Have you ever bought something, got it home and then wondered why you ever parted with the cash? Then you remember the charming sales person, who sold it to you. They made you believe you really needed this product. That life without it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good without it. That this version of the product is the best on the market at that it is really good value for money. They persuaded you to buy it by selling you the consequences of your purchase. This leads us onto the final Dominator persona in our series: The Persuader.
How does The Persuader gain and maintain power and control over their victim?
The Persuader uses threats and coercion to make their victim do what they want. Where a sales person sells a happy future (as long as you buy their product), the Persuader uses threats to sell a very unhappy future if you do not do what they want. Or they use coercion to get their way through emotional manipulation. Some of the tactics The Persuader uses are:
- Threatens to hurt or kill you or the children. This is an extremely common tactic, but one a victim is unlikely to risk being a bluff. We’ve all seen the news headlines of abusive partners killing wives and children and nobody wants to be next in line. A victim would rather subject themselves to more abuse than put their children at risk. Furthermore, threats to harm may not be of a violent nature. A Persuader may threaten to distribute intimate pictures of their victim online, within their social circle or even stick up on lamp posts. The prospect of this humiliation for the victim (and children) can be enough to make someone stay.
- Cries. This is an example of coercion. An abuser will cry and beg their victim to take them back/not leave. They will act and look devastated at life without their victim – making the victim feel guilty. They will say they are addressing whatever reason they gave for their abusive behaviour. For example, they blamed it on drink or claim they will go to AA meetings. They promise to be better in whatever way it is they think the victim wants to hear. They will suggest their behaviour was because they have low self esteem and that maybe this could be helped if their victim stopped disagreeing with them, or quit their successful career which makes them feel inadequate.
- He says he loves you and then may make you think about how you love them. And then may make you think: how could you ever leave someone you are in love with? What if you never find anyone who loves you again? How could you break up a happy family and deprive the kids of their dad living at home?
- Threatens to kill himself. Another very common tactic is simple yet effective. The abuser may have even ‘attempted’ to commit suicide before, or self harms in front of you, so that you don’t doubt the seriousness of the threat. They will make it very clear that if they do commit suicide, it will be because of you. Naturally, the victim does whatever is needed to stop the abuser from carrying out their threats.
- Threatens to report you to social services, benefits agencies etc. They will concoct some lies and reasons why they can report you to support agencies and what the consequences of the report will be. Or they may say social services will never let you parent your kids alone and they (the abuser) will be granted custody. He will threaten you with long court cases, reminding you (because he controls all the money), he will be able to afford better legal representation than you.
The Persuader, like all of the other personas, wants to mess with your head. They want to distort the truth and sell you a very bleak future if you do not do what they want you to do. And because they are skilled in this area, and because they have been manipulating you for some time, you naturally believe them. But just as we can see through a charming sales person’s act, we can start seeing through an abusers persuasions.
What to do if you’re living with a Persuader.
For the final time we aren’t going to tell you how to leave a Persuader in a blog article. The stakes are too high and the details are too unique. Instead, please come to one of our One Stop Shop or Drop In services to talk to one of our team who can help create a bespoke plan for you. In the mean time, here are some tips for how to stay safe with a Persuader.
- Don’t take risks until you are receiving help. If your abuser has threatened to kill you and/or the children unless you do X Y or Z, then it’s probably best to go along with it until you are receiving help. Nothing is worth putting your life at risk for and it is not weakness to ‘cave in’, it is a survival tactic. If you work with us at SATEDA, we can work with you to create a safe way for you to exit the relationship which will remove you and the children from harm’s way, rather than putting you in it.
- Believe that if your abuser does commit suicide (or attempt it), then it is NOT your fault. It is their choice alone. Plenty of people go through break ups without it leading to suicide. Understan it is a tactic to manipulate you in order to make you feel responsible for someone else’s actions – which you never can be. If you believe all this, then their threats to kill themselves wont be very powerful.
- Ask yourself how you treat the people you love. Do you belittle them? Do you seek to control and manipulate them? Do you go out of your way to hurt them – physically or emotionally? Do you frighten them? The answer is probably no. If that is the case, then ask yourself if you really believe your abuser when he tells you he loves you.
- If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, then call 999 immediately.
This is our last article looking at The Dominator. Whatever persona your abuser takes on, we want you to know that freedom is possible for you. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you begin the journey today. We do have one more article in the series, ‘Mr Right’, which will be coming next month. After months of looking at Mr Wrong, we shall be highlighting what we should experience in a healthy relationship.