Mike called Lisa’s friends and asked them to let him know if she did anything peculiar, subtly indicating that he was worried that she was becoming “unhinged.” She noticed certain friends looking at her strangely, but did not know why. The unexplained change in her friends’ behavior estranged her from them.
Jacob told members of their tight-knit religious community that Hannah was behaving immodestly and neglecting their children. When she tried to leave him, their community shunned her and fought on behalf of her husband’s bid for child custody.
The Effects Of Grooming
Awareness of the grooming process helps us understand the plight of someone in a relationship with an abuser. Grooming helps explain why people may stay with abusers, submit to their demands, and push away others who try to help.
Cassandra Wiener, a coercive control researcher, entreats readers to understand how this grooming process can break down survivors. She explains that survivors of domestic violence and coercive control “are vulnerable, but not because they are weak, character-deficient, or mentally unwell. They are vulnerable because they have been groomed (Wiener, 2017).”
If you are concerned that you or someone you care about has been groomed for an abusive relationship, the following can help:
- Learn about coercive control.
- Complete an inventory of the abusive partner’s control.
- Avoid isolation by staying connected to friends and/or relatives. Remember that abusers tend to monitor their partners’ contacts, so keep these conversations light and generally supportive, unless you are certain you have privacy.
- Speak with a domestic violence advocate at any stage in the relationship, even if there is no physical violence. Advocates help people understand their situations and figure out safe pathways forward.
Written By Lisa Aronson Fontes Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
The way domestic abusers groom and isolate their victims, breaking out of it is tough, but definitely not impossible. Try to get help from your loved ones and professional counselors if needed, as you don’t need to do this alone. Give yourself some time and kindness to move on from such a traumatic experience, and you will eventually.