Isolation to facilitate abuse

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Isolation (physical, social or emotional) is often used to facilitate power and control over someone for an abusive purpose. This applies in many contexts such as workplace bullying,[1][2] elder abuse,[3][4] domestic abuse,[5][6] child abuse,[7][8][9] and cults.[10][11]

Isolation reduces the opportunity of the abused to be rescued or escape from the abuse. It also helps disorientate the abused and makes the abused more dependent on the abuser. The degree of power and control over the abused is contingent upon the degree of their physical or emotional isolation.[12][13]

An important element of psychological control is the isolation of the victim from the outside world.[14] Isolation includes controlling a person's social activity: whom they see, whom they talk to, where they go and any other method to limit their access to others. It may also include limiting what material is read.[15] It can include insisting on knowing where they are and requiring permission for medical care. The abuser exhibits hypersensitive and reactive jealousy.[14]

Isolation can be aided by:

In cults[edit]

Various isolation techniques may be used by cults:[20][21][22]

  • separating from family and community
  • taking control of the handling of the victim's resources and property
  • undoing (mind control)
  • physical isolation
  • extortion/dependency tactics
  • controlling victim's access to necessities.

In workplace bullying[edit]

Isolation is a common element of workplace bullying. It includes preventing access to opportunities, physical or social isolation, withholding necessary information, keeping the target out of the loop, ignoring or excluding.[1][2]

Workplace isolation is a defined category in the workplace power and control wheel.[23]

Isolation itself as abuse or punishment[edit]

Isolation may itself be considered to be abuse or intended as punishment – see silent treatment, ostracism, social rejection, shunning, social exclusion, blacklisting, solitary confinement and sensory deprivation.

Non-coercive isolation[edit]

Isolation may also be voluntarily sought by an individual or as a response to circumstances without being directly imposed by another – also non coercive isolation may be the direct result of social rejection and ostracising in where the abused volintarily isolates as a way to cope or lessin the effects of the isolation torture. social isolation, emotional isolation, solitude, recluse and hermit.


  1. ^ a b Rayner C, Hoel H, Cooper CL Workplace Bullying: What we know, who is to blame and what can we do? (2001)
  2. ^ a b Peyton PR Dignity at Work: Eliminate Bullying and Create a Positive Working Environment (2003)
  3. ^ "What is Elder Abuse?". CANHR. 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  4. ^ "Appendix B: Analysis of Elder Abuse and Neglect Definitions Under State Law | Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America | The National Academies Press". doi:10.17226/10406. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  5. ^ "Intimate Partner Violence and Common Tactics Used by Abusive Partners | Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  6. ^ Perspectives on Verbal and Psychological Abuse, ed. Dr. Roland Maiuro, PhD, pub. 1989
  7. ^ "Isolation-Emotional Abuse Answers". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  8. ^ Elliott GC, Cunningham SM, Linder M, Colangelo M, Gross M (2005). "Child physical abuse and self-perceived social isolation among adolescents". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 20 (12): 1663–84. doi:10.1177/0886260505281439. PMID 16246923.
  9. ^ "Emotional abuse". NSPCC. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  10. ^ "Cult Information Centre: Caring for Cult Victims". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  11. ^ "How Cults Work". Cultwatch. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  12. ^ "The Theory and Practice of Blackmail". RAND. 1959-03-10. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  13. ^ Ryan Richard Thoreson (2010-06-02). "Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa | OutRight". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  14. ^ a b Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. World Health Organization. 2013. ISBN 978-92-4-156462-5. p. 7.
  15. ^ Power and Control. Duluth Model. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  16. ^ Economic abuse wheel
  17. ^ Bailey-Rug C (2016) It's Not You, It's Them: When People Are More Than Selfish
  18. ^ Joseph Burgo (2016) The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age
  19. ^ Hall J It’s You and Me Baby: Narcissist Head Games The Narcissist Family Files 27 Mar 2017
  20. ^ a b "How Cults Operate". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  21. ^ "9 Ways Groups Become Cults". Criminal Justice Degrees Guide. 2016-09-25. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  22. ^ "Isolation - Cult Mind Control Techniques". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  23. ^ Power & Control in the Workplace American Institute on Domestic Violence