Kris Godinez 00:02
Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.
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Kris Godinez 01:00
Okay, let’s dive into today’s topic. So I get a lot of emails, I PMs etc. You know, about what do I do? I’m in this situation where the children are being poisoned against me, and I want to have a relationship with them. They’re adults now. They still don’t want anything to do with me. So okay, that, that is a huge topic. And unfortunately, there is not a lot that you can do. I mean, there’s some stuff you can do, but there’s not a lot that you can do.
So, let’s talk about parental alienation, shall we? This is a real thing. And they’ve known it’s a real thing since the 1980s. And yet, they refuse to discuss it, they refuse to put it into the DSM five. I think everybody should start contacting places like the APA and say, Why? Why is this not? Why, why is this not? Why are counselors not being trained in this? Why is this not being dealt with? Why are the court systems not being educated on this, since they’ve known it was been around and identified since the 1980s, like early 1980s, this isn’t just a Oh brand new thing. This has been around for 30 or 40 years that we you know, that it’s been acknowledged by counselors or by writers or by you know, scholarly articles etc. So, if you are a want to be, you know, want to go into my profession, educate yourself about parental alienation, it is real guys, it is real, it happens all the time.
So, remember, when you’re dealing with a disordered person, the win is everything, the win is everything they have to win at all costs. And part of that win is to get everybody on their side, including the kids. And so, they will use the kids as messengers, they’ll use the kids as bait, they’ll use the kids as pawns, they’ll use the kids to relay stuff. And their biggest win is turning that child against the other parent.
Now, this is why I keep saying, listen to me now, believe me later, get those kids as soon as you know you’re divorcing, get those kids into therapy seriously, with a good therapist that understands high conflict, divorce and understands disordered parents. Because that parent is going to use those kids against you, they are going to turn those kids against you. Because that is just simply what they do. That is who they are. And they don’t care about the kid. They don’t! Remember narcissists are 100% ego, it is all ego for them. Nobody else exists, the children are an extension of them. Therefore, the children have to think and feel and believe the same way they do. And if the kids don’t, that’s when they punish the kids. So, if the kid is not in therapy, if they don’t have a good therapist that can nip this crap in the bud. And I mean, like pronto, the kid is going to side with the abuser because the kid’s gonna try to appease them, people please them and not get punished.
The biggest mistake that I see parents doing and this is not just mothers to do, this is dads that do this; They’re so afraid of the child and they’re so afraid of losing the child, that they start walking on eggshells around the child, especially if the child is acting out, being nasty, disrespectful, etc, etc, etc. They bend themselves over backwards to try to please the child not understanding this is not the child’s origin. This is not what’s really going on in the kid’s head. You talk to a lot of kids once they’ve gotten out of these situations. And what they’ll say is, “I did it because mom or Dad demanded that I do it. And I secretly was hoping you would see through it and we could have a relationship.”
Okay, there has been studies going on, on this since the 1980s. And again, why is this being ignored? Hmm, why is this being ignored? This is, this is bull Tinky. This is bull tinky, like This is Sparta! No, this is bull tinky, you know it is it’s bull tinky. Why is this being ignored? Why are the courts not educated in this?
So, I wanted to read a couple of articles in the question I got, or one of the most recent questions I got was okay, the children are adults, they’re still rejecting me, they’re still doing all this. There’s grandchildren involved, I want to see them. You may or may not be able to. So, let’s go through all of this. And this is, I hope practitioners are listening to this, I hope that people who want to become therapists are listening to this particular episode because you need to understand what’s going on because it, Yeah, okay.
Parental alienation what therapists need to know and I think everybody needs to know, a distraught divorced mother and this is by Susan Heitler PhD and this is on psychology today. That’s called parental alienation what therapists need to know and distraught divorce mother reports that her formerly loving daughter has returned from vacation from her father’s house, the child treats her with disrespect and hostility. Sound familiar? A divorced father of a 12 year old boy who lives primarily with his mother says that the son insists that he does not want any contact with his father. “If I have to see him even in a therapy session, I will hurt myself.” Also sound familiar? parental alienation may seem obvious in these cases, but it’s not. It’s subtle. It can be subtle. So, they talk about okay, hold on.
Kris Godinez 06:50
It was recognized in the 1980s by child psychiatrist Richard a gardener. So, they’ve known about this since the 1980s. parental alienation occurs when an alienating parent turns the child against a targeted parent via depreciating innuendos often based on projection name calling, he’s a nitwit, she’s a nitwit, with exaggeratedly negative reports of minor mishaps and false accusations. Alienated children parrot, the alienating parent excessively they’re the parents excessively negative views of the targeted parent expressing them as their own much as cult followers, parrot the beliefs of a cult leader and I’m going to talk about that in just a moment.
Gardner details eight characteristics of an alienated child. Okay, let’s go into the eight characteristics. Eight symptoms of parental alienation. And this is on dad’s divorce a service of Cordell and Cordell PC. Okay, Dad’s divorce Okay, now realize it’s not just dads who get alienated mothers get alienated as well remember abusers can be any sex doesn’t matter. They’re everywhere.
Denigration: the campaign of denigration is when the child repeatedly has complaints about the parent over and over again. In fact, that’s often the first thing the child says when he comes he or she comes into my office, they will say, Dr. Burnett, let me tell you some things about my, my father or my mother that she or he did wrong. That’s a campaign. That’s a smear campaign. Even though they have these complaints, the justification for the complaints are very often frivolous, non existent, or very thin.
A frivolous a rationalization for the complaint. That’s the second second symptom, the child will give some really not reasonable explanation for wanting to never see the targeted parent again.
Lack of ambivalence otherwise known as splitting. Okay, the kid will have very, very black and white thinking. So, lack of ambivalence. In a healthy normal relationship. There’s only ambivalence. There’s good things about a person, there’s bad things about a person, you kind of know that they’re both, you know, and so you’re able to express both and see them. But it’s a really interesting symptom. It’s called lack of ambivalence. When we have relationships with people, they’re usually ambivalent in the sense that there are some good points and some bad points. That’s normal. For almost everyone we know we can think of some good qualities and some not so good qualities about the person. These children, however, have a lack of ambivalence, meaning that they see one parent as totally good. I talked with one child who said my mother is an angel and my father is a devil, and he meant it. So, it’s splitting. Remember disordered people, all good, all bad, black, white, all nothing. That is the sign of a disordered person. This is a sign of a disordered person influencing the child. I hope practitioners out there listening to this I hope you can hear me in the back because this needs to be aired. It needs to be exposed and it needs to be worked on when you see Kids come in, and there’s parental alienation going on, you cannot just turn a blind eye to it. That to me is completely unethical. So, let’s get over this. Okay?
Independent thinker phenomenon. This symptom is a bit controversial, it’s important to note that we’re not criticizing children for thinking independently. That’s not what this is about. There are some children who come in and they spontaneously say, “Dr. Burnett, these are my ideas about my father or mother. I thought this all by myself, nobody influenced me. No, my mom didn’t tell me what to say my dad didn’t tell me what to say this is what I’m thinking” about whoever the targeted parent is. In other words, the lady doth protest too much. So, when a kid comes in, this is not a normal cognitive thing for a kid to do. Let me just say that. So, when a kid comes in and goes, ”Oh, no, they didn’t tell me” you know, without being asked. And they just spontaneously say this, you know, damn sure that, that parent has coached them, you know it. Okay,
Automatic support reflexive support. This symptom involves the child always choosing the side of one particular parent in any given argument or disagreement. First of all, kids should not be involved in arguments or disagreements, that is an adult thing, that is not their problem. But a typical situation may involve a family meeting, regardless of the topic that comes up, the child will automatically take the side with the abusive parent and automatically disagree with the targeted parent. Again, because the kids are people pleasing, and they’re trying to not get in trouble and trying to not get punished.
Absence of guilt. And this is interesting. Another symptom is absence of guilt. These children can be very disrespectful and say or do horrible things with absolutely no qualms. They show a disregard for the parent’s feelings and emotions. And it does not bother them at all to say, or do these horrible things about one of their parents, again, because they are being pressured to do so, they are emulating, they’re mirroring the abusive parent. And unfortunately, the target parent takes this very personally. And this is where the trouble starts. This is where the fear starts taking over. And the oh my gosh, you know, how could they say that? How could they do that? Then they get mad at the kid as opposed to really seeing that it’s coming from the abuser. So we’re going to talk a little bit about that. Absence of guilt. Okay, I think I talked about that. Okay.
Kris Godinez 12:19
Borrowed scenarios. Borrowed scenario refers to how the child tells a story about something that has happened, they will not use word for word what one parent has already said, this is why it is so important. When I get so angry, I’m sorry, I slapped my leg, but it’s like I get so angry that clinicians don’t interview the abusive parent, don’t consider that the abusive parent could possibly be an abusive parent. And then the kid comes in and says word for word, what the abusive parent is just said, that should be your red flag right there, guys. That should be a red flag right there that the kid is saying word for word about a scenario that’s happened that the abusive parent has already said. So borrowed scenarios refers to how a child tells a story about something that happened, their story will be the exact same story that the abusive parent has just described. In other words, if we’re doing an evaluation, we might interview the, the abusive parent, they might tell us something about what happened with the targeted parent. Then later we interview the child and the child gives the exact story with even using identical words and phrases. That should be a huge red flag guys, huge red flag!
Spread of animosity. The final symptom refers to the spread of animosity to other people. In other words, if the father or mother whoever the parent is, is the target, the kid will then spread that animosity to other family members of that parent. So suddenly, aunts, uncles, cousins are now persona non grata as well. So, the, the mother or the father’s extended family is now lumped in with that parent. That’s not normal, guys, that’s not normal. That is not how healthy people think. So, they’re mad at one person, but they can still have a great relationship with the aunt, uncle, cousins, whatever. But dear Lord, again, black and white, black and white, black and white thinking. So, in extreme circumstances, this animosity can even be extended to the target parent’s pets. So yeah, cray cray, so there is that so? Alright.
There needs to be a pathology assessment, obviously, and this is if you’re going through a divorce, there needs to be a pathology assessment. Targeted parents will be anxious, depressed and angry. At the same time beneath these desperate situational reactions generally lies psychological health. So, in other words, the targeted parent is pretty well healthy, but they’re having these responses to a really abnormal situation. The alienating parent, by contrast, generally offers a calm, cool and charming and therefore you know, outlook or facade, and they’re, therefore look more attractive. They lie convincingly. alienator and child appear to be credible in telling the same stories. If the clinician doesn’t know what the bleep they’re doing. Don’t get me started. There is no excuse people, there is no excuse for clinician not recognizing the science. It’s been around since the 1980s. And nobody’s doing Jack about it. Nobody’s teaching this. Nobody’s telling people how to look for this stuff. There are there are assessment people out there that will see the parent that’s being targeted as crazy, because they’re trying desperately hard to stay in a relationship with this child. Meanwhile, the abuser is like calm, cool, collected. So, they’re like, Oh, they’re saying, I’m like, no, no, you should be taking a second look at this because children don’t alienate their parents. Children on their own do not do that. They don’t. Hello. So, there is no excuse for this. There is absolutely no excuse. And honestly, I think people should start speaking up, I think we should start demanding that the schools that the psychology schools, the people that are becoming counselors learn this stuff. So okay, um, alienating parents are calm, cool and charming, and therefore look more attractive. They are lying convincingly. They tell the same stories yet beneath the alienator, smooth exterior, lie one or more Cluster B characteristic disorders. There you go. Yep. Antisocial, lying, borderlines you know, narcissistic, etc. One of the cluster B’s
So, okay, um, what hypothesis need to be generated and evaluated in potentially, alienation in a potential alienation case? Okay, explore the following two possibilities. I’m talking to the clinicians here.
Kris Godinez 16:54
What two causes possible causes of the child’s negative view of one parent note that want more than one of these factors may be occurring. Is there danger from verbal, sexual and or physical abuse? And nine times out of 10? The answer to that is yes. Brainwashing of the child number two brainwashing of the child by the alienating parent if they are parroting what the parent is saying, if they’re like, Polly want a cracker and they’re doing that, then yeah, that’s, that’s parental alienation. When a child’s negative reaction stems from verbal, physical or sexual abuse, children still want a relationship with the abusive parent.
In addition, however, accusations that a targeted parent has been abusive need to be assessed thoroughly to be certain that these kinds of abuses are not occurring. Or if they if the child is saying that they are projecting what’s happening with the abusive parent, so that needs to be investigated. In contrast, when a child’s negative reaction stems from the abuse of alienation, the child becomes resistant, increasingly hostile, and eventually rejects altogether the targeted parent and unfortunately, that’s what I see happen over and over and over again. Severely alienated children may also manifest splitting, which is not at all characteristic of children who suffer other kinds of abuses. They insist that the alienating parent is all good, and they totally reject the all bad targeted parent, though in reality, the emotionally healthier parent, while mildly alienated children do not show the full splitting phenomenon it is vital to stop the alienation as early as possible. So alienating parents mingle nurturing with anxiety provoking interactions such as anger, explosions, creating an insecure attachment. Intermittent positive rewards guys the same thing they use on you ,pathologically enmeshed, unreliable, controlling, parentafide or spouseafide. As Richard Warshak points out in his book “Divorce Poison” Richard Warshak Divorce Poison. Fear is usually a precondition to brainwashing because it increases psychological dependence on the bad mouthing and bashing of the parent.
Okay, so um, I just want to really get this with regard to the DSM diagnosis because the term parental alienation has not yet been incorporated into the manual the diagnosis options are v 6120. Parent Child relation, relational problem, v 6129 Chair child affected by parental relation distress or V 99.51 Child psychological abuse confirmed. So, there is that!
Treatment of parental alienation. Treatment parental alienation is basically the same for the mild, moderate and severe cases with one exception. For successful treatment of severe cases. Additional Measures that require cooperation from the courts are essential. Duh! I just Oh God, but how likely is it that a court is going to take a look at parental alienation take it seriously and go, Okay, we need to stop this relationship with this parent and repair this relationship with this parent. They, they don’t do that. They just they don’t. You know why? They get no training in this and some of them are narcissist themselves. So okay.
Effective reunification. Therapy for the alienated parent depends on the child and alienated parents participating in treatment together. When an alienated child says I don’t want to see my parent, I’m too anxious, the therapist nonetheless must bring them together. Extended individual therapy with an alienated child consolidates alienation instead of relieving it, it is therefore counter indicated. So, in other words, if you’re forcing a kid to go into therapy, that’s not going to work, either. So, but this is why you want to get them into therapy before the alienation starts. This is why you want to solidify that relationship with the kid before the alienation starts. When initial preparatory individual sessions may be helpful treatment or treatment of alienation begins with therapeutic child parent interactions, the therapist’s job is to foster positive child parent reconnecting one technique is to ask the parent to bring memorabilia of fun prior fun prior experiences that they can recall together.
Kris Godinez 21:25
Once the child and parent are re experiencing warmth and affection, the therapist asked the child to tell them all the negative beliefs they can about the parent. And this is important that therapists list them on a numbered list saying good after each one to encourage the child to keep remembering all the negatives in his or her mind. Now there’s a reason why we’re doing this. The technique is based on a technique for treating anxiety that I call the three steps. Once the list feels finished, the therapist circles back to complaint number one addressing each complaint one at a time, asking for examples. When the examples are thin, or finished on any one item, the therapist can ask the child to tell the alienated parent, and what are examples of when your parent acted the opposite way instead of being mean or was kind to you. So, then they go back through and are like, well, when were they kind to you? When did this happen? And when did that happen? The therapist can then ask the targeted parent to add to the list of positive examples. And this way, the therapist and parent can begin to evolve a yes and,to replace the either or thinking of pattern of the alienated child who’s stuck in splitting. Lastly, the therapist explains alienation to immunize the child against future alienation attempts. So, in other words, you normalize ambivalence you normalize, you make it clear that having you know either or is not normal, but yes and, is normal.
So, you immunize them against future alienation attempts, it is especially important to explain the nature of projection. So, Tommy, you’re telling me that, you know, you hate mommy, and you don’t ever want to see her again? Is that your thought? Is that really your thought? You know, and usually the kid will break down and be like, No, you know, that’s not my thought. And they’ve got a lot of fear. And it’s scary when you’re dealing with an abuser because you’re afraid of being punished. You’ve seen what happens you had it happened. So yeah, you, you start, you start confronting the mistaken thought, the mistaken belief, and you’ve got to be very careful about it. You’ve got to go very slowly and very gently, and realize if that kid is still having influence from the abusive parent, they’re going to try to undo everything you do in therapy, they’re going to demand to know what’s being said in therapy. That’s what I’m saying.
Courts. I’m sorry, I keep slapping my leg. That’s why I’m saying courts have got to stop trying to reunify families that should not be reunified. So, in other words, if an abuser is doing parental alienation, they need to not have contact with the kid. They absolutely do. It’s just, huh. All right, um, treatment for severe alienation. Okay. Okay, wait a minute. Um, okay. It’s important to explain the nature of projection. So, you kind of start gently, you know, is this your thought is this their thought it was that’s, you know, mom or dad’s thought that’s not my thought. So, you get them to start using a little bit of logic, which is really good, because remember, emotional abuse is emotional, they work, they play on the emotions. Many of the critiques the child has heard from the alienating parent actually fit the parent better than the targeted parent. So, in other words, protections really about the alienating parent. Going through the criticism list again, to test which of these complaints are actually projection can be very enlightening for the child. I’ve often found that this is a new way of hearing the complaints from the alienating parent elicits laughter from the children. The laughter is often a relief from understanding the criticisms in a new way.
So, treatment of severe alienation. So the, the alienator blog, A designated parenting plan time withhold school or medicine or medical information that is going to require court orders you have got to hold them accountable. Every time they go against what’s in the, the court documents, you have got to call and try to hold them in contempt of court, transferring the child to the targeted parent’s home for a period of time, at least minimum three months, prohibiting the alienator from any and all contact with child in person, text phone, social media, that’s going to be harder to get, because you have to prove abuse because like I said, these idiot family courts are all about reunification and making sure the kid has both parents. Well, let me tell you something, if the parent is an abuser, they don’t need to be in a relationship with them.
Kris Godinez 25:46
Okay, specifying sanctions such as fine or even jail time, for violations, prohibiting further alienating behaviors and perhaps also mandating therapy with a therapist knowledgeable about alienation and treating those predators. Court ordered and coordinate force temporary separation are essential in severe alienation to in order to free children from loyalty conflicts that would prevent a successful reunification with the other parent, severely alienated children do not dare to allow themselves to enjoy the targeted parent. They believe that they are totally dependent on the alienating parent affection of the targeted parent and especially allowing the alienated parent to know that they have been interacting with them. Or even experiencing positive feelings towards the targeted parent will incur the alienating parent’s wrath or abandonment. So, then it goes into how to treat the alienating parent if you are interested in that because I’m not. You can read that this is on psychology today.
Basically, it’s you know, the rest of it is how to make them stop and basically it’s having to use the court as a you know, whapping them over the head. communities worldwide need to be all need more therapists who can knowledgeably assess and treat alienation therapists need to seriously study and be have specific training and how to work effectively these poignant challenging yet highly rewarding cases. So there is that okay,
So you see why it’s so hard to get a relationship going with the kid once the abuser has gone down that route. So, this is why I’m saying when you are thinking about getting a divorce, okay. Listen to me. Now, believe me later you get those kids into therapy before you divorce. You get those kids into therapy before there is a split or separation. And one of the things I hear from people is that they wait, they wait too long. They’re living in a delusion of Oh, my ex would never use the kids. Oh, sweetie, Oh, honey, oh, girl, oh, guy, I’m telling you, they will. If they can hurt you, they will use it. They will use pets, they will use kids, they will use parents they will use family members, they’ll use friends, they’ll use whatever they can to hurt you. So, once the parental alienation has really truly started, it is much more difficult to re connect with that kid than if you have them in therapy ahead of time. This should be part of your safety plan. Seriously, this should be part of your what to expect. Where’s that book splitting Bill Eddie Randy Krieger what to expect when you are divorcing a disordered Cluster B person. Okay. So, get them into a damn good therapist that understands high conflict divorce understands cluster B’s, and is willing to work on keeping your relationship with them good.
Okay, now, that’s the other concern is that if you don’t get with a good therapist, they are going to literally tell the abuser everything. Like the abuser will get pushy. They will get demanding. They will get you know, whatever. And they’ll come at the therapist and be like, well, I need to know what’s going on with my child. Now I tell people when I work with teens, and I only work with older teens, but when I work with teens, I tell the parents straight up I am not going to tell you what goes in in session. This is their private personal space. I will tell you if they are danger to self or danger to others that you need to know everything else. None of your business. You can hang with that great if you can’t find another therapist. And if they’re an abuser, they’ll find another therapist because they need to know everything that’s going on. So that needs to be made very clear to whoever you get to do therapy with the kids. So okay, so this is why and I hope this explains a little bit about you know what is going on, and why it’s so hard to reconnect with a kid, too, that’s been through parental alienation.
Okay, so in this next one, this is also on Psychology Today this is
Kris Godinez 30:15
this is just titled parental alienation. It describes what parental alienation is. What are the signs is parental alienation a real Yes. Why does parental alienation happen because abusers are a holes. Um, so cluster B’s are the ones that do it. How to Prevent parental alienation after the abort divorce challenge children generally do get better when they’re divorced parents raise them as amicable partners. Yes, to do so parents should never denigrate the other child, the other parents so you don’t want to get down to their level you really don’t. But you do need to be realistic. And you do need to call out the projection you know you get with a good therapist like I was saying that is able to call out the projection call out the mistaken thoughts, mistaken beliefs, etc. So yeah, you never hold volatile discussions within earshot of the child. And you realize that as you are parenting your child, you’re going to be parallel parenting not co parenting with the abuser. Victims of parental alienation can fight the offense in court. But as I said, the courts are very reluctant to actually do anything about it and they should be doing something about it because it’s a form of abuse. Parents should therefore collect thorough detailed evidence through witnesses emails, texts, social media posts, legal process may involve a psychological evaluation, custody evaluation, family assessment and reunification therapy to rebuild the relationship. Okay, let’s see it is a form of child abuse. It is.
Healing from parental alienation. Okay. Let’s see. Get to okay, how can you repair the relationship with your child after parental alienation the best course is to limit the child’s time with the alienating parent. If you can increase time with the targeted parent, the child’s biased view of the parent will gradually clear even in severely damaged relationships it can be repaired, the targeted parent can help by not denigrating the alienating parent or dismissing the child’s feelings during this time. Children can heal but they will need a therapist well versed in high conflict divorces and parental alienation. You want to help the child recall good times with the parent. It can be difficult to counteract the misconceptions that a parent instills in a child but as an as an adult, children may be better able to understand the other parents perspective and situation more broadly. In the case of one woman, her alienated father kept his distance until she was 17, before calmly explaining that not all of her mother’s claims were true. And then they were able to reconnect.
So basically, what’s going to happen is, it’s a waiting game. So, what I often encourage people to do is to write letters to the kid, you know, just write letters to the especially when outrageous claims were made, not to be sent to them, but to be discussed with them when the child is an adult. Because at that point, the alienating parent literally legally cannot stop you from talking to them. They’re going to try so and gently letting her know Hey, not everything your mom or your dad said was true. So, we’ve got some stuff to discuss. And that is when you want to see if the kid is willing to go to a therapist, well versed in parental alienation that is going to help repair the relationship. Is this always gonna work? No. Oh, good. God gone over time again. How do we do that? Okay, address the lies of the bad mouthing, you know, the conventional wisdom and this is from Weinberger divorce and family law group. The conventional wisdom of say nothing, do nothing in the face of bad mouthing, does targeted parents a huge disservice, you must stand up to propaganda. Now, a lot of times I have clients that are terrified. Which makes sense because you have an abuser that’s abusing and they’re just kind of like, Oh, if I just duck and cover, it’ll go away. No, it’s if you duck and cover, it’s going to get bigger and badder. Trust me on that. You don’t necessarily say oh, your father’s a liar, your mother’s a liar or whatever. But you just let them know that’s not true. This is not true. What this is being said is not true of me. Notice nowhere in that sentence was the other parent.
Kris Godinez 34:45
You know, so you do call it out. So, you must address the propaganda you wouldn’t smile and say nothing if you were accused of murder. So why should you remain quiet when your child tells you mommy says you wanted to divorce because you don’t love us? Which they say that kind of stuff. Don’t respond in kind but do state the facts in an even handed tone. I’m sorry mommy told you that because it’s not true. The divorce was a grown up problem and has nothing to do with you. I will always love you and I will always be your daddy or mommy or whatever. Be prepared to repeat that often. So, okay, encourage your child to speak to you directly. parental alienation functions like a cult, the alienating parent isolates the child from the targeted parent so that they only hear the, the alienating parents skewed reality, and come to believe that that is the truth. How do you combat this tell your child to come to you if they have questions about anything they’ve heard about you, or something they believe about you that worries them. All children be the children of divorce or intact families need to learn to speak to parents directly. Instead of using the other as a go between your child might not believe you, but at least they are getting the opportunity to hear your side of the story, a story which might seem more reasonable to them as they mature and develop critical thinking skills. Now that does not mean you are going to dump on the kids. You only tell them as needed as much as they need to know and nothing more. Okay, the thing I see parents do all the time is over sharing and over explaining and you don’t need to do that that’s too much for a kid when they’re an adult, fine, you want to get into it great. But if their child Don’t over share, don’t over explain. They don’t need to know the gory details. They really, truly do not okay,
Manage your emotional reactivity. It is normal to feel angry, scared and defensive when you’re continually being insulted and slandered by an ex who cannot manage their emotions. But it’s imperative that you do your best to manage your own emotions when you’re around your kid. If your ex tells your children you’re scary, and then you act scary because you get so frustrated you blow your top, you will just play into the exes twisted version of the truth. If you find yourself flying off the handle, get help get therapy, medication, exercise, journaling, whatever. And repeat this mantra what my ex thinks about me is none of my business.
Continue reaching out. If you no longer have child custody, or if your child refuses visitation, don’t stop trying to have a relationship with them. email, text, send birthday cards presence call show up at events. Don’t expect to get a civil response or any response. However, don’t interpret the lack of response is a sign that your child doesn’t care that you’re being that you’re invested in trying to be their parent. Even if your child says they hate you and they don’t want to see you they probably do and is trying to test your commitment. Because kids do that. When adult children of parental alienation reconnect with the targeted parent, they often ask why the parent disappeared and admit that they were hoping to be rescued from the abuser. When you weary of your child’s rejection. Remember, focus on your intention, not the outcome. And that is the biggest mistake I see people make. As soon as the kid rejects them. They again take it personally instead of going this is a long game. This is not a sprint, this is an F’n marathon guys, you’re going to be at it for 24 freakin miles straight. Okay, so uphill, no water, you know what I’m saying? So you cannot view this as a sprint, you cannot look at the little little outcomes, you’ve got to look at the big picture. The big picture is you were there. You were there. You try. You kept trying, you kept trying. You kept trying in the face of every FU in the face of every, you know, Shun in the face of everything you still showed up. Okay. So that is what you have to remember. Okay, let’s get back to this last one. And then we’re going to go to the questions. Be patient rebuilding your relationship with your child is a marathon not a sprint, I just said that it could take years or even into their adulthood. Before you see your efforts pay off. In the meantime, focus on your intention to reconnect and to try to let go of the worrying of the Outcome.
Alright, so basically it is when you have been alienated when they have successfully alienated the kid from you. And this is common in these relationships. Don’t give up unless caveat, here’s the only time you would ever stop. The kid is an adult.
Kris Godinez 39:29
You’ve made multiple efforts to go to therapy with them or get together with them. They file a restraining order against you stop, stop. You know it’s at that point you have to let them come to you. And I know that’s hard to hear because I know that’s not what you want to hear. You want to hear that you can fix it. Sometimes it can be fixed. Other times it cannot and it’s because of the abuser it’s because of the amount of gaslighting it’s because of the amount of abuse is the because of the amount of time spent with the abuser. So yeah, so basically, in. In parental alienation, when the children have been successfully alienated from the saner parent, all you can do is keep showing up, keep letting them know you love them, not take what they are saying, personally realize that this is coming from the mind of the sick mind of an abuser, that they are simply parroting what they’re hearing or what they’re being told to believe. And then, you know, one thing I suggest is writing letters to the kid throughout the time. And, you know, explaining to them in adult terms, because you’re going to, you’re going to read them to them when they’re an adult, or you’re going to hand them to them when they’re an adult. And ask them to go to therapy with you ask them to reconnect with you.
Now, the alienating parent may still be heavily involved in their lives. And they may not be able to do that until they’re completely away from the alienating parent. So you kind of have to use your best judgment with that, if that makes any sort of sense. So, there is that and I’ve gone way over time, I am so sorry.
Let’s get to the questions. Okay. Could you please draw a distinction between an alienated child and one who has become aware of the parents pattern of abuse, usually it is a slightly older child, it’s not going to be the little ones, the little ones are not going to recognize the pattern of abuse. But anyone who’s like, you know, between the ages of like 10, and 20, are going to recognize the patterns of abuse, they will not use word for word things that the alienator has said, Okay, they’ll be able to put into words of age appropriate words. And that’s the big clue for clinicians. It’s like, are they using age appropriate words? Are they using vocabulary that sounds more like an adult? Think about it. So, if they’re using age appropriate words, to describe things, or why they don’t like somebody, then you may want to pay attention to that. So, there’s a difference. So alienating parents, it’s all negative all the time. There’s nothing good about that other parent, that’s not normal. So, it’s all negative all the time, you know, because even abusers guys have some good to them, and even good, like they’re good. There’s some things about them that are not abusive. So, for example, my dad gave us a love of history. Every time we traveled, he would make a stop at one of those roadside, historical markers and we would get out and read it out loud. And I loved it. And I learned all this stuff about all this history across the country. So that’s a good memory I have of him, even though he was abusive. Do you see where I’m going? It’s not black, white. All good, all bad. It’s ambivalent. So, there were some good things about him. But there was mostly bad. But do you see where I’m going with that? So, a little kid is going to be if they’re being alienated, it’s going to be all bad. There’s not going to be any good at all. They’re not going to be able to recall any good stuff because the abuser is basically saying, Don’t you dare Don’t you dare, don’t you dare I’m gonna punish you. So that’s one of your clues because Healthy Kids are ambivalent Healthy People are ambivalent. There’s good and bad. And everybody, there’s good things about people that have bad things about people they’ll be able to recall. Good and bad. Whereas an alienated kid will not it’s all bad. So that’s that should be a red flag right there. Okay.
Um, okay. Does a narc parent try to alienate the other parent while still together? Yes, yeah. Absolutely. In order to hide their own narcissistic behavior from the child? Well, it’s not to hide the narcissistic behavior, what they’re doing as they’re setting it up. So even if there is not a sign of a divorce going on. Remember, they make the children play roles.
Kris Godinez 43:48
So in abusive families, there’s like the golden child, boop right there, which is the mini me of the narcissist then there’s the ignored middle child, then there’s the comic who’s usually the baby then there’s, you know, they slip people into roles. And so, if they don’t, if they don’t like themselves, which narcissists don’t, they’re not going to like you. If they don’t like you, they don’t want your kid to like you either. So, they start bad mouthing to the golden child, you know, they start saying horrible things. They involve the kid and adult issues that should not be involved in that are not their problem, or things that they really don’t need to know about. I’ve seen abusers engage in talking about sex lives to their golden child and making fun of the other parent because they were having some sort of sexual dysfunction and That’s insanely dysfunctional and abusive. So yeah, they will want the child to hate the other parent because it’s a game. This is all a manipulation game for them. It’s all it’s a game of distraction. So, I don’t have to think about you know how much I hate myself. That’s really what that is. or it’s a game of, I’m bored. I’m bored. I want I want excitement. So, I’m going to stir this pot and I’m going to get this going. And I’m going to turn the kid against you. Haha, look how powerful I am. Remember, they are abusive POS so anyway, um, yes, they will start it before the divorce even happens, which is why I’m saying if you recognize that this partner is disordered and you’re thinking about getting out, get the kid into therapy long before you leave so that there’s an established therapist, there’s an established, you know, relationship with a therapist, and you’re not having to battle getting into a therapist, because here’s what I see happen. The split happens or the divorce happens. And then a lot of agencies and a lot of therapists will need a divorce decree stating that, yes, the child can get into therapy, but Oh, guess what, we’re divorced. So we still need a signature from the opposing parent. And abusers not going to give a signature, they don’t want to be found out. They want to keep the game going, which is why I’m saying you get them into therapy ahead of time. And then that way, it’s already established. And you just write it into the divorce decree the kids get to keep going therapy period, you know, the same therapist we’ve been going to forever. So that should put an end to that. So yeah, um, okay. Is it okay?
Is it common for a narcissist sibling to alienate the parents? One parent is a narcissist as well from the other sibling by telling lies, etc. To the parents and make the other sibling the scapegoat? Yes, absolutely. So, narcissists act the same no matter where in the family system, they are lying, gaslighting, scapegoating, blaming, shaming, guilt tripping, you know the whole thing, and for a narcissist, sibling, they have to be they have to be the golden child, nobody else can get the attention of the parent. Everybody else has to be bad and wrong. And it’s crazy. And it’s crazy to watch when a narcissist parent sets this up or plays along with it is damaging like nobody’s business. So yeah, absolutely. They absolutely can and do do that. So, the best way to remember the best way to not play is to step out of the trauma, trauma triangle. So, the Drama Triangle, trauma, triangle, Drama Triangle. Yeah, it’s all the same. The Drama Triangle is the villain, the victim and the hero. So, the sibling who’s doing the alienating is the hero. The the parents are the victim and you’re the villain. So, you just step out. It’s like peace out not playing you. Do you do you. You do you. I’m not gonna play have fun with that and you stay in touch with the other parent. That’s maybe not the narcissist. But here’s something to realize. Even though my mom was not the narcissist, she was just as sick as my dad was because she stayed, and she enabled. So, realize that the other parent, you may or may not have a good relationship with and you live your life and you go be happy and the best revenge is to live healthy and live well and go do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Families not always blood related. Remember that? So there that is? Okay. Um, all right.
Kris Godinez 48:27
Which date is the psychology today? Article date is 2019. So unfortunately, I took them down. So, I don’t have the backup but just go to Psychology Today. 2019 and type in parental alienation. It’ll all pop up. There’s tons of good articles on there.
Okay, my youngest child has requested no contact with my narcissist, ex narcissist. Ex only Hoover’s on holidays, no effort. Otherwise, I try to encourage it. But the calls are short. Is this normal? So, narcissists are weird. They do one of two things. Again, extremes, extremes you’re not ever going to find middle ground with a narcissist. So, one extreme is the parental alienation over involvement over a measurement with the kid. other extreme is they could care less. They could give two rats asses about that kid, they just they don’t care. Because the kid is an inconvenience. And the only time they want to have them around is when it makes them look good. So yeah, holidays. Oh, there’s people listening on this phone with my son or my daughter and I miss you baby or you know FaceTiming so that everybody can see them. FaceTiming So um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a game. It’s a game. And that’s not normal because normal parents want to be around their child. They love that child. They want to see that child they want to talk to that child. They want to go to the baseball games and the soccer games, the basketball games and the drama games or the drama, you know, the drama theater theater stuff, you know? that type of stuff, you know, they want to be involved in the child’s life, narcissist that are can’t be bothered or the all call when it’s convenient to make me look good on the holidays. What? Yeah, no, that’s so not normal. So, I understand the child not wanting to talk to them. Now, again, it’s a game. So, in order to keep the peace and if this person only calls once or twice a year, yeah, have them talk to them because you don’t want to start a pissing match. So, if you give them that one or twice a year phone call, and the rest of the time they’re leaving you alone, Count yourself lucky. Go ahead and do the phone call. And you can even explain to the child look, we just got to do this. Because if we do this, then they’ll leave us alone the rest of the year, you don’t have to talk to him the rest of the year. And don’t tell him anything important, you know, or whatever. Because narcissists will use stuff against kids, if they find out that they’re going to be in a play, or if they’re doing well in soccer or whatever, they’re going to try to take credit for it, and they’re going to sabotage it or do whatever. So, if the kid is like, I don’t want to talk to them, I you know, blah, blah, blah, Hey, hon, I know, I know. But until you’re 18, that’s all you got to say. Until you’re 18 We got to do this twice a year, and it’s only twice here. Come on, it’s not gonna it’s not gonna kill you to do it. And the reason being is because if you tab them talk to them once or twice a year that satisfies the narcissist, and then they go away, if you make a big deal about it, oh, I can guarantee you they’re going to drag you back into court, they’re going to drag you back into the court because they’re going to see it as a ego injury and how dare you and then they’ll flip it around and say you’re alienating, and that’s what they do. So yeah, and this would be a really good opportunity to have your child write out. Why don’t you want to talk to them? What’s going on? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? If there was a therapist, you know, that would be a really good time to discuss this, you know, or getting them into a therapist, that would also be a really good thing, if you can. So yeah, so that would be something to you know, explore, talk about, get with a therapist, etc.
Okay, let’s get to the next question. How do we get over the cognitive dissonance regarding a narcissistic parent, considering that we have some good memories with them as well. So, it’s realizing that, and this is what blows everybody’s minds is that the kids as kids, we love, we love. We don’t not love until we are taught to not love. And so, we get this weird cognitive dissonance of Wait, the parent had some good things about them. But geez, Louise, they would hit the crap out of me at every, you know, holiday dinner, what the heck. So, it’s getting with a good trauma therapist, seriously CPTSD from surviving to thriving by Pete Walker, I am not just whistling a tune here. People go get that book, read it, start working it, it will help you put back the anger, the shame, the blame all the bad stuff back onto the abuser, you acknowledge there were good stuff. Just just like I was talking about, you know, my dad gave me a love of history. I love history. I love reading about history. I love going to historical places, I drive my husband crazy. We stop at every single historical monument from here to the other side of the country. He’s like, really, really, we got to do this. I’m like, won’t hurt you it’ll be fine. So.
Kris Godinez 53:29
And so there were some good things that dad instilled in me. And then there were some things that you know, like the low self esteem and the abuse and everything else. It’s like, Gee, thanks, jerk. So, it’s normal. ambivalence is normal and comforting that inner child, the inner child workbook, Catherine Taylor, or any of the inner child workbooks are going to help you. Because you’ve got to help that inner child come to grips with Yeah, there was some good things about them. And boy, there were a lot of bad things about them, too. You know, and that that is a normal way to look at it, as opposed to all bad all good. Does that make sense? So, yeah, you’re gonna want to work on the inner child as well. How are we doing on time? I’m almost at a time. Hold on. I got one more question. Um, all right. In writing, journaling, journaling, journaling, journaling, journaling out the good, the bad, the ugly, the horrific. At the very end, kick them out, kick them out, you know, it’s I don’t need to think about you 24/7 anymore. I don’t sorry, I can’t fix you can’t heal you. Bye. You know, and get with a good trauma therapist to unpack all of that trauma. Absolutely. And the cognitive dissonance You bet.
How do you know Okay, wait, do you know how to revert the brainwashing from the times my daughter was with her mother? During the pandemic? She’s 22. Is it possible? Yes. So again, it’s like I talked about gently. You do it gently. You just start addressing things gently. You know if they bring something up. And it’s not true. You can say, Honey, what was said to you about me is not true. Let’s talk about this. Let’s get with a good trauma therapist. So yeah, it can be addressed. Now, the biggest mistake that I see parents making is they’re so terrified by what’s going on, and they should be, but they’re so terrified, they get paralyzed, and they’re afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. They’re afraid of pissing the child off, they’re afraid of the child going back to the abuser? Well, yeah, the child is going to go back to the abuser and tell them everything that’s going on, they’ve been groomed, yeah, the child is going to get angry, because there’s all this adult stuff that’s been handed to them, that’s not their problem, and they are going to take it out on the saner parent, that’s just what they do. So that’s like when a kid goes to the abuser for the weekend, and then comes back to the sane parent, they act out for like a day or two, until things get back into the swing with the saner parent, because it’s not safe to act out with the abusive parent. So that’s why I’m saying it’s really important to get with a good trauma therapist for that child. And for you to understand what’s going on and not be afraid. And not just stop, not just throw your hands up in the air because it’s too much and it is too much, guys, it is too much. And if you’re dealing with, you know, health issues on top of that, then maybe throwing your hands up in the air is the only thing you can do you know what I’m saying. But if you can stick with it, keep trying keep trying to have a relationship with them. In some cases, I’ve seen clients that have had autoimmune issues, cancers, etc. And they simply didn’t have the energy to continue fighting the abuser, fighting the parental alienation, it was like, Okay, I either do these two things, and I dropped dead, or I hunker down, I get myself healthy. And then I go back and try to have a relationship. So, you know, abusers are evil, and they want to sick and they want us dead. And they want us to not have enough energy to try to continue a relationship. So they’re terrible. I they just make me angry. So the good news, bad news, the good news is yes, you can take steps to repair the relationship. Getting the kid into a therapist before you divorce is a really good idea. Getting the child to a trauma therapist is a good idea. Once they’re an adult, start, you know, what was said was not true. That’s not who I am. Are you willing to talk about this with a therapist to help you and to help me? You know, and sometimes they’ll say yes, and sometimes they’ll say no. And it’s really hard for the child to heal if that abusive parent is still constantly trying to mesh constantly trying to interfere, wanting to know what’s being talked about in therapy, etc, etc, etc. So you just keep telling the kids, they have a right to privacy, they have a right to have their own therapy sessions, they do not need to tell anybody what they talk about, you know, that’s their session. And you just keep trying, you just keep trying, unless, of course, the child the adult child files a restraining order, in which case back off, you’re done. It’s up to them now. So and sometimes that happens, so Oh, lord.
Kris Godinez 58:10
Anyway, that’s it. I’m sorry, this is kind of a bummer one to end the year on. But, but it happens, a parental alienation absolutely happens. And it’s a disservice to everybody that the courts are not dealing with this. The DSM five does not have this as a diagnosis they need to and that therapists are not being trained in this so if you want to make a difference, start getting loud start writing the APA would start writing the ACA, restart writing anybody that’s in psychology and say what the WTF Why is this not being addressed? Why is this not being taught? How come the court systems are not dealing with this? Why is this not being treated like it’s a real thing because it’s a real thing and it’s been around since the 1980s. At least minimum so okay, my loves, be good to yourselves. Be good to each other drink plenty of water. Alright, I’ll talk to you later. Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Chris godinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.
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