Is my child a victim of parental alienation syndrome?

California co-parents often go through a period of adjustment after a divorce. After all, it is hard to readjust to shared custody, visitation schedules and living as a separated family. Some families adjust quickly and more easily than others.

But you can run into unexpected hurdles that can block adjustment. In some cases, these hurdles cause a lot of damage. Such is the case with parental alienation.

Manipulative alienating parents cause PAS

Psychology Today looks at parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and how it impacts sufferers. PAS results from parental alienation. This is an act in which the alienating parent tries to drive a wedge between their co-parent and child. In doing so, they hope to force their child into breaking ties with the alienated parent.

Long and short term repercussions

Many courts designate this as a form of child psychological abuse. As with any other type of abuse, PAS leaves lasting scars on the victim. For one, many PAS sufferers struggle with relationships later in life. They have trust issues that make it hard to connect with peers and potential partners.

PAS sufferers also have a higher rate of struggling with anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Related to that, many PAS victims develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with these issues. PAS sufferers struggle with addiction and substance abuse at greater rates.

There are short-term effects of PAS, too. Your child may feel guilty for rejecting you under the influence of their other parent. This can manifest in self-flagellating or self-blaming behaviors. If you notice the symptoms early, you may want to discuss your options with your legal team. You could catch potential issues before they grow too large to manage.