Perspecticide, a Manipulative Technique

28 April, 2021
Perspecticide is a manipulative technique whereby one person subjects another to total domination. It's very common in sects. Learn more about it in this article.

Manipulation occurs when one person seeks to condition the behavior of another without them being aware of it. They do this by employing different strategies. In reality, manipulators simply see others as objects they can manipulate. In extreme cases, we call this perspecticide.

What exactly is this mental manipulation technique? This article tells you how it works and how you can find out if you’re being manipulated.

What’s perspecticide?

Perspecticide is a neologism that’s used to refer to the brainwashing was prisoners were subjected to. Furthermore, it’s used to explain the psychological mechanisms by which people end up being “trapped” in sects.

The main consequence of perspecticide is that the victim loses their perspective. In fact, they feel unworthy or unentitled to have their own opinion. Therefore, they tend to forget their own beliefs.

In fact, they end up adopting the ideas, goals, or objectives of the person who’s trying to dominate them. They renounce their own desires and needs. They even end up losing their own identity and sense of self. Perspecticide is a technique that’s widely used by manipulators.

A man reprimanding a woman.

How does it work?

Perspecticide involves an abusive relationship characterized by control, dominance, and manipulation by one person over another (or a group). Over time, the “victim” ends up changing the way they think and act. This is due to domination and influence by the manipulator.

The manipulator completely defines the victim’s world. In fact, they determine and decide how they should think and act and dictate the terms of their relationship. This isn’t a two-way relationship where both parties have a say. It’s a one-way relationship of submission, control, and dominance.

They restrict their victim’s world

The manipulator progressively “brainwashes” their victim until they completely lose their identity and do what the manipulator wants them to. In fact, the victim even loses their ability to make any decisions, as the manipulator gradually restricts their world.

They’re held captive in an increasingly small environment where they’re kept away from the rest of the world. They’re unable to receive any support, help, or feedback from those in their environment because they’re increasingly isolated from them.

Consequently, even loved ones can’t alert them to the danger they’re in. The manipulator even imposes their own views and ideas onto them. Hence, they become a significant part of the victim’s life.

Perspecticide strategies

Perspecticide can happen in romantic relationships, friendships, families, and sects. Here are some of the strategies the manipulator uses:

A couple arguing, maybe one is a victim of perspecticide.

Are you a victim of perspecticide?

Do you think you might be a victim of perspecticide? Here are some early warning signals that may indicate you’re being subjected to this phenomenon by a manipulator:

  • Feeling increasingly unsure about your decisions.
  • Feeling like you’re losing your reference points.
  • No longer recognizing yourself.
  • Feeling incapable of doing things for yourself.
  • Giving yourself negative labels.
  • Beginning to doubt your own opinions and abilities.

To be a victim of perspecticide, you need to be experiencing the above early warning signals due to manipulation, domination, or control by another. In other words, these feelings must be solely due to your interactions with the other person, not just because you happen to be feeling this way regardless.

If you’re experiencing some of these signs and think someone might be manipulating you, ask for help and stay away from the person as much as possible. It isn’t easy to escape the claws of a manipulator. However, being aware of what’s happening is the first step in the right direction.

  • Baamonde, J.M. (2003). La manipulación psicológica de las sectas. Madrid: San Pablo.
  • Hirigoyen, M. (2012). El abuso de debilidad y otras manipulaciones. Barcelona: Paidós.