Intermittent reinforcement

Intermittent reinforcement is used in operant conditioning as a learning tool in behavioural psychology. It is the irregular and unpredictable provision of reward for desired behaviour. This approach is known to produce the greatest effort from subjects in pursuing said desired behaviour. Within the context of narcissistic abuse, it is applied as a powerful form of manipulation creating trauma bonding used within devaluation to maintain control over targets by ‘sweetening’ the abuse haphazardly. By doing this, one ‘holds on’ waiting for the next hit of sweetness from the narcissist. It also reinforces the belief that if ones tries hard enough, the relationship, and the narcissist can be ‘fixed’.

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