Life lessons. Learning the hard way sucks. If you’re a stubborn person, you already know this.
My first job was at a movie theater in a mall. I was 15 years old, working part time, in a suburb of Dallas, where the mall was the local hang out for teenagers. I loved my job, selling movie tickets at the movie theater. At the time the minimum wage was $3.35/hr which was, at least in today’s terms, an unbelievably low wage. Of course that was a simpler time.
My best friend, John, was older than me, and we would run around after I got off work at the mall. One night, we decided to leave through the Sears Department Store exit to the lot he parked in. We ran into a friend of ours (can’t even recall his name) who was browsing in the music section. As we all stood around and talked, the guy slipped a cassette tape in his pocket before we walked out.
Yes, I saw him do it but I dismissed it, turning to leave with John and him. As we left the mall to walk out to the parking lot, we were stopped just before we were about to get into the car. It was mall security. They also saw the guy steal the tape.
We were corralled into a little office where monitors hung on the wall for the cctv cameras. I was scared.i was also defiant. After all, I hadn’t done anything wrong, I thought.
Being only 15 years old, and the only one of the 3 of us who was under age, that meant a call to my father. I knew that meant I’d be in trouble. I pleaded my case, “I didn’t do it” I”I didn’t steal anything!”
They rewound the tape and we all watched as the three of us stood in a group talking, the guy slipped the tape in his pocket, and we tried to leave.
“See- it was him, not me”.I cried.
That’s when the officer said to me, “but you watched him steel it, and did nothing to stop him” … You are guilty by association.
I’ll never forget that night and recently, John found me again, and as we talked and reminisced about the times we had 35 years ago, I asked him if he remembered that night. We laughed about it now that we’re in middle age.
Guilt by association.
parental Alienation is defined as a set of strategies that a parent (or other person with influence over a child’s life) uses to foster a child’s rejection of the other parent. Parental alienation syndrome develops in children who come to hate, fear, and reject the targeted parent as someone unworthy of having a relationship with them. This is since independent of any negative or harmful accu of that parent, such as committing acts of child abuse or neglect.
When a child is alienated from his out her absent parent, the effects are tremendous. They are long lasting – and passed on, sometimes over many generations. The effects are so tragic that it can destroy relationships between a parent and child beyond repair . It can lead to a letting filled with psychological problems as the child grows into adulthood, ranging from substance abuse, self harm, suicide ideologies, relationship issues and more. A myriad of dysfunctionality throughout the child’s entire life.
It is one of the most harmful acts of abuse to alienate a child from a loving parent. Usually the risk of highest during a messy divorce or custody battle. The alienation can involve not only the child and the targeted parent, but also, extended members of the child’s family. It is not an invisible abuse, though it is gradual and takes place over time. The term “brainwashing” is often used o describe the alienation, and comparisons between parental alienation and tactics of cult leaders brainwashing their cult members are often made. The child is put in a position to hate or feel ambivalent about the other parent, choosing the alienater over the targeted parent.
How does this pertain to my teenage mall security story? The lesson of guilt by association.
When defining Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome, there are certain manifestations that are universally common among cases despite the difference in the tactics used.
The first step towards stopping Parental Alienation is too be able to recognize parental alienation.
As discussed here, in this eight part series outlining the eight symptoms of parental alienation and the syndrome associated with it, are as follows:
Symptom 1. The “Campaign of Denigration”. First, the campaign of denigration refers to the one being waged by the accusing parent in his or her indoctrination to the child. The other component, however,it is this second component of the first symptom that is seen, manifested in the child himself, which is critical in understanding how the alienation begins. This is the child’s own contribution towards this denigration.
Symptom 2: Weak or Frivolous Rationalizations for the Deprecation of the child’s relationship with the targeted parent. This typically refers to a child offering up trivial reasons for not wanting to be in a relationship with what is now known as the targeted or unfavored parent. During the evaluative process in the context of divorce when parental alienation is present, the alienated child is invariably asked why they do not wish to see the once loved, now unfavored parent.
Symptom 3: Lack of Ambivalence in the child’s emotions with regard to the targeted parent. This symptom refers to the child having no emotional connection to the targeted or unfavored parent. In some respects, this symptom can be a little misleading since severely alienated children can express hatred for the target parent, which is a connection, albeit not a loving one.The term “ambivalence” has a special meaning within the world of psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy. It refers to a remaining emotional positive connection between a person and what is referred to as a “love object” which is a psychoanalytic way of saying, the other person, even in moments of anger and conflict.
Symptom 4: Independent Thinker Phenomenon. The Independent Thinker Phenomenon refers to the consistent behavior seen in alienated children where they claim that their resistance to seeing the unfavored or targeted parent derives from their own independent thought and is not the result of the other parent’s influence. Very often, this symptoms appears as the child – very much out of the blue – announces that no one told them to say this, and that this is his or her own thought. The significance of this “out of context” expression is that it reveals an agenda, on the part of the child, to carry out their assignment of arguingthat their resistance to seeing the unfavored parent is their independent thought that this thought is not result of the influence of the other parent.
Whilethese two components are in many ways overlapping, their separate expression is consistent with the kind of urgency that only alienated children experience. The purpose of this symptom is to convince the audience – very often court appointees – that they should not have to see their once loved parent.
Within the context of parental dispute, be it divorce or post divorce, unless there as been actual abuse and or neglect in the extreme, children will typically contort themselves to not takes sides in the parental dispute. If a child feels one parent is being ganged up on in some way, they will often go to their aid and support their position
Symptom 5: The Reflexive Support of the Alienating Parent in the Parental Conflict. Within the context of parental dispute, be it divorce or post divorce, unless there as been actual abuse and or neglect in the extreme, children will typically contort themselves to not takes sides in the parental dispute. If a child feels one parent is being ganged up on in some way, they will often go to their aid and support their position.
Symptom 6: Absence of Guilt over Cruelty to and/or Exploitation of the Alienated Parent. This symptom is typically found in the more severe end of the spectrum of parental alienation. It is manifested through the alienated child’s angry and critical tirades against the targeted parent.
Under these circumstances, the severely alienated child will hurl hateful and demeaning comments directly to the targeted parent and will express or experience no guilt or remorse for doing so.
Symptom 7: The Presence of Borrowed Scenarios. One of the most common examples of “The Presence of Borrowed Scenarios” is when an alienated child announces that the targeted parent did not want for them to be born, and that they wanted the mother to have an abortion. This obviously could have only come from the alienating parent or her minions.
This symptom may also be identified by the age inappropriate use of language by children. For example, a 4 year old child saying that she had nightmares when she was at her father’s house (the targeted parent in this particular case). When asked about her nightmares, she said that she did not know, and that I should ask her mother because this is who told her that she was having nightmares at her dad’s..
Borrowed scenarios may also be thought of as being the result of coaching. The notion of coaching, that is the alienating parent, either directly or indirectly saying things to the child for the purpose of negatively influencing their perception of the targeted parent, is a hallmark of the alienation process
Symptom 8: The Spread of the Animosity to the Friends and/or Extended Family of the Alienated Parent. The last symptom, the eighth symptom of Parental Alienation is The Spread of the Animosity to the Friends and/or Extended Family of the Alienated Parent. With this symptom, we see once loved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins being rejected by the alienated child.
I recommend reading the entire 8 part series, a very good read and source of information. By clicking here.
As one can only imagine, the process of these eight symptoms and their development when a child is indoctrinated, especially in severe cases. It takes time. This process is far from instant, and it can even take years to truly manifest. The situations all differ depending on the circumstances and the influence the alienater has over the child.
At first, it may be unnoticed or dismissed at first by others. Maybe they are not immediately involved in the child’s life to se the abuse. such as the extended family members who live only visit from time to time. Maybe the initial lack of attention to the abuse fail to seewhat is going on is due to a lack of education in the topic, or maybe a lack of compassion is the reason, or fear of the abuser. Only knowledge and the desire to intervene will prove helpful if done in time, before the harm is set in. However, most alienaters are narcissists and, as such, narcissists will only surround themselves with people who are either so charmed by them that they blindly believe every word they say is true or people who have learned that it’s easier to keep their mouths shut rather than reap the wrath of expressing an opposing opinion. That being said, If you’re a targeted parent, it’s a painful realization that the abuse kicked into high gear was only possible with the help of enablers, some of whom may even have stooped so low as to deliver a few blows themselves.
in my case, the abuse went even further since 2 of my 3 older brothers are attorneys. The abuse came from our mother, towards myself via my child. My brothers have such a close relationship with our mother, that it would be impossible to imagine that they didn’t know what was going on. They have not spoken to me since my son was taken, and they knew quite well that my son was kept hidden from me. My oldest brother “represented” my mother in an incredibly painful 14 year custody battle over my daughter when my mother intervened during my divorce from her father. The money wasted in that case could have put both my kids through college. My son’s father is in prison so without him to contend with, getting rid of me was fairly simple with the backing of my entire birth family, who all enabled the abuse. They are GUILTY OF THE ABUSE AS WELL, under the doctrine of guilt by association. That lesson I learned in high school.
What do you think? What life lesson changed your perspective throughout life?
Leave a comment and tell me what you think, or share your story. We would love to hear it. Knowledge is power.