When Children Reject Parents © Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching for Adult Children of Difficult Parents

Do you feel rejected by your family?
We help people resolve emotional and relationship issues.

PAS Part 1 – Before Adolescence . Covert Emotional Incest . Anger & Rage

Parental Alienation Part 2 – After Adolescence

Children, especially children under stress, often perceive a black or white world. Things are good … or bad. People are nice … or nasty. If their parents argue, stressed children may believe one parent is a victimizer, and the other is a victim.

Children may express anger or hatred to perceived victimizers – and love or sympathy to perceived victims. Expressing anger to victimizers and love to victims can become emotional habits that feel normal and just. Such habits may linger for life.

During and after adolescence, healthy children become biologically ready for parenthood and emotionally ready for partnership. Adolescents with unpleasant beliefs or fixations about their parents, or with other unhealthy habits, may feel unable to fulfill these needs. Instead, such teenagers and young adults may withdraw or continually express strong negative emotions.

Parental alienation and mentor damage causes many problems for children, although these problems are often latent until children reach adolescence. Then the teenagers’ symptoms (often precipitated by unhealthy role models) may seem to explode. Some symptoms are:

Emotional Maturity

Following parental alienation, adult children may express the rejected parent’s values and qualities, for example:

  1. live with the rejected parent (may avoid the rejecting parent)
  2. identify with the qualities of the rejected partner (Identification)
  3. oscillate between mother’s and father’s behavior (Identity Conflict)
  4. partner people who have qualities of the rejected parent (Transference)

If ignored, this drama may continue into subsequent generations. We can help the rejecting parent, the rejected parent and adolescent children, either individually, or simultaneously (i.e. family coaching).

If the pleasure of human connectedness can be replaced by depression and suffering, then parental alienation is a deeply spiritual issue. Parental alienation (PAS) often seems to depress children. Adult children affected by PAS may become unable to feel joyously connected with their friends, partners, families and with their God.

Systemic Family Coaching . Systemic Couple Coaching . Private Coaching

Anger & Rage

A symptom set that we often associate with parental alienation is identification with a victim. If a child perceives one parent as a victim and the other as a victimizer, that child may identify with the victim and express anger to the victimizer.

After adolescence, the same child may identify with the rejected parent (now seen as the real victim) and express anger to the rejecting parent (now seen as the real victimizer). Such anger may become generalized to all perceived victims and motivate a lifelong obsession with justice.

Chronic Conflict

If a child tries to remain loyal to both parents, and those parents are in conflict, the child will likely believe that unresolved conflicts are normal. The part of the child that supports the father will object to or battle the part of the child that supports the mother, resulting in chronic inner conflict. We often help people resolve such conflicts.

My ex-husband played a victim role very well, gained the sympathy of the judge and was awarded custody of our two children … our older child is now 24 and perpetually angry, and our younger child suffers endless indecision. Portland

Emotional Incest . Identification . Learning Disabilities . Stress Disorders

Power & Privilege

Emotional blackmail is a common strategy for gaining and maintaining the benefits of child custody, even though a mother who disrupts father-child contact defined by court order may be acting illegally.

The best interests of the child, in a court of law, rarely mean the child’s best interests. Parents can vote, parents can file lawsuits and parents can pay lawyers. Children’s interests and rights are usually subordinated to the parents’ interests. Children of divorce are rarely represented in court, and they may be emotionally crushed by their parents displays of anger, hatred and victim games.

Divorce . Children of Divorce . Parent Coaching . Depression

Parents who have hurt or damaged their partners or children may later feel depressed. Happiness or pleasure may not make sense. Many people, after alienating a once-loved partner (especially if they also abused their own children), seem to depress their own lives. Some symptoms are:

  • Ignores personal hygiene
  • Avoids tracking finances
  • Avoids completing tasks
  • Ignores important problems
  • Considers self-harm
  • Creates problems
Consequences of Parental Alienation (PAS)

Either parent can initiate a sequence of events leading to parental alienation.

  1. A separated parent states that a child does not wish to visit the other parent
  2. A social worker confirms that the child does not wish to visit the other parent
  3. The custodial parent and social worker report to a court
  4. A court limits the child’s contact with the rejected parent
  5. The child and rejecting parent bond by their mutual rejection of the other parent
  6. The child and rejected parent may lose contact until the child is mature
  7. After adolescence, the adult child may bond to the rejected parent and reject the rejecting parent

Many people who felt alienated from a parent have told us that they could not cope with this situation as children, and avoided, not hated, the other parent. If the rejecting parent continues to reject the qualities of the rejected partner, the child, as an adult, may avoid the rejecting parent. (Such children may also come to hate and reject their own habits or qualities that are similar to the rejecting parent.)

Maturity & Child Abuse

Children often suffer from the sometimes vicious tactics that immature parents use to punish each other. Although immature parents express depression, anger, and aggression by withdrawing love, alienating a child’s parent is child abuse. We help people manage the consequences of:

  • abuse
  • betrayal by a partner
  • instilling children with false memories
  • using children as ‘dependent hostages’
  • emotional incest and passive aggression
  • court ordered suffering: custody by a hated parent

Contact us to manage negative emotions and solve relationship problems.

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