Coercion & Coercive Control: Glossary of key terms


Authoritarianism: Enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.

Black-and-White Thinking: One of the tools of coercion, admonishing victims to see the world in terms of extremes with no middle ground. It is right or wrong, good or evil. In the early development of a child we tend to use black-and white thinking until their minds develop the ability to wisely handle choices. But in times of stress, people often revert to their child-like thinking, leaving them exposed to skilled manipulators. It also explains why mature adults, who are under lots of stress, will be more susceptible to the hooks presented by coercive groups.

Coercive Control: An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten a victim.

Cognitive Dissonance: The extremely uncomfortable feeling that occurs when a person’s strong core beliefs are questioned by someone who presents evidence that contradicts those beliefs. Unable to accept the evidence, the person will then seek to rationalize, ignore or even deny the evidence as it does not fit their core belief.

Confirmation Bias: Tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms or strengthens one’s prior personal beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias.

Intelligent Disobedience: Doing right when what you’re told to do is wrong.

Logical Fallacies: An error/flaw in reasoning that renders an argument invalid; an argument in which a conclusion doesn’t follow logically from what preceded it.