Leyfi til að elska - jan. 2023, Blaðsíða 16

Leyfi til að elska - jan. 2023, Blaðsíða 16
 Review Losses experienced by children alienated from a parent Jennifer J. Harman1, Mandy L. Matthewson2 and Amy J. L. Baker3 Abstract Parental alienation occurs when a child aligns with one parent and unjustifiably rejects the other as a result of parental alienating behaviors. This article provides an overview of cur- rent research and theory regarding the losses alienated chil- dren endure. Parental alienating behaviors alter the child’s beliefs, perceptions, and memories of the alienated parent, triggering a cascade of profound losses for the child. These losses include loss of individual self, childhood experiences, extended family, community, and activities and relationships essential for healthy development. Consequently, alienated children often experience ongoing and ambiguous losses and thereby suffer disenfranchised grief in isolation. Addresses 1 Colorado State University, Department of Psychology, 219 Behavioral Sciences Building, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1876, USA 2 University of Tasmania, Australia 3 Private Practice, PO Box 505, Teaneck, NJ, 07666, USA Corresponding author: Harman, Jennifer J (Jennifer.Harman@ ColoState.edu) Current Opinion in Psychology 2022, 43:7–12 This review comes from a themed issue on Separation, Social Isola-tion, and Loss Edited by Gery C. Karantzas and Jeffry A. Simpson For a complete overview see the Issue and the Editorial Available online 25 May 2021 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.05.002 2352-250X/© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords Parental alienation, Parental alienating behaviors, Grief, Loss, Isolation. Introduction Being alienated from my mum affected every aspect of my life. I’ve experienced the grief of many losses. I lost my mum. I lost contact with my mum’s side of the family. My dad moved me interstate and overseas, so I lost everything familiar. I felt I had no direction. I couldn’t see myself in the future and I didn’t know where I fitted into this world.I had ongoing emotional pain, not knowing where it was coming from.[I later lost] my mum to suicide, then later in life I was alienated from my own children. The most difficult part was no one around me un- derstood what I was going through. Amanda Sillars (personal communication, April 8, 2021) Parental alienation (PA) is a family dynamic in which a child aligns with one parent (the alienating parent) and unjustifiably rejects the other (the alienated parent) [1]. As illustrated in the opening quote, alienated chil- dren experience significant losses across many areas of their life. Exposure to parental alienation behaviors (PABs) and subsequent losses are associated with a host of negative outcomes for children that last well into adulthood [2], including low self-esteem, difficulties trusting others and becoming self-sufficient, substance abuse issues, depression, and anxiety [3]. Over three decades of scientific evidence has docu- mented factors and outcomes associated with PA, lead- ing to a “blossoming” of this field of study [4]. While PA profoundly and negatively affects members of the entire family system [5], this review focuses specifically on theory and research related to the losses that children experience. Several theoretical frameworks will be offered as relevant for understanding how PABs result in these losses. Parental alienation versus estrangement PA is different than estrangement, which refers to a child’s justified rejection of a parent (due to maltreat- ment or significantly deficient parenting). Estrange- ment is actually uncommon because even children who have been abused by a parent tend to engage in attachment-enhancing behaviors (e.g., proximity seeking) rather than attachment-destructive behaviors (e.g., rejection) [6]. Thus, an alienated child’s rejection of the alienated parent (absent a legitimate reason) is inconsistent with the innate need for children to maintain relationships with their caregivers [7]. Parental alienating behaviors The number and frequency of PABs (e.g., badmouthing, gatekeeping) create distance and conflict in the child’s relationship with the other parent and are associated with greater degrees of a child’s rejection of that parent [8e10,12]. Research examining these connections Available online at www.sciencedirect.com ScienceDirect www.sciencedirect.com Current Opinion in Psychology 2022, 43:7–12


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