Parental alienation usually begins with subtle manipulation as the alienator first makes sure the child feels dependent on him/her (the alienator), then shows displeasure with the child about any positive interaction between the child and the other parent (the target). Eventually, the child becomes fearful of retaliation for showing any positive feelings toward his/her other parent. This manipulative behavior then progresses from “the silent treatment” to actions like blocking the child’s interaction with the other parent, withholding or rejecting gifts, or not sharing the child’s medical or school records, for example.
Some parents will bad-mouth the other parent, make up stories, and even try to relocate, going so far as to change the name of the child. During this time the alienator is using this manipulative “red ink behavior” to blackmail the child emotionally to reject the other parent and be totally dependent on him/her.
Another part of the manipulation is to convince the child that the other parent does not love him/her, is dangerous, or cannot be trusted. Most alienators are conscious of what they are doing, although occasionally they may be unaware. The purpose is to exact revenge for perceived wrongs. Often, though not always, this misperception of wrongs is caused by a personality disorder.
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