If and when we see a child who has been alienated, it can feel as if they’re doing us a favour. Or doing their duty. Or they think there should be something in it for them – a treat, a nice meal, an apology, hard cash … This sense of entitlement stems, of course, from the alienating parent. They feel we owe them too. We abandoned them, or we betrayed them, or we didn’t do right by them, or it’s all our fault. Whatever the scenario, it basically boils down to the same thing: the alienating parent, and therefore the indoctrinated child too, feels that we owe them. We should pay/be punished. We should pay – emotionally, and financially. That’s why it’s quite easy, given our situation to play along with this too and be so grateful to be given an audience, we do roll out the metaphorical red carpet. We don’t behave as we would normally because the time we have (if any) is so precious. It’s like the most unimaginably wonderful gift – better than anything that can be wrapped up at Christmastime with a pretty bow on top – to spend time with our alienated child. Alienation has turned everything upside down and inside out. It’s given the child the upper hand because we LOVE them so much. Because it is exactly our love for them that’s being played here. Teenagers might do this anyway, trying to get what they can from parents, but the alienated child has learned all the manipulative ways of the alienating parent. What it is hard, but nevertheless, worthwhile trying to do is not roll out that red carpet but just behave as we would as if the alienation had never happened. Plus this situation might have left us short-changed (emotionally and financially), rather than them. The alienated child doesn’t need a red carpet, they just need love.
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