susan@backboneinstitute.com  262-567-5983

Protecting Yourself From the Confusion Power Tactic

My head has been spinning lately as I watch our government do things that have never been done before and try to discern the reasons why. Forgive my naiveté, but when did we give the government permission to remove business leaders from their jobs? I missed that news.

When did we decide that talking to our enemies was the way to protect our hard-won freedoms? Yes, I understand that negotiations are a useful strategy. The best negotiators I know are tough as nails with deep knowledge of their opponents’ tendencies and weaknesses. Their objective is to win as much as possible, while allowing the least gain for their opponents. Mind you, we’re talking about enemies, not neutral players.

Flattery is an oft-used tactic to soften opposition. It is usually followed by an unexpected demand or strike.

The economy is in the tank and our planet is due to self-incinerate any day now, yet politicians jet here and there, make speeches that are unintelligible, pursue lifestyles of privilege as though nothing has changed, then go to taxpayers for support money.

I don’t get it. But here’s something I do get. Confusion is a power tactic that works. When you talk fast enough out of both sides of your mouth, you can eventually confuse or frustrate your opponent into silence or acquiescence.

Forget politics for the moment. Look at abusive relationships. The person in power says something mean, then tells the offended other that no meanness was intended. A powerful one beats a weaker one, then declares ‘true love.’ A powerful one makes a decision that harms a weaker one, then tells the other that he is not harmed.

Weaker ones, who may actually be quite strong in other respects, struggle to understand the truth. They want to believe that their abuser means well. But actions and words don’t add up. They grow uneasy. Over time, they become weary and dependent. Their power is gone, along with their confidence and happiness.

When leaders purposely confuse followers, they abuse power. When followers are intimidated into apathetic acquiescence, freedom dies. You see it at work, at home, in schools and churches, in communities, and certainly in governments.

We are in danger throughout our society of being confused into doing things we don’t want to do by people who believe they know better than we do what we need. This is not new. But it sure seems to be more widespread than ever before.

I ask myself why and I don’t like the answers. Decayed values, eroded education, diminished discipline, failure of leadership, and unwillingness to struggle in any way to have the things we want.

Confusion arises when we no longer know what’s right and we don’t know whom to trust. We become sitting ducks!

How to protect yourself? Figure out your values. Ask questions. Listen to the answers with your ears, your mind, and your body. Pay attention to the responses you hear and feel. Refuse to accept lies.

Practice taking care of yourself, your loved ones, and your possessions. Plan for the future and act in ways that allow you to realize it.

Learn about history. While it may not seem relevant today, it carries deep lessons of how people thought (and fought), how decisions were made and the consequences that resulted, and how generations of people sought clarity for their lives.

Remember: Where power is involved, confusion is a tactic that works.

Categories: General Advice, Women

About Susan Marshall

Susan Marshall

Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.