Adult children of Parental Alienation (PA) and the risk of suicide

Title: The Lingering Shadows: Adult Children of Alienation and the Risk of Suicide

In the intricate tapestry of human relationships, the bonds between parents and children are some of the most profound. Unfortunately, in some cases, these bonds can be torn apart by the painful phenomenon of Parental Alienation (PA). When children experience severe alienation during their formative years and do not receive counseling or therapeutic support, the impact can cast long shadows into their adult lives. In this post, I will explore the challenges and issues that adult children of alienation may face as they navigate their way through adulthood, including the alarming risk of suicide they may be exposed to.

1. Emotional Turmoil:

One of the most profound challenges that adult children of alienation often grapple with is emotional turmoil. The experience of being torn between parents, manipulated by an alienating parent, or denied access to one parent, can leave deep emotional scars. As adults, they may struggle with mood swings, anxiety, and difficulty in regulating their emotions effectively. This emotional turmoil can, in some tragic cases, escalate to the point of suicidal ideation.

2. Trust and Relationship Issues:

Building and maintaining healthy relationships can be a minefield for these individuals. The distrust sown in childhood, along with a fear of abandonment, can make it challenging to form deep emotional connections. They may constantly question the intentions and loyalty of those they get close to, making it difficult to establish and sustain relationships. This sense of isolation can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness and despair, contributing to the risk of suicide.

3. Identity Struggles:

A strong sense of self and identity is vital for personal growth and well-being. Yet, adult children of PA often grapple with identity struggles. They may feel disconnected from their true selves, struggle with self-esteem, and find it hard to define their own beliefs and values separate from the alienating parent’s influence. These identity crises can deepen feelings of worthlessness and increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.

4. Coping with Stress:

Life inevitably presents challenges and stressors. However, without the proper tools to cope with adversity, these individuals may find themselves ill-equipped to handle life’s ups and downs. Unresolved childhood issues can lead to maladaptive coping mechanisms, potentially exacerbating problems and driving them closer to the edge.

5. Impaired Social Functioning:

Social interactions and networking are crucial in both personal and professional life. For these adults, impaired social functioning can hinder their ability to form connections, network, and succeed in their careers and personal lives. Social isolation and a sense of alienation from society can contribute to feelings of despair and hopelessness, increasing the risk of suicide.

6. Continued Splitting:

The tendency to engage in splitting (seeing things in black and white, all good or all bad, my mom is a saint and my dad is the devil, etc.) may persist into adulthood. This can make it challenging to navigate complex situations and see nuances in relationships, further exacerbating interpersonal difficulties. The inability to find middle ground can intensify feelings of isolation and despair.

7. Mental Health Implications and the Risk of Suicide:

In some cases, unresolved issues stemming from PA can contribute to the development of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even personality disorders. These conditions can significantly impact the quality of life for affected individuals and increase their vulnerability to suicidal thoughts and actions.


The long-term impact of parental alienation on adult children is a complex and deeply emotional issue. While not all individuals will face severe consequences, those who do can find their adult lives marred by emotional turmoil, relationship challenges, identity struggles, and an alarming risk of suicide. It’s essential to recognize the importance of early intervention and counseling for children facing alienation to prevent these shadows from looming large in their adult years. If you or someone you know has experienced parental alienation and is struggling, seeking professional help and support is not just advisable—it can be a lifeline in preventing tragedy and facilitating healing and recovery.