Robert Gougaloff ‘s Parent Alienation Blog

A blog about Parent Alienation

Can children recover?

Can children recover from the symptoms left behind by the hostile-aggressive parenting strategies of one parent?  The answer is: I don’t know.  Actually I wish I knew!  If you have any experiences in these type of scenarios, please share them with all of us.

What is known is that psychological damage will eventually arise in children consistently subjected to PA.  This cluster of symptoms is formerly known as PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) which, by the way,  will most likely finally be included as a pathological behavior syndrome in the next edition of the DSM-IV.

My sentiment on the recovery issue is this:  It takes a lot of energy and effort to coerce a child or children into denigrating against another parent, because it is not within their genetic repertiore to do so.  It is therefore extremely difficult to force a child against its own natural instincts.  However the more successful the denigrating parent becomes in his or her effort to do so, the more damage is also done to the child.

Now,  the good news is that I have heard of many cases like that to have been successfully reversed with proper therapy.  Perhaps it is easier to fall back into the state of genetic normality (which is to allow the child to love both parents) than it is to move away from it, however it is the deep-rooted underlying damage that was done in the process, which I am concerned with and have no answer to.  A sudden reversal of symptoms in the children is to be taken cautiously, because this may just be a temporary veneer of behaviours that still have the actual deeper-rooted problems underneath it.  A HAP parent can easily convince the children to show affection and niceness to the target parent just to offer the appearance that the children are fine, however the psychological issues more likely than not are still present and need to be dealt with properly.

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October 5, 2008 - Posted by | General Information | , , , , , ,


  1. I am an adult victim of PAS, as a child. My mother was the epitome of a Malicious Mother and my dad was just a regular dad.

    I feel that the PAS was the reason of a miriad of emotional issues I experienced in my young adult life. I am 40 now, the mother of a 9 year old bio-daughter and step-mother to a 15 year old step-daughter.

    I can say that my past experience of being the victim of PAS has made me a much better mother/step-mother in a blended family. As we deal with my husband’s ex as the Malicious Mother and PAS, I can so relate to what my stepdaughter is going through. I would never inflict this kind of treatment on my bio-daughter, pertaining to her dad.

    The Malicious Mother does nothing for anyone by creating PAS. She is only hurting herself, and as I can attest, once the child is grown, they will be able to do what they want, with whom they want. They don’t have to have a relationship with that Malignant Mother anymore, if they so choose.

    Sometimes I think the child support should go into a special fund for therapy because that’s what children with a Malicious Mother need when they get out from under her thumb.

    PAS does not benefit anyone, especially the children. Adults can take care of their own issues, but kids don’t have a say and they should. Our court system is so that it allows the PAS to take place. These Malicious Mothers need to be recognized for what they are and actions need to be taken to protect the kids. In the end, the kids are the real victims in all of this. 😦

    Comment by Stacy | October 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Can you tell me the source of this statement

    “This cluster of symptoms is formerly known as PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) which, by the way, will most likely finally be included as a pathological behavior syndrome in the next edition of the DSM-IV.”

    I do a ton or research on PA/PAS and this is the first I’m hearing of it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Comment by Louise Uccio | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. We need the Wisdom of Solomon on the bench to acknowledge when this damage is taking place under the false parenting conduct of the mother or the father– To believe that we need to engage in gender wars is to fall for a red herring. In 2001–the literature was showing that the genders were approaching parity as Alec Baldwin cites in his new book on the subject of the courts and the alienating parent. For all we know, fathers may have overtaken mothers as alienating parent since then. We don’t have reliable statistics. It is not about which gender does it more, it is about why the courts are not stopping it in its tracks. We need wisdom and knowledge to be readily available in the courts. Instead we seldom have either.

    Comment by Nora | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thank you Mr. Gougaloff for this blog. A lot of discussion is needed about PAS, Parental Alienation Syndrome. Two reasons come to mind. One, many targeted parents need understanding and support. Another, pressure from the public needs to bear upon processes that allow its proliferation.

    Some of you know there are groups and organizations that command powerful material resources that oppose any credibility for PAS or any other name given to it. Among them are so called experts that speak through the groups as well. There are lawyers that will take a case against a targeted parent. There are judges and psychologists and psychiatrists that oppose PAS.

    One of these groups, Justice for Children (JFC) gave my daughter’s mother not one but two lawyers for free from perhaps the largest law firm in America, Fulbright and Jawoprski,Llp. Mom was out committing three felonies hile she was getting this ‘help’. I had raised our daughter for five and one half years, or from the time she was enighteen months until she was six and one half. Our daughter had flourished despite the many neurosis inculcated and nurtured by her mother and the fact that she had hardly seen me before I got her. She was a healthy, happy child.

    After her mother got her back she floundered and eventually dropped out of high school and made a baby. This baby too is separated from its father.

    It has been sixteen and a half years that my daughter has not been able to even pick up the phone and talk with me.

    On May 2, 2007 the Houston Chronicle ran an interview of attorney Alene Levy, with another huge law firm, that of Haynes and Boone, Llp. She was about to go to work for JFC presumably on loan from Haynes. In the interview she said that “when a mother discloses child sexual abuse, she is correct,” and then she said “a father will then often retaliate and claim Parental Alienation Syndrome in a custody suit in order to get custody”.

    JFC has vociferously supported and subsequently defended the biased film financed by the Mary Kay Foundation, called Breaking Silence: Children’s Stories, when it was shown in Houston before it was pulled nationally on orders from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for being biased.

    One thing about which to be very aware, as one proceeds in any custody matter, is to become very aware of who lurks in your community that rejects PAS, for the sake of the fact that you as a targeted parent might face them in the courtroom. Many of these confused and demented souls can be named today and someone should compose a list of them for the sake of a child and a targeted parent. I have assimilated many names.

    PAS is insidious and it is real despite what these groups say. It does not take a stretch of anyones imagination to know this. One but ask oneself if one is dealing with a sociopath, a narcissist, one with bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc. Therein you may very well find behavoirs that will destroy the child mentally and ruin the targeted parent.

    Comment by Robert Gartner | October 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. You are asking some good questions about the long-term effects of parental alienation and I wanted to draw you attention to my book published last year by WW Norton called Adult children of parental alienation syndrome: Breaking the ties that bind. The book is based on interviews with 40 adults who as children were alienated from one parent by the other. The book described different family patterns within which PAS occurs, describes the pathways to having the realization that one has been a victim of PAS and discusses the long-term effects. Ia lso have an e-paper which might be of interest you called beyond teh high road: responding to 17 parental alienation strategies without compromising your morals or harming your child. This is available on my website and was written for targeted parents eager to find new ways to respond to alienation tactics of the other parent.

    Best to you and your viewers.

    Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D

    Comment by Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D | October 8, 2008 | Reply

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