This is a topic that is very rarely touched upon and I don’t know why, because it is a massive part in how abusers operate. I decided after recent events in my own personal life that I wanted to write a blog about this and I will try as best as I can to explain clearly the things I have witnessed or researched over the years.
I am no expert but I do like to think of myself as an advocate for surviving abuse and moving on – seeing as it’s my specialty and what I write books about. I spend my life studying the psychology and behavioral patterns surrounding all sides of abuse.
Take this blog as merely my view, my observations in how I navigate situations and by all means research for yourself. The only way we can break this pattern and tool of abuse is by refusing to be drawn in and used as a weapon.
I am no stranger to it, no stranger to being in the clutches of manipulative or abusive people or standing my ground against someone in defense of another. Many have tried to silence or scare me away so they can continue their crusades on another innocent soul and yet have failed. I won’t back down from it. I am not easily scared away and neither should you be. Bullies and abusers are usually cowards and have no power at all. They rely on making you think they do.
I think arming yourself with knowledge and tools, opening your eyes to how even you can be manipulated into being an abuser indirectly is a good place to start. Joining the fight to stand against abuse.
We are all capable of it. We all play roles every day in life and this is one we never seem to really talk about.
So what is a pawn?
Someone who is manipulated and used as the person to carry out the actions of the offender. A minion. Usually easy to manipulate and naive. Usually truly good people who think they are defending a victim.
The person behind the abuse. Usually crying victim at every opportunity and mass enlisting people to fight on their behalf while directing, encouraging and pushing them to act on their behalf. They will paint a picture to gain sympathy and convince you they are being wronged, hurt or bullied. They will work on your sympathy and make you feel truly sorry for them.
This offender usually cries victim, has a very good story about how they were wronged and will always hide behind those they can use to do their dirty work. This can involve spreading gossip, targeted hate in the form of social media comments, messages, texts, calls or anything that requires you reach out to the other party and inflict even more injury in their life. Silencing them and disregarding their side of the story loudly. Stalking a profile and reporting back. Copying their posts or pictures and ridiculing them. Constantly keeping the drama in the forefront and not letting the other person walk away or be heard. Invalidating them and their voice so no one can ever hear or believe their side of the story. It’s usually aggressive, constant and driven nastily. This person is at the center of the drama while continuing to complain how it’s affecting their life.
Narcissists use this eloquently and have groomed and perfected the act of using people to further isolate and capture their victim in a place which can only be described as emotional hell. It’s a very effective tool. Especially in this age of technology and social media where you can access a person in many ways and have around the clock ability to torment them.
You can learn a lot from reading up on articles like this , which highlights, breaks down and simplifies traits present in most abusers. It can apply to almost every situation and not just domestic violence – http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/abuser-tricks
Let’s list some of the common ones.
Isolation – first an abuser will infiltrate the victims friend groups, family and try to separate them by any means. Removing allies and turning others against them. If you can see the person you are siding with doing this – view it as a red flag. This can happen either with stories, verbal or typed which portray the victim badly on social media or outright threats to ‘stop getting involved’. The lack of any physical evidence is usually a clue. And any evidence is usually snippets out of context and you will never be shown full conversations.
Destruction – they don’t want apologies or any form of resolution or to even walk away and get on with their lives. They want to annihilate another person and punish all those involved. This will spread to anyone who supports the victim too. So instead of having you target just one, they will target entire groups and try to intimidate and pick people off – another red flag that suggests you are being used.
Ongoing anger – human nature is to forgive and forget and move on. It’s not always the case in severe trauma scenarios but most people will put the past behind them in some form and try to move on. Abusers do not. So is their intent at being seen as a victim and destroying the other persons life that they will not let go. If you find the person obsessing, bringing it up constantly and taking constant action to prolong the drama – walk away from them. They don’t want it to end.
Turning on doubters – the quickest way to know if you are being used by an abuser is to question their behaviour or doubt their motives. Quicker than the flick of a switch you will be deemed a traitor and join the others in having their lives destroyed. Choose inaction and make it clear and again you will see the ugly side of their personality. Quick to insult and abuse and label you as a traitor.
Threats, intimidation – abusers cannot stand people who see through them so the first port of call is to target the strong ones in an attempt to remove them. This will be done with using pawns to intimidate or threaten said people. Using personal things about them to try and scare them away and back down so they can have a clear path to continue abusing their victim. They will also try to turn the victims support against them with more fabrications. Innocent people have no need to threaten or intimidate or destroy lives – bear that in mind.
If the person is encouraging you to threaten, reach out to supporters and try to sway them, then take note. Innocent people do not need to threaten and abuse.
No responsibility at all – this means they accept nothing in the situation is anything they deserved or added too. As things escalate and people cause excess drama the offender will only scream louder how innocent they are and people are trying to make them look bad. Innocent people tend to give up trying to maintain the truth and walk away,(unless it is of course concerning imprisonment) close down and stop interacting. – it’s been noted in many psychology papers. Most people can admit some wrong doing in a situation when looking at the bigger picture but an abuser will never do it. Most people can come to some sort of resolution or agreement to cut all ties.
Controlling – just look at how this person treats those around them and in life. Most abusers are controlling, quick to insult and put people down and are critical most of the time. They hide nastiness in passive aggressive behaviours or are outright aggressive. Sometimes they can appear to be charmers, seem level but the telltale sign is how quickly they erupt at any form of criticism aimed their way. Over reaction is usually a clue. They cannot tolerate it.
Quick to share – this one is not always true but in things I have experienced it has been. The abusers willingness to tell the entire story to anyone who listens in hopes of getting them on side. Victims usually have had their trust in people broken at the hands of the onslaught of abuse and reluctant to speak to anyone new who ‘wants to know the drama’ They will usually even find speaking out in the first place, incredibly hard. The abuser has no trust issues as they are the abuser and therefore quite willing to share the slandering of the other person freely. In fact they will tell the tale to anyone they get near, they never stop looking for pawns.
Gaslighting – turning the abuse around and making the victim look over dramatic or crazy. This is the most important one and usually the most obvious in any situation. Belittling, invalidating any reaction to how they have tortured the other person. Laughing at their reaction, as though it’s insane of over dramatic to what you have been used to do to them.
These are just some of the more obvious traits but the list is endless and I have only touched on a few I myself have encountered. Every day people are used to fight battles on behalf of other people and people are manipulated and drawn in thinking they are helping the true victim. As humans we want to protect the vulnerable and help. It’s human nature but very few talk about the fact that goodness is often manipulated.
In domestic violence this form of gas-lighting and turning the tables is how the abuser keeps the victim in control and silent. Any hints of truth escaping are clamped down brutally and stomped back into silence. Without minions or pawns the abuser loses that control so of course they have many methods of using you.
I could go on about this topic all day but I think you have the jist of what I am highlighting.
I hope after reading this that you evaluate scenarios when faced with them and take the time to look at the other side, the bigger picture. Many women and men caught in abusive homes really do put out cries for help in many ways, but most of the time the abuser is so apt on shutting it down using other people, that the true victim accepts fate and becomes silent.
Please help fight to give them back their voice. To learn to trust people again and know some of us will never be threatened or intimidated into shutting up or backing down.
If you are the victim of abuse, caught in domestic violence or feel trapped in a circumstance please browse my info page for helpful contacts. Speak out, there are people who believe you.