Our Mothers Ourselves

Parental Alienation: When Divorcing Parents Go Too Far

June 03, 2021 Katie Hafner Season 4 Episode 5
Our Mothers Ourselves
Parental Alienation: When Divorcing Parents Go Too Far
Chapters
Our Mothers Ourselves
Parental Alienation: When Divorcing Parents Go Too Far
Jun 03, 2021 Season 4 Episode 5
Katie Hafner


Divorce is hard on anyone, and sometimes the children of divorce become pawns in their parents' game of revenge. But what happens when that goes too far? It’s known as ‘parental alienation.' One parent uses tactics to make the children hate or fear the other parent so much that they begin to reject them as a parent altogether.

That’s what happened to Olivia  (her name has been changed to protect privacy) and her brother. Olivia shares with Katie how she became a puppet to her father, whose only goal was to turn his children against his ex-wife.

This isn’t just run of the mill bitterness engendered by divorce. ‘Parental alienation’ is a term recognized by courts and mental health professionals, and for Olivia and her brother, it took years before they understood exactly what their father had done.

Olivia and her brother truly believed their mother didn’t love them. In return, they treated her with disdain and disrespect, always lamenting how much they’d rather be with their father.

In this episode, Katie hears about this long journey and how Olivia now considers her mom her best friend.

Read the original article in The Atlantic here. And you can listen to an interview on NPR with the author here.

Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)
Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry

Producer: Alice Hudson
Executive Producer: Katie Hafner
Social Media: Sophie McNulty

Special thanks to Barbara Bradley Hagerty, for putting us in touch with Oliva.

Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com

Show Notes


Divorce is hard on anyone, and sometimes the children of divorce become pawns in their parents' game of revenge. But what happens when that goes too far? It’s known as ‘parental alienation.' One parent uses tactics to make the children hate or fear the other parent so much that they begin to reject them as a parent altogether.

That’s what happened to Olivia  (her name has been changed to protect privacy) and her brother. Olivia shares with Katie how she became a puppet to her father, whose only goal was to turn his children against his ex-wife.

This isn’t just run of the mill bitterness engendered by divorce. ‘Parental alienation’ is a term recognized by courts and mental health professionals, and for Olivia and her brother, it took years before they understood exactly what their father had done.

Olivia and her brother truly believed their mother didn’t love them. In return, they treated her with disdain and disrespect, always lamenting how much they’d rather be with their father.

In this episode, Katie hears about this long journey and how Olivia now considers her mom her best friend.

Read the original article in The Atlantic here. And you can listen to an interview on NPR with the author here.

Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)
Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry

Producer: Alice Hudson
Executive Producer: Katie Hafner
Social Media: Sophie McNulty

Special thanks to Barbara Bradley Hagerty, for putting us in touch with Oliva.

Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com