What is Parental Alienation?
Let me tell you a story about someone I know personally.
He is a good dad, separated from his wife but sees his son as often as possible or when mum permits it.
His son, let’s call him Sammy, is now 10 years old. His parents separated when he was a toddler.
Sammy has never had a sleep over at his dad’s who lives less than an hour away and they have never been on holiday together. Mum always tags along.
She, however, can go on holiday without as much of a word to my friend and explain to Sammy that “Daddy said he doesn’t want to come.”
Since the separation, my friend he has been painted as the disciplinarian, the mean one, the one who is capable of abducting him.
When he is called over to fix the computer or put up shelves etc, my friend will rush over because he knows he will get to see his son.
It’s the comments from mum, while he is there, that really get to him. “Daddy does try to fix things but he really isn’t that good is he Sammy?”
“Look, daddy’s late again. He is always late. When will you make it on time just so that your son doesn’t have to be kept waiting?”
My friend receives calls from his ex-wife when their son misbehaves and needs to be disciplined.
He only gets to see his son when mum says it’s ok and for only a few hours because she is convinced and has managed to convince Sammy too, that my friend will abduct him.
She has even given her son skills on “how to get away from daddy incase he tries to take you away by force” and warned him against making daddy angry because he can get really mad!
My friend rarely knows what’s happening at school in terms of performances, sports days etc which means he is usually unable to attend. – “Daddy was busy.”
My friend has now taken to speaking with the school directly to get the information for himself.
On and on goes the “brainwashing” so it was no wonder that for the longest time Sammy very rarely looked forward to seeing daddy and spending anytime with him. Most of the time he would insist that mummy comes too – obviously as a means for him to feel safe.
Interesting thing is that, Sammy is now able to voice his feelings and ask questions that are bugging him. With the answers he is getting, the picture that his mother has painted for him all this time is beginning to look a little dubious and questionable.
Sammy is growing up.
How will his mother explain her actions and words to him. She interfered with their relationship and created a monster in Sammy’s eyes.
Before long, he will realise just what type of person she really is.
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org