The end of a relationship is almost always difficult, particularly if you have children together. However, when one parent causes a rift between the other parent and the children, an already difficult situation can become downright impossible to manage. If you are the one experiencing parental alienation, you may be overwhelmed with feelings of resentment toward your ex. Those feelings of resentment can cause you to take things personally and lash out, which could result in permanent damage to your relationship with your children.
Many Michigan parents experiencing parental alienation start taking things personally. If your child has turned against you, that means you must have done something wrong, right?
Not necessarily. In fact, it is likely that your child’s treatment of you has nothing to do with you at all.
While a child may prefer one parent over another, it is highly unlikely that a child would adore one parent and hate the other unless they have been strongly influenced and essentially forced to believe that one parent is ‘good’ while the other is ‘bad.’ To maintain and strengthen their ‘loyalty contract’ with the other parent, they may feel they need to go along with the narrative the other parent has created.
If you are a target of parental alienation, it may seem that your children are lying to make you look bad. However, any inaccuracies in your children’s stories may be ‘confabulations’ or mistakes in memory that are often seen in those suffering from cognitive impairments. Your children may be making up these stories to help them cope with the situation and attempt to justify their anger towards you, while again, helping them stay loyal to the other parent. The child may find it easiest emotionally to cut ties with the alienated parent, due to a fear of rejection from the other parent.
What should I do if I am experiencing parental alienation?
It may be hard to believe that someone you once loved has turned your children against you. However, leaving angry voicemails, sending threatening text messages, making sarcastic comments, or having an outburst during a reunification counseling session, can only make the situation worse. Learning to control your feelings in a healthy way and seeking assistance from an attorney specializing in complex custody matters is the only way to fight for a healthy relationship with your children.