Do you know someone who is a manipulator, liar and abuser? Manipulators and sociopaths love to pressure and control others. Unless you learn to identify the signs of a manipulator, you will fall victim to their exploitation and doubt yourself.
The thing about manipulators, liars and abusers
Psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists are not always the sickest serial killers or maniacal tyrants. Most of the time, they look just like you and me. They can be abusers, controllers, pathological liars and expert manipulators, yet they may seem like the most charming, caring and passionate people you will ever come across. But behind that pity-seeking yet passionate mask lies a vicious predator.
Yes, they may be wildly exciting and unbelievably charming. Their natural appeal may blind you as they focus all their attention and energy on you. But just when you feel like the most important person in the world; when you start getting attracted to their deceiving charm; when you start getting attached to their toxic passion, that is exactly when they will strike. And you won’t even realize it. It will start in the most subtle way. But as their mask begins to slip and their reality starts to surface, you will begin to realize how terrifying, controlling and menacing they truly are. As you spend more time with them, you will slowly begin to identify the signs of a manipulator. But you won’t let yourself believe it as you are still blinded by their charm. Or maybe you have stepped too deep into the narcissist’s trap.
Read also: Manipulation Of The Charming Narcissist
The victim-savior game
Now they have manipulated you to get attached to them. Even though you constantly feel on edge when you are with them, you will desperately seek their company. They will own every aspect of your life and eventually you will begin to lose your sense of self-worth and your self-respect. You will become increasingly insecure and you will lack self-esteem making you a puppet in their hands.
Even though you may realize that they are a sociopathic narcissist, you will keep justifying their behavior. Even when you will identify the signs of a manipulator in them, you will accept their unacceptable behavior. Why? Because you will believe you can help them change. You will believe you can cure their narcissism. You will believe you can make them a better person. Believing that your love will soothe their pain and transform the savage beast into a charming prince, which you falsely believe they truly are, you will set out to rescue them from their pain.
And as you will set out on your epic journey of love and transformation, you will fall deeper into their abyss of abuse, lies and manipulation. Sociopaths thrive on pity, compassion and sympathy. They will use your compassion against you to get things their way. Not only will they compel you to justify their abuse, they will make you doubt yourself and feel sorry for them. Now you will fail to notice the signs of a manipulator in them. You will break down all healthy boundaries that protect yourself and your rights. And you will wholeheartedly believe that their toxic and abusive behavior is meant to help you be a better person. This is what pathological liars do. They make you believe that this is how they show you their true love for you. But all this is nothing but their manipulative scheme to have you as their source of supply to feed their brittle ego and feeble self-esteem.
The game of lies and deception
The sociopath will make you believe that you are the only one for them. And the abuse is a form of their intense passion they feel for you. Sociopathic manipulative predators can say and do anything to keep you from realizing the truth and leaving them. They will shatter your sense of self and savagely destroy your self-worth. But you need to realize that you cannot rescue them. They are not victims. They are not tortured. They are not in pain. You ARE. You need to rescue yourself first and foremost.
It is all a game for them. They lack empathy, compassion and conscience. But they understand how the human mind works and how emotions affect us. This is why a sociopath always targets the most compassionate people and uses their manipulative tactics to control you. They distort your perception to make you believe that rescuing them is your reward. They will make you believe that the opportunity to fix them is a matter of pride for you.
But the more you believe their lies, the more you will get addicted to their toxicity. They will make you extremely desperate for their toxic, unhealthy love, which actually doesn’t exist. For them, love is simply a tool to control others.
Influence vs manipulation
Although we may think that there is a thin line between influence and manipulation, these are completely different things. Most of us influence others to make them think or behave in a way we want them to. This may be done to help them or to make them understand our perspective. Manipulation, however, involves using devious influence with malicious intent to use you for their own benefit. Educator and life coach Alana Palm writes “We all have influence, but when people influence in a way that is not honest or based on integrity, it can be damaging.”
Manipulative narcissists influence you through emotional exploitation and mental distortion to gain control, power and privileges at your expense. Author Preston Ni M.S.B.A. writes “It is important to distinguish healthy social influence from psychological manipulation.” Positive social influence is primarily a mutual constructive relationship. However, when you are in a psychological manipulation, you will be exploited and used by the other person. “The manipulator deliberately creates an imbalance of power, and exploits the victim to serve his or her agenda,” adds Preston Ni.
How to spot the signs of a manipulator
California-based therapist Sharie Stines says “Manipulation is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way.” Manipulation is simply a way to control you. “When you are being manipulated by someone you are being psychologically coerced into doing something you probably don’t really want to do,” adds Sharie. This is why it is crucial that you learn to identify the signs of a manipulator.
Most abusive manipulators have the following common traits:
- They are experts at identifying what your weaknesses are
- They will never hesitate to use and exploit your weaknesses against you to get what they want
- They will manipulate and convince you to make certain compromises using their conniving schemes. This is done mostly to serve their own interests.
- They will keep controlling, manipulating, abusing and taking advantage of you repeatedly until you find the courage to stop it. This can happen whether you are in a romantic relationship, in a family situation, a social contract or at work.
Read also: How To Spot Manipulation
Apart from these, there are some other common signs of a manipulator that you need to watch out for to protect yourself, such as:
- They will mirror your needs, emotions, thoughts and energy to gain your trust and to create a fake persona. But it is simply an illusion.
- They don’t engage in genuine, intimate and honest communication and will use passive aggressive techniques to dominate the conversation.
- They never express their actual emotions, desires or needs. They seek out vulnerabilities in others and hide their own.
- They make you doubt yourself and your understanding of reality by using sickening strategies like gaslighting.
- Their words and actions will never match as they never walk the talk.
- They only look out for their own interests and don’t hesitate to use your guilt to their advantage.
- They pretend to be the victim all the time and act like nothing is ever their fault. There is always someone else to blame.
- They may help you with a lot of things in life and will then act like a martyr.
- They will know all about your weak spots and will use them against you repeatedly.
- They are unreliable, inconsistent, irresponsible and are control freaks.
Are you being manipulated?
Once you are able to identify the signs of a manipulator, you need to talk about it to someone you trust. Speaking with a trusted loved one or a friend will help you gain a different perspective and help understand the reality of your situation. Your manipulator has conditioned and programmed you to believe that the abuse is normal and need someone to help you break out of that thought process.
You should also be more resilient and not allow the narcissistic sociopath to affect you on a personal level. Therapist Sharie Stines suggests “Use the motto – Observe, don’t absorb. We aren’t responsible for anyone else’s feelings.” You should also establish healthy boundaries to make sure their toxic manipulation cannot reach you. “You have your own volitional experience as a human being and you need to know where you end and the other person begins,” adds Stines.