This is the final installment of the Coercive Control blog series I’ve covered over the past few weeks. The final reference point of the three is Victim’s Responses as discussed in The Howard’s Journal piece. Recall that the first two are Grooming and Coercive Behavior. The survivor’s response to coercive control is the third dimension. The victims interviewed talked about fear, instability, and personality changes. Every survivor suffered from adverse impacts on their daily lives with fear and instability front and center. One survivor described the daily experience as this:
“It’s like living on a roller coaster. It’s like going on a train journey and never knowing which stop you are going to get off - If it’s going to be a nice stop? Or a bad stop? And the day is like that every day. Basically. You don’t know how the day is going to start. And you don’t know how the day is going to end.”
The victims relate the instability of the roller coaster to a fault of their own personal control. They believed that if they themselves could behave differently, then the abuse would stop. The author stated this link between what the victims believe they do and how the abuser might react is at the very core of the relationship between the victim’s fear and the impact on their daily lives. This blaming oneself is a way the victim can give him or herself back some control. This is also a way the victim has the ability to not see the abuser as guilty of a crime because the blame is entirely on themselves.
This constant state of fear that the victim doesn’t change his or her behavior enough to keep bad things from happening to them and often the children. This blame ultimately results in the victims losing confidence in their ability to make decisions about their own and their children's lives. As an experienced law attorney, I have seen this loss of confidence become the inflection point that the abuser can and often does begin the parental alienation grooming. Perpetrators are experts in creating situations that manipulate people into believing what they want them to believe. I’ve often wondered to myself how many great things they could accomplish if only they would channel their deceptive and calculated behavior into something good for this world. That’s a thought for another day, but my point is that they prey upon people and know how to manipulate them into doing and thinking exactly what they want them to. In fact, the police interviewed for the article referred to abusers as being manipulative and cunning and “some of the most nasty people you could come across.” Circling back around to parental alienation, an abuser will stop at nothing to get what he or she desires. This often means turning the children into believing that the other parent doesn’t love them or they can’t take care of them. The abuser also manipulates the other parent into believing that “their behavior” caused the abuse and they are an unfit parent because of it.
To read the previous two blogs on the topic of Coercive Control, click here. To schedule a consultation, call 479.434.2414 for the River Valley office or 479.802.6560 for the Northwest Arkansas office. Hickey and Hull Law Partners is here to help and things are about to get better. Make the call today.