Home > Uncategorized > Parental Alienation by Monika Logan: A Quick Overview

Parental Alienation by Monika Logan: A Quick Overview

November 13, 2009

DSCF6068 This blog is for professionals, victims, and parents in need of support for Parental Alienation Disorder .  I am a social worker and hope, through education, to eradicate Parental Alienation Disorder. I am also a facilitator for the program, Children in the Middle. This program has earned the Model Program rating from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). While post divorce education is beneficial, it cannot change the hearts and minds of individuals that participate in alienation. For those who are victims, or are interested in research, comments are welcome. 

What is Parental Alienation? 
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), or known by some as Parental Alienation Disorder,  ” is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.”(Gardner, 1998). 

How to Recognize PAS? Eight Manifestations: 
1. A campaign of denigration 
2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation 
3. Lack of ambivalence 
4. The independent thinker phenomenon 
5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict 
6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and /or exploitation of the alienated parent 
7. The presence of borrowed scenarios 
8. Spread of animosity to friends and /or extended family of the alienated parent      


Recommended Reading

Divorce Poison
Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex
by Richard A. Warshak

Hugs to Heartbreak
A Family’s Heartbreak
by Michael Jeffries with Dr. Joel Davies

Breaking the Ties that Bind
The Ties That Bind
by Amy Baker

Without a doubt, the term Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is controversial. Most of the debates continue because many individuals deny, do not understand, or perhaps have been misguided. The disputes remain because a vital component is often overlooked. Gardner (2003) noted that, “when true parental abuse and or neglect is present, the child’s animosity may be justified and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable.” PAS is a form of abuse, it is emotional abuse. Those that are known as “PAS proponents” want relationships restored and treatment rendered. Most agree that a child could be alienated form a parent for a good reason. Some of these good reasons are physical and sexual abuse. There are other times when alienation occurs, such as the teenager that does not want to spend as much time with mom or dad because their friends come first (typical). Cases of abuse and neglect do not constitute PAS; nor does the teen that does not want to see mom or dad as much as they once did. PAS has a cluster of symptoms. These symptoms are:    


1. A campaign of denigration
2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
3. Lack of ambivalence
4. The independent thinker phenomenon
5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and or exploitation of the alienated parent.
7. Borrowed scenarios
8. Spread of animosity to friends and family of alienated parent.    


 I included the eight symptoms again to note that the symptoms do not include  cases of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. I hope as PAS continues to receive exposure, so that families can obtain the help they need.  All over the world, families are reporting symptoms of hurt, betrayal, and rejection. It is time PAS obtains the legitimacy it deserves. In 1885 Gille de la Tourette had a set of symptoms. Sadly, it took 95 years for recognition. Today, Tourette Syndrome is in the DSM-IV-TR, known as Tourette Disorder (Gardner, 2003).

In no doubt, PAS remains controversial and probably will for some time.  I agree with Gardner (2003) that, “The fact that something is controversial does not invalidate it.” Sadly, parents are invalidated by lack of recognition. PAS is real to the parent that has to figure out what to say to their crying child as they report the revolting statements made by mom or dad. PAS is real to the parent that has lost contact. PAS is also real to the adult child who 30 years later has lost a consequential relationship with their other parent. Lastly, the adult child has to deal with guilt as his or her parent did not deserve such hatred. Worse yet, the parent could have passed away. The adult child might indeed be reading their letter of apology to a grave.                           



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