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Does parental alienation still affect adult children?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | Family Law

Parental alienation has a negative impact on children of divorce. Studies over the course of many years have proven this fact true time and time again. However, most of these studies focus on young children in the middle of a divorce, or shortly after it has ended.

But what about children who have grown into adulthood? Do the effects of parental alienation still linger well into the later years of their life? Are these children still affected to this day?

Parental alienation as abuse

The Psychiatric Times takes a look into the long-lasting impacts of parental alienation. Unfortunately, as more studies turn their attention to adults who underwent parental alienation as kids, the results paint an increasingly bleak picture. Children do not simply “grow out” of the negative impact of parental alienation. Rather, it tends to stay with them.

As parental alienation often ends up classified as a form of childhood psychological abuse by courts, so long-lasting effects will follow. After all, it is well documented that children of abuse struggle with the lingering effects for the rest of their lives. If parental alienation is another form of abuse, then naturally a child will struggle with that, too.

The lingering impact

Many former victims of parental alienation still have trouble making and maintaining connections with peers. They cite trouble with trusting others and trust issues in general. On top of that, many also suffer from an elevated risk of depression, anxiety, trauma and stressor-related disorders, and problems with addiction and self-destructive behaviors. Some choose to seek action against the alienating parent, while others simply wish for a way to continue life without the burden that these scars can leave behind.