Sanctuary for the Abused
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sharks, Impactors, Controllers, Dominators
The Impactor primarily wants to know that they have the ability to affect you in some way. They need to influence their environment, have an impact. Their greatest fear is that they are invisible and powerless. The impact doesn't have to be positive. In fact, they will most often resort to negative impact because the result is so much greater. If you do something good, you might get a few words of praise, a smile, or a hug, all of which are usually over in a minute or two. If you do something bad, the impact could last days! Just visit some of the forums and watch the impactors at work, creating pages and pages of responses with just one flaming message. What an impact they are having! And then you'll usually see them sitting calmly in the middle of the storm they've created. If they can make you lose control, they're ecstatic.
The worst thing you can do to the Impactor is ignore them.
At the bottom of this pattern is terror - fear of being nothing, having no self. This will be very difficult for the person to connect with, as their patterns help keep the feelings of terror far away from their consciousness.
The Control pattern is similar to the Impactor, in that it needs to have an affect on others, but the difference is in the primary goal. The primary purpose of the Control pattern is to ... have control, to direct traffic, to be "the boss". This usually extends to all parts of the person's world - family, loved ones, bedroom, household, and job.
Consider the boss or parent who gives you detailed instructions about how to do something, and once you've done it, changes everything around and tells you to do it differently. Or never allows you to finish one task, but constantly switches you to another one. The child who demands something loudly, and then when it's given, changes his mind and wants something else from you. The lover who tells you one day they want more space, and then complains the next day that you've pulled back from them. This is common Controller activity.
The point of all this behavior is never to actually complete a task, or have the toy, or be happy in the relationship. The point is to control your behavior. To keep you jumping.
The Controller will use whatever means necessary to keep you jumping at their command. Guilt, fear, threat of loss of love, tantrums, rage, cowering and claiming to be the victim ... any tactic will work, as long as it keeps others under their control.
Again, this pattern is primarily run by terror. The pattern says that control is the antidote to helplessness and nothingness. There may be a well of untapped heartbreak and rage here too, that makes the Controller determined to never be the underdog. Even when they play the victim, they are never out of control.
The "Power Victim"
This type of pattern is primarily a power pattern, but it uses a victim stance as its primary tool. This is where you get people who use guilt to make you feel bad so you'll do what they want. They sometimes actually have poor-me victim feelings running undercurrent, but the primary goal in this case, is control and power. The poor-me stance is purely and solely in order to manipulate others. The best way to tell what pattern is running here is simply to say no to it, and then wait to see what happens. If it's a power-victim pattern, the person will often slide into one of the other power tactics. If it's truly a victim pattern, saying no will cause the person to slide into one of the other victim patterns.
Also often known as The Guru, Sharks are a very particular kind of predator. The Shark pattern is the most dangerous of the power patterns. Sharks are willing to prey on anyone, but they especially like the vulnerable, those with big hearts and low guilt tolerance, those with large consciences and concern for others ... in other words, people that can be easily intimidated or overridden.
The behaviors the Shark displays may be similar to the other Power Patterns, but the biggest difference between this pattern and the others is its flexibility and ability to plan ahead. The Impactor cannot go very long without doing something to impact their environment. The Controller must have something or someone to control. But the Shark can go long periods without prey. They are able to wait and watch and will sometimes spend long periods looking for the weak spots in people before moving in. And their attack is usually so subtle at that point that most people wouldn't call it an "attack". Sharks can also move from the one-on-one arena into groups. And whereas the Impactor and Controller patterns will often sabotage themselves or go "over the top" and expose their own patterns, the Shark pattern is usually clever enough to hide behind a complex array of masks and blinds, unless combined with other more self-sabotaging patterns. In other words, Sharks are extremely clever and dangerous.
Because our tendency is to want to excuse and understand people, and we don't want to see ourselves as unloving, we are usually very willing to overlook the behaviors of the Shark and dismiss our own gut responses that say, "something doesn't feel right here".
The primary goal of the shark pattern is to "eat" others.
There are many ways to describe this -- stealing your essence, feeding off your emotions, sucking out your energy, leaving you feeling drained and tired, or buzzing with adrenalin overload. They dominate your will, and cause you to give up your power, essence, and energy to them. Many sharks become gurus or religious leaders, because submission to them, giving up your personal power to the them, is desire that drives the shark.
In order to do this, the Shark must first find the chink in your armor, and sadly, for most people this is pretty easy to do. We all have openings where we are missing Self or are simply unaware. Places where we have pain in denial, parts of ourselves that we don't want to look at, these are the places where the Shark can seep in. But the Shark has some very powerful tools to help confuse people and mess with their heads. The worst of these is boundary blurring.
Power-Over Tactics to Watch For: Boundary Blurring
Boundary blurring can be done in a variety of ways. There are the "negative" power-overing and bullying tactics, using insults and put-downs, and making you doubt your feelings and perceptions and intent. And there are (so-called) positive extreme of sexual (or emotional) seduction, promises of love or salvation, promises of power, flattery and false stroking of ego.
A shark may resort to personal manipulation. They may display hurt or need, they may say YOU are the answer to THEIR prayers, they may claim that you are withholding yourself and your love (and therefore hurting/rejecting them) by not opening up to them fully. This tactic is a lie, and - for the most part - is not real. That is, sometimes there is a real Soul within the Shark that really does feel hurt by you or love for you. But the true feeling is being used as a tool to manipulate you, to get you to drop your guard and blur your boundaries.
They may pressure you with soft words ... or hard. They may tell you that you are closing the door to God by not opening to them. They may give you sweet attention that makes you feel like you're special. And then they may withdraw that attention abruptly, or change tactics on you and become cold and aloof or "angry". You'd think this kind of emotional manipulation would make people angry. But usually what happens is our need for love and attention takes over and responds to the tactics, is drawn into the game of trying to please them and keep their "love".
How can you tell when you're being "sharked"? It's easy to say "just feel with your Soul", but many of us have parts that have been messed with, brainwashed, turned upside down, drugged, confused, made to doubt reality, made to doubt their own perceptions, and most of all, made to doubt their own feelings. I have cried parts that don't know who to believe. I have parts that are so starving for light and love, they're willing to follow almost anyone who might have a shred of light/love to give us, even when they KNOW it's a false promise. I have parts that want to believe someone "out there" will speak in the voice of the Mother or God and show us the way.
All these parts could willingly fall under the spell of a guru. And have done, many times in the past.
So I know how easy it is to get hypnotized and caught up in the rapture of someone with charisma (and humor) who wants to play the guru. Some of them are very good, some of them, not so clever. Some are easy to see through, if you're standing off to one side, or not in the path of their "voice". Like Saruman's voice, in his fading power, or a magic trick that only works from one angle. But they all do seem to have great life force and charisma and wit.
A shark is not necessarily evil. They may have some very good qualities, including the ability to love. A shark is simply someone who dominates and harvests others, someone whose good qualities are used for one aim - gaining power over others. Now, I have seen some sharks who appeared to me to be tightly intertwined with a denial spirit or two, and it did occur to me that the shark activity was being provoked from within. That is, the denial spirit may have been controlling and provoking the person's true emotions, perhaps a terrified Soul, and causing the person to believe they needed absolute control, and that they were acting rightly.
There is only one way to keep oneself from becoming victim to one of the power patterns, and that is to continue to cry the pain, to reclaim all of our lost parts until we have ourselves fully healed and whole and intact. Then we can live from within our core, and nobody will ever be able to invade us or dominate us or confuse us or manipulate us again. EVER.