Hypocrites are experts at blaming others, while empathetic people are experts at blaming themselves. You absorb their poison and begin to believe it as truth.
“Being a practiced liar doesn’t mean you have a powerful imagination. Many good liars have no imagination at all; it’s that which gives their lies such wide-eyed conviction.” — Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
Hypocrites groom you to become hyper-aware of your own minor (or non-existent) wrongdoings, while actively dismissing anything that they themselves are doing wrong. First they relocate blame—then, your conscience does the rest of the work for them. Hypocrites are experts at blaming others, while empathetic people are experts at blaming themselves. The more of their poison you absorb, the more you start to doubt yourself, thereby making you more vulnerable to more poison.
These dynamics leave you feeling self-conscious, inferior, insecure, and like nothing you do will ever be good enough—like someone is always judging you. You become a perfectionist, terrified that you might have actually become all of these things you’ve been accused of. (No, you’re not a psychopath)
But it was all projection.
Hypocrites spend their lives cheating, betraying, conning, and deceiving. But despite this disgusting pattern of behavior, they still feel entitled to point out (or invent) the most minor mistakes in others—and they’ll point them out repeatedly, to negate & excuse all of their own horrible actions.
As a result, you spend more and more time trying to prove your ethics to the most unethical person on the planet. You end up feeling guilty for being five minutes late to a date (months ago), while they gleefully cheat on you with another man or woman.
If the moral scales in your life seem to be skewed beyond all recognition, you likely encountered a pathological hypocrite—or a psychopath.
Here are some warning signs:
1) Do As I Say, Not As I Do.
Their actions never seem to match up with their charming words. They have extremely high expectations in you, but don’t seem to follow those standards themselves. They are allowed to have dinner with their “crazy” ex who’s “still in love” with them, but they’ll give you the silent treatment for going out with your friends.
2) The Rules Apply To Others, But They Do Not Apply To Me.
They believe they are above the law—both legally and ethically. They feel entitled to behave however they choose, but others must be kept in line at all times. We see this in politics every single day, when our elected officials stomp across the morals they enforce upon everyone else.
3) It Is Always Someone Else’s Fault.
It’s not their fault for lying. It’s your fault for being so petty and pointing out their lie. They might also bring up your past mistakes, to prove that their lie isn’t actually so bad by comparison. Someone is always out to get them, and that’s the reason behind all of their problems.
4) Anyone Who Points Out My Wrongdoings Should Be Punished.
When all else fails, you must be punished, so you learn not to point out their lies anymore. This can be done through triangulation, cheating, and most commonly—the silent treatment.