How Do Children See Divorce and the Pain Behind It?


This is the latest psychiatric concept in vogue. After the insidiously toxic colleague, the necessarily narcissistic perverse boss, the manipulative husband, here is the child … insane. Or, more precisely, a victim of the “parental alienation syndrome”, the SAP. A curious illness affecting the bond between a parent and his child, who rejects him violently in the context of a separation or a divorce. But also a word punch, which summons all the imagination of madness. Maude Versini uses Lakes mediation Lancashire, a young woman whose three children were kidnapped two years ago by her ex, a notable Mexican, recognizes her story in this syndrome.

My children are alienated: they are distant, cold and call me by my first name. Their father managed to make them believe that I am a witch who abandoned them, ”  she says.

The term is brandished by the “crane climbers”, these fathers at war to recover their young. The child does not want to see them anymore? He is indoctrinated! The SAP floods the forums, featured in all the books devoted to complicated divorces. He even enters the courtrooms of the courts. The Court of Cassation affixed his judicial seal in June 2013, approving the Rennes Court of Appeal which transferred to his father the custody of a child of 5 years because of “parental alienation syndrome”.

It is his father who speaks through him

Many are no longer afraid to psychiatrize what is usually described as a conflict of loyalty, the painful dilemma that tears the child torn between father and mother. A human feeling in all its banality. When David was 9 years old, he visited me and turned his head to avoid my kiss. I started to cry. He gave me a scornful glance and said in a hateful tone: ‘I’m coming to tell you I do not want to see you anymore!’ It was awful, laments Francesca (1), 50, who has not seen his son for ten years. I then gave him the many gifts that I could not give him before. He looked at all these packages with disgust, as if they were excrement. He has today 19 years old. Recently, I found it on Facebook and we talked. He hates me. He says I’m only his mother. It is his father who speaks through him. He’s just a puppet, and he pulls the strings. ”


For rejected parents, all their suffering, if their child rejects them, is that he is no longer himself. All describe the same picture: a “little soldier”  with dry eyes, the heart without effect, that has been brainwashed. Joëlle, 48, talks about the difficulty of living for two years away from her 15-year-old son, Thomas:  ” I saw him ‘love me’, I do not even know what he looks like today. waiting. ”

The “alienating” parent is often the one who has been left

“The child is no longer in possession of his own judgment,”  says Mireille Lasbats, an expert court psychologist, who sees his parent as a monster, not as he is, and his psycho-emotional evolution is hampered. to have traumatic sequelae. ”

Behind this bizarre illness, there is the ex, manipulator. This “alienating” parent would train his child to fight the “alienated” parent.  ” Some children are used as weapons”,  confirms Josiane Bigot, juvenile judge. It can go very far. Estelle, 17, lodged a complaint against her father for touching:

It’s my mother who pushed me there. Before that, we laughed together insulting him. The more I belittled her, the happier she was. By force, I began to believe it. She said it was dirty at home. As soon as I came back, she undressed me, put my clothes in a plastic bag and made me take a shower. ”

The girl has since totally changed, and her father has been whitened.  ” The policeman told me that what she said was dictated to him,”  he recalls. The “alienating” parent is, most of the time, the one who has been left. His child, who lives at home, sees him as the victim to be protected. He spontaneously supports him and rallies to his cause.

I told my mother that I would avenge her,  says Marie, 34 years old.  She should have put me in my place and told me it was her adult business. ”

This young woman had turned away from her father. The break lasted twenty years.  ” I was odious to him, and as he tried to see me, I told him not to come near me, not to approach my son, I was demolishing him.”