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Eight Facets of Parental Alienation - 4: The Independent Thinker Phenomenon 
The Independent-thinker phenomenon in the context of parental alienation refers to a situation where the child, despite exhibiting disparaging behaviours towards the alienated parent, adamantly defends that these thoughts and actions are entirely their own and not influenced or induced by the alienating parent. The child may feel a need to protect the alienating parent from scrutiny or accountability, particularly if they perceive the alienating parent as vulnerable or in need of protection. By attributing disparaging behaviours solely to their own thoughts and decisions, the child shields the alienating parent from accusations of manipulation or coercion, thereby reinforcing the parent-child bond. Over time, children exposed to parental alienation may internalise negative beliefs and perceptions about the alienated parent, viewing them through the lens crafted by the alienating parent. These internalised beliefs become integrated into the child's sense of self, leading them to genuinely believe that their disparaging thoughts and behaviours are a product of their own independent judgement rather than external influence. The child's loyalty and emotional attachment to the alienating parent may compel them to defend the parent's actions, even if they recognize on some level the presence of manipulation or coercion. The child may prioritise preserving the parent-child relationship and avoiding conflict over acknowledging the impact of parental alienation on their perceptions and behaviours. 
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