Do you hate one of your parents that at one time you loved? Has your family been broken apart by divorce?
I am writing this post for those children from divorced families who hate one of their parents. If at one time you loved that now hated parent—when you were all once a family—but now, after the divorce or separation, you now hate that parent, this is written in the hope that I may help you understand why.
This is part 1 of a series on divorce, focusing on the devastating impact that certain high conflict divorces have upon innocent children. Additional articles can be found under the “Divorce and PAS” tab above.
First, most people know that divorce is one of the most devastating events a family can pass through. There is no such thing as a “good divorce” when there are children involved, especially young children. If you had one of your limbs amputated because of an injury or disease, you would never say, “You know, having my leg amputated was not such a bad thing. I won’t miss it in the least.” The same goes for a family with children: divorce causes amputations of metaphorical limbs that will always have devastating consequences.
Second, certain kind of divorces are worse than others. Though divorce is always a horrific event to pass through (and again, I’m referring to divorce with children involved), if the parents splitting apart understand the devastation this will bring to their children and are committed to doing whatever is necessary to soften the blow for them, these innocents will fare better than those parents who openly hate each other and make the divorce process more like open warfare between hostile belligerents.
“High conflict divorces” are the most damaging ones for children. These share common characteristics: regular battles in divorce court where the parents fight over money, child support, custody, choice of schools, what kind of faith the children will be raised in, what state the parents will live in, etc. If a family law judge has become the arbiter of most of your pre and post divorce family issues, know for certain you are in a “high conflict divorce” which wrecks unbelievable emotional, physical and psychological damage to your children which will affect them for the rest of their lives.
A high conflict divorce is a perfect breeding ground for the cultivation of hatred and bitterness for innocent, impressionable children who, for the most part, love both their mom and dad and want more than anything in the world for them to stay together and to have their family remain intact and healthy. And for those parents who use the court system to harm their spouse and take revenge on them, the children will be harmed right along with them. “Revenge,” as the old saying goes, “is a dish best served cold.”
If you are a child from such a divorce, and you find yourself hating the very parent you once loved, I urge you, for the sake of your own health and happiness, to realize that something terribly wrong has occurred in your heart and that you need to discover the tools necessary to bring meaning and healing to this destructive set of unhealthy and dangerous emotions.
Let me emphatically point out that you are not to be blamed for these destructive emotions. In fact, you have been manipulated—brainwashed—by one of your parents to have these feelings toward the very parent you once loved and cherished. Understanding this phenomena is your first step toward unwrapping the troubling maze that has twisted your innocent mind into harboring these dangerous and unhealthy feelings toward a once loved parent.
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) or simply, Parental Alienation, is the name for this subtle form of unethical and abusive form of brainwashing that is often birthed out of high conflict divorces. Here is a helpful, introductory article to get you started, titled, “Parental Alienation and its Repair,” by Mollie S. Castelloe, PhD.