Emotional Pain

The current study found that 95% of participants experienced some form of emotional pain that they attributed to being exposed to parental alienating behaviours. Eight sub-categories were identified: shame and guilt; self-esteem; loneliness and isolation; helplessness; anger; abandonment; trust issues; grief and loss. Grief and loss were the most frequently described experience (60%). These findings are consistent with previous literature demonstrating an association between emotional pain and exposure to parental alienating behaviours in childhood [5,11,16,17,20]. Participants in the current study described feeling invalidated, invisible, and unrecognised by greater society. Recent research conducted by Harman, Matthewson, and Baker [10] focused on the losses experienced by alienated children. Their research explained how alienated children exposed to parental alienating behaviours suffered a gradual “cascade of losses” including: loss of individual self; loss of childhood and innocence; loss of a “good enough” parent; loss of extended family; loss of community. These losses lead to disenfranchised grief, especially in relation to time lost with the targeted parent [10]. Participants in the current study had difficulty describing the origins of their grief. Harman and colleagues’ [10] explanation of ambiguous loss leading to disenfranchised grief may help to clarify the grief and loss experience of adults exposed to parental alienating behaviours in childhood. Some participants were informed about disenfranchised grief and loss during their interview for this study. The researchers observed that these participants reacted to this information with a profound sense of relief, stating that the information had validated their experience.


Author: Linda Turner

Coaching and Therapy Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Hypnotherapy. Qualified NLP, EMDR and CBT therapist. REIKI Master. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

Leave a Reply, All comments will be moderated - Many thanks for your contribution

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: