Grandparent Alienation Syndrome

Trauma-Informed, Virtual
Coaching and Christian Counseling
Via Phone or Video Chat

What is Grandparent Alienation?

Grandparent alienation is a type of elder abuse that occurs when grandparents are fraudulently prevented from having meaningful relationships with their grandchildren (minor and adult grandchildren). “Fraudulently prevented” means the reason is malicious and not based on the child’s best interest.

"Grandparent alienation is an exceptionally insidious and painful form of elder abuse."

Grandparent Alienation Counseling

What are Some Fraudulent Reason for Alienation?

Some fraudulent reasons are to coerce the grandparent to provide money or other favors, force the grandparent to agree with or side with someone, punish someone the child cares about, retaliate for real or perceived failings as parents, or gain more inheritance. The adult alienating the child often has severe issues such as narcissism or other personality disorders.

"No matter the reason, grandparent alienation has catastrophic impacts on grandparents."

How Does Alienation Uniquely Affect Grandparents?

Alienation can significantly compound the difficulties involved with aging. Since grandparents are often already struggling with physical challenges, a decreased sense of purpose, and isolation, alienation can magnify these challenges. 

A relationship with a grandchild can be a valuable resource for grandparents to navigate these challenges. Sadly, alienation turns this resource into a source of debilitating pain and difficulty. 

Alienation can cause grandparents to become isolated from other family members and peers. Often others simply don’t understand or relate to the intense pain and suffering alienation causes. Conversations with their friends about their grandchildren can become increasingly painful because it stirs up immense grief and pain. 

"Grandparent alienation leaves grandparents frozen in pain. They are grieving for the living without any closure in sight."

Grieving for the Living

Alienation can cause ambiguous grief (grief for the living). This form of grief is complicated because our brains are hard-wired to seek closure. When a person doesn’t have closure, they can remain stuck in their grief and continue longing for what used to be or looking endlessly for answers. 

A grandparent stuck in the agonizing pain of ambiguous grief struggles to focus on anything else other than rehearsing memories for comfort and searching their minds for answers.

Are You Experiencing Any of These Impacts of Grandparent Alienation?

  • waves of intense pain and grief

  • feeling empty, restless, hopeless, and questioning your purpose now

  • endlessly feeling confused and trying to make sense of things 

  • frequently plagued by regret and guilt

  • often feeling irritable or angry

  • shame about how much of your energy this relationship absorbs

  • constantly trying to explain yours feeling depressed, anxious, and restless

  • feeling like your mind defaults to thinking about it all the time

  • having intense, unpredictable emotions that are difficult to calm

  • having difficulties with sleeping, eating, and self-care

  • difficulty doing things because nothing feels pleasurable anymore

  • periods of feeling numb or disconnected from life

  • difficulty thinking clearly or making plans

Do You Need?


Are you constantly confused and questioning everything? 

Get the validation and insights you need to unravel your individual situation and clearly understand the truth about what is happening.


Have you tried everything, but nothing seems to be helping?

Get the personalized guidance, effective strategies, and roadmap you need to confidently choose your next steps.


Are you realizing just how deeply you have been impacted?

Get the trauma-informed support and direction you need to overcome the impacts and move forward in your life.

My Approach

I believe we are all beautifully unique, including YOU, so a “one size fits all” approach often isn’t helpful and can even be hurtful. So, instead of using a cookie-cutter plan, I enjoy working together with you to create a path forward that considers your unique personality, challenges, and strengths.

I believe that you are the expert on you. My role is to listen and learn about you so that I can provide the guidance and support you need to get to where you want to go. The best growth and healing occurs in a space where you feel free to ask questions, disagree, and talk about what is helpful and what isn’t.

I believe every person is valuable. Unfortunately, trauma often causes us to confuse the impacts of trauma with our identity. When this happens, we are left feeling deeply ashamed, hopeless, crazy, and weak. I value you, and I want to create a safe space where you can feel and know your value too!



Willow Life Coaching and Counseling, LLC does NOT provide medical services. Please see a licensed medical provider if you need medical and mental health services.

About Me

Bonnie Ronstrom

I’m a certified life coach, victim’s advocate, and pastoral counselor. I specialize in walking toward healing with those harmed by toxicity, narcissism, and spiritual abuse.

My passion is to provide the validation, support, training, and resources individuals and organizations need to overcome the devastating impacts of toxicity and abuse.

Whether you need a one-time consult or a place to heal, I look forward to meeting you and exploring how we can best work together. I work with clients from all over the world through virtual, trauma-informed coaching, Christian counseling (non-medical), groups, training, and consulting services.

Contact Me

Frequently Asked Questions

Christian Counseling

Do you take insurance?

My services are not medical, so they are not covered by medical insurance.

Who do you work with?

I work with English speaking adults from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds.

If you didn’t see an answer to your question, the link below will take you to more frequently asked questions.

What does working together look like?

The various parts of us (body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, personality, abilities, etc.) are so intricately woven together that all aspects of us are impacted when we experience hardships and trauma. For this reason, I believe the most profound growth and healing occur when all parts of us are part of the process.

When we first meet, I’ll ask about your goals and what you hope to gain from working together. Some people have a clear picture of what they want, while others are overwhelmed and focused on surviving today (an expected impact of abuse and trauma). If this is your situation, we can start with your immediate needs, such as helpful information, clarity, a safety plan, or strategies to calm the chaos and anxiety.

I let each person decide how often they want to meet (permitting time in my schedule) and if they prefer to meet via phone or video chat.

As we talk, I discover your personality, experiences, preferences, and abilities. Getting to know you is an essential part of helping me present options and strategies that will be effective for you. I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach works. 


Part of being trauma-sensitive is that I’m always listening for potential triggers and roadblocks so that together we can develop creative ways to help you keep moving forward and avoid being retraumatized. 

Trauma alters how our brain and nervous systems function. Even when we are no longer in a harmful environment, having “trauma brain” causes physical problems and makes everyday tasks and interactions difficult. An essential part of healing is helping your brain and nervous systems return to healthy functioning. Thankfully, our brains are capable of changing and developing new patterns. Even though trauma is devastating, healing is possible!

People are traumatized when they go through deeply distressing events. When these distressing events are ongoing (such as in the case of Narcissistic Abuse), the impacts are profound.

When there is stress, our brains temporarily change how they function to help us respond to the stressor and recover afterward. Prolonged trauma causes our brains to take on new patterns of functioning. Certain brain areas become overactive while others under-function. These changes are sometimes referred to as “trauma brain.”

Here are just a few of the signs of “trauma brain.”

Lack of focus

Memory issues, Forgetful

Fatigue, Unmotivated

Anxious, restless

Emotionally reactive

Difficulty feeling connected to anyone

Difficulty thinking through challenging topics 

More impulsive

Drawn toward addictions (food, shopping, drugs, researching, etc.)

Sleep difficulties

Loss of hope or difficulty thinking about the future


Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything

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