Anonymous asked in Social SciencePsychology · 2 months ago

Do many people experience power struggles, coercions, mind games,  power plays?  is this a normal thing in life? why?


or what i hate the most, ...someone trying to provoke you. intentionally to do a power struggle after. is this common in work place? where else? why common or not? how depends?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Abusive power and control, controlling behavior and coercive control is the way that an abusive person gains and maintains power and control over another person in order to subject that victim to psychological, physical, sexual, or financial abuse. The motivations of the abuser are varied and can include devaluation, envy, personal gain, personal gratification, psychological projection, or just for the sake of the enjoyment of exercising power and control.

    Controlling abusers use tactics to exert power and control over their victims. The tactics themselves are psychologically and sometimes physically abusive. Control may be helped through economic abuse thus limiting the victim's actions as they may then lack the necessary resources to resist the abuse. The goal of the abuser is to control and intimidate the victim or to influence them to feel that they do not have an equal voice.

    Manipulators and abusers control their victims with a range of tactics, including positive reinforcement such as praise, superficial charm, flattery, ingratiation, love bombing, smiling, gifts, attention, negative reinforcement, intermittent or partial reinforcement, psychological punishment such as nagging, silent treatment, swearing, threats, intimidation, emotional blackmail, guilt trips, inattention and traumatic tactics such as verbal abuse or explosive anger. 

    The vulnerabilities of the victim are exploited with those who are particularly vulnerable being most often selected as targets. Traumatic bonding can occur between the abuser and victim as the result of ongoing cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates powerful emotional bonds that are resistant to change and a climate of fear. An attempt may be made to normalise, legitimise, rationalise, deny, or minimise the abusive behaviour, or blame the victim for it.

    Isolation, gaslighting, mind games, lying, disinformation, propaganda, destabilisation, brainwashing and divide and rule are other strategies that are often used. The victim may be plied with alcohol or drugs or deprived of sleep to help disorientate them. Certain personality types feel particularly compelled to control other people.

    In the study of personality psychology, certain personality disorders display characteristics involving the need to gain compliance or control over others:

    Those with Antisocial Personality Disorder tend to display glibness, giving them a grandiose sense of self-worth. Due to their callous and unemotional traits, they are well suited to con and/or manipulate others into complying with their wishes.

    Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have an inflated self-importance, hypersensitivity to criticism and a sense of entitlement that compels them to persuade others to comply with their requests. To maintain their self-esteem, and protect their vulnerable true selves, narcissists need to control others behavior particularly that of their children seen as extensions of themselves.

    Those with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to display black-and-white thinking and no sense of self-worth.

    Those with Histrionic Personality Disorder need to be the center of attention; and in turn, draw people in so they may use and eventually dispose of their relationship.

    Those with Sadistic Personality Disorder derive pleasure from the distress caused by their aggressive, demeaning and cruel behavior towards others. They have poor ability to control their reactions and become enraged by minor disturbances, with some sadists being more severely abusive. They use a wide range of behaviors to inappropriately control others, ranging from hostile glances, threats, humiliation, coercion, and restricting others autonomy. Often the purpose of their behavior is to control and intimidate others. The sadistic individual are likely rigid in their beliefs, intolerant of other races or other out-groups, authoritarian, and malevolent. They may seek positions in which they are able to exert power over others, such as a judge, army sergeant or psychiatrist who misuse their positions of power to control or brutalize others. For instance, a psychiatrist may institutionalize a patient by misusing mental health legislation. 

    Control freaks are often perfectionists defending themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities in the belief that if they are not in total control they risk exposing themselves once more to childhood angst. Such persons manipulate and pressure others to change so as to avoid having to change themselves, and use power over others to escape an inner emptiness. When a control freak's pattern is broken, the controller is left with a terrible feeling of powerlessness but feeling their pain and fear brings them back to themselves. In terms of personality-type theory, control freaks are very much the Type A personality, driven by the need to dominate and control. An obsessive need to control others is also associated with antisocial personality disorder.

    Positive reinforcement: includes praise, superficial charm, superficial sympathy crocodile tears, excessive apologizing, money, approval, gifts, attention, facial expressions such as a forced laugh or smile, and public recognition.

    Negative reinforcement: involves removing one from a negative situation as a reward, "You won't have to do your homework if you allow me to do this to you."

    Intermittent or partial reinforcement: Partial or intermittent negative reinforcement can create an effective climate of fear and doubt. Partial or intermittent positive reinforcement can encourage the victim to persist.

    Punishment: includes nagging, yelling, the silent treatment, intimidation, threats, swearing, emotional blackmail, the guilt trip, sulking, crying, and playing the victim.

    Traumatic one-trial learning: using verbal abuse, explosive anger, or other intimidating behavior to establish dominance or superiority; even one incident of such behavior can condition or train victims to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator.

    Manipulators may have:

    1. A strong need to attain feelings of power and superiority in relationships with others.

    2. A want and need to feel in control.

    3. A desire to gain a feeling of power over others in order to raise their perception of self-esteem.


    Emotional blackmail is a term coined by psychotherapist Susan Forward, about controlling people in relationships and the theory that fear, obligation and guilt FOG are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled. Understanding these dynamics is useful to anyone trying to extricate from the controlling behavior of another person, and deal with their own compulsions to do things that are uncomfortable, undesirable, burdensome, or self-sacrificing for others.

    Forward and Frazier identify four blackmail types each with their own mental manipulation style: 

    PUNISHER’S THREAT: Eat the food I cooked for you or I'll hurt you.

    SELF-PUNISHER’S THREAT: Eat the food I cooked for you or I'll hurt myself.

    SUFFERER’S THREAT: Eat the food I cooked for you. I was saving it for myself. I wonder what will happen now?

    TANTALIZER’S THREAT: Eat the food I cooked for you and you just may get a really yummy dessert.

    There are different levels of demands that are of little consequence, demands that involve important issues or personal integrity, demands that affect major life decisions or demands that are dangerous or illegal.


    The silent treatment is sometimes used as a control mechanism. When so used, it constitutes a passive-aggressive action characterized by the coupling of nonverbal but nonetheless unambiguous indications of the presence of negative emotion with the refusal to discuss the scenario triggering those emotions and, when those emotions' source is unclear to the other party, occasionally the refusal to clarify it or even to identify that source at all. As a result, the perpetrator of the silent treatment denies the victim both the opportunity to negotiate an after-the-fact settlement of the grievance in question and the ability to modify his/her future behavior to avoid giving further offense. In especially severe cases, even if the victim gives in and accedes to the perpetrator's initial demands, the perpetrator may continue the silent treatment so as to deny the victim feedback indicating that those demands have been satisfied. The silent treatment thereby enables its perpetrator to cause hurt, obtain ongoing attention in the form of repeated attempts by the victim to restore dialogue, maintain a position of power through creating uncertainty over how long the verbal silence and associated impossibility of resolution will last, and derive the satisfaction that the perpetrator associates with each of these consequences.


    The expression has been used to describe the tactics used by pimps and gang members to control their victims, as well as to describe the behavior of an abusive narcissist who tries to win the confidence of a victim.


    One sense of mind games is a largely conscious struggle for psychological one-upmanship, often employing passive–aggressive behavior to specifically demoralize or dis-empower the thinking subject, making the aggressor look superior; also referred to as power games. Mind games can be used to undermine one partner's belief in the validity of their own perceptions. Personal experience may be denied and driven from memory, and such abusive mind games may extend to denial of the victim's reality, social undermining, and the trivializing of what is felt to be important. Both sexes have equal opportunities for such verbal coercion, which may be carried out unconsciously as a result of the need to maintain one's own self-deception.

    Source(s): Abusive power and control Make sure to read the description below DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
  • 2 months ago

    It took me four decades to figure out that I kept choosing relationships that were similar to my super-dramatic family relationships; and power struggle drove the drama. If you were raised that way, it *seems* normal and you're in it until you realize it's *ABNORMAL.* I picked people who did this because they resembled my family so I felt "kinship" with them, so I had conversations with them, and some were hurt and angry. All were invited to discuss the issue(s) openly. Quite telling that some would not acknowledge my discomfort, even when I took ownership of my part in it (I haven't been assertive, I haven't spoken up when I was uncomfortable). There were only a few whose behaviors were so bad that I had little hope for the relationship. One of my family members began to address her addiction and "came around" after nearly two years! Contact must be ended or extremely limited except in the case of mental incompetence/senility, etc. So the answer is yes, unless/until there's agreement to healthy relationships, there will always be a lot of people doing this stuff. Take them in hand and if they refuse to acknowledge it, let the next person try to help them.

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