Man in dark shadow showing eyes.

When people behave like monsters | Relational witchcraft

Many of us have felt the sting of a fading relationship, but the sting of relational witchcraft differs vastly. In relationships constricted by relational witchcraft, transparent and open communication withers under the fog of a relational asphyxiating atmosphere.

And in this warped terrain, the battlefield of emotional invalidation emerges, claiming feelings as casualties, while the heart of connection – trust, intimacy, and understanding – crumbles and withers under a barrage of strife, contention, and confusion.

It’s like a slow suffocation, draining your life force and leaving you gasping for air when exposed to relational witchcraft- a phantom asphyxiation in plain sight. This brief description is only one facet of relational witchcraft, a multi-faceted subtle manipulation that is highly detrimental to relationships. In other cases, it may appear different, but one constant is the intimidation, manipulation, and domination (control) woven into seemingly harmless interactions.

Why do we call it relational witchcraft?

We call it “relational witchcraft” because it involves subtly controlling others for personal gain, often through manipulation and deception. Though often subconscious, this behavior can have devastating consequences, similar to the imagery of witches wielding dark magic.

Imagine a facade of niceness and innocence, like a mask. This individual draws you in with warmth and kindness, building trust and security. But beneath the surface, there’s a different agenda. The mask slips when you don’t meet their expectations, express disagreement, correct, or dare to say no. The warmth vanishes, replaced by icy dismissiveness, passive-aggressive digs, accusations, or emotional manipulation.

Like invisible threads, these subtle tactics weave a web of control that tightens with each interaction. Author and pastor Bryan Meadows highlights a key parallel: “Just as witches often mask their intentions with humility, those who use relational witchcraft can appear nice or innocent, concealing their true motives until it’s too late.”

“Witches often hide their agenda behind a facade of humility and innocence. Similarly, people who use relational Witchcraft do the same.” Bryan Meadows

Similarly, people who use relational witchcraft do the same. This facade allows them to draw you close into a false sense of security, building trust before subtly exerting power and manipulating your emotions. Suddenly, the person you thought you knew reveals a different side, or their public persona masks a darker reality behind closed doors.

This constant manipulation creates an unbalanced and ultimately harmful dynamic, where the relationship is exploited for their benefit at your expense. This can lead to the slow erosion of the bond or even deep emotional wounds.

Breaking free from such manipulation can indeed be challenging. But don’t despair! There is hope and a path forward. To understand how these dynamics operate, let’s delve deeper into the subtle tactics of relational witchcraft.

What is Relational Witchcraft?

Adult daughter and mom argue while talking.

  1. Relational witchcraft leverages control tactics like intimidation, manipulation, and dominance to achieve non-consensual power imbalances within interpersonal relationships.
  2. In relationships, relational witchcraft uses emotions, attitudes, and information as tools to manipulate and exploit others.

Relational witchcraft’s insidious touch leaves others feeling powerless, dependent, and emotionally drained. Manipulated and exploited at the whim of the practitioner, their mental and emotional health are often devastated. This dark practice serves only to feed the perpetrator’s sense of self at the expense of another’s well-being.

This blog highlights Relational Witchcraft, a hidden danger disguised as mere conflict. I’ll explore its methods of control and uncover escape routes. As an anchor point for our journey, remember – the Bible categorizes witchcraft as a “work of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-20). However, distinct from commonly known forms of witchcraft that use potions and sorcery, “relational” witchcraft seeks the same end: control over others.

Regardless of the methods used, attempting to gain non-consensual power imbalances over another person within interpersonal relationships is relational witchcraft. This harmful practice that unfortunately can occur in any group or community, including religious settings, which is why I feel it’s important to educate about it. 

Relational witchcraft leverages control tactics like intimidation, manipulation, and dominance to achieve non-consensual power imbalances within interpersonal relationships.

What is the goal of relational witchcraft, and what are its three objectives?

Dartboard with a strategic chess board.

Having laid the groundwork for understanding relational witchcraft, let me define its ultimate goal: seizing power and control over another. This insidious manipulation transcends age, gender, and social standing and is wielded by anyone seeking to control, sway, and or dominate another. To achieve this, the practitioner has three key objectives:

  1. Intimidation: “Intimidation is behavior aimed at influencing another person’s actions through fear, coercion, or threats. It can involve verbal abuse, creating a hostile environment, or even veiled threats of violence, and leaves the victim feeling powerless and anxious.”
  2. Manipulation: Manipulation is a harmful form of influence that undermines autonomy and erodes self-worth, leaving others confused, frustrated, and powerless. It uses indirect and often deceptive tactics to control or exploit another’s thoughts, feelings, or actions for personal gain or advantage. This can include lies, guilt, shame, smirks, sneers, withholding, invalidation, and even physical manifestations like headaches, sickness, and crying, all aimed at controlling another person.
  3. Domination:  Domination, in this context, refers to the complete control and manipulation of another person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. This can manifest in various ways, from overt physical force or coercion to subtle tactics like intrusive questions or cutting remarks; practitioners sow seeds of self-doubt, leaving others second-guessing themselves and their reality.Imagine someone who used to exude confidence and certainty is now constantly questioning their judgment and intentions after interacting with the practitioner. This is a telltale sign of relational witchcraft’s insidious effects. Interactions with the practitioner leave people feeling drained, inferior, and powerless. Rarely does a person walk away feeling empowered or strengthened. The opposite is often true.

    In relationships, relational witchcraft uses emotions, attitudes, and information as tools to manipulate and exploit others.

Beyond intimidation, manipulation, and domination: The hidden strategy.

Young man and woman arguing in the office

We’ve explored the three key objectives of relational witchcraft: intimidation, manipulation, and domination. While intimidation and domination wield the brute force of control, manipulation acts as the subtle scalpel, meticulously dissecting perceptions, severing trust, and reshaping reality with chilling precision. Of the three, manipulation stands as the strategic mastermind, plotting the desired outcomes. Let’s delve into the four categories of manipulation:

  1. Emotional manipulation is a technique that can be used to influence someone’s thoughts and feelings. This often leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and fear, making it difficult for a person to think clearly and make their own decisions.
  2. Behavioral manipulation involves using techniques to control the other person’s behavior. For example, a relational witchcraft practitioner might use isolation, withdrawing and withholding, invalidation, or devaluation to manipulate their victim.
  3. Informational manipulation involves controlling the information flow to the other person. For example, a relational witchcraft practitioner might withhold information, slander, or use triangulation to manipulate their victim.
  4. Spiritual manipulation involves using religion or spirituality to control the other person. For example, a relational witchcraft practitioner might use guilt, shame, fear of God, or a “word from God” to manipulate their victim.

Once the practitioner has gained control of another person, they will use them for their benefit or Glory. Under the practitioner’s supervision, people often feel forced, pushed, or nudged to do things they don’t want, feel ready to do, or isolated from their support system.

Summary: Relational witchcraft is a malicious practice that uses intimidation, manipulation, and domination to gain power and control over another person by leveraging the four types of manipulation (emotional, behavioral, information, and spiritual). Let’s look at how all this works together in the form of daily tactics and techniques experienced in the presence of a relational witchcraft practitioner.

Relational witchcraft, a pervasive form of control, transcends age, gender, social status, and even religious beliefs. Christians, just like anyone else, can engage in manipulative behaviors, often subconsciously exploiting vulnerabilities, fears, and weaknesses. They might even twist love, trust, empathy, and loyalty into tools for control.” Oladele John Okuwobi

Tactics and techniques that practitioners of relational witchcraft use.

Mysterious and disturbed portrait of a young man in darkness
Mysterious and disturbed portrait of a young man in darkness

 Emotional Manipulation Techniques:

      1. Fear: The practitioner creates a climate of fear and intimidation in the relationship. They may use threats, intimidation, yelling, or violence to control others.
      2. Guilt: Practitioners use guilt to manipulate others into doing what they want, even when someone stands up for themselves.  Tears in moments of accountability. The key here is the tears deflect from the work of accountability.
      3. Shame: Interactions with practitioners leave people ashamed of themselves or their choices. They may subtly criticize, belittle, or mock people, using “little jabs” to wear them down. The key here is it’s daily and constant.
      4. Confusion: Interactions with the practitioner leave a person feeling confused, disoriented, and unsure of themselves. The practitioner may present a different reality, making them doubt their existence and seek clarification from the practitioner. The key here is that there’s no mutual hearing of each other; only the practitioner’s account is valid.
      5. Invalidation: The practitioner denies, rejects, or dismisses the other person’s feelings. This can lead the other person to feel like they are the problem rather than there is a problem. This can also lead to suicidal ideation.
      6. Devaluation: Interactions with the practitioner leave a person feeling confused, disoriented, and unsure of themselves. The practitioner may present a different reality than the person’s own, making them doubt their existence and seek clarification from the practitioner. The key here is that only the practitioner’s account is valid, and the person’s experience needs to be heard or validated. There is no empathy, and you feel it!
      7. Planting ideas through projection: The practitioner makes baseless statements that insinuate negative ideas into the minds of others without explicitly stating them. This leaves the other person feeling confused and uncertain about what the practitioner is saying, and it can lead them to develop negative thoughts about themselves or others. If you examine the communication closely, you will notice that the statements do not say anything directly; instead, they project damaging or debilitating ideas or suggestions into your mind that “you” must nurture to bring to life.

Behavioral manipulation techniques.

Girl Sitting on bench

    1. Perpetual wounded vulnerability (PWV): The practitioner manipulates by portraying themselves as perpetually helpless, hopeless, or eternally victimized. They shirk responsibility entirely, expecting others to feel sorry for them and constantly “fix” their problems. This keeps those close to them feeling obligated, burdened with the emotional weight of the practitioner’s fabricated vulnerability. A telltale sign of PWV is the practitioner’s refusal to take responsibility while demanding attention they rarely reciprocate. This can lead to unresolved issues and unhealthy closure, especially when the practitioner harbors grudges and keeps others “on the hook” (emotionally responsible) for past events, even after apologies.
    2. Indifferent behavior: Acting subtly or indirectly, such as giving silent treatment or making sarcastic remarks or jokes at someone’s expense.
    3. Dissatisfaction: The practitioner is constantly dissatisfied. They always have something to complain about or something wrong. The practitioner cannot find happiness, so often in the relationship, the other person feels responsible for making them happy, which is always temporary, fleeting, and impossible.
    4. Withdrawing: Avoiding the person or situation causing the tension. A clear sign of this is surface-level interactions with no real relational intimacy. You may start to experience symptoms of emotional anorexia.
    5. Unresolved tension: The practitioner cannot healthily resolve conflict. They may become defensive, angry, or aggressive when the person tries to discuss a problem. A clear sign of this is threefold:
      • The practitioner’s defensiveness can put the other person on the defensive, leading to an argument.
      • The practitioner may bring up something the other person has done wrong in the past, which prevents them from focusing on the current problem.
      • The argument that ensues often leads to long-lasting division and resentment.
      • This behavior leaves many essential conversations unresolved, creating a cloud of resentment, bitterness, and anger in the relationship, leaving many defiled.
    6. Withholding Intimacy: The practitioner withholds relational and physical intimacy, especially when someone does not comply with their demands or after a confrontation.
    7. Exploitation: The practitioner exploits your weaknesses to make you feel like you are never good enough. No matter how much you comply with their requests, try to fix your negative behaviors, or mitigate them, you always feel like you need to improve and still have more work to do.
    8. Aggressive behavior: Yelling, name-calling, or threatening violence.
    9. Conflict fleeting: The practitioner refuses to communicate or resolve conflict.
    10. Isolation: The practitioner will often lead you away from Godly people or create distrust of Godly influence.
    11. Social engagement shift: The practitioner behaves engagingly at social engagements, but the minute you get alone, the meeting stops immediately.

Informational and spiritual manipulation techniques.

Pars Sahin
Pars Sahin

Informational manipulation techniques:

      1. Deception: The act of intentionally misleading someone about something. It can involve lying, withholding information, or creating false impressions. The goal of deception is to get someone to believe something untrue. White lies, and omissions are their resource.
      2. Slander: The practitioner may spread rumors or lies about someone to damage their reputation.
      3. Denying factual occurrences: This tactic revolves around subtly undermining the validity of another person’s experiences and reality. They might dismiss feelings as “overreactions,” question memories as “exaggerations,” or twist interpretations of events with phrases like “I never said that” or “You’re taking things out of context.” Often, the denials are veiled, delivered through tone, facial expressions, or dismissive gestures, sowing seeds of doubt that gradually erode a persons confidence in their own perception. This can lead to a person constantly second-guessing themselves, resorting to journaling or recording conversations to desperately reclaim a sense of truth in their own reality.

Spiritual manipulation techniques:

    1. Dishonor: The practitioner will talk negatively about you when and if others speak highly of you, they comment to create distrust towards you, shrouded in concern.
    2. Purpose derailment: The practitioner uses behaviors, including sickness, to derail or prevent someone from achieving their goals; they may do this for a variety of reasons, such as to protect their interests, to feel more powerful, or to enjoy the feeling of control.
    3. Prophetic witchcraft: Using religious texts to justify their behavior, praying curses and evil judgments by claiming God authorizes them to do so, and claiming illegitimate authority over a person or situation.
Is there help for those exposed to Relational Witchcraft and practitioners? Yes!

A person with hands clasped together.

It is important to note three critically important things.

  • These tactics and techniques are often combined. For example, a practitioner may use emotional manipulation; often subconsciously, those exposed feel bad about themselves, and then the practitioner uses behavioral manipulation to control their behavior. This is described by a Cincinnati pastor when she says, “Think of a Chipotle bowl.” Intimidation, manipulation, or domination could be mixed with just one tactic or technique. In other words, someone may display a repeated behavior pattern of just one method and tactic/technique.
  • A repeated pattern of behavior must exist; Relational Witchcraft is not an isolated or rare occurrence but a continuous weekly and often daily unending experience.
  • A sign that relational witchcraft may happen is that whatever “it” represents does not improve the relationship.
You are not alone!

Morning exercise and thinking face African American man.

If a practitioner of relational Witchcraft is manipulating you, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Many resources are available to help you, and you can escape this situation. If you are the practitioner, others have revealed that you demonstrated many of these tactics and techniques in relationships. Contact us, and we can help you identify and break free from the root cause of what empowers you to behave this way.

The end goal of the spirit behind relational Witchcraft is destruction. This spirit seeks to take relationships to inoperative functionality, where they can not function as they should, leaving it up to the individuals to deal the final blow– thus issuing the relational death certificate. But remember, our enemy is never people, so we don’t ever hate or remain bitter against people; that’s a recipe for disaster.

It may sound simple, but there are only three ways to overcome Relational witchcraft. The inability or unwillingness of either party to do the following is indicative that Relational Witchcraft may be active.

1. Commit to protecting each other and the value of the relationship through caring, honoring, and validating verbal and nonverbal communication.

2. Each person in the relational dynamic must evaluate, acknowledge, take responsibility and apologize for andy specific behavior that may be causing harm; this takes listening without rebuttal and a willingness to take responsibility for harmful behavior.

3. Avoid accusation, blame-shifting, and name-calling to focus on factual behavior patterns that fit the mold of Relational Witchcraft, then confess the behavior and ask for forgiveness, then show evidence of a changed heart.

Here are a few things you can do.
  • Talk to someone you trust. Talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or religious leader. Talking about what you are going through can help you feel less lonely and get support. Do not name-call, blame, or speak negatively about the presumed practitioner in your conversation. Say when I’m around, I experience–– and state what you share. Only use factual behavior patterns.
  • Educate yourself about Relational Witchcraft. The more you know about this type of manipulation, the better equipped you will be to deal with it.
  • Do not react.  Do not react by demonstrating the same behavior, name-calling, or psychoanalyze the person directly.
  • Seek help for freedom. If you are a practitioner of Relational Witchcraft, will you consider seeking Help? As we’ve found, Beware of Pride is the number one reason practitioners can not ask or seek Help.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people have experienced relational Witchcraft and have gone on to heal, and many practitioners who, if they are humble, have found healing to stop the behavior. With time, support, and professional Help, you can too. We offer confidential help for those who desire it.

The Bible teaches that rebellion is often known as the sin of Witchcraft, but it is also essential to understand that stubbornness (arrogance) is the sin of idolatry. Both rebellion and stubbornness are rooted in pride, which charts a course toward Witchcraft. (1 Samuel 15:23; Galatians )

OlaDele Okuwobi, founder of Start With Wonder, envisions co-laboring with Jesus to propel the church toward a deeper understanding of Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God. This vision unfolds through 21st Century Church, a church plant launched in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2020, and the Love & Unity Project, a consulting and coaching agency that equips churches and organizations to combat personal and systematic bias through righteousness and justice. Their combined efforts aim to inspire lasting change and transformation, both within individuals and within the broader church community. serves as a global platform to amplify this vision, where they craft and mold a collection of messages to share the good news of the Kingdom of God and shift culture.”

Disclosure: This post is not intended to replace professional diagnosis or treatment. It offers a spiritual perspective of Relational Witchcraft to deepen understanding and awareness within faith-based contexts.