- Constantly shifting the focus onto the survivor’s behaviors. This is the core maneuver of an abusive relationship.
- Taking on the role of ‘victim.’. Results in life are mostly the consequences of one’s choices, with a little bit of other people’s actions thrown in. To be a victim is to ignore the one’s ability to make choices, and insist that other peoples’ choices are all that matter.
- Talking about all the things done for the survivor, which at a minimum blames the other for being ungrateful and exploitative. It is like an attempt to obligate the other person to respond the way the primary aggressor wants, which is controlling.
- Insisting that interpersonal conflict has a “right” and a “wrong” to it, and explaining in a pressured way how one is right. This is an attempt to make any difference or disagreement into an injury against the primary aggressor.
- Feeling and acting entitled. If done well enough, the survivor’s not giving what is wanted starts to look like an injury to the primary aggressor.
- Feigning compassion and understanding for the survivor, and then going on and on about how their outrageous behavior exceeds the primary aggresor’s otherwise huge capacity to forgive. This is still changing the focus to the survivor’s behavior and acting the victim.
- Labeling the other person’s point of view ‘crazy,’ or irrational. This can be done to any disagreeing point of view, but often is used to discount another person’s feelings or perceptions. Men are more likely to label a woman’s feelings crazy.
- Talking endlessly about reasons, but avoiding talking about actions. This is called justifying. Everyone has ‘good’ reasons for what they do, including violence. Actions, however, are how control is maintained in an abusive relationship.