“Once the psychopath decides you have utility, the next item on the psychopath’s agenda is figuring out the inner workings of your personality. While this assessment progresses, the psychopath begins to focus efforts on building a close, personal relationship on which later manipulations will rest. Their true power lies in their ability to “psyche out” your personality….
As a psychopath interacts with you, he carefully assesses your persona which, paints a picture of the traits and characteristics you value in yourself. Your persona may also reveal, to an astute observer, insecurities or weaknesses hiding in your private self. The psychopath will gently test the inner strengths and needs that are part of your inner private self. The psychopath will then gently test the inner strengths and needs that are part of your private self and eventually seduce you (through words and deeds) into a psychopathic relationship or bond using four key messages.
The psychopath positively reinforces your self-presentation, saying, in effect, I like who you are. Reinforcing someone’s persona is a simple yet powerful influence technique, especially if communicated in a convincing and charming manner. Unfortunately, many people we deal with in our personal and professional lives are so self-absorbed….that they rarely see our persona because of the preoccupation they have with their own. So finding someone who actually pays attention to us, who really appreciates and “sees” us, is refreshing; it validates who we are and makes us feel special. The psychopath quickly fulfills this need, and we begin to let down our guard.
We invest considerable mental energy in presenting our persona every time we interact with someone. Still, behind our outward presentation, and sometimes mixed in with it, are aspects of our private self, both positive and negative, that we like to keep private…we reserve this for close friends and serious relationships. However, the psychopath, on meeting us for the first time, can often surmise some of the issues or concerns that exist in our private self. The psychopath uses this information to craft a fake persona-a mask- that mirrors or complements those characteristics. To do this, the psychopath subtly, through clever banter, begins to share bits of personal information, seemingly letting down his or her own guard with us. These conversations resonate with us because someone is sharing personal details that reflect values, beliefs, and issues similar to our own. The psychopath seems to trust you (and you are a trustworthy, are you not?). The psychopath’s second, powerful message is, I am just like you.
The psychopath takes advantage of the fact that in the real world, meeting someone who shares our personal values, beliefs, and life experiences is not very common, so it is wonderful when it does occur. It is so much easier to open up to someone like this, and soon we are sharing more and more of our inner thoughts and feelings. To our great pleasure, we want to believe that this person understands us at a much deeper level than anyone else we have met. Having parts of our private self understood and accepted by someone means we can relax, let our guard, and begin to trust that this person is different- he or she truly like us for who are really are, behind our own mask or persona. Happily and with relief, consciously and subconsciously, we conclude that the psychopath will not pose a psychological threat; in effect, the psychopath’s third message is your secrets are safe with me. Safety or security is one of our most basic psychophysical needs; the psychopath willingly fulfills this need.
When the psychopath convinces us that he or she understands and accepts our weaknesses and personal flaws, then we begin to believe in the potential of the relationship to go further. True friends, of course, share information- often intimate information-about themselves with each other. Relationships develop and mature as people share more and more of their private lives with their partners, including their inner desires, hopes, and dreams… The psychopath uses glib verbal and social skills to build a firm reputation in our mind of someone whose strengths we wish we had and weaknesses we understand…The psychopath’s fourth message is, I am the perfect friend, lover, partner for you.
Once this is accomplished, the psychopathic bond is in place…the “personality” we are bonding with does not really exist. It is a façade built on lies, carefully woven together to entrap us. It is a mask, one of many, custom-made by the psychopath to fit our particular psychological needs and expectations.
Also, informed choice is not the basis for these relationships. The psychopath chooses his or her target and then moves in. Friends may see what is really going on, but we tend to discount their observations, often spending considerable energy convincing them that this person is different and special…
This bonding can take place very quickly, even during the space of one cross-country airplane ride.”
Listen carefully to what those you trust say about this new person you consider wonderful.
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