Battered Citizen Syndrome: Are You in an Abusive Relationship With Your Government?

 7 Easy Ways to Tell if Your Government is Abusive


Most people know what abuse looks like when they see it. But what if the abuse was not coming from an individual, rather from a government? Could you recognize it? Domestic abuse and systemic abuse are two sides of the same coin. One deals with couples, the other deals with governments and citizens. Applying what you know about couples to government can be difficult. Dealing with the macro-level anything means a lot of moving parts. Here is a systemic abuse quiz which make it easy to determine if you are in an abusive relationship with a government. Ask yourself these 7 questions and replace the word “partner” with the word “government. If you score 4 or more then you not only in an abusive relationship with your government but you are able to recognize it.


1. Does your partner ever threaten or intimidate you into doing actions against your will?

Coercion is one of the most obvious sign of abusive. Coercion can be physical abuse or verbal abuse in the form of demands, threats of negative consequences for noncompliance and/or surveillance. Coercion is a violation of human autonomy and is usually “the stick” in “the stick and the carrot.” Coercion says, if you don't do X then I am going to do Y to you and you're not going to like it. But human autonomy is to be respected regardless who the other entity in the relationship is, therefor this question should be effective in determining if there is an issue of abuse between couples as well as governments and citizens.

Ask yourself, is there anything that you do to avoid “the stick” coming from your government? Is there anything that the government makes you do or threatens that if you don't do it they will use force against you. Is there anything that the government threatens to take from you if you don't give to them? If so, add 1 point to your scorecard.


2. Has your partner ever kept you from getting a job, or caused you to lose a job?

Question number 2 is a typical question used by domestic violence advocates and counselors to determine if there is economic abuse. Economic abuse is a form of abuse where one has control over the other's access to economic resources, which can impact the victims ability to support him/herself and forces him/her to depend on the perpetrator in one way or another.

But what about your government? Are you able to work with who ever you please whenever you please without strings attached? Does your government control your access to economic resources? Is there anything that the government requires of you which makes you depend on it for economic access? If so, add 1 point to your scorecard.


3. Do you need your partner's permission to drive to the store or travel?

Question 3 is about isolation. Isolation is about restricting what you do, who you see, or what you read. The capacity to isolate a victim is the capacity to control their outside involvement. Isolation is 'divide and conquer.' If one is dependent on the other for permission to come and go as he/she pleases then his/her activities, destinations, and contacts are more likely to be limited to those approved by the perpetrator or risk loss of access to travel.

What about your relationship with government? Does your government engage in dividing and conquering either foreign or domestic? Can you drive to the store or travel without getting permission from your government? Are there some places you would not go, people you would not go meet, or things you would not go do because it might not be approved of by your government? Are there things which you either do or don't do in order to avoid having your right to travel restricted? If so, you can add one point to your scorecard.


4. Would you feel anxious or afraid if you were to try and leave or end the relationship with your partner? Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you or him/herself if you were to leave?

The questions here assess the degree to which a relationship is voluntary in nature. To be healthy, a relationship must be entered into by both parties knowingly and voluntarily (as in any valid contract) and either party is able to absolve the relationship at any time for any reason. Anything other than this is at best unhealthy and at worst jealous, abusive and controlling. Extreme jealousy and possessiveness lead many perpetrators to either harm or threaten harm if the other partner tries to leave or stifle independence through the creation of physical, emotional, psychological and economic dependency so as to make it as difficult as possible. This feels like walking on egg shells in the former case and trapped and cornered in the latter.

But what about your relationship to government? Is it voluntary in nature? Did you enter into the relationship knowingly and voluntarily? Are you able to absolve the relationship at anytime for any reason? Are you able to enter into relationship with others (expatriate) or remain single (in a relationship with no governments) if you wish? Does your government ever do things to prevent you from leaving the relationship? Do you feel so physically, emotionally, psychologically or economically dependent on your government (or any government) that you could not leave if you wished? If so, add 1 point to your score card.


5. Does your partner often rationalize controlling behavior as "over-concern for your safety" or because of your “lack of good decision making skills?"

Excuses rationalization and blame are all hallmarks of abuse. Perpetrators can be very manipulative and often will lie and use any available vulnerabilities to keep control over their victims. Creating real or perceived threats to safety are often used to justify controlling behavior while suppressing partner’s independence and access to information can justify treatment as an object or child. They work so well because often people will look for any explanation for abuse and we often don't see the larger pattern and context in which abuse occurs. If each incidence of control or manipulation can be seen as an isolated occurrence, then they can be rationalized as a fluke reaction to a certain problem like the perceived threat to safety or partner's lack of necessary information. Abusers often use their “problems” as weapons of control. It may sound like, “you should know I don't like/allow that,” “you're making me do this,” “your doing this to yourself,” “you know you'll just make bad choices.”

What is your relationship to government look like? Does your government ever lie or withhold information from you to “protect” you? Does your government claim it needs to make decisions for you because you just have “poor decision making skills?” Does your government ever use a problem or event to justify controlling and abusive behavior? If so, add 1 point to your scorecard.


6. Do you feel anxious or afraid to publicly disagree with your partner or openly disclose some of the things your partner is doing?

Knowledge is power. Knowledge can be used for you or against you, for better or worse. Abusers gain control when their abusive behavior kept in the dark and nobody knows about it. Once brought into the light, the abusers control is threatened by natural human compassion. Exposing abuse enables support and works against isolation tactics. Often perpetrators will go to great lengths to intimidate, threaten, minimize, discredit and even limit outside contact in order to keep control in the dark.

How about your relationship with your government? Has your government ever done anything to keep it's abusive behavior in the dark? Has it ever used intimidation or threats in order to avoid exposure for abuse? Does your government minimize, discredit, twist or try to restrict speaking out against its wrong doings? If so, add one point to your scorecard.


7. Is there a recognizable pattern of abuse in your partner's past relationships?

This questions is used to determine whether or not an incidence is an isolated occurrence or an expression of abuse when seen in a larger context. Assessing behavior over time and in past relationships can help shed light on behavior assumed to be disconnected in its cause from other controlling behaviors. Too often a single act may be interpreted as isolated occurrence which is always easier to justify than when in conjunction with a pattern expressed over a span of time and in a variety of different ways.

So what about your government? Does it have a history of respecting others independence and integrity (sovereignty)? Does your government have any abusive behaviors it has exhibited through out history regardless of who or what party is in charge? Do isolated actions which otherwise can be justified by some special problem or cause suddenly create a pattern of abuse when when looked at as a whole? If so, add another point to your score card.

Now that you have completed the 7 question quiz on systemic abuse, count up the points on your scorecard. What did your government score? A “0” means your relationship to your government is more than likely OK. The absence of an unhealthy relationship does not necessarily preclude a healthy one.

If your government scored a 1-4, your relationship with government is unhealthy at best and abusive at worst. The accuracy of your score will also rely heavily on how aware you are of your government and how it effects you and other citizens. Often when a person grows up in a multi-generational abusive environment it can become very difficult to discern what is healthy and not, even with a simple abuse quiz like this one! Poor souls such as this too often mistake the shadows for the objects that cast them.

A score of 4 or higher signifies a highly toxic and and abusive environment. It is more than likely you are feeling stuck, trapped, walking on egg shells, paranoia, and or depressed and hopeless. You're need for trust, autonomy, independence, emotional and physical safety and financial security are not being met and you will likely benefit from having tools to help you regain independence.

Frontier Liberty a highly curated directory of tools and resources as well as consulting services designed to help you protect/enhance your liberty, decrease dependency on involuntary systems and solve problems through the free market rather than bigger government.


About the Author: Nick Reed is the Founder and Lead Consultant at Frontier Liberty, a first of it's kind liberty and privacy consulting service. is a one stop shop for liberty and privacy tools and resources. You can follow Frontier Liberty on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Medium, and StumbleUpon.