Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Emotional Manipulator -- Skilled Controller

by Cassandra

Abusers can be masters of disguise and covert operations. He or She hones their skills to expert precision, lest people see through the mask to the ruthless ambition and envy beneath.

Above all, the abuser seeks to keep that mask firmly in place so as not to lose the support of those who’ve been fooled by the outer facade.

This list of characteristics describes abusers and gives an awareness of the techniques used by * Chameleons * who may be male or female.

1. Charming in public – exuding warmth and charm, an abuser smiles and tells jokes, praises and flatters you, outwardly supports you with a show of approval and reassurance, makes you feel valuable and appears to be attentive to your needs.

2. Rumor-monger in private – criticizing you behind your back, he may suggest that you have personal or emotional problems, carefully building a case against you via calculated misinformation passed on to others behind the scenes. He manipulates others into criticizing you and then rewards them for their participation in his plot to undermine your image in every way.

3. Two-faced – He pretends to support you while planning to destroy you; then when you challenge him, he suddenly transforms from supportive to bullying. His soft-spoken manner hides his destructive intentions, his flattering words hide his desire to control you, and his seemingly warm personality hides his take-no-prisoners attitude.

4. Distorts truth and reality – He misleads people by omitting key facts. He’s extremely concerned to preserve an appearance of integrity, all the while withholding significant information. He misleads people by omitting key facts, he quotes hearsay as important and authoritative, then, justifies his opinion by falsely claiming others think the same way.

Master of the half-truth, he miss-states and belittles your viewpoint, asks questions that demean you, then interrupts before you can fully respond, he changes the subject before you can correct his miss-statements, then he adds new false accusations faster than you can respond to the old ones.

5. Hypocritical – His spoken philosophy and behavior don’t match, his words creating a positive image which does not match his actions. He describes his mistakes as minor, but your mistakes as serious, or ignores his own mistakes while always highliting yours. – He calmly demeans you, but is angry because you don’t respect him. Not respecting him = pointing out the inconguities and inconsistencies between who he claims to be and what he actually does and says.

6. Evasive – He acts confused by any complaint about his behavior and always shifts the focus to others. He acts like he is the one who is being victimized. He tries to make you feel guilty for hurting him, accusing you of behavior that was far worse than his and asserting that you are the cause of his bad behavior (if he ever does admit to behaving badly).

7. Pompous – He acts like a know-it-all and never apologizes, unless to prove how rarely he makes a mistake. He’s a prima donna … condescending in words, tone of voice and mannerisms. Every issue which effects him is high drama and he’ll try to demolish the opposition in every discussion to keep the focus on himself.

8. Self-righteous – In order to disguise his corrupt character, he always claims the moral and ethical high ground. He brags about the goodness of his own character while suggesting that others have dubious motives. He frequently talks of his superior ethical standards, implying that others don’t have his high standards and using distorted examples to prove that others are not nearly as superior as he.

9. Obsessed with image – He believes that his image is more important than reality, so he disguises his true emotions and desires. When you see beneath his persona, he will suggest that your actions have hurt his image. Alternatively, he says that your proposed actions (i.e., exposing him) will hurt your own image.

10. Passive-aggressive behaviour: (Anger Expressed Inappropriately)

* Put-downs
* Sarcasm
* Insults
* Rudeness
* Sabotage
* Intimidation
* Belittling Remarks

11. Pretends to care – While pretending to care about others, he is at his most manipulative and dangerous. Most people are taken in by his apparently positive energy, enthusiasm and charisma, but in reality, they are naively being fooled by an attractive personality which hides a morally and ethically corrupt abuser who is coldly and ruthlessly pursuing his own selfish ends.

His expression of affection is tainted with possessiveness and he compliments you only because it serves his purpose. He has a look of concern, but he doesn’t truly respect you.

He pretends to be your friend while tearing you down, destroying your reputation, weakening your position, and exaggerating the importance of your mistakes.

12. Plays the victim – He exaggerates his pain and suffering, trying to make you feel guilty for causing his pain and claiming that you don’t appreciate him.

He becomes angry and indignant when you try to reason with him, then says he is tired of doing all the compromising.

The above list of characteristics describes abusers and gives an awareness of the techniques used by * Chameleons * who may be male or female.


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shared by Barbara at 12:26 AM



Thanks for this accurate description. I am German married to my American partner since Dec 2010 and in the shelter for domestic violence since August 2011. I mostly withheld his attacks hence he refused to adjust my status. Fear of immigration hold me down for a few weeks till I found VAWA. Now I am in the process of self petitioning for my permanent residency. I am surprised that in Virginia I can not prosecute him for the psychological abuse.
Thanks for being out there. Your article has helped me tonight a lot.

8:47 PM  

And so many of us are subjected to this treatment on a daily basis, with no one to help or who even believes us.

There's little doubt in my mind that even if the masses KNEW that psychopaths brains are wired so that they don't process emotions such as love, empathy etc., and the effect they had on non-psychopaths, there would still be no help for those of us raped by this. Just LOOK! Dr. Hare, Adrian Raine, these experts do not try to educate the public, rather they help and treat the psychopaths. For every dollar spent on "treating" psychopaths, the same amount should be spent on true psychopathy awareness. And for every treatment plan for psychopaths (the time and money spent here), there should be treatement plans set up to help in the healing of those harmed by psychopaths.

There is a spiritual element to psychopathy that most people don't address because it appears too controversial. It is called EVIL. Similar to the characters the "Death Eaters" of Harry Potter fame. They oppress and suck the "energy" out of you. Heavy depression will result if exposed to a psychopath for extended periods of time. Hopelessness is the overwhelming feeling. You feel worthless and useless and suicidial. Just re-read the list written in this article alone.

And remember, these manipulators are this way ALL THE TIME! They never take a day off or rest. Its quite simply the way that they are. And even those of us who now know the horror show we've been exposed to because of psychopaths, we still can't "shore" ourselves up enough to fend off the aftereffects such as depression etc. The situation is truly overwhelming world-wide.

12:46 AM  

Dr. Hare doesn't treat psychopaths - he researches them. People don't want to believe in this sort of evil. That's the BIG problem.

1:19 AM  

It is so true that people do not want to believe in this sort of evil. I left my abusive psychopathic husband 15 months ago. During this time I have been and continue to be subject to an ongoing campaign to destroy me and everything I value; my relationship with my kids, my finances, my friendships and access to professional support services and my sanity. He thinks nothing of harming our children in order to hurt me or pay me back for standing up to him. His stated goal is to 'break me' so that if he succeeds in driving me insane he will get full custody of our children whom he clearly does not care about. He is of course running a very clever and orchestrated campaign, complete with gas lighting, supplying forged legal documents to authorities, and getting his flat mate who would not otherwise have a roof over her headroom lie for him and back him up. My dear friend has been through this journey with me by my side constantly, and it is only in the last few days that she is beginning to believe that he is capable of anything.

5:29 PM  

I hope you have a very aggressive lawyer who will NOT take the easy way out just to avoid some paperwork.

12:37 AM  

Reading the post from anonymous about her on-going abuse. What if this woman had been able to have this man tested for psychopathy BEFORE even beginning a relationship with him? What if ALL of us who are now on this side of the hell of psychopathy, had this opportunity? And what if we KNEW beforehand the genetic component? That it is highly inheretable? WE WEREN'T EVEN GIVEN A CHANCE!

And once you are on this side, finally (if you're lucky) KNOWING it is "just" psychopathy and not passive-aggressive, bully etc., who can you go to for help? For counseling? For advice? There are NO professionals that I have been able to find as of yet. To be able to find help and healing and people who can testify in court on a professional level, to help the court system understand how all-encompassing and emotionally destroying psychopathy is and how psychopathy is untreatable. Little ones, THINGS ARE VERY BAD. I'm very heartbroken and tired. 2 Tim 3:1-5.

11:27 PM  

Thank you Cassondra you nailed it!!! You described my husband of 11 years and partner for a total of 19 years. Before I met him I always did wanted to do. I changed carrers like fashion... When I met him I still attempted to try new avenues but found myself flacking out. My confidence would fizzle out quickly when I felt he was too busy with his own career. I always supported him emotionally with his dreams and his dream has come true to have his own business... I fell into the puppy roll and followed him the whole time. Now home with twins for the past three years has destroyed our finical standing and he blames me for everything... It was my fault that I never had everything set in the bisiness that would allow us to be smooth Sailing today. Yes he works hard but the twins consume everything... And I wish he would just suck it up and make his business grow without me... :))

2:37 PM  

I know this evil truly exists. I have been married to it for 6 years.I am trying desperately to be unmarried from it but he just keeps the hits coming. I feel like he will never stop hammering away at me. What does it take to finally be free of this evil??

5:56 AM  

Therapy and a divorce lawyer. AND DO NOT TELL HIM ABOUT EITHER. Just do it. And start packing.

11:54 AM  

Oh God - the memories. How to make them go away? One in particular, he calls home around 2:30 pm from a side job he is working on. It's Saturday (much busier than weekdays with two kids' separate schedules and house/dog/etc) and he asks if I want to go out to dinner. Being the dutiful I say yes. So, I must call his favorite steak house and make reservations. Call him back with the time and: find sitter, stop at bank for cash, get car washed/gassed, get munchies and a couple age appropriate movies for sitter. Come home check out clothing situation (it's a nice restaurant), iron his shirt, get his clothes ready/pressed/linted and leave on bed. Check shoes for scuffs, etc. All's good. Go get sitter. Come home, take shower, makeup, dressed. It is an hour PAST reservation time. I told sitter I would pay her for the hour she was stuck watching me pace the hall. He comes flying in, showers, butchers his face trying to shave in a hurry, gets dressed and we get into car. He starts car, goes outside, lifts hood and CHECKS THE OIL. I kid you not. I will never forget the black mark of dirt on his cuff. That is all I stared at all.dinner.long. (Before Tide pen) We said nothing to each other. He talked of work and people there and whatever while I stared at that dirt mark on his cuff wondering if I had anything to remove it at home. He ate all of his and most of my food. I was exhausted. Complete silence all the way home. I drive sitter home mentally yelling at myself for sounding sooo excited and saying yes to going out when I knew full well I didn't want to. I would have rather just as well stayed at home with the kids and the dog.
It still took a few years to get up the muster to say no or to have an excuse ready to any of his invitations. But the family things like weddings and all that still required much effort on MY part and us arriving soooo late. I won't miss this at all.

6:30 PM  

Everything I read felt like a mirror image of my ex the father of my child it has made me severly depressed anxious and nervous reading these things really help because I thought I was the crazy one but really I'm the victim

3:43 AM  

Hi, I'm from South Africa, and have only recently come to the realization that I might be in an abusive relationship. We've been married 10 years, with tho kids. When I first met him, i couldn't believe that this man actually chose me. I come from a dysfunctional family, and he, from an apparent 'stable' home. There were lots of clues over the years that something's not quite right, but, he seemed like a solid guy, very shy, financially stable...everything a girl could wish for. He has never hit me, or really shouted at me. He has never called me names or anythng like that. He does however (as well as his mother, with whom he has a very close relationship), repeatedly say that I'm too sensitive, blowing things out of proportion. This is always when I want to talk to him about something his mom said which hurt me. The woman is a very domineering person, and wants to control everything. She criticizes our home from the minute she walks in, and my husband is like a puppet when she's visiting. She has rearranged my furniture, rehung pictures etc. My husband doesn't see anything wrong with this, and ALWAYS tell me I'm overreacting to this, and that she means well. The other day him and his sister moved a bed in my daughter's room, cause it would look better against that wall, without consulting me first. When I confronted him about this, he told me I always look for a way to start an argument with him when his family is visiting. He doesn't have any friends. doesn't go out, and tries to keep me indoors at all cost. I'm too afraid to even mention that I'm having coffee with a friend (our neighbour). He doesn't say in so many words that I cannot go, but will give me the cold shoulder when I come back home. He hardly interacts with my family and friends. A month ago my cousins, which I haven't seen for years, came to visit my city, and we wanted to get together to get re-acquainted. When I told him this, he countered that I would do anything to not spend time with him! Fact is, I'm at home all the time when I'm not at work, but he doesn't communicate with me.When I do want to talk to him, he seems so irritated. Needless to say, I ended up not going to the get-together with my family. Over the years, I've invited him to go with me to year-end functions and such, and he always declined. We're at a point where we hardly communicate. I suggested marriage counselling, which he refused iniially, but after a 2nd request, agreed to go. We will be seeing the therapist for the 1st time tomorrow. I'm seeing a therapist on my own since last week. What is so confusing, is that all of a sudden he alks to me, we had a barbecue on Sunday, he sent flowers to to work with a card saying: 'just to let you know I'm thinking of you, and cannot get you out of my mind'. This sounds like the words of someone i had very hot sex with the night before (which we didn't!) and not that of someone who ignores you half the time! I heard from his friend that we might be going their way (in another city), and he has booked space to go for dancing lessons (I love dancing; he doesn't). I know this ma sound that I'm ungrateful, which I'm not, but this seems all too much, too sudden!! Please tell me I'm not just an overreacting, pathetic woman, and that I'm not imagining things. I just feel so lonely, but even though I do, I cannot say with absolute certainty that what I fell for him is love. I'm dissilusioned, hurt and feel betrayed, and invalidated. Many times I sit crying where he can't see, for fear that he wil ridicule my tears, as he has done in the past. I'm just looking for answers, please, if anyboby could give me some guidance.

2:25 PM  

I don't believe people don't believe these gaslighters exist. I think they know darn well they do, that we're in a pickle and they don't want anything to do with it. Then there are
the N's who work by ridiculing and gossiping and making a fool out of me. An instance happened lately; and what hits me most, is that people are so mean and gossipy themselves that they lap it up and enjoy it tremendously. Are they psychopathic, too? I think it's an interesting and appalling problem.

7:55 PM  

One more thing-I've gone No Contact eight years now. I've lost alot of people. I still have my husband, have a number of children with whom I am on very good terms, but who are long gone. I am isolated and we are alone. Always a dangerous situation. I believe that people like us are the normal and gentlewomanly (or manly) people. Sensitive, compassionate and fun. Why don't we all get together and form a better neighborhood? How we'd do that, I'm not sure. Most probably, anonymously and safely, on the web. It's a beginning. I only know I used to know nicer people. they must still be out there and I think they're us.

7:58 PM  

This is uncanny... me, yes, same. I had to plan everything and I mean do everytjing, i was exhausted and then when we got home, kids were not in bed...more work for me to do, he just plopped down in front of tv, turned remote in and then expected SEX. Keep in mind, I was severely sleep deprived due to 24/7 caretaking of special needs kids. It just disgusted me. Going out... with him shushing me the entire time. ..then expecting sex after I did everythibg, ugh, puke

7:52 PM  

Yes you have to protect your self. When being abused you either claim it or ignore thevabuse. If it's horrible like what I've been through, you are a physical puzzle. Ah"whatbhappenef to your arm?" (In a cast) next mint ah, "what happened to your ankle" in a cast. "Why did you lose another tooth?"

2:21 AM  

Thank you for this article and more. I'm still digesting a lot of the valuable information here. I've been in abusive relationship for about six years. At first, the abuser would play the victim about all that his ex had done to him. I guess I took the bait..oh poor him, I neede to proof to him that I was a trust worthy person andvwould never do anything like that to him. Then it started with a few screaming and yelling incidents over silly things. What did I do wrong? I would always think to myself and learned my "acceptable" behavior. The tjing that got me "hooked" was how dedicated this person was in resolving issues. Oh, he loves me because he wants to fix this and he promises not to do this again. Little by little, situations would escalate to a ponts where I had to run away because I was scared. First one was just for a few hours, next one for a few days, snd one for even four months. Knowing in my heart this is not healthy relationship the techniques discribed here had been use and here I am again continuing the relationship. I question myself why do I stay? Is it the threats I was told by the abuser that make me so afraid to leave? Is it the love I feel for the abuser for all the times when he is not abusive? Is it the financial burden I have no clue I will have to deal with? I dont know...I know that threatning to set up drugs in my car so that I get arrested and loose my child is not fun to face. I truly believe this person would go to such extremes and no law is here to protect me.Dno restraining order had stopped him before.. How did I get here? Why even after four month separation I can get sweapt away back into the relationship by false promises? Perhaps because of the different roles the abuser can take and the difficulty seeing the truth who this person really is and how badly he can treat me. This is beyond my understanding how I always want to believe what is said during the better times and ignore the flags from the bad times....

3:46 AM  

A Restraining Order
is an order used by a court to protect a person, business, company, establishment, or entity, and the general public, in a situation involving alleged domestic violence, child abuse, assault, harassment, stalking, or sexual assault. In the United States, every state has some form of domestic violence restraining order law, and many states also have specific restraining order laws for stalking and sexual assault.

A Process Server
person who serves legal documents, as subpoenas, writs, or warrants, especially those requiring appearance in court.

10:28 PM  

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