If you are involved in the family court system, I am sorry. If you are repeatedly involved in the family court system in a high conflict divorce, all I can say is welcome to the club…and to fully educate yourself, buckle up tight, and learn to pray.
Cluster B personality types (anti-social, narcissistic, sociopath, borderline, etc) seem to be the prevailing personality type repeatedly filling our family courtrooms. This personality type will stop at nothing to win, at the cost of all involved, especially the children.
Parental Alienation is one of the many aspects of Domestic Violence by Proxy abusers use to further victimize their exes. Abusers will often use any means possible to further hurt the target parent and align the children. Children will often be sent through an emotional and psychological gamut to achieve the desired result. From rewarding for bad behaviors and hurting the target parent to bad mouthing and coaching against the target parent, there is no limit to what a Cluster B personality type will do to a child. The alienating parent will also play on the emotions of the children in playing the role of the victim, turning children into caregivers to care for the emotional needs of the parent.
The following are some signs to look for if you suspect your child‘s behavior may be coerced by the other parent:
- Your child suddenly becomes withdrawn, acting afraid of you
- Your otherwise calm child acts paranoid
- You hear from your other children that one will openly bash you to the other parent
- Your child becomes hostile or physically aggressive with you
- Your child will not think independently, instead mirroring the alienating parent
- Your child shows little or no respect toward you or anything you own
- Your child almost “idolizes” everything the alienating parent is and does
- Your child will not listen to your truths over the alienator’s lies
- You and/or your family are rejected
- Your child mimics words or phrases often used by the alienating parent
When the teen years hit, sometimes it is difficult to determine between the alienating behaviors and typical teen “jerk” behaviors. Sometimes it’s both which make you want to stare at the inside bottom of a wine bottle.
How do we combat the alienating behaviors? Therapy if possible, boundaries, patience, consistency, love, involvement, communication and creating a safe, nurturing environment while in our care. Will it be enough? Sometimes not. We have to walk out of this when our children turn 18 with a clear conscience that we did all we could to help guide them into being good people. Sometimes I feel like I am losing the war, then I see a little spark of the old Grant. I want to believe a little of him isn’t dead yet, but I don’t know. It’s hard. I want so much to believe in “karma” and that Grant will see through it all someday. I’m just not sure anymore. But, it doesn’t mean I won’t continue to try.