Response from Dr J Hayward – parental alienation or psychopathy

Source: Response from Dr J Hayward – parental alienation or psychopathy

Hello Linda,
Thank you for responding. My academic work is not entirely related to either parental alienation or psychopathy. However, I’ve been subject to the former, whilst the latter has been of some interest for a while. So here’s a broad stroke. Based upon my own personal experiences (and drawing upon the accounts of other alienated parents) alienators do bear a striking resemblance to sub-criminal psychopaths. The overlap between the personality traits of alienators and psychopaths is so close that one personality type seems to indistinguishable from the other. If there’s any merit to that idea, if might be worth reminding readers that alienators have no sense of morality. They are neither moral nor immoral, neither good nor bad. It’s better to understand them as being amoral, which makes such people very dangerous. Everything they do is motivated by self-interest. They will never put the interest of a child first. And they will have no regard whatever for the welfare of their victim, the alienated parent. That’s no comfort, agreed. But it can be empowering. Alienators (aka psychopaths) actually enjoy making others suffer. They get a thrill watching their victim’s mental and physical health, financial status and career deteriorate. They celebrate watching their victims become ever more frustrated, demoralised and so on. For the alienator, it’s nothing more than a game. They designed it. They are the masters. It’s not possible for victims to learn the rules, since they can be changed on a whim, at any time. It’s impossible, IMPOSSIBLE, to win. The only adaptive response then is to accept that fact. Alienated parents can choose to stop playing the game. Just occasionally, in some circumstances – of which this is one, I believe – it’s possible to regain a sense of control by inaction rather than action. Let me clarify. Out of love for their child, an alienated parent’s first response is to fight, usually to their great detriment. The child suffers too, more than we could ever truly know. What benefit then is it for an alienated parent to go nose-to-nose against an alienator? What benefit it is for a child to be used as a sacrificial pawn in the alienator’s game? Both questions return answers in the negative. My suggestion to alienated parents is this. Opt-out of the game, you’re never going to win. Instead focus on loving your child on your own terms, even it means loving them from afar. That’s bitter medicine to swallow in this “me, me, me” world, but it will have restorative effects. And now for a shameless plug. I tackle all these issues and more besides in The Mikey Mouse and The Bump Into People Land Project (see It’s an upbeat and insightful read.

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