Published to Social on Oct 10, 2015
Harassment can take many forms at work, in the family or domestic sphere... To protect yourself from it, we must know how to identify the complex mechanisms that control it.
Harassment is insidious, it is a lengthy process. Gradually, your bearings are collapsing and you have doubts concerning your own abilities, your skills and ultimately your values as a human being.
Psychological or moral harassment is linked to a dominant / dominated relation that naturally expresses well in the domestic sphere but also in the professional sphere because of hierarchical relationships. Although, statistically, the majority of harassers is of men, we must not neglect the social stereotypes that would rarely make a male victim to denounce such a fact.
The main principles governing the moral or psychological harassment, seem to me to fit in this acronym : DIE for Devaluation, Denigration, Isolation and Esteem. The objective of this vicious and destructive circle for the victim is that the harasser may have "carte blanche", discretion on its prey, reaching a total control over his victim.
Nothing that you do seem sufficient enough to your harasser (spouse, chief, etc.). Whatever you undertake will necessarily be a failure or systematically decreased. You must increase efforts to undertake anything and always justify yourself. This intensifies with time and gradually you question your ability to do anything well.
For example, your spouse will make you discredit or put you in a difficult situation or embarrassment with respect to his own family. Note that this scheme may be greatly facilitated and intensified if natural barriers already exist (language barrier, different cultures, etc.). This will keep at all times a comfort zone for the harasser but also a psychological domination over the victim that will feel guilty. The harasser will make sure to keep exclusive control over his environment and gradually to your own entourage.
In the public sphere, your harasser will be charming and use all his charms to get ahead. If you had a complicated relationship with your own family, he will make sure to reconnect to have more influence over you. This will destabilize you in case of a break since your own family will not understand how you did not keep a person yet so pleasant and helpful... This will be even more likely to make you feel guilty or hinder you in your efforts to get out of his grip.
In the private sphere, where nobody could help you, the same relentless, systematic and hurtful criticisms will increasingly remain. By dint of belittling you, minimize you, you become convinced that you are worthless. This process is long and tedious but it is the prerequisite to a flawless psychological hold. Recurring topics will be discussed continuously, based on your own fault, you feel helpless and it pushes you to your limits, you do not know how to react or how to grasp the situation.
The harasser will send a degrading picture of you inside your emotional sphere, mutual friends who could defend yourself will gradually set aside and only those who will be quite attentive to the harasser will be favored. This vilification also invades you because everything seems to indicate that it is you who are the source of the problem, that you are not worth the trouble to be loved or to be enjoyed at your fair value.
While the harasser flourishes in his social life, conquer new circles of friends, you fold yourself in and shut yourself in solitude that is increasingly heavy. Knowing you in its grip, the harasser will have no limits, he will have free rein to satisfy his desires, fantasies knowing that you are completely dominated.
Gradually the vice closes, you have no more social life, no more leisure since you are no-good...
One arrives at this final stage, under the yoke of this devaluation, denigration and finally completely isolated, your self-esteem becomes inexistant. It deteriorates and you think you have quite deserved what happens to you. Having often had a difficult childhood where you had already suffered some form of harassment or strong dominance in a complex family environment, you can only be sure that everything is your fault: for sure the problem comes from you.
You become depressed, almost lifeless, if someone notices it, the harasser will deny everything and say that you are just simulating it, just to complain. You have negative thoughts, and this impacts your family, your children that will keep the image of a depressed person who is self-inflicted because the harasser press the point or a saying-either dangerous or negative image of which you are the only responsible.
Another sign to influence your self-esteem is that the harasser asks or forces you to change your physical appearance (clothing habits, etc.), this to better sit its grip on you.
If, at the same time, your health deteriorates notably the occurrence of autoimmune diseases (eg psoriasis) and / or stress related (thyroiditis), this should strengthen you in the fact that you suffer an abnormal anxiety. Of course, the harasser will minimize and say that this is psychological, it is necessarily you who invented everything because you enjoy complaining. He even tend to completely ignore your health problems despite real evidence and medical analysis.
Instead, be convinced that it represents a tangible and irrefutable indicator that should alert you and make you try to save yourself from his grip.
The trigger will be, unfortunately, often linked to a reckless act. The reflection returned by your surroundings, your family in law and your own family has become intolerable and you ended up quite convince that you are a hateful person.
Following this act, which will act as a shock, you will discover gradually the mechanisms of influence that were making you a victim. This will let you get out of your straitjacket and realize that things can not be so simple, it is not possible that everything comes from you !
Try to regain confidence in you : start a business, participate in associations, induce change by taking up, again, your lives. Do everything you can to develop new social relationships, it can go through a resumption of studies or enrollment in training.
As a matter of fact, this harassment would have highlighted your own fault : you have a form of predisposition to suffer from this kind of control. This can be complex since a thing and its opposite are conceptually quite similar. You may have a predisposition to be an harasser and / or harassed. You've probably experienced some form of domination in your childhood with someone close who has had or still has a great ascendancy over you, who may be perceived as positive or negative, depending on the perspective and feelings of each.
Talk around you, outside of artificial relationships established by your harasser, you will see that, in many cases, one way or another many people have suffered of some kind of harassment and they could have good advice for you to get away. Avoid at all costs the view of subjective people who have been disproportionately influenced by your harasser.
If you need or want to build an absolutely serene relationship with your harasser, if you have children together for example, try to not directly confront him or her because it would be unproductive but offer constructive alternatives and methods to encourage him to go see a therapist together, if possible, a specialist who uses methods that are less susceptible to manipulation (such as hypnosis).