Article: Effects of Parental Alienation

By: Jones Pedestals

WHAT IS PARENTAL ALIENATION?

There are many great articles and books written by some fantastic minds about Parental Alienation. I recently published a blog post that explained in great detail what parental alienation is. You can read the full post here; WHAT IS PARENTAL ALIENATION.

For those of you that do not know what parental alienation is, it is basically the intentional or unintentional act of turning a child against his or her other parent. This can be carried out in a physical nature such as refusing contact with the other parent by simply refusing phone contact or even interfering with custody visitation. Often times an alienator will also seek to emotionally exclude the other parent through manipulation, brainwashing, and other malicious tactics, designed to align the child with the alienator as the primary source of the child’s emotional well being. While this isn’t always the case, research statistics have found that this act of abuse is almost always directed toward a non- custodial parent, by the custodial parent. The sobering and sad results of such acts often causes long term, damaging effects for all that are involved.


EFFECTS OF PARENTAL ALIENATION ON THE TARGET PARENT

The effects of Parental Alienation are widespread, especially in Western democracies. In fact, because of the lack of proper modern laws in these countries, Parental Alienation is often regarded as not being severe enough to cause much alarm when it is addressed in courts. That is not to say that it isn’t widely regarded as child abuse or a form of domestic abuse, by legal professionals, and mental health professionals alike. There just simply is not a golden standard to which a perpetrator of Parental Alienation can be held responsible.

Unfortunately, because there is not a law in place to make it a criminal offense (much like laws that are in place to protect children from exploitation), the alienator is often able to direct their will on the targeted child, and the other parent without impunity. It is also fair to say that since the targeted parent is almost always the noncustodial parent, that parent is usually saturated with heavy burdens both financially and emotionally. 

Below we will look at some of the effects that a targeted parent will often have to deal with as a result of Parental Alienation.

  • Emotional Trauma- stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, vengefulness, helplessness, and anger are all normal feelings when dealing with the effects of Parental Alienation as a targeted parent. But trust me, it can be worse, and that is why you need to control your feelings and learn to channel the anger and all those other terrible feelings, into motivation. Use it to motivate you to find a way to solve the problem. If you let these negative effects rule your life, they can lead you down a dark path of self destruction, and that won’t do anything to help your child, and will only serve to help the alienator. Never hesitate to seek help with your emotional issues.

 

  • Physical Trauma- the physical effects on a targeted parent due to Parental Alienation can be crippling. Once the emotional effects have taken a hold, a targeted parent can’t sleep, can’t eat, and might even turn to substance abuse as a means of coping with the emotional pain. Since the human body can only take so much neglect and abuse, a targeted parents health can spiral out of control in a short period of time.

 

  • Financial instability- most of the time, the targeted parent is also the noncustodial parent. The targeted parent is awarded with less time, ordered to pay child support/alimony to the other parent, and the court has succeeded in appointing a winner and a loser, financially. This is a familiar scenario being played out in family courts across the USA, as well as many other countries too. So now you throw Alienation into the same scenario, and now you have a recipe for disaster. How can the targeted parent afford to go to court, much less survive. So the targeted parent and child end up getting no help, the Alienation continues until the child has no choice but to align with the alienator to find relief from the abuse, and now the relationship is destroyed.

 

  • Suicide- Parental Alienation is a tremendous burden on a targeted parent. The pain can be so overwhelming, that the target simply can’t, or doesn’t wish to deal with it anymore. So how did the target get to this point? Well, because of all of the above effects. Like I said, a person can only take so much abuse, so much punishment before they are faced with the unthinkable. Does it solve the real problem? Of course it doesn’t, because now the child is stuck with the same person that caused all the mess in the first place, the alienator.

If you are a targeted parent like I am, I want you to know something special. I want you to know that you can overcome this affliction. I want you to know that it is up to you, to save your child from further abuse. More parents today, than at any other time, are fighting, and winning against Parental Alienation. Thanks to the pioneers before us, more lawyers, health experts, and judges, are listening. Hope is never lost my friend, and it never will be unless you do the unthinkable.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE, PLEASE REACH OUT FOR INTERVENTION BY CONTACTING SUICIDE.ORG


EFFECTS OF PARENTAL ALIENATION ON THE TARGET CHILD

Children are especially vulnerable when they are targeted by an alienator, and used as a weapon to target the other parent. Even if the Alienator is focused only on hurting the target parent, they often do not realize that the one person that is being hurt the most, is the involved child. This happens because it is natural for a child to want to love both of the parents equally, and when one wages war against the other and involves the child, they cannot love the targeted parent freely, especially around the alienator. In more severe cases it has even been documented where a child will receive various punishments for showing love and affection toward the other parent. This more severe type of parental alienation almost always leads to the child being forced to align themselves with the alienator, to lessen the abusive coercion. Once the child is completely aligned, the child then suffers from PAS or Parental Alienation Disorder.

Below are some of the more common effects of Parental Alienation on the child.

  • Denigration- or belittling the targeted parent is a common effect of Parental Alienation, brought on by the child being aligned with the alienator. Often times, if allowed, the child will learn that as long as the child goes along with the alienator, their life is easier. This can be very painful for the targeted parent to deal with. In less severe cases or early on in the alienation process, the child will usually resume to their normal loving behavior once the alienator is out of sight, such as during visitation. In more severe cases where the child has become completely aligned with the alienator, the child may refuse to participate in visitation altogether. At this point the child may say very hurtful things to the targeted parent, to ensure they are in good standing with the alienator as a way to avoid punishment.
  • Fear- children can be programmed to display fear when dealing with situations regarding the targeted parent. A good example of this is my personal experience. My six year old daughter is scared to take a picture with me because her mother has programmed her to associate my phone, with fear. She accomplished that by punishing her for being in a picture with me on Facebook, of us having a good time together. To this day, a lot of the pictures I have of my children now only include my twin boys.
  • Dishonesty- this usually happens because the child has learned that when they are dishonest about how they really feel about the targeted parent, they gain approval from the alienator.
  • Depression- although this found to more prevalent in older children dealing with alienation, younger children are at risk as well. This can show up in school, where the child might be withdrawn, stressed out, or even angry. A state of depression could be the result of guilt or a sense of never ending pain that the child is feeling.
  • Distrust- a common effect of Parental Alienation is a growing distrust in people of authority to include the alienator. This happens because a child is being told to feel one way about a targeted parent, although they don’t feel that way when they are with the targeted parent. They have  figured out that the alienator is trying to make them feel a certain way that they don’t naturally feel such as being told that a targeted parent doesn’t really care about them but when they are with that parent, they feel loved and taken care of. Parental alienation can be very confusing, especially for younger children and you must understand the feeling of distrust is a natural defense mechanism for the child.
  • Generational PA- this happens when a now grown adult that once was a victim of an alienators campaign of Parental Alienation, now practices the same pattern in their adult life. Children often grow up to be just like the person that influenced them most in their childhood, usually one or both parents. In a case where they grew up alienated from a targeted parent, they have a good chance of dealing with similar issues the same way as an adult. I’ve personally witnessed this phenomenon firsthand and it really is a sad thing to see happen.

MY CONCLUSION

The sad truth is that until Parental Alienation is abolished, there will always be parents and children that will suffer from its effects. Whether you are a targeted parent or a witness to this type of abuse, it is vital that intervention takes place as soon as possible. The effects of Parental Alienation do not go away on their own. Usually the alienator will not stop until somebody actively stops them. This is why it is so important to raise awareness about the effects of Parental Alienation as a legitimate form of child abuse. As responsible adults we are the ones tasked with protecting the children.

Most of my research lately has been directed to the law side of Parental Alienation and I will be posting some important information very soon, so stay tuned.

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