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​Mood Manipulation as a Method of Coercive Control

26 November 2019 — Esther Sweetman — Blog ​Mood Manipulation as a Method of Coercive Control

Mood Manipulation as a Method of Coercive Control

Emotional manipulators can also maintain control through their moods which can vary so drastically that you don’t know what to expect so you are always walking on eggshells - you may find yourself amending your behaviour constantly trying to appease him.

Abusers can use their mood as a method of control. If an abuser is in a bad mood, everyone might be expected to defer to his bad mood - no one is allowed to be in a good mood. His bad mood has to be catered to and managed.

Controlling the Tone of the House or Family

And abusers want to control the emotional tone of the relationship/family or house. Many abusers have a way of walking into a room and dragging a dark cloud along with them.They want the attention and focus to be on them, and they want to make sure everyone in the room notices if they are angry, unhappy, or discontented in some way. They expect people to scramble to accommodate them or to try to help them “feel better.”

Abusers may also want full control over the tone or mood of the house and they can do this subtly.  For example, they may need to be the one to set the tone each morning whether positive or negative and expect others to follow their lead.  No one else might be allowed to wake up happy and in a good mood until the abuser signals (through his own mood) that a good mood is allowed for that day.  If the victim has the audacity to set the mood for the house by starting the day in a good mood, the abuser may become upset or enter a bad mood so that he would, once again, be the one to dominate the mood and feel in control.

Methods of Manipulation

Mood is controlled with his emotions, whether positive or negative. Some abusers use the silent treatment as a method to control the mood or tone of a house or relationship. Picking fights is another method of controlling the mood of a house or relationship. Abusers may do what they need to do to get YOU in a bad mood and then miraculously switch to a good mood and disparage you for your bad mood - a bait and switch strategy.

Mood Changes to control your Behaviour, Thoughts and Emotions

Mood can also be used to subtly control your behaviour. If every show of independence, success, or autonomy is met with a bad mood, the silent treatment or harsh words you will slowly learn to never be independent or successful. If you opinions and thoughts are constantly criticised you will learn not to value or even start to apologise for having your own ideas. If every time you forget something, make a mistake or fumble you are rewarded with a pat on the head and a show of pleasure in your blunder, you slowly learn to be feeble and helpless to make him happy. Over the years you may find that your personality, capabilities and energy have changed to assuage your abuser in an attempt to keep the peace. You may become a shadow of the person you were before you were married.

When an abuser is engaged in coercive control they not only want to control your behaviour and thoughts but they want to control your emotions. They want to control when you feel happy or sad. When and in what circumstances you might feel confident or insecure. Usually, you are never allowed to feel angry - that is an emotion only allowed for the abuser. In extremes, they may state or imply they are suicidal as a method to keep you concerned and in the relationship.

In all of the situations described, mood is used as a method of control - not a genuine expression of good or bad feelings due to personal circumstances that can happen to all of us. 

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