This is how she gets what she wants. She brainwashes you using methods similar to those of prison guards who recognize that physical control is never easily accomplished without the cooperation of the prisoner.
NO, this does not mean she's a supremely intelligent individual. It means she is a dysfunctional, spiteful abusive person. Those highly effective techniques for manipulation are a natural part of who she is. As you will read under Inside the Female Abusive Mind, these people are all pretty much the same type of character... sharing a great many thinking patterns and behaviors.
The abuser keeps the victim unaware of what is going on and what changes are taking place. Your partner might control your finances, make plans for you, or even talk or gossip about you to others behind your back in order to isolate you from them.
The abuser controls the victim's time and physical environment and works to suppress much of the victim's old behavior. She might have insisted that you stop certain social, hobby, or work activities. She may insist you move to a new location, farther away from your family and other supportive contacts.
The abuser instills in the victim a sense of powerlessness, fear, and dependency. Verbal and emotional abuse amplifies these emotions, and they become stronger and stronger over time. She puts forth a closed system of logic, allowing no real input or criticism. In other words... what she says, goes.
The most effective way to gain that cooperation is through subversive manipulation of the mind and feelings of the victim, who then becomes a psychological, as well as a physical, prisoner. These methods form the core of abuse.
Kellie Jo Holly over at Verbal Abuse Journals has this to say regarding our doubts that we've been brainwashed by those closest to us.
In 1957, sociologist Albert D. Biderman published "Communist Coercive Methods For Eliciting Individual Compliance" in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. Biderman's Chart of Coercion lists isolation, monopolization of perception, induced debility and exhaustion, occasional indulgences, and devaluing of the individual as methods of brainwashing:
This Chart was also featured in a publication called "Report of Torture" from Amnesty International, which depicted the brainwashing of prisoners during war.
Read on scibd.com: Albert D. Biderman - The Manipulation of Human Behavior
Kellie Jo has written an excellent post, providing us a realistic, closer look at each of the 8 steps in Biderman's Chart of Coercion. Thank you, Kelly!
Abusers isolate victims from family and friends. If the abuser cannot isolate you, then it is unlikely your relationship will last very long because your friends and family support you and point out things they don't like about your new love. Your support network is your reality check against what the abuser wants you to believe.
Cults and other groups that use brainwashing to control others have multiple members who already fell under the group's spell. The desire to "go along" helps cult leaders bring victims into the fold. Your abuser is a one-man-band (or a one-woman-band) so they have to work harder than a cult leader to isolate you. Abusers create barriers between you and your supporters by:
In your relationships to come, be constantly aware of your connections to your friends. If you find yourself slipping away from your support system, reconnect immediately.
2 Monopolization of Perception
"Monopolization of perception" is Biderman's fancy way of saying four things:
3 Induced Debility & Exhaustion
Abuser attempts to weaken your ability to resist their control by:
The abuser threatens to leave you (or much much worse!) if you [fill in the blank]. The abuser's threats are credible to you.
5 Occasional Indulgences
The abuser will sometimes be especially nice or allow you temporary freedoms for being "good". In the cycle of abuse, the period of indulgences is known as the honeymoon period which follows an episode of intense emotional, verbal or physical abuse. These intermittent treats come at any time the abuser feels they're pushing you too hard and senses that you've had enough of their crap.
If you get one thing you want even after you've lost a hundred other things you wanted, it is enough for you to want to "earn" more or to comply with the abuser's demands. You may even fool yourself into thinking the abuser is "coming around" or changing.
In a reverse situation, consider a child's temper tantrums. Every day for 3 days you ignore the child's tantrum and do not give him what he wants. Then, on the fourth day, you can't take it anymore and give the brat his candy. What do you think that child is going to do on day 5? One good thing after a hundred bad things is enough to make you keep trying to please the abuser - especially after your support network is gone, your abuser is your sole focus, and you're mentally and physically drained by the abuser's demands.
6 Demonstrating "Omnipotence"
Most abusers stalk you during the relationship, use their friends or exploit lucky coincidences to prove that they know everything you do when they are not present. Perhaps they have a job in the military or working with computers and convince you that they can track you wherever you are (but, in reality, have placed a GPS locator in your car or purse). Your abuser may seem like s/he is everywhere and you do not have one second to yourself.
Abusers also display omnipotence by playing judge, jury, and prosecutor. They say what you did, why you did it, and dole out a punishment suitable to your crime. Nothing you do or say will stop the verbal or physical violence of their punishment, and by the time the abuser is done berating you, you may feel as if you deserve to be punished.
7 Enforcing Trivial Demands
My husband once told me that I should know the exact cost of cleaning the bathtub. He wanted an account of the cost of the cleaning product, how much of it I used, and how long it took to clean the tub. He insisted that my time was worth minimum wage and wanted to know how much it cost him to get his bathtub clean each week. Your abuser will make the same type of demands on your time, thought processes, and emotional energy as you dread what will happen if you don't comply.
The demand could even concern something that once pleased you, like gardening or painting. However, due to your abuser's insane requests to do it this way, or do it during this time frame or under these circumstances, you lose interest or begin to detest your hobby (or job!).
The abuser causes more harm to you when you resist their demands and stand up for yourself. Anytime your anger rises and the abuser must deal with your fury, the punishment is quicker and more severe than if you just did the damn thing to start with. You feel as if complying preserves more self-respect than refusing to do it.
Your abuser will degrade you with words, through physical/sexual assault or rape, and humiliate you in front of their friends or your coworkers at any time. Your humiliation degrades your sense of self-worth to a level lower than scum on the bathtub you clean.
You fight to prove your worth to your abuser in whatever fashion they dictate because, by this time, your abuser and your relationship with them is your only reality.
Your brain is washed clean of the healthy thinking and positive relationships you once held dear. I feel drained by simply writing this post and recalling the ways my ex brainwashed me. But, like me and a million other survivors, you can reverse the effects of abuse and brainwashing in less time than it took the abuser to gain control over you.
[ How you were brainwashed © by Kellie Jo Holly at Verbal Abuse Journals. Thank you for making this information available. ]
Download PDF: Brainwashing - The Art of Coercion
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