Authority figures (AF) can be parents, partners, teachers, school principals, school directors, supervisors, bosses, religious figureheads, cult leaders, etc. Dependents can be children, teenagers, partners, students, employees, religious followers, etc. What matters is that there is a power imbalance and a dependence of some sort, whether physical, financial, "spiritual," psychological or emotional.
1. AF's are the masters of dependents.
2. AF's alone decide what is right and wrong,, good/bad and "appropriate" and "inappropriate"
3. They alone make up the definitions, the rules, the "choices" and the "consequences" (See pseudo-choices and consequences)
4. Dependents are held responsible for the AF's feelings (anger, disappointment, embarrassment, humiliation, happiness and unhappiness)
5. The AF is only responsible and accountable for good things that happen, never the bad ones. Thus the AF' appears to always be in the right and when things go wrong, the dependent is always blamed and feels responsible and guilty.
6. The AF tries to exercise total control of the dependent by controlling his thoughts, feelings and behavior. Whenever this control is not absolute, the AF feels threatened.
7. The dependent's individuality is minimized as much as possible by the AF.
8. The AF creates an intricate system of punishments and rewards which rob the dependent of any sense of inner direction and esteem.
9. All dependents have the following rights that the AF often challenges or will limit:
The freedom to perceive
To think and interpret
To want, need, and chose
10. The AF never (or rarely) admits mistakes or apologizes.
11. All of the above take place in a way which does not expose the AF's true motives and none of this is openly talked about. No "back talk" is allowed.
It is also important to note that abusive authority figures are often good at gathering support for themselves. This means that they will occasionally fight any accusations or support for the victim fiercely even if they are guilty.
Our authors are just a group of caring individuals who are passionate about letting others know about domestic violence. The posts provided are intended to provide information only. If you have questions or concerns we strongly recommend that you contact a professional who can help you sort through your unique situation.