Navigating the Challenges of a Narcissistic Family Member Engaging in Parental Alienation

Navigating the Emotional Abuse of Parental Alienation: A Guide to Helping Children and Families

Mark Randall Havens
3 min readApr 16
When a narcissistic family member uses a child to alienate the other parent, it’s the child who becomes the innocent victim.
The innocent victims: How parental alienation can leave children feeling alone and vulnerable. Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash


Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a constant craving for admiration. When individuals with NPD become parents, their need for control and validation may lead them to engage in parental alienation, a damaging form of emotional abuse that affects both the child and the other parent. In this article, we will delve into ways to handle a narcissistic family member who is attempting to involve you in their parental alienation scheme against the other parent.

The Psychology Behind Narcissistic Behavior

Understanding the motivations and needs of narcissists is essential in dealing with them effectively. Narcissists have an insatiable desire for attention and validation, often seeing themselves as superior to others. This sense of entitlement can lead them to manipulate those around them to maintain control and achieve their objectives. As parents, narcissists may view their children as extensions of themselves, using them as tools in their pursuit of power and validation.

The Detrimental Effects of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation, a form of emotional abuse, has a significant impact on both the child and the alienated parent. One parent attempts to turn the child against the other through manipulation and deceit, portraying the other parent as dangerous, unloving, or undeserving of love and affection. This alienation can result in a range of adverse consequences for the child, such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, while the targeted parent may experience feelings of helplessness and despair.

Recognizing Parental Alienation as Child Abuse

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse due to the emotional manipulation and exploitation of a…



Mark Randall Havens

Join his journey of healing and self-discovery through his work as director of COPARENT and leader of the Dallas Maker Community.