Overwhelming is a concept that is linked to the idea of vassal: one that depends on a monarch or feudal lord. The verb overwhelm, in this way, refers to submit, subjugate or tyrannize.
Subjugation is often linked to authoritarian and disrespectful treatment. When one person overwhelms another, they do not consider their rights or respect their opinions or requests. The action to subjugate can also be carried out by an organization or an entity, even by the State.
For example: “If the government decides to subjugate the rights of workers, we are going to demonstrate in the streets and in squares throughout the country”, “The opposition denounced that the president intends to subjugate democracy”, “I don’t like to subjugate my employees: I prefer to leave them the necessary space to express themselves ”.
For someone to be able to overwhelm another, a situation of inequality must be registered. The underdog is in a position of weakness, which is exploited by the underdog. Otherwise, the enslavement would be resisted and prevented.
Starting from this meaning, we can establish that what an abuser does with his partner is to subjugate her, so that she is completely subject to his wishes. In the same way, those who carry out school bullying also bet on overwhelming the victim, who is absolutely subjugated by those who insult, like and humiliate him in multiple ways.
Dominating, oppressing, subjugating, abusing, subduing or tyrannizing are, therefore, synonyms of the term to subjugate that now occupies us. On the contrary, other words such as redress or liberate could be considered antonyms.
In sports, the idea of overpowering is often used with respect to clearly beating the rival. If a soccer team, after 15 minutes of play, manages to prevail by two to zero, it could be said that it is managing to overwhelm its opponent. If the result then remains unchanged, or even manages to be reversed by the rival team, it will no longer be possible to speak of subjugation. Therefore, in this case, the notion is linked to a specific state or moment.
In literature, the term that we are now dealing with has even been used to give titles to certain works. This would be the case, for example, of the book “Do not be overwhelmed”, written by Peter Lauster and published in 1978.
In the same way, we cannot ignore the existence of an expression that also uses the word at hand. We are referring to “push questions”. It is used to indicate that one person is subjecting another to almost an interrogation without giving him time to speak, that is, that he is only dedicated to answering what is being asked.
Many circumstances may be those that lead to the use of this expression. An example would be the following: “Eva’s father overwhelmed her boyfriend with questions on his first visit to the family home.”