The long term psychological damage inflicted upon innocent children through “Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)” and its twin pathology, “Parental Alienation (PA),” is heart rendering and unspeakably cruel.
In an online article titled “Lost Children,” the writer John Sedgwick opens this particular post with a quote from someone identified merely as “Warshak,” who I believe is the author Richard Warshak, a PA/PAS expert and author:
“Whatever their intentions, these parents are stealing their children’s souls,” Warshak contends. “They are rendering them incapable of receiving love from the people who have the most love to give them.” Some of the alienating behavior is simply petty, like deriding an ex-husband’s cooking skills or housekeeping so the children will think less of him; or it can be insidious, like encouraging the children to call the alienated father by his first name, diminishing his stature.“
Some of the alienating techniques are simple propaganda, similar to what combatants use in wartime, Warshak says. “You repeat negative messages until they are so deeply imbedded in memory, the child doesn’t really know how he’s come to know them.” One father saw his youngest daughter, just 8, at a meeting attended by an array of attorneys and psychologists to appraise their relationship, write on a whiteboard, “Dad, you are an asshole.” Only she spelled the word “asswhole,” since she was obviously unfamiliar with the term. For good measure, the girl added, “And you’re a suck-up,” another word that was not likely part of her vocabulary. She wrapped up with a strangely adult send-off: “I never want to see you again.”
Alienating parents have been known to clip the heads off their ex-spouses’ photos in family albums, deliberately lose their letters or telephone messages, treat them like nonpeople at events like a kid’s soccer game, or, in one case, mount a photograph of the ex on a dartboard for family target practice. And it is not just the father who is alienated. Everything about him can be relegated to the discard pile—his side of the family, his associations, his friends, even the family dog, if it is considered to have been primarily his. “It’s tribal warfare,” says Warshak. “Anything associated with the alienated parent is tainted and has to be rejected.” McNeese Swank said one mother insisted that her son change his clothes before he visited his dad’s house and then leave those garments there, lest they somehow contaminate her own house if he were to bring them back...”
The article continues with additional information, much of it eerily similar, if not almost exact in some cases, to what happened to me and my children post divorce.
This article, as with so many of the other articles, videos, and scholarly papers on PA and PAS, prove these twin pathologies are ruinous to both targeted or alienated parents and, more drastically, to the innocent children caught in the crossfires of their parent’s acrimonious divorces. And the destructive effects on children in particular have, unfortunately, life long, negative effects.