Hypno Safety Kit(Nyeogmi; 4927 words)
There’s an enormous abuse problem in hypno fandom: both hypno-abuse and emotional abuse. You can get hurt badly if you fall into a relationship with someone who wants to use you.
This is an article on how to prevent harm.
Abusive play means:
- play you didn’t want
- dangerous, negligent play: for instance, making long-term changes to your personality or creating a second personality
Most abusive play involves out-of-session suggestions. These are suggestions that you’re expected to follow even when not hypnotized, or suggestions to do real-life things like making social media posts or taking photos of yourself.
The next few sections summarize how abuse works, some common patterns of abusive play, and my thoughts on why abuse is so popular.
How abuse works
A common slogan among hypnosis fans goes “you can’t be hypnotized without your consent.”
For most people, it’s really easy to resist being hypnotized. Resisting hypnosis wakes you back up in the state you were in before.
However, many people can resist it, but choose not to. A hypnotist who’s abusing you might suggest something in a context where the suggestion seems safe and sexy, then use the suggestion in an inappropriate context to get you to do things you shouldn’t do.
Abuse methods: Emotional manipulation
Emotional manipulation exists in every kink subculture. Manipulators are people who use tactics like peer pressure, guilt, and shame to convince you to do things you don’t want to do.
Manipulators often start by showering you with compliments. Sometimes they foist status on you, like a nickname. They often do favors without asking, and they go into it in a way that makes you not-quite-comfortable saying no.
Chances are, if you’re in a session you didn’t really want, and you realize you’re about to be asked to do stuff you’d rather just say no to, you’re being manipulated.
Abuse methods: Harems
A lot of abusive doms make subjects praise them and obsess over them. Within a single session and with consent this is fine. However, as an out-of-session dynamic, this is harmful.
Harems are groups of subjects obsessed with a single dom. The atmosphere of a harem is cultlike and uncomfortable. Most of the conversations are about the dom and members of the group make exaggerated, submissive gestures to get the dom’s attention.
Many doms will add a person to their harem, then move onto someone else and forget about them, leaving them alone.
In many harems, everyone is hypnotized to follow a certain set of out-of-session suggestions. Newcomers are encouraged to submit to the same treatment so they won’t be left out.
Abuse methods: Claiming
Many doms like claiming people. This typically means changing the person’s name or profile text: “owned by @X” or “belongs to @X.” It sometimes means making permanent changes to their character design or personality, usually to match the dom’s.
This is fine when done consensually, but many doms try to claim subjects on their first encounter. They sometimes go from roleplayed claiming to out-of-session claiming without asking permission.
Many doms who claim subjects will restrict their subjects by suggesting that they aren’t allowed to be hypnotized by anybody else. It’s also common for doms to suggest that claimed subjects can’t ejaculate unless they do favors for the dom, like free art.
Abuse methods: Grooming
Many doms are interested in subs who are much younger than them, sometimes underaged people.
If you’re still in high school or college, you have much less life experience than most hypnodoms. You have likely never lived on your own or been abused by someone, and if you’ve been abused by your parents, you may have learned bad norms from them which an abuser can exploit.
For example — at this age, your version of “politeness” probably includes a lot of deference to authority figures because even though you’re an adult, you’re surrounded by superadults (your parents and teachers) who expect you to defer to them.
If you’re underage and lied about your age, and an abusive dom finds out, they can exploit that. They can threaten to tell your other kink contacts, which will explode your circle and isolate you.
Abuse methods: False mentoring
Many doms will offer to mentor you, then use that relationship to coerce you to do other things.
Once you’ve agreed to a mentor relationship, they know mentoring is a thing you want. That means they can bait you with it: they can promise mentoring sessions as a way to get you into a voice call, then do whatever they want since you’re a captive audience.
If they deliver on the mentoring, they can imply that you owe them favors back. They can act like your success is due to their mentoring and like you would be nothing without them. They can also imply that they should be more important to you than other hypnodoms — because even if X and Y and Z can zonk, they’re not your mentor.
If you’re agreeing to mentoring, you’re new, so they know that you don’t know if they’re a big name or not and can imply that they are. They can explain which seemingly abusive hypnotists are “just misunderstood” and which seemingly nonabusive hypnotists are actually bastards, and they’re likely to draw a neat line around their abusive friends and a neat barricade around everyone who called them out in the past.
They can also do abusive play in the course of mentoring, since they can assume you probably don’t know any better.
Abuse methods: Conversion therapy
Some doms will single you out, hypnotize you, and suggest that your personality will permanently change.
They may create an alternate personality and encourage you to drop into that when they’re around, and they may even encourage you to enact it all the time. Or they might give an out-of-session suggestion that you always feel a certain way or want a certain thing.
Paimon Prowler is an abusive dom who uses this strategy to encourage a masc gender expression, even from people who are more comfortable presenting as fem or NB. Other doms use conversion therapy to encourage other people to be interested in their fetishes, to encourage their subjects to become addicted to playing with them, to enforce that people in their surroundings see them as safe and consent-respecting, or — in the case of groups like the droneplay organization CORE — to encourage harem members to recruit their friends.
A less-charged word for conversion therapy is “long-term personality play.”
Abuse methods: Spiral-bombing
Some people will send you an animation of a spiral without asking permission, then tell you you’re hypnotized.
I’ve run into many people who claim to drop into trance involuntarily whenever they see a spiral, but I would be surprised if this was true without conditioning. If you’re one of these people, this could pose a threat to you, I guess.
Abuse methods: Trophy-collecting
Many doms collect photos from people they’ve hypnotized.
I haven’t seen any cases where this worked, and a lot of people have tried it on my friends. I assume it must work on someone.
Abuse is common
There’s a lot of abuse going on in the hypno community. I don’t like it and I don’t think there should be, but I see it and I don’t think it’s going away.
Abusers often have friends: some of these friends will be their subjects, some will be other doms. They don’t treat their friends badly in public.
Unfortunately, abusive play is treated as normal even after it comes to light. It’s common for people to conduct hypnosis sessions without any negotiation at all, then make suggestions intended to be permanent.
A lot of people in the kink-adjacent community think this is just a furry thing, but this also happens on places like FetLife and the findom scene.
There’s a famous hypnotist and IRL abuser who remains unbanned on the Erotic Hypnosis Discord. The server staff are aware of the abuse accusations, and they agree with them, and their response when I asked was “he’s got other places to find victims,” followed by ghosting me. And that’s Fun. (TM)
The furries definitely have it bad, though.
I think the sheer number of abusers, especially in public spaces like Hypnofurs Telegram, means that people are going into play feeling like they’re the weird ones for having a problem with this stuff.
If half the doms who are currently online have a habit of claiming and restricting subs, and none of the subs seem to mind, then aren’t you gonna feel like the weird one for saying you don’t want it?
I also feel like a lot of furries are way too horny to care about this problem — not to mention, desperate for play. The ratio of subs to doms is extremely high and that means that, as long as there are still subs who will agree to bad play, even the most abusive doms will still find people to fuck up.
Unfortunately, I think your best option is to steer clear of shady things on your own. It’s not your fault that shady people are around and they want to do bad stuff, but nobody else is looking out for you.
The bad news is that the people most at risk are unlikely to read this article.
There’s no centralized solution to the abuse problem. Abusers recruit on every platform, including FurAffinity, Reddit, Discord, Twitter, and Telegram: these platforms have 1-to-1 DMs, and there’s no way to police those, meaning they can message anyone they want, including people who don’t know this article exists.
In the next few sections, I’m going to go through a couple common red flags. I think people come equipped with abuse detectors, but I think it helps to have words for the most common danger signs, and there’s some hypnosis-specific stuff I’d like to draw attention to.
Red flags: initial twigs
Usually when someone abuses you, you have a sense that something is wrong.
It might not come right away. Abusers often start with fast-onset, immediate praise — being told that you’re special feels good, and because they don’t care about being genuine, they can lay it on thick. If that’s your thing, you might be aware enough to realize they’re doing something unusual, but not enough to realize it’s bad.
I think most hypno abusers have similarities that make it difficult for them to wear an ordinary face for long. They tend to be possessive and they often tend to seem deflated when interacting with people who aren’t in sub persona.
They seem to know that they come off weird and they hope that once you see the real personality peek through, you’ll think of how much you liked the praise, say “how bad can it be?” and plow ahead.
They’re also hoping that you’ll use norms from your surroundings to make an excuse for what they did.
Some common warning signs:
- they don’t care what you’re into
- they’re much older than you, especially if you’re 18, especially if they waited for you to turn 18
- they say they’ll give you your thing if you agree to do their thing
- they try to get you to agree to stuff before telling you exactly what you’re agreeing to
- they say they own their play partners (especially if there’s five or more)
- they imply they can make you do stuff without consent
- they take purely in-character fantasies and imply you should want them in real life
- someone complains about X — a hypnosis act — and they reply “well, what is X really?”
- if they’re not in a superior role to you out-of-character, they try to start an in-character interaction where they’re the top
Some hypno-specific signs that tell you you should get out immediately:
- they imply they can do hypnotherapy to you
- they come up with an excuse to give you permanent suggestions right away
- they try to make you do things when you’re not in a session
- they try to use session-only suggestions when you’re not doing play, especially triggerphrases
- they try to addict you to them
- they say, after you accept a suggestion, that it’s now an out-of-session suggestion
- they ask you, while hypnotized, to agree to do things you know you would not normally be OK with
- they shame you or imply you’re a bad person for not doing play with them
- they tell you “instead of saying/thinking no, you’ll X”
- their subs are fine with things retroactively (“I didn’t consent to this, but now I like it”)
- they start scenes out of nowhere and expect you to follow along
As for doms with harems: that’s a bad sign, although not all harems are abusive. If the harem’s only topic is “them,” that’s a bad sign. If the harem pressures you to do play, that’s a really bad sign. And if the dom seems unwilling to talk to you without their harem around, you’re probably in a peer pressure-related abuse scenario.
If someone zonks someone into telling you to let them zonk you, that’s a bad sign.
Red flags: Bad excuses
A lot of people get blitzed by an abuser, realize something went bad, and, like the abuser was hoping for, they continue right on.
After the initial blitz of affection, abusers tend to give gifts and try to make themselves a regular part of your routine. They may claim to be the only person who has the thing you want.
All that stuff makes it hard to abandon a relationship with an abuser. Many people will defend the abuser’s behavior in these situations.
There are red flags about behavior and there are also red flags you can catch yourself on when you’re talking about behavior.
You probably won’t have all of these, but if you do any any of these things, step back from the relationship you’re in:
- you catch yourself explaining why some detail of the relationship you’re in is different from what it looks like
- you get anxious about the idea of the other person in the relationship messaging you
- you think “I’m not supposed to be thinking that”
- you catch yourself taking some detail of what happened and saying it “doesn’t count”
- you tell yourself it’s fine for this person to do something that would normally be abusive
- you gush about this person’s positive qualities before making any criticism of them
- you laugh nervously and retell stories about this relationship to your friends as if you’re expecting them to answer with a verdict
- you pressure your friends to say the relationship is fine, but feel uncomfortable when they agree with you that it is
- you describe the person in simplistic, positive terms (“a good person”) even though they are hurting you
- you resist writing your honest feelings because you don’t like what you see when you imagine how the other person would react
- you try to make your summary of what happened short and reductive
- you find yourself editing the story as you retell it to friends, because you’re worried they would be concerned if they heard it in full
- you tell a different version of the story to people who don’t know the other person involved
The new normal
People who operate according to bad norms all the time tend to skew their surroundings to match what’s going on in their head. This creates a new sense of what “normal” is.
Some abusers share their venue with other abusers who treat their subjects in similar ways. This happens a lot in findom communities, where unethical findoms retweet other unethical findoms all the time. If two people who don’t appear to know each other are engaging in the same abusive behavior, it makes the behavior look normal.
Many people make excuses for abuse because of that new normal — which often says that the abuse is fine, that it’s bad to criticize it, or that you’re the bad guy unless you meet a high, arbitrary standard of proof.
You might even make some of these excuses yourself.
Here’s a few common bad norms in hypnosis communities.
Bad norms: “Bad things are only bad if they’re deliberate.”
In a lot of communities, “I was horny and I wasn’t thinking about my actions” is a license for bad behavior.
It’s easy to say “can you prove I wanted to hurt you? Maybe it happened by accident.” It’s also easy to blame drunkenness, stuff like that.
If you hear this enough times, you’re likely to start saying “I don’t know if he intended to hurt me” as if it somehow clears your dom for his gross negligence.
Bad norms: “False accusations are likely to happen and incredibly bad.”
Many communities are more concerned with the threat of false accusations than with preventing harm after true ones. The harm potential of temporarily removing someone from a space is low, but many communities still won’t do it.
These communities often act like removing someone from their community is one of the worst things you can do to a person. Since there are never any intermediate consequences, and there’s never a holding cell, the only option is to do nothing.
Some communities use one-on-one mediation to deal with abuse accusations, which makes it onerous to report abuse. Someone who thinks something bad happened now has to worry “am I going to have to let the person I’m accusing cross-examine me?”
Bad norms: “Negativity is drama.”
A lot of communities assume that if you’re saying negative things about someone, you’re instigating a fight and that makes you the bad guy. Fights aren’t “about” something — they should just be ended.
Bad norms: “Subs are less important than doms”
Hypnosis communities never say this out loud, but they express it in tacit ways. If a dom apologizes, the sub is required to accept it; if a sub apologizes, the dom can demand a better apology.
Subs aren’t allowed to criticize their doms’ friend circles, but doms are allowed to tell subs not to do play with anyone but them.
It’s normal to be childish and pissy at subs when they show non-subby parts of their emotional range.
If a sub blocks a dom, they’re expected to explain why they did it.
Bad norms: “Maybe the thing that happened was fine, actually.”
In a lot of communities, play isn’t negotiated at all. It’s common for hypnotists to suggest that, whatever their fetish is, the subject wants that. Afterwards, it happens and then the hypnotist and the (still-hypnotized) subject collaboratively decide “was that good or bad?”
Who wins this argument? The guy who’s not crosseyed and drooling on his desk.
The close relatives of this norm have names like “If I said yes to it, it was OK for the dom to do it,” and “I felt like I wanted it, so it’s fine that it happened.”
In spite of the above, I don’t think hypnosis is that dangerous. I think most of the above could happen in other kink communities.
I think people who are trying to hurt other people using hypnosis will fail most of the time — the most prolific hypno-abuser I know of only hooks one victim a month — but if they try enough times they will probably succeed eventually, and you don’t want that happening to you.
And non-hypno abuse happens a lot.
Harm reduction: Things not to do
There are some play-types that I think are not safe.
Don’t let anybody give you a trigger that can be activated by literally anyone. This is called an open trigger.
Don’t let anyone give you an alternate personality. If someone tells you to enact a character during a session, that’s fine. However, some people like implying that the character you enact is a real person who’s not you — that framing is a big deal for alter play and tulpa play people, and the people who are into that seem to have a literal fetish for making other people do self-destructive things.
I’ve seen a lot of outright sadism from tulpa guys; it’s common for them to frame “ceasing to do their playtype” as “committing literal murder” which I think is awful.
Harm reduction: The buddy system
If you haven’t done hypnosis before, I kind of advise that you find someone else who can watch you and make sure you don’t do anything wildly uncharacteristic.
Chances are, nobody’s going to try anything with you, but it can’t hurt to have someone to check in with after your session.
If you can teach your friend how to do a simple hypnosis routine, they can return you to normal after a session that goes bad.
Having your friend install a safety is a good idea — they can tell you “If anyone ever gives you a suggestion you’re not comfortable with, you’ll easily wake and lose any suggestions you don’t want anymore.”
Harm reduction: Before play
Once you’ve agreed to have a session, check to see if your hypnotist’s attitude towards you changes.
A common manipulative move is to imply “well, now that you’ve agreed, you can’t back out,” then redefine what you’ve committed to. Look for any signs that you would be made to feel guilty if you said no.
Be sure to tell your hypnotist to explicitly remove all suggestions from you at the end of the session, during the awakener. A good wording goes: “And you won’t be holding any of my suggestions after this. You’ll be able to respond as if I never hypnotized you.”
Harm reduction: Detecting problems after play
After you do a session, make sure you know what happened in the session.
Chances are you will remember everything that happened. If you don’t, that’s not a big deal. Most people don’t hold post-session amnesia for long, even if that’s specifically what the hypnotist suggested. If you were hypnotized in text, you can reread the logs.
Think of things that happened in the session that you wouldn’t usually be comfortable with, and remember moves the hypnotist did to make you comfortable with them anyway.
When a hypnotist suggests things to you, they’re making rules. Those rules can shape your perceptions, but there’s a “you” underneath that’s following those rules, and if that underlying version of “you” can’t operate comfortably inside those rules, you’ll feel a sense of internal conflict.
In those cases, you’ll know on some level there’s a problem and will eventually be able to admit it to yourself.
Even if you don’t know for sure if there’s a problem, there’s a couple harmless activities you can do with any hypnotist that will help you figure that out.
Harm reduction: Resolving problems after play
Any hypnotist can put you into trance and turn off the suggestions you’re following. People who are following a lot of suggestions are usually easy to hypnotize, so it’s likely that even a totally uninitiated friend could help you out.
Any hypnotist can do the following routine to look for hypno problems and clear you out:
- Put you into trance.
- Tell you to think of which people you’re holding suggestions for and have you make a list of people.
- For each person who you’re concerned about, ask you to list any suggestions you can think of for that person. (Text is a good format for this list, even if the rest of the session is done in voice.)
- Tell you that none of those suggestions apply for this session.
- Tell you that you’ll sleep again when they tell you to, but for now you’ll wake.
- Talk with you about the suggestions and discuss whether you want them.
- Put you to sleep again.
- Tell you which suggestions will apply when you wake, and say that the rest are permanently gone.
- Tell you to wake.
Turning off suggestions temporarily is harmless and anyone can do it easily. If you want them back, then as long as you haven’t been told they’re permanently gone, they’ll come back exactly as they were before.
Some hypnotists will try to be sneaky and say “if any other hypnotist tries to remove this suggestion, that won’t work.” This is common in consensual play based on the fantasy of being hypnotized beyond help, but I think it’s more of a fetish trapping. Even if someone says this to you, anyone can still remove the suggestion.
Hypnotic suggestions aren’t good at modifying long-term behavior. For waking people, disobeying them does not feel good but is usually easy.
Harm reduction: Getting out of long-term stuff
Most of the hypno abuse I’m aware of occurred in the context of a long-term relationship where emotional abuse was also going on.
Emotional abuse can screw you up badly, and an emotional abuser can threaten (without bluffing) to separate you from your friends.
When you’re in this situation, getting out can be hard, so your first move is going to be to prevent it.
To avoid this, it’s important to have friends outside of a single harem or hypno scene. Not everyone you know should be friends with everyone else you know. You should have an identity outside of “the things you’re horny for.”
You need to take regular breaks from play and you need to be able to say to yourself, about everyone in your life, “if I found out this person was an abuser, I would be able to separate myself from them.”
Ideally your friends aren’t abusers, or even close to being abusers, but you still need to be able to truthfully say it. Look for deliberate moves intended to make leaving awkward — if someone you play with starts claiming your friends, even consensually, there’s a chance they’re trying to make it hard for you to leave. Try to limit the number of longer-than-four-hour phone calls with any single person, especially if they’re domming you.
If you’re in and you haven’t realized something is off, I don’t think I can give helpful advice, because from your perspective there is no problem.
If you’re in, you’ve realized something is off, and you’re trying to get out, you need to follow some rules:
- Never ever lie to yourself about anything that’s happening.
- There’s a measure of truth to your first reaction.
- Avoid being in the same room as the person who is trying to manipulate you.
- Look at how this person treats people who aren’t you and ask yourself if it’s acceptable.
- If there’s a question you need the answer to but feel uncomfortable asking, that’s a sign you need to ask that question.
Sometimes you’ll violate these rules on accident: it’s easy to lie to yourself without meaning to. There’s a follow-up rule to that — once you realize you’ve broken a rule, change your behavior and switch back to following it.
If your friends are in, you’re out, and you’re trying to do something about it, I’m not sure what to do, but here’s some of the things friends of mine tried which seemed to help:
- Consider asking them to reevaluate whether the relationship is working, rather than asking them to rule on the person
- Compare their situation to situations they know are bad.
- Bring up clear red flags and explain how those red flags apply to their situation.
- Try to avoid taking a dramatic role with them: don’t play the victim, don’t accuse them of being a bad person, and don’t give them dramatic, un-asked for help.
- If you’re tired of the situation, step out before you resent them.
- Refuse to include the abuser when you hang out with that person.
Getting people out of an abuse situation is extremely hard to do, so I have no advice that’s guaranteed to work. I tend to find the thing extremely frustrating and I’m guilty of being rude to people who were being victimized but who had their blinders on.
As a warning, doing anything emotionally unsustainable will burn you out.
This is bleak stuff.
There’s a few consistent abusers in the hypno community. They will probably never vanish from the scene, because there’s no centralized way to expel them, they’re contacting people one-on-one, and this is their main hobby.
Like I said, the people who are most likely to be abused are people who are not reading this article. You probably only know this article exists because you follow me on Twitter. Furries who don’t know anyone and who want to be hypnotized are likely to search on FurAffinity, ending up on Hypnofurs Telegram, which is a dangerous place.
It’s important that you watch your circle and keep your friends safe. You can’t make their decisions for them, but you can make this info available to them.
One person who says “that’s fucked up” is enough to defeat an “everyone’s doing it” in the mind of someone who knows the thing that’s going on is wrong, but who feels like they’re alone in that opinion.
A special note for pure doms: you probably think this stuff can’t happen to you. You might even be right. Abusive subs do exist, but you likely have other places to turn if one shows up. You’re not likely to have this one subject or else no one, and your nightmare subject is unlikely to go around claiming your friends.
However, the people you do play with aren’t necessarily safe. You gotta watch out for them too, even though you don’t have nearly the same level of incentive to.
There’s one other thing which I’ve run into, which is doms who do the bad stuff but say “it’s not bad in my case.”
If you read this stuff and think “well, fuck, that looks like my play,” you’re likely going to be tempted to make a special case for your play when you reexplain all this. In particular, a lot of doms actually do have harems and think “well, my harem is benign.”
During the time I was writing this a friend of mine told me (in more words) that they had badgered a person into letting them add a trigger, and then did so without clear unhypnotized consent from that person. The person became extremely uncomfortable with the trigger and it had negative real-life effects on them.
Somehow my friend thought they were the victim in this situation. I’m not friends with that person any more.