Perspecticide is a term that was coined by Evan Stark to describe a form of psychological abuse that is often used in coercive control relationships. The term refers to the ways in which an abuser systematically controls and distorts a victim’s sense of reality, causing them to lose their own perspective and sense of self.
In a relationship characterized by perspecticide, the abuser may use a variety of tactics to control and manipulate the victim’s perceptions and beliefs. These may include:
- Gaslighting: A form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser causes the victim to doubt their own memories, perceptions, and sanity.
- Isolation: The abuser may isolate the victim from friends and family, and limit their access to information and outside perspectives.
- Control of information: The abuser may control the information that the victim receives, and present a distorted or incomplete picture of reality.
- Blame-shifting: The abuser may blame the victim for problems in the relationship or in their own life, causing the victim to question their own actions and beliefs.
- Denial and minimization: The abuser may deny or minimize the abuse, making it difficult for the victim to recognize and address the problem.
Over time, the cumulative effect of these tactics can cause the victim to feel confused, anxious, and uncertain about their own perceptions and beliefs. This can result in a loss of self-esteem, a diminished sense of autonomy, and a greater dependence on the abuser.
It’s important to note that perspecticide is not limited to romantic relationships, and can occur in any situation where one person has a significant power imbalance over another. Perspecticide can have serious long-term effects on a victim’s mental health and well-being, and it’s important for anyone who is experiencing this type of abuse to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.