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Welcome to Vol. 13, No. 1 January-March 2012 edition of the reFOCUS Forum: An Internet Newsletter for Recovery

Submitted by SiteAdmin on Thu, 01/12/2012 - 20:58

reFOCUS is a network of referral and support for former members of closed, high demand groups, relationships or cults.

reFOCUS is dedicated to the recovery of former members…please visit our web site at We are a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation - all contributions to reFOCUS are 100% tax deductible. Because reFOCUS is dedicated to recovery, we are looking for suggestions and input from you: are there articles or topics you want to see covered?

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Upcoming Events
Surviving and Moving On After a High Demand Group Experience Workshop for Second-Generation Former Members

When: Friday 3:00 p.m. March 30, 2012 to Sunday 2:00 p.m. April 1, 2012

Where: Workshop Location: Trinity Conference Center, 79 Lower River Road, West Cornwall, CT 06796 (860-672-1000).

Learn more:

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Featured Article
Biderman's Stages of Coercion
Abuser's actions
Victim's response

Befriends the newcomer. Introduces to others with high praise. Monopolizes until other staff begin to reject. Warns of the perils of associating with other members of staff.

Deprived of developing social support with colleagues. Initiates total dependence on abuser. Acquires a false feeling of security. Confuses reality.

Monopolization of perception

Informs victim through stories about power alliances. Outlines superior knowledge and skills. Intimates that victim does not possess necessary knowledge and skill but may be able to acquire it through association with abuser.

Loses self-esteem. Doubts ability to perform. Self-blames for accepting a position because unworthy. Consumed completely by introspective thoughts.

Induced physical and mental exhaustion

Overburdens victim with time consuming and/or physically demanding tasks. Places unrealistic standards of acceptance on these tasks. Becomes physically and emotionally too weak to resist or challenge. Loses ability to reason rationally. 

Threats Reminds of power over victim's workload, promotional opportunities, and acceptance in the hierarchy of the company. Warns with stories of the demise of predecessors who did not reach the acceptable standard. Complies with demands to escape retribution. Displays anxiety about every action performed. Despairs of any change in the situation. Shows symptoms of depression.

Occasional indulgences Praises victim's work in a public forum. Believes they have finally reached the accepted standard and pattern of abuse will stop. Doubts that the abuse really happened because everything seems all right for the moment. Becomes reliant on the abuser for further praise.

Demonstrating 'omnipotence' Demonstrates: Complete control over the victim who is taken for granted. 'Read my mind' expectations. Martyrdom for the company. Affects of being indispensable to the company. Claims victimization by those who challenge any behavior. Accepts powerlessness. Accepts the pattern of behavior as normal.

Degradation Perpetrates derogatory stories about the victim on work and personal topics. Feels disgraced and humiliated. Loses all will to resist. 

Enforcing trivial demands Continues to remind victim through innuendo, suggestion, and stories that demands will be complied with. 

Accepts habit of compliance. Developed from Biderman's Chart of Coercion in Amnesty International (1975) Report on Torture, London, Gerald Duckworth & Co.

Original document: “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions from Air Force Prisoners of War” Albert D. Biderman, September 1957 Pdf file: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Comments, questions, and suggestions: email us at

reFOCUS, P.O. Box 2180, Flagler Beach, FL 32136 386-439-7541

Web site:

The reFOCUS Board of Directors: Carol Giambalvo, President/Secretary Rick Seelhoff, Vice President Mary Taylor, Treasurer David Clark Maureen Griffo Nancy Miquelon Vanessa Weber

IMHO FACTNet This editorial/opinion/news alert has been provided or distributed by FACTNet, Inc. (Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network.) Please visit our web site at if you would like to comment on this editorial/opinion/news alert or to share your personal experiences. Re-distribution and re-posting of this document using proper net etiquette when doing so, is appreciated! If you have something you would like Factnet to consider posting in our editorial/opinion/news story email it to . Be sure to put Factnet Story Submission in the subject line so it gets to the proper editors. Factnet’s mission is to be the largest online news and referral service as well as research archive for defending freedom of thought and mind from all forms of unethical influence tactics, mind control and mental coercion/torture used in destructive cults and fundamentalist groups. Since 1993 millions have been helped. FACTNet is a tax deductible, IRS Approved 501(c)(3) non profit organization. For breaking news, personal stories, recovery information, support groups, and expert referrals relating to our mission please visit our web site at If you would like to view over 350,000 postings on various cults, comment on this editorial/opinion/news or to share your personal experiences, go to one of our many various message boards at F.A.C.T.Net, Inc. PO Box 1315 , Ignacio, CO. 81137 USA, E-mail:

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