As an alienated parent, our self-worth and self-esteem have been rocked to the very foundation of our being. A once beautiful parent filled with love, patience, and strength; we now feel as if nothing is left but a crumbling, discarded edifice and broken foundation laying in the ruins of what we once thought was a happy, cohesive family. But, the wrecking ball of Parental Alienation Syndrome destroyed that and our own self-esteem. Self-doubt along with accusations of being a “pathetic and worthless” parent continue to undermine our already shaky foundation to the point of complete collapse. UNLESS we do something to stop the abuse from the alienating parent and often our alienated children, and start rebuilding a better, stronger foundation within ourselves. You and I have heard people say that a person is unlovable and incapable of loving others if they don’t first love themselves. How can our child(ren) love, trust, and forgive us in order to construct a new relationship with us if we don’t first love, trust and forgive ourselves?
The first and most important step is to eventually reunifying with our child(ren) is to rebuild the solid stable foundation of ourselves, in ourselves. This is a daunting process that will take time, effort, and strength. But, it is totally worth it so that we can be ready for our children’s sake. We must be strong and stable for them in order to heal the broken bonds and build a new relationship with them.
How do you empower yourself to become stronger? Join me in the conversation.
How do we accomplish this? One step at a time. Like an architect designs a home with detailed plans for construction, we must design a plan to reconstruct our own self-worth and self-esteem. Each plan will be as unique as we are. But all the plans will have the same goal; become the strongest parent we can be for our children.
My plan looks a lot like this: take care of myself mentally and physically by eating healthy and exercising; by growing in faith with God through the different ministries of my church; by continuing to educate myself about Parental Alienation Syndrome; and by keeping myself busy crafting, cooking, and baking. I have built a strong support network of family and friends with whom I can rely. I also work with a therapist and take medication. I am not ashamed of needing the help. Most days, this is working well for me. There are still days that I struggle – though they are becoming less frequent.
Silence is NOT Golden
When my children were younger, their friends and the neighborhood kids would be at our house constantly. Laughter, singing, and Star Wars sound effects could be heard in and out of the house all day long. Friends and family used to ask how I was able to accomplish anything. I would chuckle and tell them, “In my spare time between midnight and 3 AM.” It was a slight exaggeration, but not by much. I got the most accomplished each day after the kids and my former husband would go to bed; basking in the silence and solitude. I was in complete control of the cable remote, the fridge, and getting housework done. Silence was a golden treasure.
Silence is no longer golden, but a deafening, daily reminder of the lost, true treasure of my children in my life.
Oh, I still communicate in various ways with them – I just get silence in response. Why do I put myself through being continually rejected by them? First, I want them to know that I am strong enough to still be here for them and that I am not going to give up on them. EVER! Second, it helps me to feel somewhat connected with them in a warped sort of a way. Third, I hope and pray that one day something I say will touch their hearts and they will respond.
How do I stay in contact? I have done a variety of things over the years, including: Facebook posts and messages; texting; mailing cards, notes, and gifts; and writing in journals the daily conversations I wish I could be having with them. The silence of not receiving a response does hurt, but my guilt over the thought of not doing anything hurts more.
How have you tried to remain in touch with your child(ren)? How do you keep from getting burned out and giving up? Share your stories with us.