April 21, 2011

After Parental Alienation: What's Next?

Please see the link in this post's title if you are unfamiliar with parental alienation.

If this post has attracted your attention, you are probably aware of parental alienation. Google the phrase to learn more.

Briefly, parental alienation is a process (not a single act) through which a child (of any age) becomes alienated from a parent that child once had a loving relationship with. You may wonder if it is possible for this to happen. The answer is "yes."

I have some experience with this and my experience is the basis for my writing on this subject. Please use the search box on this blog to read my previous posts on parental alienation.

What's next after parental alienation?

First, one must accept the new normal. This doesn't mean giving up; this means accepting how things have changed and releasing the need to recreate the past relationship. All of the parties involved in parental alienation are changed by the experience. As a result, you cannot "go home again" in your relationship with the parent or child from whom you've been alienated.

Second, stop asking for regret or restitution from the parties involved. Almost always, alienators feel very justified in their actions. They will not apologize or express regret in most cases. If the alienator expresses regret, allow that experienced to be a pleasant surprise. Do not seek that expression of regret. It often takes many years for alienators to accept the wrongness of their actions. Do not put your life on hold waiting for them to see the light. You will lose too many years. Also, children who have been alienated often are unaware of the process and can not explain what has happened, or why. Do not ask them; doing so will only confuse them.

Third, be honest with those you can trust about your situation. This does not mean endless and unthoughtful chatter about what happened, who did it, and why. On the other hand, if you share meaningful facts with those you trust and spend time with, the seeming craziness of your situation will be less confusing to those you care about.

Fourth, leave room in your life for incoming love. Create rituals, short-getaways, favorite places of respite, and routines that support love in your life and that welcome in and make room for new love. Anyone who has experienced a major emotional loss or deep emotional pain should work on making room for love. It is very easy to become swept away by the pain of an unfair injury. Keep yourself healthy on all levels by making room for what is good, fresh, and restorative. Make room for love to come and stay in your life.

Finally, stop asking why. From my perspective, we all live in a fallen world, a place where things that don't make sense happen. This does not mean there is no order or purpose in life. It means we cannot always perceive the order and purpose. When people do crazy things, we should not expect them to give us logical reasons for their actions. When crazy people do things, we should not expect them to rationally explain their irrational actions. If someone hates you enough to alienate your parent or child from you, it is not wise to expect the alienator to sit down and carefully explain why they did what they did.

You will notice I have focused almost exclusively on what you can do in this situation. I have written very little about the alienator because there is really very little you can do to or for that person. If you are working on restoring a relationship with someone you have become alienated from, the best thing you can do is  keep yourself healthy and open to the goodness of life. The person who is distanced from you may return to you in a way that makes you happy or you may have lost the relationship forever---or something in between.

Regardless of the outcome, after parental alienation, your job is to heal, be open, and move forward. You can do all of these at the same time. Do not wait until you feel fully healed to move forward or become open to love.Release those who hurt you, accept those who want you, and be a person of value in the world.

Someone once said living well is the best revenge.To that, I say "no." Take the focus off the offender and stop caring about revenge. It's about living well because living well is what you deserve. That is reason enough.

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