Examples of Parental Alienation, part 1

by admin on October 10, 2010

Each of the examples in the pages that follow comes from a real case.  Each was repeated.  Some, for example, the first group, were used over the course of 8 years 52 times per year – each time the children were exchanged.  Each seems innocuous, but to impressionable, growing minds, they add up quickly.  Unfortunately many courts and experts are not equipped educationally to comprehend the damage that can be done.  Many times the Judges and experts who are educated enough to comprehend are too busy to do so.

On to some examples:

“Call me as soon as you get there to let me know you are okay.”
“I know you *have* to go to your mom’s.”
“I have to take you to your dad’s.”
“I’ll really miss you, but you will be okay.”
“This is our last night together for a while, and want to make it special so you don’t forget me!”  (Laughing.)
“Don’t forget to listen to your mom/dad, like you would me if I were there.”
“If you get scared, you call me right away. Okay?”
“I’ll come get you if you want to come home.”

What is wrong with any of those?  Why are these examples of parental alienation?  Saying you “have to” gives the subtle hint that you don’t want to and that they should NOT want to go either.  Saying you miss them and that it will be okay is obviously true, but it also helps to plant to seed for them thinking, “yes, it will be okay.  Wait a minute, Mommy/Dad must think that there is some reason why it shouldn’t be okay. What is that reason?  I should think something might not be okay either.”  This just puts them on edge a bit every time they go which puts the other parent on edge a bit and decreases the enjoyment of the time there.  It also makes them wonder what the reason is that it would NOT be okay.  You are saying that you don’t think that it will be okay with the other parent indirectly.

Does anyone seriously think they would forget you?  Of course not, but it makes them think that you think they might, so they will be pulled that much closer to you (and not to the other parent) while they are away.  They will be concentrating on making sure they don’t forget you instead of getting to spend time with the other parent.  None of this will be actively thought about by the child, but it will be internalized.  Since you are the parent, even veiled references carry a lot of weight. Telling them to listen to the other parent like they would listen to you, puts you in the position of being the parent who is really in charge.

Adding the “like you would me” portion also sets up the division between the Target and  the alienator.  It suggests that perhaps the child would not have listened to the other parent without the statement and so that consequently maybe there is a reason not to do so.  This just causes doubt about the other parent in the child’s mind and any doubt just causes strife and removes another grain of trust.

In many cases the child won’t be able to articulate the reasons, but each one will build upon the others.  It disrupts the parent-child relationship.

All the statements divide the children from the other parent, in other words, they alienate them.  All are subtle though so busy Judges and busy experts will not take the time to see how devious the alienating parent is.  Even un-informed Judges and experts will often miss the subtle signs.  This is why it is critical to point them out.

If you are saying something to your children about your ex that you would not be saying or tolerating if you were married, you are alienating.

Continued in Examples of Parental Alienation, part 2

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