Supporting Parents After Experiencing Parental Alienation – Parental alienation, which occurs when one parent subverts the opinion of the children against the other parent, causing them to reject the alienated parent unfairly, it is a form of emotional abuse that can leave long-lasting effects on the children involved. Often, the children involved in parental alienation are left to deal with depression, anxiety, and deeply seated feelings of guilt and remorse over their experiences.
Additionally, their abilities to form lasting, meaningful relationships are often impaired long into adulthood. However, the children are not the only affected parties in these situations. The alienated parent often experiences many similar negative effects as a result of the unwarranted rejection of their children. Because parental alienation is difficult to definitively prove in court, the alienation can go on unchecked for months or even years—and by then, the damage to mental health can be great.
The counsellors at Horizon Plymouth work with both children and adults impacted by parental alienation every day, and we know and see first-hand how devastating the effects can be. However, there are ways for impacted parents to heal—for them to process their emotions and begin to rebuild their mental health after such a gruelling experience.
The first step for support through the healing process after parental alienation is to find a counsellor whom you feel comfortable with and who is qualified to help you process your emotions and overcome your hurt. Every situation is unique, and no healing process is linear, but a counsellor can help to guide you in the often-complicated journey of rebuilding and healing. However, there are several additional avenues for support during the healing process that takes place after parental alienation. These include:
- Find a support group: Having supportive and understanding relationships around you during this time is a key component of recovery. While this can be a physical support group created for victims of parental alienation, it can also simply be a group of individuals such as family and friends whom you can rely on for encouragement and a listening ear as you process your experiences.
- Don’t be afraid of your feelings: Finding time to safely process the complicated feelings that come from parental alienation is a crucial component of recovery. It is important to remember that your child is not to blame for their actions. They still love you and are just as much a victim of the situation as you. Shame, guilt, regret, and anger are all feelings that can be experienced by the alienated parent that can make it difficult to move on emotionally.
- Find an outlet: Becoming engaged in a diverting or creative hobby that lets you take your mind off your emotions for a little while or acts as an outlet for your pent-up feelings can help to regulate and re-set your mental health. Anything that centres your mind and improves your outlook can be an outlet—from jogging to painting to reading or even catching up with friends.
- Be willing to seek help: Understanding that you can’t go through this alone and finding people, resources, and programs that can support you as you battle the aftereffects of parental alienation is incredibly important. You are not the first parent to undergo this abuse, and help is out there for those who need it.
If you or someone you know has dealt with the negative mental health consequences of parental alienation, it is important to seek professional help to support you through the healing journey. The counsellors at Horizon Plymouth are experienced professionals with the capacity to help you begin to process your emotions in the wake of parental alienation. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help, contact Horizon Plymouth today to schedule your initial consultation.