In a 2018 Family Court case, The mother said she had never caused the children to feel “caught in the middle” of the parental conflict, but she clearly has, the judge said. Due to the children’s constant exposure to the denigration of the father by her, they now believe their family is split and there are two opposing teams. The children perceive they and the mother are one team and the father is the other. The split is so bad that the second child feels the mother would regard him as a traitor even if he merely expressed his affection for the father and his desire to spend some time with him.
The Family Consultant said the children are under enormous psychological pressure to reject the father. Such expectation is confusing for them because they love the father and wish to maintain their relationships with him. As the Family Consultant explained, the children may sustain psychological damage having to manage such stress by having to agree with the mother. They may then feel they are to blame for the father’s elimination from their lives, which is damaging to their self-esteem and may cause psychological ill-health in the form of anxiety and depression. It may deleteriously affect their formation of adult relationships throughout the remainder of their lives.
The Family Consultant said if the mother has aligned the children against the father to satisfy her own emotional needs rather than to protect them from any risk of harm then her behaviour amounts to “significant psychological abuse”.
The mother was not acting protectively of the children to avoid their exposure to risks of harm posed by the father, since there are no credible risks of harm posed by him. She was probably putting the children’s best interests in maintaining loving relationships with both parents lower than her own interests (in exacting revenge).
The children do need protection from the “abuse” to which they are subjected by the mother, in the form of her alignment of them against the father, which has caused and is liable to continue causing them serious psychological harm.
Are you fooling yourself that you are ‘protecting’ your kids when you’re actually getting revenge on your ex?
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