Messages used by psychological abusers — domestic abusers and governments
In psychological abuse, the abuser conveys messages in order to steer and control the feelings, thinking and behaviour of his target. This article compares messages used by domestic abusers with messages used by governments and corporate media. Understanding the similarities and parallels may help you make sense of the confusion that is around you.
We will start with domestic abuse. In domestic abuse, the abuser’s target is most often his intimate partner, but he can also target his children, his in-laws and his family of origin. If you want to know how I define domestic abuse and why I usually use the male pronoun for abusers, go here.
Messages imparted by the domestic abuser to his target(s)
Trigger warning — if you are a survivor of abuse, the following messages may bring up strong emotions and memories. If you feel so uncomfortable reading these messages that you want to flick them to the back of your mind, you may be experiencing cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is stressful. But pushing it to the back of one’s mind is not the path of healing. Healing entails facing reality — exposing and rejecting the fictions which the perpetrators insist on, and believing what is true: true reality. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Very often the abuser does not convey his messages in simple sentences. Messages can be conveyed between the lines — by hints, innuendo, facial expressions, and actions that speak louder than words. However; I have put the messages below in blunt bullet points, to make it easier to objectively analyse them.
The abuser coerces his target by stating lies as if they were incontestable truths. Often his lies are barefaced false statements. The abuser insists that the problem is not in him, the problem is caused by his wife or by X. He also insists that he knows the best way to deal with the problem.
Remember, none of the messages below really offer what they present. For example, the messages that purport to offer freedom do not in reality offer freedom to the target. All the perpetrator’s messages are designed to steer and control the feelings, thinking and behaviour of the target, for the benefit of the perpetrator. The Bible talks about this:
Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart. (Proverbs 26:24)
Let us study some messages the domestic abuser imparts to his target(s).
Personal freedom message:
- Your behaviour in this relationship is limiting your personal freedom.
- If you act better you will have more personal freedom.
Economic freedom message:
- Your behaviour in this relationship is limiting your economic freedom.
- If you act better you can regain your economic freedom. If you are more careful you can regain your economic freedom.
SOCIAL BENEFIT MESSAGES
- Your foolish behaviour and thinking is endangering your well-being. You are sick. You are losing your marbles!
- I care about your health. I know what’s best for you. The best way to prevent yourself from getting more sick is by doing what I say and complying with my directions.
Community interest message:
- You are endangering the health and well-being of your family, your loved ones.
- The more you comply with my directions, the lower the risk that your loved ones will suffer.
- For the family to be healthy, we must work together so that all the family follows my leadership and complies with my directions.
Economic benefit message:
- Problem X is wreaking havoc on our finances.
- The only way to strengthen our financial situation is to work together, recognising that I know what is best for us financially.
SOCIAL PRESSURE MESSAGES
The abuser makes two assertions:
- X is a danger to the health and well-being of our family and community.
- The best way to protect them is by doing what I say and by working together to make sure that enough people do what I say.
Then the abuser asks you to imagine how you would feel if you didn’t follow his directions.
Guilt message: Imagine the guilt you will feel if you don’t do what I say and our family and community really suffers.
Embarrassment message: Imagine the embarrassment you will feel if you don’t do what I say and our family and community really suffers.
Anger message: Imagine the anger you will feel if you don’t do what I say and our family and community really suffers.
Trust in Authority message:
- Doing what I say is the most effective way of protecting our family and community.
- What I say is backed by authority. (The abuser cites whichever authority suits his purposes: it could be the Bible, God, science, medicine, the law, etc.)
- A person who doesn’t do what I say is ignoring authority.
- Marriage can be hard. To stick with your partner through thick and thin is brave.
- We are facing a big problem. The family is under attack. Those who choose not to do what I say are lacking in courage. They are not brave.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse and are still with me, let me offer you a high five!
The man whose chosen lifestyle is to abuse his intimate female partner will surreptitiously test the woman he is targeting, to see which messages are most effective on her. The author Don Hennessy explains how the male intimate abuser does that in his book How He Gets Into Her Head.
It is fitting to end this section with a prayer.
Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. (Ps 120:2)
Now, dear reader, I invite you to look at some more messages.
Messages which our governments and corporate media have been telling us for the last two years
I encourage you to think about the similarities between the government’s messages and the domestic abuser’s messages.
I compiled this list of messages from a Yale University study Covid-19 Vaccine Messaging. The study was conducted in July 2020 — months before the vaccine became available. Why am I connecting this Yale study to the government? In the last two years we have been bombarded with messages like this from government and corporate media, so it’s logical that the government used the findings of this Yale study (and probably other studies as well) to choose which messages to bombard us with in order to persuade people to get vaccinated.
When reading this list, please do not take each bullet point as incontestable truth. I noted above that many of the domestic abuser’s statements are lies. Likewise, many of the bullet point statements in this list could be lies, or at least false assumptions. For example, the government has claimed that Covid-19 has limited our freedoms, but the government measures are what has limited our freedoms.
Personal freedom message:
- Covid-19 is limiting people’s personal freedom.
- By working together to get enough people vaccinated, society can preserve its personal freedom.
Economic freedom message:
- Covid-19 is limiting people’s economic freedom.
- By working together to get enough people vaccinated, society can preserve its economic freedom.
SOCIAL BENEFIT MESSAGES
- Covid-19 presents a real danger to one’s health, even if one is young and healthy.
- Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is the best way to prevent oneself from getting sick.
Community interest message:
- Covid-19 endangers the health of loved ones.
- The more people who get vaccinated against Covid-19, the lower the risk that one’s loved ones will get sick.
- Society must work together so that all people get vaccinated.
Economic benefit message:
- Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on the economy.
- The only way to strengthen the economy is to work together to get enough people vaccinated.
SOCIAL PRESSURE MESSAGES
The government and corporate media, including big tech social media made two assertions:
- Covid-19 is a danger to the health of one’s family and community.
- The best way to protect loved ones and the community is by getting vaccinated and by working together to get enough people vaccinated.
Then they asked you to imagine how you would feel if you didn’t follow their directions.
Guilt message: Imagine the guilt you will feel if you don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Embarrassment message: Imagine the embarrassment you will feel if you don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Anger message: Imagine the anger you will feel if you don’t get vaccinated and spread the disease.
Trust in science message:
- Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is the most effective way of protecting one’s community.
- The vaccination is backed by science.
- A person who doesn’t get vaccinated is ignoring science and doesn’t understand how infections are spread.
- Firefighters, doctors and frontline medical workers are brave.
- Those who choose not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 are not brave.
Now let us reflect on the above.
The Yale researchers tried out psychological messages to evaluate how effective each message would be in changing people’s feelings, thoughts and behaviour about the vaccine. They wanted to see which messages would effectively persuade people to:
- intend to get vaccinated
- trust in the vaccine
- persuade others to get vaccinated
- be afraid of those who do not get vaccinated
- socially judge those who do not get vaccinated.
They also contrived messages to suggest that unvaccinated people can be judged as untrustworthy, selfish, un-likeable, or cowardly (not brave).
Results of the study
The Covid-19 Vaccine Messaging study (archived link here) was done in July 2020. They also did a follow-up study in September 2020. The results of both studies are published here: Persuasive messaging to increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake intentions (archived link here). In brief, the messages which they found to be most effective in shifting people’s thinking and intentions were the messages that induced people to think about bravery, community interest, and embarrassment. Also effective, though less so, were the ‘trust in science’ and ‘personal freedom’ messages.
I’m not surprised at the results of the study. Humans are social animals and we need the approval of others. We like to think of ourselves as brave, pro-social and sensible. If others judge us as cowardly, anti-social or foolish, we cannot thrive. For people who have previously suffered abuse, the embarrassment message would be particularly powerful because embarrassment is like shame.
Did you notice how the government messages appeal to emotions, rather than reason? That is a hallmark of psychological abuse.
Similarities between the domestic abuser’s messages and government messages
I hope you can now see similarities between the mainstream messages about Covid-19 and the messages of domestic abusers. Both are emotionally and psychologically manipulative. Both test the target to see which messages have the most power to influence the target’s feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Both make appeals to ‘authority’. Both try to control perceptions by prompting¹ people to think in certain ways and thereby deterring people from accessing and considering alternate perspectives.
I shall spell out more similarities. The domestic abuser claims that if his wife improves her behavior she will have more freedom, but the abuser’s covert bullying is what limits her freedom. The government has claimed that Covid-19 has limited our freedoms, but chiefly what has limited our freedom is the government measures.
The domestic abuser claims that his wife is mentally sick, but he suppresses all interventions that would give her relief. For example, he stops her seeking alternative perspectives from others; he runs roughshod over any boundaries she sets against his abuse; he fights against separation and divorce. The government has claimed that Covid-19 poses a grave danger to health, but it censors and forbids use of treatment protocols that have been empirically proven to be very effective in treating Covid-19 illness and preventing hospitalisation and death.
The domestic abuser claims that the only solution is for everyone to follow his directions, but when the wife and kids follow his directions, their suffering increases. The government claims that vaccination is the only solution, but many people who have taken the Covid-19 vaccination have suffered serious adverse events up to and including death. And corporate media is censoring that information.
Psychological abuse is a type of deception. Jesus warned us about deception:
Take heed that no one deceives you. …many false prophets will arise, and will deceive many. And because iniquity will have the upper hand, the love of many will abate. But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. Matt 24:4, 11-13 (NMB)
Paul warned us about deception:
Let no man deceive you by any means. For the Lord comes not unless there come a departing first and that sinful man be revealed – the son of perdition, who is an adversary, and is exalted above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he shall sit as God in the temple of God and show himself as God. … For the mystery of that iniquity does he already work, which only locks until it is taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be exposed, whom the Lord will consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and will destroy with the appearance of his coming – namely him whose coming is by the working of Satan, with all lying power, signs, and wonders, and in all the deceptiveness of unrighteousness among those who are perishing. They perish because they would not receive the love of the truth, so that they might have been saved. And therefore God will send them strong delusion, so that they will believe lies; so that all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4; 7-12 (NMB)
Coda: Why are people so afraid with Covid-19?
I am amplifying Meredith Miller’s answer² to the question Why are people so afraid with Covid?
On one side, because of the messaging, people fear the virus and they fear other people who they have been conditioned to believe are dangerous and diseased.
On the other side, people have several reasons to be afraid. This side is people who are not much afraid of the virus; they do not trust the government narrative, and many of them are resisting the vaccination. Firstly, these people are afraid of the coercion and tyranny that is happening. Secondly, they are afraid of the mass formation. Mass formation is the psychological term for the mass hypnosis which has occurred in approx 30% of the population who have entirely believed the government narrative. I’ve given links below to help you learn more about mass formation. Thirdly, some individuals I know who are un-jabbed have experienced really unpleasant health issues after they were in close contact with someone who had been recently jabbed. Understandably, some of these individuals are now trying to avoid being in prolonged close contact with anyone who has recently been jabbed.
¹ An example of a government prompting people to think in certain ways: The UK government’s use of Neuro-Linguistic programming.
Another example — Hitler’s Basic Principles (abstracted from Jowett & O’Donnell Propaganda and Persuasion):
- Avoid abstract ideas – appeal to the emotions.
- Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases.
- Give only one side of the argument.
- Continuously criticize your opponents.
- Pick out one special “enemy” for special vilification.
² Meredith Miller’s testimony, Day 4 of Grand Jury trial time mark 4:13:47.
Why so many have been willingly hypnotised — video interview
Mattias Desmet on Our Grave Situation — video interview
Mattias Desmet on Mass Formation — video interview and transcript
Advocacy Journalism is Propaganda — Dr Robert Malone
I Think I’m In An Abusive Relationship – With the Government! — by Ashton Warhurst, The Daily Sceptic