Domination techniques are tricks used in discussions to gain an advantage
over the people you are discussing with. Invariably, these tricks are horribly
unfair, ruining somebody’s chances to have their say in a given discussion.
They are usually used unconsciously, in which case the abuse of a Domination
Technique can be excused. If this is the case, pointing out the fact that
someone has used a domination technique is usually enough to make them change
their wording, or be a little more careful.
However, it is also often used consciously, in which case it is one of the
worst things you can do in a discussion - using domination techniques consciously
can lead someone to unfairly winning a discussion.
Who uses domination techniques?
There are two different kinds of people; Dominant and submissive.
- Tend to capture people's attention without really trying
- Are usually "loud" by nature: "Stay away, I bite"
(not literally, but that is the impression people tend to get)
- Tend to keep eye contact and talk with a secure voice
- Nearly always use domination techniques subconsciously
- Can use domination techniques consciously
Submissive people tend to:
- Listen more
- "stay in the background"
- excuse themselves for having opinions ("Don't bother biting me,
I am not worth it")
- Project an image of insecurity
- Interrupt their own sentences
- Let themselves be the victims of domination techniques
The Domination Techniques:
In this technique, the offender ignores, overlooks, forgets or pretends
to forget their discussion partner. This especially happens when you are discussing
with someone who is submissive, and lets themselves be hidden.
In this technique, the offender makes fun of their discussion
partner, ridiculing them in front of others, making themselves seem smarter.
This technique is in particular used against women ("Oh so you have an
opinion - is it that time of the month?"), or against people
with a visible or audible handicap. (shut up, you stupid sheepshagger!)
Holding back information
This technique can be used in discussions - instead of getting all the
information and factson the table, arguments that the opponents may have
are pushed away; either by coming up with new information in the course of
the discussion, or by saying something like "Shut up - you have no idea
what you are talking about"
Double punishment ("Damned if you do, Damned if you don't")
This technique is rarely used in discussions, but when it is used in other
situations, it is usually aimed at women;
- "If I sleep with lots of guys - I am labelled a slut. If I sleep
with none, I am called frigid"
- "If I work a lot, they say my family is suffering. If I am with
my family a lot, they say my career is doomed"
This technique unrightfully takes away the credibility of someone, devaluating
their arguments. The arguments may or may not have anything to do with anything
- "You don't know what you are talking about. You are only 16 years
- "You don't know what you are talking about. You are gay."
- "You don't know what you are talking about. You are just a newbie."
- "You don't know what you are talking about. You are a girl."
- "You don't know what you are talking about. You are European."
- "You don't know what you are talking about. I have a degree in
Physics, and you don't."
The users of this technique might be right in their statements, but
they are also guilty of not giving the victim of the technique a chance
- Even a 16 year old lesbian newbie from Belgium without a physics degree
might come up with an absolutely genius statement about physics.
(Threats about) violence
Users of this domination technique usually realize that all hope is lost
for winning a discussion, and might resort to threaten or perform
violence. This particular technique is especially visible in The Sopranos,
and pretty much any other gangster film you'll ever see.
What can you do about domination techniques?
Be aware of them
When in a discussion, make sure that the discussion stays on track, making
sure that it doesn't go on people personally, but rather on the topic that is
discussed. If a discussion goes personal, you might as well give up the whole
thing - nothing good will come out of it:
- Not: "You are a jerk"
- But: "You are acting like a jerk"
- Not: "Your opinions are shit"
- But: "I disagree with your opinions because...."
If you spot a domination technique, make sure to point it out in a friendly
way - it is usually best to assume that the person you are accusing is not aware
of their use of these techniques.
Do not use them yourself
Try avoiding the use of domination techniques. This can be very difficult,
but people do notice if you win a discussion in a fair way or not.
You probably have an idea of whether you are submissive or dominant.
If you are Dominant, try to work on these points;
- You have two ears and one mouth - that means you should listen twice
as much as you speak
- Try to be understanding of people who are quiet, encourage their opinions
to be heard
- Don't hesitate to let other dominant people know that they, too, can
listen some times.
If you have a submissive personality, you are up for a harder struggle.
However; Start with the following two points:
- Get used to standing up for yourself.
- Make sure you have some facts to come up with, and let people know what
you read from those facts.
- Allow yourself to get angry.
Be aware of others.