In one of our previous blogs, we talked about the effects of parental alienation on the kids and how it damages their personality. In this blog, you will find the effects of parental alienation on the parents, both the alienated as well as the alienator and also on the extended family.
Parental alienation is a very common topic of discussion. The internet is full of articles on this topic, but most of them focus on how it affects the child. We are going to focus on what the alienated parent and extended family go through.
Characteristics of the alienated parent
The alienated parent is also referred to as the targeted parent. A lot of researchers have done in-depth researches on these complex personalities. Most researchers suggest that alienated parents are mentally more stable and understand the surrounding environment better. They are likely to have no or minimal contribution in the alienation.
Also, the alienated parent is the more sensible one and has a comparatively simpler personality. This is probably why the alienating parent becomes successful in manipulating the child and pulling him/her away from the other parent.
The effects of parental alienation on the alienated parent’s mental health
No matter what the researchers or the general public say, no one knows the extent of damage or the effects of parental alienation on the parent who goes through all this. No one can truly understand what thoughts alienated parents have to live with except people who have gone through the same situations, or their immediate family.
The worst thing that can ever happen to a parent is being separated from their child. Alienated parents are likely to go under severe depression. They become insomniac because of ragged mental health. Also, they feel terrified. They develop a constant fear of losing their loved ones, which makes them very vulnerable. Their jumbled up thoughts keep them awake all night while memories of their baby haunt them the entire day.
Alienated parents are said to be mentally healthier than the alienating parent. However, after being alienated, their mental health deteriorates drastically. They become a target of anxiety as they have a feeling of uncertainty all the time.
Furthermore, they tend to think that eventually, everyone will leave them like their child and spouse. These thoughts can be highly dangerous. Severe stages of anxiety even affect the physical health of these people. Their loss leads them to disenfranchised grief that cannot be put into words.
Some of the researches also show that around twenty-five percent of alienated parents have attempted to commit suicides. This is terrifying but sadly, true.
Effects on the physical health of the alienated parent
The effects of parental alienation on the parent are not limited to their emotions only; the alienated parents are affected in every way possible. Where their mental health takes a huge hit, their physical health certainly doesn’t remain safe, either.
Due to extreme anxiety, alienated parents are most likely to suffer from high blood pressure. This causes dizziness and traces of fever that certainly come along with body aches. In addition to this, alienated parents may also suffer from physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shivering, digestive issues, vomiting, and high fever.
Moreover, alienated parents may as well lose appetite, which affects their diet. Their weight keeps reducing day by day, and the condition can worsen critically.
What should an alienated parent do?
The best way to cope up with these effects of parental alienation is by keeping yourself distracted. In addition, make sure you are spending time with positive people around you who make you feel important and worthy. Also, try to indulge in constructive habits and work towards developing your personality.
If you feel like your mental health is getting worse every day, and it’s out of control now, you need to see a therapist as soon as possible. It’s best to consult an experienced psychiatrist and address your issues professionally so that you are able to move on quickly. So, no matter what happens, always remember your mental health comes first!
The effects of parental alienation on the alienator
Most of the theories surrounding this topic propose that the alienating parent is the one who has mental issues and, therefore, acts out in aggression. It is he/she who brainwashes the child and manipulates him/her to alienate the other parent.
After their spouse has been alienated, they feel overwhelmed. They may consider themselves victorious. However, what they don’t know is that they are very toxic to their children. Psychologists say that alienators become more and more controlling every day, and after alienating their spouse, they unintentionally start harming their own children emotionally. The alienator may also try to control the child’s friendship. He/she will keep secrets and even stalk his/her child’s friends.
In a nutshell, where the alienator thinks he/she is protective of his/her child, he/she is actually being harmful and can greatly affect the child’s mental health.
Effects of parental alienation on the extended family
When parental alienation happens, it’s not just the immediate family that suffers. The extended family members who are attached to the child also suffer greatly. These may include grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
All these lovely relations are suddenly cut off when the alienation is complete, leaving all these relatives in shock and grief. Phone calls, family visits, occasional family gatherings – everything stops on a sudden note. This usually happens to the alienated parent’s side of the family. Basically, everyone who sides with the targeted parent is ghosted by the alienator, and consequently, the child.
Some extended family members, especially siblings, declare themselves neutral so that they can continue meeting their brother/sister the same way. However, this rarely helps, and the alienating parent separates the child from them anyway. This happens because of his/her insecurities and fears of losing the child.
Of course, the extended family grief is incomparable to the effects of parental alienation on the parent who has been alienated, but still, they go through a great amount of sadness and emotional uncertainty. Some of them may also get frightened with the thought of never seeing their beloved kid(s) again, which will certainly cause severe damage to their mental health.
The child might try to contact them once he/she grows up and is able to reach out to people. Unfortunately, some family members like grandparents may not still be alive by then. You definitely don’t want to snatch someone’s happiness in their old age.
As far as siblings are concerned, be them step-siblings or actual ones, they lose an important member of their family. Even if they get to reconnect in the future, no one can bring back their childhood years that they spent without their beloved siblings. The same is also true for cousins that the child was attached to.
Their lives are greatly impacted, especially if the alienating child is the elder sibling as elder siblings have an enormous influence on their younger brothers and sisters. Also, these young children can develop trust issues from their primary years. This can very easily ruin their future relationships as well as professional lives. In short, after the alienated parent, grandparents and siblings are the relationships that suffer the most pain.
What can be done to prevent parental alienation?
There are a lot of doctors who compare parental alienation with a tragic death in the family. For the child, it is like one of his parents passed away, and for the targeted parent, it is like his child died suddenly. However, in this situation, the child not only grieves for separation from his parent but also because he/she considers himself/herself guilty of playing a role in it. He knows he played a role in this separation and chose his alienating parent and left the other one for no good reason. So, this guilt keeps him/her stressed all the time.
Although there is no defined way of treating parental alienation, you can always try to prevent it beforehand as they say ‘prevention is better than cure’. Make sure you build a very strong bond with your child, especially if you are going through marital issues.
Also, if you have any problems with your spouse, try to sort them out when the child isn’t around because seeing parents fight is nothing less than a nightmare for children. This does not mean you hide your issues from them- be clear with them about your marital status, but don’t argue when they are around.
Moreover, if you and your spouse are separated, make sure both of you spend equal and quality time with your child. If she/he’s staying with one parent for the weekdays, he should spend the weekend with the other one as both of the parents are equally important in a child’s upbringing.
We hope this article helped you understand the effects of parental alienation on the parents, and now you know what you need to do. Just hold on, and everything will get better with time, hopefully.