During the divorce process, a couple looking to end their marriage is usually not at their best. A complex and lengthy legal process clashes with longstanding, emotionally-charged issues. Far too many times, deep-seated resentment sets in. Far too often, one parent actively tries to turn their children against the other parent.
That level of manipulation has a significant, if not traumatic, effect on all who are victimized by it. No one is hit harder than children, with many carrying those effects well into adulthood.
Insight from our founding attorney
A recent article published in The Atlantic featured quotes by our firm’s owner and managing partner Ashish Joshi. The piece told a story about a case of parental alienation involving a mother determined to turn her children against their own father. While that strategy is not so uncommon, the issues are unique due to the lengths one mom took to foment the belief that dad was not a bad person but an evil human being.
Joshi represents unfavored parents, an unfortunate but growingly common category in divorce-driven dynamics. Those accusations of nefarious intent end up shaping a false narrative that actually gains, even unwittingly, in therapy sessions. Joshi provided his insight, saying:
After months or years of manipulation, a boy truly believes that his father is evil, and he says during family therapy that he doesn’t want to visit his dad because he’s mean and angry all the time. “What are you talking about?” the father responds. “I’m not mean.” At which point, the therapist intervenes and tells the father to stop protesting, to validate his child’s feelings. “And there never comes a time when the child says, ‘Okay. I’ve had my say. Thank you for listening. We can start afresh.” The complaints never end. And now a professional has reified them.
Overcoming years of false characterizations and narratives is difficult, but not impossible. The right attorney with the right resources can help overcome unfair presumptions, especially when it comes to a parent’s character and how it is perceived.
No child should be fed lies. No parent should plant seeds that grow out of control. Those take on deep roots that are hard to remove.