It may come as a surprise to many, but only about 10% of domestic violence abuse survivors experience relief from that abuse after they leave. Indeed, domestic violence (DV) abuse continues for years, sometimes even decades. One way that DV abusers continue that abuse is through parental alienation.
What if the children were never a target before?
Some DV victims think that since the abuse was always targeted at them, when they leave, child abuse will not be an issue. Unfortunately, that is simply not always the case. In fact, often, DV abusers will simply use children to continue their abuse, including escalating to child abuse.
It will start out small
The first signs that you may be dealing with parental alienation will be small. Your child will be excited about new activities that your ex signed them up for, and then the child will hand you the bill. If you cannot afford it, you are now the “bad guy.”
Next, you may notice that your child’s stuff begins to disappear. Their jacket will not make it back to your home. Their schoolbooks, backpacks, shoes, etc., will “mysteriously” disappear. Of course, since they are in your custody when these items cannot be found, your child will look to you to solve the problem. Again, if you cannot afford to replace those items, your ex can paint you as a bad parent and themselves as the savior when they buy those missing items for the child.
Now, the real psychological child abuse will occur when you are not around. Parental alienation happens during these times when your ex further paints themselves in the best light, and simultaneously, transfers their negative feelings about you to your child. Their goal is to destroy your bond with your child. This is illegal child abuse, and it does call for a child custody modification order, regardless of your state.
What can I do?
First, if you have not left yet, consult with parental alienation resources. There are experts across the nation who can help you plan your escape.
Second, if you have already left and notice your parent-child relationship faltering, reach out to those same resources. A mental health expert, who is trained in treating parental alienation, can diagnose it as well. Then your family law attorney can fight for a child custody modification order.