Did you know that there are two (2) types of alienated children (in my opinion). There is the “Oblivious Child” and the “Hostage Child.” Let me explain.
The “Oblivious Child”
This is a child who has absolutely no clue that they are living under the spell of alienation. They fully accept the reality that has been created for them; the controlling parent is always right, and the alienated parent is always wrong. This ignorant “bliss” keeps their life in relative peace…as long as the alienated parent doesn’t dare try to show and interest in their life or express love. When that happens, the manipulation and feeding of false stories gets kicked into high gear. The “how dare they…” expressions come out in full force and because the child has been so used to this conditioning, they go right along with it. In fact, with each episode their belief is re-enforced and the controlling parent’s superiority is affirmed.
It’s super scary! I’ve been there many times. I WAS the oblivious child. Despite my deeply hidden love and desire for my Dad, it was overshadowed by the hate and negativity associated with him. My conscious mind “turned off” from the thought it could be any other way…what would be the point anyway I thought? It was drilled into me that my Dad offered no value to my life, and to suggest otherwise meant I was just as “bad.” So, with that in mind I took every phrase, story, and narrative as 100% truth and remained oblivious. If anyone else ever questioned the “odd ball” nature of my family, it was very easy to discredit them and tear them down. I was told they are “jealous of our close family,” or they were “Idiots who who were screwed up themselves and losers.” These “fringe” people who might challenge were easily cast aside and marginalized – keeping me in my tainted version of love and family.
Trying to reach the Oblivious alienated child requires layers and layers of understanding how their mind was constructed, a consistent plan of communication to slowly over time open their mind, and patients as your “plan” unfolds over time.
The “Hostage Child”
This is a child who has gained awareness of the manipulation and warped perspective they are living under. At some level they recognize that something isn’t quite right with the controlling parent, and they are actually accepting of a relationship with the alienating parent. However, they know that these feelings of love and desire to communicate with the alienated parent is NOT ACCEPTABLE. They have full awareness of the backlash, stress, anxiety, and anger that will crash down on them if they admit this. In essence, they are imprisoned to pretend and go along with the views of the alienator because the alienator controls most aspects of their life.
Evidence that your child might be a “hostage child” is when you have pockets of time where the child communicates with you happily and suddenly stops. Or when you have an instance alone with them and they express their love for you or other alienated family members, then shut down when the alienator is present. These imprisoned children also feel the weight of having the communication monitored. Often the alienator will act as an intermediary and intercept text or email messages to “protect” the child. Then THEY act as the mouthpiece for the child confidently proclaiming your child “doesn’t want to talk to you” or “doesn’t want to see you” or “is a afraid of you.” They take the decision and desire away from the child. Think about that…what would the child say? Mom or Dad I’d like to speak for myself? The alienator in a flash would turn angry and say “what else would you possibly want to say that I didn’t say? Do you REALLY want to go with them? The real question the child perceives is “do you really want to destroy your whole life going against me?” The answer is no. No to communicating with you, no to imploding their life, and yes to letting the alienator hold them hostage.
Trying to reach the Hostage alienated child creates a unique challenge. How to communicate when you know the child can’t respond to you at all, or the way he or she would like. My advice, imagine that your communication is a one-way lifeline of communication. Think of it as sending communication to a prisoner who is locked away and can’t respond. Their lack of communication doesn’t mean they don’t love hearing from you – it might actually keep them going. So continue to communicate and don’t give up.
So, what type of alienated child do you think you have? Is there a chance it could be a slight mixture of both?
Stay strong, positive and loving!