The answer to the title is that nobody knows until it happens to them.
For the public to understand the devastation caused to grandparents and grandchildren we need to be as open and honest as we can be.
Grandparents often feel ashamed by what has happened and will not talk about it as it is far too painful and for fear of being judged. As a consequence the true numbers of how many who have been unjustifiably estranged is never known.
You will know that I don’t use the word alienation, but sometimes there is no other word that fits.
When you find yourself facing this living bereavement, we are annihilated from everything we hold dear.
The definition of annihilate is to destroy utterly, to obliterate.
A family member makes a conscious decision to totally obliterate us.
For those who find themselves in this dark place as a result of their own adult children’s decision, the pain is as a parent as well as a grandparent.
For most of us, being a parent is the most wonderful thing we do, the ability to bring the next generation into the world, is part of our very being. We nurture, love and care for these precious people, only to be rejected by them. There are no words to put onto paper, the enormous pain and hurt this causes.
We hopefully were good enough parents, not perfect, but good enough. It is ok to be good enough.
To try to describe how this feels will be different for everybody, but for me it was as though my very soul had been taken from me.
Those magical, wonderful moments of holding my first grandchild was like no experience I had had before. I fell in love all over again.
We hold the future in our arms, and look forward to it with expectation.
When that is brutally severed from you, it literally rocks your world.
Every grandparent I have ever spoken to ask, why?
Why has this happened, why has the child they brought up turned against them?
More often than not there is no straight forward answer.
Perpetrators of alienation, could be trying to get revenge, for one reason or another. Maybe there is a perception that we may have spent more time with a sibling, a perception that we have a better relationship with the other party, but it all comes down to power and control.
Alienators are absolutely aware that the most powerful thing is to deny us contact with our grandchildren.
Of course when emotions run high, we could be in danger of feeling that sense of revenge ourselves, but that will never be the answer.
As I have already said those who behave this way have their own issues, they may have a problem with their own self worth, or they may well have faced their own traumas as children, be that a perception or a reality.
When we consider the many millions of parents who are also alienated from their own children, we need to be looking at the whole Family Law system, which for me is not fit for purpose. Family breakdown in ALL its forms should not be dealt with in a court of law, time to reimagine.
We are testament to how it goes wrong, any family that is going through a difficult time need to be supported, all agencies need to be involved immediately, to find the best way forward that will always have the children/grandchildren at the forefront of every decision.
Prevention will always be better than an attempt to find a cure.
Whilst alienators are destroying relationships, they need to be mindful that when these grandchildren become adults they will want to find out if we really are monsters, when they discover we have never stopped loving them and we have always been here from them, there is every possibility that they will turn against the person who has robbed them of those precious lost years and memories.
There are no winners in this, ever.