Article: Parental Alienation as a Means to Aid Perpetrators of Abuse

By: Jeanne King, Ph.D.

“You speak out about me breaking your shoulder and that hurts me. Now you will pay for ruining my career…my public image.”

If you know affluent domestic violence, you probably know this one. When a battered woman rallies up the courage to reach out to the authorities, a whole new level of abuse sets in. She faces the threat of paying the price for coming out.

Shame as “Cause” for Further Victimization

The victim’s shame is usually seen as that which adds to maintaining the shield of silence around domestic violence. Yet, the perpetrator’s shame can be the inspiration for another round of family abuse.

Case after case from New York to California, victims assert that the legal domestic abuse they experience is driven by their soon-to-be ex husband’s need to get even, punish them and save face over the public humiliation of being identified as a wife and child abuser.

He will claim that she has destroyed his career through her efforts to break the cycle of family violence. From his point of view, he is now the victim and she is the perpetrator. He will do whatever he believes in necessary to clear his name, ease his shame and punish her for the violation of exposure that she has brought to him.

Common Strategies of So-Called Victimized Perpetrators

The most common strategy to carry out the perpetrator’s agenda is the use of parental alienation allegations. He will seek to set the record straight by showing the court that his wife’s fear and his children’s fear are fabricated to alienate him from their children.

He then becomes the victimized party and she the violating parent. This ploy is often used to cast smoke around his past and ongoing battering behavior. The net result of such a ploy is often to punish the fearful person by separating them from the children they seek to protect.

These battered mothers can end up with supervised visitation and, in extreme cases, no contact with their children whatsoever. The perpetrator secures legal and physical custody of the children and the cycle of family violence ensues.

If you are in a custody dispute following your disclosure of domestic abuse in your family, be mindful of the underlying dynamics in play. Understanding this can help you preempt and counter the ploys of perpetrators when domestic violence is in divorce court.

For more information about domestic violence divorce and parental alienation visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court.


The Divorce Recovery Ladder Workbook and Program were inspired by Susan’s own contentious divorce.
Topics included are: Realization of the situation | Attorneys | Finances | Children | Parental Alienation | Courts & Evidence | Recognizing Retaliation | Dating Again

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