The unanticipated question of parental alienation
Many years before my divorce, I pondered the dilemma of my failing marriage. Should I stay or leave, the age old question. Like any rational thinking person I made plus and minus columns and poured my heart out. One entry under the minus column was her reaction and ability to handle it. I knew my ex was abusing substances, and I was very concerned about her mental health.
Hind sight being 20/20, I really should have read more about personality disorders and their effects on other people. Two months into the divorce, I was hit with a false allegation of abuse and the roller-coaster ride through hell began for myself and my kids. It was soon clear that the kids were being made pawns in a vindictive game and the results were devastating on them.
I became very familiar with the term Parental Alienation, what is was and more importantly how to deal with it. The good new is I found a solution by being an outstanding human being and taking the high road. I was fortunate to have parents who set great examples of honesty and integrity which somehow became ingrained into my personal code, though not easily. Faith and hope helped me grow stronger. The bad news is people who perpetrate Parental Alienation are truly disturbed. Sadly our court systems and child counselors are poorly equipped to deal with this.
Fast forward 5 years, both kids had been hospitalized for depression and self-harm. All savings and retirement funds were drained for legal battles. Then came “The Call”:
“Hi this is Jane from family services; you need to make arrangements to pick your son up from school. A protective order has been initiated against his mother for emotional and physical abuse.”
I had known this day would come and was well prepared to answer the question “Why did she do this?” We talked about Mental Illness and Emotional Intelligence, and how his mother, somewhere down deep, did love him. I also set up the appropriate family counseling, he was no stranger to counselors. What I was not prepared for was the question,
“What if she doesn’t participate?”
I sometimes envy those that lose their spouses and loved ones to tragic accidents and terminal diseases. I lost a wife, and my kids lost a mother to mental illness.
Many independent organizations are recognizing April as Parental Alienation Month.
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