The effects of a divorce can last for years, especially in high-conflict situations. The bad feelings throughout the divorce can linger far after a judge signs the decree.
Unfortunately, children often get caught in the turmoil. Not only do they have their own feelings to deal with, but they also have the cast off from their parents. What happens when one parent’s emotions begin to change the way the children feel toward the other parent? A shift like this may lead to long-term psychological consequences for the children and the “innocent” parent.
The psychological term for the behavior is parental alienation. It is becoming recognized for the destruction it causes between parents and children. It can happen when one parent is so angry and bitter that he or she wants to hurt or punish the other. When children become the weapon of choice, it may cause irreparable harm. Take a look at three common ways the damage can occur.
In naïve alienation, a parent’s attempt to disparage the other may come in the form of passive-aggressive statements. On the surface, these may come across as innocent and include comments about the other parent having more money. When a child hears these sentiments repeatedly, they can skew the viewpoint of the other parent.
Active alienation involves one parent building up a sense of trust between them. These instances often include keeping secrets from the other parent, making the child believe the other parent is not worthy of the same information.
Obsessive alienation is, by far the worst and most damaging of the categories. It involves one parent manufacturing bad feelings between the other parent and the child. It is aggressive and highly toxic. Out of the three, it can cause the widest rifts between children and the other parent.
If you suspect your ex is toxic and capable of getting back at you by turning your children against you, consult an attorney. Texas courts take these allegations seriously. If there is evidence it is occurring, they may take swift action against the offending parent.