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Symptoms of Parental Alienation

  1. Campaign of Denigration

  2. Weak or Frivolous Rationalizations for the Deprecation
  3. Lack of Ambivalence
  4. “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon

  5. Reflexive Support of Alienating Parent

  6. Absence of guilt over cruelty and exploitation of Alienated Parent

  7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios
  8. Spread of Animosity to Extended Family of Alienated Parent


Symptoms Explained

  1. Campaign of Denigration


This refers to the child’s negative campaign against the targeted parent. This campaign consists of negative and critical comments about this parent articulated by the child. While these sentiments largely originated from the other parent, they are translated by and spoken through the child.

  1. Weak or Frivolous Rationalizations for the Deprecation


This refers to the child explanation as to why they do not wish to have a relationship with the parent. Based on what the scientific literature reveals regarding the strength of the bond between a parent and a child, the reasons given by the child are inadequate.

  1. Lack of Ambivalence


This symptom refers to the child’s absolute absence of positive feeling about the targeted parent. This is often expressed as the child’s denial of any positive feeling for the targeted parent. This symptom is associated with more severely alienated children.

  1. “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon


This refers to the child’s unsolicited protest that no one had influenced them to express what they were saying about the targeted parent. It represents the child’s denial that they had been coached, typically when they had not been told that they had been.

  1. Reflexive Support of Alienating Parent


This refers to the child’s unyielding support of the alienating or favored parent and their unwavering opposition to any position taken by the targeted parent, specifically as they relate to the divorce.

  1. Absence of guilt over cruelty and exploitation of Alienated Parent


One of the more severe symptoms, this one refers to the striking lack of empathy for the target parent by the alienated child, and the cruelty that this invokes.

  1. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios

This refers to the effects of the child having been coached. The unreasonably negative picture of the targeted parent is created through distortion and misinformation, and it can be found in this symptom.

  1. Spread of Animosity to Extended Family of Alienated Parent


This refers to the alienation of the child from the targeted parent’s own parents – the child’s grandparents – as well as from other extended family members and other aspects of that parent’s life.
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