Have you ever been burned, and then wonder why you didn’t see it coming? The answer is that narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators play by different rules. They speak a different language. Learning to crack the secret communication code of narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators will help you identify them as dangerous, before they identify you as prey.
Be the Journalist
One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself is to take a step back and observe objectively what’s going on. Think of yourself as a journalist who’s job it is to observe her surroundings, collect the evidence and report the facts. Take yourself out of the equation for just a little bit, and notice what is really going on. Ask yourself, “If I was an outsider looking in, what would I think about this guy?”
Identify the Strategy
Narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators can garner support, solicit worship, and even radicalize followers with their influence and control. They want you to be swiftly swept along by their promises and ideas so smoothly, you don’t have time to have doubts or ask questions. However, if you recognize the strategy that’s being used to control you, you can stop to think through your next move. These common communication strategies used by narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators are easily recognized if you know what you’re looking for.
- Generalizations with few specifics (words like all, none, always, never, winners, losers.)
- The Sales pitch- a one-way conversation designed to wear you down so you’ll say “yes.”
- Over promise and under deliver- the sky is the limit, but real results are rare and shady.
- Shifts the blame to someone or something else.
- Projects his faults onto others who can’t/won’t defend themselves.
- Claims he’s the victim to secure others’ sympathy.
- Distracts others from his faults and motives with smoke screens (changing the subject, causing a distraction.)
- Uses gas-lighting to manipulate the victim into questioning her own sanity, memory or motives.
- Pathological lying mixed in with a little truth, so everything sounds “good.”
- Shock and Awe to keep people mesmerized, quiet, and unable to act.
- Threats to keep others afraid to disagree, to leave or ask too many questions.
- Abuse (financial, emotional, verbal, sexual or physical.)
- Putdowns (name calling, bullying, mocking or gossiping.)
Narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators exist in families, churches, and offices. You may live or work with one, and feel the daily struggle. Working or living too close to a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator can take a toll on your self-esteem, your career and your health. It can feel like a living nightmare.
What To Do
If you recognize these strategies at home or at work, and think you may be dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, seek professional counseling. A good counselor will be able to empathize with you and help you make a plan to deal with this type of personality. You will need smart and supportive assistance to help you reclaim your voice, your power and your life.
Next week, Part II will help you become Sociopath Savvy and learn ways to be one step ahead.