The term brainwashing was first used in the 1950s by the American journalist Edward Hunter, in his report on the treatment of American soldiers in Chinese prison camps during the Korean War.
The brainwashing technique has been documented in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and is still used by cruel spouses and parents, self-proclaimed psychics, cult leaders, secret societies, revolutionaries and dictators in order to control and manipulate others, which would look like their own desire.
These methods are not associated with fantastic weapons or extraordinary abilities, but they include an understanding of the human psyche and the intention to use it. By better understanding these techniques, you will learn how to protect yourself and others from such exposure.
Understand that those who try to brainwash tend to prey on the weak and defenseless. Not everyone will be the target for mental control, but certain people are more susceptible to its forms at different points. A skilled manipulator knows who to look for, and chooses as his target people who have a difficult period in their life or are undergoing changes that may or may not be their own choice. Possible candidates include:
- People who have lost their jobs and fear their future.
- People recently divorced, in particular if the divorce was painful.
- Those who suffer from a protracted disease, especially if they are not aware of this disease.
- Those who lost a loved one, especially if they were close to this person, and they had few other relatives.
- Young people who were away from their parents' home for the first time. Such, in particular, are a favorite goal for cult leaders.
- One of the predator's tactics is to gather enough information about a person and his or her belief system to explain the tragedy that a person experiences in a manner consistent with his belief system. This can be further expanded to explain history as a whole through this belief system, while covertly changing it into an interpretation of the one who washes the brain.
Beware of those people who are trying to isolate you or those you know from external influences. Since people experiencing personal tragedy or other serious changes in life are prone to a feeling of loneliness, a person who skillfully brainwashes will work to strengthen this feeling. This insulation can take several forms.
- For young cult followers, this can be an obstacle in communicating with their friends and family members.
- For a loved one in a cruel relationship, this may mean that the victim of deception will not be allowed to be out of sight of the aggressor or communicate with family and friends.
- For prisoners in enemy prison camps, this may be due to the isolation of prisoners from each other, and the simultaneous exposure to latent or explicit forms of bullying.
Watch for attacks on the self-esteem of the target.
Brainwashing only works when the brainwash is in a position superior to the target. This means that the victim must be broken, so brainwashing can rebuild the victim’s thinking. This can be done with the help of mental, emotional or, ultimately, physical means over time for the mental and emotional exhaustion of the victim.
- Mental bullying can begin with a lie to the object of the action, and then go into embarrassment and intimidation of the victim. This form of bullying can be carried out in words or gestures, ranging from expressing disapproval to interference in the personal space of the object of influence.
- Emotional mockery is not a sight, of course, but it can begin as verbal abuse, then turning into bullying, spitting, or more degrading things, such as undressing a victim to take a picture of it or just to watch it.
- Physical bullying can include starvation, freezing, sleep deprivation, beating, mutilation and other unacceptable methods in society ... Physical abuse is widely used by cruel parents and spouses, as well as in prison camps for “re-education”.
Watch out for those who are trying to make being “part of a group” more attractive than being in the outside world. Along with overcoming the victim's resistance, it is important to provide a more attractive alternative to what the target knew before contacting a brainwashing person. This can be done through several methods:
- Allowing contact only with those who have already gone through this brainwashing. This creates a form of social pressure that encourages the new victim to want to be similar and accepted into the new group. This can be enhanced by touch, group discussions or group sex, or by more stringent means, such as a single clothing requirement, a controlled diet, or other stringent standards.
- Repeating sermons through a variety of methods, from singing songs or chanting the same phrase over and over again, often underlining certain keywords or phrases.
- Imitation of the rhythm of the human pulse using the speech intonation of a leader or musical accompaniment. The effect can be enhanced by lighting, not too weak and not too bright, and the temperature in the room in order to promote relaxation.
- Never give the victim time for thought. This may simply mean that the victim will never be left alone, or it may mean the victim is bombarded with repeated lectures on topics that go beyond understanding, along with discouraging questions.
- Representation of a “friend or foe” way of thinking, where it is assumed that the leader is right and the outside world is not. The goal is to achieve blind obedience when the victim trusts his money and life, and his set goals to the one who washes her or his brain.
Be aware that often, brainwashing people offer rewards for the victim “turning.” Once the victim is completely broken and helpful, he or she can be retrained. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the circumstances of brainwashing.
- The extreme form of this complacency is known as Stockholm Syndrome, when two robbers in Sweden held four hostages in 1973 for 131 hours in 1973. After the hostages were rescued, they realized that they identified themselves with their captors to such an extent that one of the women became engaged to her captor, and the other founded a fund to protect the rights of criminals. Patty Hurst, abducted in her childhood by the Symbionist Liberation Army in 1974, was also the victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
Recognize the new ways of thinking of the victim’s brain. Most of the retraining consists of the same techniques for developing a conditioned reflex to rewards and punishments that were used at the very beginning to break the victim. Positive feelings are now used to reward the victim for thinking the way a brainwashing person wants, while negative feelings are used to punish the last remnants of disobedience.
- One form of reward is the new name for the victim. This is most often associated with cults, but the Symbionist Liberation Army also gave Patty Hearst a new name, Tanya.
Rinse and repeat. Although brainwashing can be effective and thorough, most people doing this find it necessary to test the depth of their control over the subjects. Control can be tested in several ways, depending on the goals of the brainwashing, and the results of determining how much the amplification of the unconditioned reflex in the victim needs to maintain brainwashing.
- One way to test is to extort money, as it enriches the pockets of a person who washes brain. Medium psychic Rose Marx used her control of author Judy Devereaux to trick her into $ 17 million in cash and property and ruin her career as a writer. .
- Committing crimes, both with a brainwashing man and for him, is another. Patty Hurst, who accompanied the Symbionist Liberation Army in one of the robberies, is an example.
Part 2 of 3: Identifying Brainwashers
Look for a mixture of bigotry and addiction. Brainwashing victims can focus on the group or its leader as a key object of their obsession. At the same time, they seem unable to solve problems without the help of this group or its leader.
Look for “a person who always says yes.” Victims of brainwashing will agree without question to everything that their group or leader dictates, adamantly and without any assessment of the difficulties of subsequent actions or their consequences. They can also move away from those who do not share their interest in a brainwashing person.
Look for signs of estrangement from life. Victims of brainwashing tend to become lethargic, withdrawn, and devoid of any personality that they had before they were brainwashed. This is especially noticeable both among cult victims and victims of spouses in cruel relationships.
- Some victims may experience anger within themselves, leading to depression and a multitude of physical disorders, possibly even suicide. Others can direct their anger at anyone they see as the cause of their problems, often through verbal or physical confrontation.
Part 3 of 3: Clearing the Brainwashed
Warn the object of suggestion that he or she is being brainwashed. The fulfillment of this plan is often accompanied by denial and mental suffering, as the subject begins to ask questions without having practice in interrogation. Gradually, the subject must realize how he or she was manipulated.
Provide the subject with ideas that contradict brainwashing. The presentation of many options, without overloading the subject with too many of them, will provide him with a new, broader perspective, from which one can challenge the beliefs planted by a brainwashing person.
- Some of these contrasting ideas may, of themselves, come with their own forms of manipulation. In such cases, it is also useful to look for as impartial forms of these ideas as possible.
- A stronger form of this effect is an attempt to force the subject to relive the brainwashing experience to him or her in his imagination, but ensuring that the subject has options for counteracting the washing. This type of therapy requires the therapist to have skills in the psychodrama technique.
Encourage the subject to make their own decisions based on new information. At first, the subject may be worried about making decisions on his own, or feel ashamed for making or making “wrong” decisions. However, with practice, this shame will go away.
- You can recover from the brainwashing effect without any help. Studies conducted in 1961 by psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton and psychologist Edgar Shane showed that some of the prisoners of war, subjected to Chinese brainwashing, were actually converted to communism, and some of them, having escaped from captivity, abandoned these beliefs.
- Although forms of hypnosis may be used in brainwashing, hypnosis is not synonymous with brainwashing. Brainwashing uses a superficial system of rewards and punishments to influence its victims, and its goal is always to suppress the resistance of those who show it. Hypnosis usually begins with the achievement of its first goal - relaxation, which leads to a deeper entrance into a trance, and usually does not include rewards and punishments. Despite its depth, hypnosis often works faster on the subject than brainwashing.
- Certain professionals, known as de-programmers, were often used in the 1980s by anxious parents to forcibly protect their children from cults. Many of these de-programmers, however, themselves used brainwashing-like methods to counter-process the "saved" subjects. Their de-programming methods, however, were often found to be ineffective, as brainwashing should be continuously supported, and the theft of their objects led to criminal liability.