You must act immediately that you suspect your children’s relationship with you has changed, and especially if your relationship with your partner changes. You must always assume that the children feel profoundly any change within your family. There is literally no time to lose.
Because alienated parents are shocked just how fast the child who formerly loved them, who enjoyed a loving relationship with them suddenly and without warning turns on them, almost as if Parental Alienation is a fast acting poison. This poison acts quickly to damage a loving relationship and the underlying secure attachment system before the targeted parent realises what is happening and certainly before our family law system and child protective mechanisms can intervene.
We can speculate as to a few plausible reasons why this might be the case.
- An alienating parent has commenced the process of alienation covertly, behind closed doors (in a manner not dissimilar to child sexual abuse). By the time family law and other interventions are involved the child is effectively alienated or at least the relationship between parent and child is compromised.
- Target parents and Family Law practitioners do not easily identify the causality between certain actions by an alienating parent and behaviours of their children. Some forms of alienation can be very subtle indeed and take place over a period of many years. This adversely affects how key criteria of Family Law in Section 60 are addressed.
- There is comparatively little public and social awareness of Parental Alienation as a form of child abuse yet alone a form of family violence. This delays assessment intervention compared to the fairly immediate reactions and indeed interventions when we can substantiate family violence or child abuse estate.
- Assessment and intervention for Parental Alienation is further delayed because there is no social explanation or understanding for the rupture between a child and formally loved parent at the hands of an alienating parent. This may be because Parental Alienation violates fundamental rules of evolutionary survival of the species. (Childress.C 2014).
- Finally, I venture that parental alienation is a supervening process. This means that the child is more sensitive to the process and acts of alienation than they are to the unconditional love from the target parent. There seems to be agreement amongst the major Parental Alienation researchers (Baker.A.J, Reay. K, Warshak. R, et.al) that the children feel very insecure with the alienating parent because their relationship with them is conditional upon the child doing what they implicitly believe the alienating parent wants them to, whereas they may implicitly appraise that the target parent will always be there for them.
Parental alienation is indeed faster than the speed of love. Alienation erodes the secure attachment that is the foundation of our loving relationships. However, we are not completely disempowered. We can reverse alienation and remediate a ruptured parent-child relationship. However this can be difficult and painful work for which there is little or no therapeutic precedent. Prevention is always better than cure. Awareness and early intervention is a step in that direction.