When to Walk Away
Making my way through a parental alienation forum recently, I came across a very intelligent and well thought out discussion of when a targeted parent should end their legal battles in response to the alienating tactics of the “other parent.”
I have some experience with parental alienation and thought about what the author of the post said. In a few words, her comments can be summed up this way: the “good guys” don’t always win.
It’s unnatural and deeply wounding for an ex, or someone else, to disrupt or destroy a once loving relationship between a parent and a child. If you have been the victim of this, your first thought may have been “it’s impossible, and what I think is happening isn’t really happening.”
The recognition of reality leads to lengthy and sometimes expensive legal battles, emotional, mental, and spiritual exhaustion, and a cycle of recrimination and anger that can go on for years.
In the meantime, your child is caught in the middle of something they are not equipped to understand. All they know is that someone has told them something, and they have to try to figure out what to believe. They have to try to figure out who to believe. They have to figure out how to understand the confusion and conflict expressed between their parents. They have to figure out how to feel safe in the midst of all of this confusion. Children are not equipped to handle and process these types of emotional complexities. If you, as an adult, are having a hard time handling this situation, imagine how overwhelmed your child must feel.
I believe there comes a time when someone has to decide to stop engaging the fight in the courts. Someone has to concede defeat. It sounds wrong and feels horrible. But it may be the only honest and effective way forward.
Acceptance is often the final stage in the grieving process.