Parental alienation is a serious issue that affects many divorced families today. One parent attempts to drive a wedge between their child and co-parent. This has devastating consequences for both the co-parent and child.
In many ways, it is more detrimental to the child. After all, the negative effects can linger well into adulthood.
Psychology Today discusses potential impacts of parental alienation. First, there are short-term effects. A child suffering from parental alienation will likely display odd behavior. They may suddenly grow sullen or lethargic. They might seem depressed or anxious. Some will develop guilt complexes. Others may start to self-blame and form self-harming tendencies.
Children may also lash out at others. This can put them at odds with authority figures in their lives, like teachers. It can also ostracize them from peers due to their erratic, combative behavior.
Parental alienation creates a serious instability in the child’s foundations. After all, it teaches them to distrust a previously loved and trusted parent. This creates problems later in life when it comes to forming bonds and relationships. Many children who suffered through parental alienation claim to have trust issues, likely stemming from this.
Mental health struggles and poor coping
Adult children of parental alienation also struggle with elevated levels of depression and anxiety. Some develop more severe afflictions like post traumatic stress disorder. To deal with these issues, some may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. A number of sufferers eventually turn to alcohol and may struggle with alcoholism.
It takes time, therapy and work to undo the damage done by parental alienation. For this reason, you want to catch it as early as possible. If you notice the signs, consider bringing it up with a legal expert to discuss your options moving forward.