When they’re feeling threatened or bored, psychopaths will often use what’s called “word salad” in an attempt to keep your mind occupied. Basically, it’s a conversation from hell. They aren’t actually saying anything at all. They’re just talking at you. Before you can even respond to one outrageous statement, they’re already on to the next. You’ll be left with your head spinning. Study the warning signs, and disengage before any damage can be done:

1. Circular conversations

You’ll think you worked something out, only to begin discussing it again in two minutes. And it’s as if you never even said a word the first time around. They begin reciting all of the same tired garbage, ignoring any legitimate arguments you may have provided moments ago. If something is going to be resolved, it will be on their terms. With psychopaths, the same issues will come up over and over again—why are they so friendly with their ex again? Why are they suddenly not paying any attention to you? Why do they sound so eager to get off the phone? And every time you bring up these issues, it’s as if you never even had the argument in the past. You get sucked back in, only to feel crazy & high-maintenance when they decide “I’m sick of always arguing about this.” It’s a merry-go-round.

2. Bringing up your past wrongdoings & ignoring their own

If you point out something nasty they’re doing—like ignoring you or cheating—they’ll mention something totally unrelated from the past that you’ve done wrong. Did you used to drink too much? Well then, their cheating isn’t really all that bad compared to your drinking problem. Were you late to your first date two years ago? Well then, you can’t complain about them ignoring you for three days straight. And God forbid you bring up any of their wrongdoings. Then, you are a bitter lunatic with a list of grievances.

3. Condescending & patronizing tone

The entire conversation will have this calm, cool demeanor. It’s almost as if they’re mocking you, gaging your reactions to see how much further they can push. When you finally react emotionally, that’s when they’ll tell you to calm down, raise their eyebrows, smirk, or feign disappointment. The whole point of word salad is to make you unhinged, and therefore give them the upper hand. Because remember, conversations are competitions—just like anything else with a psychopath.

4. Accusing you of doing things that they themselves are doing

I mentioned this in the previous section about psychopaths putting you on the defense. In heated arguments, psychopaths have no shame. They will begin labeling you with their own horrible qualities. It goes beyond projection, because most people project unknowingly. Psychopaths know they are smearing you with their own flaws, and they are seeking a reaction. After all, how can you not react to such blatant hypocrisy?

5. Multiple personas

Through the course of a word salad conversation, you’re likely to experience a variety of their personalities. It’s sort of like good cop, bad cop, demented cop, stalker cop, scary cop, baby cop. If you’re pulling away, sick of their abuse and lies, they will restore a glimpse of the idealize phase. A little torture to lure you back in with promises of marriage and children. If that doesn’t work, suddenly they’ll start insulting the things they once idealized. You’ll be left wondering who you’re even talking to, because his personas are imploding as they struggle to regain control. Our beloved administrator, Victoria, summed this up perfectly: “The devil himself was unleashed in a desperate fit of fury after being recognized: twisting, turning, writhing, spewing, flattering, sparkling, vomiting.”

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