Page last updated:
MECHANICS OF ABUSE
Most abusive relationships, regardless of their scope, follow a rather simple pattern that can be easily recognized if someone knows what to look for:
1) Invalidation and suppression of recognition of abuse for what it is through various means by attacking and manipulating perception of the recipient(s) of abuse. Commonly there is an effort to mask the abuse with statements of positive intention such as “trying to help,” “doing it for your own good,” “doing it for the good of the people [family; country; humanity; etc],” and the like.
2) Introverting the recipient on one’s own self and one’s own thoughts and actions through blame, accusations, fault-finding, various forms of vilification or some overwhelming reasoning why the recipient deserves to receive the abusive treatment (which again is often masked as something else).
3) Continuous propaganda to present the abuser (whether individual or group or some organization) in a positive light (such as being noble, righteous, knowing better, a caring friend, people’s protector, etc).
INDICATORS OF SUBVERSIVE MANIPULATION
It is overall a good idea to have a list of observations that can be made in someone’s behavior to identify a problematic relationship or influence.
- Speaking of you and/or others in a hostile manner that is strained, unfounded or simply unnecessary.
- Making an extra effort to build up and enforce a positive image of oneself in the minds of others which can serve as a “smoke screen” and prevent others from perceiving the subversive manipulator for what he/she/it is.
- Using pain and the threat of suffering as a method in reducing others into fearful compliance. If not in a position of strength, trying to bring others into a state of compliance through inducing a sense of guilt, fear, or insecurity – a form of attack on an emotional level that is less obvious.
- Seeming inability to tolerate criticism especially where a merely critical view in manipulator’s direction is met with an over-exaggerated dramatic reaction. This is to suppress scrutiny and formation of clear perception of the subversive manipulator (individual, group, or any other form of intelligence).
- Can be seen to approve of flattery and propitiation and often trying to get people into that state by dramatizing unfounded suspicion and accusations of ill-will which prompt people to either “get in line” or in actual fact develop ill-will. A part of this may be posing a great degree of “admiration” for the right line of behavior that may quickly turn into scathing criticism should one “step out of line.”
- Poor ability to listen and acknowledge communication for what it is. A subversive manipulator may pretend to “listen” in order to then distort the communication in using it to further attack and manipulate the subject(s).
- Discouragement of disagreement or expression of alternative viewpoints, often times treating it as an offense and generating character vilification* in response.
- Often times a subversive manipulator will promote oneself as a solution to the problem(s) that he/she/it actually creates or projects into the minds of others.
*Vilification is based on the word Villain which is used to denote an evil character in a plot (such as in film, novel or play). Vilification is an act of accusing someone of evil actions and intentions, especially when such accusations stem from some form of mental disorder (such as in the case of paranoia) or targeted propaganda.
A subversive manipulator commonly positions oneself as an authority over defining the manipulated subject’s identity within the relationship (along with notions of reality overall). This manipulator-manipulated dynamic can be viewed by looking at the way perception is formed and manipulated. [See page Identity and Conditions to see how identity labels and definitions have been used to manipulate people in Scientology.]
A major issue with persons who operate on an intention to manipulate others is that such people cannot be trusted: they cannot be trusted with authenticity of what they communicate to others, and they cannot be trusted with communication from others to them as it can serve as a resource for the furtherance of manipulation schemes.
It also goes without saying that when someone’s efforts at subversive manipulation become easily recognized for what they are, they become largely ineffective. This is why successful manipulation schemes often incorporate efforts to reduce the level of intelligence and ability of target subjects. Hence, if someone recognizes oneself to be a subject of subversive manipulation, it would usually prove to be much more productive to distance oneself and engage in enhancement of one’s intelligence and abilities rather than try to deal with the source of manipulation unprepared.