Divorce is something that we all don’t want but sometimes, life plays a trick on us and we suddenly find ourselves hating our spouses and the only solution you will see is filing a divorce. This can be a nightmare not just for the couple but mostly for the children involved. They can never be ready to be a part of a broken family. There are times where both spouses are left with extreme anger and the drive to take revenge on the other and sadly, the best way for them to get revenge is by using parent alienation but that doesn’t end there. Step-parent alienation also exists and can be quite hard as they can experience this on both parents.
Let’s get familiarized with parent alienation.
Definition of parent alienation
What is parental alienation? By definition, parent alienation happens when a child turns away from one of their parents in an emotional form. Most of the time, this happens in divorced families where the parent who initiates the alienation is also the primary caregiver.
One has to understand that both parents can be potential targets of parental alienation. It doesn’t even matter who is the primary caregiver – once a plan has been devised it can take months or even years to slowly manipulate a child without being obvious, feeding ill information about the other parent.
This often happens when the alienating parent has a personality disorder such as NPD or narcissistic personality disorder.
No parent will want their child to be manipulated and no parent would destroy the reputation of the other parent in the eyes of their child unless this parent has some sort of personality disorder. Sadly, it’s the child who will suffer from these actions.
Victims of parent alienation syndrome
PAS or parental alienation syndrome – a term coined in the late 1980’s tackles about how a parent who would slowly turn their children against the other parent through lies, stories, blame and even teaching their children how to act towards the other parent. At first, studies showed that most of the time, it was the mothers who would do this to turn their children against their fathers. It was said that it was the best revenge that they could get but recent studies show that any parent can be a victim and you don’t even need to be the primary caregiver who has custody to do it. It was also later found out that the parent who would do this often have underlying personality disorders.
The victim of parental alienation syndrome isn’t just the other parent but the child as well.
A child that will grow up believing lies and with actions to reject the other parent would also be their foundation on how they would act to the world. It’s corrupting a child’s mind to gain revenge and satisfaction.
Definition and signs of Step-parent alienation
While we are all focused on the usual parent alienation process, there is also step-parent alienation. This is where a parent would manipulate a child so they would hate and reject the step-parent. A form of hatred, jealousy, and how one can’t accept that someone else can be a parent figure to their child will opt for parental alienation as a way to get even and to ensure that they are still the hero of the story. However, these alienating parents are blinded by the fact that parental alienation has a huge negative impact on a child.
Signs of step-parent alienation would include that the child would refuse any effort from the step-parent and may come off as argumentative and always angry.
The child will always shut off any effort from the step parent and will always compare them with the alienating parent. It may sound like any child who is experiencing transition but we have to understand that they are children and they shouldn’t be feeling these in extremes without a trigger.
Effects of parental alienation in children
No matter what reason, may it be because of a traumatic marriage, jealousy of the step-parent, or just because you feel anger and the need to get your revenge, there is absolutely no justification as to why a parent should alienate their children to the other parent or their step-parent. These actions have long term effects in a child and some of the most common effects are:
- Hate for the parent – While this is actually the goal of the action from the alienating parent, a child is too young to already feel hate towards another person, let alone their parent. Feeding or programming how your child should think is stripping them of their childhood.
- Self-hate – Another effect that this has to a child is when the child starts to feel inadequate and starts to question why the other parent left. The stories that are being fed to a child will also be their basis on how they see themselves too.
- Loss of respect – A child will eventually lose their respect not just to the target parent or step-parent but will also affect how they see women or men in general. As they grow older, they’ll eventually generalize their hate and lack of respect.
- Poor emotional health – A child of divorce is already susceptible to some minor effects in their emotional health, what more if the child is used to parental alienation? What will become of a child who used to have a complete family and is now confused about whether or not they were loved or not? How does a child bounce back from all of these?
We are all entitled to feel pain, anger, and even resentment but it’s never right to use a child to hurt the person who has caused us all these ill feelings. A child should always see both their parents for who they really are and not for what you want them to see. Children should never be a tool for parent alienation or for whatever revenge someone plans. As a parent, you should be the one who will take care of them and not use them for your own satisfaction.