A common trait of alienated children is Psychological Splitting.
Psychological Splitting is the inability to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. Some might say that a person who splits sees the world in terms of black or white, all or nothing. It’s a distorted way of thinking in which the positive or negative attributes of a person or event are neither weighed nor cohesive.
“Relatively underdeveloped personalities, most especially borderline personalities, have a hard time incorporating into consciousness seemingly contradictory aspects of the same person or thing. So, they unconsciously separate or “split” objects into two categories, seeing the “good” side of a person or thing as the part they find acceptable and the “bad” side of the person or thing as the part they find painful or unacceptable. And, it’s much more than just seeing both a good and a bad side to everything. They actually “split” a single entity into two opposing realities, conceptualizing for example a mother who has both a gentle and a terrifying side as alternately “good mommy,” or “bad mommy.” As a result, they will often alternate between over-idealizing and devaluing the same person. Underdeveloped and poorly integrated personalities not only separate difficult to integrate external “objects” or persons this way, but they also “split” into disparate parts aspects of themselves that are hard to integrate into a cohesive whole.” – Dr George Simon, Phd. Due to this many alienated children suffer from identity disturbance. They also see their alienated parent as “all bad” and their alienating parent as “all good”. Whereas a “normal range” person can recognize their own and others negative and positive qualities as a cohesive whole.
Understanding this all or nothing, black and white distorted thinking can help a parent react accordingly to their child’s attacks. Once you understand that they are using a defense mechanism, where they cannot hold good and bad qualities in a person at once, the attacks become depersonalized. And once you can depersonalize from the things they say, you can stop reacting.
So how do I help my child?
Stay calm, do not react to this polarized way of thinking. It is delusional and reacting to it only solidifies it in their mind. See it for what it is, a defense mechanism. Show up in empathy and teach critical thinking skills.