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What does it feel like to be groomed?Grooming can feel exhilarating – at first.
The predator employs attentiveness, sensitivity, (false) empathy and plenty of positive reinforcement to seduce their victim. For their part, victims can be so enthralled with, or overwhelmed by the attention they are receiving; they will often overlook or ignore red flags that might alert them that the person who is showering them with that attention is somehow “off”. Little by little, the abuser breaks through a victim’s natural defenses, gains trust, and manipulates or coerces the victim into doing his/her bidding.
The victim finds themselves willingly handing over money or assets, engaging in inappropriate, illegal or morally ambiguous actives ( for example sharing nude photos or videos of themselves), or acting as a proxy for the abuser, fighting the abuser’s battles, and carrying out their will. The victim often feels confusion, shame, guilt, remorse and disgust at his or her own participation. Equally powerful, is the panic that comes with the threat of being exposed for engaging these activities. Often the person on the ”other side” is a con artist with a false profile who makes a living out of extortion of money from his/her ”victims”.
There may also an overwhelming fear of losing the emotional bond that has been established with an abuser. The victim becomes trapped, depressed,despondent or anxious and fearful of being exposed.
Note: Skills the offender uses to entrap his victim:
A “groomer” skillfully plays with words, learns to identify what the perceived victim wants to hear, and uses this knowledge, for personal gain, to direct and to keep the focus of her attention exclusively to meeting his emotional and physical needs — at the expense of her own.
A groomer takes pleasure in skillfully causing pain to increase his sense of control in keeping her anxiously focused on not upsetting or angering him.
There are six main stages to grooming:
- Targeting the victim
- Gaining the victims trust
- Filling a need
- Isolating the victim
- Sexualizing the relationship
- Maintaining control
The groomer /offender goes beyond typical pick-up lines and uses language in such a way as to
- Gain the victims complete and unquestioning trust.
- Isolate her from others, so he possesses exclusive rights to her attention.
- Threaten and intimidate her to give in to his demands without questioning him.
- Blame her for any abuse he commits against her, himself or others.
- Treat her as an object that does not have feelings, wants, thoughts. etc., of her own.
- Make her feel like he’s doing her a favor by keeping her around.
- Reinforce his position as “the boss.”