Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode · 1 year ago

How to Counteract Parental Alienation

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Since writing an article about parental alienation (What Parental Alienation Is and Is Not), several readers have asked for a follow-up article on how to prevent to minimize the damage of any alienation they have experienced. While others have said that parental alienation doesn’t happen, that it is pop-psychology, and it is not real.

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...some abuses dangerously obvious. While other types of abuse creep into our family DNA in covert ways, keeping family secrets, intimidation, the silent treatment and cyber bullying are just a few examples of the many forms of abuse with troubling outcomes. Often victims ask why did this happen to me or what can I do while abusers will excuse their behavior, asking why do you make me do this, victims and abusers can rewrite their stories, improve their relationships and break the cycle for their future generations. In Christine Hammond's latest book, abuse exposed, you will learn the wide range of types of abuse, both overt and covert the generational links to abuse, what to do before, during and after abuse, how to confront your abuser, how to talk to a victim of rape, finding forgiveness despite the pain, how to rewrite your story and avoid future problems and much much more. Look for...

Christine Hammond's latest book abuse exposed now available on amazon. This is understanding today's Narcissist brought to you in part by psych central dot com and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today. I'm going to respond to an email that I got from one of our listeners and just as a reminder, if you have a question for me, please feel free to reach out to me at my email at grow with Christine at gmail dot com. That's G R O W W I T H C H R I S T I N E at gmail dot com. And we're going to talk about counter parenting...

...today. We're gonna talk about what that is why you need to do it. Um if you are dealing with a narcissist. So let me read her story for you and then I'll go through and explain how to counter parent. So this is her email. I found a lot of support from your podcasts about narcissism and wanted to suggest a topic. My husband's ex is a narcissist who gets part of her identity from being the rock star mom. That could also go in lines with Disney Dad. She has successfully alienated her older daughter from us and she has no interest in a relationship with our side of the family anymore. That daughter is age 14. She has also tried with the younger daughter, age 12, but hasn't succeeded yet. Now with the pandemic, she seems to be using our precautions as a way to alienate us from our younger daughter while putting...

...her at risk of getting sick. The younger daughter has asthma and was already sick with pneumonia this year, but their jet setting across the country and going to amusement parks were afraid that if we set limits about the daughter in her coming over after these risks, we're going to lose all connection to her because of this loyalty bind with the mom. We also have young Children here, one of whom has health issues of his own. Do you have any advice for parents on parenting with a narcissist during the pandemic? So I like this topic because it's not just pandemic oriented. Although the pandemic did help to raise lots of issues and questions and I honestly don't believe that this will be the first or the last time that we will have to go through something similar to this. So having this in your back pocket is probably a good idea for understanding what we're talking about. So let me explain counter parenting and then I'm going to tie the definition of...

...counter parenting in with this story and see if I can give you guys some ideas. So first counter parenting is when you have to spend incredible amounts of energy undoing the damage done by the other parent before you can make healthy steps with your child, you have to do some repair work. First. This applies to whether you're still living in the same house or if you're divorced or separated. So let's, let's let me expand on counter parenting even more. I'm going to use a different example from another story that I have for you. Um, so that you can kind of see it. Um, I was dealing with a child who had a video game addiction. Not an uncommon thing. Unfortunately, in today's culture and the parents were both divorced. The child at mom's house was not allowed to watch the video games. The child at dad's house, um, and and was restricted on how many hours he could actually play video...

...games. The child at dad's house had no restrictions whatsoever, and the dad allowed the child to play, even encouraged it, even allowing the child to play video games that were well above his maturity level, meaning that um he was a younger child and he was definitely doing r rated video games, so um and by younger, I mean, he was seven at the time, so, so I the mom was struggling with how to parent, because dad was just this Disney dad let him do everything pretty much like the story that we have from the reader, where in this case, the mom is allowing the daughter to do pretty much whatever and doing great things and being able to have all kinds of fun, and then the parents who were actually doing the parenting um and trying to be responsible and trying to set limits and trying to teach what boundaries are, um trying to bring balance and health um across the board to the child's life...

...are the ones that wind up looking like the terrible parent. Um, and they're the ones that are looking overly strict and the child becomes super resistant and then doesnt want to engage and go to that house or be involved with those parents whatsoever. So here's where um, school really helps and hopefully like if you're in this situation, um, actually, a physical school is better. Home school is not as good in this scenario that I'm going to give you because the home school just reinforces the concept um, of the, of the parents having the differences in the households. But if we go back to actually going to physical school where there are boundaries and there are limits, uh, that becomes a foundation upon which we can naturally, where we can normalize uh, some of the experiences that the child is going through. So I'll give you an example uh if you are the counter parent, which...

I'm assuming you are if you're listening to this, if you are the counter parent and you are trying to help your child see that being safe during the pandemic, wearing a mask, um like washing your hands using disinfectant, um not engaging in a lot of having a lot of other people around um all the time, like limiting the amount of interactions that you have um staying safe, that these are healthy boundaries that we adhere to, and schools are also going to adhere to the same guidelines as well. So what we're doing is we're using the schools as an example of this is what's normal, and we're just doing an extension of what is normal at home. In other words, you can't do certain things at school, so you shouldn't be doing them at home. We do the same thing with the video games, for instance, video games are not permitted in schools, although some mild ones are, but even when they are...

...in the schools, they are very limited. They are very restricted. Um, kids are not supposed to be playing games while listening to a teacher. And so like those rules are there for a reason and and using the school's kind of as that normalizing environment then helps you to stay in line with it. The other thing that I want to bring to your attention is that it also helps if you're not more strict than the schools. So if you're having to counter parent, uh, probably the worst thing you could do is be even stricter than the school system itself. Not that the school system is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but where we're trying to use that as an environment for which we're normalizing. This is what healthy looks like. This is what boundaries look like. We eat at the same time every day, we get physical activity every day. There's a time for learning, there's a time for play, there's a time...

...for activities and crafts. So like there's a sense of balance to everything. So it's not all fun and games over here, you do have to do your work, you do have to um do your homework, you have to get some hard things done, like all of this becomes part of a normal interaction and what we're looking for. Um and so because we have that normalizing at school, um and if you can stay in the guidelines of what the school does and not go further to the extreme right in order. That's the big mistake that a lot of parents make. They feel like, well this parent is so loose over here, so I'm gonna go all the way and be even stricter. Well then that that's where you're gonna wind up with some alienation that naturally happens, it occurs and you don't really want that to happen if you're having to counter parent, the best thing for you to do is to come back to the normalization of school and...

...allow that to be the guideline. Um You can even explain it from the standpoint of like we even have to do difficult things at school, like take tests, we have to do some not so fun things like some of our homework or or some of the activities that we have to participate and we don't like to do. And so like this is all part of life and if it's consistent with what they're experiencing, even though the kids might be resistant at first, they will ultimately understand that in the long run and that's what you're going for. Like this is not a short term gain. In other words, you are not going to be able, if you having to counter parent, you're not gonna be able to get the kids all in your camp right now, and that's not the goal. The goal is to teach them healthy things going forward, so that you actually have some, so that you have something from which your relationship can be built on going...

...forward in the future, you have to be long term about this, You cannot be short term in your thinking because the shorter term thinking that you are in this equation the worst it actually gets for you. And instead it's got to be a long term gain that we're trying to achieve. That's the same principle that we have in school, right school isn't a short term gain, it's a long term gain, you have so many years that you have to build on and develop and keep on going before you're able to get there. The other thing that a big mistake that some parents make when they're having to counter parent is they don't counter parents at age appropriate levels. In other words, they try to keep teenagers more at the childlike level, rather than recognizing that their baby adults when they're teenagers and they need to be given some more flexibility, more independence, more ability to make choices, even if those choices are poor and and you have to allow a child as a teenager to be able to make poor choices because if they don't know what...

...that's like as a teenager, they're gonna make those poor choices when they're out on their own in their twenties, and there's way more consequences for that in the twenties, then there are when you're still a teenager and you're under the age of 18, so I would strongly encourage you read up about counter parenting, so that you understand a little bit more about what I'm talking about. I just tried to like dip my toe in the water of what this looks like so that you can have a better understanding of it and you would be able to help work with your child, but look for those stabilizing normalizing environments that you can find. Um so and surround your child with a with other parents who are like minded, similar minded, so that they can see that they're not just all alone by themselves, and they're the only ones with a parent doing um you know, whatever kind of restrictions that you need to do in order to maintain the balance. So I hope this helps out a lot.

I'm so glad to be able to have that question. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via email. Thanks for listening to understanding today's Narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by psych central dot com. For more information, visit grow with Christine dot com. Yeah.

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