Whenever I take on a new client, my brain likes to rank their divorce in terms of high-conflict status. I tend to rank my files out of 10. Hardly scientific, but based on the frame of reference from my current caseload. I notice some of the lawyers that I work with do this too. By far, the most high-conflict battles (the 10/10) cases are when the healthy parent is being alienated from their child.
This is the one time you can’t be ruthlessly patient
If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you know I subscribe to the thought: it pays to be ruthlessly patient in divorce. However, this is the one time you must abandon that theory. This is when you must be ruthlessly aggressive and rally the troops. Hire the strongest lawyer you can find, a therapist with experience in parental alienation and a divorce coach to keep you on track. You will benefit from several modalities to manage your feelings of betrayal, grief and anger so that when you do see your child, you will be the best parent you can be.
Convince yourself that you need to commit to the expense
Here is how I coach my clients to buckle up and commit to the expense of a great lawyer. I ask them to imagine that their child has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness like leukemia. It will cost $$$$$ to fly the child to the most sophisticated cancer treatment centre that statistically has the best chance (but no guarantee) of recovery. Would they find the funds to pursue this?
You will be far more committed to the expense and process of protecting your child if you look at the condition of alienation as an illness from which your child is suffering.
Showing up as their parent
Parents being alienated from a child are exposed to some wretched behaviour. Children may withhold their love as they align with the unhealthy parent. What was once a beautiful loving relationship is now strained. An alienated parent is pulling out the shrapnel after every visit with the estranged child.
The first step in recovering your beloved child is to stop feeding the delusion that your child hates or blames you. It is not true, despite what they say.
In fact, according to one guru of parental alienation, Dorcy Prueter, the child that is alienating you has actually subconsciously chosen you to be the person to reconstruct the family. What? Doesn’t that turn everything upside down?
Keep turning everything that you believe upside down. You have a higher purpose than being the victim in a divorce drama. The nasty pokes from your kids are there to awaken the deep inner traumas that you need to heal. Dig deep into the subconscious thoughts that you may have about yourself being unlovable or unworthy. Seek help in doing so. Cultivate a feeling of unconditional love first for yourself, then for your child.
If you want to know if you should keep seeing the child and reaching out, despite their negative reception, the answer is YES. Because that is what love would do. Unconditional love for them means loving them despite how they behave. Unconditional love for yourself means stop feeding the delusion that they don’t love you. They do.