Consumption isn’t the only motivation that compels people to be psychologically coercive. Sometimes it’s spite. Dr. William Bernet, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, has seen firsthand the true range of parents’ destruction when divorce leaves children caught in the middle of an ugly war for the upper hand. Confused and scared about who to trust, and sometimes plagued with fears of physical abuse, kids reject one parent in favor of the alienating one, exhibiting what psychologists call parental alienation syndrome (PAS).
“I would say that PAS is caused by brainwashing or indoctrination of the child,” said Bernet.
Wracked with resentment, the alienating parent tells the child how awful the other parent is, openly insulting them, forbidding the parent from visiting, and sometimes lying about cases of abuse, just so they can get full custody of the child. In children, the resulting effect is a warped view of the…
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