A sign from San Francisco's Science March that reads pro-fact

Domestic Violence as a Weapon of War

Children raised by narcissists learn to shut-up and agree

We learn to normalize chaos.

Gaslighting is a psychological game played by the most malignant kind of abuser.

This kind of abuser has no use for love or morality.

This kind of abuser wants your mind.

Animated Gif found on Google of a young woman with the caption We're here to discuss your surrender
The Narcissist wants your mind.

As an abuse survivor I was instinctively aware that something was wrong with the way the press and Donald Trump treated Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election cycle.

From stalking Clinton during the debates to character assassination and threats of violence,  Trump’s campaign for President stank of psychological abuse.

That Access Hollywood Tape should have been the death of Trump’s campaign.

Reprocessed internet meme of Trump's comments regarding his sexual assaults on women
When a man shows you what he is believe him

At any other time in U.S. history a taped confession of sexual assault would be the death of a politician.

Yet, 62,984,825 voters thought Hillary Clinton was more corrupt and unqualified to be president.

Trump emerged from the cesspool of his political campaign with the power of the President.

Even if I factor in the fringe of the fringe right,  who would gladly destroy the nation to piss off liberals his win made no sense.

Then the leaks started and Trump fired Sally Yates and Comey.

Those of us who paid attention learned that we are under attack by the Russian government in ways we can barely comprehend.

The best way to for an average person to understand the Russian hack of the U.S. 2016 election is the NATO Handbook of Russian Information Warfare.

Below is a copy of the handbook as a PDF file for you to read and download:

Handbook of Russian Information Warfare – NATO Defense College

Animated gif of Vadimir Putin saying :It's hard to believe that trump ran to a hotel to meet with girls of a low social class"
It’s hard to believe that trump ran to a hotel to meet with girls of a low social class.

From the New York Times:

The fundamental purpose of dezinformatsiya, or Russian disinformation, experts said, is to undermine the official version of events — even the very idea that there is a true version of events — and foster a kind of policy paralysis.


One way Putin’s achieves this goal is to deploy an army of internet trolls to overwhelm and derail legitimate public debate.

Their battlefields are Facebook and Twitter.

from the Atlantic, 2014

A June article by Max Seddon of BuzzFeed reported the Kremlin was spending millions of dollars to pay English-speaking Russians to promote President Vladimir Putin and his policies in U.S. media like Fox News broadcasting and The Huffington Post and Politico news sites. Trolls are reportedly expected to manage multiple fake accounts and post on news articles 50 times a day, often with sentiments as simplistic as “Putin makes Obama look stupid and weak!”

In order to promote its narrative, the Kremlin has adopted a two-fisted strategy, unleashing its troll armies even as it tightens Internet restrictions at home. On August 1, Russia enacted controversial new legislation aimed at muzzling social media, the last bastion of the country’s embattled opposition and a free flow of information about the war in Ukraine.

Anton Nosik, a popular Russian blogger and programmer who is sometimes referred to as the “father of the Russian Internet,” says the Kremlin is falling back on a time-honored strategy in its propaganda war on Ukraine. But this time, he says, the stakes are higher than ever before. (BuzzFeed reports that at least one trolling company—Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg—is expected to spend more than $10 million in 2014 alone.)

These trolls are out in force in the United States and they aggressively attack anyone who challenges the Kremlin line.

Copy of a twitter direct message that says You Can't Be Christian and a Faggot
You Can’t Be Christian and a Faggot

My post, We are Human, was hit by trolls.

The following comment is an example of skilled online gaslighting:

Screenshot of a comment left on my blog post, We are human.
Gaslighting on the Internet, an example

Let’s break it down:

The writer appreciates my opinion and tells me what part of it is true. He asks for specific instances of Trump’s human rights violations because there are ‘so many’ (human rights) declarations.

The writer goes on to repeat the Kremlin line that all governments are cruel and corrupt and illustrates its point with the whataboutist fallacy that a fabricated crime by Obama negates my right to be outraged by Trump’s overt dehumanizing rhetoric.

The writer closes by dismissing my fears as an artistic exaggeration (i.e. elitist and crazy) and condescends to invite me to share more of my fears.

Whataboutism: a classic Soviet Era propaganda technique and Trump’s favorite trick:

Dismiss, distort, devalue and demean.

A meme about #gaslighting found on twitter
Distort, devalue and demean

Imagine a unit of the Russian Military and thousands automated trollbots dedicated to nothing but finding new ways to control your mind.

From Wikipedia, about Russia’s Web Brigades:

A collection of leaked documents, published by Moy Rayon, suggests that work at the “troll den” is strictly regulated by a set of guidelines. Any blog post written by an agency employee, according to the leaked files, must contain “no fewer than 700 characters” during day shifts and “no fewer than 1,000 characters” on night shifts. Use of graphics and keywords in the post’s body and headline is also mandatory. In addition to general guidelines, bloggers are also provided with “technical tasks” – keywords and talking points on specific issues, such as Ukraine, Russia’s internal opposition and relations with the West. On an average working day, the workers are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day. By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.

Putin’s gaslighting has the same strategic goal as a guy who psychologically abuses his wife.

He wants us helpless:

A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare
A page from the 2016 NATO Defense College Handbook of Russian Information Warfare

In most civilized nations, psychological abuse is a considered a crime.

In Russia it’s a way of life.

Is this how we in the United States want to live?

Animated gif of Putin in a business meeting found online
Did everyone sign this agreement? I don’t see your name.

See President Puppet for another post on this topic.

Animated gif found online used for educational purposes
He Said Inarguably Vladimir Putin is a better leader than Obama

Download and read #TheMuellerReport

Some of the formatting of this post is inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, D. Parker, at yadadarcyyada.com . Give her a visit. 🙂

All images in this post except for the header are found online.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved,  revised October 2018-June 2019








23 thoughts on “Domestic Violence as a Weapon of War

  1. The separation from contact with others is part of a gaslighting strategy and I use the word strategy with a heaviness in my heart… So awful… Thank you Rob for bringing awareness xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Christy. The way Putin’s operatives managed to isolate people is fascinating and way more complex than I can understand. The aftermath of this kind of psychological abuse is denial and shame…and if the person is resilient and healthy enough, rage.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Gas lighting makes you question your mind.

      I can’t begin to describe the force and relentlessly all pervasive nature of the propaganda Putin/Trump unleashed in 2016.

      Add to it the natural disbelief that people bring to gross violations pf social norms and you have a perfect weapon; especially if one of your political parties and a major media outlet is compromised and promoting the false narrative.

      The other thing is this: the weapon is insidious because the damage it destroys the social contract. The social contract is important to a nation’s security. People must be able to agree on a common purpose to achieve a sense of unity.

      A weapon that blows you up and leaves you intact to wonder what happened.

      It’s amazing.


  2. This is a phenomenal post Rob. Well done indeed!
    I’ve been through so much gas-lighting in my lifetime… I guess that’s why I am so horribly saddened by what is being done to this country. All the those turning a blind eye, just as they do to abuse. Thank you so much for this post — I know you put a lot of effort into it. Sharing.


    1. My goal is to try to give a complex psychological weapon a context that people who don’t work in espionage can understand. But even then, it’s hard at first to understand. But once you begin to see it the patterns fit and it starts to make sense. I’m certainly no spy but we all have to learn a little about this part of our system to understand what Russia did and the damage its done.


    1. Absolutely. At times it makes me feel crazy….but that’s what it’s supposed to do. The good news is that I sense people are starting to ‘comprehend’ that the election hack was an act of war and as damaging as a bomb.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reports about his Son suggests hard evidence of collusion. Maybe our side has figured out how to cope with Putin’s lie factories. The problem is not that we don’t have evidence.

        GOP enablers who continue to collude with Trump and Vladimir Putin’s operatives at Fox News are the problems.

        Liked by 1 person

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