Most abusive men do not rely entirely on outright verbal abuse, threats, or physical intimidation. They find that they can gain more power by using subtler tactics of manipulation that are much harder to name or identify. These can involve quite a range of elements, a few of which include:
- Lying to people or misleading them to get them to do what he wants them to do, or to turn them against each other.
- Concealing his real motives to convince people that he is trying to help them, when he is actually fixed on furthering his own interests.
- Playing on people's longings or other vulnerabilities, buying their allegiance.
- Getting people to feel sorry for him regarding situations that are largely of his own making.
Most abusers cultivate a positive public image. They do favors for friends and neighbors, they joke and laugh, they play up to people in positions of influence, working to develop allies who can support their denial or back up their abusiveness.
excerpted from WHEN DAD HURTS MOM By Lundy Bancroft