I LOST MY CHILD: PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME IN DIVORCE

Nov 19, 2018 | Updates

I LOST MY CHILD: PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME IN DIVORCE

Are you estranged from your son or daughter and don’t know why? Did your child begin to express hostility and disrespect out of proportion to an unpleasant exchange? Do your repeated attempts to reach out to your child go unanswered? For any mom or dad who answered “Yes” to anyone of these questions, I know your heart is breaking. The love a parent has for their child is deep and enduring. Nothing is more important to you in this world than your kid. They are the core of you. To have them turn their back brings searing pain. It feels surreal.

Divorce is the perfect incubator for parental alienation syndrome. But what is parental alienation syndrome? One definition is that the dysfunctional parent systematically chips away at the child’s secure attachment to the functional parent. In this definition it’s considered child abuse as child is pulled away from a loving person who provides psychological health and security to the dysfunctional parent.

You try and try harder, faster, longer to get your son or daughter to talk to you. You’ll make an apology for almost anything in an effort to get communication restarted. You hope there’s a break- through. Every day you wake up and pray that today will be the day you’ll hear from your child.

You’ve consulting a therapist, a pastor, a priest, maybe even a medical doctor in a desperate attempt to try to get some insight into how to get your child back. You lie awake at night and second guess every word you said and every action towards your “little one” (they’ll always be little) in an effort to understand just went wrong. You cry at the sight of a child who looks like yours. The holidays bring back memories. With the memories come the longings for your child that are so deep they’re indescribable.

In many ways, you’re living your worst nightmare. You were a great parent. You know you were. Everyone knows. And here you are. Abandoned and grieving. Your precious child thinks you an awful parent and has no need for you. You have nightmares and unexpectedly tears come. Your heart hurts so much at times you think it might stop beating.

You try and try harder, faster, longer to get your son or daughter to talk to you. You’ll make an apology for almost anything in an effort to get communication restarted. You hope there’s a break- through. Every day you wake up and pray that today will be the day you’ll hear from your child and the relationship will be restored.

You’ve consulted a therapist, a pastor, a priest, even a medical doctor in a desperate attempt to try to find a way to get your child back. You lie awake at night and second guess every word you said and every action in an effort to understand the unknowable

Either parent can alienate the other. Most frequently, the discussion revolves around alienation of the father but mothers can be alienated as well. When a mom is alienated she tends to hide it out of shame. She doesn’t want anyone to second guess the reason for her horrid situation. She doesn’t want anyone thinking “What did she do to her child”?

Why would any parent want to alienate the child from the other? This is an obvious question to ask and one difficult to answer. The Alienator has problems no doubt. They vary in kind. The common denominator to all is resentment and anger at the other parent. This is “The Alienator’s jet fuel. The anger and hatred they feel is what powers the dysfunctional parent in their despicable efforts.

In order for a parent to alienate the other, they need three things: 1. Motive to undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent, 2. Access to the child, 3. Skillful use of alienation strategies.

It’s important to know that the alienation is most often undetected by the child, even by adult children. When asked why they don’t speak with their mom or dad, in most cases the child will say it’s their idea not to speak or have contact. No one told them what to do or what to feel. “The Alienator” is skilled and has worked a long time at turning their child’s heart away from the mom or dad that loves them.

Often the first strategic step of “The Alienator” in achieving their goal is to diminish the functional parent in the eyes of the child, starting when the child is young. The put-downs, cruel words, psychological abandonment of the functional parent are tools “The Alienator” uses to draw the child towards them. Another technique is to undermine the functional parent’s authority. The healthy parent sees the need for manners, kindness, responsibility, empathy and so forth and attempts to teach them to their child. Often the child resists and this is where “The Alienator” steps in and sides with the child against the healthy parent. This attempt to “friend” their child, is seen by the child as protection, Mom/Dad is my defender, he/she is in my corner. The goal is to get the child squarely on their side.

Parental Alienation syndrome happens to the best moms and Dads. When you’re a great mom or dad, you never ever give up on trying to reconnect with your child. It doesn’t even cross your mind to give up. So, take heart all you Mom’s and Dad’s out there. Tomorrow could be the day for a break -through. Tomorrow could be the day you get your baby back. Never ever quit!