Steve Hassan makes an interesting distinction between mental control and brainwashing. He says that in brainwashing the victim knows that the aggressor is an enemy. For example, prisoners of war know that the person doing the brainwashing and/or torture is an enemy and often they understand that remaining alive depends on changing their belief system. They are coerced, often with physical force, into doing things they would not normally do. However, when the victim escapes from the influence of the enemy, the effects of the brainwashing frequently disappear.
Mind control is more subtle and sophisticated because the person doing the manipulations is often considered a friend or a teacher, so the victim is not actually trying to defend themselves. In fact, he or she may be a willing participant, and believing that the manipulator has their best interests in mind, they often providing private information willingly, which is then used against them, to continue the mind control.
This makes mind control as dangerous, if not more so, than physical coercion. In other words, it can be even more effective than torture, physical abuse, drugs etc.
That’s worth repeating. In mind control, there may be no physical coercion or violence, but it can actually be much more effective in controlling a person.
That’s because coercion can change behavior, but coercive persuasion (mind control) will change attitude and behavior. And the ‘victim’ is happily and actively participates in the changes, believing it is best for them!
So later, to accept that someone they trusted and liked has deceived and manipulated them is very difficult, and is one of the reasons that is not easy for people to recognize mind control. Even when the person is free of the influence of the manipulator, the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors persist, in large part because the person believes they have made these decisions themselves (the effects of decisions we make ourselves are stronger and more long lasting than decisions we know we have been pushed to make), and in part because the person does not want to admit that they have been manipulated without their knowing, that they have been tricked by a ‘friend’.