SUBLIMINAL HARASSMENT which is known by several other terms such as head games, mind-fucking, jerking around and psychological rape works by causing the mark, the individual being targeted, to be made so uncomfortable, irritated, depressed, intimidated or frightened that they can be manipulated into doing things they normally would not do voluntarily but not be consciously aware of the fact that they are being harassed or manipulated.
It has developed because traditional overt harassment is harder and harder to get away with due to the expansion of protected classes and explosion of related frivolous lawsuits. Properly executed subliminal harassment give all the benefits of traditional overt harassment but none of the legal liabilities since it difficult or impossible to prove that is has occurred.
It is possible to undermine the credibility of a even very sympathetic individuals and turn them into an object of hatred, disgust and derision by portraying them as a threat. Historically this has been most effective when used as a political tool against members of unpopular underclasses by associating individual members with vague paranoid threats such as: the International Jewish Conspiracy, the Gay Agenda or "a vast right wing conspiracy." In the office setting the most effective way to do this is to spread rumors that the mark is violent, mentally ill, a sexual predator or harasser, a stalker, a child molester or possess some other attributes that will frighten or disgust others.
I worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld from 1988 to 1991. After I was terminated the firm alleged to a state human rights agency that I was "potentially violent" and mentally ill. These designations are typical of subliminal job harassment. The fact that the employer used these labels is simply evidence that the firm's management came to side with the employee-harassers.