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8228Fw: Welcome to Vol. 13, No. 1 January - March edition of the reFOCUS Forum: An Internet Newsletter for Recovery

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  • Sharon
    Jan 12, 2012

      Welcome to Vol. 13, No. 1 January-March 2012 edition of the reFOCUS Forum: An Internet Newsletter for Recovery


      reFOCUS is a network of referral and support for former members of closed, high demand groups, relationships or cults.

      reFOCUS is dedicated to the recovery of former members…please visit our web site at http://www.refocus.org We are a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation - all contributions to reFOCUS are 100% tax deductible. Because reFOCUS is dedicated to recovery, we are looking for suggestions and input from you: are there articles or topics you want to see covered? Are there questions you need answered? Email us at refocuscarol@.att.net


      Upcoming Events

      Surviving and Moving On After a High Demand Group Experience

      Workshop for Second-Generation Former Members

      When: Friday 3:00 p.m. March 30, 2012 to Sunday 2:00 p.m. April 1, 2012

      Where: Workshop Location: Trinity Conference Center, 79 Lower River Road, West Cornwall, CT 06796 (860-672-1000).


      Learn more: http://icsahome.com/infoserv_respond/event_conferences_workshops.asp?ID=427


      * * * * * * * *

      Featured Article

      Biderman’s Stages of Coercion



      Biderman's stages of coercion

      Abuser's actions

      Victim's response


      Befriends the newcomer. Introduces to others with high praise. Monopolizes until other staff begin to reject. Warns of the perils of associating with other members of staff.

      Deprived of developing social support with colleagues. Initiates total dependence on abuser. Acquires a false feeling of security. Confuses reality.

      Monopolization of perception

      Informs victim through stories about power alliances. Outlines superior knowledge and skills. Intimates that victim does not possess necessary knowledge and skill but may be able to acquire it through association with abuser.

      Loses self-esteem. Doubts ability to perform. Self-blames for accepting a position because unworthy. Consumed completely by introspective thoughts.

      Induced physical and mental exhaustion

      Overburdens victim with time consuming and/or physically demanding tasks. Places unrealistic standards of acceptance on these tasks.

      Becomes physically and emotionally too weak to resist or challenge. Loses ability to reason rationally.


      Reminds of power over victim's workload, promotional opportunities, and acceptance in the hierarchy of the company. Warns with stories of the demise of predecessors who did not reach the acceptable standard.

      Complies with demands to escape retribution. Displays anxiety about every action performed. Despairs of any change in the situation. Shows symptoms of depression.

      Occasional indulgences

      Praises victim's work in a public forum.

      Believes they have finally reached the accepted standard and pattern of abuse will stop. Doubts that the abuse really happened because everything seems all right for the moment. Becomes reliant on the abuser for further praise.

      Demonstrating 'omnipotence'

      Demonstrates: Complete control over the victim who is taken for granted. 'Read my mind' expectations. Martyrdom for the company. Affects of being indispensable to the company. Claims victimization by those who challenge any behavior.

      Accepts powerlessness. Accepts the pattern of behavior as normal.


      Perpetrates derogatory stories about the victim on work and personal topics.

      Feels disgraced and humiliated. Loses all will to resist.

      Enforcing trivial demands

      Continues to remind victim through innuendo, suggestion, and stories that demands will be complied with.

      Accepts habit of compliance.

      Developed from Biderman's Chart of Coercion in Amnesty International (1975) Report on Torture, London, Gerald Duckworth & Co.



      Original document:

      “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War”

      Albert D. Biderman, September 1957

      Pdf file: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1806204/pdf/bullnyacadmed00378-0046.pdf



      Comments, questions, and suggestions: email us at refocuscarol@...

      reFOCUS, P.O. Box 2180, Flagler Beach, FL 32136


      Web site: http://www.refocus.org


      The reFOCUS Board of Directors:

      Carol Giambalvo, President/Secretary

      Rick Seelhoff, Vice President

      Mary Taylor, Treasurer

      David Clark

      Maureen Griffo

      Nancy Miquelon

      Vanessa Weber