“…. Or, as Toronto therapist Victoria Lorient-Faibish so aptly calls them, Amputative Parents. What are they? They are parents that seek to damage, destroy, deconstruct or even completely end their child’s relationship with their (former) spouse. In a nutshell, PAS is a syndrome caused by a specific type of abuse whereby one parent seeks revenge upon another, and will stop at nothing, to get that revenge. They will manipulate and abuse their children and exploit and lie to their children, family members, police, lawyers and the court system to effect that revenge.
The abusive parent is usually referred to as the alienating parent and the maligned parent is called the target parent. The alienating parent effectively (sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly), teaches the child to split. The target parent represents evil and the alienating parent represents perfection.
Children end up feeling so loyal to the alienating parent (often feeling that they have to protect him or her), that they subsume their own emotional needs in many cases. Even if the alienating parent emotionally or physically abuses them, the children will defend their actions. Because they perceive the target parent as having abandoned them, they want to avoid being abandoned again (by the alienating parent) at all costs. They’ll do anything to show their loyalty. They might curse, hit, not speak to, and exhibit other angry behaviors to the target parent.
The other victims, besides the children, are the target parents (and often grandparents). When mature target parents divorce, they want to avoid confrontation and prevent escalation in order to prevent further damage to the kids. But if the target parent doesn’t confront and expose the other parent, the abuse usually continues. It is a very painful spot for any parent to be in.
This is simply one of the most devastating kinds of abuse children can go through-they don’t have a chance to form healthy bonds with either parent and now that we have studied a generation in which this has happened, we can determine the effects are long-lasting. Although divorce is never a walk in the park for kids, emotionally mature and compassionate parents put the children before themselves and do their utmost to present a united front when child-rearing during divorce. PAS destroys any chance of normalcy.
The parent who has custody is obligated by law to avoid any disruptions in the children’s relationship with the other parent. However, a shocking number of custodial parents break the law by doing everything in their power to destroy their children’s relationship with their other parent by “forgetting” visitations, disrupting visitations in numerous ways, or simply moving, sometimes far away, and leaving no forwarding address.”