Parental Alienation Explained

What to Do About Parental Alienation

As an excluded parent, as an alienated child, and as a by-stander.

What is Parental Alienation

“Parental Alienation” is the common name for a pattern that can happen to a family, usually after separation, when one parent harmfully turns their child or children against the other parent in a lasting way, and with no good reason. This rejection can happen to mothers as well as to fathers, and can extend to the whole of one extended family network. Justified rejection is not called Alienation (eg, proven abuse by the rejected parent).

In Parental Alienation, one parent implacably rejects and resists collaborating with the other parent. The child cannot resist that parent’s coercive pressure to side with them. Whether this pressure is strategic or unwitting, the child typically becomes as loyal to their parent as if they were in a mind-control cult. More commonly a mixture of the behavior of both parents, and of the child too, combine to produce the pattern.

All of this amounts to emotional abuse of the child, but that focus is lost under the child’s loud loyalty, and the escalating tribal side-taking on both sides by the adults – the parents, the wider family, and by the multiple social and legal agencies involved. If one or both parents are involved in a high-control group, the effect of the Alienation can be compounded exponentially, especially if one of the parents has exited or is attempting to exit the group as well as the marriage.

The range of severity and of factors involved means that each situation has to be carefully considered as unique. Until professionals learn more, even well-meaning counselors can often make the Alienation worse. Everyone should judge the competence of the professionals they turn to, and make sure that they are aware of the dynamics of Alienation..

As an Excluded Parent

As soon as you feel you are being unjustly excluded as a parent, you should urgently find out more. Towards your ex-, you should take reasonable and collaborative steps, in writing too, if only to show that you have tried and that it has failed. Do not “give it time”. Do not accept it when a professional says “trust me, I know what I’m doing” (because most do not).

There are also many helpful websites (such as, which offer divorced or separated parents a selection of apps designed to schedule child custody, track and schedule shared custody time, and manage expenses – all while creating an accurate, unbiased record of all communication.

Finding the label “Alienation” can be a mixed blessing, as few know what it means and there is much controversy surrounding it. Flourishing the label like a weapon can make things worse. But the term certainly helps you to Google vast amounts of validation and resources online. Much of that information is simplistic and polarized, so it may not fit or help your own case. Every situation is unique. Your country and locality will also be different, so you need to follow your nose to find what works best for you where you are.

Whatever is going on, do everything to keep any kind of contact going with your child or children. Long arduous legal processes may be your only course of action, yet often ignorance and expense is the only outcome. As for loved ones trapped in any coercive situation, keep ordinary rapport going if you can, to keep the door open for more and better communication.

As an Alienated Young Child

As a child of a minor age, eg under 18 years old – and even more as an alienated child – you will likely not have any chance at all of knowing what’s happening to you. Nor will you have any access to anyone else who could help you understand your situation any better. You are under the influence of a very powerful family dynamic, of powerful emotional pressures, and of unwitting support from people and social systems all around.

As in other coercive family patterns, Alienation is part of “undue influence”. Alienation is the same brand of social isolation found in cults and all the other situations that the Open Minds Foundation campaigns about. The key purpose of Alienation is to keep you away from your other parent, from healthier relationships, from information and other constructive support for your healthy development.

Your main “life-and-death” preoccupation when Alienated will be to keep in with the parent you’ve got … even though they need you to meet their needs. They are not really looking after your needs. At the back of your mind will be your genuine feelings: you hope that your other parent will realize you don’t mean the hateful things you say – you have to say them, to keep in the good graces of your close parent.

As an Alienated Grown-Up Child

As an alienated more grown-up child, you may begin to think for yourself, discover something’s wrong, talk to others, read things that make you aware of what has happened to you. You may look for your other parent on social media. Google and read all you can about Alienation. You may need friendly or professional support to help you work out what to do. You will want to find the truth. That may include making a new relationship with your rejected parent. It may mean distancing from your close parent, at least while you develop your understanding of the situation.

As a By-Stander

Given this picture, by-standers may wish to stand well away, rather than get caught up in such a nightmare. But this is a situation where standing back actively helps the nightmare continue. Often it is only the by-standers – family, friends, neighbors, ordinary and specialist professionals – who can make a difference to such an entrenched situation, by saying something to someone, by reading about alienation, and by talking to other by-standers or professionals. By-standers: please do more than stand by and watch a child’s true self be rubbed out.


Reblogged from Open Minds Foundation

Read additional information here: –

Parental Alienation

From –

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of a parent psychologically brain washing their child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect and even hostility towards the other parent. In some cases, the alienating parent will deepen the brain washing by witholding the child from the other parents’ parenting time, manipulating the police with false allegations, taking advantage of the courts – who don’t have effective mechanisms to handle these cases. These children victims often suffer social adjust challenges face difficulty re-engaging with the needed love of the targeted parent.

Parental alienation is very prevalent, with 13% of all parents reported alienation and 48% of those to be deemed extreme(Harman, Leder-Elder, Biringen 2016). Of note and contrary to popular belief, there is no significant gender variation – it’s about 50/50. This is growing health crisis and hidden epidemic, out of sight because the children have no physical signs of abuse and they don’t even know they are being abused. A parent who inflicts parental alienation child abuse typically has either a narcissistic personality disorder (6% of the population) or a borderline personality disorder (6% of the population) or fit both diagnoses (10% of the population) (Grant et al. 2008). If one of these diagnosis is present, divorce trauma anxiety often triggers that parent to initiate alienation behavior in order to mediate their loss experience associated with the divorce. (Interpretation from C.A. Childress, Psy.D. 2015)

The long-term effects of parental alienation revealed seven major areas of impact on the victims: (1) low self-esteem, (2) depression, (3) drug/alcohol abuse, (4) lack of trust, (5) alienation from own children, (6) divorce.


From –

Thanksgiving – Sometimes you have to dig deep to be thankful  

What makes alienation so easy? Humans need security. To ask someone to stop and question 10-15-20 and even 30 years of their security is something most people cannot handle. To learn that half of their life is built on lies and half-truths is unfathomable. Life is easy, why complicate it.

In most circumstances, only a tragic event will make a person question what they believe; and how many parents are willing to ask that their child suffer so great an event, that they hurt deep enough to make them question what they believe.

Many times, only after the alienated parent is long gone, does the alienated child come to the realization all was not right. By then, it is too late. So, why then, do kids not question when they have those nagging thoughts that God has placed on their hearts? Only they can answer that and the unknown is scary.

So, for eighteen years, I have spent Thanksgiving alone, Christmas alone, Easter alone, summers alone, days and weeks alone, birthdays alone. I don’t know if it will always be that way, but at times like this, it feels as though it will be.

Sometimes I get really really angry. Anger is the emotion that feels the void my kids no longer fill. It sneaks up on me when my heart is aching so much that it is an actual physical pain. Pain takes my breath away and anger keeps me from exploding. There is so much pain that anger consumes me.

It’s Thanksgiving Day today. It is a day when we are supposed to be grateful for everything in our lives. It is two-fold for me. It is a holiday that I thought I would always spend with my daughters. Now, I have only the memories. Holidays make me sad. I am thankful they are both happy in their lives and I guess that should be enough. But it’s not.

I am so very thankful that I had the first twelve and sixteen years of their lives. Sometimes it feels as though life has been suspended. Although they are no longer twelve and sixteen, they remain so in my mind. They are my babies. I wish I could gather them in my arms and hold them one more time. I wish I could smell them again. I wish I could tell them that I love them one more time. I wish I could see them smile one more time. I wish I could tell them I am sorry that they felt abandoned. I wish I could tell them that I didn’t abandon them. I wish I could tell them how broken I was. I wish I could tell them I was hanging on by a thread. I wish I could ask them if they could love a broken mother. I wish I could ask them if they could still love me.

Read also –

If You See My Mother

Who Moved My Freakin’ Cheese?

A story of parental alienation; a must read.

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