Parental Alienation - The Key to Reuniting
Successfully with Your Estranged Children
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Parental alienation comes with some unique challenges, many of which are in the most unexpected places. You might assume that living with the loss of your relationship with your children is the most horrific thing you can experience. While this is true, the story doesnít end when you reunite with them.
Reuniting with your estranged children challenges you in ways that you may never have anticipated. You are called to contain both your excitement, while at the same time, manage your fear. Alienated parents know the apparent fragility of their relationship with their estranged alienated children. Even while experiencing the depth of their eternal connection with their children, they can fear the loss simply by tasting the gain.
At some point in re-establishing a relationship with your children, you will be expected to be what you have convinced yourself that you are not capable of...parenting. And then, you are called to step up to the greatest challenge.
The Privilege of Being a Parent
You may experience yourself as a foreigner on the receiving end of a privilege. Just being in the presence of your estranged child sends shivers (not chills) down your spine and throughout your entire being. Itís an excitement that one can hardly contain.
It certainly was for me. I remember thinking of how I looked from the outside in during the second time seeing my two youngest children. It occurred to me that I appeared as though I had never seen a young adult before. I was in utter awe that I was looking at my kids and they were sitting at a table with me.
Itís a privilege. The awareness of this is so profound. I liken it to the feeling of holding your newborn infant.
Yet, with the glee of basking in this privilege is a feeling that ďyou are not to parent these people,Ē for whatever reason you have internalized. And herein lies the challenge.
You must realize that you are not on the receiving end of a privilege; rather you are on the giving end of parenting. There is a huge difference. Come with me and letís clarify.
Privilege or Parenting for the Alienated Parent
When you only experience yourself as being awarded a privilege in the presence of your estranged children, you can surrender your parental responsibilities. You might experience yourself as hanging onto the glow of their favor and in so doing forget to be the parent that you are. Now hereís the most important part: if you donít remember that you are their parent, you canít expect that they will remember and see you as such.
Your obligation to yourself, as well as to them, is to embody being their parent. As a parent, you will be called upon to set limits and create consequences, as well as offer your unconditional love.
If you are seeing these awesome creatures only as a privilege, you could fall pray to establishing the same dynamic you once knew in your abusive marriage. Need I remind you of what that was like? I doubt it.
Finding Their Mother/Father Behind the Alienated Parent
Everyone wins when you step into the privilege and parent your alienated children. Notice how I said, ďalienated children?Ē Be mindful that if they have alienated themselves from you, it most likely has nothing to do with you.
So, internally they may both want and not want you to parent them. Yet, if you only remain on the receiving end of a privilege, they will not resolve their conflict around you being their parent.
Itís a gentle dance for both of you. As you flow with it and meet its challenges, you can reunite and rekindle your parental relationship with your estranged children. And they can find the anchor that they once lost.
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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.