Post Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:13 am

Covert Abuse by Abusers

Covert Emotional Abuse: How Abusers Control, Objectify and Dehumanize their Victims
Apr 15, 2006 - © Sam Vaknin

Abusers exploit, lie, insult, demean, ignore (the "silent treatment"), manipulate, and control. Abuse does not have to be overt (physical, sexual) to be damaging - it can also be covert.

Abuse is almost entirely about control. To an abuser, losing control means going insane. In his efforts to maintain control or re-assert it, the abuser resorts to a myriad of fiendishly inventive stratagems and mechanisms.
Covert or Controlling Abuse
The abuser acts unpredictably and irrationally. This serves to render others dependent upon the next twist and turn of the abuser. He reacts with supreme rage to the slightest slight, or would punish severely for what he perceives to be an offence against him, no matter how minor.

The abuser may also try and control a victim by proxy. He recruits friends, colleagues, family members, neighbours - in short, third parties - to do his bidding. He uses them to threaten, stalk, tempt, and otherwise manipulate his target. He controls these unaware instruments exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey. He employs the same mechanisms and devices.

Dehumanization and Objectification
People have a need to believe in the empathic skills and basic good-heartedness of others. By dehumanizing and objectifying people, the abuser attacks the very foundations of human interaction. Abusers may be excellent imitators of fully formed adults, but they are emotionally absent and immature.
An abuser breaks down the defenses of his victim, so that they are the most susceptible and vulnerable to the abuser's control.
The abuser engineers, dangerous, unpredictable situations in which he is sorely needed. The abuser makes sure that his knowledge, his skills, his connections, or his traits are the only ones applicable and the most useful in the situations that he has wrought. The abuser generates his own indispensability.

Ambient Abuse
An abuser may foster an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and unpredictability before he commits acts of explicit abuse or manipulation. In the long term, such an environment erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. It is best to recognize this early and extricate yourself from such an environment, before it can turn into an overtly abusive situation.

The copyright of the article Covert Emotional Abuse: How Abusers Control, Objectify and Dehumanize their Victims in Verbal/Emotional Abuse is owned by Sam Vaknin. Permission to republish Covert Emotional Abuse: How Abusers Control, Objectify and Dehumanize their Victims in print or online must be granted by the author in writing