by Robert Wilkinson
As some of you know, a troll came here yesterday and laid out some fart bombs using flimsy pseudo-science to create distractions and a nasty atmosphere. When I saw his 3rd response, I knew I was dealing with an abusive male who was using classic battering techniques to try to keep me off-point. So I banned him, but it inspired me to share some insights about his obviously abusive behavior. Today I'll outline a few symptoms of how to recognize verbal battering techniques.
First of all, there is no difference between physical and verbal battering when it comes to rationalizations. All abusers use the exact same techniques and reasoning to make it everyone elses' fault and urgent concern that they have to continue to press their agenda on others that you MUST respond to.
Be alert to those who insist their agenda MUST be addressed. You will find that regardless of what you say or how you respond, it will never be good enough to satisfy their need to make themselves right and you wrong. That's one element of battering. Be alert to those who insist you must address their agenda but never acknowledge your point of view or concerns.
There is no way anyone can please a batterer. They will always find reasons why you're wrong, or don't get it, or why you must address their concerns. As I demonstrated yesterday, even when you logically deconstruct their reasoning and refute their supposed "proofs" that you are wrong, to blame, etc., they will consistently refuse to address what you've said, and will throw more accusations and demands that they expect you to answer to their satisfaction. And of course they're never satisfied.
This is what I've termed the "spaghetti thrown against the wall to see what sticks" tactic. A classic technique of verbal and physical batterers is to raise "concerns" about your behavior, reasoning, or view, and then when you attempt to address their "concerns," they throw more and more at you without ever acknowledging your response to the original concerns.
The technique of constantly raising more and more concerns, even if they're wildly off topic or irrelevant to the initial point, is critical in their strategy. Eventually they hope to bury you in their BS, even while insisting all the way that you MUST address their concerns or you're lying, or scamming, or not knowledgeable, or smart, or whatever.
Then there's the challenge or taunt. Be alert to this, since it's a classic way of pulling you away from your own knowledge and sense of what's relevant or important to you. It's a technique to pull you into their agenda.
A batterer will always challenge the would-be victim to "prove" whatever is the concern of the moment to their satisfaction. That often takes the form of something you are expected to learn and talk about which is only marginally related to the initial concern, if at all. And their "authorities" are always more legitimate than yours.
A batterer loves to keep everything hectic, chaotic, and off balance. They usually evade simple reasoning, since they love to hide their tactics to create chaos or confusion behind phrases such as "it's so simple, why don't you get it," or "I've tried to make it clear, but you aren't comprehending," or some other similar accusation that puts it on you to prove to them that you ARE "getting it" to their satisfaction. And they will insist that it's for your own good.
I found a lot of this when I was a fairly well-known political blogger earlier in this decade. That's when I learned the phrase "don't feed the troll." It does absolutely no good to attempt a dialog with someone who is not an honest communicator.
You will recognize these denizens of one of the lower circles of hell by examining their attitude and how they respond to your response. That's why I gave yesterday's troll the benefit of two responses, but by the third I saw he was an utterly dishonest manipulator with a very nasty attitude. (After I de-published all comments related to the conflict and banned him, he sent me a 4th response which ended up in the spam file. It was just as evasive, accusative, and nasty as his previous 3. So much for thinking they ever learn.)
I found some time ago that it makes absolutely no difference if you have expertise in an area and they don't. It makes no difference if you have formal knowledge or training in a field. They will NEVER acknowledge that you have any right to your point of view, and will usually get nasty pretty quick, throwing more accusations, demands for "proof" and explanations, but ignore whatever you say, often twisting your own words to their satisfaction to "prove" you are a lesser being, or not very aware or knowledgeable.
Apart from what I've learned through hard personal experience over the years, some time back I also learned another way to recognize batterers through a book written by one of the foremost experts in the field, Dr. Lenore Walker, in her pioneering work "The Battered Woman." In it she outlines the timing and techniques batterers use in what she termed "the cycle of violence."
Basically, there are 3 stages. One is the tension-building period, where the batterer expects something of you that may or may not be clear, but you cannot please them. This usually involves "minor" forms of abuse (like yesterday.) The second stage is when the abuse and battering erupts in one acute form or another. The third stage is the "honeymoon" period, when the batterer "makes up" and promises whatever in an attempt to sooth the troubled waters.
Stage 3 may last a relatively long or short time, but given the nature of abusive people, it's usually short, since they always find something else "wrong" with you, after which the cycle begins anew. Tension again builds, eventually culminating in abusive words and/or deeds, followed by another make-up period. The make-up period gives the batterer time to feel good about how nice they're being to their victim, so they can justify the next bout of tension and abuse.
Think "See how good I've been to you," "See what I did for you," or "I've tried so hard to help you understand" with the obvious follow up of "and you aren't appreciative" or "and you aren't reciprocating" or "and you're not getting it...." which of course is their justification for the next period of tension building for what you are or are not doing or understanding about their wants and needs.
There are many more elements of battering behavior, but they are beyond the scope of this article. I just had some insights into yesterday, and wanted to share them in a way that all who read this might recognize trollish behavior and the abusive attitudes and actions that lurk behind the apparently reasonable facades of these denizens of lower awareness.
I'll close with a fragment of wisdom from Cat Stevens: "Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware..."
To all those who commune here, my blessings. May you recognize batterers and never tolerate any form of abuse ever again.
Copyright © 2009 Robert Wilkinson