watch out for “conflict of loyalty”

France is the 10th most divorced country in the European Union*. Problems related to the conflict of loyalty are therefore increasingly present in children. They can alter their development and engender consequences that will pursue them throughout their existence.

Unrecognized in everyday life, the notion of conflict of loyalty however, does not date from yesterday. Indeed, it appeared for the first time 60 years ago, under the pen of the Hungarian psychiatrist Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy. Here is his definition: “The context of loyalty arises either from a biological relationship of kinship, or from expectations of reciprocity resulting from a relational commitment. In both cases, the concept of loyalty is triadic in nature. It implies that the individual chooses to privilege one relationship to the detriment of another.** The conflict of loyalty therefore applies to all relationship patterns: friendship, romantic relationship, parental relationship ; and it manifests itself when Conflictswhere the individual concerned feels obliged to take part.

In the context of the parent-child relationship, it is often expressed when there is divorce between the two parents; whether before, during or after the actual separation. Thus, it can be born in the young when his parents are still married and arguing, when they are going through a divorce and they despise their ex-spouse, when they are divorced and they have to juggle joint custody or again, when one of the parents gets back together with a new romantic partner. You would have understood it, this conflict can continue for several years after the divorce has been pronounced.

What’s next after this ad

The conflict of loyalties is more serious when the separation goes badly

The more the parents are on bad terms, the more conflicting the separationthe deeper the conflict of loyalty will be and the more the child will feel trapped, forced to choose between them. Therefore, the cases of fault divorce may be more concerned with the conflict of loyalties than divorce by mutual consent or amicably, for example.

Indeed, one of the parents (or both) can voluntarily instrumentalize and use his offspring in order toto have extra support in this war with his ex-partner. To do this, he will use verbal communication, whose intentions are explicit and conscious, as well as non-verbal communication (body language), betraying negative thoughts that he tries somehow to conceal.

On the one hand, when the child speaks to him about his ex-spouse, he may blurt out behavioursof the facial expressionsof the tones of voice of annoyance or satisfaction depending on the situation. Example: smile involuntarily when the child says he does not want to go to the other parent. On the other hand, he may openly criticize the other, make him look like a bad person, ask his child directly for information about the new life and the new partner of his ex-husband / wife. Whether voluntary or not, he will discredit his past partner with his offspring.

To preserve the child’s well-being, it is worth keeping him away from parental conflicts, avoiding involving him in disputes.

What’s next after this ad

When the child finally chooses his side

The psychological torture suffered by the child is great. The conflict of loyalty can indeed give rise to a thousand and one questions in the mind of the latter: “To whom am I more obligated?”, “Who is most vulnerable in this situation?”

Under pressure from one of the parents, the young person can therefore end up taking sides, even though he loves his father and mother equally. And the psychological suffering has only just begun… He will feel guilty for enjoying the moments with the parent whose side he has “not chosen”, will feel guilty for liking the latter’s new companion, and will feel obliged to lie to the other adult when telling them the facts or their day. In the most extreme case, it could even hate his other parent And refuse to see himeven if it means wanting to exclude him completely from his life.

The separation having been decided unilaterally by one, undergone by the other, it is possible that the left parent positions himself in addition in victim. The child will naturally side with him since he suffers the situation and seems to suffer more. So be careful not to victimize yourself with your offspring.

What’s next after this ad

Loyalty conflict: what consequences for the child?

If the consequences are diverse and varied, all have a destructive impact on the psyche of the young person concerned. They are multiple and depend on elements that are specific to each child: age, personality, or life story of the latter, more generally.

Some signs and behaviors in children may indicate that the child is suffering from a conflict of parental loyalty.
– The child is stressand even anguish : this can result in anxiety attacks in the worst case.
– Before the transitions between the two parents, he may cry, throw tantrums, vomit, have headaches or stomachaches. These ailments generally disappear once arrived at the other parent.
– He encounters school difficulties : he has difficulty studying, in particular because of concentration problems
– He has sleeping troubles
He acts differently depending on the parent he is with
– He has less desire to see one of his parents
– He can develop a fear of abandonment
– In some cases, it can even switch in Ia parentification of the child ; the latter feeling invested with the mission of supporting his parent suffering from divorce, thus becoming a “child-therapist”

These signs rarely appear before the age of 4 – the child being too young to feel it, make it aware, or express it; but they can affect it for many years.

The fact that the two parents no longer love each other should not mean that the child must also stop loving the other… It is therefore necessary to protect him as much as possible from a possible conflict of loyalty today, so that the situation does not impact him all his life.

Open-minded and in love with life, Emilie likes to decipher the new phenomena that shape society and relationships today. Her passion for the human being motivates her to write…

source site-35