In an ideal world when a couple is divorcing, both individuals would be civil towards each other and try to make the situation as easy as possible, especially if children are involved. However, in many instances that is not the case. It is unfortunate when adults choose to behave in this manner because what they may not realize is that they are not only hurting themselves but also their own children.
In some divorces there is significant hostility between the parties. In these cases, one parent may use different strategies to cause harm to the other parent, whether directly or indirectly. One of these strategies is parental alienation.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation is a strategy typically used by a parent against the other in which they intentionally foster a child’s rejection of the other parent. Usually these parents exhibit symptoms of psychological disorders themselves.
The process can begin subtly by attempting to estrange the child from the parent. It can then develop into an overt situation where the offending parent speaks poorly of the other parent to the child, causing the child to feel negative feelings toward the offending parent and placing them in a position of having to choose a side.
It is highly damaging for children and only in recent years have we seen the term “parental alienation” used frequently in courtrooms.
What is the goal of parental alienation?
The goal of parental alienation is to cause damage to the other parent, either for personal gain or simply as an attempt to seek revenge. In other words, the offending parent uses the child against the other parent, often causing lifelong psychological harm, trauma and in some cases irreversible damage to the relationship between the child and the alienated parent.
Parental alienation can begin as a very subtle process, but it is highly damaging and pervasive. It can cause significant harm and trauma to the child, the alienated parent and the entire family.