Let’s continue to tap into the benefits of taking a broad perspective on all kinds of harmful coercive patterns.
Many of those who work with Parental Alienation in families owe a great debt to Amy JL Baker’s research and book:
In particular, a new reader is hit hard by her compelling comparison with how cults function.
Her original report is well worth reading too. The phrase ‘the cult of parenthood’ hits the spot exactly. For those who have yet to read the book, this gives you the hard hit quickly and for free!! It was published in the Cultic Studies Review (2005), 4/1:
To tempt you to read the full paper, here are her headings of the findings from that research, organised to show how closely the same features apply in Parental Alienation as they do in cults.
A Leader who Requires Excessive Devotion
Use of Emotional Manipulation and Persuasion Techniques to Heighten Dependency on the Leader
- Relentless Badmouthing of the Character of the Other Parent to Reduce Their Importance and Value
- Creating the Impression that the Targeted Parent was Dangerous and Planned to Hurt the Child in order to Instill Fear and Rejection of the Parent
- Deceiving the Child about the Targeted Parent’s Feelings in Order to Create Hurt, Resentment, and Psychological Distance
- Withdrawing Love if the Child Indicates Affection or Positive Regard for the Targeted Parent
- Erasing the Other Parent
Cults Further the Aims of the Leader at the Expense of the Needs of its Members as Well as Others
- Low Self-Esteem
- Lack of Trust
But now you really do need to go and read the full article. It’s here: