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Only you have the right to control your mind

This subject came up, during this weekend's seminar in Amsterdam. There was not much time available, so I decided to post a fuller explanation, here.

Recently, I posted a page, which spoke of the 'locus of control' and on this site, I have many pages on the subject of brainwashing techniques, also known as coercive persuasion. As a result, I have had many visitors write to me and ask, “How can I get my ____ away from the psychopathic con artist?” What family members are really asking for is advice on how to overcome the brain washing of a loved one.

When answering these kind of questions, I first inform that I am not a therapist, psychologist, nor authority. I am a yogi, not the kind of yogi, who puts himself into strange postures, but one who studies yoga philosophy and psychology... and one who has been around for a long time and seen much. I have learned that there are honest spiritual guides and unscrupulous pretenders and that there is a Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides

Brain washing, coercive persuasion, or destructive mind control takes the ‘locus of control’ away from an individual. There are four basic tactics used to achieve mind control and allow for an individual’s identity to be systematically manipulated and changed. These four things are remembered with the acronym BITE, and are behavior, information, thoughts and emotions.

Behavior control starts with one person’s regulation of another individual’s physical reality. Our physical reality means the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the amount of sleep we get, how we spend our time and how we spend our money. There are rigid rules and regulations the controlled person is supposed to abide by regarding these. Over time, this behavior control fosters dependency. The controlled person gets used to not behaving autonomously.

Information control is central to mind control. US government propaganda, disquising itself as news media, is a prime example. On the individual level, those wishing to take control use deception to make themselves look good, in the beginning. They deliberately hold back information and distort important facts. This allows them to get a foot hold in a person’s life. After the foot hold is established, the controller makes sure to isolate the person from information potentially damaging to the relationship.

Thought control is established as the controller encourages the person to adopt an “us vs. them” mentality.("You are either with us, or against us" - G. Bush) Any attempt by the controlled to criticize or question the controller is punished. The controller withdraws affection or otherwise induces fear in the person. Faced with this punishment, the controlled uses the defense mechanisms of denial, rationalization, justification or wishful thinking to survive.

Lastly, brain washing involves manipulation of emotions. The controller uses tactics that narrow the range of the controlled’s emotional experience. The controlled experiences extremes of emotions, highs and lows that keep him/her off balance.

Nothing controls behavior like guilt and fear. (Note this is true only for people who are not sociopathic.) Controllers are experts at inducing guilt of all sorts such as , identity guilt; family guilt; guilt over past deeds; guilt over present thoughts, feelings and actions. Controllers also subtly induce fear. The controlled fears thinking independently, fears the “outside” world, enemies, leaving or being shunned by the controller. The controlled also fears the controller’s disapproval.

Ultimately the goal of all the emotional manipulation is “phobia indoctrination” or the programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the controller or even questioning the controller’s authority. The person under mind control can not visualize a positive, fulfilled future without the controller.

There are times when trying to influence someone does not constitute mind control. Acceptable influence tactics include:

  • Reflection
  • Clarification
  • Discussion
  • Information Giving
  • Directed Questioning
  • Creative Expression
  • Advisory/Therapeutic
  • Commenting on Problem or alternatives
  • Suggesting Ideas
  • Rational argument (message oriented)

Unacceptable influence tactics which do, indeed, suggest mind control are:

  • Selective reward/punishment
  • Denigration of self and of critical thinking
  • Dissociative states to suppress doubt and critical thinking
  • Alternation of harshness/threats and leniency/love
  • Control-oriented guilt induction
  • Active promotion of dependency
  • Debilitation
  • Physical restraint/punishment

Cult leaders use human nature to gain power over others. It is human nature to respect authority and want to live peacefully in a group. Cult leaders exploit the desire people have to belong to a well-functioning group.

I know that many of the visitors to this site are experts on some of the above subjects. I ask that you send comments, as reviews of this page on StumbleUpon, so that others may read your comments.

Any questions??