Pain is the Point of Parental Alienation

Sharing excerpts of a post by No More Secrets and Lies from December 2015 (with some minor grammatical tweaks and emphasis added).  The complete December 30, 2015 post can be found at:

I would like to personally thank John Brosnan, the author of “Pain is the Point of Parental Alienation,” for both his post and the courage to write it.  I stumbled upon his post back when I began FatherhoodInterrupted.  After recently finding the post, again, I felt it important to share especially for Kaitlyn and Skylar.


“Pain is the point of parental alienation.  It’s the whole point.  It’s the reason parental alienation exists.  You could say [pain is] parental alienation’s raison-d’etre, its reason for being, because that’s exactly what it is.  Intense pain aimed at parents like us who love our children more than anything in the world by turning our children against us is the aim of the alienating parent.

[Parental alienation] has nothing to do with protecting our children from us or because we aren’t good parents or caring parents or loving parents.  Instead, it’s because we are good, caring, and loving parents that our children are tricked into thinking we are evil, forced to reject us, and made to believe they are supposed to hate us.

Making us suffer in the worst way possible is the entire mission of the alienating parent, and yet this would never be possible if we weren’t passionate about our children and didn’t have wonderful relationships with them.  [Unloving or uninvolved] parents, even mediocre parents, are seldom targets of parental alienation because they can’t be made to suffer enough to make it worth the time, trouble, or risk for an alienating parent to force such a sick twisting-of-mind onto trusting and loving children.

You can’t make a child reject a parent they don’t like and you can’t make a parent suffer the loss of a child they don’t care about.


“[E]ven though it may seem as though our children are still with us in our world, they’re not.  They’re not the same children anymore.  Something has happened to them.  Something terrible.  And in a manner that can only be described as nightmarish and surreal the children we cradled, read to, sat up with, walked to school, drove to games, and gave everything in our lives for so we could be part of everything in their lives, are gone from our world, and we’re now alone in a deserted and desolate world that seems to grow more deserted and desolate each day.

The world of the targeted parent is a lonely and heartbroken world, which, while remaining lonely and heartbroken for us, seems to remain unknown and invisible to almost everyone else.  And this crisis we’re now living of being cut off from our children while also being cut off from the people we thought would help us through our crisis, becomes even more heartbreaking when it’s our own family that doesn’t get what’s happening in our lives – that doesn’t understand the hardship we’re facing of having to watch our children change before our eyes while falling away from our lives.

And yet, as painful and as heartbreaking as this rejection seems to be, it’s not an uncommon reaction from people who have never lost children to the heartbreak and rejection that are so much a part of parental alienation.  Not at all.  In fact it’s pretty much the norm, even if it’s family.

The macabre reality of being rejected by our children while also being rejected and abandoned by those people closest to us – the people we call family – at a time when we need our family most, is an impossibly cruel reality to have to live with and yet it’s an understandable one considering how difficult parental alienation is to understand, on the surface.

Because on the surface it makes no sense that a loving child would reject a loving parent and that they would do this in such a shockingly short amount of time … and … that they would do this in the absence of anything that parent has done to cause this rejection.  And it makes even less sense that this child could be manipulated or programmed to do this, as we[, the alienated parent,] claim to be the case.

And yet that’s exactly what’s happening, hard as that is to believe.  Because that’s exactly what parental alienation is, hard as that is to understand.


“[U]nder the surface … underneath what we normally understand as the dynamics of the parent-child bond was not the behavior of a child who had been hurt by a parent but was instead the behavior of a child who was made to believe their parent is worthy of hate.  Which is something different.  Something much worse.  And something much less obvious.

And the only way to get to these less-obvious explanations for an alienated child’s behavior is to get beyond settling for answers based on hunches and guesses and personal opinions and instead make a genuine effort to look beyond the surface for facts which accurately describe that behavior.

Which is something we do anyway with things that are important to us, such as, say, an untreatable child illness that isn’t given a hopeful outcome.  And in cases like this we don’t think twice about getting second opinions, doing more research, and looking further and deeper until we find the answers.

And we don’t stop until we find them, especially when so much is at stake.

And so it only makes sense that we would do the same thing with something as purposely deceiving as parental alienation, where a child’s well-being is also at stake, and where the parents who are losing their children are pleading with us to take a closer look at what’s happening to their family.  Because what’s happening to their family is not what it looks like on the surface.  And if there’s one thing we know about parental alienation it’s that it’s not what it looks like on the surface.


“The cold hard facts about parental alienation are that a parent’s chances of ever reconciling with a child who has been brainwashed and manipulated as profoundly as severely alienated children have are very, very slim.  In fact they’re worse than if the parent had actually done something to the child.

Which is not a very comforting thing to hear if you’re a parent still trying to figure out why your child left you in the first place.

And so, knowing this I almost wished I hadn’t found the answers, at least these answers, and that I was still in the dark like I had been and like my friends and family still were.  Or I hoped the experts might be wrong or that my family might be an exception, or that maybe, just maybe, I could reconnect with my children despite the slim chances the experts gave of ever doing this.

But these were simply not the case, and it was looking more and more like our family was instead a textbook case of the type of family were severe alienation could happen, most likely would happen, and by all measures was happening.  We even fit the manner in how it was happening right down to the uncanny and frightening details:  All eight manifestations of parental alienation[*] were spot-on as were the warning signs that could lead to alienation such as a long and contentious custody battle and a history of one parent bad-mouthing the other parent in front of the children.

All of which are definite dangerous warning signs as well as being definitely us.  But what was even more us, and an even more dangerous warning sign, was that of a parent sharing custody with an ex-spouse who has undying passion to take your children away from you. …

Because – and like with most alienated parents – ever since our divorce, my ex has had nothing less than an insatiable quest to exclude me from my children’s lives no matter what it took, no matter who got in her way, and no matter whether she had grounds to do this or not.”


“[This] was an impossible thing to imagine.  [Yet, it was not imaginary.  Rather, it was quite real.  And, unfortunately, I did not become aware of the full extent of such reality until it was too late to do anything about (and not for want of trying).]

Which probably explains why parental alienation is so difficult to understand and why it happens so often and goes undetected almost always.  Because, on the surface, it’s seldom obvious that something this sinister is happening to a family, and it’s almost impossible to imagine that it could be happening especially to parents who are so loving and caring and involved in their children’s lives.

But then, that’s the point.

It’s because we are good, caring, and loving parents that we become targets of someone who is trying to hurt us in this way.  Which is the great irony and therefore the great stumbling block for so many who are trying to understand this strange family dynamic.

Parental alienation doesn’t happen to bad parents or even mediocre parents. It happens to the best parents.  And you don’t have to do anything to cause it except be a good parent.  Because good parents are the kind of parents who will suffer the most when their children are gone from their lives.  Because turning our children against us by turning us into despicable monsters in their eyes and erasing us from their lives is guaranteed to cause us unthinkable amounts of pain.

Which is the point, and which took me a while to grasp, and is still unthinkable to comprehend and impossible for my friends and family to make any sense of.  But mostly, it’s just plain horrible to have live with every day.  Because it’s not living.

There’s no other way to say it: pain is the point of parental alienation.”




Kaitlyn and Skylar,

I love you to the end of the universe and back and then some.


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