What are the long term effects of parental alienation?

It has been suggested that alienating parents present with paranoid, histrionic, or narcissistic personality traits and have affective disorders, suicidal ideation, and lack resilience around separation and loss. They also tend to have dysfunctional family histories and poor relationships with their parents.

When parental alienating behaviours are present in the family environment, the child is at least exposed to suboptimal conditions and, at worst, is exposed to a range of abusive behaviours such as coercion, control, manipulation, and neglect [5]. If a child’s threat appraisal system becomes heightened and unmanageable and caregivers do not actively help to regulate their physiological arousal, the child becomes unable to categorise their experiences successfully. The child’s ability to respond flexibly to a perceived threat is damaged over time, resulting in hypervigilance, problems reading social cues, unpredictable levels of emotional reactivity, intense feelings of fear, reduced memory function, and learning difficulties [28]. Higher levels of emotional reactivity in early childhood are hypothesised to be a predictor of numerous mental health issues in adulthood, including depression, impulsivity, increased suicidal ideation, and criminal behaviour [29]. Furthermore, genetic predisposition and social learning within the family context also serve to increase the probability that children are more likely to inherit their parent’s mental health issues and patterns of behaviour [30,31]. Thus, the finding that 90% of participants experienced mental health difficulties in adulthood is consistent with the literature.


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! ≧◔◡◔≦

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