My father’s rippling

The Walrus & the Carpenter

It is nutty over here.  In forensic psychology world.  Absolutely nutty.

You know how nutty?  Right off the top I can cite five widespread and simply rampant violations of the APA ethics code (Standards 2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04, Principle D: Justice) and two independent counts of failure in their duty to protect, failure in the duty to protect from IPV spousal abuse and failure in their duty to protect the child from DSM-5 Child Psychological Abuse.

That’s just for openers.  There are violations in other areas, most prominently with Standard 10.01a regarding informed consent and Standard 10.10 regarding termination of treatment.  There’s so many that I can’t even discuss them all.

It’s like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland over here, with a full cast of characters, there are hookah smoking caterpillars, nutty tea parties, a walrus and the carpenter, croquet with hedgehogs.  Just nutty everywhere.  Everything is upside-down here.

No one in this nutty world realizes it, because they’re all part of it.  Clinical psychologists don’t work with these families, they were banished in the 1980s and that’s fine by us, your families are too dangerous, “I don’t work with high-conflict divorce.”  Clinical psychology has abandoned you and down the rabbit hole you fell, into an upside-down world of abuse and exploitation.

This is a pathology of lies.  None of this is real – it is the transference dream of childhood trauma (Freud), it is the false kabuki theater of the trauma reenactment narrative (van der Kolk).  None of it is true… yet everyone believes the crazy as if it’s normal.

There is a caterpillar smoking a hookah and pontificating crazy stuff.  Anyone else see that?  That’s not normal.  What the hatter and the march hare are saying is wackadoodle.  Yet everyone here in Wonderland acts as if it’s just normal.  Did you see that baby just turn into a pig?  Right there, did you see that?  And you think that’s somehow normal?

Just nuts.

Except the targeted parents, sort of.  They’re all like Alice.  They realize things are nutty as all the dickens, but everyone else is acting like playing croquet with flamingos is normal, so maybe it is.  Where’d that hedgehog go, I need my hedgehog.

Absolutely nutty.  It’s because forensic psychology has been given total control over your families with no oversight and no review… for decades.  That’s led to rampant and unchecked ignorance, professional sloth, incompetence, and the widespread and unchecked financial exploitation of vulnerable parents.

Who’s going to stop them?  Forensic psychology is the Queen of Hearts.  Do you want to tell the red queen she’s wrong?  You’ll get our head chopped off.  Can’t do that.  Forensic psychology owns you.  You belong to them.

Meanwhile, we have a tea party of therapists, evaluators, parenting coordinators, a whole menagerie of nutty.  Every one of them.  Up pops a dormouse, can I have another cup of tea, we need a second child custody evaluation because the first one solved nothing.

None of them know anything about what they’re doing, these forensic psychology people.  None of them know attachment pathology (Bowlby), or family systems therapy (Minuchin), or even about the breach-and-repair sequence that is fundamental to parent-child conflict (Tronick). Nothing.

And then the craziest thing is that these completely ignorant mental health people then claim to be the “experts.”  In the wonderland that is forensic psychology world, ignorance becomes the “experts.”  Just nuts.

Becoming an “Expert”

It doesn’t take anything to be an “expert” over here besides self-assertion.  Do you need to know family systems therapy to assess, diagnose, and treat family conflict pathology?  No, don’t be silly, expertise is not determined by what you know, this is Wonderland, everything – everything – is upside down… it’s a world of lies.

Do you need to know about the attachment system when assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology?  Heavens no.  Knowledge is irrelevant to being an “expert.”  Not here, not in forensic psychology world, up is down, black is white, and reality is whatever the Red Queen proclaims it to be.

This is a narcissistic pathology.

It’s all over the place here, narcissism, in all of the pathogen’s allies. That’s how it captures them, their narcissism.  It captures another set through their greed, the child custody “Evaluators.”

THAT, is a truly terrifying role for professional psychology – like the Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, judging who “deserves” to be a parent.  “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” 

Child custody evaluators are piggies at the financial trough of parents and children.  They solve nothing yet charge $20,000 to $40,000 for their no-solution evaluation.  They churn through families, financially raping them, destroying one and then moving on to the next.  They are exploiting vulnerable parents, pure and simple. Who’s to stop them, they’re the only game in town. They banished clinical psychology decades ago under threat of license if we work with your families, they own you.  And they are financially raping parents, vulnerable parents, parents in need.

Child custody evaluations are in violation of a basic foundational principle of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association: Principle D Justice.  At $20,000 to $40,000 each, child custody evaluations deny equal access (in violation of Principle D), and with an inter-rater reliability of zero they deny equal quality (in violation of Principle D).  Child custody evaluations not only violate multiple  professional practice Standards (2.04, 2.01a, 9.01a, 3.04), child custody evaluations violate a fundamental Principle of ethical professional practice; Principle D Justice.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” 

Beware forensic psychology, they will exploit you, take your money, and they will solve nothing.

The abundance of “experts” without expertise feels like the walrus and the carpenter.  Come little clams, everything will be so fine over here, and then they eat them.

These “experts” with false voices channel parents into the “parental alienation” construct – surprise, the one thing they happen to be “expert” in – and then they exploit the parents financially, for consultations, for “expert” testimony at trial, to sell you their books and promote themselves as “experts.”  Convenient.

Of course they guide parents into this non-existent pathology that has to be proven in court.  It’s of benefit to them to be an “expert” in a pathology that needs solution.  But sending parents into the family courts to prove a new form of pathology is no solution whatsoever.  That approach has failed miserably for forty years.  They want to keep doing it. Why?  Because that’s what they’re “expert” in.  Wonderland, up is down. Where’s my hedgehog?

This is a narcissistic pathology – the narcissism surrounding it is extensive. 

 What is most remarkable is the profound absence of empathy in forensic psychology – it is both stunning and appalling; their absence of basic human empathy.  I read their reports. The ignorance is profound, and the absence of basic human empathy is stunning – and appalling.

A failure in human empathy at this magnitude should NOT be coming from professional psychology.  We heal trauma, we don’t inflict trauma. Standard 3.04 Avoiding Harm.  Parents count as people.  We don’t hurt people.  At least clinical psychologists don’t.

I view myself as heading up the trauma recovery team for these parents, the parents who have been targeted for savage and brutal emotional abuse by their ex-spouse.  I view this as my ethical responsibility as a clinical psychologist.  Clinical psychology is treating the trauma (PTSD complex trauma; traumatic grief) that is being created by forensic psychology.

How nutty is that.  I’m treating trauma created by another field of “professional” psychology.  I put the term “professional” in quotes because there are many-many violations in ethical standards of practice that lead to the emotional abuse and exploitation of parents.

These parents are being emotionally abused and financially exploited by forensic psychology.  They are being traumatized with the loss of their children.

What’s the success rate of forensic psychology in restoring healthy post-divorce families? Zero. Their success rate is zero.  Yet they continue to do exactly what does NOT work… making $20,000 to $40,000 per child custody evaluation with an assessment that they KNOW is not valid (no inter-rater reliability) and that is a clear violation on two separate counts of Principle D of the APA ethics code for justice, failing to provide equal access and failing to provide equal quality.

Experts-Experts Everywhere

There is a serious abundance of grandiosity and arrogance here – absolutely everywhere.

That’s this “expert” thing you all have going on over here.  Everyone is an “expert.”  You won’t find psychologists in other fields, such as autism or ADHD, all clamoring that we’re “experts” in autism, you don’t see “experts” in ADHD.  An expert in autism is Stanley Greenspan (Floortime) or Ivar Lovaas (Applied Behavioral Analysis).  An expert in ADHD is Keith Connors (the Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scale) or Jim Swanson (MTA study).  An expert in attachment is John Bowlby or Edward Tronick.

If you don’t match that… you’re not an “expert.”  But here… here in forensic psychology world, “experts” abound.  Like rabbits, everywhere you look.  That’s a problem.

We’ll be leaving Wonderland, returning up and out of the rabbit hole, back to an actual reality, like Alice waking from her dream, or you from this nightmare. Reality exists, and professional obligations under the APA ethics code are required.

If you assert that you are an “expert,” bring your vitae and substantiate the statement. Otherwise, that would be a violation of Standard 5.01b

Standard 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements

(b) Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence;

If you say that you are an “expert” – that is a professional statement to the public about your level of competence.  Dr. Childress is not saying that he is an “expert” – I’m just a clinical psychologist.  You are making a professional statement that you are not merely a clinical psychologist, you know more, that you are an “expert” in this pathology.  You know more than Dr. Childress. That’s what you are saying.

So, prove it.  Let’s see your vitae that supports your claim to be an “expert.”

Because, “Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning their… competence.”  You are claiming to be MORE than a mere therapist and mental health professional… you’re an “expert.” You’re above the rest of mental health professionals. That is your professional statement when you claim to be an “expert.”

Dr. Childress is merely a clinical psychologist. You are claiming to be superior in your professional knowledge than Dr. Childress, you are an “expert”.  That is your professional claim.

So, back it up.  I am asserting that your statement of supposed “expert” status is a “false, deceptive, and fraudulent statement” about your “competence,” and is in violation of Standard 5.01b of the APA ethics code.  So, bring your vitae and let’s see.

Dr. Childress is NOT claiming to be an “expert.”  I am a clinical psychologist.  That’s it.

If you are claiming to be an “expert,” you are claiming to know more than Dr. Childress.  My vitae is up on the web (Dr. Childress: Vitae), I have a YouTube series on my vitae (Dr. Childress: Youtube Vitae), I have a blog post on my professional qualifications (Dr. Childress: Professional Background).

If you claim to be an “expert” with this pathology, then you claim to know more than I do.  I’m not an “expert,” I’m just a clinical psychologist.  So, bring your vitae and let’s compare our… expertise.

The exploitation of these parents stops. 

I am heading up their trauma recovery, because somebody has to do it.  You’re not doing it, so I am.  I’m a clinical psychologist, I’m working.  The exploitation of these parents by professional psychology stops.  If you try to exploit these parents and their vulnerability, you will have words with the head of their trauma recovery team. That is not okay, to exploit these parents and their vulnerability.

Let me be entirely clear… It is not okay for professional psychology to exploit the vulnerability of these parents.

We must provide them with a grounded and actualizable solution to their family difficulties.

Over in real world… being expert in what you do is the expectation.  If you’re not expert in ADHD or autism or trauma… then what are you doing over here, go away.

Seriously, if you don’t know what you’re doing – stop, now – you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.  That applies to all pathologies.  In real-world professional psychology, expertise is the expected standard of practice.

Over here, it’s all like a twirly made-up world.  I can hardly turn around without bumping into an “expert” – and the “experts” I run into are stone-cold ignorant of actual reality – van der Kolk, Bowlby, Tronick, Stern, Fonagy, Bowen… just stone-cold ignorant.  None of them know Fonagy, none of them. None of them know Tronick or Stern.  Just stone-cold ignorant.

I can’t even have a professional-level conversation with them because I first have to educate them in order to have a professional-level conversation with them.  If you’re claiming to be an “expert” I shouldn’t have to first educate you just to have a professional-level conversation with you (Fonagy, mentalization; Stern, intersubjectivity).  And yet… you’re an expert.  I’ll have some Earl Grey, please. 

Just insane.  Nutty as the day is long.

Let me clue my professional colleagues in on the meaning of the term “competence” – professional competence is knowing everything there is to know about the pathology, and then reading journals to stay current.

That’s called basic competence. Ignorance and sloth are not acceptable standards of practice, so expertise is not remarkable – expertise is standard of practice.  It is expected standard of practice for EVERYONE who works with a particular type of pathology to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.  That is the meaning of the word, “competence.”

The Gardnerians and the puffy-vitae forensic psychologists, all of them… If someone tells you they’re an “expert” in some pathology, they’re just a narcissist captivated by their self-grandiosity.  Direct them to speak with Dr. Childress regarding their alleged expertise. Tell them to bring their vitae, I’ll want to see their vitae.

Standard 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements
(b) Psychologists do not make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training, experience, or competence;

Standard 1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
When psychologists believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual,

Standard 1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04, Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, psychologists take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities.

The APA ethics code is not optional.  I did not write the ethics code of the APA.  It is required of all psychologists.  It is not optional.

You claim to be an “expert” in a particular type of pathology?  Prove it.  The exploitation of these families by professional psychology ends.

We are leaving the insanity of trauma-world, it’s nuts over here.  Everything in upside-down. 

Standards of Practice

I have a proposal to address this “expert” thing over here, it’s simply out of control.


I’m your baseline standard.  If you know more than me, we’ll confer on you the title of “expert.”  If you don’t know more than me about the pathology… you’re not an “expert”… you’re just a human.

Once someone self-proclaims as an “expert” their professional identity becomes all wrapped up in their maintaining their status as an “expert,” so they stop making rational decisions in the best interests of their clients and their motivation instead becomes to maintain their status as an “expert.”

I’m not an “expert.”  My first referral for recovery from complex trauma is to Dorcy Pruter… because that’s in the best interests of my client. She can accomplish what I can’t.  No ego.  She gets the job done, she’s my first referral.

And she knows as much about this pathology as I do, in some ways more.  She understands it from the inside.  The pathology teaches of itself, we learn of the pathology from the pathology.

So no more “experts.” Call yourself a “consultant” – You’re a consultant on something.

Experts in Unicorns

Now here’s the thing… when they call themselves an “expert” in “parental alienation,” there is actually no such pathology as “parental alienation” in established professional psychology.

They are essentially saying they’re an “expert” in a mythological beast – a thing that doesn’t actually exist… and they are an expert in it.  That’s like saying they’re an “expert” in unicorns – they know all the pretty colors and magical properties of unicorns.

That’s great.  Problem is, there’s no such thing as unicorns, so they are actually experts is nothing.  Pretty unicorns, great.  Not really practical if we want to actually solve anything.

That’s what the Gardnerians are looking at right about now.  I’m taking the construct of “parental alienation” away from them – away from everybody – so that everyone over here has to apply real knowledge – which means that they also have to know real knowledge.

But these “experts” have their narcissistic and grandiose professional self-identity entirely wrapped up in unicorns.  They’re not an expert in attachment, or trauma, or family systems therapy – just unicorns.  If they lose unicorns, they lose personal self-identity.  They are an “expert” in unicorns.

So when unicorns vanish, so too does their expertise, which is the entire source of their professional self-identity.  That’s a problem.  They’re going to resist change because the change means these “experts” vanish.

Bowlby is an expert – Minuchin is an expert – Beck is an expert.

We’re swapping out our “experts.”

Here’s the standard for “expert” – that you know more than Dr. Childress. I’m your baseline.

  • I have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology; not medicine, not law, not research psychology – a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

So, psychiatrists and other physicians, Master’s level therapists, and attorneys… you’re not “experts.”  You’re physicians, therapists, and attorneys.  Physicians are expert in medicine, attorneys are expert in the law.  Clinical psychologists are more expert than Master’s level therapists in pathology – more training and education.

  • I am a trained family systems therapist. That means, to be an “expert” you also have to be a trained family systems therapist.

In fact, if you’re not a trained family systems therapist and yet you are treating complex family conflict… then you’re not even competent… not an “expert” – it’s questionable if you are simply competent.  How can you be competent in family therapy if you know nothing about family therapy?

Ignorance is not “expertise” – opposite ends.

  • I also have background training and experience in treating attachment pathology.  To be an expert, you also have to have background training and experience in assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology.

Again, if you DON’T have background training and experience treating attachment pathology – yet you are assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment pathology (i.e., a child rejecting a parent), then you’re not even competent.

To be competent in treating an attachment pathology you must have professional training and experience treating attachment pathology.

How completely insane is that, that I would even need to make such a self-evident statement?  To be competent in attachment pathology you need to know attachment pathology.  Yet I need to make that entirely self-evident statement… because it’s not happening.  These people are entirely incompetent.

Wonderland, ignorance becomes the anointed “experts.”  Follow me, over here, we’ll have a grand old time, said the walrus and the carpenter to the unsuspecting clams.  Take a walk with us and into the family courts, and we’ll prove“parental alienation” pathology to a judge at trial.

Are you nuts?  Judges are legal professionals.  Judges don’t diagnose pathology, psychologists do.  Oh. I see.  The mental health professionals are entirely ignorant and slothful, they’re not trying to solve anything. 

Well, we’ll need to change that won’t we.

The Expert Model

The narcissistic assertion: “Truth and reality are whatever I assert them to be.”

They simply assert that they are an “expert” and they magically become one.  That’s all it takes in forensic psychology world.

Then they all go around anointing each other as “experts” – it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Like watching an odd dance of birds, they gather and cluck – “I’m an expert – you’re an expert – we’re experts.”  What an odd display.  Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser. 

Do you see that happening anywhere else in professional psychology – “experts” in autism, “experts” in panic attacks, “experts” in eating disorders?  No.

In every other field it’s simply called our specialization. I specialize in autism, or anxiety disorders, or eating disorders.  Am I an “expert” in these things?  If I’m specializing in that pathology, of course, I know everything to know about the pathology – but that’s not being an “expert” – that’s called being competent.

Aristotle was an “expert.”  For thousands of years we treated medical illness by bleeding patients with leeches because Aristotle said sickness was caused by an imbalance in our four “humours,” and that bleeding the patient would restore the balance.

Was any of that true?  No.  That is exactly what the “expert” model gets us. Thousands of years of ignorance.

For the longest time the Bible was the expert authority on all things.  The sun circled the earth because that’s what the Bible said, the authority.  Galileo then reported on the actual data, that the earth travels around the sun.  The Church threatens to burn him at the stake unless he recants and says a false thing, that the earth is at the center and the sun circles the earth, because that’s what the authority said.

Was any of that true, about the earth being the center and everything circling the earth?  No.  That’s exactly what the “expert” model gets us, continued ignorance.

The scientific method and scientific research, not “experts” who assert without support, leads to solutions.

If you want to be an “expert” – bring your vitae.  I’ll set up a booth at tbe County Fair, Compare Your Vitae, like one of those hammer and bell things.  You can bring your vitae and compare it to Dr. Childress.  If you know more than I do – you’ll ring the bell and we’ll declare you an “expert,” and you can go home with a big stuffed bear with a giant E on its tummy – if not, then we’re talking basic competence.

They’ll have me beat on unicorns.  I know next to nothing about mythical animals.  Do these “experts” have more training and background in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of unicorns.  I guess so. I have zero training and background in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of unicorns.  They are clearly experts in unicorns, I suppose. 

Although, I’m not seeing where believing things that aren’t true is of much help to solving anything.  The construct of “parental alienation” is a unicorn.  It doesn’t exist.  A nice story about a horse with a lovely magic horn on its forehead.  Nice story, doesn’t exist.

The pathology is the trans-generational transmission of attachment trauma.

Trauma?  So… are they “expert” in trauma?  No, that would be Bruce Perry, John Briere, and Bessel van der Kolk.

Attachment:  Are they “expert” in attachment?  No, that would be John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Alan Sroufe, Edward Tronick, Daniel Stern, Peter Fonagy.

I’m not particularly interested that blue unicorns will magically make music when they prance, or that yellow unicorns can end storms and bring sunshine.  Because unicorns don’t exist.

There is no new pathology.  Everything about this family pathology is ENTIRELY describable using the established constructs of professional psychology. We don’t need a new pathology.

This is a narcissistic pathology. The proliferation of “experts” is a symptom feature of that.  They are manifesting a symptom of narcissistic pathology – grandiosity.

That’s right, these “experts” are a symptom.  It is a symptom of this narcissistic (trauma) pathogen, this plethora of “experts” everywhere.  They don’t realize it because they are captured by their own narcissistic grandiosity of being “experts” – it’s the transference narrative – they become the “protective other” in the trauma dream of the reenactment story.

They are the beneficent protector – the “expert.”

Let me anchor in reality for a second.  The vitae of Alan Sroufe from 2014 is online.  This is what an expert in attachment looks like.

Alan Sroufe Vitae

Notice first, his degrees are in clinical psychology.  Those university positions are strong, those journal he edited are top-tier, his awards substantial, his books are many, and look at the number of research articles – not opinion pieces – solid research in substantial journals… page after page.  Sixteen pages, no fluff.  That’s what the vitae of an “expert” looks like.

Delusions of Grandiosity

A fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence is a delusion. The contrary evidence for the construct of “parental alienation” is that the American Psychiatric Association fully examined the construct… and said no.  The APA said no.  That’s the contrary evidence.

A fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence is a delusion.  A false belief in having “special knowledge” that no one else has is called a “grandiose delusion.”

From my vantage, they look less like professionals and more like a cult of personality surrounding Richard Gardner and his PAS proposal – the worst diagnostic model for pathology ever proposed from the beginning of time until now – the worst ever.

Bowlby – Minuchin – Beck; the application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” is required by Standard 2.04.

First.  Apply knowledge first.  Before any “new pathology” proposals.  First, apply knowledge first – Standard 2.04.

The APA ethics code is not optional, it is mandatory – apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” – first.

If we need a “new form of pathology” proposal AFTER we have applied the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” then we can propose one – AFTER applying the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline.”

And you know what?  The moment we apply the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” we solve this pathology immediately.

And they know it, these unicorn “experts.”  They just won’t do it, apply knowledge.  Why?

First, because they don’t know the knowledge. They are not even at basic competence.

Second, because the moment they do then they cease to be “experts” and become just ordinary.

To my professional colleagues, I’m your standard.  Bring your vitae and let’s compare.  If you know more than me, then you’re an “expert,” but if you don’t know more than Dr. Childress, then you’re not an “expert” and Standard 5.01b applies regarding Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.

I’m not an expert. 

You’re the one claiming to know more than I do.  You’re the one claiming to be an “expert.”  So, prove it.  Otherwise your claim is a violation of Standard 5.01b of the APA ethics code.

We are raising – substantially – the professional standards of practice with these children and for these parents.  The application of the “established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline” (Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck) is not optional, and failure to do so is unethical professional practice (Standard 2.04 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments).

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



assessment booklet picture

Leading the Treatment Team

I want to tell you all a secret.  I’m working for you.  Kind of self-appointed volunteer work.  I’m leading your treatment team.

For you, the targeted parents.  I’ve kind of appointed myself to head up your treatment team.  In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s lots and lots of grief and emotional trauma in you.  Not good.  We need to do something about that.

What’s causing you all that grief and trauma?  Oh, you’ve lost your kids.  That’ll do it.

How’d you wind up losing your kids?  Oh.  Oh.  My-oh-my, that’s not good.  My professional colleagues are highly problematic.  We’ll need to fix that.

So I set about doing that.

I’m heading up your treatment team – your trauma recovery team – for you, the parents. Hope you don’t mind that I kind of appointed myself to the position of heading up your trauma-recovery.  Somebody had to do it.

Oh, your kids too.  We’ll protect your kids.  Working on that first thing.  Notice how I got us the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse, we’ll be able to protect your kids. And kids are resilient – once we get them back they’ll be okay – a little bumpy and worse for wear, but they’ll be fine.

It’s all of you parents I’m concerned about.  Holy cow, the amount of grief and savage emotional abuse you’ve endured – that is immensely painful.  We need to make that stop immediately, if not sooner.

But boy, that pathogen had you all wrapped up, and it has allies, powerful allies.  Gotta navigate them.  Whew, this is dangerous over here, gotta be careful.

So I spent a couple of years figuring out how we’re going to do this, protect you and get your kids back.  I’m heading up your trauma recovery.

I used to do this all the time in foster care when I was the Clinical Director of the treatment center.  As the Clinical Director, I over-saw all cases coming into the clinic.  I’d assign therapists, oversee the work-up of the assessment protocols, I’d supervise treatment plans, allocate resources for home-based and school-based para-professional support.  We had developmental pediatricians, and OT therapists, and speech and language therapists all at the clinic, sometimes a trauma nurse from the local hospital.  The CPS social worker was part of the treatment team.

I put that all together, that treatment team for each kid, and I was in charge.  So I come over here and, whoa.  This is a hot mess.  These parents are being massively abused and traumatized.  Somebody needs to do something, why isn’t anyone doing something?

Oh.  I see.  Okay.

We’ll somebody has to do something.  Guess it’s me.

So I kind of took you all on as my clients – pro bono.  Because it needs to be done.  If other clinical psychologists want to do it, yay.  Join me.  Let’s start solving this for these parents.  In the absence of anyone else, I took charge of your trauma recovery.

You all think this pathology is about the kids.  No, it’s about you.  It is the savage and brutal emotional abuse of you – as the ex-spouse.  The child is the weapon, you’re the target.  Why do you think you’re called the “targeted” parent?  You are the target.

As head of your treatment team you’ve heard me recommend to you that you get some PTSD therapy; complex trauma, traumatic grief.  You need it, this has been brutal on you.  Your therapist will become part of your treatment team; Dr. C and your trauma therapist.  And Dorcy, she’s the best trauma recovery specialist on the planet.  I found her wandering around helping you all, a pleasant surprise and a good thing.  She’s the best.

If you are a person of faith – whichever belief – your minister, or rabbai, or imam, or coven or whatever should also be part of your treatment team.  Whatever support, bring them.  Meet with your faith leader, explain things, ask them to join the Alliance Facebook group, just to listen and attend, to understand.

This pathology lives in darkness and lies, in the absence of human values.  This is most definitely a faith-based issue.

Your attorneys too, this is a child protection issue, so your attorneys are part of your treatment team, ask them to join the Alliance group and listen, to understand.  Ultimately we will be advocating for the appointment of an amicus attorney representing the court’s interest in treatment.   A role for attorneys will be opening on the treatment team for the family, we are starting now in developing that role with the child protection side.

Your kids individual therapists are also part of the treatment team.  They don’t realize it.  Individual child therapists are not always… aware.  Their focus is too narrow to see.  Individual therapists function best when integrated into a treatment team.

So that’s what I’ve been working on, putting together the framework for all of that.  I’m sort of heading up your trauma recovery team, self-appointed – but somebody had to do it. 

I tried to provide as much free information as possible.  I figure the courts and forensic psychology are taking pretty much all your money (it’s part of the abuse; financial abuse added to the emotional abuse), so I’ve tried to take it easy on you, posted almost everything free to my website and blog.

Foundations for $25, and a couple of resource booklets around $10. That’s not bad considering the thousands you’re paying for ignorance and no solutions.

I even put a handout on my website: “Professional Consultation“, it’s online-free, saves you some money from having to have an in-person with me where I say what I say in the handout.  Figured it would save you some coin if I just put it on my website.

If what I’m doing seems different than what every other mental health person is doing…

It is.  They’re exploiting you, and I’m heading up your trauma-recovery team.  Self-appointed, but I’ve done this type of thing before.

We needed a structured assessment protocol, and we needed a whole lot more knowledge over here.  I’ll ground things in established psychology to avoid the controversy and muck generated by “parental alienation” – we’ve gotta deal with the allies of the pathology.

I spent about 2 years from 2008 to 2010 working out the trauma recovery – your recovery.  Holy cow, you are being massively abused and traumatized – you, the parents.

Yeah, I know your kids too.  But your kids will be easy-peasy to recover, it’s the emotional trauma and suffering of parents, wow, that needs to end – now.  Today.  Yesterday, in fact, many-many yesterdays.

The profound absence of empathy from forensic psychology is stunning – and it should never-ever have happened.

In August of 2017, I had some blog and Facebook posts toward the Gardnerian “experts” – they were in the supposed role of leading your treatment recovery when I came on the scene.  I tried to work with them, but they simply refuse.  So in 2017 I asserted leadership of your treatment team – your trauma recovery team.

They didn’t even know that was part of their professional responsibility to you.  Stunning.

I asked for their path to a solution using Gardner’s PAS – (they have none, I knew that). If they don’t have a path to a solution, then I do.  I’m a clinical psychologist, I work trauma recovery, I’m senior staff background, I’ll head up the trauma recovery if they don’t.

We need to solve this as fast as is humanly possible – now – because lots and lots of parents are in active IPV spousal abuse – brutal and savage IPV spousal abuse.

And… children are losing their childhoods.  That is bad-bad-bad developmentally.  We need to get this stopped today.

That’s why I went with a diagnostic solution.  It is available today.  Right now. Always has been available.  No “new theory” – no need to prove something to someone.  And with diagnosis we can hold all ALL mental health professionals… accountable.

I’ve constructed a carrot-and-stick approach to motivation.  The APA ethics code is the stick of danger for the mental health person – the three diagnostic indicators are the carrot of safety.

That’s not an accident.  My Master’s degree is in Clinical-Community Psychology, the Community part is specific training in how to address pathology by changing community systems… like adjusting the family court’s response to pathology.

I know exactly what I’m doing, because I’ve been specifically trained to do exactly this. I can explain it, if you’d like.

I’ve even done something similar for juvenile firesetting behavior – another court-involved pathology – developed a whole mental health assessment protocol – a national model for assessment of juvenile firesetting behavior – for FEMA and the Department of Justice. I’ve posted work product from that.

Firesetting: Child Interview Protocol

Look at the back of this semi-structured interview protocol, see those boxes – Before – During- After / Thoughts – Feelings – Behavior.  That’s called a “behavior-chain interview” and we’ll be bringing that technique over here to assessment with your families.

Firesetting: Summary

I’m really proud of that Firesetter Summary.  That’s a summary form for the information produced by the assessment protocol. That’s a pretty comprehensive assessment for the motivational issues surrounding the kid’s fire setting.

This is not the first clinical psychology assessment protocol I’ve developed for a court-involved pathology.  I can explain it all if anyone is interested.  The six-session clinical psychology Assessment of Attachment-Related Pathology Surrounding Divorce is a solidly assessment booklet picturegrounded clinical psychology assessment protocol for the family conflict.

What we want to do in developing an assessment protocol is provide a structured approach that is standardized in both its administration and in the interpretation of the data across the people conducting the assessment – this is called inter-rater reliability.  So all mental health people do the same thing and achieve the same results from the assessment based on the same data.

If you disagree with the diagnosis, get a second opinion, that’s the inter-rater reliability component.  Two raters, are these symptoms present, absent, or somewhat present?

 If we’re developing an IQ test, we need all of the assessment administrators to do the same thing, ask the same questions, in the same way… that’s called standardizing the assessment procedures.  And all of the assessment people need to score the responses in the same way and they need to interpret scores in the same way.  All of that is called standardization of the assessment.

If everybody is doing any old thing and interpreting the outcome in any old way, that’s not assessment that’s just a mess.

The child custody evaluators standardize their procedures just fine – but NOT the interpretation of data.  THAT is left entirely to their personal discretion, ignorance, and massive bias.  No controls are placed on the interpretation of data at all.  HUGE problem in assessment.

What I did with AB-PA was to identify three symptoms that are ALWAYS present with this pathology and are NEVER present at any other time, the three diagnostic indicators of AB-PA.  This allows us to standardize the assessment procedures and the interpretation of the data… called diagnosis.  If there is a question, get a second opinion.

Then by limiting the scope of the referral question to a clinical psychology treatment question rather than a child custody question, the treatment focused clinical psychology assessment protocol can be brought in much more efficiently, for around $2,500 rather than the $20,000 to $40,000 of child custody evaluations, and at four to six weeks rather than six to nine months to complete, the limited-scope clinical psychology assessments can provide significantly more timely and useful information for decision-making.

That’s my job.  I’m heading up your trauma recovery team.  I developed an assessment protocol for this pathology. First I had to ground the Foundations, to do that I had to make sure all of the Bowlby-Minuchin-Beck links were solidly grounded.

Personal Reference List of Dr. Childress for AB-PA

There’s all your “peer-reviewed” research.  All the symptoms are fully grounded professional symptoms, attachment pathology, personality disorder traits, a persecutory delusion.  Everything is fully established knowledge so that when we reached this point everything is in place.

I knew the pathogen and its flying monkeys would focus on AB-PA as new theory (I even provided a mimicking of PAS-Gardner by AB-PA-Childress), but there is no such thing as AB-PA; it is entirely Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck – established knowledge.

We have to present a toddler with a new food 11 times before they’ll try it.  Same with knowledge – Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck.  By the 4,823’d time people are staring to become familiar with family systems constructs – cross-generational coalition – emotional cutoff. Some of them are starting to realize that there may be ethical code violations involved with what they’re doing (and not doing).

When I arrived, I found two massively broken systems, the family court system and the professional psychology system in the family courts.  Based on my analysis of the factors, the primary problem was a failure in forensic psychology that then led to the failure of the family court’s response.  Forensic psychology was abjectly ignorant and hugely incompetent.

We needed to fix the professional psychology response to the pathology to then leverage a fixed mental health system to fix the legal system’s broken response.  I had a lot of work to do.  All done.

We are now taking the fixed mental health system response into the family courts.

And I have a secret weapon I haven’t discussed yet.  There are lots and lots of really good mental health professionals out there too, they see the pathology and are trying to help, but structures are preventing them from solving things.  We’re going to release some of those barriers for them.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone yet, I don’t want the pathogen to know that there are thousands of excellent mental health professionals who will suddenly start appearing.  I haven’t said a word about them up until now.


We are not looking to educate ignorance. We are going to move right past it into solution,  Ignorance can stay right where it is, it’s irrelevant. The solution of knowledge is coming from a different direction than educating ignorance.  There are many-many excellent mental health professionals out there.  I’ve worked with them my entire life.

So I guess I’m fessing up now.  I’m not actually just a clinical psychologist, I’m also heading up your trauma recovery, your treatment team – you – the parents.  The ones with all that massive grief – that pain feeling.  Yeah, that.

Your children too.  That’s why it hurts so much. We have to rescue your kids and protect your kids.  Got it.  No worries, working on it top priority.  And we need to get you some trauma recovery help in here – you parents have been massively abused and traumatized by this family court pathology – IPV spousal abuse using the child as the weapon.

From 2020 to 2022 I’m going to be making noises about putting your treatment team in place.  That will be your organizing family therapist, your PTSD individual therapist, the child’s individual therapist (if needed, I don’t think we need them), the amicus attorney (your attorney until we get an amicus attorney), faith-community if it’s a support for you, teachers too, teachers can join the Alliance group and learn (we’ll develop information for them).

To my professional colleagues, those excellent ones I know are there, you don’t need to wait on me.  These families – your clients – need local-area support… you.  I’m only an email away, I’ll be doing training seminars… but you know what’s right.  Start with diagnosis… make the DSM-5 diagnosis of Child Psychological Abuse when it is warranted, then the parent is empowered to protect their child.

The pathogen’s never dealt with an actual clinical psychologist before.  Surprise pathogen.  Lots and lots of surprises.  Until somebody steps up to relieve me, I’m assuming professional responsibility for heading up the trauma recovery team for these parents and their children.

I’m bringing Dorcy, she is the top trauma recovery specialist on the planet. That’s two, add your PTSD therapist, that’s three.  Add your attorney, that’s four.  Add your minister, that’s five.  Add your school’s teacher, that’s six. Then let’s get you an organizing family systems therapist to guide the recovery of your family into normal and healthy development.

That’s the plan.

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

Trauma Recovery Leadership; Parents & Children in Court-Involved Family Conflict.




Should I Talk To My Kids About Narcissism? Q&A with Melanie and Zac

Should I Talk To My Kids About Narcissism? Q&A with Melanie and Zac


If you are a parent struggling with helping your children after your narcissistic abuse situation, then I can’t recommend this episode enough.

Within it, you will learn what to tell your children, how to empower them and even how to help reunite with them if they have been smeared against you or alienated away from you.

My heart goes out to every parent suffering with co-parenting with a narcissist or trying to repair the damage that happened to their children after one.

It is Zac’s and my greatest desire, today, that this Q and A, offers you key tools to not just ease the pain, but truly overcome every fear, challenge, and heartbreak you have suffered with your children – just as Zac and I have together.



Video Transcript

Melanie: Welcome to Thriver TV, the place to break free from narcissistic abuse with quantum tools and understandings. And today we’ve got a very special episode because this is a first-ever Thriver TV with my son Zac. And for those of you who don’t know Zac, Zac is my son and he is also the CEO of MTE. So welcome Zac.

Zac: Thanks mum. It’s so great to be here. It’s so great to finally be on Thriver TV, and hello.

Melanie: I know a lot of people have been asking for Zac and this is it, he’s finally doing it. It’s so good, and we’re both so excited about this episode because we’re going to be answering your questions that were posted on Instagram and Facebook a few days ago about how to help your children heal after being through a relationship with a narcissist. And one of our beautiful Thriver members requested this show so this is why we’re doing it. And we’ve had some amazing questions come through from so many of you and I’m so excited to share these answers with you. Now, just before we get into this show, I wanted to quickly tell you that we are running my premier abuse recovery workshop in capital cities in Australia in early December. If you’re an Aussie or you can get to Australia in December, I would love to see you there. Information and tickets can be found at the link at the top right. All right, so we’re going to start off with our first question, which is one from Instagram. So what have you got there Zac?

Zac: Yeah, so Restoring Hope Again on Instagram asks, “How do I co-parent with a narcissist, but try to make sure my son isn’t mentally abused, taken advantage of, lied to, et cetera. How do I also combat the lies that the narcissistic father tells my son? My son is only four and his dad and I have been separated for two years, but I have so much anxiety about how my son’s narcissistic father will affect him. Thank you for what you do and I hope you can help.”

Melanie: Okay, so all right. This is what I say to every parent who is co-parenting with a narcissist. The first thing that you need to do is do the deep, constant healing work on yourself. Because the truth is you can’t change a narcissist and what they’re doing, and the lies and the smearing, and the abuse and the manipulation. And the more that you actually try to combat that from a place of feeling traumatized by it, the worse it will escalate and the worse it will affect your child. And this causes so many problems. So when you heal you and you get centred and empowered and you’re able to start parallel parenting, which is a part of what we teach in the NARP community, and we also teach you how to not get triggered and traumatized, you start taking your power back and you set a very powerful template for your child to follow your example.

Melanie: And even at a very early age, children follow this example powerfully. Our most successful parallel parenting people in our community are not trying to combat a narcissist on a head level and on a strategy level, they’re actually healing and diffusing all of the triggers and the traumas within themselves so that you can be solid and centred and powerful for your child regardless of what the narcissist is or isn’t doing. So then what happens is the child will start feeling settled and calm because where you go, they go. They will start to pick up the difference and they will start to, even at a young age, they will see who to gravitate to and who not to gravitate to, and the narcissist will stop the games. You will see that happen as well. So I cannot suggest it enough, look up parallel parenting and look at the NARP program. It’s essential for people that are co-parenting so that you can do it effectively. I really hope that helps.

Zac: Okay, so I’ve got the next question from Instagram. Korean Atopy asks, “So Zac’s father was the narc whose covert abuse almost killed Mel, right? Has Zac forgiven his dad? Do you guys see him or is he completely out of the picture?” Yeah, so this is the important distinction to make. My father actually was not the narcissist who was in the relationship with Melanie. My father had a relationship with Melanie when I was very young and they split up when I was two years old. So no, the narcissist that was the first relationship that Melanie was married to, we have no contact with and yeah —

Melanie: Never will.

Zac: Never will. I’m very happy for it to stay that way. So I hope that answers that question.

Melanie: And if I can just say it wasn’t quite covert, it was very overt. But yeah, I hope that that’s cleared that up for some people. But I will say though that even though it was Zac’s stepfather, he did create a lot of smearing and alienation where I nearly lost Zac. So yeah, that part of it still played out very powerfully.

Zac: True, very true.

Melanie: Absolutely. Okay, so on to the next question.

Zac: Okay, so the next question is from Facebook. Mary Angel asks or she says, “Thank you so much for this. Here’s my question. My kids are 13 and 11 and they see their dad two or three times a year. When they stay with him for a few days, they come back the following days feeling frustrated, sad, guilty, and also angry at me. Should I talk to them about their dad’s narcissism?”

Melanie: This is such a good question. I’m just going to go straight to it. No, don’t talk about his narcissism to them. Because as soon as you start putting him down and you start saying your father is this, your father is that, what that is going to do is push your children away from you. So what you do need to do is have really good boundaries with them. Don’t overcompensate, because they come back like this and then you’re trying to smooth things over. You want to lead the way powerfully for them. And if they’re feeling guilty or they’re feeling sad or they’re feeling down, bolster them up.

Melanie: Empower them and say things to them like, “You know, I can see that you’re feeling sad or you’re feeling down, but this doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. You know, sometimes people are like this,” and “Or that’s just your father, but that doesn’t have to affect you, because you’re amazing. You’re incredible. There’s so many things that are great about you. Now, let’s just put that aside and we’re going to have a great time. We’re going to have an empowered time. I’m going to have boundaries with you, which means that I don’t accept your poor behaviour or your bad behaviour, but I’m also not saying that you are bad or that there’s something wrong with you.”

Melanie: Where we go, our children follow. And what happens often as parents is, we feel bad for them and we feel sad and we feel guilty and we feel terrible and all that does is exasperate and accentuate what they’re feeling. We want our children to know they can feel empowered and whole regardless of what anybody else is or isn’t doing or being. That’s what we want to teach our children. That’s what thriving and empowerment is about. I really hope that helps.

Zac: Yeah. And if I could just say, really powerfully what you’re saying mum, like when you lead the way, don’t underestimate how smart your children are. When you’re leading the way, when you’re showing them how to be empowered, how to live your life the right way, and they see their father’s behaviour, they’ll quickly see who’s the right one. If you want to say right or wrong, but you know who’s the person they should listen to. They’re a lot smarter, you know, kids are very smart.

Melanie: I agree. Your kids are so smart and so intelligent. You know, they’re not stupid. And they gravitate to what feels good. If we’re being victims and we’re telling them how bad it is for them and how shocking it is and how bad the other parent is, you know, that’s going to push your children away from you every time.

Zac: More likely they’re not going to believe you if you start doing that and they’re going to side with the other one, I think.

Melanie: And it happens all the time. You know? That’s how parent alienation sadly and tragically happens. I hope that can really help you.

Zac: All right, so we’ve got the next question from Ieva on Facebook. Now Ieva was one of the wonderful Thrivers who came and saw us in February in the UK. It was so great meeting you there, Ieva. If you’re watching this …

Melanie: We love Ieva. Hello darling.

Zac: Your question was, “I would like to know more about proxy healing please. Thank you.”

Melanie: Oh, one of my favourite, favourite topics. Proxy healing is something that NARP members can powerfully do and it is phenomenal how powerful it is. Okay. So how it works is in quantum reality our belief systems about somebody affect them incredibly powerfully. And also, we have the ability to work on others through ourselves, because we’re all interconnected as one, especially with our children, whether it be a biological link or even in the case of an adoption, it’s a heart link that is so energetically powerful. So where we shift our beliefs and our DNA to, is where our children follow. I used this with Zac, healing by proxy, when Zac went through an awful phase in his life, in his teenage life where he was on a self-destruction path. I was trying to lecture and prescribe and fix and force him into shape, and the more I did that, the worse things got, which I know a lot of you parents experience with kids of all ages.

Melanie: When I finally let go and I knew the quantum truth, that I have no power to change anybody else. I only ever have the power to change me. I went inside myself with Quanta Freedom Healing with NARP, and I found all of the traumas relating to my trauma about him. And I shifted and I shifted and I shifted, and kept bringing in source until I came into source truth, which is that Zac has an inner being that can awaken into his power and health. That’s a source truth. And when I had hit that place, my fear about him was gone, even though his circumstance was dire. I didn’t know whether my son was going to live or die, it was that bad.

Melanie: Then what I did is I set the intention that I would work on his inner being through my inner being. And with NARP, we can do that. And how you do that is you ask permission to his higher self whether or not I’m allowed to do that. And the answer that I got through muscle test, you can do it through intuition, was a yes. So I got to work on that. Through my body I was able to feel his internal trauma, shift it out and bring in Source. And I did that work for only a few days. And then I hit a place where I felt this calm, peace and warmth for him, through me, as well as the calm I already had through me. And then Zac contacted me —

Melanie: Zac contacted me after three weeks of silence and said to me, “Mum, we need to meet down at the pub and I’ve stopped doing what I’m doing and I love you and I’m so sorry and I’ve seen the light” and he’s never looked back. And that experience has happened for countless parents that are working with this. Because if you see your children as broken, or narcissistic, or damaged or victimized, that’s exactly what they’re going to continue producing for you in your experience.

Melanie: When you change your beliefs and your knowing about your children then you can get to work by proxy working on their inner beings from your inner being, the results are beyond quantum. They are spectacular. They are miraculous. They create miracles every day in the NARP community. And in the NARP forum, we actually teach you how to do that healing by proxy. So if you’re already a thriver, you’ve already created incredible shifts in your life. The next step is you can work on your children by proxy if you want to. So I don’t know if Zac has anything more to add about that. Well, you were on the receiving end of that. You didn’t know I was doing that. You had no idea that I was doing that.

Zac: Yeah, I din’t know it was happening. And then sort of all of a sudden it’s just seeing this change get made and sort of, yeah. It’s sort of almost hard to put into words, but it’s —

Melanie: Something shifted, right?

Zac: Something shifted yeah and new opportunities opened up …

Melanie: Well, it was kind of like, because at 19 when I literally had Zac evicted from the home, things were so bad and I’ll never forget his parting words to me as he left. I mean, we can laugh now. At the time it was the worst. The police were coming in half an hour to take him. That’s how bad it was. And as he was leaving he looked at me, it was the worst day of my life, was worse than my demise, and he said, “The next time we lay eyes on each other is going to be on one of our deathbeds.”… and he said, “Never again are you my mother.” And that’s how he left. Three weeks later we were hugging. He’d stopped doing what he was doing, and had massively turned the corner and I know 1000% it’s because of the healing by proxy. I know that. So there you go. You had no idea at the time. You had no idea. It was a long time ago … we’re talking 11 years ago now that it happened.

Zac: Okay. So I’ve got the next question from Facebook. Amanda asks, “I want to know how’s Zac experienced his mum before she started thriving and then now.” Okay. So yeah, this is probably an experience that I haven’t had a chance to share with everyone on YouTube and you know, across the community. But it is a very important one. I definitely thought she wasn’t going to make it. I thought she was going to be traumatized for the rest of her life. At 16 years of age, I’d accepted that my mum was either going to be in a mental institution or she was going to be driven to her death. I was deeply afraid of him and what he would do, and I thought he was going to harm her and possibly me and other people. It was an extremely difficult time to say the least. The Mel you see now is nothing like she was. She is not the same person that she was back then.

Melanie: Or even before then.

Zac: And I don’t want to say any harsh things because I mean…

Melanie: Oh no, we can be totally honest with each other. For sure.

Zac: But she…

Melanie: I was horrible.

Zac: Yeah. She was a completely different person. You weren’t necessarily horrible. You were honest to me about what was going on and that was … I really appreciated that.

Melanie: Yeah.

Zac: I knew what was going on. You didn’t try and hide anything. You didn’t try and demonize him but you were deeply struggling and you were hooked and addicted. I think maybe that was the really frustrating thing. We wanted to shake you. You know, and I think so many kids want to do this; they want to shake you and say snap out of it, this guy’s going to kill you. You need to get out of it. And you wouldn’t. So you would keep crawling back and seeing him again and again. And it was, you know, seeing your own mother do that and, and I guess, not having a good father, you know, having a father figure in the home that’s destroying your own mother is a really challenging thing to go through.

Melanie: Yeah. And also too, you know, there were a couple of incidences where you tried to protect me and you couldn’t because he was very big and strong and physically threatening. And that was horrific for you. But I know that I went through a lot of guilt because being so dishevelled and when you’re traumatized, you’re not available and you don’t have patience. And I wasn’t there for Zac through a lot of his teenage stuff and growing up and his challenges because I wasn’t even there for myself. So, my heart goes out to a lot of parents because I know the guilt and the pain that you feel. You know, I wasn’t really a mother’s shoelace (effective mother) and it wasn’t my fault. It’s just the way it was.

Zac: It’s never you. It’s never anyone’s fault, you know?

Melanie: No, no, it was just a really hard time for everybody. But it’s nothing like what we have now.

Zac: So, what is Mel like now? Words can’t describe how much she’s just … she’s not the same person. You give her a completely different character because of the person she is today, how she’s able to help change the lives of so many people. I think it’s very apparent how much she’s helping people, that she spends her entire day from the moment she gets up to the moment she goes to bed thinking about how she can help more people. It’s just so inspiring. It’s led the way for me and now we get to do this together. Yeah, I couldn’t be happier to have you as my mum.

Melanie: So sweet. Yeah. That’s so sweet, Zac. Thank you. Well, I know that as we Thrive and commit to releasing trauma and bringing in source, we literally rebirth. We become a new and a true self. So quite frankly, I don’t even recognize the person who I used to be. I’m happy to be a completely different, evolved, forever evolving being because, oh gosh, who I was, wasn’t working. Who I am now, does.

Zac: So the next question on Instagram is from Stockingstyle and her question is, “Zac, at what point did you realize and know for sure that you are thriving?” Now, this is a really good question, actually. For me, thriving isn’t so much a destination as it is a state. It’s something that I’m continually working on. It’s something that I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve arrived at that place and then I’m there. In the early days, like we were just saying, growing up, watching what mum went through, having this figure in the house that was not a good person to be around, it did leave me and as you probably know, if you have children that especially in teenage years or the developing years, I sort of, I didn’t know my place in the world. I didn’t have a supportive figure to sort of help guide me through that period. I felt very lost, alone and really lacked a lot of confidence, so I didn’t sort of have any belief in myself. I didn’t see myself going anywhere and a lot of that had been lost. Maybe I sort of had that at a young age, but now I sort of felt completely lost.

Zac: I think when I recognized that I was starting to thrive or getting into that state of thriving is when I had the self-belief. So when I believed I could actually do something in this world, help people, even do something meaningful, whether it’s a career or a hobby or a passion or just something that I was able to put so much of my energy and focus on and then see results, see something that actually positively impacted people. So the work that I’m doing at MTE, the things I do, how I can help people, that to me is thriving. That to me is living the life that I want to live. And yeah, it’s really getting back to that, that believing yourself, putting yourself into something that you’re passionate about, and then seeing the end result that comes from it.

Melanie: If I can just add here. A long time ago when I started doing the core inner shifts on myself, I set the intention that any shift on my trauma would be passed on to Zac. So he’s been kind of pretty lucky that he hasn’t had to do a lot of healing work on it himself, even though you do. Of course, he does.

Zac: But I do that as well.

Melanie: He does it as well. Absolutely.

Zac: I had an extra boost.

Melanie: You got an extra boost. But what I’ve seen happen so organically is that often when I’ve broken through and reached a confidence and a belief and an inner power, I’ve noticed it happens with him as well. It just happens organically. And I think that’s what’s so wonderful about … quantum theory, they call it the entanglement theory which is connected organisms and cells. When one shifts, the other will reflect the shift regardless of what the distance is between them. And I see it happen with Zac all the time. It’s just beautiful. People report that through the generations backwards and forwards with quantum freedom healing all the time. It’s pretty magical. Maybe that’s got a lot to do with it. I mean, he’s done so much of it himself as well. Absolutely.

Zac: Yeah. There were some long years of doing a lot of the personal work.

Melanie: Yeah. You did. And you really took responsibility and did that, which is fantastic.

Zac: All right, so we’ve got the next question. This is for Mel on Instagram. Honey Ruth asks, “I’m concerned that my 29 year old son is carrying trauma from the 20 years that he was subjected to living this lifestyle with my husband. It almost would appear that he’s acquired the behaviours now, the dark side of him. But I have to save myself and I’m working to help me and I’ve sustained my son to an enabling level. What do I do now?”

Melanie: Yeah. I love what Honey Ruth wrote, what you are saying is that you have to save yourself and you have to focus on you because this is so, so true. If we come back to the quantum premise that you cannot change anybody else, then you only ever have the power to change yourself. So what you’re going to do is change yourself into is a self-honouring, self-loving being where you’re creating boundaries. Where you’re saying to the world and other people, ‘I’m teaching you how to treat me.’ So with these boundaries, what will happen is … and it can be heartbreaking with people we love. But this is where if we enable, as Neale Donald Walsch says about this, ‘to allow an abuser to continue abusing is an act of abuse.’

Melanie: So what he really means by that is that … if we set a truth and a value for ourselves, we give other people the opportunity to move up into a space of being respectful, loving, decent people. And if we don’t, we allow them to continue defiling the integrity of their true self by being an abuser. So you have to do that regardless. Then what you can do, of course I’m always going to say, I would love you to be working with the inner healing powerfully because then what you can do is no longer be triggered, no longer feel guilty and no longer hand over power. To have very clear, calm, truthful boundaries. But also you could be doing the inner and possible proxy work to help de-traumatize his soul, if you have permission to do that work on him. So there’s a lot you can do, but you cannot keep going the way you are of enabling him, because everybody loses. You lose. He loses. Your life and the things and missions and people you love lose as well. I hope that helps.

Zac: Okay, so we’ve got the next question from Instagram. So Cal asks, “I would love to hear from Zac how he felt when he was in the throes of narc abuse and how he translated that hurt into his own life and then what prompted him to start making different decisions and start his healing journey?”

Zac: This is a really good question. Thanks for asking this. There was sort of a period like we spoke about before, the period before Mel had accepted what she was going through and turn inward to start healing herself. Before she did that, she was really difficult, honestly, difficult to be around. I sort of had to separate myself. I had to shut myself off. I didn’t really know boundaries very well back then, but I was trying to just separate myself, go by my own thing. I was in university, I was trying to study and just sort of make my way through the world.

Zac: But when Mel finally turned inward and sort of accepted the journey and started going through it, we connected, you know, we connected, and I saw I could see the change in her. I could see that she wasn’t going to go back to him. And maybe that was part of the frustration that I was hanging onto. When she’d finally let go and when she’d finally turned inwards, taking responsibility for what she was going through, I started to see my mother as a role model again, and we started working together and we would talk about workshops or books I was reading and we spent a lot of time together really working on things together.

Melanie: And I would do healings. Because before then I used to hide things and I used to say, “no, everything’s fine”. And I thought that was the right thing to do, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew I was lying to him. And then when I just came out and I just went, “you know what, I’m broken and I need to heal”. And I was very vulnerable and honest with him, and I’d say, Zac, I’m going to go and do a healing. You’re probably going to hear me wail and cry and do all sorts of things, but it’s perfect because I’m getting my trauma out because I have to get better. And rather than him being really distressed and disgusted by that, I know it gave him a lot of comfort.

Zac: It was inspiring.

Melanie: Yeah. And it really gave him permission to be real with how he was feeling, and to share that with me as well. So we really came together in this authenticity, which helped us both so much.

Zac: Absolutely.

Melanie: Yeah. It was a powerful time. Well, this was your question. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to hijack that. Was there anything more you needed to add?

Zac: No, just to really support the honesty. I think it’s just so important. Don’t hide anything away. Just be … I mean it can depend maybe if they’re very young, there’s certain details that obviously you wouldn’t tell a very young child, but you don’t have to tell them everything. But don’t say everything’s okay. I think that sends completely the wrong message.

Mel: True.

Zac: Be very honest, open, be vulnerable. And I think your kids will gravitate towards you and they’ll be inspired by that.

Zac: So our next question from Facebook. Jillian asks, “How can I connect with an alienated 20-year-old who’s convinced I’ve traumatized her? She tells the same to her siblings, although away at uni she’s still a flying monkey. It’s heartbreaking.”

Melanie: Yeah. Jillian, this is like, this happens all the time in the community and it’s one of the things that I really adamantly want to reach out to parents to help you with because I can’t imagine what, it nearly happened to me. I can’t, anyway, Jillian, I just want to say, you have to heal. Quantum law is this, so within, so without. The trauma of being alienated, if you can’t up-level and get yourself free of that in the inside, you’re going to keep receiving that from the outside. That’s the bottom line. This is what happens with so many parents in this community that have been alienated, that when they heal, when they release, when they’ll be able to come to peace, regardless of what’s happening out there, out there has to shift to match in there. It happens all the time.

Melanie: And the other thing about this is, is when we have the injustice of persecution and being smeared and set upon, that’s a huge, huge trauma. When that all releases and that all goes, this will never be about convincing her that you’re right and that he’s wrong or convincing her about how you’ve been traumatized and brutalized. That’s not what you’re here to convince her about. You are here to become love and let go of trauma and be able to allow the space and the love for her to move back into your life.

Melanie: We have had people in this community that have had five generations of dissension, fractures, decades of alienation who have healed. One family, five generations had been shattered and alienated and all came back together because one person in those five generations, and she knows who she is, and she’ll be watching this, she watches every episode, did the profound healing within her being to become love and feel and heal and know the family as love. They all reconnected. I promise you it’s the only way. And the thing is, there is no guarantee that that will happen, but there is the guarantee that if you do the inner work, the pain and the trauma will be gone. And from there everything is possible, including miracles. I hope that helps.

Melanie: I’ve really enjoyed doing this episode with you, Zac and I don’t think this will be the last one we do. You know, we may do this again, I’m really excited about the feedback and the questions and connecting to you all, and maybe, you might even ask Zac some questions on the blog or YouTube as well that he can answer.

Melanie: So, thank you so much for sending in your questions. And it is my greatest heart desire that we can help you. I am so passionate about our children and our future generations. It’s a topic so dear to my heart, I always get emotional when I talk about it.

Zac: It’s all right. It’s okay.

Melanie: I always do. This is the only thing I know, “Oh my God.” But it’s huge for me and I know it’s huge for you too. All right. So if you’re not already following me on Facebook and Instagram, please make sure you do, because we’re doing lots more exciting things there like this Q&A, and you can get daily inspiration tools and tips on there as well, 100%. So, so looking forward to your comments and questions on this really important episode that I’ve so enjoyed sharing with my dear son.

Zac: It’s been great. Thanks for having me on the show.

Melanie: Oh, that’s okay. It’s been, it’s a journey. It’s a few takes, but it’s fabulous. Zac’s not used to this. He’s done such a great job.

Zac: I’ve had a good teacher.

Melanie: Yeah, you’ve done a really great job. So anyway, people, you know how it goes, keep smiling, keep healing and keep thriving because there’s nothing else to do. And also too, I would love to see you at my live events. Zac will be there too.

Zac: Hope to see you there.

Melanie: The Thriver team and our MTE global team are going to be there and we’re going to hold you, help you and heal you and your future generations. And also, know that we have a $100 discount, which is going on the 18th of November so we’d love you to get in early and get your tickets. All right. Lots of love, everybody. Bye Bye.

Zac: Bye.



October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council  (TBHEC) - Speaker Regarding Parental Alienation 1

October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council (TBHEC) – Speaker Regarding Parental Alienation

The October 15, 2019 meeting of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council in Austin, Texas (TBHEC)

How To Spot A Female Narcissist Before It’s Too Late

How To Spot A Female Narcissist Before It’s Too Late


Typically, narcissistic women will set out to snare new supply – by using their appearance and overt sexuality.

The narcissistic woman is deeply insecure and empty on the inside, and more interested in maintaining her looks and what she can get from people, than their feelings or needs.

She can be caring and cunning too – being everything you want her to be.

Discover more differences AND the similarities between female and male narcissists in this Thriver’s TV episode.



Video Transcript

This Thriver TV Episode is one you men want and may really need to understand – because many a narcissistic woman has been able to dupe a decent, generous, caring man, emptying him out of his emotions, resources and sanity.

But this episode is also applicable to gay women and both genders regarding both friendships and business matters.

Absolutely, female narcissists exist. Narcissism is not gender specific, and this is what Today’s Thriver TV episode is all about. So stick around to find out how to spot a female narcissist, as well as how to protect yourself from one.

Okay, before we dive in, thank you for supporting the Thriver Mission by subscribing to my channel, and if you haven’t yet, I’d love you to – and also please hit the like button if you enjoy this video!

Now let’s get started…

One For The Guys?

I know that some men think I only talk about male narcissists in my videos and blogs. Please know this is SO not true. Narcissism is narcissism and the behaviours are scarily similar between every narcissist, regardless of sex and who they are in your life!

Also, I want you to understand that the way to heal, for real, from any narcissist is identical.

This applies regardless of your gender, who the narcissist was in your life, and even how the abuse happened. In our wonderful Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) Community, there are many men (straight and gay) healing from the devastation of narcissistic relationships – including of course with women!

So even though this TTV Episode may seem like it is one for the guys, it is for all of us, just as every publication I do is NOT gender specific.

Now let’s get down to it.

The Same Behaviour of Narcissistic Women and Men

The following is CRUCIAL to understand…

There are very few differences between the characteristics of narcissistic men and women, because when a person is operating from a False-Self interior they behave in almost identical ways.

And … I totally don’t want this TTV to be about demonising women, just like I am not in the business of demonising men. We need to understand that certain character traits are necessary to define a narcissistic person of any gender.

Just because a woman cares about her appearance does not automatically define her as a narcissist – just like a man who cares greatly about his professional image and financial success, as many women do too, is not automatically a narcissist either.

Now let’s look at the behaviours of narcissistic women that are IDENTICAL to those of men – including the one definitive distinguishing characteristic of a terminally narcissistic person – ‘I will NOT take the responsibility to meet and heal my wounds, and work on myself in order to change my behaviour and life.’

Both female and male narcissists, seeking people to mine attention, acclaim, sex, power, contacts, resources and the like, do these identical things:

  •  Size up their targets and know how to appeal to exactly what THAT person wants to hear and receive.
  • Fact finds a person’s weak spots (their insecurities).Offer support, validation, and care, which this person feels they don’t receive from others, and then turn the tables and start attacking these weak spots with criticism, nasty action and abandonment tactics.
  • Pretend to be supportive of the people, passions and things in your life, and then start discrediting and sabotaging them.
  • Need constant ‘ego-feeding’ with stuff, attention, significance and their version of respect and acclaim.
  • Punish mercilessly when the False Self is not fed adequately.
  • Do the push-pull game: ‘I reel you in and then I cast you out.’
  • Can take out masterful smear campaigns against you.
  • Are controlling, possessive and insecure, and react in rageful ways that mature adults simply don’t.
  • Can strip you bare emotionally, mentally and financially.
  • Commonly position the children against you and attempt child alienation.
  • Project blame and argue with you in circular ways that leave your head spinning.
  • Refuse to be durably accountable. Apologies take far too long if they do come, and then don’t hold weight or last. The narcissist continues to re-offend.
  • Harbour and keep bringing things up to punish you with – despite saying they were resolved in the past.
  • Play tit for tat – delivering punishments that do not fit the supposed crime (except in their own heads).
  • Make you feel you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This person can never be appeased.
  • Toss you into the gutter without a second glance, when they cannot get what they want anymore or you have been emptied out.

Awful, isn’t it?

I promise you, in the ten plus years I’ve helped people from all over the world achieve Thriver Recovery, these things happen to EVERYONE at the hands of a narcissist – no matter the gender or the sexual orientation.

So, if you truly think that ONLY women do this, or you think the same about men, think AGAIN!

Okay, now let’s get down to the DIFFERENCES.

What Characterizes A Female Narcissist?

The things that I am talking about now are the typical narcissistic female characteristics. Mind you, not ALL narcissistic women fit this description.

Please note, in some cases I am describing the characteristic with ‘him’ being the recipient. Yet this applies to gay female narcissistic relationships also.

The most obvious difference between a narcissistic woman and a man is the way in which she will snare new supply – by using her appearance and overt sexuality.

In the case of heterosexual relationships, men are very visual and sexually enticed, and narcissistic women know that their attractiveness, being flirtatious and having a willingness to grant him sexual attention is a great asset. Naturally, this can and does also work with gay women.

(The same can be said for male somatic narcissists, gay or straight, who use their physical beauty to snare potential mates.)

Traditionally, the difference between narcissistic men and women is that highly effective narcissistic men will use power, success and resources to capture new supply because they know it works!

In a woman’s DNA, ‘security’ is attractive to her. In a male’s DNA, it is ‘procreation’ with a physically appealing mate.

Now, because a female narcissist is inherently a female, who suffers from security fears, as well as being intensely entitled, her target is likely to be a nice, successful, hardworking guy, who is generous to a fault and wants to be a good provider.

This suits her high-maintenance and very expensive lifestyle – granting her all the right products and accessories to maintain her ego-necessary beauty, as well as grant her the significance that her False-Self craves.

Maybe he doesn’t have a lot of money, but she is after something – connections or some sort of security; maybe even a free, temporary roof over her head, until she is on her feet and can find better supply.

It is very common for narcissistic women to upgrade from one partner to another.

The expression ‘beauty is skin deep’ applies. The narcissistic woman is deeply insecure and empty on the inside, and more interested in maintaining her looks and what she can get from him, than his feelings or needs.

All of this becomes more and more obvious after she has captured him.

Being Everything You Want

Regardless of whether a narcissistic woman appears in your life as a potential romantic partner, business associate or a friend, she will be charming and caring.

She will demonstrate how loyal she is – she appears to be committed and caring; a team member who has your back.

It is SOOO usual for her to go over and above the call of duty to show she cares about YOU as a PERSON.

Like all narcissists, it is an act.

It’s a powerful act.

She knows how to use her feminine wiles to incite people to care about her, as well as how to work out what role people want from her.

Is it someone with the smarts and credentials to help in business?

Is it someone to help look after children or loved ones?

What food do people like to eat?

What help do they want around the house?

What deep and personal thing do you need to talk to someone about and feel supported with?

Who can you call at any time of day to feel that someone genuinely cares about you?

In the case of romance – what are your deepest desires and fantasies?

It’s not surprising that the recipient of a narcissistic woman initially believes they have met the dream friend, business or love partner of their life.

She’s smart, capable, a wonderful asset to have around, and seems to genuinely love and care about you. Everyone in your life loves her as well. She makes certain of it.

However, like all narcissistic façades, the cracks appear – sooner rather than later.

The brittle, easily triggered, possessive, insecure creature emerges. She becomes critical, entitled, selfish and demanding.

Whoever lets this woman into their life starts becoming her emotional punching bag – bit by bit being blamed for her self-torment and anything that goes wrong (which is plenty).

The sad truth is this: a narcissistic woman (like narcissistic men) is a ’professional parasite’; a bottomless pit, who can never be made happy no matter what anyone gives her.

Are There Warning Signs?

This I want you to understand about narcissistic women (as well as ANY other narcissist you come across) – there are NO warning signs!

They show up appearing lovely, wonderful and genuine! But lovely, wonderful and REAL genuine people also turn up like this!

So, how DO you tell the difference?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – NO narcissist walks into your life, sticking their hand up announcing that they are a sociopath about to rip your life apart!

You recognizing a narcissist has NOTHING to do with them.

It has EVERYTHING to do with YOU!

I promise…

These are the relevant questions you need to ask yourself. Have you…

 Taken your time to get to know someone – their character and WHO they really are – before letting them into your life, business matters, home, heart, bed and body?

 Asked the difficult questions when things feel off?

 Requested proof and done investigative research on someone’s credentials if you DON’T fully believe them?

 Laid boundaries and said ‘no’ if a request feels uncomfortable to you?

 Kept seeing the people and doing the things that are your life, when a new person comes into your life?

 Got clear about what abuse is and what it isn’t?

 Confronted, stated your truth and stuck to it, even if someone has tried to manipulate you?

 Walked away from someone who is abusive, regardless of what hope you had for them in your life?

 Known your own worth and value, regardless of what someone else has or hasn’t been or done?

I’m going to be straight with you, if you can’t honestly answer these questions as ‘yes’ then you are susceptible to narcissists from both genders.

If you are honest with yourself – you will KNOW exactly why.

If you CAN answer these questions as ‘yes’, then NO narcissist will get past your boundaries. She (or he) will EASILY be flushed out or will disappear before risking something happening.

That is when YOU will have distinguished whether someone is a narcissist or not – BEFORE you get damaged. When you see them unravel in front of you or sneak off back into their shadows because they can’t both hang out with you and stay in the shadows at the same time.

Then you will say, ‘Oops there goes another one!’

If you aren’t in your power in this way, then the ONLY time you will spot a narcissist is when it is too late. They are already under your skin, entrenched in your life and creating havoc – like a terrible parasitical disease.

And you will only find out because their mask fully drops.

Do you understand NOW – REALLY? If so, I want you to pause this video, and let me know by writing, ‘I REALLY get it!’ below.

If you do the inner work, then you won’t care whether someone is a narcissist or not – because you will be a True Self; someone who is impervious to ANY narcissist – regardless of whether they are female, male or an alien!

I promise you I NEVER look out for narcissists. I couldn’t care less who is or isn’t one. No longer do I try to fruitlessly work out the other billions of people on this planet. How stressful, exhausting, traumatising and what a total waste of time that is!

All I have to BE is supremely authentic, truthful and powerful within myself. Man, it’s liberating. It’s awesome! It’s such a relief to just BE myself!

I got there with Inner Work, the REAL way.

The real inner work doesn’t take decades, and it’s not hard, gruelling and awful.

I promise you – that is NOT the truth!

My healing process to achieve personal liberation and power is direct and happens in record time.

Truly, your Inner Being can’t wait to be free of the pain and the crap you once believed!

So, guys and girls come join me to learn more about the true way to be safe, powerful and free from narcissists, by clicking this link.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always, I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.



Texas Appeals Court Upholds Permanent Injunction Prohibiting Contact Between Father’s Girlfriend and Child

Texas Appeals Court Upholds Permanent Injunction Prohibiting Contact Between Father’s Girlfriend and Child

Originally published by Francesca Blackard.


Generally, a permanent injunction is difficult to obtain and requires proof that certain requirements are met.  In Texas child custody cases, however, a court may be able to issue a permanent injunction, even if those requirements have not been met, if it finds that the injunction is in the child’s best interest.  In a recent case, a father appealed an injunction prohibiting him from allowing contact between his girlfriend and his child.

The parents had agreed to temporary orders prohibiting any unrelated adult in a romantic relationship with one of the parents from spending the night in a home with the child.  The temporary order also stated that the father’s girlfriend would not be around the child while the father had possession.

Following a mediated settlement agreement addressing all other issues, the trial court held a hearing to address this issue. The trial court granted an “injunction” prohibiting contact between the father’s girlfriend and the child without hearing evidence.  The mother’s attorney stated they had been unable to serve the father’s girlfriend with notice of the hearing.  The court indicated it was entering a “permanent morality clause” based on the girlfriend not testifying. The father’s attorney argued there was no evidence to support a permanent injunction.  The court stated it was a “moral clause,” not an injunction, but then heard evidence from the mother, the mother’s other daughter, and the process server.


The process server testified regarding his attempts to serve the girlfriend.

The mother’s 15-year-old daughter testified the father’s girlfriend had contacted her on Instagram and made negative comments about her mother.  The court allowed screenshots of the Instagram communications into evidence over the father’s objection that they were hearsay and had not been authenticated.

The mother testified the girlfriend had contacted her about her affair with the father.  She alleged the girlfriend had posted nude photos of herself online and had made social media posts about marijuana and alcohol.  She also testified the girlfriend and child got along well and she had no evidence that the girlfriend had ever harmed the child.

The father moved for rehearing after the court granted the “morality clause.” After the hearing, the trial court entered both a morality clause and an injunction.  The morality clause provided that no unrelated person of the opposite sex in an intimate relationship with a parent could spend the night when the child was in that parent’s care.  The permanent injunction enjoined the father from allowing the child to have any contact with his girlfriend.

The father appealed, arguing the injunction was not supported by proper evidence.  He argued the trial court should have excluded the daughter’s testimony because she was not disclosed as a witness.  Evidence that is not properly disclosed can generally not be admitted just to satisfy the interest of justice, but may be admitted if there is a good cause.  The mother argued that the Instagram messages were sent during the week before the hearing, and this timing constituted good cause not to supplement the discovery responses before the hearing.  The father argued he was unfairly surprised and prejudiced.  Some Texas appeals courts have held a trial court should admit testimony despite unfair surprise or lack of good cause for a delay in disclosure if admission of the evidence is in the best interest of the child.  Based on this standard, the appeals court found no abuse of discretion in the admission of the daughter’s testimony.

The appeals court also rejected the father’s argument that the Instagram messages should have been excluded as hearsay.  A statement is only hearsay if it is offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  The messages were not presented to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  The mother presented the negative statements about her not to prove they were true, but to show the communications had been made.  The communications were therefore not hearsay.

The father also argued there was not sufficient evidence to support a permanent injunction.  Generally, to get a permanent injunction, a party must show there is a wrongful act, imminent harm, irreparable injury, and no adequate remedy at law.  In child custody cases, however, a court may grant a permanent injunction that is in the best interest of the child even if all of these elements are not met.  The appeals court found no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s granting of the permanent injunction upon finding it was in the child’s best interest.

The father also argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the injunction.  The appeals court noted that sufficiency of the evidence was not an independent ground to overturn the injunction.  It is instead a factor in determining whether the trial court abused its discretion.

The mother’s daughter testified the father’s girlfriend made negative comments about the mother and the screenshots she provided reflected the nature of those messages.  The trial court could have found the child was at risk of being exposed to similar comments as those directed at her 15-year-old half-sister.  The mother had also testified she had spoken to the father about the girlfriend’s drug-related posts, and he indicated he was aware of her drug use.  The trial court could have found the girlfriend had used illegal drugs, that the father was aware of it, and that he was not opposed to the drug use.  The trial court also could have found the girlfriend presented a risk of promoting parental alienation.  The trial court could therefore have found that it was not in the child’s best interest to allow contact with the girlfriend.  The appeals court found no abuse of discretion in the issuance of the permanent injunction and affirmed the judgment.

If you are involved in a child custody matter, a skilled Texas custody attorney can help pursue any necessary court orders.  Set up an appointment with McClure Law Group by calling 214.692.8200.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.


aggressive parenting

Is Your Ex An “Aggressive Parent?” Here Are 9 Signs

aggressive parenting


According to Alan Kemp in his book Abuse in the Family, domestic violence is defined as “A form of maltreatment perpetrated by a person with whom the victim has or had a close personal relationship.” (Kemp, P.36)

Furthermore, the clinical and textbook definitions and categories of child psychological maltreatment found in Table 3-1 of Alan Kemp’s book, Abuse in the Family, on pages 72-77, can easily be applied to show it as a horrific form of domestic violence via psychological maltreatment.

This book is just one of many textbooks used to teach students and professionals about psychological maltreatment and the categories that make it up. Whether one believes in the term parental alienation or not, the following criteria help to show that certain behavior perpetrated by a parent can cause a child to withdraw their love from the other parent.  For the sake of this article, we will term this abuse as aggressive parenting.

9 Signs of Aggressive Parenting:

  • Rejecting (spurning)
  • Terrorizing
  • Corrupting
  • Denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness, or availability
  • Unreliable and inconsistent parenting
  • Mental health, medical, or educational neglect
  • Degrading/devaluing (spurning)
  • Isolating
  • Exploiting

An Explanation of the 9 Signs

By deliberately isolating the child from other family members and social supports, isolation is occurring.  The whole premise of aggressive parenting is to isolate and distance the children from the targeted parent or any other individual who supports the targeted parent.

If the aggressive parent uses threats or denigrating tactics, to force the child to comply, this can be seen as terrorizing.  As well, verbal denigration, harassment and exploitation of the targeted parent is very prominent and a key indicator of aggressive parenting.

In addition, domestic violence includes the exploitation and use of the child for personal gain.

Thus in aggressive parenting, when the child is used to destroy the targeted parent by denying visitation or a relationship between the other parent and the child or is used for monetary gains such as excessive expenses beyond child support, they are in effect committing domestic violence.  It is for these reasons that aggressive parenting or isolating the children from the Targeted Parent can be considered as a form of domestic violence.


Let’s take this a bit further in its application. When a parent rejects a child because the child shows any love or affection for the targeted parent that is a form of abuse. This is not only a form of rejection but terrorization. In fact, a child’s refusal to come to the targeted parent’s home for fear of losing the aggressive parent’s conditional love is fear and fear is terror.


When an aggressive parent refuses to comply with court orders and tells the child they do not have to either, this is corrupting. It is teaching the child that they are above the law and therefore immune to the court’s authority.  When a parent files false allegations of abuse and convinces the child to do the same, this is corruption.

When an aggressive parent tells the child lies about the targeted parent, and that anything having to do with the targeted parent is illegal, immoral and disgusting, this is corrupting.  In fact, this is a form of discrimination and prejudice, which corrupts the child’s minds.

Denying Essential Stimulation, Emotional Responsiveness, or Availability

By refusing to allow the children to have a relationship with the targeted parent, for no reason other than their own need to control the ex-spouse, the aggressive parent is denying them the basic elements of stimulation, emotions, and availability with the targeted parent. In fact, the targeted parent has little to no opportunity to defend themselves against false allegations.

Though they will have you believe that they or the children feared for their lives and that the targeted parent was abusive, this is usually unsubstantiated or proven by the courts to be a fabrication. With no basis for this denial, the aggressive parent refuses their child a warm and loving relationship with the targeted parent.

Unreliable and Inconsistent Parenting

Since the children have been denied a relationship with the targeted parent, they have also been denied a reliable and consistent parenting situation and the aggressive parent has proven that they cannot parent consistently and reliably in the supporting of a two-parent relationship with the children.

Mental, Medical and Educational Neglect

When an aggressive parent refuses to comply with numerous separate court orders for counseling, they are denying their children’s mental health. Thus mental neglect has occurred as defined in the DSM IV as Malingering.


If despite numerous court orders or requests and recommendations, the aggressive parent continues to insult, verbally abuse and denigrate the child’s targeted parent in front of the child, this behavior degrades and devalues someone the child once respected and loved and in most cases, secretly wants a relationship with.

This disdain and disrespect for the targeted parent in front of the child is another form of psychological maltreatment as it permanently affects their view of the targeted parent, which transfers to their view of themselves. This creates a distorted sense of reality, of themselves and their ability to trust and accurately judge others.


When a parent deliberately sabotages a relationship with the targeted parent by refusing to allow visits, calls, or any form of healthy communication, with no evidence of abuse, this is called isolation. Furthermore, when a parent has initially allowed continuous contact with the children during the separation and divorce period, but reneges on this, refusing visitation, especially when they find out their ex-spouse has a new partner, this is isolation and abuse.

This is also called Remarriage as a Trigger for Parental Alienation Syndrome and can be further reviewed in an article by Dr. Richard Warshak, There is no doubt this is isolation and thus psychological abuse.


When a parent uses the children as pawns to get back at their ex spouse for not loving them anymore or to control them further, this is exploitation.  When an aggressive parent uses the children and makes false allegations of abuse, terrorizing the children to state they hate the targeted parent, this is exploitation.  When a parent uses the children for monetary gains such as child support, but yet does not allow the children a relationship with the targeted parent, this is exploitation.

In Conclusion

When you add all these signs up, it is easy to see how Aggressive Parenting, can be classified as child psychological maltreatment in a divorce situation.  When you put it all together, the DSM sums up the aggressive parent quite nicely under Cluster B Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder.

The aggressive parent willfully and without regard to the child or the targeted parent’s welfare, or the innocent extended family’s welfare, continually violates their rights and disregards their needs for a relationship. The aggressive parent callously puts their own desires, wants and needs above those of everyone else including their own child.

This all adds up to one thing, Domestic Violence in the form of psychological maltreatment.  So why does Child Protective Services refuses to protect the children from this form of abuse when the signs and symptoms are so clearly evident?

The post Is Your Ex An “Aggressive Parent?” Here Are 9 Signs appeared first on Divorced Moms.


The Thriver’s Guide To Co-Parenting With A Narcissist

The Thriver’s Guide To Co-Parenting With A Narcissist


Narcissists don’t co-operate with joint parenting, and co-parenting with one can seem IMPOSSIBLE.

They like to disagree with anything you suggest; refuse to turn up or stick to prior arrangements and mess with your children’s appointments, possessions and their heads!

Are you feeling POWERLESS to get this person to see sense and act decently for the sake of the children? Are you sick of watching your children get hurt, distressed, disappointed and even blatantly abused?

If so, then I offer you this complete guide to a different way to parent with a narcissist that offers real healing solutions.



Video Transcript

When it comes to co-parenting with narcissists, it really seems impossible because they are not cooperative.

When co-parenting with a narcissist, he or she will commonly use the children to trigger you, affect you, keep you bound up in court and custody battles, and mine narcissistic supply from you.

This is a common way that narcissists continue to abuse ex-partners.

What can help significantly is Parallel Parenting, because this can create space, healing and power for you. It keeps your children removed from their parents’ battles, and also helps you have enough healing and detachment to be the solid, powerful influence that your children need you to be.

Okay, before we get started, thank you everyone who has subscribed to my channel for supporting the Thriver Mission. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, I want to remind you to please do. And if you like this video, please make sure you hit the like button.

Now, let’s dive in.


What Is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel Parenting is a co-parenting experience where the parents are disengaged from each other and have limited direct contact. Parallel parenting is about enforcing boundaries and then holding them.

Parallel parenting means that you have separate parenting experiences. At first it can seem really counter-intuitive to do this, yet I promise you that this is the healthiest thing for your children.

One of the ways that continued contact between you and your narcissistic ex damages your children – even more than you could possibly imagine – is if they see you traumatised, feeling powerless, acquiescing and handing away yourself, rights and boundaries.

This sets up your children’s template to be abused or abusive when they get older. It’s what they will likely work from because it forms the foundations of their inner, learned Love Code.

The narcissist can also line you up by triggering you to then turn your children against you – by making you out as the ‘bad’ one.

Naturally, it can be very confronting for you to adopt that level of detachment, especially when the narcissist has your children.

Most definitely we would love to have input into our children’s wellbeing when they are with the narcissist. But the narcissist knows this, and it becomes one of the greatest hooks he or she will use to abuse you and potentially your children.


Doing What is Instinctively Natural DOESN’T Work.

Monitoring, lecturing and prescribing to a narcissist does not make them better parents. In fact, it energises them to act up against you and the children, and to use whatever it takes to keep triggering and punishing you.

This doesn’t just result in the children being disappointed, let down, neglected or abused. It also means that you become more traumatised and distraught, which then affects your ability to be a solid, stable, calm and peaceful influence for your children.

So, above all else, you want to take this power away from the narcissist. The more victimised, brutalised and resenting of the narcissist and the situation you feel, when trying to co-parent, the more painful the feeling of being victimised, brutalised and resentful will be, and the more you will co-generate, with the narcissist, these experiences.

Narcissists are a spiritual soul mirror of the most ferocious magnitude. Simply feeling traumatised by them, even without contact, feeds these people the physic energy to keep doing what they are doing.

I know it’s tough; I know it’s horrific.

My heart goes out to you in spades, because I don’t think there is anything more traumatising and serious than when our children are affected.

To survive this and then Thrive for you and your children, regardless of the narcissist co-parent, means that you need to find another way to deal with the situation – a way that works.

You need true solutions for you and your children, and now I’m going to give them to you in four significant steps.


Step Number 1 – Acceptance

To get started on the healthiest track for you and your children, it’s vital to accept that this co-parenting experience is happening; that you are not dealing with a reasonable person; and that the normal rules of engagement don’t apply.

Stop expecting this person to do the right thing, comply or make co-parenting harmonious. Let go of that requirement, and all your triggered trauma regarding it, and start focusing on your Being and generating what you CAN to make the best of the situation.

Know that you are in for the long haul, and accept this too. If you keep mired in the victimised feelings of the situation, not only is it going to be hard to emerge from it victorious, it is also going to be deeply detrimental to your children.

The greatest gift we can ever grant our children, is the knowing that life can deal lemons and that we DO have the resources and the way to make lemonade – regardless of how awful it is.

Passing on our victimisation to our children, means they too will remain trauma ridden and will continue the cycles of abuse/abused in their life and their future generation’s lives. The cycle will continue with them attaching themselves to people who make them feel victimised, let down and abused.

I promise you it is NOT true that both us and our children can’t heal when co-parenting is involved.

There are more people in this community having parallel parenting healthy experiences with narcissists than you could imagine. This isn’t some fluke – it’s because they have accepted their situation, rolled up their sleeves and worked very hard at their Beingness and putting in place what is necessary to achieve this.

What else is there to do?


Step Number 2 – Emotional Healing and Detachment

What it is that feeds the narcissist the energy needed to keep hurting you, are your emotional triggers.

Triggers that if left unattended inside you, above all else, will derail you. There are no bigger terrors, I believe, than the ones attached to our children being hurt, or the fears of losing them. And I know this is some of the most difficult inner work you can ever do.

Yet, no matter how counter-intuitive it is and hard it is to do, if you release these traumas you will emerge from them powerful and solid. You will absolutely be able to take action in powerful, clear ways without being derailed by your inner triggered trauma.

Then, in everyday shenanigans with a narcissist, you’ll know when a certain message does not require a response, whereas before it might have sent you into a spin.

You will be able to have boundaries, hold them and enforce them without fear.

And you will be able to gently, lovingly and solidly respond to your children, in ways that empower them rather than make them drown in deeper victimisation.

This STEP is completely foundational, essential and is truly the difference between struggling with co-parenting and achieving parallel-parenting that works. I can’t emphasis this enough!

If you try parallel parenting, whilst still feeling non-acceptance of the situation, triggered and victimised, you won’t be able to create solidness and safety. This is because the entire time the narcissist is still receiving the psychic energy from you to keep going after you for narcissistic supply.

Also, you will discover that the right people, assistance, answers, and breakthroughs DON’T come if there are unreleased traumas still screaming inside you.

What comes instead, is Life generating within you, to the letter, more of your already existing traumatised inner programmed beliefs about your situation.

My Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) helps you release the trauma of co-parenting with a narcissist. It is the tool, these people who successfully parallel parent, use.

Over the years, I have had parents tell me that they don’t have time to NARP, because of the kids and the battles with the narcissist. But, truly, this is when we need to be doing this inner work the most. It is the only way I know of to start getting off the trauma hamster wheel with a co-parenting narcissistic ex.


Step Number 3 – Create Boundaries and Accountability

The key to successful parallel parenting is to legally create a strict Parenting Plan that contains as much detail in it that you feel necessary.

The Parenting Plan is about parenting separately. It means you don’t do children’s birthdays together. You have your own designated times for school and sporting events. You don’t have contact when dropping off or picking up the children. And it also means your ex can’t just turn up at your house at any time.

It’s vital to put a lot of thought into the Parenting Plan so that there are no grey areas and all contact – other than third party channels – is eliminated.

Also, you need to include a third-party communication hub such as Our Family Wizard (OFW). OFW is a favoured parallel-parenting communication tool in the Thriver Community.

Once set up, this portal is the only way you and the narcissist communicate. All communication is recorded, can’t be erased, and is admissible in court.

If the narcissist changes the plan for the parenting access or doesn’t even make contact – it is recorded. There is no need for you to, react, fix or mop up the pieces – and it is most important that you don’t!

Your boundaries – coupled with working hard with NARP on any triggers that go off within you – means that you can answer any request that comes through OFW as, ‘This is what I am prepared to do and this is what I am not prepared to do.’ Do not comply to the narcissist’s demands and changes. Stick to your agreed Parenting Plan.

Then just record, date and collate every incidence. Stay calm, keep shifting out what arises, and DON’T bite back.

The golden rule of using OFW is this: ‘Anything personal or abusive or accusatory, I remove myself from it and don’t reply to it – period. Any changes to the plan, I don’t comply to.’

See your solicitor to enforce necessary boundaries. Don’t try to bargain, reason with or get the narcissist to understand – that feeds them exactly the attention they are trying to get from you.

Again, every step of the way, keep shifting out any fear or pain that is triggered off within you with NARP.

When you use the portal correctly, keep releasing inner triggers, and don’t respond, the narcissist gets no payoff. He or she can’t extract narcissistic supply, and what they are trying to do gets completely exposed.

The narcissist will despise getting nothing from you. And if you are in court, give them nothing either. Don’t look at the narcissist or his or her solicitor, and only speak directly to the judge.

Then, when finally you have become emotionally disinterested in reacting to the narcissist’s games, and are simply dealing in your empowered, inwardly calm and solid way – everything shifts.

Many narcissists truly stop their ridiculous behaviour at this point. And I’ve even seen countless narcissists capitulate and give people exactly what they asked for regarding custody and settlements.

There is nothing more disconcerting for a narcissist than trying to affect a person, who is no longer affected by them. Additionally, this empowerment and calmness often enrages narcissists, who then metaphorically hang themselves with huge outbursts of nastiness. A narcissist unravelling may be recorded on OFW or appear for all to see in a courtroom.

From your side, please don’t ever diagnose the narcissist as having a personality disorder. Don’t try to expose character, but rather calmly present factual evidence regarding their behaviour.

Many a Thriver has legally won against a narcissist, because of this happening. I promise you, the narcissist is nowhere near as powerful as you may think.

Step Number 4 – Become A Thriver For You and Your Child

I totally believe that all of us, including our children, have at soul level made no mistakes about the learning, healing and growing journeys that we go through.

I know how well my son and countless children of other Thrivers have fared in this Community, because of what we went through with them and because we led the way. Instead of staying victimised and telling our children how bad our life and their lives were because of being with narcissists – we do something completely different.

We keep shifting out trauma and becoming wiser, more real, solid and true, regardless of what happened to us, what we lost or what the narcissist continued to try to do.

Leading by example, we teach our children incredible healing and empowerment because of what happened to us.

As a result of working hard on our inner wounds, we can clean up all the internal barriers to being self-generative. We can start emerging healthier and more able to create security, lifeforce, joy and resources. We are able to release the hooks of dependency that make us hand our power away to abusers.

By doing so, we become more evolved parents, despite circumstances, than we have ever previously been.

When Zac, my son, and I did a Facebook live presentation together recently, he shared how previously he couldn’t stand being around me – my victim energy was so toxic. Because of not healing myself effectively, I was completely absent for him. It wasn’t until I knew my biggest mission for Zac was to get well – that he did as well. And thank goodness I realised, because I nearly once lost him to parent alienation and then again to a drug and alcohol addiction.

All of these things are now in the past – and we couldn’t be closer as Mother and Son.

Such a shift within us as parents means that when our children are dismayed by the narcissist’s poor, disappointing or hurtful behaviour, you can fully validate how hurtful this feels, but stop reinforcing their helplessness and victimisation. This will happen when you don’t rubbish the other parent but empower your children instead.

You can do this by teaching them their worth, boundaries and rights through your own calm, clear actions. Also, by expressing to them how much you love them, see them and believe in them, regardless of what anyone else is or isn’t doing (including the narcissistic parent).

I have found that so many Thriver’s children gravitate to the Thriver parent, detach more and more from the narcissistic one, and become wise and empowered beyond their years.

And I can’t tell you how many special children, who are connected to Thriver parents in this community, are doing their own internal, organic versions of Quanta Freedom Healing, as a result of living with their Thriver parent. Even young children.

Imagine being four years of age and letting go of internal trauma and filling up with Source Energy, as a result of living with a parent who does this! It is happening. We are leading the way for these little Quantum Beings!

As adults, these children, as the result of a healing and evolving parent leading the way, will not need to continue unconsciously being involved in abusive relationships in order to awaken to their healing and evolution back to themselves.

What an incredible gift to get this out of the way so young! Can you imagine if we could have? Can you understand how this sets up the future generations to be conscious, authentic and free from abuse?

I so hope this video has helped.

As I said before. It is completely my belief that if you are co-parenting you need all the support, power and inner shifting you can get – for you and your children.

I invite you to join me in my free webinar, where I will take you through a Quanta Freedom Healing to get you started.

You can do this by clicking this link.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.

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Questions Kids Have About Divorce

Mother May I? 10 Questions Your Kids Want To Ask About Divorce But Don’t

Questions Kids Have About Divorce

As a mother, you inevitably feel a grave sense of concern about how divorce will affect your children.

Kids of all ages are deeply impacted by divorce simply because they feel the same sense of disillusionment that you do around the loss of an intact nuclear family.

Your instinct will be to protect your children from pain, and you may feel that they are better off not knowing too many details about what’s happening.

Talking to your children about divorce is delicate and needs to be age appropriate in nature, but they definitely need a forum and safe opportunity to express their experience and ask questions.

Their instinct will be to mind their own business, and to feel unsure about what’s permissible to bring up or discuss.

They look to you as the gatekeeper of what is allowed.

Protection can often come across as guarded or defensive to your kids so you need to be mindful and cautious about your non-verbal communications, and what kind of message you’re sending.

You obviously don’t want to expose them to toxic interactions, and you never want to use them as therapists.

What you do want to create is the space for them to feel comfortable asking you pretty much anything.

Getting your children to open up in a healthy way shouldn’t be hard. The one trick you’ll want to use is what I call “going first.” You basically ask them directive questions about their feelings and experience to send a message that questions are helpful and welcome.

Avoid general inquiries like “Are you ok?” or “I’m here if you need to talk.” Be specific with questions like “Are you sad about what’s happening?” or “Do you feel scared with what’s going on?”

Even if you don’t get answers your children will still know that you’re interested, and that curiosity is a good thing.

You can also explicitly tell them that you invite their questions, and that you’ll answer as well as you can. Your goal is to build trust so they are eager to share with you.

Questions Kids Have About Divorce But Don’t

1. Is this divorce my fault?

Children are quick to blame themselves for divorce. It’s too scary for them to blame you because they depend on you and need you for their survival.

You can be sure that they are wondering if they are to blame for the divorce so it will be important to address these feelings.

2. Am I allowed to tell my friends about your divorce?

When and how to tell friends about the divorce is tricky for everyone in the family. This is a good question and you will have to answer it based on your own family values.

Whatever you decide make it the same rule for everyone if possible so there is no hypocrisy or misunderstandings.

3. Do I need to pick a side?

Many divorces are riddled with parental alienation and blame. Children get caught in the middle and wonder if they need to protect or take the side of one parent.

They are very perceptive and observant so if you don’t address this they will just automatically pick one parent because they feel they need to even though they should never have to.

4. Does this mean I won’t see one of you?

Fear of loss and the reality of less time with each parent is upsetting for kids. They want to know that they will be minimally affected by the divorce so it’s natural for them to wonder whether they will lose time with one or both of their parents.

Even if your custody is not yet determined they need to know that the goal is equal time with both parents (barring any unusual circumstances).

5. Will we have to move?

Another loss for children is connected to their home. Worrying about being displaced and feeling anxious about change is prominent for children going through a divorce.

You may not have the answer, but what they are really wondering is if they will feel safe. You can always assure them that you will make sure they do.

6. Will you stop fighting now?

Some couples remain in a very toxic marriage for years before getting divorced and kids witness this.

There may be a sense of relief in knowing that there will be a peaceful household, but they may also feel guilty for the sense of relief they feel.

7. Will I be able to live with my brother/sister?

Siblings are the saving grace for children going through divorce. It makes sense that they would think each child might go with one parent.

Assuring them that they will stay together will ease their anxiety and bring them closer together as allies.

8. Should I be mad at one of you?

In line with the idea of taking sides your children might feel they need to pick one of you to hate. Someone has to be to blame because their limited cognitive ability makes it hard for them to imagine anything else.

9. Will you still love me as much?

The loss of an intact family can easily be grouped with a loss of love for a child. Anything split in half means less of something for them so they will wonder if they will get the same attention and love they always did.

Kids don’t like to share and they don’t have a sense of abundance.

10. Can I be angry and upset about your divorce?

Your children will be very confused about their feelings. They may believe that they are supposed to just accept the situation because they have no power over whether it happens or not. Even though they are innocent victims they still need to have and feel the power of emotional expression.

Most importantly you want your children to know that they are loved, safe and protected. You want them to express their feelings, talk to you about everything inside of them, and to feel like they are part of the process without feeling like the problem.

You have the power to help them heal, but only if you know how they’re suffering.

The post Mother May I? 10 Questions Your Kids Want To Ask About Divorce But Don’t appeared first on Divorced Moms.


15 Books Perfect For Children Living With Abusive Parents

Parents often ask me for resources to help them support their children who are living with an abusive parent.  It can be such a difficult topic to explain as there are so many emotions involved.

I have therefore compiled this list, with the help of many of my clients, to offer you some guidance and words on how to best support the child.

It is broken down into age categories for ease but remember that a child’s physical age is not necessarily their emotional age so be mindful of where that child is at in terms of their own understanding.

Children aged 0 – 6

At this age children are learning that their behaviour effects the world around them and these early experiences form a blueprint for how they see their world. They may blame themselves for arguments and will be asking things like “why does mummy hate daddy?” or “what did I do wrong?”  Children will also begin to assert themselves in play and this can be aggressive.

Boys can “fall in love” with their mothers and girls with their fathers and so this stages forms a blueprint for relationships and how they view the opposite sex. Abusive parents can distort a child’s view of what the role of a mummy/daddy and man/woman is.

Therefore the books in this list focus on helping children to manage their emotions and understand anger better.

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Abusive parenting can result in emotions becoming very scary and distorted. The child may witness a parent happy one minute, angry the next with no trigger.  They won’t know what changed and so can be confused by not just their own emotions but also their parents.

Many children with abusive parents can also take ownership of their parent’s emotions and express them as their own.  Saying “I’m sad” or “I’m scared” but smiling and laughing.

This books helps children to identify what they are feeling on a range of subjects.

How are you feeling today Baby Bear By Jane Evans

Children who grow up in abusive homes often feel they did something wrong to cause the argument.  They regularly feel afraid, lonely, angry and tired.

This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings.

Kit Kitten and the Topsy Turvy Feelings by Jane Evans

Once upon a time there was a little kitten called Kit who lived with a grown-up cat called Kizz Cat. Kit Kitten couldn’t understand why sometimes Kizz Cat seemed sad and faraway and others times was busy and rushing about. Kit Kitten was sometimes cold and confused in this topsy turvy world and needed help to find ways to tell others about the big, medium and small feelings which were stuck inside. Luckily for Kit, Kindly Cat came along. Many children live in homes where things are chaotic and parents or carers are distracted and emotionally unavailable to them.

This storybook, designed for children aged 2 to 6, includes feelings based activities to build a child’s emotional awareness and vocabulary. A helpful tool for use by parents, carers, social workers and other professionals to enable young children to begin to name and talk about their feelings.

Two Homes by Claire Masurel

In this award-winning picture book classic about divorce, Alex has two homes – a home where Daddy lives and a home where Mummy lives. Alex has two front doors, two bedrooms and two very different favourite chairs. He has a toothbrush at Mummy’s and a toothbrush at Daddy’s. But whether Alex is with Mummy or Daddy, one thing stays the same: Alex is loved by them both – always.

This gently reassuring story focuses on what is gained rather than what is lost when parents divorce, while the sensitive illustrations, depicting two unique homes in all their small details, firmly establish Alex’s place in both of them. Two Homes will help children – and parents – embrace even the most difficult of changes with an open and optimistic heart.

Although not specifically centred upon parental mental health, divorce is an unsettling time for both parents and children and so this book may help ease the worry of how to explain what is happening to a child.

Grow Happy by Jon Lasser

“My name is Kiko. I’m a gardener. I grow happy. Let me show you how.” Kiko shows the reader how she grows happiness: by making good choices, taking care of her body and mind, paying attention to her feelings, problem solving, and spending time with family and friends. Kids will learn that they can play a pivotal role in creating their own happiness, just like Kiko. A Note to Parents and Other Caregivers provides more strategies for helping children learn how to grow happiness. Age range 4-8.

Anger is Okay, Violence is Not by Julie K Federico

Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT belongs on the desk of every child protective services case worker. This book has a hidden message for children who are living with violence and struggling with a domestic violence definition. This book is also a great resource for toddler’s struggling with temper tantrums. The book offers replacement behaviors children can do instead of getting angry. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT teaches children about fish, feelings, families and anger control.

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes

Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.

This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Children aged 7 – 13 years

At this age, children are asking more questions and starting to understand right from wrong. This can be especially hard when they are being taught bullying and violence is wrong but witness this at home. It can be really difficult for them to process and they will struggle with their own identity as well as feeling alienated from others. They will begin to identify with their own gender and so can align themselves with the abusive parent of the same sex. They are also learning consequences and to push boundaries. Abusive parents can either have to strict or too lapse boundaries and so children struggle to feel safe. This can lead to them withdrawing or lashing out.

The books in this age bracket are therefore focused on developing their identity and managing behaviours.

Lizzy Lives In An Angry House: Learning to Thrive In the Midst of an Angry Environment by Karen Addison MSPH

Karen Addison, educator, author and speaker, has witnessed and experienced the devastating effects of emotional and verbal abuse. Many have not addressed this form of destruction in relationships because it is difficult to talk about and difficult to understand. Often people don’t realize they are in emotionally destructive relationships, and this is especially true of children. If they are living in a home where a parent is “scary angry” and emotionally destructive, chances are the other parent is struggling to cope with that person, as well as the negative dynamics in the home. With wisdom and practical experience, Addison gives readers young and old alike an empathetic approach to recognising emotionally destructive (scary angry) relationships and tools to help those living in “scary angry” homes overcome and break the cycle of abuse

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Includes backmatter with discussion questions and resources for further reading.

Angryman by Gro Dahle

There’s someone in the living room.

It’s Dad.

It is Angryman.

Boj’s father can be very angry and violent. Boj calls this side of his father’s personality “Angryman.” When Angryman comes no one is safe. Until something powerful happens…

Gro Dahle’s astute text and Svein Nyhus’s bold, evocative art capture the full range of emotions that descend upon a small family as they grapple with “Angryman.” With an important message to children who experience the same things as Boj: You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You must tell someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Somebody Cares: a Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Neglect by Susan Farber Straus

Somebody Cares explores the feelings and thoughts many kids have when they’ve had to look out for themselves or be alone much of the time. A useful book to read with a caring adult — such as a parent, foster parent, kinship parent, or therapist — Somebody Cares reassures children who have experienced neglect that they are not to blame for what happened in their family, and that they can feel good about themselves for many reasons. It takes time for kids to get used to changes in their family or living situation, even when they are good changes. This book will help kids learn some ways to feel safer, more relaxed, and more confident.


Teenagers are going through their own internal battle with hormone changes as well as having to make some life choices with regards to career. They often regress to toddler behaviour due to this pressure. For children with abusive parents the control between their own family and their friends can cause real confusion and disappointment or anger. They may, due to hormonal issues, start to lash out more and this can terrify them because they recognise themselves in their abusive parent. Equally they may see a passive parent and feel anger towards them for not doing anything. There may also be a physical risk to the child at this age as they talk back.

Children at this age will have a strong sense or morality though and so are more likely to want to speak out to others about the injustice they feel at home and perhaps even run away or move out as soon as they are old enough.

Therefore books for this age group are around managing their own emotions and feeling safe to speak up and gain some understanding about what is happening in their family.

Don’t let your emotions run your life by Sheri van Dijk

Let’s face it: life gives you plenty of reasons to get angry, sad, scared, and frustrated&mdashand those feelings are okay. But sometimes it can feel like your emotions are taking over, spinning out of control with a mind of their own. To make matters worse, these overwhelming emotions might be interfering with school, causing trouble in your relationships, and preventing you from living a happier life.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens is a workbook that can help. In this book, you’ll find new ways of managing your feelings so that you’ll be ready to handle anything life sends your way. Based in dialectical behavior therapy, a type of therapy designed to help people who have a hard time handling their intense emotions, this workbook helps you learn the skills you need to ride the ups and downs of life with grace and confidence.

This book offers easy techniques to help you: Stay calm and mindful in difficult situations, Effectively manage out-of-control emotions, Reduce the pain of intense emotions and Get along with family and friends

My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D., and Katherine A. Martinez, Psy.D

Learn strategies to help you take control of your anxiety. The authors share information about breathing, thinking, facing fears, panic attacks, nutrition, sleep, exercise, medication, and how to tell if and when anxiety is a problem.

The Truth about Love, Dating and Just Being Friends by Chat Eastham

Chad shines some much-needed light on these major issues for teens. Rather than let their feelings navigate them blindly through their tumultuous adolescence, Chad offers clarity, some surprising revelations, and answers to some of their biggest questions: How do I know who to date?  When should I start dating? How should I start dating? Is this really love? And, Why do guys I like just want to be friends?

Packed with humor that adds to the sound advice, this book will help teens make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and be more prepared for their futures. Just a few things girls will learn include: Five things you need to know about love; Eight dumb dating things even smart people do; Ten reasons why teens are unhappy; and Ten things happy teens do.

Any teen can live a happier, healthier life: they just need to hear The Truth

Forged By Fire by Sharon M Draper

Will Gerald find the courage to stand up to his stepfather? 

When his loving aunt dies, Gerald suddenly is thrust into a new home filled with anger and abuse. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes Gerald miserable, and the only light in his grim life is Angel, his young stepsister. Gerald and Angel grow close as he strives to protect her from Jordan, his abusive stepfather, and from their substance-addicted mother. But Gerald learns, painfully, that his post can’t be extinguished, and that he must be strong enough to face Jordan in a final confrontation, once and for all…. 

This list is not exhaustive

I have just compiled some that I think resonate with my audience but please do your own research. You know what your child is ready for. Also remember that the ages are not cut off points and so be mindful of your own child’s capacity and choose the ones which best suit by the content, not the age.