I’m hooked on this season’s Bachelorette. Don’t judge.
Honestly, I’m a sap for the kind of television that bores most people, like documentaries and CSpan. My television selections are G rated to the point of tears. But the Bachelorette got my attention this season- and not only for the reasons you might imagine!
This season is a great opportunity to explore how you can spot an abuser. How does an average Jo (or JoJo in this case) conduct due diligence research in her husband hunting expedition? She’s got 25 guys to meet, interview, and yes- kiss (oh my gosh, there’s so much kissing. Seriously, aren’t her lips tired?) in hopes of finding her one true love.
There are Psychological Manipulators all over the world- in office buildings, luxury car sales lots, church pulpits, public office, construction sites, in families- and on this seasons’ Bachelorette. You’ve probably met several in your lifetime. It’s rare that we get to see both sides of the same coin, at the same time, the way the Bachelorette let’s us see. And if you run into an abusive ego-maniac, how can you know it before he gets abusive and maniacal- with you?
Listen to Your Gut.
If you pay attention to what your gut is telling you, you will see the truth he so desperately is trying to hide. To help you in this process, this is what it feels like to be around a narcissistic psychological manipulator:
1. Confusing- you want to believe and trust him but something doesn’t quite add up.
2. Undeniable Chemistry– your body can’t deny the animal attraction you have for him.
3. Compulsion to Make Excuses: You want to believe the best about him, to the point you may even make excuses for his bad behavior.
4. Swept Along– You feel persuaded by his directness and his convincing charm, even against your intuition.
5. Inner Conflict– you can’t put your finger on it, but you don’t have peace about this guy.
Tactics that Psychological Manipulators Use to Get What They Want:
1. Mysteriousness– there is a shroud of mystery that surrounds them because they feel more powerful when no one knows the real them.
2. Specialness– they want you to think they are special, superior and that regular rules don’t apply to them. You may hear them say things like, “You’ve never met anyone like me before…”
3. Sob Story– Every Psychological Manipulator has a sob story. They use this so you’ll feel sorry for them and excuse their bad behavior.
4. Truth Filters– Like the best camera apps, Psychological Manipulators have a selection of filters to distort the truth in any way that benefits them most.
5. Blame Shifting– they shift responsibility for their bad behavior onto others.
6. Victim Swapping– Painting others in a bad light so that they look like the victims who are being bullied.
7. Put Downs and Threats of Retaliation– If you’ve watched the Bachelorette (if you haven’t and you need an excuse to watch it, just say you are doing psychological research like me) you know that Put Downs and Threats of Violence leave toxic waste in their wake.
How it feels to be with A Psychological Manipulator after a while (God forbid JoJo ever finds out!)
1. The strength that impressed you in the beginning, is now used against you.
2. The violence that was used against doors, walls and other people is now implied or directed toward you.
3. The put downs that were reserved for others in order for him to look good in your eyes are now used against you.
4. You wonder if he’s over you, and on to his next prospects.
5. You feel controlled on everything from your time and money to your friends and family.
Yes, I’m watching the Bachelorette with my teenage daughters. We have this cool opportunity to see some psychological manipulation behind the scenes. Alerting my girls to how they work is the first step in helping them steer clear. Plus, they don’t mind the eye candy.
There are Users and Abusers in the world, and the people they prey on are often the last to see the truth. My prayer is that if you have an emotional, psychological or physical abuser in your life, that you will see the truth of your own value- that you will reach out for help- and that you will start the process of getting free.