Charismatic Authority And Parental Alienation

The Trigger For Alienation

The great sociologist, Max Weber, coined the term Charismatic Authority.  It develops from a set of unique personality characteristics that define the relationship between  leaders and their followers.  The unique personality traits inspire certain vulnerable individuals who become obedient followers. Today, we tend to think of  charisma  as a good personality characteristic but Weber believed that individuals derived their Charismatic Authority not because  they are kind but because their followers view them is almost superhuman.  It is not coincidental that people with  Charismatic Authority tend to also  display very powerful traits of narcissism.

Historical figures  who were Charismatic Leaders and also displayed characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include Hitler, Mussolini,  and Osama bin Laden. On the other hand, F.D.R., Winston Churchill, and Nelson Mandela were also narcissists but used their Charismatic Leadership to achieve quite different results. So, while Charismatic Authority cannot be considered either a good or bad  personality trait in and of itself, if it co-exists with Narcissistic Personality Disorder it can easily become the catalyst for Parental Alienation Syndrome. 


Cults are normally thought of as deviant groups with religious overtones and a single leader who exhibits extreme characteristics of  Narcissistic Personality Disorder and derive their power through Charismatic Leadership.  Members tend to become totally subservient to the leader while outsiders are usually befuddled by how anyone could willingly become a member. But, one ex-member of the "Moonies" cult explained that people don't just go out and join a cult.  Rather, they are sucked in over a period of time through tactics  carefully designed and executed by the cult leader.  But, this is not meant to be an exploration of cults per se.  Rather, my purpose is to make a connection between Parental Alienation and the typical personality traits of a cult leader thus making the case that a parent that successfully alienates his/her children often forms a mini-cult with the children.

The purpose of a cult, large or small, is to serve the emotional, financial, and power needs of the leader, in this case the alienator parent. The single most important word here is power. The dynamic around which cults are formed is similar to that of other power relationships and is essentially ultra- authoritarian, based on a power imbalance. The cult leader by definition must have an authoritarian personality in order to fulfill his half of the power dynamic.  Review the discussion about Narcissistic Personality Disorder to see the correlation.  If you are the targeted parent how well do these tendencies of a cult leader match up with your ex who is alienating your children:

  • the tendency to hierarchy 
  • the drive for power (and wealth) 
  • hostility, hatred, prejudice 
  •  superficial judgments of people and events 
  • a one-sided scale of values favoring the one in power 
  • interpreting kindness as weakness 
  • the tendency to use people and see others as inferior 
  • a sadistic-masochistic tendency 
  • incapability of being ultimately satisfied 
  • paranoia-superficial and/or disingenuous empathy

For more information on Charismatic Authority check this link. It includes several video lectures on the subject

Table of Contents

Alienator Personality Types And Parental Alienation
Alienator Personality Types Perpetrate Parental Alienation
Personality Disorders And Parental Alienation
Personality Disorders Play A Significant Role In Parent Alienation
Convergent Emotional Disorders
The convergence Of Emotional Disorders Can Be The Key To Parental Alienation
Family Dynamics' Significance In Alienation
Family Dynamics And Individual Personalities Are Significant Factors In Parental Alienation
Child Advocacy Is Failing Families Battling Against Parental Alienation
Child Advocacy is Is Failing Families Battling Against Parental Alienation
Therapeutic Intervention In Parental Alienation
Early Therapeutic Intervention May Prevent Parent Alienation
Parental Alienation Destroyed My Family
A Carefully Executed Plan Of Parental Alienation Destroyed My Family
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