Mental Health Matters
Forensic Edition
November 2016
Published by:  Lepage Associates
Psychological & Psychiatric Services
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Cooperative Parenting and Divorce:
Avoiding a Loyalty Bind
A loyalty bind in divorce is where the child does not feel allowed to love both parents. He has to side with one or the other about any number of issues, big and small. His anger, sadness, and anxiety increases as he feels pushed to choose and either choice results in the loss, or fear of loss, of the other parent. He can't win. Unfortunately, it's easy to create a loyalty bind. We do to it every time we criticize the other parent or sigh in exasperation about something they did. We do it when we play the role of victim and solicit our child's sympathy for ourselves against the other parent. Loyalty binds are created when we tell our child we miss them when they're with the other parent, or ask questions about their visit with the other parent, or not allow the child to take special items to the other parent's house. An emphasis on making things equal can also create a loyalty bind as the child feels forced to account for time, gifts, money, and affection he exchanges with each parent. More obvious examples of putting the child in the middle include using him as a courier for communication with the other parent, or refusing to attend one of his events if the other parent attends. Even attending the event but sitting far from the other parent forces the child to choose which parent to approach first afterwards. You can see how easy it is to create loyalty binds, and how keeping the child in focus is necessary to prevent them.  (Read on...)

Lepage Associates
Lepage Associates
Solution-Based Psychological   and Psychiatric Services
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S. Durham/RTP - Chapel Hill - Raleigh

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