The aberrant & distorted behaviors and parenting practices of a Pathogenic Parent are actually the symptoms of a psychopathology called Pathogenic Parenting Disorder. Pathogenic Parenting Disorder is a form of Delusional Disorder and the delusions that this parent is experiencing are of the Persecutory subtype (delusions that the person or someone to whom the person is close is being malevolently treated in some way). The Pathogenic Parent will usually have a history of some form of personality disorder that has gone undiagnosed. This parent then experiences some form of trauma or event in their life that is the trigger of the pathology and causes them to develop Pathogenic Parenting Disorder also called Pathogenic Parenting Delusional Disorder.
The general definition of a delusion is an unshakable belief in something untrue or not based on reality or a fixed false belief. In the case of Pathogenic Parenting Delusional Disorder a parent is experiencing what is known as Non-Bizarre Persecutory Delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, and these delusions involve the other parent and that they are malevolently treating the child in some way. These delusions usually involve these parents misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences based on mental health issues from these parents past and are not based in reality.
When a parent develops this mental illness they form a fixed false belief or in other words a delusion that the other parent, who in almost all cases is a normal, loving and devoted parent, is now a danger and the Childs relationship with this parent must be terminated. A parent who suffers from Pathogenic Parenting Disorder also called Pathogenic Parenting Delusional Disorder will believe these things with near certainty and usually, no amount of therapy will change their mind. Many times up until this personality disordered parent experiences some form of recent trauma in their life there will be no noticeable signs of mental illness or psychopathology in this parent. The trauma or event can be the pain experienced during a divorce or break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend or even just a custody dispute such as a relocation which can trigger the development of Pathogenic Parenting Disorder in the already personality disordered parent.
David Fluss Expert & Litigation Consultant