I don’t know if it is common for one parent in a divorce (custodial or non-custodial) to villainize their ex to the child, but we know it happens frequently and any time it occurs is too often. And let’s clarify the question a bit too. One cannot “villainize” a parent who is already a villain, so when the question is asked, “Why do some parents in a divorce villainize their ex to the child?,” the question assumes that the other parent is, in fact, a good and decent person and clearly not a villain.
So why do some parents in divorce portray the other parent (who is good and decent) as a villain? It can be due to one or more of the following:
- hatred for the other parent, which expresses itself in efforts to alienate the child from his or her other parent;
- a parent who hates the other parent may alienate the child from that parent in an effort to seek revenge for wrongs that parent believes the other parent committed against him or her;
- fear that a child’s love for one parent comes at the cost of the child love for the other parent;along these same lines:
- a misguided belief that unless the child hates one parent the child cannot love the other parent;
- an all-consuming need for all of that child’s love and friendship. some parents try to compensate for the loss of the love and companionship of a spouse by making their children fill that need;
- a parent’s desire for the children to be that parent’s domestic and emotional servants, which results in that parent doing everything he or she can to ensure the children’s loyalty by persuading them to hate and reject their other parent, therefore leading them to believe that they should have nothing to do with that other parent;
- mental illness and/or personality disorders that cause the alienating parent to behave in irrational and inappropriate ways, including engaging in parental alienation.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277