Family Alienation and Divorce
Adult children may choose to estrange themselves from one parent after a divorce for a variety of reasons. It's important to remember that each situation is unique, and estrangement can result from a combination of factors.
Here are some of the main reasons:
In high-conflict divorces, one parent may attempt to turn the child against the other parent. They often use manipulation, false accusations, or disparaging remarks. This can lead to estrangement.
Abuse or Neglect:
One parent may have been abusive, neglectful, or otherwise harmful to the child during the marriage or divorce. The adult child may distance themselves to protect their own well-being.
Perhaps the child has been coerced by the preferred parent to believe that the alienated parent was abusive and have gaslighted the child. This is often harder to deal with as it involves various factors which make the child hostile towards the alienated parent. These include them not being there for the child during trauma associated with the preferred parent.
Adult children may feel torn between their parents. They choose to distance themselves from one parent to avoid taking sides or being in the middle of ongoing conflicts.
Lack of Emotional Support:
Some adult children may feel that one parent was emotionally unavailable to them. Or failed to provide the support they needed during and after the divorce.
Failed Attempts at Reconciliation:
Efforts to rebuild the relationship with one parent may have been unsuccessful, leading to estrangement.
Differences in Values and Beliefs:
Adult children and one parent may have fundamental differences in values, beliefs, or lifestyle choices. This can make it challenging to maintain a close relationship.
Involvement in Legal Battles:
Prolonged legal battles between parents can lead to emotional strain on the adult child. This potentially causes estrangement from the parent who they perceive as contributing to the conflict.
Disagreements About Custody or Visitation:
Adult children may have their own opinions about custody arrangements or visitation schedules. They may distance themselves from one parent based on these disagreements.
Blaming One Parent for the Divorce:
In some cases, adult children may hold one parent responsible for the divorce. Often fostered by the other parent, they may distance themselves due to resentment.
Personal Growth and Independence:
As adult children become more independent and build their own lives, they may choose to distance themselves from one parent. This may occur as a necessary part of them focusing on their own personal development.
It's important for parents going through a divorce to prioritize the emotional well-being of their children. They can seek professional support, such as family therapy or counseling, to navigate the challenges of co-parenting effectively and minimize the risk of estrangement.
There are several reasons for parental alienation. Many are covered here. Usually it is a combination of the above factors and after a divorce, you have to count in the affect that the preferred parent has on the child on an ongoing basis.
More articles on Alienation can be found here.
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