3 Ways Parental Alienation Affects the Targeted Parent

3 Ways Parental Alienation Affects the Targeted Parent

If your ex-spouse tends to speak badly about you, attempts to limit contact, or undermines your authority or importance in your child’s life, then you might be a victim of parental alienation.

Unfortunately, this isn’t unheard of because it occurs in up to 15% of all divorce cases. If you’re a victim of alienation, here are three facts you might not have known about how this type of trauma affects the targeted parent. 

#1: Targeted Parents Are More Likely to Experience Psychological Distress

Did you know that parents who are rejected by their children or targeted by their exes are more likely to experience higher depressive levels and a lower quality of life? 

While that may not come as a surprise, many other negative emotions accompany depression and overall lower quality of life, such as: 

  • Stress
  • Frustration
  • Loss
  • Fear
  • Helplessness
  • Despair

Depressive symptoms like this can be detrimental to a person’s overall outlook on life and lead to major depressive episodes, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. 

While most people understand that willingly causing mental harm to another person is wrong, some are so emotionally driven that their mind becomes clouded. 

But there is a silver lining: If you’re on the receiving end of being treated like this, it may be used as evidence if you decide to open a civil lawsuit. 

#2: Targeted Parents Continuously Conduct Threat Appraisal

Threat appraisal is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an individual evaluates a stressor to the outcome of an event that pertains to their well-being. 

In most cases, with parental alienation, one parent typically perceives the other who is targeting them as a threat to the relationship with their child. Threat appraisal often leads to rapidly-developing anxiety, which can affect how a parent may otherwise naturally act with their child, and in turn, change the relationship. 

Targeted parents continously conduct threat appraisal, which is a scary and lonely experience. That’s why both parents must learn to work together in a civil way. 

#3: Targeted Parents Are Still Willing and Competent Parents

In parental alienation, children are given the impression by one parent that the other is usually not good enough. Through name-calling and speaking badly, it’s common for children to begin believing that their parent doesn’t care about them enough to put in the right effort.

But the opposite couldn’t be more true: Targeted parents of alienation are still just as willing and competent as they might have been before the separation or divorce. Studies show that targeted parents still believe they can be good parents and want to be involved in their child’s life — if given the opportunity. 

If You’re Experiencing Distress as a Targeted or Rejected Parent, Call Hickey & Hull Today

No matter how you try to keep the peace, separation or divorce is an emotional and messy experience. For some adults, the only way they know how to deal with it is to alienate their ex-spouses by turning their children against them. 

This is not an easy journey to forcefully embark on: Being alienated can cause distress and uncertainty even if you’ve done your best to remain present in your child’s life. 
If you’re a targeted parent due to attempted parental alienation, you should contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners to schedule a consultation on your case. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560. We’ll give you a free case consultation so that you know exactly what to expect when you decide to work with us.