“Twisting of meanings is a clue to psychopathy. They’re masters of doublespeak*, creating verbal traps and impossible situations that leave non-psychopaths bewildered.”
Harrison Koehli Red Pill Press, Publisher of Political Ponerology
*Doublespeak = Evasive, ambiguous language
that is intended to deceive or confuse.
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?’ ”
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.
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.
The reason why pathological aggressors are so successful with this cunning scheme is quite simple: they are exceptionally skilled actors with a lifetime of practice in lying, manipulating, persuading, and deceiving. The psycho/sociopath will callously aim to crush his victim, unperturbed by any ethical concerns. The victim’s moral standards will limit his options, and lacking the persuasive powers of a psychopath, he may fail to convince others of the truth of the matter.
Another reason why many of us are conned again and again is because we cannot fathom that a friendly, intelligent, respectable person to whom we may have extended exceptional kindness, trust, and generosity; would be capable of acting so atrociously. It is incomprehensible to most of us that there really are human beings who don’t have a conscience and we fail to see the patterns in our experiences that verify the ‘unpleasant’ facts that challenge or contradict our long held beliefs.
Do you think you can’t leave your abusive partner? Do you feel hopeless when you return to a relationship filled with pain? Or, do you dwell on your toxic ex and struggle to stay away? Then you may be caught in a carefully crafted trauma bond – but you don’t need to be Houdini to escape.
Photo by Clearly Ambiguous
Traumatic bonding is a hit with abusers, because it helps him to maintain much-needed control. It helps him keep you where he wants you: tethered to him and his soul-destroying behaviour. But, the bond isn’t as iron-clad as he imagines. Here’s FIVE things he hopes you don’t know about traumatic-bonding, and how to shake off the shackles.
1. What is trauma bonding?
Traumatic-bonding is an intense attachment to your abuser. It happens when you feel emotionally and physically dependent upon a dominant partner – who dishes out abuse and rewards…
“One of the very difficult things to deal with after being the victim of a Narcissist is that most people will not want to believe what happened to you, even if they saw it with their own eyes!”
Sociopathic abuse can be most insidious. The abuser takes precautions so that there are no witnesses or hard evidence. He’ll tell others that he is being victimized and that the real victim’s reactions to his abuse are unprovoked and malicious or “irrational.” Destroying his target while attracting the attention he craves is a game to the sociopath; one he enjoys and plays with confidence. A “normal” person is easy prey to a skilled and experienced manipulator lacking a moral conscience.
“[They] count on our shame to keep their secrets. They know that exposing them means exposing our own failings. That’s what makes them so powerful. They manipulate us into these situations then sit back and watch us squirm between protecting ourselves or blowing the whistle.”
The seasoned abuser is also highly selective. He will target people who are self-conscious and reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Like predators in the animal world who concentrate their efforts on prey that is separate from the herd, he is likely to choose someone who is a loner or with weak social connections; someone who is clearly vulnerable.
Covert narcissists are skilled at appearing “normal”. They choose a victim they feel they can dominate or manipulate, and they choose opportunities to abuse their victim when there are no witnesses or in a passive-aggressive, underhanded manner so that their secret mean streak isn’t exposed to others. Motivated by self-preservation and self gain, they lack fail-safes, such as empathy or a moral conscience, against selfish behavior that is harmful to others. Denial is a characteristic of the disorder. They can be highly critical of other people’s behavior, but they always feel righteous about their own.
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 able to identify them when you encounter them:
Denial – playing innocent, refusing to admit they have done something harmful.
Selective inattention – playing dumb, or acting oblivious; refusing to pay attention to anything that might divert them from achieving their goal.
Rationalization – making excuses or justifying their behavior, often in very convincing ways.
Diversion – changing the subject, dodging the issue, distracting us from the real problem.
Lying– deliberately telling untruths, concealing the truth, lying by omission.
Covert Intimidation– intimidation through veiled threats.
Guilt-tripping– using the conscientiousness of their victim against them to keep them self-doubting and anxious.
Shaming– using subtle sarcasm and put-downs to make the victim feel inadequate, unworthy, and anxious.
Playing the Victim role– playing the innocent victim to elicit compassion.
Vilifying the Victim– making the victim the “bad guy”; pretending he’s only defending himself.
Playing the servant role– disguising their personal agendas as service to a nobler cause.
Seduction– flattering and overtly supporting others to get them to lower their defenses and be trusting.
Projecting the blame (blaming others) – shifting the blame, scapegoating.
Minimization – a combination of denial and rationalization, “making a molehill out of a mountain”.
Psychopaths and sociopaths are likely to appear friendly and generous. They are masters of deception, adept at faking emotions they don’t actually have—compassion, remorse, or humility—to win trust or gain power over others. Behind a convincing facade of respectability, intelligence, and high moral standards, they operate outside of standard ethical boundaries; recruiting lower-level psychopaths to do their bidding and manipulating normal, “good” people into accepting or supporting their shady agendas.
Lovefraud’s mission is to educate the public about sociopaths, and one way to do that is by working with the media. We hope to interest the media in producing stories about disordered personalities, the damage they cause, and how to spot dangerous people before becoming involved.
Do people who say that believe there are no real victims? Or that there are victims but that they should be silent about their experiences? Maybe they believe that victimization is a ‘choice’ or that the victim must be partially responsible for the abuse—or even deserve it. Maybe they think that when people talk about their suffering or the mistreatment they have endured, they do it only to gain an advantage, such as attention or sympathy.
The pain and damage sociopaths cause, without remorse, needs to be taken seriously. Covert or emotional abuse is known to cause PTSD, wreck lives, and lead to fatalities. Laura19 writes on Lovefraud.com: “Excruciating emotional pain. Numbness. Loss of appetite. Sleepless nights. Obsessive thoughts. Inability to concentrate. Loss of pleasure in cherished activities. Lack of energy. Anxiety and panic attacks. All of the above will probably sound familiar to those of us who have been devalued and discarded…” Read about her remarkable path to recovery after surviving a relationship with a personality disordered person at lovefraud.com.
She’s a successful law professor and a Sunday school teacher, with a host of family and friends. But her interpersonal calculus centers on how to manipulate and outmaneuver the many people in her life. Welcome to a world of ruthless cost-benefit analysis, charm, and grandiosity.
By M.E. Thomas, published May 7, 2013.
Last reviewed on May 19, 2013.
As if it’s a choice. No one chooses to be a victim. It’s the psychopath who calls the shots. It’s the predator who chooses its prey. However, we can reduce the risk of becoming victims. By learning about psychopathic traits, we become better equipped to recognize abusive people so that we can keep a distance from them, if not stay away completely.
A psychopath knows how to get people to sympathize with him and turn them against the target of his abuse. Manipulating people is an entertaining game for a psychopath. He enjoys feeling powerful and superior as he watches his unsuspecting ‘pawns’ subject his target to criticism, blame, abuse, and rejection.
Psychopaths dominate because most people are brainwashed to be victims. There occasionally are people with partial resistance. They are isolated and the psychopaths can easily discredit and remove them.
Because they play dirty. They don’t follow any rules of civil interaction. Lacking a conscience, they have no moral constraints on their behavior, and when confronted, they simply deny their evil deeds. They couldn’t care less about civility, decency, morality, or honor as long as their actions pay out and their unethical behavior is kept under the public radar. They are free to lie, con, deceive, manipulate, intimidate, incriminate, or use any other trick in the book.
We may not recognize the disingenuous conniving techniques they use to control and manipulate. An experienced abuser is extraordinarily devious and almost impossible to pin down. Primed with denial strategies, he’s always ahead of the game.
Psychopaths use numerous deception tactics to create and maintain a respectable, virtuous, likable—maybe even admirable—public persona that deceives the best of us.They take advantage of our tendency to not recognize evidence that contradicts our beliefs, such as dishonesty and other lowly character traits in an individual who has ‘won’ our trust, respect, and appreciation. The persona provides a cover for devious schemes, exploitation, and abuse.
A psychopathic individual may believe that all of us play the same game—only he is smarter and superior while most other people are weak and inferior pushovers. Until understanding of psychopathy becomes widespread public knowledge, the predator’s hunting grounds will remain saturated with easy prey.
Persona: the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others.