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The Eight Symptoms of Parental Alienation

The Eight Symptoms of Parental Alienation

Written by J. Michael Bone, PhD.

The first symptom of Parental Alienation is the “Campaign of Denigration”. This refers to the child’s view of the “hated” parent. It is important to understand that this is composed of two components.

First, the campaign of denigration refers to the one being waged by the accusing parent in his or her indoctrination to the child. The other component is the child’s own contribution towards this denigration.

This second part is critical and is the actual symptom seen within the child. Without it, the child is not truly alienated, and with it the indoctrinating parent can “sit back” and let the child be the voice of criticism of the Target Parent.

This second component - its expression from the child - is what makes this process so baffling and intimidating to those trying to help.

Often the child is the primary voice of the criticism, and the indoctrinating parent often appears surprised at what the child is saying, obviously disavowing any contribution to it. But how is such a thing possible? How is it that a loving child could suddenly begin to accuse a once loved parent in such compelling and hated terms?

In order to answer this, one must consider what happens psychologically to a child when their parents separate and divorce. Assuming both parents had a loving relationship with the child, and assuming that neither parent was abusive, what happens when divorce occurs is that the child is forced into a situation where he or she is with one parent or the other, but no longer with both at the same time.

Consequently, when