Grooming vs Manipulation

LittleBigFoot

Confident
Grooming is a form of manipulation.

I guess we often hear about it in relation to children and young people - kids being groomed sexually either online or in person.

But I’ve definitely heard of adults being groomed. Sometimes in the context of sexual predators grooming a child’s parents - gaining their trust and building a close relationship with them so that they are then more able to access and exploit the child.

Also, I guess some kinds of scams - someone forming a friendship/romantic relationship with someone to then use them eg for financial gain.

This may be of interest/use:


Thank you for the link, I’m having a hard time with it though. All the signs just seem like someone wanting to keep their life semi private. I don’t question if my friends have new friends, I don’t question my friends on their spending habits. Does this make me a bad friend? 😅
 

internal

Sponsor
So this part I really really struggle with. Because this means one more birthday and suddenly I’m wise and smart and capable of decisions? Because 18 is just an arbitrary number,
the truth of this may be a bit uncomfertable for you but it's nonetheless the truth. you are right: an 18 year old and a 17 year old aren't that structurally different. but grooming also has its place in the law, and legally, you are a child at 17.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
So the situation I have in my head is when I was 17, I got in with this guy who was in his mid 30s. We had a strange dynamic but basically he’d supply the alcohol and what I thought was this grown up relationship and I’d supply, well, what men want. It wasn’t healthy, but I’m not sure if he’d be considered this whole grooming thing or if he was just manipulating to get what he wanted? Or just nothing and there was no abuse cause hey I got something out of it too (alcohol and feeling older cause an older man was so interested in me)?
For me: whether the term grooming or manipulation is used: what happened was you were coerced into something you wouldn't have done and it has traumatised you? (I making assumptions).
Because I wonder if getting caught up in the semantics of language is not the path to healing? But understanding what this behaviour and experience meant for you, and processing it, is the path to healing?

Obviously ignore if not helpful. I come from a perspective of not really liking labels. Because in the UK, I don't agree with the government's definition of child sexual exploitation. Here they say that the difference between sexual abuse and exploitation is that gifts or money or something is given to the child to coerce them. Well I didn't need gifts or money. I was so primed for it, I did it without that. But I view some of what happened to me as exploitation because of the context of it: happening in a nightclub that wanted underage girls there. It was the social context that was encouraged and exploitative in my view.
So my take on all this is: go with what feels right for you. Don't worry about others. This is your story. Your experience.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
So the situation I have in my head is when I was 17, I got in with this guy who was in his mid 30s. We had a strange dynamic but basically he’d supply the alcohol and what I thought was this grown up relationship and I’d supply, well, what men want. It wasn’t healthy, but I’m not sure if he’d be considered this whole grooming thing or if he was just manipulating to get what he wanted? Or just nothing and there was no abuse cause hey I got something out of it too (alcohol and feeling older cause an older man was so interested in me)?
As others have said - grooming is a specific form of manipulation. Gaslighting is a different form of manipulation. Tricking is manipulation. Lying can be manipulation. Misrepresenting, also manipulation. Anything you do deliberately in order to leverage or control the actions of another person is manipulation.

My question about this relationship: when you look back on it, do you think you were misled?
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
the truth of this may be a bit uncomfertable for you but it's nonetheless the truth. you are right: an 18 year old and a 17 year old aren't that structurally different. but grooming also has its place in the law, and legally, you are a child at 17.
But I had a 32yo bf at 16 and I was legally an adult at the time? So laws aren't always the way forward.

OP, how do you feel looking back at it now?
 

internal

Sponsor
But I had a 32yo bf at 16 and I was legally an adult at the time? So laws aren't always the way forward.
that was my point. it's not wrong because of the law-it's wrong because of the developmental realities of the situation. an 18 year old or a 16 year old are not on the same level as a 30 year old. period.
 

LittleBigFoot

Confident
I don’t know how to explain how I feel about it other than it was intense and overwhelming and I thought I was in love with him but he made it clear I wasn’t worth that shit so whatever.

And this age thing, @grief maybe I’m reading wrong but I swear you just contradicted yourself here. If I’m still a child at 17, how is @Chris-duck an adult at 16 just because it’s different countries? I know the brain development specifics around it but you’re making an argument around legalities rather than that and honestly it’s just confusing me even more. Because if she can be an adult at 16, why can’t I function as an adult (and have the culpability) at 17?
 

internal

Sponsor
I know the brain development specifics around it but you’re making an argument around legalities
i'm not. i am not always good at communecating my thoughts but my point is not about the law. that was a peripherel statement-and i cannot obviesly explain my thought process for saying it. which was that if the law applies to you, it is another point to conseder as well.

and which everyone seems to have jumped on. rather than the part of my post that is meaningfully significent. neither you nor chris are developmentally adults at 16. and that is the only part that matters when it comes to understanding what happened to you, for your self.

you don't have culpability for what happened because culpability doesn't work that way. when another human being is applying directive, coercive pressure to someone significently disadvantaged in that interaction,

deciding that that individual holds responsebility for being mistreated-which are directive actions against them, by other people-is absolutely reductive and pointless. i apolegize but i need to step away from this. please take care, all of you.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Thank you for the link, I’m having a hard time with it though. All the signs just seem like someone wanting to keep their life semi private. I don’t question if my friends have new friends, I don’t question my friends on their spending habits. Does this make me a bad friend? 😅
No, I don't think that makes you a bad friend at all :) To be honest, I shared the link for the intro stuff really – the ideas about what adult grooming is and what it can look like. So, these sorts of bits:

Grooming is a form of abuse that involves manipulating someone until they’re isolated, dependent, and more vulnerable to exploitation
What is Adult Grooming? It’s a gradual process. The abuser picks their target, build up trust, and the actual abuse, which is usually sexual or financial, doesn’t come until much later...It often starts with friendship. The groomer will look for ways to gain their target’s trust, often with gifts or promises. Eventually they’ll start to ask for something in return, and this eventually leads to abuse.

ETA sorry, I can't see how to change the font size. Hope it's ok for copyright reasons etc for me to pull out these couple of short quotes. The full article is here: Signs of Grooming in Adults - What to Watch Out For - Ann Craft Trust (the same link I included before)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I think it's even more the age gap and the stages in life that count here. This said by someone who's lived 6 years in a relationship with a huge age gap. I was 21 at the time, but still it was big enough for being significant. At 21 thought I had my apartment, classes, was financially autônomo and so and so. The only significant difference was the experience. And that evidently could have been used against me but it wasn't. And even if I trusted him to be sincere when giving his opinions, there were quite a lot of things I simply disagreed with and I'd make him know. We also discussed the age gap thing a lot and how it was impacting the relationship. At the end it was the main element of separation. Past a certain period, you're just out of sync. I never felt coerced or mistreated in that relationship, not more than in any normal relationship I could see was happening between peers of my age, and actually quite less. The experience was serving the purpose to make it better and not to take advantage.

But to be entirely fair, I think that the exchange alcohol sex is a bad one because it's exploiting 2 up to 4 vulnerabilities:
1) big age gap and asymmetry of experience
2) evident financial asymmetry (and/or legal because of alcohol, depends where you are)
3) (optional) context of existing alcohol addiction
4) (optional) context of developmental trauma making one vulnerable to retraumatization by not knowing what is a normal, balanced relationship.

I highly doubt that yourself find that it was consensual and nice. I don't conceive a normal boyfriend, be him much older, would be contractual by asking sex as a counterpart of giving alcohol, or that alcohol would be the only gifts.

Just my two cents.

And in any case the guilt wasn't yours. You aren't to blame, and I don't think anyone was trying to blame you.

And by advance I apologize if any of what I'm saying comes across as a bit brutish. It's really what I think and as I had a nice, consensual relationship with someone much older than me, I can relate to a point. But I can't just pretend I haven't read what I did read. I hope this helps you and won't hurt you.

All of this is said gently and with care.

In any case before deciding you go for a definition or another, be certain that your experience is valid and it's how you feel that is important for you in your life.
 
Top