It Doesn't Take A Village...

This article you're about to read has nothing to do with the war in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's regime. This article is about a different kind of a war. It's about a war that has been going on for years in the homes of many children. This kind of war is expressed in the psychologist's office. It's a war that goes on between two adults who are divorced or separated, and the children who are stuck in the middle.

A friend called me needing my support and advice.
"I don't understand," he voiced. "I've not seen my children for days, weeks, months," he continued.
"You haven't?" I responded. "Why?"
"No, I haven't ," he exclaimed. "Their mother is at it again."

As he further explained I realized his two children are suffering from what the private practitioner from New York, Richard A. Gardner calls the "Parental Alienation Syndrome."
The concept of PAS is when one parent damages and destroys the previously healthy, loving relationship between his or her children and the children's other parent. Now, why would a parent do something like that to harm her/his children? Probably because that parent has unresolved issues, psychological and emotional, stemming from her/his childhood years. I believe for balanced children both parents should participate in the children's upbringing in order to ensure the children's normal, healthy emotional growth and development. But if one parent is "bad" then the children suffer. I say "bad" because not all mentally ill people are "bad" and not all "bad" people are mentally ill. Somehow society has labeled bad behavior with mental illness. Yet, I have witnessed that's not necessarily true. My friend who called and was concerned about his children needed to understand that his ex-wife somewhere in her childhood years felt abandoned physically and/or emotionally by her father or some other significant male figure. Her own fear of abandonment created chaos because she feared being alone. She would do anything and everything to keep the old feelings away even keeping her children emotionally hostage for her own benefit. In return the children feel responsible to take care of their mother. The children have feelings for the other parent but they side with the suffering dependent parent because she comes across as the victim. I told my friend that as long as his ex-wife keep his children angry at him and his family, the easier it becomes for the children to stay angry and continue without any contact. "What do I do?" he vehemently voiced. "Will they ever figure things out on their own?" he questioned. "I'm getting the silent treatment," he continued.
"Your children can benefit from therapy but if therapy is not something your ex-wife promotes then your children would be confused and angry." I voiced.
"I don't want to do what she does and I don't want to be controlled by her through my children," he stated. "Brain washing my children is so unhealthy," he cried.
"It sounds like your children are also carrying their mother's anger," I replied.
When one parent attempts to cut the other parent out of the children's life, the children suffer. In this case the mother aimed at destroying the father's position as a loving and responsible parent by using false accusations and lies. Again, why would a parent hurt her own children? Because it was done to her and she continues the vicious cycle due to her own anger and unresolved issues. Adults need to accept personal responsibility and stop blaming their ex-spouse for their childhood traumas. When adults act out their damages, the children pay the price. If we want peace in the world we first need to exhibit peace in our children's lives and to be able to do that we need to find peace within ourselves and take responsibility to heal our broken parts, emotionally and mentally.
It really doesn't take a village to raise a child. It takes a loving home.

NOTE: to all the parents out there who are separated or divorced or are going through a divorce, no matter how angry you are with your ex-spouse please remember never stick your child/children in the middle because some scars can be detrimental and hard to repair.

   

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