From ‘Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome’: Punishing the children for any positive interaction with the targeted parent

One common theme in Parental Alienation cases is the alienating parent punishing the children for having any positive interactions with the targeted parent. In Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties that Bind, several of the adults interviewed by Amy J.L. Baker report having this experience.

One of them is David, whose parents divorced when he was six, and who was caught in his mother’s long-term alienation campaign against his father. (To learn more about David’s case, click here).

David’s mother drove his father out of his life, but even years later he would be made to pay a price for expressing interest in his father. David explains:

“I remember one time I mentioned about talking to Dad and she said, ‘I”ll take you out of my will.” That sticks in my mind because at the time I was thinking about calling him.’

Baker writes, “It was not enough for his mother to have eliminated all visits, she also had to eliminate any discussion or mention of the father as well. She made it clear that to talk about him was a betrayal of her.”

David remembers:

“Even when I was in high school and college if I talked about my dad that was like sticking a knife in her. It was just something you did not want to do. It was almost as if I knew if I mentioned that I wanted to go see my dad I would be brow beaten into submission. I was thinking this is crazy that it seems like every time I talk about my dad all hell breaks loose and it was almost easier… it was easier to not broach the subject. It became about survival…at that point in my life to survive you just don”t talk about him at all.’

The alienation and browbeating was so severe that David waited until three years after his mother was dead to contact his father, explaining, “Only then was I beginning to feel comfortable talking to my dad. It still felt like I was betraying her. It took three years for her to be dead.’

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