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How sociopaths intentionally mess with your mind

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I talk to a lot of people who are, or have been, involved with sociopaths. Time and time again they tell me, “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

This is exactly how sociopaths want you to feel. Why? Because if you are confused and unsure of yourself, you are more pliable. You are easier to control, and what sociopaths want is to control you.

So how do they mess with your mind?

Lies from hello to goodbye

First of all, they lie.

Now, this may not sound all that terrible, because we all lie from time to time. But normal people lie to get out of trouble or spare someone’s feelings. Sociopaths lie because they have an agenda.

The lying starts at the very beginning of your involvement. How? Sociopaths misrepresent their reasons for even talking to you. They begin their interactions with you as colleagues, friends, neighbors, or if you meet through a dating site, as potential romantic partners. They do not identify themselves as predators who are looking to exploit you.

Think about how damaging this is. You are under the impression that you are building a friendship, work relationship or romance. Sociopaths, unbeknownst to you, view you as a target. So even if you are moving forward slowly, you are behaving according to one set of rules, and the sociopaths have a different set of rules or no rules at all.

The entire foundation of your involvement with the sociopaths is a deception and they keep the deception going from beginning to end.

Catching the lies

Sooner or later, you probably catch some of the lies. When you question the sociopaths, they completely deny whatever you discovered, become enraged that you even questioned them, and turn things around so that it’s all your fault.

All of this is designed to make you doubt yourself.

The sociopaths act hurt, indignant or righteous saying something like, “I would never do that.” You are floored by the intensity of the denials.

This leads to cognitive dissonance discomfort caused by holding two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values at the same time. The psychological theory is that humans strive for internal consistency, so one or the other of the contradictory beliefs has to go.

Here’s what happens:

  1. You discover discrepancies in the sociopaths’ stories.
  2. The sociopaths vehemently deny your observation; in fact, they accuse you of disloyalty or paranoia for even questioning them.
  3. You believe that you and the sociopaths are on the same page about the nature of your involvement you don’t realize that their agenda is to exploit you.
  4. Your observation does not match the sociopaths’ strenuous denials. You believe your involvement with the sociopath is authentic, so the only way you can resolve the cognitive dissonance is to accept that you must be wrong.
  5. That means you aren’t perceiving life correctly, which means you’re losing your mind.

Telling you that you’re crazy

This pattern repeats time and time again. You discover a lie, and the sociopaths cover it with another lie. You say the sociopaths broke a promise, and they deny that the promise was ever made. As you become more and more frustrated and upset, the sociopaths start talking about your “mental state.”

At first they may express gentle concern about your “forgetfulness” or “paranoia.” They may suggest that you seek counseling. If you buy the idea that they are right and you are losing it, and actually take steps to “get help,” well, to the sociopaths, this is all they need to go in for the kill.

They tell you, your family, your friends and your employer that you are mentally unstable. They may drag you to a psychiatrist and convince the doctor to give you drugs. They may try to get you involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility.

You, constantly being told that you’re unbalanced, crazy or in the early stages of dementia, start to believe it.

How to escape and recover

Here’s how to recover yourself: Learn the characteristics and tactics of sociopaths Lovefraud has plenty of articles that will help you.

This will help you to understand what happened:

  1. You were targeted
  2. The sociopath took advantage of you very human characteristics, such as trust and empathy.
  3. Your perceptions were right all along.

You are not losing your mind. If you feel disoriented, you are having a normal reaction to being involved with a sociopath. Your entire involvement was based on deception from the get-go, and the sociopaths’ mind games were intentional.

 



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31 Comments on "How sociopaths intentionally mess with your mind"

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Isn’t this something? It is all so true.

It makes me so angry.

The disordered literally do target the very humaneness in us because they have none. They are actually envious of anyone who is genuine and / or natural. It helps them to get along more easily in the world, with our help.

What a kick in the teeth.

Isn’t that the truth Bev! God, I remember the feeling that I was not stable, kind, sexy, pretty, earthy, spiritual, smart, or loving enough to be with the sociopath I knew. At every turn I was just always coming up short, and it was all my fault; nothing whatsoever to do with him or his horrible lies and manipulations. Every chance he got to push the knife in a little deeper he took it. Pushing with one hand, and stealing with the other.

Getting away from him was only the start. Once the fog of it all cleared up I was left with SO MUCH SHAME over having been taken to the cleaners. I could barely show my face in public. Going to work, socializing, all of it became intolerable; all because I felt so ashamed of myself. It felt like I wasn’t even myself any more. I was filled with despair, shame, and hopelessness.

I am so grateful those feelings have resolved, that I am whole again, and can see both my strengths and weaknesses with clarity. I am so grateful for staying no contact, therapy, friends who stuck by me, and my own determination to move forward. I never thought I would feel better, but all of it did (eventually) work.

I don’t need to try and be perfect. I don’t need to be ashamed of not being perfect. I can learn and grow without retribution. There is no shame in being a decent human being, albeit imperfect.

Slim

Oh, Slim, it makes me so happy that you are well into an authentic life.

We all deserve that. Like you say, we never think we’ll see the light of day again, but with strength and determination…and the true friends…we eventually do.

So true that going no contact is only the first step, albeit, the best one.

Hi Slim,
I can relate to your feelings of shame. I am still struggling with feeling like such a fool. I know it will take a while for me to resolve these feelings, to trust in myself again…

How long did it take you?

Thank you for sharing!

R

Rebekah,

Well, for me it took a good 3 years to feel basically grounded, and then another two to feel completely over it.

Keep in mind I have a narcissistic mother and had dated or befriended a fair number of personality disordered people. So my ‘getting over it’ meant confronting a lifetime of not understanding about narcissism and my own childhood abuses. So, once I really got it about personality disorders I had to work pretty hard to overcome all those years of conditioning. And, it was really painful to realize how sick my mother is and how many of these types I had fallen prey to.

So, not sure it takes so much effort for everyone, but my situation required it.

I didnt really understand what WAS going on, when I was with him; all I could figure out (when I could figure out anything at all)..was how warped, crazy, illogical he was, even in small, trivial decisions/relationship/marriage/family matters. The smaller these things were, the more HELL he would and could brew up!! (and of course it was ALL my fault). I had NO clue just how messed up my mind was, until I did get a divorce; even then I had to find articles/websites/books on psychopaths. Then, the pieces of my mind confusion/fog began to clear, and I saw the TRUTH of who and what he was. Im still finding myself, after years of being divorced. But, I know (now) I can recover who and what I AM..and I will NOT let that get lost again!!

Hi Slim, Thank you for your response! Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I appreciate hearing about your journey.

Bev:
You are exactly right. they are envious as I heard it so often from the sociopath I was with. Yes I know why I was targeted. Way too giving. Yesterday I found this phrase and I am going to paste it all over my house: “What you have to realize is that you are in love with a person who does not exist! It is an illusion created by a person who sees you only as a resource. A means to get what he wants.
They are so charming and overtake your heart and your life so completely that you lose your compass and site of what normal, healthy behavior is. They are the masters of manipulation!”

Yes, I feel like I was kicked by a horse. Awful feeling, however I started with a full glass of water and as he is disappearing from my mind, the glass will soon be empty.

Wow! Thank you for your honesty. I am so bad in trying to make him get out of my life. I just read the words shared and I am so ashamed of myself. My problem is kind of worse or just different – I don’t know how to get him out of my life. I’m scared. Kat

If you’re feeling afraid of him, you are probably right that he is dangerous to you. The most dangerous time for a woman is when she leaves an abusive relationship. Consider consulting with a local DV shelter on breaking up safely. The book The Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker may be helpful. Also:
http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=13422&state_code=PG

The book by Amber Ault “The Five Step Exit – The Skills You Need To Leave a Narcissist, Psychopath, or Other Toxic Partner and Recover Your Happiness Now” was a life saver for me.

After almost 4 years of being in a relationship with a Psychopath, I finally figured out the extent of his personality disorder, but didn’t know how to plan an exit strategy. This book is great! I highly recommend it.

Once your realize the person you love does not exist and only an evil one (I now refer to him as Evo) this book helps you leave and then have absolutely NO CONTACT.

Good Luck!

I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’m embarrassed and ashamed of who I’ve become … I was a strong, self-confident woman … self-reliant … had my crap together. I should have left months, years ago … I know that, and I regret staying. Just never had the inner strength to take that step … each time I was ready to make the move, I froze … panic, anxiety, being unsure, second guessing … I don’t know. Guilt! I continued to succumb to the manipulation … the mind-games, the lies, the secrets kept, etc, etc, etc. Always looking for the good … always making less of the situation/circumstances than what I should have. I’m envious of you, Slim … I so want to be where you are at mentally. I am so sad and depressed … and scared that I’m sad and depressed. I want “me” back.

I know that we are not suppose to share personal information on this site such as an email address or a phone number, but I so could use some physical support from fellow participants who are survivors … to talk one-on-one with … to give me strength to do what I know I need to do … have to do.

The latest discovery is that my husband created a Facebook account with all the security/privacy measures in place a couple months ago. He had always opposed FB with a passion. I learned he had an account by “snooping” on his cell phone and read a text he got from the woman where he works who helped him set it up. He has yet to tell me that he’s on FB. He doesn’t list himself as married. He has yet to “friend” me or any members of my family. But he has “friended” his ex-girlfriend (they dated for two years right before we got together) and her father and daughter. But again, keeps it a secret a from me. Like you said, Bev, a kick in the teeth. Omission and keeping secrets is the same thing as lying in my opinion! And he is being perfect in his treatment of me … so nice and pleasant … so innocent-acting. All the while being deceitful inside. That’s where the manipulation and mind-games come into play. So nice on the outside, but so devious on the inside. That’s why we second-guess ourselves … what is real and what is a lie?

Anyway … for those who pray, please keep me in your thoughts and pray for the strength and the wisdom to leave.

Thanks!

Diane

Diane,

I know you know this but nothing can really begin for you until you end it with him. It is pretty impossible to move on and finally live a peaceful existence if you are endlessly living a lie, with a liar. Our hearts cannot mend in those conditions. No contact is just the beginning.

I hear what you are saying that you would like to be able to speak with someone one on one. I know for myself I could not yet do that with you since you have an ongoing relationship with your abuser. I know that probably hurts to read. I don’t mean to hurt you any further, I really don’t. But stepping into a situation where someone is actively involved with a lying, abusive, fake, and potentially unstable person is asking a lot.

I would suggest, until you can make a decision about leaving, that you seek professional therapy and develop a safe plan for doing so.

There a lots of reasons people stay. For money, a home, children, the ‘time’ they have invested, fear of retribution/court. I have experienced some of these reasons myself, but not all. However, I would say that until you find the strength to protect your own self, to say no, never again, no way, not going to do it…until you are willing there is not much to be said and done.

We are courageous when we act in the face of our own shame and feelings of failure. It takes great strength to act on our own behalf when we feel worthless. You need, somehow, to find that kind of courage and strength.

Despite the context of many of our situations, the basic strategy for healing remains the same.

Hi Diane111, hugs to you! It is not easy to escape a sociopath.

I would highly recommend for you to contact Donna Anderson here at love fraud. She as a coaching program via phone for a small fee but would be well worth the money for you to talk with her.

I would also highly recommend that you contact your countries National Domestic Violence hotline to talk with a free counselor & get phone numbers for your local abuse center. IN the USA 800-799-SAFE. Your local abuse center has FREE counseling & free women group meetings. BOTH would help you tremendously to realize not only are you in a abusive marriage but you are also not alone!!

Did you know that you are in a abusive relationship?

Most people think that an abusive relationship is only physical abuse. But the BULK of domestic abuse is emotional, mental, verbal & financial abuse.

Did you know that lying is emotional & mental abuse?

did you know that omission is lying and is emotional & mental abuse?

did you know that manipulation is a form of emotional & mental abuse?

Look at the Domestic abusive violent hotline website.

Also google: Domestic abuse Power & Control wheel

Keep reaching out for help with Donna here at love fraud & the National Domestic abusive hotline.

(for info on Donna Anderson’s coaching support program go to the top of Lovefraud & click on “Contact” then “personal consultation”.

Take care.

Diane111
I want to encourage your path to escaping this man. I was caught in a nightmare when I was married. People were nasty to me, “why don’t you let that poor man go” and similar. But when I asked my husband why they would say such a thing, he told me he didn’t know what they were talking about, that perhaps they were jealous.

I didn’t find out about sociopaths until after I left him and was in such agony that I stumbled on this, Donna’s website, and after reading all I could, suddenly everything about my marriage made sense. He was a sociopath. This discovery explained everything.

My ex was SO sincere and usually spoke gently to me. He did not rage at me. But I learned that sociopaths adapt their behavior according to their victim. My ex knew never to hit me, that would have been the end without question. So no surprise to you that the last time I saw him, I was hit, actually I was nearly murdered, but by chance, I escaped.

B/c my ex was so very VERY good at being two faced, saying one thing to me, and another to others, I was totally mystified by people who told me that he hated me. He was able to be so, as you say as well, SO “nice and pleasant…. so innocent-acting”.

I had to think about it, and you will too… what kind of person can do this kind of thing, HATE someone and yet be so endearing to their face, cheerful, happy to see them, can’t wait to join us for an event, etc. Go ahead. Go find someone that you detest and to their face, be loving and intimate and sweet and make plans, and share your innermost desires, while knowing that in reality, they are worm food to you. You might be able to do it for a little while, but it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do day in and day out.

It takes a certain type of personality to do this, it takes a sociopath. No decent person can do what your man is doing to you. The fb thing is a red flag. A loving man committed to you would not even THINK of his ex girlfriend and to keep it secret from you. It just would not occur to him. Only a monster, someone completely divorced from having a conscious could do this.

It might seem like a little thing… but once I left my now ex, the stuff I knew was trivial compared to what I found out. And yes, I found out the entire time I was with him was a lie, as Donna says, from hello to good bye. He IS a predator, an opportunistic predator, looking for what he can get. And when he finds newer, better prey who has more to take, he won’t be so nice anymore. Your man is already on that road, he takes delight in having a separate secret life from you. That kind of contempt reveals a personality, it’s not a blip, it’s a character defect that is common with sociopaths.

I am TRULY sorry for your dilemma b/c sadly… I know where you are, and what you will have to go through to get free. But we are here, this site is here, and unlike my situation, you will NOT have to go through it alone. There is wisdom here so you don’t have to wonder what the helll something means.

All my very best to you… there is light and love and joy and peace and kindness and heartfelt connection to be found as you get through the tunnel of “the valley of the shadow of death”.

mzpris15, sending hugs to you!! There is NOTHING wrong with you!! Please know this…your feeling were suppressed by him while he was brain washing, mind controlling you and most likely hypnosising you and now these suppressed feeling are percolating to the surface. Let them ok. IT GOOD to cry them ok. I know at the moment it feels awful but our body & minds know how to heal and part of healing is crying.

Bev is correct to look into CD. Two belief systems held. This is an article that Donna Anderson site create or love fraud just posted this week. Do a search up on the top right of love fraud for more article on this subject.

Start picturing him as evil…this will help to sort out your emotions.

Hugs to you! Take care 💜

I was doing so well. I thought i was pver this horrible person. I looked back at our texts and thought, “you fool” the signs were everywhere…you could see he didnt love you. His words mever matched his actions. You were easy to control. He would call me crazy and i would feel like it. I was seeing a dr for certain issues. He exploited that. He told me once that “I was crazy, but I was his crazy” and he loved me no matter what. He did so much to me that i was physically ill. I had yo take a leave of absence from work. I see in my texts I wanted to leave over and over.aBut he had a spell on me. I felt like i would die if he left. I knew he was bad, i knew he treated me like aI was nothing nut trash.I just wanted him to love me. That’s why i stayed. That is what he would say all of the time he probably was screwing someone else. He would leave and I would start to feel better. Then he would just show back up. I thought he wouldn’t come back if he didn’t love me. I keep going back and forth. Ots

Hi mzpris15, please keep in mind that he is a masterful manipulator who knows how to suck everyone into his con game.

You are a KIND hearted person and like all of us was never educated on how a master manipulator uses words to con people. Please be kind to yourself right now.

We all saw the “signs” but who knew someone could lie so effortlessly…and when they are caught in one lie they lie AGAIN!! How utterly crazy is that!!

YOU ARE NOT CRAZY….PLEASE PLEASE KNOW THIS….

but YES he is CRAZY!!!

When he stated this statement “I was crazy, but I was his crazy”…he was using Projection…(look this term up).

Most victims of sociopathic abuse end up mental, emotional & physically exhausted which can cause many health illness. Like you I felt better when my ex was away on a business trip when he came home I felt sick again. I honestly thought he was poising me. Still wonder. But his craziness caused so much stress on my body & mind that my adrenal glands ended up fatigued. This is common for most victims = PTSD.

In the beginning of the relationship these evil people use Lovebombing (look up this term here at love fraud videos at top & google) and this trains us exactly like a circus animal or pet is trained. Once we are hooked into their con game they drop their pretend nice guy and then we are constantly looking for a reward from them….we saw that they had it in them to be “nice” & “loving” but it was all a con game. They DO NOT love anyone except themselves!!

I stayed for 12 years in a hell of a marriage….this took me a long time to accept that I saw the signs from literally the second I met him!! The very second. But he knew how to con me, his family, friends, co workers, strangers = EVERYONE!! They are masterful at their con game. Keep in mind they have been conning people since childhood!!

I thought the same thing over and over during my marriage why would he cheat if prior to walking out the door he would say he “loved me” or on the phone when he was on a business trip he would always tell me “i miss u”, “i wish you were here with me right now” mean while he was screwing his co worker on the business trip!!

Its’ all about POWER & CONTROL over everyone!!

This is why you need to take your POWER back from him!!

This takes time. it takes time to process everything that you are reading her & analyzing it with regards to your relationship with him.

It can be overwhelming and some days you might need to step away from reading any thing to clear your mind.

WHAT EVER YOU DO, DO NOT STUFF YOUR FEELINGS DOWN!! Process your emotions NOW!! Let yourself cry, sob, get angry (not at anyone in person).

If you are at work and become emotional take a piece of paper out or a journal in your purse & write down your thoughts to get them out of your mind then continue work. OR take a 5 or 10 min break and take a walk out side.

The “going back and forth” is Cognitive disturbance (google & look on love fraud).

ALSO LOOK UP AT THE TOP OF LOVEFRAUD HERE AND CLICK ON “VIDEOS” AND watch all of them over & over specially when you are sad & overwhelmed with emotions.

Donna Anderson site creater of Lovefraud also has a video course program for a small fee to help you sort everything out in your mind & educate yourself.

You are going to get thru all of this emotional grief that you are feeling right now…dont rush it let your emotions out. It’s part of the healing process. Our bodies & minds know how to heal the emotional trauma just like it knows how to heal a cut on our skin.

At some point make a plan not to look at those emails & texts from him any longer and if you have pictures of him in your house or any thing he gave you as a gift or left at your home like clothes put them in a box & when your read throw them out. This is part of the NO CONTACT RULE.

Hugs to you!! take care. â¤ï¸

I just found this site. THANK GOD. THANK YOU. Literally yesterday I found out I was dating and in love with a sociopath by his pathological lies. I am horrified. This happened to me once before, 20 years ago, same deal. I feel so stupid. He swept me off my feet. My question, now that I have confronted his life and family (I didn’t know about), am I in danger? I am a little afraid.

This sucks. My love and good energy to all of you who have experienced this.

peace.

dim15,

Don’t let your anxiety get the best of you. Just COMPLETELY disengage now. No need to tie up loose strings, or create closure, or whatever we would do under normal circumstances. Just get away, stay away, do not connect with him or anyone associated with him. No need to be kind and comforting to anyone. Protect yourself. Stop confronting and stay away from all of them.

Here is what we KNOW about dealing with sociopaths/narcissists/personality disordered people: No matter what YOUR intentions are, the intentions of the sociopath is to get what they want, and inflict damage. Period.

Any attempt to confront, clear the air, etc…only makes you vulnerable to more damage.

Minimize the damage.

Please listen to Slimone…she knows of what she speaks.

Spaths are all the same. ALL the same.

No matter what spaths do or say to sway your opinion of them, they always revert back to spath behavior.

They can and do not change into what you want. Ever. Period.

As I think and think about what this terrible person did and try to figure out if he really is a person that has no empathy, not just for me but for people in general I remember a conversation that we had. I was at the post office one day and an older gentleman fell down and hit his head and we were not sure if he had a heart attack ot not. I called 911 because there were only a couple of people there. Then someone from the post office came out to stay with him and someone else from his church happened to come in as the ambulance arrived…I left because I knew he was in good hands but i was still worried but i am not one of those people that stan around and gauwks. Later that day i told my ex this story and told him that I was still upset and hoped that the gentleman was ok. His response to me was.”Why would you care about that man you don’t know him so what difference does it make if he is ok or not” I was shocked!! I didn’t even know what to say to that….I have figured out why he left when he did. I figured out his lies and cheating and was questioning it too much so he had to find someone new that wouldn’t do that.this doesn’t lessen my pain at all. When you give your whole heart to someone and they do this it is hard to come bounce back from. It’s been a long painful 1 1\2 year. Love turned to sorrow, dreams turned to dust, trust turned to skepticism……

mzpris15,

I well understand the despair and broken-heartedness that you are feeling. I also understand how you are turning the details of his behavior round and round in your mind, looking for a glimpse of something that will relieve you of all these painful feelings. We have all looked for the one thought, one clue, one insight; that healing moment.

It just doesn’t quite work like that, and in fact it is a process that feels like one step forward and a few steps back. Think of the healing process like a spring that you circle round and round, visiting the same issues over and over until you finally ‘ride’ that spring to it’s end.

We have all tried to be 100% sure that the person we were with had ZERO empathy. We have struggled as we watched them with their new victim, and wondered, once again, if it was something wrong with us that made them so cold, so cruel; because they appear to really love this new person. It is torture. It really is.

Try as best you can to keep educating yourself about personality disorders, and being solidly OK with your OWN EXPERIENCE. We all seek outside validation that what we think about these bad people is true. But what is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT is what you experienced, how it made you feel, and what you want in your future.

The truth is that even if he possesses a tiny tiny bit of empathy for someone, anyone, it does not change what he DID to you. HE did it. And the likelihood is he will do it to just about everyone he meets. Matter of fact it is guaranteed. Even if he plays ‘nice’ with some people, it is still just a lie he is using to assist him in his overall ‘game of life’. These sorts are such good actors, but are thoroughly inauthentic. No matter what we SEE- they are lying. Lying about being good. Lying about caring. Lying about doing good. Lying about love. It is all an act to get them whatever it is they need in the moment.

Some of the truly clever sociopaths/narcissists play a very LONG game, planning for a future that is pretty far off. These types can appear to be pretty stable characters. But the truth is they are living the lie, albeit a more ‘thought out’ variety. Some are less able to focus and their cycle of ‘conning’ people is shorter. These sorts can seem rather impulsive and ‘obvious’ to some folks. And then there are all the in-betweens. Because they can vary in tactics and appearance so much it is really important for US to re-initiate trust in our own experience of them in order to protect ourselves. We cannot always rely on other people’s perceptions, what the spaths tell us, or even what their ‘new life’ looks like. This can all be manipulated by the crazy one’s. So, it is via our own feelings, intuitions, and experiences that we KNOW WHAT THEY ARE.

Cling to that knowing and keep protecting yourself one moment after another. In time this will not occupy all your thoughts and feelings. Maybe only 50% of them. Then, as you make another ‘turn around the spring’ it will be less. And, honestly, someday the pain will no longer be there, the betrayal will only be a memory.

Remember, you are your own savior.

I understand what you are saying. I am reading everything I can get my hands on. My problem is I have no one to talk to everyone thinks i should just be over this jerk. Forgrt about him because if the terrible things he did. No one understands that he is a Sopath. They look at me like I am the crazy one not him. I had a friend say to me that i sound so happy…all I could say was fale it till you make it. I talk to y’all because i have no one else. No pne to hold my hand or hug me and say you will be ok. That’s what makes this so much worse. He goes in and I’m here. I know everything you have said about him not loving this other person snd all but that doesn’t help when you have been hurt to your core and have to keep it together all day and fall apart and you have to do it alone. All i want is for these stupid holidays to be over

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