The following are not situations that represent patients who came for help or suffered from mental illness, but average cases with normal people taken from everyday life. They represent the common life experiences that people endure, and are typical manifestations of DOLF, the original source out of which my theory grew. The people involved are not deficient in any way but functioning individuals. These examples illustrate the extreme distress that is entailed when a child is “lost” to their family, either because of disloyalty or actual hatred, usually aimed at one or both of their parents, or often because they develop an allegiance outside the home, such as to a gang, peer group, girlfriend or boyfriend, cult, etc.
It is not unusual to find a family that is “split down the middle” in terms of the allegiances of two children with their two parents. In my personal experience I know of one family with two grown sons. One son is a lawyer, while the other operates a business. When these boys’ parents decided to divorce in their later life, the loyalties of the two boys were split down definitive lines. One son went with their father, and the other went with their mother. The irony of the situation was that the lawyer-son actually defended his favored parent in court, leaving his brother and other parent to find their own defense. One can only imagine the degree of animosity and vigorous nature of the legal case that the lawyer-son conducted against the other two. This example illustrates that if you have one PLG parent who is at war with the other parent, plus a child who feels disfavored by that PLG parent, there is a good chance that an alliance can develop between the ALG parent and the less favored child, setting up a good scenario for two hostile parent-child teams.
Another example is an elderly woman who told me she has two grown daughters, one of whom is very attached to her. Only when I asked did she mention that she has another daughter who will have nothing to do with her, but is very close with her father. Regardless of the efforts she made through the years to lure back her less favored daughter, her situation remains largely the same, with the less favored daughter refusing to initiate any contact with her mother, and responding minimally even when sincere and heartfelt approaches are made to her. Now it may be argued that in this case parental alienation may have played a role. In other words, the father may have been planning, plotting, convincing and influencing his daughter to hate his wife, willfully contributing to exacerbating a bad relationship between his PLG wife and disfavored daughter? Perhaps. The important fact is that the child, due to her anger over her disfavored status with her mother as compared with the sister, was ripe for undue influence and alienation.
But a question that does not arise to my knowledge due to the lack of awareness in psychological circles that the mind of a child consists of very fixed and pointed instinctual intentions, is: Do the children have an agenda too? When the lines in a family are so clearly demarcated, there is good reason to believe that children too are drawn to loving or disliking parents, depending on how much they feel love coming from one parent as compared with the other.
If you look around and let your feelings guide you, you will soon arrive at your own “diagnosis” as to who is the PLG and who is the ALG in your own family, and in every family – your relative, friends and neighbors. It is important to mention here that in my experience MOTHERS ARE PLG’S IN 50% OF FAMILIES, while FATHERS ARE PLG’S IN 50%. In other words, half of families select their father as the warmer parent, while half of families choose their mother as the warmer parent. This may be news to adults, but children are already clued in because they are supremely sensitive to the disparity in love between their parents. At birth or shortly thereafter they sensed, smelled or “smoked out” the parent with the greater amount of love to give. At present, there is little or no predictability to this, except to say that every set of parents seems to be amenable to this type of analysis, and to this kind of division of roles.
Above are two standard examples of people I’ve spoken to informally, and who have spontaneously told me their stories. With a little variation, most people’s stories are quite similar.