f they’d left to go live in the South of France or maybe on a yacht in the Caribbean, their disappearance from our lives would maybe make more sense. But for many of us who have lost our children to parental alienation, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Dr. Amy J. L. Baker’s book Adult Children of Parental Alienation describes parallels between alienating parents and cult leaders, making clear that material possessions and opportunities aren’t what matter but rather manipulation, fear and power are the elements needed to win a child’s mind.
Loyalty and allegiance to an alienating parent are won through deceit and lies. A slight of hand, if you will, or change in perception is how a foothold is achieved. This is a slow and methodical process that takes patience and effort.
For years, I watched from the sidelines as our alienator masterfully manipulated my stepdaughter Kaitie. The progression from love for her father to hate was an ever-present undertow that constantly undermined the tranquility in our home.
Within days of the alienator realizing her ex-husband had moved on, she began spinning her intricate web to entrap her child’s innocence.
The distortion of truth started small and built emotional dependency. Early on, Kaitie missed school to accompany the alienator to doctors’ appointments for such things as “swollen legs” and a “heart condition.” Eventually this progressed to needing assistance to complete ordinary tasks like grocery shopping and housework. By the end, Kaitie had become a caretaker who felt guilty when leaving for her father’s scheduled weekends. And just like the alienator had crafted, Kaitie eventually confessed that she too was having health problems and cited this as the reason for dropping out of school sports altogether.