Sunday, July 2, 2023

Body Language Analysis №4705: Steven Crowder's abuse, manipulation, and Coercive Control of Hilary Crowder (Trigger Warning) — Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence


*Note: Trigger Warning for those who’ve been abused in personal relationships.*

The printed translation superimposed upon this video (chyron superimposed on the upper portion of screen) is not entirely accurate or complete. There are also words, sentences, and sentence fragments which are not audible.

The chyron message at the end of this video also alleges actions/events which are claimed to occur after and/or off camera. These alleged acts/events are not further commented on in this analysis.

Relatively speaking, this video contains multitudes of body language, paralanguage, and verbal behavior packed into 3 minutes and 27 seconds. What follows is an analysis of several crucial segments — not the entire exchange.

This video shows an interaction between Steven Crowder and his then Wife, Hilary Crowder (who was approximately 8 months pregnant [with twins] in this video).

One of the most dramatic segments of this video, both verbally and nonverbally, begins at 1:59, when Hilary Crowder says, “…And I, I need some space. You need to just stop [inaudible] for a little bit, okay? I love you. I love you very much.”


Steven Crowder then says, “I don’t love you, that’s the big problem. I’ve never received love from you…” (Note Steven Crowder’s emphasis on the word, “don’t” and “never”).


Hilary Crowder then pulls her shirt down, covering her stomach (2:12).


Then she immediately places her right hand on the top and her left hand in the bottom then center of her abdomen.

Both acts, pulling her shirt down & placing both her hands, w/ full-palm contact, fingers spread, on her abdomen — upon hearing her then-husband saying, “I don’t love you” — are either classic protective displays or her fetuses are moving in response to her fear/stress.

Had she not been pregnant, in this same situation, Hilary Crowder would most likely have crossed her arms, high and tightly, across her upper chest.

Upon watching this video, particularly Steven Crowder’s “I don’t love you,…” portion, you (the reader) may very well have had a similar response as did Hilary Crowder (with empathy for her, mirroring her response).

You also may have moved away from your screen, tightened your mouth/throat, clenched your jaw, and you may have even tasted bile. With high probability, you placed your hands over your abdomen, chest, or your mouth.

With high probability, at the moment she heard those words, Hilary Crowder felt that her children were in danger. This was not necessarily a fully conscious thought, and it wasn’t necessarily true — but with high probability, she felt it to be true in that moment.

Steven Crowder’s next statement, “…that’s the big problem…” is a classic Freudian slip. It *is* a big problem — and he knows it. He believes that he’s the guilty party.

Whether you began watching this middle segment of the video first, or you’ve viewed it in its entirety from the beginning, if you’re familiar with the DARVO acronym, no doubt examples of that manipulative technique are screaming out at you.

DARVO is an acronym for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”. It represents a series of manipulative techniques (used in full or part) that perpetrators of various wrongdoings may utilize in response to being accused and/or held accountable for their behaviors.

Of course, DARVO is not the only technique manipulators may use and they’re not issued an instruction manual — and in some circumstances, fragments of this behavior may be displayed by people who are completely innocent.

However, In a basic sense, this DARVO pattern of behavior is a common perpetrator’s modus operandi and we all should be vigilant for it.

Steven Crowder’s subsequent statement, “…I’ve never received love from you…” implies he thinks that in order to love someone, he must receive love (or what he feels is love) from them.

But love is not a quid pro quo emotion/behavior.

With his impulse control being substantially diminished, Steven Crowder was attempting to impromptu-rationalize his “I don’t love you…” Freudian-confessional.


Earlier in the video (1:20), Steven Crowder says something inaudible. Hilary Crowder then reacts with a deep exhalation, turning her head to her right (away from her then husband), and covering her mouth with the back of her right hand (1:23 – 1:24). 


Next, upon hearing Steven Crowder say, “The only way out of this…, Hilary Crowder then places her right hand on her upper abdomen (1:26 –1:34) — another protective gesture (using one hand, not two, thus it’s less pronounced) as she exhales deeply again.


She exhibits a similar display at 0:57–0:59, touching her lower abdomen with her right hand, after he shouts, “Listen to me, listen to me!” 


After Hilary says, “What do you need to pick up? I’ll get it. I’ll be back when I’m back”, Steven Crowder rotates his feet, legs, hips, and torso — about 45º away from Hilary (1:09).

Depending on the specific situation, this modest body-pointing-away configuration change can be disrespectful. We body-point away from those we don’t like, don’t believe, and don’t respect.

However, this body-pointing-away dynamic, particularly given the context and tension of this specific situation, is also de-escalatory (which is, of course, a good thing, if only de-escalation continued — but it didn’t).


Steven Crowder repeatedly pointed-jabbed gestures at Hilary with his cigar (2:11–2:14, 2:24–2:34, and 3:02). Note this example is while she is holding/protecting/comforting her unborn twins.

Whether jabbing/pointing at another person with a surrogate (cigar or a pen, pencil, fork, etc.), one’s index-finger, middle finger — or combinations of these, this jabbing dynamic is particularly inflammatory and invasive.


Steven Crowder also pointed/jabbed-pointed primarily with his middle finger (i.e., 0:00–0:17). 


This is one common example of a Partial Emblematic Slip — here a middle finger “fuck you” jab.

When people point with surrogate objects (and often even if it’s only with their finger) many of us will ‘feel’ them poking us in the chest.

This is of course, not a literal chest-poking, but it almost feels so — as it has a similar deep visceral response associated with it — even though they may be standing 2–5 meters or more away from us.

Another one of Steven Crowder’s alarming statements is, “Watch it. Watch it. Fucking watch it”, in response to Hilary saying, “I love you, but Steven — Steven, your abuse is sick”.

This “Watch it. Watch it. Fucking watch it” choice of words that’s a particularly common statement analysis red flag of impending impulse control failure — signaling a verbal confrontation with high-potential of crescendoing into physical assault.

The same holds true for the nonverbal jabbing/pointing gesture — it will very often escalate the argument — crescendoing the verbal exchange to a physical one. If you want to de-escalate the argument, don’t point or jab-point.


Note toward the end of the video (2:52) when Steve Crowder sits forward, rotating (body pointing) towards Hilary Crowder. He grabs his left wrist with his right hand for about 3 seconds (2:54–2:57).


This self-wrist holding is a strong signal of physical self-restraint. It’s another reliable indicator that a person’s impulse control is wearing thin and with increasing likelihood the person is about to commit a significant physical act.


The Figure-4 leg crossing (also called the American Figure 4), (one ankle resting on the opposite knee) Steven Crowder displayed throughout much of this video is noticeably out of place in this context.

The Figure-4 leg crossing is a high confidence, low empathy body posture. A person displaying a figure 4 leg crossing is in a very low receptive state. They’re not actively listening, they’re not interested in what you have to say, and their mind is closed.

Steven Crowder’s slouching backward/leaning back at his waist, feet on the table, buttocks pulled away from the back of the couch — coupled with his figure-4 leg crossing are further signals of disrespect, non-engaged, non-active listening emotional tones.


Smoking a cigar whilst arguing with manipulating, gaslighting, and coercively controlling one’s spouse is so absolutely aloof and packed with pathological arrogance as to be worthy of a movie scene.

There’s no evidence of any physical assault occurring in this video. There is, however, plenty of verbal abuse, emotional abuse, coercive control/ manipulation.

Just a few more of the many DARVO-type manipulative examples:

• “I drew a boundary of abuse and cruel” (0:05)
• “No, no — you just did. You just did it.” (0:04)
• “If you refuse to do wifely things, then…”(0:12)
• “How ‘bout you first?” (0:25)

More DARVO-type manipulative examples:

• “You’re goin’ to take the care and leave me here.” (1:04)
• “Hilary, just think of how boxed-in you’ve made me.” (1:05)

… and at 0:42:

Hilary Crowder: “Then I will ask someone to pick me up. Who would you like me to ask?”

Steven Crowder: “Oh is that a threat?”.

This is a profound example of Steven Crowder’s projection, DARVO, and coercive control.

“I can’t call my friends” and “I can be home” — is completely illogical in the context of this argument. Neither have anything to do with Hilary taking the car (it may be in reference to previous arguments).

“The only way out of this is discipline and respect” is extremely manipulative and coercively controlling. It’s objectifying and implies ownership. It reeks of old-testament religious fundamentalism.

“Become someone — listen to me — day in and day out — worthy, a wife worthy” — more misogyny-ownership, religious fundamentalism, manipulation, and profoundly coercively controlling.

SUMMARY: In this video, Steven Crowder exhibited multiple examples of verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and coercive control toward Hilary Crowder. His impulse control was also substantially reduced during this video. This is classic DARVO manipulation.

With high probability, at the moment she heard Steven Crowder say, “I don’t love you, that’s the big problem. I’ve never received love from you…”, Hilary Crowder felt extreme stress and/or fear (for herself and/or her unborn children) and she felt the need to protect them.

In your personal and professional life, you’ve no doubt been exposed to manipulative & coercive control personalities. If you’d want to become skilled at Behavior Analysis and Body Language — and in recognizing these individuals, please email me:


This post and others accompanying it, serve as a reference source for the art and science of Body Language/Nonverbal Communication. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. In an effort to be both practical and academic, many examples from/of varied cultures, politicians, professional athletes, legal cases, public figures, etc., are cited in order to teach and illustrate both the interpretation of others’ body language as well as the projection of one’s own nonverbal skills in many different contexts.