Verbal abuse and brainwashing seem to go together like puzzle pieces. It seems that once a person figures out how to verbally manipulate someone, they can become verbal abusers and brainwashers of the highest order. Some people doubt brainwashing exists. But then, some people don’t think verbal abuse counts as abuse. I believe verbal abuse and brainwashing have a long history of working together to get victims to do exactly as we’re told.
Verbal Abuse and Brainwashing Use Questions To Confuse
My ex-husband didn’t ask me many questions that required a thoughtful response. He didn’t want me thinking my thoughts, he wanted me thinking his thoughts. He wanted me so brainwashed that I could read his mind.
He used fast-fire questions to throw me off guard. “What are you doing? Where are the boys? Did you do the laundry?” Three questions at once leaving no time to answer.
There was a definite right answer, I just knew it, but the right answer wasn’t necessarily the truth.
The right answer
- depended on what he thought I should be doing,
- explained why the boys were somehow not where they should be, and
- “I’ve done the laundry and your boxers are folded in quarters and put into your dresser,” to which he would reply, annoyed, “I like my boxers folded in thirds.”
And that simple contradiction added to the confusion and brainwashing of verbal abuse.
I would respond, “Oh, I’m sorry. Last time you said you liked them folded in quarters,” and he would say, “No I didn’t.” I knew he was wrong.
But at this point, I didn’t know what he expected me to do. Find the boys before he had to go get them? Refold his damn boxer shorts? I knew better than tell him what I was doing. First off, he didn’t care. Secondly, his questions, demeanor and insistence he wanted something he said he didn’t made me think that I must be losing my mind. So the answer to “What are you doing?” was “Going bat-crazy.”
And that answer would not have worked at all because the last thing he would do is admit to going bat-crazy. And since he wanted me to be him, if I said the truth there would be a fight. It would end when I agreed that I could not possibly be going bat-crazy.
Ah, well. No use protesting, was there? Better to let it go and just do all the things he’d implied I should have been doing from the beginning. I thought I was being the better person by staying quiet about the insanity. And then I thought that maybe I was holier-than-thou, as he’d often derisively remarked, because I thought I was being a better person by a choice I made for myself.
The Tricky Outcome of Verbal Abuse and Brainwashing
“Geesh, Kellie! STOP THINKING!” I’d think to myself. And that is exactly what he wanted. He wanted me to stop thinking.
That’s what the rapid-fire questions were about. That’s what the denial of reality was for! He wanted me to stop thinking and simply react how he would react. The whole game was about throwing me off guard. Keeping me on my toes, alert to his desires.
If he were lucky, I’d feel the stress of a cornered animal and react in a seemingly irrational manner. That would give him another excuse to call me names and to tell me what I was doing, thinking, or being.
In this case, he subtly coerced me into not only not thinking, but considering that maybe I was being “holier than thou” which wasn’t my thought to begin with!
Holy crap. He was GOOD.
*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.