Angela - posted on 10/02/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )
My husband and I have been dealing with constant manipulation of his son by his biological mother. As of a few weeks ago, we hadn't know such a term existed. When we educated ourselves about it-we realized this syndrome hits the nail on the head describing it.
What is PAS?
Gardner's definition of PAS is:
1. The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes.
2. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification.
3. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) of a parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.
Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.
What is the child's part in PAS?
Gardner notes that the PAS is more than brainwashing or programming, because the child has to actually participate in the denigrating of the alienated parent. This is done in primarily the following eight ways:
The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behavior.
The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger.
The child is sure of himself or herself and doesn't demonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for the alienated parent, only hate.
The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this.
The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent.
The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent.
The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced.
Animosity is spread to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.
In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brain- washed against the alienated parent. The alienator can truthfully say that the child doesn't want to spend any time with this parent, even though he or she has told him that he has to, it is a court order, etc. The alienator typically responds, "There isn't anything that I can do about it. I'm not telling him that he can't see you."
Our now 14 year old son no longer wants to continue with his visits and is completely brainwashed by his mother.
Any other families besides us going through this? Support is much needed.