So here’s the thing: Active three-party ‘Alienation’ is basically another name for ‘coercive control’ and for Emotional Abuse. They’re all relationships that take you in and cut you off. ‘Coercive control’ is best known in couples and domestic abuse. Scotland’s recent Domestic Abuse law creates a specific offence of psychological abuse. Here’s that summary of abusive behaviour (to a partner) which is:
- Violent, threatening or intimidating
- Behaviour whose purpose is to:
- Make a partner dependent or subordinate
- Isolate them from friends, relatives or other sources of support
- Control, regulate or monitor their day-to-day activities
- Deprive or restrict their freedom of action
- Frighten, humiliate, degrade or punish them. .
Again, every bit of that is found in Alienation and in all kinds of ‘relationships that take you in and cut you off’. Whatever you call it, this is at the core of all of them: Coercive Control, Alienation, Emotional Abuse and, what we collectively call by the legal term, Undue influence.
The new UK laws are restricted to ‘intimate partners and ex-partners’. But it’s the same pattern in other family abuse, and in other groups than families. In fact there we find it’s more deeply hidden domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, and Parental Alienation. We know these may be hidden in upstanding institutions. But we forget the large number of mind-control cultic ones, small, or big like Scientology or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And if you brave the implanted phobia and leave cults like that, your ex and your kids have to completely shun you. Or an extremist group or a mind control cult may take in your loved one and totally cut them off from you.
At the core of all of these is the same harmful behaviour pattern. So it’s a shame to have excluded all these other victims from the protection of the new laws which were admirably campaigned for by the women’s movement for victims of their own kind. But harmful Undue Influence is not so exclusive. Sadly, I think, the new UK laws marginalise victim groups who don’t have such a powerful voice or an equal opportunity.
And I would add that those other groups face worse harm. In the well-known kinds of domestic or child abuse, the victim usually knows they’re a victim. Sure, they’re frightened, trapped, forced to keep quiet. That is hellish. But at least they know they’re a victim..
In other extreme coercive groups, like mind-control cults, terrorist groups, and the more extreme forms of abuse and Alienation in families, the victim cannot bear to know it. These victims of more extreme coercion deal with the terror by switching to that devoutly loyal false identity, proclaiming they’ve never been happier, the last thing they want is to leave. They identify with and devotedly seek to please their controller or group. The false identity is the only way they can protect themselves, absent their authentic self and erase their true thoughts and feelings. … Do you recognise the melodrama of Parental Alienation in there?