In the aftermath of the December 14, 2012, mass murder of 27 presumably innocent victims at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the mass media is predictably filled with discussion about gun control laws. When you consider the full story behind mass killings in schools, this is highly irrational and irresponsible. It is akin to discussing banning cars because of driving fatalities caused by people using prescription drugs.
This comparison is doubly apt because so many school killers were using dangerous antidepressant prescription drugs. Recent media discussion mentions that Adam Lanza, the accused shooter, may have suffered long-term mental health problems including an unspecified personality disorder and possible autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
Given how the mental health care system in the US works, it is likely that Adam Lanza was taking one or more psychiatric drugs. While many take these drugs without killing anybody, there are numerous cases in which patients with no history of violence took such drugs for even just a few days and became highly violent and committed suicide or homicide. Given what happened at Sandy Hook, it is important for authorities to investigate and reveal any medications that Adam Lanza may have been using.
Guns Are Not The Problem
Guns are not the only way to maim and kill large numbers of people. Further, they virtually never kill anybody without direct action by a person who has made the gun dangerous by misuse.
Even in China, where guns are outlawed and the government quickly stomps on anybody opposing its opinions including by military violence against its own citizens, troubled people still harm school children with ease.
Parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse that occurs when one parent teaches the children to fear, disrespect, and/or avoid the other parent. It’s a common problem in divorces, but unknown to many alienation often gets started in marriages well before a divorce.
Studies of parental alienation show that alienators are almost exclusively parents with sole custody of the children. Statistics on child custody arrangements show that around 80% to 85% of children of divorce in the US end up in the sole custody of their mothers and that this has been the case for multiple decades despite changes in family law and society. These two observations combined mean that parental alienators are predominantly mothers and the parents they are teaching the children to hate are primarily fathers.
To deny the culpability of these mothers who are child abusers, feminists belonging to groups such as the National Organization of Women (NOW) deny the very existence of parental alienation. They usually offer statements that there is “no scientific evidence that parental alienation is real” and “parental alienation is an excuse for why children do not like child abusing fathers.” Richard Gardner, a psychiatrist who was among those early in describing and defining Parental Alienation Syndrome (commonly abbreviated as PAS, it is a severe form of parental alienation in which the child aligns completely with the alienating parent), made it clear that alienation was not at work if the child disliked a parent who was truly being abusive to the child. But the feminists, in their zeal to treat all women as victims and trash all men as abusers, completely overlook that fact.
There are a growing number of alienated moms in which the child abuser in the family is the father. Typically this occurs in families in which the father has a narcissistic personality and has some advantages such as:
He is more wealthy.
He has more education.
He has professional certification such as a doctor, lawyer, judge, or law enforcement officer.
He is more politically connected.
He is a native operating in his own culture and the mother is an immigrant.
These advantages for a narcissistic man often aid him in reversing the usual anti-father bias in family courts, generally producing an anti-mother bias in these cases. Although anti-father bias is clearly wrong, it is disgustingly ironic that often when the bias becomes anti-mother it is happening in cases in which the fathers actually are behaving abusively. Read more…
If you’ve been going through a nasty divorce or child custody battle that has lasted years, it’s likely you have experienced a great deal of chronic stress. Years of such stress can create devastating health problems that are often misunderstood and inadequately treated. The stress of dealing with a high-conflict co-parent is particularly likely to badly damage a person’s health as the troubles often continue until well after the children grow into adulthood. But often medical professionals treat these problems as merely mental health issues when in fact there has been significant physiological to the body. This article points out some of the common symptoms of the physiological damage and refers you to additional reading on medical tests that can help you determine appropriate treatment for such conditions.
Personality Disorders and “High Conflict Personalities” Can Cause Severe Mental and Medical Damage
Parents who are dealing with a person who appears to suffer from a personality disorder such as Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic, Antisocial, or Paranoid personality disorders are particularly prone to devastating health effects. Often these people engage in parental alienation child abuse such as by blocking the children from contact with a capable or loving parent and trying to force the children to hate that parent. The children are clearly being abused along with the target parent. It’s entirely possible that the young ones will develop mental and physiological injuries from this abuse, too.
Some are literally driven to their deaths by years of abuse. A few even commit suicide to escape it. Others end up on work disability and require expensive medical care for many years. Yet for them, the symptoms still linger for even decades because often medical professionals treat these people as if they are simply suffering from “major depression” or “generalized anxiety disorder” when in fact they are physiologically very ill and in need of medical care, not just counseling and psychotherapy.
Common Symptoms of Physiological Damage from Chronic Stress
The following symptoms are often signs of long-term damage to the stress management systems in the body. Every one of them can result from damage to the adrenal glands after they have been forced to pump out vast quantities of cortisol for years trying to help you cope with the ex’s harassment and attacks. Read more…
While the old research on BPD reflected in the DSM-IV indicates that females Borderlines far outnumber male Borderlines, newer research indicates that is not so. Yet there has still been a strong focus on BPD being an illness affecting primarily women. We’ve previously shared a video produced showing the emotionally manipulative conversations some Borderline females have in about a minute and a half. A year later, it’s still a popular article as it resonates with folks who have had relationships with Borderlines.
Recently I ran across a set of three videos about a Borderline male made with the XtraNormal animation tools that have been popular with many of those trying to explain what it is like interacting with personality disordered emotionally abusive people. After watching them, I’d say the conversations are quite plausible representations of how these people reason and speak. The guy in these videos, represented by a cuddly looking teddy bear, seems to engage in the “magical thinking” sometimes seen in Borderlines. In particular, he seems to believe that his girlfriend is inhabited by demons because she doesn’t do what he wants. This sort of twisted thinking is typical of Borderlines. If you don’t do what they want in every way, something must be wrong with you. And they are not afraid to tell you that and to make threats, such as the “withdrawal of affection” threat seen in these videos, to get you to comply with their demands.
While Divorce Poison does a great job explaining parental alienation and some of the possible countermeasures to it. But it is written for adults. While adult children suffering from the fallout of parental alienation might benefit from it, it’s not intended for reading by younger children.
There is a dire need for educational material for children to help them fight the destructive brainwashing coming from an emotionally abusive parent out to make them hate the other parent. Aside from Dr. Amy Baker’s book for middle school kids and teens that I discussed last year in my article Kids’ Parental Alienation Book: “I Don’t Want to Choose!”, there has been little material for kids available.
Helping Kids and Adults Understand Parental Alienation
Into this void arrives the Welcome Back Pluto video. Dr. Warshak teamed up with Trace Productions to create a video for everybody in the family about parental alienation, including kids. Possibly the only people who won’t benefit from it are some of the alienating parents and their allies who cannot accept that children need both their parents. Even kids who are not experiencing alienation themselves may benefit because they may become better able to help their friends and classmates cope with the abuse coming from an alienating parent. Read more…
Dr. Tara Palmatier’s Shrink4Men website has recently been bombarded with abusive comments from somebody who sounds like she has BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) with malicious acting out behaviors, or as I’d call her, a personality disordered abuser (PDA). The good psychologist is hoping to help identify the attacker and perhaps help her victimized ex in the process.
Perhaps this is not the best way to go about doing this, but I’m a big believer in implementing consequences for crazy and malicious BPD behavior, so here we are. Beginning late last week, a woman, whom I assume is the former spouse or girlfriend of a man who frequents this site, began spamming my site with puerile comments in which she engages in name calling and other typical BPD verbal attacks against Shrink4Men readers/commenters and me.
None of these comments have been approved nor will they be approved because they’re nothing more than lame attempts to hurt my readers feelings and my feelings and they would only distract from the meaningful dialogue, sharing and support that takes place here. The irony is that her attacks don’t hurt my feelings. In fact, my thoughts are, “Gee, I can see why her ex broke up with her” and “I wonder how many texts and voicemails the poor bastard who was dating/married to her is getting everyday?” If anything, her spams only reinforce my beliefs about BPD and the information presented on this site.
Now, the reason I am posting this rather than something more productive: Gentlemen, if you believe this is your ex/gf/wife, please contact me and I will send you all of her spam comments with the date, time stamp and multiple IP addresses, so that you can include them as evidence of her unstable/stalker/harassment behavior in any pending divorce/restraining order cases. If need be, I have access to an Internet security expert who can trace pretty much anything directly to the source.
Information warfare by a nasty PDA, often one who suffers BPD or NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), is a frequent feature of the ending of a relationship involving such a person. But the comment spamming mentioned above is really among the less serious of attacks.
Distortion campaigns can become ruinous and virtually unfixable, especially if there are children involved. Some might call it a catch-22 situation in which anything you do to try to fix the disaster only makes it worse. When the Internet becomes involved, the risks of this may be even higher as I’ll discuss below. Read more…
Some emotional abusers are particularly adept at using a technique called “gaslighting” (from a movie starring Ingrid Berman and Charles Boyer) to drive their victims to question their own grip on reality and even to make them feel like they are going insane. The essence of gaslighting is to make somebody believe a falsehood and to wonder why they didn’t remember or recall it previously. It is a mind game often used to distract from their own problematic behaviors and to create self-doubt in their target of abuse. Many Borderlines and some with related personality disorders from the DSM-IV Axis II Cluster B group (including Borderline, Narcissistic, Antisocial, and Histrionic) personality disorders are particularly skilled and prone to using gaslighting on their partners and people close to them.
Separation anxiety is a behavior normally found in infants and small children when a loved one is moving out of contact with them. They become worried and uncomfortable, anticipating the absence of the loved one. Often this loved one is a parent, other times it is a relative or a familiar care provider. This is a normal part of the development of children and tends to go away by the time they are around three or four years old. But not all behaviors that appear to be separation anxiety are in fact so. Alarmingly, sometimes such behaviors are the result of premeditated child abuse by the parent handing over a child to another person, particularly to the child’s other parent.
Personality Disordered Abusers Hurts Kids To Hurt Ex and Win Custody
When you’re a divorcing or divorced parent of a child you had a with a sociopath, psychopath, or other personality disordered abuser (PDA), there’s a chance you will come face-to-face with the reality that your ex is willing to abuse your child to make it look like he or she doesn’t like being returned to you. The ex wants to worsen the separation anxiety, or at least the apparent “symptoms” of it, often in front of witnesses whom will be asked to write declarations or testify in court or to talk with psychological evaluators, therapists, CPS, and court-appointed mediators. The PDA expects these reports that the child doesn’t like to be returned to you will help ensure your custody is reduced and the PDA’s custody is increased. Read more…
We’ve all heard horror stories about parents who are falsely accused of crimes by a vicious ex who is bent on banning the children from seeing them. False domestic violence and false sexual abuse allegations are a sure-fire way to manipulate family law judges to participate in parental alienation child abuse. But they are not the only way malicious parents interfere with the contact between kids and the unfortunate parent who is targeted for malicious mischief.
In this article, I’ll outline a few of the less obvious but still damaging ways that malicious parents, particularly those engaging in parental alienation, use to cause trouble for the other parent. All of these tactics are simple, easily spun by a masterful manipulator to look like they are somebody else’s fault, and yet wrongly interfere with contact between kids and their other parent. They generally rely upon wasting the parent’s limited time with the kids and creating aggravation to upset both the parent and kids. They are more commonly used by “custodial” parents to abuse “noncustodial” parents, but in theory the small percentage of noncustodial parents engaging in parental alienation could use similar tactics. Read more…
California Assembly Representative Jim Beall is back with another attempt to shut down destructive use of child custody evaluations. This new Assembly Bill 2475 has grown out of his failure in 2009 to pass his Assembly Bill 612 that wrongly aimed to ban discussion of parental alienation in family law courts. This time around, AB 2475 is on more solid ground as it aims to strip quasi-judicial immunity from private family court appointed experts such as psychological and custody evaluators. This would provide a legal fallback for civil suits for egregious cases of misconduct by these professionals.
Failed AB 612 from 2009
Last year, Jim Beall wanted to outlaw the discussion of parental alienation in family law cases. We and many other organizations that support shared parenting and protecting children from abuse and neglect vehemently opposed the AB 612 legislation he introduced. AB 612 was nothing but whitewashing of emotional child abuse to enable abusers to get away with hurting children and in many cases rewarding them for doing so. That bill, AB 612, was gutted by legislators who understood that parental alienation is a real phenomenon. Beall later withdrew the bill. Read more…