Personality Disorders And Parental Alienation

Personality Dysfunction May Well Be At The Root Of Alienation

More than 90% of people in Western cultures marry or form "permanent" relationships by age 50.  And nearly 50% will divorce or split.  Second marriages have an even greater chance of failure.

All divorces are painful and traumatic and children always suffer as a result of their parents' split.  But, while the parents may develop great antipathy toward each other most attempt to shield their children as much as possible from the emotional and psychological damage inherent in the family's dissolution.  In some cases, however, when one parent is afflicted with a personality disorder he or she can inflict severe damage on the children which can result in Parental Alienation.

Pathological Narcissistic Personality Disorder is probably the most significant malevolent condition prevalent in one parent's attempt to alienate children from the other. But different disorders have associated characteristics commonly identified with Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Disorder.

Personality Disorders are at the core of Parental Alienation  in families devastated by toxic divorce.  Many ex-spouses who are victims of this tragic strategy fail to recognize the process for several reasons:

  • PAD is often dismissed by social workers and family court judges because they have not been trained to recognize it and fail to understand that it is emotional child abuse with long term potential ramifications as serious as physical or sexual abuse.
  • They are confused. They are trying to understand how and why a previously loving child has suddenly turned malicious or even violent.
  • The alienated child can offer no reasonable explanation for their inexplicable changes in behavior.
  • They are personally and emotional devastated by their child's outbursts of vitriolic hate.
  •  Family courts and other professional organizations and agencies created to protect children and families have completely failed these victims.
  • The American Psychological Association has not recognized and legitimized PAS as a true medical condition. The situation can be very confusing since the associated personality disorders are recognized but the resulting alienation is seen more as a dysfunctional relationship than a medical condition. Since the condition does not qualify as a "syndrome" it may be better at this point in time to refer to the alienation process as a "dynamic."
  • Although they typically suffer from acute personality disorders the perpetrators of PA may otherwise function successfully and are often viewed as good, productive citizens who would never actively commit child abuse.
  • The courts and professional social organizations have been slow to take PA seriously because of the amount of fraud that has been identified in PA cases.
  • The possibility of fraud Is a real problem since there is ample evidence that one parent  in a toxic divorce might level false charges in an attempt to win sole custody of one or more children.

Very few divorces are completed free from stress, conflict, and anger.  And, it is often not until divorce that one partner's personality disorder exhibits itself to the extent that it is recognized as malevolent, vengeful, or dangerous.  And, in the case of PA severe damage may have been inflicted by the time the targeted parent recognizes the parent-child relationship has been destroyed.

So, what personality disorders are prevalent problems in PAD?

  • Narcissism.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder typically reflects traits where the individual displays grandiose beliefs about themselves, whether real or imagined.  The narcissist has an overwhelming need for admiration, is totally consumed with self-gratification, and is completely lacking in empathy for others.  It is by far the most common, serious and destructive personality disorder prevalent in alienator parents associated with Parental Alienation .  Click here to read a detailed description of a NARCISSIST.

  • Sociopath.   A sociopath is a personality disorder characterized by a flagrant  disregard for the rights and needs of others. In terms of Parent Alienation and the family environment it typically begins with an instigating parent who engages in causing a child to be alienated from a targeted victimized parent and is therefore engaging in  psychopathic behavior.  In some cases they could  be a full-blown psychopath. Click here for a detailed description of Sociopaths.

  • PsychopathIn some ways the personal traits of psychopaths and sociopaths can be quite similar but their behavioral manifestations can and usually are very different. Sociopaths appear more normal and professionals generally consider their  disorder to be the result of early environmental conditions. Psychopaths, on the other hand, are born with temperamental differences such as impulsiveness and cortical under-arousal which can result in  fearlessness that leads to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms.  Though psychiatrists often consider and treat sociopaths and psychopaths the same, criminologists treat them differently because of the violent tendencies displayed by psychopaths.  Click here for a more detailed description of psychopaths.

  • Anti-social Personality Disorder.  Antisocial personality disorder is often referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy and involves similar symptoms.  Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder tend to be devoid of empathy and display contempt for others' feelings, rights, and sufferings.  They often are arrogant, feel productive work is beneath them, and are highly opinionated.  They can be quite glib and superficially charming with an inflated ego and they are often sexually exploitative. Antisocial Personality Disorder is a common dysfunction among prison populations. Click here for a more detailed description of Anti-Social Personality Disorder.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder.  People with borderline personality disorder are usually very impulsive.  A pervasive trait is a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions.  People with this affliction  tend to exhibit quickly fluctuating emotions and feelings as well as shallow relationships.  BPD and parental alienation behavior are similar because borderline parents often alienate their children against the other parent prior to the dissolution of their relationship.  It is a typical behavior that a parent with BPD is consumed with manipulating others while protecting themselves against all threats, real or imagined.  Click here for a more detailed description of Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • Charismatic Authority.  Charismatic authority is power legitimized by a leader's personal qualities , which inspire loyalty and obedience from followers. While not really a disorder I have included it here because it seems to be the trait that enables individuals with a disorder described above to galvanize followers to become complicit in PAS.   It is usually applied to situations involving large populations but it can also be a factor in family sized groups.  Thus, a small group can take on the characteristics of a cult with all the associated negative connotations.  An individual who is a Charismatic Authority figure and also displays Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a prime candidate to create a family sized CULT and undertake a PAS campaign.  Click here for a more detailed description of Charismatic Authority and Cult Leadership.

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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