Posted in psychology

Brainwashing in Toxic Relationships

Brainwashing is defined in the Psychology Dictionary as that which “manipulates and modifies a person’s emotions, attitudes, and beliefs.” It reduces a person’s ability to mentally defend themselves and makes it easier for another person to control them.

Brainwashing (also known as mind control, menticide, coercive persuasion, thought control, thought reform, and forced re-education) is the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological techniques.

– Wikipedia

History

The term brainwashing was first coined in the 1950s when journalist Edward Hunter in his article in Miami Daily News entitled – “Brain-washing Tactics Force Chinese Into Ranks of Communist Party.” He described how Mao’s Red Army used ancient techniques to manipulate the masses. He called this hypnotic process – brainwashing, the process to change the mind drastically (Smithsonian Magazine).

It is a theory that a person’s core beliefs, ideas, affiliations and values can be replaced, so much so that they have no autonomy over themselves and cannot think critically or independently.

In 1956, Albert Biderman studied how prisoner of war camp personnel got U.S. prisoners of the Korean War to give them tactical information, collaborate with propaganda, and agree with false confessions. Biderman stated that inflicting physical pain was not necessary to “induce compliance,” but psychological manipulations were extremely effective for that purpose. His report included what has come to be known as “Biderman’s Chart of Coercion.”


In Biderman’s chart, he summarized the tactics in brainwashing;

  • Isolation
  • Monopolization of perception (fixes attention on immediate predicament; eliminates “undesirable” stimuli)
  • Induced debilitation; exhaustion
  • Threats
  • Occasional indulgences (provides motivation for compliance; hinders adjustment to deprivation)
  • Demonstrating superiority
  • Degradation
  • Enforcing trivial demands

Not all eight elements need to be present in order for brainwashing to occur. Each element can have some power to distort reality, interfere with perception, reduce a person’s self-confidence, and gain compliance.

How are you brainwashed?

Based on the mechanisms from Biderman’s chart, you can somehow notice that this person is trying to control you. But first, this person who will try to brainwash you will want to know everything about you in order to manipulate your beliefs. Everything – find out what your strengths are, your weaknesses, who you trust, who is important to you and who you listen to for advice.

They will begin with isolation, it may come in a form of not allowing an access for family or friends. The brainwasher must have a complete control of the target.

In the process, brainwasher will attack the victim’s self esteem, making them vulnerable and easier to control. This can be done through physical or verbal abuse, threats, etc.


you are not who you think you are.

– how stuff works

The abuser denies everything that makes the target who he is: “You are not a soldier.” “You are not a man.” “You are not defending freedom.” The target is under constant attack for days, weeks or months, to the point that he becomes exhausted, confused and disoriented. In this state, his beliefs seem less solid (exhaustion).

Most psychologists believe that brainwashing is possible in the right conditions and settings. Plan must be systematic and relentless making it tiresome for the victim.

While the identity crisis is setting in, the brainwasher is simultaneously creating an overwhelming sense of guilt in the target. He/she repeatedly and mercilessly attacks the subject for any “sin” the target has committed, large or small. The victim now feels a general sense of shame that everything he/she does is wrong.

The ultimate goal of brainwashing is Blind Obedience. The victim follows orders without question. This is usually achieved by positively rewarding the person when they please the brainwasher and negatively punishing them when they do not (indulgences and punishment).

Brainwashing is real.

Yes, it is not just in fictional books and movies. Brainwashing is real!

However, this mind/psychological control should not be feared, and target/prospect having knowledge makes any tactic less effective. Here are some ways that you can do to avoid being brainwashed;

  • Don’t believe everything that you read
  • Don’t buy into fear or scare tactics
  • Watch for someone’s hidden agenda
  • Look out for less obvious messages, try to listen for both sides of the story
  • Follow your own path
  • Do your own research
  • Listen to your own intuition
  • Don’t follow the crowd
  • Don’t be afraid to be different

hugs,

Posted in Catholic faith, prayer

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – Novena Prayer

Novena Prayer

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus and Our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this Novena. If they be beneficial to our immortal souls and the souls for whom we pray; (here mention your petition).

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us, who have recoursed to Thee (3 times).

Our Father, Haily Mary, Glory Be…


A personal favorite of mine, this perpetual novena is short and sweet that I can pray on a regular basis. Hope you find this helpful and ask Mama Mary for her intercession. The shrine in Paris France is a special place for me as a pilgrim or devotee of Our Lady.

For physical Novena cards, I found an online shop (not sponsored) that sells beautifully crafted prayer cards –

Posted in life

Dysthymia

During our Psychology Class by Yale University, I first encountered the term Dysthymia.

Under Mood Disorder – Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder PDD (dis-THIE-me-uh), is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression.

In this book I’m currently reading – I want to die but I want to eat tteobokki, this term was mentioned and I hurried to my notes to review.

Endometriosis contributes immensely to my case. Depression affects women twice as often as men regardless of having endometriosis or not.


The association between endometriosis and psychological disorders has been reported in several previous studies, with depression and anxiety being the most common conditions. The incidence of such symptoms is higher in women with endometriosis than in any other gynecological condition.

– EndometriosisNews.com


According to John Hopkins Medicine – Depression is a mood disorder that involves your body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, think about things, and feel about yourself. It’s not the same as being unhappy or in a “blue” mood. It’s not a sign of weakness or something that can be willed or wished away. People with depression can’t “snap out of it” and get better.


People experience depression in different ways. Symptoms may include:

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Less ability to concentrate, think, and/or make decisions
  • Less energy
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Weight and/or appetite changes due to over- or under-eating
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as fitful sleep, inability to sleep, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Low self-esteem

To diagnose Dysthymia, a person must have a depressed mood for atleast 2 years (since it is persistent and long term). Or one year for children and adolescents, along with at least 2 of the above symptoms. The symptoms of this illness may look like other mental health conditions. Talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

*Disclaimer: This post does not intend to replace, dictate or fully define diagnosis and treatment by a qualified physician. It is intended only for informative purposes.

Posted in life

Self Enhancement Bias

In Psychology, Self Enhancement is a common emotional bias. Also called self-enhancing bias. It is different from self improvement which is the act of bettering oneself.


We encounter the word bias, mostly for K-pop, to favor/lean towards to someone or something. In this case – to oneself. People engage in self-enhancement whenever they seek, interpret, or distort evidence about themselves in a way designed to maintain, create, or amplify a positive self-image.



Self-enhancement involves a preference over positive over negative self-views. It is said to be prominent in situations of threat, blows or failure to ones self-esteem.

“The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.”

Oscar Wilde

Based on Kwan et al. (2004), there are two concepts in Self enhancement. One conception originated from Festinger’s (1954) social-comparison theory and compares perceptions of the self with perceptions of others. *Social comparison and self insight.

  1. Self-enhancers are those individuals who perceive themselves more positively than they perceive others.
  2. Self-enhancers are individuals who perceive themselves more positively than they are perceived by others.

Research on Narcissism and Self Insight suggests that self enhancement is the fundamental characteristic of narcissism. In fact, narcissism has been called the “self-enhancer personality”.

Now we know the correlation of narcissism and self enhancement, with narcissism characterized by an overly inflated ego and self esteem. It is reported that scores on measures of narcissistic personality traits have been creeping steadily upward in recent decades in some cultures (Twenge, Konrath, Foster, Campbell, & Bushman, 2008). Twenge and Campbell (2009) argue that several interlocking factors are at work here, namely increasingly child-centered parenting styles, the cult of celebrity, the role of social media in promoting self-enhancement which sometimes hidden in the name of self-love.


Pexels.com

A self-enhancer employs a variety of strategies to enhance their self worth. For example they can downplay skills they lack and criticize others that seem to be better in comparison. They sometimes self-enhance by remembering only their strengths and not their weaknesses. Also called selectivity or selective memory.

Then there’s selective acceptance, it involves taking as fact self-flattering or ego-enhancing information with little regard for its validity. Whatever strategy they use, having a self enhancer as your friend or companion is somehow toxic.

The ultimate driving force here – they are above everyone else, that they have more positive attributes and a more positive future outlook compared to others.


  • Disclaimer: This post does not intend to replace, dictate or fully define diagnosis and treatment by a qualified physician. It is intended only for informative purposes.

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Posted in prayer

All Saints Day Prayer

November 1 is All Saints Day.

This solemnity is a day that we remember all the saints, honor those who have come before us.

Here’s a prayer from the Association of Miraculous Medal that you can pray today or in any occasion.

Dear Father,

Prayer for All Saints Day

You have given the saints in heaven eternal happiness and they now live in the fullness of your glory. Because of their holy love for you, they also care about me and my family, my friends, my church, and my neighbors. Thank you for the gift of their friendship and the witness of their holy lives. I ask our patron saints and every saint who has become especially dear to me to intercede for us. I ask them to help us journey safely on the narrow path that leads to heaven. O Lord, give us their protection. Grant us their assistance in overcoming temptation and gaining the fullness of life with you.

Amen.

Posted in Kdrama

Must watch – “Thirty Nine” (2022)

Leaning on each other through thick and thin, a trio of best friends stand together as they experience life, love and loss on the brink of turning 40.

– Netflix

While waiting for next episodes of Under the Queen’s Umbrella, this series caught my eyes. I thought this will be light and funny, but it’s actually sad. About the struggles of people with chronic illness, fear of what would happen, uncertain of what will it be on days nearing her death. Dealing with family, relationships, love and career. The strong bond between the three and their frienship in sickness and in health.

Starring Son Ye-jin as Cha Mijo, Jeon Mi-do as Jeong Chan-Young, and Kim Ji-hyun as Jang Joo-Hee.

There are light moments too amidst tearful scenes. As much as I want to post more about this drama, perhaps sharing the memorable quotes would be much better.


“When you’re overwhelmingly grateful, you find it so hard to express your gratitude.”

– Chanyoung


“Let’s live in the present.”

– Kim Seonu

“i wanted to forget reality and that everything was peachy. I just wanted to believe that.” – Mijo

“The stars are so pretty that it makes me sad.” – Cha Mijo

“i think i’ll prefer this even when i get old. I’m that happy now. But if my happiness makes you feel uneasy, that’s just sad.” – Hyeon-jun

“That was our choice. To live like there’s no tomorrow. Like there’s no sadness. That’s how we decided to spend each day.” – Cha Mijo



“This is about the things that won’t come back. This is about our moments.” – Chanyoung


“My entire body aches because you hit me with the sad reality.”

– Chanyoung

“As I grew older, I realized no matter how tough life may be and no matter your story, you should never abandon your child.” – Mijo


Live as if this is not happening.

-Chanyoung


“When our bodies get sick, we either get surgery or take medicine. When our minds get sick, we should get good rest.” – Mijo’s father


“A true friend lets you know what’s right and wrong.” – Cha Mijo

“That day, when everything felt hopeless, the touch of his hand felt so warm.” – Cha Mijo



Beautiful OST by Choi Yu Ree, she sang other OSTs like Wish from Hometown Cha cha cha

Posted in life, motivational

What it means to be loyal

If there’s one substantial quality to have in our relationships – with our loved ones, our family, friends, partners, colleagues, etc. – it could be loyalty. All relationships even between sellers and customers are based on our ability to be loyal.


Loyalty, in general use, is a devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophycountry, group, or person. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of loyalty, as some argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.

– Wikipedia

We may have different perceptions of loyalty but there are common characteristics that indicate loyalty. It is the most valued virtue in all relationships and encompasses the following traits.

Character Traits of Loyalty

  • a loyal person fulfills promises
  • a loyal person is supportive
  • a loyal person stands by you and for you
  • a loyal person values honesty
  • a loyal person is empathic
  • a loyal person is reliable
  • a loyal person is committed and dedicated


We all want the warmth and security that a loyal relationship brings. We like to be with people who are more likely to be faithful to us. And it is one of the basic necessity according to Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs – Belongingness and Love Needs.

But remember not to expect other people the exact values we possess. We are all unique and different in personality traits, character, priorities, etc. One can cheat or be faithful to someone forever.

Loyalty is a value that is necessary for a lasting and meaningful relationships.

Posted in Kdrama

New Kdrama – Under the Queen’s Umbrella

I’ve watched many Kdramas and many I’ve failed to feature. Trending series like One the Woman, which is now available in Netflix. There’s Mr. Queen which is equally very funny we’d burst in laughter non stop, rom-com I’m not a robot (one of my favorites), and list go on…

This new series- Under the Queen’s Umbrella (Korean: 슈룹) is an ongoing South Korean television series starring Kim Hye-sooKim Hae-sook and Choi Won-young. It premiered on tvN on October 15, 2022, and airs every Saturday and Sunday at 21:10 (KST).[6] It is also be available for streaming on Netflix in selected regions.


My hubby (& Kdrama buddy) and I love period/historical dramas. They are remarkable, informative, beautiful portrayal of royal families and relay the life of Koreans under that era. This new series is somehow relatable, as a mom myself, raising children is the most difficult role in the world. The more for the queen during Joseon kingdom.

Under The Queen’s Umbrella is not the first Korean historical drama to focus on the precarious position of female royalty during the Joseon Dynasty, but it does emphasize the machinations that such uneven power systems provoked. Because most court women had no real power to affect change, some turned to duplicitous plots—from rumormongering to murder—to improve their station.

Forbes

With new episodes released every week, you’re bound to cry, ache, laugh and worry for the queen and her sons, the grand princes.

Posted in life, psychology

What is Gaslighting

In my previous post, we talked about manipulation and sampled the character of Jin Mu from Alchemy of Souls. Fact check, we meet a gaslighter in real life sometimes unaware of it, and so before falling to their trap let me show you ways to spot a gaslighter.

Gaslighting is a colloquialism, loosely defined as making someone question their own reality. The term derives from the title of the 1944 film – Gaslight. The term may also be used to describe a person (a “gaslighter”) who presents a false narrative to another group or person, thereby leading them to doubt their perceptions and become misled, disoriented or distressed.

Wikipedia

Gaslighting is a favorite tool of a toxic person. It is a form of abuse and psychological control. A gaslighter will start with small lies, eventually misinformation increases overtime. Anyone can be a victim of a gaslighting and the most effective gaslighter is the hardest to detect.

Gaslighting can appear in various ways. Here are examples or techniques they use (from Medical News Today);

  • Countering: This is when someone questions a person’s memory or recall. They may say, “Are you sure about that? You have a bad memory,” or “I think you are just forgetful.”
  • Withholding: Pretending they do not understand the conversation, or refusing to listen, to make a person doubt themselves. For example, they might say, “Now you are just confusing me,” or “I do not know what you are talking about.”
  • Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards how someone else feels. They may accuse them of being “too sensitive” or overreacting in response to valid and reasonable concerns.
  • Denial: Refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They may do this by pretending to forget what happened, saying they did not do it, or blaming their behavior on someone else.
  • Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion by questioning the other person’s credibility. A great tactic and often use by personalities to divert the attention from them.
  • Stereotyping: A person may intentionally use negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or age to gaslight them. For example, they may say that no one will believe a woman if she reports abuse.

From the examples listed, you maybe able to detect a gaslighter. As a disclaimer, this behavior becomes toxic based on intentions. And we may accidentally use the phrases sampled above without really intending to gaslight someone. It’s all in the intention or motives of a person.

It is different from Manipulation though. Manipulation is a key part of gaslighting, it’s a common tactic. Can be used in marketing strategies, politics, institutions, etc. But gaslighter, they are very rare and much more toxic.


Gaslighting can be psychologically devastating. According to Psychology Today, it violates trust, upends a person’s view that people are generally good, and can make them suspicious of everyone who is close to them. Falling victim to a gaslighter also erodes a person’s trust in themselves and may make a victim never want to be part of a relationship again.

There are ways to protect yourself from this form of abuse. First to simply gather evidence, write journals, take photos, etc. and use them as your proof. You may also talk to someone trustworthy and if needed, leave that toxic relationship.