Sunday, October 28, 2012

Parental Alienation Harms Multiple Generations

Parental Alienation Harms Multiple Generations

While many married couples of my parents’ generation have weathered the highs and lows of life and successfully navigated more than five decades of marriage,  a significant number of my friends, acquaintances and contemporaries have been less successful.  This has resulted in an increasing phenomenon of parental alienation, a situation in which a bitter, angry, hurt custodial parent will either unintentionally or actively try to destroy their child’s relationship parent they believe to be evil incarnate and the reason for everything that has gone awry in their lives.

It is my belief that my youngest stepdaughter has been alienated from her father. She accepts as fact every negative thing her mother said about her dad. While I have no idea whether the alienation was intentional or accidental borne out of frustration and bitterness, the results have been painful. But the indoctrination was so all encompassing that even as a young adult, she refuses to accept there are two sides to every story, that it takes 2 people in a relationship to make it work, that every individual has his or her own truth, and that ultimately, one needs to love and accept a parent for who he or she is today – not 25 years ago.

Because of the estrangement, our grandson has been deprived of developing a relationship with his grandfather, his great grandparents, and his great, great grandmother.  My in-laws were deprived of the opportunity to bond with their granddaughter and to enjoy their great grandson.  My stepdaughter declined to attend the 100th birthday party for her great grandmother. She has distanced herself from an aunt she reportedly loves who told her something she didn’t want to hear and recommended that she learn to appreciate her father for all that he is, was and will be.

Ultimately, five generations have been harmed by this alienation. For someone who feels such gratitude that I still have both of my parents in my life and who still misses my paternal grandfather who died in early 1989, it is nearly beyond my comprehension that my stepdaughter does not feel the same gratitude for the dynamic people now on the periphery of her life and that of her child, that she doesn’t see how she is harming her child in depriving him of what could be valuable, happy, and memorable relationships.

Life is short.  I hope she doesn’t wait too long to make amends.  

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