Take a fresh, ripe banana. Use your thumb nail and press firmly into the skin up and down one side of it for 4-5 minutes. Notice the skin. Do you notice any visible changes to it? Probably not. Now, peel the banana to reveal the damage the pressure your thumb nail did to the tender fruit under the skin. The damage was invisible to us on the surface, much like damage of Parental Alienation Syndrome is to the alienated parent and even the children involved. Our wounds are invisible from the outside.
For the parent, life must continue with or without our child(ren). There are still bills to be paid, a job to go to, a house to clean, other family and friends. Gradually, life appears to go along as “normal” on the surface. Only our closest family and friends see the daily pain, frustration, and sadness beneath the surface. To casual acquaintances and maybe even your alienated children, you appear to be fine, maybe even happy.
During an argument with my son about a year ago, this became very clear to me, when he accused me of moving on happily without him and his sisters in my life; that I was in fact happy not to be burdened by them any longer and never felt a moment of remorse or sadness. I was shocked he wouldn’t know how truly and deeply wounded I am. But how would he see the inner turmoil and pain? I keep that to myself; sharing it with my inner support network. I struggle every single day – some days more than others – to keep moving forward in life being the best and happiest person I can be while being strong for him and his sisters. What good does it do for them to see me destroyed by my grief? I don’t know. Would it really make a difference or would it further fuel the alienating parent with a sense of success? Again, I don’t know. Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step guide to navigate Parental Alienation Syndrome and reunify with our child(ren). All we can do is our best. I wish you strength and courage to care for your invisible wounds. They are the most difficult for others to understand and for us to heal.
All Day, Every Day
Although three of my children have been alienated from me for over four years now, they are in my heart and mind all day, every day. That is the way it shall remain until the day I am no longer of this earth and then beyond. Just because a parent is alienated from his/her child, a parent does not stop being a loving, concerned, committed, proud parent. In fact, a parent’s love grows because now he/she must love enough for the child(ren) and the his/herself. Not only that, a parent must be strong; stronger than ever imagined.
I find that strength and love through the church and my own personal relationship with God. I believe that he is walking beside me, guiding me and always helping me see the situation and others through His eyes. I pray each day that His love touched the hearts of my children so that they are able to see me through His eyes and no longer through the tainted lenses of their father.
I also try to channel the pain I feel by being productive and helping others. I teach Sunday School and volunteer for an after school help with homework program at a local low income housing apartment complex.
Challenge yourself to still be a parent, even if you have to direct your energies in different ways. And be a role model that your children can some day look back upon and say, “Wow, I can’t believe how strong you have been for me.”