The pain is so great you don’t know how much more you can stand it.
This isn’t a physical pain. Rather, it’s the emotional turmoil and distress you feel as you watch your kids being manipulated against you by your ex-partner.
Parental alienation is meant to isolate and separate you from your children. It’s a way your ex is trying to “get back” at you and exact some revenge. You feel sad and, at the same, time angry that your children are being used like this.
Of course, you want to counteract this silent poison of parental alienation, but how?
There is no clear-cut solution to this problem, but there are several strategies that are in your power.
One important element for coping with parental alienation is consistency. This is true when interacting with both your kids and your ex.
- Children: Holding consistent boundaries when they are with you.
- Your Ex: Making it clear that you wish to communicate with them regarding child-rearing and having firm and consistent responses when coping with any escalated behavior.
When it comes to parental alienation manipulation plays center stage. It’s easier to manipulate someone when you see inconsistencies in their behavior and decision-making process.
To counteract this, you need to be consistent with how you interact with the kids and your ex. Discrepancies could otherwise be used against you in this back-and-forth over power and control.
Tell Your Children You Love Them
Among the consistent things that you can do is tell your kids that you love them. Remind them that you are here for them and support them.
It can be frustrating when you are dealing with behaviors that your ex reinforces in the children. However, remember that it’s not their fault. They are being used as pawns by your ex to get back at you. In fact, your kids may feel torn between you and their ex.
Be aware of these issues, and remember not to buy into them either. Be there for your children, but don’t use them to respond in kind to behavior from your ex.
Listen to Your Children
Provide the space and atmosphere that encourages your child to talk and be honest with you. Be understanding, even if they say things that you don’t like.
It might be tempting to counter any lies they’ve been told by your ex. However, getting into an argument won’t help things either. Instead, listen to first understand where they are coming from. Ask them questions that show you hear them and are trying to understand them.
Even when it comes to children who are reluctant to talk, they almost always want someone to understand them. However, don’t force them to talk if they are not ready.
Documenting interactions that you have with your kids could be useful later on down the road. This is especially true if both you and your ex are still in the process of separating and there are legal issues involved.
It’s unfortunate that may come to this. However, you want to have a record that you can refer back to when recalling particular incidents or interactions.
On the other hand, don’t hold onto these memories as a source of bitterness and resentment. Rather, consider this as simply a part of the process of dealing with parental alienation.
Get Support for Yourself
Finally, make sure that you have support systems in place for yourself. Being connected with family, friends, work, and activities that you enjoy doing are all important.
Also, work with a therapist who understands parental alienation and its effects. Therapy can help you work through the emotions associated with the issue. This allows you to better handle the situation and support your children as well.
Parental alienation is a terrible way for one parent to exact their revenge on another. It can be very difficult having to deal with this issue. However, using the strategies above can help. And, to get the therapeutic support you need, please contact me for information about my approach to counseling.