When I mention my dad’s abuse, I usually mention salient things – physical pain, insults, and controlling behavior. These are “clearly bad” – if I tell that he you often told me I was lazy and would fail horribly at life once I left home, you know it’s bad, because it’s concrete, easy to imagine and obviously unkind. But this wasn’t the worst of the abuse; the most terrible parts were extraordinarily hard to understand or describe.
I actually really like your post! And you! And especially your polls about moral dilemmas. And I think you're probably smarter than me! But I have some objections to this post, fwiw:
1. Every bit of culture you consume affects your frame in some small way, subconsciously. If you want to pathologize "having some detrimental effect on you through modifying your frame, regardless of intent", then almost any friend, blogger, celebrity, writer, director, news outlet, tech company, etc that you've ever seen has probably done a little bit of that at some point.
2. Someone causing you to update your frame is a good thing if the update is towards truth! But good epistemic arguments are rarely conveyed through unspoken subtexts. Maybe it is bad to convince people of things through unspoken subtexts. But this seems socially ubiquitous. I'm not sure what to do with this.
3. "We instinctively know the kinds of things to say to communicate the right unspoken functions." Not sure about that, considering the nerdiness of the audience. I've never been diagnosed with Aspergers, but I struggle with that and tend to be more direct in my communication style.
4. Someone gaining "power over you" through convincing you to do what they want you to do, without violence, is not inherently toxic. It can be, if they convince you of false things, or cause you to do things that are harmful to yourself or others.
5. A lot of this seems like citrus advice in the sense used by this talk: https://www.pathsensitive.com/2018/12/my-strange-loop-talk-you-are-program.html (Heuristics that usually work but don't concisely cut down to the root of the problem and explain it exactly). I want to find the vitamin C in this.
5. Strongly agree with "You don’t have to justify your preferences". Nobody should ever push back on a request to knock before entering your room because "whose room is it" trumps any conflict of preferences there. But outside of personal property, conflicting preferences need to be negotiated and come to some voluntary arrangement. Maybe the platonic form of the evil frame control that can be embedded in these negotiations is the use of (rhetorical dark arts that convince people without making explicit valid arguments) combined with self-centered motives.
6. A related concept that Warren Buffett has repeatedly talked about is that he likes to have an "internal scorecard", in other words to avoid letting his utility function be contaminated by other people's utility functions without really thinking it through. I think the opposite is the default for humans (A friend says they like X, and Bob updates towards liking X. A friend says Bob did a great job, and Bob updates towards thinking you did a great job.) A lot of this "groupthink" can be rational unless you are trying to optimize for having a lot of correct contrarian takes.
I've only heard of "frame control" in the context of dating advice for men. But I always interpreted it as being a tool with a spectrum of good-and-bad rather than just the bad side. I might too charitable; frame control has only been presented to me in the context of dating advice where a man has to avoid slipping into a woman's frame or, conversely, must get her into his frame.
The "good" side of frame control, from my view, comes up when two people are working together to establish a shared frame. As opposed to one person trying to force their frame on someone else.
If you don't push for your perspective at all then the result is living entirely in the other person's frame. If you push too hard then they're trapped in your frame. You need a shared frame for coordinated action so it's worth establishing one but making sure it's fair is very difficult.
The first girl I dated was VERY into frame control but I don't think she knew she was doing it. I think she genuinely wasn't able to understand anything from someone else's perspective and unfortunately was raised badly so her perspective was very negative. She got it in her head that men are awful so no matter what I said or did, it came from an evil place. But when I confronted her about this, she'd say of course she believes I'm a good person.
My current girlfriend has difficulty pushing her frame at all. I have to make an effort not only to avoid being overbearing (which is novel for me) but actually ask her questions to find out her real preferences. Her therapist is teaching her frame control by teaching her to stand up for herself and speak her mind when her feelings are hurt even if she doesn't have a good argument for why she feels as she does.
I suppose my point is that "frame control" as a concept is useful for describing a lot of behaviors including some that are essential for being a good person... in addition to some that are endemic of bad people. If this concept becomes popular then there will probably be a need for two separate words: one for asserting your perspective in general and one for doing so harmfully.
And then there's NLP etc. I am somewhat surprised how you nearly apologize for these great and detailed insights. You do look like a deep expert on this, from personal experience and from having thought a lot about it. I think understanding frame control is monumentally valuable, even a life saving skill, and it is difficult. I certainly recognize people and situations in my life here and I don't think there is anything to apologize for here.
Fascinating to read this in context of your sex guide articles.
One possible synthesis:
Imposing your frame on others, outside of play, is toxic and worth avoiding.
Playful offensive frame control can be amazing (especially for women)
Many people struggle with holding their own frame, which is usually a turn-off
Many men let go of their frame when lightly shit tested because they never learned the distinction between holding their frame and imposing their frame.
I wish you would write a book on this, you only just scratched the surface!