With media and advocacy groups educating people about Parental Alienation, the word is getting out. Families and individuals from Jensen Beach to Boynton Beach are beginning to understand its complexities and consequences for children. Little is said, however, about the alienated or targeted parent. Let’s look at some of the problems that a targeted parent might endure.
Alienated or Targeted Parents may:
- Suffer verbal abuse, often “being berated, ignored, defamed, and slandered” and in response they use a great deal of energy trying to stay strong under this acute anger and hatred.
- Undergo lengthy legal proceedings that are not always understood by the courts. This is especially true during divorces that are high conflict where alienation takes place.
- Endure grief with no closure. As the child is living but out of reach, they grieve as with a death but never progress psychologically through it.
- Manifest psychological disturbances such as substance abuse, low self-esteem and other emotional problems.
Dr. Karin Huffer, “a nationally recognized author, associate professor in counseling and forensic psychology . . . and consultant” has spent her career being dedicated to “humanizing our legal system for those most vulnerable among us.” In this case, those susceptible are the alienated parents and children.
She believes that targeted parents suffer because of “corrupt or poorly managed court situations that perpetrate and destroy another person with false allegations,” and that this leads to a type of Post-Traumatic Stress she has termed Legal Abuse Syndrome or LAS. She is quick to clarify that it is not a mental illness but psychological pain “that develops in individuals assaulted by ethical violations, legal abuses, betrayals, and fraud.”
It is clear that parental alienation injures all involved: children, parents and others connected to the child through the targeted parent including extended family and even some friends. Getting educated about this subject can help identify if this is happening and to seek help from a qualified attorney.