Withold/Reward = Power & Control
The most insidious tactic of an abuser.
Date: 4/5/2011 12:47:16 PM ( 11 y ) ... viewed 13824 times
"If you don't get that money from your parents, the kids won't have Christmas presents, and it'll be YOUR fault! This is a statement that I heard on every special occasion, birthday, holiday, "family" vacations, and so forth. In order to be provided with gifts, school clothing, groceries, field trips, and the like, I had to either beg money from my parents, trade sexua| favors, or submit to, and endure, verbal and physical abuse.
The tactic of withold/reward is not only used by abusers, but also an intentional tactic of interrogation and incarceration. Do what is demanded, and we'll leave you alone, give you a piece of mail, or stop breaking your fingers. The Spanish Inquisition employed this tactic to force "confessions" from human beings accused of witchcraft and heresy: if you admit to being ________, we'll lop your head off rather than introduce you to the arts of prolonged torture."
In the environment of domestic violence and abuse, the simple absence of abuse may be viewed as a reward. This is how Stockholm Syndrome begins to develop in an abusive relationship. In my case, it actually began with my appearance - as I've mentioned, my need for acceptance was nearly an emotional pathology. The abuser's first "gift" to me was of clothing. When we picked them out, he said something along the lines of, "This stuff is expensive and they'll make you look nice." Okay - translated from abuser-speak, it really means, "You will be acceptable when I deem you to be."
Perhaps, I may have walked away if I had been aware of my own personal issues and had a clear understanding of what abuse really is. This is why it's so important to speak to our children with their futures in mind. Inform them, teach them, educate them, and do not threaten children with something that you will not follow through on! "If you don't behave, you won't get MacDonald's," or, "Stop that or Santa Clause won't come," are thoroughly unacceptable threats in an attempt to force a child to do what we want! Instead, "It may be a better choice to _____ instead of _____. If you choose the second thing, there may be consequences that could mean no video games for two days." NOT that ANY child should be fed fast food for ANY reason, but it's an example that I hear every time I'm in the vicinity of parents and children!
I digress.... withold and reward also factor into the dehumanization of the victim. They are conditioned to believe that the abuser has the power to grant (or, deny) even the most basic of needs: shampoo, groceries, medication, utility payments, and even human interaction with friends and family.
One recent example of this was when a beautiful, bright woman that I know told me of a "heart-to-heart" discussion with her boyfiend of 10+ years. She wants children, very much. He does not and is, from her descriptions, an abuser. His reason for not having a child with her went like this, "You can't even keep a clean house! You have no business having a baby!" So.......... what does immaculate housekeeping have to do with being a good, loving mother? And, if she keeps an immaculate house, will she then be REWARDED with a child? How long is she required to keep an immaculate house before she's rewarded with a baby? And, what will happen when being a busy mother interferes with her immaculate housekeeping? Will she have to take the baby back to the hospital, or will she be ejected from the home?
When conditions must be met in order for a human being to be rewarded with simple living needs, legal rights, or the simple absence of abuse, those set conditions are abusive. Conditions are NOT the same things as "expectations." Expecations are what we have hope for: good grades, strong work ethics, possible sexua| encounter, etc. We may have expectations, but they aren't a guarantee.
For more information, visit http://www.ndvh.org
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