The Lifelong Impact of Parental Alienation on Adult Children
Psychological Scars Last a Lifetime
The sad thing is that this is the adult child’s ‘learned’ behavior. It is not an essential part of who they are. As adults, they have many other things going on in their life, so reconciliation with the estranged parent will not be high on their list of priorities. Indeed, it’s probably the last thing that they want to do because it brings up the trauma and pain of the past.
When a child is subjected to parental alienation, the scars run deep. These emotional wounds can persist into adulthood, influencing how they connect with others. It’s essential to understand that these effects are not a fundamental part of their identity but rather learned behaviors resulting from their past experiences.
The Influence of Childhood Lessons
Adult children who have experienced parental alienation may exhibit controlling behaviors in their relationships. This behavior stems from their childhood lessons on how to earn love and affection. They learned to keep people close and exclude those they perceive as threats, often including the alienated parent and their supporters.
The Role of Pain
Every action taken by an alienated adult child often comes from a place of pain. The trauma and emotional turmoil endured during childhood continue to shape their actions and choices as adults. Reconciliation with the estranged parent is typically not a high priority, as it brings up painful memories from the past.
The Legacy of Abandonment
Children who were alienated from one parent frequently grapple with feelings of abandonment and vulnerability. This can lead to anger and mistrust towards the alienated parent, as they believe the parent intentionally caused their suffering. Often, children blame themselves for the situation, further complicating the healing process.
The Silence of Suffering
Many children who experience parental alienation suffer in silence. They may not disclose their ongoing struggles with alienation to their parents until years after the divorce, if ever. The fear of exacerbating the situation or burdening their parents with their pain can prevent them from seeking help.
When children are alienated from a parent, they often feel abandoned and vulnerable. This can lead to feelings of anger towards the alienated parent and can cause them not to trust the alienated parent. Children tend to blame themselves for what has happened, because they feel like the alienated parent is doing it all on purpose. Many children suffer in silence and do not inform their parents of their ongoing issues with alienation until years after the divorce has been finalized, if ever.
The impact of parental alienation on adult children is far-reaching and enduring. It’s crucial for parents and professionals to recognize these effects and offer support to help these individuals heal and develop healthier relationships in adulthood. By acknowledging the psychological scars and addressing the root causes of alienation, there is hope for these adult children to lead more fulfilling lives.