Posted by jeremy on February 1, 2011 9:29 pm.



After several weeks or months of manpower-intensive organized harassment, it’s likely you’ve been treated to repeated signs of break-ins or vandalism that only happen behind your back1, as well as obvious shadowing / observation2. The previous psychological messages will reinforce a new, very threatening message: that large numbers of people are being informed about everything you do, even in private; and that they find your activities ridiculous, even hateful.

Mirroring, or the simple mimicry of your private life in full public view, turns out to be surprisingly effective at getting this message across, and hence it’s frequently used.

Why mirroring works

1. You notice it.

 

cat-in-mirror
Most animals aren’t self-aware enough to tell the difference between their own reflection and another animal imitating them. Humans are, which is why mirroring is effective.

 

Mammals have an innate ability to imitate others of their kind by mirroring their actions, which helps with the acquisition of complex skills. Humans (and some higher animals) are not only able to imitate others; they’re able to tell when they’re being imitated.3

Mirroring or imitation of a person’s activities or habits, at the street level, will be immediately noticed by that person.

2. Nobody else notices it.

If the activities being imitated are private, others who witness the message won’t understand what they’re seeing.

3. You don’t notice that nobody else notices it.

Because your attention is grabbed by a mirroring episode, you don’t notice whether anyone else in the area is paying attention. You may imagine that you’re being publicly humiliated. This perceived humiliation would cause you to isolate yourself, or even become angry.

The sensitization phase

There seem to be two general approaches in which a target of organized harassment is introduced to the notion he’s under some form of community surveillance, and that the watchers don’t like what they see.

In the first approach, the target is first provided with a few memorable and unmistakeable displays of hostility. Three convincing types of messages that can be used:

  • Aggression from someone the target knows, and has reason to be in a fight with. This will lay the foundation for the target to believe that this person is the one who started it all.
  • In the wake of shadowing/observation tactics, a total stranger shouts obscenities at the target, or makes an obscene gesture at him, without provocation. This is the sort of thing that most people won’t do without a good reason, so the target will imagine that the aggressor is in league with the followers, and hates him.
  • A group of people act in a very unusual (and therefore, memorable) way showing that they are aware of each other and their relationship to the target, and are hostile to the target. One frequently reported approach is to form a human wall (either on foot or in vehicles), side-by-side and staring straight ahead while approaching the target.

In the second approach, the conspicuous surveillance comes into the target’s life for “no reason”, and gradually settles in. The tactics only take a turn for the worse if the target acts out.

Some common tactics used to deliver messages of covert surveillance and aggression

  • Strangers, adversaries (the ones you believe are behind it all), or even friends or family members may repeat unusual phrases from private discussions, word for word.
  • Closely related, these people may make knowing remarks or start conversations referring to details of your private life in your presence.
  • Caricatures of the target or significant persons in the target’s life may wander by and catch the target’s attention. They may mirror episodes that happened in the target’s life recently; this is a form of street theater.
  • Noise campaigns, synchronized with the target’s private activities. The noises should be loud and distracting - alarms going off, gun shots, explosions in the distance, and so on. This may serve as sensitization to more subtle noise campaigns later.
  • Visual stimuli, again synchronized with the target’s private activities: a car that seems to have been waiting for the target to notice it before delivering a message (such as brighting) and driving away, for example. These displays may also be sensitization for more subtle stimuli later.

Accusations of mental illness

As with all the previously described tactics, these tactics seem ripped from the pages of mental health manuals. The most obvious symptom of mental illness you might get tricked into reporting is delusions of persecution4. In addition, reporting events around you that seem to refer to you (without mentioning you directly) supports a diagnosis of delusions of reference4.

The tactic of dispatching lookalikes/caricatures of you or significant others turns out to be taken from the pages of mental health manuals, as well. For example, people in your vicinity who look like you correspond to subjective double syndrome5, and people imitating others in your life correspond to the Fregoli delusion, in which a single person keeps reappearing in different disguises6.

Finally, reporting covert hostility from friends and family members supports a diagnosis of Capgras syndrome, in which people close to the target have been replaced with identical-looking imposters.7

Psychological adaptations

Related to the idea that ‘everyone knows everything’, is a more sophisticated mental model (which many targets adopt) involving imagined smear campaigns, snitches, blackmailed/threatened friends and relatives, and so on. Discard this model, for the moment. You don’t know for certain that this is what’s going on behind the scenes, and nobody else in your situation does, either.

What you’re being led to believe is that everyone around you “knows everything” and is hostile to you. It will help a lot if you think of them as acting on a need-to-know basis; all these people don’t have the time to track your every movement, so they must be instructed - somehow - to take actions that are psychologically significant to you.

Street theater seems especially disturbing because it seems so obvious. You might think: “How could anyone else not see this happening - they must be in on it!” But in fact, the performance you watch is at the center of your attention. Others nearby may think it’s strange, but they don’t understand its significance, and you aren’t paying attention to how they react.

The people speaking about or acting out details from your private life might not know the significance of what they’re doing, and they might not even know that you’re the intended audience. Strip away what you imagine they’re doing, and just focus on what they’re actually doing to your face, and you’ll realize they might have no idea what they’re up to.

Don’t overreact; just treat the peculiar happenings as nothing out of the ordinary, and deflect any unwanted conversational paths with light humor, or shift the focus onto the person you’re talking with8. Act as if you still have privacy, even if it doesn’t seem that way, and don’t let conversational partners draw personal details out of you, even if it seems like they already know those details. The people you interact with aren’t nearly as knowledgeable as you think they are.

Your mind is the target; protect it

As these tactics progress, you’ll start being offered negative feedback on everything you say, and do; you might be tempted to stop saying or doing anything. Keep your mind occupied with things you have expertise in, or hobbies, instead of retreating to a bubble – as you’ll eventually find they can get to you inside that bubble. It’s your mind that’s the target of this negative feedback, so you must protect it by keeping your thoughts on things that help your mind (like useful/enjoyable occupations) instead of things that hurt your mind (the things they’re trying to get you to worry about).

Build your awareness of how you’re being manipulated by these displays of aggression. You’re going to need it.


References

 

  1. ^ V.S. Ramachandran. Neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind 'the great leap forward' in human evolution; Edge Foundation.
  2. ^ a b Andreasen, Nancy C. (1984). "Scale for the assessment of positive symptoms"; The Movement Disorder Society. (local copy)
  3. ^ Christodoulou G. N. (1978). "Syndrome of subjective doubles"; American Journal of Psychiatry, 135(2), 249-51.
  4. ^ Mojtabai R (September 1994) "Fregoli syndrome". Aust N Z J Psychiatry 28 (3): 458–62. doi:10.3109/00048679409075874
  5. ^ Hirstein W, Ramachandran VS (1997). "Capgras syndrome: a novel probe for understanding the neural representation of the identity and familiarity of persons". Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 264: 437–444. doi:10.1098/rspb.1997.0062.

 

Footnotes and further reading on this site

 

  1. ^ “Behind your back: the psychological impact of unseen attackers”; January 2011.
  2. ^ “An unhealthy interest in you”; January 2011.
  3. ^ Turning the subject of a conversation to your conversational partner is a winning strategy, in general; people love talking about themselves.

 


 

  1. Re: Watched (and hated) by many  S, T

    This speaker says some things that make sense: focus your attention on what’s good for you, this will give you direction

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwUJHNPMUyU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcfSqKylag0

     
    February 1, 2011 09:33:04 PM


  2. reply  |  quote
    • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  wayfarer_nation

      Thank you so much for this. I left my job 4 months ago and have been trying to figure out how to handle this and this might be one of the best approaches.

       
      February 27, 2011 11:32:48 PM

      3 comments
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    • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  Roxanne

      I didn’t realize they were mimicking specific mental illnesses. Definitely an intention to do harm, again, maybe perpetrated by people who have no idea-just having fun harassing. Loyal friends of mine have heard things (they are trying to contaminate everyone and everything), but they are told lies about me and nothing of the decades of deliberately cultivated framing and propaganda, the obssessive/compulsive involvement (not incidental bystander stuff), stalking, terrorization, threats, hurting loved ones, torture, V2K, humiliation, 100% (not 99% or 98%) lack of privacy, mafia-like control of school/jobs/relationships, mind/body control, skewing and eclipsing reality. I don’t push them for information because I’m afraid for them, especially because they aren’t fully informed.

      February 2, 2011 09:57:54 AM

      201 comments
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      • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  Roxanne

        The tearful fight ensuing after my friend started being mean included: “30 years?!” (how long I’ve been harassed at least) and “They make things up?!” Now we have been friends again. But I feel afraid for them. I said things I knew-did not ask things they knew.

        February 2, 2011 06:23:50 PM

        201 comments
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        • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  east7th st girl

          its true very few are fully informedi am a target two yrsandjust learning more each day and informing more ppl eachday on forums myspace facebook .go for it. use flckr.com part of yahoo photograph themifu can find their faces… some are behind dark windownsin cars and taxis

           
          March 2, 2011 08:50:39 AM


        • parent  |  reply  |  quote
        • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  Alice

          i’ve been through so much of this. I just didn’t put it togather. They did push me inward to my self. Now it seems to make so much more since. Being here reading these has helped me. Thank you jeremy. I know it’s not just me I’m not a lone any more. How can doctors say it’s mental illness when every ones explains what’s happing. When the story stays the same there’s got to be some thing there. Now I know I’m not a lone in this nightmare. I just never believed there could be so many. When their doing this to you, you feel like the only person in the world and no body could understand. Now I know others know and are going through this and understand. The first time I read this post I cryed. I couldn’t believe I was no longer alone. Thank you again jeremy.

           
          February 3, 2011 01:34:45 PM


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          • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  CT lady

            Thank you Alice for your insightful comments. I did not even know what organized stalking was until after the trip from hell and I got on the internet and started searching around. I found a doctor who believed me…..but really did not want to know much, which I found interesting. He did not diagnose me as delusional or schizophrenic, but he sure avoided the subject of the gangstalking. My current doctor changes the subject entirely when I bring it up. She has not diagnosed me as delusional or schizophrenic either.

            Sadly, I have not seen my daughter since 2003 and my son since 2006 (the end of the trip from hell.) My daughter chooses to believe I am schizophrenic (sad)- or will bring “drama” into her life so she will not even give me her phone number…..My son finally started contacting me, but only briefly at holidays and says he had enough of the crap and wants to try to forget it. Yet he was severely traumatized and gangstalked when he moved to a different State after the trip…..

            This is off the subject, but how can I ever get my daughter to believe me?

             
            February 5, 2011 10:13:36 AM


          • parent  |  reply  |  quote
          • Re: Watched (and hated) by many  lkjohnson

            It is very unsettling to have private conversation repeated bsck to you verbatum! My son got engaged and told me the rings cost him the price of a new motorcycle. He showed me the engagement ring, but I never saw the band. I went to a doctors office, and a very outgoing woman who was married to a local doctor, began talking to me and repeated the conversation, and described the ring and band. I came home and checked the description of the band, and she was correct.I have no idea how they almost follow a formula, to keep you off balance,with stalking, breakins, vandelism, and harrassment,so you are under diress at all times.

            February 27, 2011 06:01:47 AM

            80 comments
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