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  • What to Do if You’re Experiencing Parental Alienation

    Parental AlienationYou’re going through a contentious divorce and find yourself caught up in a custody battle. It feels like the relationship with your child has changed overnight. They are suddenly angry, mean, and hurtful towards you. You feel hurt, shocked, and betrayed. What is going on?

    What is Parental Alienation?

    Parental alienation occurs when one parent psychologically manipulates a child to cause a strain between that child and the other parent. This phenomenon often occurs when one parent exhibits narcissistic or emotionally abusive traits. The narcissistic parent may convince the child that the other parent hates them, has said bad things about them, or is to blame for conflict happening in the family. Additionally, the narcissistic parent may punish the child for choosing to have a relationship with the other parent or make it difficult for the other parent to communicate with the child. Although parental alienation often occurs during a divorce and custody battle, it can take place within intact families as well.

    The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

    Parental alienation can be emotionally damaging to a child, resulting in the child feeling confused, hurt, lonely, and guilty. Additionally, parental alienation can lower a child’s self-esteem and impair their relationships with others.

    What Can I Do if My Child is Being Alienated from Me?

    • Although it is valid to feel incredibly hurt, try not to be angry with your child. Remember that your child is experiencing emotional and psychological manipulation by a parent who is supposed to be a source of unconditional love. 
    • Don’t blame yourself! It’s hard to not feel responsible when your child is repeating words your ex-partner has said. Remember this is a manipulation tactic and not truth or fact.
    • Be patient. If your spouse has legal rights to parenting the child, then you have limited control over the impact they have during their assigned visitation periods. Make sure to document any evidence of abuse perpetrated by your spouse/ex and report to CPS as necessary.
    • Continue to be the steady, nurturing parent. Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse and causes the child psychological distress. You can counter this distress by showing your child unconditional love and acceptance.
    • Continue to set limits. Often one parent lets the child get away with negative behaviors to further estrange them from the parent who sets limits. Remember that your child needs and deserves good parenting, which includes rules, boundaries, and consistency!
    • Seek help through counseling. A therapist who specializes in narcissistic or emotional abuse can be a helpfulresource during this emotionally stressful time.

    Therapy for Parental Alienation

    I offer therapy for men and women experiencing parental alienation from a narcissistic or emotionally abusive co-parent. Contact me today to get started! Services are offered online in Tennessee and Georgia. 

    Online Locations: Nashville, Tennessee – Brentwood, Tennessee – Atlanta, Georgia – Sandy Springs, Georgia – Greater Tennessee and Georgia Area


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