Being an alienated child is like being in a cult. See article: http://fathersforlife.org/fv/the_cult_of_pare
The Cult of Parenthood: A Qualitative Study of Parental Alienation
By Amy J. L. Baker, Ph.D.
Cultic Studies Review Vol. 4, No. 1, 2005
Forty adults who were alienated from a parent as a child participated in a qualitative research study about their experience. A content analysis was conducted on the transcripts [of the audio tapes of the interviews of adults that participated in the study] and a comparison was undertaken to identify similarities between alienating parents and cult leaders. Results revealed that adults whose parents alienated them from their other parent described the alienating parent much the way former cult members describe cult leaders. The alienating parents were described as narcissistic and requiring excessive devotion and loyalty, especially at the expense of the targeted parent. The alienating parents also were found to utilize many of the same emotional manipulation and persuasion techniques cult leaders use to heighten dependency on them. And, finally, the alienating parents seemed to benefit from the alienation much the way cult leaders benefit from the cult: they have excessive control, power, and adulation. Likewise, the participants reported many of the same negative outcomes that former cult members experience such as low self-esteem, guilt, depression, and lack of trust in themselves and others. These findings can provide a useful framework for conceptualizing the experience of parental alienation and should also be useful for therapists who provide counseling and treatment to adults who experienced alienation as a child.