An Overview of “Parental Alienation”

Parental alienation is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly recognized by family court systems and mental health professionals. It occurs when one parent attempts to turn a child against the other parent, often as a form of revenge or retribution for something that has happened in the past. This can be an incredibly difficult situation for parents to deal with, and it is important to understand why this might be happening so that it can be addressed appropriately. Here are some of the basics of the situation, why it happens and what we have found to be the most effective approach to dealing with it.

Definitions, Experts, and Approach

Parental Alienation—Definitions, Experts, and Approaches

Definition of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation refers to a process that occurs when a child is exposed to negative influences from one parent in order to denigrate or “alienate” the other parent. This is typically done in order to gain control over the child as well as to get revenge against the targeted parent. Some of the tactics used to accomplish this include verbal abuse, manipulation, threats, and false accusations.

Definition of Narcissistic Borderline parent

A Narcissistic Borderline parent is a parent who has characteristics of both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. They are characterized by a lack of empathy, grandiosity, unstable relationships, impulsivity, and a need to constantly be in control. These parents may also believe that their own needs come before their children’s and that they are entitled to special treatment or privileges.

Definition of Normal range emotionally available parent

A Normal range emotionally available parent is one who is capable of providing consistent and unconditional love, support, and guidance to their child. They are able to recognize their child’s feelings and respond to them in an appropriate way. This type of parent is able to provide a secure environment for their child and help them develop healthy relationships with others.

Definition of Insecure attachment

Insecure attachment is a type of attachment style in which the parent does not consistently provide an emotionally safe environment for the child. This can lead to the child having difficulty trusting or forming relationships with others. It can also lead to issues with self-worth and insecurity which can make them more vulnerable to manipulation from the other parent.

Dr. Craig Childress PsyD’s view of Parental Alienation

Dr. Craig Childress PsyD believes that Parental Alienation is a form of child psychological abuse. He believes that this occurs when a narcissistic-borderline parent engages in behaviors designed to undermine the relationship between the child and the other parent. This can include verbal abuse, threats, and manipulation. According to the DSM-5, Child Psychological Abuse is defined as “the infliction of psychological harm on a child by a caregiver or other person due to non-accidental acts or omissions that cause observable and substantial impairment in the child’s cognitive or emotional functioning”.  There are others who are quite effective as well, and this site focuses mainly on his work.

How a Narcissistic Borderline Parent Can Cause Parental Alienation

A Narcissistic Borderline parent can cause Parental Alienation through a variety of different tactics including verbal abuse, manipulation, and threats. They may also attempt to undermine the other parent’s relationship with the child by criticizing them or attempting to turn the child against them. This type of behavior can create an environment in which the child feels unsafe and becomes more vulnerable to manipulation from the other parent.

How a Normal Range Emotionally Available Parent Can Prevent Parental Alienation

A Normal range emotionally available parent can prevent Parental Alienation by providing consistent and unconditional love and support for their child. They can also demonstrate appropriate boundaries and expectations while still allowing their child to express their feelings without fear of judgement or punishment. This type of parenting will help create an environment in which the child feels safe and secure, making them less likely to be manipulated by the other parent.

How Insecure Attachment Can Contribute To Parental Alienation

Insecure attachment can contribute to Parental Alienation because it can create an environment in which the child does not feel secure or supported by their parent. This can lead to the child feeling disconnected from their parent and more vulnerable to manipulation from the other parent. The other parent may use this opportunity to further alienate the child from their primary attachment figure in order to gain control over them.


Parental Alienation occurs when one parent attempts to turn a child against the other in order to get revenge or gain control. It is considered a form of Child Psychological Abuse and can be caused by narcissistic-borderline behavior as well as insecure attachment. Parents going through this situation should seek out professional help in order to better understand how to handle the situation and protect their children from further harm. They should also try to remain positive and have faith that their children will eventually recognize the truth about what is happening. Further research into how best to address Parental Alienation should be conducted in order to better understand its causes and effects as well as how best to protect children from its damaging effects.

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