Some children and adults are paralyzed emotionally because of their past or present abusers. How do abusers instill such debilitating fear? They may use some or all of these tactics.
1. Threaten physical harm. Victims know that if they cross the line, their abusers will lash out physically at them. They've seen it happen to others.
2. Threaten others with physical harm. Sometimes victims aren't afraid of getting hurt personally, but they are afraid that someone else might get hurt.
3. Criticize victims to make them feel worthless, or convincing the victims that no one loves them or cares about them.
4. Isolate their victims.
5. Withhold praise and affection. Abusers will give the "silent treatment" or refuse to praise, hug or cuddle. Children are especially susceptible to this.
6. Destroy treasured items. They know that victims will think twice about crossing them if the victims want to keep anything special.
7. Play upon their victims' fears.
8. Use intimidation. Abusers may stalk their victims, but not cross any legal lines. They don't want to get caught, but they still want to psychologically threaten their victim with their presence. Sometimes, they only have to show their face or leave a subtle message on the phone.
There are countless ways abusers instill fear in their victims. Victims need to realize how their abusers are manipulating them so they can overcome the fear.
Why do Abusers instill fear? They do not want to be caught. They do not want to face the legal and social consequences of their actions. They enjoy control. For this reason, abusers manipulate their families to act perfect in public so no one will suspect the abuse.
If you have further insight, please leave a comment.