How Can I Stop My Ex from Turning My Child Against Me

How to Determine if Your Ex-Spouse is Attempting to Turn Your Child Against You

I was talking to Cathy, a 46-year-old mother, who had been alienated by her 14-year-old daughter.  At the beginning of the divorce, Cathy suspected that her then-husband was trying to turn her one and only child against her.  She and her daughter had always been close so it was a red flag when Cathy noticed that her daughter was argumentative with her and wanted to spend less time with her. Cathy told her attorney what was happening who assured her that this was harmless, kids go through phases, “we see this all the time, “ and once the dust settles from the divorce “everything should be ok,” meaning that their relationship would go back to the way it was. None of that had happened.

By the time Cathy reached out to me, she had not seen her daughter in five years.  Cathy said that her daughter not only did not want to see her mother, but she also accused Cathy of horrendous actions against her, claimed Cathy an unfit mother, and therefore wanted nothing to do with her.  As Cathy sobbed through her words, the immense pain she had endured over the years was palpable.  She missed so many of her precious daughter’s life milestones and knew that she was going to miss even more.

Cathy was caught in a psychological loop of seeking for the pivotal moment when we went from beloved parent to undesired foil.  We scan our history together to uncover a clue, anything that we could have done to precipitate and facilitate our child to hate, fear, and reject us.  Did we make them go to bed too early, did we not allow ample computer time or not make enough of their favourite foods?  We wonder if we were too strict, too lenient, were not available, were too available.  I will refrain from listing the mound of questions we ruminate over because it is meaningless to do so because the answer is plain and simple.  An alienated parent did nothing wrong!

What Can You Do About Parental Alienation?

As with my answer to Cathy, I have the same one for you if you find yourself on the receiving end of the alienation stick.  Parental Alienation is when one parent (your ex-spouse) uses your child as a pawn to act as a weapon against you — the target.  The cog in this equation is your ex-spouse.  Without the ex, the alienation would not take place.  What makes it even more complicated is that the alienator is your child’s parent; a parent they love and are completely devoted to.

Cathy asked me for guidance on how to reset the relationship with her daughter by asking me “How do I get her back?  Before I could answer, she said she thought she may have waited too long to do something about it.  Her biggest struggle with herself is why did she wait so long. Cathy was already in so much pain.  The years of emotional anguish had taken a toll on her and I could tell that she was exhausted by this experience.  We discussed several options that she had and I am happy to say that the walls between Cathy and her daughter are beginning to break down.

I share this story because it is one I hear frequently with the primary question being how could Parental Alienation have been prevented?  My professional and personal experience understanding and circumventing parental alienation was the catalyst to be asked to perform a TEDx talk.  Parental alienation hurts everyone involved, primarily the child whose childhood is robbed of them while they are indoctrinated to hurt a loving parent – you. 

You are not helpless!

You can circumvent, defy, diffuse, and possibly eradicate parental alienation.

Remember, I Was a Targeted Parent

The alienator is a force that is impossible to fight alone.  You need the tools to fight back.  No one can change the alienator’s behavior but, I can give you the arsenal to fight this war and it is a war!  A war waged against you and the child is the weapon.

Don’t allow Parental Alienation to destroy you, your child, and your family.

Your friend in combating Parental Alienation.

Susan Shofer Divorce Consultant

Parental Alienation Is Complex.  I’ve Been There.

I know that there is a lot to understand and consider if you’re fighting Parental Alienation.  Along with my module-based online course, Pass on PA (Parental Alienation), and a master class Burst the Alienator’s Power Bubble,  as a CDC Certified Divorce Coach and Parental Alienation Specialist, I am available for telephone coaching sessions.

If you are in the throes of Parental Alienation and feel like giving up, check out this post to get a little insight.  To view my other posts on Parental Alienation, click here.

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