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How does parental alienation impact adulthood?

Most studies on parental alienation focus on the long and short-term impacts that they may have on young children of the divorcing couple. However, in recent years, more studies have shifted their focus to these children after they grow into adulthood.

The studies pose questions like: do children who experience parental alienation still feel the effects of it in their adult years? And the unfortunate answer is often: yes.

Child psychological abuse

As the Psychiatric Times states, parental alienation is actually a form of child psychological abuse as defined by courts. Alienating parents often utilize tactics and techniques common in other forms of abuse, such as gaslighting, manipulation, guilt tactics and more.

Naturally, then, a child who undergoes parental alienation may then suffer from the same effects as any child experiencing another form of abuse. In particular, many victims state that they have trust issues that they can trace back to the alienation which makes it difficult for them to maintain and make relationships and ties with their peers, romantic and platonic alike.

Elevated risks abuse victims face

These adults also tend to suffer from a higher rate of anxiety and depression, along with stress and trauma-based disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder. They also are at an elevated risk for developing self-destructive behaviors, poor coping mechanisms and various addictions.

Many of these children do not get the help and support they need to cope with their childhood trauma while growing up, which then translates to the aforementioned issues. Over time as studies reveal more about parental alienation, parents can take more steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from it.