For those of you who are long time readers, you are probably familiar with my writings on various forms of damaged women. I’ve previously covered narcissism, borderline personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, general methods that they employ to control their victim, in addition to a general post on how prevalent they are within our society and how our western society manufactures crazy women and beta males. This new 4 part series expands on the various details that I outlined in those posts in order to put this into a framework made by cult expert Steven Hassan, referred to as the “BITE” framework .
The 4 parts of this framework consist of the methodology that cults use in order to indoctrinate and control their members, and has surprisingly large overlaps with how a personality disordered woman slowly permeates every aspect of her victim’s life in order to gain control. This framework is based on work by psychiatrist Robert Lifton and builds on his book “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism” , the research behind this book being focused on American servicemen who had been prisoners of war during the Korean War, as well as people who had been prisoners in China after 1951. In addition, he interviewed other people who had been prisoners of regimes that utilized various brainwashing and mind control techniques.
As with many influence techniques, these may be used to both positive and negative ends. Each essay will be focused on one element of the “BITE” framework, that consists of Behavior control, information control, thought control and emotional control. This first essay is concerned with Behavioral control, based on Steven Hassan’s list, I will outline how the various elements are utilized by destructive women in order to influence and control the people in their life.
An Explanation of Influence
The research I’ve conducted in order to write the string of articles on cluster-B women and the research I recently did on cults and influence shared a common factor in the literature and among those I spoke with on the subject. Namely, how do people find themselves in such a situation? The answer consists of two primary factors, the indoctrination is often a slow process, thus the person is less likely to realize that they are being manipulated, a second factor is love-bombing. I wrote about the tactic referred to as “love-bombing” in an earlier post dedicated to determining the difference between normal female behavior and that of cluster-B women, however summarized it is a tactic that consists of showering the target with positive attention and affection in order to lower defenses.
This shower of positive attention also serves to create a dependency on this flattery in the target. A person or persons who gives you constant attention, praise, love and appear genuine in doing so, utilizes the “like me” bias, that can be roughly summarized as that we tend to like people who like us. The goal here is to gain the person’s confidence so that one can elicit information to better tailor the sales pitch to them, and the techniques used are many of those recommended in books on influence such as Robert Cialdini’s “Influence“.
The Machinations of Crazy
The deployment of the above methods naturally differ from a cult, religious or otherwise, and those utilized by Cluster-B women, however, one could arguably refer to a Cluster-B relationship as being somewhat like a cult of two, where the Cluster-B sets herself up as the infallible cult-leader and the male is the sole follower. Now, this is not to say that the woman in this case does not have an extended group of people who are being influenced in the same way, as with most women they are likely to have a stable of orbiters and back-ups should their prime target revolt, or otherwise become unavailable. Furthermore, they often surround themselves with various people who play the role of useful pawns in their games and schemes.
These people may be family members, friends, or co-workers who have fallen for the person’s image and are used by that person in order to further her own narrative. This is no different to how some cults tend to place new members in groups with long-time members masquerading as fellow recent recruits in order to create a false peer group and thus adding social proof, or how some con-men use plants in an audience during a sales pitch pretending to be the peers of the targeted buyer.
Thus, the cult of crazy is a cult-of-two with an extended support staff, filling various roles that are required in order to make her schemes in a reality. This serves to lower a person’s defenses as some may be put off, or made nervous by the early love bombing. Love-bombing takes place both in relationships and cults, and it serves to make the person addicted to the praise and obvious effect they are having on the other person.
The lowering of the target’s defenses in addition to increased familiarity and dependence speeds up the indoctrination process. It does so by enabling more direct methods of influence to be used as the target’s investment increases. This comes from the fact that the amount of negative behavior a target will accepts correlates to their level of dependence and investment.
For the purpose of this essay, behavior control is concerned with control of the target’s physical reality and experiences. Hassan outlines a range of behaviors in the model, includes regulating the person’s appearance, for instance haircuts, grooming habits, style of dress, and types of clothing. Often this is a method for undermining the previous identity of the person, through altering their appearance. Most men will be familiar with the reaction after a break-up where a man will engage in various self-improvement activities, and conversely how women will often radically alter their appearance post-break up, or to reject what they perceive as important aspects of their identity.
Additional activities that are utilized in order to undermine the ego of the target through super-ego influence, are financial in nature, and may consist of exploiting the target, or ensure that the target is financially dependent on the influencer. The target may be restricted in their ability to make decisions regarding their own lives, both large and small, furthermore, made to discuss their inner thoughts, feelings and activities to the influencer. This fosters a dependence on the influencer(s) and thus renders the target’s ability to make decisions and think of themselves as separate from those attempting to influence them.
Furthermore, tactics such as depriving the target of food, drink and sleep will affect the targets ability to think critically and evaluate situations correctly. The effects of sleep deprivation  are fairly well studied in academic literature, and include among others moods, ability to focus and ability to access higher-level cognitive functions. Furthermore, concentration, working memory, mathematical capacity and logical reasoning are negatively affected. Thus, this makes the target easier to control and influence. An additional factor that is outlined is controlling and restricting recreational and leisure time, which further compounds the mental exhaustion.
As the unethical influence proceeds, the target may find themselves having to accept rigid rules for increasingly minute details in their lives, that serve to further reduce the target’s ability to assert themselves as an individual, and more prone to group-think. Reward and punishment mechanisms often based on behaviorism as outlined in a previous article, are then utilized to slowly change the individual’s behavior over time. This serves to further make the target compliant and easily controlled.
The Creation of the Couple-Self
Behavior control within relationships with cluster-Bs tend to take on familiar forms. Control over the targets physical presentation often takes the form of what could be perceived as well meaning advice, and quite common behavior, such as once a man enters a relationship the woman will “domesticate” him. In terms of appearance, he may stop wearing jeans and football shirts everywhere, and start “dressing his age“, as she argues that he needs to grow up. He may change his hair or facial hair to better suit her tastes and preferences.
Out of concern for his health she may argue that he should stop eating “junk” and instead change his diet to be more healthy and a more “adult” one, alternatively she may encourage him to “relax more” and indulge his innate preferences over his ideal diet. A man who spends much time at the gym may be encouraged to stop working out as much, and relax a little. As he is now a part of a couple, he should adopt “age appropriate interests” or “couple-activities“, and thus nights out with his friends, or football games are off the table, their places taken by wine tastings and antiques shopping.
All of this serves to separate the man from his non-couple identity and create for him and her a “couple-identity” this is a relatively natural part of any relationship, and humans tend to have various versions of themselves, such as their “work-self”, the self that visits their family, and the self they are around friends. The difference is mainly in terms of degrees. In a healthy situation there is a respect for the couple as two individuals, whereas in the unhealthy situation the goal is the eradication of the individual and the replacement of their “self” with their “couple-self“.
In a cult, depriving someone of sleep, food and water will often take the form of religiously motivated fasts or prayer sessions. Within a cult-of-two, it can take various forms, such as men who are the sole-providers and have to act as the primary caregivers for a couple’s children, due to the lack of effort by their spouse, men who come home to “honey-do” lists a mile long where the partner constantly nags, or simple a partner who wakes them up regularly.
Often the woman uses sex as a means of conditioning, wherein “acceptable behavior” leads to sex, “unacceptable” behavior means that sex is drastically cut down, or eliminated entirely. This combined with the other conditioning methods outlined above, will render a man who has fallen under the spell largely at her mercy.
Summary and Conclusions
The 4 factor model that will be used in this series is very much a complimentary model, and the series was originally intended as a single post, however the post ended up in excess of 10.000 words, something which has a negative effect on both readability and information processing. The “BITE” model is very much a holistic framework, and the techniques in each category very much have synergies when used together. One cannot do behavioral influence without corresponding influence of information, thought and emotional. In cases of cults and crazy women, it tends to follow 3 predictable stages:
A) The love-bombing and elicitation stage
B) The conditioning stage
C) The maintenance stage
These overlap nicely with the 3 stages of abusive relationships, idealize, devalue and discard, wherein a cluster B, first treats their target as the most special, loveable and desirable person in the world. Then proceeds to treat them progressively poorly until the person breaks down, at which point the cluster B moves on to a new target.
In the case of cults, this also happens in that a member who outlives their usefulness is often kicked out of the group. Thus, one may wonder whether cluster-b relationships are cult dynamics applied to personal relationships, or if cult dynamics are cluster b tendencies applied to groups.