When couples with children divorce, hurt feelings and contention can cause a ripple effect and impact the entire family. One situation you might encounter after you divorce and attempt to co-parent with your ex-spouse is parental alienation syndrome, where the other parent attempts to turn your children against you through emotional and verbal manipulation.
Psychology Today notes that both mothers and fathers might use these tactics to gain a higher emotional ground after a divorce. If you suspect your ex-spouse might attempt to alienate you from your children, there are a few actions you might take to reduce the impact of his or her words.
Remain aware of your ex’s mental health
When parental alienation syndrome occurs, the lies and emotional manipulation tend to come from the individual who is not as emotionally healthy as the other. This can have a number of causes that may or not stem directly from the divorce, including:
- Previous history of mental illness
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
- A refusal to take responsibility for his or her actions
Remaining aware of your ex-spouse’s mental health may help you intervene in his or her attempts to alienate you from your kids.
Learn to spot narcissistic behavior
A custodial parent with narcissistic tendencies may focus only on his or her needs, thoughts and feelings and refuse to accept other people’s viewpoints. You may even recognize these signs as one of the reasons your divorce happened in the first place. Individuals with these tendencies may put their feelings above all others, even their children, so learning the warning signs may help you head off their attempts to alienate you.
When your ex-spouse tries to turn your kids against you, he or she is not likely acting in their best interests. Altering the court to this behavior may prevent it from progressing any further.