Mental process that works with false thoughts and misconceptions

Coercive persuasion is a cognitive mechanism that operates through false beliefs and misconceptions. It leads a victim to think that it is desirable and convenient to perpetuate the bond that he maintains with his aggressor.

Coercive persuasion is a mechanism present in many abuse or mistreatment responses . It is present in violent relationships, in authoritarian families or in any type of bond that is based on the scheme of domination and submission.

This mechanism is implemented in order for the affected person to accept and prolong the bond of abuse . Coercive persuasion uses emotions such as fear, love, guilt, shame, and the rejection of loneliness to be effective.

When an abuser-victim dyad is established, strong bonds of dependency are also forged . The one needs the other. Violence is at the core of everything and uses multiple instruments. These range from coercive persuasion to physical violence. All of this forms a cycle that is difficult to get out of.

" What is the basic principle, the essential, the crucial difference that freedom of slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action against physical or compulsory coercion ".

-Ayn Rand-

Coercive persuasion

Coercive persuasion is a mechanism that operates on abusive relationships. Its function is to create in the victim the conviction that he deeply needs the person who abuses him ; the abuser inoculates into the thoughts of the victim the idea that, despite the current suffering, it is much better to be with him than without him.

" If you are worthless, where are you going to go ?" It is a disability projection that places the victim in a very vulnerable place.

As such, this mechanism makes use of, but is not limited to, text. There are verbal attacks and the content of these has to do with the disqualification of the victim . Their self-concept is attacked, their inferiority is emphasized, and their gaps and failures are emphasized. The speech is aimed at destroying the self-love and confidence of another person.

However, the issue is not just words. Coercive persuasion also operates through gestures and actions. Among these are physical attacks, threats (veiled or not), deprivation, isolation of the victim, etc. All this together operates as a set of arguments to "persuade" the other that there is no escape .

Fear in the victim

Fear is an essential instrument in the implementation of coercive persuasion. It basically takes the form of threat, even more than actual action . There are a whole series of warnings about the great evils to come if the bond with the abuser is broken.

It occurs when, for example, an employee is subjected to sexual harassment by his boss. In addition to the obvious fear of losing his job, he is warned that there are no witnesses and that therefore no legal action is going to succeed. Or they are told that no one from the environment is going to support an eventual complaint, since they all depend on the job and will not confront the boss.

The resort to fear seeks to have a paralysis of the response in the victim . In coercive persuasion there is a kind of "unpredictable abuse", that is to say, confusing and expectant for whoever is the object of it. It is precisely this state that can reduce or undermine the ability to react or act in the face of aggression.

Affection and guilt

Affection and guilt are also emotions functional to coercive persuasion. It is not uncommon for a victim to have affectionate feelings for her abuser . Sometimes because it is your partner, your relative or your friend. Other times because it is assumed that that person has done something significantly good for you.

That affection leads to a special "understanding" in the face of aggression . They are often downplayed or assumed to be an exception to the rule. It is also believed that these are fleeting episodes. This is a form of denial that, in turn, fuels the cycle of violence, justifies dependency, and becomes a support for coercive persuasion.

Guilt and shame play a similar role . In the context of an abusive relationship, it is not uncommon for the victim to incriminate himself. This gives a certain feeling of control over what happens. Likewise, it makes the aggressions to which one is the object a little more reasonable. However, it also helps paralyze your ability to react.

Likewise, it is usual for a victim to be ashamed of having been attacked . In one way or another, the aggressor is seen as an extension of oneself. So what he does, particularly what he does wrong, creates shame. Fear, affection, guilt, and shame are the tools of coercive persuasion. Together, they perpetuate cycles of violence.

When we reason about a problem, we tend to use a simple and useful outline most of the time. This way of thinking is what is known as linear thinking.

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