Robert Gougaloff ‘s Parent Alienation Blog

A blog about Parent Alienation

Rationality and Emotion – Can both co-exist in the same Brain?

Most psychologists will say “NO” to this question, because these originate from two different areas of our brain. Rationality originates predominantly from the pre-frontal cortex, whereas emotions, such as anger, fear and resentments originate from the more primitive limbic system, the latter one usually winning out over the former one when it comes to a response.

How does this tie in with parent alienation?  Well, my greatest struggle is understanding how one and the same person (the HAP parent) can be a scientifically trained person, accepting nothing less than empirical evidence when it comes to making professional decisions or decisions for the general health of his or her children, yet at the same time can act in a manner which has been proven through empirical evidence to cause a great deal of psychological harm to children.

Is it because the emotions of anger and resentment (which are really just fear-based sub-emotions) are so strong that they literally shut down the rational thinking process, or is it perhaps that the satisfaction of the ego is at that moment more important than the possible negative effects that behavior might have on children? What about when the conflict started over 6 years ago (as it is in my case)?  Does the brain not engage into a natural protective mode, where it down-regulates such emotion over time, because it is unhealthy to the human body to live with such resentments over long periods of time?  Or is this perhaps a pathology in itself?

What exactly is the mechanism that allows an otherwise rational person to become suddenly emotion-driven and act in the most irrational way to the point where children are being abused (I do consider parent alienation to be a form of child abuse)?

These are a lot of questions, which I try to find answers to.  Perhaps answers to these questions will allow me to pave a better substrate for a psychological ecology that is healthy for my children.  I will continue to scour the psychological literature until I find a satisfactory answer to these questions, and when I do, rest assured, I will be the first one to share them with the rest of you!

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October 7, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Great insight! I struggle with trying to understand why my husband is the target parent. What happened to his ex-wife that made her this way? The thing that I’ve figured out, through observation and things my husband, step-daughter and in-laws have told me, is that she’s always been this way, although it seems to get worse the older she gets. But maybe it’s just finally surfacing instead of lying dormant.

    She has alienated her own parents from her life. She is trying to alienate my stepdaughter from my husband’s life.

    I, personally do not understand this mentality, myself. PAS is horrific and I feel that target parents in this position are not taken seriously and are labeled negatively by the courts and society.

    I worry for the future of my stepdaughter. The damage is done. How do we work to undo the damage once she’s away from the malicious mother? I feel so helpless at how to help my stepdaughter as she is so full of anger toward her mother for the PAS toward my husband.

    Thanks Robert!

    Comment by Stacy | October 8, 2008 | Reply


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