Dr. Richard Gardner And My Tragedy


My Family Was Destroyed By Parent Alienation Syndrome


Dr.  Richard Gardner's eight characteristics of PAS that are visible in child victims may not be as controversial as his basic diagnosis.  But my experience is that his definitions are completely accurate. But, if you are reading this then you are probably already familiar with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) as well as Gardner's 8 characteristics).  So, I will not repeat the information that is available elsewhere. However, I have illustrated how my story fits with Gardner's list.

FYI:  Karen, who is now 24 years old and living with her father left me when she was 14. Emma turned 14 February, 2013. She was taken in July of that year. The age of 14 is significant.See Family Law.

  • Richard GardnerSudden hatred.  The child victim of Parental Alienation typically had a previously  good relationship with their parent, but  suddenly develops a deep hatred and contempt of that parent.  The hatred or contempt is unwarranted, with no basis.  It is manufactured and it is cleverly fed and tended like a seedling by the alienator parent until it matures into full blown loathing and complete separation from the alienated parent.
  • Karen.  With Karen, the parental alienation process is consistent with Richard Gardner's theorem. It began during my separation  from her father and was solidified when my divorce was finalized. When we first separated,  Karen was quite empathetic but soon thereafter her empathy transitioned  to severe emotional outbursts of hatred towards me. I was totally confused and had no inkling of something called Parental Alienation Syndrome. But, I learned that  at her father's insistence she secretly tape recorded me so he could use the recordings in divorce proceedings.  She began blaming me for her family coming apart even though the divorce proceedings showed that prior to the separation and divorce her father was out with other women  on a nightly basis. She knew and understood the behavior that precipitated the divorce but it was not long before I became the bad parent.  Eventually, she became violent toward me and became impossible to live with.  Her little sisters, then age 8 and 3 were sitting playing together every night while Karen increased the frequency and level of her tantrums.  Unfortunately, she was conditioned to violence.  While still married, her father would routinely have temper tantrums, throw things around the house, hit me, run up the stairs in a violent burst frightening Karen or hit the dog. Despite being a victim of her father's outbursts she increasingly demonstrated similar behavior. When her violence was elevated to the point of danger I had no choice but to turn her over to her father. Our relationship began to improve when she went off to college and was away from his clutches.  I would attend parent’s weekends, take her out to dinner, shop for her, buy her textbooks, send her monthly spending money etc.  After college, she rented an adorable apartment.  But, unfortunately, Parental Alienation is persistent and she remained attached to her father despite either or both his  poor judgement or indifference toward financial planning left her with over $125,000 of college  debt.  She had no choice but to move back to her father’s house in November. Shortly thereafter he reestablished his control and she quickly reverted.  Within 2 months she had become alienated from me again .  This time, though, she had conjured up two (in her mind) very good reasons to never talk to or see me again.

The DSM-V is the publication of the American Psychological Society.  It is responsible to identify and define all pathological psychological  conditions.  The latest edition was published in 2013 and once again failed to include Parental Alienation Syndrome.  It is a complex problem but until it is included in the DSM-V,  PAS will continue to be ignored by the courts and its very existence challenged.  Click here to read more.

  • RICHARD Gardner. Ridiculous Reasoning.  Richard Gardner explains that usually, in explaining their hate the victimized child of parental alienation cites either unfounded or miniscule reasons.  In other words, in a relatively healthy family a certain amount of conflict is expected and accepted.  In Parental Alienation Syndrome, the child has been groomed to hate, so the brainwashing parent conditions the child to elevate minor conflict into serious conditions worthy of preventing contact between the targeted parent and the child.  
  • Karen.  Karen has always been able to manufacture or blow out of  proportion events and excuses that justify her behavior.  Since  returning to her father's house after college there have been two minor incidents that she has elevated to reasons to eliminate me from her life. One Thanksgiving evening she was going out partying with friends and told me of some boy she was going to meet.   Karen has always been very open and inappropriate about her intimate relationships.  When she had previously taught me the meaning of the phrase “FWB – friends with benefits” I was sufficiently embarrassed that I could say little beyond  “Don’t do that, that’s not how real relationships work.”  On this particular Thanksgiving evening  I told her “not to sleep with him” when she told me about her planned upcoming “hook up”.  She became angry because she thought someone had overheard me. So, she proceeded to refuse to speak to me.  She then manufactured the claim that I had called her a slut within earshot of several people. My husband did overhear the conversation and confirmed that my statement was “don’t sleep with him.” I did apologize but, truthfully,  after hearing about her indiscretions for some time now, I really meant it.  The word “slut” did not come out of my mouth. But, it must make a a more convenient story to tell her friends  why she doesn't speak to her  mother,  “I don’t speak to my mother because she called me a slut,” is more justifiable than, “my mother, out of concern for my health and mental well being told me not to sleep around”.  As explained by Richard Gardner, lying seems to come easily to both victims and practitioners of parental alienation and my daughter seems to be prototypical.
  • The second minor incident is that she feels my husband (her step-father) and I came down too hard on her in a discussion about money and jobs.  In reality, he was challenging her to follow through with her ideas.  Her father had caused her to accumulate $125,000 in debt but neglected to advise her of the loan amounts, the amount of payments she would have to make or when they would be due.  Consequently, she moved back to his house “to save money”, quit her new career oriented job in, and decided to become a full-time bartender. Although it was entry level, I advised her to stick with the business job as it was a stepping stone to a career to which she had always aspired.  Bartending may have had some short-term benefits, but for most college graduates, it is not a career, certainly not the career she pursued the four previous years.  Encouraged by her father, she quit anyway.  He always encouraged her to pursue superficial goals at the expense of anything that required some discipline but offered significant upside potential.  But, she was obviously overwhelmed with the $125,000 debt situation.  When speaking about the loans, it quickly became clear that she had no idea of the interest rate, how many loans there were, whom were they payable to, and, most importantly, for how long would these loans keep her in debt?   I wanted to be helpful so made the mistake of  inviting her over to see if I could help her find some solutions to the mess.  She arrived with no information or paperwork, only the comment ”I’m going to tell you once about these loans, and that is it, don’t ask me again.”  She said there were at least 4 loans, totaling $125,000 and she didn’t know anything more.  I think she expected me to offer to pay a significant portion of the loans. I am certain that this is consistent with Richard Gardner's theory of parental alienation and that her father had convinced her that her debt was somehow due to my failure to be a caring parent.
  • We left it, but then she told us about a potential sales opening  that she learned about from a liquor salesman at the bar.   We again challenged her and asked her how she was doing to follow up.  She said the guy would let her know more later. I became agitated and asked, “What are you doing about it?”   My husband was an established general manager responsible for hiring, training and supervising sales reps in the high tech field.  He knew the hiring process and knew how to make contacts. Waiting for some guy to call you was a loser's strategy and almost always a waste of time.  We peppered her with networking ideas, challenged her to take control of her job prospects and advised her to be pro-active and not wait around for someone to call you.  She was insulted and stormed out of the house.  That’s it, the “imagined slut comment”, and the “loan and job situation” made me persona non grata – forever.  I suspect that as Richard Gardner might argue that her father's domination had stripped away her confidence and self esteem.

There are many more Narcissists among us than we think.  And, this disorder can be very dangerous to children, especially those caught up in a contentious divorceClick Here To Read More.

  • RICHARD Gardner. God like Status of the Parental Alienator – They can do no wrong syndrome. It is a natural and healthy part of childhood to have conflicts with one or the other parent. Power struggles naturally accompany our efforts to help our children mature and reach their potential. However, when one parent becomes infallible or when the child goes out of their way to tell everyone how wonderful the alienator parent is, something is amiss.  Richard Gardner might argue that a telltale sign of a child victim of parental alienation is self-denigration and underachievement while idolizing and achieving some sense of self-respect through the favored parent.  They are under their alienator parent’s spell.  The child never grows up, or when he or she does grow up and thinks they are getting on with their life, they fall very short of their own expectations.  If they marry, they typically will have an unhealthy relationship similar to their childhood experience.  So, how do they justify the unjustifiable parental alienation of the targeted parent?  They shout from the rooftops how wonderful the alienator parent is.  They can’t throw enough accolades and declare what a great parent the alienator is.  They tell how much the alienator parent has done for them, how they are always, ALWAYS there for them, how they couldn’t have done it without them.  The alienated child is right about that part.  The child could not have done it without the parental alienation.   They never could have achieved such low goals and expectations, such low self esteem, or become co-dependent without the alienator parent.
  • Karen.  Karen does not need rooftops.  She has the Internet. Totally consistent with Richard Gardner's findings, she uses Facebook to incessantly shout how wonderful her father is.  Even as a 24 year old young woman she writes on her Facebook page how “I have the best Daddy in the world”.  I’m not sure who she is trying to impress or to whom she is trying to justify her father’s actions other than herself.  She brags about how her father is her role model, how he has become a firefighter, a PGA golf professional, and a successful business owner.  Truth be told, besides living off his wife's income her father has a fraudulent medical disability from the Providence Fire Department. And, his experience as a PGA golf "pro" was really as an assistant to a golf club pro and he spent his time helping young women improve their swing. Mention his name around the city of Providence fire department and the firefighters snicker in disgust at the sweetheart deal he feigned and how he worked as little as possible while still on the job.  His ex-coworkers tell of a man who became a slacker in the department shortly after getting the job. He consistently passed on opportunities to take promotional exams to further his career and earn more money.  He consistently refused lucrative overtime and "call backs" where he could have made a week’s pay in one night. But, then again, he did not need the money. He had learned to make his living off women, myself included. PGA professional?  Forgive me while I finish laughing.  He was offered a job at the golf club to teach classes and run the club store.  He refused; it was too much work.  He just wanted to golf.  He finagled his way by becoming an assistant to a true ex PGA professional who taught classes at the golf school. The only thing my ex was good at was dressing the part of the golf professional and screwing the woman he taught.  He only taught women. This is my daughter's hero.  Certainly, this is a clear sign of Richard Gardner's definition of parental alienation syndrome.
  • RICHARD Gardner. Independent Thinker.  Richard Gardner argues that this phenomenon occurs when the child believes that they have independently arrived at their conclusion through independent thinking. The phenomenon is  one of the strongest weapons that alienator parents have at their disposal  in parental alienation syndrome,  Even if the alienator parent tired of their diatribe of badmouthing the other parent and of brainwashing their child, it wouldn’t matter.  The roots have been planted, and the child (the plant) has now taken off with a perceived mind of their own. 
  • Karen/Emma.  Karen, and now Emma, both claim their isolation from me is their own decision.  When I point out to Karen that we were doing well in working on our relationship, and that things reverted back to the old toxic ways as soon as she moved back with her father, and that it is not a coincidence, she refused to speak to me about it and claimed the alienation was her idea and my fault.  I offered to go to a psychologist with her and have a professional help us with our relationship.  She replied that “that would only work when I gave a shit, and I don’t care about you anymore”.  She then proceeded to tell me that she would seek a restraining order against me and contact the police if necessary if I insisted on contacting her ever again. This was all her idea!!??  Again, it is clear confirmation of Richard Gardner's conclusions.
  • I lost Emma in July,2013.  When she visited for what was supposed to be two nights she insisted on returning to her father's house after only one night.  My husband quietly inquired if we had done something wrong. Emma's response was that she did not want to be in this house because she could not trust her mother.  When asked to explain why she could not trust her mother her response was simply, "because of those things she said."  This response remains a mystery.  Richard Gardner might argue that it remains a mystery because they are not really her words.
  • RICHARD Gardner.  Treating the Parent with Disdain and Absence of guilt. Normal people experience remorse.  Children certainly do, especially if it involved hurting or upsetting their parents.  Their parents that have raised them, nurtured them, provided for them and loved them.  Richard Gardner explains that children who are victims of parental alienation syndrome have no guilt or remorse.  They can speak the most terrible words to the alienated parent as if the parent/child relationship had never even existed.  The alienated parent might not have heard such terrible words or accusations in their entire life from anyone, and now they hear it from their own child.  The hatred their child exhibits towards them is frightening.  The parent never could have imagined that their own child would speak to them in this manner and accuse them of such abhorrent behavior.
  • Karen.  Consistent with Richard Gardner's deductions Karen seems to take delight in responding to my phone calls or e-mails with the worst possible words. “I hate you,”  “You are dead to me”, “I have a new mother, she is the greatest mother in the world”.  When I continued to purchase Christmas presents and sent them over with my youngest daughter, Emma,  who was not yet alienated from me, she reported that “Karen said she was going to throw the presents in the trash”  Emma actually felt bad for me, and said that she told Karen “I helped Mom pick these outfits out at the mall” at which point  Karen told her hat under those circumstances she would not throw the presents away. Little did I know or could have imagined that within a year Emma would fall victim to the theories exposed by Richard Gardner.
  • RICHARD Gardner. No interest in hearing anything from the targeted parent.  Richard Gardner argues that the alienated child is not interested in hearing any statements, explanations or different points of view from the targeted parent – The alienated child’s mind has been hijacked, and, of course,  they believe it is due to their own thinking (see number 4).  Like a brainwashed child in a cult, there is nothing short of kidnapping and professional deprogramming that would ever overcome parental alienation and make the child listen to anyone.
  • Karen/Emma.  Again, see number 4 above. There will be no conversation.  Karen has made up her mind, she has a support network in her father who makes sure that she stays entrenched in the thought process.  Like a kidnapped child that stays with the kidnapper for a long period of time, and then actually assists the kidnapper in acquiring another younger victim, Karen helped her father in the parental alienation process against my youngest daughter Emma.  For 11 years, I raised Emma, 9 of those years with my husband, Emma's step-father.  On Friday nights she would visit her  father’s house.  Sometimes, they would call and say they were having so much fun, couldn’t they extend the visit to Saturday night?  I would usually comply, just wanting to appease the hungry monster.  There were no phone calls, no interest whatsoever from him the rest of the week, so I accepted the visits.  Eventually Emma would hide from me invitations for birthday parties, Halloween parties and sleepovers.  When I would find them, she would say “I can’t go, I have to go to Dad’s house.”  I would try to intervene and tell her that it was okay to play with her friends, that Dad would understand; we could reschedule with Dad, even during the week, say for dinner on a school night, and that I would see to it that it was okay.  I could not understand why she seemed afraid of her father but would not miss a visit. Again, this seems consistent with Richard Gardner's definition of PAS. Emma eventually stopped associating with friends altogether and became a recluse in her bedroom until the bomb came in the form of a legal notification of the demand for a change of domicile.  Karen helped him solidify the deal.  After a few years of therapy ended because Emma's therapist decided she was handling the two households well David moved in for the kill.  He worked her during grades 6-8 after her therapy had ceased.  He made the deal permanent when he and Karen took Emma to Hilton Head for a 9 day vacation.  Emma came back a different child.  She was depressed, withdrawn, not eating, and sleeping all the time.  It was the result of parental alienation and the beginning of the end.
  • RICHARD Gardner.  Parental Alienation includes speaking the words of the alienator parent – This is when the child uses the verbiage of the alienator parent, but of course claims it as their own.  (Again, see above).  Often times children use scenarios that they couldn’t have even known about, or couldn’t have been around for, as justification for the alienation.  They don’t want to hear that they are brainwashed by their alienator parent.  That would only make them revert to number 6 above, no explanations please.
  • Karen – “You are such a bitch”,  “Dad was right, all you care about is yourself”.  These phrases are even more warped when they come from your child whose father is not only a narcissist but also a sociopath.  A narcissist only thinks of themselves.  They are the center of all attention at a party.  Their needs come first.  John's free time was his: his golfing time, his bicycle time, his vacation time, all his and yet he projects his self centered behavior on me.  There couldn’t be a more black and white difference between John and me.  After working all day, and coming home to tend to three children, prepare meals and run a household, John couldn’t run to his latest new car fast enough, so he could have “his time”.  Weekends were great for him, I was home from teaching all weekend so he could go as he wanted.  How could he be so successful in his parental alienation efforts.
  • Emma – Emma was speaking with her online friends about how her father had cheated on me when she was a baby.  She was discussing this while making excuses for why she hated me.  She was 3 years old when this happened.  Now 11 years later, she was discussing this with on line “friends”.  She even told my husband, her step-father, “I can’t forgive Mom for what she said,” the same words that her sister uses.This can only be a concerted effort to practice  parental alienation even if he does not recognize or understand the name.
  • RICHARD Gardner. Alienating Everyone – Parental Alienation affects more than the targeted parent and this is perhaps the saddest characteristic of all.  Not only does the parent alienation affect the targeted parent, so does every relative and family friend that is associated with the alienated parent become affected..
  • Karen.  My daughter Karen, who was the only grandchild in my family for some years, ceased all communication with her Grandmother, Great Grandmother, sister, step-brothers, sister, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Neighbors, and Family friends.  Karen was excited about two new members of our family.  My sister had a baby in May of 2011, and Karen was looking forward to the baby. When he was born, she visited, played and was involved.  That involvement all ended 6 months later when Karen moved back to her father’s house due to the enormous debt he incurred for her.  Her step-sister who she adored had a baby a few months later; Karen has never seen her.Certainly, this is parental alienation.

For more information about the affliction visit

Richard Gardner

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Top of Page

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
Comments Form
Share Your Story And Comments Of Your Experience With Parent Alienation