“If your opponent is choleric in temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow more arrogant.”
Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
Make no mistake about it: targeted and alienated parents are in a war. At stake are their children, and for too many, their own lives. This war is not decided in a single battle – win or loss. Rather, it is a protracted war that will leave deplete your emotional reserves and your treasury, all too often leaving you exhausted. I let Sun-Tzu be my counsel in this war to help guide my moves.
Sun-Tzu is believed to have written the Art of War in the 5th Century. The principles he proposed in this seminal book on warfare apply to every battlefield: actual militant wars, the boardroom, and the courtroom. The quote above is one that I find myself employing quite often in my own war. It requires a confident temperament and the ability to remove yourself from your own ego. Not an easy ask when you are in a battle.
As a targeted/alienated parent, you have every right to be angry. Get angry all you want. Have yourself a good tribal scream daily if you need to. It is good to release the vent to keep the boiler from bursting. However, you do not necessarily need to do that in a public forum in which the alienator or their flying monkeys can witness and report your actions.
When you vent in a public forum, the alienator gets something they can twist to their own purpose. If you go with the Art of War approach, then let your public persona be that of a happy person that is moving forward in life. I understand, moving forward when you are battling alienation is easier said than done. But that is why you have a public persona and a private persona. Your support base will know your private persona, but to the world, you can project that which would irritate the alienator because nothing irritates them more than your happiness.
The other side of the advice from Sun-Tzu is to appear weak. We all are given that opportunity when we go to court, show up for visits knowing the children will not be coming, and throughout the other shenanigans that alienators do. You cannot control what they will do. You can control what your response will be. The visceral response is to once again get angry. Again, do it – be angry because this behavior is abuse – but do so with your support base. In the public forum where you are on full display to the alienating enablers, appear weak. Be the timid one on the outside. Let their ego run
while you keep yours in check.
The result of all this is that when the time comes, you will be able to choose your field of battle. You will enter into that battle with the face of someone that is ready to take on the system to fight with fury. The alienator will expect the meek punching bag (s)he’s become used to, but you will finally be the opposite.
You will be a warrior.