Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, May 31, 2013

Verbal Manipulation

#1 "I'm wondering why you're reading this page."

Are you looking at these words trying to figure out how to respond? If so, you just took the bait. Have a look at the words again "I'm wondering why you're reading this page." Notice anything odd?? -- It's not a question!! It's a statement!! Don't answer statements.

Here's another: Your abuser is in the kitchen and says:"I can't find the sugar." Did you jump up to get it for him? If so, then his manipulative tactic worked. He didn't even have to ask you to get it. He only had to state his dilemma. You are being conditioned to respond. He has you pegged as a 'people pleaser' the perfect target.

Abusers hate asking questions because it means they may loose control. So they use the 'disguised question'. Watch for them. They often have a "rING" to them (I'm wondering, hoping, thinking) or "Perhaps you'd ..." "I wish you'd..." "I suppose you're going to..." "I noticed there wasn't..."

Another trick is 'attributed' statements. "We were wondering" "They said..." "She said...." They "attribute their statements to somebody else or a 'group.' This tactic, of course, places blame elsewhere, and is intimidating as it appears to involve others.

Strategy #1. Answer Questions only, never answer statements -- Train your ears to recognize and distinguish which are comments and which are questions. Learn to ask Yes/No question. Repeat their last 3 or 4 words back to them, in a questioning manner. Be fully aware of any potential for violence, and if so, leave NOW!! Abusive questions like "Are you still beating your wife?" are a common insult. Watch out for these insult and accusation-disguised questions. An abuser's well-worn tactic. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don't dignify it with a response.

#2 "WE were hoping you'd..."
WHOA, HOLD THE PHONE .... "WE" ??? - that's the oldest trick in the book -- that ''WE' they throw out means YOU are being targeted. If all goes well, he takes the credit and, if not you'll be playing receiver in his blame game. Examples "If we could..." "We were hoping..." "We should..."
Strategy #2. Make a fast exit when you hear the 'WE' word.

#3 F O G = Fear, Obligation and Guilt 

Dr. Susan Forward does a fantastic job of describing FOG in her important book Emotional Blackmail. It rolls in slowly and blinds our ordinarily good judgement. Be on the watch for it!!

Examples: "Don't you care if...." "If you loved me..." "Everyone knows that..." "Every decent person..." Don't you think you (we) should..." "Why don't you..." "Wouldn't it be better if..." "Can't you take a joke?" "You could never do..." "I thought that's what you wanted" "Do we all agree..." "It's reasonable to expect..." "We've already...." "I needed to..." "You don't think I you?" "We were counting on you to..." "Aren't you going to..."
Strategy #3. Know your vulnerabilities to 'FOG'. Minimize your exposure to them, and say "No". Ignore their words and be aware of our susceptibility of wanting to reply to their questions/statements. Don't take their bait. Expect them to howl - let them.

#4 Picking a Fight - The Confrontational Choice of Words

"Why do you always..." "Do you expect me to..." "I can't believe you would..." "I thought we were going to..." "Why should I have to..." "I've been told that..." "How could you..." "Why don't you..." "Did you hear me?" "Well, does that mean that I have to...." "I thought you..." "Don't you think you(we) should..." Are you telling me..." "I thought we agreed..." "Only an idiot would..." are examples of verbal attack moves. These are phrases used to put you on the defensive. So, like a good chess player, set up a strategic counter move. Just say "That's my decision", "I know you're unhappy, but that's the way it is" "I'll have to think about that" "You seem upset" "We don't always have to agree." "I prefer it that way" Learn the art and science of not taking the bait. Let some things slide. Don't respond to bad behaviour. It's their confrontational chip-on-the-shoulder that you're seeing now. These confrontational questions are pure bait and he's looking for a fight. Don't take the bait!!

Strategy #4. Be aware of verbal tactics that make you feel you want to defend yourself. Know you do not have to defend yourself. To minimize their ability to 'bait' you it may be best to just agree and say "You're right" and drop the subject. One difficult part of this is to realize it's hard for us to not say "I'm sorry but..." Expect the inevitable hissy-fit rage when they're manipulation is ended, IGNORE THEIR WORDS, simply say something like "We'll talk later when you aren't so upset." Try to avoid saying "I'm sorry but..."

#5 The 'silent treatment' is another form of abuse.

This amounts to a 'Mexican standoff' of whose going to talk first. He wants to find out how long before you'll crack and what issues you'll bring up - That's His Payoff. Simply say "Let me know when you feel like talking". Say nothing else. Act like 'no big deal' and put a smile on your face. If you react now it will become his tactic in future.

Strategy #5. Know this is a control technique. Learn what their 'payoff' is.

#6 PRESUPPOSITIONS - (ASSUMED COMPLIANCE - and other tricks of the conman 'snake-oil' salesman) - "Do you want the red one or the blue one?" "Which do you think...?": (Offer a choice tactic!)

"I was sure you'd want to" "You'll be pleased that ...." "Aren't you happy that...", "What do you think...?" "I know you'll like..." "You'll want to..." "I (we) thought you wanted to..." "I thought you'd like..." "Since I'm the one..." "Perhaps you'd like to..." "You must know that...." "Many people agree that..." "I'm sure it's occurred to you..." "You and I..." "I think you know..." "I've heard that..."

Aren't you just thrilled he's including you? He's controlling you for your own happiness, right? Take a step back Buster!! I'm not falling for that old line. Be prepared with your "I'll let you know", "I'll have to think about that", "No, I don't want to" "I disagree"

Strategy ##6. Watch out for people who make plans for you. It usually benefits them. By appearing to be only a confirmation this amounts to "nothing succeeds like success tactic" and we're expected to be happy to be included!! A common trick of the sleazy salesman.

Pregnant Pause. Abusers are most effective at getting us to help solve their problems. They state their problems (usually very easy to solve) and wait. This waiting is very manipulative. We take up the verbal gap and fill it in with our offer to help.

Strategy: Watch for the pregnant pause in the conversation, it's bait. Watch them use the tempo of conversation. We're programmed to respond at a conversational pause and to offer suggestions or help.

7. The Raging Bull

Now he verbally 'acts out'. Let it die down like a nasty summer storm. Leave the room, or tell him to leave. Don't waste your time getting in this conversation. You may get a chuckle out of their obvious provoking and baiting phrases.
Strategy #7. Ignore his words. We don't have to respond to their comments at all. "I'm sorry you feel that way."often catches them off guard. Raging is part of their disorder. He needs and will work hard to get a reaction from you, so don't take his bait. This is the equivalent of an adult 'tantrum'. Suggested response: "We'll talk about this later when you've calmed down."

8. The 'Sidewinder'

Asking a question of a pathological liar is inviting lies. Fearing loss of control, they'll ricochet around like mad to avoid answering, or asking questions. He'll likely say "Oh well that all depends..."Well, I'm not sure..." or change the subject completely.

Strategy #8. Document and verify any responses. Avoid asking questions and avoid him! Avoid any agreements, including legal ones - even these aren't honoured. Make them be the ones to ask. Don't ask them for anything and don't do anything for them either. Be self-reliant and financially and emotionally free of them. The personality disordered do honour even legal written agreements.

And, the onus of collection and all that goes with that will be your problem.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9. Manipulation 101

Question = "What are you doing Friday night?" Answer = "Not much, I haven't made any plans yet" (you just got zinged - that's what he was hoping you'd say)

Now try...
Question = "What are you doing Friday night?" Answer = "What did you have in mind?"
(you successfully blocked by questioning the question and punted the ball right back in his court). We learn these tactics after we've taken the bait a few times.

Strategy #9. The manipulator is wanting something here so don't hesitate to just say "No" -- with absolutely no explanations. If pressed for an explanation, simply say: "That's my decision." or, "I'll have to think about that." or, "If you're not happy with my decision you know where the door is." Remember, you have the right to change your mind and say No, even if you've already taken the bait and said yes -- we may not see some manipulative until we've been trapped. Change your mind -- they'll be less likely to target you in future.

10. The Conman's High-Pressure

Tactic deliberately creates a 'right now' "We need to.." "If we don't act now we'll lose out" "I know a guy..." urgency, immediate gratification, last-minute panic they need us for. Fast talking, gesticulating, panicky masters of presuppositions.

Using "we" and stating some 'snooze you lose' is their game. One of the oldest tricks in the book. The masters of "I smell gas and I can take care of this for us, but I'll need you need to give me $$$ so I can get this fixed for you."

Strategy #10 Run a self diagnostic on your naive meter. Giving money to these guys is like asking a dog to guard your dinner. Say "No", call their bluff and let them fix their own problems. Simply say: "My money is tied up so I'm giving this a miss." We need to be aware of their tactic of getting us to say yes and agree to 3 or 4 things, preconditioning us, all the while circling towards their hidden-agenda objective.

11. The Freudian "Schlep"
The personality-disordered abuser is incredibly gifted at psychologically knowing his target. He will assess your most basic personality - often this is not even known to us and he will know you better than you know yourself, and use it to his advantage.

For example, if the abuser asks you "How's the weather today," you will answer in one of three ways. If you're a visual person, you will probably say "Looks like it's going to rain." If you're an aural person, you might say "I heard that's it going to be a scorcher." But if you're a kinesthetic person, then "It feels pretty cold" will probably be your answer. Now, the verbal abuser will assess your personality. Such as for the visual target "I see," "I get the picture," "show me," "focus on," "beautiful," "brilliant," "seeing is believing," or "keep your eyes peeled." With aurals, words include "I hear you," "fine tune," "sounds good," "tell me," "listen," "hear me out," or "keep your ears open." With kinesthetic individuals, use "I feel," "I sense that," "grasp," "vibrant," "my point is," "makes sense," "out of touch," "hold on," or "get a handle." His uncanny ability to do this creates the 'our soulmate' aspect to hook and manipulate their target.
Strategy #11: Learn the nature of these predators. This technique works equally well on them - know your abuser!! Ask him "How's the weather today?" Be fully aware of your vulnerabilities and how they are being targeted.

12. Lights, Camera, ACTION
Systematically your abuser has conditioned you to accepting his 'action' commands. He hammers you with rapidfire questions, options, statements, observations. They fly like bullets and you're in the trenches. He wants a response and your compliance and he wants it NOW. To confuse you is his objective. He wants you to agree with him, provide his wants, appease him, become his ally, take up his cause. It begins with small easy normal requests and we develop a conditioned acceptance reflex. Soon you're in the middle of Conversational Chaos. Example: "Hey Babe! Is the coffee ready? Can you gimme $20 I didn't get to the bank, and by the way sugarlips, I'll need the oil changed in the car while you're getting my shirts drycleaned. mmmm you look sexy, did you get my pants pressed? By the way, your dog just messed on the floor, you'll need to clean that up, I don't want you to slip in that ha ha ha!!" Your head's spinning with trying to respond and we end up agreeing to it all. Attempts to disagree or challenge bring out the anger, so things get done at his command. This not-so-subtle insidious manipulation is meant to confuse, obscure, gain control and compliance. Failure to comply and his wrath is imminent. When we do notice and recognized this abusive manipulation and 'start to stop it', you can expect some retaliation. This tactic is a favourite technique with abusers.
Strategy #12 Say "No", "No, It's your turn" "You can do that yourself" or, exchange a favour and get something you want. "If you do.... then I'll...." Make sure his part is to be done first. Have your wish-list up to date. Don't get trapped by the multiple command/confusion he's created. Say: "Sorry precious, I didn't hear you. What did you say sweetie?" The verbal finger-poking tactic of repeatedly using our name is often used by these abusers.

Workplace Bully These bullies make a beeline for the vulnerable or the strong. You could be next on his 'hit' list!! The majority of bullies will retract when a group of people blow the whistle on them.

Stage Setting With an audience, the abuser is always in top form. They love to trap us in a social setting where questioning them is inappropriate, or alone in a car and use the 'captive audience'. Abusers are notorious for involving others in their schemes. These 'others' don't know they're being used in the manipulation. It gives the perfect appearance of support they need. Tip:It works for us too!

Gaslighting: "You're just imagining things.", "I/you didn't say that." "You're confused." Strategy: Trust your own perceptions and gut instinct. He's hiding something and deliberately misleading you.

13. The Backpeddler

When challenged, the verbal abuser will "advance to the rear" and try another approach. You may hear..."That's not what I meant" or "You misunderstood" or "I thought that's what you wanted". This will be followed by their endless excuses, blaming, rage or manipulating. Any apology will have you rolling your eyes.
Strategy #13. Say "No". Trying to have a conversation with these jerks is like trying to herd cats and a total waste of our time. This is a good opportunity to keep our mouths shut and watch them try to verbally dig their way out of the hole. Listen carefully - they may tip their hand about their real intentions.

14. Wearing Us Down.
Hooray! You said No. But does it stop? Manipulators are very good at finding new ways to skin a cat. He has anticipated your answer and is ready with more tactics.
Strategy #14. Be prepared for them to come at you with a different angle, a lesser request, altered circumstances, a sad or pitiful situation they tell you they are in. Watch as he takes careful note of what things you react to.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15. "Here's what I'm gonna do for you." The hook.
They appear to be a 'good 'ol boy." Freely dispensing their assistance, talents and labour, money, gifts, souvenirs, samples, freebies, edible treats, free tickets or other miscellaneous offerings. Beware!! One of the oldest tricks of the wolf in sheep's clothing. By appearing to be helpful and kind, generous and considerate, the way you accept their offerings is how they sniff around to detect your resistance, your likes and dislikes. It's how they detect your attraction to forbidden fruit, gather data on your needs and wants, judge your finances, your morals and where you relax those morals and involve you in their misdeeds.

Strategy #15 - "Thanks, but no thanks." Just knowing this tactic you can smell out an abuser in the early stages when they are on the hunt.

16. The Opening Pitch - Their Secret Weapon

"What do you think of..." "I'm wondering if you know..." "Maybe you could tell me..." "I wanted to ask you..." "You might know..." "Would you like..." "I'd like your opinion..." Be watchful for this type of verbal baiting used by the prowling predator. They appear friendly, deferential, non-threatening. They seem to appreciate our willingly-offered help, and we are drawn in by them. He has planned this all along. An abuser will assess and grade any responses. If he finds you targetable, expect to be idealized and cultivated like never before.

Strategy #16. Let others find their own answers and solve their own problems. Be self protective, cautious and suspicious of people's motives. Dire consequences await the naive and trusting who help and please too readily. Watch for someone who matches your voice candence, pitch, elocution and diction styles, your interests, philosophies, goals, or is angered by the same things you are. These are tactics/strategies used by predators. Never offer money. Develop a healthy suspicion of people's motives.

17. Break out the Violins..

Isn't it amazing how abusers are able to con and hoodwink? They can pour out the tales of woe, claim to be the victim, and others rush in offering our money, labour, talents, to help without even being asked! Or, the NP will paint vague pictures of vast booty of future wealth and flocks of people can't wait to dish out their hard-earned money throwing all normal investing caution and common sense to the wind.

Strategy #17: Don't offer to do things when you haven't been asked and make sure saying 'No' is easy for you to do. Protect yourself financially. Seek credible professional financial advice.

18. Planting the Seeds of Failure and Blame.
If I were to tell you that we need a plant and, if you plant a seed for us and water it we will have that plant. So, you select a seed. You plant and water it, but still the plant doesn't grow. What is the logical conclusion?

1. You didn't select/water/plant it correctly.
2. You failed to follow instructions. You didn't meet our needs.
3. The failure is yours. The blame is placed on you.

The truth, however is that your abuser has done nothing but prepare a scenario for him to get the praise of success. He has heard you talk about how you love to garden. You're good at it. All blame, cost, work and responsibility is yours. Look at the bolded words above. This is how the NP places the initial request (need), responsibility and blame for events that happen. Things like "we will never be able to/ should never be together" or "this relationship was doomed from the start" are common phrases. He has programmed you to take the responsibility for success or failure. The success praise all go to him. The responsibility for success was put solely on you. The probability of success was 50/50 but the blame 100% yours.
Strategy #18: Pay close attention to the words of the manipulator. If he feels he 'needs' a plant - let him get it himself. Take note of 'us, I, you, they, we" word choice. Take note of innuendo like - if perhaps, should, might, likely, probably, could, may. Give yourself a chance to think about them. Record them, analyze them from different aspects. And, pay close attention to how you react to those words.

19. "Fetch me the Ruby Slippers"

"I wish I knew how to..." "If only..." "I want..." We feel sorry for him as he shows his inept manner and puzzled words. So we offer our help willingly. But, he's been setting this up deliberately.
You're the one who can fix his problem. He sits back, enjoys his lies and protect himself. He has cultivated you to provide what he will not or cannot do himself. We pity him and willingly offer our talents to help.
Strategy #19. Be alert to feeling sorry for manipulators. Let him fulfill his own needs and solve his own problems. Like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz who orders her winged monkeys to 'fetch me the Ruby Slippers', this manipulator protects himself while letting others do what he cannot or will not do himself.

The power of your Narcissist/Psychopath is little more than the skilful use of cheap word tricks of con artists. How many of these 19 manipulation tactics does your manipulator use? (The male gender was used. Your abuser could be female)

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shared by Barbara at 12:22 AM



This is an excellent comprehensive list of the manipulative tactics that trap you if you are not on your toes. Right now, these types of tactics are the only ones my ex uses since he is claiming remorse and trying to prove change. At first, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I felt manipulated. None of the common lists of abusive behavior are this detailed, so going through them is not enough. He himself is probably proud of the fact that he doesn't tick the big ticket items on the abuse list anymore.

I still have trouble responding if I am aware of what is going on. I have found that if I expose the tactic, he accuses me of misinterpreting him and penalizing him for his inferior level of proficiency in language. He vehemently denies the manipulation and says that whatever book claims this sort of stuff applies to others but not him because they don't know him and he is an individual. So I don't know where that leaves me.

10:11 PM  

This is in response to the comment above from anonymous. I almost don't have words to describe the horror and rape I feel for you. You are clearly intelligent and empathetic and this is how they even get in in the first place. How he uses that "he is an individual" bull. He'll use "we're all the same" if this will benefit himself. It's all the same thing. It's all psychopathy. An MRI performed to check for this could help SHOW you that this man is nothing more than a bag of wind but good luck finding a place to have this done and good luck having him go along with this.

What if we were handed this beautiful article as a brochure when we first entered society? IT'S ALWAYS ONLY AFTER UTTER RAPE AND DEVASTATION THAT DO WE FIND THIS STUFF and then we are ruined.

The Bible has been an absolute blessing to me through all of this. It doesn't try to water down the evil that is real and it tells of it's consequences too.

Jude 1:10-13 "10Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. 11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever."

Blackest darkness FOREVER! The other me, the person I was before God revealed the horror of psychopaths to me, would have been so mad at this! How could God do this to a poor human being? But then, through His very Grace and love for me, He showed me the true nature of these evil men. That there is NOTHING good in them and they CHOOSE to be this way. THEY LOVE WHAT THEY ARE. They are ALWAYS proud of themselves.

Look up Cain, Balaam and Korah. Read their stories in the Bible (I love the "Biblos" website. It is easy to use and amazing.) They are all beautiful examples of psychopaths.

12:38 PM  


Just found this article. Doesn't necessarily fit here but any info on psychopathy is always applicable. I wish evil wasn't real but alas, it is VERY real.

"July 01, 1946
THE PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITY The Rorschach Patterns of 28 Cases
Am J Psychiatry 1946;103:105-112. Abstract
Clinical and Rorschach studies were made on 28 soldiers evidencing a psychopathic personality. The Rorschach scatter for each of these cases is given. Three brief clinical histories are included. The total Rorschach average is given and the criminals, sexual psychopaths and paranoid personalities subtracted from this total with the Rorschach pattern of the inadequate personality given.Certain relatively constant factors have been mentioned. It is felt that such a series under such a controlled atmosphere as produced by the military service in an overseas theatre would be difficult to duplicate in civilian life. This is a limited number of cases.The psychopathic personality appears to be shallow, flat and lacking in sufficient inner and outer control to warrant normal behavior. The psychopath lacks adequate intellectual depth to personally understand his behavior, yet his intelligence is within normal limits as measured by clinical and psychometric appraisal. The cognitive subdivision of his personality seems rather to be ruled by primitive basic instinctual and sexual drives to the exclusion of rational behavior. There is no apparent inter-personal conflict over this apparent deviation in his integration and he continues blithely along his way, bumping his head into the stone walls of social mores and customs time and again.Emotionally he is vacant with little innate emotional control and that present, when aroused, is characterized by violent upheavals and uncontrollable behavior of the rage reaction type which, at the time of the outburst, is of psychotic nature and appears to mimic insanity even in the legal sense of the word.The psychopath appears to be a social misfit, usually totally unmodifiable and exhibiting a deeply ingrained disorder of temperament."

Sadly, we know many are NOT social misfits. Socialized psychopaths are very prevalent.

1:29 PM  

I have just completed my divorce. My ex displayed classic symptoms as outlined on this site. I would like to add to this conversation by restating the following: you cannot cure, you cannot control, you did not cause this condition. You cannot win the "game.". The only thing you can do is to stop playing the game. If you choose to continue a relationship, you must determine, state, and stand by your personal boundaries. I am unemployed, uninsured and damn near broke. But, by God, I walk through the remainder of my life without fear. Good luck.

7:41 PM  

So many of these tactics are familiar to me. I spent ten years in the midst of horrid abuse. Amazing that I did not even see the brutality of some of it until after my escape when I stayed in a shelter. During group sessions, I would share my stories and the looks on the other girls faces were what made me realize just what I had lived through. I do not share my stories often because its those faces of sympathy that sicken me.

Five years later, I am a strong, confident, positive woman. I have begun my own blog after constant questions of how I always seem so happy. My aim is to share with others that they have the opportunity to make their life whatever they want it to be. Each and every woman was blessed with their own mind and whether it has been filled with negativity for years or not, you make the choice as of this moment as to what your mind will allow in from this day on.

I would never question why someone would stay in an abusive relationship. I know all too well the tactics that are so convincingly imposed on a woman who is looking for nothing other than love. I truly believed I was going to die in that relationship but I did not. No one else has to either. Any listening or talking that would be of some help to another victim, would truly be my pleasure. I am never too busy to share the story of how I took back control.

Ali Eb

5:55 AM  

My husband is horrible and I dislike him very much and I don't hide it...all his friends are gone now, that just leaves me, he constantly accuses me of cheating,
He has cheated , many times , I cared then, now , I don't care and sometimes wish he would.
But he does play the victim, he puts our business out there all thw much drama with him.
I always thought , that I must of done something horribly wrong, to deserve this...I am no longer in love with this man, and have not been for many years...He.wont go away , and seperation , is so much drama , it goes on and on and on, it's mentally exhausting.
I just wish I'd known about this, 25yrs ago, before he sucked my life from me and killed my spirit....more times then none, I felt dead, lifeless..
They never die , do they?

12:53 AM  

Wow! My husband's ex-wife displays most symptoms of NPD. We have read books on creating boundaries and I am happy to say, that since he has insisted on getting all non-emergency discussion via writing (texting or email), she has been unable to lie and manipulate situations to her advantage. She uses her children as pawns and plays mind games with them. Based on this list, I can see in both texts and emails several tactics she uses to try and get her way or control a situation. I have this on bookmarks now, and will use this list to make sure our communications with her are short and simple...

And a quick PS -Our most recent rant and rave from her included a baitline of "So when were you gonna discuss with me..." Also, we have learned with her that by giving unemotional "FYIs" we have been able to ward off lies, insinuations and rants about not communicating with her.

12:44 PM  

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