Parental Alienation

>> Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parental Alienation

According to Wikipedia:  Parental alienation is a social dynamic, generally occurring due to divorce or separation, when a child expresses unjustified hatred or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible. 

According to Parental Alienation Awareness Organization:  is a group of behaviors that are damaging to children's mental and emotional well-being, and can interfere with a relationship of a child and either parent. These behaviors most often accompany high conflict marriages, separation or divorce.  a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrination and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.

Stop Parental Alienation of Children:  Parental alienation occurs any time that a parent, relative or friend speaks badly about another parent so that a child can hear what is being said. Alienating behavior may be mild, moderate or severe...when there is a predominance of negative messages being communicated to a child, these messages can seriously erode the child’s psychological well-being. In severe cases of parental alienation, children are manipulated and brainwashed (programmed) into such states of confusion that their perception of events and people around them are severely distorted.  Programmed children lose their own sense of reason and their ability to express their own choice in the matter. If the alienator is not contained, these manipulations of the child’s mind become the incubator of their own future psychological problems. These children have an altered perception of reality that is not in their best interest or in the best interest of society.

My stepkids don't remember a time when their parents were together.  I've always been there in that parental role with my husband for as long as they can remember - when they were sick, showing them love, teaching, taking care of them, clothing them, taking them to doctors when mom wouldn't, etc. when they were at dad's house.  When they were here, they were loved and taken care of.  They did not hear negative things about their mother; we did not interrogate them on their time with their mother.  They had a safe home to just be kids.

When they weren't here, they were pressured and manipulated for loving us.  Their other parent may have loved them but it had strings attached.  They were punished if they answered the phone when dad called them by mom removing herself from them - they answer the phone, mom won't play with them - withholding love, time and attention.  You go to dad's, mom stands at the end of the driveway and cries as you pull away.  They were told things about our home to scare them into coming here (we had serial killer ghosts at our house, going to hell, etc.).  They were encouraged to schedule everything they could on dad's time so it became dad's fault if they missed something.  They were made to feel afraid to leave their mom alone to come to dad's house (mom is all alone).  They were bought with material things - anything they wanted no matter the cost, go wherever they wanted to go, speak however they wished to (oh the cussing!) - they run their mom's house.  They were encouraged to buck our basic household rules and harm siblings, get consequences from us for inappropriate behavior, and then babied and excused for that behavior by mom.  So many other things but it's been 15+ years of PAS.  Eventually, that took its toll and mom won.

Why can't kids just be allowed to love who they love?

Up until a couple years ago, I really thought we'd get through it despite the ex.  I never would have thought my sd would behave the way she's been behaving lately.  We tried to make sure they knew we loved them, despite their other parent's attempts to interfere, and maintain a presence in their lives but eventually, they started pulling away from us. The therapist said it was so they could feel "safe" at their mom's house.

If I knew then what I know now, would I have put my heart out there for 15 years for them to stomp on now?  I don't know the answer to that right now.  I'm too hurt over their behavior the last few years and what I heard this morning about how my sd has been treating her dad, the things she's been saying to him, the way she's turned everything around to suit her mom and herself.  My husband isn't sleeping; he's stressed and has been for weeks - since my sd started her active "hate dad" campaign.  She's ignored her siblings for a few years now and I've quietly taken a backseat as well over what my role was with her used to be for so many years, but she's just so far out there right now - I don't know who she is anymore.

I'm glad I can safely vent here.  I can emotionally purge all my feelings - rational or not - and still maintain the responsible, loving adult persona to them - even when they slap me in the face with it.


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