When you divorce a narcissist, they can leave a trail of destruction in their path. Narcissists thrive on control and having a perfect image. A divorce can shatter this notion, resulting in the narcissist’s self-perception ruined. They have trouble coping with the loss of their control, which leads them to create as much chaos, pain, and destruction as possible in their wake.
How might a narcissist do this? They may seek revenge on their ex-spouse through the form of parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Through PAS, narcissists use their children as pawns to get back at their ex in an effort to prove their dominance. To protect you and your child’s best interests, it is crucial to understand what PAS is and what you can do if you believe your ex-spouse is using this as a tactic with your children.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS occurs when a parent manipulates a child into refusing to have a relationship with their other parent. Narcissistic parents often do this during a divorce or custody battle by providing the child with false or exaggerated information. The child will begin to act hostile toward the innocent parent while idolizing the narcissist.
It should be noted that PAS is not officially recognized as a mental health condition. Still, it can fall under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) code for “child affected by parental relationship distress.” While PAS is not something that a child can be diagnosed with, it can still affect children for the rest of their lives.
Warning Signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome
There are several methods that can be used to alienate a child from their parent. For example, one parent may say obvious things like “your mom doesn’t love you” or “your dad doesn’t want to speak to you.” However, there are less direct methods such as the narcissist blaming the other parent for the end of the marriage, punishing the child for wanting to pursue a relationship with the parent, or moving far away so that it is nearly impossible to maintain a relationship with the innocent parent.
To determine if your child is a victim of PAS, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
● The child unfairly criticizes the alienated parent.
● The child does not have proof or examples of the criticisms.
● The child only has negative feelings towards the parent.
● The child states they formed the opinion regarding the innocent parent all on their own.
● The child has unwavering support for the narcissistic parent.
● The child feels no guilt toward mistreating the alienated parent.
● The child says things that sound like they came from an adult when talking about memories of the alienated parent.
● The child may have feelings of hatred towards members of the alienated parent’s side of the family.
What are the Risks of Parental Alienation and Narcissism?
When a narcissist has primary custody of their child, he or she may develop an unhealthy relationship with them. The narcissistic parent may not really listen to the child’s needs and wants as a parent should, and they may become frustrated with the child.
This can result in many negative consequences for the child’s mental health. Research shows that children who have been alienated from their other parent are likely to develop higher rates of depression, anger, anxiety, substance abuse, and have relationship issues.
What to do if Your Child is the Victim of Parental Alienation
If you believe your child is being alienated against you due to your ex-spouse’s efforts, there are options for fighting back. While claiming parental alienation syndrome in a New Jersey family law case is difficult, that does not mean your case is not valid. To make sure your custody case is handled in the right way, you need to work with a family law attorney that thoroughly understands the New Jersey family court system.
If you need assistance dealing with a narcissistic parent impacting your child custody case, contact the Middlesex County child custody attorneys at Rozin | Golinder Law by calling (732) 810-0034 today.