Even under the very best of circumstances, the divorce experience can take a significant psychological toll on everyone involved. The emotional effects of the end of a marriage can become even more complicated when the divorcing couple shares children, as children can be especially sensitive to the overwhelming changes to their household and lifestyle.
Sadly, in cases of a contentious divorce, the conditions can sometimes turn toxic as parents succumb to parental alienation syndrome. This occurs when one parent turns the children against the other parent. This syndrome morphs into a pattern of habitual parent-child relationship sabotage, often resulting in short and long-term psychological damage to the kids.
Generally, the alienating parent is often the less emotionally healthy of the two parents. Such behaviors can be sparked by a number of factors, but are usually driven by a desire for revenge, even when the alienating parent is the one who initiated the divorce. Three of the most common motivators to trigger parental alienation syndrome according to psychologists include:
Money - A key theme of the syndrome is the use of the child as a pawn. This especially surfaces when it comes to the area of finances. Many alienating parents manipulate the children and the other parent in their pursuit to extort more money from the divorce. For example, they may want more money in child support or they may simply want to hurt the other parent by causing them a greater financial struggle.
Jealousy - Parents who engage in parental alienation often possess certain qualities that mimic or are similar to various personality disorders, such as narcissism or borderline personality disorder (BPD). Parents with such mindsets or disorders may be emotionally hyperactive, which means they experience stronger than average mood swings and intense emotions, often with an inability to see the other parent’s point of view. When the alienating parent is driven by jealousy — typically when they discover the other parent is planning to remarry or date — this triggers them in their attempt to turn the kids against the other parent.
Sole Custody of the Children - Sometimes, the alienating parent is jealous not only of their former partner’s new romantic relationship but of their children’s relationship with the other parent as well. It is common for the alienating parent to desire to have the children all to himself or herself and to pursue full custody. They may be relentless in their goal to turn the kids against their other parent, stopping at nothing to achieve what they really want: sole claim on the children they share for the sake of getting back at their former spouse.
The toxic effects of parental alienation syndrome can be detrimental to your children’s well-being and ultimately unhealthy for the whole family. If the end of your marriage is taking a contentious turn and your children are stuck in the middle, it is time to speak with a competent Lombard divorce lawyer who is equipped to protect your rights and fight for your family’s best interests. Call our team of seasoned attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices today at 630-932-9100 and ask for your personal consultation.
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