Being on the receiving end of the manipulative methods of a psychopath can leave you feeling grateful to be alive to tell the cautionary tale to others. A psychopath not only hates other people, they take action to cause harm to others for their own selfish pleasure. These are the serial killers, repeat offenders, violent criminals and the people who refuse to play by society’s polite rules.
Let’s look at some ways that a psychopath will try to manipulate you and what you can do to escape being victimized.
11 Ways Psychopaths Will Try To Manipulate You
How many psychopaths do you think you have encountered in your life? It is estimated that roughly one in every 100 people is a psychopath, which means that you have probably encountered several in your lifetime so far, and you may meet more of them.
1. The predator stare
The unblinking, dead gaze of a psychopath is one of the more disturbing ways that these antisocial people will try to manipulate you. People often cave in to the psychopath when the stare is used, but try meeting the stare with a smile. Relax and know that you are obviously provoking them and should therefore remain strong.
Researchers studying the brains of aggressive psychopaths found that they lack brain matter in the areas that help us to ‘anticipate consequences of actions and to use feedback from behavior to modify maladaptive response patterns.’ In other words, psychopaths have a hard time understanding that manipulating people is harmful to both themselves and the other person.
Hypnotists and psychopaths both use techniques to manipulate your thoughts and actions and brainwashing is one of the ways that this is accomplished. If you become aware that your conversations are strangely repetitive, where the person says the same thing over and over again, they may be trying to implant an idea in your mind.
3. Acting like a martyr
‘I’m the one who has to put up with your accusations.’ ‘Did you ever think for one second how I feel when you say things like this to me?’ ‘You make me feel worthless when you question me like this.’ These are the types of ‘poor me’ statements that a psychopath will use to try to manipulate you when you tell them how you feel about their behavior. Now you’re the bad guy, but don’t fall for this switch tactic.
Gaslighting is a type of deception that is subtle in that the psychopath who uses it is trying to get you to think you are going crazy by questioning your judgment. The term comes from an old movie where the husband keeps dimming the gas lamps in the house, but denies it, making his wife think she is going mad. If you think something is one way, trust your perception, not the words of the psychopath.
5. Silent treatment
The silent treatment often accompanies the predator stare and they are tactics to get you to cave in to whatever the psychopath wants to manipulate you into doing. Practice being comfortable with silence and the psychopath’s stare. Breathe deeply and control your emotions as you wait out the silent treatment.
6. Reducing your self-esteem
If a psychopath can make you feel weaker in comparison to them, they will do it to keep you more controllable. Recognize when you feel badly about yourself and turn the negative into positive self-talk.
7. Talk behind your back
One of the mildest forms of manipulation that a psychopath uses is turning your friends against you. They will tell people anything about you to get them to believe their words, not yours. Tell your friends about your suspicions before the psychopath makes up a lie about you being the psychopath.
8. Preventing you from doing things that you want
Seeing your friends, going out, wearing that outfit you love, whatever it is that you like to do, your psychopath will try to manipulate into a negative. Alternatively, they will fabricate a reason why you can’t do the thing that you love. Never allow a psychopath to take away your joy.
Not caring about others and what they want is a trademark of the psychopath. Research on psychopaths who commit sex crimes found that ‘In a nonpsychopath, concern for the victim, and lack of general propensities to use people for one’s own ends would help a man with deviant preferences to restrain his sexual behavior. But a psychopath with deviant preferences would act on them.’ Lacking the ability to control hurtful impulses is what makes psychopaths a large part of the criminal population.
9. Verbal abuse
Name-calling, belittling, or even a loud, angry tone are all psychological manipulation tools used by the psychopath. Putting you in a low, fearful state is the name of the game here. You feel powerless against them, which is exactly what they want.
10. Baiting you
They know your hot button issues and will deliberately bring up something that makes you angry, sad or scared because they thrive on your drama. Listen for the bait, and walk away rather than engaging in a topic that will make you emotional.
A psychopath may try to manipulate you by doing the opposite of what you want them to do. For example, if you say you are on a diet, they will bring you exactly the food that you crave most.