one that the children, especially the young, are completely helpless to see and combat. It usually begins well before the divorce is final. The obsessed parent is angry, bitter or feels betrayed by the other parent. The initial reasons for the bitterness may actually be justified. They could have been verbally and physical abused, raped, betrayed by an affair, or financially cheated. The problem occurs when the feelings won’t heal but instead become more intense because of being forced to continue the relationship with a person they despise because of their common parenthood. Just having to see or talk to the other parent is a reminder of the past and triggers the hate. They are trapped with nowhere to go and heal.
The characteristics of an obsessed alienator are:

  • They are obsessed with destroying the children’s relationship with the targeted parent.
  • They having succeeded in enmeshing the children’s personalities and beliefs about the other parent with their own.
  • The children will parrot the obsessed alienator rather than express their own feelings from personal experience with the other parent.
  • The targeted parent and often the children cannot tell you the reasons for their feelings.
  • Their beliefs sometimes becoming delusional and irrational. No one, especially the court, can convince obsessed alienators that they are wrong. Anyone who tries is the enemy.
  • They will often seek support from family members, quasi-political groups or friends that will share in their beliefs that they are victimized by the other parent and the system. The battle becomes “us against them.” The obsessed alienator’s supporters are often seen at the court hearings even though they haven’t been subpoenaed.
  • They have an unquenchable anger because they believe that the targeted parent has victimized them and whatever they do to protect the children is justified.
  • They have a desire for the court to punish the other parent with court orders that would interfere or block the targeted parent from seeing the children. This confirms in the obsessed alienator’s mind that he or she was right all the time.
  • The court’s authority does not intimidate them.
  • The obsessed alienator believes in a higher cause, protecting the children at all cost.
  • The obsessed alienator will probably not want to read what is on these pages because the content just makes them angrier.

There are no effective treatment protocols that have been validated for either the obsessed alienator or the PAS children. The courts and mental health professionals are sincere in wanting to help these families but their efforts frequently fail.

The best hope for children affected by an obsessed alienator is early identification of the symptoms and prevention. After the alienation is entrenched and the children become “true believers” in the parent’s cause, the children may be lost to the other parent for years to come. I realize this is a sad statement, but I have yet to find an effective intervention, by anyone, including the courts that can rehabilitate the alienating parent and child. There can still be hope in that spontaneous reunification can occur, usually in response to a crisis that causes the alienated child to reach out to the rejected parent.

In the past year, however, I am seeing examples of successful reversal of parental alienation syndrome.  This may not be true, though, for the obsessed alienator.

Three Types of Parental Alienators_Parental Alienation Syndrome

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  1. Brazilian Parental Alienation Law (English translation) | Human Stupidity: Irrationality, Self Deception - February 25, 2011

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