All aboard the Big Brother douchetrain: Nobbi and Ben’s inexpert manipulation


I’ve been writing a little about the bullying campaign against Travis in the Big Brother Australia house in this 2008 season. Ringleader Nobbi took out the Friday Night Live games tonight, prompting for the first time a resounding round of boos from the studio audience.

Today’s post at In The Diary Room reveals a little more about the way Nobbi operates – and it’s heartsinkingly familiar to anyone who knows a lot – or a little- about emotional abuse. Step one for a manipulator who wants to gain control? They isolate their victim from potential sources of support, by whatever means necessary. The process of coerced isolation tends to follow a common pattern.

Earlier this week, the lads got together to lie to Travis about Alice, repeatedly telling him that she has said Travis was her “most hated” housemate. After the Truth or Dare debacle in the spa, Travis bit the bullet went to Alice with this allegation, which she debunked. After that, Travis confronted Nobbi and Ben about the discrepancy between their take and Alice’s. Check out the M.O. of these prats. (This may actually be a bit triggering for people who have experienced emotional abuse.)

Nobbi has learned Travis went to Alice and is upset. “You can believe what you want Travis, but we told you because we worry about you. If you’re going to keep doing things this way, then we’re not going to help you anymore.”

Ben asks Travis why he didn’t just believe what they had told him. “We’re the ones that care for you more,” says Nobbi. “What’s the point of us telling you in the first place?” Nobbi says, clearly frustrated. Travis says, “I am glad you value our relationship so much that you tell me.” Ben retorts, “That’s not the point Trav – how can you say you believe us when you had to hear it from Alice?”

He tells Travis Alice will do nothing but sugarcoat things and will not tell him her true feelings. Ben says, “I don’t talk to her at all. She is deceptive and competitive and plays the game.”

The duo tell Travis they’re upset he doesn’t trust them and yet he claims to fully believe what they say. “We’re the ones looking after your back,” says Nobbi, adding that Travis “spat it back” in their faces.

Travis tries to say that Alice just said they were close and the boys don’t have it. “There’s no reason for you to lie,” says Travis. Nobbi replies, “There’s no reason for you not to believe us!” Ben says the way Travis approached Alice, asking her if she did say she didn’t like him, wasn’t the right way to go about things as Alice would only tell him what he wanted to hear. Nobbi says he, Rory and Ben want to protect Travis as he is naive.

Compare and contrast with this outline of emotional abuse techniques from Hope Digits (aimed at women; I’ve de-gendered it):

The abuser tries to control who the victim sees or talks to, where sie goes, and what sie does. Sie may not be allowed to use the phone, see hir friends or visit hir family. Sie may be made to feel guilty for going out and leaving housework undone or enjoying hirself while he worked. He might encourage her to make friends and then complain bitterly that sie is neglecting him.

An abuser justifies this control by saying it is proof of his love, or that he worries about hir safety when she goes out. In reality, he feels that any relationship will undermine his authority and take his partner away.

For thinky BB analysis, check out Eye On Big Brother.

P.S. Aren’t you amazed I managed to refrain from calling him Knobbi? Yeah. Cos that would be childish Cheers.

Categories: media, relationships

Tags: ,

3 replies

  1. This is really disturbing. The other key thing here is that Nobbi and Ben are putting Travis in a situation where he feels like he has to apologise– classic blame-the-victim stuff.

  2. What prize specimens. Tell you what though, it’s a great counter-example for those prats who claim that only women play manipulative head-games like this.

  3. The whole BB setup is a mild form of torture anyway; isolate people from those they know, prevent them from communicating with the outside world, impose a set of arbitrary rules over which they have no control and which may shift or change radically in an unpredictable fashion. It’s psychological torture even before you put the knobheads in there. Yuck.

%d bloggers like this: