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Coercive Control Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence by Proxy?

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What is Domestic Violence by Proxy?

By Joan T. Kloth-Zanard

September 12, 2021

Domestic Violence is the act of physically, psychologically or sexually using various methods, behaviors, comments and/or actions to coercively control another human being.  Coercive Controlling behaviors include but are not limited to any of the following.  (Taken from “Where Did I Go Wrong?  How Did I Miss the Signs? Dealing with Hostile Aggressive Parenting and Parental Alienation, 2nd Edition” by Joan Kloth-Zanard, p. 16-19)

  • Rejecting
  • Terrorizing
  • Corrupting
  • Denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness, or availability
  • Unreliable and inconsistent parenting
  • Mental health, medical, or educational neglect
  • Degrading/devaluing
  • Isolating
  • Exploiting


Let’s take this a bit further in its application. When a parent REJECTS a child because the children show any love or affection for the Targeted Parent that is a form of abuse.  This is not only a form of rejection, but terrorization.  In fact, a child’s refusal to come to the Targeted Parents home for fear of losing the Alienating Parent’s conditional love is fear and fear is terror.

Next, there is corrupting.  When an Alienating parent refuses to comply with court orders and tells the children they do not have to either, this is corrupting.  It is teaching the children that they are above the law and therefore immune to the court’s authority.  When a parent files false allegations of abuse and convinces the children to do the same, this is corruption. When an Alienating parent tells the children lies about the Targeted Parent, and that anything having to do with the Targeted Parent is illegal, immoral and disgusting, this is corrupting.  In fact, this is a form of discrimination and prejudice, which corrupts the children’s minds.

Next, let’s look at Denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness, or availability.  By refusing to allow the children to have a relationship with the Targeted Parent, for no reason other than their own need to control the ex-spouse, the Alienating Parents are denying them the basic elements of stimulation, emotions and availability with the Targeted Parent. In fact, the Targeted Parent has little to no opportunity to defend themselves against the false allegations. Though they will have you believe that they or the children feared for their lives and that the Targeted Parent was abusive, this is usually unsubstantiated or proven by the courts to be a fabrication. With no basis for this denial, the Alienator refuses their children a warm and loving relationship with the Targeted Parents.  Thus, it causes unreliable and inconsistent parenting.  Since the children have been denied a relationship with the Targeted Parent, they have also been denied a reliable and consistent parenting situation and the Alienating Parent has proven that they cannot parent consistently and reliably in the supporting of a two-parent relationship with the children.

This brings us to the Mental, medical and Education Neglect.  When an Alienating Parent refuses to comply with numerous separate court orders for counseling, they are denying their children’s mental health.  Thus, mental neglect has occurred as defined in the DSM IV as Malingering. (V65.2) and by Neglect of Child (V61.21).

If despite numerous court orders or request and recommendations, the alienator continues to insult, verbally abuse and denigrate the child’s Targeted Parent in front of them, this behavior degrades and devalues someone the children once respected and loved and in most cases, secretly want a relationship with.  This disdain and disrespect for the Targeted Parent in front of the child(ren) is another form of Psychological Maltreatment as it permanently affects their view of that Targeted Parent, which transfers to their view of themselves.   This creates a distorted sense of reality, of themselves and their ability to trust and accurately judge others.

When a parent deliberately sabotages a relationship with the Targeted Parent by refusing to allow visits, calls, or any form of healthy communication, with no evidence of abuse, this is called Isolation.  Furthermore, when a parent has initially allowed continuous contact with the children during the separation and divorce period, but reneges on this refusing them visitation, especially when they find out their ex-spouse has a new partner, this is isolation and abuse.  This is also called Remarriage as a Trigger for Parental Alienation Syndrome and can be further reviewed in an article by Dr. Richard Warshak, There is no doubt this is isolation and thus psychological abuse.  (

And finally, EXPLOITATION.  When a parent uses the children as pawns to get back at their ex-spouse for not loving them anymore or to control them further, this is exploitation and Domestic Violence by Proxy.  When an Alienating Parent uses the children and makes false allegations of abuse, terrorizing the children to state they hate the Targeted Parent, this is exploitation.  When a parent uses the children for monetary gains, but yet does not allow the children a relationship with the targeted parent, this is exploitation.

When you add all these factors up, it is easy to see how Cross-Generational Coalitions, Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Enmeshed Relationships, Triangles and Borderless Boundaries can be classified as Psychological Maltreatment or abuse.

But what happens when the perpetrator wants to abuse someone but they no longer have a direct contact with that person or wish to remain anonymous about their revenge?  Then they use something called Domestic Violence by Proxy.

‘By Proxy’ means using a substitute or alternate way through someone or something else.  In the case of DV, it is would related to doing harm to another through someone or something else.  For example, if your children or your extended family and friends are vitriol and nasty, parroting whatever the other person says, this is DV by Proxy as they are using these people to sling harmful and hurtful insults and psychological trauma.  If a person such as a child comes to your home and is destructive or violent toward the other person/parent, this is domestic violence by proxy as it uses the children to exact their revenge and anger.  Basically, the aggressive person brainwashes and programs others into a cult of hatred, anger and rage toward the other person.

Another example is false allegations.  When a person files false allegations with an agency such as child protective services or a Women’s DV Group, this is DV by Proxy using an agency.  When that agency fails to find or substantiate the allegations, and the person now files false criminal charges in the local courts, this is DV by proxy using the courts.

When a person constantly files motions and veracious litigation causing malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, perjury, slander, defamation, custodial interference, impede with medical/educational care or even loss of employment, this is Domestic Violence by proxy.  This means that a person does not have to be face to face with their victim to perpetrate Domestic Violence when they can use a proxy to do it.  And this grows their control and abuse by bringing in more people, places and things to abuse the other person with.


Domestic Violence by Proxy invovles the coercive control of parental alienation through psychological abuse and use of rejecting, terrorizing, corrupting denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness, or availability, unreliable and inconsistent parenting, mental health, medical or educational neglect degrading/devaluing, isolating and exploiting.

Or put another way:

Domestic Violence by Proxy exploits others and agencies in causing psychological abuse through parental alienating behaviors to coercively control another human being by rejecting, terrorizing, corrupting denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness, or availability, unreliable and inconsistent parenting, mental health, medical or educational neglect degrading/devaluing, isolating and exploiting.