Signs And Symptoms Of Parental Alienation

Signs And Symptoms Of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation (PA) is a term that refers to a child’s rejection of one parent and the subsequent damage caused by that rejection. There may be several reasons for alienation to take place. Here we will have a look at the top 10 signs of parental alienation. Before that we need to know what, parental alienation is.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is when a child is manipulated by one parent in order to harm the relationship between the other parent and their child. This can happen when a child is accused of something that they didn’t do or told to lie about the things their Dad or Mom did with them. It is an extreme form of emotional abuse in which a child purposely does something to hurt his or her other parent, usually with their parent’s consent.

The Different Types of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a persistent, malignant, and destructive form of child abuse. It is a type of brainwashing which instills in the children an irrational and intense hatred for the other parent. This behaviour can take many forms. These include refusal to speak with the other parent, disregarding holidays, birthdays, and family functions celebrating alone or with the abuser, unexplained absences from school without prior notice to the other parent, extreme insensitivity to the needs of the other parent, etc.

Signs and Symptoms of Parental Alienation in Children

It may happen when one parent tries to pull a child away from the other parent. It can cause damage in a variety of ways. Children may experience depression, anxiety, and increased risk for debilitating stress-related disorders. The most common signs of parental alienation are when a child changes his or her language preference away from the other parent, stops talking to their other parent, and starts saying hurtful things about them.

It alters the basic dynamics of a healthy family and prevents children from forming healthy relationships with both parents. Signs that your child may be experiencing parental alienation include a significant drop in their grades, an abrupt change in behaviour, or if they begin to talk about one parent’s unfair behaviours in a negative way. This often happens when there has been a significant family break-up or when parents have divorced.


Parental alienation is a situation in which one parent emotionally manipulates the other and gradually takes over the parenting responsibilities. This includes preventing the alienated parent from seeing their children and also stops them from being part of the daily activities of the children. Often, this is done to punish or control another person and it is detrimental to everyone involved. This all leads to the toxic environment all around the person. To keep oneself away from all this, join the support group for parental alienation.


  1. Hannah


    my parent is convinced that she and I am a victim of parental alienation by my father. They were in a nasty separation and eventually my 2 sisters and me began living solely with my father at age 16 and cut all contact with mom because I was tired of the back and forth nasty things BOTH parties had to say about each other – hers got worse, to the point that I felt trapped and fearful when she would make a point to talk down about him (and try and convince me to live with her full time so he would have to pay her support money) on long car rides when she knew I wasn’t able to leave. To note, my father encouraged me to seek independent counselling and start a relationship again with her during this time, and eventually respected me after I asked him to stop talking negatively about her. Anyway, 10 years later and we have had minimal contact with our mom over the years. The last phone call I had, I initiated and she is still stuck in her own world accusing him of ruining our lives and will not listen to my side of the story / want to move on and create our own relationship without talking about him. In fact, she told me I needed to seek professional help and that one day I will realize what is happening to me. Yet, I am very successful, in a healthy relationship, have a great job, my masters degree, and have seen a therapist over the years who has never noticed any signs of abuse/alienation – she on the other hand has had issues in all of these areas. She sends me holiday cards about reuniting as a family yet it seems she is convinced that we’re victims of abuse and doesn’t want to move on and start fresh. I don’t see it and in fact believe she has some deep issues of her own that she masks by claiming my sisters and I were stolen from her by my father. To note, she has also openly tried to convince all of my family members (both sides of the family) that this is the case including making up stories about my sisters and I being physically abused by him (which never happened).

    Any suggestions on how I can let her know I am not being abused and in fact made up my own mind about her?? I have never expressed hatred towards her and in fact have resquested that we mend our past and move forward – but she won’t until I admit what she believes (that she thinks we are victims of alienation)

    ** I am very aware that parental alienation is real and affects families like mine – however, I’m talking about my individual case.

    • Hi Hannah,

      It sound like a really painful and challanging experience.

      If you want a relationship with your mom a empathetic response might be useful. It is not about wrong or right its about acknowledging the other persons feelings and needs. Once we feel heard and seen it creates a spaciousness for love, connection and change.

      Any form of estrangement or alienation is so complex and anxiety provoking the only way through it is a place of love. This is an incredible challanging place to get to. Non violent communication is a life saving tool for every relationship in my life.

      Google NVC if you are wanting some new pathways, there are a plethora of videos, groups and information that I think will be very useful.

      good luck:))

  2. Matthew Kinney

    I am father who is alienated from his children from his boys by there mother . I am looks for support groups to help get through this .

    • Hi Matthew,

      I hope to see you at a meeting. The support of the group has changed my life. Please check you email or spam for all meeting links and info.

  3. Tracy L. Addington

    Hello, I am the non-residential mother (for the last 3 years of our daughters 14 years, our daughter spent the first 11 years solely in my care). Ever since our daughters father was granted custody, he has committed varying levels and degrees of parental alienation. Not only in regards to our standard parenting time but also emotionally and verbally as well. Especially when COVID-19 hit. (Even though our specific county and state clearly addressed parenting time in regards to the pandemic.) Her father, alongside his parents, (they abide in the same household) eventually keeping her from us for over a 14- month period. He threw away any and all letters we wrote to our daughter and him and his mom and dad. He changed his residence without informing me. He blocked me from him and his parents phones. He forbade her to contract me in any and every way. Come to find out, him and his family would make me the butt of their jokes, often taking turns making fun of me. If she tried to stand up for me she would be punished. If she spoke of me she would be punished. Eventually, we were able to go before our custody judge and plead for the courts to recognize the things he was and wasn’t doing. The judge granted us a WRITT and with the help of local law enforcement, was able to begin our summer with extra visitation days to begin the make up process. Our judge concluded that if his behavior continued, he would look at changing the custody arrangement. And it has continued. And it’s constant. He ignores any attempts to speak with him concerning my daughter. He denies me the ability to communicate with her. He has violated our OSPP in every way possible. Our daughter has begun to resist any physical contact with me when I do get to see her. She is distant and hard to reach. She is withdrawn and depressed and doesn’t understand why. She often feels guilty for this and doesn’t understand why everything is different. We have always flourished, her and I, by being close and affectionate. Upon returning her to her residence with her father she shows signs of distress and anxiety, unable to eat most times. He orders her to shower ‘me’ off of her immediately. He violates her privacy and searches her belongings religiously. He changes and our denies court- ordered parenting time at his discretion. He has informed her school of false information in order to keep me from being allowed to contact her at school or the ability to communicate with them concerning our daughter. He has given me false information by way of mixing up dates and locations of school and/ or sporting events to impede my presence there. It’s constant. I am reaching out in hopes that I can offer our daughter understanding and hope. And hopefully find resources and support for myself by way of navigating this difficult and damaging situation. Thank you so much for being a beacon of hope and light. I pray that my community offers such a group.

    • HI there,

      Welcome to the community. If you are willing to put in the work the 12 steps are transformational. I hope to see you at a meeting. There are usually about 15 people and it’s really safe and structured so everyone can feel comfortable.Please check your email/spam for links.

  4. Nerissa Cohen

    I’ve come to a couple meetings but I just get so upset that I have to exit. Sadly, the thing that ends up doing me in is hearing folks talking about time that they do get to spend with their kids – I would crawl 100 miles on broken glass for one minute with my daughters. It’s been 16 years and I had no idea that what my ex did to me had a name, let alone a DSM designation and folks fighting the same demon. I desperately need help. Psychiatry, electroshock therapy, countless prescriptions, countless hospitalizations – nothing has helped because you can’t medicate sadness and grief. I am rotting away. There won’t be anything left of me if they ever do come find me. I genuinely don’t resent anyone for their own pain in having limited or stressful contact with their kids – really. But if my reactive brain won’t allow me to get over this I won’t be able to benefit from this group. Grateful for any insight anyone can offer.

    • Your path sounds incredible hard and challanging. So many in the community have had incredible struggles as well. The meetings are about recovering your emotional and spiritual equilibrium. If you keep coming you will start hearing the message and start experiences some relief. This does not replace professional help and people that have had horrendous challenges are experience relief and spaciousness in their lives through the 12 steps.

      here is the recipe…..4-5 meetings a week, get on the phone list, get a sponsor, volunteer at meetings to time, get the book……and start working the steps with your sponsor. The steps are the program

      if you do this your life will change…..can you commit to attending 90 meetings in 90 days for a piece of mind? that’s what I did and my life changed….good luck

    • You should received an automated email with all the meeting information. hope to see you in the meetings

  5. Peggy sellwood

    My son and daughter in law have told me the only way they can have a relationship is that I need therapy
    I keep telling them we need a family therapist for the 3 of us. It’s now been 4 years without contact
    They are adults.

    • You should have just received an automated email with all the meeting information. hope to see you in the meetings

      • Patricia Gilbert

        My oldest son and his wife moved from our hometown to dil mother hometown , and didn’t let us know for 2 weeks. We would be at their house and call them asking if they where home so we could visit with them and our two grandbabies, and they would say they where getting ready for bed, when in fact they wasn’t even home and didn’t know we were at their house. I don’t really know what happened between us cause we where all so close. My dil was my best friend. When she would call and need to talk about something my son ha for hadn’t done , I would put aside him being my son and gave her advice like a best friend. I have Four children. My oldest son and my youngest son where very close. I have granddaughter born in September (my oldest son) and the next June I was blessed with another granddaughter (my youngest son) oh the excitement and dreams of having two gb being like sisters instead of cousins. But when I went to buy them ( asked permission from all parents first) little dolly dresses for Easter, I was told by my son’s wife that ” the babies are two totally different people and I need to except that and not try to get them the same thing. Which I wasn’t going to get them the same color. And I was doing it cause I could afford it. And both daughter in laws had mentioned they would love for their babies to have one. I even asked (oldest son wife) to go with me and pick the one she wanted for granddaughter. But instead My son and her went and bought one themselves and I didn’t even get to see her in the dress. They made sure they took it off her before we got to the gathering. I let that go and never said anything cause that is their daughter. But I really didn’t pay attention to the jealousy they felt toward my youngest son and his family, Until 2020 (COVID) my oldest son and wife blessed me with a grandson. He had some complications so I gladly rented a motel and kept my granddaughter there so they could still be close to her and the new baby. That was in may. In September my youngest son and wife blessed me with a grandson. My youngest son was in a bad way and had crashed (fell asleep) after being awake for days and didn’t even know his wife had went into labor. I drove her to the hospital (an hour from us) and I stayed with her throw labor delivery and until he was released from the hospital. I didn’t want her to be alone and feel unsupported or unloved. She was released but baby had to stay, so we went back to my home so she could see her daughter ( hadn’t seen her in 2 days) . Me and her both where tired. My oldest son asked me and my husband if we wanted to come for supper. I said bubby I’d really love to but is there anyway we can do supper the next evening so I could get some rest. He said it was fine. Well the next day me and youngest son wife went back to hospital and the baby got discharged. When we arrived back home I let my oldest son know thinking they would come meet the baby( considering we have always been a very close family and my youngest was always more then happy to see his niece and nephew). He just said that’s good their home and got off the phone. So me and their daddy rode to my oldest son house cause we hadn’t seen his children that week( cause of being at hospital with other dil) that’s when we see they wasn’t home and hadn’t been home for a minute cause there was a crock pot of soup beans sitting there and had molded. But they told us they where going to bed . Yeah maybe they where but it wasn’t at their house they where at his Mil house. We went out there every day for a week and would call them while in their driveway knowing they wasn’t home and then till us they where going to bed or wouldn’t be home till later. We would say ok we will come back tomorrow. A week maybe even 2 weeks went by and then one day they came to the house and told us they had moved in with her mom and four siblings (all under 18) in a small 2 bedroom trailer. But that was their business not ours. And my son has done good for his family due to them moving and I’m very proud of him and her. But for the past 2 years they will not respond to our messages (unless they want to let us know how horrible we are) there is more to the story but I’ll get that out In the meetings. This is just when it all started and I’m absolutely clueless on how to fix it. I miss my son, I miss my granddaughter ( she was and is Mimi girl and my happy place) and my grandson I miss not knowing him or him knowing me, and I mis my dil and best friend.

        • Once you fill in the contact page on this website you will receive an automated email with all the meeting information. If it isn’t in your main mailbox please check spam, social and promotions. If you still can’t find it please email
          Hope to see you in the zoom meetings.

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