“Commitment” and Self-Image

June 14, 2011

One of the basic “game” books you’re supposed to read is “Influence” by Robert Cialdini. It comes in different editions, one aimed at general readers, one at psychology students and one at business. I think they are all pretty close so it probably doesn’t matter which one you get. I got the one the library had available.

One thing struck a nerve with me- actually upset me. Cialdini gets to talking about “commitment” as a way of changing the subject’s thinking. He uses American POWs in the hands of the Chinese during the Korean war. Unlike the North Koreans they didn’t abuse prisoners, but tried to persuade them none the less. One thing they would do is try to get the prisoners to write out statements supporting the communists, even fairly innocuous ones like “America is not perfect” or “Unemployment is not a problem in China.”

What happened was the prisoners began to think of themselves as more friendly to the communists, just by having made in their own handwriting these statements. The papers could then be shown to other prisoners, who would think of the writers as collaborating. This induced another affect, which was that when other prisoners began to think of them as collaborators, they began to think of themselves as collaorators as well.

I had been reading “Bang” by Roosh as well, going over the part where he talks about doing a lot of approaches. I had been meaning to talk to the woman at the cupcake shop, but when I had the chance I just couldn’t.

Family and peer abuse then has a strong effect on the psyche. You must at some time submit to or cooperate with your abusers if you are around them daily for months or years. This then makes you think it is normal, and you deserve it. You are thrust into the social role of a weak, abused person which makes other people think it is normal and you deserve it.

Attached to this somehow is I had some bad memories come up. I have a lot of bad memories but these particular ones hadn’t returned to me in a long time. They have to do with people acting friendly, as a set up for something else.

There are two kinds of abuse. One is simple lashing out on the part of the abuser. He hits somebody, or shouts at somebody, or insults somebody in a fit of anger, which subsides as quickly as it arose. We are encouraged to see all abuse like this. And abusers will always try to classify their abuse like this, if called on it. He didn’t mean it, it’s not a big deal, forgive him.

Some abuse is like that. Much is deliberately intended to control the victim and have long-term effects. As with the brainwashing, when you have physical control over a person, you can mess with their mind quite a bit.

I had family problems and peer problems. Roosh says basically you need to “extinguish” your responses, to use a term from operant conditioning. I know this works in a lot of situations; you confront an anxiety-provoking situation and the anxiety is greatly reduced. But I still think there are situations for which it doesn’t work, and I can’t figure out what to do for that. I fundamentally don’t trust anyone which makes it real difficult to deal with people in unstructured situations.