When Parental Alienation Has You Ready to Give Up
What Do You Do When You Feel Like Giving Up on Your Parental Alienation Fight?
For those of you who are severely alienated from your children, you never thought it would happen to you. You had a great relationship with your daughter or son. Not too long ago, you were the person they came running to when they were sick, hurt, or just wanted to be next to you. What seems like, suddenly, your calls to your child are unanswered. The texts you send go unread. Cards you have mailed are sent back to you, or there is no acknowledgment that your child has even received them. You wonder whether your ex-spouse intercepted the mail, or did they give them to your child with an unfavorable fictitious narrative to go along with it? You have probably shown up for school concerts or conferences to have your child ignore you. They may even create public scenes by telling you how unwelcomed you were. Birthdays, graduations, and other milestones, in their lives, are celebrated with your name never included on the guest list.
Being an Alienated Parent is Excruciating
An alienated parent’s life is an excruciating existence, one that takes an enormous amount of energy to live. The results of your efforts are always filled with disappointment and pain. What else would you do, in your life, that involves so much fortitude to be rejected every time? No one likes rejection, but for you, the alienated parent, rejection is your new normal. Still, it hurts each time you reach out to your precious child only to hear silence. The wound never gets a chance to heal.
Then there is the advice you receive from well-meaning family and friends who had provided a shoulder for you to cry on when birthdays were missed, you were not invited to a graduation, or when you just felt broken down by the whole darned thing. As awful as this experience is for you, it is painful for people who love you. They know you are a good parent. They remember when your child was a toddler and would scream wildly when you left their side for a second or how your child begged you not to leave them the first day of school.
You May Be Thinking About Giving Up
Now, for no reason that anyone can imagine, your child has chosen to ignore you. Ignoring you is not the end of the sentence. Your child fears you, accuses you of terrible things you’ve never done and therefore wants nothing to do with you. After months, maybe years of these assaults on you, it is no wonder that the people who love you may suggest that you give up on trying to reach out to your child who obviously does not want you. Usually, their sage advice comes with the belief that your child will someday come back to you.
Your attorney may also give you the same advice. Some divorce attorneys shrug off parental alienation as a reality and minimize the pain with comments such as —– the child is just being difficult or is acting like a “typical teenager.” They suggest that the behavior will stop after the dust from the divorce settles. In my experience, that does not happen with parental alienation. The longer alienation goes on; the more entrenched the child becomes in the world of their false narratives about the targeted parent.
So, what do you do? Giving up is an option, and no one should ever judge you for doing so. Anyone who would blame you or attempt to make you feel guilty has no clue how demoralizing and horrifying parental alienation is. Sometimes, for one’s sanity, the only option is taking a breather from the constant rejection and for time to rejuvenate one’s soul. When my clients reach this point, or should I say breaking point, they usually say knowing that their child really does not want to be with them makes it less painful to walk away. You may have felt as though you would actually do their child a service by giving up.
How Giving Up Looks from The Alienated Child’s Perspective
Let’s look at this from another perspective. Screenwriters and playwrights place the words and develop the words of the script. The actor is the person who conveys the words in the play, and the words are only as good as the delivery. That is the same scenario with an alienated child. They are the actor, conveying the scriptwriter’s messages, who is the alienating parent – your former spouse.
Your ex may have told your child that you don’t love them, you don’t care about them, you never wanted them to be born. Giving up may serve to strengthen the alienator’s false narratives no matter how convoluted they are.
You may believe your child would prefer it if you would just give up because you seem to bother them. When parents give up, their child notices it, and it hurts them. Sure, they “act” as they hate you with emphasis on the word “act.” But deep down inside, your child may wonder why you gave up. They could believe that something is wrong with them, and the false narratives about you become more accurate. Whatever pain they feel, and they do, the feeling of rejection becomes deeper. They may have rejected you, but they always knew that you did not reject them, and THAT is essential. We can’t forget that they are just the actors on the stage. They are compelled to give their best performance.
According to Dr. Amy J.L. Baker’s studies of adult children who have been alienated, the alienation effects were worse predicated on the fact that the targeted parent gave up. You may ask how this could be if the child is rejecting the targeted parent. You show up, write letters, send texts, and do everything to communicate with them, and they clearly don’t want you. Based on what former alienated children often say is the targeted parent was reliant, they showed up. The child counted on their targeted parent to be there because they always were. Then they weren’t. Many of these now adults who were alienated children say that they knew what was happening. The alienator was consistent in their alienation. The targeted parent was consistent with their unconditional love. Remember, the child is not the screenwriter. They are only the actors. They are also victims.
There is no judgment should you decide to give up trying. Anyone who has walked in your shoes knows the uphill battle you face every day. It’s unnatural for a child to reject a loving parent. You, the loving parent, is the only one who knows how awful this feels. You have to take care of yourself, and that is especially important. When you decide what you want or need to do, remember that even though your child may be rejecting you, your child will notice what you do. That’s because they do every day.
Although You May Be in The Midst of Parental Alienation, all is Not Lost
zThere are ways to circumvent, diffuse, defy, and even eradicate Parental Alienation. As someone who fought and was able to successfully diffuse Parental Alienation, I know what it’s like. If you need assistance, I offer one- on- one coaching sessions as well as an online course, Pass on PA (Parental Alienation), and a short guidebook No One Wins to serve as a roadmap to help you on your path.