What happens when targeted-alienated parents do not recognise any aspect of themselves in their alienated children? Even if a relationship is possible, it may be a shadow of what it once was. Targeted-alienated parents may need to stop selling their identity as parents to their alienated children and reclaim it as their own.
A Distorted and Delusional Parent
Favoured-alienating parents create a distorted and delusional family environment that replicates their psychologically and socially damaged history. This environment shapes children to normalise excluding a parent they love and devalue and de-identify them as parents. For example, they call their targeted parent by their first name or “them” or “it”. Empathy, critical thinking, independence and identity are the casualties for alienated adult children. Insecurity, anxious preoccupation with loyalty to their often delusional favoured parent is the price they pay for their favoured parents’ conditional love.
Alienated Parents: Grasping at Shadows
There may be little left of the child that once was. Holding onto an idealised image of the child they once knew may limit relationship opportunities and challenge targeted-alienated parents to accept this reality as the starting point for remediation. Some parents cannot bear to end even a dysfunctional relationship. They have vested so much of their validation and identity into it.
For some targeted-alienated parents, a disrespectful, contemptuous, and objectifying relationship is the only relationship their alienated children allow them to have. For example, teenage and adult-alienated children may use their targeted-alienated parents as “human bank accounts” without moral regard. These targeted-alienated parents risk normalising their children’s alienation for as long as they maintain such an exploitative relationship with them.
Devaluing Alienated Parents’ Identity-and Reclaiming It
Some parents desperately want their alienated children’s validation and re-identification as parents at the risk of colluding with alienation. They need proof of their identity as a parent through a relationship with their children, as expressed in the theme, “if I am not a mother/father, then I am nothing”. Such a relationship focuses on an insecure, identity-seeking attachment the alienated child controls.
Targeted-alienated parents can relieve their children of the responsibility to identify them. Accepting their own identity avoids entrapping them and their alienated children in desperately seeking the identity they withhold. Targeted-alienated parents no longer hold the responsibility for maintaining the relationship; that will be up to their children. They accept that every parent must eventually let go of their child. They must allow them to find their way in the world even if it is no way at all. Such parents also hold the moral high ground, finding it morally objectionable to become part of the alienation process and therefore reinforce it. They know that such a relationship is harmful to both them and their children.
Own Your Narrative. Your Identity is Not For Sale!
These parents recognise that no amount of empathy and understanding can help their alienated children to change. They accept their alienated children cannot assume responsibility for rejecting the parent they love but are accountable for change nonetheless. It is up to targeted-alienated parents to decide their identity is not for sale. When they do, they relieve their alienated children from the responsibility of identifying them and create new opportunities.
These parents who reclaim their parental identity also control their narrative. Nobody else decides who they are or their value but them. They recognise that their alienated children need to make different choices. They can help them with those choices but cannot make them for their children. Targeted-alienated parents who control their narrative are the examples to which their alienated children should aspire. They are the shining light showing the way through the darkness. Society has to recognise these parents, stop blaming them, and support and mirror their example.