- Denial and Isolation
Parental Alienation Syndrome victims go through the 5 Stages of Loss and Grief just as a person does that has lost a loved one to death. Many target parents do not experience the stages in the order listed above. Looking at the 5 Stages of Loss and Grief is a helpful guide in the grieving process.
Denial and Isolation
The first reaction to realizing Parental Alienation Syndrome as a target parent is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions helping you cope with the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. For some this is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain and others can become locked in this stage.
Target parents can be angry with themselves, with the alienating parent or the child, and others who are close to them.
This stage of grief can be very difficult for a target parent. Often times it can drive one to say things that are inappropriate to our children and other loved ones. Being aware that this is a stage of dealing with the loss of a child due to PAS can help you make better choices.
Bargaining involves the hope that the target parent can somehow postpone or delay Parental Alienation Syndrome.
A target parent may use the court system thinking that somehow this will stop what is happening to the parent-child relationship. You are putting your trust in a the legal system to save your child from the inevitable. Another way that target parents deal with this loss is making life extremely exciting trying to appeal to the child in wanting to be with you. An example of this would be expensive vacations. These examples of bargaining may work for a time but will be very difficult financially and emotionally.
It is an important time for grieving that must be processed. Depression is an acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel heartache, regret, despair, and uncertainty when going through this stage. These emotions show that the target parent is beginning to accept the situation.
In this final stage, target parents begin to come to terms with Parental Alienation Syndrome. This stage varies according to the person’s situation. As a target parent the 5 stages of grief can last for years. As parental
alienation progresses to Parental Alienation Syndrome so do the stages of grief.
I have been dealing with the 5 Stages of Loss and Grief for the last 18 years of my child’s life. My emotional life has felt like a never ending roller-coaster. I am now entering into the acceptance stage of grief. Realizing that I have lost the relationship that I once struggled so hard to keep afloat has disappeared. I have accepted the fact the my child has truly been brainwashed against me. I can’t do anything to reverse the situation, or dwell on the past. I am moving forwarding in sending a text once a week so my child will know I still love him and he is in my thoughts. I still have hope for the relationship (most likely when my child is in his forties) and there is still pain. I don’t think that will ever go away, just as it doesn’t with the loss of a loved one. I am just accepting that this is the way things are right now and praying for my child and the alienating parent.