This is probably one of the most common questions I get: "How do I get my co-parent to stop alienating my child from me?" and they are always shocked at the answer.
The [short] answer is, you don't.
...Not in the literal sense, at least.
The fact of the matter is that a parent who is interfering with a normal-range parent's relationship with their own child is exhibiting pathogenic behaviors. Usually they are repeating unresolved, unconscious childhood patterns and trauma. They project their trauma onto their family dynamic, because that is all they know, so any fear or slight resemblance leads to a full blown repetition of their past. That is for a separate post. However the question then shifts to "how do I stop my co-parent from being or acting pathogenic and/or projecting their childhood trauma onto our children and family" - hopefully it's all starting to make more sense.
So, I will definitely tell you how to stop the alienation from taking hold & mitigate it, but trying to get them to stop being pathogenic is a whole different ball game.
Unfortunately, being in this predicament means you really have to take a look at the bigger picture. Chosen Parents must understand that they can only work towards resolving the issue with what they themselves can control, not try to pretend they are dealing with a person they are not. That being said, we cannot change people, we only can change ourselves. We can't make other people heal, we can only heal ourselves. If you had children with a pathogenic person, there is no changing that. People can only change or heal if they want to. Now, that is not to say people aren't affected by the changes in other people, and that your healing can't imprint onto others... let me explain.
Healing yourself is the gift you give to others. It just is. Humans are reciprocative beings. We mirror each other's behaviors - no, not 100% of the time. But this is basic human behavior. For example, the way in which you respond to someone in an argument or debate, will determine how their next response will be. If you respond to hostility with hostility, the conversation will remain mostly hostile. If you respond with consciousness, the other person is more likely to reduce their hostility. Humans reciprocate more than they realize, and we bounce of each other's energy, behavior, reactions, emotions, etc. So, even with a pathogenic person, you can either mitigate an issue or exacerbate it with your response. The way in which you proceed to respond to their claims will have an effect on how their tactics continue.
The way in which you work on the relationship with your child will have everything to do with how the behaviors and actions of their other parent take hold. The last thing you want to do is contribute to the conflict in the family, by showing up out of your triggers, fears & pain. You instead want to make sure you learn your triggers, how to manage emotions, resolve the traumas and pain, and become more conscious.
So, here are the top 3 things to help mitigate and prevent alienating behaviors from taking hold:
1. Take back your power
You will need to really accept who you are dealing with here. And at the same time, don't let that be the end-all-be-all. We must understand the pathogen, in order to take charge of it. Then, understand where you stand in the parental unit: are you going to be the conscious one, or be beholden to the pathogenic one? Hone in on effective communication skills to use with your pathogenic co-parent.
2. Mirror strength and consciousness in your child
How you show up with your child will determine how they become affected by the pathology. If you respond to their rejecting patterns with emotion, triggers, and pain - this will only contribute to the issue. You must mirror to them how you want them to be. You must heal yourself in order to guide your child on a conscious path. Higher Purpose Parenting is the go-to guide for this.
3. Take the proverbial high road
Be the bigger parent, and take proactive action. Don't meet your co-parent where they are- take the high road. This means learning how to mitigate conflict, communicate consciously, and even how to best prepare for a court case against the pathogenic parent. Remember, if your co-parent isn't putting in the work, you will be the only parent to do so. Embrace your role as Chosen Parent.
When it comes down to it, you cannot get your co-parent to stop telling the children things; instead, you can converse with your child critically, so they can get to a place of understanding what reality is and isn't. You cannot get your co-parent to want to encourage the relationship with you; instead, make sure you are continuously showing up for your child with unconditional love, and in the case of extreme interference or withholding, make sure you are proactive in court and getting allegations dealt with. All of these critical components to preventing pathogenic behaviors from taking hold is what we focus on in the Custody Resolution Method. Take action today. Prevent regret tomorrow.