Predatory Alienation: New Jersey Orders Ground-Breaking Study

Predatory Alienation is a powerful method of undue influence used by abusive spouses and slavers, criminal gangs and destructive cults; it is the methodical and deliberate alienation of a person from their family of origin, usually in order to gain emotional, psychological, and often financial advantage. A manipulative con artist or predator will use gaslighting, triangulation, and a variety of other subtle techniques to estrange someone from their family, their loved ones, and the rest of the community, leaving the victim increasingly isolated, with the predator or abusive group as the only point of reference in an ever-narrowing world.

Predatory alienation tears apart families and destroys relationships, stifles civil rights and poisons whole communities.

In the state of New Jersey, lawmakers understand the need for change, and the New Jersey legislature has just enacted a bill ordering a study of Predatory Alienation: on May 8, 2017, Governor Chris Christie signed into law this ground-breaking bill, calling for the departments of Children and Families and Human Services to study the tactics of predatory alienation, and requiring these departments to report their findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature within six months.

nj safe n soundThis law, which has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, is in response to the hard work and determination of NJ Safe and Sound, a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to educating the public about predatory alienation and extreme undue influence, and safekeeping the well-being of families and individuals within the Garden State. To this end, they have produced a pair of instructive booklets on predatory alienation, one for teens and youth alienated from their parents, another focusing on the specific issues of seniors and how predators can also alienate those in their golden years from their children and grandchildren.

The new act defines predatory alienation as:

“a person’s extreme undue influence on, or coercive persuasion or psychologically damaging manipulation of, another person that results in physical or emotional harm or the loss of financial assets, disrupts a parent-child relationship, leads to a deceptive or exploitative relationship, or isolates the person from family and friends.”

The study will examine:

“how online predators, human traffickers, con artists, gangs, cults, and other groups use predatory alienation to isolate young adults and senior citizens from their family and friends; the grooming practices used to target and control young adults; the high pressure tactics used in scams and exploitative relationships to manipulate, control, and take advantage of senior citizens; why young adults and senior citizens are vulnerable to predatory alienation; what young adults and senior citizens can do to protect themselves from predatory alienation; and any other information relative to the subject matter of the study.”

In order to help lawmakers gather more information about predatory alienation, NJ Safe and Sound has devised a set of questionnaires for those whose lives have been affected by this manipulative behavior, whether you have had a family member or loved one alienated from you, or if you are being pressured to detach from your family or loved ones yourself, or even if you are merely a concerned onlooker; residents of any US state are encouraged participate.

Although these questionnaires are not the property or the creation of The Open Minds foundation, we are highlighting this project because we strongly approve of the need to gather this important information. With enough cooperation and response to this important survey, and in concert with this innovative law, lawmakers everywhere will gain vital information upon the techniques, effects, and impact of predatory alienation. The time is right to protect those affected by this use of undue influence.

What do you think about this article? Do you agree?  Do you have a story about Predatory Alienation that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 

Author
This article was compiled by the Open Minds Editorial Staff.

8 Comments

  1. Nick Child May 18, 2017 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Dear Open Minds Foundation Editorial Staff

    Many thanks for this. With my keen interest in prevention of Undue Influence of all kinds, I’ve come across NJ Safe and Sound before. Very impressive. They are kinda leading the way the Open Minds Foundation is going with actual resources and now this law.

    I think it’s appropriate that they focus on the more intentional and therefore criminal “predatory” alienation. Harmful alienation can happen through less intentional or disordered people’s behaviour. But it’s much harder to get at it precisely because it is not so clearly intended. To get “predatory” alienation “on the books” paves the way for “non-predatory alienation” in due course.

    Although it refers to alienation in families and “predatory alienation” is pretty much an accurate name for what happens in some severe Family Alienation (aka Parental Alienation), I’m not sure at first skim read if this could get at that intra-family coercion. Where the close and “caring” family is also the “coercing” force, how is who going to trigger this law into action?

    Here in the UK (England and Wales; soon in Scotland) there are DV focused laws against coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships. It’s not at all clear if these laws are working as they were intended to. It would be wonderful if those who understand how laws can work on “invisible” relationship stuff – with it’s broad range of ordinary to nasty to really harmful emotional abuse – could compare and contrast how these different approaches work on similar issues in different countries and different ways.

    Nick Child, Edinburgh, Scotland

  2. Nick Child May 18, 2017 at 9:26 am - Reply

    PS NJ Safe and Sound feature this quote:

    “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
    From — Article 16.3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations

    I note that, when the harmful coercion is going on inside the family group, this laudable notion becomes a double edged sword. The natural assumption is that close family relationships are the very best. But harmful coercion is also a very close relationship. Plus it is usually based on demonising the rejected parent in the pattern commonly known as Parental Alienation. And that fits with the general assumption that the rejected distant parent must be bad.

    In fact, in Parental Alienation, the reverse is usually the case – the close parent is harmful, the distant parent is the better carer.

  3. Patrick Glynn May 30, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Family courts thrive on parents willing to alienate their own children. It is a very dynamic, enmeshed relationship where the ex and the courts are dependent on the other to crush the targeted parent. Shared parenting (50/50) in the absence of evidence of physical abuse would be the key first step.

  4. Jay Marcus May 31, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    It’s about time! To late for me who hasn’t seen my kids in over 10 years but at least its being recognized for the abuse it is. Amen

  5. Lisa June 6, 2017 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Check out Erasing Family, a documentary film in the making about this issue. As an alienated mother of two sons, besides fighting for contact, my additional job now is to prevent this from happening to them when they have children of their own. By supporting films like this one, laws like these and additional legislature, we demand that family courts hold alienating parents accountable for the divisive, malicious legal tactics they put before the well being of their own children. The alienating parent is rarely charged with contempt, interference or obstruction of parenting time.

  6. Nick Child July 1, 2017 at 9:25 am - Reply

    I’ve had another look through the NJ Safe and Sound website. I think it’s brilliant except for the systematic mistake (I mention above) that it assumes that all families are safe and sound.

    This same mistake is made by those who put all their energy into tracking down paedophiles (i.e. perpetrators outside the family) when actually most abuse – and the most damaging abuse – of children and adults is perpetrated within families.

    Of course we want families to be safe and do their job as the main source of love and support for their members, and especially their children. But this idealisation of ALL families is also the main camouflage and cover up used by fine and upstanding family members to carry out their terrible deeds safe and sound in the belief that no one will suspect them.

    But it would not take much to go through the NJ Safe and Sound website and make small additions and changes to make it 100% brilliant.

    For example at the top of their flier the sentence:
    What if someone outside your family turned your son or daughter against you?
    … could be simply rewritten to say:
    What if someone inside or outside your family turned your son or daughter against you?

    And in their excellent questionnaires, all they need to do is go through and add the option to tick:
    Another family member (e.g. separated parent)?

    I think then this would instantly turn into a suitable framework for the Undue Influence that happens within families (coercive control, child abuse) and separated families (child alienation from one parent by another).

    The laudable quote is used that: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society
    and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” — Article 16.3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

    But we MUST also remember that the worst abuse a child or adult can suffer is when it is done by those they would naturally trust, their own family.

    A more accurate and useful sentiment (from the UN Rights of the Child) might be “the child’s right to family life”. This phrasing has enabled, in courts, parents who have been unjustly shut out (by other family members) to be reinstated into their child’s life). This phrase does NOT presume so much that the child will necessarily get it’s “family life” from its natural parents or family.

    The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child describes what family life should look like (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx). This is NOT the picture of what can be assumed in ALL natural families:

    ” … Recalling that .. the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance,
    Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,
    Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding …”

    We know that SOME families are not safe and sound places to be. Open Minds Foundation and NJ Safe and Sound MUST ensure they are not perpetrating this ignorance that enables those who use Undue Influence to abuse children and others in families to ply their trade unhindered. Please take note!

  7. Birthplace July 19, 2017 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Is NJ setting up laws against things such as mind control, hypnotism, etc?

  8. ThomJ November 3, 2017 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Undue influence, alienation, triangulation etc are tactics used by workplace bullies as well. This is another issue that needs attention – workplace bullying can and often is deadly. Also, $cientology.

Leave A Comment