Debunking the Alienators Expert Witness and Therapist


by Linda Gottlieb

Debunking the Alienators expert witness and therapist by Linda Gottlieb.docx

The “expert” witness and the therapist that the alienator hires is generally a psychologist, who not have expertise in family dynamics unless specialized training above and beyond the Ph.D training is obtained. To disqualify the “expert,” the following questions could be asked at trial:

In your professional opinion, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, what is the influence of parents on children prior to adolescence? (this should be a high #, and if not, the expert/therapist should be asked to justify a low # eg. who has the great influences.)

And after adolescence? (this should be a relatively high # at least)

Do you believe that parental conflict generally has an adverse effect on children and/or causes the child to react negatively in response? Please rate that effect on a scale of 1-10. (this should be a high #, as even the lay person would acknowledge the impact of parental hostility on children. If the expert doesn’t give a high #, he/she should be asked to justify the answer.)

So you would (or would not—depending on prior answers) agree with Christopher Barden, PhD., JD., who has received 2 national research awards in psychology and a law degree with honors from Harvard Law school, when he stated, “There can be no credible controversy about the power of parents to influence children.” (The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome, p. 420)?

Would you also agree with Barden when he stated that custody cases require “the critical obligation to carefully review the influence of parents, therapists or other adults on the attitudes, beliefs and memories of children.” (pp. 419-432)?

Could you describe what some of these effects are?

Can you give some examples as to how children get caught up in their parents’conflicts.

You have just confirmed that you recognize the great influence of parents on children as well as the detrimental affects on children due to being exposed to the parental conflict. Yet I did not hear you express how you acquired your expertise in family dynamics. In fact, is it true that you are not licensed in your state of X as a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Can you state what training in family dynamics you had in your education for your psychology degree? (I can confirm that they had no more than family therapy 101, IF they had that at all. The LMFT degree, in virtually all states, requires 60 credits, including 2 internships in the provision of family therapy services.)

Are you aware of your X State’s criteria for obtaining this expertise and being qualified as a specialist for the licensing of a marriage and family therapist. How much of that criteria do you meet?

So could you please state how you are qualified as an expert in assessing family dynamics as well as the adverse effects on children resulting from the dysfunctional parental dyad?

What has been your experience in the treatment of families?

What is the difference between individual therapy and family therapy?

What % do you practice in family therapy and in individual therapy?

How many families have you treated?

How do you justify individual treatment of the child outside of assessing the influence of the parental conflicts on the child?

Have you published books and/or articles on family therapy?

Are the X children being reared in a family?

Could the behaviors and reactions of the children in this case be indicative of being triangled into the parental conflicts?

What causes the symptoms for which you are treating the X children? (Individual therapists will be unable to account for the causes of a child symptoms because there is no empirical evidence for the existence of intra-psychic or biochemical disorders. A family therapist, on the other hand, has much empirical evidence as a family’s therapist can see how the child negatively reacts to the parents’ arguing when observing the family in the session.)

What is your empirical evidence for the causes you have just expressed?

Could you describe any parental interactions which have affected the children in this case?

Do you know how the discipline of family therapy labels the family interactional pattern which puts children in the middle of the parental disputes?

(It is called triangulation. Child psychiatrist, Murray Bowen, labeled it the “pathological triangle. ” Indeed, Bowen and was so convinced about the family’s role in creating and maintaining the child’s symptoms, that when he hospitalized the child, he also hospitalized the entire nuclear family.)

Are you aware, Dr. X, that the psychiatrist, Murray Bowen, was so convinced that the parents’ conflict and this triangulation was at the root of the child’s symptoms so that when he hospitalized a child, he simultaneously hospitalized the entire nuclear family?

Have you heard of child psychiatrist, Salvador Minuchin? (In 2007, he was rated by a research study of therapists as being one of the 10 most influential therapists in the history of psychotherapy. He has written more than 11 books on family therapy. There would not be even a single person trained in family therapy or child psychiatry who has not heard of him.)

Do you know what Dr. Minuchin stated about the adverse effects of triangulation on children? (He asserted that it is the basis of virtually all dysfunctional family relationships adversely affecting children, and the concept of triangulation can be readily found in his book entitled, Family Therapy Techniques, 1981. Dr. M actually labeled this triangulation as a cross-generational alliance between the child and a parent who is in conflict with the other parent. This is the key interactional pattern in the PAS family.)

So as you confirmed that the X children are being reared in a family, on what basis do you claim your expertise to justify making recommendations for the X children regarding their relationship with their targeted/alienated parent?

You really don’t have any expertise in family dynamics, do you, to make any assessments and recommendations for the X children and their parental relationships?

You testified that the children in this case have reservations about, fear of, and hatred for their targeted/alienated parent. Can say with any certainty that they were not influenced by their other parent?

How does the pathological triangle or family dynamics in this case influence what the children say and do?

Do you believe that children the age of the X children are cognitively competent and emotionally mature enough to make decisions in their own best interests?

What does Piaget state about the cognitive development of a child the age of: (give age of each child). ——Until the age of adolescence, children do not have the ability to think for themselves, and abstract thinking only begins at age 13. (Piaget wrote the bible on the development of epistemology in children as follows:

0-2 sensorimotor

2-7 preoperational

7-12 concrete operational

13-adulthood formal operational = abstract thinking.

Given the immature level of these children’s cognitive abilities, how do you distinguish the alienating parent’s influence on them their own ideas and feelings?

Can you rule out with any certainty that the alienating parent is not influencing them adversely against their targeted/alienated parent?

Have you observed the interactions between the children and their targeted/alienated parent?

How can you diagnose for a relationship you have never or virtually never observed?

Would a doctor recommend heart bypass surgery without having examined the heart?

Should a child decide whether to go to school? To medical appointments?

Would you say that deciding whether to have a relationship with a parent is as at least a significant decision as attending school or medical appointments?

Then why should they decide on whether to visit a parent or to have a relationship with a parent?

What specific examples did the child cite to justify the adverse opinions about and refusal to have a relationship with the targeted/alienated parent? (Generally these (experts) do not follow-up with questions for specific information. If they do, they an answer like “She/he lies. She/he is annoying, etc.” The expert should be questioned about her/his willingness to accept such frivolous rationalizations.)

How reliable is client self reporting? (It is not at all, and we accept that as truth in the mental health profession.)

Would it not be logical to conclude that the immature emotional and cognitive development of a child would make their reporting even less reliable?

Do you know any research on the effects on children if a parent is not meaningfully involved in their lives?

When a parent is significantly minimized and excluded from a child’s life, what do you think children fill that emotional vacuum with?

(Educate the “expert” about such research by using the statistics from Fatherneed and the SPARC statistics. A summary is in the PAS help file which I previously sent to anyone who had requested it.)

Would you not then conclude that having a parent eradicated from a child’s life leads to emotional distress and behavioral difficulties for the child?

And if such eradication was facilitated, either consciously or unconsciously, by the other parent, would you not consider that to be emotional child abuse?

Are you aware of any tactics the alienating parent/residential parent employed to interfere with the visits and/or relationship with the child and the targeted parent? (This is a case specific question and should be supported by documentation from the particular case by citing examples of the alienating behaviors.)

You made reference to the alienator’s many allegations against the other parent. Do you have no independent verification of those allegations? You really don’t, do you?

Why would you accept such allegations carte blanche without independent verification?

In your professional opinion, what would be the justification or motivations of the residential parent for not encouraging the relationship between the child and the other parent?

Do you believe that children are generally healthier if 2 parents remained meaningfully in their lives?

You have recommended that contact between the child and the nonresidential parent the only gradually reinstated? What is the research that supports this gradual reunification? (There is none! The propensity for the judicial system to only gradually reinstate visits is not supported by any research whatsoever.)

How do you explain that children of military families and who never met their deployed parent, excitedly run to, hug, smile at their deployed parent when that parent returns home from deployment?

Is it not true that it is because the caretaking parent talks up the deployed parent and enthusiastically encourages the child to greet the deployed parent explains it?

Is it not also true that the psychological and instinctual need and desire to have a relationship with a parent is so overwhelmingly strong that children will easily accept meaningful involvement from a parent from whom they have been estranged?

I have no more questions of this witness.


Surviving the Borderline Father:

Growing up with one or more parents affected with BPD causes significant damage to the child’s sense of self. Relief can only be achieved by stopping the abuse. This is done by installing consistent boundaries that do not allow for this type of abuse. Once this is achieved, healing of the self can occur by recognizing the damage done by the abuse and recasting the relationship in more realistic terms.

The nub of the problem is that if you have been raised by a Borderline mother or father, these behavioral scenes are your normal. First you need to step outside the abusive relationship sufficiently to realize what’s been done to you. After all, children don’t ask for abuse from the people they love the most in this world. Then, psychotherapy can help with objectifying what’s going on, setting good limits, and being the best son or daughter that you choose to be under the circumstances.

It’s a fight that’s worth the effort.


Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting

Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting

C.A. Childress, Psy.D. (2015)

Click here to access the document:-


Parental alienation and shared delusional disorders

By: ALISON M. HERU, M.D. APRIL 28, 2015

Disturbances in family emotional involvement are best understood at the extremes. At one end, there is extreme cutoff in the controversial diagnosis of parental alienation. At the other end is the extreme enmeshment in shared delusional disorders. What are the mechanisms that allow these conditions to develop? Helping families understand these mechanisms can help them change the trajectory of the family, by moving toward the middle, toward appropriate family emotional involvement.

How does enmeshment begin?

Good parents want to instill good morals, values, and behaviors in their children. Good parents want to teach their children to be good citizens, have good manners, and to treat others with respect. However, sometimes parents desire something more from their children; they want their children to continue a family business, be part of their religious organization, or to be “just like us.” Parental influence is easier when communities are isolated. When shared family beliefs are pervasive and impede the individuation of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, these families are considered enmeshed and undifferentiated. Enmeshed families are more susceptible to indoctrination. Indoctrination is easier when there is a high level of emotional involvement, meaning that children are kept close, and differentiation and individuation are discouraged.
Using a child for one’s own needs is exploitative;however, many parents might not understand how their own unconscious psychological needs affect their children. This is seen clearly when children are rejected because they are “different.” For example, some parents have stated that a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sexual orientation is “against their religion,” and demand that their child conform to the family beliefs and norms. In these cases, the adolescent or young adult has to decide whether to leave the family, conform to its beliefs, or hide his or her identity.

Emotional overinvolvement in undifferentiated enmeshed families is central to the diagnosis of shared delusional disorder. One example of a shared delusion is delusional parasitosis. This is a rare delusional disorder where the patient is convinced of being infested with worms, insects, parasites, or bacteria while no objective evidence exists to support this belief. Somatic delusions are shared with one or more members of a family in 5%-15% of cases (J. Behav. Health 2014;3:200-2).
Salvador Minuchin, Ph.D., and his colleagues outlined the impact of enmeshment in families where a child has an eating disorder. They described children so overprotected that there was a virtual moat around the family system, blocking out the world. Interpersonal differentiation in an enmeshed family system was poor, with identity fusion between parent and child. In this dynamic, the child is unable to establish a clear identity apart from the parent. Orthorexia, a term coined in 1997 by Dr. Steven Bratman, is defined as an obsession with “healthy or righteous eating.” The obsession with healthy foods can be structured within family habits. When enmeshment and family isolation are present, orthorexia can show up as a folie à famille (Heru, personal experience).
More exotic examples are known by the French terms folie à deux and folie à famille. Dr. Ernest-Charles Lasegue (Ann. Med. Psychol. 1877;18:321) was the first person to describe folie à deux. He stated that the inducer created the delusions from his/her psychosis and imposed them upon a “passive” individual; the induced subject was not truly psychotic but instead “absurdly credulous.” Several varieties are described. Folie imposée is the one we typically think of, where the naive individual has a resolution of symptoms when removed from the dominant person. Folie simultanée is where simultaneous and identical psychoses occur in two predisposed people who have had a long and intimate association with each other. There is usually no dominant partner, and separation does not alleviate the symptomatology. Folie communiquée involves the transfer of psychotic delusions after a long period of resistance by the passive partner. The recipient of the delusions subsequently develops his own delusions, independent of the primary subject’s, and these persist following separation.
Folie induite, a variant of folie communiquée, is diagnosed when new delusions are added to old ones under the influence of another deluded patient. The secondary person enriches the newly acquired delusions. Another method of classification is based on the number of individuals involved: folie à trois (three), folie à quatre (four), folie à cinq (five), and, as mentioned earlier, folie àfamille.

What is the mechanism for enmeshment? Several predisposing factors can occur: social isolation, the presence of a naive or “absurdly credulous” person, and in the case of relatives, a shared genetic predisposition. It is most common for the dominant person to drive the belief that is then accepted by dependent family members. In the case of children, there is also identification with a parent and a lack of drive for separation.

Role of alienation
At the opposite end of the spectrum is alienation, most publicly described in the disputed diagnosis of parental alienation syndrome (PAS) (The Parental Alienation Syndrome, 2nd ed., Cresskill, N.J.:Creative Therapeutics Inc., 1998). PAS sometimes arises in the context of child-custody disputes. The primary manifestation is the child’s unjustified denigration of one parent. According to Dr. William Bernet and Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D., PAS features “abnormal, maladaptive behavior (refusal to have a relationship with a loving parent) that is driven by an abnormal mental state (the false belief that the rejected parent is evil, dangerous, or unworthy of love)” (J. Am. Acad. Psychiatry Law 2013;41:98-104). There is considered to be brainwashing of the child by one parent against the other parent in order to gain leverage in a court of law.
What is the mechanism in alienation? Enmeshment and overidentification of the child with the favored custodial parent is common. The child depends on this adult for his survival. The process of divorce can increase enmeshment with the custodial parent. The parent might reinforce the enmeshment by instilling fear of the “other” parent. The belief that the “other parent” is “bad” is transmitted through conscious and unconscious mechanisms.
The conscious mechanism is direct expression of anger toward the alienated parent. The anger might be motivated by rejection or as revenge for rejection with a desire to punish. The unconscious mechanisms include projective identification. In this situation, anger is seen as being embodied within the “other.” The projecting parent who continues to “hate” keeps the children tied to her out of projected fear of the “other.” The parent who uses projection is likely to have a primitive character structure. The child of the narcissistic custodial parent then acts out the shame and rage at the failure of the marriage.
These domestic tragedies have been around since the beginning of time. In Greek mythology, Medea, having been abandoned by Jason, took her revenge by murdering her two children. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is a paraphrase from William Congreve’s The Mourning Bride (1697).

What does the DSM-5 say?
Are these disorders and syndromes “real” psychiatric illnesses? The DSM-5 no longer separates delusional disorder from shared delusional disorder. If criteria are met for delusional disorder, that diagnosis is made. If the diagnosis cannot be made but shared beliefs are present, the diagnosis “other specified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder” is used.
Those who advocated for inclusion of PAS cited the benefits that follow from a legitimate diagnosis such as legitimatizing problems that family therapists and psychotherapists encounter, allowing insurance coverage, and stimulating research. However, PAS was rejected as not having a good enough scientific basis.

Managing affective involvement
How does the psychiatrist manage families where emotional involvement is extreme? Psychiatrists first need to decide whether the family is capable of making changes and is willing to work on structural change within the family. If not, we can help patients remove themselves from destructive family situations. If the patient in your office wants to leave the family system or minimize the impact of the family system, individual psychotherapy that identifies the impact of family dysfunction, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can be used as a type of deprogramming.

If you think there is capacity for family change, the following strategies are helpful:
1. Education about appropriate differentiation
According to Dr. Murray Bowen, one of the main tasks of individuation is finding the right level of differentiation from parents. At one end of the differentiation spectrum is emotional fusion, and at the other end is emotional cutoff (disconnection between family members or refusal to engage with certain family members) (see “Family Evaluation,” New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1988).
When family enmeshment is present, we can educate the family about individuation. In this way, the family develops a greater intellectual understanding of how they function, compared to their cultural norm. The family may benefit from creating a genogram that clarifies patterns of emotional involvement in their family of origin. Look for intergenerational patterns, and discuss how emotional differentiation occurred in prior generations. Teach the family about the emotional tasks of differentiation.
2. If there is alienation, parse out the reasons
Clarify conscious mechanisms that force the child to reject the other parent. Help the parent understand the consequences for the child in having no access to the other parent. Again, using a genogram helps identify intergenerational patterns, such as emotional cutoffs. Explore the reason for prior family emotional cutoffs. Identify typical patterns in the family for managing anger and conflicts.
In cases of divorce of the custodial parent, look at how anger is managed and stages of grief. Look for the presence of narcissistic injury. Discuss what a good divorce is and the healthiest way for the child to grow up. Help the parent manage and process her own affect without contaminating the child. It is not the role of the child to be the parental caregiver.
Help the child see that there was a loving relationship in the past and that new family goals can be created. The child also might experience anger and grief, and it is important to educate the child about how to manage those feelings appropriately rather than using blame and alienation. Help the child be empowered by positive ideals rather than negative emotions.
Psychiatrists often avoid working with these families, and perceive them as stuck and unable to change. This might be true for some families but certainly not all. Many families find themselves in situations that they do not understand and with problems they need help resolving. Educating and working with families who are stuck and who ask for and want change can change the life trajectory of many people.
Dr. Heru is with the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver, Aurora. She is editor of “Working With Families in Medical Settings: A Multidisciplinary Guide for Psychiatrists and Other Health Professionals” (New York: Routledge, 2013).

Cloud 11 (1)


Mind Control Trick

What is it?

The mind control trick that distinguishes mind control from brainwashing is in how the manipulator is perceived by the ‘victim’. In brainwashing, the manipulator is an obvious enemy. Often physical force is involved. The person may be in a position where their life depends on conforming to the wishes of the manipulator.

The mind control trick is that the victim thinks the manipulator is a friend, or a teacher, someone who has their best interests at heart.

This means the manipulated person is a willing participant, they believe they are being helped and taken care of. They believe they are making their own decisions. This makes it more dangerous than holding a gun to someone’s head!!

We explained here how a psychopath will very rapidly create an intimate bondby assessing their victim’s personality and creating a persona that will be attractive to that personality.

The psychopath gives 4 messages.

  • 1. I like who you are
  • 2. I am just like you
  • 3. Your secrets are safe with me
  • 4. I am the perfect friend, partner, companion, lover… for you!

Let’s have a closer look at how and why these messages deceive the victim into thinking the psychopath is a friend.

I like who you are

We all want to be liked. We want to be noticed and we want to be accepted. We all like compliments. Having someone notice us (when most people are preoccupied with themselves) is flattering in and of itself.

Accepting and reinforcing someone’s persona is an incredibly powerful method to get them to like you. And psychopaths will do it in a verycharming, and disarming, manner! They are experts in this mind control trick.

I am just like you

Based on what the psychopath knows about you, from what you said, but more importantly from his assessment of you, the psychopath begins to share details about his own life. It seems like he’s letting down his guard. However,frequently it’s just lies. Because the things he shares with you are issues that are important to you. This begins to strengthen the bond.

Your secrets are safe with me

Because they are sharing ‘intimate details’ with you, it’s easy for you to let down your guard and to begin to talk about yourself. After all, you feel that you’re in the company of somebody who actually understands you, whounderstands you at a deeper level than most people do. You trust that this person is different and you get further sucked in by this mind control trick.

The psychopath is fulfilling another one of our basic psychophysical needs, safety and security.

I am the perfect friend, partner, companion, lover… for you!

So you think you found somebody who really understands you and accepts you for who you are, ‘warts and all’. The more information you give the psychopath, the more the persona he projects seems to be a good match for you.

He builds a strong reputation of him in your mind, perhaps with similar weaknesses, perhaps with abilities that you would like to have. The relationship is different and special in many ways.

The psychopath has done his work to get to this point, and now your fate is linked to this psychopathic bond.

As mentioned, this can occur in one-to-one relationships with a psychopath or narcissist, or in group settings.

Is this not normal?

So why are these considered basic mind control techniques? Don’t these things occur between husband and wife, for example? Of course they do.

The difference is that the psychopathic relationship is not real. The persona of the psychopath is manufactured. As far as the psychopath is concerned, there is no such relationship. He has simply manufactured it to manipulate you. He has told whatever lies necessary to convince you of one thing, while he is organizing something else.

One psychopath said “(In a relationship…) if you don’t know who is leading,you are being led by the nose.”

That means there was no informed choice on your part. The psychopath chose you deliberately because of the benefits to him. You have no idea what’s actually happening.

It won’t last…

These relationships don’t last, in two ways. As soon as you’re hooked, the psychopath changes and does only the bare minimum to maintain the relationship. All the initial ‘ supposed’ care, attention and love may disappear. For example, if a psychopath builds such a relationship with a man and then marries him, her behavior towards him can change dramatically, to manipulative and abusive.

The second manner in which it does not last is when the psychopath has no further use for the person and discards them. Literally. The person is left bewildered, not understanding what happened, and even wanting the psychopath back!

It’s all about power!

These relationships have a power imbalance, with the power obviously being with the psychopath. This is the objective of this mind control trick – to win and keep the power and control over others.

(The power imbalance means that there is no informed consent in sexual relationships where one party is under mind control. This means it is legally sexual aggression or sexual abuse.)

Most people like to think that there is some good in everyone. Remember how we form first impressions based on our beliefs and values? Most people expect others to be good, respectful and honest in their relationships, and this is what they look for in others.

One of the reasons socialized psychopaths are so successful is that normal people don’t believe that such evil exists. Evil is a common word in the description of psychopaths, because it’s not simply a matter of taking advantage of other people, these are social predators hunting for victims.Like reptiles, they have no conscience!

There are quite happy to use this mind control trick to abuse people psychologically, emotionally, sexually, physically and financially, all without guilt or remorse, or the slightest consideration for their victims!


If you feel that you are in a relationship that is almost perfect, and it has happened very fast, use this as a signal that you need to stop and re-evaluate what is happening. This is an opportunity to stop mind control before you are badly affected.


Are there psychopathic children?

support group


How to Spot a Pro-Social Psychopath

This is the “Lackadaisical Lawson List” of pro-social psychopathic habits. These criteria are based on the life experiences of growing up with a violent psychopathic father and subsequently, being (unknowingly) married to a nonviolent high-functioning sociopath.[1] The husband had a “devil-may-care” attitude and perpetrated a fraud for over 10 years. This was made possible by the victim’s early childhood training to ignore dysfunctional behaviors that were not violent, but later revealed as emotionally damaging. If all of these criteria are met, then you are dealing with a psychopath, also known as a covert narcissist.


You probably love this “nice” person because you pay no attention to their idiosyncrasies (inconspicuous red flags) – the subtle clues that they have no conscience, and they will betray you on a whim. Socialized Psychopaths (aka Sociopaths or Malignant Narcissists) fool everyone, and only show their true colors after their schemes are uncovered, or they get bored with you.


  1. Be sensitive to contradictions. They end a conversation with a statement that opposes what they said at the beginning. They talk about the problems of the world like a good citizen, yet break the rules without apology, and are just so happy go lucky.
  2. Double-check their (tsunami of) stories. They talk (boast or demean) nonstop about the people in their lives because they (are property) are extensions of themselves. No one is off limits so they even lie about their children. Mainly they specialize in half-truths and disinformation. They have no problem keeping important information away from you.
  3. Pay attention to the quick lane changes in conversation. (One second they are talking about their kid’s party, then a half-second later, they are talking about their friend’s dead cat and veterinary history.)
  4. Look for cold, “robotic” reactions to what should be emotionally troublesome events. Ex: They will state verbally their disappointment, but it’s just words, no show of emotion nor corresponding action. They will make no effort to resolve an issue, no matter how much they yammer on about it. (They feel no sorrow. They have no shame. Their feelings don’t get hurt. This also makes the mild-mannered psychopath incredibly easy to live with. They treat spouses and family members like roommates.)
  5. Track each time they bug you with questions about how you would act in certain (off the wall) situations: “What would you do if I…fill in the blank”. Ex: “What would you do if you came out of your apartment and saw me hiding in the bushes?” *This is something a normal person would not need to ask.* If you respond like they are idiots for asking, then they act like it was just a joke. But, they will ask you another odd thing later, and again and again…
  6. Take note of their scapegoating. Scapegoating is a term that’s usually associated with assigning blame, but psychopaths also expertly assign credit where little or none is due. This gives them a saintly aura, but the reality is that it’s all lies regardless.
  7. Analyze their desire to move quickly into a close relationship; calling you endearing terms right away, insisting that you should freely bring them into your circle of trust, wanting you to share living quarters or share a business venture very soon after meeting... all very seductive, and ego-boosting for you.
  8. Observe the “Poor Me, I’m the Victim” tone and words that they use to get your sympathy, which can fool you into being controlled/manipulated by them and giving them stuff (time, special favors, gifts...). They also use this pity play when they need an excuse as to why they didn’t act responsibly, or didn’t give you a birthday present.
  9. Notice a pattern of hot-cold-hot-cold-hot attraction and attention to you. When they give you the cold shoulder, they leave you inwardly begging for more attention. When they finally bring the heat back, you experience maximum elation and feel high from the boost of dopamine (the “love” chemical) and endorphins. They manipulate you into pretty much being addicted to them, so you repeatedly forgive whatever transgressions they perpetrated against you.
  10. Be wary of their number of claims that “There was a misunderstanding”, because they know that phrase restores your trust, and eases their way past you catching them in a lie.


  • A psychopath gives 4 messages: 1. I like who you are. 2. I am just like you. 3. Your secrets are safe with me. 4. I am the perfect friend/lover for you. This is how a psychopath will very rapidly create an intimate bond with his prey.[2]
  • Psychopaths (as predators) target genuinely nice people. If you are victimized, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, it means you are one of the best human beings.
  • Psychopaths (as parasites) test boundaries to see if you are a self-sacrificing people-pleaser. They start by asking for small personal favors that make you feel included, but inconvenience you slightly (“Give me a wake-up call”, “Help me with my job search”, etc.)
  • Psychopaths are the most fun people to hang out with because they are always looking for new forms of entertainment, and invite you along for the ride. They will take you to Disney World and tell you it’s a special treat just for you, when it really is where they were going anyway, regardless of your accompanying them. Nothing is ever for you because neurologically, psychopaths can only be self-serving.[3]



  • Never give your trust freely. Beware anyone who asks you to do so. Trust must be earned.
  • The most overlooked sign of psychopathy is “Eerily calm demeanor”.
  • Do not confront a psychopath about your discovery of their psychopathy. That would be like backing a wild animal into a corner.
  • Be careful of confiding in their “nice” family members, since psychopathy is genetic.[4]



  1. ↑
  2. Dr. David McDermott– The mind control trick is that the victim thinks the manipulator is a friend
  3. ↑ Neuroscience: An fMRI study of affective perspective taking in individuals with psychopathy: imagining another in pain does not evoke empathy
  4. ↑ “Is Psychopathy Genetic?” at Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation

See Tina’s website for more info on this subject:



Blinded by the light…

Karen Woodall

This week I am pursuing my work on the shadow theme and looking at all things not seen in alienation because they are lurking in the shadows caused by the blinding light shone by the alienating parent.  Light and shadow has been a real metaphor for me recently as I have assisted in several successful reunions of children and their rejected parents and have noticed in all of them that the light in the children’s eyes has been restored through that.  This light, which to my eye looks like the liberation of the child’s repressed love for a parent, is so clearly missing in children who are alienated that I have recently begun to photograph the faces of children with whom I work to determine the before and after difference.  Not because I think it is something that we can scientifically rely upon, but because it is such a startling…

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Technically “psychotherapy” is not counseling. Psychotherapy is designed

to alleviate psychological disturbances. An experienced therapist skilled in

parental alienation and narcissism “can bring a neutral perspective to family

conflicts and can challenge distortions of reality and encourage more realistic

thinking . . . If allegations of abuse accompany alienation, avoid therapists

who believe that all such allegations must be true. You can recognize such

therapists by their opinions that ‘children never lie’ or ‘where there’s smoke,

there’s fire.’ Either they are unaware of the professional literature in this area,

or they have a personal axe to grind” (Warshak, 2001, pp. 247–259).

Much of the literature regarding parental alienation recommends legal

and therapeutic interventions. This largely depends upon the category of the

alienation mild, moderate, or extreme. The categorization or extreme extent

of the alienation also depends on psychopathology of the loved parent, that

is, narcissism. Most therapists recommend for mild parental alienation cases:

. . . that court orders for visitation are the only intervention necessary.

These orders are assumed to reassure the primary caretaker and the child

that their bond will not be threatened, that the order for visitation will

alleviate the child’s guilt, and that clear and precise court orders will

lower the conflict between the parents. The loved parent is not assumed

to have any severe emotional problems. (Lund, 1995)

The best part of these cases fall in the “moderate” parental alienation

group. In these cases Lund extrapolates:

. . . it is assumed that the loved parent gives verbal and nonverbal cues to

the child that encourages them to act out angrily against the hated parent

or to be afraid of that parent. In these cases, Gardner recommends a

combination of orders for visitation plus therapy. Therapy is not designed

to increase parents’ insight, but rather to structure the visitation. Therapy

aims at helping the non-custodial parent become tough-skinned about the

child’s rejection, deprogramming the child, and confronting the alienation

tactics of the primary caregiver. (Lund, 1995)

426 D. M. Summers & C. C. Summers

In cases of chronic and severe parental alienation, which are very rare,

therapists often recommend a change or reversal of custody (provided the

child will not physically harm the target parent) or the child be removed from

the alienator and placed in a neutral zone, where reintegration can take place

without NPA hindrance.

Although this appears to be a drastic recommendation . . . typically, in

these cases the primary caretaker has severe psychopathology, which also

affects other aspects of parenting. For example, the loved parent has rigid,

paranoid thinking that severely limits the child’s ability to differentiate and

mature in other aspects of life. The change in custody recommendation

also assumes that the other parent is more emotionally healthy (Lund,


Lund pulls no punches when she explains the link between the narcissist

and the parental alienator. She excoriates the behavior of both:

PAS usually involves a hated father and a loved mother . . . Rarely, the

loved parent is the father and the hated one the mother. In this scenario,

the child, usually a boy, identifies with the father who is contemptuous

of the mother . . . The father is narcissistic, successful, and looks down on

those not as successful or as righteous as he is. The mother has usually

done something abandoning . . . , or has behaved in a way that the child

labels as morally wrong (usually with help in labeling by the father).

(Lund, 1995)

So where does the fault lie? In similar fashion to that of Adam, Eve,

and the Serpent, NPAs deceive themselves and inevitably pass the buck by

blaming the “Snake,” or their former spouse, their family, the stepparent,

their attorney, the court, and eventually even their own child. Nevertheless,

for the target parent happiness is the best revenge, as the real fault lays with

these emotionally devoid impedes who refuse to compromise and acquire

the much needed therapy due to their unadulterated arrogance.

Advice for the abused, Robert Burns (1759–1796) once stated: “In idle

wishes fools supinely stay; Be there a will,—then wisdom finds a way.”

Remember, “Deceit is in haste, but honesty can wait a fair leisure.”



A NPA may exonerate their version of “shared parenting,” but in reality, they

practice sole custody with near or total termination of target parent contact

and rights with the children. If the alienator has physical custody (especially

long distance) of the child or teen and the alienation has hit an acute level, it

may become a danger for the target parent to have the child anywhere near

them. Frequently, the target is forced into supervised visitation on frivolous

grounds of “interfering” with the narcissistic alienator’s manipulative rela-
tionship with the children. NPAs often fuel their own behavior by falsely

complaining to the world about the target parent and often conceal the truth

that most of them have joint custody, but mislead others to believe it is sole

custody. If the target parent is upset or reacts angrily at the alienator’s be-
havior, this equates in their narcissistic mind as “proof” that the target parent

is lying. The reality is often that the NPA lives by the motto that former

General Alexander Haig once so eloquently stated: “That’s not a lie; it’s a

terminological inexactitude and a tactical misrepresentation.”

Liz Richards author of the Washington Times commentary on April 23,

2006 and headlined as: “The Other Side of Fathers’ Rights Controversy” re-

Many professional statistical studies show high win rates for fathers ac-
cused of family abuse along with low rates of false allegations against

fathers, while little is said about the known fact disputing fathers are the

most vicious false accusers. (Richards, 2006, p. 26)

Unadulterated Arrogance 421

Richards expands on the fact that in their 1996 report “Domestic Vio-
lence and the Courtroom,” the American Judges Association in Williamsburg,

Virginia, noted that:

. . . wife batterers and child abusers convince family court officials that

their ex-wives are ‘unfit’ or ‘undeserving’ of sole custody in roughly 70

percent of contested custody battles. Since then, at least 23 states have

conducted gender-bias studies; all with similar findings. (Richards, 2006,

p. 26)

While it is true that most violent narcissists are men who will often re-
quest a protective order or file assault charges against their female victims.

Unfortunately, the courts have paid very little attention to the high rate of

dismissed complaints against mothers and stepparents, initiated by fathers,

because we live in a world where justice can be radically lopsided and nar-
cissists will use the system to the maximum.

Researcher Joanna Ashmun, whose work Narcissistic Personality Disor-
der (NPD): How to Recognize a Narcissist reveals:

The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They

do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a

breath. It can be trivial (e.g., about what they want for lunch) or it can

be serious (e.g., about whether or not they love you). When you ask

them which one they mean, they’ll deny ever saying the first one, though

it may literally have been only seconds since they said it—really, how

could you think they’d ever have said that? You need to have your head

examined! They will contradict FACTS.

They will lie to you about things that you did together or about what

opposing counsel and judges state. They will misquote you to yourself.

If you disagree with them, they’ll say you’re lying, making stuff up, or

are crazy. (Ashmun, 2004)

For comparative demonstration, it is interesting to consider Ashmun’s

chart and compare puerile-like characteristics of the NPD and the NPA with

normal six-year-olds.


Furthermore, Joanna Ashmun accurately, and yet provocatively reminds us


Narcissists lack a mature conscience and seem to be restrained only by

fear of being punished or of damaging their reputations—though, again,

this can be obscure to casual observation if you don’t know what they

think their reputations are, and what they believe others think of them

may be way out of touch with reality. Their moral intelligence is about

at the level of a bright five- or six-year-old; the only rules they recognize

are things that have been specifically required, permitted, prohibited,

or disapproved of by authority figures they know personally. Narcissists

can’t be counted on not to do something just because it’s wrong, illegal,

or will hurt someone, as long as they think that they can get away with

it or that you can’t stop them or punish them (i.e., they don’t care what

you think unless they’re afraid of you). (Ashmun, 2004)