Your intent to heal began with the click of the mouse. The deep pain and confusion that you feel over your loss are normal, but you will be best equipped to deal with parental alienation from a serene and healed perspective. The healing journey is a little different for everyone, but there are common steps that many people find helpful. Below are a few of them. Choose what works best for you.
- Decide that you want to heal. Your decision doesn’t mean that you are leaving behind your children or being careless about the alienation. Once you decide that you want to heal, it is easier to focus on steps to heal, rather than on your pain and loss. Enlist someone skilled in the steps of grieving to help you understand each one. Sometimes self-help books about grieving can be beneficial as well.
- Educate yourself about parental alienation. Research and read about it. Talk with knowledgeable people. Talk with knowledgeable people who have personal or professional experience. Check web sites. (As a general rule it is best to stay away from the sites with social agendas rather than educational or healing purposes.)
- Know and remember that your PAS child still loves you. He/she just doesn’t know how when caught up in the storm of emotions and doubts. Read Dr. Amy Baker’s book Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome for the perspective of the grown child alienated during childhood.
- Find a mental health professional, especially if you are depressed or feeling unable to go on. Before enlisting services, ask questions and listen for answers that tell you whether you are working with someone who has experience with parental alienation and the legal system. Listen to your level of comfort with this person. Check local mental health organizations and psychological associations for names. If you have trouble finding a mental health professional in your local area, check with the local psychological association. Most have referral services.
- Process your complicated feelings, rather be afraid of them. This is one of the most important steps you will take. Along with grief or depression, there may be many other feelings: shame, embarrassment, anger, hopelessness, despair, feeling cheated, wronged, and more. One of the best ways to help process your feelings is to work with a mental health professional (see step 4). You can also share with a trusted friend, write in a journal, create art, or even dance to music. Do what you need to do to identify what you are feeling. When you feel, you heal.
- Develop a support team. This might include best friends, internet list serves, family members, clergy, and pets! If you are involved in litigation, be sure to include a knowledgeable attorney with expertise, experience, and success dealing with parental alienation. These are people you trust and who can help you to keep hope alive.
- Be creative. It will help you to help yourself heal. Joyce Hawkes, who holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics has written in her poem “Stirring the Waters” that “Healing occurs in the manner of creation cell by cell, coursing through the molecules, stretching the membranes, stirring the waters to live.” Whatever it is you have always wanted to create, begin. Whether it’s a canvas, a room in your house, or a song to compose, let yourself CREATE. It may be a restorative process for you.
- Find ways to sustain and nurture yourself. Know what replenishes you and do it. Enjoy walks in nature, listen to music, go to church, read in your local library, join a choir or organization you have always been interested in, take a class or learn to meditate. Be sure to include your physical, emotional, and spiritual selves.