Are you unknowingly alienating your child from his/her other parent?
Parental Alienation occurs during divorce, when a child rejects one parent, due to unreasonable programming or brainwashing by the other parent. Parents are psychologically fragile when they separate and as their emotions escalate, they might become overly involved with, feel entitled to or feel the need to control the child. They project their anger, anxiety or fear of the other parent onto the child by making (often unfounded) allegations, being overly negative and “turning the child against” the other parent. As a result, the child becomes entrenched in the divorce battle and is forced to take sides. Not only does the child’s relationship with the alienated parent deteriorate dramatically, but the child is emotionally scarred, robbed of a normal developmental childhood and at risk of also being an alienator when grown up.
- A mother who had been the primary caregiver of her children all her life and never learnt how to make a living to support herself, is alienated when, upon separation, the father restricts all her access to financial resources and the children are removed from her care because she is unable to support them. – The children will suffer the loss of their primary carer and become estranged from their mother.
- A mother who greets her child before going to visit the father, says: “Call me as soon as you get there to let me know that you are okay. If you get scared, call me immediately.” – The child will not feel safe with the father and prefer to stay with the mother.
- A father who was betrayed by the mother, tells the child all the details of the affair as well as his emotions regarding the matter, as if the child is his therapist. – The child will absorb the father’s negativity and feel responsible to protect him against the mother.
- A mother who is angry with the father because he left her, makes false accusations of domestic violence and gets him arrested in front of the child. – The child will pity the mother and develop feelings of anger, resentment and even fear toward the father.
- A father allows his 8 year old child to watch movies with higher age-restrictions, while telling the child that the mother will not allow it, because she is over-protective and unreasonably strict. The father also encourages the child not to tell the mother about it. – The mother’s authority is undermined and the bond with the child is threatened as a result of dishonesty.
- A father arrives at the family home to collect the child for a mid-week visit, as arranged prior to the date, but finds nobody home. The mother claims that “the child has other more pressing engagements” or “the child does not want to visit”. – Apart from the child being robbed of an opportunity to spend time with the father, the father’s feelings are hurt and he might refrain from arranging another visit. Thus the child and the father become estranged.
Do you experience or witness alienation? Please add your summarised example in the comments below.
The intensity of conflict between divorcing parties often lead to bitter custody disputes, which manifest in a bizarre joint campaign by the alienating parent and the indoctrinated child, against the alienated parent. This disorder is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). The child ends up feeling obliged to protect the alienator and afraid to bond with the alienated parent, therefore unable to freely express affections for either.
Written by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch)