The smear campaign has been called the trademark of the sociopath, but it is not only sociopaths who exhibit this extraordinarily malicious behavior. Although the author links the distortion campaign to BPD, borderline personality disorder, it is also a characteristic of people who better fit the diagnostic criteria of other personality disorders; narcissistic, histrionic, and anti-social or psychopathic. The bottom line is that it is not “normal” to set out to harm others. Anyone who degrades to such behaviors is either personality disordered or a recruit with weak character, a minion.
The article, and the comments that follow, provide an excellent read about personality disordered vindictiveness, the susceptibility of bystanders, the inability of courts and other authorities to recognize the malign behaviors, and the devastating consequences for both the individual being targeted and others in his/her proximity; especially the children in custody cases.
Note: The terms vilification campaign, smear campaign, and distortion campaign are used synonymously.
Written by: Rob
One of the classic behaviors of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is the vilification campaign. The target is the person against whom the perpetrator Borderline conducts the vilification. The intent is to destroy the target’s reputation and thereby destroy the target’s relationships with family and friends, employers, co-workers, doctors, teachers, therapists, and others. The intent may even be to force the target to leave the community, put the target in prison, or even kill the target. As with so many things involving Borderlines and their typical inability to understand or respect boundaries, there really are no limits. They will use basically any means available to them to cause damage to their target, including denigration, endless disparaging remarks, fabrication, false accusations, and even teaching others (including their children!) to lie on their behalf as part of their vilification campaign.
Dr. George Simon, author of In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, presents this list of 14 tactics that manipulators use to get you to do what they want. He points out the importance of recognizing that these tactics are offensive moves employed by the covert-aggressive to either maintain a position of power, gain power, or remove an obstacle from getting what he wants. You’ll be better equipped to deal with manipulators if you are familiar with this list of tactics, and can identify them when you encounter them:
“A manipulative person … is a covertly aggressive personality.”
“You ask a manipulator a direct question, you rarely get a direct answer.”
By Sarah Newman, MA
The need to control others may not make a lot of sense to you. If you’re a live-and-let-live person, you’d never want to control someone else. Even if you’re a perfectionist, you stay on your own case all day, not necessarily someone else’s.
But controllers are out there. They want to micromanage what you say, how you act, even what you think quietly in your own mind. It could be your boss, your spouse, or even your parent. You can’t be yourself around them. They insist on being your top priority and want undue influence over your life. They might push your buttons to get an emotional reaction out of you because they want to exploit it as weakness. They have no respect for you or your boundaries.
There are plenty of theories why someone would want to control you. One is that people who can’t control themselves turn to controlling others. This happens on an emotional level. A person full of insecurities has to exact a positive sense of self from other people because their self esteem is too low to do it for themselves.
Maybe people control because they are afraid of being abandoned. They don’t feel secure in their relationships and are often testing to see if they’re about to be betrayed. The paradox is that their behavior creates exactly what they fear the most… Continue reading:
Published on PsychCentral.com
Sarah Rae Newman is an Associate Editor at Psych Central and a science blogger. The author of several books, she received her MA in psychology from the New School for Social Research and an MFA in writing from CCNY.
November 10, 2017
Dr. George Simon
Relational aggression (or relational violence) generally refers to all the forceful ways a person might try to assert power or dominance in a relationship. But these days, many use the term to describe attempts to damage someone’s social standing or wreck a good relationship they enjoy. In any case, this kind of behavior destroys. It serves only to bring its perpetrator a sense of power or importance. And it stems from the aggressor’s lack of empathy.
Two Main Types of Aggression
Aggression can be of two main types: overt or covert. Someone is overtly aggressive when they make no bones about what they’re doing. Maybe they simply want to hurt you. But they might also want to get something from you. Perhaps they want to take advantage or have power over you. Whatever the case, they mean to aggress and don’t try to hide it.
Covert-aggressors operate differently. They don’t want to be seen for who they are or what they’re doing. The relational aggression they engage in is subtle, underhanded, or even concealed. So, you barely realize what they’ve been up to until the damage is already done. This is the kind of aggression that underlies most interpersonal manipulation. Moreover, it occurs quite frequently. So, many years ago I felt compelled to write a book about it.
Covert Aggression in the Social Arena
In our times, relational aggression has taken on some interesting new dimensions. Covert aggressors can damage your social standing or your relationships in some very sneaky ways. They can put out false information about you on the internet. They can spread nasty rumors and lies. Or they might defame you on social media. A skilled covert operator can even use surrogates to do their dirty work. That way, they leave no “fingerprints” and can convincingly deny their evildoing. Young persons are particularly vulnerable to this kind of behavior. But no one is immune.
Why do these relational aggressors do what they do? We used to think that they came from a fearful, insecure place. But we’ve learned better. Some folks simply lack empathy. They care only about themselves. Sometimes, all they want is a sense of power. Other times, they might merely be seeking amusement – at your expense. And in the coming weeks I’ll be saying more about why these behaviors are so prevalent nowadays.
Character Disturbance has entered its third major printing. As always, thanks for your support and recommendation of my books.
Visit Dr. Simon’s blog: drgeorgesimon.com
• Knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine what tactics are likely to be the most effective.
• Having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim.
When “Don” told the priest who ran St. Michael’s Home for Children on Staten Island that one of his employees had molested him repeatedly over the previous two years, the clergyman gave the boy a lecture about damaging another man’s reputation. Then he told Don to report to the employee who allegedly sexually abused him for his punishment.
The Empathy Trap:
by Dr Jane McGregor
and Tim McGregor
Excerpt: Apaths are an integral part of the sociopath’s arsenal and contribute to sociopathic abuse. Sociopaths have an uncanny knack of knowing who will assist them in bringing down the person they are targeting. It is not necessarily easy to identify an apath; in other circumstances, an apath can show ample empathy and concern for others—just not in this case. The one attribute an apath must have is a link to the target.
How apaths, who might otherwise be fair-minded people, become involved in such destructive business is not hard to understand, but it can be hard to accept. The main qualifying attribute is poor judgment resulting from lack of insight. They might be jealous of or angry at the target, and thus have something to gain from the evolving situation.
At other times, the apath might not want to see the ‘bad’ in someone, particularly if the sociopath is useful. Or they might choose not to see because they have enough on their plate and do not possess the wherewithal or moral courage to help the targeted person at that time. Usually, be it active or passive involvement, the apath’s conscience appears to fall asleep.
The term bullying typically refers to direct, confrontational attacks on another person. Social aggression, however, typically lacks direct confrontation and is often done covertly. It takes the form of spreading rumors, gossip, excluding one person from a group, verbal attacks, and cyberbullying. Studies have found that those who are socially aggressive typically use this form of bullying to protect their place among peers or place themselves above their peers.
In the U.S. alone, over 100,000 students miss school every day due to indirect bullying. This type of bullying is often attributed solely to adolescents, though it is common among college students, in suburban neighborhoods, and workplaces. In adulthood, the most common form of this type of aggression is usually gossiping and spreading rumors. In general, the smaller the community, the more this issue occurs.
Relational aggression can have damaging effects on victims.
Adolescents who have been subjected to these types of attacks are more likely to develop depression and eating disorders. Relational aggression may also be responsible for a drop in academic performance and almost always harms a young adult’s social life. Among adults, this aggression can cause stress related physical disorders, limit job productivity, and greatly reduce self esteem.
The effects of social aggression often depend on the amount of support a victim has outside of school or work. Children with supportive parents, caregivers, other adult figures, or friends tend to handle this type of bullying better than those without this foundation. In severe cases, indirect bullying can be a catalyst for suicidal thoughts or actions; in some cases, it causes a victim to take his or her own life.
Due to the potential damaging and life altering affects of social aggression, especially for young adults, many schools have adopted zero tolerance policies for bullying. Teachers and parents are taught to recognize signs of social aggression in both the perpetrator and the victim. Abusers are typically punished and in extreme cases, may be suspended or expelled from school.
Once the crude schoolyard bully, they have become skilled at undercover ‘baiting and bashing’ tactics and avoiding accountability. Victims, chosen because of certain personality traits and vulnerabilities, may find themselves subject to a smear campaign and marginalized, gratifying the sadistic pleasure of a bully to no fault of their own.
Abusers operate on the sly.
Baiting & Bashing
Exposing the Bully
Bystanders and Bullying
Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse
Bullies Get a Kick out of Seeing Others in Pain
BY KRIS LEE
While we all are manipulative to some degree, manipulators engage in set behaviors on a regular basis. Manipulators use deceptive and underhanded tactics by exploiting another person for power, control, and privileges at the other person’s expense. They play on your good intentions, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses to get what they want. Don’t be surprised if a manipulator is someone you trust or even love.
When someone is clearly wronging or hurting you and you are the one feeling bad and apologizing for their wrong doings, you are being manipulated. Manipulative behaviors are learned, most often in childhood. Thus, unfortunately it’s something that can’t be quickly unlearned. So, watch out for some common signs to spot them and once you do, pull them out of your life immediately. They are toxic weeds in your life.
Some manipulators are highly skilled and their tactics are so subtle that it can control you for a long time before you finally figure out what’s happening. Skilled manipulators have a way of twisting a previous conversation or replaying it to suit their needs. They will do something to hurt you and when you express how you feel about it, they’ll turn the situation around, make you feel guilty and end up justifying their actions.
Does your partner say or do things that make you feel like you must be crazy and then tell you you’re making something out of nothing? Obviously your partner twists the truth or leaves out certain information to make you doubt your own perception and sanity.
They twist your thoughts and actions bit by bit until you look to them for guidance on everything. They mold you into someone who serves their own purposes. Sadly, you trust them more than you trust yourself. Their motives are almost always self-serving, and they have little interests in how you feel or how their behaviors impact you and your life.
They consistently point out your shortcomings, then show you that with their help, you can do better and become better. In that way they convince you that they have your best interests in mind, but the truth is they don’t.
Manipulators need to be in control, and the desire for control often masks underlying feelings of their own insecurity. They need to feel superior and powerful. They have a deep narcissistic desire to shift the focus somehow to themselves and seek you out to validate them.
Manipulators claim that they know how the world should be, how you should act and of course by their rules. They are virtuous and righteous. They are saints in their own minds, so you’d better agree. They know what’s best for you. Just ask them and they will give you advice and will make your life miserable if you don’t do what they say or utterly worship them. Besides, they are great debaters, so you never win.
Manipulators have difficulty accepting responsibility for their behavior and it is always about what everyone else had done to them. If you call them on their behaviors, they’ll find a way to turn it around to make you feel bad or guilty. Manipulators may say yes to a request or make a small commitment to you, and then when the time comes to follow through, they conveniently forget what they said or deny the fact that they even promised.
They blame you for what they’ve said, done, not said or not done. If you point out how they just turned the tables, they’ll most likely make you look selfish and pitiful. Thus, you can’t really prove anything so it’s your bad memory against their lying words. You begin to question yourself and even feel bad that you challenged them. Manipulators will never admit their wrong-doings when it puts them at a disadvantage. Instead, they’re always on the lookout for someone to blame, and here, alas, it’s you.
Manipulators are good at keeping score so that one day they will blame you if things don’t work for them. They are willing to help but it always comes at a price. They remind you of that one time they helped you out and use it as a way to manipulate you into feeling like you owe them something.
They attempt to establish intimacy by sharing their deep personal information that they make you believe they trust you and in turn, you trust them. You may initially perceive them as very sensitive, emotionally open and a bit vulnerable. You won’t suspect at all that you are being played. Since they are able to mirror your needs and desires perfectly, they are able to create the persona or mask of who you think they are, but it’s all an illusion.
Manipulators want to listen to what you have to say in order to find out your strengths and weaknesses. Although it may feel like genuine interest and that they are good listeners, keep in mind that there may be a hidden agenda behind all this interest. They won’t hesitate to use all of these against you with an arsenal of effective manipulation tactics.
Once again when you call them out on their behavior, more than likely, you’ll get a defensive and angry reaction rather than being direct and forthright communication. They usually sidestep honest communication and use passive aggressive methods instead. They try to intimidate you with aggressive language, subtle threats or outright anger, especially when they see you are uncomfortable with confrontation.
If you try to have an open and honest conversation about moments when you feel hurt or invalidated, you will be shut down with allegations that you are being too sensitive, insecure, or over-reacting. They may pretend to be sweet and open-minded to your face, and while they might not hurt you directly, they will find subtle ways of undermining or belittling you.
Manipulators seldom express their needs, desires, or true feelings. They seek out the vulnerabilities in others in order to take advantage of them for their own benefits and deflect their true motives. They have no ability to love, empathy, guilt, remorse, or conscience. To them, life is merely a game of taking power and control and getting what they want. They see vulnerability as a weakness and staying invulnerable is a great way to hide who they really are. So, if you don’t live up to their so-called standards and they are filled with contempt for you, it’s so easy for them to simply get up and move on.
The cop wanted her car keys. Kelli Peters handed them over. She told herself she had nothing to fear, that all he’d find inside her PT Cruiser was beach sand, dog hair, maybe one of her daughter’s toys.
Now she watched as her ruin seemed to unfold before her… Continue reading…
This is roughly how it can be done (ad absurdum for emphasis):
You are stupid.
Are you accusing me of being stupid!?
You are accusing me of making accusations!
…but what you said was rude and untrue.
More accusations! And you are calling me a rude liar!
Why did you call me ‘stupid’?
You are harassing me.
I want an explanation. Was it something
I told you to leave me alone! Stop harassing me! Look, everyone, I am being victimized by that evil person for no reason!
• • •
Originally posted on Dating a Sociopath:
The sociopath uses a number of tools to manipulate.
If you spend enough time around the sociopath, his Mr Nice, Mr Helpful, and Mr Wonderful personas wear off. Once he has his slippers firmly under your table, hand in the fridge, and the warm half of your bed, a totally different character begins to appear. To cope with this, you need mental agility, for the sociopath is the master game player. And what he intends to do is play a game with your life. You will be left feeling absolutely confused.
What is deflection? Deflection takes focus away from the accusation. To use an example, if you had concerns that your partner was cheating, perhaps you have evidence that he is having an affair? You confront your partner, holding the evidence, and you are fairly sure that you now have him cornered… Or so you think!
Evidence, means little…
Read original 850 more words:
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Individuals with psychopathic traits are often attracted to affinity groups—religious, atheist, political, or social groups of people who share common values, beliefs, or interests. The collective trust that members of these groups have in one another and their common belief system provides a perfect cover for the psychopathic person. A psychopathic individual can be highly skilled at accurately mimicking the group’s beliefs or values while in the presence of its members. As a result, trust is easily gained and his or her true motives or covert activities are less likely to be discovered or recognized as malicious.
An affinity group that has been victimized may have members who are unable to face the truth about a covert bully. Often, they will rationalize his or her behaviors and continue to believe that the person is basically good at heart.
Unfortunately, it is common for the group to side with the psychopathic person if he or she has targeted an individual member to exploit, abuse, or ostracize. With a well established virtuous public persona and respect from the group, skillful manipulation and deceit, and a careful choice of target, the aggressor will turn the tables and have others believe the victim is the guilty party.
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AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF PSYCHOPATHY
“I don’t understand why she would give it all up for a piece of sh*t killer. He must have played some serious mind games on her.”
~ A relative of Joyce Mitchell
When this story was unfolding in the news, I thought it would turn into a Major Teaching Moment about psychopaths and their powerful manipulative skills…
Continue reading: Manipulation: How Far Can It Go?
Rosa says: Isn’t it amazing how sociopaths can run around smearing people, telling insidious lies with impunity…THEN…when WE try to warn others (with the TRUTH) about possible danger of the socio, it’s “Kill the Messenger” time…and we are the “Messenger”. What’s up with that?
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What you are describing is the standard abuser protocol called DARVO, an acronym for Deny, Attack, Reverse roles of Victim and Offender. Your question and your righteous outrage are about psycho/sociopaths’ ability to harm others easily and repeatedly—with impunity—sometimes with devastating consequences for their victim. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the victim’s friends and family may withhold support or reject him/her at the worst of times because the abuser had the evil foresight to secure their sympathy and support, and at the same time, destroy the victim’s reputation and credibility.
Manipulators and other significantly disturbed characters can be quite deceiving in their self-presentation. They can come across as amiable and charming. They can even appear to appreciate and value you. And when they mount their charm offensives, they can knock you off your feet and bowl you over. Only after they’ve gotten what they wanted are you likely to start seeing more of their true colors. But not all folks who mount charm offensives are offensive, reprehensible characters. And not all of the things that make a person attractive to us need be regarded with skepticism. As mentioned in the prior article in this series (see: Manipulators and Charm), it’s often difficult, however, to distinguish between a benignly charming person and a charmer harboring a nefarious hidden agenda. But there are some things to pay close attention to that can help you tell the difference, and that’s the focus of this week’s post. Continue reading…
Dr. George Simon 13 Jun 2014
Skilled manipulators can be quite seductive and charming. Still, I confess readily in my book In Sheep’s Clothing that when I first began my clinical research, I wondered how the victims of covert-aggressors could be so blind to their manipulator’s true character without having a lot of issues of their own. Only after I got much deeper into the study of covert aggressors did it become clear to me not only how adept they can often be at using various tactics but also how powerful the tactics themselves inherently are.
This video tells the story of a high-profile sociopath in a respectable position of influence and is based on actual events.
They usually get away with it. This one did, too, until something remarkable happened…
One way to begin to look at how the mind of predators work, begins with assessing how they manipulate the views of others. In this excerpt we can understand much:
Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.
Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of…
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