When bullies do not experience consequences to their harmful acts they become more powerful and hurt more people. No victim is obligated to remain silent about a toxic individual’s malicious activities, comply with their wishes or purposes, help them maintain their public persona or inflated views of themselves, bolster their need to feel superior and in control, or protect their reputation. A victim with the courage to expose an abuser (and suffer the consequences) is committing a heroic act; validating the experiences of countless other victims and weakening the abusers’ ability to continue hiding behind denial and manipulative impression management tactics.
Tell your story. It’s easy to start a blog:
Exposing Your Abuser
From No Psychos, No Druggies, No Stooges:
Michael’s problems started, according to his mother, around age 3, shortly after his brother Allan was born. At the time, she said, Michael was mostly just acting “like a brat,” but his behavior soon escalated to throwing tantrums during which he would scream and shriek inconsolably. These weren’t ordinary toddler’s fits. “It wasn’t, ‘I’m tired’ or ‘I’m frustrated’ — the normal things kids do,” Anne remembered. “His behavior was really out there. And it would happen for hours and hours each day, no matter what we did.” For several years, Michael screamed every time his parents told him to put on his shoes or perform other ordinary tasks, like retrieving one of his toys from the living room. “Going somewhere, staying somewhere — anything would set him off,” Miguel said. These furies lasted well beyond toddlerhood. At 8, Michael would still fly into a rage when Anne or Miguel tried to get him ready for school, punching the wall and kicking holes in the door. Left unwatched, he would cut up his trousers with scissors or methodically pull his hair out. He would also vent his anger by slamming the toilet seat down again and again until it broke.
When Anne and Miguel first took Michael to see a therapist, he was given a diagnosis of “firstborn syndrome”: acting out because he resented his new sibling. While both parents acknowledged that Michael was deeply hostile to the new baby, sibling rivalry didn’t seem sufficient to explain his consistently extreme behavior.
By the time he turned 5, Michael had developed an uncanny ability to switch from full-blown anger to moments of pure rationality or calculated charm — a facility that Anne describes as deeply unsettling. “You never know when you’re going to see a proper emotion,” she said. She recalled one argument, over a homework assignment, when Michael shrieked and wept as she tried to reason with him. “I said: ‘Michael, remember the brainstorming we did yesterday? All you have to do is take your thoughts from that and turn them into sentences, and you’re done!’ He’s still screaming bloody murder, so I say, ‘Michael, I thought we brainstormed so we could avoid all this drama today.’ He stopped dead, in the middle of the screaming, turned to me and said in this flat, adult voice, ‘Well, you didn’t think that through very clearly then, did you?’ ”
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.
1. They are experts in playing mind games.
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.
2. They have their best interests in mind, not yours.
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.
3. They are emotional bullies and control freaks.
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.
4. They are irresponsible and inconsistent.
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.
5. They blame you for their behaviors.
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.
6. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
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.
7. They have no desire in having authentic real communication.
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.
8. They are afraid of vulnerability.
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.
Published on Apr 28, 2014
Sandra L. Brown, M.A., is the founder of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education. She is a former psychotherapist, community educator on pathological love relationships, clinical lecturer and trainer, TV and radio guest, and an author. Her books include the highly popular How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved, the award-winning Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists, as well as the clinically relevant Counseling Victims of Violence: A Handbook for Helping Professionals.
Sandra is recognized for her pioneering work in women’s issues related to relational harm from dangerous and pathological partners. She specializes in the development of Pathological Love Relationship training for other professionals and the development of survivor-based support services.
Artwork: Adam Proctor
From BBC Future, 3 December 2015
By David Robson
Do you have a ruthless streak? Psychologists believe the “dark triad” of personality—Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy—might help you succeed in life. To measure your own dark side, click on the link below and choose how much you agree or disagree with 9 simple statements—and we’ll tell you how dastardly you actually are.
The questions for this quiz were inspired by questionnaires developed by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones (Assessment, vol 21, p 28). Our quiz was designed solely for entertainment, and the results should not be considered a scientific measure of your personality. If you would like to learn more about Paulhus’s personality research and his serious explorations of the dark triad, read the BBC profile “The man who studies everyday evil”.
|The Dark Triad
Posted July 6, 2015 by Karen Young at Hey Sigmund:
Even if toxic people came with a warning tattooed on their skin, they might still be difficult to avoid. We can always decide who we allow close to us but it’s not always that easy to cut out the toxics from other parts of our lives. They might be colleagues, bosses, in-laws, step-someones, family, co-parents … and the list goes on.
We live our lives in groups and unless we’re willing to go it alone – work alone, live alone, be alone (which is sometimes tempting, but comes with its own costs) – we’re going to cross paths with those we would rather cross out.
Continue reading the article for some powerful, practical ways to ease co-existence with toxics:
An Open Letter to an LA Family Law Judge
…and they’re good at it.
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:
Do psychopaths ever experience empathy or compassion? Are they ever inclined to help someone in need—without an ulterior motive? Are there psychopaths who do more good in the world than your average apath or bleeding heart empath?
Read the article by James, psychopath:
Doing something nice for no reason
It’s important to understand that people on the narcissistic spectrum simply do not tolerate criticism, difference of opinion, or when certain others don’t subordinate and show the reverence they feel entitled to. These personality disordered individuals can be bullies who aspire to positions of power and influence from where they can control others, penalize those they feel offended by, and use their thespian talents to attract admirers and supporters. Some members of this flock are eager to take action against anyone who annoys the central figure. With a coveted position in the inner circle as a contributing motivator, they see an opportunity to act out aggression with a show of ‘moral righteousness’ that will secure the leader’s approval and a rise in the group’s esteem.
Many human problems are difficult to address effectively without insights into group dynamics and the significant roles often played by the personality disordered. On their own, complaints about the values, policies, and behaviors of others, including statements about how they ‘should’ be or act, just don’t broaden our understanding, lead to change, or offer any viable method to improve the human condition.
“Often these monstrous individuals are initially charming, displaying false empathy to the point that even when their victims instinct senses danger they ignore this feeling as irrational. These people have a natural talent for manipulation and are self-absorbed individuals with no conscience or feeling for others and for whom rules have no meaning. These depraved manipulators can appear unstoppable. Their non physical violence against innocent victims appears to be planned, purposeful and emotionless. Any attempt at reason will fail as these people appear to operate outside the code that governs normal, rational behaviour towards others.”
- Fighting the Workplace Bully
- Why Workplace Bullies Thrive: The Bystander Effect
- Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse
- When the Boss is a Psychopath
- $460 Billion Per Year—The Cost of Psychopathy
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.
- People who can’t control themselves control the people around them.
- Manipulation Tactics
- Dr. George Simon explains how manipulation tactics work.
- Psychopaths are manipulators.
Posted on April 8, 2015 by Dana in Explaining Narcissists
Word Salad, also often referred to as Narc Speak, is a nonsensical mix of words, phrases, or conversations and is traditionally (and clinically) associated with a person who has Schizophrenia, Dementia, Logorrhea (a communication disorder of the brain), Schizophasia, Receptive Aphasia, or brain injuries.
In the context of Narc Speak, the word salad is a combination of intentional manipulative conversational techniques that are designed to frustrate, confuse, and erode the sanity of the victim by getting them to question their perceptions of events, as well as their own judgment in general. Narc Speak most commonly happens when the victim confronts the Narcissist with their behavior, although if the Narcissist is using these techniques to gaslight*, word salad can happen at any time.
The ten most common techniques of word salad in the context of Narc Speak are:
- Denying their own bad behavior, and instead, focusing on the victim’s.
- Continue reading: Word Salad and Narc Speak
*Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted, spun, or selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.
Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People
by Jackson MacKenzie
Have you ever been in a relationship with a psychopath? Chances are, even if you did, you would never know it.
Psychopaths are cunning charmers and master manipulators, to the point where you start to accept the most extreme behaviors as normal…
Even if it hurts you.
Psychopath Free (Expanded Edition): Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People by Jackson MacKenzie | 9780425279991 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Bullying isn’t a problem isolated to kids and teenagers. It’s an issue that spans every age demographic, but as the population ages, it’s becoming an increasingly common problem among senior citizens—particularly those living in communal living settings such as assisted living or independent living.
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; narcissist, 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 suffering from 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.
- Smear Campaign Tactics
- The Smear Campaign—Trademark of the Sociopath
- When they lie about you (because they will)
- A Typical Smear Tactic
- Slander Tactics
- The Pathological Liar
- Sociopaths recruit minions
- Flying Monkeys
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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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A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION PROVIDING INFORMATION
AND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF PSYCHOPATHY
Want to see if someone is a psychopath or not? Try yawning at them. If they yawn back, you’re okay and proceed to befriending them if you wish. If they don’t, perhaps steer clear—they could be distinctly anti-social.
Scientists reveal that people with low empathy levels don’t copy the gestures of others.
- Scientists have found that the more psychopathic characteristics people have, the less they are affected by ‘contagious yawning’
- Researchers from Baylor University tested 135 students for anti-social traits
- Those who scored highly on ‘cold-heartedness’ were less likely to yawn when shown video clips of facial expressions
Most people will yawn if someone around them yawns. Normal mammals are said to be unable to resist ‘contagious yawning.’
US President Barack Obama yawns during the East Asia
Summit plenary session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2012
The researchers from Baylor University in Texas published their findings in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Read more: Psychopaths don’t yawn study
Dr. Sam 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.”
“In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.”
“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?
“Everyone is told the fairytale that we are all brothers and sisters under the skin. But what if that is not so?”
By Dr George Simon, PhD
Predatory Aggressive Personalities (i.e., psychopaths or sociopaths) consider themselves superior to the rest of the human race. They view individuals with inhibitions rooted in emotional bonding to others as inferior creatures and, therefore, their rightful prey.
Aggressive Personalities include the Unbridled Aggressive, who is frequently in conflict with the law; the Channeled-Aggressive, who generally limits ruthlessness to non-criminal activity; the Covert-Aggressive, who cloaks their cruelty under a veneer of civility and manipulates others in the process; and the Sadistic Aggressive, whose principal aim is to demean and injure others.
But by far the most pathological aggressive personality is the one I prefer to label the Predatory Aggressive Personality. All of the aggressive personalities are among the most seriously disturbed in character of the various personality types, and the Predatory Aggressive Personality is the most seriously character disordered.
Read Dr Simon’s article:
Understanding the Predatory Aggressive Personality.
“The last big mistake that all psychopaths make today, is to underestimate the power of the internet. Once everyone learns to recognize their behaviors and strategies, they can’t hide and there will be nowhere to run—except off an ice shelf in the arctic.”
By Dr. Craig Malkin
Author, Clinical Psychologist, Instructor Harvard Medical School
Posted: 07/13/2015, Updated: 07/14/2015
Narcissism is hot. Which should make narcissists very happy.
But it’s also widely—and wildly—misunderstood, due in large part to widespread caricatures of narcissists, who are invariably depicted as vain, primping braggarts.
The problem is that many narcissists, particularly the more introverted ones, who pride themselves not on looks, but on being sensitive and misunderstood, couldn’t give a fig about fame or money. You might not even realize you’ve met one. And people end up falling unhappily in love with quieter narcissists, confused by their fate, because their distress stems from a brand of unhealthy narcissism they never knew existed. To date, in fact, there are three kinds of narcissism, which I describe in Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad—And Surprising Good—About Feeling Special. We may start finding more.
Then there’s the problem of that pesky qualifier, unhealthy.
Many would object, saying that narcissism is inherently unhealthy. And certainly the most popular narcissism assessment to date, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), assumes that all narcissism is bad; each and every point you score on the test inches you closer to being branded a “narcissist.” The problem is even the NPI picks up healthy components of narcissism; there’s hard evidence that one piece of the inventory, which captures extroverted leaders more than disagreeable blowhards, is associated with being a happy, healthy, if somewhat more ambitious human being.
So to summarize: three kinds of narcissism; healthy and unhealthy narcissism; and a bunch of measures that capture arrogance and grandiosity of various kinds—one of which accidentally captures healthy narcissism.
Read the full article:
The Narcissism Test—What’s Your Score? | Dr. Craig Malkin.