News & Politics

The Age of Coercive Control: We're in an Abusive Relationship with Our Government. Now What?

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

I know what you’re thinking. “We weren’t expecting the ‘Age of Coercive Control.’ We have iPhones. There are robots that run our lives —like the Jetsons, only with fewer flying cars. We’re so advanced! We just came off the Age of Information and Globalization and we expected an Age of Enlightenment to follow!”

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but if you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re entering the Dark Side. As I’ve been observing humanity since the pandemic began I’ve come to the conclusion that the proper name for the age we are currently in is the Age of Coercive Control.

Coercive control is a form of abuse. It is defined as “a pattern of controlling behaviors that create an unequal power dynamic in a relationship. These behaviors give the perpetrators power over their partner, making it difficult for them to leave.”

Mostly, this term is used when describing a domestic relationship. But I argue that the relationship between government and citizen is much like a domestic relationship, only with the government holding a far greater ability to harm the individual in a variety of different creative ways, most of which entail the weaponization of whole institutions against the individual. At least the victims of domestic abuse sometimes have institutions that will help them escape. The citizens of the free world are facing an enemy that holds access to and the power of every institution in the land, including the power to fine, imprison, stalk, harass, steal your children, or bankrupt you under the color of law. It’s not a crime for the government to do these things to you because they’ve written themselves protections in the law called immunity.

Here are the signs that you are a victim of coercive control, according to Medical News Today:

Monitoring Activities:

A person may exert control by deciding what someone wears, where they go, who they socialize with, what they eat and drink, and what activities they take part in. The controlling person may also demand or gain access to the partner’s computer, cell phone, or email account.

The perpetrator may also try to convince their partner that they want to check up on them because they love them. However, this behavior is not part of a healthy or loving relationship.

This sounds familiar. With the implementation of COVID restrictions on our formerly free society, we have all been subject to unlawful monitoring of normal behaviors, including what we wear (on our faces), where we can go, who we can socialize with, what entertainment we can have—and they even wanted access to our phones through contact tracing apps. The perpetrators of this crime against us told us it was because the government cares about our health. But according to science, this is not loving behavior, but dangerous abusive control.

Exerting Financial Control:

This occurs when a person controls someone’s access to money and does not allow them to make financial decisions. This can leave a person without food or clothing and make it harder for them to leave the relationship.

We all know the government picked winners and losers in the COVID panic of 2020. They decided which businesses would thrive and be “essential” (Walmart, Target, Big Box stores) and which ones would fail and be “non-essential” (small restaurants, shops, and family-owned businesses). Choosing whom to exert financial pressure on allowed petty government agents to punish their political enemies, which they did and are still doing (see all the pastors arrested for having church while Walmart was fully open).

Isolation:

A controlling person may try to get their partner to cut contact with family and friends so that they are easier to control.

They may also prevent them from going to work or school.

Do I even need to opine here?

Insults:

Insults serve to undermine a person’s self-esteem. This may involve name-calling, highlighting a person’s insecurities, or putting them down.

Eventually, the person experiencing this abuse may start to feel as though they deserve the insults

If you don’t wear a mask, you’re a grandma killer!

Hey, Maskhole!

If you don’t wear a mask you deserve to die, gasping for breath on a ventilator.

These are just a smattering of the types of insults that I hear every time I object to wearing a dirty gag rag everywhere I go.

Threats and Intimidation:

Threats can include threats of physical violence, self-harm, or public humiliation.

When I flew for the first time after COVID there were announcements every ten minutes threatening to put me on a terror watch list if my mask slipped. A new report by Michael Tracey uncovered thousands of coercive punishments handed out by abusive police to people for attempting to live normally.

Here are some examples of “unauthorized or otherwise unlawful acts” which allegedly contributed to “jeopardiz[ing] the health, welfare, and safety of the people” that police accused people of committing:

  • Sitting in park
  • Sitting and talking to others
  • Sitting on milk crate
  • Visiting with no legitimate purpose
  • Hanging out
  • Being in the street in the company of another
  • In street in the company of others
  • Sitting on bench smoking
  • Encouraging others to not social distance
  • Standing outside enjoying the weather
  • Socializing with another
  • Not Social Distancing
  • Standing without mask

These violations are punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of $1,000.

Involving Children:

The controlling person may use children or family pets as another means of controlling their partner. They may do this by threatening the children or pets, or by trying to take sole custody of them if their partner leaves.

Parents who are involved in family court have reported that since COVID their visitation with their children was stripped for an entire year—and counting— and other parents had their children removed for not wearing a mask while posting selfies on social media. Those of us not in divorce or custody battles have had our children used as pawns and their educations trashed by the abusers in power with no recourse against them because, after all, “it’s a pandemic, Karen.” Listen below as Judge Dale Cohen abuses a mother from the bench because she didn’t wear a mask in a selfie. He took visitations with her son away from her over this.

Gaslighting:

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the abuser makes the victim believe things that aren’t true, making the victim doubt their own sanity. There is no better example of this than the constantly changing mask guidance: “Don’t wear masks; if you want to wear masks go ahead; MASKS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW OR WE WILL JAIL YOU; if you’re vaccinated you still have to wear masks; WEAR TWO MASKS; wear a mask outside; take off your masks but still social distance…” the list goes on. No one understands any of it and if you say to someone that “Dr. Fauci said masks are ineffective at stopping viruses,” because that’s what he said, you’re sure to run into someone who will quote him directly contradicting himself, because he did, multiple times! And yet, we’re the ones who are crazy. This is gaslighting.

 

Medical experts recommend getting away from a coercive controlling abuser, if possible.

Have a safety plan. “When deciding to leave, victims should have a plan regarding where to go and who to stay with,” Patrick adds, “recognizing that the initial period of separation might be the most dangerous in terms of an abuser attempting to reconcile — through both legal and illegal conduct.”

But how do we leave and where do we go? The coercive control being exercised on us is mostly “legal” as our lawmakers just write their abuses into law, and the rules that are illegal aren’t being challenged fast enough to help anyone. There’s no one to tell, no one to call, and nowhere to go. You’re a victim of abuse. The question now is, what are you going to do about it?

I believe some of us warned you at the beginning of this that giving up our rights in the face of an “emergency” would lead us to a place where the only option was to shoot our way out. If anyone is seeing an exit that doesn’t involve violence, please let me know in the comments below because if one exists, I’m not seeing it.