It is said that storms don’t last forever. Living as an alienated parent can be likened to a storm. Often the child (in my case the adolescent) isn’t even aware of what is playing out in the rejected parent’s world. The rejected parent often has no idea how this is impacting their child because there is very little to no contact. Staying strong is very important because the pain of being alienated can be all-consuming. Some days it does consume me but to outsiders looking in, they wouldn’t be able to tell that I am dealing with this. I put on a brave face while on the inside I am feeling pain, sadness, rejection, grief, confusion and loneliness. The trauma is real and it doesn’t lessen with time. The only thing that will change these feelings is reuniting with my child. In the meantime I work very hard to try to manage these symptoms. I go to work every day, I meet with friends for coffee or meals, I talk things out with a counselor, I cook Sunday meals, I continue with my hobbies and I try to walk every day – even a brief 15 minute walk helps to clear my mind.
It took me a long time to realize (sometimes I forget) that I am still my daughter’s Mother. I am still her parent and I will continue to be her parent. Staying strong as an alienated parent is something I struggle with every day. I allow myself to feel the things I am feeling – if I am sad . . . I cry, I also still laugh but most importantly . . . I still put one foot in front of the other. If I allow this to define me then I will not be a healthy/stable parent when my child returns.
I can’t erase the fact that I am going through something devastating but what I can do is ride out the storm and try to stay strong.
I guess what I have learned from this experience is taking care of myself is extremely important. If you can do one thing for yourself each day – however small it is this will help you stay strong. Take a warm bath, read a book, go for a walk, enjoy a good meal, pray, meditate, listen to music – whatever it is – find something that you enjoy. So today do one little thing to take care of yourself – I promise you will notice the difference.
I read a quote many years ago that resonated with me and still holds true:
“Children’s needs are best met by parents whose needs are met.”
I am a Mother of three, a photographer and lover of nature. I have been alienated from one of my children and my goal is to gain understanding, knowledge and reunification in this journey.