Originally posted on Dating a Sociopath:
The sociopath uses a number of tools to manipulate.
If you spend too long around the sociopath, once Mr Nice, and Mr Helpful, and Mr Wonderful wears 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 has convinced you that he is having an affair? You confront your partner, holding the evidence, you are fairly sure that now you ‘have him?’… Or so you think!!
Evidence, means little…
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Learn to identify their tactics
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:
- 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; hints that “it’s a tough job market out there.”
- 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; convincing the victim that he/she is hurting in some way so that the victim will try to relieve their distress.
- 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”.
“A manipulative person … is a covertly aggressive personality.”
“You ask a manipulator a direct question, you rarely get a direct answer.”
“As you may recall, I said…” and of course it’s something you’ve never heard before.
“As I already told you…”
“I told you before…”
These statements can cause us to doubt our memory. But when you hear them repeatedly and only from one individual, you may begin to suspect that you are being manipulated. Maybe it is being done intentionally to throw you off balance, or maybe a highly egocentric individual simply expects you to see matters from his point of view—as if you have been told, though the words haven’t actually been spoken. Truthfulness is of little relevance to a sociopath.