The Three Types of Parental Alienators

Did you know that there are three types of parental alienation? Since humans are complex creatures, there are varying degrees of alienation that your ex-partner might be conducting — and what’s worse is that you might not even realize they’re happening. Let’s dive into what you need to know about the three types of alienators. 

Type #1: The Naive Alienator

The most harmless level of alienation is the naive alienator. 

In fact, this level is so mild that the targeting parent wouldn’t classify themselves as targeting at all; they truly do value the benefits of their children having both parents. Instead of standing in the way of their relationship, they prioritize their children’s wellbeing and include the other parent in all significant decisions and activities. 

But humans are not black and white. When a person undergoes emotional distress, it’s only natural to respond in a distressed way, even if it’s unintentional. They may subconsciously say or do things towards the other parent that could be perceived as rude or disregarding. 

So a naive alienator might say, “You’re going to your father’s house on Monday because he doesn’t work as much as I do.” This might seem like no big deal at first glance, but in a way, this subtly programs the child to think that their other parent is lazy and their main custodial parent works harder.

Level #2: The Active Alienator

The active alienator believes their children should have a healthy relationship with their other parent, but sometimes, they have trouble controlling their pain and frustration. 

The main key to being an active alienator is semi-uncontrollable anger, so an active alienator parents may say, “Your mother might not want to come to your school play. Remember the last time she had to leave early for work? We shouldn’t ask her; she’s always so busy.” 

While this alienator can control their emotions to an extent, their bitter feelings towards the other parent may bleed out into their children’s relationship. However, it’s not unusual for them to follow up later, attempt to fix the problem, and acknowledge that they made a mistake to the kids. 

Level #3: The Obsessed Alienator

The most severe level of parental alienation is the obsessed alienator. This type of parent is often anxious and angry and will go to great lengths to damage or cut off their children’s relationship with the other parent. 

The primary key in obsessive alienators is that they are paranoid and will project that paranoia onto their children, allowing them to take on the victim role. This can lead to severely alienated children who are just as scared of the targeted parent and refuse to see them. 

It’s important to note that there are many reasons an obsessed alienator may act the way they do. Their behaviors may be justified — such as being the victim of abuse — or they may not be, where paranoia and anger take over rational thinking.

If paranoia is present, the obsessed alienator might say things like, “You cannot visit your father this weekend. I don’t trust him to take you to school. And he’ll probably leave you home to hang out with his new girlfriend. I will never force you to go there if you don’t want to because I know it’s a matter of time before his irresponsibility puts you in real danger.” 

Contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners Today

Unfortunately, parental alienation is a fairly common phenomenon affecting millions of children in the United States. But if you’re unsure whether or not your children are experiencing alienation, be sure to check out the five tell-tale signs and then what you can do to protect your family at each stage of alienation: 

  • Naive: Naive alienation usually does not require a mediator or lawyer, although it is helpful to go over custodial requirements with the help of a family law attorney to make sure everyone’s on the same page and no stone is left unturned. 
  • Active: Going back and forth between being angry and solving the issue isn’t a sound system for either parent or the children, so light mediation is often recommended. 
  • Obsessive: At this level, the only thing you can do is to work with the courts and experienced family law attorneys who can help identify existing issues, come up with solutions, and mediate.

Whatever level you’re on, contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners today. 

Our compassionate and experienced attorneys will protect you and your children to save your relationship before any long-lasting damage is done. Fill out our form for a free consultation, or call us today: Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.