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BOOK REVIEW: In Sheep’s Clothing–Understanding Manipulative People

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (Retired)

Dr. George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D. received his degree in clinical psychology from Texas Tech University and has studied and worked with manipulators and their victims for many years. Dr. Simon has taught over 250 workshops on the subject of dealing with manipulative people. In 1996, he published In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. This book is in its ninth printing.

The book is divided into two principle parts. Part I is “Understanding Manipulative Personalities” and Part II is “Dealing Effectively with Manipulative People.”

Two Important Types of Aggression

Dr. Simon describes two types of aggression:

Two of the fundamental types of aggression ”¦ are overt and covert aggression. When you’re determined to have your way or gain advantage 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,” get your way, dominate, or control, but are subtle, underhanded, or deceptive enough to hide your true intentions, your behavior is most appropriately labeled covertly aggressive. Concealing overt displays of aggression while simultaneously intimidating others into backing off, backing down, or giving in is a very powerful manipulative maneuver. That’s why covert aggression is most often the vehicle for interpersonal manipulation.

Though Dr. Simon doesn’t call the “manipulative” people he describes psychopaths, he seems to completely understand the manipulation techniques of psychopaths as we know them.

The tactics that manipulators frequently use are powerful deception techniques that make it hard to recognize them as clever ploys. They can make it seem like the person using them is hurting, caring, defending, or almost anything but fighting for advantage over us. Their explanations always make just enough sense to make another doubt his or her gut hunch that they’re being taken advantage of.

Therapists whose training overly indoctrinated them in the theory of neurosis, may “frame” the problems presented to them incorrectly ”¦ In other words, they will view a hardened, abusive fighter as a terrified runner, thus misperceiving the core reality of the situation.

Though Dr. Simon calls what we might term a psychopath an aggressive personality (overtly aggressive or covertly aggressive), he sums up both types of aggressive person as “Their main objective in life is ”˜winning’ and they pursue this objective with considerable passion. They forcefully strive to overcome, crush, or remove any barriers to what they want.”

In Part II of the book, Dealing Effectively with Manipulative People, Dr. Simon gives some interesting and realistic ways to deal with the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

There are several things a person must do to ensure that the frequent contests of life are played on a level field. To guard against victimization, you must be free of potentially harmful misconceptions about human nature and behavior; know how to correctly assess the character of others; have a high self-awareness, especially regarding those aspects of your own character that might increase your vulnerability to manipulation, recognize and correctly label the tactics of manipulation and respond to them appropriately; and avoid fighting losing battles.

The suggestions Dr. Simon makes in the remainder of the book are simple, easily understood and are designed to empower us. I highly recommend this book.

In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People is available on Amazon.com.



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139 Comments on "BOOK REVIEW: In Sheep’s Clothing–Understanding Manipulative People"

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Great article! I had to recognise my desire to “rescue the poor, the emotionally “needy” and the “hard done by”. It was just me projecting my own sufferances onto others. Psychopaths knew it. They played the role for me perfectly so that I would “empathise with them” and give them EVERYTHING. Of course, now i know that what I was “empathising with”, didn’t exist. It was all my own stuff. They were just cruel, callous con men/women on the take. As soon as I had nothing left they moved onto their next target for narcissistic ( and EVERYTHING ELSE) supply. Amen.

Good article. “remove any barriers to what they want” right away took me back to something he ( my sociopathic ex) said to describe his best friend: “when he sees something he wants to possess he fakes whatever necessery to get him that object”. This was ofcourse a brilliant way of him making me come closer into his arms, cause knowing this about his friends scared me ofcourse. he would ofcourse say he was trying to help his friend gain a higher spiritual understanding. well reality check: he was describing his own methods!!! and mind the way he describes women as objects. so scary. so creepy. and i shared my soul and bed with him. BUT how could I have predicted this one? does this remark reek manipulation to anyone??

All this just reminded me of an incident with my older daughter, when she was just 21. D. and I had organised a party for her,at the local RSL club,my ex came, [and he did contribute some cash towards it, so that was something.} I gave her a lovely russet coloured leather jacket, and my new husband gave her cash, plus we paid for the food and drink, etc.shortly after, she came to our home for a visit. Id just bought myself a new pair of Reebok sport shoes. D. tried them on, and they fitted her perfectly.”Arent they gorgeous?” she said. You guessed it, she ended up walking out with them on,as I gave them to her. Ive just remembered the triumphant gleam in her eyes, ie,”Ive won again!”geminigirl.

MariaLisa, YES! Again, you’ve described what my P did. He would talk about his brother being an incorrigible liar, “He lies about everything and anything.” When in fact the P does exactly that. Every aspect of himself, he would attribute to others.
In the end, he attributed his own personality to me, “you are so dark and evil,” he would say, “who are you? I don’t even know who you are!”
LOL!

Skylar

WOW our ex do resemble, cause that last sentence? He used it all the time. If I would confront him ( early on, I mean before things were awful, meaning in our ‘ good’ time) with an inconsistency or broken prmise he would put on a sad voice and say : ” I dont even know who you are anymore, why are you doing this to me” and I felt like I was dealing with a child, it was so odd cause I was riduculously sweet and understanding to him. So merely by asking him a few questions without caving he would already feel so ‘ hurt’ as he would say. I felt sorry ofcourse ( hello thats why I fell for this piece of shit I suppose, somebody who ddnt wouldnt make such an ieal victim right)…There was really no way to have a conversation about things we would have a different opinion about. He would always say how everybody caved for him. And I said that isnt a good thing and he said yes because people who are wrong should be corrected. I said no people cave cause they find it hard to talk to you, he called it bullshit. And this conversation was in our first month…OMG right. If you cant have a proper conversation about things you firmly disagree on and STILL feel in that conversation you can actually REACH that person, you know its bad news….Right? After a while I thought it was so much hassle to show him a different sie to his views, I quit…cause he always told me I shouldnt be controlling!!! Trust me I was doing NO such thing, I was walking on egg shells! Incredible. Still cannot make peace with the fact I stuck around with thing.

Thanks Oxy, I really liked this book and wish all parents would read it! It isn’t specifically for parents, but there is much wisdom in there for them! Great review.

“WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”—- any time I feel like I should walk on egg shells around anyone, this is a BIG time RED FLAG!!!!

Yep, can’t disagree with them wihtout setting them off—RED FLAG

Can’t have a different opinon on Religon, politics, ______________(fill in the blank) or you set them off. RED FLAG

Always have to go/do where and when and how they want to go/do things. RED FLAG

Now when I find myself walking on egg shells around someone so I don’t “set them off” I STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, and look again. 99 times out of 100 I find that I am dealing with an “unreasonable person,” if not a psychopath, and get away from these people ASAP.

Ste. F • Scottsdale, AZ 85251
[email protected] • 602-606-7628 • www

what does your above post refer to Easy?

http://www.highconflictinstitute.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=50

Oh cool, these guys run training seminars about how to deal with legal issues ect. within relationships with disordered people.(havent had a good look round the site yet)

Easy, are you attending or involved in any of these?

“OxDrover says:

“WALKING ON EGGSHELLS—”- any time I feel like I should walk on egg shells around anyone, this is a BIG time RED FLAG!!!!

Yep, can’t disagree with them wihtout setting them off—RED FLAG

Can’t have a different opinon on Religon, politics, ______________(fill in the blank) or you set them off. RED FLAG

Always have to go/do where and when and how they want to go/do things. RED FLAG

Now when I find myself walking on egg shells around someone so I don’t “set them off” I STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, and look again. 99 times out of 100 I find that I am dealing with an “unreasonable person,” if not a psychopath, and get away from these people ASAP.”

Ah, so so true. Sadly they seem to know that of all their quirks, this one most gives the game away, so they tend to conceal it long enough to have hooked a victim by some other means.

These people are parasites, and the first thing they do in life seems to be to refine their powers of adherence. Its never easy getting rid of them.

“I just say whatever I have to say to get them to give it to me”. That is from one of our earliest conversations. It was a red flag that I purposely, blatently ignored. I felt so bad for him. When I had confronted a sensitive issue, this strong man instantly became a weeping, pitous being. I wanted to just hold him and make all of his pain disappear. How can I “confront”, “challenge”, a helpless dispairing child??? What was wrong with “ME”??

Guys, because “we” (caring people who sometimes become victims) have empathy for the person in pain, the down-troden, the injured, our pity and “caregiving” gene kicks in when people are “helpless.”

We are just as genetically “programmed” to have compassion as the psychopath is “programmed” and taught that they can get sympathy, pity, and empathy and take advantage of this characteristic in us.

If you watch two dogs fight and one decides to give up, it lays down, turns its belly up and “gives up”—-that is dog body language for “don’t hurt me any more, have pity on me” Usually the other dog will stop hurting the other dog, make a few sounds meaning “and THERE, take THAT!” and then slowly let the other dog get up and slink off.

If you watch two little kids play and they get into a scrap, when one of them gets enough, the will ball up and start to cry. If the other child feels empathy, s/he will stop hitting the crying child, and maybe even help pick him up or say “I’m sorry”

When an infant cries, we (humans–at least most of us) have an inborn desire to pick up and comfort that infant.

A manipulative person will learn over time that when they have done something bad and gotten caught, or if they are trying to get someone else’s pity for them, they will cry, tell tales of how they have been abused/used and hurt, how lonely they are, and how ONLY YOU can “make it better.” They use the “Pity play” to get you to stop seeking the truth of why they are acting like that. “Oh, I am so wounded, you can’t hold me accountable for my actions.”

One of the things I learned when I worked with spinal cord injured patients, many of whom were paralyzed from the neck or waist down, is that though these patients if anyone deserved empathy, if you gave them instead “pity” and did not require that they do for themselves the BEST that they could to become independent members of society, they would literally die.

Psychological support and empathy for these patients was one of the biggest things we could do for them once their condition stabilized, but PITY? NEVER!!! Since many of these patients were adolescents who were going through the trauma of growing up as well as adjusting to the fact that they would never walk again and that they were somewhat dependent on others for their needs, some of them had pretty bad experiences.

I learned to professionally set goals and insist that the patients strive for them physically and emotionally to the best of their abilities. Some patients were successful and became “normal” and independent people who just happened to be in a wheel chair, others became objects of pity because they saw themselves as pitiful and would not make efforts to reach their maximum level of functioning, but focused on their defecits instead. I met my best friend of 25 years duration when he son was a patient, paralyzed from the neck down in an accident.

He lives independently now, has finished college, married, and lives an independent and normal life—he just happens to do it from a wheel chair with some physical help from a caregiver. He does not “whine” to others of “oh, pity me!”

Humans and some animals ahve a “built in” “PITY FACTOR” that stops us (hopefully) from killing a helpless member of the group/herd/pack. If dogs fight and one is injured, crippled, or hurt, he “gives up” by assuming the “pity me” posture lying on his back. Usually the other dog will stop fighting at that point.

When an infant is crying, we almost automatically want to pick it up and comfort it. If we did not have these “pity factors” no infant would survive because no one would meet its needs, and only one huge mean dog would survive.

When the manipulative person (psychopath or not) cries “oh, pity me” to either get you to do something for them, or to get you to stop “attacking” their bad behavior this is an instinctive move on their part, which has been honed and refined by experience, to elicit your pity and to decrease your anger if you are angry.

Just as a dog catches another one eating its food and is angry and attacks the thieving dog, the thiefing dog seeks pity from the other angry dog by laying on its back in a helpless posture.

Martha Stout who wrote the Sociopath Next Door, says that if you encounter th e” Pity Play” of the “helpless” you have encountered a psychopath.

Now I will not deny there are times I’ve had my own pity party for one, but a pity party does not move us to action, to help ourselves, but to seek out someone else to “fix our problem for us”—unfortunately WE are the only ones who ocan FIX our own problem—our attachment to a psychopath.

When the manipulative person uses pity to “throw us off base” and to get us to “pity” them, then wants us to “fix” their problems—whatever they are—and makes no effort to fix their own problems or to take charge of their lives, RED FLAG.

I feel a great deal of EMPATHY for most of the posters on this board, but I do not PITY any of the posters, and I do NOT PITY myself (well, most of the time LOL).

A therapist friend of mine once told me something that I have ingrained on my brain now (I wish I had kept it there) .

“THE ONLY legitimate “rescue” is to drag an unconscious person out of a burning building.”

Yet, the psychopaths and other manipulative people was US to “rescue” them from the parts of their lives that they are too lazy or unwilling to work on to fix for themselves.

Cherre, you can confront, we all can confront, and not allow our natural inborn “pity” for the helpless to overwhelm our GOOD SENSE. (and that is not always easy!) (((((hugs)))) and always my prayers.

Blueskies,

The High Conflict Institute has an archive of articles by By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. I provided my lawyer with some of these articles so he would know where this divorce was going, right from the start. Here is a link to one of them….

http://www.highconflictinstitute.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=101

this is a link to all articles…

http://www.highconflictinstitute.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=101

OxDrover, your post above @ 8:51am is fabulous, really should be an article up at the top of the page! Thank you, from my heart, for taking the time to write about everything you have lived, it is invaluable to me.

Dear Chic,

It was almost “novel” length! Article? BOOK? LOL Glad you got something from it though.

Knowing all this is one thing, and applying it to our lives is another. I have “known” all this for a long time, but was not willing or able to apply it to my own life and situation. I gave ini to the pity party of abusers when confronted. I listened to the lies, I gave them “second” chances a THOUSAND TIMES, I gave them “last chances” OVER AND OVER—because it was too painful for me to even envision a total cutting off of contact with them.

I guess in a way it is like being trapped under a fallen building and the only way out is to cut off your own leg. The thought of it is worse than actually doing it, and if you dont do what has to be done, you lay there and DIE! Sure it is painful to cut off something that is as dear to you as your own leg, but it is better as the Bible says to go into life maimed than to end up in hell, and living with and loving a psychopath is as near to hell as I can imagine!

I did not want to tell you this. Even though you do not know me, I feel ashamed to say that I saw PoiSoN. I knew that I shouldn’t, didn’t know why I wanted to, but something in me could not/would not say no. I KNEW I had a choice this time, I was not entirely powerless, as I have felt in the past, but I met with him anyway; in a very public place.
It was an entirely different interaction than I was accustomed to. I felt nothing for him but maybe some strange sort of curiosity. I feel a numb, emptiness. I don’t feel that “desire” and “excitement”. My breathe did not catch and I was not overwhelmed, happy, aroused, anything that I previously usually would be. I’m not sure what I feel about him right now. It is apparent that he has nothing that I want or need anymore. His attempts at flattery, charm, caring, etc. did not move me in the least. I did not “respond” or react in his predicted manner and that, I think was apparent to him as well as myself.
He used some well-placed, what do I want to call them, “seeds of doubt”, “hooks”, phrases meant to elicit a response, a reaction. He even tried to get me to argue. I just had nothing for him. There was just nothing there.
Of course, I am thinking about him. I wish that I weren’t but I am. I am suprised at this emptiness that I feel toward him. He talked, I “listened” and heard the falseness loud and clear. I couldn’t carry on a conversation with him, I had nothing to say. I couldn’t feel anger or jealousy or sexual desire or anything that he tried to arouse in me. He tried every which way to get something and I just had nothing. Just an odd sort of curiosity, like, why am I doing this? What do I hope to see here? What am I trying to accomplish? What is wrong with “me”? What did I find so irresistable?
I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I just knew that I needed to admit what I have done; to tell you that despite everything I know I chose to meet with him anyway. That I disregarded every sane thing in my brain to see him. I don’t know why.
My feelings are baffling me. My lack of feelings are baffling me. I am preoccupied with my thoughts. I know that I am not making much sense here.
However, I did get some sleep for the first time in I don’t know how long. I had no dreams that I recall. I just feel kind of numb, nothing.

I’m trying to figure out what it is in me that “attracts” PoiSoN. What is it in me that navigates toward this type or causes them to navigate toward me.

I find it very interesting that after my first encounter with a P and being introduced to the term and the fact that they exist, I didn’t date for years, [out of choice. I am usually very comfortable with myself and I have children at home] and then all these years later, the man I choose to get involved with is PoiSoN also. There is definitely something in me that I need to identify to find out why this is.

Thanks for letting me babble on here. I keep listening to you all and you are helping so much. I don’t feel insane anymore and remember that I can trust my instincts — JUST ACT ON THAT instead of ignoring them. Also, I see that several of you have said that typing this out, reading our words, is healing.

Cherre

You make perfect sence!
We make an investment in the people we allow into our lives. We trust,care, even love and when that is not enough we need to learn to walk away! That time, energy and space in our thoughts is a Gift we give of ourselves not to be discarded but Cherished! The Truth will set us FREE!

cherre,
you made sense to me, too!
I also keep thinking about meeting with him. I’m not ready though. Maybe one day or by chance. But not now.

I have a question about dreams. Do any of you have dreams where animals can talk? In my dreams, animals can always talk.

skyler
Yes! animals have language too , not alltogether like ours but sounds and tones ! Like our dogs know what mood we are in by our tone and body language! My dog is very atune to every thing I am going through. Whale , dolphines , even the fish kind speak by means we have yet to fully grasp! did you see this ?

http://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/video/elephant_artist_hkc

Dear Chere,

I am not sure who “PoiSoN” is unless it is a psychopath or Narcissist you met online who uses that screen name….However, if he is such, and you knew he was anyway, and WENT anyway, I think there are some articles here on LF that may answer WHY you went there….kbnowing you shouldn’t.

Essentially sometimes WE also get “addicted” to taking risks, to getting a “thrill” and a “high” out of doing risky things.

sometimes these risky things are sky diving, or bungee jumping, or racing cars or motorcycles, or other high intensity sports and other times these “risky things” are getting involved with PEOPLE who are “risky” and “high intensity”—

And, IT IS AN ADDICTION, just like cocaine or other drugs, it is a “high” and we are almost complelled to take those risks, even knowing we should not.

There seems to be a pattern too with women (and men) who have been with psychopaths and other “high intenisty” men that we find the “normal” “Mr. Nice Guy” BORING or uninteresting.

That adrenaline rush of excitement we get from being around these “challenging” and “exciting” people becomes addictive to us just like cocaine would—the problem is, just like cocaine may be “pleasurable” when we get high, it also has a BAD EFFECT ON US, and so do the “risky” “highly exciting” men (or women).

Each person has a need for some “excitement” in their lives, something novel and different and interesting—but some people develop or have a HIGHER NEED FOR EXCITEMENT than others. The psychopaths tend to have a high need for excitement, to be big risk takers and to be excited by that risk, stimulated by that risk.

Compulsive gamblers are examples of this risk taking,and really it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, they get the HIGH they seek from the RISK, not from the winning or losing.

Sometimes “compulsive gambling” doesn’t ahve to be on a roll of the dice or a flip of the cards, it is just as much ‘gambling’ to seek out contact with a known “bad boy” for the HIGH OF THE RISK….

FORTUNATELY, though, after recognizing this in ourselves, we can control it, just as a person who realizes they are an addict for booze or drugs can control that addictiion. UNTIL we can say to ourselves though, I AM ADDICTED TO _____” WE CAN’T EVEN START TO FIX IT.

I realize that I like excitement—-always have—–but I have learned to channel my needs for excitement and novelty into more positive ways. I found I can get interesting things in my life that are NOT risky, I can become excited about doing things that are NOT RISKY. I never need to be bored or feel FLAT or that my life is not interesting and active. Yet, I am staying away from people and things that are RISKY, that might have some BAD CONSEQUENCES.

((((hugs))) and God lbless. ps. Don’t ever be “ashamed” to ‘confess” to this bunch, chances are however unwise your actions or thoughts, there is someone here who has done pretty much the same thing, OR MORE unwise. We are not here to JUDGE you but to support you in better and wiser choices in the future.

OxD

Well Said! Perfect! Exactually! Bravo!

Easy,
I’m sitting here completely in awe after watching that link.
My mind was blown when I realized what the P was and now it is blown again after watching that video – but in a much more positive way!
Please, everyone, don’t miss the video in Easy’s link. It will amaze you.
Thank you Easy.

When i asked the question about animals talking, I didn’t mean while you are awake.
I was more wondering if, in your dreams they speak in English words. They do in mine quite often.
At least they did while I was with the P. I haven’t experienced it since. It’s now very obvious to me that my subconscience was SCREAMING at me in everyway it could think of to warn me and I wouldn’t listen. I was plagued by extremely symbolic dreams.

Oxy, Cherre’s Poison is P/S/N. Skylar, the native American’s ascribe different aspects of personality to different animals. An owl might represent wisdom, a turtle patience. A dog might represent loyalty, a fox cunning, etc. I would look at how you think of any animal in your dreams. What might it represent to you? And then listen to what it is telling you. It is a message from yur unconscious,your wise and knowing self. In The Shadow of the Shamin, isa very good book on native american spirituality.

From the same website that Easy linked to more mindblowing stuff:

http://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/video/perceptual_experiment

Maybe this explains why we didn’t perceive what was happening when the P’s were conning us?

Wow! That is incredible. How on earth did I miss that?

It is indeed incredible! What is even more scary is, when I was doing the test, I remembered doing this years back, but again was so focused on the white shirts, I again missed the obvious! Double whammy for me 🙁
It is totally amazing how a conditioned mind (that has been molded over decades by an N or P or S), will NOT see the snake in the grass, no matter how many times it has bitten you. I had to reach that pivital point, thru my wonderful therapist’s advise, to look up NPD, and only then did I realize what I was married to. And that instant realization was so shocking I felt like 10 anacondas dropped on me…….

I looked at the video a couple of times and counted 13 passes BEFORE I checked the answer.
Then I looked at the video twice while still counting the passes, but ALSO watching for the obvious. Both times I counted 14 passes and it was actually easier to keep track when I was less focused on the white shirts…
So does this mean that keeping a broader awareness actually focuses your attention better?

That is a really good question. I got to thinking about any time I was angry with my P, and I would call him on something, he would some how get control of the arguement by baiting me, and re-focussing my attention on something else. Like how it was really my fault, and then I would engage with that by defending myself, and He’d weasel out of having to contend with my original complaint. Masters of manipulation.

Kim quoted “Masters of manipulation.”

So true, and looking back, I can picture my N mentally “beating his chest” with victory, as you describe above. Sick stuff.

I’m reading a book online about “violence and the sacrificial victim”.
It discusses the mythology surrounding sacrificing.
One part talks about a sacrifical victim being a substitute for the real object of violence. The victim is chosen because it is not as valuable as the original object.
I know for a fact that my P despises his mother.
When he was 12 she divorced his father. She never told her 6 sons that their father had been unfaithful to her. But my P became defiant and truant so she put him in juvinile detention. Then he escaped by conning the jailer and ran away for several years. Before he escaped, she saw him one time and he spat out, “I WILL HATE YOU UNTIL THE DAY I DIE”.
When I met my P he took me to see both of his parents at different times. He also told me that I reminded him of his mother. She is a heavyset, german woman who looked like Drew Barrymore as a young girl. I’m dark haired and small boned, practically anorexic-looking at times.
So I asked, “What part of me reminds you of your mother?”
“You both have brown eyes.” was his response with a smile.
Then his father died and he refused to allow me to attend the funeral with him.
My point, is that it has become obvious to me that he has substituted me and all women for the one woman that he cannot kill – his own mom.
He caused a previous girlfriend to commit suicide and I know thats what he wanted from me.
He will continue to search for that sacrificial victim for the rest of his life I guess.
Anyone else know of “mommy issues” with their P?

Skyler, are you reading Violence and the Sacrid? OMG. Can’t wait to discuss it with you. I read it for a graduate English course titled, Classical Lit and Contemporary Critism. It was many years ago, but I found the book to be really profound.

Also Skylar, if your interested in men’s “mommy issues” you’d like, Oedipus, Phylosopher, by Goux.

yeah Kim, that’s the book. Parts of it are online. I’ll have to search for it at my library to read the rest.
I would love to discuss it with you because this whole experience has been surreal. I guess anything that delves into the primordial areas of the human mind (and narcissism definitely does) is going to feel very strange. This experience has been so much like having a death in the family, except worse because… well it’s more like a murder in the family but the murder victim was me! You know what I mean?
This is the closest you can come to being killed without dying, I think. Really bizarre.
Mythology is the only thing that comes close to grasping the incomprehensible.

I just finished reading the online preview of:
The king and the corpse: tales of the soul’s conquest of evil By Heinrich Robert Zimmer, Joseph Campbell

basically it says this shit happened to me because I’m not EVIL ENOUGH. Yep.
My lack of evil is like a vaccuum that attracts evil.
I’m lopsided.
I need to find an evil deed and integrate it into my superego.
You all know deep in your hearts that it’s true.
Because the one thing that we all have in common is that we were too nieve, we were innocent suckers. We didn’t want to judge, we only saw the good in everyone because there was only good in us.
I walked around with a gold cross around my neck (still do) and drove with a rosary hanging from my rear view mirror.
What psychopath could resist that? Especially when it came with a 17-year old girl with a killer body in a tight skirt and high heels. Even had a great job that paid for the slacker to slack.

That’s funny Skylar. Do you think that’s why, in the last two years that I’ve been NC, I’ve gained twenty pounds? I was always quite slim. Maybe it’s just menopause. It’s just funny,I left him, had my last period two months later, decided, for the first time in my life, I didn’t want a man, and gained twenty pounds. Do you think it’s protective insulation?

skylar….thanks for the link to the perception test. Wonderful analogy for what happened to us. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kim, you could end up with Enantiodromia! I’m pretty sure we all have it. LOL.
the following quote is from this link:
http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A4217

“…enantiodromia. The word, first used by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, derives from “enatio” (counter) and “dromia” (running). The idea is that when you start running in one direction, a counter-movement sets in. It was Heraclitus’ way of expressing the fundamentally oppositional nature of existence.

As James Hillman argues, enantiodromia became the foundation of Carl Jung’s psychology, particularly his theory of compensation, which had as much importance to him as wish-fulfillment did to Freud.

Enantiodromia works this way: The more committed you are to your position, the more the opposite will begin to nudge you as a compensation. Perhaps you are a family values advocate. You write screeds for your church newsletter and donate money and time to the religious right. You’re a pillar of righteousness. Boom! You find yourself suddenly consorting with whores and one day you’re photographed on your way into Madam Mammary’s Maison de Massage and Bible Study. A scandal erupts.

People will call you a hypocrite, of course. A more accurate description is that you’ve previously been unconscious, for Jung and Heraclitus did not suggest that this process lacks intention. The function of enantiodromia is to make you conscious. So, if you are wise, you will stop and wonder how to accommodate both the weird drives of your libido and your desire to do the right thing by your family and community. You may become more temperate, or maybe not. You are psychically restructured. You become “a stranger to yourself.”

Skylars blog re the conquest of evil, by Heinrich robert Zimmer, reminded me of this Nun joke. hope you like it.
Two Nuns are driving a car through Transylvania,-home of vampires.
Mother Superior is driving. Novice Nun ,sitting beside her says,”Mother, what shall we do, if a vampire shows up”?
M.P says,
“Show him your Cross”! {ie, crucifix. to ward off Vampires}.
Just then, a horrible vampire appears. leering throught the window, on the Novices side.
She winds the window down, and shouts,
“Just bugger off, you great, ugly ,toothy git!”
{She showed him she was cross!.LOL!!}Gem.XX

Skylar

The other night on world entertainment Govt. approved info chanel 9

Ants speak !

http://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/video/elephant_artist_hkc

How many of you thought that the P in your life was extremely nice and/or shy (yet charming) when you first knew them or met them? When I barely knew my exP in college, I always thought he seemed like a very nice guy. Yes, he was shy and a bit awkward and quirky, but I used to attribute shyness to always mean kindness. Now I know that just because someone is shy and quiet, it does not always mean that they are extremely kind. I don’t know why I used to think they were. I wonder where I got that theory into my head.

The weird thing is that after we were married, he showed this other cool-as-a-cucumber, mean, “confident” side. He still reverted back to the shy, sweet guy when he was trying to get me to feel sorry for him and when he’d threaten to kill himself if I left him. He would even ask, “Don’t you pity me?” It was so weird. It was almost like he had multiple personalities, but since I know he was diagnosed with ASPD, I know this wasn’t his issue. Otherwise, I would swear it was.

Had he been doing the shy/sweet thing all those years before, as an act? Or did he really used to be like that and so that side came up now and again? Was he that conflicted inside or was it all an act? Did he pity himself? Is this what Ps do? It’s so confusing. I’m still trying to figure Ps out and trying to decide how much of what they do is intentional.

I just can’t get over the fact that I always thought he was one of the nicest guys I ever met. Granted, I probably only saw him about 6-8 times while I was in college and that was over a decade ago. I also eloped to him after a very short period of dating. Maybe I didn’t see the signs enough or something. My situation in understanding this P is unique in that there was an 9 year period of time when I did not see him at all. Do Ps change drastically in their twenties? Or do they play the game differently? Or do people just get to know them best when they’re in an intimate relationship?

I’m obviously not doing very well with my goal of “No Contact” in my head tonight.

I realize that if I don’t give more background, my above post could be confusing.

I didn’t see him for 9 years because we went our seperate ways after college. I didn’t know him very well, so there was not a reason to stay in contact. Then came the days of myspace and facebook and he found me online, 9 years after I had last seen him in college.

So, I barely knew him years ago, then we connected online, saw each other once when he came to where I was living for academic interviews, had a mild ‘flirtation/start of a relationship’ type of thing going on.

Next, I flew out to visit a friend of mine in his state. He happened to call me that day and drove 6 hours to see me, on the spot. I’m embarrassed to say that I eloped to him weeks after that. I had only been on vacation to visit a friend, and ended up getting talked into marriage, of all the crazy things! It was very out of character for me. I never do anything impulsive like that and I still don’t know what in the hell I was thinking. I had been very lonely, as I had been living on the other side of the country from friends and family because I had moved to attend graduate school. I also was in my thirties and wanted to start a family very badly. He knew this and I think he played upon this desire I had. I don’t really know for sure why I did it though. I was very swept off my feet. I thought he was the love of my life. It does not excuse my stupidity though.

I was married to him and with him for 7 weeks before I left him for being abusive and well, for lack of a better word, nuts. I found out he was diagnosed with ASPD while I was married to him and he was surprisingly candid about that with me. It’s about the only thing he was candid and honest with me about. When he told me about it and showed me his psych file, it’s almost as if he was proud of it and was TRYING to freak me out. Anyway, when I left him, I was pregnant with his baby.

Fast forward. I then went back to him to see if he’s changed a year and 1/2 later, after being “in hiding” from him and having no contact. I left again after only a few days. That visit went about as you can guess. I wasn’t going to stick around any longer and expose my baby to that crap. As it was, when he yelled and went into his fits, my poor little baby trembled from head to foot. He’d never heard anyone yell, let alone at his mom. Luckily, I didn’t stay around long enough to be physically abused this time. That was in January. Now you’re all caught up to speed.

The weird, short history might help you in helping me figure this all out. It’s just all so confusing and weird. I still can’t wrap my brain around any of it.

I think they ‘portray’ or come across as shy because we just interpret them this way….at that time…..
In reality, they are busy conning someone else…..and they haven’t figured out our ‘place’ in their lives….YET….or they haev and we are of better use to them in the shy mode….they don’t hit hard….
When you became of use to him….he turned it up…….he became a hunter and gatherer….once he gathered he went back to ‘shy’.
Did any of that make any sense?
I think they are always ‘placing’ us in whatever roll they need us in……and they change the rolls…..

Jill:
Remain strong…..keep that roll up!
XXOO

Jill,
shy or reserved is the game he will play so as not to scare the prey before he goes in for the kill. shy gives him time to watch and learn his prey’s behavior, her desires, her natural inclinations.

These, creatures, are operating from the ancient part of the human brain called the “reptile” or “snake” brain. It’s the oldest, most primitive part of the brain and involved in territory, sex, hunting, all that reptilian stuff. Reptiles don’t have more brain than that, psychopaths do but you would hardly know it.
http://phe.rockefeller.edu/BrainNotChange/
quote from link above:
The Triune Brain
In a remarkable 1990 book, The Triune Brain in Evolution , neuroscientist Paul MacLean explained that humans have three brains, each developed during a stage of evolution. [2] The earliest, found in reptiles, MacLean calls the snake brain. In mammals another brain appeared, the paleomammalian, with new particular behavior, for example, care of the young and mutual grooming. In humans came the most recent evolutionary structure, the hugely expanded neocortex. This neomammalian brain enabled language, visualization, and symbolic skills. But economical evolution did not replace the reptilian brain, it added. Thus, we share primal patterns of behavior with other animals, just as they share those brain structures. The snake brain controls courtship, patrolling of territory (including our daily 75-minute travel budget), displays of dominance and submission, and flocking. And makes most of the sensational news.

My own P seemed like the strong, silent type when I met him. Now I know he was just watching me.
Once he knew me, he metamorphed into just about any personality he needed, especially the RAGE personality.

BTW, ErinB, are you reading this? One thing he said to me that I’ll never forget: “Oh, so you’re a philosopher are you?”
I can’t remember what I had said to him prior, but I thought, “how sweet, he really listens to what I say.”
B*LL F***in Sh*t!

Erin, In addition to princess and pedastal, that’s another red flag that went off when you described your date the other day. When they are too attentive, I now worry about WHY they are so attentive. It’s like he’s already decided that he wants you before he has gotten to know you. That’s a red flag to me. Unless he is making it plain that he wants sex, like so many men do, then he is covertly stalking your emotions. Frankly, I’d rather have a guy that makes it plain that he is only intersted in my body than a creepy, weird stalker that wants my emotions.

When you questioned him on the pedestal comment, his reply sucked too. He turned it around and basically told you how smart and unique you are. smells slimey. I would do some serious covert testing on this guy.

As if dating wasn’t hard enough, now we have to worry about emotion stalkers. God help us.

Jill, it is confusing! I think just having these kind of feelings of confusion around someone could indicate that you may be involved with a toxic person… the S/P I knew acted like he was shy, and like he had social anxiety… I found this endearing(!?) because, I guess, I am shy and it seemed like something I could understand and help him with… thing is, at a complete juxtaposition to that ‘shy guy persona’ he displayed a devil may care attitude and exhibistionist behaviour, and when confidently sleezy around other women would say that he was just a very sociable animal(and I was possessive, blah, blah, blah.) IT DIDNT ADD UP! Nothing’s real apart from there own sense of want , rage, hatred and entitlement. Things like the ‘shy guy’ routine and hard working dad having a tough time routine, are classic mechanisms for drawing people in, usually on a one to one basis… so hard coming from a’ normal’ (and I use the term loosly for myself right now after the year I’ve had!;)perspective that EVERY SINGLE THING/BEHAVIOUR/WORD/ACTION was a ROUTINE from start to finnish… not a real persona, just a WAY of getting a want met in a world of human beings.x

Skylar,

You really are insightful. This is very intersting about the reptile brain. The funny thing that is totally unrelated, but it’s still funny, is that my exS always looked like a lizard. I know that sounds strange. I thought he was very good looking, but he had this face shape that was the same as a lizard’s. His eyes were cold and had that same unfeeling reptilian look to them. I could never read them or tell what in the world he was feeling. Now I really will think of him as a reptile! I used to like reptiles! lol. He’s also obsessed with living in the desert (which is where we lived together and where we grew up). So, he was just a reptile afterall. Next time I fall in love, I’ll try to fall in love with a human, not a lizard. hahha.

Blueskies,

I have to say that every time I see your Moniker, I get happy. It makes me want to go to the beach and enjoy some blue skies. It was a great choice, especially for this board.

What you said about the Ss and Ps not having a real persona, “just a WAY of getting a want met in a world of human beings” rang true. That really makes sense out of something I have not been able to make any sense out of. I don’t know why I have this need to make so much sense out of it all. Thank you for helping me with it.

The S you knew sounds similar to the S I knew in regards to playing up this social anxiety thing. He even tried to use it in court when he fought my Order of Protection charge. He made it seem like he was this shy, nice guy that has social anxieties. It was disgusting when I saw him act like this. That is the only good thing about my court experience with him. His behavior was even more obvious, as the direct lies were so blatant and his acting skills were so perfect. Before this, I still saw him as a human being. In the court room, he seemed like nothing more than an exceptionally good actor. I’m not match for that. I only had myself and truth to bring to the table. I don’t have any acting skills at all. I looked like a crying, bumbling idiot. That made me look unstable and him totally together.

I like how you described your S as having a “devil may care attitude”. This is exactly how my S was, after I fell for him. Even when he was rock climbing, it was very scary how little concern he had for anything. He was so flippant about it and dangerous. I had always been a very safe, careful, cautious climber, so our rock climbing styles described our styles in real life. I should have caught on to that. Looking back, I should have seen this as a sign that he really wasn’t this sweet, shy guy. Afterall, I knew him from the rock climbing circle of friends in college. I’m such a sucker for the sexy, tall and lanky rock climbing hippy men! It’s an illness! ha.

My exS was also sleazy around other women too and about them. I caught onto this too late.

I can see more clearly how he sucked me in with this routine and why I didn’t see this side to him in college or know about it. What he portrayed was so opposite of what he was. Shy people aren’t usually exhibistionists, but the Ss we knew sound like they had this routine down. I think that’s why I’m scared of people in general now and don’t trust anyone’s motives. Sheesh. I need to get over that hurdle. What if my toddler catches on to this? I need to be very careful about this, as it would be a very unhealthy and emotionally damaging way for him to view the world. In a way, it’s the way my ex viewed the world. He always thought everyone was out to get him and was going to screw him over, so he was going to do it first. At least I don’t want to screw anyone over and that is not my natural inclination, but it’s still unhealthy of me to think this could happen all the time again. It just keeps me from making friends, being social and moving on with my life. I can see that and I can say it, but changing these thoughts in my head is tricky. They sneak up on me in very subtle ways. I’m going to have to start paying very close attention to the thoughts I have in my head about people and challenge myself on these. Now I’m just thinking out loud, but your post really led me to a helpful train of thought.

Erin,

Wow, you’re right. He was busy putting someone else through this at the time. His then girlfriend hates him with a deep passion. I never knew why because I wasn’t close friends with her and stayed away from the gossip in that circle of friends. I don’t like gossip by nature and typically ignore it. Now, I know he might have put her through all of this. Who knows. But, I wasn’t his target then, so I saw another side to him. This is brilliant! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. Thanks for the insight. It brings some relief to me to understand a little bit more.

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