Parental alienation begins when one parent starts to instill in their child negative views against the other parent, even though the targeted parent is generally more emotionally stable than the parent who is doing the alienating.
As the alienation increases, the child gradually becomes more hostile toward the targeted parent and may refuse contact entirely.
When the child becomes convinced that their parent doesn’t love them, can’t be counted on, and is even dangerous, the alienating parent may go so far as to prevent the child from visiting their other parent, thereby making the child totally dependent on the alienator.
Sometimes alienators make false accusations of sexual molestation or physical abuse against the targeted parent, manipulating child protection laws and the courts into becoming a tool to erase the other parent from the child’s life.
This kind of mental manipulation or brainwashing causes children to live in a state of high emotional risk because they are forced to give up their loving relationship with their healthier parent and believe they must please the alienator who they believe they are totally dependent upon. They are coerced into treating the target parent as an enemy.
Such an emotional juggernaut can lead the child or teen into depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol use, or even suicidal thoughts. This is a serious form of child abuse with serious consequences.
In order to avoid the catastrophe of a legal system being turned into a weapon of alienation that gets hung up for years and sometimes never resolved as the child ages beyond the jurisdiction of the court, parental alienation must initially be treated as a mental health emergency rather than a custody issue.
Just as a person with a high fever and convulsions is rushed to the hospital to be assessed and immediately provided appropriate care, children experiencing parental alienation need to be assessed immediately and referred for appropriate intervention. The priority is to alleviate and prevent suffering.
Even as a cold can develop into pneumonia, likewise alienation can progress from simple bad-mouthing into moderate and eventually severe alienation. But if nipped in the bud, it can be halted and reversed if the child is not forced to remain at risk waiting for drawn-out evaluations, delayed hearings, and the like.