Coping with parental alienation

This is the third and final post in this current series on Parental Alienation. After I’d read Jacqui’s writing about the pain of parental alienation, I tried to imagine how you would go about your daily life, what would help you from sinking into depression and how could friends help you. Here’s what Jacqui said:

First, let me say that I see myself as the walking wounded. The support communities about deceased children speak to me but I do not fit them: my child is physically alive, yet spiritually and psychologically so separated from me that this is a ‘death.’

The parental alienation sites now are so raw that I do not find I can read them too much. Some parents post stories of love and tenderness — including photo blogs — to document their care of absent children….I think that they hope a lost child will find them…the others are filled with the narratives of what people do to each other in divorce….stories of pain and loss too intense for me to read.

You would be surprised at the number of friends and family who cannot really even speak to you about this. I think that like divorce and cancer, the loss of a living child is so horrific that protective factors sometimes impede expressions of comfort or acts of kindness.

The three years of therapy I’ve had was worth every penny although I can no longer afford this. This was a safe place — like the confessional — to tell the truth about the situation and my devastation. Spiritual comfort is a boon but this is not without problems.

Like Vivianne whose divorce isn’t recognized by the Catholic church, I am a practicing Roman Catholic. However, I cannot go to Mass because I find myself weeping uncontrollably during consecration and communion. And as kind as people might be, I am tired of falling apart. I hope to return at some point but, I am very sober about my ability to ever live at ease with this sorrow.

God is present. Not that God will remove the pain or punish the transgressor or even that He will return my child. Simply, that God is present. God lost a child – Jesus. Unjustly and cruelly. This story comforts me.

I am rather silent about my former husband to my children. They are in such pain about this fracture. I believe they see some of what is underway. But, they need to learn on their own time frames. And, their experience is not mine. I find that when we must speak about some aspects of the two households, they brace themselves. I think children in all families suffer the most from conflict between parents. I find that my disengagement is the only way to lower the conflict. Besides, whatever I assert is always cleverly combated.

I say these things often, in order to keep breathing:

  • Love always matters even if not felt by the beloved or returned.
  • Hurt people hurt people.  I know my former husband’s inner devastation.  I find a shred of compassion for him about this.
  • I can forgive but also take care to protect myself.
  • I am safe and warm and well-fed, even if I cannot sleep tonight.
  • Overtime, my kindness and love will reap some fruit, even if I do not see or taste this.

What speaks to me loudest in this post, is what Jacqui says about the silence of friends and families. Sometimes that silence does comes from judgment but I believe it often comes from simply not knowing what to say or where to start a conversation.

Ignoring the topic however, is ignoring the elephant in the room. If you can start just one conversation about it, it’ll make it easier for future conversations. The longer you avoid the topic, the harder it will be to initiate a conversation about it. And the sooner you can bring yourself to talk to your friend about it, the sooner she’ll know she has your support.

I’d like to thank Jacqui for sharing her experience with parental alienation. I hope at some point, she will be reconciled with her daughter and I’m pretty confident that someone else reading this is in a similar situation and has benefited from reading Jacqui’s account.

Tomorrow, I’m starting a new series with Debbie who blogs at My Everyday Journey. Debbie was married to the love of her life until she found out he was a pedophile. She’s an amazing lady who’s bravely and courageously rebuilt a life for herself and her son. As I said on my Since My Divorce Facebook page, never again will I listen to a news story of a pedophile without wondering if he has a wife and children and what’s happening in their world. I hope you’ll join me as Debbie shares what has helped her through her challenges.

  • Lori

    I have never heard of Parental Alienation. What a scary and horrific thing to go through. I too hope and pray that Jacqui will one day soon reunite with her daughter.

  • Pam Japour

    I have just come to realize how much my daughter hates me, she blurted out all of her pent up hate in a fit of rage against me. I could literary feel my body being hammered into the ground as she spewed her hate from the steps. This happened July 8th, and the nighmare keeps replaying in my mind over and over. It’s the most horrific experience one could ever experience, having your only child, the one person that you have loved with all your heart just denigrate you to a size of a grain of sand. It’s sucks the breath out of you and being alone is now pure torture.
    Pray for me folks.

    • Anonymous

      @Pam My heart goes out to you. I hope that you can find a way reconcile. I know it will most likely take a long time but don’t give up hope. I’m pretty sure mothers love their children forever. No matter what.