Parental alienation is a sinister aspect of post-divorce life. While some parents mean well and feel regret the slightest alienating action, others are on a path of destruction.
Parental alienation can take many forms with three types being the most prominent.
Whether they recognize it or not, naïve alienators act passively, occasionally doing or saying something that creates alienation from their ex-spouse. They mean well and recognize the importance of healthy relationships. They even encourage deep connections with their ex-spouse and their family. Disagreements may arise, but communication is good.
Simply stated, naïve alienators focus on the best interests of their children. They recognize their mistakes and care enough about their children to make things right.
Active alienators suffer intense hurt and anger following a divorce. They impulsively lose control over their actions and words, in spite of a belief that their children should have a healthy relationship with the other parent. However, when triggered, active alienators lash out and cause or reinforce alienation. Some may feel a sense of guilt over their alienating tactics.
Active alienators harbor old feelings and struggle with trauma of the past, yet they will accept professional help when serious problems arise.
These parents maintain an unquenchable anger. Obsessed alienators focus on furthering an active agenda to destroy their ex-spouse. While they combine traits of naïve with active alienation, they lack any level of self-control or insight. Obsessed alienators manipulate their children to take their side and brainwash them to parrot their irrational feelings and beliefs. They also fortify their side by seeking support from family members and friends who share similar views.
Early identification of the symptoms of an obsessed alienator is paramount. Children who become entrenched in this dysfunction can be lost to the other parent for years.