By now, many people have heard of parental alienation syndrome, which is behaviors or strategies that one parent uses against another to turn a child against them.
Although parental alienation syndrome is common, it does not happen in every custody case, even those that are high conflict. In some cases, it is present from day one, although it can surface at any point throughout the custody process, or even after a custody agreement has been in place for years.
If you are going through a custody case and are worried that the other parent may become an alienator, there are some signs you can look for.
Parents with personality disorders
A parent who already has a personality disorder is more likely to be an alienator. This can be a disorder such as antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder or extreme narcissism.
An official diagnosis of a personality disorder is not necessary. After all, many mentally ill people do not realize they are mentally ill, or if they do, refuse to seek help.
Chances are, if you were married to or in a relationship with the other parent, you are already aware of any personality disorders they suffer from. Be on the lookout for signs of parental alienation syndrome, as the chance of it might be higher in your case.
Parental alienation syndrome victims
Additionally, parents who were victims of parental alienation syndrome as children are more likely to be alienators as parents themselves. This is similar to how abuse victims sometimes grow up to become abusers, continuing the cycle of abuse.
If you haven’t already, talk to your co-parent about how their parents treated each other when they were a child. Hearing stories of horrible custody battles, parents who hated each other or who constantly talked about how bad the other parent was, are signs that your co-parent was a victim of parental alienation syndrome.
When you see signs of parental alienation syndrome, you should act immediately. This might involve modifying your custody order, especially if the other parent displays no signs of changing their alienating behavior.