The term parental alienation likely brings the image of young children to mind first. After all, most of the focus and studies center around children of divorce in their younger years and how they react to this situation.
But in recent years, more studies have shown that young children who suffer from parental alienation often also experience forms of it well into adulthood.
Studies show adults still impacted
The Psychiatric Times takes a look at how to treat and prevent parental alienation, stating the difficulties children may deal with as the main reason to fight against it. However, there is a large emphasis on how parental alienation affects young children and nowhere near as many studies reflecting the potential impact that it may have on these same children in their adult years.
Recently, more studies have focused on following up after adults who experienced parental alienation as children. These studies point out that alienating parents will often use the same tactics abusive parents use, such as gaslighting and manipulation. It would thus follow that children facing these abusive tactics experience the same sort of mental and emotional problems in later years that other children of abuse deal with.
Social, mental and behavioral struggles
Many adult children who suffered from parental alienation report trouble making and maintaining connections with others, including peers and people they feel close to. They quote their earlier experiences as destroying their ability to trust others. Many also struggle with elevated rates of depression, anxiety and stress trauma disorders. In addition, they also suffer a higher rate of addiction problems, including gambling and drug-related ones.
From this alone, you can see the lasting impact parental alienation can have years and years after the initial act.