Posts Tagged: Psychological Manipulator

Cracking the Secret Code of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychological Manipulators: Part II

Whether you deal with them in business or relationships, narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators can make life difficult if not down right scary. In the beginning, you may have hoped that your relationship could be successful, maybe even remarkable. But slowly as you got to know him, the shiny veneer wore off and you saw the darker side. The rules are simply mind over matter: as in “he doesn’t mind, and you don’t matter.”


There are tell tale signs and predictable behaviors that can alert you to the psychologically manipulative personality. In fact, if you missed the Part I in the series, you can click here for a refresher of the top 10 tactics used to manipulate you.

But there are signs inside of yourself that can alert you to psychologically manipulative people too. Here are some practical ways to understand the unwritten rules to the narcissistic game.

Crack their Secret Code by Listening to Your Own Feelings

You may not know exactly what he is doing or why he is doing it, but you can know how you feel about it. It is impossible to know what is going on inside someone esles’ head or heart. It’s especially difficult to recognize motive if pscyhological manipulation is used to hide that motive.  Often times we can’t quite put our finger on it, but we know something is wrong. This article will help you identify your own feelings so you can better trust your red flags. Your feelings can tell you a lot about another person. Here are the emotions you may feel when encountering a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator:



  1. Exhilaration: First, you may feel excited about the opportunity you have as he sets his sites on you. You feel special, wanted, and you believe his promises. Like a drug, you may feel like you just can’t get enough of his high. At first.
  2. Confusion: Second, you feel confused because there’s things about him that don’t add up. His actions don’t match with his words. His body language doesn’t match with what he says. You want to believe what he has promised, but the way he talks, or the way he treats people makes you concerned about his true intentions. You reason with yourself and decide there is nothing to worry about- that his good traits outweigh his bad traits.
  3. Self doubt: Third, you feel guilty for doubting him, judging him or questioning him. You wonder if you are the one with the problem, not him.  You notice that you’re self esteem is down, and you don’t feel good about yourself as you once did. You start to second guess yourself, not knowing who or what to trust.
  4. Whirl Wind of Emotions: Next, you start to feel crazy. You try to please him, but he seems so unpredictable. You try to do what he wants, but something always upsets him. You never know what you’re going to get with him. Elation turns to fear, and you try hard to use reason to figure out how to make this thing work.
  5. Disappointment: You start to realize that the promises are not going to come true, that you are being taken advantage of, and things aren’t going to get better. You start to feel a sense of dread. Feeling helpless to change him, you fear being trapped in this relationship indefinitely.
  6. Regret: Finally, you feel such a sense of regret over trusting him, you start to blame yourself. You wonder if his mistreatment was really your fault. You say things to yourself like, “I should have known better,” and “What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment?” You may not see a way out, and the guilt feelings seem to overwhelm you.


Sometimes the sociopathic static is so loud, recognizing how you really feel is difficult.  Spending some time evaluating how you feel and why will give you important information. When dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, your emotions may seem out of control. Finding someone to help you sort through them is a good first step. When you have the freedom to share openly and honestly about your true feelings, your load won’t seem so heavy. A professional counselor can help you put a plan together to fit your unique relationship circumstances.

If you believe you are dealing with a narcissist, sociopath or psychological manipulator, take steps to give yourself some needed distance and perspective. Disengaging from this personality type will seem uncomfortable and even scary, but necessary for your health and wholeness.


Cracking the Secret Code of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychological Manipulators: Part I

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. Narcissists, sociopaths and psychological manipulators use tactics, strategies and well plotted plans to outsmart their victims. They like to stay one step ahead, using their power and control to get what they want. Here are ways to recognize their secret strategies, crack their code, and reclaim your own power in the process.sad-girl-window

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.)

weird-man-reflectionNarcissists, 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.



THe Bachelorette: How to Spot a Psychological Manipulator

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.

When you feel the time is right, you can call 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836)  or go to for support and information.


My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.

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