Psychopaths as puppet masters

puppeteer and puppet businessYou and I feel personal satisfaction through accomplishment, or warm human relationships, or being of service to others.

Psychopaths feel personal satisfaction through pulling the so-called strings and making people jump.

They do something that they know will upset you just to see you cry. They trap you into no-win situations to watch you squirm. They devalue and discard you, so they can watch you fall apart.

Why do they do this?

Social motivations

The answer lies at the heart of the personality disorder. According to Dr. Liane Leedom, psychopaths have an out-of-control power motivation.

Researchers have identified four social motivations. These are basic motivations that people, as social animals, have regarding other people. They are:

  • Attachment desire to be with other people, especially mates, family and tribe
  • Sex for enjoyment, bonding and reproduction
  • Caregiving doing what is best for other people’s health and wellbeing
  • Power desire for higher rank and privilege

Anyone can have these motivations to greater or lesser degrees. In most people, the social motivations balance each other out. For example, the power motivation makes people want to achieve and be leaders, so it isn’t necessarily bad. Usually, the attachment and caregiving motivations keep it in check. Most people are willing to go after what they want, but don’t want to harm other people in the process.

Psychopaths are different

Psychopaths feel the attachment motivation they want to be with other people. They certainly want sex. And they really want power.

They do not, however, experience the caregiving motivation. Psychopaths are really only interested in themselves, and have no concern at all about the welfare of others. (If they seem to be displaying concern, it’s only because they have an ulterior motive.)

The bottom line, then, is that psychopaths have a really strong power motivation, and no caregiving motivation to but the brakes on it. So what they really want in life is power and control.

Yes, they want sex, but they want power and control more. Psychopaths aren’t necessarily sex-crazed fiends. Many either engage in sex or withhold it in order to increase their power and control.

Do NOT react

Psychopaths love being the puppet master making other people react feeds their desire for power and control.

That’s why No Contact is so important. No Contact changes the dynamic. It takes you out of the psychopath’s feedback loop, because they can’t get their power-and-control fix.

If No Contact is not possible, or not possible yet, the next best strategy is DO NOT react. When psychopaths try to provoke you, do not respond emotionally at least in front of them. Even if you have to temporarily be the world’s greatest actress or actor, do not let them know that they’ve upset you.

If you can keep this up, hopefully the psychopath will get bored and lose interest in you. When you don’t react, you’re no fun anymore.

The idea is to cut the puppet master strings, so that you can achieve your freedom.


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47 Comments on "Psychopaths as puppet masters"

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Hi Jericho, that’s odd that you got absolutely no responses. I contacted a few men, and I think a few contacted me, but I’m not sure. Did you try contacting some people at match dot com? I suppose you did? Have you looked over some suggested “formats” or sample scripts that might help get some responses? Some of the men I met were very nice people, but were not interested in seeing me again. Some were creepy, from my personal perspective, and I sensed mutual dislike! And be sure you meet in a pleasant public place with plenty of people around. Sometimes I met at a nearby coffee house. One time I invited a guy (the one I’m with now!) to meet at a very populark, large rose garden, with plenty of people walking around. Any popular park would be nice, at least for me, because I love nature and would expect any partner of mine to love nature, too.

Another great post. I’ve been keeping no contact for a couple of years. I work with the SP and most people I work with think highly of the SP, which makes it harder because I know the truth about who he really is. The other day, he found out that I would be traveling for work, called me and told me I was being shady for not telling him. Remember we are at work so it’s not like I can just walk away or hang up. It really upset me that he talks to me like we are in each other’s lives but he doesn’t not act like it. He recently realized I blocked him on my phone and he has been emailing me and telling me to unblock him, which I haven’t and won’t.

My therapist thinks I should consider a restraining order or talk to my boss about having less contact with him at work. I feel like that is harsh and unprofessional–I prefer to keep my personal and professional life separate. I hate that he tries to control me even when I am at work and doing my best to minimize contact but I don’t know how to prevent it. And while I am aware of this and trying to move on, it keeps me stuck in a way.

What are your experiences or thoughts on telling an SP s/he is an SP? Do they care? Do they feel outed and then retaliate? Is it enough that you know? Any other tips for those of us who work with an SP?

The “shall I tell him and would he care” Question has been plaguing me recently as my SP has his wife watching me and I want to tell her she’s still being used 10 years after our affair!!
They have separated recently but she still wants him and tries to irritate me on a regular basis.
I believe if I told him he would respect my opinion as he has a deeper obsession with me ( he punishes) me regularily) but I can’t prove it. So, that said maybe ignorance actually is blissful??? â¤ï¸

I understand. I guess we have to remind ourselves that it doesn’t matter if s/he cares. I thought that if I said to him that I know he’s a sociopath he would step back a bit–he would be exposed and stop abusing me ( I consider his actions at this point to be abusive). I have a feeling it would incite him along the lines of what Donna said above.

It’s very frustrating to be “controlled” by someone when all you want is to be free and move on…

Hi Steps, Whenever I would come up with something about improving our relationship, the alcoholic I was married to foe 9 years, would say in irritation: “What have you been reading NOW???” First of all, if you tell your significant other/husband that he’s a sociopath, he probably won’t believe you, or accept this. I also think it could be dangerous. Also, it would just give him more power over you because he’s know you are onto his tactics and he’d develop/conjure up, more subtle tactics against you. I hope you can find a way out of this relationship. Another caveat: If you have any books on how to escape, or how to handle this bad situation do NOT leave them around where he can find them. Maybe even leave them at the home of a trusted friend. Two books I’d recommend: “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” by Patricia Evans, and “Getting Free” by Ginny Nicarthy. Both of these helped me escape.
Both these books warn painting leaving them around where he can find them. About verbal abuse: I had a good friend from AlAnon, who reoommeded the one on verbal abuse. She said that something my then husband was saying was verbal abuse. I was very amazed! I asked here, What’s verbal abuse? How do I know this is verbal abuse?” She said, “Read the book. Then if you have any more questions call me.”


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