Going through a divorce is already a huge trauma to you and your family. Unfortunately, disgruntled co-parents can make the transition even worse. If your co-parent has decided they do not want you having a relationship with your kid, they could turn to aggressive and harmful means of ruining it.
This is parental alienation, and many divorcees suffer through it. It also results in parental alienation syndrome, which can do lasting damage to your children.
Children and PAS
Psychology Today looks into parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Children who suffer from PAS often begin developing unhealthy coping mechanisms at an early age. They may turn their frustrations inward, manifesting in guilt and self-blame. Some may even develop harmful tics that are physically abusive toward themselves.
In other cases, the frustrations manifest outwardly. This often shows in a resistance toward figures of authority. They may also spurn their peers. Many grow sullen and grow prone to temper tantrums, even if they never had such issues before.
The lingering effects of PAS
PAS can affect adults, too. Many adults with PAS cite difficulties in creating and maintaining relationships. They struggle with both romantic and platonic ties. Many state they struggle with trust issues, which likely stem from the early abuse of parental alienation.
Adults with PAS also have a higher rate of suffering from mental health disorders. Anxiety and depression rank among the most common, along with other stress disorders. To cope, PAS victims may develop further unhealthy mechanisms like gambling or drinking. Needless to say, the damage is far-reaching and long-lasting. Thus, if you notice signs of parental alienation early, consider speaking to a legal professional about the actions you can take.