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So you want to keep your lover or your employee close. Bound to you, even. You have a few options. You could be the best lover they've ever had, kind, charming, thoughtful, competent, witty, and a tiger in bed. You could be the best workplace they've ever had, with challenging work, rewards for talent, initiative, and professional development, an excellent work/life balance, and good pay. But both of those options demand a lot from you. Besides, your lover (or employee) will stay only as long as she wants to under those systems, and you want to keep her even when she doesn't want to stay. How do you pin her to your side, irrevocably, permanently, and perfectly legally?

You create a sick system.Collapse )


( 315 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 12th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Ugh. This.
Thank you. This is why I say that my last major relationship was abusive. Not that she was abusive, not that I was abusive. But that the relationship itself was.
We were both always running from fire to fire. And our coping mechanisms worked at exactly cross purposes to each other. I'd get quiet and "calm", she'd read intentional manipulative withdrawal. She'd start talking to fill the space and asking questions rapid fire so that I could answer at least one of them. I'd get quieter. Repeat ad infinitum. It was really bad.

But I'm out now. And trying not to perpetuate the coping strategies and broken outlooks into my marriage. It takes work to retrain such ready feedback patterns, but it is work that is so very worth doing.

Thank you for framing it in a way that I will have a much easier time looking at employers using similar rubrics and decision trees for time to walk/run away.
Jun. 12th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
Brought here by Lupa's link. This is a brilliant post. Thank you so much. I'm boosting the signal because I know way too many people who need to read this. Brava!
Jun. 12th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
This is also known as "how cults program people". Except you forgot the low protein diet!
Jun. 13th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
I was about to go *snrrrk*, and then I remembered the awful diets of quite a few people I know who are/were caught in abusive relationships. Low-protein diets aren't universal IME, but food control is a major part of the system. And protein does tend to suffer.

Oh yikes ick ick ick.
(no subject) - paka - Jun. 14th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 3fgburner - Jun. 16th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - just_the_ash - Jun. 18th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
Here via siliconshaman linking this and asking:

Ok, so who else read that, and then thought of where they work, and how their country is run? I'm betting the vast majority of you, if not everyone.

The Matrix has us all.
Jun. 12th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
This is so important for those that are in emotionally abusive situations and have been incorrectly told by others - "Oh, well that's not really abuse. It's not like (s)he is hitting you."

Wake up, people, it's still abuse. It's still the same controlling principal behind the actions. The abuser just uses different tools to get their desired results.
Jun. 12th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)

Have you seen this blog? If not, I recommend it: it may interest you.
Jun. 12th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
I forgot to mention it, but her latest entry is especially pertinent to what you're discussing here.
(no subject) - quivo - Jun. 13th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sorceror - Jun. 13th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amazon_syren - Jun. 16th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, the job I left in September was just like that... It started out that I was "just a receptionist" but soon I was getting small periodic raises and one promotion, although I still kept the duties of receptionist as well as my new position. There was never enough time or money, and the boss would spring paperwork on us that he had known about for days, that we then had to rush to finish in 3 hours (often finishing minutes before the client walked in the door). I never had time to completely finish one task before my boss would interrupt me and ask me to shop for something on ebay for him, or run to the bank, or look up a website a client had recommended. I thought about leaving often, I dreaded going to work, but I thought we'd lose our house if I didn't have a job. Then I got seriously ill and couldn't work, drive, or look at a computer. I HAD to quit. And now that I'm out, I'm looking at it just like this.

My friend is still working there, saying how insane the boss is and how much he hates working there, and I'm trying to get him out but he is so tired every day he goes home and falls asleep by 6pm. He doesn't have time to make a resume or do job interviews. He can't miss a few hours of work because he's budgeted about to the dollar on what he earns (which is much less than was promised to him at hire). Ugh. I need to start submitting his resume places FOR him, I think. I don't want him to have a heart attack or something else that makes him truly realize just how insane it all was/is.

Thanks for this creepy but very well written post!
Jun. 12th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
Someone read my recent blog post "Breaking the Silence" about getting away from my abusive husband and sent me the link to this post. You really nailed it. The subtle ways you get sucked in and then how they keep you there.

Thank you for writing this. I have been struggling with feeling like a complete idiot for staying with him, but this made me see things in a different light.

I am putting a link to this post in mine. http://wantonactsofwriting.wordpress.com/

Thank you for helping me regain more of my self-worth and dignity.
Jun. 12th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this post. It is like the universe saying, 'yes, sending out those resumes was a completely good step this week, and you need to stop feeling vaguely guilty about it.'
Jun. 12th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
As a complete manipulative bastard, I want to say two things:

First- THIS IS HOW WE GET YOU! Seriously, I know you have a lot of people here saying "this describes my x" but I can tell you that this describes a number of situations I've created for a variety of reasons. (Often, you can create such a situation without even needing to maintain it once you are done, which is how the higher-ups in a company create a sick system that they don't even have to manage every day, but I digress)

Second- Thank you for posting it. As a manipulative bastard, I know that I even if I am creating a sick system for someone who has read this or linked to it or done something similar, a little flash or a slow entry will completely cancel the reasoned response of understanding that they've read about exactly what is happening to them. It may not help them, but it does make me feel better that there are people seeing through these systems. The majority of people creating sick systems are actually not that great at manipulation, don't really have a "why we do it" other than "to get loyalty," and really give manipulative bastards like me a worse name. By posting information, you raise the bar for those of us who manipulate, so thanks.
Jun. 12th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Was linked to this. I'm on my way out of a relationship that is well-described in this post. Every little bit of "you're not broken, the situation was" helps convince me a little bit more that maybe I'm not the terrible failure I believe myself to be.
Jun. 12th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
O_O This is sort of what happened to my team this year. The technicla lead got rotated and the manager left, and the clients started messing us around.
The director has found out about this and is having meetings with the clients, so either they'll get told, or the director will start moving the 6 of us that are left out of the clients' influence. The thing is that we are all strenuously resisting being moved, saying to each other that if only we can hang on a few more weeks, take some leave time until it gets better....
In IT, the clients are nearly always crazy. How do you stop your system from getting sick?
Jun. 12th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jun. 13th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Gah! That just described five years of my life. That's for outlining this--it really is the sort of thing more people should know about.
Jun. 13th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
Thank you. Thank you especially for describing the emotional component of it upthread, the way each hurtful act can just keep layering on and on, the way they look like individual lapses when you reveal them to others. I'm going to save this for myself as a reminder.
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