Well, this one’s a bit trickier…
In the cases of Basinger and Jolie, it does look pretty likely that the women are alienators. But, as UKAP have indicated, only the judges can really say, and quite a lot of the time judges get it wrong anyway, or do nothing about it, so…
Firstly, we don’t know if this analysis is right, but a lot of what Nicole Nenninger says here seems, at any rate, responsible and sensible. She starts off by making the very good point that we have to rely in a lot of these cases on media “facts” which, quite a lot of the time, are not facts at all. So, given that caveat, let’s bash on..
Before we look at Madonna and her abilities as a parent, it might be worth looking at some other stuff.
Madonna, of course, is a star. More than that, really, a phenomenon. She is fit, beautiful, and, without doubt talented as a singer and performer. Of course, all of the celebrities we have spoken about from Pitt to Jolie, from Baldwin to Basinger are physically beautiful people. But we can’t hold that against them…Indeed, we will all know narcissists and ‘cluster B’-type personalities that are not. So, just as people who are physically unattractive can be narcissists, equally, we suppose, there must be plenty of very attractive people who are not narcissists. So, being beautiful is, of itself, no indication of anything…probably.
What UKAP do say though is that Alienators are, by and large, narcissists. But is Madonna a narcissist? Keep reading…
Madonna is literally (and we don’t use that word lightly) adored by millions. What effect does that have on a person’s psychology? Perhaps one does not need a degree in psychology to guess…
She is also intelligent, articulate and political. She is a ‘different kind’ of feminist. Rather than signing up to the idea that women should not be ‘sluts’ she takes the view that women should ‘own their sluttiness‘. She talks about Prince being allowed to parade about with his backside hanging out, but that women are condemned for the same behaviour. We are not completely sure about using Prince as an exemplar of maleness…but we get the point. If men are allowed to parade their bodies about, it is only reasonable that women should be allowed to as well, without condemnation. You may take the view that neither gender should be allowed to ‘parade’ themselves in this way, but that’s a different issue…
But what do you make, for example, of her adopting two children from another continent and culture? Or her recent adoption of two more? One view might be that this is a classic act of a narcissist – an affectation, an attention-seeking behaviour, careless of the effect on the children themselves. An alternative view might be that she has saved these kids from a relatively bad life and given them a relatively good life. Or is that a bit patronising? It may be that, given the opportunity, she would adopt a dozen or a country-full. She could probably afford it. This is the act of a kind, caring individual, isn’t it? Hmm…
In the speech highlighted above she certainly seems to be able to turn on the tears. She has also done so in her unrelenting concert tour, which she has used as a platform for venting about her emotions regarding her separation from Rocco, and her ex-husband.
Some might see that as unprofessional, and as being careless of her son’s feelings. Is she just a master-manipulator?
It would be at minimum slightly surprising if Madonna were not diagnoseable as a narcissist. Does this mean that she is an alienator? Even if it is true that all alienators are narcissists, is it also true that all separated parents that are narcissists are also alienators? Perhaps not. But probably.
What do we know about Guy? Well, he’s a movie director, and like all the other celebs on these pages, is not revolting to look at, loaded, and famous. Of course. That’s more or less what a celebrity is.
He’s posh, and dyslexic. He was chucked out of school…According to Wikipedia,
“He has claimed that drug use was the reason for the expulsion; his father has said that it was because his son was caught “cutting class and entertaining a girl in his room”.
The drug story is a bit more romantic and in keeping with the hard-man images he likes the characters in his film to have. His dad’s story is a bit more prosaic.
He has black belts in several martial arts, and has the dubious distinction of having been arrested on suspicion of assault. He is a talented and iconic film director, notable for gritty English gangster movies.
What does all this tell us about Guy Ritchie as a potential alienator? Not much, so let’s look at some other stuff.
Since Madonna, he has remarried and had more kids. His new wife is a model, and, as you might expect, beautiful. His son (with Madonna), Rocco, walked his new bride down the aisle. Is this the act of a loving father who wants to include his son from a previous marriage in his new life, or of a not-particularly-nice man bent on hurting his ex? Opinions will be divided. At minimum, he was probably not too cut-up about whether Madonna would be hurt by this.
Nicole Nenninger thinks this is alienating behaviour, adding that Madonna, apparently, didn’t know this was coming. But Parental Alienation requires a campaign, not just one or two thoughtless or uncaring acts. Perhaps it might be alienating behaviour, and perhaps ‘not cool’, but it needs a lot more than this for PA to be diagnosed.
And of course it was Rocco’s decision not to go back to America with his mother, wasn’t it? Well, it seems to have been, although, the whole point of alienation of course is that the child’s wishes cannot be relied on as a true barometer of his feelings. To be honest, the same can be said of many adults too. It’s almost as easy to brainwash an adult, as Stockholm syndrome exemplifies, or indeed the countless ‘religious’ cults out there.
It’s probably true, though, that Rocco would get sick and tired of being dragged around on concert tours and so on, and would prefer, as most of us do, to stay in one place and get settled. Madonna’s kind of iconoclastic, rock-and-roll lifestyle is probably not ideal for a child. When you combine this kind of lifestyle with the imposition of a strict diet and relentlessly controlling parenting, this must be extremely confusing for a child…the kind of capricious world-view that is typical of living with a narcissist. At least The Who and the Stones were consistent!
But we suspect that even this does not explain his decision to be with his dad. Sure, he may well prefer the more settled lifestyle, but there’s more than that going on…
Madonna, by the look of it, is a very strict parent, indeed, pretty controlling. Guy seems more laid back, and happy to let Rocco be his own man (or at least choose his own hair cut). Why spend your life with a tyrant, when you can spend it with someone who is “cool” (who just happens to be the other parent)? But we have to be careful… One of the big features of PA is ‘false empowerment’ of the child – that is, that the child is made to feel that he can and should make all the decisions about his life. And if Madonna were offering a more stable and more relaxed environment, we would be inclined to look askance at Rocco’s empowerment, and think it false. But it just doesn’t look that way, does it? Surely any human (child or no), given a free choice, would choose the lifestyle Rocco has chosen now, rather than the one he left back in America, living on Madonna’s macrobiotic diet and so on. He must just long for a Big Mac! His decision does not look like a case of false empowerment. And, although Guy Ritchie is a more liberal parent than Madonna, UKAP finds it hard to imagine that life with Guy is a kind of rule-less Lord of the Flies-type of anarchic ‘paradise’.
There does not seem to be enough evidence to conclude that Guy Ritchie is an alienator.
Equally, although Madonna might well be a very clever and narcissistic manipulator, there is no evidence that we can see at the moment, that she has engaged in a campaign to sever Rocco’s bond of love with Guy (Compare the case of Basinger/Baldwin, where Kim Basinger’s ‘campaign’ seems to be well-documented). Of course, though, just because there is a paucity of evidence about something, does not mean it’s not true…alienator or not, it is not a ‘leap’ to see Madonna as being controlling and manipulative – if you believe what you read in the media…