I was watching the webinar series where Dorcy Pruter is interviewing Dr. Childress
about his approach to dealing with parental alienation. The series is free to watch—you can get to it by going to Dorcy’s web site. While I got a lot out of the entire series, one section towards the end of the 3rd video entitled “Understand the Psychological Seduction of the Pathogenic Parent for the Child” provided me with a distinction that I think could be particularly helpful to those of us who have to deal with a continual stream of misinformation being fed to our kids when they are with the alienating parent.
This comes from the presumption that you are wanting to figure out effective ways of dealing with the situation rather than remaining passive. IMHO, just not retaliating is not enough. In my case, it only leaves my child with one type of information coming at her without anything to counterbalance it.
What Dr. Childress describes is a way of counterbalancing (as I put it) in a way that does not cause additional stress-but, in fact, helps relax and, as he puts it, “A way to orient a child back to what’s real and that everything’s OK”
He described 4 basic emotional “tones”, which are:
Angry and afraid (anxious) are power and dominance emotions.
Angry tries to make the world be a different way.
(Afraid) Anxious makes everything important.
Here are the notes I took from what he said:
‘Happy is actually a dominant emotion as well.
Happy, though is the relaxed one. Happy and the facial expressions, the laughter all relaxes the “emotional spasms”.
When everyone’s all tense, the signal is Just relax—not a problem.
Just a relaxed tone. Everything’s OK. No worries.
Sitting around with my monkey friends-I know there’s no predator around.
How do know? Because everyone else is calm and relaxed. Happy indicates no threat.
If you come to me and you’re angry and I laugh at you I indicate you’re no threat.
A way to orient a child back to what’s real and that everything’s OK.’
When I think about the best times I have with my child, they revolve around a lack of tension; a lack of angry and anxious, which they get loads of from mom on a regular basis. In the beginning, before I started to get some knowledge about this, I would get anxious about all the ways I thought I had to combat what mom was saying. I am noticing though when I can be relaxed and happy to be around my child (which I am naturally) I love to spend the time, whatever time it is, and want to have that “vibe” when around me. With me, they can relax.