(This is a copy of the guest post I wrote for PTSDchat.org.)
Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) with Parental Alienation is often kept a secret.
I started interviewing families for my book and two topics kept coming into the conversation, Parental Alienation and PTSD.
Many parents who have PTSD have become victims of parental alienation. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is when one parent takes the children and keeps them from the other parent, when there is no abusive reason to do so.
In addition to this being something that happens regularly within the PTSD community, people without PTSD whose children are taken away, often develop C-PTSD, as do the children who have lived through this traumatic event.
Some parents are already struggling to deal with PTSD when a breakup occurs. If the other parent has narcissistic tendencies or thinks it would just be easier on them, they may keep the children from having a relationship with the PTSD sufferer. This adds to their PTSD.
Some symptoms of PAS induced C-PTSD can be:
- Having a panic attack when seeing other children, such as at the store, at a playground or at the park
- Having extreme emotional reactions to the children’s section or passing by a toy store
- Having to quit their job if it involves being around kids, such as a school secretary, teacher or daycare employee
Some common feelings within the PAS community are:
- Blaming themselves for the other parent’s behaviors
- Feeling like their children don’t like them, when the children’s behavior stems from tactics from the alienating parent
- Feeling ashamed for being falsely accused and wondering if other people will actually believe the truth
- Hopelessness that anything will ever change
More and more PAS induced C-PTSD sufferers are finding hope, community and help through Parental Alienation support groups on Facebook.
A few of these groups are:
- Parental Alienation UK
- Parental Alienation
- Time to Put Kids First
- Father’s Rights
- Parental Alienation Awareness of America
- Rights for Australian Men
- Hope 4 Parents of Missing Children
This week I posted a poll to see how many members were suffering from C-PTSD and PAS. The picture below shows the results. However, many other people sent messages saying that they could not use the poll because it was too risky for them to admit their PTSD.
Suicides from PAS C-PTSD have also been documented in recent news stories. One woman wrote about her mother committing suicide, due to being alienated from her grandchild.
If you think that you are suffering alone, take some time to visit local support groups, like Grief Share, and Facebook groups that are available to you. There has never been a better time to find support for PAS, PTSD and C-PTSD.
You are not alone.
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Marie White is the author of Strength for Parents of Missing Children: Surviving Divorce, Abduction, Runaways and Foster Care. She is also a veteran, missionary, traveler and the YouTube host of Bible Stories for Adults. She encourages people from all walks of life and experiencing a variety of struggles, to know that God is on your side.