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Tactics of Manipulation

Old 08-02-2012, 11:14 AM
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Tactics of Manipulation

This is an excerpt from a book that I copied off a web page. The book is "In Sheep's Clothing" By George K. Simon.

I recognize ALL of these. I bet you will too.

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.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:18 AM
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I read that week 3 after leaving AXH. I think that book was one of two that saved my sanity.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:05 PM
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Hooo boy....and I was sooo snowed by his seductive stuff...also the serving my needs stuff. So loving, but he used it as a club too.

This really clarifies a LOT!
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:09 AM
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Understanding Denial as a Defense Mechanism

This is also from Dr. Simon and makes so much sense to me. In his articles and books, the "neurotic" is basically us, people who try hard not only to project a positive image, but also to do the right thing. The "disordered character," in our case, is the alcoholic/addict.

Understanding Denial as a Defense Mechanism
By Dr George Simon, PhD

For neurotics, behavior such as denial is an unconscious defense mechanism that protects against the experience of unbearable pain. With disordered characters, what we commonly perceive as unconscious defenses (e.g., denial) are more often deliberate tactics of impression-management, manipulation, and responsibility-avoidance.

Neurotics use a variety of intra-psychic mechanisms to defend against the experience of emotional pain and alleviate anxiety. Almost everyone has heard of these classic “defense mechanisms.” These are unconscious tools that, though powerful, are neither adequate, nor always particularly healthy as ways to mitigate emotional pain. The “symptoms” the neurotic individual brings to the attention of a therapist are the result of residual anxiety — or emotional pain left over after the ineffective use of one or more of the typical “defenses.” At other times, a person might seek help because the “defenses” have become increasingly inadequate or have begun to break down, letting the emotional pain underneath them rise to the surface.

Disordered characters engage in certain behaviors that are so “automatic” that it’s tempting to think that they do them unconsciously. On the surface, these behaviors often resemble defense mechanisms and can easily be interpreted as such, especially by individuals overly steeped in traditional paradigms. However, on closer inspection, these behaviors are more accurately labeled tactics of manipulation, impression-management, and responsibility-resistance. In workshops, I always illustrate the contrast between a true “defense” mechanism and a tactic of manipulation and responsibility-avoidance using the concept of “denial.” One of the 5 most commonly misused terms in mental health (more about this later!), denial can indeed be an unconscious defense mechanism.

Let’s take the example of a woman who has been married to the same man for 40 years and she has just rushed him to the hospital because while they were out in the yard working, he began having trouble speaking and looked in some distress. The doctors then tell her that he has suffered a stroke, is now virtually brain-dead, and will not recover. Yet, every day she is by his bedside, holding his hand and talking to him. The nurses tell her that he cannot hear, but she talks to him every day. The doctors tell her he will not recover, but she tells herself, “I know he’ll pull through, he’s such a strong man.” This woman is in a unique psychological state — the state of denial. She can hardly believe what has happened. Not long ago she was in the yard with her darling, enjoying one of their favorite activities. The day before, they were at a friend’s home for a get-together. He seemed the picture of happiness and health. He didn’t seem that sick when she brought him to the hospital. Now — in the blink of an eye — they’re telling her he’s gone. This is more emotional pain than she can bear just yet. She’s not ready to accept that her partner of 40 years won’t be coming home with her. She’s not quite ready yet to face a life without him. So, her unconscious mind has provided her with an effective (albeit most likely temporary) defense against the pain. Eventually, as she becomes better able to accept the distressing reality, her denial will break down, and when it does, the pain it served to contain will gush forth and she will grieve.

Now, let’s take another example of so-called “denial.” Joe, the class bully, strolls up to one of his unsuspecting classmates and engages in one of his favorite mischievous pastimes, pushing the books out of her arms and spilling them on the floor. It just so happens that the hall monitor catches the event and sternly hollers: “Joe!” to which Joe, spreading his arms wide open and with a look of great shock, surprise, and innocence on his face asks: “Whaaaat?” Is Joe in an altered psychological state? Is his altered state brought about by more emotional pain than he could possibly bear? Does he really not understand the reality of what has happened or think that he really didn’t do anything? Is he so consumed with shame and/or guilt for what he’s done that he simply can’t bear to believe he actually did such a horrible thing? More than likely, no. Joe is probably more concerned that he has another detention coming, which means another note to his parents, and possibly even suspension. So, he’s got one long-shot tactic to try. He’ll do his best to make the hall monitor believe she didn’t really see what she thought she saw. The hallway was crowded. Maybe it was someone else. Maybe it was just an “accident.” If he acts surprised, innocent, and righteously indignant enough, maybe, just maybe, she’ll begin to doubt herself. He hopes that unlike him, she might be just neurotic enough of a personality (i.e., has an overactive conscience and excessive sense of guilt or shame) to think she might have misjudged the situation, maybe she’ll even berate herself for jumping to conclusions or for causing a possibly innocent party emotional pain. This tactic may have worked before. Maybe it will work again.

Joe was never “in denial” (the psychological state) per se. He was simply lying
This preceding example is based on a real case. It is noteworthy that when “Joe” realized that he simply couldn’t manipulate the hall monitor, he reluctantly stopped denying, saying: “Well, maybe I did do it but she had it coming because she’s always talking bad about me.” Now, we could engage in some discussion about the other tactics Joe is using to continue the game of manipulation and impression management, but the most important thing to recognize is that unlike what happens in the case of real psychological denial as a defense mechanism, in Joe’s case we don’t see an outpouring of anguish and grief when the denial ends. The reason is simple. Joe was never “in denial” (the psychological state) per se. He was simply lying, and he eventually stopped lying because it wasn’t getting him anywhere. He moved on from lying to excuse-making and playing the victim, which are also effective tactics of manipulation and impression-management.

I can’t stress enough that the “denial” of the unfortunate elderly woman mentioned above is nothing like the “denial” of Joe the school bully. One is a defense mechanism, the other a manipulation and responsibility avoidance tactic. One is an unconscious mechanism of protection from deep emotional pain; the other is a deliberate, calculated lie. Yet many use the same term to describe these very different behaviors. It is distressing to me how often even mental health professionals presume that there is only one type of denial and how often they assume that whenever denial is involved that it’s of the defense mechanism variety. I often hear them speak of clients who are still “in denial” about one problem behavior or another when what they’re really describing is a client who is still “lying and manipulating” as part of the game of impression management and responsibility-resistance. Again, “denial” is one of the most misused terms in mental health.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:01 AM
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My AH uses ALL of those techniques. I read that book a few months ago, think I need to read it again.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:13 AM
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As with lillamy, reading that book is bringing back my sanity. And my strength. It is so freeing to read the information about how manipulators use "denial" to get out of responsibility, and maintain an appearance of innocence. I am so glad I bought the book.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:55 AM
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Very true stuff.
Why can't we understand stuff we read like this when first presented it? Why does it take understanding it already to "get it" ? Why couldn't I understand this when I was in such pain and needed to understand it?
Why couldn't I understand that a man that loved me could also do this to me?
Darnnit...another form of denial.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MadeOfGlass View Post
Very true stuff.
Why can't we understand stuff we read like this when first presented it? Why does it take understanding it already to "get it" ? Why couldn't I understand this when I was in such pain and needed to understand it?
Why couldn't I understand that a man that loved me could also do this to me?
Darnnit...another form of denial.
I don't know why. But I am now reading Dr. Simon's series of articles on personal empowerment so that I never get myself in that situation again. Here's a link to them:

‘Series On Personal Empowerment’ at Psychology, Philosophy and Real Life, Page 2
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:04 PM
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Emotional Independence

I also found this list on the Web, to help with building emotional independence:

Here are the top five ways to become more emotionally independent in relationships and life from experts and from my own personal observations:

1) Recognize your self-worth and work on improving your self-esteem, which can be through focusing on positive thoughts about yourself, realizing your limitations and your achievements, working on goals, helping others and doing what makes you feel better. Accept your decisions and realize you are capable of doing what’s best for yourself (and get help if you’re not capable).

2) Realize that you control yourself, including your feelings, emotions and actions. Sometimes there are uncontrollable events in life, but you need to realize what you can control. Don’t let someone else determine how your life will turn out.

3) Spread out and recognize your emotional needs and don’t depend on one person. Work on building a variety of friendships and even talk to a therapist or psychologist.

4) Don’t schedule your life around everyone else. Realize that your needs are important and that you need to take control of your life and be independent. You can compromise and recognize others’ needs, but remember that you have to live with yourself and you don’t want to be miserable.

5) Awareness of all the above issues and about emotional dependency and co-dependency in general can allow you to work toward more independence and healthy relationships.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:24 PM
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This should be a sticky, imo. Thanks for sharing this information.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by frances2011 View Post
This should be a sticky, imo. Thanks for sharing this information.
I agree. I wish I had seen Dr. Simon's list years ago. I just ordered his second book, too, called "Character Disturbance." This man is an expert on manipulators and has studied them for decades.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:17 PM
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Wow my ABF did this all the time, I thought there was something wrong with me for not being able to see what he's doing I guess there really are legitimate tactics that have fooled all of us.

Thank you for posting this !
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:20 PM
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The other book that helped save my sanity was this one: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:02 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
To thine own self be true.
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I've also ordered The Psychopaths Among Us.
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:58 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
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Wow, full of helpful information. Thank you
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:58 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
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A short reference guide or refresher to the above.
-denial
-selective inattention
-rationalization
-diversion
-playing the victim
-vilifying the victim
-covert intimidation
-lying
-shaming
-projecting
-minimizing
-playing the servant role

See every one here far too regularly. The descriptions are about a perfect fit as one can get.

Rationalization is the biggie because some of the other things are how one rationalizes. The rationalizing is where the lies and other tactics come in. In their minds the ends justify the means except most addicts/alkies use and abuse other people's means like money to get to their ends.

Got to learn how to win the small battles first and that means now matter how trivial the lie at least in some fashion let them know they've been caught lying. I've seen lying behavior escalate, especially with when the people lied to don't react in fashion to a lie. The alkie/addict sees that person as prey for their scam.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:49 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
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Well those are all my husband. I see it. I know it. I read it and hate myself for staying but I can't leave. I guess I hope he will stop and just be happy with what he has with me.

Sometimes being on this site makes me hate myself more than I hate what he does to me
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Old 02-23-2016, 01:07 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
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This is my ex MIL. *shudders*
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Old 02-23-2016, 01:08 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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Yep-those are my ex AND my ex MIL and SIL in a nutshell. My ex excelled at all of these-and most definitely learned from his favorite two women. The biggest hurdle is just to accept someone as is and expect said person to lie, cheat, abuse and manipulate-bc it's just who that person IS.

Thank you for posting!
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