Is parental alienation a form of abuse?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2021 | Child Custody |

After a divorce, it takes a lot of effort from all parties involved to move on to a better, brighter future. Many co-parents face setbacks as they try to achieve this goal. But sometimes, a co-parent may not try at all.

This happens if a co-parent decides they want to end the relationship between you and your child. This is parental alienation, and it can lead to immense distress for everyone involved.

Abuse tactics used in parental alienation

According to Psychology Today, many victims of parental alienation suffer through classic abuse tactics. In fact, the court often classifies parental alienation as a form of abuse. The act of parental alienation often utilizes tactics like:

  • Gaslighting
  • Manipulation
  • Isolation
  • Guilt-tripping
  • Giving the silent treatment

These tactics are especially harmful when turned on a child by their own parent. Many kids will do anything to keep their primary caregiver happy. This includes turning on someone who does not see them as often, even if that someone is their other parent.

Subconscious reaction to abuse

Many children often react in a subconscious way, without knowing what they are doing. They will internalize the lies the alienating parent feeds them. They will feel guilt without understanding where it came from. This often leads to children acting out against others or harming themselves.

It also establishes unhealthy coping mechanisms at a young age. Children suffering from this form of abuse often see a higher rate of depression, anxiety and trauma-related disorders in adult life, too. Many also claim to struggle with trust issues that actively sabotage their relationships. Thus, if you notice any signs of parental alienation early on, you want to contact a legal expert immediately. They can help you figure out what to do next.