Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Version of the Hidden Damage of Relational Aggression - Parent Alienation Syndrome

This article below was gender specific for the most part.. but it was a good article...
so I altered it to make it gender neutral.

Parent Alienation Syndrom (PAS) is a painful condition I’ve experienced with my own children, and is a condition which is slowly coming into public awareness. Parental alienation is considered a form of child abuse, deeply disturbing the emotional health of all the victims affected by it. What is Parental Alienation Syndrome? It’s a disorder proposed by American psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner, who writes that it is “a disturbance in which children are obsessively preoccupied with depreciation and/or criticism of a parent. In other words, denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.” The effects of one parent’s psychological warfare with their ex-spouse is played out in the lives of their children who often “choose” to reject or marginalize the victimized parent. The damage that can be done in turning children against a parent is often permanent, inflicting trauma on both the children and the victimized father/mother.

Dr Gardner also writes, “Many of these children proudly state that their decision to reject their father or mother is their own. They deny any contribution from their alienating mother or father. And, the alienating mothers or fathers often support this vehemently. In fact, the alienating mothers or fathers will often state that they want the child to visit with the other parent and recognize the importance of such involvement, yet such an alienating parent's every act indicates otherwise.”

If you are a child of a family separated by divorce, and you were raised to believe your father or mother was always bad or wrong, or even potentially abusive, then you may be a victim of parental alienation. If you chose to reject your alienated parent, and no longer have them in your life, you may be unknowingly suffering from this socially-denied form of child abuse. While there are a small number of parents who are recognizably abusive, many of them are good and loving parents, and are damaged by PAS as are their children. Worn down by years of active - and passive - aggression and rejection by their children the heart-breaking result is often emotional capitulation, the acceptance that some things can never be changed. Many alienated parents are shell-shocked and traumatized by years of ex-spousal abuse, and only a few will seek psychotherapy, or healing. Many parents simply limp away, stoically shouldering their loss, traumatized for life as an unacknowledged victim of a hidden crime.

In my work as a relational energy healer I’m always learning from my own experiences as a partner, as a family member, and… as an alienated parent. My own personal healing journey informs and guides my work with others, giving me resources to draw from, and realities with which I have learned to come to face. When I work with clients also affected by an issue of parental alienation the biggest stumbling block to the process of healing are the infant mind loyalty chakra cords held by the client towards one parent as well as the denial of the pain of separation from the other parent. The alienating mother is the most common example of this syndrome, although one can also have an alienating father.

Although I can psychically clean and untangle the cords of a client affected by this trauma, it is only when the client can come to terms with the aggression of their alienating parent that substantial change occurs. All of us have to work to uncover our hidden or passive forms of aggression, but in this syndrome the infant mind within the client unconsciously protects the image of the alienating parent from wrong-doing at all cost. The black/white thinking of the infant mind within us struggles with the complexity of adult realities and with grown-up situations, and a shift may - or may not - occur. This kind of work is very individual, and there are no easy path to healing trauma.

It is the paternal loyalty chakra cords (especially in Swadhisthana chakra) connecting us to the alienating parent that hold many associated issues in the client’s life in the same spider’s web of feelings that affect our eventual long-term connection to an actual (or potential) life partner. A client with PAS has her or his trust in men or women severely damaged due to the experience of parental alienation. Often a client will replace the healthy growing of trust towards a new partner with dysfunctional actions: increasing demands, testing, and other forms of controlling or abusive behavior. (My two cents--this also includes often times the passive- aggressive type of controler--much harder to recognize) These behaviors, of course, produce the opposite effect intended by the client. Rather than force the other into compliance, the potential partner (unless co-dependent) usually leaves. Addictive problems may also be part of the mix of this syndrome, as the human psyche needs to maintain denial of psychological pain in some way, usually by dulling the feeling body with alcohol, nicotine, or drugs. The common result for many clients is a repetitive pattern of dysfunctional adult relationships, an attempted cording after cording to someone who will be eventually rejected, just as the alienated parent had to be rejected in order to be loyal to the alienating parent. The original and early pattern of rejection (of the alienated parent) seeks to be energetically transplanted into the potential life partner. And, of course, this new relationship will fail.

For my clients healing their lives from parental alienation, the road to healing is unfortunately long and arduous. I always recommend (or even insist upon) professional psychological counseling in addition to relational energy healing work. Energy work alone is simply not enough, in these cases. And, my prayer is that as we grow in our social acceptance of this cruel syndrome we all become part of the healing process. We move it out of the shadows of denial, and into the light of awareness where change, and support for the victims, can occur.

Finally, to all of the victims out there (myself included) I ask for your deep compassion, for the loss of our children, as well as for increased awakening to the reality of this crime against human connection. Life, our parents, and all our relationships, are all too important to be ground underfoot by the denial of the effects of parental alienation.

For further information, head out to the internet, of course. There are many good web sites out there, including various wikipedia entries, as well as various books on the subject such as the late Dr Richard Gardner’s The Parental Alienation Syndrome (1992).

Original Article - The hidden damage of relational aggression: Parental Alienation Syndrome Relational Energy Healing By Dean Ramsden

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