Hurting yourself hurts your child!
While reading posts on Parental Alienation sites, a common theme is that the targeted parent is in so much pain that they want to end it all. For someone who has never been alienated from a child, it would be hard to understand the depth of suffering one endures when one is grieving for a child that still lives. To make matters worse, it seems like social media and texting continues to throw salt onto the wound, constantly reminding a targeted parent of what has been lost.
If a targeted parent is feeling this way, they must get help. The major reason not to self-harm is that it would cause immense damage to the child right to the depths of their being. The child will lose a parent and they will feel immense guilt about it, often blaming themselves for the act. It may not show immediately but a suicide will leave a scar on the child that will never be fully erased. They will be at a higher risk of suicide themselves. So, if you are feeling at all desperate, hang on for the sake of your children and seek help by calling a suicide hotline.
Resist the impulse to get a lawyer first!
So often, once a parent realizes that they are the target of an alienating parent, they try to hire a lawyer to start the fight to win back their children, spending thousands and thousands of dollars. In the meantime, their mental health goes down the toilet, with anxiety, fear, depression, anger and even suicidal thoughts causing them to lose hope, particularly as they see their children drawing further away from them at the same time as their financial resources are being drained.
If you are reading this, perhaps you are the targeted parent. If so, I have some advice for you. Instead of looking for the name of a good lawyer, start looking for a good counsellor. They don't need to be familiar with parental alienation as all good counsellors know how to deal with your mental health issues. For a fraction of the cost of a lawyer, you will be given tools to help you not catastrophize the situation and to stay out of the flight-fright-freeze mode of thinking, which can cause you to do things to make matters worse. They will teach you how to vent by writing down your thoughts and then hitting "delete", to help calm yourself down. They will coach you on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle (eg. eat well, sleep and exercise) so you have the mental and physical strength to carry on the battle.
Most important of all, you will become a better, calmer and stronger version of "you", which ultimately will demonstrate to your children that the image the alienating parent has tried to paint you with is simply not reality. The reality is that you are a good and worthy parent, deserving of love and time with your children.
Click here to hear my song, "Misery, My Friend", about mental wellness.
Are you dealing with a Narcissist? Don't engage!
I see so many people feeling weary and wanting to give up due to constant interaction with their ex. In many cases, it seems the ex is quite narcissistic. Before continuing the conflict with more emails or texts, remember that a narcissist actually draws energy from the conflict. They will sometimes reach out with something unreasonable to try to get a reaction and get the conflict going. Then, like adding fuel to fire, they seem to get boundless energy to continue the crazy and hostile interactions. So, instead of reacting and falling into the narcissist's trap, do the following:
1. Find a counsellor and pass everything by them.
2. If the email needs a response, a simple yes or no or "I need to get back to you"... and leave it alone for awhile... don't add fuel to the fire by responding angrily. Anything longer needs to go through a counsellor to help you with your response.
3. If you can ignore it, do...
If your ex is really a narcissist, by your not taking the bait, you will find that they will leave you alone for longer and longer periods of time, and they will look elsewhere to feed their narcissistic ego. It definitely has worked for me and has made my life so much more peaceful!!!!
Writing the ship!
Something to try... when you feel angry, frustrated, anxious or hopeless, it helps to write. In other words, if your ex angers you, write an uncensored letter to them... then hit delete. If your children have hurt you deeply, write an uncensored letter to them... then hit delete. If you are angry at the justice system, let loose in text form... then hit delete. Why do this? When you are in this highly excited and agitated state, your brain is in "flight, fright, freeze" mode... it is something that is physiological and comes from when our prehistoric ancestors had to run from predators. However, when you are using this part of the brain, you cannot think clearly. By writing, your mind has to shift into using another part of your brain.... the part that is more calm and is able to think clearly.
Try it.... it works for me... I have been able to save myself a lot of grief by not saying or doing something rash that I would regret later... a common consequence of only using the "flight, fright and freeze" part of your brain.