As a licensed psychologist for 30 years and someone who has evaluated almost 1,000 custody cases, Dr. Douglas Darnall is internationally recognized as an expert on parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome.
His soon-to-be-released book “Beyond Divorce Casualties: Reunifying the Alienated Family” gives new information about parental alienation’s difficult aftermath and how parents can review previous issues and solutions, renew efforts to create healthy childrearing environments, and reunify their alienated family.
In Part 2 of our interview with Darnall, he gives alienated parents reason for hope for the future and offers advice on how to deal with an alienated child. Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it.
DadsDivorce.com: What advice do you have for those alienated parents who right now feel hopeless about the future, about ever having a healthy relationship with their child again?
Dr. Douglas Darnall: Well, that’s the motivation behind writing the book. The answer is what to do. First off, we rarely have control over the other parent’s behavior. How we behave may influence how the other parent responds.
I mention “The Dog Whisperer” in my book because he makes an interesting point about dealing with angry, hostile animals. Animals, as well as people, respond to the energy you communicate with the receiver. If you convey anger and hostility, even without opening your mouth, you’re going to get an angry, hostile response.
What are you conveying in terms of energy to the other parent and perhaps your children? You need to recognize that and perhaps change your energy if it’s negative.
To conclude, why do parents need this book?
When I contrast my original book in 1998 (“Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children From Parental Alienation”), that book was pessimistic more about you have to prevent PAS by preventing parental alienation. The new book is a little more optimistic. It has a hopeful message for parents that have been severely alienated from their kids and talks to them about how to respond and prepare for reunification.
One of the things we learned is that what causes the child to reach out to the alienated parent is usually a crisis situation. They want to use you because they think you have something to give them in that situation. So if you want reunification you have to be willing to be used. Very often the targeted parent wants to convey to child what happened and their point of view.
That’s one of the quickest ways to destroy reunification. The focus shouldn’t be on getting you to agree with me on what happened. It should be on reunification.