If you’re a Republican or a Conservative or QAnon, this is how you’ve been treated. Groomed. Abused. And now ripped off.
1 – You’ve been told that nobody else understands you like they do. For years. “Those other people, they just don’t get it. Their ways are different and that’s just not you. They don’t understand, but we know where you’re coming from…”
2 – Now that they’ve established that they’re one of your kind of people in your mind, everyone else gets badmouthed. It’s just the two of you literally against the entire world. And they’ll do it so much that things that aren’t epithets get used as words to hate everyone else by. Your circle of experiences starts to shrink.
3 – They’ll tell you that, if you left them, things would be simultaneously the worst thing possible AND that all other relationships are just the same as the one you’re in (even though you can see other people online talking about how what you’re in is the only bad relationship relationship like this and all you have to do is leave them). “Both sides are the same but I’m better” – eventually, you don’t know up from down in what constitutes a healthy or a toxic relationship. Hell, they’ll even show examples of the shit you’re in now to say, “if you leave me and go for the other guy, it’ll be like this [very bad scenario that’s happening RIGHT NOW] so be scared and shit.” See: Trump’s commercials of what America would be like under Biden, using imagery of a world under Trump. The circle shrinks further.
4 – You’re told outright what to cut out of your life. Direct instruction for you to get that circle of experiences down to a dot. Music, interests, TV shows, certain movies, even frothy coffee gets badmouthed and cut out because “you don’t want to be a ‘latte drinker’ do you?” (there’s one of those things I mentioned in #2, using things that aren’t epithets as one to control you).
5 – They take your money, claim they’ll be great with it, and then spend it on their friends and run up the bills. They’ll give you crumbs once in a while. Maybe every few years they’ll treat you to a little something nice (that’s worth a fraction of what they spent when they were out with their friends). And while they’re terrible with the finances, for years, they’ll be saying how everything is hunky-dory financially with them at the reins. You will be told you’ve never had it so good but the fear of one bad bill wiping you out financially will be like the Sword Of Damocles over your head 24/7/365.
6 – every problem gets kicked down the road. The problem crops up in the New Year of 2020, say, but it wasn’t even mentioned in January. “It’s going to go away” in February, and anyone that mentions it is just saying fake stuff, baby. Still nothing done in March, but any mention of it is “you’re just finding faults with me”. Then when April comes and it’s clear what the shit storm looks like, they blame everyone else for saying it wasn’t going to be a big deal. As the months roll on it becomes a shell game where ignoring the problem / blaming others for the problem / trying to draw attention from the problem gets switched around without stop. Even if it comes out that they knew the problem could literally kill other people, tear them apart because of gross negligence, they will not stray from this strategy. Sounds familiar, huh. Other people will be able to show you examples of where they said something promised was just two weeks away, and they said “two weeks and you’ll have it” four years ago and two years ago and twice in the last month, but it’s still not coming.
7 – like in any abusive relationship, you’re beaten down. You’ve been told it’ll all be your fault if things don’t go as they want, and you’ve seen others be on the end of their random outbursts of wrath. So you stay safe. You repeat the words in the way they taught you. You repeat the answers. You repeat the words you’re told are insults. Even though you know of situations where you’ve come out worse for the way the relationship is, you defend the abuser. First with a fake air of calm, then with a seething rage. And when people offer you a way out, you will defend the people that have made you look like a fool and go right back to the abuse.
8 – the relationship is so twisted, you so believe everything you’re told about what’s real and what’s not, they will literally put you in situations that could kill you. A lack of healthcare resulting in premature death caused in part by insufficient health coverage, not avoiding a communicate disease that chokes people to death through froth-corrupted lungs, advocating a profit-above-all water and power infrastructure system that breaks down at the first sign of it getting chilly. And you say you’re following it and believing in it all willingly, proudly, but the fact is you’re a shell of the idealistic person you used to be. You just got in with the wrong crowd, but it’s too late to get out now because people might think less of you. Going along with how they do it becomes how you do it too. Which reinforces what you were told in #1. Only they understand you…