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In your experience could this this Parental Alienation Syndrome?

4ever's picture

I will leave the diagnosing to the family counselor, but I have been reading up on Parental Alienation after learning about it here. This article lists 8 signs and symptoms. My stepdaughter has only 2. She says her mom is "perfect" and she wouldn't change a thing about her. She's adamant about that these days, says her mom is her favorite person in the world. Now this could just be normal bonding between a girl and her mom at this age. Or it could be something else. What do you think? also she says that her mom had nothing to do with her decision to want to be with her mom full time after 7 years of being with her dad/mom 50/50. her mom was adamant about that as well with my husband, said that she had nothing to do with their daughter wanting to change things. That could be true or it could a sign of Pas, according to this article just like saying that one parent is perfect. What do you think? 2 signs out of 8 enough to be concerned? I bolded the ones that she has.

Eight Manifestations of Parental Alienation Syndrome

1. A Campaign of Denigration
Alienated children are consumed with hatred of the targeted parent. They deny any positive past experiences and reject all contact and communication. Parents who were once loved and valued seemingly overnight become hated and feared.

2. Weak, Frivolous, and Absurd Rationalizations
When alienated children are questioned about the reasons for their intense hostility toward the targeted parent, the explanations offered are not of the magnitude that typically would lead a child to reject a parent. These children may complain about the parent’s eating habits, food preparation, or appearance. They may also make wild accusations that could not possibly be true.

3. Lack of Ambivalence About the Alienating Parent
Alienated children exhibit a lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support. That parent is perceived as perfect, while the other is perceived as wholly flawed. If an alienated child is asked to identify just one negative aspect of the alienating parent, he or she will probably draw a complete blank. This presentation is in contrast to the fact that most children have mixed feelings about even the best of parents and can usually talk about each parent as having both good and bad qualities.

4. The “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon
Even though alienated children appear to be unduly influenced by the alienating parent, they will adamantly insist that the decision to reject the targeted parent is theirs alone. They deny that their feelings about the targeted parent are in any way influenced by the alienating parent and often invoke the concept of free will to describe their decision.

5. Absence of Guilt About the Treatment of the Targeted Parent
Alienated children typically appear rude, ungrateful, spiteful, and cold toward the targeted parent, and they appear to be impervious to feelings of guilt about their harsh treatment. Gratitude for gifts, favors, or child support provided by the targeted parent is nonexistent. Children with parental alienation syndrome will try to get whatever they can from that parent, declaring that it is owed to them.

6. Reflexive Support for the Alienating Parent in Parental Conflict
Intact families, as well as recently separated and long-divorced couples, will have occasion for disagreement and conflict. In all cases, the alienated child will side with the alienating parent, regardless of how absurd or baseless that parent’s position may be. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with interparental conflicts. Children with parental alienation syndrome have no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view. Nothing the targeted parent could do or say makes any difference to these children.

7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios
Alienated children often make accusations toward the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted from the alienating parent. Indications that a scenario is borrowed include the use of words or ideas that the child does not appear to understand, speaking in a scripted or robotic fashion, as well as making accusations that cannot be supported with detail.

8. Rejection of Extended Family
Finally, the hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are suddenly and completely avoided and rejected.

4ever's picture

She's 12. She's been with her dad 50/50 since she was 5. She's really close with her dad, they have a great relationship. She and I get along well, we always have. But I noticed she's been distant the past few months. I told my husband about it and we thought it was just hormones. But now we know that it was something else (and hormones probably!).

nunya1983's picture

I would agree, I hope my kids see me in such a positive light. If she was saying that her dad is bad or she doesn't want to see her dad that would be parental alienation.but every child is allowed to think good things about their parents.

AllySkoo's picture

Nah, I don't think it's PAS. She doesn't even really have two full "signs" - while she might say BM is "perfect", she also doesn't see dad as "broken" which is the other half of that one.

Is this the girl whose mom had cancer? If so, I can REALLY see where she's coming from. She probably could stand to see a therapist, potentially losing your mom to cancer is scary shit, but I don't think there's anything "wrong" there.

Jsmom's picture

Not PAS. Now if BM tells her to lie to you about stuff and constantly undermines your household and becomes the Disney parent, then you have a problem. Don't look for problems until they are there. They come easily enough, without us looking for them.

goingcrazyhere's picture

The American psychological association has on numerous occasions stated that there is no such thing as parental alienation syndrome...
This is a made up disorder by crazy paranoid dads who want to believe that they are "equal" to the primary attachment parent (moms or dads)...

It is illegal in most courts to even bring up such accusations;

Now do I think some parents like to try to brain wash or sabatoge the other parents relationship with the children? Yes
Do I think children are that stupid? No. I don't think you can alienate a child who is truly connected to their parents and has a strong primary attachment. So I let my ex keep blabbing as my 3 year old still loves me and has yet to feel attachment or security with the hate spewing parent.

goingcrazyhere's picture

I think you should review the literature and the actual research associated with PAS... It's a big joke it's the vaccination study linking autism to mmr of the psychological world..

As an almost psychologist I think it's truly absurd to throw around a myth like PAS...

As a parent whose had my ex husband try to "poison" my son.. I can say that if you have a healthy loving and caring relationship with your child no one can destroy that for you.

I am not saying parents don't try to poison their kids against each other but kids arn't stupid we all know that.

nunya1983's picture

So you really think that parents can't turn their kids away from the other parent?

On numerous occasions if a bm talks about, "well I miss you so much when you are gone. I wish daddy didn't have to take you away from me for a whole (how ever many days). And then on holidays that the child has with dad bm says, "well you never get to see your grandfather, and he is going to be here for only (how ever long). He doesn't have a lot longer to live. " you don't think that would screw with the kids mind and make that child not really want to spend time with their father?

What about when the mother constantly tells the kids lies about how the father never wanted the baby, and how they tried to make bm have an abortion, and even went as far as pushing the bm down the stairs to get rid of the child. But luckily bm never had a miscarriage. (This was utter bs)

Our when bm exaggerates and "reminds" the child of horrible accidents like when dh let sd run outside and skin her knee and "should have" taken her to the hospital to get stiches, now sd has "horribly scarred legs" and "can never wear shorts again, because of daddy." or she reminds sd how daddy let SM take sd out side and made her to a hand stand and she ended up falling on her face and cracked her eye socket, but by the time bm had her taken to the ER and had an exray,it was healed up so she couldn't really see it (dh was there and we were inside)

goingcrazyhere's picture

High conflict divorces are damaging to kids but PAS as defined is not clinically backed....

What your describing is not healthy for kids and I agree with you on that... But then again new research on high conflict divorces also states that 50/50 is not healthy in such cases and can cause serious issues in the kids... More research is pointing towards less exchanges and less communication between parents etc in such situations... Some custody Evals also recommend using websites to communicate with each other etc..

Sometimes you can't do anything about the other party and they will continue to be conflict prone and hateful all u can do is be a good parent to your child and show them a secure and loving home..
the family courts love to reinforce personality disorders and people who play such games with on going custody and "parent's rights" trump a child's right Sad

goingcrazyhere's picture

So tell me about your experience? Pas as a syndrome is not clinically backed...

Now if you have a parent with mental health issues especially personality disorders you can clearly mess up your kids..

Alienation is not PAS..

And in most cases where PAS is brought up its used against moms especially moms who have gone through domestic violence as a means to further torture them... And scare them.

nunya1983's picture

So you ate saying as a syndrome is not clinically backed. But you aren't saying that parents aren't alienating the children (I apologize if the double negative is confusing).

If that's the case OK, I see what toy are saying. But the alienating the child still damages the child, and that damage should to have a label, as it happens quite frequently.

Glassslipper's picture

What you described sounds like normal bonding.
PAS would be BM brain washing the child with lies about how wicked horrible her father is to the point the child believes the lies and no longer wants anything to do with her father.
Thinking her mom is great is not from brainwashing.

4ever's picture

I don't think it's PAs i think there's some manipulation going on but my stepdaughter loves her dad very much. I just hadn't heard of this term before and wanted to understand it better. Please don't blame me for trying to inform myself!

oneoffour's picture

If you had a choice to start your period with your normal mother or your normal father ... who would you choose? I am not talking about those crazy psycho mothers. Just an ordinary loving mother. And who would you want to be with while your body adjusts? And who do you want to buy your first bra?

I think DH and BM need to go into mediation and sort something out for the next few years. Accept the girl identifies with her mother and as she gets older the dynamics will change. Also SD should not be calling all the shots and she should find out that Daddy isn't going to drive all over creation to coach etc for 1.5 hrs of her time a week.

And it isn't PAS. I saw PAS first hand and hated the manipulation so much I left my job as a nanny after only 6 weeks. BM and BD divorce. Dad was having an affair 'while he was married". Cue various episodes that prove Dad doesn't care about his kids that 'happened' yet Mrthen-3-yrs-old does not actually recall them but Mommy told them so it MUST be true. Fast forward 6 yrs and Mommy is sleeping regularly with a married man who still lives with his wife. But Daddy is still the evil one. He turned up for his Wednesday evening visitation and she had them out at 3 different psychologists. He had tears in his e4yes as he told me "OK, tell her we will change the dinner night through court. Tell her my attorney will be contacting hers." I told her and she said "Fine, I will change therapy night again." I handed in my notice the next day. It was toxic in that house.

4ever's picture

My husband totally gets that it's natural for a girl to bond with her mom more at this age. He's been seeing a family counselor sinc ethe divorce 7 years ago so he understands all this stuff and can be a good dad. He's agreed to his daughter having more time with her mom, and now the mom has changed her mind. Also I've been a stepmom to my stepdaughter for 5 years and she came to me when she wanted to by her first bra and she came to me when she got her first period. What did I do? I told her I'm so happy that she trusts me with such big important stuff but that it's something special between a mom and a daughter. I had her call her mom and ask her to get her a bra. I had her call her mom when she got her first period even though she didn't want to. But I don't think it's PAS either now that i've laerned more about it.

Anna21's picture

The small amount of manipulation, bad mouthing and brain washing can slowly but surely turn into what we term PAS. In our case, it started off slowly, quietly almost but it has absolutely happened. I don't care which standard setter or association decides to accept it or not, for us its an ongoing painful situation for FDH and I. Tell the people who were once thought of as crazy for having chronic fatigue in the 1980' its classified and there is more tolerance for that particular disease. Sufferers used to be called lazy and crazy. Fast forward things to 15-20 years and I can guarantee that the International Classification of Diseases will include PAS.

dood's picture

Wow... interesting stuff. SO's estranged DD18 is completely out of SO's life - DD fits #1 - 7... I'm not sure about #8, but quite possibly that one also. Well, she did now she's just gone never to be heard from again - it's been about a year. Waiting to see what happens with his DS14 -

All the posts I've read on this site I never knew what "PAS" meant. Thanks for this post.