The Seductive Fantasy of Being Special

Parental Alienation

Alysa was 32 years old and struggling with commitment when she decided to seek counseling. It was in one of our early sessions that I asked about her family and in particular, about her parent’s marriage.

“My parents had a good marriage—not great, but…you know—good. I know there were times that my dad wasn’t happy, but you don’t stay together if you’re not happy!”

“Really? What makes you so sure?” I asked.

“Look — I saw my parent’s marriage. I know that it wasn’t perfect. What marriage or relationship is? My mother didn’t always appreciate him, but I understood what he was really all about. There were times that he probably wanted to leave. We would talk about it because I’m the one who saw how exasperating his marriage could be. I gave him a perspective on things that no one else did. At times, he was so lonely. But, he…

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