As a newly divorced couple, it is normal for tensions to run high between you and your co-parent. Many people in your position take months or even years to settle into a routine everyone feels comfortable with.
But some people never adjust. Unfortunately, these people take their mounting frustration and unhappiness out on others. In such situations, you may end up dealing with parental alienation.
Parental alienation is abuse
The Psychiatric Times examines the impact of parental alienation, along with its basic traits. Parental alienation occurs when the alienating parent decides to drive a wedge between you and your child. They will use any means to do so, including manipulative tactics like gaslighting. Because of this, courts categorize parental alienation as a form of child psychological abuse.
Impacts on your child and you
As with any form of abuse, parental alienation can leave lasting scars on everyone involved. Your child may lose confidence, suffering from confusion and guilt. They may blame themselves later for rejecting you. They often develop trust issues later in life and cannot maintain a healthy relationship.
You will also suffer the effects. Alienated parents often compare the experience to going through the death of a child. When a child refuses to acknowledge you, you seem dead to them, too. You cannot see or spend time with them, and you go through life missing important milestones. This is traumatic for any parent who cares about their kid.
There are different stages of parental alienation; mild, moderate and severe. If you catch it early enough, you can ask a legal expert about your options for handling it.