Grooming to normalize an agenda over time is a manipulative and gradual process in which an individual or group seeks to make their specific agenda or ideology appear acceptable and mainstream. This process often involves several stages:
- Identify Target Audience: The groomer identifies a target audience or individual who may be receptive to their agenda. This could be done based on shared beliefs, vulnerabilities, or interests.
- Building Trust: Groomers work on establishing trust with their target by presenting themselves as trustworthy, supportive, and empathetic. They may create a persona that aligns with the target’s values and interests.
- Gradual Introduction: Instead of immediately introducing their agenda, groomers introduce subtle elements of it, often mixed with more mainstream ideas. This gradual approach makes it less likely for the target to resist or question the agenda.
- Social Validation: Groomers use social validation techniques, such as showing that others are embracing the agenda or ideology. This makes the target feel like they are part of a larger community.
- Emotional Manipulation: Emotional manipulation techniques are employed to keep the target emotionally invested and less likely to question the agenda. This may involve praise, flattery, or sympathy.
- Isolation: Groomers may attempt to isolate the target from differing viewpoints or support systems, making it harder for them to critically evaluate the agenda.
- Incremental Changes: Over time, the groomer introduces more elements of the agenda, making them seem like a natural progression from the ideas the target has already accepted.
- Normalization: The goal is to make the agenda seem normal and acceptable to the target, gradually eroding their initial resistance or objections.
- Maintaining Control: Groomers often maintain control by reinforcing the idea that the agenda is the only source of truth or support, thereby discouraging the target from seeking alternative perspectives.
- Complete Acceptance: Ideally, the target fully accepts the groomer’s agenda, believing it to be their own choice.
It’s important to be vigilant against grooming processes aimed at promoting harmful or extremist ideologies, as they can have serious consequences. Recognizing the signs of grooming and promoting critical thinking and open dialogue can help mitigate its effects.