The Devastating Impact of Parental Alienation on Children in High Conflict
The breakdown of a marriage can be a traumatic experience for any family, but when parental alienation is introduced, the situation becomes even more complicated and devastating for the children involved. But what is parental alienation, and how does it impact the children caught in the crossfire?
The breakdown of a marriage is a traumatic experience for any family, but when parental alienation is introduced into the equation, the situation becomes even more complicated and devastating for the children involved. Parental alienation refers to a situation where one parent tries to manipulate their children into turning against the other parent and severing their relationship with them.
The impact of parental alienation on children can be profound and long-lasting. According to Avieli, a criminology researcher at Ariel University, Israel, when a parent is subjected to false allegations of abuse during a divorce or custody dispute, they may struggle to maintain a relationship with their children and may experience “considerable pain.” The children may also suffer as they are torn between their parents and can develop feelings of anxiety, guilt, and shame.
In addition to false allegations of abuse, there are other ways that narcissistic individuals may try to manipulate the relationship between the children and their victim parent. For instance, they may enlist the help of therapists and other health providers to further triangulate the relationship. Avieli argues that when therapists join with the custodial parent as sympathetic allies, they can become involved in a triangulated relationship that harms the children involved.
To protect children from the devastating effects of parental alienation, it is important for family members and community members to be aware of the signs of triangulation and manipulation by a narcissistic individual. The scientific study of parental alienation is growing and is providing a clearer understanding of the associations between interparental conflict and the breakdown of parent-child relationships.
If you know someone who is going through a divorce and is struggling with parental alienation, you can help by being aware of the warning signs of both overt and covert narcissists and avoiding becoming an enabler of false claims. You can also provide support and encourage them to seek professional help.
It is crucial that steps are taken to protect children and families from the devastating impact of parental alienation. By staying informed and aware, community members can play a crucial role in preventing this manipulative behavior and helping families recover from this traumatic experience.