Friday, June 19, 2009

Intimidation - The Sneaky Way to Control

Writing strictly about Leroux is interesting. While examining Webber’s version, sprinkled with Leroux as a backdrop, the story is more romanticized. However, with Leroux alone, without the Webber content, I find the story dramatically taking on a different form in a myriad of ways – especially when it comes to some of the darker sides of Erik.

He is a master of many things, and one of his tools to get his way in life is through intimidation, which he uses as a means of control. He can be polite as the next person, as long as you do his bidding, but wrathful as hell if you dare to do otherwise. Consider the following: (1) he’s territorial, (2) he demands obedience, (3) he declares war should you dare ignore his commands, (4) he uses intimidation and threats to get his way, and (5) he ultimately punishes you for daring to defy him.

His first threat arrives as he insists on maintaining his territorial rights! The managers must learn his ways, and he threatens through that conditional little “if” word.

"If you wish to live in peace, you must not begin by taking away my private box."

Secondly, he manipulates obedience through ultimatums. I call it emotional blackmail. You must do this or I’ll do that.

"If you still care for peace, here is my ultimatum.
It consists of the four following conditions..."

His conditions, of course, overflow with musts and wills: “You must…” “I will…” “Shall be…” “I absolutely insist…” “You will…”

Thirdly, he intimidates you by giving dire warnings in order to instill fear as a means of control:

"Take my advice and be warned in time. O. G."

Finally, the threat of impending doom arrives should you dare to disobey:

"If you refuse, you will give FAUST to-night in a house with a curse upon it."

I do find it quite amusing that he signs his name, “Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant, OPERA GHOST.” Yes, humbly yours, as long as you stay on his good side.

Well, it’s obvious, our Ghost has some personality issues. What are they? Intimidation is not a new tactic by any means. Basically, it’s instilling fear in another in order to control their will either by coercion or threats. You can call it skillful manipulation. We usually intimidate people to dominate and control, as O.G. did. The new managers threatened his domination, and his only means of keeping it was by intimidation. It’s a means to an end, whether we do it consciously or subconsciously. However, those on the receiving end might not necessarily like it. The managers were a bit peeved.

"'Look here, I'm getting sick of him, sick of him!' shouted Richard,
bringing his fists down on his office-table."

Those who use intimidation as a means of control eventually find out if their tactics are successful or not. If the person at the receiving end is weak, dependent, easily preyed upon, prone to fear, and has low self-esteem, it’s success indeed. However, if they find someone who doesn’t respond to their intimidation and threats, it usually ends up in a war of wits. Believe me, no one wins.

I've always used this powerful analogy in a number of ways. Negative things in our lives can be likened to a weed - unwanted, distressful, or a nuisance. The trouble with weeds, as you know, is if you continue to water them, they grow and deepen their roots. When you try to pull the dang thing out, it's a struggle to get it out of the ground, if not impossible. Usually when you do pull it out, the weed grows back again because the root system is still intact.

It’s the same with those who use the Opera Ghost’s masterful techniques. Seeing their wiles feeding that growing weed, gives great satisfaction. Their recipient folds, obeys their demands, is filled with distress, and surrenders and obeys out of fear. On the other hand, psychologists suggest not to respond or address their demands. It feeds the weed, makes it stronger, and gives back the craving attention to the controller. Just like anything else, when you fail to feed something, it will shrivel up at the roots and die.

Below is a link to a wonderful article entitled, "Eliminating Intimidation." When you read it, you’ll probably see plenty of our dear Erik. It may help you as well if you’re in a situation with others that wish to dominate and control. A lot of times people don’t realize what motivates them as individuals. Self-realization is a huge part of growing as a person. When you understand what makes you tick, you really become a better person in many ways, because then you can then try to modify the negative behavior.

Well, enough said.

As OG would say…. Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant,
The Phantom’s Student

LIVESTRONG.COM - Health, Fitness, Lifestyle - Article: Eliminating Intimidation

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Swansong said...

More great insight, Vicki. I think at the core of his person, Erik is an alpha male. I see his need to dominate those around him as his means of making himself known. His threats are like a peacock displaying its tale feathers.

The paradox of the Phantom is that he is both the controlling, manipulating OG...and Erik the musician who really only wants to serve the woman he loves. I love in Leroux how he goes down on his knees before those scenes, SHE is the one in control.

Enjoy your blogs, as always!


Anonymous said...

It's hard to imagine any other tool at Erik's disposal. How could he reason with people who either feared him or despised him? The intimidation allowed him to control his environment.

In my life, the few times I used intimidation were not pleasant experiences. I shudder to think of the negative impact on my life if intimidation was the only way I could achieve my goals. Poor Erik.

Vicki..another wonderful, thought-provoking post!

~~ Ballerina

Tièr said...

Very interesting post. I was introduced to Erik via the 2004 movie (not quite a year ago), then read the original novel. They seemed quite different, but I shouldn't have been surprised because movies usually are. Webber gives us a sophisticated, aesthetically appealing Erik, whereas Leroux gives us a man who smells like death, making me wonder if he was in poor health. Also, it was heartbreaking watching him as an abused, beaten child who learned his survival instincts the hard way, which would not excuse his later behavior, but certainly explain it...

Intimidation is not a virtuous trait, but the sign of a bully. Thanks for the link to the article, & the helpful advice on how to deal with such tactics - & here's hoping our dear Erik learns this lesson, as well!:)