Tolv kriterier för att bedöma förekomsten av PAS (9 ska vara uppfyllda):
2. The child uses the mechanism of splitting to reduce ambiguity. The alienating parent is viewed as all good, and any negative traits are denied. Likewise, the targeted parent is viewed as all bad, and any positive traits are denied. For example, a controlling, alienating parent is described as “caring so much about me that she wants to be a part of everything I do.” Mild physical abuse by the alienating parent is flatly denied, even when there are witnesses. Yet the targeted parent is described as “trying to control me” when he or she makes plans for the visitation weekends. If the targeted parent does not make plans, in order to wait until the child gets to the targeted parent’s home so that the child can make his or her own choices, that parent is described as “not caring enough about my visit to make any plans for us.”
3. The child denies any positive feelings for the targeted parent. Any evidence to the contrary, such as gifts and cards from the child to the parent; photographs of the two together smiling; or recollections by the targeted parent of happy times together are met with denial, minimization, or rationalization.For example, a Fathers’ Day card sent to a father and signed “I love you” is explained as “I didn’t mean it. I only did it to get you to leave me alone.”
4. The attribution of negative qualities to the targeted parent may take on a quality of distortion or bizarreness that borders on loss of touch with reality. For example, one teenage girl took an antispasmodic drug for her stomach when going on visitations to her father’s home. When she couldn’t find her medication, she asserted that she “just knew he went through my purse and found it and flushed it down the toilet just so I would suffer.” The father, himself a pediatrician, was astonished, stating he would never go through her purse; never get rid of any person’s medication, much less his own daughter’s; and would certainly never want her to suffer. When other such allegations were demonstrated to be logistically 230 DlVORCE WARS impossible, the girl became disoriented, confused, and ambiguous.
5. The child offers as evidence of the targeted parent’s bad character recollections of events that occurred out of the child’s presence or before the child could have remembered them. For example, the child may insist she saw the father physically assault the mother, though she was only 18 months old and asleep when the alleged event took place. The child experiences no cognitive dissonance when presented with the impossibility of witnessing and recalling these events.
6. The child’s hatred and sense of persecution by the targeted parent have the quality of a litany. The phrasing is dramatic, rehearsed, and more adult sounding than the child’s natural language. The child and the alienating parent often use the exact same phrases. Gardner refers to this as borrowed scenarios. For example, one girl stated flatly, “My father used to be a father to me, then he dumped me for his new girlfriend.” The mother of the girl stated at another time, “We were working toward a reconciliation after the divorce when he dumped me for his new girlfriend.”
7. The child, when faced with contact with the targeted parent, displays a reaction of extreme anxiety, including panic attacks, stomachaches, vomiting, hysterical crying, falling to the floor, clinging, hyperventilating, clutching transitional objects, and wailing. The child will insist on not being alone with the targeted parent “for protectioi. ” The targeted parent reports that once the transition has been made, and the child is no longer in sight of the alienating parent, these symptoms lessen or disappear altogether.
8. The child has a dependent and enmeshed relationship with the alienating parent. The child may sleep with the parent; request that the parent accompany him or her to the toilet; and defer to the alienating parent in regard to minor decisions such as those about clothes, friends, and activities. The child often experiences separation anxiety when faced with other age-appropriate separations from the alienating parent as well.
9. The child is highly compliant, cooperative, and adaptable with all adults other than the targeted parent. The child has no history of oppositional or disruptive behavior at home or at school. Behavior checklists completed by the teacher typically show no elevations on any scales.
10. The child views the alienatingparent as a victim-as having been persecuted by the targeted parent and having suffered greatly be- PARENTAL ALIENATION SWDROME 23 1 came of that parent’s actions. The child maintains a parental attitude of concern, sympathy, and protectiveness toward the alienating parent. For example, the child may continually refer to the father’s abandonment of the family, though it was the mother who asked the father to move out and who filed for divorce.
11. The child maintains a complete lack of concern about or compassion for the targeted parent but instead holds an attitude of exploitation toward the targeted parent. The child objectifies the targeted parent as an “evil thing.” He or she may expect the targeted parent to make telephone calls that are refused, send gifts that are not acknowledged, and make timely child support payments with no expectation of visitation. The child shows a guiltless lack of concern for the targeted parent when telephone calls go unanswered, visitation attempts are thwarted, and efforts by the targeted parent to attend the child’s school and athletic activities are rejected.
12. The child’s belief system is particuhrly rigid, fixed, and resistant to traditional methods of intervention. Evidence of the incorrectness of the child’s belief system is completely denied. Attempts by the courts to establish a bond with the targeted parent are resisted and are included in the persecutory belief system. Efforts at supportive counseling are viewed as “harassment.”