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The Trauma of Parental Alienation

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

Image of mother and children torn from father in parental alienation

Coping with the Trauma of Parental Alienation

The Life of the Alienated Parent

Written by Edward Kruk, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

According to the work of Dr. Craig Childress, parental alienation is first and foremost an attachment-based trauma. Attachment-based parental alienation is essentially a role reversal of a normal, healthy parent-child relationship.

Instead of serving as a “regulatory other,” which involves providing stability and meeting the child’s emotional and psychological needs, alienating parents use their children to meet their own needs, violating boundaries and seriously compromising and damaging the child’s healthy development.

Enduring the experience of parental alienation is also a profound form of psychological trauma experienced by targeted parents. It is both acute and chronic, and externally inflicted. It is thus a type of domestic violence directed at the target parent.

The fact that children witness such abuse of a parent also makes alienation a form of child abuse. This is perhaps the principal source of anxiety for