Hostile Aggressive Parenting

“What is Hostile Aggressive Parenting?

Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) is defined as : A general pattern of behaviour, manipulation, actions or decision-making of a person (usually a parent or guardian) that either directly or indirectly; 1) creates undue difficulties or interferences in the relationship of a child with another person (usually a parent or guardian) involved with the parenting and/or rearing of the child and/or, 2) promotes or maintains an unwarranted unfairness or inequality in the parenting arrangements between a child’s parents and/or guardians and/or, 3) promotes ongoing and unnecessary conflict between parents and/or guardians which adversely affects the parenting, well-being and rearing of a child.

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is a very serious and damaging form of abuse and maltreatment that parents and even other family members can engage in. HAP is most often identified in individuals with controlling and bullying personalities or those with mild to severe personality disorders. HAP can be a factor in all types of parenting arrangements including sole maternal custody, sole paternal custody and joint custody. Interestingly, it is sole custodial parents who are most often reported to practice Hostile-Aggressive-Parenting, especially in its most severe form.

In general, parents exhibiting Hostile-Aggressive-Parenting have not succeeded in getting on with their own life and remain, instead, controlled by their negative emotions and continue to exercise power and control over their ex-spouse’s life, their ex-spouse’s parenting and to a large extent, over the children of the relationship as well. HAP parents will blame everyone else except themselves.

High degrees of conflict during custody settlements and litigation are almost sure signs in these affected families. Hostile-aggressive parents are unable to appreciate the needs of their child and in many cases view their child as a possession belonging to them and no other persons have any right to the child, especially not the child’s other parent or other persons that the HAP parent does not like. Hostile-aggressive parents will use the child as a weapon against the other spouse and family members whenever they have the opportunity. A parent engaged in Hostile-Aggressive Parenting will also take comfort in that the community in general will choose not to get involved, probably because they don’t know what to do. Angry and vindictive HAP parents are often able to bring a reign of terror and revenge on to a non-custodial parent and their family, their goal being to get them out of the child’s life or at the very least to severely damage their child’s relationship with the other parent and other parent’s family.”
[Source: ]

Exercising Power and Control Over an Ex-Spouse

Our targeted parent’s divorce took place in the late 1970’s, well before joint custody was even thought of. His ex, of course, got custody ….. and that’s all we ever heard: “as custodial parent, I’ve decided this” and “I’ve decided that.” This gave the alienating parent an avenue to try and make the targeted parent’s life miserable, and our alienating parent used it to her full advantage. The targeted parent had no input whatsoever on what was in the children’s “best interests.”

She controlled her house, our house and even her former in-law’s house — and made sure we all knew it. She questioned every aspect of the time her children spent with their father, as well as with their paternal grandparents.

Here you have a custodial parent, collecting child support, having her day care expenses paid for by County Services, illegally using her ex-husband’s insurance for her own medical expenses years the divorce ….. and she allows her child to go out in the winter with a filthy coat that is too small? That’s in the best interests of the child?


Her youngest daughter had been wearing this jacket for two winters. It was too small, but we still tried to clean it. This is how it looked after soaking and three washings. We finally gave up and bought the child a new winter coat. And guess what Mom’s response was?

Coat note

She wanted the old one back!

And the funny part about this is, she addressed her note “To Whom It May Concern” and signed it “Her Mother …. DXXXX MXXXXX” as if she didn’t know our names, and as if we didn’t know that she was the child’s mother.

Welcome to our world ….

For some parents, it’s all about the conflict

“Over the past twenty years, a growing body of literature has developed on personality styles, in particular Narcissistic and Borderline styles. Millon (1996) not only focused on the disorders themselves, but those personality traits and features which impact upon relationships, rather than the individual. He has grouped personality disorders into four types. Many custody evaluators observe that most high-conflict families have one or both parents who exhibit either narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, histrionic, paranoid, or borderline features. They may have parents who become rigid in their perception of the other and tend to deal with things in their extremes. Many parents are polarized, viewing themselves as all good and the other as all bad. These parents focus on the traits within the other parent that reinforce this perception, and they approach each new conflict as verification of just how difficult the other parent is. These parents experience chronic externalization of blame, possessing little insight into their own role in the conflicts. They usually have little empathy for the impact of this conflict on their children. They routinely feel self-justified, believing that their actions are best for their children. No matter how much the helping professionals try to keep the focus on the child, these parents remain focused on the conflict.”

[Source: ]

Low self-esteem could be the cause behind some of an alienating parent’s actions

Low self esteem has been suspect in our alienating parent’s behavior for many years. It is undoubtedly a consequence of the abuse she suffered as a child and we have tried to show compassion and understanding, but there are times she makes it very difficult.

Take, for instance, these comments she left on our photo website:

Smugmug comments 3-24-08

On March 24, 2008, at 5:56 p.m., she went to one of my grandson’s photos and asked why his face was distorted, then at 9:05 p.m. she went to the same photo and left a comment suggesting he needed a haircut. Two minutes later she made a comment on our Easter gallery about the clothes my grandson and his brother wore to see the Easter bunny, and then finished it off a few moments later by leaving a comment on a photo of her grandson: “Now this is a cute baby here”!

If you’ve read some of our earlier posts, you’ll see that putting others down — while building herself up — has been a constant theme with Our Little Friend. It’s one thing if she wants to say derogatory things about her ex or I, we’ve come to expect that. But, as usual, she has to take it a little further and start insulting an innocent child — putting him down by saying his face is distorted and he needs a haircut, while building her grandson up with the comment: “Now this is a cute baby here.” It wasn’t enough to leave derogatory comments on my grandson’s photo, she had to make sure to let us all know what a cute child her grandson was.

Anytime someone looks down on or tries to put down another person, they are revealing their own insecurities. But this particular occurrence, which is not an isolated incident, goes to show exactly how desperate our alienating parent is to show how superior she is — in all facets of her life. She’s a better parent, a better genealogist, a better photographer — and has a cuter grandson!

Alienation is often generational

“Alienation is a willful intimidation. It involves such issues as personality disorders including narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, delusional disorder, unresolved childhood issues, pathological lying, brainwashing, mind control, neuro-linquistic programming, and cult-like thinking. It is about power and control. It is frequently generational.” [Source: ]

So many of the personality disorders mentioned above have been evident in our case of Parental Alienation / Hostile Aggressive Parenting.

Remember our blog about narcissistic personality disorder:

and the one about delusional disorder:

and the one about unresolved childhood trauma:

and we can’t forget the one about pathological lying:

And the last comment certainly rings true in our case.


Most often, the children don’t even realize the alienation is taking place.

“Either the alienated child expects their view of reality to be accepted by the rejected parent or the child accepts their own disorderly thinking because they are unaware of the parental alienation. Imagine for just a moment someone telling you that the car you’re driving is not a car; it’s an alien spaceship.

Only the genesis of the delusion is really at question, not the delusion itself.

Going back to the topic of victims of abuse, many are in denial of their abuse and sometimes that denial can last for a very long time. Being in denial, is the same for alienated children (who are the victims of parental programming), the difference is that alienated children see their abuser as being “all good.” Also alienated children want everyone to accept as they do, the symbiotic relationship they have with the programming abuser.”
[Source: ]

We also found this on

“Third is a lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent. It is a truism of development that children are ambivalent about both of their parents. Even the best parents are imperfect or set limits that cause resentment and frustration. A hallmark of PAS, however, is that the child expresses no ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support. One parent becomes all good while the other becomes all bad.

Fourth, the child strongly asserts that the decision to reject the other parent is his or her own. This is what Gardner (1998) called the “Independent Thinker” phenomenon in which the child adamantly claims that the negative feelings are wholly his or her own. These children deny that their feelings about the targeted parent are in any way influenced by the alienating parent. An observer might conclude that the child has been brainwashed or unduly influenced, but, to the child, the experience is authentic and self-generated.

A fifth manifestation is absence of guilt about the treatment of the targeted parent. Gratitude for gifts, favors, or child support provided by the targeted parent is nonexistent. PAS children will try to get whatever they can from the targeted parent, believing that it is owed to them and that because that parent is such a despicable person, he or she doesn’t deserve to be treated with respect or gratitude.

A sixth manifestation of PAS is reflexive support for the alienating parent in the parental conflict. That is, there is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with inter-parental conflicts. The PAS child has no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view. As Gardner noted, PAS children often make the case for the alienating parent better than the parent does. Nothing the targeted parent could do or say would make any difference to the PAS child.”

Finally ….. an admission? :-)

As we’ve mentioned several times before, one of our alienating parent’s favorite ways of keeping in contact with us is through genealogy websites. I have enjoyed genealogy as a hobby for decades so, of course, she had to become an expert genealogist herself. We couldn’t help but smile at her latest:



“The main difference between this tree and another M***** tree, I do publish private information about the deceased that will affect the children and grandchildren of those listed on this tree.

Is she finally admitting to the behavior she’s been exhibiting for so many years?!? lol!

Unfortunately, it’s probably a typographical error and she really meant to say: “I don’t publish private information ….” But, it’s interesting to note that while on one hand she is making the “claim”that she doesn’t post inappropriate information, on the other hand she is posting under my grandfather’s name information about a court case in Cuyahoga County involving “M*****.” hmmmmm ….. My grandfather was never involved in a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County, so why is that information posted under his name?

Because it was a lawsuit our alienating parent filed against my husband and I, on behalf of her children.  Since we’re living, she cannot post it under our names but that doesn’t stop her from stooping so low as to post it under a deceased ancestor’s name. And she then goes on to pontificate about how she doesn’t publish information that will affect the children and grandchildren of those listed on this tree?

How does the notation about the lawsuit she filed against living individuals affect the children and grandchildren of O****** M******, to see this posted on genealogy websites? As my grandmother would have said, that’s like the pot calling the kettle black. 🙂

Our alienating parent says a lot of things on the internet, but — as usual — her actions speak louder than her words and her true behavior is shown for all the world to see.

Decades go by …. and the problems continue …..

Our last post shared a document from 1984. Well, fast forward a “few” years and you’ll see the interactions with our alienating parent continue — at her insistence.

Even after our alienating parent had effectively completed the alienation between her children and their father, she still could not stop interacting with us. Here’s just one example of the many occasions she has kept in touch with us, after all of these years.

As explained in our prior posts, I have an interest in photography and have had a photograph website since 2001. Our alienating parent, who at one point told me I had more photos of her children than she did, suddenly developed this intense interest in photography herself. And, even though there are a multitude of photo websites available, she chose to join the same one I was on. And went so far as to join the Daily Photos community I was a member of, because that meant she could post photos and comment on other people’s photos on a daily basis ….. just like I had been doing for years.

Well, as usual, she was simply using this venue as an opportunity for her to share her thoughts and observations on her ex-husband and his wife and, as usual, she went too far. Our alienating parent was contacted by the website and they sent us a copy of their e-mail to her:



Some of her comments were negative toward the reputation of others.  No surprise!

After realizing she couldn’t post the comments she wanted, using her own name, our alienating parent started posting anonymously. Except it wasn’t quite so anonymous. Many people using this website had statcounters on their galleries, allowing them to capture the IP address of anyone visiting the site. This is one of our alienating parent’s more bizarre comments, left on a photo we took of our family at Easter.



“The only blood line to the M***** family in this photo is L**** M*****. Please correct.” And two minutes later: “The M***** family is doing research and came across this photo. In doing research there is only one M***** blood line in this photo. This was very confusing to the M***** family.”

First of all, this photo was posted on a photo website and had absolutely nothing to do with genealogy or as our alienating parent likes to call it, “blood lines.” Our alienating parent, after her children no longer had any contact with their father, still felt the need to go to her ex-husband’s photo website and comment about blood lines and the correctness — or incorrectness — thereof?

If she would behave in this manner, years after their divorce and after she had successfully alienated her children from their other parent, can you imagine how she behaved during the first years after the divorce, when the children were young?

Falsifying court records ….. some parents will stop at nothing to keep disputes going

Along with making visitation as difficult as possible, our alienating parent didn’t stop there. She filed action, after action, after action with the court: one of which included a request for increase in child support. One of the expenses she listed was, of course, child care. So imagine our surprise when we learned from her day care provider that their bills were being paid for by County Services!



What type of person is so dishonest that they’ll make false claims when it comes to the expenses connected with raising their children? Perhaps the same type of person who would use those children to get back at her ex, and do everything in her power to alienate her children from their father?

Hostile Aggressive Parenting

“Hostile aggressive parenting involves the use of power to manipulate children to see things from a parent’s point of view. Hostile aggressive parenting is often present in families during divorce and child custody battles. For example, one parent speaks negatively about the other in front of the children, directly to the children or both. Parents engaging in hostile behavior frequently fight openly in front of the children or refuse to take phone calls from each other, directing their children to relay messages. In these situations, one parent often refuses to let the children see the other parent on scheduled visits, openly violating court-ordered visitation rules. The intention behind the manipulation is to coerce the children into taking sides. This eventually creates an unbalanced family structure as well as serious psychological distress for the children involved.” [Source:]

With all the difficulties we had with visitation, and being required to go back to court time and time again, we kept logs of all telephone communications with my husband’s ex, as well as his children. This is from one of those logs:

Telephone call from XXXXXX (my husband’s youngest daughter, who was seven years old at the time) at 6:35 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 1985. XXXXXX called to let her Dad know that she would not be coming over the following weekend. (We had not seen his oldest daughter, who was ten, for months at this time.) XXXXXX also told her Dad during this phone conversation that XXXX (the oldest daughter) was upset because Grandpa MXXXXX slashed the tires on her bicycle.

So, here we have a 7 year old being forced to pass along the message from her mother to her father that visitation would not be taking place the following weekend, while the 10 year old thinks her paternal grandfather slashed the tires on her bike. When we were finally able to talk to the older daughter about the situation dealing with the tires on her bike, she let it be know that the idea of her paternal grandfather slashing her tires came from her mother.

Hostile Aggressive Parenting? You decide ……