Sanctuary for the Abused

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Manipulative People


How To Deal with Them
An Excerpt from the book: In Sheep's Clothing

By George K. Simon

Two Basic Types of Aggression
There are two basic types of aggression: overt-aggression and covert-aggression. When you're determined to have something and you're open, direct and obvious in your manner of fighting, your behavior is best labeled overtly aggressive. When you're out to "win," dominate or control, but are subtle, underhanded or deceptive enough to hide your true intentions, your behavior is most appropriately labeled covertly aggressive. Now, avoiding any overt display of aggression while simultaneously intimidating others into giving you what you want is a powerfully manipulative maneuver. That's why covert-aggression is most often the vehicle for interpersonal manipulation.
Acts of Covert-Aggression vs. Covert-Aggressive Personalities
Most of us have engaged in some sort of covertly aggressive behavior from time to time. Periodically trying to manipulate a person or a situation doesn't make someone a covert-aggressive personality. Personality can be defined by the way a person habitually perceives, relates to and interacts with others and the world at large.
The tactics of deceit, manipulation and control are a steady diet for covert-aggressive personality. It's the way they prefer to deal with others and to get the things they want in life.
The Process of Victimization
For a long time, I wondered why manipulation victims have a hard time seeing what really goes on in manipulative interactions. At first, I was tempted to fault them. But I've learned that they get hoodwinked for some very good reasons:
A manipulator's aggression is not obvious. Our gut may tell us that they're fighting for something, struggling to overcome us, gain power, or have their way, and we find ourselves unconsciously on the defensive. But because we can't point to clear, objective evidence they're aggressing against us, we can't readily validate our feelings.

The tactics manipulators use can make it seem like they're hurting, caring, defending, ..., almost anything but fighting. These tactics are hard to recognize as merely clever ploys. They always make just enough sense to make a person doubt their gut hunch that they're being taken advantage of or abused. Besides, the tactics not only make it hard for you to consciously and objectively tell that a manipulator is fighting, but they also simultaneously keep you or consciously on the defensive. These features make them highly effective psychological weapons to which anyone can be vulnerable. It's hard to think clearly when someone has you emotionally on the run.
All of us have weaknesses and insecurities that a clever manipulator might exploit. Sometimes, we're aware of these weaknesses and how someone might use them to take advantage of us. For example, I hear parents say things like: "Yeah, I know I have a big guilt button." – But at the time their manipulative child is busily pushing that button, they can easily forget what's really going on. Besides, sometimes we're unaware of our biggest vulnerabilities. Manipulators often know us better than we know ourselves. They know what buttons to push, when and how hard. Our lack of self-knowledge sets us up to be exploited.
What our gut tells us a manipulator is like, challenges everything we've been taught to believe about human nature. We've been inundated with a psychology that has us seeing everybody, at least to some degree, as afraid, insecure or "hung-up." So, while our gut tells us we're dealing with a ruthless conniver, our head tells us they must be really frightened or wounded "underneath." What's more, most of us generally hate to think of ourselves as callous and insensitive people. We hesitate to make harsh or seemingly negative judgments about others. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they don't really harbor the malevolent intentions we suspect. We're more apt to doubt and blame ourselves for daring to believe what our gut tells us about our manipulator's character.
Recognizing Aggressive Agendas
Accepting how fundamental it is for people to fight for the things they want and becoming more aware of the subtle, underhanded ways people can and do fight in their daily endeavors and relationships can be very consciousness expanding. Learning to recognize an aggressive move when somebody makes one and learning how to handle oneself in any of life's many battles, has turned out to be the most empowering experience for the manipulation victims with whom I've worked. It's how they eventually freed themselves from their manipulator's dominance and control and gained a much needed boost to their own sense of self esteem. Recognizing the inherent aggression in manipulative behavior and becoming more aware of the slick, surreptitious ways that manipulative people prefer to aggress against us is extremely important. Not recognizing and accurately labeling their subtly aggressive moves causes most people to misinterpret the behavior of manipulators and, therefore, fail to respond to them in an appropriate fashion. Recognizing when and how manipulators are fighting with covertly aggressive tactics is essential.
Defense Mechanisms and Offensive Tactics
Almost everyone is familiar with the term defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms are the "automatic" (i.e. unconscious) mental behaviors all of us employ to protect or defend ourselves from the "threat" of some emotional pain. More specifically, ego defense mechanisms are mental behaviors we use to "defend" our self-images from "invitations" to feel ashamed or guilty about something. There are many different kinds of ego defenses and the more traditional (psychodynamic) theories of personality have always tended to distinguish the various personality types, at least in part, by the types of ego defenses they prefer to use. One of the problems with psychodynamic approaches to understanding human behavior is that they tend to depict people as most always afraid of something and defending or protecting themselves in some way; even when they're in the act of aggressing. Covert-aggressive personalities (indeed all aggressive personalities) use a variety of mental behaviors and interpersonal maneuvers to help ensure they get what they want. Some of these behaviors have been traditionally thought of as defense mechanisms.
While, from a certain perspective we might say someone engaging in these behaviors is defending their ego from any sense of shame or guilt, it's important to realize that at the time the aggressor is exhibiting these behaviors, he is not primarily defending (i.e. attempting to prevent some internally painful event from occurring), but rather fighting to maintain position, gain power and to remove any obstacles (both internal and external) in the way of getting what he wants. Seeing the aggressor as on the defensive in any sense is a set-up for victimization. Recognizing that they're primarily on the offensive, mentally prepares a person for the decisive action they need to take in order to avoid being run over. Therefore, I think it's best to conceptualize many of the mental behaviors (no matter how "automatic" or "unconscious" they may appear) we often think of as defense mechanisms, as offensive power tactics, because aggressive personalities employ them primarily to manipulate, control and achieve dominance over others. Rather than trying to prevent something emotionally painful or dreadful from happening, anyone using these tactics is primarily trying to ensure that something they want to happen does indeed happen. Using the vignettes presented in the previous chapters for illustration, let's take a look at the principal tactics covert-aggressive personalities use to ensure they get their way and maintain a position of power over their victims:

Denial This is when the aggressor refuses to admit that they've done something harmful or hurtful when they clearly have. It's a way they lie (to themselves as well as to others) about their aggressive intentions. This "Who... Me?" tactic is a way of "playing innocent," and invites the victim to feel unjustified in confronting the aggressor about the inappropriateness of a behavior. It's also the way the aggressor gives him/herself permission to keep right on doing what they want to do. This denial is not the same kind of denial that a person who has just lost a loved one and can't quite bear to accept the pain and reality of the loss engages in. That type of denial really is mostly a "defense" against unbearable hurt and anxiety. Rather, this type of denial is not primarily a "defense" but a maneuver the aggressor uses to get others to back off, back down or maybe even feel guilty themselves for insinuating he's doing something wrong.

In the story of James the minister, James' denial of his ruthless ambition is massive. He denied he was hurting and neglecting his family. He especially denied he was aggressively pursuing any personal agenda. On the contrary, he cast himself as the humble servant to a honorable cause. He managed to convince several people (and maybe even himself) of the nobility and purity of his intentions. But underneath it all, James knew he was being dishonest: This fact is borne out in his reaction to the threat of not getting a seat on the Elders' Council if his marital problems worsened. When James learned he might not get what he was so aggressively pursuing after all, he had an interesting "conversion" experience. All of a sudden, he decided he could put aside the Lord's bidding for a weekend and he might really need to devote more time to his marriage and family. James' eyes weren't opened by the pastor's words. He always kept his awareness high about what might hinder or advance his cause. He knew if he didn't tend to his marriage he might lose what he really wanted. So, he chose (at least temporarily) to alter course.

In the story of Joe and Mary, Mary confronted Joe several times about what she felt was insensitivity and ruthlessness on his part in his treatment of Lisa. Joe denied his aggressiveness. He also successfully convinced Mary that what she felt in her gut was his aggressiveness was really conscientiousness, loyalty, and passionate fatherly concern. Joe wanted a daughter who got all A's. Mary stood in the way. Joe's denial was the tactic he used to remove Mary as an obstacle to what he wanted.

Selective Inattention
This tactic is similar to and sometimes mistaken for denial It's when the aggressor "plays dumb," or acts oblivious. When engaging in this tactic, the aggressor actively ignores the warnings, pleas or wishes of others, and in general, refuses to pay attention to everything and anything that might distract them from pursuing their own agenda. Often, the aggressor knows full well what you want from him when he starts to exhibit this "I don't want to hear it!" behavior. By using this tactic, the aggressor actively resists submitting himself to the tasks of paying attention to or refraining from the behavior you want him to change. In the story of Jenny and Amanda, Jenny tried to tell Amanda she was losing privileges because she was behaving irresponsibly. But Amanda wouldn't listen. Her teachers tried to tell her what she needed to do to improve her grade: but she didn't listen to them either. Actively listening to and heeding the suggestions of someone else are, among other things, acts of submission. And, as you may remember from the story, Amanda is not a girl who submits easily. Determined to let nothing stand in her way and convinced she could eventually "win" most of her power struggles with authority figures through manipulation, Amanda closed her ears. She didn't see any need to listen. From her point of view, she would only have lost some power and control if she submitted herself to the guidance and direction offered by those whom she views as less powerful, clever and capable as herself.

Rationalization
A rationalization is the excuse an aggressor tries to offer for engaging in an inappropriate or harmful behavior. It can be an effective tactic, especially when the explanation or justification the aggressor offers makes just enough sense that any reasonably conscientious person is likely to fall for it. It's a powerful tactic because it not only serves to remove any internal resistance the aggressor might have about doing what he wants to do (quieting any qualms of conscience he might have) but also to keep others off his back. If the aggressor can convince you he's justified in whatever he's doing, then he's freer to pursue his goals without interference.

In the story of little Lisa, Mary felt uneasy about the relentlessness with which Joe pursued his quest to make his daughter an obedient, all-A student once again. And, she was aware of Lisa's expressed desire to pursue counseling as a means of addressing and perhaps solving some of her problems. Although Mary felt uneasy about Joe's forcefulness and sensed the impact on her daughter, she allowed herself to become persuaded by his rationalizations that any concerned parent ought to know his daughter better than some relatively dispassionate outsider and that he was only doing his duty by doing as much as he possibly could to "help" his "little girl." When a manipulator really wants to make headway with their rationalizations they'll be sure their excuses are combined with other effective tactics. For example, when Joe was "selling" Mary on the justification for shoving his agenda down everyone's throat he was also sending out subtle invitations for her to feel ashamed (shaming her for not being as "concerned" a parent as he was) as well as making her feel guilty (guilt-tripping her) for not being as conscientious as he was pretending to be.

Diversion
A moving target is hard to hit. When we try to pin a manipulator down or try to keep a discussion focused on a single issue or behavior we don't like, he's expert at knowing how to change the subject, dodge the issue or in some way throw us a curve. Manipulators use distraction and diversion techniques to keep the focus off their behavior, move us off-track, and keep themselves free to promote their self-serving hidden agendas.

Rather than respond directly to the issue being addressed, Amanda diverted attention to her teacher's and classmates' treatment of her. Jenny allowed Amanda to steer her off track. She never got a straight answer to the question.

Another example of a diversion tactic can be found in the story of Don and Al. Al changed the subject when Don asked him if he had any plans to replace him. He focused on whether he was unhappy or not with Don's sales performance – as if that's what Don had asked him about in the first place. He never gave Don a straight answer to a straight question (manipulators are notorious for this). He told him what he thought would make Don feel less anxious and would steer him away from pursuing the matter any further. Al left feeling like he'd gotten an answer but all he really got was the "runaround."

Early in the current school year, I found it necessary to address my son's irresponsibility about doing his homework by making a rule that he bring his books home every night. One time I asked: "Did you bring your books home today?" His response was: "Guess what, Dad. Instead of tomorrow, we're not going to have our test – until Friday." My question was simple and direct. His answer was deliberately evasive and diversionary. He knew that if he answered the question directly and honestly, he would have received a consequence for failing to bring his books home. By using diversion (and also offering a rationalization) he was already fighting with me to avoid that consequence. Whenever someone is not responding directly to an issue, you can safely assume that for some reason, they're trying to give you the slip.

Lying
It's often hard to tell when a person is lying at the time he's doing it. Fortunately, there are times when the truth will out because circumstances don't bear out somebody's story. But there are also times when you don't know you've been deceived until it's too late. One way to minimize the chances that someone will put one over on you is to remember that because aggressive personalities of all types will generally stop at nothing to get what they want, you can expect them to lie and cheat. Another thing to remember is that manipulators – covert-aggressive personalities that they are – are prone to lie in subtle, covert ways. Courts are well aware of the many ways that people lie, as they require that court oaths charge that testifiers tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Manipulators often lie by withholding a significant amount of the truth from you or by distorting the truth. They are adept at being vague when you ask them direct questions. This is an especially slick way of lying' omission. Keep this in mind when dealing with a suspected wolf in sheep's clothing. Always seek and obtain specific, confirmable information.

Covert Intimidation
Aggressors frequently threaten their victims to keep them anxious, apprehensive and in a one-down position. Covert-aggressives intimidate their victims by making veiled (subtle, indirect or implied) threats. Guilt-tripping and shaming are two of the covert-aggressive's favourite weapons. Both are special intimidation tactics.

Guilt-tripping
One thing that aggressive personalities know well is that other types of persons have very different consciences than they do. Manipulators are often skilled at using what they know to be the greater conscientiousness of their victims as a means of keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position. The more conscientious the potential victim, the more effective guilt is as a weapon. Aggressive personalities of all types use guilt-tripping so frequently and effectively as a manipulative tactic, that I believe it illustrates how fundamentally different in character they are compared to other (especially neurotic) personalities. All a manipulator has to do is suggest to the conscientious person that they don't care enough, are too selfish, etc., and that person immediately starts to feel bad. On the contrary, a conscientious person might try until they're blue in the face to get a manipulator (or any other aggressive personality) to feel badly about a hurtful behavior, acknowledge responsibility, or admit wrongdoing, to absolutely no avail.

Shaming
This is the technique of using subtle sarcasm and put-downs as a means of increasing fear and self-doubt in others. Covert-aggressives use this tactic to make others feel inadequate or unworthy, and therefore, defer to them. It's an effective way to foster a continued sense of personal inadequacy in the weaker party, thereby allowing an aggressor to maintain a position of dominance.

When Joe loudly proclaimed any "good" parent would do just as he was doing to help Lisa, he subtly implied Mary would be a "bad" parent if she didn't attempt to do the same. He "invited" her to feel ashamed of herself. The tactic was effective. Mary eventually felt ashamed for taking a position that made it appear she didn't care enough about her own daughter. Even more doubtful of her worth as a person and a parent, Mary deferred to Joe, thus enabling him to rein a position of dominance over her. Covert-aggressives are expert at using shaming tactics in the most subtle ways. Sometimes it can just be in the glances they give or the tone of voice they use. Using rhetorical comments, subtle sarcasm and other techniques, they can invite you to feel ashamed of yourself for even daring to challenge them. Joe tried to shame Mary when I considered accepting the educational assessment performed by Lisa's school. He said something like: "I'm not sure what kind of doctor you are or just what kind of credentials you have, but I'm sure you'd agree that a youngster's grades wouldn't slip as much as Lisa's for no reason. You couldn't be entirely certain she didn't have a learning disability unless you did some testing, could you?' With those words, he "invited" Mary to feel ashamed of herself for not at least considering doing just as he asked. If Mary didn't have a suspicion about what he was up to, she might have accepted this invitation without a second thought.

Playing the Victim Role
This tactic involves portraying oneself as an innocent victim of circumstances or someone else's behavior in order to gain sympathy, evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. One thing that covert-aggressive personalities count on is the fact that less calloused and less hostile personalities usually can't stand to see anyone suffering. Therefore, the tactic is simple. Convince your victim you're suffering in some way, and they'll try to relieve your distress.

In the story of Amanda and Jenny, Amanda was good at playing the victim role too. She had her mother believing that she (Amanda) was the victim of extremely unfair treatment and the target of unwarranted hostility. I remember Jenny telling me: "Sometimes I think Amanda's wrong when she says her teacher hates her and I hate her. But what if that's what she really believes? Can I afford to be so firm with her if she believes in her heart that I hate her?" I remember telling Jenny: "Whether Amanda has come to believe her own distortions is almost irrelevant. She manipulates you because you believe that she believes it and allow that supposed belief to serve as an excuse for her undisciplined aggression."

Vilifying the Victim
This tactic is frequently used in conjunction with the tactic of playing the victim role. The aggressor uses this tactic to make it appear he is only responding (i.e. defending himself against) aggression on the part of the victim. It enables the aggressor to better put the victim on the defensive.

Returning again to the story of Jenny and Amanda, when Amanda accuses her mother of "hating" her and "always saying mean things" to her, she not only invites Jenny to feel the "bully," but simultaneously succeeds in "bullying" Jenny into backing off. More than any other, the tactic of vilifying the victim is a powerful means of putting someone unconsciously on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent and behavior of the person using the tactic.

Playing the Servant Role
Covert-aggressives use this tactic to cloak their self-serving agendas in the guise of service to a more noble cause. It's a common tactic but difficult to recognize. By pretending to be working hard on someone else's behalf, covert-aggressives conceal their own ambition, desire for power, and quest for a position of dominance over others. In the story of James (the minister) and Sean, James appeared to many to be the tireless servant. He attended more activities than he needed to attend and did so eagerly. But if devoted service to those who needed him was his aim, how does one explain the degree to which James habitually neglected his family? As an aggressive personality, James submits himself to no one. The only master he serves is his own ambition. Not only was playing the servant role an effective tactic for James, but also it's the cornerstone upon which corrupt ministerial empires of all types are built. A good example comes to mind in the recent true story of a well-known tele-evangelist who locked himself up in a room in a purported display of "obedience" and "service" to God. He even portrayed himself' a willing sacrificial lamb who was prepared to be "taken by God" if he didn't do the Almighty's bidding and raise eight million dollars. He claimed he was a humble servant, merely heeding the Lord's will. He was really fighting to save his substantial material empire.

Another recent scandal involving a tele-evangelist resulted in his church's governance body censuring him for one year. But he told his congregation he couldn't stop his ministry because he had to be faithful to the Lord's will (God supposedly talked to him and told him not to quit). This minister was clearly being defiant of his church's established authority. Yet, he presented himself as a person being humbly submissive to the "highest" authority. One hallmark characteristic of covert-aggressive personalities is loudly professing subservience while fighting for dominance.

Seduction
Covert-aggressive personalities are adept at charming, praising, flattering or overtly supporting others in order to get them to lower their defenses and surrender their trust and loyalty. Covert-aggressives are also particularly aware that people who are to some extent emotionally needy and dependent (and that includes most people who aren't character-disordered) want approval, reassurance, and a sense of being valued and needed more than anything. Appearing to be attentive to these needs can be a manipulator's ticket to incredible power over others. Shady "gurus" like Jim Jones and David Koresh seemed to have refined this tactic to an art. In the story of Al and Don, Al is the consummate seducer. He melts any resistance you might have to giving him your loyalty and confidence. He does this by giving you what he knows you need most. He knows you want to feel valued and important. So, he often tells you that you are. You don't find out how unimportant you really are to him until you turn out to be in his way.

Projecting the blame (blaming others
) Aggressive personalities are always looking for a way to shift the blame for their aggressive behavior. Covert-aggressives are not only skilled at finding scapegoats, they're expert at doing so in subtle, hard to detect ways.

Minimization
This tactic is a unique kind of denial coupled with rationalization. When using this maneuver, the aggressor is attempting to assert that his abusive behavior isn't really as harmful or irresponsible as someone else may be claiming. It's the aggressor's attempt to make a molehill out of a mountain.
I've presented the principal tactics that covert-aggressives use to manipulate and control others. They are not always easy to recognize. Although all aggressive personalities tend to use these tactics, covert-aggressives generally use them slickly, subtly and adeptly. Anyone dealing with a covertly aggressive person will need to heighten gut-level sensitivity to the use of these tactics if they're to avoid being taken in by them.

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shared by Barbara at 12:02 AM


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13 Comments:

This book is a great tool; it helped my husband and I understand and identify our son's manipulative girlfriend (now wife) who brought nothing but heartache, dissension, disunity, and conflict into our heretofore happy family. It's been a nightmare. The biggest nightmare is how this woman has our son, pastors and friends completely enamored and seduced.

We're working on changing ourselves, as she is a master manipulator and extremely good at using the tactics of clouding issues and confusing those who confront her.

The last time my husband and I were in a pastoral meeting with our son and his then fiance, we really got sandbagged - issues were minimized and we were yet again made out to be the bad guys. We're wondering if an intervention with other witnesses to her lies and slander would be a good idea. Any ideas?

2:45 AM  

Dear Anonymous,
I understand how frustrating it can be to deal with the masterful deciet these web weavers spin. Ive had my share of it and then some.

In my experience, exposing my manipulator for the fraud that they were did little to deter their appetite for causing harm. The only thing it seemed to accomplish was to split the family right up the middle.Which is why im not sure an intervention would win much more than a small battle, if anything. It may serve only to put you in a poor light where your son is concerned.He may see it as an unwarranted attack on his marriage.Although im not sorry i took a stand and said no more i do regret that i lost my youngest sibling in the process.

I think you've taken a step in the right direction, by begining to work on yourselves.As it is seldom the case that they (the manipulator) see the need for change.The best thing you can do to take the wind out of her sails and reduce the ammount of anguish on the family as a whole is to modify your response to her behavior.

4:40 AM  

The problem I have is that my son, now married to the manipulator, has NO IDEA that he or any of us are suffering from her need to manipulate, so he won't allow a word to be spoken against her, or even about her, or even review her words.

With "undefended and unrevealed" comments she has managed to take the most beautiful and precious mother-son relationship and poison it to death. And it only took her three months of little covert, "southern belle" comments whispered in his ear to convince him. After 25 year of motherhood and deep friendship, she destroyed my joy and happiness. She was a sexually abused child (10 years - her natural father, he went to prison) and my heart bleeds for her, but why was it necessary to poison my son against me (we'd never had a sour word between us) and WHY and HOW could my son buy in to her? I realize men think with more than their brains, but is great sex really worth destroying your mother? Apparently, yes!!!!!!!!

It makes a mother think she should warn mothers not to try so damn hard at making their child's childhood so damn wonderful, because in the end, it's all about sex, not loyalty or honor, SEX! There just doesn't seem to be any other explanation for the blindness. Any response with differing opinions is welcome!

6:08 PM  

Oh, the above comments just make me ache for your family.

My husband went through the same thing... his father had an affair and then married the woman. She has destroyed their family. But, like your son, his father will not hear an ill word about her, regardless of the obvious (to us and most others) deceit and lies. We worked on just treating her as we would like to be treated, to no avail. The nicer we are, the meaner she gets. It's bizarre really.

I'm now dealing with a friend who has the same covert-aggressive personality. She constantly does hurtful and underhanded things...yet she plays the victim role SO well, and I wind up apologizing somehow.

How can you confront someone who is ALWAYS in crisis mode?!? If she thinks we're "not friends anymore," she hides in her room and cries. This is a married woman with three children. The last time we had a "tiff" she didn't speak for two days. How did I get myself into this?? Now I feel somehow responsible for her emotional well-being, even though it's sapping my strength.

This has to all be tied in with competition and jealousy, right? These personalities want to gain and climb and tear down whatever stands in their way, because they must be at the top; they must be the best.

Why can't we all just get along??

10:12 PM  

Look,im not trying to be rude. I honestly dont think you raised a horny monster.You no doubt put everything you had into making him the man he is today.In spite of his choice in a wife.Some part of you has to be proud that.Its not easy to have to chose between your wife and your mother. Either way he goes you must know that he ultimately loses.He choses to stand by her not just because shes an exceptional liar,or great in bed,but because he loves her.That trumps everything.You could tell him shes the devil incarnate. It isnt going to change how he feels about her. Unfortunately,He has to see her for what she is on his own.In his own time.When he does is he going to feel comfortable coming to you about it? I doubt it.Hes going to feel like a fool.Which cuts him off again from the benefit of your support. He may be an adult but that doesnt mean that he doesnt need you.Do whatever you have to do to repair the relationship with your son. Forget her. Put her drama aside because thats one youre not going to win.Tell him youre sorry for putting him in the middle and making him choose.Give him his space to make his own mistakes.However painful the lesson.

3:35 AM  

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

At first glance this passage might seem to justify the behavior but I say it needs to be looked at more closely.

6:56 AM  

Reading your blog reminds me of an author I know. Angelica Harris is a domestic abuse survivor who has healed many of her own life's struggles through writing. Check out her website and books because you might be able to work together. www.angelicaharris.com

10:29 PM  

This is in response to the above commentor going through hell with a psychopathic daughter-in-law. It's from the website Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc. If you put them through Barbara, I'm gonna do two posts because there are two that fit this. The title of the first article is "The Silent Partner & The Silent Majority." Please read the quote in it's entirety and also remember that evil is supe real. "The Silent Partner is any relative who stands by silently while you are victimized, or who takes the abuser's side against the victim. She, or he, is usually the other parent, who abdicates her parental responsibility to protect her children, or, worse yet, sacrifices her children to the abuser in order to make her own life easier.

In most cases of birth-family abuse, there is usually not just one single Silent Partner. Several, if not many, family members collude with, protect, and cooperate with the abuser, and participate in scape-goating, pressuring, ostracizing, or trying to silence the victim. I will refer to these evil participants in our abuse as the Silent Majority, although that term requires a bit of clarification. In many instances they are far from silent. Although they might be silent about the actual abuse inflicted upon us, they can be quite vehement in insisting that the victim is wrong for not continuing to accept it.

While encouraging an abuser to operate freely in their midst, they will not be silent when it comes to criticizing the victim. They will look the other way when the victim is being mistreated, never validating her or defending her, and then attack her when she defends herself. The one that they gossip about, smear to others, judge, and condemn will invariably be the victim rather than the abuser. In their sick, evil, twisted minds, it is the long-suffering victim who is the family “trouble-maker”, never the abuser himself. They don’t ever believe there’s anything wrong with him. They don’t see a problem with his behavior. Why? It’s simple. Because birds of a feather stick together.

In our Lord-Of-The-Flies birth-families, the Silent Partner and The Silent Majority don’t bat an eye at betraying an innocent family member who loves them, and serving her up on a silver platter to be sacrificed to vicious, lifelong abuse. They specialize in re-victimizing the victim. Although not as open and obvious about it as the “Alpha Dog” abuser, they are every bit as guilty as he is. By either their silence, or their speaking up against the wrong person, they allow and encourage the abuse to continue. They are PARTNERS with the abuser. They are abusers, too, and it’s time we give them the credit for it."

Has anyone in your life EVER told you this info? Any therapist, pastor, psychologist? HELL no! We just re-rape the victims and people are making money doing this.

12:33 AM  

This is a second article from the website Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc. in response to the above comment. It's such a blessing that a few other Christians can see the truth about evil and write it down. I get so tired of trite lies that churches and the world rape us with. Guess what? Those of us whose eyes have been opened so widely to the truth are actually blessed by God. It doesn't really feel like it though as there are so few others to reach out to and who will love us through it.

The title of this article is "SHE CAN’T HELP THE WAY SHE ACTS (FOR VARIOUS REASONS) SO YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO ACCEPT IT, FORGIVE HER ANYWAY, AND NOT EXPECT HER TO CHANGE" Here's the the beginning:" How many times has this happened to you?- You’re upset over yet another incident of abuse and you’re venting- or crying- about it to another relative, who then tells you that you have to understand that’s “just the way your abuser is”, “she doesn’t mean it”, or “she can’t help it” because of her own psychological problems.

Many times an abuser will defend herself in this manner. When it became necessary for me to set limits on my contact with a very demanding and selfish ex-friend, instead of apologizing for being so rude and nasty and agreeing to control herself in the future, she chose to take offense and add fuel to the fire by becoming even more abusive. Later, she claimed she did this because I had not “handled her properly”. She told me she “responded much better to a gentle hand guiding her in what was right”. She added that this was “just the way she’s wired”, as if for some strange reason it was beyond her control to respond in a rational and polite way. Even more amazing was the fact that, although I had indeed finally set some limits, I nevertheless had still treated her gently and lovingly, while all the while SHE was treating ME hatefully.

Unfortunately for my ex-friend, “that’s just the way I’m wired” is not an acceptable excuse for abusing someone. It’s not my job to make allowances for her faulty wiring and overlook her hostile and offensive behavior. It’s her job to “unwire” herself and behave properly- if not lovingly towards an old friend, then at least in a civil and socially acceptable manner.

Perhaps even more frequently, some version of this lame excuse is used by the Silent Partner or the Silent Majority (his enablers) to defend the abuser. My mother had more excuses for my birth-father’s abuse than he did. “That’s just the way he is”, “He can’t help himself”, “He can’t handle his anger”, “He doesn’t know how to act right towards people”, “He’s always been that way”, “He’s very moody”, “You know he just has a short fuse”, and other lame excuses poured from my mother’s lips daily, even though, paradoxically, she also complained more about his behavior than anyone else did.

The conclusions drawn by those offering these lame excuses are all pointing toward one and the same resolution to the problem- YOU have to learn to accept that this is “just the way he is”, YOU have to understand that she has problems, YOU have to be more tolerant of his behavior because he “can’t help it”, and YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT NONE OF THIS IS HER FAULT. She is simply not responsible for her own words or behavior, which are apparently completely out of her control. Therefore, you have to make allowances for her behavior, forgive her, and keep on forgiving her without ever expecting her to change, no matter what outrageous and destructive things she does, because otherwise you wouldn’t be a good Christian.

Well, nice try. This is just more hogwash invented by abusers and their enablers to allow them to get away with murder, so to speak. Out of all the lame excuses abusers like to try, it doesn't get any lamer than 'I can't control myself.' Here are some of the excuses we’ve heard which really are NO EXCUSE AT ALL:...."

You can check out the rest of the article on the website. It's worth reading.

12:52 AM  

Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." This Bible verse is yet another one that I wish I didn't have to know so intimately. After realizing that the person that I had committed my life to and spent decades serving, was actually one who had the brain-functioning of a psychopath, I spent years mourning. Mourning for the person I thought he was, for the lies that I believed were truth, for the hope of our future together, realizing the sweet things were actually manipulations he had done to get his way, that he never loved his children or me and that he never would, mourning that nobody had warned me about psychopathy and that now that I knew, nobody believed me and those that did were strangers on the internet. The reason it took years is because I didn't learn the truth about psychopathy all at once so the layers would be revealed and then more truth. Mourning is yet another gift that God gives us. Psychopaths will never be comforted as they can never truly mourn. They feel sorry for themselves but it's only that they no longer have access to harm others. Jesus is the true comforter. 2 Corth. 1:3-5 "3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

For the poster who is dealing with a manipulative daughter-in-law and a son who refuses to listen. If you are able to, and this might take preparation, try "walking away." Letting go is the phrase ususally used here but emotionally this may take more time. In my case I stopped trying to fix the relationship. It was so long in coming and I was basically completely emotionally, spiritually, mentally exhaused to the point that I could no longer react. I was no longer able to but blessedly this was when God opened my eyes and showed me that I was the reason it all kept going on. That these types of people MUST have someone to be against and when I would react, whether it was to defend myself against the accusations or try and prove what he was saying were lies, once I stopped reacting, all the steam went out. It was amazing to see and also heartbreaking and sad because this person was nothing but a lie and I was what gave him credibility because he could use my heart and mind to gain access to others. Once I no longer gave him access to this, he lost everything. I was nothing but a "prop" to him but apparently I was a prop who held him up. But God wouldn't let me be this way anymore through sheer exhaustion but it was His way of letting me rest and waking me up to see the truth of this man and how truly evil and empty he was.

So if you are able to walk away from the relationship for a while and just let them be whatever they are together, this may not only help you to mourn the relationship that you once had with your son, it may also allow Jesus to be a comforter to you. I don't know what the Lord will reveal to you but I've found that everything He's taken away from me, after I've mourned the loss, has come to be a relief and a blessing to me. And also, some relationships I still have are much deeper and stronger because they are based on truth and have seen the storms I have gone through so it is not some fluffy trite thing but a healthy one.

1:48 AM  

"The tactics manipulators use can make it seem like they're hurting, caring, defending, ..., almost anything but fighting." I think people like to fight and provoke much more than we and they like to admit. Everyone wants to be a good guy on the surface, and we want then to be the nice guys; but reality is very different.

4:52 PM  

I can't stand manipulators & pretty sure God doesn't take delight in them either. Maybe God allows them in our lives because 1they're so numerous & 2 so we appreciate true Christians when we find them.

5:53 PM  

I work with a woman who has been trying to manipulate me with words and actions. We do not have the same bosses and don't work in the same department but ever since i started working at this job she has been extremely pushy and has interfered with both my personal life and work life. I have never met anyone quite like her. She doesn't respect boundries and is extremely willful. She likes to appear like all her selfish efforts are to help others, and she boast that she's just a happy helpful person but I don't buy it. I'm now standing up to her because i really believe she is manipulative, fake, jealous and strives for attention. I don't trust her at all. Others at work think she's a kind person but i've been on the receiving end of her games and I'm no idiot. I believe she is secretly controling and manipulative and I'm real close to giving her a piece of my mind and letting her know exactly what i think of her behaviour. It really makes me sick to think grown women (she's 50+) would resort to such imature weak behavior. Sad! I'm tired of dealing with her and think she's probably capable of anything she thinks she could get away with.

4:07 AM  

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