Child Psychological Abuse

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and Parental Alienation (PA) targets innocent children’s minds for abuse by a pathologically disturbed parent. This disturbed parent is commonly labeled as the “alienating parent” or simply, the “alienator.”

I have written and posted in this “Divorce and PAS” section of my blog on the work of Dr. Childress to bring attention of this form of child abuse to the world of psychology and psychiatry. As a mental health professional who has made Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) a speciality in his practice, I have benefited greatly from his expertise.

Dr. Childress has repeatedly emphasized the importance of parents, mental health professionals, and legal professionals who deal with PAS and PA issues with children to become educated on these pathologies. Left unchecked and undiscovered in high conflict divorce cases, these two pathologies (PAS and PA) destroy children’s lives who are are caught in the crossfires of their parent’s divorce.

Childress uses the phrase “Child Psychological Abuse” to describe one form of abuse suffered by children who have been victimized by PAS and PA. In the article from Childress listed above, he writes this:

“There are four DSM-52 diagnoses of child abuse in the Child Maltreatment section, and each diagnosis of child abuse warrants a proper risk assessment; Child Physical Abuse (V995.54), Child Sexual Abuse (V995.53), Child Neglect (V995.52), Child Psychological Abuse (V995.51). All of these child abuse diagnoses are equivalent in the severity of the damage they do to the child, they differ only in the type of damage done, not in the severity of damage done to the child. Psychological child abuse destroys the child from the inside out.” (pg.2) [Emphasis mine.]

He also mentions “Child Psychological Abuse” in the video below, at 1:53:

My daughters, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this “Divorce and PAS” section on this blog, are victims of the pathology of PAS/PA. My youngest, Aimie, (not her real name) is the one that, in my view, has been the most traumatized and exhibits the greatest indications of being psychologically abused by their mother. The overwhelming intensity of Aimie’s virulent hatred towards me is nothing less than surreal and catastrophic.

I cannot emphasize enough that, without an understanding of the existence, nature and severity of this pathology with children estranged from one of their once loved parent due to divorce, these children will never obtain the desperately needed mental help they require to lead normal, productive, and fulfilling lives as adults.

Children who exhibit intense and irrational hatred against one of their parents whom they once had a loving relationship with are victims of “Child Psychological Abuse.” These children must come to the realization that these uncontrollable emotions of pure malice against a disfavored parent—one they once deeply loved— is the clearest indicator they have been psychologically damaged and abused at the hands of the alienating parent. And this is the first step, the awareness these over the top negative and dark emotions against their parent is simply not natural, in the long journey toward healing they so desperately need.

Childress often speaks about the “binding sites of ignorance” that shrouds much of the damage inflicted on innocent children through this vile form of child abuse. And it is only when this ignorance is replaced by knowledge and awareness of the how destructive to our children this damage truly is that the healing process can commence.

I will close this post with the following paragraphs from the above listed paper by Dr. Childress, showing the severity of the problem at hand, urging my visitors to read the document themselves. In closing this particular post on my blog, allow me to reemphasize this oft repeated fact of PAS/PA : it is child abuse perpetrated against an innocent child by the child’s own pathologically disturbed parent:

There is no more severe form of attachment pathology than the termination of the child’s attachment bond to the parent. There is nothing worse in terms of attachment pathology, for pathology in a primary motivational system of the brain, than a severing of the parent-child attachment bond. That is as bad as attachment pathology in childhood gets, pathology in a primary motivational system of the brain that is developing its patterns to guide love-and-bonding throughout the lifespan during childhood, through relationship bonds with both parents. A child rejecting a parent is the worst possible attachment pathology in childhood.

“To understand the severity we can use an analogy to another primary motivational system, the eating system. The worst possible eating pathology is anorexia, the person refuses to eat, their bond to food is completely severed, they starve, and they die. By analogy, a complete severing of a child’s attachment bond to a parent represents ‘anorexia’ of the attachment system, the worst possible form of attachment-related pathology. There is nothing worse in terms of attachment pathology, that’s as bad as it gets. It is exceedingly important for the healthy development of children that their attachment pathology toward their mothers and fathers be effectively treated and resolved as quickly as is possible.” (pg. 4) [Emphasis mine.]

Further down in the same paper, Childress writes on the last page:

“A child rejecting a parent is the worst attachment pathology possible in childhood, pathology in a primary motivational system of the brain developing its patterns to guide love-and-bonding throughout the lifespan during childhood, through relationships with both parents. Leaving the worst possible attachment pathology untreated and unrepaired is the worst possible thing we can do. It is always in the child’s best interests to have a healthy and normal-range attachment bond to both parents. It is always in the child’s best interests for the family to make a healthy and successful transition to a post-divorce separated family structure. Successful treatment that restores a healthy and normal-range attachment bond between children and their parents is always in the child’s best interests.” (pg. 14) [Emphasis mine.]