California parents like you often struggle in the aftermath of a divorce. This is natural, as the adjustment is large. Not only are you dealing with your own emotional state, but you must care for your child and be mindful of your ex-spouse.
This is particularly true if you believe your ex-spouse may act in a vindictive way toward you. This often happens in cases where parental alienation occurs.
How parental alienation first manifests
The Psychiatric Times discusses potential signs of parental alienation. First, parental alienation is a malicious act – unintentional or not – where one parent tries to turn their child against the other parent. As the alienated parent, there are several things you may notice.
First and most obvious, your child may suddenly refuse to spend time with you or express discomfort in seeing you. This often happens without any event trigger. Second, when questioned, your child will not have a good explanation for this.
Your child’s behavior
They may also shift the blame and deny repeatedly that their choice or feelings have anything to do with the alienating parent. You may also see them exhibit signs of guilt or misplaced anger as they try to figure out their own thoughts and emotions.
Parental alienation often happens in stages, starting off mild and progressing to severe. At first, you may struggle to notice signs. But it may get to the point where your child refuses to have anything to do with you and disparages you at every turn. Before things get to that stage, you may want to discuss your legal options with your attorney.