Though it is one of the worst forms of abuse for children, parental alienation is not a crime. Evidence of parental alienation may be used in court to modify or adjust custody orders, but the damage will already have been done – and nothing will happen to the abuser.
It is heartbreaking and devastating to those families that go through this. Over 3.9 million children in the US alone each year are moderately to severely alienated from one parent. If you are cop-parenting with a narcissist, this has probably happened to you on some level.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is a strategy employed by one parent who intentionally displays unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent in order to damage the relationship with the child and other parent. These parent’s systematically turn their child(ren) against the other parent, in a step by step process.
The truth is, no child wants to hear how awful the other parent is. Because no matter what, it takes 2 people to make a baby and Mom is their Mom, just as Dad is their Dad. Highlighting the bad parts of either parent only makes the child think poorly of themselves.
One of the worst most volatile forms of abuse on a child is hurting someone (either mom or dad) in front of them, causing them to act out towards that parent even when they don’t want to. Living in fear of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. IT IS ABUSE.
What are the Types of Parental Alienation?
There are 3 types of parental alienation. Sometimes this can happen unintentionally. An angry parent is so angry and hurt they don’t even realize what they are saying or the damage they are causing. Sometimes one is so calculated and hurtful causing such severe long term childhood trauma and damage beyond belief. There are 3 Types:
- Naïve – this is where the one parent doesn’t realize it, but they are constantly telling the child(ren) how hurt they are by the other parent, how evil the other parent is and what the other parent is doing wrong as an adult – not a parent. It does NOT make it ok, awareness is needed here because this is equally abusive as any other stage. Not knowing is not an excuse, however it can be corrected, healed and fixed once you become aware.
- Active – this is where one parent is intensely frustrated, bitter and resentful in front of the child(ren). They take advantage of any situation to belittle the other parent and encourage the child(ren) to do the same using a withhold/reward system.
- Obsessive – this is where one parent is actively working to ruin the relationship between parent/child. They go out of their way, think of nothing else and are totally out to get the other parent.
How Does Parental Alienation Work?
There are 4 stages typically used by a parent.
- Self-justification – this where the parent goes over and over in their mind how they are right, how they have been wronged and that they have every right to ‘get the other parent back’.
- Hypervigilance – they live on high alert at all times as they try to ‘get’ the other parent, they are walking on eggshells, plotting, looking over their shoulder, and filled with negativity.
- Child Becomes Hypervigilant – the child picks up the parents state of being and enters a hypervigilant state – always walking on eggshells. Never knowing what was going to happen or who would be hurt. Living in fear, trying desperately to do the right thing.
- Reinforcement – rewards for hurting the other parent, someone they love. So so abusive, painful and wrong.
Join our conversation here on Conscious Straight Talk With Katie & Lindsey as we talk about what you can do:
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