Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sex Slaves: The Psychology of Mastery

The Everyday Slavemaster

While people who abduct children, women, or other men to satisfy their sexual whims may seem extreme, they may be merely an extension of a type of person who seeks total control of others just short of such illegal tactics. People who verbally abuse, isolate, humiliate, and demand obedience from others as if it's their due are not so different from the slave masters in intent. They work at chipping away their target's will, eroding their self-esteem and cutting off their ties with friends and family so that finally they lose grounding in the outside world. There's nothing illegal about such activities, but it's nevertheless the same perverse form of "love" as we see in the cases of enslavement above. A psychological prison might be just as effective as a concrete dungeon if a person loses his or her will to escape.

The slavemaster mentality, while obviously more damaging and abusive (especially when it ends in someone's death), is an extreme degree of narcissism that generates the notion that no one counts as much as the one seeking control, and that whatever it take to coerce the other person is warranted. Males and females alike are vulnerable to losing their sense of perspective to this kind of person, because the erosion of their will generally occurs over a period of time and they often believe they have nothing left but their tormenter. They may succumb.

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