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Some of the resistance to being willing to recognise parental alienation in a child, or in an adult, is because it can be abused. Certainly it can, just as legislation, particularly when called “gendered violence” is often misused. But misuse by some people should never blind us to the real problems being suffered by others.
“Frightened children are not alienated children”
Is correct in that not all – perhaps not even half – of children frightened of seeing a non-resident parent have their fear because of deliberate parental alienation.
However, it is also the case that not all frightened children are not alienated children. Or to put that more easily, some frightened children are alienated children.
Unfortunately, the resident parent is often carrying negative emotions towards the person they once loved (or in some way, might still love). Even without meaning to alienate a child, such a parent can inadvertently reinforce any negative feelings a child might have towards the other parent. And it is a rare child who has no negative feelings at all about each parent!
So the person least in position to judge whether parental alienation is going on is the one the child resides with. Or is currently visiting with. The sad part is that unless parents actively work against parental alienation, they are probably both contributing to it, with the parent the child spends most time with inevitably having most influence.