Mother Alienating Children Against Father
Has your loving and affectionate children suddenly become unrecognizable to you? Does your child make you feel like you are the worst parent in the world? If so, your former spouse may be turning your child against you. Known as parental alienation or parental alienation syndrome, simply put it means your ex is manipulating and pressuring your kid to reject you.
Typically, your child’s pattern of rejection results when your ex engages in destructive acts such as:
- Speaking poorly of you
- Limiting contact with you
- Interfering with communication between you and your child
- Emotionally punishing your child for expressing anything positive about you
- Telling your child that you do not love him or her
Parental alienation occurs often, but not always, in the context of divorce and custody battles. No one knows how many children are exposed to parental alienation or show signs of the parental alienation syndrome, but we do know that it can happen to mothers as well as fathers, to custodial parents as well as non-custodial parents and to kids as young as toddlers or as old as teens. It is marked by sudden changes in your child’s interactions with you and you’ll see new personality traits begin to emerge.
Here are some attitudes and behaviors to watch for:
Leave me alone. Your child is filled with animosity toward you. When confronted and reminded of the good times you two once shared, she insists you two NEVER had a good relationship — although you know that is not true. Suddenly, your once-loving and affectionate child seems to fear and, in some cases, despise you. He may even be reluctant to share a meal with you as though merely being in your presence is unbearable. When you question this, your child gives you frivolous and absurd reasons for this newfound negativity.
It’s all your fault.Your child acts as if the other parent can do no wrong. Everything the other parent does is perfect in his eyes — something your child never seemed to feel about your ex during the marriage. Your child seems to forgive your ex — even the most inexcusable behavior — while ridiculing you for minor flaws and infractions.
Yeah, what he said.Your child consistently sides with your ex. And it seems she is following a script when she is talking about you, using some of the same labels your ex has used to describe you. He will repeat the same words and phrases, as if he is relying on words that are not his own and may have been rehearsed beforehand.
Family ties no longer bind.Your child shows no guilt about her shabby treatment of you. And she not only rejects you, but by extension, your family as well. Formerly beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents are now shunned. And your child doesn’t want to attend important family events such as weddings, reunions, even funerals.
Influence? What influence?Your child vehemently denies being influenced by your ex. When you note that he is using words and phrases that appear to parrot the other parent, your child dismisses you. In fact, he scoffs at the idea of being coached by anyone.
The Obsessed Alienator
“I love my children. If they don’t want to see him, I’m not going to force them. They are old enough to make up their own minds.”
The obsessed alienator is a parent, or sometimes a grandparent, with a cause: to align the children to his or her side and together, with the children, campaign to destroy their relationship with the targeted parent. For the campaign to work, the obsessed alienator enmeshes the children’s personalities and beliefs into their own. This is a process that takes time but one that the children, especially the young, are completely helpless to see and combat. It usually begins well before the divorce is final. The obsessed parent is angry, bitter or feels betrayed by the other parent. The initial reasons for the bitterness may actually be justified. They could have been verbally and physical abused, raped, betrayed by an affair, or financially cheated. The problem occurs when the feelings won’t heal but instead become more intense because of being forced to continue the relationship with a person they despise because of their common parenthood. Just having to see or talk to the other parent is a reminder of the past and triggers the hate. They are trapped with nowhere to go and heal.
The characteristics of obsessed alienators are:
They are obsessed with destroying the children’s relationship with the targeted parent.
They having succeeded in enmeshing the children’s personalities and beliefs about the other parent with their own.
The children will parrot the obsessed alienator rather than express their own feelings from personal experience with the other parent.
The targeted parent and often the children cannot tell you the reasons for their feelings. Their beliefs sometimes becoming delusional and irrational. No one, especially the court, can convince obsessed alienators that they are wrong. Anyone who tries is the enemy.
They will often seek support from family members, quasi-political groups or friends that will share in their beliefs that they are victimized by the other parent and the system. The battle becomes “us against them.” The obsessed alienator’s supporters are often seen at the court hearings even though they haven’t been subpoenaed.
They have an unquenchable anger because they believe that they have been victimized by the targeted parent and whatever they do to protect the children is justified.
They have a desire for the court to punish the other parent with court orders that would interfere or block the targeted parent from seeing the children. This confirms in the obsessed alienator’s mind that he or she was right all the time.
The court’s authority does not intimidate them. The obsessed alienator believes in a higher cause, protecting the children at all cost.
The obsessed alienator will probably not want to read what is on these pages because the content just makes them angrier.
There are no effective treatments for either the obsessed alienator or the children. The courts and mental health professionals are helpless. The only hope for these children is early identification of the symptoms and prevention. After the alienation is entrenched and the children become “true believers” in the parent’s cause, the children are lost to the other parent for years to come. We realize this is a sad statement, but we have yet to find an effective intervention, by anyone, including the courts that can rehabilitate the alienating parent and child.