Do Not Force the Child to be with their Rejected Parent

It is not uncommon for someone to say "we should not force the child to be with a parent".

See also Dr. Childress' essay on Associated Clinical Sign 1: Use of the word "forced".

Here is a response from Dr Childress' Facebook Page  that I have reproduced here to make it easier to read and refer to:

"It appears my Facebook page has become infested by allies of the pathogen, and they don’t seem to be voluntarily going away, so I feel it becomes my ethical obligation to alert them that they are posting to the Facebook page of a clinical psychologist, and that in doing so they may be disclosing more information about their deeper psychological processes than they may consciously be aware of. So in the spirit of full disclosure:

I am a clinical psychologist. Clinical psychologists possess advanced education and training that allows us to see deeper into people’s psychological processes about which the person may be unaware. Beginning with the work of Sigmund Freud and his colleagues, such as Melanie Klien, Erik Erickson, and Afred Adler, and through such preeminent figures as Heinz Kohut, Otto Kernberg, Carl Rogers, Virginia Satir, Fritz Perls, and Aaron Beck, and from a host of others, clinical psychologists develop a specialized capacity to see beneath the surface presentation to underlying psychological processes.

Now for the most part I tend to respect people’s psychological privacy so I usually avert my clinical attention from the underlying process being exposed, and I try not to allow myself to process information at the deeper levels except when working with clients. And for normal-range people, such as targeted parents and people in the general population, their psychological processes are not particularly prominent and so their process doesn't typically stand out from the background topics of discussion.

Sherlock Holmes was once asked by Dr. Watson how Holmes could solve such difficult cases involving such strange clues. Holmes responded that it was exactly the strangeness of the clues that made the cases easy to solve, because these clues were so distinctive that they could only be produced by a limited set of factors. It was the ordinary cases that were hard, because so many things could account for ordinary.

The same is true for a clinical psychologist. Ordinary and normal-range presentations provide few clues as to underlying process precisely because the features are so ordinary and normal. However, clearly distinctive presentations provide an abundance of indicators regarding deeper process.

With this in mind, I feel ethically obligated to advise the minions of the pathology who have sought out my Facebook page to post and expose their process that I am a clinical psychologist, and so they may be displaying deeper aspects of their psychological process than they are aware of displaying.

I am not seeking them out. I am respecting their psychological privacy by not seeking them out where they live in order to look into their underlying process. But if they are going to come to my Facebook page and display their process so openly, then that’s their choice, to so openly expose their process to a clinical psychologist. Up to you.

For targeted parents who are following this discussion, the display on my Facebook page by the allies of the pathology highlights a variety of factors associated with this pathology, and over the course of time I will be describing the features of this underlying structure of the pathology to help you understand what this pathology entails and how to address it.

At a professional level I have found the display very helpful. In this regard I would call your attention to two prominent themes advanced by the allies of the pathogen. The first is the empowerment of the child (“We should listen to what the child wants”). You’ll note that this is the Associated Clinical Sign 2 in my blog post on the diagnosis of this pathology, and I describe the origins of this “empowerment of the child” feature on pages 230-242 of Foundations.

The second feature of note are the allegations that the child is being “forced” (coerced) to have a relationship with the targeted-rejected parent (Associated Clinical Sign 1). I similarly address the origins of this allegation on pages 230-240 of Foundations.

For example, with regard to the allegation of the child being “forced” to have a relationship with the targeted-rejected parent, in Foundations I describe the underlying psychological dynamics of this symptom feature on pages 232-236, with the concluding summary:

From Foundations: “The use of the term “force” to characterize the child’s relationship with the targeted parent is a subtle but powerful manipulative communication that:

1. Mischaracterizes the child’s “opportunity” to have a positive relationship with a loving and affectionately available parent as somehow being a bad thing;

2. Empowers the child within the trauma reenactment narrative into rejecting a relationship with the normal-range and affectionally available targeted parent;

3. Enlists naïve therapists and attorneys into becoming allies who inadvertently collude with the psychopathology by supporting the child’s empowerment to reject the targeted parent;

4. Disempowers efforts to encourage the child’s cooperation in forming a positive relationship with the targeted parent by implying that such efforts are somehow “abusive” of the child by not “respecting the child’s wishes.”

From Foundations: “Whenever a child characterizes a relationship with a normal-range and affectionally available parent as being “forced” to be with this parent, therapists and attorneys working with children should immediately and clearly reframe a relationship with the other parent in a more balanced way. The child is being offered a “valuable opportunity” to form a positive relationship with both parents. The child is not being “forced,” the child is “cooperating” in forming a positive relationship with a normal-range and affectionally available parent. The child is expected to show appropriate pro-social values of kindness, empathy, cooperation, and respect for authority.” (Foundations, p. 236)

And here it is... this associated symptom feature just walks up and posts itself to my Facebook page. No model of pathology can have such incredibly specific predictive power unless it is an accurate model of the pathology.

What I find so incredibly valuable, however, is the display of underlying process associated with the psychological dynamics of the ally. I have seen the pathology of the narcissistic/borderline parent. What I haven’t had the opportunity to see is the underlying psychological dynamics of the ally. So having allies of the pathology come to my Facebook page and display their psychological process for me has been incredibly helpful.

I believe I have handled these allies of the pathology in a professionally responsible way. I first responded to them as if their expressed questions and concerns were authentic. Once they displayed that their comments were not authentic efforts at dialogue but were expressions of an underlying fixed agenda, I then disengaged and provided them with an opportunity to similarly disengage and go away on their own in response to non-reinforcement.

It now appears that they are remaining active on my Facebook page so I am alerting them that by posting on the Facebook page of a clinical psychologist they are potentially disclosing more information about their underlying psychological processes than they may be consciously aware of, thereby providing them with another opportunity to protect their psychological privacy from scrutiny. At this point, I believe I’ve taken the professionally responsible steps to protect their psychological privacy, and from here on out it is their choice if they wish to expose their underlying process.

However, as a clinical psychologist I have found their posting incredibly helpful in answering a few remaining questions I had about the pattern of information structures within the ally’s attachment networks. Yet even though I find this display of underlying process helpful, I believe it is the proper thing to do to alert these allies of the pathology that they are exposing their deep process dynamics in order to give them the opportunity to heed this counsel and protect their psychological privacy.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857"

And this one  from  Dr Childress' Facebook Page - Lessons in Clinical Psychology

Lessons in Clinical Psychology:

The Psychology of the Flying Monkey Minions – Attacks to Provoke Defense

For Targeted Parents:

So let’s drop down a bit more into the pathology of the flying monkey minion. By the way, Karen Baruch brought the term “flying monkey” to my attention. The Urban Dictionary defines a flying monkey as,

From the Urban Dictionary: “In popular psychology, a flying monkey is someone who does the narcissist’s bidding to inflict additional torment to the narcissist's victim. It might consist of spying on the victim, spreading gossip, threatening, painting the narcissist as the victim and their target as the perpetrator.”

The swarming of minions surrounding narcissistic personality processes is apparently such a common phenomenon that it has its own Urban Dictionary definition – flying monkeys. So let’s unravel the psychology of the flying monkeys who have so graciously decided to display their psychological process on my Facebook page.

We’re going to be shifting our analysis from content to process. Content is what we say. Process is why we say it. For a clinical psychologist, identifying the process dynamics of the person is key to understanding their manifestation of pathology. Process reveals the underlying “why” that is creating the content of the pathology we see displayed before us.

We start by recognizing the surface features of the display. Then we begin unraveling the knot of pathology, strand by strand.

These flying monkey minions present a prominent self-perceived self-importance – “Everybody listen to me as I proclaim truth and pronounce judgement; because I’m important.”

While they purport themselves to be proclaiming truth in pronouncing their oh-so-important judgments regarding what truth and reality are – their views reveal a profound – and I mean profound - ignorance and a motivated distortion to reality that seems almost willful, as a means to advance a personal agenda – a psychological agenda. Thing is, it actually is purposeful – but just not conscious; they are not aware of their motivated purpose – but there is a driving unconscious motivation to their willful distortions of truth. At the surface level their distorted accusations are designed to provoke a response.

These minions of the pathology don’t realize this. They’re locked in their own psychological process. They cannot see what they cannot see – what is “unconscious” – they actually believe the distorted truth in which they live (as does your ex-, the narcissistic/borderline parent). But as a clinical psychologist, my entire education and training is toward exactly that purpose – seeing the unconscious psychological dynamics of the person’s motivations that drive what they do on the surface. To see the process behind and beneath the content. That’s what I do as a clinical psychologist. That’s my profession.

As a clinical psychologist, it is the personal psychological agenda of these flying monkey minions that I find most fascinating. I’m like a kid in a candy store – oh my God, look at that… and over there, that is so fascinating… and this, look at this. The display of their core psychological process is simply wonderful. It’s so rich that I hardly know where to start. I couldn’t ask for more. It’s like the universe is giving me a Christmas present.

So let’s start unraveling things.

These flying monkey minions pontificate on their (distorted) truth as if they believed their (ignorant) opinions had value – reflecting a narcissistic self-perceived grandiosity in which their (ignorant) opinions have importance and value. Opinions born in ignorance are of no value.

It’s as if they walked into a group of physicists and started to criticize the theory of relativity, for example that “Time doesn’t speed up and slow down – I’ve never seen that. My clock always keeps the same time.” If you want to talk with physicists, learn physics. Otherwise, you are just ignorant and your opinions are of no value. Did you know that all of our GPS systems have to continually make adjustments for the very real time dilation effects predicted by relativity theory?

But this is critical to understanding the grandiosity of their narcissistic self-inflation – they actually believe their ignorant opinions have value – they actually believe they are “entitled” to discuss and dispute the principles of physics with physicists, even though they know absolutely NOTHING about physics. What marvelous hubris. It’s so delightfully narcissistic - “Even though I am completely ignorant, my opinions are more important than everyone one else, even the professionals. Everyone needs to listen to me because I’m so incredibly important, and I will tell you what truth and reality are based on what I need truth and reality to be.” It’s so marvelously narcissistic.

But this is just the surface content level. It’s the underneath process level that I find so fascinating as a clinical psychologist, because it’s this underneath process level that displays the structure of the pathogen – the computer virus – that is infecting the information structures of the attachment system.

Remember how I said the pathogen has a set of three defensive meme-structures,

1) Remain concealed
2) Seek allies
3) When threatened with exposure, attack to provoke a defensive response

Well, in the display of the flying monkey minions on my Facebook page we see manifestations of all three of these organizing "meme-structures" of the pathogen.

1. Concealment: The minions argue that we need to “listen to the child” – in other words, that we need to keep the psychological control of the child by a narcissistic/borderline parent concealed behind the child’s manipulated symptom display. Classic. “Don’t break the concealment of the parent’s psychological manipulation of the child.”

What’s even more intriguing is that the flying monkeys specifically object to identifying the pathogen – “Don’t use the word pathogen – don’t identify the pathogen.” This is such an astoundingly specific effort to maintain the concealment that I am awe-struck by such an overt display.

The specific effort to conceal the existence of the pathogen by objecting to its identification as such is truly incredible – “There’s no pathogen. There’s nothing here. Don’t look over here.” The distorted information structures in the attachment system of the flying monkeys are trying to specifically prevent the identification of the pathogen to keep its existence concealed – “Nothing here – don’t look here.” The specificity of this effort is so incredibly remarkable. And look at the vehement insistence surrounding this specific effort at concealing the pathogen, such that when I identify the existence of the pathogen this draws from the flying monkey a comparison of me to Nazis. Wow. Hit a nerve did I?

2. Allies: These flying monkeys have no stake in this pathology. They’re not the “alienating parent.” Yet they feel compelled to actively support the pathology. Why?

Why are they coming to my Facebook page and arguing in favor of maintaining the pathology of a child’s role-reversal relationship with a narcissistic/borderline parent? Why are they fighting so hard to disable any effort directed toward restoring the child’s normal and healthy psychological development? These are the allies. And what I find so marvelous as a clinical psychologist is now I’m getting the opportunity to view directly into the pathogen’s influence on the various brain systems of these allies. I can’t tell you how almost gleeful I am at this opportunity.

3. Attack (with great viciousness) in order to place the threat on the defensive: This expression of the pathogen’s defensive “meme-structure” is the key to why these flying monkeys have come to my Facebook page. They are attacking me to place me on the defensive, because as long as I am defending myself from their attacks I don’t pose a threat to breaking through the pathogen’s veil of concealment.

Classic, classic, classic. And here it is. It just walks right up to my Facebook page and presents itself as my holiday gift. Each post by these flying monkey minions reveals more and more about the underlying "meme-structure" organization of the pathogen that’s driving this process dynamic. A gift that keeps on giving.

As an example, the flying monkey minions appear to be focusing their attack on the Single Case ABAB design. This attack is designed to place me on the defensive, thereby nullifying my threat to the pathogen of exposing it from behind its veil of concealment. As long as I’m defending myself, the focus is on me not on the pathology. Classic. I’m sure every targeted parent is familiar with this tactic of the narcissistic/borderline pathology. They throw out crazy and irrational attacks – sometimes even making untrue and distorted allegations of abuse - which place you on the defensive, always keeping you defending yourself and your parenting practices. Even the child’s induced symptoms of rejecting you imply that you’re somehow a bad parent and place you on the defensive of justifying your parenting and continually correcting false and highly distorted accusations.

This is all part of a very specific defensive “meme-structure” of the pathology designed to defend itself from exposure and maintain its concealment – attack to put the threat on the defensive, then the focus is on you (or me in this case) and off of the pathology.

So this current expression of this particular “meme-structure” defensive process (attack with wildly distorted accusations to provoke a response that places the other person on the defensive) is to attack the Single Case ABAB design. I’m sure these flying monkey minions scoured every possible nook and cranny of my work looking for something to attack, and they decided the ABAB design was it.

But their attack isn’t a serious critique. It’s solely designed to provoke a defensive response that places the focus on me and takes it off the pathology, so that the pathogen can then slip back into its cover of concealment. So let me show you just how irrational their attack really is:

In 100% of normal-range parenting by all parents everywhere in the country, when children present defiant and disrespectful behavior the parent imposes consequences – called discipline – designed to correct the child’s misbehavior. This isn’t called “coercion” – This is called “parenting.” Duh.

Are these flying monkey minions seriously proposing that parents should not discipline their children for defiance, disrespect, and misbehavior? Really? That’s the criticism? That we should just allow children to say and do whatever they want, however rude, defiant, and disrespectful and we as parents shouldn’t do anything about it because we don’t want to “coerce” the child into developing socially appropriate behavior. The child doesn’t want to do homework – oh well, we don’t want to “coerce” the child to do anything the child doesn’t want to do. The child is defiant and disrespectful. Oh well, we wouldn’t want to “coerce” the child into developing socially appropriate behavior and respect for parental authority.

And this is the standard we are to apply to all parents across the country? No disciple of children’s defiant, rude, and disrespectful behavior. No parental expectations that the child show positive prosocial behavior. How incredibly absurd and just plain stupid is that? Parents should not discipline their children because that would be coercion. That’s just plain stupid - and so fundamentally wrong as to be absurd on its face..

Two things, and then I’m going to stop arguing with stupidity. First, a single case research design is one of the truly standard hallmarks of professional research methodology. Solid, solid, solid. Second, the Single Case ABAB protocol is a Strategic Family Systems intervention. Once the flying monkey minions learn what a Strategic Family Systems intervention is – read Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes – in fact learn Family Systems theory generally; Minuchin, Framo, Bowen, Satir, Boszormenyi-Nagy – THEN we’ll have something to talk about. But spouting bogus opinions born in abject ignorance is just… ignorance.

If any reasonable and rational human wants to discuss the issue of parenting and the role of discipline and guidance, I’d be more than happy to do so. I’ve started a blog on Developmentally Supportive Parenting where I will be discussing all aspects of parenting. But these current attacks by the flying monkey minions are not authentic, they are manifestations of the pathogen’s efforts to nullify a threat to its concealment by placing the threat on the defensive so as to take the focus off of the pathology.

But they’re not actually after me, they’re after Dorcy. It’s Dorcy they want and I’m standing in the way. So they’re searching for some way to nullify me so they can get to her. I represent a threat to the pathogen because I threaten to expose it from behind its veil of concealment. Dorcy represents an even bigger threat because the High Road protocol will expel the pathogen from the attachment networks of the children. No, no, no. That must NOT be allowed to happen. The pathology MUST be maintained at all costs. Dorcy must be destroyed, both professionally and personally – leading to wild allegations and wholesale distortions of truth that are hurled at her. Attack with great viciousness. Truth and accuracy are not relevant.

And if Dr. Childress stands in the way, then he too must be professionally discredited and personally destroyed - malign his integrity, question his ethics, spew venom. This pathogen is extremely vicious – a fact which every targeted parent understands all too well.

Why are these flying monkey minions displaying such an obsessive need to support and maintain the extremely severe developmental psychopathology of a child’s manipulation and exploitation by a narcissistic/borderline parent to meet the parent's own emotional and psychological needs?

Let’s find out, shall we. Stay tuned as I unravel even deeper levels of the psychology of the flying monkey minion.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857