Home » Blogs » Full Heart, Empty Arms » 3 Keys for Step-Mothers Coping with Parental Alienation

3 Keys for Step-Mothers Coping with Parental Alienation

You may have never heard of Parental Alienation, experienced it nor observed it. Surprise! You didn’t just marry your husband, you married his children — and a little thing called Parental Alienation.

You’ve just embarked on a journey that will prove your mettle as a woman, as a wife and as a step-mother. It will either break you and your marriage or you will discover strengths you never knew you had. Iron resolve you never used before. A world of hurt, anger and tears that will only make you stronger.

These keys are from my own personal experience as the step-mother of five step-children who hate my guts. I learned about Parental Alienation the hard way: experience. I had no guide, no advice, no mentor. I didn’t even know the phrase ‘Parental Alienation’ until years after the shit storm began.

I survived and so will you, but it will change you, mostly for the good. I went into my marriage and Parental Alienation hoping to be like the Queen Mother. I came out of it nearly as destroyed as Mary Queen of Scots.

It changed me from a sweet, ingratiating, easygoing bird to a tough, no-nonsense, well, my stepkids call me ‘Bitch’. I wear it proudly.

So ‘Welcome to the Thunderdome, Bitches!’ (You may not be a bitch now, but you will be after battling with Parental Alienation and I mean that as a huge compliment!)

Be Faithful!

You married your husband and the father of your step-children because he’s a good, honest, loving, caring, hard-working man, right? Well, hang on to that belief, because it’s about to be tested to hell and gone.

At the crux of Parental Alienation is a Good Man. A very good man who is being crucified on the Mount of Olives called ‘family court.’ Your role is to have his back with a tenacity that makes a dingo look like a wuss.

You will be his sole believer, his sole support, his sole encouragement, his sole adviser and sole shoulder to cry on.

Hang onto him, hang onto your belief in him and hang onto your love for him. Dig deep and you’ll be amazed at the strength you find within yourself. Even better, your bond to your husband will strengthen exponentially as it’s tested.

Be Principled!

You may’ve had a fairytale wedding with rose petals and butterflies, but now you must metamorphosize from a beautiful bride into an iron butterfly.

The attacks from your husband’s ex and her little weapons aka your step-children may start slowly, softly, cunningly but the ante will quickly be upped. Very soon, they’ll be calling you names. Swearing at you. Stealing from you. Putting the most vile lies in your mouth. The list goes on and on, because they’re testing you. Pushing to see how far they can go, whether they can ride roughshod over you, testing your strengths and weaknesses.

How will you handle it? Will you knuckle under and try to please and appease them? Bribe them? Then you’ve made the wrong choice, you’ve played their game, Parental Alienation has won and your life has gone from tough to hellacious.

With the children’s father, decide what behavior will be tolerated and what will not. Decide on your course of action. It may be this is the first discipline your step-kids have ever experienced, so don’t expect them to take it gracefully.

This may be the final straw that brings on full-scale, hard core Parental Alienation. Their line in the sand may be total anarchy. Your line in the sand will be respect and a few common sense principles for civilized behavior.

This may be the excuse your husband’s ex was looking for to convince the courts to remove his shared custody and his visitation rights.

Be prepared for it but don’t back down from the principles you have espoused.

Be Strong

This is where that ‘bitch’ thing comes into play and I mean it in the nicest possible way. Until you marry into Parental Alienation, you can’t imagine how incredibly tough you will have to be. Not mean, not rude, just unbreakably strong.

Parental Alienation is like the worst kind of divorce. One expects bitterness, anger, reproaches in all but the most cordial of divorces. Now add a factor of 1,000 not because children are involved in the divorce, but because this is a particular kind of divorce. A divorce between a personality disordered woman who is manipulating the system through lies for her own personal gain. Divorce to her is gainful employment and I don’t just mean monetarily. She feeds off the emotional pain your husband is suffering, gloating over the control she wields.

The worst part is that she will completely brainwash her children to believe you and your husband are literally the worst people in the world. The words you will have supposedly said will curdle your blood and then set it boiling. In time, the children will shift the pain their personality disordered birth-mom is causing them, onto you. They will come to hate and despise you, driving you even further way, then hating you for going.

It sounds trite, but you will have to dig deeper than you ever realized you could. You will find yourself in courtrooms, staring into the eyes of the woman your husband once loved who is hell-bent on ruining your lives, your finances and your marriage. You will find yourself in police stations, giving statements. Staying up nights, listening and watching ready to dial 999 at any moment. Always watching your back, checking your email, your voicemail and social media for clues on what attack may be coming next and from what quarter. That is how bad Parental Alienation can get. That’s how bad it got for us.

You’ll be amazed at how strong you are. You may bow and bend in the maelstrom of Parental Alienation, but you cannot, you will not be broken and neither will your marriage. With these three keys to help you through it, you’ll be like the Queen Mother: an ‘iron will’ covered in ‘relentless charm’.

3 Keys for Step-Mothers Coping with Parental Alienation

Ivy Blonwyn

Ivy Blonwyn is a Welsh freelance writer and photographer. She and her husband have been trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family for several years. Ivy can relate to the pain, confusion, jealousy and sense of injustice that accompanies infertility. But she also knows the pain of being a step-mother to children who’s vindictive birth mother has systematically employed Parental Alienation to distance them from their birth-father, Ivy’s husband, Rhys. Her articles, often illustrated with her photos, are intended to validate and comfort those who suffer from infertility, Parental Alienation and the pain of sexual abuse. She finds solace in indulging her passion for plein air photography during long tramps with her husband through the fields, hills and castles of Cardiff. Follow Ivy on Facebook at or contact her at

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Blonwyn, I. (2018). 3 Keys for Step-Mothers Coping with Parental Alienation. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Feb 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.