Parental Alienation (PAS),
Trauma and Memory Loss:
Healing Insights for the Estranged Parent

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Why do children from the same family respond to parental alienation differently? If they are all exposed to the same pollution and brainwashing, why are some more affected than others?

My hunch is that it has more to do with the timing, perception and interpretation of the trauma, than anything else. This insight comes to me after a conversation with one of my children.

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We were walking down memory lane, enjoying the memories and moments recalled. And then he brought up a place we frequently went to and I drew a blank. I had absolutely no recollection of the health club where I worked out (and Iíve had an affinity for working out all my adult life.) Yet, my adult child recalled the childrenís play area and more.

It surprised me that no matter what he said to jog my memory, there was noneÖnot a single tangible one. So I asked myself, why am I blanking on this segment of my life in Chicago?

It seems that I have blocked out lots of the geography surrounding a particular trauma in Glencoe, IL...WHERE my exís newly acquired partner threatened to push me out of my childrenís lives. Her conviction, standing on the lawn in front of my exís Glencoe home, was a sword of immeasurable magnitude.

Iíve always been aware of this womanís instrumental role in my being forbidden to have any access to my children in their adolescence, but I hadnít really thought of the impact of that initial trauma.

Now how does this insight relate to the first question I posed: Why do children from the same family respond to parental alienation differently?

Hereís my hunch. My third child while being 18 months younger than my second child experienced the trauma of mom being torn out of his life more vividly, severely than his older brothers (possibly due to age and his significant intimacy with me). He was so much ďmamaís little boyĒ at age 10.

He jumped out of a moving automobile to come home to me. He was carving the judgeís name into his chest in his despair that he was not allowed to see me. He desperately cried that he will cut a line for everyday he canít see me.

And today, I notice his memories are not as lucid, clear and distinct as those of my other children. Iím thinking now, as I recently taste my own memory loss as it relates to this trauma, that he too may have blocked out large segments so as to protect his young developing psyche from the immeasurable pain of mom being torn out of his life.

The moral of this insight and reason for sharing it with you is: do not judge your relationship with your estranged children based on their memories of your prior life together. Itís NOT about you. Their memories are the net result of how they processed the trauma of having been severed from you and you from them.

For more healing insights, I invite you to check out Healing for Domestic Abuse and Domestic Abuse Healing from Within. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse at home and in court.

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©2009 Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.