If you have to share custody with an ex, it can be difficult for you and your children to adjust. While some parents share the responsibilities fairly, there are other instances where the other parent may use the children as weapons.
If you suspect your former spouse poisoned your children against you, this could be an example of parental alienation. Psychology Today explains what happens during parental alienation.
How alienators treat their children
An alienator may lash out or blame you for the failed marriage. They do not hide their feelings from your children. Instead, they will use the children for emotional labor. They become emotionally needy towards their children.
Alienators want you to feel bad for the divorce. They want your children to hurt you by wanting to be with their other parent more. Some will tell your children that they cannot live without them.
Your children may think that you do not care for them because that is what the other parent says about you.
How alienated children behave
Your children’s opinion of you might mirror the other parents. They may be irrationally angry with you and may insist on staying with the other parent. The children become the caretaker of the alienating parent. They fulfill his or her emotional needs and often take care of the household. However, these children may also be confused emotionally and have a difficult time telling truth from fiction. Normally they believe the alienator because of the psychological pressure.
To stop parental alienation, you may need a court order or family therapy to help break the children’s symbiosis with the other parent.