The campaign to normalise child abuse continued in the UK this week, with the publication of a statement which read ‘not all children reject a parent because of manipulation‘. Reading on, the statement listed reasons why children reject parents, including, amongst other things, living in poverty because the rejected parent doesn’t pay maintenance (or words to that effect). What immediately struck me about this statement, was the way in which the triangulation of a child into adult matters, was being wrapped up in a way that made it appear justifiable (who would argue that not paying maintenance where it is due, is a good thing for example). In plain sight, with confidence and certainty, the child’s right to live free from adult concerns is eradicated and that is being normalised as something which causes children to reject a parent. It is wrong, it is harmful and it is child abuse and this is why.
The campaign strategy which has been deployed around the term parental alienation, is in my view, deliberately created to confuse the public about the harm that is done to children when they are triangulated into adult matters after divorce and separation. This strategy, which is ideological in nature, is constructed in such a way that the term parental alienation is now repeatedly associated with abusive fathers using it as a defence against domestic abuse allegations. The strategy consists of very well known tactics in ideological campaigning, denial (alienation of children doesn’t exist) and projection, (where alienation is claimed by a father, the mother must be a victim of domestic abuse). Allied to those tactics are a secondary layer of well known ideological campaign strategies, blame and shame projection. These are aimed at professionals who work with alienated children and families, seeking to portray them as victim blaming (but only where women are accused of alienation, not when they experience being alienated) and seeking to shame professionals (by using psychological terror tactics of lies and public denigration). These are the very same primitive defences which are used by those who alienate children and in the campaign strategies, lie the exact behaviours which are seen when children are psychologically harmed by a parent after divorce or separation.
The statement that some children reject a parent because they live in poverty and that parent doesn’t pay maintenance is a perfect example of how child abuse is being normalised. It takes a well known issue, (payment of child maintenance) and tries to play upon the reader’s sense of injustice to convince them that this is a legitimate reason for a child rejecting a parent. Unpacking that statement however, exposes the absolute intention of the writer, which is to normalise the triangulation of children into adult matters and it is not the first time this has been seen from this source. In another post, the statement ‘who hasn’t bad mouthed the other parent‘ was laid out as if that was something many parents do after divorce and separation, the intent again, is to normalise a behaviour which is harmful to children, behaviour which the majority of divorcing and separating parents do not engage in, precisely because they know how harmful it is to children to denigrate the other parent in that way.
The question we need to ask when we see the claim that some children reject a parent because they live in poverty due to non payment of child maintenance is this – how would a child know that their impoverishment is due to the lack of payment by the other parent? The answer is, they wouldn’t, unless of course a parent is sharing that information with them, which is triangulation of the child into adult matters, which is harmful to the child.
Non payment of child maintenance in so many cases, is a pattern of financial coercive control, which is abhorrent and which indeed harms the child. In such circumstances, where a pattern of coercive financial control is seen, a parent is not regarded as being alienated but is regarded as abusive and the underlying patterns of behaviours which accompany financial control are examined. That however, is about adults assessing parental behaviours, not children. Sharing your anger about non payment of child maintenance with a child, so that the child rejects the parent, is not justified and as such, is a pattern of enmeshment with the child which is harmful and controlling. It is in fact, manipulation of the child’s experience of the other parent and a breach of the child’s right to live free from adult concerns and regardless of the other parent’s behaviour, it is child abuse. That is because, triangulation of the child into adult matters in this way, induces psychological splitting, which is an infantile defence which impacts upon the child’s capacity for relational health. That is why these campaigns are harmful to children, because they are trying to normalise triangulation of children into adult matters, in plain sight, by playing on feelings of justice and injustice and by blurring the boundaries around what is harmful to children and what is not. As such, this strategy needs to be exposed in order to protect children.
The Antidote to the Campaign to Normalise Harm
Away from parental rights campaigns however, the quiet forward movement towards protection of children from these underlying dynamics of triangulation into adult matters, continues. In the UK, where the appeal court was unequivocal in its recognition of the patterns of behaviours which are seen when children become alienated, the requirement to act to protect is clear-
As to alienation, we do not intend to add to the debate about labels. We agree with SirAndrew McFarlane (see  Fam Law 988) that where behaviour is abusive, protective action must be considered whether or not the behaviour arises from a syndrome or diagnosed condition. It is nevertheless necessary to identify in broad terms what we are speaking about. For working purposes, the CAFCASS definition ofalienation is sufficient:“When a child’s resistance/hostility towards one parent is notjustified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent.”To that may be added that the manipulation of the child by the other parent need not be malicious or even deliberate. It is the process that matters, not the motive.
……….alienation may be found on the part of the other parent. These may include portraying the other parent in an unduly negative light to the child, suggestingthat the other parent does not love the child, providing unnecessary reassurance to the child about time with the other parent, contacting the child excessively when with the other parent, and making unfounded allegations or insinuations, particularly of sexual abuse.Re S (Parental Alienation: Cult). Neutral Citation Number:  EWCA Civ 568
Alongside this, the understanding in statutory services is increasing with social workers, psychologists and family court professionals, developing their understanding of the underlying harms which are seen in children’s hyper alignment with a parent and rejection of the other. Away from the battles around parental alienation theory, which in my view is both unnecessary and unhelpful in treatment of the core problem seen when children reject (psychological splitting), forward movement in several countries around the world is evident. Training by FSC for example, in understanding and working with psychological splitting in children of divorce and separation, is taking place this week in Poland and a pathfinder project in the UK with social workers working with public law cases of serious psychological and emotional harm to children in divorce and separation continues. Partnership work in Malta, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden is underway and the work with the International Academy of Practice with Alienated Children, will bring together clinicians from the USA, Canada, UK, Israel, Malta, Croatia, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Sweden, France, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand together in June to deliver a multi disciplinary conference which focuses upon treatment of the problem of psychological splitting in children of divorce and separation, ahead of the launch of a journal of clinical practice in the autumn of this year.
The needs of children of divorce and separation, to live free from adult concerns such as domestic abuse in all its forms, including financial control, are unarguable and so is the need for them to live free of being made aware of and party to, the injuries this inflicts. Two wrongs do not make it right for children and allowing adult anger and frustration about those injuries, to leak through to children, is harmful in itself. However wrong it is that maintenance is not paid, it is not justifiable to share that with children or to try and normalise that as a reason why children reject a parent.
Children deserve to be protected from adult matters, regardless of how unfair and unjust that might feel. That is the marker of healthy care, that is what ensures that a child’s psychological and emotional safety is protected. To say otherwise is to regard children as being fair game in a battle for righteousness between two parents incapable of putting children first.
IAPAC Conference 2022
IAPAC will open its conference in Israel on 14/15 June 2022 with a close look at children’s rights in the realm of parental divorce and separation. In doing so, we will open up this space to scrutiny in terms of what is happening psychologically and systemically, in families where children display alignments and rejecting behaviours and what harm is being done to children when the alienation dynamic is denied or misunderstood by practitioners. Examining children’s rights in the round, their right to a voice, their right to live free from adult concerns and their right to be parented healthily after divorce and separation, we will consider and balance the child’s holistic long term needs with their individual rights, in order to understand why interventions are necessary to assist them. Following on from that will be a packed two day conference looking at evidence based interventions with children and families and seminars will therefore be of interest to social workers, psychotherapists and other mental health professionals working with children in divorce and separation.
Examples of the Seminars and Learning Outcomes
Balancing Children’s Rights and Practitioner Responsibilities – understanding the need to intervene when children reject a parent.
Identification with the Aggressor – recognising coercive control of children who reject a parent.
Understanding and assisting the alienated child – evidence based interventions for reunification and recovery.
Integrating polarised thinking in the family where children align and reject – therapy with alienated children and families.
Therapeutic Parenting for Alienated Children – supporting parents to cope, helping children to heal.
A (Self-Destructive) Copingmechanism is the cause of all problems in relationships!
A (Self-Destructive) Copingmechanism has a devastating effect on the early development of children but it dominates all politics and courts houses, around the world.
COVER IN LONG-TERM CARE AS ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE
With an elaboration for care organization Spes Bona. Author: dr. Teun Wolters
Professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Wittenborg University, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands 2014
Wittenborg University Press
Click to access WittenborgUniversity_WorkingPaper_2014_1_Download.pdf
DNA profiles (what is a Child Protecting Service for an organization?)
Within the framework of organizational DNA theory, various DNA profiles are distinguished. A number of these profiles have quite a few negative elements that are at the expense of the proper functioning of an organization.
The most beneficial organization is the Resilient Organization; it is flexible enough to quickly adapt to changes in the external market without changing the strategy. This organization knows how to look ahead and deal with changes proactively. It attracts motivated employees who like to work in teams. The organization offers them not only a stimulating work environment but also the resources and authority to solve difficult problems.
Then there is the Relief Organisation. This organization does not always anticipate upcoming changes in a timely manner, but does respond when it is absolutely necessary. It manages to retain good people and stand out financially, though there is no leap from reasonably good to excellence. This organization sometimes misses good opportunities and often has to be satisfied with moderate successes. Despite these frustrations, she can still offer many a stimulating and challenging work environment.
The Passive-Aggressive Organization. The organization seems to operate without conflict. Agreeing on changes does not seem to be a problem, but implementing the changes proves to be very difficult. There is a subcutaneous resistance among the personnel who is able to stop the intended changes. There is a lack of authority, information and motivation to initiate the changes. Employees are then inclined to ignore the decisions from above under the motto “this too will pass”. So the organization is quite apathetic.
Series : The Palgrave Kets de Vries Library
Auteur : Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
Titel : You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger
Omschijving : Executive Coaching Challenges; Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change, INSEAD, France, Singapore & Abu Dhabi
Uitgever : Macmillan Publishers Ltd, Palgrave, 2016
Download : https://book4you.org/book/2667652/86c1f9
The Passive-Aggressive Executive chapter 8
 The term “passive-aggressive” is used to describe a behavior pattern where negative feelings are expressed indirectly rather than directly. Generally speaking, when someone yells at you, you know all is not well—they are making their feelings quite clear. But passive-aggressives are much more subtle in expressing their anger. They are masters of covert abuse. There is a disconnect between what they say and what they do. Nothing they do is done directly. They use a form of non-verbal aggression that manifests itself in negative behavior. This kind of sugarcoated hostility becomes a destructive way of interacting—a way of getting back at you without your recognizing their underlying anger. Unsurprisingly, passive-aggressives are very difficult to deal with.
 In the organizational context, passive-aggressive executives will seem to agree overtly when a request is made, but will covertly express their resentment at what is demanded from them by missing deadlines, showing up late for meetings, making excuses, or even working against the task they’ve been assigned. Their sabotage takes the form of procrastination, inefficiency, and forgetfulness. Deadlines are for everyone, but not for them. They have their own time schedule. Superficially compliant, polite, friendly, down-to-earth, kind, and well-meaning, below the surface things are very different. Because passive-aggressives are unable to express themselves directly when they feel upset, annoyed, irritated, or disappointed, they bottle up their feelings and become obstructive and sulky, or stonewall those around them.
This behavior probably originated as a survival strategy within a family where the honest, direct expression of feelings was forbidden or dangerous. Children brought up in families with these interpersonal dynamics quickly learn to repress and deny their feelings and use other channels to express their frustration. They never learn to express anger in a healthier way. Even though their passive-aggressive stance may arouse their parents’ wrath, it’s still a safer option than expressing their anger directly. And this modus operandi will continue into adult life; they will continue to stifle their anger and be outwardly accommodating but actually obstructive in an underhanded way.
In fact, their feelings may be so successfully repressed that they don’t consciously realize that they are behaving obstructively—they may fail to recognize their own anger or resentment. So when others are upset by their behavior they will take offence, because to their mind whatever caused the irritation was nothing to do with them—it was someone else’s fault. Passive-aggressives always feel they are treated unfairly and are innocent victims of other people’s unreasonable expectations.
Because of this, passive-aggressives are genuinely dismayed when confronted with their behavior. They don’t realize that they are driving other people crazy. They are totally unaware how irritating it can be to deal with someone who agrees to do something but then doesn’t do it. Their lack of insight into their own feelings means that passive-aggressives always feel misunderstood. If they are challenged about their behavior, they feel they are being held to unreasonable standards.
Series : On The Couch With Manfred Kets De Vries
Auteur : Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
Titel : Reflections On Groups And Organisations
Uitgever : John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Jossey-Bass imprint, 2011
Download : https://book4you.org/book/2655520/28ffd5
FOLIE À DEUX : ACTING OUT YOUR SUPERIOR’S FANTASIES
POWER IN THE LEADER – SUBORDINATE RELATIONSHIP
 The term folie à deux was first coined in 1877 by two French psychiatrists, Ernest – Charles Las è gue and Jean – Pierre Falret, to describe folie imposée (imposed psychosis), a clinical variety of this disorder (Rioux, 1963 ). From then on, an extensive number of articles were published to describe and analyze this phenomenon (Deutsch, 1938 ; Gralnick, 1942 ; Pulver and Brunt, 1961 ; Rioux, 1963 ). Folie à deux also has been called double insanity, collective insanity, or psychosis of association. (The reason for the latter term is that in true folie à deux the symptoms described are usually of a psychotic nature, e.g., illusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution.)
 In a number of instances, religious, grandiose, and depressive delusions have also been identified (Gralnick, 1942 ; McNiel et al ., 1972 ). Whatever its specific content, folie à deux essentially involves the sharing of a delusional system by two or more individuals.
Among the psychodynamic factors we observe in folie à deux are:
⦁ extreme (mutual) dependency;
⦁ separation anxiety (about the feared loss of the dominant partner, an attitude not without ambivalence);
⦁ identification with the aggressor (the dominant partner);
⦁ close association (frequently implying a condition of relative isolation);
⦁ deflection of hostility (usually through the mechanism of projection).
For an explanation of this phenomenon we have to look to early childhood because at its core lies the degree of success a child experiences in developing basic trust reactions, particularly with parents. Lack of basic trust and the arousal of anxiety because of frustrating, humiliating, and disappointing experiences can lead a child to develop an unsatisfactory
interpersonal equilibrium, a sense of betrayal, and a perception of the environment as hostile. The individual’s personality will develop accordingly. Such a person, in his dealings with the outside world, will take precautions to be ready for any confirmation of his expectations (Polatin, 1975 ).
Apart from such emerging paranoia, the person’s lack of trust frequently leads to an absence of closeness and, consequently, to frustrated dependency needs (Bowlby, 1969, 1973 ). The world becomes a dangerous place, in which only a very few individuals can be trusted.
Contingent on the degree of deprivation, if an opportunity arises for people to satisfy their dependency needs, their attachment to another person can become extremely intense — totally overpowering the individual’s other forms of behavior to the detriment of rational thought and reality testing.
Individuals who engage in folie à deux , accept, support, and share each other’s delusional ideas, creating a symbiotic type of relationship. This usually occurs under conditions of prolonged and close association. Dewhurst and Todd (1956) mention the need for a high degree of similarity in general motif and delusional content of the two partners ’ system of ideas.
 Not only dependency but also identification seem to be important aspects of folie à deux . Hartman and Stengel (1931) argued that because of the extreme dependency of the participants on each other, total identification with the partner becomes a way of avoiding the intolerable thought of separation. A feeling of closeness is preserved through identification, which eventually will imply the acceptance of the delusional ideas of one party (which develop for reasons described later) by the other. Fliess (1953) suggested that this is a mutual, not a unilateral process. Both parties will depend upon and identify with each other — it is a process of identification and counter – identification.
Identification with the aggressor Bonnard (1954) mentioned that this identification process is of a special nature and suggests that it belongs to the defense mechanism ‘ identification with the aggressor ’ — an unconscious process by which a person incorporates within himself a mental image of a person who represents a source of frustration (Freud, 1946 ). This is a role played very often by the dominant partner in folie à deux . Through identification with the aggressor (discussed in Volume1 of this series), individuals defend themselves against their own hostile and destructive wishes (a reaction to feelings of helplessness and dependency on the dominant party and fear of retaliation about these wishes) (Kets de Vries, 2009b ). Strength will be gained through the alliance with the aggressor, rather than allowing themselves to be the victim.
Identification with the aggressor usually implies participating in the delusion of the existence of a common outside enemy. These persecutory fantasies also become the rationalization for the lack of fulfillment brought by the dominant individual’s elaborately constructed grandiose schemes.
As we saw in the example of Hitler and his inner circle, lack of success will be blamed on sabotage and opposition of this common enemy. The shared delusions are usually kept within the limits of possibility and are based on actual past events or certain common expectations.
HOW FOLIE A DEUX DEVELOPS
Pulver and Brunt (1961) , who probably formulated the most exhaustive description of folie à deux , identified the critical aspects of it as:
⦁ the need for a dominant partner;
⦁ mutual dependency between participants;
⦁ hostility over these dependency needs.
 During the period preceding folie à deux one of the participants is strongly dependent on the other and has few outside sources of gratification. Eventually the dominant partner becomes preoccupied (not necessarily consciously) by the feeling that the less dominant partner is increasingly taking advantage of his or her dependency needs. This causes the dominant partner to become more and more hostile while at the same time feeling guilty about this rising hostility. Because he or she is afraid of giving up the relationship with the other party, a defense is formed against this hostility, usually of a projective nature.
Hostility is externalized and attributed to others and in most instances takes the form of a paranoid delusion. The dominant partner needs the support of the more submissive individual and wants him to share the delusion. He or she is afraid to lose the close contact with the other party if the delusion is rejected and therefore has no choice but to induce the more submissive person to participate in the delusion.
If the submissive partner resists participating in this, the dominant partner will become more overtly hostile toward him or her (while excluding the submissive partner from the accusation process). This will raise the submissive partner’s level of anxiety and guilt. The actions of the dominant individual will cause the submissive one to be placed in a double bind.
He or she will be threatened with either the loss of gratification of his or her dependency relationship, or the loss of reality. In some instances, he or she will see (again, not necessarily consciously) no alternative but to give in to this ultimatum — i.e. to identify with the aggressor, thus satisfying dependency needs, and also deflecting the hostility of the dominant party. The reason for this choice is probably that separation from the person who started the process is a much more direct and conceivable loss than the loss of reality.
Through participation in similar fantasies, submissive partners can maintain their source of gratification, lower their level of anxiety and guilt, and express anger at the projected form of the dominant partner. The process resembles a mirror effect; the actions of the initiator become reflected in those of the more submissive partner and vice versa.
Folie à deux becomes the means to save the alliance of mutual dependency from breaking up.
EXAMPLES FROM LITERATURE
The interplay of these variables and how they create the interactions of folie à deux has been noted by playwrights and other creative artists. In his 1919 play Where the Cross is Made (1972) , Eugene O ’ Neill describes an incidence of folie à deux .
 The play tells the story of a retired sea captain who is waiting for his ship, the Mary Allen (which was sent out many years before on a treasure hunt), although it is known that the ship sank three years ago. This catastrophe, causing total financial disaster, became emotionally unacceptable to the captain, who created the delusion that the ship would return.
The captain’s son, embittered because of increasing emotional and financial pressures, is making preparations to have his father sent to a mental hospital. Not only is the mortgage on the house going to be foreclosed if his father continues to stay in the house, but the son is becoming more and more afraid of being drawn into his father’s delusions. At the end of the play, when the moment of separation is drawing near, the father declares that the ship has arrived, pointing at the blackness of the night and cursing his son for turning traitor. The son cannot stand this pressure any longer, accepts the delusion and participates, agreeing that there is a ship out there. When the doctor comes to take the father away, the emotion causes the father’s death from heart failure, but despite this his son continues the delusionary fantasy.
In Thomas Mann’s Story The Blood of the Walsungs (1921), a twin brother and sister named Sieglinde and Siegmund are acting out Wagner’s opera Die Walk üre in real life. Brought up without economic worries in an emotionally impoverished environment, the siblings’contact with others has become disturbing and minimized. Eventually, the impending marriage of Sieglinde becomes the catalyst for total identification with their namesakes in the opera and leaves us at the end of the story with unanswered questions about incest and adultery.
In Ingmar Bergman’s film Hour of the Wolf we find yet another example of folie à deux in the story of the painter Johan Borg who believes that he is tormented by demons during his stay with his wife on an isolated island. It is only at the end of the film that we discover that his wife, who originally appears to be a very earthy, sane, submissive individual, is in fact a partner to his delusions.
In a clinical context the psychoanalyst Robert Lindner describes in one of his case histories, ‘The Jet – Propelled Couch’ (1956) , how he gradually got drawn into the delusions of one of his patients, a scientist, who found escape from reality by constructing an extremely elaborate science – fiction world. Only with great effort was the psychoanalyst Lindner able to wrest himself away from this world of galactic fantasy.
These four examples (and many others) indicate the key features in folie à deux :
• the relative isolation of the characters; • their closeness (family or otherwise);
• the existence of a dominant partner; • the emergence of a delusion.
In many ways the process by which folie à deux evolves is similar to that of brainwashing.
Auteur: Ezra Griffith, Michael A. Norko, Alec Buchanan, Madelon V. Baranoski, Howard Zonana
Titel: Bearing Witness to Change:
Omschijving : Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology Practice
Uitgever : Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, CRC Press, 2017
Download : https://book4you.org/book/2849501/f7e0fc
Forensic Psychotherapy: Psychodynamic Therapy with Offenders (Daniel Papapietro and Gwen Adshead)
 There are a few key concepts in psychodynamic theories that are relevant to understanding how violence occurs. The first concept is that unresolved distress from past relationships can be re-enacted in present relationships, especially those relationships that evoke memories of loss, trauma, dependence, vulnerability, and the need for care (Karon 2003). These unresolved early- life relationships, mixed with psychotic or manic distortion and projection, can contribute to lethal acting out. Another key concept is that, psycho-logically, people are not what they seem and that overt behaviors and language may function as defenses to cover up deeper meaning and significance of the crime. This is particularly true of symptoms of mental illness, which reflect conscious cognitive distortions, but also reflect an attempt to deal with inner psychological pain and loss of a sense of social reality. A third key concept is that of psychological defenses (sometimes referred to as coping mechanisms) necessary to maintain psychological homeostasis (i.e. that people develop internal psychological systems to regulate their distress). These “defenses” help people tolerate emotional distress related to fear and anxiety, and also to contain and control unconscious aggressive impulses.
Adults who are reliant on primitive defenses (those psychological processes necessary for infants, toddlers, and children but which have not evolved into more appropriate adult defenses of humor, displacements, or sublimation) are at risk for greater problems. Primitive defenses in adulthood detract conscious attention away from reality (including unconscious conflicts and impulses) and over time, under stress of mental illness, can fail, leaving the individual with no other appropriate or adequate coping or defense mechanism. As a result, the individual will “act out” emotional conflict and stress in order to maintain psychological homeostasis.
These episodes of acting out simultaneous with loss of control of thinking and emotional dyscontrol due to severe mental illness can often have tragic consequences. For example, denial is a common defense against distress that may be useful in the short term; however, if the individual has no better coping mechanisms, this primitive defense will in the long term usually cause more problems (Levit 1993, 5; Finzi-Dottan and Karu 2006), especially when the defense (against unconscious, often primitive aggression) fails, leaving the individual with no better coping behavior available than acting out the aggression.
 From a psychodynamic perspective, violence is not meaningless but has personal significance and salience for the offender (Yakeley and Adshead 2013). Violence may represent (a) a dysfunctional communication to a particular person or persons; (b) the repetition of an unresolved and usually traumatic relationship pattern; and/or (c) the defensive displacement of intolerable feelings of distress and fear onto someone else. What the violence perpetrator consciously feels or knows about their violence may be hard to assess if they are acutely mentally ill or in a state of denial and distress.
The unconscious significance and meaning of the violence (in terms of past trauma or relived memory) will naturally be hard to assess, but is necessary for the individual (as much as he is capable) to understand that a driving force in the crime was in no small part his unconscious, unresolved issues. This helps to eliminate any chance the forensic patient can maintain a defense based on magical thinking that “the voices made me do it,” and can further protect against future risk of offending.
Auteur : David Howe, author.
Titel : Child Abuse and Neglect:
Omschijving : Attachment, Development and Intervention
Uitgever : Macmillan Education UK, 2005
Download : https://book4you.org/book/2939488/5cc8c4
Defensive Processes, Attachment and Maltreatment
 Children whose carers are the cause of their fearful states, and children who do not have access to a sensitively attuned carer at times of distress, are left acutely and chronically dysregulated. In these situations, the brain feels overwhelmed. It therefore copes defensively. But there are psychological (and developmental) consequences when defensive strategies are over-used. In their attempt to reduce anxiety, defences distort reality and lay down partial, incomplete memories and dysfunctional behavioural sequences which become reactivated whenever similar situations are met. ‘The neural connections that result in defenses shape our lives by selecting what we approach and avoid, where our attention is drawn, and the assumptions we use to organize our experiences’ (Cozolino 2002: 32).
As we have seen, the defining characteristic of a disorganized attachment is the inability to find a behavioural strategy that leads to a place of safety and feelings of emotional calm. Because the attachment figure is the cause of the distress, approaching him or her only makes matters worse. The attachment system remains activated, and in this situa-tion where both approach and avoidance responses increase fear, levels of arousal can rise to the point where the child feels overwhelmed. The whole experience of being cared for by an attachment figure who repeatedly frightens the child because of what he or she does (abuse), what he or she will not do (rejection and abandonment), or what he or she can-not do (neglect), adds up in Schore’s words to an experience of ‘relational trauma’. Such attachment traumas make in-dividuals fear closeness to others; even activation of the attachment system itself engenders feelings of fear. Thus, as Allen (2001: 22) points out, ‘attachment trauma damages the safety-regulating system and undermines the traumatized person’s capacity to use relationships to establish feeling of security’.
Maltreating carers do not help their children recognize, understand or regulate their emotions.
They fail on three counts.
⦁ They fail to provide the child with any information about what is happening to them emotionally.
⦁ There is no attempt to help children make sense of what is happening to them at the cognitive and behavioural level.
⦁ And there is certainly no inclination or capacity to help children feel safe and soothed, regulated and contained. They fail to terminate children’s activated attachment system, leaving them in a highly aroused and distressed condition.
 So overwhelming and frightening is the experience of relational trauma, young minds have to employ a variety of defensive strategies to try to keep out of consciousness the painful thought that the attachment figure does not care, does not protect, but hurts and frightens. The type of psychological defence used depends on the particular character of the caregiving. For example, the psychological problem posed by parents who deactivate their caregiving whenever their children appear needy or vulnerable is very different from that presented by carers who sexually and violently abuse their children.
However, these psychological defences tend to be fragile and can easily break down under the stress of actual or perceived neglect, verbal abuse, rejection and aggression by the attachment figure. In other words, any significant arousal of the attachment system becomes associated with, and seems to be a precursor of, fear, intimations of danger, and the collapse into a disorganized state. In time, any activation of the attachment system can lead to a breach of the psychological defence, leaving the child being overwhelmed by feelings of alarm and panic, rage and anger, despair and helplessness.
Maltreated children therefore tend to be in one or other of two mental states:
⦁ a controlling, defensive mode (compulsive compliance, compulsive caregiving, compulsive self-reliance) with the outline of a fragile, organized but very insecure attachment strategy, or under stress
⦁ an out-of-control, helpless/hostile mode in which organized attachment behaviour completely breaks down.
Unless disorganized and controlling children enjoy relationships later on in life that help them develop a more trusting, reflective and less defended state of mind, they are likely to carry these mental states (controlling/out of control) with respect to attachment into all future relationships. In particular, these two states are likely to be most easily roused and activated when the adult is in relationship with a sexual partner, a young care-seeking child, or indeed a childcare professional whose very involvement might imply attachment-related issues of control, vulnerability, criticism, failure, anxiety, power, fear and danger.
Our present interest lies in what happens to young developing minds when they find themselves in relationship with primary selective attachment figures whose mental states with respect to attachment shift between defence on the one hand, and fearful, chaotic disorganization on the other. It is in these parent–child relationships we find minds that maltreat, and minds that are maltreated. More subtly, each defensive strategy and the direction of its breakdown leads to different types and combinations of maltreatment, ranging from physical abuse to depressed neglect.
How does Aggressive Parenting Affect Child Development and Personality? A Systematic Review
Shatha Jamil Khusaifan1 Yaser Abdel Azim Samak2
1 King Abdulaziz University, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, P.O. Box 42803, Jeddah 21551, Saudi Arabia
2 Faculty of Arts, Department of Geography and GIS, Assiut University, Old University Building, M.B, 71515, Assiut, Egypt
2. Harsh Parenting Affects Self Efficacy and Motivation
Self differentiation starts as a personal process and progresses into the transformation of relationships in the entire family system (Becvar & Becvar, 2013). The idea of human nature behind the cognitive-behavioral aspect is that we have all created a way of thinking about the environment that dictates the way we behave in any given situation. We are not motivated by our instinctive drives, but, rather, by the cognitive constructs we have developed due to our experiences; we are all rational beings and authors of our own stories (Schultz & Schultz, 2008).
Defense mechanisms have long been considered a process of adaptation. These mechanisms can be unconscious, non-intentional, hierarchical, and associated with pathology. There can be immature and mature versions which are seen in individuals of all ages. In children, defense mechanisms are arranged developmentally, with immature defenses appearing first, and in adulthood, they are arranged hierarchically, with the most adaptive or mature appearing first (Cramer, 2000).
3. Psychopathology and Developmental Factors Affected by Harsh Parenting
The view of psychopathology has to do with what kind of affect an individual’s thoughts are having on their ability to be fully functional on a daily basis (Sherman, Blevins, Kirchner, Ridener, & Jackson, 2008). A person able to function on a normal to high level, including healthy interpersonal interaction, good performance at work, and the ability to maintain moderate health levels, is considered to be congruent.
Psychopathology is a progression, not a state which appears without warning from one moment to the next. The congruent individual does not depend on positive regard and is free to spend their lives self actualizing or living up to what they consider to be their highest level of potential self (Vetere, 2001). Psychopathology is seen as incongruence, which causes the individual to embark on an exhausting quest for positive regard throughout their lives (Corey, 2013).
Individuals who are constantly seeking positive regard are forced to live lives that are not true to themselves, in order to gain the approval of others; they are always on the defensive and cannot be open to all experiences. These individuals will usually have self-destructive tendencies, anxiety, panic, and depression. Because their lives are not at a fully functioning status and their authenticity is under constant threat, their state becomes neurotic and anxious. Eventually, the defense mechanisms they developed early on in life that worked in the beginning will no longer work, functioning becomes unpredictable, and they become psychologically vulnerable (Schultz & Schultz, 2008).
In Western society, family violence is an area that can be overlooked, depending on the situation and the culture. In many cultures, certain things are considered to be abuse, where another culture would typically see that same sort of treatment as normal because of what they were raised to believe. The tolerance of abuse tends to be taught in families from generation to generation, which makes it a familial norm, though, according to research, this does not change the adverse affects of harsh or abusive parenting. Children raised in these conditions still struggle to meet societal norms or flourish on their own in society (McGoldrick, Carter, & Garcia-Preto, 2011).
Research has shown that a child’s family environment, along with other biological predisposition, plays a major role in the appearance of ADD/ADHD symptomology. In some cases, a child is diagnosed with ADD at an early age as part of biological predisposition, while in other cases a child is diagnosed with the disorder in direct correlation to a high-risk or unstable family environment (Johnston & Mash, 2001). Furthermore, there have been reviews which suggested that with or without medication, parent training programs reduced symptoms of ADHD in children, which suggests that a change in parenting styles can prevent, reduce, or eliminate the symptoms and progression of the diagnosis (Kaslow, Broth, Smith, & Collins, 2012).
4. Defense Mechanisms Related to Anxiety and SES
Anxiety is not simply an isolated event or something that can be guarded against in a parent and child relationship. Research shows that when the caregiver is experiencing high levels of anxiety, they are not as able to offer a nurturing relationship to their child. Major sources of anxiety include: financial instability, low socioeconomic status, marital discord, and chronic health issues.
When one or several of these factors are present in an individual’s life, the levels of stress become increasingly problematic. Adults with elevated levels of stress due to these concerns struggle in their ability to parent a problematic or difficult child in a way that is not harsh, aggressive, or cold (Collins & Arthur, 2007).
When a child experiences anxiety and is unable to deal with it on their own due to an aggressive upbringing, they will default to a fight or flight response. This type of response can manifest in physical outbursts, screaming, self harm, or self-isolation. The same anxious reactions occur when there is a threat to selfesteem, and they have adapted to these situations by using defense mechanisms to defend against these threats (Schultz & Schultz, 2008).
Defense mechanisms work to control moments and feelings of anxiety, and, since anxiety is related to fear, a pattern of reactions is created that will occur whenever this fear returns. In adults, an immature defense mechanism falls low on the hierarchical order and is considered to be action or acting out and expressing behaviors, not limited to apathy, withdrawal, and passive aggression.
Immature defense mechanisms in adulthood manifest as poor coping mechanisms. Adults who were abused as children but were not able to face the experience will continue the same pattern of abuse in their own children. Without the proper nurturing environment, adults will rely on the abuse of substances, alcohol, erratic behavior, and self destruction as a way of coping with anxiety (Cramer, 2000).