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Integrity is more than just honoring your word….it is completing the task as it is meant to be done.

Parent Alienation: more signs and symptoms…..

We left off at #10 last time….so to continue with #11.

11. The child is owned, controlled, and indoctrinated by the alienating parent.  That parent is viewed as all good, all wise, and all poerful by the child who becomes dependent, manipulated by them.  There is never questioning that what the parent says or does is always right.

(just recently, Jon’s son called and wanted to come and live with us.  He has just been thru a residential treatment facility.  Interestingly enough, when his mother got wind of it….she threw an absolute fit.  Now he lives with his uncle, or her brother.  She told him that she would rather die than have him live with his father.  Then she threatened to take Jon to court even though she is the one in contempt.  She simply makes it so difficult for her son to have a relationship with his dad that he just succumbs to it.  He can’t take the pressure or the fear that she will abandon him.

12. The child tends to paraphrase statements used by the alienating parent.  The words used are often untypical of words likely to be used by a child.  It is very similar to a cult type of indoctrination.

(Jon called his 7 year old son on Thanksgiving morning to say happy turkey day and his son said….”dad, stop calling here and harassing my family”.  We could not believe it.  Harass?  He didn’t even know what that meant!  His mother grabbed the phone and said, “stop calling here you weirdo”.  This is a true story.  A grown woman who is a parent, said that.)

13. The child suffers from paranoia (hatred) inculcated by the alienating parent who promotes attitudes, intentions, and behaviors of a negative nature to the alienated parent.

(Again, Jon’s ex would tell his son not to take any medicines and to be careful what he ate.  He was told that he had to call her before he went  to bed so she could make sure he was ok.  So his son was afraid that his father was going to give him “drugs”.  He locked himself in the bathroom and would only talk to me.  Thank goodness I was able to explain that this simply was not true.  But….then he went home and got indoctrinated again.

14. The child will speak about exaggerated or contrived abuse that has been experienced from the alienated parent.

(Jon’s daughter wrote a letter to him saying that her mother had to call DFACS on him because he was drunk while they were with him…and that she had to come all the way up from Florida to get them.  Never happened, but the memory was put in her head when she was a kid and she believes her mom.)

(Another good one was from his son….”dad isn’t that the big white house you kicked me and mom out of?”.   Again, never happened.  There was moving, but no “kicking out”.)

15. The child or alienating parent makes statements insinuating quasi or actual sexual, emotional, or physical abuse suffered by the child.

(This is very common.  Jon was not allowed to see his son for months when his ex accused him of physical abuse.  She even made false 911 calls to have him arrested.  Then he had to go thru supervised visitation which, of course, has a negative affecct on the relationship and makes the implication that he is guilty.  It took over a year to prove her wrong.  That is a year lost with the child)

16. The language comes indirectly from the alienator such as, “he touches me inappropriately” or “he has penetrated me,” These are all borrowed scenarios from the alienating parent.

17. Children who are alienated no longer know what the truth is.

(And so they shut down.  They just try to stay where it is safe and forget the other parent.  It’s easier.  There is not way a child could know how to process information this complicated, so they either compartmenatize it , ignore it, or act out.  If they acto out, it is going to be blamed on the alienated paretnt as abuse or abandonment.  Often, we see stomach problems or sleep problems or eating problems as well.)

18. The child who is alienated against the parent will often be alienated against the parent’s family also.

(Grandparents have rights.  It’s hard to exercise in court, but they have rights.  Jon’s kids have not seen or heard the voice of their grandparents in years.  His parents send cards and gifts with no response.  His ex responded one Christmas and said in a card, “Thanks for thinking of us”.  It is inconcievable to me that a person would keep their kids from their grandparents and their cousins.  )

19. The alienator will also poison the child against the therapist unless the therapist supports the alienator.  Hence the therapist is seen as an enemy in the same light as the alienated parent.

(This is where confidentiality becomes very important.  It is imperative that the therapist not base his or her opinion on one side of the story.  I never, ever make a judgement without consulting both sides several times.  The emotional development of a child could depend on me doing a little extra investigation.

20. It is not what the alienator says, but how it is said.  For expample when telling a child “father would like to take you out”, it can be said with joy and enthusiasm indicating positive expectations or it can be said with venom indicating negative feelings. This is what is predominantly communicated to the child rather than the verbal message.

(I have said a million times.  It  is the responsibility of the primary, custodial parent to encourage and maintain the relationship with the other parent.  Period.  Saying “your relationship with your son is your problem.  I have nothing to do with it”…is simply immature and wrong.  Period.)


What does Codependence mean?

Codependence means doing for others what they are capable of doing themselves…and/or using things outside of yourself to get your needs met. 

All chemical addicts are codependent, but not all codependents are chemical addicts.

How do you know you are ready to date?

Emmie writes:  Does dating and who you chose to date have anything to do with your self image?  When do you know when you are in a healthy place to date?

Sonia says: Absolutely.  I talk about this in my book….we seek out in others what we see in ourselves.  So, if you see yourself as “less than” or if you do things to present yourself in a “lessor” way, than you will probably end up dating the same….over and over.  One of my biggest issues has been finding someone who is emotionally available.  Well….I struggled a lot with feeling like I was “enough”….smart enough, pretty enough, financially stable enough, independent enough.  It’s not that easy to figure out that the men that I dated were also “not enough”.  Why should they be when I was overcompensating, trying to prove how “enough” I was.  They didn’t have to be….I ended up doing it all.  So discovering the difference between being emotionally available and vulnerable was a big awakening for me. 

To answer your question…yes, it does matter.  Work on you and then the right one will come around…or you will seek him out.  Don’t make any decisions before you are ready to make them.  In my opinion, unless you just got out of a long relationship, and need to give yourself a little breathing room…go out!.  If an opportunity comes around to date someone…go!  If it’s nice, go again….if it sucks, try someone else.  Part of growing is knowing how to say when someone is not healthy for you!  You won’t know if you don’t go out and meet a few frogs.  It is really empowering to KNOW when someone is not right for you because THEY are not in an evolved enough place for you.

thanks…..good question!

Parenting a teenager….

Remember that parenting a teen involves guidance and encouragement…as opposed to reward and punishment.  Rewards and punishments encourage pushing of limits…to see how far they can get.  That works till they are about 11 years old or so.  We need to teach this generation insight and common sense which requires boundaries and guidance.  Boundaries are for the parent, by the way, so that they can parent consistantly and teach respect and honesty.


You can have anything you want in this lifetime, it’s all in your approach.  So if your approach sucks…so will your results.

Dating a younger man

Cindy writes: I’m 30 years old.  I’ve had several boyfriends, but recently became involved with a younger man.  I thought that he was at least 25 from the way he looks.  I mean, he can grow a full beard and weighs 220 pounds.  But, he just graduated from high school.  He’s 18!!  If he’s old enough to go to Iraq, isn’t he old enough for me?

Sonia says: I think what you have to address first is the fact that he is in a different stage of development than you are.  I mean, he is just out of  school. When you look back, what did you REALLY know when you were 18?  I know now, that I didn’t know squat, I just thought I did. I understand that you might have things in common ( I have things in common with every teenager that I work with…I used to be a teenager) and that it might be fun, but when it comes down to it, is that the foundation that you or he needs for a lasting relationship?  hmmmm.  When you throw in the “going to Iraq” thing….which means that he won’t even have to be available physically, and that there will be a huge distance between you…Think about it…is that what the relationship needs to hang on?  The idea becomes more powerful than the reality. Just be careful not to make it a “Romeo and Juliet” thing.

Parent Alienation: some signs and symptoms

This is from a publication by Ludwig Lowenstein, Ph.d in 2005.  The stuff in italics is from Sonia.

A number of signs or indicators of alienation can be identified. It should be recognized that not all these signs appear in all cases…This unfortuately tends to be the father (being alienated), but there are cases where the mother is alienated also.  Whomever uses alienation procedures or brainwashing to get the child to hate the other parent is clearly in the wrong and is guilty of causing harm to the child in the present and future.  The is considerable research indicating the harm that is done to children who are alienated against a parent when they are young….

It should also be noted that the alienating parent usually has some individuation issues and a personality disorder….ie. has a hard time seperating themselves as a person from their children and in effect lives thru them very inappropriately.  Hence the alienator gives the appearance of being a wonderful and doting parent when in reality  there is little concern about the welfare of the children….just their own vengeance toward the other parent.  You will see cases where the primary mission of the alienating parent is to destroy the other parent in any and every way possible even at the expense of emotionally disrupting the children or basically brainwashing them.

Here are some signs per Dr. Lowenstein:

1. Lack of independent thinking from the child imitating the alienator’s thoughts and feelings.

2. Destroying mail or even presents from the alienated parent.  Jon’s ex wife never gave any of the cards or packages that he sent to his kids, to his kids.  I even sent them some to see if it was true.  They never got anything.  When he called, she would just hang up the phone and tell the kids he never tried to contact them.  She did this a couple of months ago, even after more than 10 years.

3. the alienating parent tends to seek to curtail all communication between the child and the alienated parent.

4.The alienated parent is seen as the scapegoat. he or she is blamed for everything that has gone wrong with the child.  There is no sense of ambivalence.

5. The child calls the alienated parent a liar and other abusive names similar to the alienating parent. 

6. The child insults, shows disrespect, and humiliates the alienated parent often in front of the alienator.

7. Alienated parents are viewed as being despicable, faulty and deserving of being rejected permanently.

8. Parents who alienate children are seducing the child emotionally and will continue to do this while in control of the child, yet they deny that they are doing anything but encouraging the child to make contact with the alienated parent.  I could write a book on this myself.  This indicator is the key to alienation in my opinion.  Once they seduce the child, there is no turning back.  A child is going to listen to the parent that they feel is most unconditional….so when the alienator puts themselves in that position successfully…..their job is set for the long term.

9. The child is made to feel guilty for any love shown towards the alienated parent.  The child will deny any involvement with the alienated parent, fearful of what the alienator would do to him or her.  The child will tell you this until he or she realizes what is happening.  They know that it’s not safe to talk about their feelings toward the alienated parent…but they will tell the alienated parent what they feel and ask questions until they feel threatened by the alienator.

10. The child fears rejection by the programmer/ brainwasher/alienator so  wishes to say good things about the alienated parent or wishes to be with him or her are kept secret.

This is a start.  There are 28 indicators, so I’ll post some others later.


Parent Alienation fact:

Parent Alienation is any type of behavior, whether verbal or non-verbal, which mentally manipulates a child into believing that the other parent is the cause of all of the problems (their’s and the alienating parent’s) in their lives and that the other parent is the “enemy”, “bad one”, “dead beat”, “irresponsible” or one to be feared, hated, disrespected and/or avoided.

If you feel that your parent is doing this….please tell someone like a counselor, who can help you.

There are many methods that the alienating parent may use and I will post them a couple at a time.

Division of labor….

Mary asks: I work very hard and my boyfriend also has a good job, but we are having problems with our division of labor.  Both of us work, but he is this traditional guy that doesn’t want to help at all around the house.  He says his family would look at him like he was less than a man if he worked with me to keep the house clean.  Otherwise, this is a good man.  he doesn’t cheat and is a good lover.  Help!

Sonia says:  Get a maid and split the cost.  Then you can just do the things that you want to do around the house.  Besides, does he do all the “man” things in your relationship, like fill your car with gas, and keep it serviced, cut the grass (if you have read my book, you know that’s important), do all the outside work, fix toilets etc.  I think the “my family would look at me like less of a man” thing is silly and immature….and a cop out.  If he’s such a good man, he’d be more respectful.  You have a job….why do you have to work out of the home and in the home too?  And….how would his family know that he helped clean the house?  Being the “man of the house” means setting an example and treating everyone with respect and fairness.

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