Parental alienation is the psychological manipulation of a child by one parent to turn him or her against the other parent. This type of manipulation usually occurs during a divorce, when one parent may feel spiteful or angry about the process. Parental alienation can also lead to parental alienation syndrome, which develops in children who came to fear, hate, and reject the targeted parent as someone whom the child considers unworthy. If you suspect your ex, or soon-to-be ex, is alienating you as a parent, look for these signs.
Denigration for Frivolous Reasons
If your child repeatedly complains about you over and over again, he or she may be a victim of parental alienation. Usually, these complaints will have justifications, but they will be frivolous.
Lack of Ambivalence
When we have healthy relationships with people, we are capable of seeing good and bad points in them. This ambivalence is normal. In children who are experiencing parental alienation, they will have no sense of ambivalence. They will see one parent as totally good and the other as entirely bad.
Independent Thinker Phenomenon
This phenomenon doesn’t refer to the child’s ability to think for himself or herself; rather, when asked about the negative attitudes he or she has for one parent, the child will spontaneously assert these ideas belong to them alone. There will be an overt attempt to ensure people believe they thought of these things all by themselves without being influenced by the alienating parent.
Automatic/ Reflexive Support
The child will always choose the side of the alienating parent in any given argument or disagreement. For example, during a family meeting, the child will automatically side with the preferred parent or automatically disagree with the targeted parent without any logical basis.
Absence of Guilt
Children who are disrespectful or hurtful to the targeted parents and who feel absolutely no guilt about it might be a victim of parental alienation. They may demonstrate disregard for the parent’s feelings and emotions and will not be bothered when they say horrible things about one of their parents.
A borrowed scenario might be something a friend, family member, or psychologist might notice about the child. If the child tells a story about something that happened, they will describe it precisely as the manipulative parent does, perhaps even using the same words or phrases. The borrowed scenario indicates the manipulative parent is repeating the same story over and over to the child or ensuring the child memorizes what happened.
Spread of Animosity
The last sign of parental alienation is the spread of hatred from the targeted parent to the friends and family of that parent. The child’s hate for the parent will spread to his or her connections even if the relatives have done nothing wrong. This animosity can even extend to the targeted parent’s pets.
If you think your child is being manipulated by your ex, talk to a judge about getting a temporary restraining order until the divorce has been finalized. Parental alienation is a type of child abuse, and the court will do its best to ensure your child isn’t harmed during the divorce process. Discuss what a temporary restraining order might do for you and your family with one of our skilled Miami divorce attorneys. Mitchell & West LLC have experience helping Florida families through difficult times. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (305) 783-3301 or fill out our online form for a case consultation today.