Psychological violence and its symptoms.
Violence can be physical or psychological (emotional). Most people associate the word “violence” with the use of physical force. The brain immediately produces images of fights, torture, weapons and pools of human blood. These are all visual images that are most easily imprinted in the memory. But there is violence that cannot be “seen,” and it is often more insidious and dangerous than physical violence. We are talking about psychological violence.
What does it mean?
What are the signs of psychological abuse?
How can you help in such a case?
And most importantly – how to protect yourself, your children and your family from the invisible, but very real tyranny? About everything in order.
Types of psychological violence
Psychological, as well as called also moral and emotional violence is a form of non-physical pressure on the human psyche, which leads to anxiety, depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It is important to understand that in most cases it is not a one-time harassment, but an ongoing factor that forms a certain climate in a relationship or family, where one dominates and the other submits. Usually psychological and moral abuse manifests itself in the form of:
hurtful remarks and jokes that seek to degrade dignity or mock physical features;
controlling actions (the tyrant demands an account of every step taken, organises interrogations and restricts the social circle of the victim);
imposing certain ways of thinking and opinions;
emotional manipulation (provoking certain emotions);
suggestion of a sense of guilt or duty;
The means of psychological terror can range from venomous jokes to a quite convincing demonstration of grief (so convincing that you unwittingly feel guilty for upsetting him). A tyrant can pretend to be generous and generous, which is often misleading. But, in essence, it’s something like “I’ll give you what you want, but then you owe me.”
The result of systematic pressure is almost always an acceptance of the partner’s attitudes, a sense of worthlessness, lack of self-sufficiency, etc. Psychological and moral violence can manifest itself in the family, in relationships with children, relatives, friends and colleagues at work. There is psychological violence against women and psychological violence against men.
Methods of psychological violence
There are a huge number of methods by which the abuser acts. Their main feature is the manifestation of emotionally abusive behavior, and the essence boils down to one goal: to enter the trust of the victim, and then criticize and humiliate her in various ways. So in the family, parents scold their children for the only B, a friend is offended by rare meetings, the boss – every time he pokes his nose into the smallest mistakes in his work, which can certainly be interpreted as psychological and moral violence at work.
Another common method of psychological pressure and chronic verbal aggression is behavior in which the abuser wants his partner, male or female, to act and think exactly as he does. At the same time he tries to completely control the victim: he tells him what clothes to wear, what to do, who to be friends with, what job to prefer.
This type of tyrant uses criticism in order to correct the behavior of the partner taking into account his interests. Yes, between people sometimes there are conflicts, insults or moments of criticism, and this is normal for society, but often under them is disguised psychological bullying and violence. And it is very important to recognize it in time to have time to provide psychological help to victims of violence.
Signs of psychological violence
The so-called signs or “first swallows”, by which you can recognize emotional abuse or violence, have characteristic signs. They are present in combinations or alone, but the presence of any of these signs indicates that you are being psychologically pressured and abused:
A partner ridicules or criticizes you in front of other people. If you are trying to lose weight, he may call you fat. If you can’t get a job interview, he’ll say it’s because you’re stupid. Any excuse to play on your insecurity will be used sooner or later. As a result, the partner will achieve a significant decrease in your self-esteem and impose the idea that no one but him needs you and you can no longer be helped.
Your ideas, suggestions or opinions are never taken into account. Pure ignorance. Over time, you yourself begin to doubt the rationality of your ideas.
They try to control you completely, shaming you or telling you off for your actions, treating you like a child, despite your advanced age.
Humiliation, insults, accusations, threats are all used to throw you off balance.
The aggressor partner does not apologize in situations when he is wrong.
Violates your personal boundaries.
Denies your hurtful behavior, even though he/she is aware of it.
Yells at you, and then says that you provoked him/her.
Refuses to discuss problems in your relationship or family.
Uses your attachment to him as a tool for manipulation.
Can forbid you to communicate with any friends or family members.
The consequences of psychological abuse
Emotional abuse is almost invisible from the outside, it leads to psychological “blockage” and prevents further establishment of healthy interpersonal relationships. For example, a family or married couple with this component in their relationship may seem like an ideal unit of society. The nicest people who love each other – about the same impression they make on friends, relatives and neighbors. If the wife suddenly begins to complain about the psychological oppression of her husband, immediately runs into a wall of incomprehension, and sometimes even condemnation by his entourage.
The situation is exacerbated by the tyrant himself, using the tools of gaslighting and convincing the victim that everything is fine, “you just never like anything. As a result, she feels guilty or agrees that she is the one with the problem. The result is an increase in complexes, fears, development of neurosis or other forms of mental disorders which can be difficult to help.
Suicidal tendencies or the desire to “drown out” the inner pain with alcohol, drugs or strong medicines may appear. As a result, the problems build up like a snowball and after such an event, without the intervention of a specialist in the form of an experienced psychologist, it is difficult to return to a normal state.
Another danger of such treatment is that if the victim does not fight back, psychological pressure can escalate into physical violence. And if this has happened at least once, the aggressor cannot be stopped. This is where it is imperative to seek qualified help.
Psychological violence – help
If you understand that you are the object of psychological pressure and violence from a partner, family, children, colleagues, parents or someone close to you, you must act. This necessarily need to identify their personal boundaries and fight back, taking into account what kind of emotional aggression was applied.
Protection from psychological violence
Here are some tips from psychologists that will help protect yourself:
Say “no” to the person who likes to boss you around. Consider what will happen if you do not comply with the aggressor’s orders. If you are ready for the possible consequences, calmly but firmly say: “I will not obey your commands. If after that the attack of the “commander” continues, simply ignore subsequent instructions.
Master the method of psychological “aikido” and use it in case of verbal aggression. The essence of this method is to smooth out conflict by agreeing with any statements of the tyrant, even the absurd ones. Understand that the purpose of yelling and insulting is to throw you off balance, make you nervous, embarrassed, upset, etc. But if you respond with a completely unexpected response, such as a joke, the aggressor will become confused or significantly weaken his position.
Don’t give in to the manipulation of ignoring. There is no need to try to talk to or placate the person who has “turned on the ignore”. Let him know, without too much emotion, that he will not get anywhere by behaving that way.
Do not allow personal boundaries to be violated, do not give in to manipulation with games of duty or guilt that they are trying to impose on you. Remember that you determine what you are responsible for and what you are not. Let the aggressor know this directly.
Be on your guard against threats, intimidation and blackmail. If you’re sure it’s idle chatter, you can respond so that the aggressor carries out his threat immediately. But if there is a real threat to your life, health or well-being, be careful not to react violently. Try to record the threats on a tape recorder or video camera so that you can contact law enforcement if necessary.
Try to honestly answer the question to yourself: Are you ready to suffer regular insults, humiliation and other abuse from the aggressor, just because he is your husband, boss or parent? Perhaps it is better not to communicate with this person at all?
If you feel that you cannot help yourself to cope with the aggressor’s attacks – use the help of an online psychologist at Helppoint. First of all, the specialist will objectively determine: whether certain actions are psychological or other violence. If so, he will help you to confront the aggressor, taking into account the specific situation in your life. Maximum ease of registration, guaranteed confidentiality, competent psychologists, convenient formats of online communication – all this is at your service at Helppoint.
The 7 Notes of Manipulation: How to Recognize and Learn to Resist Emotional Violence at Work
There are many ways to manipulate people. Recently, though, Machiavellian techniques have fallen out of fashion, and people have begun to care about the emotional comfort around them, including in the office. Despite this, psychological manipulation is an effective thing. It’s hard to spot, and even harder to hold the manipulator accountable. Our instruction will help make the company climate so toxic that even work stalls.
Overture: why the manipulation
The word “manipulation” comes from the Latin manipulus. The root manus, “hand,” can be heard in it. The original meaning – an action based on the dexterity of the hands – referred, for example, to the puppeteers, who by dexterous tricks made the puppets dance. And it was only later that the word had another, figurative meaning: trickery, machination. People are usually dissatisfied if they discover that they have been manipulated. It is believed that, as if by invisible strings, they were not led to the result they themselves would wish.
That is, manipulation is a technology of power, it is not applied to good friends, well, at least if they want those friends to remain good.
This impact in psychology refers to the emotional abuse, so it is not surprising that when faced with it, a person feels frustration, guilt, resentment and generally loses confidence. A 2017 study from the University of Manchester Business School proved that working for an aggressive manipulator – and these guys usually exhibit psychopathic and narcissistic traits – threatens health problems. Employees who were unlucky enough to have a boss showed low levels of job satisfaction and a high risk of developing depression. Meanwhile, we can’t say that an obnoxious boss – such a rarity: statistics from SuperJob shows that 55% of 3000 respondents are familiar with situations where the leadership spoils the mood, rudeness, insults and humiliates.
If manipulation is such a widespread thing, it must have some other, tangible benefit, if it has a negative impact on efficiency. And that benefit to the toxic boss is a sense of power.
If I can lead people around by the nose and get them into trouble, I’m powerful, I control them. I want to emotionally blackmail them, I want to make them do jobs they weren’t going to do, I want to upset other people’s plans.
In this case, the other party, the victim, is also a kind of accomplice to what is happening. After all, it’s a two-player game. If we yield to the aggressor’s signals and respond to them by changing our opinions, goals, and habits, then the round has taken place. Sociologist Sergei Kara-Murza, author of the book “Manipulation of Consciousness,” writes: “Manipulation is not violence, but temptation. Although if he had seen your boss and become acquainted with his methods, perhaps he would have changed his mind.
Like the notes.
Psychotherapist Aina Gromova spoke about the notes of manipulation – the vulnerabilities of employees, which is so convenient to press a bad boss. Everyone has a couple or three of these Achilles’ heels. Well, this list will allow the aggressor bosses to expand their musical repertoire.
What it looks like
Intimidation. The phrase “No one is irreplaceable. Hints that you are about to fail, and that the cost of a mistake is high. An eloquent demonstration that you are unlikely to be tolerated in any other job. Well, unless you are demoted… But no… It won’t work anyway.
Frequent criticism and nagging will add depth to the experience, especially if the employee is not particularly confident. The note of fear works best on people with heightened anxiety.
Re: a sense of duty.
What it looks like
An urgent alarm, an emergency, a messenger message in the middle of a vacation, and phrases like “If not us, then who?” This is where the boss is free to remove himself, and “we”…that is, you do the job, which at this point is more akin to an Alexander Matrosov feat. This is a particularly demanding task, which no one in the world can cope with. And only you, only now (nothing that it’s three in the morning) heroically cover the ambuscade.
It is recommended to apply it to responsible people with perfectionist tendencies and otlichnikov syndrome. They then pull a wild load, and those around them get a visual image: what workaholism looks like with a human face.
What it looks like
Any misstep, thanks to the reaction of the superiors, takes on the features of a disaster that has changed the world forever.
The employee is hinted at situations in which he did not shine, conflicts near which he stood next to or, God forbid, participated in. If reality loses its familiar contours, it’s gaslighting: the manipulator talks about non-existent things so convincingly that it begins to seem true.
Sometimes a person thinks he hears an insulting, sarcastic, overly personal comment from his boss. There it is again! The comment is fine, but the employee is too vulnerable, has lost his sense of humor and generally reacts painfully to everything. There are many stewed, begin to doubt their reactions.
Tried on people with a pathological sense of guilt, those who, instead of saying, “I will not tolerate comments about my dog” – or, businesslike rolling up their sleeves, “Okay, could be wrong, where to fix it?” – panic and tear their hair out.
What it looks like
There are subordinates who are ready to move mountains, it’s worth letting them know that you expect something special from them, that they are – yes, yes – the chosen ones of destiny, they have a special role and a special position. With these guys you can alternate between flattery and a disappointed look. For example, a person is about to leave the office at 7 p.m., and the boss shakes his head disapprovingly: “Well, well, that’s exactly what I didn’t expect from you…” And that’s it – the ashamed employee turns on the computer again, so as not to disgrace the Russian land… that is, his glorious reputation.
Blows to self-esteem are especially painful for people who strive for high results, dream about achievements and want to be the best. They do not perceive losing as a game of chance, but as a personal insult, which allows them to trample on a heightened sense of self… “Remember, my dove, last year you failed in a tender…”
What it looks like
A manipulator can initiate into the secrets of the court of Madrid by creating a trusting atmosphere, intrigue, promise to shed light on the darkest corners of the business. And then suddenly pretend to be cryptic, to leave a phrase unsaid, to evade a direct response …
After all, when you give some special information to an employee, you can celebrate his or her selectivity or blame him or her for the leaks.
Curiosity can be played on if the goal is to create a toxic atmosphere in the company. Gossiping about employees is a great way to turn the work team into a branch of the serpentarium.
It works on people with a research vein who get into trouble: first the boss buys their loyalty with information, and then he pretends to be a fool and introduces elements of confusion: “That’s not really what happened… Your business trip was not planned in January and not to Kaluga…”
What it looks like
The wolf is playing the sheep. The game of sacrifice is designed to awaken sympathy and a sense of guilt in the employee: “If you do not help me, I do not even know what to do …”, “No one cares about my problems. The “poor me” tactic can be very powerful, up to and including threatening to lay hands on himself. But in the end, all the sufferers go home, and the pitying employee spends the night on the report.
The technique works with empathic people prone to altruism.
C: Sexual provocation.
What it looks like
Inappropriate or inappropriate seduction. The manipulator may use charm, flattery, or overt displays of sexual interest, and with it, an unbuttoned shirt.
A typical tactic of harassers is to pretend that their inappropriate behavior is perfectly normal, and grabbing secretaries by the knees is a common everyday concern.
In doing so, the “no” response that the victim mumbles is not taken as an answer, and the aggressor shows rare persistence. Another common technique: to make it clear that the employee owes his boss, because he has helped his career so much, and how he can influence it in the future – oh-ho-ho!
Applies to people who think they should be nice and accommodating, especially in the face of superiors.
Coda: What a victim of manipulation can do
Roman Shcherbinin, a lawyer and senior partner of the Zheleznikov and Partners Bar Association, says that it is difficult to count on the law in this case. For example, if we are talking about sexual harassment, it makes more sense to appeal to public censure rather than to lawyers. Such disputes have not yet been elevated to the status of labor torts, and from the point of view of the law, it is not a violation.
And if, for example, your bosses force you to work after hours, then, according to Roman, “it is your goodwill. Refusal to do some work on Sunday cannot be grounds for dismissal. If the boss is satanic, the lawyer recommends writing a complaint to the State Labor Inspectorate, and this institution will deal with violations. “But I can say that in Russia, unlike in foreign jurisdictions, this is not common,” Roman concludes sadly.
And psychotherapist Aina Gromova suggests being wary if certain elements of corporate culture suddenly begin to spread to you, bypassing the rest of the company:
“When you come to work, you immediately notice how things work here. If the whole office stays late after work, this is their unspoken order. You can refuse to work under such conditions or you can accept them. But if you are suddenly the only one who gets late-night calls while everyone else does not sacrifice sleep, it means that something special is expected of your figure here.
As a response to manipulation, there are two ways to respond. The first is to ignore and act in accordance with the aggressor’s expectations. This is your way of communicating that this is normal practice with regard to you. The second option is to set boundaries, to make it clear that such an attitude is unacceptable.
Understanding one’s limits begins with the ability to answer the questions: who I am, why I do something, and why I do it.
Such a view allows you to self-evaluate yourself at work, to see successes and failures. If you have a clear view of yourself as a specialist and your own position, then it will be extremely difficult to manipulate you. Psychologically mature person, by analyzing the situation, can recognize the different elements of exposure, to see where they are trying to take anger out on you, where they pry into your personal space, where they give unsolicited advice. If you keep finding yourself in the zone of other people’s manipulations, perhaps you need to work painstakingly on your own boundaries.
You do not have to listen to comments about your appearance, personal life, or feel total guilt for a minor slip-up.
Analyze the claims of the boss: the boss has the right to evaluate your performance, give you a bonus or withdraw financial compensation.
But if the person allows himself personal outbursts, he shows himself as a toxic leader. In any case, the behavior of the boss is not the end of the story. It is up to you to respond to it. As long as you are in the manipulation zone, it means that the ball is on your side of the field and you have to give the right answer.
This response will be an expression of your disagreement to play by the rules of the manipulator. And the main thing here will be the ability to say no. Without apologizing, without suffering, without falling into guilt, without finding a hundred thousand excuses. “No, that doesn’t work for me,” “No, I’m not ready,” “No, I don’t tolerate that tone of voice toward me.” This useful skill will ensure that you don’t fall for flattery, aggression, or any of your attacker’s other techniques.