A taboo and unrecognized subject, parental alienation is present here in Quebec as everywhere else in the world. In Quebec, we are talking about about a thousand children affected by the phenomenon, which could possibly translate into millions worldwide.
Parental alienation is a family situation where one or more children are manipulated, consciously or unconsciously, by a parent with alienating behavior, to denigrate, hate, fear or reject the other parent. In extreme cases, this can sometimes go so far as to psychologically eliminate the targeted parent from the child's life.1
Parental alienation has recently been recognized as psychological abuse towards children which can have significant or serious psychological repercussions on their current and future lives. As a result, more and more people are mobilizing to highlight the phenomenon with the aim of prevention, awareness and to try to counter it or defuse it when possible.2
Published by the Quebec support organization for victims of parental alienation CAP Québec (Carrefour aliénation parentale du Québec), to resolve a problem of family alienation, it is essential that the following two conditions be present simultaneously:
- One of the parents uses alienating behaviors to unjustifiably exclude the other parent from the child's life.
- The process leads to a deterioration of the relationship between the child and the targeted parent, or even a breakdown in the relation.2
It is important to realize that the child also participates in the phenomenon, and this despite themselves. Often manipulated in very subtle ways, the child will support the alienating parent for a variety of reasons, here are the main ones4 :
- Fear: if the alienating parent is intimidating, the child will necessarily fear showing affection for the other parent;
- Feeling of support or guilt: when the parent with alienating behavior seems unstable or lacking, the child will feel the need to support, protect or protect himself by joining the ranks;
- Shame: An alienated child does not realize and especially does not want to realize that he is being manipulated to reject the other parent. When asked, he has no sufficient reason to justify his actions or will recite the unwarranted speech of the parent who alienates. Consequently, the child will feel deep discomfort in the presence of his rejected parent. He becomes a child soldier who militates unconsciously for the cause of the alienating parent, to protect himself.
There are a variety of reasons that can lead a child to enter into an alliance with a parent. Each case is unique, however, when it comes to a complete break in the parent-child attachment bond, several professionals agree that we are faced with a problem of a destitute and affected alienating parent. mental illness, more precisely borderline personality and narcissistic personality.3
There are no quick fixes for getting out of a parental alienation situation, the road can sometimes be long, however some strategies can help defuse the situation before there is too much damage. The following link gives you access to the original document in English by Dr Baker and Dr Fine (include the link to reference 4) which proposes 17 strategies to counter parental alienation. Also, some of these solutions (include the link to reference 5) have been translated into French and are available directly on the CAP Quebec site. Do your research, there are many very interesting resources on the web.
In conclusion, when parental alienation strikes a family, several consequences can arise. For some, the shock is sometimes immeasurable. It is important to be well educated (e) on the subject and well supported (e) to cope with the steps necessary for the restoration of weakened or broken links. The more people who are aware of the phenomenon, the more it will be possible to effectively prevent it and avoid the suffering that may result from it for many children. Parental alienation sometimes extends to all members of the family of the rejected parent: grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and so on. Beyond the suffering which results from it, there are especially children without defenses and abused who must be protected.