Creating fear is the best way to set someone up for manipulation.
Fear is a primal human state. It begins in childhood. Even if no real danger exists, we fear monsters hiding under the bed or in the closet.
Fear robs us of our ability to think rationally. Psychopaths (who themselves do not experience fear) know this, and they use it to great effect — not only in relationships, but in societies.
Kaci Hickox, Hero and Political Pawn
What got me thinking about fear
is the debacle of hysteria surrounding the Ebola virus — in particular, the events surrounding nurse Kaci Hickox’s return from the hot zone — and the very scary places that fear is leading us. It is not Ebola we should fear — it is fear we should fear, because it makes us soft in the head.
When we’re afraid, whether that fear is real or imagined, we want to return to safety. When we believe someone can do that, we sigh with relief instead of thinking critically about what’s really going on.
Irrational fear has been building in the US as misinformation and ignorance about Ebola causes panic. Many people believe that infected but asymptomatic people can spread the disease to the public by riding planes, buses, and subways, going bowling, or going out to dinner, even though there is absolutely no factual basis for it.
In response to that irrational fear,
the governors of NJ and NY saw an opportunity for personal gain instead of an opportunity for education. They started talking about mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa. The advice of health experts was disregarded as they announced they would be the ones who would protect us. Even though experts said there was no risk to the public, it was better to be safe than sorry, right?
Just as Kaci Hickox arrived at an airport in NJ, Chris Christie — governor of NJ — put his ill-conceived plan into action. Kaci was stopped at customs, interrogated, and held for several hours. Then, she was transported by an ambulance escorted by eight police cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring (unbelievable but true) to a hospital where she would be detained for 21 days. But she wasn’t even taken INTO the hospital — oh no, it had to be more dramatic than that. She was put in a tent — yes, a TENT — without running water, which meant no shower or flushing toilet. Her belongings were taken and she was given paper clothing. For two days, she was denied access to an attorney.
When Kaci spoke out in complaint, the comments about her were shocking: Kaci was a prima dona and a selfish bitch who should just shut up and deal with it. Some hoped she would die.
Kaci Hickox, unlawfully detained
Last I heard,
even murderers get flushing toilets, cloth garments and access to an attorney. But this health professional — who received a joint master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins schools of Public Health and Nursing — wasn’t deemed worthy of those things. We know that if we stop the spread of Ebola in Africa it also stops the spread to other places, which makes it a matter of national security. No different than a soldier, Kaci went to the front lines of a horrific battle and put her own life on the line to stop the threat.
But what she returned to was hardly the hero’s welcome she deserved.
I’ve been an RN since 1985, and I’ve also learned a thing or two about manipulation, so I saw the truth of what was happening in all its gory detail. It was both fascinating and terrifying. I was pretty sure her detention wouldn’t stand, since coercive measures like mandatory quarantine of people exhibiting no symptoms of an illness, and when not medically necessary, raise serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its powers. But you never know.
When people are afraid, strange and terrible things can happen.
The overwhelming support for her illegal detainment was staggering.
The general public seemed to think it was great. Chris Christie was keeping them safe from selfish and dangerous public health professionals like her, whom he said ‘could not be trusted’ to self-monitor and take action at the first sign of symptoms. He was keeping the public safe from these horribly selfish people who couldn’t care less about the public’s health (even though they were public health professionals) — it was more important for them to go bowling, and they had to be stopped. After all, we can see just how selfish these people are, as evidenced by their selfless service to desperately ill people in a situation most of us would consider hell on earth… right? If the governor says so, then it must be true. When we’re afraid, a manipulator can talk us out of the truth we see right in front of us. Words become more real than reality.
Christie said he was “sorry she was ill” and hoped she’d recover soon, even though she was not ill. He even said she was “obviously ill,” even though she wasn’t. She did not have a fever and a blood test for Ebola was negative. He said he was “sorry for the inconvenience,” but he had to keep the public safe. He knows the power of a few well-chosen words and phrases that will stick in the public’s mind. What a manipulator.
The governor who forcibly detained a citizen without cause said he “had no remorse” and would do it again. When someone tells you something about themselves, believe it.
What this self-serving ‘public servant’ was really doing was using the public’s fear to gain political power.
He wasn’t really keeping anyone safe, and he knew it. He was manipulating them for personal gain, with his eye on the 2016 presidential election.
For personal gain, he exploited the public’s fear. He not only exploited it — he actually made it worse. I mean, there must be an incredible threat involved when a person in an ambulance requires an escort of eight flashing, blaring squad cars, and when that person must be detained in deplorable conditions, right? This person could be infected with a disease, but she was way too dangerous to even enter a hospital. That’s where sick people usually go, so if she can’t go there, she must be very dangerous...
Kaci was presented as pariah who was not even worthy of any respect at all from her own society. So if this disease was such an incredible threat, by default that meant Christie was the one protecting people from it. The truth is that he created the whole thing.
For personal gain, he stripped a US citizen of her freedom and civil rights by forcibly detaining her for no justifiable reason and denying her access to an attorney. (I have to pause here and take a few deep breaths. I hope you do, too.)
For personal gain, he undermined the public’s trust in healthcare professionals by saying they could not be trusted to monitor themselves, and he undermined the public’s trust in public health officials and science when he told us we couldn’t believe what they told us about the virus. There is no substitute for that trust. If state officials undermine trust, then they destroy the best weapon available to control Ebola — good science. But the governor implied that he was the only one who was worthy of trust, and he was the only one who could keep us safe.
How amazing is it that all of this happened right before our eyes, but so many didn’t see what was really going on? Never underestimate the power of fear to prime us for manipulation.
Fear makes us blind and irrational. There are many examples throughout history. One that came to mind when I saw Kaci in a tent was Japanese internment camps during WWII, a low point for the U.S.
When Kaci was freed from her illegal detention, Gov. Christie said he had “no remorse.” He said he would do it again. And he added the condescending remark that “one day she will come to understand,” just to invalidate and devalue her a little bit more.
Kaci went home to Maine, where she was supposed to comply with a voluntary quarantine by isolating herself in her home. She refused. She knew she wouldn’t pose a threat to the public, and she was not going to stand for a violation of her civil rights. The governor of Maine said he would do “everything in his power” to enforce it, but as it turns out, that wasn’t much. A judge ruled that she could not be forcibly quarantined because there was no legally or medically justifiable reason to do so.
The illusion of love is followed by the fear of losing it
I started to compare this whole fiasco to the personal experience of being victimized by a psychopath, and I realized this:
That’s exactly what happened to us when we were involved in a ‘relationship’ with a psychopath. In the process of the psychopathic bond, the moment when the joy at finding love turns into the fear of losing it is called the ‘manipulative shift.’ When that happens, the psychopath takes control.
We think love is what makes us vulnerable, but it’s actually the fear of losing that love that puts us most at risk.
In order to manipulate us, the psychopath had to cause fear. In order to cause fear, he had to first create the illusion of love. But fear was the key to our downfall.
Fear takes away our ability to think clearly. It causes us to give our power away to someone else if we believe they can remove the threat. When we see someone as being ‘the one’ who is able to take our fear away, we will give them just about anything. And we won’t even realize it while it’s happening.
When we were fearful of losing our relationship with the psychopath, by default he became the only one who could remove that fear. That made us hand him all of our power and give him complete control.
I’ve come to the conclusion that fear should be considered a major ‘red flag’ that we might be involved with a psychopath. The next time we’re in a relationship and we feel fearful of losing it, we need to let that alert us to the fact that something is seriously wrong. We also need to remember that we can’t think clearly when we feel fear. We need to pause and look at our fear by carefully observing reality.
If we don’t do these things we will give up our freedom and our power, and we will come to regret it.
THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR
IS FEAR ITSELF
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